Special Feature: Letters to the Editor
The Critical Need for Pricing Objectivity
I hope you are open to some thoughts about the ownership change at CDN. When I heard of the ownership change at CDN, I was a bit dismayed. Not that the new ownership team wasn’t inherently qualified to own and run the publication, but more by the potential conflict of interest that this can represent. I understand how outdated and flawed the older pricing system was. Updating was clearly necessary. However, the publisher of CDN has a real responsibility to be completely unattached and uninfluenced by the financials of actual coin values to be honorable and true to the job. If the publisher/editor has ownership of a coin company, auction house, etc. there will be a natural tendency to see the values of coins increase. This leads to more profits. It creates a conflict of interest. A soft, deflating coin market hurts profits and business slows. If the publisher of CDN is not tied to these financial cycles or trends, it is much better for all. Some readers, including myself, are concerned that although prices are updated and may reflect more the “actual” value of coins, the publisher/owners may have a vested interest in inflating or presenting the most “preferable” data to support the value of a particular series or coins in general. Having retail sales figures injected into the greysheet bid/ask will artificially inflate the value of coins and not represent the “real” value, as the retail market is often vastly overpriced in many cases. I am hopeful that the publication will remain completely unaffected by the vesting or ownership of a coin business. Whether or not you or others are active in the business or not, having a financial stake in a coin business does, to a degree create a conflict of interest when you are responsible for pricing coins in such an important publication.
Thanks for being receptive to these concerns.
– Steve Bresnick
Thank you for taking the time to write and share your concerns. In an industry as small as the rare coin business, there is simply no way to completely avoid conflict of interest. We are doing everything possible here at CDN to shut out any influence at all relating to pricing, but we do also seek input from our readers (dealers, collectors and investors) who have a stake in the game. We listen, but generally our pricing is derived from real-world market data including auction results and CoinPlex (CDN Exchange) bids. I think any interested reader will see, over time, that we are genuinely providing unbiased data in an effort to best represent the market. From my standpoint, that’s the only way to improve the market overall. People need to feel that they can rely on our prices and we take that very seriously.
– John Feigenbaum, Publisher