NGC Price Guide vs eBay

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by dave92029, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. dave92029

    dave92029 New Member

    Is the data in the NGC / PCGS price guides supposed to reflect current market value? If not then what are those numbers suppose to reflect.

    I have been watching various eBay auctions for NGC PF69 coins and they seem to be closing at about 66% of the NGC Price Guide levels.

    The PCGS Price guide also seems to indicate lower prices then the NGC Price guide, but also above the eBay prices.

    Since PM prices have been increasing rapidly, and the data in the Price Guides are a trailing indicator(reflecting historical information). I would have expected the values in the Guides to be below the current market prices.

    Isn't eBay a good indication of market value since so many dealers participate?

    Thanks for your assistance and insights.
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    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    The NGC and PCGS price guides are completely worthless and should never be used when trying to establish the value of any coin.

    As for realized prices on ebay, for the most part you can't trust them either. The reason you can't trust them is because there are so many people on ebay buying things that have no idea of their true value so they tend to pay too much a lot of the time.

    Value for any coin is established by educated buyers and only by educated buyers. So if you want to look up what the current retail price is for any coin then you have two options and only two options. You can buy the current Grey Sheet and add approx 10% to the Ask. Or - you can look up realized auction prices on the auction house web sites like Heritage, Stack's etc.
  4. kanga

    kanga 60 Year Collector

    The OP is referencing PF-69 coins so I make the assumption that he's discussing recent Mint products such as proof ASE's or recent proof sets.
    The difficulty with this suggestion is that the Greysheet doesn't list these coins in PF-69 (assuming they list them at all).
    And the better auction houses don't auction such matrial.

    So you're stuck with Numismedia/NGC, PCGS, Coin Values or eBay.
    And if you're lucky you have a coin store nearby or can get to a coin show to see what their asking prices are.
    Then you try to beat those values.
  5. RaceBannon

    RaceBannon Member

    My experience with the NGC/PCGS price guides is that they are pretty much in line with the RedBook prices. That means they reflect retail prices.
    Almost no one who collects coins pays retail.

    As Doug mentions, the CDN or greysheet will give you a more accurate reflection of wholesale prices for coins. It varies, but in my own experience the greysheet prices are 10-35% lower than retail prices on average.

    I differ a little bit with Doug on the opinion of EBay prices, while it is true that some bidders overpay, there are also some great deals to be had on EBay. The other thing that makes EBay reflective of real market prices is the sheer volume of business conducted on EBay. There are literally millions of bidders on EBay in any given day. Many of those actually know what they are doing.
    If you buy a coin in a slab from one of the major TPGs from a reputable dealer on EBay, you will find that you can get a huge discount of retail/redbook. More often than not, you'll get real close to Greysheet bid. To me that's another indicator that EBay is frequented by many educated buyers.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Race I agree with you that there are many educated buyers on ebay. But the only way you can ever use realized prices from any venue is to add them all up and average. That means you have to add in all those where the people paid too much - and THAT screws up your average giving you bad info.

    What kanga says is true, you're not going to find much on sites like Heritage if you are looking for prices on modern stuff. BUT - you can find all you want on Teletrade. And that is a much better source for checking values than ebay is.

    But the main point to the OP is this - FORGET the NGC and PCGS prices guides ! Don't even bother to look at them !
  7. KenKat

    KenKat Collector

    I think the PCGS and NGC price guides are an ok source of prices if you remember two basic things. 1) These are prices for CERTIFIED coins and should not be used for raw coins unless you discount significantly. 2) They represent the absolute high end for the nicest coin in that grade - PQ examples. These guides are useful as a starting point.

    I also honestly don't agree with the position that there are lots of people paying too much on eBay. Some things go for too high and some things go for a bargain. In average, it represents an efficient marketplace with efficient pricing in my opinion.

    Heritage is another good source for higher end material. Again, almost always certified coins, so you've got to take that into account.

    In summary, I think the best way to figure out pricing is to look at all sources and make your own determination as to what an appropriate price is.

    Best regards,
  8. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    I have to agree with Ken. From what I understand, NGC's prices are for coins that are slabbed by them with a known grade assigned by them. Even then, it's impossible for every price to be spot on. With varying demand by the day, hour, minute, etc.... I'd say it's the best they can do to make a printed guide available. As a guide, I would say it's efficient enough, realizing that the prices will rarely be dead on.

    It's a matter of your opinion about it. If they list a MS64 coin for say...$210 and you go on ebay and buy it for $185, was their price "guide" worthless? I guess the point is, if you look up a coin on their website and it lists for $150 in a certain grade, there's no way you're going to go on ebay and get it for $40. I'd put money on it that you won't be able to buy it for less than $100. So if you buy it for $20 less than their guide says, was the guide worthless? I mean, that's just how it works. I think they have the most comprehensive guide available. In my experience, most of the time stuff sells slightly back of the NGC listed prices. The higher the value, the deeper the discount that is usually found. Like a $400 coin can probably be had for $350. But not $280.

    The grey sheet is useful for only a small fraction of what is out there. It's far too general and covers very little. Few grades are listed for all but the most popular coins. For most stuff, you can't even use it because there's nothing listed.

    The NGC guide is formulated by information collected from dealer sales throughout the country. The market is fluid, so no guide can be expected to be exact all of the time.

    I would also agree that you have to be careful trusting what people bid stuff up to on ebay. Some coins are slabbed, known and common with many, many people paying a general range that can be reviewed. Proof commemoratives for example. Others are bid up over fancy photography and don't warrant the price. Some shouldn't even be purchased but people bid them up anyway.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    First of all, NGC does not have their own price guide. What you find if you go look is this -

    NumisMedia is the industry's most accurate, INDEPENDENT and impartial report of US coin values, and is the official price guide of NGC.

    That said, let's check some actual examples.

    An 1881-CC in MS65 -

    What you will see is the that for 5 sales that occured all within the past 30 days are $718, $747, $747, $776 & $776. The Numismedia retail price is $1090, the wholesale prices is $870, the price for NGC is $830 and $840 for PCGS.

    An 1884-S in AU58 -

    Auctions dating Sept - Oct 2010 show realized prices of $862, $862, $833, $1151 & $1840. The Numismedia retail price is $1290, the wholesale price $1075, and it shows $965 for NGC and $1000 for PCGS.

    Now I can do the same thing with virtually any coin sold on Heriatge. And you can plainly see that the Numismedia prices (the NGC price guide in other words) is off by 50% if you use the retail numbers and even off by 20% if use the TPG numbers.

    Not what I would call a very good guide.
  10. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    You pretty much proved the point I stated in my first post:

    "The higher the value, the deeper the discount that is usually found. Like a $400 coin can probably be had for $350. But not $280."

    Why didn't you list lower value coins in the 50 to 500 dollar range? Because it wouldn't prove your point. Despite the fact that this is most likely the price range that about 95% of this forum is doing 95% of their shopping. I admitted that the prices go off the tracks the higher you go because there's obviously more room for discrepancies. Also, less available buyers.
    There is a much broader range of people that can afford a $30 coin as opposed to a $1800 Morgan. Therefore, it's much more likely that somebody will get $30 for a $30 coin than somebody will get exactly $1800 for an $1800 listed coin. I agree that the prices get further skewed the higher you go because of fewer available buyers. So sometimes people have to accept whatever they can get.
  11. dave92029

    dave92029 New Member

    Thanks for all your comments. I have created an Excel spreadsheet to track my inventory of of PM. The two columns on that spreadsheet that are my biggest challenge are "Mintage" and "Market Value".

    Yes, you are correct my original question was based on looking at NGC PF69 ASE.

    I have found what I consider several "good deals" on eBay, and I hesitate to use the NGC / PCGS Price Guides as "Market Value", because of the inflated gains that they produce on my spreadsheet.

    I am trying to find a source for the Market Value column on my inventory sheet. It is important to me to keep this information objective and accurate, rather than fool myself with a false valuation.

    The Mintage figures are also amusing. Since select coins are sold individually and in sets, it is difficult to determine if the "total Minta ge" figures include both the individual units produced Plus the coins included in the sets. I have noticed differences that I would consider large, but not material in determining value. I just wish that there was a more consistent and accurate source for the final mintage of US Coins. This is information that I would expect the US Mint to maintain on their web site, but the Mint appears to have bigger issues to address.
  12. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    Lets check some more actual examples from my own experiences.

    2006 20th anniv. reverse proof ASE PF-69. Numismedia lists them at $222. I watched one start at one cent. I ended up having to bid $195 to win it. Many of them sell for over $200 as buy it nows.

    My avatar. 1938 D/S Buffalo Nickel NGC MS-66. Numismedia lists at $231. I gave $200 for it at a show a couple years ago.

    1920 Pilgrim Commemorative NGC MS-64. Numismedia lists at $144. I bought one for my type set at the last show. The lowest the dealer would go was $140 and I took it.

    1946-P Walking Liberty Half NGC MS-64 Numismedia list $57.60. I just paid $52.00 for one at the show. Different dealer.

    1904-O Morgan NGC MS-66 CAC Numismedia list- $400. I bought one for $345 last year.

    1849-O $1 XF45 Numismedia list- $275. I gave $290 for one last year.

    I'm just picking random coins from my own experiences in the past years purchased from five different sources. I could go on. I could list 100 examples if you want. You're welcome to go through this list and tell me what I "should have" paid and where equivalents can be found at your prices. I'll gladly go check them out.
  13. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    I have struggled with the same thing. Basically, I think some prices fluctuate enough to where you just go with a figure and call it good. Often times, I'll just put the value at what I paid. If I know I over paid a little to get something, I will list a slightly lower value for the time being. If I feel I under paid, I will list a higher value or just go with Numismedia list. For example, the PF69 06 ASE we're talking about sells on both sides of $200 regularly. I just leave it priced at $200 and call it good. Close enough.

    Others have to be adjusted for the simple fact of melt value changing. Last year, I bought a 2006 $5 SF commemorative NGC MS70 for $300 at a show. Well, now the melt is more than that and it's very low mintage at around 17k. I could sell it for $400 but I'm not going to. So, the value has changed to $400 on the spreadsheet. I'm not going to lose sleep over whether or not it should be $380 or $420. Just try to be as honest as you can and leave it at that. Inflation will leave all your figures behind in due time.
  14. KenKat

    KenKat Collector

    eBay completed listings for 1881-CC in MS65 (sold):

    $633, $885, $825, $800, $725, $766, $761, $880, $713, $760, $763, $742

    1884-S in AU58:

    $1150, $882

    I will agree that PCGS and NGC are somewhat high on some items. On others, they are ok. One coin I was actually looking at this morning:

    PCGS 1c Lincoln 1931-S MS-63 RB:

    Heritage Realized Prices: $150, $173, $173, $184, $207
    PCGS: $250
    NGC: $198

    I still say look at it all and draw your own conclusions!
  15. coinman0456

    coinman0456 Coin Collector

    The only price guides/charts I use are the Grey and Blue sheets, and the most recent auction appearances .
  16. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    eBay sales cannot be used as a valid guide to value, simply because some items never get seen by people who may be interested in buying them. Auctions often end before potential buyers are aware of the item. For instance, a 1988 D RDV-006 ANACS AU58+ went for $26 a couple of months ago. A raw 1988 RDV-006 in about an AU40 (best grade likely) sold for $50.01 last week. Now there is no way to compare those two coins in value. I believe many potential buyers are scared off eBay because of horror stories published in many forums. Possibly with good reason. But my point is, that eBay auction prices do not give a decent or fair picture of the market and should not be taken into consideration at all. IMHO

  17. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    The only point I am trying to prove is that Numismedia prices are not very accurate.

    Using a few of your examples -

    1938 D/S Buffalo Nickel NGC MS-66 - Yes Numismedia list that retail price at $231. But 5 recent Heritage sales within the last 30 days show this - $126, $126, $172, $104, and $299.

    1920 Pilgrim Commemorative NGC MS-64 - Numismedia says $144. The 5 recent Heritage sales show $116, $89, $126, $104, $89.

    1946-P Walking Liberty Half NGC MS-64 - Numismedia says $58. Heritage sales show $53, $47, $50, $59 and $50.

    1904-O Morgan NGC MS-66 CAC - Numismedia shows $400. Heritage sales show $276, $276, $431, $241, $230.

    Now those are coins you picked. But with the 1 exception of the Walker actual sales show that Numismedia prices are all too high by a large margin. And that is my point.

    I don't make up the numbers, I'm just reporting what is there to see.
  18. Coinchemistry 2012

    Coinchemistry 2012 Well-Known Member

    At least the Numismedia Price Guide is more accurate than the PCGS Price Guide. Are there any decent price guides that list prices for FB Roosevelt Dimes and FS Jefferson Nickels? I have a date that is supposedly rare with full steps, and I am unable to find auction records for it at Heritage or the other auction houses. There are none on eBay. The only thing that I have to go on is the PCGS Price Guide, but I don't believe that any collector would really pay me $5k for it.
  19. FishyOne

    FishyOne Member

    Numismedia (NGC) Price Guide is a good source for free information on retail pricing. I view it as what a dealer might price a coin at with his "wiggle room" included. I use it all the time to see if an "asking" price is realistic and then cross-reference Greysheet to come up with my offer.

    If you want to build a quality collection don't expect to pay Greysheet prices.
  20. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    Well I guess I will have to start paying more attention to Heritage. Though every time I'm looking for something, Heritage either doesn't have one or has them in grades way out of the range I'm looking for. Heritage is somewhat of a hassle to use compared to ebay/shows, and the auctions last for a month. What percentage of this forum do you think has ever even bid on a coin there? If you ask me, some people got lucky because nobody saw the auctions.

    It's also like comparing apples to oranges. Not all MS-64 Pilgrim commemoratives look the same. Like anything else. If there's an eye appeal issue, the same grade goes for less. Better looking ones go for more. It's that way with any coin you look at on there.
    Not to mention that Heritage has minimum bid increments once you pass a certain point. I'm sure a lot of people don't like that and it scares some people away. $50 to $100 min. bid increments will slow the bids down in a hurry.

    Many of the past realized prices can be from 2-3 years ago too.
    Heritage alone is not the end all authority on pricing with all the above factors considered.
  21. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    I have to say I am very surprised by some of those prices GD. Thanks for posting them. I'm going to start looking on Heritage more often now. Some of those lower prices were steals. But I wouldn't consider them to be the norm.
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