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JCO737

Valuation site for SA coins

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JCO737

Hi everyone,

I am toying with the idea of creating an online tool/website to assist collectors/investors/dealers in obtaining up-to-date pricing or valuation data for SA coins. Some years back there was a site like this to which I had a membership but it looks like it has since disappeared. 

I think it will stimulate the market when people are able to obtain approximate values a little easier than to spend time doing data mining themselves from all the auction sites. I think a site like that can be a depository for general information on all of the issues as well and be kind of a hive-mind for the industry.

I would appreciate your thoughts on whether you think something like this would be viable. I am not looking to make money out of it but it would obviously need to be self-sustaining.

There is such a wealth of pricing information out there for US coins for example but I feel it is something that is lacking for SA. What resources do you currently use for valuations and could you make use of a tool like this to save you time, at a very reasonable cost on a pay per report basis or for a low monthly subscription?

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Pierre_Henri

I think it an excellent idea but it is a massive task.

The previous endeavor most probably failed because of the costs involved - the costs of the up-to-date keeping of the pricing for graded SA coins (based on recent sales) is never-ending - it is a full time, never ending task.

You have  to scan all the major coin selling websites (BidorBuy, E-Bay, Heritage etc etc) every day to keep the "catalogue" relevant and up to date.

That means hundreds of updates every week.

But maybe you have something else in mind?

 

 

 

 

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JCO737

Yes it will certainly be a full-time job. I have started building up a database of sales already from Heritage, E-Bay, Stack's & Bowers and BidorBuy. Part of the offering will be at least weekly updates of actual sales across the platforms. At the moment we are doing this manually but in future would look to automate the process somehow (this will probably be the expensive part). The other aspect is providing collated population info across NGC, PCGS and others to save the user time and provide one platform where all this information is available for each coin.

I just think it is possible to create a really good tool for those of us who buy and sell on a fairly regular basis.  It will be a similar offering to what Lightstone does for property in a way. 

By the way, a question for those that use BoB regularly. Unlike with EBay I can't seem to find a way to get past sales from the BoB site. Am I missing something?

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jwither

The initial post must be referring to CoinGuide SA.  I don't recall the second one but from a brief look, seems to me that any new effort will be a duplication.

As to whether it is economically viable, not as a subscription service in my opinion.  That's why I presume CoinGuide SA didn't last.  Maybe (a big maybe) it's viable if automated and primarily funded by advertising but I don't see where enough ad revenue would come from.  Then there is the question of licensing the data.  I presume it is supposed to be used only with permission, though probably none of the sources mentioned would try to enforce it in SA.

My recommendation is to limit it only to the most relevant coinage, where the price is meaningful.  Given the price crash since 2011, that will reduce the data requirements substantially.  Here is an example:

ZAR in the higher grades, varies depending upon the coin;

Forget about most Union.  It isn't worth enough and limit it to the scarcer dates mostly in better grades; and 

Very limited for RSA, like the alternate language coins, most widely collected 1994 and later circulating coinage (such as 90th BD 5R in MS-68 and MS-69) and the most widely collected NCLT.

With the collapse of the price level, the prior scale of ":investing" is dead with no reason to believe it will ever come back.  There is really no point in tracking the price of every single South African coin sold in an NGC, PCGS and maybe SANGS holder.  It's of value to dealers but not any collector.  However, it's unlikely dealers would pay a high enough subscription price to cover the difference between a full and scaled down version.

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JCO737

Thanks for the valued feedback jwither.

I have to agree that having a look at coindatabase.org, which a previous poster referred to, there would be a significant overlap with what is already out there. And these guys are providing it for free which is mind-boggling given that they have a database of over 16000 transactions and continue to track the market all the while, which to me also demonstrates the difficulty in monetizing a service like that in any way. The amount of work must have been huge, and kudos to them for the service they provide to the SA coin market.

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jwither

The problem financially is the lack of scale in your country.  As a complete guess, I have estimated maybe as many as 10,000 "active" hobbyist collectors in your country plus a variable number of "investors".

If this is a reasonable approximation, most of the hobbyists won't pay for this type of service because the subscription cost is disproportionate to their budget.  Additionally, most probably aren't even buying graded coins.

"Investors" which will almost certainly represent the lopsided proportion of the potential customer base are too unreliable for anyone to attempt this effort as a business proposition.  That's what I believe happened with CoinGuide SA.  As the price level crashed, most of these people sold their collection, stopped buying, or both.  They wouldn't have had an interest in tracking every single sale of a graded coin anyway because it's not relevant to them.  That's why I suggested a scaled down version of the service.  Similar thinking for the bigger budget buyers who remain active.

Dealers will find a comprehensive service useful but I don't believe your country has enough of them who will pay enough to make this service viable longer term.  You could experiment with cost and pricing to see what combination might work.

For your reference as a point of comparison, there is the Certified Coin Exchange (CCE) in the United States.  It's a dealer network with buy and sell offers for the "sight unseen" market. 

There is also PCGS Coin Facts which is a free service on the PCGS website but it doesn't track every single sale of a US graded coin either.  It' tracks all struck by the US mint excluding patterns but not for all sources.  It used to be a paid service but PCGS made it free a few years ago.   

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Pierre_Henri
On 6/19/2020 at 4:44 PM, jwither said:

The problem financially is the lack of scale in your country.  As a complete guess, I have estimated maybe as many as 10,000 "active" hobbyist collectors in your country plus a variable number of "investors".

If this is a reasonable approximation, most of the hobbyists won't pay for this type of service because the subscription cost is disproportionate to their budget.  Additionally, most probably aren't even buying graded coins.

"Investors" which will almost certainly represent the lopsided proportion of the potential customer base are too unreliable for anyone to attempt this effort as a business proposition.  That's what I believe happened with CoinGuide SA.  As the price level crashed, most of these people sold their collection, stopped buying, or both.  They wouldn't have had an interest in tracking every single sale of a graded coin anyway because it's not relevant to them.  That's why I suggested a scaled down version of the service.  Similar thinking for the bigger budget buyers who remain active.

Dealers will find a comprehensive service useful but I don't believe your country has enough of them who will pay enough to make this service viable longer term.  You could experiment with cost and pricing to see what combination might work.

For your reference as a point of comparison, there is the Certified Coin Exchange (CCE) in the United States.  It's a dealer network with buy and sell offers for the "sight unseen" market. 

There is also PCGS Coin Facts which is a free service on the PCGS website but it doesn't track every single sale of a US graded coin either.  It' tracks all struck by the US mint excluding patterns but not for all sources.  It used to be a paid service but PCGS made it free a few years ago.   

I see that NGC offers that service, but it seems only for USA coins.

The only reliable coin catalogue is one that is based on recent sales of "that coin" in "that grade" encapsulated by trusted grading companies with many sales over a longer period - say the past 12 months.

Or one that is based on their population reports.

I do not trust anything or anyone else with the real values of coins. 

Making and dreaming up coin values have been a pastime of too many coin catalogs for to long. 

Pierre

 

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jwither
On 6/27/2020 at 8:37 AM, Pierre_Henri said:

I see that NGC offers that service, but it seems only for USA coins.

The only reliable coin catalogue is one that is based on recent sales of "that coin" in "that grade" encapsulated by trusted grading companies with many sales over a longer period - say the past 12 months.

Or one that is based on their population reports.

I do not trust anything or anyone else with the real values of coins. 

Making and dreaming up coin values have been a pastime of too many coin catalogs for to long. 

Pierre

 

I believe that NGC'S offering is a scaled down version of PCGS Coin Facts.  I don't really know since I have never seen even one comment on any USA coin forum about it, not even the NGC Message Boards.

You are right though that both are for US coins only.  There is never going to be one for "world" coinage generically.

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JCO737

Well since my last post and a few thousand man-hours later we have created coinvalues.co.za. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

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Pierre_Henri
5 hours ago, JCO737 said:

Well since my last post and a few thousand man-hours later we have created coinvalues.co.za. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

10 out of 10 it is really fantastic - well done!

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JCO737

Thanks for the great feedback Pierre. Hopefully it can be of service to the community. 

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GROOVIE COINS
20 hours ago, JCO737 said:

Well since my last post and a few thousand man-hours later we have created coinvalues.co.za. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

Hi this must have taken a great effort and the website looks really professional. I've never used the first website before but just comparing the two I'd say yours is much more user friendly and informative. 

I hope its successful.

You said your reports are based on sales data source from various auction websites. I'm not sure if you are sourcing this by means of data sharing directly from the websites or if your method is manual, but I want to highlight that not all "buy now" items under the "recent sales" tab are authentic sales. In fact I pay very little stock to any "buy now" under recent sales as bidorbuy doesn't differentiate between a item sold and a closed item.

All items that close without sale have the same "sold" and "this item has closed 1 buyer bought 1 item" message attached, but you'll find most of these "sold" items are actually closed listing and are later relisted by the seller. 

For the most authentic sales figures, I only pay attention to actual auctions under the "recent sales" tab. These can be validated even further by its transparency in that you can see which buyers (as well as their historic ratings) bid and won items.

regards Robert

 

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JCO737

Thanks for the feedback and heads-up Robert.

As an aside, I get an unbelievable amount of queries about Mandela R5s and I now have a standard response which includes a link to your YouTube video :) (If you are the Groovie Coins with the YouTube channel?) Thanks for that!

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GROOVIE COINS
4 hours ago, JCO737 said:

Thanks for the feedback and heads-up Robert.

As an aside, I get an unbelievable amount of queries about Mandela R5s and I now have a standard response which includes a link to your YouTube video :) (If you are the Groovie Coins with the YouTube channel?) Thanks for that!

Thanks for the compliment. I must admit I haven't been able to do any new videos this year with this whole covid thing. Something I will definitely start up again when I get a chance to take leave from work...

regards Robert

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Pierre_Henri
On 7/31/2020 at 9:20 AM, GROOVIE COINS said:

You said your reports are based on sales data source from various auction websites. I'm not sure if you are sourcing this by means of data sharing directly from the websites or if your method is manual, but I want to highlight that not all "buy now" items under the "recent sales" tab are authentic sales. In fact I pay very little stock to any "buy now" under recent sales as bidorbuy doesn't differentiate between a item sold and a closed item.

All items that close without sale have the same "sold" and "this item has closed 1 buyer bought 1 item" message attached, but you'll find most of these "sold" items are actually closed listing and are later relisted by the seller. 

For the most authentic sales figures, I only pay attention to actual auctions under the "recent sales" tab. These can be validated even further by its transparency in that you can see which buyers (as well as their historic ratings) bid and won items.

I never knew that. 

So am I correct that if say a 1898 ZAR Penny was listed for a million rands (just for the sake of the argument) under a "Buy Now" and it  obviously did not sell and closed after say 3 weeks listed, the "Items sold" section will show that a 1898 Penny actually sold for R1 000 000?

Is there a difference between the "recent sales" tab and "items sold" tab?

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JCO737

I must say I am also sceptical that all closed listings show up as sales, or we would regularly have R5 Mandela coins selling for vast sums in the Recent buys for example, which we don't see. I have however started with a low-level investigation into this and will provide feedback if I get it.

I take Groovie's point that you could consider an auction sale as more "authentic" than a Buy Now sale since there is better price discovery, but even a legitimate Buy Now transaction is an agreement on price between a buyer and seller in the marketplace, thereof is something that we would record for our database purposes. Thing is just to establish whether the transactions are actual or if BoB are portraying closed listings as sales.

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Pierre_Henri

I think that as long as confusion reigns, the best option  is to ONLY use actual auction sale prices (and not  the "Buy Now" sale prices) as indicators of true prices realized.

 

 

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GROOVIE COINS
22 hours ago, Pierre_Henri said:

I never knew that. 

So am I correct that if say a 1898 ZAR Penny was listed for a million rands (just for the sake of the argument) under a "Buy Now" and it  obviously did not sell and closed after say 3 weeks listed, the "Items sold" section will show that a 1898 Penny actually sold for R1 000 000?

Is there a difference between the "recent sales" tab and "items sold" tab?

This is something I've brought up before but I could be inaccurate in my statement. It's definitely something that bidorbuy could clarify on and possibly address to avoid confusion.  

I've always seen items "sold" under the recent sales tabs relisted. I know if you have 10 items in a single listing and 3 are sold, that explains the relisting but I do not think this accounts for all relistings. There are plenty unique items that catch the eye that regularly get relisted. 

As soon as a see an example (Not all sellers have relisted their closed items as yet) then I will put up a link for review. 

regards Robert

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GROOVIE COINS

After spending some time lookings at the closed listings of the previous weeks and relistings, I see that I might have had the cat by the tail.

It appears that if an item is closed without any sale, it appears as "closed" (as I have seen from closed items on my watchlist), though I don't think this would reflect under the recent sales tab.

Many products that appear to relisted after being "sold" were multiple items under one listing, afterwhich the balance of items are relisted. 

Sometimes sellers might use a generic image for multiple different listings of the same denomination, which might also give rise to the appearance of an item being relisted after being sold.

Lastly a transaction that might not have been completed after being "sold", would also result in a relisting. 

 

The consensus is that products that appear under "buy now" on recent sales tab are sold items. Whether or not those "buy now" sales are indicative of market value is arguable as there is no transparency on the transaction, as is the case with auction sales.

regards Robert

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JCO737

Thanks very much for the feedback Robert. Your assessment is in line with what I have observed as well. Glad to have it cleared up.

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