World of Coins

Research and reference => Printed material and equivalent => Topic started by: Kopper Ken on September 17, 2016, 03:29:52 PM

Title: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Kopper Ken on September 17, 2016, 03:29:52 PM
Hello group:

I received the following e-mail from a dealer (USA) I know from another internet group, and from whom I have bought coins. I believe he makes many valid points. Comments??

Regards,

KK

START OF E_MAIL:................................................................................................

(I am told a version of the following will appear in the October World Coin News)


Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Coins began in 1972. I was an early contributor. It was a great thing. And for a while it kept improving.

Then it became the Keystone Kops Katalog.

Errors started creeping in without ever getting corrected. Often, information explaining the differences between listed varieties disappeared (a particular problem with the Chinese listings). Then they decided to divide country listings among different regimes; so 19th century French five-franc coins are no longer together, but in eight separate places. What a nuisance when trying to look up a coin.

Then one year all the silver weight data was wrong. And one year they omitted a few little countries, like Spain, China, and Panama (but provided a CD with the missing parts).

Then they started pricing three grades of Unc. This might make sense for expensive slabworthy coins. But for run-of-the-mill inexpensive modern world coins it makes no sense at all. As a longtime dealer with a customer list of thousands, I know of no collectors concerned with three separate Unc grades for routine modern coins. Such listings just add confusion to pricing – especially when they show wide value gaps (totally imaginary, I submit).

And while specifying three grades of Unc, the book often omits more common grades.  Look at Australia’s George V coins. Few are ever found in Unc, the great majority being between Good and Fine. Yet those grades are not listed! Having three Unc grades leaves no room for them; the lowest grade listed now is VF. Just plain dumb.

But all these issues are overshadowed by a bigger one: the price levels themselves. The cataloguers have gone on a rampage of swingeing price reductions. Has there been a great market crash? No; the market seems stronger than ever. Yet, in working with the 2017 edition (20th century), while I see reductions all over, I have yet to find a single increase.

Admittedly, some prices in past editions were too high; but now they’re over-compensating, indiscriminately. There are many cuts of 90% or even 95% and more. Something is going seriously wrong when valuations are changed that radically from one edition to the next.

As a full time dealer I have a pretty good idea of what coins sell for; I buy regularly from all the European auctions and pore over prices realized. The 2017 book is chock full of prices far lower. The people responsible for these listings seem to have no feel at all for coin values.

Look at Austria. I’d love to buy some 1935 2-schillings in Unc for the $10 price shown. And some Madonna 5-schillings at $6 would be lovely too (they melt near $8). The post-1990 100-schillings are much more desirable than the earlier ones and used to be listed at $35 to $75 each (comparable to Germany’s leading price guide, “Money Trend”). In Krause’s 2016 edition, for Proof-65, they were all slashed to just $11. But I guess that didn’t seem ridiculously low enough, because in the 2017 book they are cut further to $9. (Melt value: about $11.)

East German coins have been slaughtered. I have bought and sold literally thousands of these coins over the years. But I cannot buy them from Germany for the prices now listed. Example: Ten Pfennigs 1952E. The 2016 book priced it at $250 in MS60. In Money Trend it actually lists at 500 Euros. KM’s 2017 price: ten bucks.

Many Italian coin prices might have seemed high in past editions. Yet, monitoring European auction realizations, I have regularly seen coins actually sell for multiples of those catalog prices. Nevertheless KM has now gone in the opposite direction and slashed these listings too, often by 90% and more. Just one example, picked more or less at random: 1958 100-Lire, MS60, 2016 price $120, 2017 price $3. A decrease of 97.5%! While my card file shows Unc realizations ranging between $400 and $550, in three separate Italian auctions.

And that was not even the biggest percentage reduction. Ten centesimi 1932 (a scarce date) in VF went from $5.00 to a dime. I don’t know why they didn’t just put zero.

Iran’s another. Two Rials SH1353, MS60, cut from $3 to ten cents. And Ireland too. (I’ve been working lately on this part of the alphabet.)

Even quite good coins are not spared from this holocaust. Here’s an example I happened to notice: Italian Somaliland 5 and 10 Lire 1925. Previously listed in MS60 at $1000 and $1200. Now $375 and $500. Just try to buy at such prices. Where did the cataloguers get them from? Certainly not actual sale records; I checked; they run closer to the prior numbers. And I recall wholesaling a pair to a leading dealer a few years ago for over $700 each.

In some cases the reductions come about from adding another Unc price column. Instead of creating a new set of prices, they simply kept the old ones, and just shifted the grade headings one column over!  So, for example, the 2016 catalog might have:

F          VF         EF         MS60           MS63
.50     1.00        5.00        15.00           30.00

In the 2017 catalog this becomes:

VF         EF       MS60       MS63        MS65
.50       1.00       5.00        15.00         30.00

Of course, this is brainless; it can’t possibly make sense or be justified. It insults our intelligence.

The book is filled with travesties like this. Its usefulness is destroyed. And unfortunately the damage is not confined to one particular publication. It’s a reality that though the catalog purports merely to report market values, it also influences them. Collectors won’t want to pay more than $3 for an Italian 1958 100-Lire if that’s all the book says it’s worth. And while long experience gives me a good feel for many coin values, one can’t know every coin. I have no idea what an Unc Iranian 1353 2-Rials is really worth, though I’m pretty sure it’s more than a dime.

Cataloguers playing fast and loose with valuations, whipsawing them with drastic fluctuations, wreak havoc with the market and the hobby. I have lost all confidence in the Standard Catalog as an information source. I am frankly baffled by what the cataloguers think they’re doing. But clearly, as Hamlet said, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

And, yes, Denmark is another country with some stupidly low KM pricing.

Frank S. Robinson
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: andyg on September 17, 2016, 03:33:46 PM
...somehow I think they messed up their column headers for some sections - so the grades have been transposed.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: eurocoin on September 17, 2016, 04:46:35 PM
Weltmünzkatalog by Dr Gerhard Schön is the only proper world coin catalog in current existence. SCWC is something from the past.
Title: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Bimat on September 17, 2016, 05:14:34 PM
This has been a problem with SCWC for quite a few years now. I'm not sure if the pricing of the US coins is accurate in SCWC (I guess it is, to a good extent), but rest of the world listings are far from accurate. Euro coins' section is a complete mess. I think the main reason is that they don't have enough contributors who can provide a trustworthy information.

As far as I'm concerned, I use Krause only for KM# numbers (and may be the other information it gives) but not at all for prices. I'm very much interested in getting a copy of Schön catalog, but since it doesn't come in pdf format, I'm bit disappointed...

Aditya
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: eurocoin on September 17, 2016, 05:52:52 PM
I think the main reason is that they don't have enough contributors who can provide a trustworthy information.

They have more than enough contributors, they simply don't listen to them and don't seem to care that their catalogs are full of mistakes.
Title: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Bimat on September 17, 2016, 05:57:42 PM
They have more than enough contributors, they simply don't listen to them and don't seem to care that their catalogs are full of mistakes.

I used to be a contributor (in 2010/11 if I remember correctly) and my experience withe them was nice. It may be due to the fact that I was in direct contact with Tom Michael and George Cuhaj and not their supporting staff. Whatever changes I suggested were implemented without any further questions (mainly in Indian section). I couldn't continue my contribution after getting a job which kept (or still keeps) me busy...

Both Tom and George are members of WoC (not active though) and it may be a good idea to draw their attention to the problems we face. They are co-operative... 8)

Aditya
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: dheer on September 17, 2016, 07:01:31 PM
Agreed it's a mess. The India section is full of errors. It's not because they don't have contributors, it's more of their ability to manage...
 Part of the issue, they have changed the database software this year, so quite a few such errors...

In past the number of issues were less as fewer countries were catalogued.... If you look at the size of book, it's growing... And one needs to be careful to manage such growth
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Pabitra on September 17, 2016, 10:03:57 PM
Both Tom and George are members of WoC (not active though) and it may be a good idea to draw their attention to the problems we face. They are co-operative... 8)

George Cuhaj is no longer the editor of SCWC.
Tracy Schmidt is now the editor of the same.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Pabitra on September 17, 2016, 10:05:51 PM
Weltmünzkatalog by Dr Gerhard Schön is the only proper world coin catalog in current existence.

Current issues of WMK are in two parts.
One volume covers only Euros whereas other covers rest of the coins.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Figleaf on September 18, 2016, 12:04:54 AM
When I was still able to contribute to SCWC, the major reason for price movements were USD movements. At introduction, the euro was $1.17. Its low point was $0.85. Its high point was $1.60. Its present value is $1.12. You can easily imagine how current USD strength has brought catalogue quotes down. That's the price you pay for having dollar quotes for stuff traded mainly elsewhere.

Peter
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: asm on September 18, 2016, 06:59:19 AM
They farmed out the Indian edition (od SAC) to locals here who made a further hash of things. They took advice from the traders but left out the notes sent by collectors. .............. and we know that traders will only highlight what is in his / her own interest.

Amit
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Pabitra on September 18, 2016, 08:02:45 AM
Poor fellow Rajendra invested considerable sum in publishing a combined coins cum notes volume for South Asia and lost. The copies are still with him and he is still looking for buyers.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: asm on September 18, 2016, 10:36:47 AM
Poor fellow Rajendra invested considerable sum in publishing a combined coins cum notes volume for South Asia and lost. The copies are still with him and he is still looking for buyers.
Some expert comments on Fb on this book:

1) Bin it
2) the The earlier edition was better.

If these are the thoughts of experts, it was bound to be so. Also, one thing that I have learned is that an average Indian collector may be prepared to shell out 50,000 INR or even 500,000 INR for a single coin, but will not be prepared to may 3000 - 5000 for a good book on the subject.

Amit
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: dheer on September 18, 2016, 01:14:51 PM
Hopefully things will change and more Indian collectors will invest in books.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Pabitra on September 18, 2016, 02:24:43 PM
Also, one thing that I have learned is that an average Indian collector may be prepared to shell out 50,000 INR or even 500,000 INR for a single coin, but will not be prepared to may 3000 - 5000 for a good book on the subject.
In absence of a good reference book, he may end up paying several multiples of the price of a book extra, for the coin which was of much lower value.
Title: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Bimat on September 18, 2016, 02:43:16 PM
George Cuhaj is no longer the editor of SCWC.
Tracy Schmidt is now the editor of the same.

Thanks, wasn't aware of this.

When I was still able to contribute to SCWC, the major reason for price movements were USD movements. At introduction, the euro was $1.17. Its low point was $0.85. Its high point was $1.60. Its present value is $1.12. You can easily imagine how current USD strength has brought catalogue quotes down. That's the price you pay for having dollar quotes for stuff traded mainly elsewhere.

That doesn't explain catalog price of $350 for a coin, which costs $1500+ in the market. (This mistake was rectified in latest edition after I pointed it out on the forum). Something is definitely not right with their software!!!

Aditya
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Prosit on September 18, 2016, 04:44:53 PM
The only one I am interested in this year is the 2000-Present edition. I assume the errors discussed are in other years?
Dale
Title: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Bimat on September 18, 2016, 04:48:33 PM
The only one I am interested in this year is the 2000-Present edition. I assume the errors discussed are in other years?
Dale

There are many errors in 2000-present edition too. :(

Aditya
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Kopper Ken on September 19, 2016, 03:40:57 AM
Is there a direct order site for the Schon volumes?  My German isn't that great and I'm having trouble with my translator. :'(

I looked at a sample country, South Africa (Suid Afrika) and was impressed.  Rather than have each date listed, the type is listed with a general value and then if there are specific years with higher valuations, these are then listed separately.  Of course then you lose the mintage figures.  SCWC might be good for that. ::)


KK
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: bgriff99 on October 04, 2016, 04:09:35 AM
Decades ago I was a contributor for Chinese cash.     Back when one's coins had to be sent to be photographed.   They were none too speedy about getting it done (over 2 years they held my best coins, until badgered to return them).    Then they lost loads of corrections and date fixes, which they asked for.    Then they loaded the catalog up with ridiculous fakes at high prices.     Departure of Colin Bruce more or less is when things started to decline.     
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: andyg on October 17, 2016, 10:38:25 PM
Globetrotter was telling me that not only has George retired but also Tom Michael is no longer with Krause publications.

When we asked Globetrotter who was in charge of the coin books now, the answer was "nobody really".  Things are not looking good.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Pabitra on October 18, 2016, 06:25:25 AM
George left Krause in 2015 but after sending 2016 edition to the printers.
2017 edition was done by Tom Michael.
The work of Krause was handled for some period by Maggie Judkins.
Currently, that work is being handled by Tracy Scmidt.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: natko on April 04, 2017, 02:53:57 PM
I also contributed directly with some info on Croatian coins, most of which they eventually did include a couple of years later.
Like 1 kuna 1941 change from rare to unique (which says now "possibly unique", fine), separation of 1 kuna 1994 with error inscription, all the mintages and mintage and finesses of gold and silver 1993 circulation series which were gifts to high officials. I backed up my claims with excerpts from laws and central bank official website.

However, they did not for instance correct obvious errors of year listings, Croatian inscription is always on odd dates, Latin on even, no exclusions.

Later on they added some weird things like nonexistant KM#24a with reported mintage of 500 and messed up a WWII pattern with circulation piece. Pattern section is absolute mess.

Anyhow, we have here on forums contributing topic which nobody from the SCWC seem to even care about.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: eurocoin on April 04, 2017, 03:16:36 PM
Standard Catalog of World Coins is a dead catalog, only being kept alive by the collectors who fear change.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Prosit on April 04, 2017, 03:57:02 PM
It does seem to have gotten sicker but certainly not yet dead. It still has a widespread distribution.

The catalog's first edition was in 1972. In spite of current international usage, it started as a catalog created in the USA mainly for US collectors of Non-USA coins.
I have used it for many years and think it still a viable catalog although I did not buy any of the current editions due to the complaints about the proliferation of errors and inaccuracies.

The main thing I dislike about the catalog is the proliferation of types for minor variations. In general I believe it shouldn't be a new type unless I can see the difference between two coins from 2 meters and what I can see from 2 meters gets less each year  ;D

It is getting pretty bad though when a collector such as myself with little to no expertise in any particular area can discover errors.
And I have. Maybe I will get the newest 2001-present sometime this year...or not.

Dale







Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Figleaf on April 04, 2017, 06:00:28 PM
Was in contact with Tom Michael today. He wrote:

Quote
I am working on the 45th edition of the 1901-2000 SCWC right now and will move on to the 12th edition 2001-Date SCWC next week.

Peter
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: bgriff99 on April 04, 2017, 07:16:37 PM
You would think that for older coins, all they would have to do is keep an eye on prices.   What I have seen is distributers of fakes get themselves on board as contributors, then get their new fantasy creations inserted with very high prices.   
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: FosseWay on April 04, 2017, 07:30:08 PM
Standard Catalog of World Coins is a dead catalog, only being kept alive by the collectors who fear change.

AFAIK there is no obvious whole-world alternative that gives prices for individual dates. Until there is a competitor, SCWC will limp along, and moreover there will be little or no impetus to improve matters.

Personally what I dislike most about the way SCWC has gone is all the holes in coverage in 21st century coins. This is not a new problem; the rot set in around 2000.

I would also like to see a bit of flexibility/common sense around the divisions into centuries. 1900 as a cut-off date is plain daft for any British Empire coin, as Queen Victoria died in 1901 and there was a major type change at the end of that year. As a result you get one coin out of a series that could span 64 previous years marooned in the 20th century volume. Ideally I would like some overlap, so that types that begin in one century and end in the next feature in both volumes.
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Prosit on April 04, 2017, 08:21:22 PM
Those orphaned coin listing bother me too. I don't know as there is any good way to solve that issue.

Dale

..... As a result you get one coin out of a series that could span 64 previous years marooned in the 20th century volume.

Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Globetrotter on April 04, 2017, 08:55:22 PM
Hi,

the overlap is not a problem for me, since I have the volumes  (pdf) open at the same time, so I can go to and from as needed.

When I send images and data to Tom, I hardly ever get a feed-back, and honestly I'm too lazy to check if they have been taken into account in the following edition. I still deliver, though! And hope for the best.....

Numista is an alternative to look up coins, but numista is run and governed by ONE single person, so it's risky. If a bus runs him over, I should think numista is out! Anyway, they don't have prices, but a lot of the variants are documented in the comment fields. Numista of course can NOT give new km#, which is a good thing.

I still support KM, since they have the coins also by year and not only by type like the Weltmuenzenkatalog, but if you only collect types, that's not a problem.

I do collect by years (thanks Fosseway, NOT EARS :'() and mint marks, so Schön would only be a fun-to-have catalog for me. It's not available in pdf, which I respect, but I'll be damned, if I had to take a few kilos of German printed paper along on all my travels.... The language is no problem for me!

Ole
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: FosseWay on April 04, 2017, 09:43:47 PM
I do collect by ears

 >:D >:D >:D
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Globetrotter on April 05, 2017, 01:29:49 AM
Tack saa myket,

oh boy, but I have modified it by now, thanks again :-X

Ole
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Prosit on April 05, 2017, 04:30:37 AM
It was more intriguing the other way  ;D
Dale



Tack saa myket,

oh boy, but I have modified it by now, thanks again :-X

Ole
Title: Re: SCWC Issues!!
Post by: Globetrotter on April 05, 2017, 09:48:22 AM
Hi Dale,

I like that one, and here my answer, in a certain way I do collect corn ears ::) ::) ::)

Ole