Author Topic: SCWC Issues!!  (Read 3024 times)

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Offline Kopper Ken

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SCWC Issues!!
« 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

Offline andyg

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #1 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.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline eurocoin

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #2 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.

Offline Bimat

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SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #3 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
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #4 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.

Offline Bimat

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SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #5 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
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

Offline dheer

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #6 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
http://coinsofrepublicindia.blogspot.in
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Offline Pabitra

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #7 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.

Offline Pabitra

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #8 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.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #9 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline asm

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #10 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
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

Offline Pabitra

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #11 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.

Offline asm

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #12 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
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

Offline dheer

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 01:14:51 PM »
Hopefully things will change and more Indian collectors will invest in books.
http://coinsofrepublicindia.blogspot.in
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Offline Pabitra

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Re: SCWC Issues!!
« Reply #14 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.