THE ART OF BLUESHEET PRICING
Every week in these pages we report on the pricing of certified PCGS and NGC coins at their baseline value. Historically, the Bluesheet values would represent the “sight-unseen bidding market” for coins on the network exchanges.
In the past decade, however, it has become apparent that this pricing model was broken. No longer is there is depth to sight-unseen bidding on the trading exchanges. A few issues, like generic silver dollars and gold coins, are supported by large market makers who seek quantities of these coins on a regular basis. By and large, dealers who place open market bids for coins want the opportunity to examine the coins first. This trend has increasingly evolved to the point where trying to represent bid prices on the Bluesheet from such bids is impossible. There’s simply not enough data.
For this very reason, since taking over the publishing of the CDN newsletters in August of 2015, one of the major decisions we faced was how to approach the values represented
in the Bluesheet. If there aren’t enough sight-unseen bidders, where do we get values to represent this so-called “bottom end” of the certified market?
Our solution has been to focus on known coin activity – whether in auction, bourse-floor, or private treaty – and represent the lowest known trade values on these sheets. For coins valued over $1,000 these values are most often found in auction results APR’s). We determine the Bluesheet value from among the lowest recent trade activity in auction and other known trades. Conversely, the Greysheet is used to determine a value at the other end of the spectrum. In both cases, we seek to eliminate “outliers” which do not represent typical examples of the coin in question. For this reason, the science of determining such values is more art than science. Decades of personal experience trading coins has contributed to the indicated values we now set on these sheets.
Additionally, we seek and receive regular feedback from active coin dealers that educate us further. We need this feedback, and welcome it.
DOES THE MARKET FOLLOW THE SHEETS, OR DO THE SHEETS FOLLOW MARKET?
An interesting phenomenon of coin pricing at CDN is the more time we spend fine-tuning the market values, the more often we see the market match our prices. In many cases, of
course, we are setting levels based on recent trade activity, but in others we see dealers placing auction bids right at our numbers. This chicken-or-the-egg question is interesting, but we are gratified whenever we see examples of the market matching our price levels. At CDN, our responsibility is to help our readers make the most informed purchase decisions possible. Additionally, setting the prices correctly helps you, as seller, to represent the proper value to your prospective buyer. It’s truly a virtuous circle.