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Have You Perused the GFRC Sales Archives?

Originally published on September 12 2018

One of the key learnings from a long semiconductor industry career is the need for crisp and accurate information systems for decision making. Information systems are the foundation for operating a business, identifying productivity improvements or even attributing Liberty Seated Dime die varieties. Each time that I've plunged into a major career change, one of the first analysis steps is checking the quality of the information system for conducting work and achieving goals. If there is no information system, then an initial project is constructing one!

The latest personal initiative is Gerry Fortin Rare Coins and once again, I faced the same challenges as in the past to accomplish goals. Accurate pricing of coins is paramount for success. Pricing coins too high means few sales, burying collectors in coins and developing an unfavorable reputation. Pricing coins too low will drive unsustainable volumes, low profit margins and not a sound basis for a consignment centric business model.

Compounding the coin pricing challenge is the host of price guides available in print and online. Most of these are poorly maintained for 19th century coinage due to lower trading volumes. CAC approval and its pricing premium elevates the price setting complexity to a new level. Finally price guides, in many cases, are static documents and might not reflect the dynamics of an active numismatic market.

Therefore my move into numismatic dealing and launching GFRC required yet another information system; The Sales Archive. Why is this so important you might ask? Here are a few reasons. To service all the above reasons and needs, GFRC launched its Sales Archive and is diligently working to increase the amount of listings. Every GFRC sale becomes a record in the Sales Archive including those made during the 2014 and 2015 start-up timeframe. Current sales have excellent images and full descriptions. Following is the link to the Sales Archive and the first screen customers will encounter.

GFRC Sales Archive

Using the Sales Archive is simplistic. Just select screening parameter from drop down menus and the output table will constantly refresh based on the selected criteria. Below is a typical query for Liberty Seated, Half Dollars and the 1844 date with both Philadelphia and New Orleans strikes included.

As GFRC sales volumes continue to increase, so do the listings in the Sales Archive. There are over 9,000 listing at this time and each year GFRC adds another 2000+ listings. As one would expect, there is a concentration of listings for Liberty Seated coinage followed by Draped and Capped Bust coinage. Listing are described down to the die variety level in many cases. All new sales listings have die variety attributions and superb photograpy.

Where else can collectors of 19th century silver coinage find such a comprehensive pricing database that is online and available at no cost? Once again, GFRC's mission is to facilitate the growth of a strong collecting community and the Sales Archive system is one of the enablers of this effort. I sincerely hope you will take time to visit the Sales Archive and use it on a regular basis for numismatic purchase decision making.

Dynamic Extraction Criteria:

The GFRC COIN database can be searched against the following criteria on a dynamic basis. Simply select a criteria from the drop down menus and the search results will automatically appear under the search parameters. It is that easy to use!

- Major type or designs which covers nearly all GFRC product lines.
- By denomination, date and mint separately or together.
- By Third Party Grading service and/or CAC approval.
- And finally, by GFRC Quality System rating.

GFRC Achive Size:

The GFRC COIN database was launched back in March 2016 and captures all sales listings from that point forward with full descriptions, quality rating and image files. Prior to March 2016, GFRC sales information was kept in Excel spreadsheet and ported to the COIN database but without coin descriptions or image file links. Presently, there are over 6000 sales records accessible in the GFRC Archive. Please understand that coins sold before June 2016 will not have complete records and simply captures coin denomination, date, grade and sale price. As GFRC volume continues to grow, during 2018, the Archive will become increasingly useful as the database is populated with incremental sales records.

Potential GFRC Archive Uses:

GFRC's primary goal is handling choice and gem original numismatic items; many are CAC approved. The GFRC Archive provides account holders with an opportunity to research retail sale prices for premium coins. By using the Choice and Gem Quality Rating filters and/or CAC filter, users can easily determine the fair market value for premium early type coins and also United States and gold and 20th century issues, where available.

The Archive is also a great place to determine the retail value of die varieties including those in the Top 100 Liberty Seated dime set or the Top 25 Seated quarter varieties.

Customer Feedback

Looks like the Sales Archive App is the GFRC answer to (certain) auction houses' archives and the venerable Coin Facts site. It's great to see what sold for what, and what did it look like - a fine way to track recent sales. As you stated the "price guides" don't measure up and are only a guide. These "archive" sites show what's actually going on in the market at this time and am glad GFRC is a part of it. I wish I could buy coins at some of the price guides' prices!

Good morning Gerry, I hope your Christmas was well enjoyed with family, I just checked out the new sales archive and I'm so impressed with it, the ease of navigation and the amount of information it contains is another reason why GFRC will be the place to shop first when looking for coins.

Please pass on my gratitude to Matthew for his work on the sales archive. What an incredible resource!!!! I have already used it for seated halves research.

Unavailable Images

A long time GFRC customer called yesterday to chat. During the conversation, he asked why there were many unavailable images in the Sales Archives including coins that were purchased back in the 2014 and 2015 timeframe. A detailed explanation was provided and assuring him that GFRC still has all the images saved and the issue is that of re-linking the old images inside the COIN database. Then it dawned on me that the same explanation is probably warranted for the entire GFRC community. Here goes...

When starting GFRC back in mid 2013, I thought this might be a part time hobby business. The information system was developed in a fairly unstructured manner as I was starting from scratch. Naming of image files was done using the coin's date and die variety. If there was no die variety, then I simply numbered the image files as 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. Image files were stored in separate folders based on denomination. This approach worked well until 2015 when it became apparent that GFRC was expanding quickly and a more structured system being necessary. Early 2016 brought the development of the COIN database and website software by Matt Yamatin. At that point, we moved to TPG serial numbers for image file names and a sequential numbering system for raw coins.

One of the terrible mistakes made during the 2014-2015 timeframe was the price list table handling. Once a coin was sold, product descriptions and image links were deleted. At that time, the idea of a Sales Archive was not even an aspiration. When Matt and I installed the COIN database, we manually ported all of the 2014-2015 sales data into the COIN system. It was a substantial effort but at least we captured the old sales records. These old records are presently reported in the Sales Archives but without images.

Yes, it is possible to re-link the old images with the old sales listings. But the process is entirely manual and for consigned coins, requires going back to the old Client Galleries and attempting to match images with listings for consigned coins. Those are the easier to accomplish since there are unique sales records and Client Gallery images separated out by consignor. For GFRC owned and sold coins, the process is more vague and a bit of an educated guessing game.

Once a week, I'm trying to allocate time towards populating images for a date within a denomination. The recovery process is slow and cumbersome but there is progress being made. By the end of 2018, the Sales Archives will contain many more completed listings as sold coins roll into the Archive and 2014-2015 listings are re-linked. Let's remember that the GFRC Sales Archive is a uniquely transparent offering from a small dealer and will become a hugely valuable pricing resource in the upcoming years.

Now you know the whole story.....thanks for asking Tony!