U.S. & World Coin News and Articles

Tips on Using CoinFacts #12: Statistics

Statistics – those seemingly dry numbers that can be manipulated in so many different ways – can be an excellent way of determining where you've been and where you're going. For instance, if sales in your coin business have been $10,000 for a month for the past two years, you can reasonably expect that you will have $10,000 in sales every month for the next two years, barring any unforeseen changes in the way you do business. However, you can also use statistics to figure out how you can expand your business to $12,000 a month, then use other statistics to determine how well you are doing at achieving that goal. Knowing where you're going requires knowing where you've been.

Statistics are particularly important for us at PCGS CoinFacts because the size of our website cannot be seen. PCGS CoinFacts is unlike a physical balloon that expands with each puff of air. Because the viewer can only see one page at a time, it would appear that PCGS CoinFacts is just like it always has been except for regular updating of the population data and prices. Without statistics to prove otherwise, PCGS CoinFacts appears fairly static.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

To show you exactly what is happening on PCGS CoinFacts, we've developed a useful Statistics page at http://www.pcgscoinfacts.com/Stats.aspx

This page shows the changes in the past month, in all the major categories and subcategories, of the number of individual coin pages, population, images, narratives, and auction prices.

As I review this page right now, I see the biggest changes in the population data, which is to be expected because we're grading hundreds and thousands of new coins each day. Auction prices are relatively flat this month, but they can be subject to sudden spikes as data is imported after major auctions occur. The real activity this month, and the one which is of great interest to anyone following the news these days, is the addition of the data from the Saddle Ridge Hoard of over 1,400 gold coins (if you haven't heard about this cool deal yet, simply do a Google search for "Saddle Ridge gold coins").

The influx of data from the Saddle Ridge Hoard affected the number of coin pages because special pages were made for each date/mintmark combination included in the hoard. The population of Liberty Head $20s (the bulk of the hoard) jumped by over 1,500 pieces (yes, we graded other coins than just the Saddle Ridge Hoard). Over 1,177 images were added to that subcategory, as well. And, of course, the number of narratives increased as we described those special coins.

You might notice a small drop in some of the statistics. This can happen when duplicate images are removed from the system, or when we clean up the auction prices realized by deleting errant data. In general, however, the trend in the numbers is onward and upward.

What this all means is that even though you may not be able to "see" it, CoinFacts is expanding and getting better every day. If you want to see specific examples of the changes being made, check out this page: http://www.pcgscoinfacts.com/MostRecent.aspx?mr=1&level=0

Here, you will see all the most recent additions to narratives, the condition census, and images. Spend some time in any of these tabs, and you'll find some remarkable stuff going on.

Have fun examining how we're making your PCGS CoinFacts experience better every day!

Ron Guth is President of PCGS CoinFacts. He has been active as a coin collector, dealer, writer and auctioneer since his introduction to numismatics in 1964.
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