Collectors Universe, Inc.
COLLECTORS UNIVERSE INC (Form: 10-K, Received: 08/26/2011 16:04:22)
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
 
 (Mark One)
 
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011
   
 
OR
   
q
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 [NO FEE REQUIRED]
   
 
For the transition period from _______ to _____
   

 
 
Commission file number 1-34240
 
COLLECTORS UNIVERSE, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
 
33-0846191
(State or other jurisdiction of
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
Incorporation or organization)
   
1921 E. Alton Avenue, Santa Ana, California
 
92705
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
(949) 567-1234
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of Class
 
Name of each Exchange on which registered
     
Common Stock, par value $.001 per share
 
NASDAQ Global Market
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:                                                                                                     None
 
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act: YES o   NO x
 
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  YES   NO x
 
Indicate, by check mark, whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports); and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.   Yes   ý    No o
 
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  YES o   NO   o
 
Indicate, by check mark, if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of Registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    o
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
 
Large accelerated filer   o
 
Accelerated Filer   o
Non-accelerated filer (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)   o
 
Smaller reporting company   ý
 
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Securities Exchange Act Rule 12b-2).   YES   o    NO   x
 
As of December 31, 2010, the aggregate market value of the Common Stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $70,244,000 based on the per share closing price of $13.90 of registrant’s Common Stock as of such date as reported by the Nasdaq Global Market.
 
As of August 20, 2011, a total of 8,039,256 shares of registrant's Common Stock were outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Except as otherwise stated therein, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 in Part III of this Form 10-K are incorporated by reference from Registrant's Definitive Proxy Statement, which is expected to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or before October 28, 2011, for its Annual Meeting of Stockholders scheduled.




 
 

 

COLLECTORS UNIVERSE, INC.
FORM 10-K
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS


   
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SIGNATURES                                                                                                                                           
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INDEX TO EXHIBITS                                                                                                                                           
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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Statements contained in this annual report on Form 10-K (the “Annual Report”) that are not historical facts or that discuss our expectations, beliefs or views regarding our future operations or future financial performance, or financial or other trends in our business or markets, constitute “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts.  Often, such statements include the words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “project,” or words of similar meaning, or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “would,” “should,” “could,” or “may.”  Forward-looking statements are estimates or predictions about the future.  Those estimates or predictions are based on current information and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause our financial condition or operating results in the future to differ significantly from those expected at the current time, as described in the forward-looking statements that are contained in this Annual Report.  Those risks and uncertainties are described in Item 1A in Part I of this Annual Report under the caption “Risk Factors,” and in Item 7 of Part II under the caption “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”  Accordingly, readers of this Annual Report are urged to read the cautionary statements contained in those items of this Annual Report.  Due to these uncertainties and risks, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report, which speak only as of the date of this Annual Report.  We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law or applicable Nasdaq rules.

PART I
ITEM 1.                       BUSINESS

Overview

We provide authentication and grading services to dealers and collectors of high-value coins, trading cards, event tickets, autographs, memorabilia and stamps (“collectibles”).  We believe that our authentication and grading services add value to these collectibles by enhancing their marketability and thereby providing increased liquidity to the dealers, collectors and consumers that own and buy and sell them.

Once we have authenticated and assigned a grade to a collectible, we encapsulate it in a tamper-evident, clear plastic holder, or issue a certificate of authenticity, that (i) identifies the specific collectible; (ii) sets forth the quality grade we have assigned to it; and (iii) bears one of our brand names and logos: “PCGS” for coins, “PSA” for trading cards and event tickets, “PSA/DNA” for autographs and memorabilia and “PSE” for stamps.  Additionally, we warrant our certification of authenticity and the grade that we assign to the coins, trading cards and stamps bearing our brands.  We do not warrant our authenticity determinations for autographs or memorabilia.  For ease of reference in this Annual Report, we will sometimes refer to coins, trading cards and other collectibles that we have authenticated or graded as having been “certified.”

We principally generate revenues from the fees paid for our authentication and grading services.  To a much lesser extent, we generate revenues from other related services, which consist of revenues from:  (i) the sale of advertising on our websites; (ii) the sale of printed publications and collectibles price guides and advertising in such publications; (iii) the sale of membership subscriptions in our Collectors Club and CoinFacts, which is designed to attract interest in high-value collectibles among new collectors; (iv) the sale of subscriptions to our Certified Coin Exchange (CCE) dealer-to-dealer Internet bid-ask market for certified coins; and (v) collectibles trade show conventions that we conduct.  We also generate revenues from sales of our collectibles inventory, which is comprised primarily of collectible coins that we have purchased under our coin grading warranty program; however, these activities are not the focus, and we do not consider them to be an integral part of our ongoing revenue-generating activities.

We have developed some of the leading brands in the collectibles markets in which we conduct our business:

§  
“PCGS” (Professional Coin Grading Service), which is the brand name for our independent coin authentication and grading service;

§  
“PSA” (Professional Sports Authenticator), which is the brand name for our independent sports and trading cards authentication and grading service;
 
 
 
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“PSA/DNA” (PSA/DNA Authentication Services), which is the brand name for our independent authentication and grading service for vintage autographs and memorabilia; and

§  
“PSE” (Professional Stamp Experts), which is the brand name for our independent stamp authentication and grading service.

PCGS and PSA are among the leading independent authentication and grading services in the collectible coin and trading cards markets in the United States.  PSA/DNA and PSE also are among the leading independent authentication services in their respective markets.

We began offering our PCGS coin authentication and grading services in 1986 and, from inception through fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, we authenticated and graded more than 20 million coins.  In 1991, we launched our PSA trading cards authentication and grading service and, through June 30, 2011, authenticated and graded over 14 million trading cards.  In 1999, we launched our PSA/DNA vintage autograph authentication business and in June 2004 we extended that business by introducing vintage autograph grading services to dealers and collectors of autographed sports memorabilia.  We started our PSE stamp authentication and grading service in 2000.

The following table provides information regarding the respective numbers of coins, trading cards, autographs and stamps that we authenticated or graded from 2009 to 2011:

   
Units Processed
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Coins
    1,973,700       59 %     1,708,200       57 %     1,456,100       52 %
Trading cards
    1,120,800       34 %     1,090,600       36 %     1,171,600       41 %
Autographs
    240,100       7 %     196,500       6 %     168,100       6 %
Stamps
    13,900       -       19,000       1 %     25,700       1 %
Total
    3,348,500       100 %     3,014,300       100 %     2,821,500       100 %

The following table sets forth the estimated values at which our customers insured the coins, trading cards, autographs and stamps that they submitted to us for authentication or grading:

   
Declared Values (000’s)
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Coins
  $ 1,292,000       92 %   $ 1,390,000       93 %   $ 1,119,000       91 %
Trading cards
    83,000       6 %     73,000       5 %     79,000       6 %
Autographs
    21,000       1 %     18,000       1 %     15,000       1 %
Stamps
    8,000       1 %     13,000       1 %     22,000       2 %
Total
  $ 1,404,000       100 %   $ 1,494,000       100 %   $ 1,235,000       100 %

Our revenues are comprised principally of our authentication and grading service fees.  Those fees range from $4 to over $600 per item authenticated and graded, based primarily on the type of collectible authenticated or graded and the turnaround times selected by our customers, which range from one to approximately sixty days, as we charge higher fees for higher service levels, and our fees are not based on the value of the collectible.  In fiscal 2011, our authentication and grading fees, per item processed, for all our businesses averaged $10.91.  In the case of coins, such fees ranged from $5 to $600 per coin, and averaged $13.60 per coin and, in the case of trading cards, ranged from $4 to $50 per card, and averaged $5.37 per trading card.  As a general rule, collectibles dealers and, to a lesser extent, individual collectors, request faster turnaround times and, therefore, generally pay higher fees for more valuable, older or “vintage” collectibles than they do for modern collectibles.

Industry Background

The primary determinants of the prices of, and the willingness of sellers, purchasers and collectors to purchase high-value or high-priced collectibles or other high-value assets, are their authenticity, quality and rarity.  The authenticity of a collectible relates not only to the genuineness of the collectible, but also to the absence of any alterations or repairs that may have been made to hide, damage or to restore the item.  The quality of a collectible relates to its state of preservation relative to its original state of manufacture or creation.  The rarity of a collectible relates to its uniqueness and depends primarily on the number of identical collectibles of equivalent or better quality that become available for purchase from time to time.  With regard to value, confirmation of authenticity generally is required before a buyer is willing to proceed with a purchase of a high-priced collectible.
 
 
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Quality and rarity directly affect value and price, usually on an exponential basis, with higher quality and rare collectibles generally attracting dramatically higher prices than those of lower quality and lesser rarity.  Even a relatively modest difference in quality can translate into a significant difference in perceived value and, therefore, in price.  For example, a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card that received a PSA grade from us of 9, on our PSA grading scale of 1-to-10, was sold at public auction in 2006 for $282,588.  By comparison, a similar 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card that received a PSA grade of 8 was sold at public auction, also in 2006, for $72,057.

Until the advent of independent third-party authentication and grading, most prospective buyers, including experienced collectibles dealers and retailers, insisted on physically examining high-priced collectibles before consummating transactions.  However, unlike professionals in the trade, most purchasers and collectors lacked the experience and knowledge needed to determine, with confidence, the authenticity, quality or rarity, and hence the value, of high-priced collectibles, even when they had the opportunity to examine them physically.  Therefore, they had to rely on representations made by sellers regarding authenticity, quality and rarity.  For these reasons, “buyer beware” characterized the high-value collectibles markets, and “sight-unseen” markets for rare coins and other high-value collectibles were practically non-existent.

High-value collectibles have been traditionally marketed at retail by dealers through direct mail, catalogues, price lists and advertisements in trade publications, and sold and purchased by them at collectibles shows, auction houses and local dealer shops.  These markets were highly inefficient because:

§  
they were fragmented and localized, which limited both the variety of available collectibles and the number of potential buyers;

§  
transaction costs were often relatively high due to the number of intermediaries involved;

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buyers usually lacked the information needed to determine the authenticity and quality and, hence the value, of the collectibles being sold; and

§  
buyers and sellers were vulnerable to fraudulent practices because they had to rely on the dealers or other sellers for opinions or representations as to authenticity, quality and rarity.

Coin Market .  In an effort to overcome some of these inefficiencies, approximately 30 years ago, professional coin dealers began using a numerical quality grading scale for coins.  That scale ranged from 1 to 70, with higher numbers denoting a higher quality.  Previously, professional dealers used descriptive terms, such as “Fair,” “Fine” and “Uncirculated,” to characterize the quality of the coins they sold, a practice that continued after the development of the numeric grading system.  However, whether using a numeric or a descriptive system, grading standards varied significantly from dealer to dealer, depending on a dealer’s subjective criteria of quality.  Moreover, dealers were hardly disinterested or independent since, as the sellers or buyers of the coins they were grading, they stood to benefit financially from the assignment of a particular grade.

Trading Cards Market .  Misrepresentations of authenticity, quality and rarity also operated as a barrier to the liquidity and growth of the collectibles market for trading cards.  Even experienced and knowledgeable dealers insisted on physically examining purportedly rare and higher-priced trading cards.  Most collectors lacked the knowledge needed to purchase collectible trading cards with confidence, even when they had physically examined them.  Trading card dealers eventually developed a rudimentary adjectival system to provide measures of quality, using descriptive terms such as “Poor,” “Very Good,” “Mint” and “Gem Mint.”  These measures of quality were assigned on the basis of such characteristics as the centering of the image on the card and the presence or absence of bent or damaged corners, scratches and color imperfections.  However, as was the case with coins, grading standards varied significantly from dealer to dealer, depending on a dealer’s subjective criteria of quality.  Additionally, since the dealers who bought and sold trading cards were the ones that assigned these grades, collectors remained vulnerable to misrepresentations as to the authenticity, quality and rarity of trading cards being sold or purchased by dealers.


 
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Autographed Memorabilia Market .  The market for autographed sports, entertainment and historical memorabilia has been plagued by a high incidence of forgeries and misrepresentations of authenticity.  For example, Operation Bullpen, initiated by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies beginning in 1997, has uncovered a high volume of outright forgeries of signatures and widespread misrepresentations as to the genuineness of sports memorabilia.  We believe that the high incidence of such fraudulent activities was due, in large part, to a dearth of independent third-party memorabilia authentication services and an absence of systematic methodologies and specimen data needed for verification of authenticity.

Stamp Market .  Stamp dealers developed an adjectival system, similar to the one developed for trading cards, by which they valued and priced stamps based primarily on the centering of the stamp image on the stamp paper background, ignoring other faults in the stamp.  As a result, experienced and knowledgeable dealers insisted on physically examining purportedly rare and higher-priced stamps before purchasing them.  Additionally, most collectors lacked the knowledge and experience needed to purchase higher-priced stamps with confidence.  Consequently, as was the case with coins and trading cards, collectors were forced to depend on representations of authenticity, quality and rarity from the very dealers from whom they purchased or to whom they sold stamps.  However, prior to our entry into the market, independent third-party stamp grading was non-existent.

These conditions created a need and the demand for independent authentication and grading services from which sellers, purchasers and collectors could obtain:

§ 
determinations, from independent, third-party experts, of the authenticity of the high-value collectibles that are sold and purchased by dealers and collectors, particularly “sight-unseen” or over the Internet;

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representations of quality based on uniform standards consistently applied by independent, third-party experts; and

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authoritative information, compiled by a credible third party, to help purchasers and collectors understand the factors that affect an item’s perceived value and price, including:

—  
its rarity;
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its quality or grade; and
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its historical and recent selling prices.

The Impact of eBay and Other e-Commerce Websites on the Collectible Markets .  The advent of the Internet and, in particular, eBay’s development of an Internet or “virtual” marketplace and other Internet-selling websites, such as eBay and Amazon, have overcome many of the inefficiencies that had characterized the traditional collectibles markets.  eBay and other online marketplaces (i) offer enhanced interaction between and greater convenience for sellers and buyers of high-value collectibles; (ii) eliminate or reduce the involvement of dealers and other “middlemen;” (iii) reduce transaction costs; (iv) allow trading at all hours; and (v) continually provide updated information.  However, Internet commerce still raises, and has even heightened, concerns about the authenticity and quality of the collectibles that are listed for sale on the Internet.  Buyers have no ability to physically examine the collectibles and no means to confirm the identity or the credibility of the dealers or sellers on the Internet.  As a result, we believe that the growth of Internet-selling websites, such as eBay and Amazon, has increased awareness of the importance of, and the demand for, independent third-party authentication and grading services of the type we provide.  Our services enable purchasers and collectors to use the Internet to purchase high-value collectibles, without physical examination (“sight-unseen”), with the confidence of knowing that they are authentic and are of the quality represented by sellers.  The importance and value of our services to purchasers and collectors, we believe, are demonstrated by eBay’s inclusion, on its collectibles websites, of information that identifies, and encourages visitors to use, our independent third-party authentication and grading services, as well as similar services offered by some of our competitors.


 
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Our Services

PCGS Coin Authentication and Grading Services .  Recognizing the need for third-party authentication and grading services, we launched Professional Coin Grading Service in 1986. PCGS employs expert coin graders, who are independent of coin buyers and sellers, to provide impartial authentication and grading services.  As of June 30, 2011, we employed 21 experts who have an average of 30 years of experience in the collectible coin market.  We also established uniform standards of quality measured against an actual “benchmark” set of coins kept at our offices.  We place each coin that we authenticate and grade in a tamper-evident, clear plastic holder which bears our logo, so that any prospective buyer will know that it is a PCGS authenticated and graded coin.  We also provide a warranty as to the accuracy of our coin authentication and grading.

By providing an independent assessment by coin experts of the authenticity and quality of coins, we believe that PCGS has increased the liquidity of the trading market for collectible coins.  Following the introduction of our independent, third-party authentication and grading service, buyer confidence, even between dealers, increased to such a degree that coins authenticated and graded by PCGS were able to be traded “sight-unseen.”  As a result, PCGS facilitated the development, in 1990, of a dealer market, known as the “Certified Coin Exchange,” on which coin dealers traded rare coins “sight-unseen,” over a private satellite network, which now operates on the Internet and which we now own.

We have graded high-value U.S. coins, including an 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar that was purchased for approximately $4.1 million, and the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, which set a new record for the highest sale price paid for an individual rare coin at $7.8 million.

More recently, our coin authentication and grading services have facilitated the development of a growing Internet or “virtual” marketplace for collectible coins.  A prospective buyer, who might otherwise be reluctant to purchase a high-priced coin listed sight-unseen on the Internet, is able to rely on a PCGS certification, as well as authoritative information about the coin that is accessible on our website, in deciding whether or not to bid and in determining the amount to offer for the coin.  As a result, to enhance the marketability of higher-priced coins, many sellers submit their coins to PCGS for authentication and grading.  That enables the sellers to include, in their Internet sales listings, digital images of the coins in their tamper-evident, clear plastic holders, which identify the coins as having been authenticated and graded by PCGS, as well as their PCGS-assigned grades.

In addition, we began to provide a range of authoritative content on coin collecting to inform and communicate with the collector community, including guides and reports that track the trading prices and the rarity of PCGS-graded coins.

PSA Trading Card and Authentication and Grading Services .  Leveraging the credibility and using the methodologies that we had established with PCGS in the coin market, in 1991 we launched Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), which instituted a similar authentication and grading system for trading cards.  Our independent trading card experts certify the authenticity of and assign quality grades to trading cards using a numeric system with a scale from 1-to-10 that we developed, together with an adjectival system to describe their condition.  At June 30, 2011, we employed 14 experts who have an average of 26 years of experience in the collectible trading card market.  We believe that our authentication and grading services have removed barriers that were created by the historical seller-biased grading process and, thereby, have improved the overall marketability of and facilitated commerce in trading cards, including over the Internet and at telephonic sports memorabilia auctions.

The trading cards submitted to us for authentication and grading include primarily (i) older or vintage trading cards, particularly of memorable or historically famous players, such as Honus Wagner, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle, and (ii) modern or newly produced trading cards of current or new athletes who have become popular with sports fans or have achieved new records or milestones, such as Ken Griffey, Jr. and Derek Jeter.  These trading cards have, or are perceived to have, sufficient collectible value and are sold more frequently than are trading cards of less notable athletes, leading dealers and collectors to submit them for grading to enhance their marketability.  Also, the production and sale of each new series of trading cards, which take place at the beginning and during the course of each new sports season, create new collectibles that provide a source of future additional authentication and grading submissions to us.  Among the trading cards that we have authenticated and graded is a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card, which received a PSA grade of NM-MT8 and was sold by the owner, via auction in 2007, for approximately $2.35 million and then resold in September 2007 for $2.8 million.

 
 
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PSA/DNA Autograph Authentication and Grading Services .  In 1999, we launched our vintage autograph authentication business, initially offering authentication services for “vintage” sports autographs and memorabilia that were autographed or signed prior to the time they were presented to us for authentication.  The vintage autograph authentication business is distinctly different from the “signed-in-the-presence” authentication of autographs where the “authenticator” is present and witnesses the actual signing.  Our vintage autograph authentication service involves the rendering of an opinion of authenticity by an industry expert based on (i) an analysis of the signed object, such as the signed document or autographed item of memorabilia, to confirm its consistency with similar materials or items that existed during the signer’s lifetime; (ii) a comparison of the signature submitted for authentication with exemplars of such signatures; and (iii) a handwriting analysis.  As of June 30, 2011, we employed 5 autograph experts with an average of 25 years of experience in the autograph memorabilia market, as well as outside consultants that we use on a contract basis.

In June 2004, we also began offering grading services for autographs, beginning with baseballs containing a single signature or autograph.  We use uniform grading standards that we have developed and a numeric scale of 1-to-10, with the highest number representing top quality or “Gem Mint” condition.  We assign grades to the collectibles based on the physical condition or state of preservation of the autograph.

Memorabilia that have been authenticated by our vintage autograph service include Mark McGwire’s 70th home run baseball, which was sold at auction in 1999 for more than $3 million, and the baseball bat, autographed by Babe Ruth, which he used to hit the first home run ever hit in Yankee Stadium in 1923.  That bat was sold by Sotheby’s for more than $1.2 million.

PSE Stamp Authentication and Grading Services .  In January 2000, we launched Professional Stamp Experts (PSE) as our independent, third-party stamp authentication and grading service.  We use both an adjectival system and a numeric scale from 1-to-100 to grade stamps.  We assign grades based on the centering of the stamp image on the stamp paper background and the absence or presence of other faults on the stamp.  There have been viable third-party stamp authentication services in operation for several decades, and stamp dealers and collectors had been using a subjective grading system based primarily on the centering of the stamp image on the stamp paper background, ignoring other faults.  However, prior to our entry into the stamp market, independent third-party stamp grading was non-existent.  As a result, we encountered some resistance to this concept in the stamp collectibles market, which is steeped in tradition and slow to change, as we did from coin dealers when we launched PCGS and from trading card dealers when we launched PSA.  In October 2005 the Philatelic Foundation, based in New York, began using the numerical grades assigned by PSE to stamps.  In the spring of 2006, Scott Publishing Company, the long-time publisher of the Scott Catalogs also began identifying the PSE numerical grades assigned to stamps that are included in its bi-annual valuing supplement to its catalogs.  These two events have established PSE’s numerical grading scale, and we believe has facilitated the acceptance of third-party stamp authentication and grading.  As of June 30, 2011, we employed 2 stamp graders, and use another expert on a part-time basis.  Those graders have an average of 36 years of experience in the collectible stamp market.

Stamps that have been authenticated and graded by us include an 1868 1¢ “Z” Grill U.S. postage stamp, which received a PSE grade of (XF) 90, indicating its quality was “Extremely Fine,” and which was last sold at auction in 1989 for more than $900,000.  The owner submitted the stamp to us shortly after we initiated our stamp authentication and grading service in 2000.

CCE Certified Coin Exchange and Collectors Corne r.   In September 2005, we acquired the Certified Coin Exchange (CCE), a subscription-based, business-to-business Internet bid-ask market for coins that have been certified by us or by other independent coin authentication and grading services.  CCE has been a marketplace in U.S. certified rare coin trading between major coin dealers in the United States since 1990, with similar operations for uncertified coins dating back to the 1960s.  The CCE website now features over 100,000 bid and ask prices for certified coins at www.certifiedcoinexchange.com .  The CCE provides liquidity in the geographically dispersed and highly fragmented market for rare coins.  In March 2007, we introduced the Collectors Corner, a business-to-consumer website that enables sellers on CCE to offer many certified coins simultaneously at wholesale prices on CCE and at retail prices on Collectors Corner ( www.collectorscorner.com ) .  Registration on Collectors Corner is free for consumers, who can search for and sort coins listed on Collectors Corner.  Coin sellers must register and pay a fixed monthly fee to CCE for access to and to effectuate sale transactions on both CCE and Collectors Corner.  Currently, there are over 95,000 collectibles, consisting primarily of coins, trading cards, currency and stamps that we have certified, which are offered for sale on Collectors Corner, with offering prices aggregating approximately $110 million.  The enhanced liquidity provided by CCE and Collectors Corner for certified coins, trading cards, and certified stamps, has increased the volume and turnover of these items, which benefits us because, as a general rule, increases in sales and purchases of coins, trading cards and stamps increase the demand for our authentication and grading services.  If we succeed in growing CCE and Collectors Corner, we believe that the CCE/Collectors Corner websites can become the preeminent online markets for PCGS certified coins sold by dealers to other dealers, and for coins, trading cards and stamps certified by PCGS, PSA and PSE, respectively, bought and sold between dealers and consumers.
 
 
 
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Publications and Advertising .  We publish authoritative price guides, rarity reports and other collectibles data to provide collectors with information that makes them better informed consumers and makes collecting more interesting and exciting.  Our publications also enable us to market our services, create increased brand awareness and to generate advertising revenues. We publish the Sports Market Report on a monthly basis primarily for distribution to approximately 5,100 PSA Collectors Club members and the Stamp Market Quarterly for distribution to approximately 2,000 stamp dealers and collectors.  We sell advertising to dealers and vendors for placement in our publications.  We manage a Collectors Universe website and individual websites for our authentication and grading services.  On those websites, we offer collectible content, relevant to the marketplace for that specific authentication and grading service, some of which is available for a fee and some of which is available without charge.  We believe our websites for PCGS in coins, and PSA in trading cards, have the highest number of visitors and web traffic in their respective markets.  We sell advertising to dealers and vendors on these two websites and on the websites we maintain for PSA/DNA in autographs, PSE in stamps and CCE and Collectors Corner in coins.  Advertising revenues in fiscal 2011 were approximately $1.9 million, which represented an increase of 14% over fiscal 2010.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide the finest available independent authentication and grading services to sellers and buyers of high-value collectibles in order to:

§ 
increase the values and liquidity of high-value collectibles;

§ 
enable and facilitate transactions in high-value collectibles;

§ 
generally enhance interest, activity and trading in high-value collectibles; and

§ 
achieve profitable growth, build long-term value for our stockholders and provide rewarding opportunities for our employees.

Our Growth Strategy

We have established leading brands in our existing collectibles markets, including PCGS, PSA, PSA/DNA and PSE.  We use those brands to promote Collectors Universe as the premier independent provider of authentication and grading services in the high-value collectibles markets, in order (i) to increase our market share among existing users of authentication and grading services and (ii) to increase the use of our services by the numerous collectors that do not currently use any independent third-party authentication or grading services.

Although we have authenticated and graded over 20 million coins since the inception of PCGS, and over 14 million trading cards since the inception of PSA, we estimate that less than 10% of the vintage United States coins and less than 15% vintage trading cards have been authenticated and graded by independent providers of authentication and grading services.  Additionally, we estimate that we have authenticated and graded less than 10% of the potential market of autographs and stamps in the United States.  Moreover, new collectibles are introduced each year into the markets in which we operate, some of which are authenticated and graded in the year of their introduction.  Over time, these collectibles will increase the supply of vintage items that are sold by dealers and collectors, and we expect that many of them will be submitted for independent authentication and grading.


 
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To take advantage of these market opportunities and to expand our services, we have:

§  
enhanced our marketing programs to promote our brands and services directly to Internet, other auction-related businesses and high-volume distributors of modern coins.  These programs emphasize the benefits of using our services, including increased marketability and the prospect of higher bids for collectibles;

§  
expanded our geographical reach by opening an office in Paris, France in 2010 to offer European coin dealers a more timely and cost-effective alternative to sending coins to the United States for grading and authentication and focused attention on increasing submissions of non-U.S. coins for grading and authentication.  In fiscal 2011, revenues for the Paris, France office represented about 1% of the Company’s total revenues.  We will continue to build on our fiscal 2011 success in the grading and authentication of non-U.S. coins, with particular attention to the Asian market;

§  
recently launched PCGS Secure Plus to increase consumer confidence and introduce a new certification designation.  The PCGS Secure process uses laser scanning to help detect coins that have been artificially enhanced since their last certification and can also be used to help identify recovered stolen coins.

§  
revamped and re-launched our CoinFacts website to include many new features that can be accessed for a subscription fee of $12.95 per month.  The upgraded CoinFacts website offers a comprehensive one-stop source for historical U.S. numismatic information and val ue added content, including dedicated pages for nearly 33,000 coins and access to information that can help determine coin values, including the PCGS Population Report, auction prices realized and an expanded price guide.

§  
participated at collectibles industry trade shows and organized “members only” shows for PCGS authorized dealers and Collectors Club members, at which we offer on-site authentication and grading services to facilitate trading activities.

§  
established authorized PCGS and PSA dealer networks to increase the visibility of our brands and the use of our services by those dealers and their customers;

§  
developed and expanded our Set Registry SM programs to increase demand for our collectible coin, trading card and stamp authentication and grading services, among collectors and increase traffic on our websites;

§  
developed and linked buying and selling demand from our Set Registry program to Collectors Corner in order to increase the referrals of coin, trading card and stamp collectors to Collectors Corner dealer-subscribers, to enhance the value of the Collectors Corner dealer subscription and increase the preference, among dealers, for our brands in their respective markets;

§  
expanded the offerings and markets in which Collectors Corner provides a business-to-consumer website for the sale of third-party collectibles certified by us;

§  
promoted our Collectors Clubs to attract and to provide incentives for collectors to use our services; and

§  
expanded our website information services, including auction results, reference materials and ongoing price guides and rarity reports.

§  
We intend to develop a comprehensive plan to optimize all elements of our combined digital presence, which will include CCE, Collectors Corner, Collectors Club, all advertising on our various websites and CoinFacts.  These activities combined, represented approximately 13% of total revenues in FY2011.


 
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Operations

We offer authentication and grading services for coins, trading cards, autographs and autographed memorabilia and stamps.  Our trained and experienced authentication and grading experts determine the authenticity of and, using uniform quality standards, assign quality grades to these collectibles.

PCGS .  Our authentication and grading of coins involves an exacting and standardized process.  We receive coins from dealers and collectors and remove all packaging that identifies the submitter in any way.  We then enter information regarding each coin into our proprietary computerized inventory system, which tracks the coin at every stage of our authentication and grading process.  Generally, our process requires that two of our experts evaluate each coin independently, and no authenticity opinion is issued and no quality grade is assigned unless their opinions with respect to the authenticity and quality grade independently assigned by each of them are the same.  In some cases, depending on the type of coin being authenticated and graded or on the results of the initial review process, we involve a third expert to make the final determinations of authenticity and grade.  The coin, the determination of authenticity and its grade are then verified by one of our senior experts, who has the authority to resubmit the coin for further review if he or she deems it to be necessary.  Only after this process is complete is the coin reunited with its identifying paperwork, thus keeping the authentication and grading process from being influenced by the identity of the owner and the history of the coin.  The coin is then sonically sealed in our specially designed, tamper-evident, clear plastic holder, which also encases a label describing the coin, the quality grade that we have assigned to it, a unique certificate number and a bar code, and the PCGS hologram and brand name.

PSA .  On receipt of trading cards from dealers and collectors, we remove all packaging that identifies the submitter in any way and enter information regarding the trading cards into our proprietary computerized inventory system that enables us to track the trading cards throughout our authentication and grading process.  Only after the authentication and grading process is complete is the trading card reunited with its identifying paperwork, thus keeping the authentication and grading process independent of the identity of the owner and the history of the trading card.  The trading card is then sonically sealed in our specially designed, tamper-evident, clear plastic holder, which also encases a label that identifies the trading card, the quality grade that we have assigned to it and a unique certificate number, and the PSA hologram and brand name.

We primarily authenticate and grade baseball trading cards and, to a lesser extent, football, basketball, hockey and entertainment, as well as other types of collectible cards.  As is the case with coin authentication and grading, trading card authentication and grading fees are based primarily on the particular turnaround time requested by the submitter, ranging from one day’s turnaround for the highest level of service to approximately 60 days for the lowest level of service.

PSA/DNA .  Because of the variability in the size of autographed memorabilia, the authentication and grading procedures we use necessarily differ from those used in authenticating and grading coins and trading cards.  Customers may ship the autographed memorabilia to us for authentication at our offices or, in the case of dealers or collectors that desire to have a large number of items authenticated, we will sometimes send an expert to the customer’s location for “on-site” examination and authentication.  Our experts reference what we believe is one of the largest databases of known genuine exemplars of signatures for comparison to a submitted item and draw upon their training and experience in handwriting analysis. In most cases, we take a digital photograph of the autographs that we have authenticated and store those photographs in a master database.  Before shipping the item back to the customer, a tamper-evident label is affixed to the collectible.  The label contains our PSA/DNA name and logo and a unique certificate number.  For additional security, in all cases when an item is fully authenticated, we tag the items with synthetic DNA-laced ink, which is odorless, colorless and tasteless and visible only when exposed to a narrow band wavelength of laser light using a hand-held, battery-powered lamp. Additional verification that an autographed item was authenticated by us can be obtained by using a chemical analysis to determine whether or not the ink used in the unique DNA code by PSA/DNA was applied to the autographed item.  As a result, if the tamper-evident label that we affixed to an autographed item were to be removed or otherwise separated from the item, it is still possible to verify that the item was authenticated by us.

PSE .  In rating the quality of stamps, we assign a numeric grade to each stamp that ranges from 1-to-100.  The grade assigned to a stamp is based on several characteristics, including the centering of the image on the stamp and the absence or presence of various faults, such as creases, perforation problems and other imperfections that, if present, will reduce the value of the stamp. For a stamp to receive a grade of 100, which means that it is in “gem” condition, the image on the stamp must be perfectly centered and the stamp must be
 
 
 
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faultless.  Stamps submitted to us for grading are independently examined and graded by at least two of our stamp experts.  After a stamp has been authenticated and graded, we generally issue a certificate of authentication that briefly describes the stamp and the grade assigned to it and has a digital image of the stamp attached.  The certificate bears the PSE name and logo and a unique certification number that we assign to the stamp for record keeping purposes.  We also offer our customers the option of having the stamp encapsulated in a tamper-evident, clear plastic holder with an encased label that, like the certificate, identifies the stamp and sets forth the grade assigned to it, its unique certification number and the PSE name and logo.

The volume of stamp authentication and grading submissions through fiscal 2011, relative to the number of coin and trading card submissions, has not been material.  Since stamp-grading services are relatively new to the market, we cannot predict when or even whether our services will gain the level of market acceptance needed for stamp grading to become a material contributor to our operating results.

Marketing

We employ both “pull” and “push” strategies in marketing our services to dealers and collectors of high-value collectibles.  For collectibles, our “pull” strategies are designed to promote our brands and increase the preference among collectors for our authentication and grading services and to encourage collectors to communicate that preference to their collectibles dealers, because most authentication and grading submissions are made by dealers.  In our experience, if a customer requests a particular grading service, the dealer ordinarily will comply with that request.  On the other hand, if the customer expresses no preference, the dealer will make its own choice of authentication and grading service or may even decide not to submit the collectible to an independent service for authentication and grading.  Therefore, our “pull” oriented marketing programs emphasize (i) the protections that collectors and retail customers will have if they purchase collectibles that we have authenticated and graded; and (ii) the improved marketability and higher prices that they and the associated retailers can realize if they use our independent third-party authentication and grading services.   Our “Push” Strategy , on the other hand, is designed to market our services directly to collectibles dealers to encourage them to use and promote our services.
 
       Our “Pull” Strategy .  We have developed and implemented a number of marketing programs and initiatives designed to create consumer preference for collectibles that have been authenticated and graded by us.  Those programs and initiatives include:

§  
Direct Advertising .  We directly address collectors by advertising our services in trade journals and periodicals in each of our markets.  Those journals include Coin World , Numismatic News and Linn’s Stamp News.   We make personal appearances at major, national-market and international trade shows around the world that are attended by collectors, as well as dealers.  We also participate in and support programs conducted by non-profit associations whose members are primarily collectors, such as the American Numismatic Association and the American Stamp Dealers Association.

§  
Set Registry Programs .  We provide collectors with the opportunity to participate in free Internet “Set Registry” programs that we host on our collectibles websites.  These programs encourage collectors to assemble full sets of related collectibles that have been authenticated and graded by us.  Generally, each registered set is comprised of between 50 and 200 separate, but related, collectibles.  Examples include particular issues of coins, such as Twenty Dollar Gold Double Eagles or Morgan Silver Dollars; particular sets of trading cards, such as all Hall of Fame pitchers or a particular team, like the 1961 Yankees; or sets of collectible stamps, such as Columbian Commemoratives or Graf Zeppelin Airmail stamps.  Our Set Registry programs enable collectors:

—  
to register their sets on our websites, which provides them with an off-site reference source for insurance and informational purposes;

—  
to display on our websites, and compare the completeness and quality grades of the collectibles making up their sets to those of other collectors who have registered similar sets on our websites, thereby creating a competitive aspect to collecting that adds to its excitement; and


 
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—  
to enter our annual Company-sponsored Set Registry competitions and awards programs in which collectors can win awards for having collected the most complete and highest graded sets of particular series or issues of coins, trading cards or stamps.

The collectibles that may be registered on our Set Registries and included in our Set Registry competitions are limited to collectibles that have been authenticated and graded by us.  To register the collectibles to be included in a particular set, a collector is required to enter the unique certificate number that we had assigned to each of the collectibles when last authenticated and graded by us.  We use the certificate number to compare the information being submitted by the collector with our database of information to verify that the collectibles being registered by a participant for inclusion in a particular set qualify to be included in that set.  We have found that our Set Registry competitions (i) create a preference and increase demand among collectors for our brands, and (ii) promote the trading of collectibles authenticated and graded by us by set registrants seeking to improve the completeness and overall quality of their sets, which generally results in additional authentication and grading submissions to us.  Annual awards for set completeness and quality have been issued by PCGS and PSA each year since 2002 and by PSE since 2004.  As an indication of the popularity of our Set Registry programs, approximately 125,000 sets were registered on our Set Registries as of June 30, 2011, which represents an 11% increase over the number registered as of June 30, 2010.

§  
Collectors Clubs Subscription Program .  We also have established “Collectors Clubs” for coin, currency and trading card collectors.  For an annual membership fee, ranging from $50 to $300, collectors receive a number of benefits, including (i) the right to have, without any further charge, a specified number of collectibles authenticated and graded by us, a privilege that non-member collectors do not have; and (ii) access to certain proprietary data that we make available on our websites or in print.  As of June 30, 2011, there were approximately 15,000 members in our Collectors Clubs.

§  
 Certified Coin Exchange Business-to-Business Website.   The Certified Coin Exchange (CCE) website is a business-to-business website where recognized dealers make a market in and over which they can sell and purchase certified coins and other certified collectibles. Currently, there are over 100,000 certified coins being offered at bid and ask prices, the aggregate value of which is approximately $300 million.  We believe that the liquidity created for certified coins by CCE increases the demand for PCGS certified coins among dealers.

§  
Collectors Corner Business-to-Consumer Website .  We have launched Collectors Corner ( www.collectorscorner.com ), which is a business-to-consumer website where consumers can visit, identify, search, sort over and select for purchase coins, trading cards and items of currency that have been certified by us and are being offered for sale by dealers.  Currently, there are approximately 90,000 collectibles listed for sale on Collectors Corner.  All items on Collectors Corner are offered by dealer members who have applied for the right to offer such collectibles on Collectors Corner.  We believe that Collectors Corner has advantages over other business-to-consumer websites because the counterparties to the consumer have been accepted as sellers on the Collectors Corner website and are known members of the marketplace and selling community. Items listed are at fixed prices with the opportunity to negotiate lower prices.  We believe that the increased turnover offered for items listed on Collectors Corner, as well as the ability to use Collectors Corner to improve a trading card set in the PSA Set Registry, create increased brand preference for PCGS, PSA and PSE authenticated and graded items.
 
     Our “Push” Strategy .  We also market our services directly to collectibles dealers and auctioneers to promote their use of our authentication and grading services.  Our marketing message is focused on the potential increase in marketability of the collectibles due to the increase in consumer confidence that is attributable to our independent authentication and grading of those collectibles.  These marketing programs include:

§  
Trade Publication Advertising and Direct Communications .  We communicate to dealers and auctioneers by direct contact and through advertising in trade journals and publications in the respective markets. Those journals include Coin World , Numismatic News and Linn’s Stamp News .  We also communicate with our dealers and with auctioneers by direct mail, email, and telephone.
 
 
 
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§  
Trade Shows and Conventions .  There are numerous collectibles trade shows and conventions held annually in the United States, where collectibles dealers gather on a trading floor or “bourse” to buy and sell collectibles.  We attend the largest and most significant of those trade shows and conventions, at which we offer same-day on-site authentication and grading services, which facilitate the trading and sales of collectibles at these shows and conventions.  At the same time, we obtain additional brand exposure and generate increased revenues, because dealers and collectors generally are willing to pay higher fees for same- day on-site services.

§  
In July 2006, we acquired Expos Unlimited LLC (“Expos”), a trade show management company that operates two of the larger and better-known coin, stamp and collectibles shows in Long Beach and Santa Clara, California, respectively.  Expos assures us of  the continued availability of these two show venues for our onsite authentication and grading services.

§  
Authorized Dealer Network .  We have implemented authorized dealer programs for coin and trading card collectibles dealers and auction companies.  Authorized dealers are able to use our marketing materials which are designed to promote our services and those of our authorized dealers to collectors.  Those materials include “point of sale” and “point of purchase” displays and brochures and direct mail pieces for insertion in customer mailings.  In addition, authorized dealers may use our brand logotypes on their websites to attract buyers for coins and trading cards that have been authenticated and graded by us.  We also conduct joint marketing programs with our authorized dealers in which we provide financial support for dealer marketing programs, approved by us, that promote both the dealer’s products and services and our authentication and grading services.

Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property consists primarily of trademarks, copyrights, proprietary software and trade secrets.  As part of our confidentiality procedures, we generally enter into agreements with our employees and consultants and limit access to, and distribution of, our software, documentation and other proprietary information.  The following table sets forth a list of our trademarks, both registered and unregistered, that are currently being used in the conduct of our business:

Registered Marks
 
Unregistered Marks
Collectors Universe
 
World Series of Grading
 
Coin Universe
PCGS
 
CU3000
 
Collectors.com
Professional Sports Authenticator
 
PSE
 
Record Universe
PSA
 
History in Your Hands
 
Set Registry
PSA/DNA
     
Expos Unlimited
First Strike
     
Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectibles Expo
Quick Opinion
     
Santa Clara Coin, Stamp and Collectibles Expo
Sports Market Report
       

We have not conducted an exhaustive search of possible prior users of the unregistered trademarks listed above, and therefore it is possible that our use of some of these trademarks may conflict with others.

Collectibles Experts

As of June 30, 2011, we employed 42 experts in our authentication and grading operations, who have from 5 to 53 years, and an overall average of 28 years, of experience.  Our experts include individuals that either (i) had previously been collectibles dealers or were recognized as experts in the markets we serve, or (ii) have been trained by us in our authentication and grading methodologies and procedures, and/or had gained authentication and grading experience at competing authentication and grading companies.  However, talented collectibles authentication and grading experts are in short supply, and there is considerable competition among collectibles authentication and grading companies for their services.  As a result, we focus on training young authenticators and graders who we believe have the skills or knowledge base to become collectibles experts.  We also sometimes contract with outside experts, usually collectibles dealers, to assist us with special grading issues or to enable us to address short-term increases in authentication and grading orders.
 
 
 
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  Service Warranties

We generally issue an authenticity or grading warranty with every coin, trading card and stamp authenticated or graded by us.  Under the terms of the warranty, in general, i f a coin or trading card that was graded by us later receives a lower grade upon resubmission to us for grading, we are obligated under our warranty either to purchase the coin or trading card at the price paid by the then-owner of the coin or trading card or, instead, at the customer’s option , to pay the difference in value of the item between its original g rade as compared with its lower grade.  Similarly, if a coin or trading card that has been authenticated by us is later determined not to have been authentic, we are obligated under our warranty to purchase the coin or trading card at the price that the then-owner paid for that collectible.  The limit on our warranty obligation for non-U.S. coins is $10,000 per coin and for Chinese coins is $1,000 per coin effective January 1, 2010.  We accrue for estimated warranty costs based on historical claims experience, and we monitor the adequacy of the warranty reserves on an ongoing basis. If warranty claims were to increase in relation to historical trends and experience, management would increase the warranty reserves and incur additional charges that would have the effect of reducing income in those periods during which the warranty reserve is increased.  Before returning an authenticated or graded coin or trading card to our customer, we place the coin or trading card in a tamper-evident, clear plastic holder that encapsulates a label identifying the collectible as having been authenticated and graded by us.  The warranty is voided in the event the plastic holder has been broken or damaged or shows signs of tampering.

We do not provide a warranty with respect to our opinions regarding the authenticity or quality of autographs.

Customer Service and Support

We devote significant resources, including a 21-person staff, who provide personalized customer service and support in a timely manner handling approximately 200 customer service calls per day, while also supporting our Set Registry and trade show programs.  On our websites, customers are able to check the status of their collectibles submissions throughout the authentication and grading process and to confirm the authenticity of the collectibles that we have graded.  When customers need services or have any questions, they can telephone or e-mail our support staff, Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time.  We also involve our collectibles experts in providing support services, when necessary, to address special issues.

Supplies

In order to obtain volume discounts through June 30, 2011, we have chosen to purchase most of the injection-molded plastic parts for our clear plastic holders principally from a single supplier.  There are numerous suppliers for these items, and we believe that, if necessary, we could obtain those items from any of those other suppliers without significant cost to us.  However, if it were to become necessary for us to obtain another supplier, we might have to arrange for the fabrication of a die for the new supplier.  Fabrication of high-value precision dies can be a lengthy process.  Although we do not have back-up dies for some of our high-value volume injection-molded parts and we rely on one supplier for these requirements, we own the dies used to manufacture the parts, and we believe that the Company maintains sufficient inventory of parts to allow time for us to have a new manufacturer build parts, should the need to do so arise or should we decide to use more than one supplier for certain parts.

Competition

Coin Authentication and Grading .  Our principal competitors in the coin authentication and grading market are Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (“NGC”), Independent Coin Grading and ANACS.

Trading Card Authentication and Grading .  Our primary competitors in trading card authentication and grading are Beckett Trading Card Grading Corporation, and Trading Card Guaranty, LLC.

Autograph Authentication and Grading .  In the vintage autograph authentication market, we compete with James Spence Authentication (“JSA”) and a few smaller competitors.

Stamp Authentication and Grading .  In stamp authentication and grading, our principal competitor is the Philatelic Foundation, and for stamp authentication, the American Philatelic Society is also a competitor.  Both of these competitors are non-profit organizations.

 
 
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The principal competitive factors in our collectibles authentication and grading markets are (i) brand recognition and awareness; (ii) an established reputation for integrity, independence and consistency in the application of grading standards; and (iii) responsiveness of service.  Price is much less of a factor in the case of vintage collectibles, but is a more important consideration with respect to modern coins and trading cards because of their significantly lower values.  We believe that our PCGS, PSA, PSA/DNA, and PSE brands compete favorably with respect to all of these factors and are among the leaders in each of their respective markets.  Barriers to entry into the authentication and grading market are relatively low, especially in the trading card authentication and grading market.  However, brand name recognition and a reputation for integrity, independence and consistency in the application of grading standards can take several years to develop.  The limited supply of experienced collectibles experts also operates as a barrier to entry.

Information Technology

We have developed proprietary software systems for use in our authentication and grading operations, principally for order tracking, processing and record keeping, as well as for the operation and maintenance of our Internet websites.  These software systems include Grading Management and Production Systems, Set Registry, Population Reports, Price Guides, Market Indexes, Article Libraries, QuickOpinion Systems and Featured Dealer Systems.  These applications are written in Microsoft Visual Basic.NET, Microsoft C#, Microsoft ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server.  We also have legacy systems, which we are in the process of replacing and upgrading, including Cold Fusion and Visual Basic 6 and our Navision ERP system.  Additionally, we maintain an integrated local area network that assists in and provides certain controls on production, physical product movement, accounting and financial functions, data warehousing and other tasks.

Although we do not primarily conduct our business on the Internet, we do use the Internet for information exchange and delivery of market-oriented content.  As a result, we have over 55 Dell PowerEdge Servers with RAID protected storage, along with multiple fully redundant SQL Server 2000 and 2005 high-availability database clusters supporting over 10 terabytes of storage.  The majority of this hardware resides at our headquarters in a server room that has 24/7 environmental monitoring and alerting through hardware sensors, 24/7 network availability and performance monitoring and alerting through network management software and 24/7 Internet availability and performance monitoring and alerting through third-party providers.  The Internet connectivity flows through multiple Internet providers with an aggregate of 47 megabits of total Internet bandwidth using multiple layers of Internet firewall protection, including 5 Cisco PIX firewalls (across multiple locations).  We maintain a multi-tiered antivirus infrastructure.  We use the FrontBridge Anti-Spam managed service, which deploys multiple layers of technology to provide preventative and protective spam defense.  Critical systems are backed up nightly using a backup infrastructure with a 30-terabyte capacity (expandable through drive upgrades to hundreds of terabytes).  The network servers and infrastructure are managed by administrators certified by Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA.

However, since we do not have redundant systems located outside of Southern California, any damage to, or failure of, our computer systems due to a catastrophic event in Southern California, such as an earthquake, could cause an interruption in our services.

Government Regulation

With the exception of laws in some states that require memorabilia authenticators to certify to the accuracy of their authentication opinions, there are no material government regulations specifically relating to the authentication and grading businesses that we conduct, other than regulations that apply generally to businesses operating in the markets where we maintain operations or conduct business.

Employees

As of June 30, 2011, we had 200 full-time employees and 41 part-time employees (primarily security personnel), of which 189 were employed in our authentication and grading-related businesses, including our 42 experts and 21  customer service and support personnel.  The other employees included 5 in information services, 5 in marketing, 5 in our CCE subscription business, 22 in our Expos business, of which 20 were part-time employees, and 15 in other business and administrative services.  We have never had a work stoppage, and no employees are represented under collective bargaining agreements.  We consider relations with our employees to be good.
 
 
 
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ITEM 1A   RISK FACTORS

Our business is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could prevent us from achieving our business objectives and that could hurt our future financial performance and the price performance of our common stock.  Such risks and uncertainties also could cause our future financial condition and future financial performance to differ significantly from our current expectations, which are described in the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report.  Those risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control, include the following:

A decline in the popularity of high-value collectibles and a resulting decrease in submissions for our services could adversely impact our business.

The volume of collectibles submitted to us for authentication and grading is affected by the demand for and market value of those collectibles.  As the demand for and value of collectibles increase, authentication and grading submissions, as well as requests by submitters for higher price, faster turnaround times, also increase.  However, that also means that a decline in popularity and, therefore, in the value of the collectibles that we authenticate and grade would cause decreases in authentication and grading submissions and in the requests we receive for faster turnaround times and, therefore, also in our revenues and profitability.  We have found, over the years, that the popularity of collectibles can vary due to a number of factors, most of which are outside of our control, including perceived scarcity of collectibles, general consumer confidence and trends and their impact on disposable income, precious metals prices, interest rates and other general economic conditions.

Our revenues and income depend significantly on revenues generated by our coin authentication and grading services.  A decrease in the level of submissions for these services, which historically has been impacted by changes in economic conditions, could adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.

Coin authentication and grading related services and product sales accounted for approximately 66%, 65% and 57% of our total net revenues in fiscal 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively.  Our modern coin grading revenues represented about 25% of total revenues in fiscal 2011. We believe that the principal factors that lead to fluctuations in coin grading submissions consist of (i) economic downturns which can result in a decline in consumer and business confidence and disposable income and, therefore, the willingness of dealers and collectors to buy collectible coins, (ii) the performance of the stock markets, the level of interest rates and fluctuations in the value of the U.S. Dollar and in the value of precious metals, which can lead investors to shift some of their investments between stocks and bonds, on the one hand, and precious metals, on the other; and (iii) in the case of modern coin submissions, increases or reductions in the marketing activities or programs that are conducted by the U.S. Mint and by dealers who specialize in selling modern coins.  This lack of diversity in our sources of revenues and our dependence on coin authentication and grading submissions for a majority of our net revenues make us more vulnerable to these conditions, which could result in reductions in our total net revenues and gross margin and, therefore, hurt our operating results.

Moreover, if current economic conditions in the United States prevail, our dependence on coin authentication and grading services for our revenues could increase, because the prices that dealers and collectors can realize on sales of trading cards generally are significantly lower than the prices they are able to realize on sales of collectible coins, making it more difficult during periods of adverse economic conditions, for trading card collectors to afford or justify incurring the costs of obtaining independent authentication and grading services.

Declines in general economic conditions could result in decreased demand for our services, which could adversely affect our operating results.

The availability of discretionary or disposable income and the confidence of collectors and dealers about future economic conditions are important factors that can affect the willingness and ability of collectors and consumers to purchase, and the prices that they are willing to pay for, high-value collectibles.  Additionally, declines in the confidence and reductions in the cash flows of, and reductions in credit that is available to collectibles dealers, can adversely affect their ability to purchase high-value collectibles and to sell collectibles that may have declined in value due to adverse changes in economic conditions of this nature.  Declines in purchases and sales, and in the value of collectibles usually result, in turn, in declines in the use of authentication and grading services, as such services are most often used by sellers and purchasers of collectibles in conjunction with and to facilitate sale and purchase transactions.  As a result, economic uncertainties, downturns and recessions can and do adversely affect our operating results by (i) reducing the frequency with which collectibles dealers and collectors submit their coins, trading cards and other collectibles for authentication and grading including, in particular, modern coins, trading cards and stamps, primarily because authentication and grading fees are relatively high in relation to the value of such collectibles; (ii) causing collectibles dealers and collectors to request longer turnaround times with respect to the collectibles they submit to us for grading, which would reduce our revenues, gross profit margin and operating results; and (iii) reducing the ability of customers to pay outstanding accounts receivable.

 
 
15

 
 
Temporary popularity of some collectibles may result in short-term increases, followed by decreases, in the volume of submissions for our services, which could cause our revenues to fluctuate.

Temporary consumer popularity or “fads” among collectors, or the popularity of certain marketing programs, either by the U.S. Mint or by dealers or distributors of collectibles, may lead to short-term or temporary increases, followed by decreases in the volume and in the average service fee earned on collectibles that we authenticate and grade.  These trends may result in significant period-to-period fluctuations in our operating results and could result in declines in our net revenues and profitability, not only because of a resulting decline in the volume of authenticating and grading submissions, but also because such trends could lead to increased price competition, which could require us to reduce our authentication and grading fees in order to maintain market share.

Our top five customers account for approximately 12% of our total net revenues.

During the year ended June 30, 2011, five of our customers accounted, in the aggregate, for approximately 12% of our total net revenues.  As a result, the loss of any of those customers, each of which is a collectibles dealer, or a lower level of grading submissions by any of them, could cause our net revenues to decline and, therefore, could harm our operating results.  Moreover, historically, same-day on-site authentication and grading submissions at trade shows, on which we realize higher margins than on other submissions, have represented a significant portion of the authentication and grading submissions we have received from these customers.  Consequently, a material decline in trade show attendance or submissions by these customers would adversely affect, not only our revenues, but also our gross margin and, therefore, our operating results in the future.

There are risks associated with new or expanded service offerings, with which we have little experience.

On an ongoing basis, we seek to introduce new services that we might offer to our existing authentication and grading customers as a means of increasing our net revenues and profitability.  In addition, in fiscal 2011, the Company began providing grading and authentication services in Paris, France and will focus more attention on other international markets, in particular Asia. Those new services and international focus, however, may not meet expectations and may prove to be unprofitable and negatively impact our operating results.

We are dependent on our key management personnel.

Our performance is greatly dependent on the performance of our senior management and certain other key employees.  As a result, the loss of the services of any of our executive officers or other key management and business development employees could harm our business.  Some of our executive officers and key employees are experts in the collectibles markets and have industry-wide reputations for authentication and grading of collectibles.  In particular, the loss of David G. Hall, our President, could have a negative effect on our reputation for expertise in the collectible coin market and could lead to a reduction in coin authentication and grading submissions to us.

We are dependent on our collectibles experts.

In certain of our markets, there are a limited number of individuals who have the expertise to authenticate and grade collectibles, and competition for available collectibles experts is intense.  Accordingly, our business and our growth initiatives are heavily dependent on our ability (i) to retain our existing collectibles experts, who have developed relatively unique skills and enjoy a reputation for being experts within the collectibles markets, and (ii) to implement personnel programs that will enable us to add collectibles experts, as necessary, to grow our business and offset employee turnover that can occur from time to time.  If we are not successful in retaining our existing collectibles experts or in hiring and training new collectibles experts, this could limit our ability to grow our business and adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.  Moreover, some of our experts could leave our Company to join a competitor or start a competing business.
 
 
 
16

 

 
We could suffer losses on authentication and grading warranties.

In general, we issue an authenticity or grading warranty for coins, trading cards and stamps that we authenticate or grade.  Those warranties with certain limits for non-U.S. coins provide that:

§  
if a trading card or stamp that we authenticated and sealed in our tamper-evident plastic cases is later determined not to have been genuine, we would have to purchase the collectible at the price paid for it by its then owner; and

§  
if a coin, trading card or stamp that we graded and sealed in our tamper-evident plastic cases later receives a lower grade upon resubmission to us for grading, we would be obligated either to purchase the collectible at the price paid by its then owner or to pay the difference in its value at its original grade, as compared to its value at the lower grade.

We have no insurance coverage for claims made under these warranties, and therefore we maintain reserves for such warranty claims based on historical experience.  However, there is no assurance that these warranty reserves will prove to be adequate and, if they are not, our gross margin and operating results could be harmed.  As a result, we monitor the adequacy of our warranty reserves on an ongoing basis.  For example, during 2008, we unexpectedly received certain coin grading warranty claims that were significant when compared to our prior warranty claims experience.  As a result, we recognized an additional expense in 2008 to provide for those claims.  We also increased our warranty accrual rate to reflect this higher warranty claims experience.  Those actions contributed to an increase in our costs of sales and, therefore, reduced our operating income and earnings in fiscal 2008.

Increased competition could adversely affect our financial performance.

Although there are few major competitors in the collectibles authentication and grading markets in which we currently operate, competition in these markets is, nevertheless, intense.  Increased competition in our collectibles markets could adversely affect our pricing and profit margins and our ability to achieve further growth, and we cannot provide assurances that we will continue to be successful in competing against existing or future competitors in our collectibles markets.  Also, if we were to enter into new collectibles markets, it is likely we would face intense competition from competitors in those markets who are likely to have greater brand name recognition and long-term relationships with collectibles dealers and individual collectors in those markets than we will have.  Such competition could adversely affect our ability to generate profits and could cause us to incur losses or impairment charges in those markets and damage our financial condition.

The subtenant for one of our spaces in New York may not fulfill its obligation under the sublease agreement, thereby, increasing our net obligations.
 
 
In May 2010, the Company sublet one of its spaces in New York City related to our discontinued jewelry businesses.  Should the subtenant not fulfill its obligations for this space, which are payable over the lease term through 2015, it would adversely affect our cash used for discontinued operations and our losses incurred from discontinued operations in future periods.  However, to date, the subtenant has honored all obligations under the sublease.

No Assurance that we will Continue to Pay Cash Dividends at Current Levels.

The Company’s current policy is to pay dividends at $0.325 per share per quarter.  However, the continued payment of cash dividends is subject to a number of factors, including changes in market and financial conditions and the cash requirements of our business.  Therefore, there is no assurance that the amount of the current quarterly cash dividend will not be reduced or the payment of cash dividends will not be suspended or discontinued by the Board of Directors.  See “MARKET FOR COMMON STOCK, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES”─ Dividends in Part II, Item 5 of this Annual Report.

Our reliance on a single source for principally all of our “tamper-evident,” clear plastic coin and trading card holders exposes us to potential supply and quality problems.

We place all of the coins, trading cards and currency notes, and sometimes also the stamps that we authenticate and grade, in tamper-evident, clear plastic holders.  In order to take advantage of volume-pricing discounts, we purchase substantially all of those holders, on a purchase order basis, from one principal supplier.  Our reliance on a single supplier for a substantial portion of those plastic holders exposes us to the potential for delay in our ability to deliver timely authentication and grading services in the event that supplier were to terminate its services to us or encounter financial or production problems.  If, in such an event, we were unable to obtain replacement holders in a relatively short period of time, we could lose customer orders, or incur additional production costs.  To mitigate this risk, the Company (i) owns the dies used to manufacture the parts, (ii) is continuing to increase its inventory of holders at June 30, 2011, which will give the Company more time to arrange for a new vendor to begin production in the event of a termination of or interruption in service from our existing vendor, and (iii) the Company is actively identifying alternative vendors that may reduce the reliance on the current principal vendor.  In addition, if the replacement holders were not of comparable quality to our existing supplier, we could expose ourselves to the potential for additional warranty claims in the event that tampering with our holders was not evident.  These occurrences could cause a decline in our net revenues and increases in our costs of sales which would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
 
 
 
17

 

 
Our computer systems and network systems may be vulnerable to unforeseen problems and security risks, and we are vulnerable to system failure due to a lack of redundant systems at another location.

Our operations are dependent upon our ability to protect our computer systems that we use in our authentication and grading operations and to maintain our websites against damage from fire, power loss, telecommunications failure, earthquakes and similar catastrophic events.  In this regard, Southern California, where we are located and our computer systems are housed, is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and fires that could result in damage to our computer systems.  We do not have redundant computer systems at any locations that are remote from Southern California.  Any damage to or failure of our computer systems could cause an interruption in our services that could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

In addition, our operations are dependent on our ability to protect our computer systems and network infrastructure from damage that could occur from physical break-ins, security breaches and other disruptive problems caused by the technology that we employ in our operations. Computer break-ins and security breaches also could jeopardize the security of information stored in and transmitted through our computer systems and network infrastructure, which could cause us to incur significant liability and possibly also damage our reputation.  Other disruptions due to problems on the Internet or actions of Internet users could make it difficult for our customers to access our websites.  In addition, difficulties encountered during planned system upgrades or reimplementations could lead to disruptions of our business.  Problems of this nature could adversely affect our business and operating results, and security breaches that would adversely affect the privacy of customer information could lead existing customers to terminate their business relationships with us.  Although we intend to continue to implement and upgrade sophisticated technology to prevent such disruptions and damage, there is no assurance that those measures will prove to be adequate or successful.

We rely on third parties for various Internet and processing services.

Our operations depend on a number of third parties for Internet access and delivery services.  We have limited control over these third parties and no long-term relationships with any of them.  For example, we do not own a gateway onto the Internet, but, instead, rely on Internet service providers to connect our website to the Internet.  Should the third parties that we rely on for Internet access or delivery services be unable to serve our needs for a sustained time period as a result of a strike, natural disaster or for any other reason, our revenues and business could be harmed.

Acquisitions and the commencement of new businesses present risks, and we may be unable to achieve the financial and strategic goals of any acquisition or commencement of any new business.

There may be opportunities that present themselves to acquire existing businesses or commence new businesses that would give us the opportunity to offer additional services to our existing customers or enter into new markets and, thereby increase our revenues and our earnings.  The purchase or commencement of a new business presents a number of risks and uncertainties, including (i) difficulties in integrating the new business into our existing operations, as a result of which we may incur increased operating costs that can adversely affect our operating results; (ii) the risk that our current and planned facilities, computer systems and personnel and controls will not be adequate to support our expanded operations; (iii) diversion of management time and capital resources from our existing businesses, which could adversely affect their performance and our operating results; (iv) dependence on key management personnel of the acquired or newly started businesses and the risk that we will be unable to integrate or retain such personnel; and (v) the risk that the anticipated benefits of any acquisition or of the commencement of any new business may not be realized, in which event we will not be able to achieve an acceptable return or we may incur losses on our investment.
 
 
 
18

 

 
We depend on our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights.

We believe that our patents, trademarks and other proprietary rights are important to our success and competitive position. We rely on a combination of patents, trademarks, copyright and trade secret laws to establish and protect our proprietary rights.  However, the actions we take to establish and protect our intellectual and other proprietary rights may prove to be inadequate to prevent imitation of our services or products or to prevent others from claiming violations of their intellectual and proprietary rights by us.  In addition, others may develop similar trade secrets or other intellectual property independently or assert rights in our intellectual and other proprietary rights that could lead them to seek to block sales of our services based on allegations that use of some of our marks or other intellectual property constitutes a violation of their intellectual property rights.

Our unregistered trademarks could conflict with trademarks of others.

We have not conducted an exhaustive search of possible prior users of our unregistered trademarks or service marks, including Coin Universe, Collectors.com and PSE.  Therefore, it is possible that our use of some of these trademarks or service marks may conflict with the rights of others.  As a result, we could face litigation or lose the use of some of these trademarks or service marks, which could have an adverse effect on our name recognition and result in a decrease in our revenues and an increase in our expenses.

The imposition of government regulations could increase our costs of doing business.

With the exception of state laws applicable to autograph authentication, the collectible coin and other high-value collectibles markets are not currently subject to direct federal, state or local regulation.  However, from time to time government authorities discuss additional regulations which could impose restrictions on the collectibles industry, such as regulating collectibles as securities or requiring collectibles dealers to meet registration or reporting requirements, or regulating the conduct of auction businesses.  Adoption of laws or regulations of this nature could lead to a decline in sales and purchases of collectibles and, therefore, also to a decline in the volume of coins, trading cards and other collectibles that are submitted to us for authentication and grading.

The repurchase of shares of our common stock in a “Dutch Auction” tender offer in July 2009 has reduced the public float for our shares and a relatively low trading activity may adversely affect the trading value and liquidity of our common stock.

In July 2009, we completed a modified “Dutch Auction” tender offer pursuant to which we repurchased a total of 1,749,828 of our outstanding shares of common stock, reducing the number of our shares that were outstanding.  Of the current outstanding shares of 7,943,000 at June 30, 2011, affiliates of the Company own a total of approximately 2,700,000 shares (or about 34% of the outstanding shares), the salability of which is restricted under applicable securities laws and which are, as a result, not included in our public float.  As a result, the trading volume of our shares is relatively low at a daily average of approximately 33,000 shares over the last 90 days, which can reduce the liquidity of our shares, making it more difficult for our stockholders to sell their shares and could depress and, therefore, make it more difficult to achieve increases in, the trading prices of our shares.


 
19

 

If our quarterly results are below market expectations, the price of our common stock may decline.

Many factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, can affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, which makes the prediction of our future financial results difficult and uncertain.  These factors include:

§ 
increases or decreases in number of collectibles graded from period to period;

§ 
changes in market conditions that can affect the demand for our authentication and grading services, such as a decline in the popularity of certain collectibles and volatility in the prices of gold and other precious metals;

§ 
changes in economic conditions that reduce the availability of disposable income and may cause collectors and collectibles dealers to reduce their purchases of collectibles, which could result in declines in the demand for the services we provide; and

§ 
the actions of our competitors.

If, as a result of these or other conditions or factors, our quarterly operating results fall below market expectations, some of our stockholders may sell their shares, which could adversely affect the trading prices of our common stock.  Additionally, in the past, companies that have experienced declines in the trading price of their shares due to events of this nature have been the subject of securities class action litigation.  If we become involved in a securities class action litigation in the future, it could result in substantial costs and diversion of our management’s attention and resources, thus harming our business.

Provisions in our charter documents or in Delaware law may make an acquisition of us more difficult or delay a change in control, which may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws contain anti-takeover provisions, including those listed below, that could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us, even if that change of control would be beneficial to our stockholders:

§ 
our board of directors has the authority to issue additional common stock and preferred stock and to determine the price, rights and preferences of any new series of preferred stock without stockholder approval;

§ 
there are limitations on who can call special meetings of our stockholders;

§ 
stockholders may not take action by written consent; and

§ 
In addition, provisions of Delaware law and provisions of our stock incentive plans may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control or unsolicited acquisition proposals.

ITEM 1B.      UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None

ITEM 2.         PROPERTIES

We lease approximately 46,000 square feet for our California-based headquarters under a nine-year lease that expires on March 31, 2019.  We currently sublease 2,184 square feet of this office space to a related party subtenant with an expiration date that coincides with the expiration of the Company's lease.  In connection with our Expos shows management business, we lease approximately 1,000 square feet in Santa Barbara, California under a lease agreement with a related party on a month-to-month basis.


 
20

 

Although we discontinued and exited our jewelry authentication and grading businesses in March 2009, we continue to have payment obligations with respect to two office facilities in New York City that we had leased for our jewelry businesses.  In May 2010, we were able to sublet one of those facilities, and the second facility was returned to the landlord, and the lease terminated in exchange for a reduction in the remaining financial obligations that we have with respect to that facility.  See “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates― Accrual for Losses on Facility Leases.”

ITEM 3.         LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are sometimes named as a defendant in lawsuits that arise in the ordinary course of business.  We do not believe that any of such lawsuits that are currently pending are likely to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF REGISTRANT

Name
 
Age
 
Positions
Michael J. McConnell
 
45
 
Chief Executive Officer
David G. Hall                                
 
64
 
President
Joseph J. Wallace                                
 
51
 
Chief Financial Officer

 
MICHAEL J. MCCONNELL has served as Chief Executive Officer and Director since April 1, 2009.  He is a private investor and a Director of PaperlinX Limited, Redflex Holdings Limited and MRV Communications, Inc.  From 1998 to September 30, 2008, Mr. McConnell was a Managing Director of Shamrock Capital Advisors, Inc., a manager of private equity, real estate and direct investment funds, including the Shamrock Activist Value Funds.  Mr. McConnell also served as a member of that firm’s Executive Committee. Prior to joining Shamrock in 1994, Mr. McConnell held various positions at PepsiCo, Merrill Lynch and Kidder Peabody.  Mr. McConnell formerly served on the boards of Ansell Limited, Nuplex Industries, Force Corporation, iPass, Inc., and Port-link International. Mr. McConnell also serves on the Board of Governors of Opportunity International. Mr. McConnell received his B.A. in economics from Harvard University and his MBA degree (with distinction—Shermet Scholar) from the Darden School of the University of Virginia.

DAVID G. HALL has served as President of Collectors Universe, Inc. since September 2001.  From April 2000 to September 2001, Mr. Hall served as our Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.  Mr. Hall also served as Chairman of the Board and a Director of Professional Coin Grading Services, Inc., the Company’s predecessor, since it was founded in February 1986 and also served as its President and Chief Executive Officer until January 1999.  Mr. Hall was honored in 1999 by COINage Magazine as Numismatist of the Century, along with 14 others.  In 1990, Mr. Hall was named an Orange County Entrepreneur of the Year by INC. magazine.   In addition, he has written A Mercenary’s Guide to the Rare Coin Market , a book dedicated to coin collecting.  Mr. Hall is also a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild.

JOSEPH J. WALLACE became the Company’s Chief Financial Officer in September 2005.  Prior to becoming Chief Financial Officer, he was the Company’s Vice President of Finance from November 2004 and Controller from June 2004.  From 1997 to 2003, Mr. Wallace was Vice President of Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of STM Wireless, Inc., a publicly traded company engaged in the business of developing, manufacturing and marketing satellite communications products and services.  Mr. Wallace is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, and a CPA in the State of California.

 
21

 

PART II

ITEM 5.      MARKET FOR COMMON STOCK, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SEC URITIES

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market, trading under the symbol CLCT.  The following tables set forth the high and low closing prices of our common stock, as reported by NASDAQ, and the cash dividends that we paid to our stockholders, in each of the fiscal quarters in the fiscal years ended June 30, 2011 and 2010:

   
Closing Share Prices
   
Cash
Dividend
 
Fiscal 2011
 
High
   
Low
   
Per Share
 
First Quarter                                                
  $ 13.46     $ 11.18     $ 0.30    
Second Quarter                                                
    16.08       12.72       0.325  
Third Quarter                                                
    14.12       13.11       0.325  
Fourth Quarter                                                
    15.15       13.75       0.325  

             
Fiscal 2010
                 
First Quarter                                                
  $ 5.44     $ 3.70     $ -  
Second Quarter                                                
    9.05       5.07       0.25  
Third Quarter                                                
    11.07       8.92       0.25  
Fourth Quarter                                                
    14.32       11.20       0.30  

We had 93 holders of record and approximately 4,530 beneficial owners of our common stock as of June 30, 2011.

Dividends .  On September 26, 2008, the Board of Directors determined that, due primarily to adverse market and economic conditions, including the liquidity crisis in the United States, the prudent course of action would be, and the Board of Directors voted, to suspend the payment of the Company’s then quarterly cash dividend of $0.23 per share per quarter in order to preserve the Company’s cash resources.

In October 2009, the Board of Directors approved the resumption of the payment of cash dividends at $0.25 per share per quarter.  In April 2010 and in October 2010, the Board of Directors approved increases in the quarterly dividend to $0.30 and $0.325 per share per quarter, respectively.  Dividends paid to stockholders in fiscal 2011, 2010 and 2009 were $9,944,000, $5,943,000 and $2,090,000, respectively.

The declaration and payment of cash dividends in the future, pursuant to the Company’s dividend policy, is subject to final determination each quarter by the Board of Directors based on a number of factors, including the Company’s financial performance and its available cash resources, its cash requirements and alternative uses of cash that the Board may conclude would represent an opportunity to generate a greater return on investment for the Company and its stockholders.  Accordingly, there is no assurance that, in the future, the amount of the quarterly cash dividend will not be reduced or that the payment of dividends will not be suspended or altogether discontinued.

Dutch Auction Tender Offer.   On July 10, 2009, the Company purchased a total of 1,749,828 of its then outstanding shares in a “Dutch Auction” tender offer, at a price of $5.00 per share, for a total purchase price of approximately $8,910,000 (including the costs of conducting the tender offer of $160,000).

Share Buyback Program .  In December 2005, our Board of Directors approved a share buyback program that authorized us to repurchase up to $10,000,000 of our shares of common stock in open market or privately negotiated transactions, in accordance with applicable Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules, when opportunities to make such repurchases, at attractive prices, become available.  During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, we repurchased a total of 120,000 of our common stock under this program for aggregate purchase prices of approximately $484,000. There were no repurchases in fiscal 2011 and 2010.  We currently have $3.7 million available for share purchases under the share buyback program. However, we are under no obligation to repurchase any additional shares under this program, and the timing, actual number and value of any additional shares that may be repurchased by us under this program will depend on a number of factors, including the Company’s future financial performance, the Company’s available cash resources and competing uses for the cash, prevailing market prices of the Company’s common stock the number of shares that become available for sale at prices that the Company believes are attractive and the effect that such repurchases may have on our public float and the market liquidity of our shares.
 
 
 
22

 

 
ITEM 6.      SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The selected operating data for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2011, 2010 and 2009, and the selected balance sheet data at June 30, 2011 and 2010 set forth below are derived from the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.  The selected operating data for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2008 and 2007 and the related balance sheet data at June 30, 2009, 2008 and 2007 were derived from audited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report.  The following data should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto and with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included below in this Annual Report.

Our Continuing Operations .  The results of our continuing operations, as set forth in the table below, consist primarily of the results of operations of our collectible coin, trading card, autographs, memorabilia and stamp authentication and grading businesses and our CoinFacts.com, Certified Coin Exchange (“CCE”) and Expos businesses for each of the fiscal years in the five-year period ended June 30, 2011.
 
Our Discontinued Operations .  The results of our discontinued operations set forth in the table below consist of the operating results, including impairment charges, related losses on the closure and gain or losses on disposal of (i) our diamond and our colored gemstone (“jewelry”) authentication and grading businesses through the dates in March 2009, on which we discontinued those businesses; (ii) our currency grading and authentication business until its sale in February 2009; and (iii) to a much lesser extent, the results of our remaining disposal activities following the disposition, in fiscal 2004, of our collectibles sales businesses.

 
23

 

Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:
   
Year Ended June 30,
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
   
(In thousands, except per share data)
 
Net revenues (1)
  $ 44,432     $ 39,763     $ 35,914     $ 39,505     $ 38,686  
Cost of revenues
    17,249       15,594       16,385       19,779       16,736  
Gross profit (1)
    27,183       24,169       19,529       19,726       21,950  
Selling, general and administrative expenses
    17,526       15,813       16,792       18,420       18,949  
Impairment losses
    1,368       -       649       -       16  
Operating income
    8,289       8,356       2,088       1,306       2,985  
Interest income, net
    98       89       284       1,138       2,149  
Other (expense) income, net
    (5 )     30       14       6       7  
Income before provision (benefit) for income taxes
    8,382       8,475       2,386       2,450       5,141  
Provision (benefit) for income taxes (2)
    3,346       (8,330 )     1,183       2,155       2,336  
Income from continuing operations
    5,036       16,805       1,203       295       2,805  
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of loss on
     sales of discontinued businesses (net of income taxes) (3)
    83       (107 )     (18,126 )     (15,927 )     (3,320 )
Net income (loss)
  $ 5,119     $ 16,698     $ (16,923 )   $ (15,632 )   $ (515 )
                                         
Net income (loss) per basic share:
                                       
Income from continuing operations
  $ 0.66     $ 2.26     $ 0.13     $ 0.03     $ 0.30  
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of loss on
     sales of discontinued businesses (net of income taxes)
    0.01       (0.02 )     (1.99 )     (1.71 )     (0.36 )
Net income (loss)
  $ 0.67     $ 2.24     $ (1.86 )   $ (1.68 )   $ (0.06 )
Net income (loss) per diluted share:
                                       
Income from continuing operations
  $ 0.65     $ 2.20     $ 0.13     $ 0.03     $ 0.30  
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of loss on
     sales of discontinued businesses (net of income taxes)
    0.01       (0.01 )     (1.98 )     (1.69 )     (0.35 )
Net income (loss)
  $ 0.66     $ 2.19     $ (1.85 )   $ (1.66 )   $ (0.05 )
Weighted average shares outstanding (4)
                                       
Basic
    7,682       7,451       9,103       9,295       9,204  
Diluted
    7,798       7,637       9,135       9,419       9,462  
                                         
Cash dividends paid on common stock
  $ 9,944     $ 5,943     $ 2,090     $ 8,517     $ 3,350  
Cash dividends declared per share of common stock
  $ 1.28     $ 0.80     $ 0.23     $ 0.91     $ 0.36  
                                         
Balance Sheet Data:
                                       

   
At June 30,
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Cash and cash equivalents
  $ 21,926     $ 20,321     $ 23,870     $ 23,345     $ 42,386  
Working capital – continuing operations
    20,010       21,134       23,108       26,771       42,720  
Working capital (deficit) – discontinued operations
    (716 )     (871 )     (1,725 )     (774 )     (511 )
Goodwill and Intangibles – continuing
    3,228       5,010       5,402       6,661       5,935  
Goodwill and Intangibles – discontinued
    -       -       -       5,805       17,315  
Total assets – continuing operations
    36,302       38,452       35,989       42,567       57,315  
Total assets – discontinued operations
    209       234       284       9,451       20,786  
Stockholders' equity
    25,070       27,612       24,779       43,830       68,891  

 


1.      
I ncludes revenues from product sales, consisting primarily of sales of coins purchased under our warranty policy, of $604,000, $92,000, $394,000, $1,046,000 and $284,000 in fiscal 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.  Such product revenues are not considered an integral part of our ongoing revenue generating activities.  The gross margins on product sales were 28%, (44 )%, (51)%, 7% and 33%, in fiscal 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
2.      
The income tax benefit of $8.3 million in fiscal 2010 reflects the release of valuation allowances against deferred tax assets at June 30, 2010.  See “Critical Acco unting Policies and Estimates― Income Taxes, Deferred Tax Assets and Valuation Allowances.”
3.     
Discontinued operations include aggregate impairment losses in 2009 and 2008 of $7,695,000 and $11,233,000, respectively, and a loss on the closure of our jewelry businesses in fiscal 2009 of approximately $5,188,000, inclusive of an accrual for ongoing real estate lease obligations of those businesses.  See note 3 to our Consolidated Financial Statements below in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
4.      
On July 10, 2009, the Company purchased a total of 1,749,828 outstanding shares of its common stock, for a total purchase price of $8,910,000 in a “Dutch Auction” tender offer to its stockholders.

 
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ITEM 7.        MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the “Selected Consolidated Financial Data” and our Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes, included elsewhere in Part II of this Annual Report.  This discussion also should be read in conjunction with the information in Item IA of Part I of this Report, entitled “Risk Factors,” which contains information about certain risks and uncertainties that can affect our business and our financial performance in the future.

Introduction and Overview

Our Business

Collectors Universe, Inc. (“we”, “us” “management” “our” or the “Company”) provides authentication and grading services to dealers and collectors of high-value coins, trading cards, event tickets, autographs, sports and historical memorabilia and stamps.  We believe that our authentication and grading services add value to these collectibles by providing dealers and collectors with a high level of assurance as to the authenticity and quality of the collectibles they seek to buy or sell; thereby enhancing their marketability and providing increased liquidity to the dealers, collectors and consumers that own, buy and sell such collectibles.

We principally generate revenues from the fees paid for our authentication and grading services.  To a much lesser extent, we generate revenues from other related services which consist of: (i) the sale of advertising on our websites; (ii) the sale of printed publications and collectibles price guides and advertising in our publications and on our website; (iii) the sale of membership subscriptions in our Collectors Club, which is designed primarily to attract interest in high-value collectibles among new collectors; (iv) the sale of subscriptions to our CCE dealer-to-dealer Internet bid-ask market for certified coins and to our CoinFacts website, which offers a comprehensive one-stop source for historical U.S. numismatic information and value-added content; and (v) the management and operation of collectibles trade shows and conventions.  We also generate revenues from sales of our collectibles inventory, which is primarily comprised of collectible coins that we have purchased under our coin grading warranty program; however, such product sales are neither the focus nor an integral part of our on-going revenue generating activities.

Factors That Can Affect Operating Results and our Financial Position

Factors That Can Affect our Revenue .  Our authentication and grading fees accounted for approximately 80% of our total net revenues in each of the three years ended June 30, 2011.  The amounts of those fees are primarily driven by the volume and mix of coin and collectibles sales and purchase transactions by collectibles dealers and collectors, because our collectibles authentication and grading services generally facilitate sales and purchases of coins and other high value collectibles by providing dealers and collectors with a high level of assurance as to the authenticity and quality of the collectibles they seek to sell or buy.  Consequently, dealers and collectors most often submit coins and other collectibles to us for authentication and grading at those times when they are in the market to sell or buy coins and other high-value collectibles that we authenticate and grade.

In addition, our coin authentication and grading revenues are impacted by the level of modern coin submissions, which can be volatile, primarily depending on the timing and size of modern coin marketing programs by the United States Mint and by customers or dealers who specialize in sales of such coins.

The amounts of our authentication and grading revenues are affected by (i) the volume and mix of authentication and grading submissions among coins and trading cards, on the one hand, and other collectibles on the other hand; (ii) in the case of coins and trading cards, the “turnaround” times requested by our customers, because we charge higher fees for faster service times; and (iii) the mix of authentication and grading submissions between vintage or “classic” coins and trading cards, on the one hand, and modern coins and trading cards, on the other hand, because dealers generally request faster turnaround times for vintage or classic coins and trading cards than they do for modern submissions, as vintage or classic collectibles are of significantly higher value and are more saleable by dealers than modern coins and trading cards; and (iv) as discussed above, the timing of marketing programs for modern coins.

 
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Our revenues are also affected by the volume of coin authentication and grading submissions we receive at collectibles trade shows where we provide on-site authentication and grading services to show attendees, who typically request higher-priced same-day turnaround for the coins they submit to us for authentication and grading at those shows.  The volume of trade show submissions varies from period to period depending upon a number of factors, including the number and the timing of the shows in each period and the volume of collectible coins that are bought and sold at those shows by dealers and collectors.  In addition, the number of such submissions and, therefore, the revenues and gross profit margin we generate from the authentication and grading of coins at trade shows can be impacted by short-term changes in the prices of gold that sometimes occur around the time of the shows, because gold prices can affect the willingness of dealers and collectors to sell and purchase coins at the shows.

Five of our coin authentication and grading customers accounted, in the aggregate, for approximately 12% of our total net revenues in the year ended June 30, 2011.  As a result, the loss of any of those customers, or a significant decrease in the volume of grading submissions from any of them to us, could cause our net revenues to decline and, therefore, could adversely affect our results of operations.

The following table provides information regarding the respective numbers of coins, trading cards, autographs and stamps that we authenticated or graded in the fiscal years ended June 30, 2011, 2010, and 2009:

   
Units Processed
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Coins
    1,973,700       59 %     1,708,200       57 %     1,456,100       52 %
Trading cards
    1,120,800       34 %     1,090,600       36 %     1,171,600       41 %
Autographs
    240,100       7 %     196,500       6 %     168,100       6 %
Stamps
    13,900       -       19,000       1 %     25,700       1 %
Total
    3,348,500       100 %     3,014,300       100 %     2,821,500       100 %

The following table sets forth the estimated values at which our customers insured the coins, trading cards, autographs and stamps that they submitted to us for grading or authentication:

   
Declared Values (000’s)
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Coins
  $ 1,292,000       92 %   $ 1,390,000       93 %   $ 1,119,000       91 %
Trading cards
    83,000       6 %     73,000       5 %     79,000       6 %
Autographs
    21,000       1 %     18,000       1 %     15,000       1 %
Stamps
    8,000       1 %     13,000       1 %     22,000       2 %
Total
  $ 1,404,000       100 %   $ 1,494,000       100 %   $ 1,235,000       100 %

Factors Affecting our Gross Profit Margins .  The gross profit margins we earn on collectibles authentication and grading submissions are impacted by much the same factors that impact our revenues, as the average service fee and the resulting gross profit margin earned is affected by (i) the volume and mix of those submissions among coins, trading cards and other collectibles, because we generally realize higher margins on coin submissions than on submissions of other collectibles; (ii) in the case of coins and trading cards, the “turnaround” times requested by our customers, because we charge higher fees for faster service times; and (iii) the mix of authentication and grading submissions between vintage or “classic” coins and trading cards, on the one hand, and modern coins and trading cards, on the other hand, because dealers generally request faster turnaround times for vintage or classic coins and trading cards than they do for modern submissions.  Furthermore, because a significant proportion of our costs of sales are fixed in nature in the short-term, our gross profit margin is also affected by the overall volume of collectibles that we authenticate and grade in any period.

Impact of Economic Conditions on our Financial Performance .  As discussed above, our operating results are affected by the volume of collectibles transactions by collectibles dealers and collectors which, in turn, is primarily affected by (i) the disposable income available to collectors and their confidence about future economic conditions, because high-value collectibles are generally viewed as luxury goods and are purchased with disposable income; (ii) the cash flows generated by collectibles dealers and their confidence about future economic conditions, which affect their willingness and the ability of such dealers to purchase collectibles for resale; (iii) the availability and cost of borrowings because collectibles dealers often rely on borrowings to fund their purchases of collectibles, (iv) prevailing and anticipated rates of inflation and the strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar, because the threat of increased inflation or concerns about the weakening of the U.S. dollar often lead investors and consumers to purchase gold and silver coins as a hedge against inflation or reductions in the purchasing power of the U.S. currency; and (v) the performance and volatility of the gold and other precious metals markets, which can affect the level of purchases and sales of collectible coins, because investors and consumers will often increase their purchases of hard assets, including gold coins if they believe that the market prices of hard assets will increase.  As a result, the volume of collectibles transactions and, therefore, the demand for our authentication and grading services, generally increase during periods characterized by economic growth, the availability of lower cost borrowings, or increases in inflation or in gold prices or a weakening of the U.S. dollar.  By contrast, collectibles transactions and, therefore, the demand for our services generally decline during periods characterized by economic downturns or recessions, declines in consumer and business confidence, an absence of inflationary pressure, or declines in the market prices of gold.  However, these conditions can sometimes counteract each other as it is not uncommon, for example, for investors to shift funds from gold to other investments during periods of economic growth and growing consumer and business confidence.
 
 
 
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Despite the continued uncertainties with respect to the strength and the sustainability of the economic recovery, our revenues (excluding product revenues) in the current fiscal year increased by approximately 10%, compared to the same period of the prior year, and included a 14% increase in revenue from the authentication and grading of collectible coins, which is our largest grading and authentication market.  We believe those increases reflect the continued high prices of gold and concerns about inflation and the continued weakness of the U.S. dollar among collectors and investors, as well as customer-specific marketing initiatives that drive the grading of modern coins.  Our revenues are discussed in more detail below under the caption Results of Operations: “ Net Revenues”.

Factors That Can Affect our Financial Position .  A substantial number of our authentication and grading customers prepay our authentication and grading fees when they submit their collectibles to us for authentication and grading.  As a result, historically, we have been able to rely on internally generated cash and have never incurred borrowings to fund our continuing operations.  We currently expect that internally generated cash flows and current cash and cash equivalent balances will be sufficient to fund our continuing operations at least through the end of fiscal 2012.

In addition to the day-to-day operating performance of our business, our overall financial position can also be affected by the Company’s capital raising or stock buyback activities, the dividend policy adopted by the Board of Directors from time to time, and the Company’s decisions to invest in and to fund the acquisition of businesses.  In July 2009, the Company used approximately $8.9 million of available cash to purchase 1,749,828 shares of our common stock in a “Dutch Auction” tender offer, and in fiscal 2010, the Board of Directors reinstated the payment of dividends such that we paid approximately $9.9 million and $5.9 million in cash dividends to stockholders in fiscal 2011 and 2010, respectively.  In addition, our financial position is impacted by the Company’s tax position as the Company may only be required to pay minimum taxes, when it has net operating losses and other tax attributes available to offset taxable income.  However, once those tax losses or other tax attributes have been fully utilized, the Company will then be required to pay taxes at an estimated annual effective tax rate of 40%, as adjusted for timing differences.

Trends and Challenges in and Opportunities for our Businesses

In response to the economic recession and the credit crisis that adversely impacted the volume of authentication and grading submissions to us during fiscal 2009, we implemented a cost reduction program to reduce our costs of revenue and our operating expenses to bring those costs and expenses more in line with our revenues and, thereby, increase our gross profits and operating income.  During fiscal 2010 and 2011, that program, combined with the increase in our coin authentication and grading revenues, enabled us to realize increased gross profit margin and operating income when operating income is adjusted for a non-cash impairment charge of $1.4 million in fiscal 2011, and cash flows from continuing operations.


 
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Overview of Fiscal 2011 Operating Results

The following table sets forth comparative financial data for the years ended June 30, 2011 and 2010:

   
Year Ended June 30, 2011
   
Year Ended June 30, 2010
 
   
Amount
   
Percent of Revenues
   
Amount
   
Percent of
Revenues
 
 
Net revenues
  $ 44,432       100.0 %   $ 39,763       100.0 %
Cost of revenues
    17,249       38.8 %     15,594       39.2 %
Gross profit
    27,183       61.2 %     24,169       60.8 %
Selling and marketing expenses
    6,029       13.6 %     5,068       12.7 %
General and administrative expenses
    11,497       25.9 %     10,745       27.1 %
Impairment losses
    1,368       3.0 %     -       -  
Operating income
    8,289       18.7 %     8,356       21.0 %
Interest income, net
    98       0.2 %     89       0.2 %
Other (expense) income, net
    (5 )     -       30       0.1 %
Income before (benefit) provision for income taxes
    8,382       18.9 %     8,475       21.3 %
Provision (benefit) for income taxes
    3,346       7.6 %     (8,330 )     (21.0 )%
Income from continuing operations
    5,036       11.3 %     16,805       42.3 %
Income (loss) from discontinued operations
    83       0.2 %     (107 )     (0.3 )%
Net income
  $ 5,119       11.5 %   $ 16,698       42.0 %
Net income (loss) per diluted share:
                               
Income from continuing operations
  $ 0.65             $ 2.20          
Income (loss) from discontinued operations
    0.01               (0.01 )        
Net income
  $ 0.66             $ 2.19          

In fiscal 2011, pretax income decreased by $93,000, compared to fiscal 2010.  Excluding the impairment loss in fiscal 2011, pre-tax income would have increased by $1,275,000 and 15%, compared to fiscal 2010 due primarily to increases of 12% in revenues in the current year.  The increase in total revenues was primarily attributable to increases in authentication and grading fees in our coin business, comprising increases in the modern, vintage and world coins graded and authenticated.

However, due to the recognition of an income tax provision of $3,346,000, representing a tax rate of approximately 40% in fiscal 2011, compared to an income tax benefit of $8,330,000 in fiscal 2010, income from continuing operations decreased in fiscal 2011.  The substantially higher effective tax provision in fiscal 2011 was due to the release of valuation allowances against deferred tax assets at June 30, 2010.  Cash payments for income taxes continued to be minimal in fiscal 2011.

These, as well as other factors affecting out operating results are described in more detail below.  See “Factors that Can Affect our Operating Results and Financial Condition” “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates Long-Lived Assets Other Than Goodwill , Goodwill and Income Taxes, Deferred Tax Assets and Valuation Allowances” and “ Results of Operations ” below.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

General.   In accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”), we record our assets at the lower of cost or fair value.  In determining the fair value of certain of our assets, principally accounts and notes receivable inventories, goodwill and intangible assets, we must make judgments, estimates and assumptions regarding circumstances or trends that could affect the value of those assets, such as economic conditions or trends that could impact, e.g., our ability to fully collect our accounts receivable or realize the value of our inventories in future periods.  Those judgments, estimates, and assumptions are based on current information available to us at that time.  Many of those conditions, trends and circumstances on which our judgments or estimates are based; however, are outside of our control and, if changes were to occur in the events, trends or other circumstances on which our judgments or estimates were based, or other unanticipated events were to happen that might affect our operations, we may be required under GAAP to adjust our earlier estimates.  Changes in such estimates may require that we reduce the carrying value of the affected assets on our balance sheet (which are commonly referred to as “write-downs” of the assets involved).
 
 
 
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It is our practice to establish reserves, allowances, charges or losses to record such downward adjustments or write-downs in the carrying value of assets, such as, for example, accounts and notes receivable and inventory.  Such write-downs are recorded as charges to income or increases in expense in our statement of operations in the periods when those reserves, allowances, charges or losses are established or increased to take account of changed conditions or events.  As a result, our judgments, estimates and assumptions about future events and changes in the conditions, events or trends upon which those estimates and judgments were made, can and will affect not only the amounts at which we record such assets on our balance sheet, but also our results of operations.
 
The decisions as to the timing of adjustments or write-downs of this nature also require subjective evaluations or assessments about the effects and duration of events or changes in circumstances.  For example, it is difficult to predict whether events or conditions, such as increases in interest rates or economic slowdowns, will have short or longer term consequences for our business, and it is not uncommon for it to take some time after the occurrence of an event or the onset of changes in economic circumstances for their full effects to be recognized.  Therefore, management makes such estimates based upon the information available at that time and reevaluates and adjusts its reserves, allowances, charges or losses for potential write-downs on a quarterly basis.

In prior years, we acquired certain businesses and assets (some of which are now classified as part of discontinued operations, as we have closed, or disposed of such assets), and in accordance with GAAP, we accounted for those acquisitions using the purchase method of accounting.  That accounting method required us to allocate amounts paid for those businesses in excess of the fair value of the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed, and to classify that excess as goodwill.  In accordance with GAAP, we evaluate goodwill for impairment at least annually or more frequently if we believe that goodwill has been impaired in the interim due to changing facts or events (see “Goodwill” below).  Other intangible assets that are separable from goodwill and have definite lives are subject to amortization over their remaining useful lives (see “ Long-Lived Assets Other Than Goodwill ” below).  Indefinite-lived intangible assets are subject to ongoing evaluation for impairment.  Management formally evaluates the carrying value of its goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment on the anniversary date of each of the business acquisitions that gave rise to the recording of such assets.  If it is determined, from any such impairment analysis, that the estimated fair value of any such assets has declined below their carrying values, it would become necessary for us to recognize an impairment charge that would have the effect of reducing our income in the period when that charge is recognized.

We also estimate losses associated with the disposal of a business or the sale of assets when a decision has been made to dispose of or discontinue such business or sell such assets.  In accordance with GAAP, assets available for sale are stated at the lower of costs or their net realizable value.  In addition, the estimated fair value of liabilities for employee terminations is recognized as of the date such terminations are communicated to the affected employees and for lease obligations as of the date we cease using the real property or equipment subject to the lease.

In making our estimates and assumptions, we follow GAAP in order to enable us to make fair and consistent estimates of the fair value of assets and to establish adequate reserves, allowances, charges or losses for possible write-downs in the carrying values of our assets.

Set forth below is a summary of the accounting policies and critical estimates that we believe are material to an understanding of our financial condition and results of operations.

Revenue Recognition Policies .  We generally record revenue at the time of shipment of the authenticated and graded collectible to the customer, net of any taxes collected.  Due to the insignificant delay between the completion of our grading and authentication services and the shipment of the collectible or high-value asset back to the customer, the time of shipment corresponds to the completion of our services.  Many of our authentication and grading customers prepay our authentication and grading fees when they submit their collectibles to us for authentication and grading.  We record those prepayments as deferred revenue until the collectibles have been authenticated and graded and shipped back to them.  At that time, we record the revenues from the authentication and grading services we have performed for the customer and deduct this amount from deferred revenue.  For certain dealers to whom we extend open account privileges, we record revenue at the time of shipment of the authenticated and graded collectible to the dealer.


 
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A portion of our net revenues is comprised of subscription fees paid by customers for memberships in our Collectors Club.  Those memberships entitle members to access our on-line and printed publications and, sometimes also to receive vouchers for free grading services from us.  We record revenue for this multi-element service arrangement by recognizing approximately 65% of the subscription fee in the month following the membership purchase.  We review this estimate at least semi-annually by recalculating the percentage based on the relative values of the various elements in the Collectors Club offering and determining the appropriate percentage to attribute to the grading services and the remaining subscription.  Our estimates have proven to be consistently around 65% on an ongoing basis.  The balance of the membership fee is recognized as revenue over the life of the membership, which can range from one to two years.

With respect to our Expos trade show business, we recognize revenue generated by the promotion, management and operation of each of its collectibles conventions or trade shows in the fiscal period in which the convention or show takes place, and for PCGS’s CoinFacts subscription revenues, we recognize revenue over the subscription period.

We recognize the revenue from the sale of products when it is shipped to the customer and all the requirements for revenue recognition have been satisfied.  Such products consist primarily of collectible coins that we purchase pursuant to our coin authentication and grading warranty program and those product sales are not considered an integral part of our ongoing revenue generating activities.

Accrual for Losses on Facility Leases .  As a result of the discontinuance of and our exit from the jewelry authentication and grading businesses in fiscal 2009, we ceased the occupancy of facilities we had leased for their operations.  We retained a commercial real estate broker to sublease those facilities on our behalf.  Through June 30, 2009, we established estimated loss accruals of $4,454,000 for liabilities under those leases.  The amount of those lease accruals was determined based on estimates on a discounted basis of (i) prevailing sublease rates in the real estate market where those facilities are located, as compared to our rental obligations under those leases; (ii) the time we expected it would take to sublet those facilities; and (iii) other direct costs associated with the leases.  In fiscal 2010, the Company continued to re-evaluate its loss accruals for the lease obligations and recognized an additional accrual of $405,000 in the second quarter of fiscal 2010.  In May 2010, the Company entered into agreements to reduce its lease obligations, whereby one of the spaces was sublet to a third party, and the second facility was returned to the landlord and the lease terminated with only a financial obligation remaining.  As a result of these agreements, and in accordance with GAAP, the Company measured the change in cash flows using the same credit-adjusted risk-free rate that was used to measure the initial liabilities and the cumulative effect of the change of approximately $500,000 resulting from the revision, was recognized as a reduction to the liability in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010.  As a result of those changes, the payment of lease obligations and the recognition of accretion expense, the remaining obligations at June 30, 2011 were approximately $3,137,000.  We will continue to review and, if necessary, make adjustments to these accruals on a quarterly basis.

Accounts Receivable, Notes Receivable and the Allowance for Doubtful Accounts.   In the normal course of our authentication and grading business, we extend payment terms to many of the larger, more creditworthy dealers who submit collectibles to us for authentication and grading on an ongoing basis.  Until the second quarter of fiscal 2009, we also made advances to selected coin dealers evidenced by notes receivable pursuant to a dealer-financing program, which have been substantially repaid or written down to zero at June 30, 2011.  We regularly review our accounts receivable, estimate the amounts of, and establish an allowance for, uncollectible accounts in each quarterly period.  The amount of that allowance is based on several factors, including the age and extent of significant past due accounts and known conditions or trends that may affect the ability of account debtors to pay their accounts receivable balances.  Each quarter we review our estimates of uncollectible amounts and, if necessary, adjust the allowance to take account of changes in economic or other conditions or trends that we believe will have an adverse effect on the ability of any of the account debtors to pay their accounts in full.  Since the allowance is increased by recording a charge against income that is reflected in general and administrative expenses, an increase in the allowance will cause an increase in such expenses.  At June 30, 2011 and 2010 allowances for doubtful accounts were $66,000 and $75,000, respectively.

Inventory Valuation Reserves.   Our collectibles inventories, which consist primarily of collectible coins that we have purchased pursuant to our coin warranty program, are valued at the lower of cost or fair value and have been reduced by an inventory valuation allowance to provide for potential declines in the value of those inventories below their carrying values.  The amount of the allowance is determined and is periodically adjusted on the basis of market knowledge, historical experience and estimates concerning future economic conditions or trends that may impact the sale value of the collectibles inventories.  Additionally, due to the relative uniqueness and special features of some of the collectibles included in our collectibles inventory and the volatility in the prices of precious metals, valuation of such collectibles often involves judgments that are more subjective than those that are required when determining the market values of more standardized products.  As a result, we review the market values of the collectibles in our inventory on a quarterly basis and make adjustments to the valuation reserve that we believe are necessary or prudent based on our judgments regarding these matters.  In the event that a collectible is sold for a price below its carrying value, we record a charge to operating income.  At June 30, 2011 and 2010, collectibles coin inventories were $1,468,000 and $493,000, and inventory reserves were $126,000 and $144,000, respectively.  See note 4 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.  If we liquidate collectible coins at amounts below their carrying value, we may incur losses in excess of our recorded inventory reserves.
 
 
 
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The Company also maintains inventories of plastic holders and other related consumables used in our grading processes.  Such consumable inventories are valued at the lower of cost or fair value.

Grading Warranty Costs .  We offer a limited warranty covering the coins, trading cards and stamps that we authenticate and grade.  Under the warranty, if such a collectible that was previously authenticated and graded by us is later submitted to us for re-grading and either (i) receives a lower grade upon resubmittal or (ii) is determined not to have been authentic, we will offer to purchase the collectible for a price equal to the value of collectible at its original grade, or, at the customer’s option, pay the difference between the value of the collectible at its original grade as compared with the value at its lower grade.  However, this warranty is voided if the collectible, upon resubmittal to us, is not in the same tamper-resistant holder in which it was placed at the time we last graded the item or if we otherwise determine that the collectible had been altered after we had authenticated and graded it.  If we purchase an item under a warranty claim, we recognize the difference in the value of the item at its original grade and its re-graded estimated value as a reduction in our warranty reserve.  We include the purchased item in our inventory at the estimated re-graded value of the collectible, which will be lower than the price we paid to purchase the item.  We accrue for estimated warranty costs based on historical trends and related experience, and we monitor the adequacy of our warranty reserve on an ongoing basis.  There also are a number of factors that can cause the estimated values of the collectibles purchased under our warranty program to change over time and, as a result, we review the market values of those collectibles (see Inventory Valuation Reserves above).  However, once we have classified such items as inventory and they have been held in inventory beyond the end of the fiscal quarter in which we purchased them, we classify any gains or losses on the subsequent disposal of such items as part of the gain or loss on product sales and not as an adjustment to our warranty reserves. See note 8 to the consolidated financial statements for activity in our warranty reserves.

Goodwill.   We test the carrying value of goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets at least annually on their respective acquisition anniversary dates, or more frequently if indicators of impairment are determined to exist.  When testing for impairment, we apply a discounted cash flow model or an income approach in determining a fair value that is used to estimate the fair value of the reporting unit on a total basis, which is then compared to the carrying value of the reporting unit.  If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds the carrying value of the reporting unit, no impairment of goodwill exists as of the measurement date.  If the fair value is less than the carrying value, then there is the possibility of goodwill impairment and further testing and re-measurement of goodwill is required. During the first quarter ended September 30, 2010, we completed the annual goodwill impairment evaluations with respect to the goodwill acquired in our fiscal year 2006 purchases of CCE and CoinFacts and the fiscal year 2007 acquisition of our Expos business, and determined that the carrying values of the acquired goodwill of these respective businesses were not impaired.

The fair value of the CCE and CoinFacts reporting units are substantially in excess of their carrying value, and the risks of impairment in those businesses are minor.

As discussed in previous filings, at September 30, 2010, the fair value of our Expos business was close to its carrying value.  Management applied sensitivity analysis to our significant assumptions in concluding that no impairment existed at September 30, 2010.  At June 30, 2011, we reviewed the performance of Expos for fiscal 2011 and our expectations for that business in future periods.  In fiscal 2011, the downward trend in revenues continued despite our earlier expectations that revenues would stabilize and grow in future years.  Furthermore, due to continued difficulties experienced in retaining customer participation at the shows, we expect continued attrition in future periods.  This overall downward trend in revenues, combined with the follow-on effect on specific customer revenue assumptions in the outer year of the forecast period, the impact on the terminal value of the Expos business due to a declining revenue base and an increase in the discount rate applicable to Expos from 17% to 19% (due to a higher equity risk premium, small stock risk premiums and an increase in the risk-free rate), led management to conclude that the Expos business was impaired at June 30, 2011.
 
 
 
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Therefore, the Company recognized impairment losses related to goodwill of $743,000 in fiscal 2011, which combined with impairment losses related to intangible assets (see Long-Lived Assets Other Than Goodwill) , resulted in total impairment losses of $1,368,000 in fiscal 2011.

With respect to our discontinued jewelry businesses, in the year ended June 30, 2009, we recognized impairment losses for their full carrying cost to the goodwill of $1,348,000, which, when combined with impairment losses, related to other indefinite-lived intangible assets of those businesses totaling $7,695,000, and these impairment losses have been classified as part of discontinued operations for the year ended June 30, 2009.

Long-Lived Assets Other Than Goodwill .  We regularly conduct reviews of property and equipment and other long-lived assets other than goodwill, including certain identifiable intangibles, for possible impairment.  Such reviews occur annually, or more frequently, if events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable in full.  In order to determine if the value of a definite-lived asset is impaired, we make an estimate of the future undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of that asset and its eventual disposition in order to determine if an impairment loss has occurred.  If the projected undiscounted cash flows are less than the carrying amount of the asset, an impairment loss is recorded to write-down the asset to its estimated fair value.

Based on such reviews at June 30, 2011, we determined that impairment losses had occurred with respect to certain long-lived assets of our Expos business, and we therefore recognized impairment losses of $625,000 for intangible assets in fiscal 2011, comprising a loss of $460,000 for the Expos trade name and $165,000 for the customer database. See Goodwill above.

In addition, in fiscal 2009, we reviewed the long-lived assets of our continuing businesses and concluded that certain capitalized software used in our autograph business was not recoverable in full due to technical and operational inefficiency issues.  As a result, we recognized an impairment loss of $649,000 for such capitalized software in our continuing operations for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009.

As part of our jewelry discontinued operations, we recognized impairment losses on our identifiable tangible and intangible assets in those businesses totaling $6,347,000 in fiscal 2009, which have been classified as part of the loss on discontinued operations.  See Goodwill above.

Stock-Based Compensation.   Stock-based compensation expense is measured at the grant date of an award, based on its estimated fair value, and is recognized as expense over the employee or non-employee director’s requisite service period, which is generally the vesting period of the award.  However, if the vesting of a stock-based compensation award is subject to satisfaction of a performance requirement or condition, the stock-based compensation expense is recognized if, and when, management determines that the achievement of the performance requirement or condition (and therefore the vesting of the award) has become probable.  In the event that stock-based compensation is recognized on the basis that the performance condition is probable, and management subsequently determines that the performance condition is not met, then all expense previously recognized with respect to the performance condition would be reversed.

  We recognize stock-based compensation expense for service-based stock option awards using the Black-Scholes option valuation method.  Under that method, we make assumptions with respect to the expected lives of the options or other stock awards that have been granted and are outstanding, the expected volatility and the dividend yield percentage of our common stock and the risk-free interest rate at the respective dates of grant.  In addition, we recognize and report stock-based compensation expense, net of a forfeiture rate with respect to outstanding awards that we expect will occur over their respective vesting periods, which we estimate on the basis of historical forfeiture experience or other factors that could affect the likelihood of forfeiture.  We monitor the forfeiture rate closely to ensure that all stock awards that vest are fully expensed over their respective vesting periods using the straight-line attribution method.  No options were granted in 2009 through 2011, and substantially all options granted were fully vested as of June 30, 2011.

Service-based stock awards that are granted to members of our Board of Directors on an annual basis and to certain members of senior management are recognized as stock-based compensation over the requisite service period.

 
 
32

 
 
Fiscal 2011 Restricted Stock Awards.   On July 16, 2010, the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors approved a management incentive compensation program for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 (the “2011 Stock Incentive Program”).  Under the terms of that program, certain executive officers and management employees (“Participants”) were awarded 80,000 restricted shares.  Retention by each Participant of the restricted shares is subject to satisfaction of certain vesting requirements and, if a vesting requirement that applies to any of the shares is not satisfied; those shares will be forfeited and cancelled.  The vesting requirements of the 2011 Stock Incentive Program are as follows:

(1)            Service-Based Vesting Requirement.   The vesting of 50% of the restricted shares (the “ Service -Based Shares”) awarded was made contingent on the Participant’s continued service with the Company; whereby 50% of the Service-Based Shares vested on June 30, 2011 and the remaining 50% will vest on June 30, 2012.

(2)            Performance-Based Vesting Requirement .  The vesting of the other fifty percent (50%) of the restricted shares awarded to each of these Participants (the “Performance-Based Shares”) was made contingent on the Company’s achievement of a financial performance goal for fiscal 2011.  If that goal was not achieved, all of these Performance-Based Shares would have been forfeited and cancelled.  On the other hand, if the Company achieved that fiscal 2011 financial performance goal, then (i) 50% of the Performance-Based Shares would become vested when it was determined that the performance goal was achieved, provided that the Participant was still in the Company’s service at the end of fiscal 2011, (ii) another 25% of the Performance-Based Shares would become vested on June 30, 2012, provided the Participant continued in the Company’s service at that time, and (iii) the final 25% of the Performance-Based Shares would become vested on June 30, 2013, provided the Participant continued in the Company’s service at that time, subject to acceleration of such vesting if a Participant’s service with the Company is terminated without cause or if a change of control occurs.   In the second quarter of fiscal 2011, management determined that achieving the performance condition for fiscal 2011 was probable and began recognizing stock-based compensation for the Performance-Based Shares.  In August 2011, it was definitively determined by the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors that the Company had achieved the financial performance goal for 2011, and as a result, 50% of the Performance-Based Shares vested at that time.

Fiscal 2010 Restricted Stock Awards .  In August 2010, the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors definitively determined that the Company had achieved the financial performance goal for fiscal 2010, and one-third of the fiscal 2010 performance shares vested.  As a result, stock-based compensation on the remaining unvested shares granted is being recognized over the remaining service period through June 30, 2012 dependent on the continued service of the Participant.

The Company recognized total stock-based compensation related to options and restricted shares of $1,131,000, $968,000 and $780,000 for fiscal years ended June 30, 2011, 2010, and 2009, respectively.

Capitalized Software .  In fiscal years 2011, 2010 and 2009, we capitalized, for continuing operations, approximately $9,000, $35,000 and $261,000, respectively, of software development costs related to a number of in-house software development projects.  GAAP requires that certain software development costs incurred, either from internal or external sources, be capitalized as part of intangible assets and amortized on a straight-line basis over the useful life of the software, which we have estimated at three years.   On the other hand, planning, training, support and maintenance costs incurred either prior to or following the implementation phase of a software development project are recognized as expense in the periods in which they are incurred.  During the fiscal years ended June 30, 2011, 2010 and 2009, we recorded approximately $267, 000, $466,000 and $710,000 , respectively, as amortization expense related to such capitalized software projects.

We evaluate the carrying values of capitalized software to determine whether those values are impaired and, if necessary, we record an impairment charge in the period in which we determine that an impairment has occurred.  Based on such an evaluation, we concluded that as of June 30, 2009 certain capitalized software used in our autograph and memorabilia authentication and grading business was not recoverable in full due to technical and operational inefficiency issues.  As a result, we recognized an impairment loss of $649,000 in our continuing operations for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended June 30, 2009.  See “ Long-Lived Assets Other Than Goodwill” above.   No impairment was recognized in fiscal 2011 or fiscal 2010.


 
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Income Taxes, Deferred Tax Assets and Valuation Allowances .  We account for income taxes in accordance with GAAP, which requires the recording of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the future consequences of events that have been recognized in the Company’s financial statements or tax returns or uncertain tax positions.  Measurement of the deferred items is based on enacted tax laws.  In the event the future consequences of differences between financial reporting bases and tax bases of the Company’s assets or liabilities result in a deferred tax asset, GAAP requires that we evaluate the probability of realizing the future income tax benefits comprising that asset based on a number of factors, which include projections of future taxable income and the nature of the tax benefits and the respective expiration dates of tax credits and net operating losses.  Through June 30, 2009, due to the length of time and the extent of the taxable income required to fully realize our deferred tax assets, we had recorded valuation allowances against all our deferred assets.

At June 30, 2010, due to (i) the improvement, that began in the second half of fiscal 2009 and continued throughout fiscal 2010, in the operating performance and results of our continuing businesses, and (ii) management’s expectations that such improved operating performance would continue in future periods, we concluded that it had become more likely than not, that we would be able to realize all of our remaining deferred tax assets.  As a result, the valuation allowances against our deferred tax assets were released at June 30, 2010.  Of this tax benefit of approximately $13.0 million, approximately $4.8 million was utilized to offset current fiscal 2010 taxable income, and the balance of $8.2 million was recognized as an income tax benefit in the 2010 statement of operations and as deferred tax assets at June 30, 2010.

In fiscal 2011, the Company recognized income tax provisions of $3.3 million based on an estimated annual effective tax rate of 40%.

At June 30, 2011, the Company has not recorded a deferred tax asset for the excess tax basis over the book basis of their investment in a subsidiary as there are uncertainties as to when the basis difference will reverse. Management analyzed these uncertainties at the reporting date, and a deferred tax asset of approximately $750,000 - $1,000,000 will be established when it is apparent that the difference will reverse in the foreseeable future.  The resulting tax benefit would reduce future tax payments.

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth certain financial data, expressed as a percentage of net revenues, derived from our Consolidated Statements of Operations for the respective periods indicated below:

   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Net revenues
    100.0 %     100.0 %     100.0 %
Cost of revenues
    38.8 %     39.2 %     45.6 %
Gross profit
    61.2 %     60.8 %     54.4 %
Operating expenses:
                       
Selling and marketing expenses
    13.6 %     12.7 %     12.0 %
General & administrative expenses
    25.9 %     27.1 %     34.8 %
Impairment losses
    3.0 %     -       1.8 %
Total operating expenses
    42.5 %     39.8 %     48.6 %
Operating income
    18.7 %     21.0 %     5.8 %
Interest and other income, net
    0.2 %     0.3 %     0.8 %
Income before provision (benefit) for income taxes
    18.9 %     21.3 %     6.6 %
Provision (benefit) for income taxes
    7.6 %     (21.0 )%     3.3 %
Income from continuing operations
    11.3 %     42.3 %     3.3 %
Loss from discontinued operations, net of loss
on sales of discontinued businesses (net of income taxes)
    0.2 %     (0.3 )%     (50.4 )%
Net income (loss)
    11.5 %     42.0 %     (47.1 )%


 
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Net Revenues .  Net revenues consist primarily of fees that we generate from the authentication and grading of high-value collectibles, including coins, trading cards, autographs and stamps.  To a lesser extent, we generate collectibles related service revenues (referred to as “other related revenues”) from sales of collectibles club memberships and advertising on our websites and in printed publications and collectibles price guides; subscription-based revenues primarily related to our CCE (dealer-to-dealer Internet bid-ask market for certified coins) and CoinFacts; and fees earned from promoting, managing and operating collectibles conventions.  Net revenues also include, to a significantly lesser extent, revenues from the sales of products, which consist primarily of coins that we purchase under our warranty policy.  We do not consider such product sales to be an integral part of our ongoing revenue generating activities.

The following tables set forth the total net revenues for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2011, 2010 and 2009 between grading and authentication services revenues and other related services (including product revenues):

               
2011 vs. 2010
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
Increase (Decrease)
 
   
Amount
   
% of Net
Revenues
   
Amount
   
% of Net
Revenues
   
Amount
   
Percent
 
Grading and authentication fees
  $ 35,891       80.8 %   $ 32,617       82.0 %   $ 3,274       10.0 %
Other related products and services
    8,541       19.2 %     7,146       18.0 %     1,395       19.5 %
Total net revenues
  $ 44,432       100.0 %   $ 39,763       100.0 %   $ 4,669       11.7 %

               
2010 vs. 2009
 
   
2010
   
2009
   
Increase (Decrease)
 
   
Amount
   
% of Net
Revenues
   
Amount
   
% of Net
Revenues
   
Amount
   
Percent
 
Grading and authentication fees
  $ 32,617       82.0 %   $ 28,645       79.8 %   $ 3,972       13.9 %
Other related products and services
    7,146       18.0 %     7,269       20.2 %     (123 )     (1.7 )%
Total net revenues
  $ 39,763       100.0 %   $ 35,914       100.0 %   $ 3,849       10.7 %

The following tables set forth certain information regarding the increases or decreases in net revenues from our larger markets (which are inclusive of revenues from our other related services) and in the number of units graded and authenticated (in thousands):

               
2011 vs. 2010
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
Increase (Decrease)
 
         
% of Net
         
% of Net
   
Revenues
   
Units Processed
 
   
Amount
   
Revenues
   
Amount
   
Revenues
   
Amounts
   
Percent
   
Number
   
Percent
 
Coins
  $ 29,389       66.1 %   $ 25,689       64.6 %   $ 3,700       14.4 %     265,500       15.5 %
Cards and Autographs (1)
    10,229       23.0 %     9,746       24.5 %     483       5.0 %     73,800       5.7 %
Other (2)
    4,814       10.9 %     4,328       10.9 %     486       11.2 %     (5,100 )     (26.8 )%
    $ 44,432       100.0 %   $ 39,763       100.0 %   $ 4,669       11.7 %     334,200       11.1 %

               
2010 vs. 2009
 
   
2010
   
2009
   
Increase (Decrease)
 
         
% of Net
         
% of Net
   
Revenues
   
Units Processed
 
   
Amount
   
Revenues
   
Amount
   
Revenues
   
Amounts
   
Percent
   
Number
   
Percent
 
Coins
  $ 25,689       64.6 %   $ 20,549       57.2 %   $ 5,140       25.0 %     252,100       17.3 %
Cards and Autographs (1)
    9,746       24.5 %     10,190       28.4 %     (444 )     (4.4 )%     (52,600 )     (3.9 )%
Other (2)
    4,328       10.9 %     5,175       14.4 %     (847 )     (16.4 )%     (6,700 )     (26.1 )%
    $ 39,763       100.0 %   $ 35,914       100.0 %   $ 3,849       10.7 %     192,800       6.8 %
 


(1)       
Consists of revenues from our PSA trading card authentication and grading business and our PSA/DNA autograph authentication and grading business.

(2)        
Includes the revenues of our stamp authentication and grading business, CCE subscription fees, CFC interest income, the revenues of our Expos convention business, and product sales revenues.


 
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Fiscal 2011 vs. 2010 . For fiscal 2011, our total net service revenues increased by $4,669,000 or 11.7%, from $39,763,000 in fiscal 2010 to $44,432,000 in fiscal 2011, and comprised increases of $3,274,000, or 10.0%, in grading and authentication fees and $1,395,000, or 19.5%, in other related services.

The increased authentication and grading fees of $3,274,000 in fiscal 2011, was attributable to (i) increased coin authentication and grading fees of $3,075,000 or 13.1%; and (ii) increased PSA/DNA autograph authentication and grading fees of $659,000 or 27.6%.  These increases were partially offset by decreases of $323,000 or 5.3% and $137,000 or 22.6% in our sportcards and stamp authentication and grading fees, respectively.
 
 
The increase in fees generated from coins authenticated and graded of 13.1% in fiscal 2011, compared to fiscal 2010, reflects the mix of fees earned from shows, vintage, modern coins and world coins (including France) grading in the respective periods.  Our modern coin grading and authentication fees increased by approximately $1,900,000 or 21% to record levels, reflecting marketing programs by the U.S. Mint and by our customers and dealers in the second half of the year.  World coin authentication and grading revenues grew by approximately $1,300,000 or 128%, reflecting increased submissions of world coins, including grading at our Paris, France facility. Vintage authentication and grading fees increased by approximately $60,000 or 1%.  Show authentication and grading revenues decreased by approximately $260,000 or 6%, reflecting lower average grading fees earned per show in fiscal 2011.

As discussed under “Factors That Can Affect our Revenues and Gross Profit Margin,” the level of modern coins and trade show revenues can be volatile, and therefore it is uncertain what level of growth in those revenues, if any, will be achieved in future quarters.  In addition, the increase in our authentication and grading fees earned, reflects increased submissions of world coins from overseas, particularly Asia, and fiscal 2011 represented our first year of authentication and grading at our Paris, France facility.  It is, therefore, uncertain whether the increased fees earned from the authentication and grading of world coins can continue to grow at 2011 levels or whether we can expect continued future growth.  However, management plan to continue to focus attention on world coins as a growth opportunity.

Due to the strong performance of our coin authentication and grading business relative to our other businesses in fiscal 2011, our coin business represented approximately 66% of total revenues, compared to 65% of total revenues in fiscal year 2010; thereby, reflecting the continued importance of our coin authentication and grading business to our overall financial performance.

The increases in other related services of $1,395,000 in fiscal 2011 included increased product sales of $512,000, web-based subscriptions, including CCE of $636,000, advertising revenues of $241,000, and Collector Club membership revenues of $226,000, partially offset by a reduction in the revenues of our Expos collectibles trade show convention business and our CFC Dealer Financing business, which we have wound down.

Fiscal 2010 vs. 2009.   For fiscal 2010, net revenues increased by $3,849,000, or 10.7%, from $35,914,000 in fiscal 2009 to $39,763,000 in fiscal 2010.  The increase was attributable to a $3,972,000, or 13.9%, increase in authentication and grading fees and a small reduction in revenues from other related services related to product sales.  The increased authentication and grading fees for fiscal 2010 included increased coins authentication and grading fees of $4,676,000, or 25%, partially offset by reductions of $370,000, or 4%, in revenues from our trading cards and autographs businesses and $334,000, or 36%, in stamps.

The increase in coin authentication and grading fees of $4,676,000 for fiscal 2010 was due primarily to modern coin grading revenue increases of approximately $3,700,000, or 60%, over the corresponding periods in fiscal 2009.  Also contributing to the coin increase in fiscal 2010, was revenues from authentication and grading of coins at collectible trade shows which increased by approximately $780,000, or 23%, over the prior fiscal year, due primarily to an increase in the number of shows attended in those periods.  Revenues from the authentication and grading of vintage coins were substantially unchanged in fiscal 2010 compared to fiscal 2009.

Gross Profit

Gross profit is calculated by subtracting the cost of revenues from net revenues.  Gross profit margin is gross profit stated as a percent of net revenues.  The costs of authentication and grading revenues consist primarily of labor to authenticate and grade collectibles, production costs, credit card fees, warranty expense, occupancy, security and insurance costs that directly relate to providing authentication and grading services.  Cost of revenues also includes printing, other direct costs of the revenues generated by our other non-grading related services and the costs of product revenues (which represent the carrying value of the inventory of products, which are primarily collectible coins that we sold and any inventory-related reserves, considered necessary).

Set forth below is information regarding our gross profits in the fiscal years ended June 30, 2011, 2010 and 2009 (in thousands):

   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Gross profit
  $ 27,183     $ 24,169     $ 19,529  
Gross profit margin
    61.2 %     60.8 %     54.4 %
 
 
 
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         As indicated in the above table, our gross profit margin increased to 61.2% in fiscal 2011 from 60.8% in fiscal 2010.  Excluding the effect of product sales in all periods presented, the adjusted gross profit margin would have been 61.6% in fiscal 2011, compared with 61.0% in fiscal 2010.  There can be some variability in the gross profit margin depending upon the mix of revenues and seasonality.  During fiscal 2011, our quarterly gross profit margin varied between 59% (in our second quarter, which is typically our lowest quarter of the year due to the holidays in that period) and 62%.  In addition, our gross profit margin may increase or decrease in certain periods depending upon the number of collectibles authenticated and graded in the period due to the relatively fixed nature of certain of our direct costs, although there can be offsetting charges in certain of our variable direct costs depending upon the mix of revenues in the period.  The gross profit margin for our Expos business declined in fiscal 2011, reflecting lower revenues and slightly higher direct costs as we attempted to offset declines in revenues in that business.

Fiscal 2010 vs. 2009.   Our gross profit margin increased to 60.8% in fiscal 2010 from 54.4% in fiscal 2009. That increase primarily reflects (i) an increase of 25% in fiscal 2010 in coin-related revenues on which we earn a higher gross profit margin; (ii) lower direct costs, both in dollars and percentage terms, as a result of our cost reduction programs and increased operational efficiencies; and (iii) a reduction of $294,000 in stock-based compensation expense in fiscal 2010 as a result of awards granted in periods prior to fiscal 2009 that became fully vested in fiscal 2009.  In fiscal 2010, our gross profit margin on a quarterly basis varied between 59% and 63%.

Selling and Marketing Expenses

Selling and marketing expenses are comprised primarily of advertising and promotions costs, trade-show expenses, customer service personnel costs, business development incentive compensation costs, depreciation and third-party consulting costs (in thousands):

   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Selling and marketing expenses
  $ 6,029     $ 5,068     $ 4,306  
As a percentage of net revenues
    13.6 %     12.7 %     12.0 %

The increase of $961,000 in selling and marketing expenses in fiscal 2011,  compared to fiscal 2010, primarily related to our coin business and included (i) increased business development cost incentives of approximately $260,000 due to higher revenues in the current year; and  (ii) increased costs of approximately $520,000 related to our Paris, France authentication and grading and promotional activities, including approximately $420,000 related to conducting eight coin shows in Paris in fiscal 2011; and (iii) other sales and marketing payroll and outside services associated with increased revenues.

Fiscal 2010 vs. 2009 .  The $762,000 increase in selling and marketing expenses in the fiscal 2010, compared to fiscal 2009, was primarily attributable to increased incentive compensation costs due to the increase in coin authentication and grading submissions and higher costs incurred in connection with on-site grading at trade shows due primarily to an increase in the number of trade shows at which we participated in fiscal 2010.


 
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General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative (“G&A”) expenses are comprised primarily of compensation paid to general and administrative personnel, including executive management, finance and accounting personnel and information technology personnel, facilities management costs, depreciation, amortization and other miscellaneous expenses.  G&A expenses also include stock-based compensation costs, arising from the grant of stock awards to general and administrative personnel and outside directors.

The following table compares our G&A expenses that we incurred in fiscal 2011 to the G&A expenses we incurred in fiscal 2010 and 2009 (in thousands):

   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
General & administrative expenses
  $ 11,497     $ 10,745     $ 12,486  
As a percentage of net revenues                                                   
    25.9 %     27.1 %     34.8 %

Although, G&A expenses increased by $752,000 in fiscal 2011, compared to fiscal 2010, such expenses declined as a percentage of net revenues to 25.9% in fiscal 2011, compared to 27.1% of revenues in fiscal 2010.  The dollar increase primarily related to the Company’s coin business and included (i) outside consultant services of approximately $275,000 incurred in connection with the development of a more advanced technology system (designed to enhance our ability to identify counterfeit or altered coins) and certain internal system modifications, (ii) increased compensation and incentive costs of approximately $500,000 in support of the growth of the business, and (iii) outside legal and compliance services incurred of approximately $130,000.  In addition, non-cash stock-based compensation increased by $163,000 in fiscal 2011 related to restricted stock grants to management (see “Stock-Based Compensation Expense below”).  These cost increases were partially offset by reductions in capitalized software amortization of approximately $200,000, as certain capitalized projects become fully amortized, depreciation costs of $54,000 and other G&A costs in fiscal 2011.

2010 vs. 2009.   G&A expenses decreased by $1,741,000 in fiscal year 2010, compared to fiscal 2009.  That reduction was primarily attributable to staff reductions and other cost-savings measures, most of which were initially effectuated in the latter half of fiscal 2009, a reduction of outside professional fees and a reduction of approximately $244,000 in capitalized software amortization costs in fiscal 2010 as capitalized projects become fully amortized, and the absence, in fiscal year 2010, of severance costs of approximately $400,000 recognized in connection with the departure of the Company’s former chief executive officer in fiscal 2009.

The reduction in G&A expenses in fiscal 2010, was partially offset by increased non-cash stock-based compensation costs of $503,000 in fiscal 2010, compared to the same periods of the prior year, primarily related to restricted stock grants to management (see “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates Stock-Based Compensation” ).

Impairment Losses
   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
(Dollars in thousands)
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Impairment losses on intangible assets
  $ 625     $ -     $ 649  
Impairment loss on goodwill                                               
    743       -       -  
    $ 1,368     $ -     $  -  

The impairment losses in fiscal 2011 were attributable to an impairment in our Expos business.  See Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates Goodwill and Long-Lived Assets Other Than Goodwill.”

The impairment loss in fiscal 2009 was attributable to a determination that, due to technical and operational inefficiencies, the carrying value of capitalized software developed for our autograph business was impaired at June 30, 2009.


 
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Stock-Based Compensation Expense

We recognized stock-based compensation expense, arising from the grant of restricted stock and stock option awards, of $1,131,000, $968,000 and $759,000 during fiscal 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively.  Stock-based compensation expense is recorded as part of (i) costs of sales, in the case of stock awards granted to employees whose costs are classified as cost of revenues; and (ii) general and administrative expenses, in the case of stock awards granted to directors, executive and financial management and administrative personnel, as follows (dollars in thousands):

   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
 
Included In:
 
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Cost of revenues                                               
  $ -     $ -     $ 294  
General and administrative expenses
    1,131       968       465  
    $ 1,131     $ 968     $ 759  

The increases in stock-based compensation expense that arose in both fiscal 2011 and 2010 were due primarily to the recognition of stock-based compensation expense for the restricted stock awarded to the Company’s executive officers in fiscal 2010, and executive officers and senior management in fiscal 2011, partially offset by reduced stock-based compensation for stock options and awards that became fully vested in 2009.  Stock-based compensation is determined based upon the grant date fair value of the Company’s stock, which increased to $12.46 for the fiscal 2011 grants, compared to $4.07 for the fiscal 2010 grants.   See “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates― Stock-Based Compensation Expense” above in this Item 7 of this Annual Report.

No stock options were granted in fiscals 2009 through 2011.  When applicable, we calculate stock-based compensation by estimating the fair value of stock options as of their respective grant dates using the Black-Scholes option valuation model and various assumptions that are described in note 12 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8 of this Annual Report and recognize such costs on a straight-line basis over the vesting period of the options.

A total of $583,000 of compensation expense related to unvested stock-based compensation awards remained unrecognized as of June 30, 2011 and will be recognized as compensation expense as follows (dollars in thousands):

Year Ending June 30,
     
       
2012
  $ 542  
2013
    41  
Total
  $ 583  

These amounts, which are non-cash expenses, do not include the cost of any additional stock-based compensation awards that may be granted in future periods nor, as mentioned above, any changes that might occur in the Company’s forfeiture percentage (see note 12 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report).

Interest Income, Net

Interest income is generated on cash balances that we have invested, primarily in highly liquid money market accounts and funds, short-term bank certificates of deposit and commercial paper instruments and tax-free funds.  Such interest income does not include the interest that we generated on loans that we have made pursuant to our dealer-financing program in 2010 and 2009, which are included in net revenues in those periods.  The following table compares the interest income we earned in the fiscal years ended June 30, 2011, 2010 and 2009 (in thousands):

   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Interest income, net                                                                
  $ 98     $ 89     $ 284  
Percent of net revenue                                                                
    0.2 %     0.2 %     0.8 %

 
 
 
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2011 vs. 2010.   Due to the continued low interest rates prevailing in both fiscal 2011 and 2010, interest income, net, was $98,000, compared with $89,000 in fiscal 2010.

2010 vs. 2009.   Interest income, net was $89,000 in fiscal 2010, compared with $284,000 in fiscal 2009.  That decrease was primarily attributable to (i) a shift, during fiscal 2009, of our cash and cash equivalent balances into money-market investments; (ii) a decrease in our average cash balances in fiscal 2010, compared to 2009, due to the use of a portion of our available cash to fund the buyback of common stock in our “Dutch Auction” tender offer and the payment of increased dividends to stockholders in fiscal 2010; (iii) cash used in the operating activities of our discontinued operations; and (iv) lower prevailing interest rates as a result of actions taken by the Federal Reserve Board.

Provision for Income Taxes
   
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
(Dollars in thousands)
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Provision (benefit) for income taxes
  $ 3,346     $ (8,330 )   $ 1,183  

The income tax provision of $3,346,000 in fiscal 2011 represents an estimated annual effective tax rate of approximately 40%.

The income tax benefit of $8,330,000 in fiscal 2010 primarily reflects the release of valuation allowances, as a result of improved operating results for fiscal 2010 and management’s assessment that it was more likely than not that the Company would realize substantially all of its deferred tax assets at June 30, 2010.  See “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates Income Tax, Deferred Tax Assets and Valuation Allowances.”

The income tax provision for fiscal 2009 reflects valuation allowances that we established against the Company’s deferred tax assets due to uncertainties with respect to the realization of the tax benefits comprising those assets, net of a tax benefit of $96,000, related to the reversal of certain tax exposures for uncertain state tax positions that had been resolved.

Discontinued Operations
 
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,
(Dollars in thousands)
 
2011
 
2010
 
2009
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of losses
     on sales of discontinued businesses (net of income taxes)
 
$          83
 
 
$     (107)
 
 
$(18,126)

The income from discontinued operations (net of income taxes) of $83,000 (net) in fiscal 2011 related to (i) accretion expense associated with the Company’s ongoing obligations for the New York City facilities, formerly occupied by our discontinued jewelry businesses, net of (ii) license fees of $42,000, arising from the disposal of the Company’s former currency grading and authentication business that became determinable in fiscal 2011; (iii) a reduction in a  severance accrual as a result of the settlement of the obligation of $22,000 in fiscal 2011; and (iv) approximately $216,000 from the sale of the Company’s Gemprint and remaining diamond assets which had been fully written down in prior years.

The loss from discontinued operations (net of income taxes) in fiscal year 2010 primarily reflects accretion expenses (net of taxes) associated with the Company’s ongoing obligations for the spaces formerly occupied by our discontinued jewelry businesses.  In the second quarter of fiscal 2010, the Company increased its loss accruals for those leases by $405,000.  In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, the Company entered into two agreements to reduce its lease obligations, whereby one of the leases was sublet to a third party, and the second facility was returned to the landlord, and the lease terminated with only a financial obligation remaining.  As a result, the Company released approximately $500,000 of its loss accruals for these leases in the fourth quarter of 2010.  See “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates― Accrual for Losses on Facility Leases.”


 
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The loss from discontinued operations for fiscal 2009 of $18,126,000, primarily reflects (i) losses of $5,219,000 that we recognized on the discontinuance and exit from our jewelry authentication and grading businesses in fiscal 2009; (ii) impairment losses of $7,695,000 recognized at December 31, 2008 to the carrying values of long lived assets and goodwill of those jewelry businesses; and (iii) losses of $5,212,000 incurred from the ongoing operations of our discontinued businesses from July 1, 2009 through the date of their discontinuance, which was March 2, 2009.  No income tax benefits were recognized in connection with the recognition of those losses in fiscal 2009, due to uncertainty as to the realization of our deferred tax assets in future periods.  See “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates Long-Lived Assets Other Than Goodwill—Goodwill and Income Taxes and Deferred Tax Assets   above.

Quarterly Results of Operations and Seasonality

The following tables present unaudited selected quarterly financial data for each of the eight quarters beginning September 30, 2009 and ending on June 30, 2011.  The information has been derived from our unaudited quarterly financial statements, which have been prepared by us on a basis consistent with our audited Consolidated Financial Statements appearing elsewhere in this Form 10-K.  The consolidated financial information set forth below includes all adjustments (consisting of normal adjustments and accruals) that management considers necessary for a fair presentation of the unaudited quarterly results when read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this Form 10-K.  These quarterly operating results are not necessarily indicative of results that may be expected for any subsequent fiscal periods.

Generally, the revenues generated by our collectibles grading and authentication businesses are lower during our second quarter, which ends on December 31, than in other quarterly periods, because collectibles commerce generally decreases during the holiday season.

 
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Our collectibles trade show business has added to the variability in our quarter-to-quarter operating results, as its revenues vary based on the timing of the collectibles trade shows it conducts.  As a general matter, the revenues of this business are significantly higher in the first, third and fourth quarters of our fiscal years, compared to the second quarter, because the Long Beach Collectibles Shows (the larger of the two trade shows that it conducts) take place during the first, third and fourth quarters, while the smaller Santa Clara Collectibles Shows take place in the second and fourth quarters of the year.

 
Quarterly Results of Operations
 
Quarter Ended
(In thousands, except per share data)
 
   
Sept. 30,
2009
   
Dec. 31,
2009
   
Mar. 31,
2010
   
June 30,
2010
   
Sept. 30,
2010
   
Dec. 31,
2010
   
Mar. 31,
2011
   
June 30,
2011
 
Statement of Operations Data:
                                               
Net revenues
  $ 9,298     $ 8,883     $ 10,790     $ 10,792     $ 9,755     $ 9,600     $ 12,818     $ 12,259  
Cost of revenues
    3,739       3,633       4,204       4,018       3,774       3,895       4,907       4,673  
Gross profit
    5,559       5,250       6,586       6,774       5,981       5,705       7,911       7,586  
Operating Expenses:
                                                               
SG&A expenses
    3,763       3,785       4,051       4,214       4,142       4,154       4,598       4,632  
Impairment losses (1)
    -       -       -       -       -       -       -       1,368  
Operating income (loss)
    1,796       1,465       2,535       2,560       1,839       1,551       3,313       1586  
Interest and other income, net
    40       12       35       32       24       28       36       5  
Income (loss) before income taxes
    1,836       1,477       2,570       2,592       1,863       1,579       3,349       1,591  
Provision (benefit) for income taxes (2)