I’ve been debating for a few weeks now which silver bullion series I might want to focus on getting caught up on this year. The Kiwis and the Koalas have both been in contention. I’ve been a little reluctant to commit to building out the Koala set this year because I had the first four sets in the series in MS70 and, if I went for the rest of that set, I knew I’d probably want to continue with 70s. This is one of the few of these sets that I’d originally been going for in MS70 – the Kookaburras, Lunars and Pandas I was quite to content to build out mostly in MS69. I had been thinking, based on my memories from ’08-’10, that it would probably run me $70-100 a coin to build out the set in that grade and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go in for that right now. I wasn’t fully convinced that it was worth that to me at this time vs other things I could be doing. I’ve always loved these large bullion coins for the designs, but I’ve really been getting into the 19th century European gold more as I get older and the two have to compete for funds.
Just to see I’ve been watching on eBay to see what they’re tending to go for. To my pleasant surprise, while most are listing in the $70-100 range, I expected there are several dates available from various reliable sources in MS70 for about $50, which I’m more comfortable with.
A couple of weeks ago, on Sunday the 6th, a seller I’ve bought from before listed seven 2011-P Koalas in MS70 for $38 each. It was a surprise seeing that because this dealer normally only deals in classic coinage – I’m pretty sure I bought my 1887 10G from them a few years back. Looking at eBay, these Koalas looked really out of place and were just about the only modern coins they were selling. I have no idea how they got these things in stock, but they priced them to sell – everyone else was asking at least $50 for the same thing. It can be hard to find dealers willing to sell graded MS69s for $35 or less.
I had a $10 “eBay bucks” certificate that I had to spend before the month was over anyway and $38 is almost cheap enough to call an impulse purchase (I normally try to cap those at $25 though to be honest). But I thought about it for a little while and decided to pull the trigger. At that price, I just knew I wasn’t going to regret it even if I didn’t decide to make the Koalas a focus this year.
Unless a seller listed one in an auction and I got lucky it was hard to imagine getting one any cheaper than that. $38 probably barely covers the cost of the coin and the grading, and it’s a guaranteed MS70.
A few days later, around the time the 2011 coin was arriving in the mail, I noticed that there was not one, but four 2017-Ps selling in true auctions with very low starting bids that were all ending on Sunday the 13th. The four coins were selling in pairs. Each pair was being offered by a different seller. One pair was ending around 10:30 AM about a minute apart from each other. The 2nd pair was ending around 10PM, also very close together. A major dealer that I’ve bought from before was also offering the 2017-P with a BIN of $48. All of these had free shipping.
Granted, people do crazy things all the time, but it seemed likely that the bidding would top out at or below $48. Assuming the people bidding (and there were about 10-12 people bidding on the various auctions) had done their homework / research, it seemed reasonable to think that no one would keep bidding once the price got close to $48 when there was a BIN option.
Sheer number of coins selling that day and having that BIN serving as a ceiling seemed like a perfect recipe for suppressing the sale price and made it seem likely that a good deal could be had. Based on all of this it just felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up. So I decided to go for one of them.
I decided I’d bid about $42 on the first of the four, see if I won. If I didn’t win, I’d immediately bid the same on the second. If I lost both, I’d consider bidding a little higher on the second pair.
I figured I’d either get a reasonable deal (under $45) or I just wouldn’t bother buying today.
Well… I won the first coin for just $34.89. The second coin sold a minute later for $34.00. The second pair ended at $33.20 and $38.00. So, I don’t know if my theory about the large number of coins proved valid in the end or if that’s just the price that the buyers on the Bay are willing to support right now.
In about a week I’ve locked up two of the nine coins I was going to need to build back my Koala set for under $75. Not a bad run of luck. I don’t know if this quite locks me into / commits me to going after the Koalas this year, but I’m really close to it.
With everything that’s going on lately I think there might also be a “retail therapy” aspect to these small purchases too, but fortunately I’m not going nuts – still very much honoring and sticking to my budget.
Now I just need to stop getting distracted and get back to waiting to be ready to purchase that 20 Franc coin in a couple of months. Of course, I say that while knowing that an auction for a 2012 in MS70 is ending this weekend.
The included pictures are just a quick attempt. Hopefully I’ll be re-shooting and uploading new pictures with all of these to match what I’ve gotten done lately for the 10G set, the Kiwis, and the Kookaburras.
(Bonus! When I told my wife the title of this post, she visibly winced and said, “You are such a nerd!”)
Tomorrow is my 3rd Anniversary with my wife. We decided to exchange gifts yesterday because I wanted to give her an opportunity to use her gift.
She’d been secretive about my present. Lately she’s been getting me mostly practical gifts but we’re practical people. As I’ve transitioned into my 30s and fatherhood, I find I have less and less desire for random stuff in my life. My coin collection is one of the few things in my life these days that falls into a special category of “it’s mostly useless but it makes me happy.”
She’d decided that she didn’t want to get me another practical gift though. She wanted to get me something fun. She also wanted to surprise me and not repeat the arrangement of Christmas where I got the money and I spent it myself (applying it towards that 1877 10G, which we put under the tree).
So she goes hunting and spends I-have-no-idea-how-long looking for a link to an old wish list I had on a currency collecting site and ordered me a raw Zimbabwe 20 Trillion dollar note. She said she wanted to get me a coin, but she had no idea what to get.
She was very excited. I love her to death for the thought and the effort she put into this.
The problem? Well… I already have a graded Zimbabwe 20 Trillion note. A fact that came up when she mentioned maybe having to get it graded so it would go with the others and I was like… “I’m probably not going to grade this.” (and I showed her the one I already had to explain). She was confused because she thought she got something on my list… I had the 20 Billion note on my list, which I still need. It was also a PMG-graded one for about $25-30 depending on grade.
We shared a laugh about it after she was done feeling a bit stupid (but, who can blame her with all those zeros?). We hugged and kissed. We’ll laugh about this for years I’m sure.
The store she bought the note from has a return policy and so she’s going to hopefully return it to try to get most / all of the money back and then we’ll have a discussion about getting something else.
Normally, I would have kept it just for laughs. I truly love that she tried so hard to get me something that I would love for my collection. The problem I have with keeping it is the price she paid. She just got completely taken on this note IMO.
The store she bought it from is the store I bought most of my Zimbabwe note set from. Their prices have historically been quite reasonable, and you can still get many of the Zimbabwe notes from them for reasonable prices, even ones already graded by PMG for barely more than the grading fees. However, since I bought most of my set, someone there seems to have gone a little nuts - particularly on the 4 notes in the trillion set - the 10, 20, 50 and 100 Trillion notes. I’m guessing at some point someone there figured out that those are the four notes that most people want, most people don’t collect the lower denomination notes, and so they could probably get away with up-charging on those four where they couldn’t easily on the others.
Seeing them charge her $60 for a raw bank note that’s as common as these are has, in all honesty, really hurt my opinion / feelings towards the company.
After I showed her a PMG graded note on eBay for $42 she just said, “Oh. I just thought the price was the price.” Nope… This isn’t like buying something off the shelf at Wal-mart. If you don’t do your homework, you’re likely to get taken for all you’re worth and some people will be happy to do it to you.
This all comes after, about a week ago, she realized that I have a massive watch list on eBay with dozens of items that I think would be fun to get but I will never have a budget big enough to get all of them. She told me at the time, a couple of days after she’d already ordered this Zimbabwe note, that I needed to share that with her, so I just wrote my eBay user name and password on an index card and gave it to her. She’d have to buy the item with her own account to hide it from me, but it would point her in the right direction.
I feel like a horrible gift recipient, but she reads me too well and I can’t hide it from her when something’s not quite right. Honestly though it was a conversation that probably needed to happen. I wouldn’t want her to repeat this and keep over-paying for things like what happened here.
Not to brag but I totally hit it out of the park on her gift.
Last November, I noticed that the latest round of deaccessions from the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society, billed as the Eric P. Newman Collection Part XI US Coins Signature Auction, also had a few world coins mixed in. I won this nice upgrade for the 1733 klippe 8 reales that I mentioned in a previous journal entry. But, I was also curious because of the lot description that included:
"A scarce-to-rare example of the Philip V 8 reales pistareen with cut sides, struck on a screw press according to the Eric P. Newman kraft envelope, which accompanies the coin."
I was aware that "pistareen" was a nickname for Spanish 2 reales coins and wondered why Mr. Newman would mention that in his notes about an 8 reales. Alas, I was unable to glean any more information by examining the envelope because it was not included in the shipment from Heritage. I did complain to Heritage and they checked with their shipping department and opened an investigation into the issue. However, after a month they concluded that the envelope was lost. They did offer a refund if I wanted to return the coin but I elected to keep it, but I was able to get a credit for part of the lot cost.
I imagine that it was accidentally shipped with a different lot so if you received an envelope with your package from the Eric P. Newman Collection Part XI US Coins Signature Auction that doesn't seem to belong with your lot, it may be mine. Please contact Heritage if that's the case.
As part of my investigation into the "pistareen" question, I came across a great article from the April 2001 issue of the Colonial Newsletter that discusses how a coin that was never meant to be used outside of Spain, was actually one of the most commonly used coins in Colonial Virginia. This connection may have been how Mr. Newman recognized some of the similar design elements on the 8 reales klippe as the shield on the obverse is the same although the style of the cross on the reverse only bears a slight resemblance. I'll leave it to you to hunt down example photos of a "pistareen" and I'll just show my photos of my new klippe.
Thanks to the judges at NGC for the journal award – 10 years exactly after I won it in 2008. I really appreciate it!
I also wanted to say congratulations to the people who won the Best Modern, Best Classic, Best Presented, Best Custom and Overall Achievement awards – especially ColonialCoinsUK, Mohawk, Coin928 and some of the others I’ve talked to in the forums lately.
Friday turned out to be a really good day for me on a writing front. I found out that an old paper I submitted in December for peer-review was accepted. It’ll be the 7th peer-reviewed paper I’ve been named on and my 5th first author – my first peer-reviewed paper since I left Grad school in 2015.
I’ve been planning out some professional goals for 2019 and also thinking about what I’d like 2019 to hold in a coin collecting capacity.
I had been hoping that in 2019 I’d purchase 3 gold coins: a 2019 ¼ oz gold eagle, a 19th century French 20 Franc Angel type coin, and (if I got a good bonus in February / March) a 1924 gold double eagle. At this point I don’t know if it’s going to pan out that way even if I get a solid bonus. If my wife ends up getting put on bedrest and we lose her income earlier than we’d hoped that will probably put us under enough financial stress to make a lot of that unrealistic, but such is life. The 1/4th oz gold eagle would be a coin to mark the birth of my 2nd son and (to my mind anyway) would go with the 2016 I bought when my first son was born. If I only do one of the three, that'll probably be the one.
We’ll see how it all comes out in the end. She’s relaxing as much as possible and avoiding over exerting herself. The main question we have is how long she can avoid having any bleeding. If she doesn’t bleed, she can keep working and keep mostly living a normal life. If she starts bleeding, even a little, she’ll be going on bedrest or modified bedrest. I’m not even sure our main concern or problem would be financial at that point – we’re fortunately pretty comfortable. But if she has to stay in bed all day it may drive her insane.
There’s a chance that my 2nd son (Samuel) will share a birthday with his maternal grandfather (March 18th). He will probably be born within a week, maybe two, of his older brother’s birthday (3/26).
Beyond those three, main goals / purchases I’m eyeing though I think 2019 will mostly have a focus on building up the rest of that Presidential dollars proof set as I’ve mentioned previously and acquiring new coins for a couple of series like the Kiwis, Koalas, and maybe my Kookaburras. To the extent that I pursue the bullion series I’m probably going to try to pick one or two series and focus on filling in the last decade of issues that I’ve been missing in those sets rather than just picking up random coins across all the sets and series I’ve bought coins for over time. I’m seriously considering trying to get my Koala set ready to have a #1 ranking again in December 2019. That could be a fun target to pursue.
This a follow up on my earlier post about a 1560 Mansfeld thaler that I bought last Spring and then immediately received buy offers through the Heritage auction site. I wondered what might be so special about this coin and made some posts on this and other forums to see if I could find out. Finally, I got a PM through this site from a person who found my earlier post and provided some information about the attribution for this coin. As I had speculated, there is nothing particularly special about this thaler except that the collector who contacted me has a connection to the Mansfeld region and only collects Mansfeld thalers. I have agreed to sell this coin so that it can join a collection where it will be special. My one condition on the sale was to ask the collector to share some of information about these Mansfeld thalers with us here.
Yes, it is a trick question.
My question is about an 1808 dated 8 reales with the bust of Fernando VII and the mint mark of Potosí from the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata (modern day Bolivia). The answer lies in the tumultuous history of the period. Here's an illuminating discussion from a recent Heritage Auction catalog description:
This apparently anachronistic issue was due to the Royal Ordinance of April 10, 1808 which was sent to the mints of the Americas before Ferdinand VII surrendered his throne to Napoleon on May 9... and reads as follows: "regarding the fact that the coinage ought to be minted with my royal name and no other alteration, I have instructed that until the (new) master dies are received the coins shall be minted as until now with the bust and name of my august father and without variation of the date and that later some coins shall be minted from the new master die and my bust and name and the date of 1808 proving that I have reigned in it (in that year)". Naturally, this royal ordinance was originally intended to be only provisional and effective for 1808 since the new master dies were expected to be sent and received in that year. However, Napoleon's invasion of Spain meant that the new master dies would not be sent until 1811. In the interval 1808-1811, the various mints gave different interpretations to the aforementioned ordinance: some (as Guatemala, Potosi, Nuevo Reino and Popayan) kept minting with the previous bust of Charles IV while others (Mexico, Lima, Santiago) engraved local renditions of Ferdinand VII, thus creating the so call "imaginary bust" issues.
The previous text described an 1808 8 Reales of Fernando VII minted in Guatemala, but the key details apply to the issues of the Potosí mint, as well. This establishes that Fernando VII "proper bust" issues could not have been minted in 1808 due to the absence of dies with the official portrait. Calbeto includes this note in his 8 reales compendium, "1811 - Abril 7. Con oficio de esta fecha se remiten a las Casas de la Moneda de Popayan, Potosi, Lima y Santiago, los cuños para las moneda reales de a 8 y de a 2.", which confirms the date when dies were sent from Spain to the colonial mints.
The revolutionary forces of the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata (from Buenos Aires -- modern day Argentina) took control of much of Upper Peru, including Potosí in 1810 but were forced out of the region after losing the Battle of Huaqui in June of 1811. The earliest point when 1808 dated examples could have been issued would have been during the second half of 1811 after the royalists returned to power and after the "proper bust" master die was received from Spain. "Proper bust" issues are also known with 1809 and 1810 dates -- these were probably minted in 1811 or possibly 1812. However, no examples are thought to have been issued with 1811 and 1812 dates. Although production could have started in 1811, it would have been interrupted in 1812 due to revolutionary armies moving through the area once again. The next confirmed issues from Potosí are for the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata in 1813 after the mint once again fell under control of the revolutionaries but reverted to the Fernando bust, with the 1813 date, after royalists reasserted control.
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I seem to have spent many pleasant hours going through the listings for the various January auctions and have identified 100's of fantastic coins that would be great to add to my collection. Unfortunately the reality of my available funds has now kicked in so 4 or 5, or maybe even just one missing coin is a more realistic proposition however this does present an interesting dilemma.
Do I upgrade an existing coin or fill an empty slot in one of my sets?
Even within the lower denomination coins, which I tend to collect, many issues do not appear very often at all in raw state and the graded examples, if there are any, even less so. As a result I am leaning towards the option of filling an empty slot. As my original collection was made up of attempted date runs of raw coins, typically in VF, joining the Registry has prompted some upgrades to nice AU/MS examples however as the numerical grade is often just 'opinion' l am less concerned about a minor improvement such as MS63 to MS64.
As the vast majority of the sets in my collection have none, or only a few graded examples, the satisfaction of completing a Registry set is not yet a deciding factor. Due to the very low populations of many world coins there are also numerous sole top population coins available throughout January and these are very tempting - but which ones? As I will be bidding live I expect the realised prices and the relative dates the different auctions take place on will make the decision for me. An added complication with world coins is the order in the catalogue (Mexico is usually after France etc, unless the auction is also sub-divided by continent) so do I go for 'earlier in the alphabet' or save the money and hope that the later lots do not go for silly amounts and end up with nothing as happened in the Heritage sale earlier this week!
A little less than a year ago I joked about the 105-year-old bird in my house when I got my 1913 French Rooster.
Right around Christmas I found another coin featuring another flightless bird that I wanted - a 2009 New Zealand One Ounce Silber Kiwi in MS69.
Normally, I wouldn’t have been game to buy another big coin this quickly after getting the 1877 10G. I try to space these things out and savor them a little more, but these coins just don’t come up very often.
For context, the 2009 is a relatively common kiwi with a total mintage just 12,500 (rarer coins in the series only have mintages of 2,500-4,000). These coins also usually don’t get graded by the third-party services. They’re usually left in the original mint blister cards. For most of the series issues there’s only 6 or fewer graded by NGC. 2008 is a notable exception with 24 graded by NGC. To build my set 10 years ago I had to buy raw 2004, 2005, and 2006 kiwis and send them in for grading myself. The set by DZ-collection was similar in that his set was composed of mostly coins that he sent in together for grading around 2011 and they all share an invoice number as a result.
When one of the six NGC-graded 2009 kiwis pops-up for sale on eBay it does get my attention.
I put in an offer for the coin and it was accepted. The name of the seller on eBay, “dz3d,” and the fact that there’s only 6 coins like this in the world had me wondering if this coin might be the one from the #1 ranked DZ-Collection set.
It turns out I was right. When I went to register the coin, it didn’t go through initially because the transfer request had to be processed. Turns out he’s liquidating his set and has sold most of the rest of it in the last month or so. Looks like I missed a chance to take in his 2007.
Adding the 2009 would have put my set over the top of his regardless but the coin leaving his set to enter mine put my set pretty solidly in first place in the category. I’m hoping I’ll get to work on acquiring the 2007, the 2010 and some of the later years, which mostly receive “specimen” (“SP”) grades.
I know it happens a lot and we’ve even had journals recently about major registry sets going up for auction in waves, but it always feels a little bittersweet to grow a set because another great set in the category is being broken up.
This set is one of the few that I own that is nearly completely homogeneous in terms of the generation of holder that it uses. Almost my whole set has been graded since NGC started using the Edge-view holders for everything in 2008/2009. It makes for a really charming presentation IMO.
I know many that own those refer the original mint packaging, but I don’t like blister cards and cardboard for long term storage. As it is, my 2004 has a nice all-over golden hue to it and my 2005 has some very subtle rose colors over parts of the surface that I think are the result of spending about 5-6 years in those blister cards. So, while I buck the trend in that regard with this set, I’m very unapologetic in doing so.
Just thought I would try to catch up with folks. I have been away for awhile as many of you know. Health reasons. My tests are finally in the normal + range. But in February I had my 4th back surgery which left me much worse off than what I went in as. But in July we got my next hobby to keep me waking up for something to do each day, being disabled and retired, in no particular order, and waiting for Mrs. to retire in 1 1/2 yrs. It is a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with matching numbers and near original interior 84,000 miles. We owned one when we got married in 1973 and miss it since then. Looked for nearly 9 yrs to find one in good shape. Being an ex auto mechanic, had to dig out the Motors and Chilton's to refresh on some things. Was embarrassed to admit it but I have forgotten more than I can ever remember. But none the less, I am pressing on. I am hoping my Competitive Isle of Man cats gets some attention for this years awards as well as my custom cats of the world, or others, especially the Snow Leopards. Hope my old followers will follow me again, as I will follow you as well.
When I left things off with my last entry talking about this coin, the one unknown, the one X-factor, was, how nice was this coin going to be in-hand and which of the two coins I’d been looking at would have better eye appeal in-person, the MS65 or the MS66.
As is required by the nature of online shopping, I’ll never get an answer on the second point. I didn’t buy both coins. I’ll probably never see that MS66 in person. I’ll probably never know if I would have liked it better.
As to the first, I have to say, I was rather happy when I saw the coin in my hand in good light for the first time. I didn’t get to look at the coin until Christmas day because my wife and I agreed to let my toddler wrap it and put it under the tree.
The coin looks great with a solid strike and great luster. I’m not sure my latest photographic attempts are the best or do the coin full justice, but they’ve been posted in the set.
I think the most important thing that can be said for it is that it has an overall look and feel that’s highly consistent with that of the 1876 and the 1879. They’ll go together well. One of these days I'll have to work out an approach for taking pictures of multiple coins together that I actually like the results I get with it.
On another note, the results from the second ultrasound were pretty much the polar opposite of what we were hoping for, so it looks like this is going to be the last pregnancy and last kid for us and it will likely be ending about six weeks sooner than we’d originally thought. The next 10 weeks are starting to look rough.
When I found out that the UK Royal Mint was going to be releasing the Queen’s Beast series a few years ago I got really excited. My mother was always really into family genealogy and the coat of arms and family / clan patterns from Scotland and all of that fun stuff. My family originates mostly from England and Scotland and I’ve always thought the coat of arms was cool. I loved the fact that they were going to be big, thick, 2 oz, high relief rounds and I loved what the artist had done with the Lion of England design, the first coin in the series. I was excited to collect these from the start.
When my wife found out there would be a griffin, she jokingly said that she wanted one of those too - she likes griffins, who knew? (I think it’s a Harry Potter thing or something.)
But that got me thinking.
I decided that instead of building one set for me, I was going to build a set for me, a set for her and a set for each of our kids - we only have one so far with another on the way but I decided I was going to make three more sets because I’d always hoped that we’d have 3 kids. I figured at the time that if we decided to go nuts and have a 4th kid my wife and I could just keep one set and give one each to the kids.
At present those sets are half-finished. I have the first 5 coins and I’m just waiting to place an order for the 2019 Falcons - I’m hoping the dealer I usually go through will put them on sale and let me get a break on the premiums. I guess we’ll see there.
Well, turns out that’s probably not going to happen - the three kids anyway. We’ve found out that there’s likely to be complications and potential complications that put our chances of avoiding another c-section with our 2nd child at only around 35%. If there’s another c-section, the risks to my wife if we have a third child would be prohibitively high. A third child isn’t completely ruled out at this point, but it doesn’t really look good / likely at this point. Those are risks I just don’t like. I work in risk analysis and those numbers are just too ugly looking.
I bring this up in the context of these Queen’s Beast sets because, It’s amazing how it’s the little things that hit you in situations like this. I’ve been mostly fine and accepting of the situation as it has been unfolding for the last three weeks and focusing on supporting my wife but I got choked up thinking about it, I think for the first time really, looking at and thinking about those half-complete sets in their air-tites and what they’re for.
I’m going to go forward with finishing the 5th set. Who knows? life could surprise me, and we could get lucky - I’m certainly not feeling lucky so far but life does surprise me sometimes. The extra set may get sold one day. It might end up being a very nice gift for someone. I’m already buying a 6th copy of each issue and giving to my step-father over time as he also likes coins and he doesn’t really shop for / buy these things like I do but he enjoys getting them and he’s hard to shop for.
Don’t get me wrong in any of this - it looks like I’m going to get two healthy children (which is more than some get) and the odds currently overwhelmingly favor that my wife will at least make it through this pregnancy in good health. I feel very fortunate and grateful for that. Ultimately, I’m not guaranteed that my sons are going to grow up liking this stuff. With my luck, this 10G set I’ve been building for 10 years will go up on the auction block as soon as I’m in the ground because the kids just won’t share my attachment to any of it. Still, a guy can dream, and I have had my hopes up about sharing this stuff with them.
All the same… this kind of bites. We’ll be finding out more about the situation on Wednesday so I guess we’ll see how that goes.
I’m always amazed by the games some people try to play in conducting business, even the ones that, at least on paper, you shouldn’t need to worry about because they have 100% positive feedback with scores in the thousands…
Find an auction for something you like, check it out, see it has free shipping with nary a word anywhere about shipping insurance or anything else.
You bid, win the item and, within minutes, the seller sends an invoice for it. Now, if you’re like me and you pay through eBay’s system and pay quickly you might pay for the item before you even see the invoice. But I’m a paranoid sort of soul, and, when I see that an invoice is sent, I check it out. What do you suppose I found?
“I can not be responsible for items that are not insured. If the item is not insured the buyer will be responsible. I will combine auctions to save on shipping.”
And, wouldn’t you know it, the invoice just says free shipping and has no option for adding shipping insurance.
Some might just pay and not worry about it. Some, as I said, might pay before they even see that, if they see it at all. But I’m not really the kind to let something like that go unremarked. So, I bring it up with the seller. The response I get back:
“Insurance is not available from me. However, I do send these parcels signature required which works very well.”
Ah, well, isn’t that lovely? No – I’m wrong. It’s the other thing – complete BS.
Sure, signature confirmation usually avoids problems but what if it doesn’t? You’re apparently still saying I’m on the hook for it and you won’t be responsible unless I buy insurance that you’re not even actually offering. Lovely. Except the next message follows a few minutes later saying that I can pay $7 for the insurance if I want it, which happens to be right at 2.5% of the price the auction ended for.
Fortunately, I think, for the seller, I won the auction at a price I was really happy with, and this happens to be something I really want, so $7 is not something I’m willing to raise a stink over and have it risk derailing things. I also happen to be a very risk averse person. So I just paid the $7. I’m just not at all thrilled by this kind of “gotcha” nonsense, trying to sneak things by and absolve yourself of responsibility for basic things like order fulfillment.
I finally have the coin in hand today after some nonsense with the post office. I'm at a point where I find it impossible to trust the people at that branch with anything really important - which is sad considering I didn't have that problem when I lived in a place that was basically a ghetto.
The first set of 20 Roosevelt dimes has been entered for the Sunday 11-25 Auctions. Here is the link Press the shift key and the left side of the mouse.
There will be 20 coins per week for 6 weeks. Thanks for viewing and I hope you bid to get a few.
I have a friend(fellow collector), who was seriously injured in a car fire and really needs some help! If you can do anything to help him and his family please follow this link:
If you can't that is understandable at this time of year, send a prayer his way! Please add William to your churches prayer list also. Thanks for your time, help and prayers and I hope you all have a Blessed Holiday Season!
There seems to be a growing corporate strategy for NGC to focus on the Non-US market over the US and leave the US to PCGS. I may be wrong and this is in no way a dump on NGC (you can read my laudatory comments about Mark Salzberg and NGC in the "A SLQ Problem Coin's Journey to Righteousness" journal thread.) https://www.ngccoin.com/boards/blogs/entry/292-a-slq-problem-coins-journey-to-righteousness/
It appears that while NGC is increasing its investments in the international market it is not doing as much on upgrading the U.S. platform. The data I use to make the conclusion that NGC is shifting their focus to the Non-US market over the US is based on 1) they dumped all PCGS coins out of existing "World" slots, years ago. 2) The registry no longer starts with US coins but it takes an egalitarian approach to all countries listing coins alphabetically by nation (I start each of my "registry encounters" with Albania.) 3) While they have decreased their presence at US shows (Long Beach etc.) they have increased their presence internationally. This includes both a greater presence at international shows and NGC has opened new "bricks and mortar" Centers in many other countries especially in Asia. This "corporate approach" is probably working as they seem to be the dominant grading service for both World and Ancient coins. Their volume has increased particularly in Asian paper money.
With regard to the registry platform the registry navigation drives me crazy. When I finish working on my Complete Standing Liberty Quarter (SLQ) set and want to go back to Quarters to work on my "one per date" SLQ set or Early Quarters set and use the back navigation button on the browser, the browser does not go back to the Quarter's registry page but back to the first page of the NGC Registry (Albania.) I met with the NGC staff at a FUN show and explained this problem and they were clearly aware of as they said that others had complained as well. Alas 2 years and no fix and you cannot "bookmark” page 2, 3 or 8 even as a go around. If you bookmark page 6 the Registry opens to the first page (Albania.)
I believe in NGC and find their grading more consistent and fair than PCGS. I much prefer dealing with Mark Salzberg over David Hall. I remember when Heritage Auction was more ANACS than PCGS or NGC. Then ANACS slowly disappeared and it was NGC and PCGS. Now, for U.S., coins I am seeing a decrease in NGC leaving PCGS alone. I hope NGC does not abandon the U.S. market by default (by not focusing their prime effort in the U.S. market and shifting it to the World market.) As I said I believe in and prefer NGC. NGC brought me the Edge View which brings some coins to life. NGC, for the most part, photographs every coin that they grade (PCGS does not.) That photo can help you recover a stolen coin (I have done it.) These efforts by NGC are what sets them as the market leader regardless of who was first to slab a coin (PCGS 1986 and NGC 1987) or who the Investor Class prefers. Please don't leave U.S. NGC!
Get out your copy and paste, because these are the web pages you want to read - from cameras and scanners to lighting and lenses.
I saw someone else ask about photographing coins in a collectors' journal entry, but rather than answer directly, I thought it might be nice to put up an answer for everyone to peruse.
This question is a really common one that I've seen come up many times on the NGC chat boards, and while I'm no expert myself... I know a few people who are. Copy the web addresses below, paste them into your browser, and soak up the info:
I was really excited to collect the presidential dollar series in 2007 and 2008 when they were just starting out. The US History buff in me loved the idea of the set even though they were mostly a naked effort by the US Congress and the US Mint to keep the music playing as the statehood quarters series was winding down (which they did with the America the beautiful quarters). Then, of course, the effort got promptly dropped but not quite entirely forgotten in 2009 when I had to start getting ready to graduate from undergrad and start grad school.
I’ve been thinking about getting back to this set for about the last year mostly because I’m a father now and I really want to be able to share these with my kids and use them to talk about US history. This is pretty much exactly the attitude the Mint and the Congress were hoping people would have, but… Yeah, it doesn’t have to be a unique motivation for building it, it just happens to be what motivates me.
Having completed the first 2 years of the set over 10 years ago I have a lot of the “big” ones, the founding fathers that live forever – Washington, Jefferson, and Adams – and a couple of other important historical figures that helped shape the country – like Monroe and Jackson. But by not continuing the set I missed out on some important ones – like Lincoln, Polk, the Roosevelts, Grant, and some others. Grant in particular has a soft spot for me because in the 5th grade when we were all getting assigned different presidents to write research papers on I got Grant – also, he’s just kind of a cool looking dude. Gotta love that beard, right?
Yes, my wife is laughing at me for the fact that I’m talking about the kids one day taking these as a show and tell for school for their reports on presidents. But I don’t care. It’ll be fun. She can roll her eyes all she wants. She always does anyway.
Truth be told I also just think it’d be fun and feel good to get to go back and “finish” one of those old, long idle projects from my early 20s. Sometimes I have an embarrassingly bad track record with long term collecting projects / goals. In this case, "finished" might be a bit subjective because I've noticed that the registry set includes some reverse proof coins and I don't think I'm going to bother trying to get those, so when I'm "finished" the set may not be 100% filled per the registry.
The “plan” I’ve been considering was to try to finish the proof set and not really worry about the business strike P & D coins for now. Finishing the proof set in PF69 would give me one coin for each president to show my kids and use as conversation pieces and I’ve been assuming that would be cheaper and easier than trying to build out the rest of the business strike set 10 years after the fact. Back in ‘08/’09 I was getting PF69s because I just didn’t and still don’t personally see the incremental value of going for the PF70s for this set. I’m not looking at this as an investment in any way (and their price performance over the last 10 years would suggest that that was a wise position to take… yeesh). It’s meant to be something for me and my kids as they grow. The 69s do that just as well as the 70s. I also don’t care enough about this set to make it worth the money to make this a #1 ranked PF70 set. I’m not even sure I can call this a “coin collecting” project at this point. It’s a “dad” project now.
The latest update on my Roman Empire NGC Ancients Custom Set is that I finished and posted my Owner's Comments for my ancient bronze follis featuring Roman Empress Galeria Valeria.
For this essay, I spent some time researching what appears to be the most widely cited primary source of information on Valeria, a book called De Mortibus Persecutorum written in 4th century AD by the imperial advisor Lactantius. Lactiantius' account is necessarily biased, yet even so provides some very interesting insights into Roman Empire history.
Regarding the coin, I purchased this one raw at auction and was pleased to see it grade AU, Strike = 4/5, Surface = 3/5, a very respectable grade for an ancient bronze. One interesting aspect about this coin is that Valeria's obverse bust appears almost masculine; her features mimick the consistent depiction of tetrarchs on their coinage (you can see what I mean if you peruse Page 13 on my Roman Empire set.)
Regarding Valeria, she was the daughter of Emperor Diocletian, who placed her into a an arranged marriage with his fellow and subordinate Tetrarch Galerius. Apparently the union was a rather unhappy one, but as a political pawn Valeria had no choice in the matter. After her husband's death, she was courted by his successor, whose advances she vehemently rejected. The enraged Daia proceeded to ruin Valeria, despite her attempts to enlist her retired father for assistance.
For more details of Valeria's tragic tale, you can read my Owner's Comments here.
Of course, if you are further interested about ancient Rome and its coinage, you can peruse the rest of the Roman Empire collection here.
The recent thoughts by Revenant1 on their choices following the eventual appearance of not one but two examples of a long sought after 1877 Netherlands 10 Gulden coin prompted me to post my first journal entry although the nature of my dilemma is somewhat different.
As a collector of world coins one of the challenges over the years has been to improve the quality of my collection, however, the number of suitable examples appearing at auction here in the UK is extremely limited with the consequence that most of my purchases are from auctions in the US and continental Europe with some from even further afield (e.g. Australia, Hong Kong and Japan).
Although the Buyers Premium and shipping costs can vary dramatically between auctions they are known in advance, whether the purchase will incur import duty should also be considered in what is now very much a global past-time, however the recent biggest uncertainty is currency valuations which seem to be more eratic than ever. Having recently paid invoices in USD, Euros and Swiss Francs my dilemma is do I pay immediately to get the coin in my hands as fast as possible or wait a few days and hope the exchange rate moves in my favour? or risk it going in the wrong direction - as the £ seems to be doing a lot at the moment.
As coins often provide a tangible insight into the ever-changing history of the world, coupled with (many) years between the appearance of some issues which then may or may not match availability of funds, I expect I will probably carry on regardless and live with the 'excitment' of the currency markets. I can not see myself returning to collecting only UK issues although I would appreciate a more stable exchange rate rather than having to contend with +/- 5% depending on the day of the week!
Well, when I made the last entry I was really leaning towards the MS66. By the time I went to bed on Saturday I had pretty much convinced myself that the MS66 was the way to go and that I should bid aggressively to make sure I got that coin.
So then why am I writing this, saying that I bid on and won the MS65 tonight and why am I so stinkin’ happy about it that my wife is snickering about it at my expense?
Well, my basis for thinking that the MS66 was the way to go was thinking it looked better in the pictures. But that’s in the pictures. The person that took photos of the MS66 seems to have known what they were doing. The lighting and everything else about the pictures of the MS65 is comparatively lousy, and I think the coin probably looks just fine in person. That undermined the rationale for going with the MS66 for me.
Sunday night I was running some back-ups of personal files and cleaning up some old things that I don’t want or need to keep anymore. In the course of this I found my last “family photo” of the 6 coins I had, including the three in the old fatty holders (the 1876, 1879, and 1887). This really got me thinking again about how that MS65 would fit with the rest of my existing set. This also got me thinking again about the fact that some of the serial numbers were the same out to three digits and it got me wondering just how similar they were, so I pulled them out and looked.
The serial numbers for the coins in the fatties are:
… And there you have it. That coin’s invoice number had 5 digits in common with my 1876 and 4 digits in common with my 1879. There’s only a difference of 4 between two of the invoice #s and a span of less than 30 for all three of them. There’s a very good chance to my mind that the 1876 and 1877 were at NGC together getting graded at the same time, and maybe the 1879 too, maybe 15 or 20 years ago (I don’t know exactly when that holder and those numbers were in use – maybe others would know better?).
I may never know what that story is, but I have to think there’s a story there and a shared history. That’s something I just can’t pass up. I just love the thought of that and the possibilities. I told my wife about this. She just laughed and said, “you are such a coin collector.” The MS66, in a current gen holder, was probably graded in the last 6-12 months, and it just isn't part of that same story. In the context of the set, that’s worth a lot.
Initially I’d been thinking that the MS65 should go for less than $300, but I could see chasing it up to $325. After I saw all of this and got thinking about it, I fell in love with the idea that I decided I was willing to pay up to $350 just to get to bring the three coins, bought at different times, I think from 3 different merchants, back together. It turns out my prior research and watching of the market was about right in the first place I won the coin at $290.
Chapter 8 The Five Coins that never were and are worth a Fortune
Anyone who has followed the trials and tribulations related to the 1933 Double Eagles in private hands knows simply possessing a coin does not mean you have the legal right to own it. I am no expert on what exactly the procedure is for coins and bank notes to become legal tender. From what I can gather from news articles the first step is that an order be placed for the coins or bank notes be produced. Once produced is this new currency now legal tender? Evidently not, the new currency must then be officially released which includes funds being transferred to the treasury equal to the face value of the new currency being introduced into circulation. In the case of the 1933 Double Eagle the coins were authorized to be struck but that is where it stopped. With the exception of one 1933 double eagle set aside to be presented to King Farouk of Egypt all other specimens were to be melted down. But even though King Farouk was officially presented his 1933 double eagle it was not officially removed from the mint in that the treasury never received payment from the State Department or any other government agency for release of that coin. The court ruling determined the coin was in fact a gift from the U.S. government to the King and was therefore allowed to exist in private hands but that it not come back into the U.S. until $20 in U.S. funds was paid to the U.S. treasury. The $20 was quickly paid and the coin is now in the U.S. in private hands.
There are other strange situations related to U.S. coinage such as the 1870-S silver dollar. For example there are simply no mint records related to the production or release of these 12 coins. These 12 coins were all removed from circulation (1 is graded MS 62) and never known to have been in the hands of one family or individual thus implying they were released into general circulation as part of the normal operation of the San Francisco mint. This differs significantly from the 1933 double eagles being fought over in the courts that are all MS and in the hands of one family.
But what upsets me the most are those #&*%!! 1913 Liberty Head Nickels. To me these five coins represent the darkest side of our hobby that is willing to reward individuals for thievery and allow their ill-gotten merchandise to be sold openly in the market place and to reap big bucks. What saddens me the most is that such practice is supported by the biggest and most prominent auction houses, dealers and collectors. Yes at least one 1913 Liberty Head die was made but that is as far as it went. When I started collecting coins in about 1950 (this was only 37 years after 1913) I heard stories of how these five coins were produced (either as a favor or for payment) for an individual who had an in at the mint. This position was reinforced three decades +/- later when I was living in Maryland and all five of these coins were placed on display at the Baltimore ANA show. I was a one man boycott of this show simply because these coins were being treated like royalty when in fact they were pretenders to the throne. While the ANA show was in town I heard and interview with the president of the ANA on the radio and when asked about the origin of these five coins he paused and the best he could do was imply they may have had a clandestine origin followed by a short laugh and that was all he would say. Please note that unlike the 1870-S dollars these five nickels are all MS, as with the 1933 double eagle, implying they were removed from the mint as group and kept way that until being split up.
Also I would like to say thank you to those of you who have said they enjoy reading my journals.
I won this thaler recently and immediately received a "buy from owner" offer through Heritage for a decent increase over my winning bid. This one is destined for my Silver Dollars of '60 set so I didn't respond to the offer but I did post a trade offer in several forums that I frequent, hoping to catch the eye of the individual that really wants this coin. I haven't received a response from the trade offers but I did get a second, higher offer through Heritage after the first one expired.
So what's so special about this thaler? I know why it's special to me so I was willing to bid higher than I expected. But obviously someone else really wanted it (and didn't put in a high enough proxy bid). I found only two other auction records for coins closely matching this one on acsearch although there were quite a few that were similar. Most of my references don't go back to the 16th Century, but I dug out my copy of the "Standard Price Guide to World Crowns & Talers 1484-1968 as cataloged by Dr. John S. Davenport" for further information. Given the span of years, this reference is not much more than a listing of Davenport numbers with a few notes, out-of-date prices with a small fraction having coin images (and none matching my coin). However, it does include the following introduction to Mansfeld thalers:
So, no small task to figure out the correct Daveport number without a picture. In my photo, you can see the mintmark to the left of St. George's head. German auction results associate the Weinblatt (or grape leaf) mintmark with the town of Einsleben. The Davenport reference shows a section for the Vorderort Eisleben line with Davenport numbers 9481-9499 and the first rulers listed are Johann Georg I, Peter Ernst I, Christoph II, 1558-1569. These track better than any others with my coin having the legend on the obverse of -- IOHAN * GE * PETER ERNS * CHRIS -- with the (15)60 date. It looks like the possible numbers are 9481 and 9484 -- the NGC label says 9484 so maybe that's correct.
The historic lands of the counts of Mansfeld, and their many lines, was in the current German state of Saxony-Anhalt and included the town and castle of Mansfeld, the neighboring town of Eisleben and eastern foothills of the Harz mountains, where the silver was mined. Martin Luther was born in Eisleben and later moved to Mansfeld -- his father was involved in mining and smelting. Of the rulers noted on my coin, Peter Ernst I von Mansfeld-Vorderort (1517–1604), would become the governor of the Spanish Netherlands.
I'm not convinced that there's anything special about this thaler above and beyond its full strike and the colorful toning in the remnants of luster in the legends. Perhaps in Europe ...?