Journals

 

Looking Back on my 70 years of coin collecting

Chapter 4 There are always unintended consequences For those of us into ancient coins (as I currently am) NGC is doing something long overdue in this field of numismatics, based on the coins they have certified, they are developing a condition census of sorts (i.e., not a true condition census) that will still provide very useful information to the ancient coin collecting community. I have no idea when the results of this project will be made available (if at all) to NGC members or the collecting community in general. However NGC has made its data available to Heritage Auctions who in turn provides this data as part of their online auction listings. When I found this data I was overjoyed. But I was also surprised at the large number of MS, Ch AU, AU and Ch XF coins some issued had. I mean really surprised. I expected the data for this census to be skewed to the upper end grades because let’s face it unless you have a really rare coin who is going to pay round trip registered mail postage and grading fees for a common fine ancient and depending on the issue this question could include VF’s. It appears (I cannot document this) that ancient coin prices have started to drop in general because the upper end coin prices have dropped due to a perceived larger than expected availability of inventory in higher grades. This most likely is not true for the truly key/rare issues but rather those specimens typically found in ancient collections. Simply people see the data and apparently don’t try to understand it and may just assume this is representative of what is out there. Again just because of the cost to certify coins this data will always be skewed to the upper end. As an example I looked up my AU Strike 5/5 Surface 4/5, Gordian III, AR Drachm, Caesarea, Cappadocia and found 268 had been graded, with just 16 graded below XF. Now David Sear’s work on Greek Imperial Coins and their values released in 1982 with reprints (not new editions) up to 2006. So we are basically working with 36 year old valuations. And the value given for a VF specimen is 100£ or about $140 in 1982. On October 26, 2017 a high end VF (listed uncertified grade was "about XF") sold for $61!!! Between October 13, 2016 and November 2, 2017 Heritage had 11 sales of NGC certified MS specimens of this coin involving 7 different specimens ranging in price from $141 to $282 with an average selling price of $195. So what do we have here when in 1982 the book value for this coin in VF was $140 with the following guidance provided re. valuation: “Collectors must bear in mind that exceptionally well preserved examples are worth substantially more than the prices quoted, whilst very worn or damaged specimens can be almost valueless, in the case of common bronze coins. (The bold type is as give in the book.) So to go from VF to MS there are step increases in value as one goes to Ch VF, XF, Ch XF, AU, Ch AU and then Mint State in total six step increases. I am sorry but I do not believe a MS valuation of $195 meets Sear’s guidance on higher valuations for MS specimens unless the value for VF specimens is well below $140 as apparently it actually is. Until NGC came along grading of ancient coins was a total joke. Recently I was trying to research the value of some ancient coins in my collection and I was using auction results information from numerous dealers through NGC’s site. The auction result infomation lists 25 coins per page. One page had 20 coins graded some type of VF (yes 20) the remaining 5 were some type of Fine. Checking the photos the actual grade (based on my grading) was all over the place one VF looked like a well-worn slug as was no where near a VF specimen. Anyway these 20 coins had the following grades in their auction listings, Ch VF, Good VF, Nice VF, VF+, VF, About VF (this is really a high end Fine, I hate it when dealers use a higher grade designator to define a lower grade), Near VF (see previous grade). All I can say is thank you NGC for your efforts in developing this condition census. And I hope when you release this data to the general public you make it clear that the data is skew and why. Best regards

RAM-VT

RAM-VT

 

Looking Back on my 70 years of coin collecting

A Supplement to Chapter 3 Grading Look it I can talk forever on the subject of grading mainly because I have some very strong feelings on the subject. This may because of my age and a belligerent nature that I have developed on topics I feel strongly about over my years in this hobby. So now I am going to tell you how I really feel about grading. First let’s get one thing perfectly straight and that is everyone has biases. These biases influence our perception when we must interpret things like standards for grading. I had a political science professor that on the first day of class said “history is as perceived by the historians.” What he was saying was that there is no one real history. Political scientists tend to prefer historical accounts of events that support their perceptions. To give just one example I had always believed that FDR should have impeached for trying to stack (a term used within the FDR White House) the Supreme Court. Then one day listening to an interview with a political science professor on Vermont Public radio this very subject was addressed. The professor took issue with the term "stacking the court" and this was not FDR’s intent and that he totally dropped the issue once congress refused to support his plan. I said well I guess I was wrong and continue to listen to the interview. Then a few months later a documentary on FRD on the history channel again addressed this issue. It was pointed out that the action of congress to not support FRD in his attempt to stack the Supreme Court so upset FDR that in the very next election he spent all his remaining political capital (which evidently wasn’t that much) to defeat the twelve that voted against his plan. Only one of those twelve lost reelection. That is when FDR gave up on his plan to stack the Supreme Court. Two totally different account of one relatively recent event in American History. Which one is true? I depends on your personal bias or perception of FDR. What makes a good grader? As far as I am concerned what makes a good grader is reparation – reparation – reparation – reparation. From my days when I was routinely buying coins to acquire  stock for coin shows I would go to local coin auctions and grade every coin up for sale and when at coin shows I would grade coins (to myself) of the other dealers. All this took place before third party grading took off. I knew I made it when a friend of mine that owned a coin shop in Rockville, MD would ask my opinion. Do I ever disagree with a grade I get back from a third party grader? Yes yet I accept it (I yield to overwhelming experience). I expect these professional graders grade more coins in a week than most collectors see in a year (in some cases years). This also goes for small time dealers. Well established coin dealers with high inventory throughput rates should also have excellent grading skills. Simply looking at a dozen or so coins a week just isn’t going to cut it. There are more than 15 grades between AG & AU-58 and 11 grades of UNC. At 12 random coins a week how long would it take the average collector to examine one coin of each type in each grade? The key grading tool related to grading is a well-established grading standard. When I started there was Brown & Dunn which used drawings to define the basic grades. Then came James Ruddy with Photograde (I still have my well-worn copy held together with Duct Tape) and this was followed by the ANA Grading Standards. Now to show a bias I had, I would buy coins using Brown & Dunn and sell coins using Photograde. Old timers wouldn’t think twice when someone checked their Brown & Dunn when assigning a grade. And Photograde was such an instant hit that no one questioned you when you handed them your Photograde to check grade. So yes I perceived a difference in accepted standards whether it was real or not. All I know is I made money in my sales. Today the major third party grading firms have reference collections something dealers and collectors don’t have. Do we now have acceptable/workable grading system? In my opinion the answer is not simply no, but HELL NO. I addressed this issue in my first Chapter 3 post. I am totally against the single designator grading system whether this designator be a number or an adjectival grade. First in grades above AU-58 it assumes that strike issues and surface condition issue exist in comparable relationship. For example using NGS grading standards: MS/PF68 - Very sharply struck with only miniscule imperfections. MS/PF67 - Sharply struck with only a few imperfections. MS/PF66 - Very well struck with minimal marks and hairlines. MS/PF65 - Well struck with moderate marks or hairlines. MS/PF64 - Average or better strike with several obvious marks or hairlines and other miniscule imperfections. MS/PF63 - Slightly weak or average strike with moderate abrasions and hairlines of varying sizes.
Why can’t you have and MS-68 Strike and an MS-66 surface? I am sorry this is really not an ideal fantasy world. In the real world nature would not allow this assumed perfect relationship. Second in grades below MS-60 it ignores strike and issues that can affect the coins overall appearance/desirability. NGC’s grading standards for circulated grades does not address variances in strike and surface conditions? In coins from the mid-1800’s on up to present day this should be relatively negligible but just like with Mint State coins they are there and in earlier coins one would definitely expect to find circulated coins with variations in strike and surface on coins from all around the world. And talk about interpretation of a standard we have well struck, very well struck, sharply struck, very sharply struck and fully struck we have similar word play with imperfection and marks. In this case we cannot eliminate the possibility for different interpretations for such guidance. Here is where we must rely on the experience resulting from reparation – reparation – reparation – reparation.
  For me the perfect grading system would be based on that used by NGC’s ancient department, however, modified to address modern strikes. In this case every coin would be graded for wear with all truly uncirculated MS & Proof coins being graded 60 and then Strike and Surface being individually scored 1 through 10 or whatever scale you choose (ancients use 1 through 5). Similarly circulated coins would be graded e.g., XF-45 Strike 6/10 Surface 8/10. Wear is defined by XF-45, Strike is defined by 6/10 and Surface is defined by 8/10. Maybe circulated coins could use the 1 through 5 range used by NGC’s ancient department. Best regards

RAM-VT

RAM-VT

 

1955 NGC MS66 RB Double Die Obverse Lincoln Wheat Ear Cent

NGC has graded 3546 examples of the 1955 Double Die Obverse Lincoln Wheat cent.  Out of those NGC has graded only 2 at MS66.  One example at MS66RD and one example at MS66RB.  Big price difference between the two coins.  I used to own the MS66RB example.  At one time I had all the major double die obverse and reverse Lincoln cents in my collection including a PCGS MS66RD+ 1972 Double Die Obverse Lincoln Cent and an awesome example of a NGC MS67RD example of that same coin that KKM sold me many years ago.  As always, thanks for looking and Happy Collecting 
 

Ancients and Gods and 1959-Date mint state Lincoln collectors

It has been about 3 1/2 years since I sold off my modern mint state Lincoln cent collection.  I am glad to see some of my former coins showing up in other collections and finding new homes. Here is a link for my 2014 #1 ranked 1959-date mint state Lincolns.  Feel free to use any of the picture in the set if you now own that coin.  https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/registry/Coins/awards/WinningSetDetail.aspx?AwardSetID=59937.  I just recently added this coin to my collection.  Not the most expensive coin I have owned. It is my oldest coin by far and that is what I like about it.  The history this coin could tell.  Glad to be back on the chat boards and as always thanks for looking and Happy Collecting
 

Looking Back on my 70 years of coin collecting

Chapter 3 Grading is not a four letter word There is no way we can have a discussion of coin collecting without eventually getting to the subject of grading. The reason a coin’s grade is so important is that the coin’s grade is the key factor in determining the coin’s value but not the only factor. Technically the grade all by itself indicates the amount of wear the coin has experienced after the planchet was struck by the dies and became a coin. Sometime in the 19th century the production of coins became highly mechanized and exacting production standards were implemented and achieved resulting in almost every coin of a given denomination coming out of a major mint being identical to all other coins of that denomination. But in the early 1800’s and going back to the first coins struck at a mint there was no nice and neat uniformity in coins of the same denomination produced at a given mint. There were many reasons for this with the obvious reasons being as follows: 1 - Each pair of dies were either totally or partially hand cut (thus no true uniformity in the dies);
2 – Differences in the pressure used to produce the coin;
3 – Varying planchet dimensions including non-uniform thickness across the same planchet;
4 – The planchet was not parallel to both dies or both dies were not parallel to the planchet;
5 – The hammer and anvil dies would wear out at different rates resulting in a used die (but not totally worn out die) being matched with a new die being combined and the appearance of one side of a coin having more wear than the other.  Let us be serious here, you have to admit that the grade XF/VF has to be one of the stupidest concepts ever devised in grading coins. Coins are small and totally randomly handled and could someone please tell me how in the act of commerce a coin could experience more wear to one side of the coin than to the other. Please reach into your pocket and pull out a coin making sure you only touch one side of the coin (and almost always the same side). Have any of you ever seen a real “Pocket Piece”? How many of these had wear to only one side? So with older coins we have reasons why just minted coins do not look the same. Then there are the post minting factors, Bulk transport/handling marks (bag marks), dropping the coin or dropping things on to the coins, scratches, environmental conditions, business related condition issues (chop marks & counter stamps) and then collector inducted condition issues resulting in surface problems due to stupid attempts to make the coin look better (improper cleaning) and last be not least the one thing that most likely has ruined many a nice coin and that is the staple. Fortunately 2X2 holders are not used that much today but in my day every collector and dealer carried around 2X2 boxes crammed full of coins in 2X2 holders with a staple in all four sides. The problem is these staples were not crimped down flat so that when a 2X2 was pulled out of those boxes the raised staples would scrape across the coins behind it. I have seen many a nice coin ruined by stapples. So how do we address these other factors that result in condition issues but do not affect the grade? Actually the approach taken by NGC in grading ancient coins is as far as I am concerned the only viable approach for a grading system for coins. This concept first grades the coin and second scores on a scale of 1 through 5 the coins strike, this would address items 1 through 5 above and then scores on a scale of 1 through 5 the coins surface, this would address the remaining issues listed above. For uncirculated MS & Proof coins NGC decided to combine strike and condition issues into an 11 point grading scale. MS/PF70 - A coin with no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification. MS/PF69 - A fully struck coin with nearly imperceptible imperfections. MS/PF68 - Very sharply struck with only miniscule imperfections. MS/PF67 - Sharply struck with only a few imperfections. MS/PF66 - Very well struck with minimal marks and hairlines. MS/PF65 - Well struck with moderate marks or hairlines. MS/PF64 - Average or better strike with several obvious marks or hairlines and other miniscule imperfections. MS/PF63 - Slightly weak or average strike with moderate abrasions and hairlines of varying sizes. MS/PF62 - Slightly weak or average strike with no trace of wear. More or larger abrasions than an MS/PF 63. MS/PF61 - Weak or average strike with no trace of wear. More marks and/or multiple large abrasions. MS/PF60 - Weak or average strike with no trace of wear. Numerous abrasions, hairlines and/or large marks. If this is what NGC wants who am I to say no but I would prefer a purer system where all truly uncirculated MS & Proof would simply be designated "Uncirculated" and Strike and Surface would individually be scored 1 through 10 using the above standards. Another problem with the remaining grading system presented by NGC is that circulated coins is that it only address wear that the coin receives once the coin enters circulations. As far as NGC is concerned circulated coins have no strike or surface issues, could that really be true????????? Don’t you fine this to be strange particularly for pre 19th century coins from the U.S and older coins from around the world – why should they have no Strike or Surface issues while UNC’s do????? In a future post I will address an issue every collector's enjoys.  And that is “The Hunt” or search for a great find and believe me I have had more than my share which I will talk about later and why I was able to make these finds. But understanding grading from around the world can result in you making some great purchases. Many decades ago when I was building my numismatic library (an absolute must for serious collectors) I purchased an English equivalent to our Red Book published by I believe Seaby. The first thing I read was the section on grading. Now get this, an AU was defined as an UNCIRCULATED coin with poor eye appeal. Then the light bulb went on. How many AU, XF or even VF American coins can I purchase from English dealers or form dealers in countries using the English grading standards??? My most recent purchase was November of last year. I purchased the following coins: 1900 Liberty Head Nickel
1900 Barber Dime
1900 Barber Quarter
1900 Barber ½ Dollar The above were described as toned XF or better, the nickel, dime and quarter NGC graded MS-63 and the half dollar was graded AU50 1912-S Cent listed as an XF graded AU55 There still out there folks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But be careful, foreign dealers don’t seem to mention problems and particularly if the coin has been cleaned (you really have to study any photos and send e-mails). Regards

RAM-VT

RAM-VT

 

PCGS NEVER make mistakes, because of superior QC

Here is a coin that I paid a whopping $360 for, obviously in 2002.  I was proud of my find because all the other bidder appeared to be bidding on the holder not the coin.  The value of a 1908 with "Motto" is, or was higher than the no motto variety.  I paid $40 under greysheet for th coin which was about par for the with motto variety at the time.  I took it to the PCGS booth at Long Beach and they aggressively offered to reholder the coin for free, I passed.  So the coin sits misunderstood by its holder.  I actually have a collection of these and in my experience I have had a easier time finding error PCGS than NGC coins.  This is a satirical post bout PCGS for those that are wondering what I am talking about.  The motto is on the reverse just above the sun and the holder clearly says that there is no motto, a motto that Theodore Roosevelt felt violated the separation of Church and State.  Next a 1849 Gold dollar in an open wreath holder with a close wreath.   John  

JTO

JTO

 

Possible New VAM- 1921 P Morgan Silver Dollar

I have a very interesting mark on one of my Morgans that is not recorded as a known VAM.  I have the picture of the reverse of my 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Philadelphia mint.  In the top right set of leaves on the wreath sticking inward is what looks like 2 faint but definitely raised leaves.  The second picture is a 10x magnification of the site which makes it harder to see the leaf.  If anyone knows of a recorded VAM similar to what I am describing please comment below. Thanks!  

Jack1221

Jack1221

No need to drastically reduce points in a set

NGC, There is no need to drastically reduce points in the World Sets. Some extremely rare coins have been assigned very low points in your latest update.  Registry points are subjective anyway, but I’m afraid that all this does is further discourage collectors from participating in the registry. It can be frustrating to compete in the registry if the rules are constantly changing without notice. See: Canada>Commemorative>$1 Proof for context Josh

A SLQ Problem Coin's Journey to Righteousness

What a journey this coin has had.  I bought it from Stacks in March 2012 as: "1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter. AU Details--Environmental Damage (PCGS)."  I looked at the coin as said I just don't see the damage but I do see a full head.  I bid up to $1,375.00 for the problem coin and took it home.  Then I CAREFULLY conserved to coin.  About a year later at Long Beach I took it to PCGS (because NGC had no at show grading) and  show graded it.  It came back in a PCGS AU-58 FH.  I was quite pleased with myself.  Subsequently, as the war between NGC and PCGS got going I decided to cross it to NGC.  So, at the 2015 FUN show I decided to wait in line to "Ask the Expert" (Mark Salzberg) who opined that the coin should not be in an AU holder.  I told him that a 60 something without full head was a loss to me, as I cared more about the FH designation than the grade.  He said it was clearly a full head and he wrote on the holder MS-61 FH and signed his name,  I asked, meekly, if the coin might still come back in a "details" or non-FH holder?  Salzberg patiently explained that what he wrote would be the grade period, he is the final word at NGC.  I must say he was kind and respectful and his passion and care for the hobby came through clearly.  So the journey for this coin has been:...Raw to PCGS AU details environmental damage... to PCGS AU-58 FH and finally thanks to Mr Salzberg... it rests for good in an NGC MS-61 FH.  The pictures are here you be the judge...  

JTO

JTO

 

Update on Roman Empire collection, Page 10 = Crisis III

This Journal Entry provides an overview/update on Page 10 of my “Roman Empire” NGC Ancients custom (I previously have presented an overview/update on the first nine pages).  Like all the Pages of the collection, this one comprises 15 coins as presented in “Gallery Mode”.  The title for this Page, since it is third Page covering the Crisis of the Third Century is Crisis III.  The purpose of this overview/update is to not just to provide a brief description of each coin, but also some perspective on what it means to me (if you want to read more details, please read my Owner’s Comments).  This Page is complete!   1.     Gordian III denarius, graded MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5.  Gordian III is remembered by history as a good-natured, youthful Emperor who met a tragic fate (you might have guess it, murdered by his troops).  This coin is valued to me, even though it is very common, since it is one of the very first Roman imperial coins I purchased (as such, I have not “upgraded” even though I could readily do so). This coin was purchase already in an NGC slab, and at the time I wondered at the chance to obtain such an old coin in mint conditions (of course, since then I have acquired many other ancient Roman coins that earned similar, or even higher grades). 2.     An ancient bronze featuring the obverse charming confronted busts of Gordian III and Tranquillina.  The reverse features Apollo, who was a rather interesting god.  This coin was struck in Mesembria, Trace, and is a relatively common and popular design.  This is case where I purchase anther specimen, but kept this one, which earned a higher grade (XF, Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5).  It is really tough to find ancient bronze coins in XF or higher grade since copper is a much more reactive metal compared to either silver or gold. 3.     This very rare ancient bronze featuring Divus Julius Marinus, father of Emperor Philip the Arab.  I added this “slot” and coin into the collection recently, since I found it interesting, particular for the blending of Roman, Greek, and Arabian elements on the coin.  This one graded F, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5, which is not particular impressive, but still very respectable for a bronze, especially such a rare one. 4.     A fabulous Ch MS denarius, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5, representing Emperor Philip the Arab (you have to love it when your coin come back from grading as a Ch MS and 5 by 5!).  Before Philips demise (which was probably at the hands of his own troops), he was best known for host Rome biggest party ever… 5.     Rome 1000th birthday celebration denarius, this one graded a mind-boggling Gem MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5 (I purchased this one already graded).  Please see my Owner’s Comments for more details regarding the impressive event. I also love this coin for its reverse featuring seated goddess Roma, with the inscription ROMA AETERNAE, a befitting message considering the coin’s amazing condition, nearly flawless with flashy, bright, semi-prooflike fields. How it survived in such pristine condition can only be imagined. Perhaps its original owner kept it safely out of circulation as a souvenir of Rome’s great millennium celebration. 6.     Denarius featuring Philip II, co-Emperor along with his father, Philip I.  This coin also graded an impressive Ch MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5.  This coin is interesting since it feature Philip II on both obverse and reverse fields.  Very little is known about his life and reign, and no wonder since it was brief and he had little, if anything, to do with governance. Before he would become a teenager, his father was killed as the legions revolted and named Trajan Decius their new Emperor. Philip II was not forgotten, however; when the news reached Rome, the Praetorian Guard killed the young co-Emperor as he clung to his Mother Severa. 7.     Denarius featuring Empress Severa, wife of Philip the Arab.  This coin graded MS, Strike 4/5, Surface 4/5.  While she had a nice run as Augusta, her reign ended tragically with the death of the husband and her son (who was reportedly killed by the Praetorian Guard as her clung to her).  Her final fate is uncertain, perhaps she was either allowed to live, or somehow managed to escape. She probably fled to Philippopolis, Philip’s Arabian hometown that was transformed into Rome’s image, one of many extravagances that led to disapproval and downfall. 8.     Denarius featuring Emperor Trajan Decius, graded MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5.  One thing I discovered about this coin (not when I purchased it but only afterwards in my research) is that its inscription lacks the moniker of Trajan Such coins appear to be extremely rare, and so far I have not found any more information or explanation about this.  In any case, unfortunately for Decius, his propaganda campaign did not suffice to restore Rome's glory days under Trajan. In addition to the threats from the Persians, Germanic barbarians, and Goths, a horrible plague spread through Rome.  In a rather remarkable development, Decius ordered all Romans to sacrifice before the magistrates of their community “for the safety of the empire” and receive a certificate recording their loyalty to the ancestral gods. Those who refused, as did many Christians, including the Pope, risked torture and execution. Despite the oblations, Rome’s problems persisted, and ultimately Decius fell in battle against the Goths. Decius, so adamant about leading a traditional life, ended it in atypical fashion as the first Roman Emperors to die in battle against a foreign enemy. 9.     This slot is a tetradrachm struck in Antioch, featuring Roman Emperor Herennius Etruscus.  The tetradrachm is an impressive denomination, more striking to behold compared to a denarius than the slight different in size and weight would suggest.  This was one of the first such of these denominations that I acquired, and afterwards, I eagerly sought and acquired more, including some “extras” that I am not including in the current Roman Empire collection.  As for Herennius, he reigned for a couple years until meeting the same fate as his father, killed in battle against the Goths. 10.  Denarius featuring Empress Herennia Etruscilla, wife of Emperor Trajan Decius.  This coin graded Ch AU, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5.   She is one of many Empresses, particularly during the turbulent Crisis of the 3rd Century, who might have been forgotten by history if it were not for coinage.  Remarkably, she was allowed to retain the Augusta title even after her husband’s death in battle. 11. This coin is an ancient bronze featuring Emperor Hostillian, son of Trajan Decius.  While it might not seem special at first – graded XF, Strike =5/5, Surface =4/5 – this is one of my coins that has far more value and special meaning for me personally than “book value”.  For me, this coin spoke to me, in an eerie way…specifically, it spoke to me about the impact of plague on the Roman Empire’s history.  It was struck in Mosia (Viminacium), and depicts on the reverse a fascinating lion and bull design. The patina on this coin is very dark, possibly consistent with exposure to high temperatures and calcium, haunting reminders of widespread funeral pyres at this time in history. Hostillian himself was one of many, many Romans who fell victim to plague. I won’t go into more details here, if you are interested in learning more, please go check out my Owner’s Comments. 12. This coin is an absolutely stunning tetradrachm featuring Emperor Trebonianus Gallus.  It graded Ch MS *, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5.  The look and feel of this coin is so amazing, it is one of those specimens that I sometimes miss the chance of direct fondling now that I decided to have it graded an encapsulated within an NGC protective coin holder. If you want to learn more about Gallus, please see my Owner’s Comments – I will at least mention here that he met his end in similar fashion as many 3rd century AD Roman Emperors (yes, at the hands of disaffected troops!). 13. This slot features a denarius featuring Emperor Volusian.  This coin graded MS, Strike 4/5, Surface 4/5.  Volusian shared his fate with his co-Augustus and father, Trebonianus Gallus (see above). 14.  This slot features a denarius struck in the name of Augustus Aemilian which graded MS, strike 4/5, surface 4/5.  As for a synopsis of Aemilian, it is difficult to do better than Eutropius; “Aemilianus came from an extremely insignificant family, his reign was even more insignificant, and he was slain in the third month.” 15.  Last, and certainly not least on this Page is a fascinating and extremely rare ancient bronze featuring Empress Cornelia Supera, wife of Emperor Aemilian.  I choose this coin for its very interesting reverse, featuring the goddess Cybele, accompanied by her usual lions.  I took the opportunity in my Owner’s Comments to discuss more about Cybele, the oldest Anatolian goddess, and her role as Rome’s protective goddess.  

Kohaku

Kohaku

 

Looking Back on my 70 years of coin collecting

Chapter 2 – In the Beginning I am not unlike many collectors my age that started collecting by filling holes in those little blue Whitman booklets. I was really into it with booklets for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I did have the booklets for Walking Liberty Halves but very seldom did I have a half dollar coin to place in the booklet. Since my basic source of collectibles was pocket change silver dollars were just out of the question even thought my dad’s pay envelope did contain them. Also since both my parents worked in mills $1 was close to an hour's pay back then and putting a dollar coin into a booklet was out of the question as far as my dad was concerned. Filling those booklets remained my basic approach to collecting even after graduating college although by then I was buying some of my coins. In the 1970’s I became aware of how broad the numismatic universe really is. I don’t mean just world coins vs. US coins. What I am talking about is US coins, world coins, ancient coins, medals and tokens. I cannot believe how beautiful many of the Swiss Shooting Medals are; they are for all practical purposes small works of art. My awaking to the numismatic universe was kindled by the sale of the Garrett collection which was sold from 1979 through 1985 (Seven auctions in total containing 2354 US pieces and 4841 world and ancient pieces). The sale of the Garrett collection was followed by the Brand auctions in the early 1980’s. The sale of the Garrett collection followed so closely by the Brand auction simply reinforced my belief I had to completely revise my approach to coin collecting. Did I really need well over 100 Lincoln cents all looking the same except for mint mark and the last two digits in the dates? I really became obsessed with variety or really diversity in what I added to my collection. I sold off all my sets and started to collect US Type coins, and coins from around the would. My world coins were much older than my US and in many cases much rarer. If I were to start collecting US coins again all my sets would be type sets.  Because collectors can define their type set anyway they want, one can get as simple or as far out as one wants. But a complete type set of US coins would be massive and every coin would be of a different type. There is one type set I am fascinated with, it has the simplest type concept yet I believe it would be a very difficult set to assemble in total. Simply it is a complete type set of 1873 US coinage. This set contains the following 32 coins, yes I said 32 coins for a one year type set.. Indian Head Cent
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3 Two Cent Piece
1873 Closed 3, Proof only
1873 Open 3. Restrike Proof Only Silver 3 Cent Piece
1873 Closed 3, Proof only Copper-Nickel 3 Cent Piece
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3 Seated Liberty Half Dime
1873 Shield Nickel
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3 Seated Liberty Dime
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3
1873 Arrows at Date Seated Liberty Quarter Dollar
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3
1873 Arrows at Date Seated Liberty Half Dollar
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3
1873 Arrows at Date Seated Liberty Dollar
1873 Trade Dollar
1873 Indian Large Head Gold Dollar
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3 Coronet Quarter Eagle
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3 Indian Head $3 Gold
1873 Open 3 Proof Only
1873 Closed 3 Original Coronet Half Eagle
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3 Coronet Eagle
1873 Coronet Double Eagle
1873 Closed 3
1873 Open 3 Best regards

RAM-VT

RAM-VT

It's time to add a new screen to your old computers.

Hey Guys and Gals, My son came over today and had a 36" T V with him. Up to my office he scrambled and started an attack on my old Dell computer. W.T.H. are you doing with my perfect running computer I asked. It took a while and some old school hook up lines that worked well with new school devices ( the T-V).   I now have monster sized coin pics to view that are so awesome!!  So Cool!!!   Man, I love that son of mine --- He's Awesome!!! You know I had to add a pic to this post just to enjoy the huge view!

My Gobrecht Original or Unknown

This is truly an original original. There has been a great deal of study on the sequencing of these dollars. One of the relatively early revelations was that the name below base, which was always assumed to have preceded the name on base, actually was a re-strike. During the original striking in December 1836, the first coins were struck. Only those of the earliest group are free from diagnostic die cracks and clash marks. This coin is free of one of two of the earliest die state changes. The first is a die chip in the denticles peripheral to the second A in America on the reverse. The second is a die clash that extends upward and outward from the eagle's right wing. See June 2009 Numismatist Pg 55 by Dannreuther & Shalley. The upshot is that this is probably one of the first ~400 coins minted. The weight is 416 grains and is of .892 fine silver (January issues and restrikes are made with he new standard .9 fine silver with a weight of 412 grains.) NGC declines to opine as to Original versus Restrike stating there is not enough data to make that determination. After the research leading up and the review of the Dr. Korein collection there is ample data to make these determinations and both PCGS and ANACS do!. I am not a fan of PCGS but here they have NGC beat. The coins here is in remarkably good condition, given that they were released into the hands officials and citizens.

JTO

JTO

 

My Latest Submission - the Results are In!

I finally received grading results for the my last submission of coins to NGC.   Drum roll, please .. . .  .  .   .   .   .   NGC Ancients cert # 4282892-001. Here is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4282892-001/NGCAncients/ This coin is a nummus struck by Odoacer, King of Italy from 476 to 493 AD. This coin graded Ch XF, and I was extremely satisfied (dare I say surprised on the upside) with the grade. The strike and surface both earned a 4/5 score.  Beyond the grade, I am of course pleased with confirmation of the attribution, which depends in a large part on interpretation of the reverse monogram.  Odoacer's coins are extremely rate and highly sought after.  I was lucky to land this one, even if I don't yet have a space for this coin in my Roman Empire custom set. I plan on adding one or more new pages for the collection (maybe later this year), and I was specifically thinking about adding a kind of "denouement" page.  Odoacer's rise to power marked the final fall of the Roman Empire in the West.  Odoacer was an extremely interesting individual, and I am looking forward to researching this coin and posted my resulting Owner's Comments, but that is going to take some time, stay tuned!   NGC Ancients cert # 4282892-002. Here is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4282892-002/NGCAncients/ This coin is a denarius struck by Carausisus, founder and first Augustus of his own rouge state known as the Romano-British Empire (he ruled from 286 to 293 AD). This coin graded Ch XF, and once again I was extremely satisfied.  The strike earned a 4/5, and the surface received a 2/5, with edge chips noted.  In this case, I consider the grade very respectable considering this coin was found in the ground (near Kettering, Northamptonshire, in February 2016).  I still need to conduct my research and post my Owner's Comments. This coin is particularly special and historically important for its reverse  which bears RS[R].  This enigmatic inscription is now thought to be a reference to the 6th and 7th lines of the 4th Eclogue of Virgil which begins Redunt Saturna Regna, basically, Virgil's text described that Rome's Golden Age has returned.  Carausius was apparently the only Augustus to make such a literary reference on coinage.  It is very interesting that a rough-and-tumble ruler of a fringe realm would do so! I am looking forward to my research and finishing my Owner's Comments for this coin.    NGC Ancients cert # 4282892-003. Here is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4282892-003/NGCAncients/ This coin is a aurelianianus struck in the name of Augusta Magnia Urbica, wife of Roman Emperor Carus.  Her reign lasted from 283 to 285 AD.  The coin graded MS, strike 5/5, surface 3/5. While I might have hoped for a better surface grade for the remaining silvering on the coin's surface, I was overall very pleased.  There is not much to say regarding Mania Urbica, so it will probably not take me much time to get my Owner's Comments posted (at least I hope so!).   The fourth coin was re-assigned by NGC for World coin grading (as opposed to ancients grading).     The cert # is 4679899. This is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4679899-001/55/   This coin is a fabulous denier featuring Charlemagne, King of the Franks and his newly emerging Holy Roman Empire.   I was extremely pleased to receive an AU for this exceedingly rare and very historically important coin (I admit my heart was pounding when I saw this grade!).  I don't even have an entry for it in my Roman Empire set yet, but  plan to add it later this year as I expand the collection to include that "denouement" page (I am still amassing coins for that page, so stayed tuned!).  I am very excited to research and post my Owner's Comments for my Charlemagne coin, but that is going to take some time.

Kohaku

Kohaku

 

July 4th

Happy July 4th to all the collectors out there and thank you to all the Vets that make our country the best in the world. Your service is the only reason we still have the freedoms we have and may God bless us all Jerry
 

Looking Back on my 70 years of coin collecting

Looking back on my 70 years of collecting Chater 1 - The End My third try at posting this journal. Today I did something I hoped I would never have to do. I deleted my now much smaller ancient custom set. Due to finances I had to sell off a large portion of my ancient collection. Since I will no long have the financial means to meaningfully grow this collection I took the reasonable step of deleting that collection. I did however move my ancient coins into a much smaller custom set I have titled “Oldies but Goodies and other Pieces.” I was quite pleased when my Custom ancient set became the first ancient set that made it into the list of 50 most viewed custom sets. I do have a never say die approach to collecting in that the day I shipped off my ancients for auction I purchased three more ancients. Since then I have purchased what maybe my last ancient for some time to come. I believe it to be a beautiful specimen of a Roman Provincial Coin (RPC) by Macrinus, the coin is from Moesia, Nicopolis. It is an AE26. The coin grades Ch XF with “condition scores” of Strike = 4/5 & Surface = 4/5 (see photo). It is my belief that specimens of bronze RPC that grade XF and better are not that common. In fact I just input “Macrinus, Moesia, Nicopolis, AE26” into the NGC’s Ancient Coins Archives search engine and 40+ pages of results came up, I check Page 1 & Page 40 (50 coins total) and not a single bronze RPC graded better than Good VF (Ch VF). So for all practical purposes I have a coin collection but I have stopped collecting coins (i.e., growing my collection). Now what I am I going to do? I have decided to start a journal that discusses what I have observed and learned regarding coin collecting over my 70 years of collecting. If you have any topic you would like my thoughts on just let me know. As it stands right now I have eleven topics I wish to write journals on. Take care (Ram in VT)

RAM-VT

RAM-VT

 

Adding Images to a Journal Entry

While in the edit srceen, use this section if you wish to add images to display in your journal entry Use the Feature Photo option to upload an image you wish to display as a cover photo for your entry on the latest entries page

dena

dena

What is "ALTERED SURFACE"?

Got this back from grading.  Bought it from the Mint.  Called NGC to find out what this meant.  Got a gal who read a prepared sentence.  I called the mint to see if they had done something to this coin, and they say no, can't be responsible for coins once they leave the mint.  Still don't know what is wrong with it.  I guess the Postal Service did something to it before NGC got it, because I know that they don't "alter surfaces".  Anyway, can someone explain what the mints do to alter surfaces so as to negate a coin from being graded.   Thanks anyone.
 

The BIDE-A-WEE Medal

Bide-A-Wee is Scottish for "Stay A While" and is the name of an animal rescue and adoption center in Manhattan founded by Mrs. Flora D'Auby Jenkins Kibbe in 1903. Bide-A-Wee still exists today and has a policy of not euthanizing the animals in their care except for pain and suffering. As a result in 115 years of operation they have been able to place over a million dogs and cats into loving homes.  A collector favorite, the Bide-A-Wee medal was awarded to persons in grateful recognition of their "service in the cause of friendless animals." The pictured medal is a bronze un-awarded uniface example designed by then sculptor Laura Gardin around 1913 just before her marriage to James Earle Fraser. It is interesting to note that although the Medallic Art Company catalogs the die pair as MAco 1918-002 that the design pre-dates 1918 because it is signed Laura Gardin rather than Laura Gardin Fraser. The obverse of the medal features three of Laura Gardin's favorite dogs seated together. Surrounding the dogs is the inscription, "LOYALTY, DEVOTION, FORGIVENESS, HUMOR." The edge inscription reads "L.G. Fraser (copyright symbol) 1919.  The picture attached to this post is of Arctic explorer Rear-Admiral Richard E. Byrd being presented the Bide-A-Wee medal in 1930 for devotion to his terrier ironically named, "Igloo". Interestingly, Laura Gardin Fraser is also credited with designing the National Geographic Special Medal of Honor for Rear-Admiral Richard E. Byrd in 1930. One side of this medallion sized medal prominently features the bust of Admiral Byrd. The only fly in the ointment is that this medal is details graded by NGC for cleaning. When I submitted the medal for grading, I hadn't noticed the cleaning. Now that the medal has been graded I can see the cleaning and I agree with NGC's conclusion. For me, the fingerprint on this medal is more distracting than the cleaning which is probably why I didn't catch the cleaning. Still, even with the cleaning and fingerprint I visually find this medal very appealing. Thus, I am thrilled to own this medal because it is scarce and rarely comes up for sale or auction. 

 Pretty Cleveland Commem posted to Instagram

Are you following ngccoins on Instagram? This 1936 Cleveland commemorative was struck to commemorate the centennial of the founding of the city in 1836. A celebration known as the Great Lakes Exposition was also held to commemorate the event and was also the location at which the coins were sold for $1.50 each. The first issue of 25,000 pieces sold out, so an additional 25,000 were struck the following year but were still dated 1936. Those also sold out, leaving a final mintage of 50,000 pieces.

dena

dena