Our community journals

  1. I wanted to share a bit of new vs old photo results. Both the coin images are of the obverse of the 1876.

    I set up my equipment the same way I usually do for macro photography of miniatures and other really small objects. I have a 105 mm f/2.8 VR Macro lens for my D600 and I added the 2x teleconverter so I could shoot really close in to the coin - having the coin fill most of the frame for really high resolution images - while still staying far enough back that I didn't get in the way of my light. I set up 2 speedlites. I initially was going to use both and have them behind the diffusion panels of the shadowbox but that was killing the luster in the images. I ended up just using one speedlite with a 1/128th full power setting undiffused. That gave me the results I liked the best. Using a small LED flash light to shine a little light on the coin made it much easier to autofocus with the lens. It's fairly dark in the shadowbox and the 2x teleconverter limits the effective aperture of the lens, making it hard to get enough light in for the autofocus to succeed without a little help. The circle of light projected by the flashlight also made it easier to keep the coins positioned consistently when swapping them out. Since the light from the small flashlight is so week it doesn't significantly impact the final image - the much more powerful speedlite dominates in the 1/100 of a second in which the image is taken.

    Hopefully writing all of this down here will give me something to reference and help me remember later when I want to do this again. I'm including a picture of the set-up on the floor of the room I use as a home-office for now. I suppose it might be easier to do these things if I just set all of this up on a table and didn't force myself to flatten myself out on my stomach on the ground but... hey, I'm still fairly young (31) and don't have trouble getting back up... yet.

    I was able to basically stand the slabs on their edge with them leaning ever so slightly back on the back of the shadowbox in some cases.

    I think the new shots have much better detail, especially in his hair, beard and the field of the coin. They also look a lot sharper overall.

    I'm not sure how this compares to how most others do it. Most of my camera equipment - except for the macro lens itself - was purchased for portrait and event photography and I generally find myself putting the same equipment to use here. I'd love to get a really nice lens-mounted ring-flash one of these days. I think that would provide the best and easiest lighting for something like this.  But so far I just haven't been able to justify the cost.


    1876 Obverse.jpg


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    Finally managed to figure out this "new" journal, and here we go:

    Things happening in 2017:

    • Completed Japan 1000-Yen Proof set, huzzah!
    • Added and won 13 first ranked sets to my collection, yay!
    • Should have been 14 if I hadn't been lazy in entering the last Australia Stock Horse set
    • Should have been more than 14 had I known that 7 January 2018 was the date NGC distributed awards (need to pay more attention), not the deadline for award submissions, lol?
    • Lost my first place in the Somali cat set 
    • Broke top 300 

    Things to do in 2018:

    • Add more coins to the newly added Australia Silver Proofs sets, 2010, 2011, 2012, etc until 2018 
    • Complete Netherlands and other types of Wilhemina 2.5G silver coins, 1929-1944
    • Crossover some PCGS coins
    • Regain my first place in the Somali cat set (those 68s are killing my score, bah)
    • Break top 200

    Things not to do in 2018:

    • Add more non maple RCM coins, they are legion, lol

    Things to suggest to NGC if anyone from there actually reads this journal:

    • Combine and synchronize all the different country websites (I only use US and HK versions). The Hong Kong one is prettier than the US, but has no submission tracking
    • Accept crossover from ANACS slabs



    below is the pretty page that the HK version ( of NGC has (maybe the US version also has it, but I cannot find where it is)



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    Recent Entries

    Latest Entry

    Today I am 63. My journey with coincollecting began in 1961, I was 6 1/2 (the half was very important!); I was living in San Diego, just having moved from Key West Florida.  I had discovered a box of pennies that my parents kept for when they played Pinochle. As I looked through the box I saw pennies from the 20’s and 30’s. As I looked at the pennies more I noticed most of them didn’t have anything below the date, but some had D’s And S’s. I asked my mom what they meant, she wasn’t certain.

    A few weeks later I was in Woolworths and there was a section that sold coins. I had one of the pennies with an D under the date.  I showed it to the man behind the counter and asked what the D was. He began to tell me all about the various mints, and how to identify them by the various letters.  The penny I was holding was a 1912 D, the D represented Denver. I was so amazed that just looking at the coin, someone could tell me where the penny was made.   Next the man showed me a blue Whitman folder, inside there were numerous holes with dates and mint marks for each hole. He showed me exactly where the penny I had would be placed.  I was hooked!  I ran home and immediately asked my mom for 48 cents to buy the Blue Whitman folder; she gave me the typical mom response “We’ll see”.  I would not let it go. Finally, after weeks of pleading she finally relented and took me to Woolworth’s to buy my blue Whitman’s 1909 -1940 penny album.

    The car was barely parked before I bolted out and was heading for the penny box. As I picked out each coin, I looked at the date and associated mint mark looking for the empty hole that would soon be filled. Within an hour, I had gone through the entire box and only filled about 20 of the empty holes.  There were plenty of 30’s and 40’s, a few 20’s, but the coins in the Teens and earlier were mostly missing. Next, I asked my parents to empty their pockets of change - nothing!  I was on a quest - at 6 1/2, I had a quest. Nothing was going to stop me from filling that album.

    Whenever anyone new entered our house, I pounce on them asking to look through their change. Occasionally, I’d get lucky and fill a hole, but for the most part, filling the album was becoming very daunting. On one of my trips to Woolworth’s I noticed another Whitman penny album, 1941 -. Returning back home I revisited the penny stash; to my amazement a lot of the pennies in the stash were contained in that album.  The pleading again began with my mom; this time conditions came with the purchase. Three weeks later after numerous chores and added responsibilities, I was the proud owner of my second Whitman Lincoln folder.

    Again, I attacked the penny stash, this time though, I was much more successful! There were plenty of 40’s and 50’s coins, so much so that I was able to fill most of the album. The only glaring hole I had was the 1943’s.  Those coins from 1943 eluded me; not a single one showed up anywhere I looked.

    Next Week: My first Red Book

  3. Latest update is that I posted my Owner's Comments on an Apollonian bronze, struck during the time of the Antonine dynasty.  Here are comments (for a picture of the obverse and reverse, please see the Roman Empire collection posted on the NGC Ancients, Custom Sets...


    Ancient Roman coins denoted as “pseudo-autonomous” are generally defined as issues struck by cities and provinces under the suzerainty of Rome, yet lacking an imperial obverse portrait. Such coins not only bear historical importance, but also provide for interesting and artistic numismatic designs. The current coin, dating from Rome’s golden age under the rule of the Antonine dynasty (138-192 AD) provides a noteworthy example. 

    The strike occurred at the ancient Asia Minor city of Apollonis, whose eponym was wife to Attalus I, first of that dynasty to reign as King of Permagon around late 3rd century BC.  Attalus I’s son and successor, Eumenes II, decreed the creation of Apollonis through a synoecism (a mechanism whereby the ancient Greeks amalgamated villages into city-states, similar to the modern concept of incorporation of a city). Succeeding Eumenes II was his son Attalus III, who, dying childless in 133 BC, bequeathed his lands to Rome.

    By the time this coin was struck, Apollonis was firmly under Rome’s suzerainty.  Judging from this ancient bronze, the region held fast to its Hellenistic roots.  The obverse features the helmeted bust of the pantheonic goddess Athena.  To the ancient Greeks, Athena was one of the most powerful among all deities.  She represented a goddess of war; appropriately, she appears on this coin wearing an aegis and brandishing a formidable spear over her shoulder.  While a fearsome warrior, Athena only fought to repel outside enemies.  As such, many metropolises, presumably including Apollonis, worshipped Athena as their city’s own divine protector.  Athena’s talents didn’t stop there.  She also was goddess of other concepts such as handicrafts and agriculture.  Her impressive list of inventions included the bridle and yoke (facilitating domestication of animals), the pot, the rake, and even the ship and the chariot.

    Complementing Athena on the coin's reverse is Tyche, the Greek goddess representing fortune and destiny, particularly over a city.  Tyche was thought to preside over prosperity as well as disasters; no wonder she had a faithful following.   Many Greek cities, presumably including Apollonis, established their own local franchise for the goddess.  Tyche’s attire provides clues to the goddess’ role in controlling the city’s fortunes.  Her kismetic vestments include a polos (a cylindrical crown inviting parallels to city walls), a gubernaculum (a ship’s rudder), and, of course, a cornucopia.

    Pseudo-autonomous coinage was produced at Apollonis until at least late 2nd century AD, at which time - curiously- contemporaneous issues from that mint bore the busts of Roman Emperors and Empresses. The Roman provincial mint at Apollonis continued to strike coins until at least the reign of Augustus Severus Alexander.  Apollonian coins are generally rare, since the mint was not particularly prolific.  In the case of this particular civic issue, a seminal numismatic reference cites only three specimens.

    Coin Details: LYDIA, Apollonis, Pseudo-autonomous, circa 138-192 AD (Antonine dynasty), AE (3.12g, 18mm), NGC Grade: AU, Strike: 4/5, Surface: 3/5, Obverse: Helmeted bust of Athena right, wearing aegis and with spear over shoulder, Reverse: Tyche standing left, wearing polos, holding gubernaculum and cornucopia, ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΙΔЄΩΝ, References: RPC IV online 2490 (only 3 examples cited); SNG von Aulock -; SNG Copenhagen -; BMC 12-3.

  4. Hi Friends,

     I have accomplished quite a nice little set of Jefferson nickels over the past few years. I am not one to run around looking for nickels but have been fortunate to get plenty offered as trades over the past few years. This January I was offered around 5 nickels in a value trade of $1000+. Adding those few more just step the set up even more. I enjoy interacting with others sets and helping them get to their goals on their collection. Here are a few of the new members of the Jefferson Steps.

     Fun traders!!

    2542868_DetailsThumb_Obv.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM 2542868_DetailsThumb_Rev.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM

    2413296_DetailsThumb_Obv.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM 2413296_DetailsThumb_Rev.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM

    3093034_DetailsThumb_Obv.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM 3093034_DetailsThumb_Rev.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM

    3092582_DetailsThumb_Obv.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM 3092582_DetailsThumb_Rev.jpg?t=Mi8zLzIwM

    I will take a little extra time later on to get better pics showing the steps.


  5. Axel Ulen

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    I'll begin using 'scd' in place of 'So-Called Dollar'

    In the beginning I had to learn to grade scd's from photos, learn the differences in copper bronze and brass as opposed to copper and toning of each metal, "white metal" and even lead. I have one gold scd and want no more.

    Years of poor inventory control placed me in a unique situation. At one point I kept some scd's in Airtite containers in albums, others in 2" x 2" coin flaps in a desk drawer and a growing number of graded SCD's in 20 holder boxes. My list and collection totals didn't match for years. Oddly, this "collector head space"(in Army electronics repair, user error was referred to as, "Operator Head Space") and cataracts aided in purchasing scd's which are unlisted in both "SCD" editions. Upgrading my SCD's has given the 'collection' a number of duplicates, some graded. The HK-366a I believed I owned. is an unlisted, 32.1 mm So-Called Dollar as described on J. Raymond's site:

    I never thought I could complete a Alaska-Yukon Pacific Expo. until I purchased The 1909 SCD, HK-356A Alaska=Yukon Pacific medal. My collection has (at this time) a mis-graded HK-364 medal and three unlisted Alaska-Yukon Pacific So-Called Dollars. I need only the below medals to complete a registry set. 

    HK-358    Utah Dollar, Ag
    HK-361    President Taft Dollar, AYPE
    HK-363    Seward-Chief Seattle Dollar, br
    HK-364a    U.S. Government bldg

    I have SCD's and Early Commemorative Half Dollars. to offer in a trade for SCD's I need to complete my Alaska-Yukon Pacific collection. 

    Go to your local coin store and ask to see examples of so-called dollars... -  Anonymous SCD Jokester 

  6. Here are a 1753 and 1772 halfpenny, both in NGC 65.

    Bid on before my diagnosis. Dies on the 1753 were rusty but its still an attractive piece.

    1753 halfpenny obverse.jpg

    1753 halfpenny reverse.jpg

    1772 halfpenny obverse.jpg

    1772 halfpenny reverse.jpg

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    Chris B
    Latest Entry
    A few years ago one of the large coin magazines had an article on expanding your collecting interests and mentioned Wildman coins. I found the article interesting but kind of forgot about it until I ran across one on ebay. It had duel importance to me because if was also formerly part of the Eric Newman collection, a numismatist that I greatly admire. Side note: the new Eric Newman biography "Truth Seeker" is well worth reading. 
    I grew up helping my grandfather with his collection. All of my early numismatic education came from him. His favorite coins were the "V" nickels. He talked frequently about the rare 1913 issue and told me stories about the "No Cents" issue. We would spend hours sorting coins and building Lincoln Cent sets that he gave to family members. He never purchased a coin even though it meant never finding his No Cents Liberty nickel. I filled the whole with a nice uncirculated piece but it looks out of place. All of his coins came out of circulation. His liberty head collection was filled with coins most collectors would consider fillers but they are priceless to me. His collecting habits influenced me greatly. Yes, I purchase coins, but proof and high grade mint state coins don't do it for me. I appreciate them but I don't get the same rush as holding a nice 200 year old XF coin in my hand. Think of the tales it could tell. 
    I was fortunate to inherit his collection when he passed and continued to work on building his sets and only rarely upgraded his coins. In addition I purchased a small collection belonging to my aunt. 
    At some point I decided that it would be a good idea to start a large cent date set. My grandfather didn't have any in his collection. I am still working on this set but as the holes became increasingly expensive and I was making additions less frequently I got bored. 
    Due to my love of large cents I started searching out large diameter copper and bronze world coins which makes up the bulk of my recent new additions. I tend to gravitate towards crude pieces and generally don't mind coins with minor problems. 
    I still enjoy my US coins, primarily Large Cents, but I am realistic in my expectations for future additions. Recently I have been reading a lot about the 1776 Continental dollars. It is not realistic for me to obtain one but there a number of world coins available from the same year for a very reasonable price. I happen to have a 1776 Wildman coin. My dream coin is a 1793 chain cent but I have the same problem with this coin. 
    Wildman History 
    1) Around AD250 the Greeks referred to anybody that wasn't Greek as being wildmen or uncivilized. 
    2) Early Middle Ages - one story is about Merlin. After the woman he loved he went in to the forest and lived as a Wildman. He would occasionally return to the forest and have no recollection of his civilized life. 
    3) Later Middle Ages - the medieval Wildman represented a physical type that was definitely human with racial characteristics similar to those of Europeans. Hair covered everything except there face, hands, feet, elbows and knees. Described as everything from dwarfish to giant in size but always with super human strength. They were frequently pictured with an uprooted tree or club. 
    As European's migrated to the new world they brought the Wildman myths with them (think Bigfoot). 
    The mythical Wildman was blamed for unexplained calamities and quirks of nature including missing persons and crop failures. Wildman stories were used to frighten children into obedience. Wildmen were considered to be protectors of the forests and to be feared due to their wild unpredictable nature. 
    It was believed that if you carried a likeness of the Wildman it would protect you from him. This is a major reason why these coins are typically well worn and often founded mounted in jewelry. 
    Issuers of wildman coins and medals include various German states, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Greece including Crete, and Switzerland 
    So why do most of these coins come from Brunswick? 
    I have searched and can find no definitive answers but did find two books I brought have what I hope are clues. 
    1) "Wildmen in the Looking Glass - The Mythic Origins of European Otherness" - very dry and an excellent cure for insomnia. Dissects why people felt the need to create the Wildman myths. 
    2) "The Wildman - Medieval Myth and Symbolism" - Free to download from The Metropolitan Museum of Art or you can purchase a hard copy from other sources for $200+ 
    Neither of these titles are numismatic references although the 2nd title does feature 2 coins on page 162 minted during the reign of Heinrich IX the Younger in Brunswich-Wolfenbuttel. He was considered to be unrestrained, aggressive and destructive. He was rumored to have burned a set fire to and burned an entire town to the ground. His own population referred to as a Wildman. Heinrich had coins minted with his likeness on the obverse and a Wildman on the reverse. Some of these showed the Wildman holding a flame as a not so veiled threat of what he was capable of. 
    So, did this simply start the trend and they just stayed with it, or was it more of a mascot or was it due to extreme superstition. 
    Wildman coins have become a hot item with a lot more collectors actively seeking them out. You can typically find a couple of dozen examples listed on ebay. I don't consider any individual issue common and actual mintage data is typically unknown. These were minted from the 1500's to the early 1800's although I have never seen any from the 1500's for sale. Mint state examples are not found often. One sold this week in a Heritage auction at the NY show in MS64. Judging by the pictures I wasn't impressed. Judging by the price realized the other bidders weren't very impressed either. These issue are often poorly struck due to the technology of the time. 
    All of my graded Wildman coins can be seen in my custom set at:
  7. As those who read me know, I only collect American Silver Eagles.  I'm not an expect by any means, but it would seem to me that a complete collection including varieties would include all varieties. not just some.  This set has made varieties of where they were minted without a mint mark, yet, there are not any slots for the Annual Dollar Silver Eagles from 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016.  NGC has graded them as being from the Annual Dollar Set. 

    NGC currently has 114 slots in the current set listing of which I have 111 with the 2018 already ordered plus a couple that don't have slots yet, but I'm sure will as they are in the other years prior.  NGC should add these slots so we can collect a COMPLETE set as the set's name states.

    If anyone knows of any varieties of Silver Eagles not list for this set, please let me know.  Thanks in advance.




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    Latest Entry

    At the deadline for entering coins for the awards, I had the #1 Proof Presidential set in the Registry. No mention of it in the downloads section. I also had the #2 set at the end, for this year, yet that was only close. Someone got an undeserved award, and I still am near the top. Collecting this set was a passion. There was only one top set. I tried.



  8. gherrmann44
    Latest Entry

    I always thought it to be a shame if a person only grows older without growing any wiser. People often classify such a person as a fool. Concerning my relationship to coin collecting, wiser after so many years has finally come!


    After going trailblazers buying Morgan Dollars several years ago, I had lost interest in the series and finally sold off much of my collection in 2017. Now my interest in Morgan Dollars only includes the following: MS-65 and higher Morgan’s, GSAs, and Carson City Morgan’s. The rest, more than 40 coins in all, were sold, most at a loss to acquire the coins that today represent my real passion.


    At that time several years ago, I was adding Morgan’s to my collection at a rate of two or three coins a month. E-Bay was an addicting and all too easy venue for me to buy coins. It became as if, “I see, I like, I buy.” Never mind if I saw a coin, bought it, and only a few days later saw one I liked better and bought that one. I often rationalized that purchasing the new coin was subsidized by the old coin. To tell the truth, I was compulsively and indiscriminately buying coins. This no-win situation only robbed me of my numismatic passion and subsequently turned me into a numismatic fool.


    My Laura Gardin Fraser collection has taught me the patience needed to not only enjoy coin collecting but to do it at a pace that is both reasonable and results in buying quality coins that will never need to be upgraded. You see, when the coins and medals you need in your collection rarely make an appearance on the open market, you have to learn patience. Patience  then is a good indicator of passion. If I have no patience, I have no passion resulting in burnout. So far, I haven’t lost patience with my LGF set and now don’t expect that I will. In fact, I just picked up two scarce pieces at bargain basement prices, one with a mintage of only 30! I will post more about those later.


    That said, I will not be branching out into other numismatic ventures other than the following:

           Allegorical and inspirational women featured on worldwide coinage. Since my wife’s mother died of breast cancer, I will be buying the “pink” gold half-eagle going on sale by the US Mint in March.

           Seated imagery featured on worldwide coinage.

           A US gold typeset featuring all the major varieties from 1834-1933, less the 1907 high relief St. Gaudens double-eagle. (Only the prohibitive price tag keeps me from acquiring that one.)

           High-grade Morgan dollars, Carson City dollars, and GSA’s.

           Final upgrades to my 7070 US type set purchased on my behalf by a dealer friend of mine.

           …And of course my Laura Gardin Fraser coin and medal set!


    My dealer friend buys attractive coins for my 7070 type set from my want list in the grades that I can afford. My want list is a five year plan to acquire the coins that I will never have to upgrade and so finally complete a set that I will be proud to own going into retirement. This dealer friend also attends all the coin shows that I cannot. Thus, I am learning to patiently acquire coins via one of the oldest of collector venues, “The Coin Show.”


    Coins shows also give my dealer friend a chance to sell or trade my old coins at the best price possible. Therein is yet another opportunity for me to learn patience especially for my VG-10 1893-S Morgan. My friend held that coin for close to a year before finding a suitable buyer at the January FUN show.


    In 2017 I spent most of the proceeds of my Morgan sale to purchase coins to fill my gold type collection. Now only the no-motto half-eagle and no-motto Indian Head Eagle remain. Additionally, I am waiting until the spot price of gold goes much higher to sell the gold coins I purchased long ago and recently upgraded. This again is another opportunity for me to learn patience since many of those coins I purchased when gold was close to $2000/oz.


    In 2018, I expect my new purchases to be far fewer as I move more towards quality over quantity. So far this year with the proceeds from the 93-S Morgan I bought a beautiful E-bay purchased MS-64 1908 no-motto St Gaudens Double-Eagle and a FUN show pick-up, MS-66 1913 ty 1 Buffalo Nickel for my 7070 type set. I purchased both these coins with a couple hundred dollars to spare.


    Needless to say these two coins are not subject to upgrades as they are absolutely gorgeous for their grades. Through the patience of selectively purchasing only those coins that fit my narrowly defined passion, have I finally become wise. 





  9. 2017 was a tipping point for me.   After many years of relentless collecting, I slowed down to the point where I only purchased four coins, and actually sold four coins.  Three of those that I let go were Silver Riders -- ducatons of the Dutch Republic. You will find these beauties cataloged under the coins of the Netherlands, or more properly The Kingdom of the Netherlands as the modern nation is a constitutional monarchy.  Back in the 16th century, seven of the Low Country provinces threw off Spanish Habsburg rule and formed a globe spanning mercantile empire.  In North America, the Dutch established the colony of New Netherland in the early 17th century and its capital at New Amsterdam in 1625 (later renamed New York in 1664 after its capture by the English).

    The Dutch Republic minted several crown sized silver coins with the ducaton having the higher value of 60 stuivers. Produced from 1659 to 1798, the ducaton got the nickname of "Silver Rider" from its obverse design of a mounted knight. The reverse shows the coat of arms of the republic, with the lion holding a sheaf of arrows, symbolizing the unity of the provinces, and brandishing a sword in defense of their liberty. These are impressive coins -- 43-44 mm, 32.78 g and 91.4% silver.

    My initial foray into collecting ducatons was filled with mistakes due to lack of study and patience. For those of you that might consider collecting a nice example, do your homework and take your time.  There are rare types but most are not particularly scarce; well struck, problem-free examples from the provinces with the largest mintages are not expensive relative to other contemporary world crowns.  However, there are plenty of examples with issues and all three of the ones that I sold recently fall into that category.  Two of them came from shipwrecks and show varying degrees of environmental damage.  The one that I was happiest to sell is the one pictured here.  This example is from the province of West Friesland and has a very nice obverse but a weakly struck reverse.  When I previewed the auction I decided to pass on it because of the poor eye appeal of the reverse.  But in the middle of the on-line bidding, I only looked at the obverse and forgot why I initially passed.

    Selling my coins couldn't have been easier.  They were all originally purchased in Heritage Auctions and they were sold through the Heritage "make offer to owner" program.  I set the prices as low as I could to account for the 10% (minimum $40) commission and still get close to breaking even.  Then you wait and either accept an offer at your price or negotiate if a lower one comes in.  It's all conducted through email and the Heritage website -- you mail your coin to Heritage so your anonymity is maintained.  Going forward, I feel my collection has matured and I want to sell coins that are not part of the core.  I'm not in a rush -- my plan is to try selling in a variety of venues with breaking even as my goal.  As for Silver Riders, I still have a few better examples -- notably a 1760 AU-58 from West Friesland in my Silver Dollars of '60 set and a 1791 MS-63 from Utrecht that will get a place in a new set I'm calling "My World Crown Affair".



  10. I was very surprised on this example acquired at HA.  The grader missed a star mis-strike on Liberty’s cheek and a rolled U on the reverse that is easily identifiable without a loupe.




  11. RMK-Collectibles
    Latest Entry

    I guess that sometime everyone gets the "dreaded" phone call in life.  Whether it is being notifyied of a family member death or failing health.  This time it is my turn.  Failing health and serious problem has made it's way to myself.  I am having to start selling and don't really know how to approach it.  I think there are members here that work for auction firms and people who sell online alot.  If anyone could contact me about advice or people to contact I would appreciate it.  If you are looking for something, let me know if I have it maybe we can work something out.  I won't make a firm decision on how to sell until I hear from alot of you, my friends and colleauges here at NGC.  It pains me to do this, but selling was not a choice I made lightly, rather it is a necessary thing.  Thanks to you all.

    I must say CONGRATS to all the registry winners, way to go and best of luck to all of you in 2018.

  12. Ecuadorian Trial Coin Dated 1832

    Many know that when Ecuador's mint began to operate, it was given the task of revaluing or demonetizing base metal coins, most of them denominated in Reales and minted in Popayan, Colombia.

    It is common knowledge that in Quito the clandestine manufacture of counterfeit coins of base metal or low silver content was widespread in the early days of the republic. 

    This clandestine manufacture of spurious coins proliferated between 1828 and 1831; this being the reason one of the first tasks of the Quito mint was to identify the coins of 1 real of Popayan that had little or no silver.  Typically their silver content was less than thirty percent and the solution effected was to countermark these low fineness coins with the letters "Mo" (medio = half), to reduce the face value by half.


    We must consider that the Quito mint also had the job of countermarking the coins from Cundinamarca (modern day Colombia) of correct fineness with the monogram MDQ (Moneda de Quito), which was established by the decree on December 26, 1832 issued by GeneralFlores. That work was begun in early 1833.

    Likewise, we know that in addition to that tedious work of reviewing the problematic issues of Popayan, they had to acquire and set up the equipment necessary to begin minting of the first coins. The machinery was ready by the middle of 1832, and the first coinage was struck on August 30 of that year (Ref. La Moneda Ecuatoriana a través de los Tiempos de Melvin Hoyos, segunda edición, pág. 79).  So far there is nothing new; everything is perfectly detailed in several works.

    But what is still not known is the denomination of the trial coins that were made in August of 1832!  In the opinion of some investigators this emission supposedly had been minted with the date of the following year (1833); that is to say, that somehow the operatives, the engraver who made the die, the assayer Guillermo Jameson and the Director of the mint, Colonel Alberto Salazza, divined that the decree ordering the start of operations would not be issued until the following year. All this in spite of the pressure they had to assemble the machinery of the mint as soon as possible, due to the pressing need for circulating coins in the country.

    This scenario would have us believe that the staff of the mint assumes that President Flores should issue the decree with speed so that those coins came out the same year they were coined, 1832. That is what common sense dictated, although in practice this did not happen, for indeed the decree did not come until the following year (1833), but the staff of the mint had no way of knowing that the authorization would be delayed almost a year. That scenario, in my opinion, had to do the opposite, to suggest to the staff of the mint, that President Flores should issue the decree quickly so that those coins would circulate the same year they were minted, that is 1832, this indicated the logic, although in practice that did not happen, because the decree came out the following year, but the staff of the mint did not know that the issuance of the order would be delayed for so long.

    On the other hand the book by Eliecer Enriquez, "Quito a través de los siglos", makes reference to a hypothesis that the test coins minted on August 30, 1832 were the 2 reales; and Melvin Hoyos supports this hypothesis in the absence of any report of the starting date for the coinage of the 2 reales of 1833, which one could presume was a trial coinage. This hypothesis is very logical, which is why almost nobody rejects the idea that 2 reales were coined in August 1832; but the fact that there was no report of the start of these coins does not mean that there could not be other reasons. One must remember that the minting of the two reales denomination was irregular with few pieces minted.  The scheduled quantity was never achieved because the coin press suffered damage.  I believe this may have been the reason that no such report was issued.

    Moreover, Melvin Hoyos mentions in his second edition, in Item #7 on page 102, of his work "La moneda ecuatoriana a través de los Tiempos" that Colonel Salazzá sent a report to the Ministry of Finance, dated September 13, 1833 , informing of the impossibility of repairing the screw of the press, (“el tornillo del Balancín de la máquina de acuñar”) and that until that date the mint had only managed to produce 400 pesos in two reales coins;  that is to say, they only minted 1,600 pieces of 2 reales up to the 13 of September of 1833.  However, in the production report that Colonel Salazzá presented to the Ministry of Finance in 1836, he reported a total production of 5122 pesos in pesetas dated 1833, or in other words, 20,488 pieces of 2 reales.  Then we can easily conclude that 18,888 pesetas had to be minted after 13 September 1833 to complete the production reported by Salazzá, after the repair of the coin press was accomplished.  It is a great mystery that historians must continue to investigate, to discover exactly when and how the pieces of 2 reales of 1833 were coined. Until now it is only been possible to raise some conjectures.

    In my personal opinion, I can say that when it is necessary to put coins into circulation to satisfy an urgent demand, logic dictates that you begin with the coins that are most needed, which are normally smaller fractional coins, since it is the most requested currency for the majority of transactions.  This was demonstrated when we confirm that the first pieces that were put in circulation were the half real, and in the followed month the 1 real coins.

    So, if it was known what monetary denomination was going to have the highest initial demand, why would the mint decide to make a trial 2 Reales coin in August of 1832?  This does not seem very logical.   As I indicated above logic dictated that they should have begun trials with the most needed coin, which was the ½ real.

    Anyway, whatever the denomination of the trial coins, in my opinion, these should have been minted with the date of 1832, because they were made in August of that year, and surely the staff of the Quito mint could not imagine that the authorization would not be made until the following year.


    This theory was substantiated by a young collector who showed me a ½ real coin from his collection, which was extremely worn, but the 1832 date was clearly visible.  I told him that this piece was extremely rare, that perhaps it could be the link that could define the mystery of the pieces of proof that were minted in August of 1832.  In my opinion there was no doubt about the date that was observed on the coin. However, in order to confirm this observation, we sent the coin to one of the recognized coin certifiers, in this case NGC.

    Unfortunately this piece could not be certified because of its extremely poor condition. However, the certifier registered this piece dated 1832, and thus was established in registry 2810734-005 as ½ REAL 1832 GJ "NOT SUITABLE FOR CERTIFICATION"

    It is worth mentioning that when the certifiers cannot confirm the authenticity of a coin, they register it as "QUESTIONABLE AUTHENTICITY" as case 2813928-003; or "ALTERED DATE" if the date was altered, such as case 3719808-007; or "INELIGIBLE TYPE" when they cannot identify with certainty the type of coin, such as case 2795087-006 (coin of 5 sucres 1944 with the countermark for 75 years of the Ecuadorian Central Bank).  But in the particular case of this coin of ½ real, none of those qualifiers was considered; they did not question the authenticity of the coin or that the date was altered, nor if the piece was unidentifiable.


    In addition to that specimen, I knew of another case from a different third party grading service, ANACS that recorded the existence of another piece of ½ Real  with overdate (1833/2) with number 4732077; that is, a 3 over 2, which was put up for auction by HERITAGE, in January 2013, described as a “MoR” (medio real), unlisted overdate.

    These two examples make me ponder the possibility that the emission of trials, made in August 1832, could have been the coin of ½ real minted with the date of 1832, and not the 2 reales minted with date 1833 as many historians think. And, as I said earlier it would have been illogical to begin testing with the highest denomination silver coin, and even worse with the date of a year yet to come.

    If my hypothesis is correct, there should be more pieces of ½ real 1833 with overdate that could be in some collections, unnoticed by their owners, because this error was attributed to the poor quality of the details of a rather than a smaller punch.

    To confirm this, I made a visual inspection of some pieces of ½ real 1833, in which I was able to observe an important detail in the minting of some of these coins.


    It was observed that most of the ½ real coins of 1833 have a totally clear date, in which the 4 digits are quite clear, keeping a proportionality and alignment between the digits.  But there are other pieces in which it was observed that the date are not clear, being the rarest thing that in those cases the distortion of the digits of the date appeared only in last or two last numbers, and in a few cases it was visualized larger digits and their location was not aligned with the first 2, they were located in an upward stair position.


    The ½ real coins that have a warp on the date have a peculiarity, and none of them have a similar problem in the first two digits of the year. This is rare, because this anomaly was always attributed to the poor quality that Orellana gave to the punches of those pieces, but nobody has questioned that this anomaly is only observed in the final digits of the year. That is to say, we must believe that in the various punches that were made for the elaboration of these pieces, they only had a bad finishing engraving only in those digits. Or failing that, the pieces were so small that when they were struck the error occurred exactly in the same position of the coin affecting only those digits.

    Is that what we should believe what happened with those coins?

    I resist that belief. It is very unusual that there is only a warp in the last digits and it makes me think about the following question:

    Why is this warp presented only in the last digits of the date?

    The only hypothetical answer I find is that this warp is not a product of the quality of the elaboration of the punch, nor of an error in the strike of the pieces when they were made; it makes me think about the possibility that they are corrections made in the dies, most probably engraved in 1832 to start the production that supposedly had to start in the middle of that year, is what the staff of the mint should have assumed, the enormous urgency of demand of coins that the country had, added to the pressure that they had to have the machines installed as soon as possible. But as the decree was not signed until the following year, it is very likely that it would be necessary to correct those dies to be able to use them, obtaining some pieces with this peculiarity.

    The little test production that was made in August of 1832 must have been a few pieces with the date of the year 1832, which may or may not have been released, but only this piece of ½ real 1832 has been found in the records of the NGC and that it is probably unique.

    We must remember that when President Flores gave the authorization for the implementation of the Quito Mint, it was necessary to obtain information from the Lima mint in December 1831, because the tense situation that existed between the Government of Ecuador and of New Granada (modern day Colombia) did not allow the support of the mints of Popayán and Bogotá (“La Moneda Ecuatoriana a través de los tiempos”- segunda edición, pag. 74).

    Remember also that in Lima it was customary to correct the dies to reuse them in the following years, this is observed in the mintings of the House of Lima del Cuartillo (KM # 143.1) of 1830/28, 1831/0, 1834/3, 1836 / 5, 1839/8, 1842/32, 1843/32, 1845/36, as well as the ½ reales (KM # 144.1) of the years 1827/6, 1829/8, 1833/2, 1835/3, 1836 / 5, in the 2 reales (KM # 95) of 1803/2, 1807/0, in the 8 reales of 1803/2, 1815/4 among other copies. Thus we observed that the dies were not only corrected the final digit of the year, otherwise in many cases corrected to the last 2 digits.

    If they looked for all the information on how things worked in the Lima mint, it makes me think, if it were possible that the custom of correcting the dies was also transmitted to the Quito mint. If this hypothesis is true, it would explain why there are corrected dies in the last 2 last digits, as we observed in some specimens.


    The mystery of 2 reales 1833.

    Melvin Hoyos could be right, stating that the mint started producing the Ecuadorian coinage at the end of December 1832, and that the production should have started with the ½ Real coins with the error of the denomination in fraction made by Juan Orellana as a major engraver.

    We must also mention that Mr. Juan Orellana was the first major engraver in the Quito mint from 1832 to March 1833 when he was replaced by Eduardo Coronel. Mr. Orellana was in charge of making the first silver issues of ½, 1 and 2 reales.


    First coins of ½, 1 and 2 reales minted in the mint, attributed to the carver Juan Orellana.  Can see the main characteristics that attribute them to him, such as the rustic work of the pieces, the position of the birds, the overlap of the mountains that form the valley in V, the teeth of the ring that are unmistakable details, among others.

    In addition, some historians suggest that the piece of 2 reales could also have begun its coinage in 1832, at least the 1,600 pieces that Salazzá confirmed its production in the report of September 13, 1833 to the Ministry of Finance, reporting the impossibility of repairing the screw.  But in my opinion, in no way could those 2 real coins be the trial coins, made in August 1832, because any coins that had been made on that date, should have shown the year in which the test was done, and not the year following.

    It is not clear if the coins of 2 reales began to be minted in 1832 or early 1833, what I can say with complete certainty is that this denomination, despite the low production, was worked by both engravers, Juan Orellana and Eduardo Coronel, contrary to what many historians think that they attribute the production of the pesetas of 1833 only to Mr. Orellana, because they consider these pieces as the emission of evidence made in August 1832.

    To verify the aforementioned, we can confirm that there are coins of 2 reales 1833 with the finished characteristic of each of the engravers. This is confirmed by the certified coins NGC 4327326-009 which has all the characteristics that can be attributed to Mr. Juan Orellana, and the registration number NGC 3419565-008 that has the unmistakable characteristics attributable to Mr. Eduardo Coronel.


    Juan Orellana engraver                                              Eduardo Coronel engraver


    We can observe the characteristics that identifies the carver who made the stamp of each piece of 2 Reales 1833 that are shown in the photos above:

    -     -  We note that for the case of the die engraved by Juan Orellana, the finishes are rustic and of lower quality than the carving of Eduardo Coronel's die.

    -      -  The position of the birds located on the mountains are totally different between both engravers. This being the most relevant feature to determine which corresponds to each die. We can be seen that in Orellana's die, the birds have a horizontal posture (the head is aligned with its body and tail), while in Coronel's die the birds have upright posture (the head elevated well above its body).

    -      -  The formation of the valley between the mountains, that for the case of the cut engraved by Orellana, the overlap of the mountains establishes a meeting point (vertex), giving the form to the valley in V; unlike the Coronel die that is formed when the meeting of the mountain on the right makes a sharp curve to be mounted on the skirt of the mountain on the left, forming the valley in U.

    -      -  The finish of the slopes of the mountains are very different, noticing the fine engraving in the coin from the stamp of Coronel.

    -      -  The rustic design of the teeth of ring in the coin of Orellana, unlike the very good finish that is in the piece of Coronel.

    -      -  The finishing of the numbers that make up the year 1833, in which the difference in the shape of the digits is very noticeable, above all we can see how very different the number 8 is between both engravers.

    -  And finally the detail in the lower part of the cornucopia, which for the case of the Orellana die is thick and very rustic, while in the Coronel die the finishes are fine.

    All of these characteristics identify the work of each of engraver enshrined in the coins of 2 reales of 1833 despite the few coins of 2 reales minted in this year they were made in different periods and contradicting what we have believed, that all coins of 2 reales were made in 1832 by Juan Orellana.

    We can observe that all the characteristics of Coronel die of 1833 (the position of the birds, the shape of the number 8 on the date, etc), they are repeated in the coins of 1 and 2 reales in the following 2 years (1834 and 1835) in which he was the chief engraver of the Quito's Mint, leaving an unmistakable record of these details.

    In addition, from the aforementioned, it allows us to deduce that the coin of 2 reales coined by Juan Orellana, should be much rarer than the 1 real coin of 1833 also engraved by him. I have only known the specimen that appears in the photo of this article, it has not been reported in the works of Melvin Hoyos and Ramiro Reyes, in which only the coin corresponding to the carving of Eduardo Coronel appears in both works, attributing them erroneously to Juan Orellana.

    We must remember that, of the 20,488 pieces that Salazzá reported in the 1836 report as total production of pesetas, only 1,600 were struck in coins of 2 reales until September 13, 1833 as reported by Salazzá, when he reports the impossibility of getting the screw; which means that the 1,600 pesetas that were produced before September 13 must have been carried out by Mr. Orellana, which is less than 8% of total production.  This last statement is based on the order to produce coins of 1 real that was received by the mint, on February 28, 1833; article 1 mentions: "From this date will be struck in the mint, 1 real coins of the same type as the pesetas (“pesetas” in Ecuador was synonymous with “2 reales”), except that in the place where the numeral 2 is stamped, it will be replaced by the numeral 1 "  – “La Moneda Ecuatoriana a través de los tiempos” second edition of Melvin Hoyos, pag. 103;  which confirms that by the time the order was given to mint the coin of 1 real, in February of 1833, the coins of 2 reales already existed, and for that time, they could only come from the die engraved by Juan Orellana, who was the engraver of the Quito mint.

    The remaining production of 18,888 pesetas (more than 92% of total production), surely, had to be coined after the date of the report of September 13, 1833; which means that it could only be made by Mr. Eduardo Coronel, who by then was already the engraver of the Quito Mint.



    As conclusions we can summarize everything mentioned so far in 7 essential points:

    1.    The test coins minted in August 1832 would not be 2 real coins as most historians suggest, because it would make little sense to have the mint trials on the least needed coins.

    2.    That the trial coinage should have been struck in the year 1832, because the mint had no way of guessing that the decree would not be issued until the following year.

    3.    To support both hypotheses, I support the existence of a ½ real coin registered by the NGC dated 1832, the ½ real 1833/2 certified by the ANACS and some pieces that exist with the warp in the last digit of the dates, which makes the presumption that they are the product of dies that were corrected.

    4.    Only 1,600 of the 20,488 pieces of 2 reales 1833 could be minted by Juan Orellana (less than 8%), they were the first pesetas.  This is supported by the report of September 13, 1833 by Mr. Salazzá confirming that production up to that date.

    5.    The remaining pieces of 2 reales had to be engraved after September 13, 1833, with dies executed by Mr. Eduardo Coronel, because Orellana was no longer the main engraver of the mint.

    6.    Both coins of 1 and 2 reales of 1833 engraved by Juan Orellana must be extremely difficult pieces; with the 2 reales much more difficult to find than the pieces of 1 real.

    7.  Eduardo Coronel produced more than 92% of the total production of 2 reales 1833, while Juan Orellana in less than 8%; reason why to date had not found a 2 reales coin carved by Orellana. This allowed to attribute to Orellana erroneously the few pieces found of 2 reales, when they really belonged to Coronel.


  13. I've been so busy lately with work, family, yard work and pre-Christmas activities I've barely had any time for hobbies. Even after I made a purchase last Sunday evening it took me 3 days before I even had time to swing by the post office box and pick up my new additions-- and this was because I had gifts for family out-of-state to mail.

    I've gotten into replacing some slots in my Washington album with mint state coins if the price is right and I found a nice 4-coin lot of all MS64 PCGS coins from the early 1940's at a recent auction. You know the drill--an early low-ball bid to get the items on my Bid list and then about a half hour before auction end I checked and the price was still pretty low. Someone had outbid me but not by a lot. I waited until 2 or 3 mins left and bid a moderate level with no expectations. Win or Lose I wasn't doing any chasing. There was one more bid under mine but I still won the 4 Washies for just $65 plus $8 buyer's fee-- a nice score. Out of curiosity I checked the Price Guides and the 4 coins combined have a $178 list value, so it seems I did well indeed.

    Three are nicely toned and the cheaper one ( 1942-P) is white--overall some sweet additions for my album. I haven't cracked them yet, all are solid for the grade so I'm not worried about cracking out over-graded coins which I never do.

    The Washington album is rounding out nicely with mostly 3 pages of AU sliders and BU coins. The first page which are the 1930's issues will remain problem-free circulated issues.


    Happy Hunting E1 and a very Merry Christmas to all.......






  14. Canadian Masterpiece Set 015 
    Ultra Rare Gold Coin Showpieces

    This gold fractional set was released by the RCM in 2004 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the gold maple. The fractional set contains one of each of the following: A gold 50c, $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 core surrounded by a silver outer ring (6 coins total). The 50 cent gold coin is the first 1/25 oz coin produced by the RCM. Each coin is marked with a 1979-2004 privy. Total gold weight of this set is 1.94 troy ounces. Total mintage of this set was 801 units, making it a very rare and interesting piece! All coins were packaged in a black leather presentation case with a black velour insert, along with a certificate of authenticity. The original issue price of this set was $2495.95. I hope you enjoy this set












  15. Eric P. Newman numismatist from age seven passed away this week. I never met him, only knew of him through his coins and currency auctions of spectacular selections. I was fortunate to have acquired six mint state Large Cents from these auctions which I understand, by estimates raised $72 million since 2013. He founded a coin museum by his name in 2006. Prior to that about 1959 he founded a numismatic educational society to advance our endeavors. He wrote many ground breaking research books on our topic and held unique pieces which he a lone found. He also acquired many pieces from the late also famous collector Col. Edward H.R. Green. I owe him a great debt of gratitude for having given of his time, talent and treasure in his stewardship of all the coins he preserved from what would have certainly been the ravages of time. I am forever grateful for the six coins that are now in my collection because of him.


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    I'm more than a little confused by the lack of a separate entry for the 2000 W Millennium Set Silver Eagle. So much so that I'm spending my time writing about it. With a reported mintage of 75,000 & a census in ms69 of 5529, this is clearly worthy of its own entry. Does anyone (NGC) have any info on this?? Otherwise have a lovely day....

  16. Kris

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    No journal entries yet

  17. This letter was sent to me on July 6th....


    Hello Mr. Deeds,

    I am disappointed to learn this has happened again and I apologize for the inconvenience to you. Of course you may send them back to be corrected at no cost to you.

    In addition to speaking with our encapsulation and QC personnel, NGC President, Rick Montgomery is now involved and we have prepared a set of criteria for all of our graders and QC specialists to follow to see that this does not continue. You are welcome to note which side up on your submission form -- this information will be provided to the QC specialist.

    We appreciate you taking the time to contact us once again and we look forward to providing the level of service you should expect from NGC.

    Best regards,
    That was less than 60 days ago, and it has happened two more times. 
    The Maundy set that is pictured below is the second time/set that has come back to me like this.
    If the president of the company can not correct this then I have no idea what to do. 

    4 PENCE.jpg

    3 PENCE.jpg

    2 PENCE.jpg

    1 PENCE.jpg

  18. I purchased and received a 1971s Lincoln cent NGC ms66. It would not fit into the NGC box that I keep my certified set in. I fumbled the holder and it popped  open. It had gone through NGC Quality control without being sealed. I sent it to be sealed. I tracked it to Sarasota and it was picked up at the P.O.. I waited for them to seal it and send it back. I lost the receipt from the P.O. and NGC had no record of receiving it. NGC acted like they didn't care and It was no big deal. How can you run a company and no one even fakes caring? The coin only cost $20 and at this rate they must have many coins in Lost & Found. They must have cut back on employees to save money. I  just shut my eyes and bought another 1971s Lincoln cent to fill a hole in my set. They could even have put a coupon for 5 or 10 free grades. I am not going to press it and since they are so short handed,  this complaint will go unnoticed. 

  19. Jamar

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    Latest Entry

    My 2017 American Eagle 20th Anniversary Platinum Proof is scheduled for grading and is listed as "Reverse Struck Through." Is this unusual for a proof coin? I would expect that for a circulated coin but less so for a proof.  How could this affect the coin value?

  20. Joe Ferentz

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    Got an email from NGC that said..."A special NGC label is available for the limited-edition 10-coin 225th Anniversary Enhanced Uncirculated Coin Set released by the US Mint on August 1. The release, limited to 225,000 sets, was sold out within minutes."

    Then I went online and ordered 2 sets! What 's up with the fake news NGC?


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    Meade Collection
    Latest Entry

    Well, the time came and I just acquired a new 2 escudos from the Central American Republic. It is a nice example, not terribly expensive as all gold CAR coins, and yes, problem free. I just need an 8 escudos to complete the type set. That one will have to wait as normally are more expensive than German Cars... Of course will not make it to the competitive set, but that does not bother me. What matters is that it is finally here.