Our community journals

  1. What intrigues me the most about the coins in my collection is their place in history and the circumstances of their issue.  I enjoy doing the research -- light research, that is, using online resources -- and I'm often surprised by the details that I uncover.  Consider one of the most beautiful South American coins, the "sun face" issues of the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, that we now associate with Argentina.  If not for the shifting fortunes of war during the struggle for independence from Spanish rule, these might not have been minted.
    In the early 19th Century, the Spanish Empire was in turmoil.  Napoleon Bonaparte forced the abdication of the Spanish King in 1809 and in Buenos Aries, the capital city of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a junta took control after the May Revolution of 1810.  Many years of warfare between separatist and loyalist armies ensued, especially across the province of Alto Perú, the region that would eventually become Bolivia.  Victories in September of 1812 and February 1813 left the independence forces in control of the mint at Potosí. Seizing their opportunity, the general assembly in Buenos Aires authorized the minting of their first national coinage and provided the design characteristics in April of 1813.  Soon after, gold one, two and eight escudos and silver 1/2, one, two, four and 8 reales were being minted at Potosí featuring the sun face on the obverse and a variation of the newly created coat of arms on the reverse.
    I find it interesting that the activities of the mint during these transitions seems to have continued with a few obvious changes. The mint was the property of the crown so those with official positions may have retreated with the royalist army.  The coins of the Provincias Unidas featured the initial "J" of assayer Jose Antonio de Sierra and not those of the royal assayers, Pedro Martin de Albizu and Juan Palomo y Sierra ("PJ").  The mines, however, were private ventures and, although the mintage is unknown, the quantity of coins that were produced suggest that ore extraction, smelting and refining continued as well.  Since the mint's function was converting precious metal into currency, it provided a necessary service for the mining industry to fund their operations.  Striking of the Provincias Unidas issues continued until November 1813 when military defeats caused a withdrawal from the area.  The retreating general ordered the destruction of the mint but the locals disconnected the fuses from the explosives.  The averted disaster was a boon for both sides as the mint was retaken and another issue of Provincias Unidas coins were produced between April and November of 1815 with the same design and the initial "F" of assayer Francisco Jose de Matos.  The mint reverted back to royalist control and continued to strike Spanish coins until Bolivia secured its independence in 1825.
    Had the mint at Potosí not become available when it did, I wonder what the early coinage of the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata would have looked like.  Regular issues would not start until 1824 from the mint at La Rioja and with many, many changes in leadership since early 1813 it's unlikely that the same decision makers were in power.  Fortunately, we can enjoy the sun face design, known as the Sol de Mayo from the story that the sun shone forth from the clouds at the declaration of the new, independent government in May of 1810. The design is similar to the heraldic device called the 'sun in splendor', notable for having alternating straight and wavy rays. Other coins of South and Central America are noted for their sun face theme.


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    This is a remarkable specimen with an unbroken chain-of-ownership (President Johnson-to-Congressman Stephens-to-DrDarryl). As you can see the number of "-to-" is two ! (I have two degrees of separation from President Johnson with this piece).

    Not to worry, I made sure that the estate of Congressman Stephens provided me with a letter of provenance with each of the owners identified (including me as the current owner).

    Note the date on the letter (first date of issue Kennedy half dollar) and the text (among the first). Not to mention President Johnson's signature on a White House letter!

    Not shown is the letter of provenance  and White House envelope.


  2. Friends,

    I was able to get a nice group of additions to my sets in May.

    Great Collections offered many top end coins from Centurion Collection. Although some bids  were quite high I was ale to get a few.

    I did miss out on getting a Georgia-P quarter. There were 3 of them i MS68 slabs and I missed all  3 of them. Very pleased with the state

    quarters I did win last month which put my top pop totals to 55 for that set.

    Well till next time ----- Happy Collecting!!!


  3. ...the War of 1812 (between the US and Great Britain) began. Here is what US currency looked like that year: a Classic Head Cent, a Capped Bust Half Dollar (toning) and a Capped Bust Half Eagle (gold). Explore these series at .


    6-18-18-warof1812-halfdollar.jpg6-18-18-warof1812-cent (1).jpg6-18-18-warof1812-halfeagle.jpg


  4. Another update...I just posted my latest Owner's Comments.  This time, the coin is an ancient Roman provincial bronze featuring the obverse bust of Empress Cornelia Supera, wife of Emperor Aemilian, who reigned only a few short months.  As such, Cornelia's coins, including this one, are all rare, and represent the only source of information about her.


    The reverse features the goddess Cybele, and Anatolian goddess whose cult was adopted by Rome as a safeguard during the second Punic War.  Cybele is perhaps one of mankind's earliest deities, and she represented the Mother Goddess, associated with nature, all aspects of flora and fauna, and she was considering mankind's teacher and guardian. Since there is not much known about Cornelia, I took the opportunity to also reflect on Cybele.


    Here is a link to the coin...


    And here is a link to the Roman Empire Collection...






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    I picked up this 1916-D Buffalo and to me it is a DDO although according to Walter Breen's Encyclopedia none have been verified. What do you thank?



  5. One of the things that endears me to coin collecting is allegorical art. I have several sets in my collection based on allegories alone. I have always maintained that coins are a powerful medium to communicate national ideals through allegorical images.

    For me a lot of the fun in collecting coins is deciphering the allegories. In researching the allegories, I am amazed by how much I have learned about world history through the stories told on coins! For instance I had not known that the name "Borealia" had been considered for Canada's name at it's confederation in 1867 before I acquired the latest coin for my allegorical "Inspirational Ladies" set. The following is a description of my coin purchased from Tallisman Coins and comes from their website:

    Building on the classical concept of a female national personification, Canadian artist Rebecca Yanovskaya offers a new allegory for a modern Canada. Framed by waves and maple leaves that unite land and sea, Borealia is the very picture of strength and confidence as she stands against the majestic backdrop of Canada's tallest peak, Mount Logan, which represents the soaring spirit of innovation.

    Like the British figurehead Britannia, Borealia is clad in traditional robes, but with unique armor that hints at Canada's journey since the colonial era. Every engraved element in this intricate design carries deeper symbolic meaning, including those that allude to the weight of history: the fur cape that represents Canada's pre-Confederation past; the feather that pays tribute to Indigenous Peoples; and the poppies of remembrance woven into her hair. In one hand, Borealia holds the shield of the Arms of Canada; in the other, a dove of peace, a nod to Canada's historic role as peacekeepers, but also to Canadians' desire for peace.

    Facing forward towards the future, Borealia is strong, optimistic and steadfast, like the people she represents, whose ideals and spirit continue to shape and redefine the nation's global future. With one foot reverentially set in the past, her name is an ode to one of the proposed names of Canada leading up to Confederation: Borealia.

    Traditional engraving creates a classical portrait of the modern Miss Canada, a highly symbolic and meaningful allegory or personification of the goddess Miss Canada, struck in one full troy ounce of 99.99% pure silver, and layered in precious 24-karat gold!

     She is youthful yet wise, peaceful yet  powerful. She is Borealia, (from "borealis," the Latin word for "northern") the goddess Miss Canada, who radiates strength and confidence on this fully gold-plated, 99.99% pure silver proof. This symbolic personification is a superb rendering of a classic allegorical figure who represents the collective spirit of Canadians in today's world: hopeful and steady in resolve and perseverance, rising to meet the challenges that lie ahead.



  6. I need a second opinion if i got it right counting the steps of this 2003 D Nickel with errors on obverse and reverse. Please feel free to view the video in this

    URL :  

    2003 D NICKEL ERRORS - 6 steps.JPG



  7. When I first started collecting the $20 Canadian silver coins, I was told NGC would not grade the "snowflake" issues. They contain crystals that may come loose and therefore are not gradable. My how times have changed. Now the "catch phrase seems to be "colored outside the mint" I am out  good deal of time and money for this excuse to grade a coin that is submitted with a COA, and charged for no grading, or encapsulation. Limited numbers are being plated or colorized, and many more to come. Our US coins aren't even struck in the mint they claim to be struck in. If NGC is afraid the enamel will fall off, why are we signing a release when submitted?

    I just had 2 more become "ungradable" and have more (8), of the same to be graded. There needs to be a list of coins that NGC will not grade. Now I have 2 collections that are missing completion. At close to $100.00 per coin and $30 each to not grade them, it is ludicrous. 

    There will be many more (collectors) trying to make sets with high grades, but now we have been halted by "policy."  There needs to be a current list, or a change in the grading procedure. SmartMint is coming fast and then we will see. No one even knows where, or what entity even strike them anymore. Why should NGC care about the colorization on so few specimens?

    if they are not colorized at "the" mint. Where are they done? Why do B.H. Mayer and CIT exchange coins? I also have a few other colorized coins that came from "the" mint.

    Collectors need a list before we engage in the purchase of coins that are "worthless."



    colored leopard.jpg


    2017 colorized leopare coa001.jpg

  8. Today my invoice says "Scheduled for grading", I click on the invoice number and it has a format of the coins I sent. Look below, here is the problem, spotted an error on Line 11. They call it a 2A, should be a 4A. Thats like calling a morgan silver dollar  a walking liberty half. Big difference in size and value! Called up NGC customer service and spoke to Kevin who was helpful and gave me his email and told me to write what the invoice # is  and the problem and he would let the grading side know. Just sent it now, hope it gets corrected! I'm even more pumped and like a kid waiting for a toy store to open up now that its scheduled for grading.........


    Screenshot-2018-5-3 Collectors Society - The Registry - Show Order Details.png

  9. In response to my journal about the 14 day turn around.  I sent them in with the Modern tier, World coins.  Also here is my colorized coin rejected as colorized outside the mint. 


  10. So, I was getting a little tired and fatigued over all the coins that the RCM has been releasing over the past few years.  The designs have been great, the themes often tired, and they fell into a market with little demand.

    Then this came along:

    Although obscure to the rest of the globe, I am excited that the RCM has released a piece of nostalgia that is unique to growing up in Canada.  Captain Canuck is our cheesy, well-mannered version of Captain America.  As with all Canadian content, he was a low-budget defender of all things Canadian 🤣.

    I really hope this kicks off more Canada-themed pop-culture coins in the future.  I must admit, the rapid rise in price is also a welcome change in this market, as many other coins have depreciated after initial release.





  11. I have been a member here for about ten years or so.  I can remember when I first discovered the Collectors Society, it was great.  I had a growing collection and could list all my coins in one place.  There was (and still is) a really good inventory report which I used yearly with each set to check progress and changing values.  Then, someone got the idea to ban PCGS, first from the world coins, then everything.  If you had them already documented here, they could stay.  Needless to say, this ruined any inventory reports since they could not be updated, same with the competitive sets and photos.

    Now they have ruined a wonderful part of the page, the journals.  It was possible to check a profile, see their coins and sets, and sort of get to know other collectors by their stories and seeing and hearing about their new found treasures.  Now there are no stories except a very few.  There was quite a period of complaints but I saw no change. 

    Too bad, this was once a very vibrant and interesting site.  I have always had NGC, PCGS, other TPGs, and raw coins, I will always collect but remember when this was a lot more interesting place.  Sad...

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    Hello Everybody,

    I just received the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemoratives a few days ago and I thought I would share. The Mint did a nice job choosing the designs for this coin...which they don't seem to get right sometimes. The WWI comm is a good example. NGC did a good job with the label and the pink holder is a great touch when looking at the coin in hand. I just hope enough coins are sold so some money gets back to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

    Take Care Everybody


    breat ms ob - Copy.jpg

    breast ms rev - Copy.jpg

  12. E Larz

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    Perhaps it is just me, but as I have collected Franklin Halves for some time, I have noticed that PCGS seems to be flooding the market with new (e.g. their newest holders, retro green and dark blue) certified coins which for the most part, in my opinion do not live up to standard to the grades that have been assigned.  I am aware that PCGS basically ignores the top set of bell lines, which is a strike against them but I had purchased a few PCGS coins and thought, let me try a crossover of those coins that I felt would merit an NGC holder.  Wouldn't you know it, I sent in 4 coins recently to cross and not one was crossed over at the same grade.  In fact, one was CAC-stickered (and pictured here) and did not meet NGC's standards.  I had thought that all 4 of these coins were worthy of crossing over and I had see plenty of newer PCGS certified coins that I would not buy because they were overgraded, in my opinion.

    1954-D Franklin Half PCGS MS-66FBL 32761842 CAC--obv.jpg

    1954-D Franklin Half PCGS MS-66FBL 32761842 CAC--rev.jpg

  13. In November of last year (2017), very shortly after I got my new job in October, I was sent to Aberdeen to visit the company’s home office for training and to meet all the people I’d be working with remotely face-to-face. My wife lived in England for 3 years and visited Scotand during that time and really wanted to go. We arranged for her parents to watch our son for a week, I bought her an extra ticket to come with me and she stayed in the hotel with me. Since the company was paying for the room it made for a cheap vacation for her. I still had to work during the day but we got plenty of time to do some sight-seeing and have some wonderful baby-free time, which is always good for a marriage.

    It’s likely that I’ll return to Aberdeen periodically over time if I stay with the company long term but it won’t be terribly often – perhaps once every 2 years or so. My wife wanted to come along because, with our plans to grow or family among other things, we weren’t sure if she’d be able to go when and if the opportunity arose again and she really wanted to go. I’m glad she did. It was a great deal more enjoyable that way.

    My wife recently dug through her purse to lighten her load and dug out a lot of residual English coinage from our trip. I separated the UK coinage from the American ones and I’m going to be hanging on to them. I need to get some flips to put them in. While we were there she also went by a bank and found a couple of fairly nice looking 10 pound notes for me to take home and those are now in my little currency album along with an old circulated Bar note that I was given by one of the other users here many years ago. They’re lightly circulated. Again, I’m sure they’re not terribly valuable and never will be as collectables, but they’re something I wanted to bring home from the trip nonetheless.

    The coins are circulated and not particularly collectable, but they’ll be nice mementos of the trip and something to show to my son as he gets older.

    When I was younger my grandmother, who passed last year, a few months before this trip, used to show me and gave me a bunch of old coins from places like Pakistan (dated around 1961), Argentina, Chile, Mexico, etc. My mother also had friends that brought us back coinage from Singapore, China, and Asian locations. These were coins that my grandfather brought home with him while he traveled for work as an engineer. I was the first male grandchild born after his death. I was named for him and these coins, which I still have, were a nice connection to that piece of my family history. They were a fun addition to my mother’s stories about being in Argentina and buying a whole bunch of French fries (papas fritas) when they thought they were ordering fried chicken (pollo frito).

    My son, who is named for me in the same way that I was named for him, will hopefully enjoy seeing these and the older coins from his great grandfather as he gets older. Ben is turning 2 this month. I'll have a while to wait before I know for sure if he shares my interests in these things, but I know he likes shiny metal based on the way he likes to rifle through my silver eagles and sunshine mint rounds.

    I brought him coins. My wife brought home lots of Cadbury chocolate. I think I did better there but the chocolate was good.


  14.      I acquired for Dynasty Collectors' Cabinet  registry by private sale an 1828 N-3 MS64 Brown Middle-date Large Cent. This 1828 is among the finest known and was the best MS Brown Middle-date Large Cent from the over 3,000 coins collected by the Late Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure. Heritage Auctions brought 800 of his coins to auction in June of 2016, with only six other MS Middle-date Large Cents being offered. I mention this to emphasize just how hard it is to find Mint State Middle-dates. NGC has a beautiful gallery of the Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure Collection one can view @

         The Rev. Dr. James G.K. McClure passed in 1932. His daughter Harriet McClure Stuart, gave birth to Robert Douglas Stuart Jr. in 1916, so sometime after Robert was about sixteen years old, Grandfather's collection went from his home in Illinois to a safety deposit box at a bank. Young Robert D. Stuart went to Yale College, was C.E.O. of Quaker Oats Company for 38 years, sat on the boards of some Fortune 500 companies and was Ambassador to Norway from 1984-1989. Robert D. Stuart passed in May 2014. Then after roughly seven decades in a safety deposit box, the Great-Grandchildren(James M. Stuart, Marian S. Pillsbury, and Alexander D. Stuart) decided to auction them, recounting how their Dad told them GrandPa would tell how he came to acquire each one of the meticulously arranged coins in custom built trays. GrandPa was Rev. Dr. James G.K. McClure. He was the fourth Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, IL for 25 years, President of Lake Forest College and founder of the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. An eloquent quote from an article he wrote in the 1890s read; "Interest in coins was a large feature of my boyhood days, and that interest, though a very minor part of life now, still exerts its influence, much as the perfume lingers about the vase that once held the flower." 

         Thank You to all the McClure and Stuart family participants for protecting and helping usher this lovely 1828 N-3 Large Cent into the Dynasty Collectors' Cabinet of Mint State Middle-date Large Cents. (See coin below)



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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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    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

  16. 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 

  17. 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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    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:
  18. 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.




  19. 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.




  20. 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.