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  1. Found this in a hidden bottom of a box a friends family had given me. Anybody have a idea what it is?




  2. I’ve been debating for a few weeks now which silver bullion series I might want to focus on getting caught up on this year. The Kiwis and the Koalas have both been in contention. I’ve been a little reluctant to commit to building out the Koala set this year because I had the first four sets in the series in MS70 and, if I went for the rest of that set, I knew I’d probably want to continue with 70s. This is one of the few of these sets that I’d originally been going for in MS70 – the Kookaburras, Lunars and Pandas I was quite to content to build out mostly in MS69. I had been thinking, based on my memories from ’08-’10, that it would probably run me $70-100 a coin to build out the set in that grade and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go in for that right now. I wasn’t fully convinced that it was worth that to me at this time vs other things I could be doing. I’ve always loved these large bullion coins for the designs, but I’ve really been getting into the 19th century European gold more as I get older and the two have to compete for funds.

    Just to see I’ve been watching on eBay to see what they’re tending to go for. To my pleasant surprise, while most are listing in the $70-100 range, I expected there are several dates available from various reliable sources in MS70 for about $50, which I’m more comfortable with.

    A couple of weeks ago, on Sunday the 6th, a seller I’ve bought from before listed seven 2011-P Koalas in MS70 for $38 each. It was a surprise seeing that because this dealer normally only deals in classic coinage – I’m pretty sure I bought my 1887 10G from them a few years back. Looking at eBay, these Koalas looked really out of place and were just about the only modern coins they were selling. I have no idea how they got these things in stock, but they priced them to sell – everyone else was asking at least $50 for the same thing. It can be hard to find dealers willing to sell graded MS69s for $35 or less.

    I had a $10 “eBay bucks” certificate that I had to spend before the month was over anyway and $38 is almost cheap enough to call an impulse purchase (I normally try to cap those at $25 though to be honest). But I thought about it for a little while and decided to pull the trigger. At that price, I just knew I wasn’t going to regret it even if I didn’t decide to make the Koalas a focus this year.

    Unless a seller listed one in an auction and I got lucky it was hard to imagine getting one any cheaper than that. $38 probably barely covers the cost of the coin and the grading, and it’s a guaranteed MS70.

    A few days later, around the time the 2011 coin was arriving in the mail, I noticed that there was not one, but four 2017-Ps selling in true auctions with very low starting bids that were all ending on Sunday the 13th. The four coins were selling in pairs. Each pair was being offered by a different seller. One pair was ending around 10:30 AM about a minute apart from each other. The 2nd pair was ending around 10PM, also very close together. A major dealer that I’ve bought from before was also offering the 2017-P with a BIN of $48. All of these had free shipping.

    Granted, people do crazy things all the time, but it seemed likely that the bidding would top out at or below $48. Assuming the people bidding (and there were about 10-12 people bidding on the various auctions) had done their homework / research, it seemed reasonable to think that no one would keep bidding once the price got close to $48 when there was a BIN option.

    Sheer number of coins selling that day and having that BIN serving as a ceiling seemed like a perfect recipe for suppressing the sale price and made it seem likely that a good deal could be had. Based on all of this it just felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up. So I decided to go for one of them.

    I decided I’d bid about $42 on the first of the four, see if I won. If I didn’t win, I’d immediately bid the same on the second. If I lost both, I’d consider bidding a little higher on the second pair.

    I figured I’d either get a reasonable deal (under $45) or I just wouldn’t bother buying today.

    Well… I won the first coin for just $34.89. The second coin sold a minute later for $34.00. The second pair ended at $33.20 and $38.00. So, I don’t know if my theory about the large number of coins proved valid in the end or if that’s just the price that the buyers on the Bay are willing to support right now.

    In about a week I’ve locked up two of the nine coins I was going to need to build back my Koala set for under $75. Not a bad run of luck. I don’t know if this quite locks me into / commits me to going after the Koalas this year, but I’m really close to it.

    With everything that’s going on lately I think there might also be a “retail therapy” aspect to these small purchases too, but fortunately I’m not going nuts – still very much honoring and sticking to my budget.

    Now I just need to stop getting distracted and get back to waiting to be ready to purchase that 20 Franc coin in a couple of months. Of course, I say that while knowing that an auction for a 2012 in MS70 is ending this weekend.

    The included pictures are just a quick attempt. Hopefully I’ll be re-shooting and uploading new pictures with all of these to match what I’ve gotten done lately for the 10G set, the Kiwis, and the Kookaburras.

    (Bonus! When I told my wife the title of this post, she visibly winced and said, “You are such a nerd!”)



  3. Last November, I noticed that the latest round of deaccessions from the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society, billed as the Eric P. Newman Collection Part XI US Coins Signature Auction, also had a few world coins mixed in.  I won this nice upgrade for the 1733 klippe 8 reales that I mentioned in a previous journal entry.  But, I was also curious because of the lot description that included:

    "A scarce-to-rare example of the Philip V 8 reales pistareen with cut sides, struck on a screw press according to the Eric P. Newman kraft envelope, which accompanies the coin."

    I was aware that "pistareen" was a nickname for Spanish 2 reales coins and wondered why Mr. Newman would mention that in his notes about an 8 reales.  Alas, I was unable to glean any more information by examining the envelope because it was not included in the shipment from Heritage.  I did complain to Heritage and they checked with their shipping department and opened an investigation into the issue.  However, after a month they concluded that the envelope was lost.  They did offer a refund if I wanted to return the coin but I elected to keep it, but I was able to get a credit for part of the lot cost. 

    I imagine that it was accidentally shipped with a different lot so if you received an envelope with your package from the Eric P. Newman Collection Part XI US Coins Signature Auction that doesn't seem to belong with your lot, it may be mine.  Please contact Heritage if that's the case.

    As part of my investigation into the "pistareen" question, I came across a great article from the April 2001 issue of the Colonial Newsletter that discusses how a coin that was never meant to be used outside of Spain, was actually one of the most commonly used coins in Colonial Virginia.  This connection may have been how Mr. Newman recognized some of the similar design elements on the 8 reales klippe as the shield on the obverse is the same although the style of the cross on the reverse only bears a slight resemblance.  I'll leave it to you to hunt down example photos of a "pistareen" and I'll just show my photos of my new klippe.



  4. I seem to have spent many pleasant hours going through the listings for the various January auctions and have identified 100's of fantastic coins that would be great to add to my collection. Unfortunately the reality of my available funds has now kicked in so 4 or 5, or maybe even just one missing coin is a more realistic proposition however this does present an interesting dilemma.

    Do I upgrade an existing coin or fill an empty slot in one of my sets?

    Even within the lower denomination coins, which I tend to collect, many issues do not appear very often at all in raw state and the graded examples, if there are any, even less so. As a result I am leaning towards the option of filling an empty slot. As my original collection was made up of attempted date runs of raw coins, typically in VF, joining the Registry has prompted some upgrades to nice AU/MS examples however as the numerical grade is often just 'opinion' l am less concerned about a minor improvement such as MS63 to MS64.

    As the vast majority of the sets in my collection have none, or only a few graded examples, the satisfaction of completing a Registry set is not yet a deciding factor. Due to the very low populations of many world coins there are also numerous sole top population coins available throughout January and these are very tempting - but which ones? As I will be bidding live I expect the realised prices and the relative dates the different auctions take place on will make the decision for me. An added complication with world coins is the order in the catalogue (Mexico is usually after France etc, unless the auction is also sub-divided by continent) so do I go for 'earlier in the alphabet' or save the money and hope that the later lots do not go for silly amounts and end up with nothing as happened in the Heritage sale earlier this week!

  5. Just thought I would try to catch up with folks.  I have been away for awhile as many of you know.  Health reasons.  My tests are finally in the normal + range.  But in February I had my 4th back surgery which left me much worse off than what I went in as.  But in July we got my next hobby to keep me waking up for something to do each day, being disabled and retired, in no particular order, and waiting for Mrs. to retire in 1 1/2 yrs. It is a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with matching numbers and near original interior 84,000 miles.  We owned one when we got married in 1973 and miss it since then.  Looked for nearly 9 yrs to find one in good shape.  Being an ex auto mechanic, had to dig out the Motors and Chilton's to refresh on some things.  Was embarrassed to admit it but I have forgotten more than I can ever remember.  But none the less, I am pressing on.  I am hoping my Competitive Isle of Man cats gets some attention for this years awards as well as my custom cats of the world, or others, especially the Snow Leopards.  Hope my old followers will follow me again, as I will follow you as well.


  6. I have a friend(fellow collector), who was seriously injured in a car fire and really needs some help! If you can do anything to help him and his family please follow this link:

    If you can't that is understandable at this time of year, send a prayer his way! Please add William to your churches prayer list also. Thanks for your time, help and prayers and I hope you all have a Blessed Holiday Season! 

  7. Chapter 8 The Five Coins that never were and are worth a Fortune

    Anyone who has followed the trials and tribulations related to the 1933 Double Eagles in private hands knows simply possessing a coin does not mean you have the legal right to own it. I am no expert on what exactly the procedure is for coins and bank notes to become legal tender. From what I can gather from news articles the first step is that an order be placed for the coins or bank notes be produced. Once produced is this new currency now legal tender? Evidently not, the new currency must then be officially released which includes funds being transferred to the treasury equal to the face value of the new currency being introduced into circulation. In the case of the 1933 Double Eagle the coins were authorized to be struck but that is where it stopped. With the exception of one 1933 double eagle set aside to be presented to King Farouk of Egypt all other specimens were to be melted down. But even though King Farouk was officially presented his 1933 double eagle it was not officially removed from the mint in that the treasury never received payment from the State Department or any other government agency for release of that coin. The court ruling determined the coin was in fact a gift from the U.S. government to the King and was therefore allowed to exist in private hands but that it not come back into the U.S. until $20 in U.S. funds was paid to the U.S. treasury. The $20 was quickly paid and the coin is now in the U.S. in private hands.

    There are other strange situations related to U.S. coinage such as the 1870-S silver dollar. For example there are simply no mint records related to the production or release of these 12 coins. These 12 coins were all removed from circulation (1 is graded MS 62) and never known to have been in the hands of one family or individual thus implying they were released into general circulation as part of the normal operation of the San Francisco mint. This differs significantly from the 1933 double eagles being fought over in the courts that are all MS and in the hands of one family.

    But what upsets me the most are those #&*%!! 1913 Liberty Head Nickels. To me these five coins represent the darkest side of our hobby that is willing to reward individuals for thievery and allow their ill-gotten merchandise to be sold openly in the market place and to reap big bucks. What saddens me the most is that such practice is supported by the biggest and most prominent auction houses, dealers and collectors. Yes at least one 1913 Liberty Head die was made but that is as far as it went. When I started collecting coins in about 1950 (this was only 37 years after 1913) I heard stories of how these five coins were produced (either as a favor or for payment) for an individual who had an in at the mint. This position was reinforced three decades +/- later when I was living in Maryland and all five of these coins were placed on display at the Baltimore ANA show. I was a one man boycott of this show simply because these coins were being treated like royalty when in fact they were pretenders to the throne. While the ANA show was in town I heard and interview with the president of the ANA on the radio and when asked about the origin of these five coins he paused and the best he could do was imply they may have had a clandestine origin followed by a short laugh and that was all he would say. Please note that unlike the 1870-S dollars these five nickels are all MS, as with the 1933 double eagle, implying they were removed from the mint as group and kept way that until being split up.

    Also I would like to say thank you to those of you who have said they enjoy reading my journals.

    Best regards


  8. 314330032_Mrs.ThomasLeiperandherdaughterHelenHamiltonLeiperbyCharlesWilsonPeale.jpg.70b0f80adcc380d8e14341c468939c6b.jpg

         "Mrs. Thomas Leiper and Her Daughter, Helen Hamilton Leiper" as shown on Oil on Canvas, 1794 by Charles Willson Peale. Do you recognize the features in the little one's face or perhaps on her mom's face? She would have been roughly two years old in the picture, having been born on April 20th 1792.

         After having grown up in Philadelphia, in 1814 she married Robert Maskell Patterson M.D. and had seven children. Philadelphia in 1792 was home to our first Mint. Mr. Patterson's dad was Robert Patterson L.L.D. who was the Director of the Mint from 1806 to 1824, having been appointed by President Jefferson. Mr. Robert Maskell Patterson M.D.was appointed Director of the Mint by President Andrew Jackson from July 1, 1835 to July 1851, having succeeded his brother-in-law Samuel Moore in that position who was appointed by President Monroe. A family monopoly for over 45 years, 1806 to 1851.

         The War of 1812 ended February 18, 1815 between Britain and the United States. Copper planchets did not arrive in casks from Matthew R. Bolton's English company until late in 1815. 1815 was the only year in which the United States did not coin any cents. On August 22 through the 24th of 1814 the British had dealt a major blow when a force attacked Washington burning the White House and among other buildings the Treasury. These events compiled to allow a refocus on 1816. It is well documented that 1814 was the last year for the Classic Head Cent with the fillet banner in her hair, due to dislike from the public of Engraver Robert Scot's design. 1815 then was used to let Design Engraver John Reich shape a new portrait. The Matron Head Large Cent design became of age and ruled or reigned from 1816 to mid-year 1835.

         Now enters the little girl in the picture, Helen Hamilton Leiper of Irish descent. She is now 23 years of age,with a father-in-law as acting Director of the Mint and a new bride having married his Irish descent son in 1814. A daughter-in-law's portrait fit for the 1816 John Reich design!

         Some testimonials:  Alexandre Vattemare from France (1796-1864) was a founder of the Boston Public Library and an advocate for public libraries and international library exchange. He wrote in his 1861 book or catalog; "COLLECTION DE MONNAIES ET MEDAILLES DE L'AMERIQUE DU NORD DE 1652 A 1858";"1808 a 1815" bear "le portrait de madame Madison" later the "Effigie de Mme Patterson". 

    Legendary Numismatist and Author Q. David Bowers in his 2018 book titled;"ALEXANDRE VATTEMARE AND THE NUMISMATIC SCENE"; mentions on pages 73 and 74 a catalog by Edward Cogan from 1877 that tells of engravers using Mrs. Patterson from 1816 to 1838.

         So here is my story of the portrait of the lovely Matron Head Large Cent and I am glad after two hundred plus years she has fame!





  9. The latest update on my Roman Empire is that I added another Page (grouping of 15 coins). 


    This time, I added a new Page at the end, entitled "Epilogue", here is the synopsis..."After the deposition of the last claimant to Rome's throne, various successor states (e.g., Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Lombards) vie with Constantinople for dominion over the West."


    I decided to add this Chapter after I learned more about what happened *after* the fall of the Western Roman Empire.  As I learned more, it became clear that Rome not such much fell, as was absorbed into various "Romanized barbarian" tribes.  In many ways, this period in history is at least equally as fascinating as the preceding period.  Here is a quick description of the coins I choose to include, and why they choose them...


    Odovacar - The first "King", albeit a Germanic one, to rule over Italy since before the Republic. He was a remarkable fellow with a remarkable history (it will take me some time to finish my research and get that posted).  Odovacar's coins are extremely rare and apparently extremely desirable.  I have been trying to land one of Odovacar's coins for several years.  Finally, I managed to land this one at auction after a number of failed attempts.  This bronze graded a highly respectable XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 4/5.


    Gunthamund - King of the Vandals from 484 to 496 AD.  He ruled over the Vandals around the time of the so-called "Vandal Renaissance".  I used this opportunity to also give an example of the unexpected richness of the culture at that time, one of the "Vandal literati", Dracontius, who was imprisoned by Gunthamund and wrote several works while in prison to try and apologize for offending the King.  For more details, read my Owner's Comments I already posted for this one.  This 25 denarii coin graded VF, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5.  Not the greatest grade, but a rare coin though.


    Thrasamund - King of the Vandals from 496 to 523 AD.  He ruled over the Vandals at their apex.  Still researching this one, stay tuned for my Owner's Comments.  This 50 denarii coin graded a highly respectable XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5.


    Theodoric - King of the Ostrogoths from 493 to 526 AD.  He ruled over the Ostrogoths at arguably the height of their power and culture.  Read my Owner's Comments for details of his interesting history. This decanummium graded a highly respectable XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 5/5. Again, a rare coin in any grade.


    Ostrogoths - I saw this coin and I had to purchase it for the collection - it features many Roman elements, including Roma herself, even though it is an Ostrogoth coin. A great illustration of the concept of the barbarians' so-called Romanization. In any case, read my Owner's Comments if you want to learn more about the Ostrogoths.  This 40 nummi coin graded Ch VF, Strike 5/5, Surface 3/5.  A relatively rare coin in any grade.


    Anastatius I - Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 491 to 518 AD.  He represents the first Emperor that NGC denotes as Byzantine (as opposed to Western Roman Empire). In my posted Owner's Comments for this coin, I review the transition of the Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire.  This coin graded a spectacular Gem MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5 (and I submitted myself as a "raw coin" - few numismatic experiences are as thrilling as that!)


    Hilderic - King of the Vandals from 523 to 530 AD.  Still researching this one, stay tuned for my Owner's Comments.  This 50 denarii coin graded AU, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5. A very high grade for such a very rare coin.


    Athalaraic - King of the Ostrogoths from 526 to 533 AD.  Still conducting research on this coin as well. This quarter silique was struck in the name of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, and graded a highly respectable XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 5/5.


    Gelimer - King of the Vandals from 530 to 540 AD.  Still researching this one, stay tuned for my Owner's Comments.  This nummus graded VF, Strike 3/5, Surface 4/5.  A rare coin in any grade.


    Theodahad - King of the Ostrogoths from 534 to 536 AD.  Research also in progress.  This coin graded VF, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5.  Another example of a rare coin in any grade. 


    Witigis - King of the Ostrogoths from 536 to 540 AD.  Research also in progress.  This half siliqua graded VF, Strike 4/5, Surface 2/5.  Another example of a rare coin in any grade (honestly, I was hoping for a higher surface grade, but I'm not the expert grader, NGC is...)


    Baduila - King of the Ostrogoths from 541 to 552 AD.  Research also in progress.  This coin graded Ch VF, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5.  Once again, a rare coin in any grade.


    Justinian I - Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565 AD.  To find out why he is the most deserving person to be called "the Last Roman", please read my Owner's Comments!  This gold solidus graded a very satisfying Ch MS, Strike 4/5, Surface 5/5.


    Lombards - This half siliqua coins was struck by the tribe that managed to gain rule over Rome in the power vacuum after the fall of all the other guys (Ostrogoths and Vandals in particular), and the retreat of Byzantium from the West. That would be the enigmatic Lombards.  This extremely scarce coin (one of few of its kind I have ever seen) was struck in name of Justinian I and graded Ch VF, Strike 4/5, Surface 5/5.


    Charlemagne - Last, but certainly not at all least...he was considered the "father or Europe".  He held sway over various tribes from the Franks to essentially recreate Rome's legacy under a new "Holy Roman Empire".  I submitted this as an ancient coin, NGC decided to grade otherwise.  In any case, despite its modest appearance, this is one of the most beautiful and important coins to me that I possess.  I still need to conduct my research and post Owner's Comments.  This denier graded AU.


    Here is a link to this Page in my Roman Empire Collection...






  10. It all depends on how you ask the question…

    1. What year did a P mint mark first appear on a U.S. coin struck for circulation? --- 1942
    2. What year did a P mint mark first appear on a coin struck for circulation? ---------- 1941
    3. What year was the Philadelphia mint first identified on a circulating coin? ---------- 1895

    I submitted 43 coins to NGC at the World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia this year.  The majority were raw coins for grading, but some were regrades, some for attribution, and one for conservation, regrading and attribution.  I finally got them all back in October and they allowed me to complete three sets that I have been working on for the past 15 years.  Two of these sets apply to the phrasing in question 2 above, and the third set to question number 3.  Taken together, they contain ALL of the15 coins struck before 1942 that explicitly identify the Philadelphia mint as their source.

    The sets listed below each have fairly extensive set descriptions as well as photos and descriptions for each coin in the set.

    • Competitive Set: Curaçao/Suriname - contains 14 coins struck by U.S. Mints, two of which are dated 1941 with a P mint mark. (The set isn’t technically complete, but it is for my purposes.)
    • Custom Set: Netherlands East Indies - Minted by the U.S. Mint - contains 20 coins struck by U.S. Mints, two of which are dated 1941 with a P mint mark.
    • Custom Set: Ecuadorian Coins Struck by Mints in the United States - contains 34 coins struck by mints in the United States, 11 of which were struck between 1895 and 1934 that identify the Philadelphia mint by name or abbreviation. PHILADELPHIA is fully spelled out on the reverse of the 1895, 1914, and 1916 Dos Decimos de Sucre.

    I will continue to upgrade these sets as time and money permit, but for now I have at least one good NGC graded example for each of these coins.

    Thanks for reading and good luck to all vying registry awards.

  11. Hi All

    The first set of 20 Roosevelt dimes has been entered for the Sunday 11-25 Auctions. Here is the link   Press the  shift key and the left side of the mouse.

    There will be 20 coins per week for 6 weeks. Thanks for viewing and I hope you bid to get a few.







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    Recent Entries

  12. Greetings all.  It has been awhile but I am back.  Have a question about American Silver Eagles.  Given the current price of silver  and what the U.S. Mint is charging for these has anyone backed off purchasing these ?  When silver was much higher they sold in the $50 range but now when silver is so low they are and have been charging the same !   Thoughts


  13. JoeF
    Latest Entry

    recently acquired set of 1932 - 1964 Washington Quarters. seller stated that set was "informally graded by an independent third party and ranges are from MS-60 to MS-65." although I doubt the '36-D is MS.

    here's some pics made with digital point n shoot, so forgive the quality. to be clear, each obverse is followed by same coin's reverse.

    considering grading. opinions (especially of Washington collectors) are welcome. be kind.











  14. I chronicled my first submission and the outcome here a few months ago, well I just mailed off my 2nd submission! Again, 19 coins and all from thailand.

    Last time I submitted 19 thai coins, I had 11 graded, 8 details. There were some coins I expected to get details and some I did not expect. I used the experience I learned from the last submission to carefully inspect my current submission..........hoping for no details grade!!!

  15. so i hear canada is loosing its copper color

    well i may have been anounced by the prime minister of canada or whom ever that the losing there cents well thats cool

    i think american should or prolly would do the samething after changing the currency

    To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

  16. Because of my Laura Gardin Fraser collection an article in the June 2018 issue of The Numismatist entitled, “Fraser Finds”, aroused my interest. The author of that article went on to describe his pure joy at the Fraser finds comparable to that of discovering lost treasure. For my part I found this article fascinating. Never could I have imagined that Tom Rochovansky and his wife Nancy were preserving so much of the Fraser’s work as a legacy to them.

    Normally for me this is where the story ends. Later I was to find out that this was in reality where the story began. A friend of mine who has been invaluable to me in both researching and acquiring many of the Laura Gardin Fraser medals in my collection contacted me about the article. He went on to say that he lives within driving distance of the Rochovanskys and made an appointment with them to inspect the finds for himself.

    When my friend returned from inspecting the Fraser’s studio pieces he sent me a report of his findings. I was somewhat disappointed that there didn’t seem to be anything of interest to me in the report. Later my friend on a subsequent visit discovered two Items that he missed on the first visit that I was VERY interested in purchasing. Those pieces were a bronze 1912, 131mm cast medallion honoring John Cardinal Farley on his elevation to the cardinalate of New York. The second is a bronze 1915, 64mm Rosemary Hall 25th anniversary medal. I’ll have more to say about these medals later but for now, as Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.”

    This is where having a friend that knows something about medals is indispensable. After finding out about these two medals I told my friend that I was interested in purchasing both of them. The price for the Rosemary Hall was about what I could expect to pay and well within my budget. The asking price of the Cardinal Farley medallion on the other hand was a stretch for me and just outside what I wanted to pay. With that my friend was willing to negotiate a fair price on my behalf to the Rochovanskys based on his knowledge of the market and it was a sale! Two medals once owned by Laura Gardin Fraser are now in my personal collection! Indeed, both of these medals truly represent a “Most Excellent Provenance”!

    I mailed a check directly to Tom Rochovansky with a hand written note thanking him and inviting him to peruse my set. After receiving my check, Tom gave me a call and I had a wonderful conversation with the curator of the Frasers studio artifacts. Tom went on to say that he personally knew Laura Fraser as a child and often referred to her as Aunt Laura. I asked him if I could conduct an interview with him about his experiences with the Frasers and he was very willing for me to call him at a future date. Now who could ask more than the prospect of acquiring first-hand information about the Frasers?

    In a bit of numismatic history Tom Rochovansky went on to say that he loaned the plasters for the 1999 200th anniversary of the death of George Washington half-eagle to the mint. In return the mint sent him one of the half-eagles that he incidentally still owns. The mint also returned the plasters which are also still in his possession. Finally, Tom told me about some of the non-numismatic items he still has, one of which I may be interested in purchasing at a future date when I will likely make-up a display case of this collection.

    Finally, I was not the only person to benefit from the “Fraser Finds” article in the Numismatist. Another of my friends introduced to me through the same person who contacted the Rochovanskys acquired several plasters, one of which is the obverse of the Oregon Trail commemorative half-dollar. He has also written of his purchases in the July 22 edition of “The E-Sylum” complete with pictures. Lest you think our common friend didn’t find something for his collection, think again. There are now three very happy collectors with their purchases and Tom Rochovansky glad to place a few of the Fraser artifacts into good homes.  






  17. There seems to be a growing corporate strategy for NGC to focus on the Non-US market over the US and leave the US to PCGS.  I may be wrong and this is in no way a dump on NGC (you can read my laudatory comments about Mark Salzberg and NGC in the "A SLQ Problem Coin's Journey to Righteousness" journal thread.)


    It appears that while NGC is increasing its investments in the international market it is not doing as much on upgrading the U.S. platform.  The data I use to make the conclusion that NGC is shifting their focus to the Non-US market over the US is based on 1) they dumped all PCGS coins out of existing "World" slots, years ago. 2) The registry no longer starts with US coins but it takes an egalitarian approach to all countries listing coins alphabetically by nation (I start each of my "registry encounters" with Albania.) 3) While they have decreased their presence at US shows (Long Beach etc.) they have increased their presence internationally.  This includes both a greater presence at international shows and NGC has opened new "bricks and mortar" Centers in many other countries especially in Asia.  This "corporate approach" is probably working as they seem to be the dominant grading service for both World and Ancient coins.  Their volume has increased particularly in Asian paper money.


    With regard to the registry platform the registry navigation drives me crazy.  When I finish working on my Complete Standing Liberty Quarter (SLQ) set and want to go back to Quarters to work on my "one per date" SLQ set or Early Quarters set and use the back navigation button on the browser, the browser does not go back to the Quarter's registry page but back to the first page of the NGC Registry (Albania.)  I met with the NGC staff at a FUN show and explained this problem and they were clearly aware of as they said that others had complained as well.  Alas 2 years and no fix and you cannot "bookmark” page 2, 3 or 8 even as a go around.  If you bookmark page 6 the Registry opens to the first page (Albania.) 


    I believe in NGC and find their grading more consistent and fair than PCGS.  I much prefer dealing with Mark Salzberg over David Hall. I remember when Heritage Auction was more ANACS than PCGS or NGC.  Then ANACS slowly disappeared and it was NGC and PCGS.  Now, for U.S., coins I am seeing a decrease in NGC leaving PCGS alone.  I hope NGC does not abandon the U.S. market by default (by not focusing their prime effort in the U.S. market and shifting it to the World market.)  As I said I believe in and prefer NGC.   NGC brought me the Edge View which brings some coins to life.  NGC, for the most part, photographs every coin that they grade (PCGS does not.)   That photo can help you recover a stolen coin (I have done it.)   These efforts by NGC are what sets them as the market leader regardless of who was first to slab a coin (PCGS 1986 and NGC 1987) or who the Investor Class prefers.  Please don't leave U.S. NGC!





  18. I had a box of medals and coins when I entered the PA Convention Center. I just drove in from out of state. To my dismay the NGC booth was packing it up.

    If one advertises attendance to the 18th, does it means closing shop by 11:15 am on August 18th? Whatever excuse is presented, the other TPGs was their at least until 3:30 pm. 

    I should have a job at which I can call it a day before 12 noon. Yep, they ( the NGC employees) were taping boxes, banner was down, all forms pulled from the table tops. And yes, the doors were opened by 9:00am on August 18th according to the official ANA schedule. 


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


  20. Jack1221

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


  21. NGC,

    There is no need to drastically reduce points in the World Sets. Some extremely rare coins have been assigned very low points in your latest update.  Registry points are subjective anyway, but I’m afraid that all this does is further discourage collectors from participating in the registry.

    It can be frustrating to compete in the registry if the rules are constantly changing without notice.

    See: Canada>Commemorative>$1 Proof for context



  22. Hey Guys and Gals,

    My son came over today and had a 36" T V with him. Up to my office he scrambled and started an attack on my old Dell computer. W.T.H. are you doing with my perfect running computer I asked.

    It took a while and some old school hook up lines that worked well with new school devices ( the T-V). 

     I now have monster sized coin pics to view that are so awesome!!

     So Cool!!!  

    Man, I love that son of mine --- He's Awesome!!!

    You know I had to add a pic to this post just to enjoy the huge view! :)