NGC Journals

Our community journals

  1. Mokiechan
    Latest Entry

    It's hard to believe it has been 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin first landed on the Moon.  In the summer of 1969, I was an 11-year-old living in Mt Lebanon, PA and feeling the excitement of the impending Moon landing.  Back then, the Space Program was a really big deal and dominated all 4 TV channels, Mad Magazine, and of course our two daily newspapers.  There was no internet, there was no social media, or YouTube, or all the other things we expect in our daily lives today.  But the entire world was waiting with bated breath for the moment when the Lunar Module made its landing. 

    That night, a Sunday, I had been invited to a sleepover at my friend Ralph's home.  His Mom knew I had a telescope, a very inexpensive Tasco refractor, and asked me to bring it so she could view the moon.  Ralph's house was only about two blocks away, so Ralph and I started walking along Sleepy Hollow Rd toward his home on Fruithurst Dr., about halfway there, I was Egged by some Teens speeding by in their car.  I saw a white streak flying toward me, felt gooey wetness on my shirt, and thought, for a moment, I had been shot.  Strange, it didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would, but then I quickly realized it was just an egg.  Oh well, I still feel I cheated death on that auspicious night. 

    We reached Ralph's house, got me cleaned up and proceeded to watch the live broadcast on one of the three main channels.  Probably CBS since they had Walter Cronkite.  I remember they gave directions on the screen for those who wanted to get a decent picture of the footage from the TV.  I think it was the most exciting time in all my life, up to that point.   We were holding our breath just like the guys at Mission Control, we were elated when touchdown was confirmed.  Of course, when Neil  hopped onto the Moon, the whole living room exploded with cheers, in fact, we could hear other people cheering next door and across the street, I think the whole world was cheering. 

    A plethora of Apollo 11 souvenirs could be found at every store in the aftermath of the landing, I had a model kit of the Lunar Lander, I had a model kit of the entire Stack, I had astronaut trading cards, I had space helmets, a moon globe, and I even had one Numismatic item.  The medal you see pictured here, it is gold colored, and aluminum, and not very detailed but it is pretty cool, and it still reminds me of the night I cheated death and saw One Giant Leap for Mankind.  Thank You Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Aldrin, and Mr. Collins, you will always be heroes to me.

    Where were you that night?

    apollo 11 obverse.png

    apollo 11 rev.png


  2. Hello Everyone,

    I received my latest order from NGC two days ago with yet another mislabeled coin inside.  

    This was the second time I trusted what customer service had told me, "the graders will catch the mistake". It is also the second time they did not catch it.  Leaving them now with a perfect record of zero for 6. 

    And as you probably already guessed they had entered my newest order with 4 mistakes again (not understanding that the "S" is very important when it comes to clad vs SILVER coins).  So I went back to the old way, like the 15 or so times before, and I called in to ask for the corrections before they were missed again. That phone call was NOT fun in the least bit.  Fun......humm.....ok, back to having fun.

    This is a picture of both sides of my latest headache.  Can anyone out there guess when this coin was minted?  I have two clues:

    1)  It is NOT the year NGC graded it at.

    2)  Queen Elizabeth wasn't put on coins until the year 1953. (What makes it funny is that this is true in like 35 countries!!!)



  3. Recently I bought a new macro lens for my camera. The lens is a Laowa V-DX 60MM F2.8 Macro 2:1. Now I know I already have a macro lens but if I am ever going to take my coin photography on the road, I will need a much more versatile lens.

    For versatility this lens is it. I can focus in as close as 18.5cm and as far as infinity. At 18.5cm I have 2-1 magnification. The only drawbacks are that I have to focus manually and set the aperture manually. No big deal on those since I already do that. The big plus is that one lens will do a 15mm gold dollar and a 131mm medal from my camera stand.

    As with any new toy of this nature there is a learning curve to get the pictures just right. This gave me an opportunity to upgrade many of my poorer quality pictures. Looking through my collection I decided to re-image the first coin I ever bought, an 1881-S proof-like Morgan Dollar. I bought this coin as a teen and still own it today as a 60-something retiree.

    Oh the memories! I bought the Morgan for only $12 along with a gold-plated Ike dollar, A 1953c star crisp-uncirculated $2 bill, and a number of replica fractional California gold pieces. Of these I still own the $2 and probably the others but I can’t find them.

    What was really cool about this coin purchase was that I didn’t buy the coins from a dealer but from a camera store! I have always loved photography and in high school we had a fully equipped dark room that I could use. For me to be in one place that had both photography supplies and coins was tantamount to a kid in a candy store!

    That this Morgan Dollar only cost me 6 hours of “busting suds” for a restaurant at $2/hour was incredible. I just couldn’t believe it cost so little for a proof-like coin that was silver and nearly 100 years old. Oh the naivety of youth. Little did I know then that 81-S Morgan’s are quite common and inexpensive to obtain. However, at the time I thought I pulled off the coin purchasing coup of the century!

    I have never regretted buying that coin and I’ll probably die owning it. Some time back I sent it to PCGS for grading and they sent it back as cleaned without putting it in a holder. Back then they didn’t do details-grading. On the obverse of my coin you will notice cleaning hairlines under the “us” of Pluribus. Oddly, I didn’t notice the cleaning until PCGS pointed it out. This was only the beginning of my education identifying coin cleaning BEFORE sending them in for grading.

    Later I sent my 81-S Morgan to a company call NTC (Numistrust Corp.) for grading. They didn’t document the cleaning and sent it back as MS-63 DMPL. I agree with this grade and have never cracked it out and probably never will. Over the years my 1881-S has lightly toned. Incidentally, since then I only send coins to NGC for grading and will buy only PCGS and NGC certified coins.

    At any rate thanks for taking a walk with me down memory lane! For your viewing pleasure please enjoy a picture of the first coin I ever bought taken with my new toy! Also, for your viewing pleasure is a close-up of an 1880/79-CC VAM-7 Morgan dollar. As you can see my new toy will do nicely. Gary

    My First Coin Purchase_1881-S_Morgan_Dollar.jpg

    My First Coin Purchase_1881-S_Morgan_Dollar_Holder.jpg


  4. Hello Collectors,

    I have been outta pocket for a bit as when you’re 65, you don’t do, look, or act like a “65” should. Feel like more of an au-55 at best. And I’m not talking about the age. Talking about the body grade. 

    I had a skateboard accident recently  and was prodded to take a trip to ER the next day by my girlfriend. Against my wishes of course. She actually witnessed the crash. Said I appeared to be airborne for minutes. Like a typical stupid guy, I turned down her offer for a ride back to the house a quarter mile away. Only broke my shades, and a small cut over the left eye. What followed was CT and X-ray of my whole left side. Partially dislocated shoulder. Three bruised ribs. One cracked rib. And lastly with the concussion, they found a five mm aneurism that had just begun to leak.

    Lisa actually saved my life. So glad I’m still here to continue to blow money on this crazy wonderful hobby of kings.

    Oh, and also my daughter in NYC gave birth to my twin grandsons one week ago Friday night 7/5/19. I’ve had a bunch going on and I’m just glad to be alive and be in Florida.

    None of this is about coins except the pic. Thank you for your patience. This is a coin from my favorite branch mint in the ten dollar series. 1854-O Small Date.  And one that is closer to my body grade than a “65”. Yea... sure.. XF-45  is about my top condition. Compared to my age. Some luster still remains on this 165 year old ten. Also is a coin minted in the south 100 years before my birth year. And once I get these NGC tens in one place, get my decent photos, then back on here they will go. 

    Until then...

    Last but not least, I’d like to thank all of you that have messaged me, on a post or two of late. Also the comments here. I’m loving hearing from each of you. You that I knew from 2008 onward, along with the new young guns.

    Keep this great thing going!!!

    Happy Collecting!


  5. Hi everyone. Well I received my New Numismatic Magizine. July 2,2019.. They had an article in there that I was shocked with. If you find one of these quarters and it gets to P.C.G.S fist you get Paid!! How dumb is that. I find one the same day but because I live further away I lose out on Two thousand dollars. I saw prices of 667.00. In was so disgusted I stoped reading it. How low can a grading company go. They had corporate problems. Graders left. There very liberal with there grading. Just Look at the stats. They speak for themselves. I could never send a coin there. I want an honest grade. If I send a coin there and it comes back a MS 70 I'm willing to bet it's a MS 69 or lower at a good grader. Well  send that 70 to NGC and you will get an honest grade. This way the buyer knows what he's getting. I don't know if this was part of the rules. I would doubt it very much. I guess it's a gimmick to get you to send your quarters to PCGS instead of NGC. That's all it is. You get a high grade and get paid for finding a free quarter. Say that and tell me how dumb that sounds in this hobby. Well I stopped sending stuff to PCGS.a

    long time ago and I am very glad I did. This is so low in this great hobby. It's a shame they should stop it now.. How long has it been going on? I think it's sad. A once respectable company like that. All over free quarters with a W. Good hunting.  Thanks Mike

  6. I was looking around at pop-culture news on the internet recently as I sometimes like to do, as nerds like me sometimes like to do, and I found an article saying that there’s going to be a Funko Pops movie - it’s going to try to piggy-back on the success of the Lego movies. This has me in the mood to rant a bit. So this is me being my best “super-judger,” as my wife would put it – anyone reading this is forewarned now.

    It has been interesting to me that Lego sets have become collectable in recent years and that some of them have appreciated in value quite significantly - to the point that I’m now starting to see articles talking about them as “investments” and that economists have been doing complete studies and publishing papers about the returns they’ve realized. I think the whole thing is a ridiculous and insane bubble that is going to pop and leave some people in tears… but I’m getting off topic.

    I like / love comics and comic characters and love watching the superhero movies - much to my wife’s chagrin - but I have not and likely will not ever buy one of these little Funko Pop figures, with their odd, cutesy, chibi-style artwork, that retail for about $8-15 each most of the time. I just see them as mas-produced plastic garbage, the likes of which we already have entirely too much of in the world already.

    My brother-in-law does not share my view on this. He collects them, quite avidly. I’ve never been inside this room in their house and I’ve never witnessed it, but supposedly he has an entire room in their house full of boxes of these things. He has so many he has to store them in the boxes, and he can’t even pull them out and display them properly in a way that he might get some kind of enjoyment out of owning them. I find it vaguely insane.

    One of the biggest head scratchers for me is that these things occupy a room in his house and my sister lets him get away with this. I think my wife would murder me if we had a room in our house that couldn’t even be used because I was using it just to store my collectables. The smallest room in our home serves multiple functions as an in-home office for me while also being the place where I store photography equipment, coins, coin books, gaming books, and we even keep a twin guest bed in there on top of it all.

    At Christmas last year (2018) we got into a discussion about them and he claimed that some of them, some of the ones he has, can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. I think that if someone will actually give him that much for some of them, he should sell them now while the money is good and my sister agrees, but what do we know? I did some research after that conversation and found that there are a handful that collectors of these figures will pay $500 to up to $2,000 for, but these are almost all special, convention exclusive variants with limited productions of 500 or less. I didn’t see any of the off-the-shelf ones that he’s always asking for for Christmas on that list.

    To me, these things are a fad. They’re not at all unlike beanie-babies, baseball cards, comics or anything else. They’re popular and new right now, you’re going to see some crazy prices for a while, but, eventually, those prices are going to pop, and they’ll probably never see those high prices again. I think this movie is going to help build-up, hype up and extend the life of that bubble, but, in the long-term, I see these things going the way of the do-do. I wouldn’t want to be collecting them and left holding the bag when that happens.

    Don’t get me wrong - I know coin collecting has had its booms and busts over the decades as well and that’s something we all have to watch out for. However, I think those booms and busts in the modern context of coin collecting tend to be more contained to smaller sections of the broader market, in areas that I don’t currently participate in. I don’t think there’s a bubble in the 19th and 20th century European gold coins I’ve been buying for about 20-50% over the spot price of gold. I think we might one day see a crash in the values achieved by modern condition rarities, but I think that’s going to be a problem for people that collect those condition rarities. I guess we’ll see if I’m ever proven wrong there.

    My brother-in-law compared his collection of these toys to my coin collecting at one point. Call me biased, but, no. These made-to-be-collected toys will never be the same as 18th, 19th, and early 20th century coinage. They don’t have the artistry. They don’t have the history.

    It’s also odd to me though that he feels that his collecting experience is similar to mine. I don’t know if he spends time researching his collection beyond mere price-discovery activities, but it’s hard for me to imagine that there’s much to look into or research there (again, maybe this is my bias showing). But I spend a lot of time with my collection. I spend a lot of time researching it, reading about it, taking pictures of the coins and notes, writing about them here and elsewhere. His Funko Pops sit in boxes.

  7. Daniel McMunn
    Latest Entry

    I collect Washington quarters. Are PCGS slabs allowed in NGC sets now?..............Daniel

  8. Newly edited and re-posted Owner's Comments for an ancient bronze struck by Herod the Great, part of The Roman Empire, an NGC Ancients Custom Set.


    Whether viewed as ruthless tyrant or resourceful visionary, the man known to history as Herod the Great (73 BC– 4 BC) served as one of the early Roman Empire’s most influential client rulers.  Never referred to as “the Great” in his own lifetime, Herod was apparently more popular with Romans than Judaeans.  In particular, Herod infamously exploited resources at his disposal to carry out grandiose architectural projects that rivaled, or even exceeded, Rome.

    Herod’s mother was Cypros, a Nabatean.  His father, Antipater, and his grandfather, Antipas, served as advisors to the Hasmonean monarchs, who, in turn, served as Rome’s clients following Pompey’s Judaean conquest in 63 BC.  After Pompey’s demise, Antipater allied with Julius Caesar, coming to the latter’s rescue during the 47 BC siege of Alexandria.  Thusly was the way paved for Herod, through an intricate series of politico-military maneuvers, to eventually usurp Judaea’s throne.  Supported by Rome’s triumvirate, particularly Marc Antony, the Senate declared Herod as king in 40 BC.  After three years of civil conflict, Herod emerged victorious, and cemented his position by banishing his current wife and son (Doris and Antipater, respectively) in order to wed the Hasmonean princess Mariamne.  Such marital re-arrangement for political gain was not unusual.  Indeed, in this respect Herod borrowed from the practices of Rome's aristocracy.

    Also mimicking his Roman patrons, Herod apparently gave no quarter to those with perceived disloyalty.  Among his first decrees was the execution of dozens of Judaean councilmen who supported his Hasmonean predecessors.  Most notorious was the biblical account of Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents,” although that atrocity was likely apocryphal.  Herod’s paranoia did not exclude his own kin; reportedly, his suspicions prompted the execution of his wife and his two sons she bore him.  Augustus opined that “it was better to be Herod’s pig than his son,” referencing his client king’s refusal to consume pork in adherence with Judaean custom (although Herod reportedly disregarded many other religious laws and customs).

    Like Augustus, Herod earned fame for colossal building projects.  Most renown was a massive expansion of Jerusalem’s Temple.  Herod also created a new port, Caesarea Maritima, employing cutting-edge technologies.  He set multiple new records in ancient construction, including the world’s largest palace (Herodium) and the longest building (the stoa on the Temple Mount).  Herod even erected some pagan cities, such as Sebaste.  His pathological distrusts led him to erect several mountain fortresses connecting his realm to Nabataea, serving as palatial resort getaways.  His numerous building projects, both within his own territory and abroad, included gymnasia (e.g., Ptolemais), marketplaces (e.g., Tyre), theatres (e.g.,Damascus), aqueducts (e.g., Laodicea ad Mare) and baths (e.g, Ashqelon).

    Herod’s gargantuan construction projects required commensurate resources.  Not to mention that the Jewish king boasted a lavish court, and sponsored Olympic games throughout the Hellenistic world.  To support such expenditures, Herod taxed his subjects rather aggressively.  He also struck coins that conveniently generated a profit since their worth exceeded the value of their metal content.  

    This ancient bronze provides an example.  Its denomination is 2-prutot (Herod also issued 1-, 4-, and 8-prutot coins).  The obverse depicts a diadem, a gold band or ribbon worn symbolically by kings, signifying their status.  The diadem surrounds a symbol that is often referred to as a cross.  More precisely, the cross represents the Greek letter chi, associated with the anointment of Judaea’s high priest.  Interestingly, Herod was Judaea’s first king lacking the qualifications to serve as high priest. He was not born of a priestly family, but rather one that recently converted to Judaism.  In this case, the obverse imagery of chi within a diadem advertised King Herod’s control over the Temple via selection of its high priest.  

    The coin’s reverse is equally interesting, featuring a flat object on a tripod table flanked by palm leaves.  Such tables were part of the furnishings of Jerusalem’s Temple.  The table represented on this coin is consistent with the silver table holding the service vessels for religious ceremonies.  As such, this table was especially sacred.  Herod’s decision to depict this particular table, despite the Judaean decree forbidding such a depiction, was likely intended to commemorate, or otherwise draw attention to, the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.

    Herod struck coins as Judaea’s ruler up until his death in 4 BC, an impressively long tenure.  Even at the end, the monarch’s mania manifested.  Herod captured several innocent, distinguished men, and ordered their deaths after his own demise, thusly ensuring his subjects’ mourning. Although Herod’s heirs did not carry out that final decree, the king’s intent reflects his relationship with his subjects.  To this day, Herod’s legacy remains suspect, comprising equal elements of tyranny and grandeur, as befits the most famous of all the Roman Empire’s client kings.

    Additional Reading: Guide to Biblical Coins, D. Hendin, Amphora Press, 2010 (5th Edition).

    Coin Details: JUDAEA, Herodian Kingdom, Herod I, 40 BC - 4 BC, AE 2 prutot (18.08 mm, 3.37 g), Jerusalem mint, NGC Grade: F, Strike: 4/5, Surface: 3/5, Obverse: Cross within closed diadem, HPΩΔOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Reverse: tripod table, flat object (vessel) upon it, flanked by palm branches, References: Hendin 1178; Meshorer TJC 48; RPC 4905; ex. David Hendin.



  9. I'm not going to make this journal overly wordy. It has been, amazingly, over a year since I last posted a journal entry. I have been busy collecting though. I won't go through all of my activities of the past 12+ months but I will say that I am building, piece by piece, a highly-discriminatory 70/70 type set.

    The type set building has been the most fun I've had in a while for collecting as I get to acquire examples of so many different coins, have lots of hunting opportunities and even have bought my first coins of certain series that I've ever owned!

    On to the point-- I mostly presumed that I had completed my Walking Liberty Short Set as high quality as I could achieve without spending above my pay grade for coins in MS67 for the 41-S, 42-S or 44-S. I have swapped out coins when I found equal grade coins but a newer example was of superior strike or eye-appeal.

    The one exception was that I have been looking for a 1947-D in MS67 to replace my MS66 - as an aside, I truly believe that my MS66 could/should be an MS67- especially after the 67's I've passed over the past 3 years. I guess I could get a "+" symbol on it and a CAC sticker and double its value but I rarely go to such effort for + marks or to validate my own discernment.

    So I'm perusing Seated Dollars on ebay and just as a whim I decide to check for the 47-D MS67. There are several there ranging from attractive $3,000+ coins mediocre MS67 white blah coins for near $2000 and a few uglier examples around $1500. BUT LO and BEHOLD! The most attractive of the 6 or 7 examples is also one of the cheaper! Under $2000 for the eye appeal and dazzling toner that I'd hoped to complete the set with.

    After 3 years, ( over 10 years total to finish this 20 coin set) I finally acquired the last piece....what a great feeling for a collector.....



  10. A quick question for the community.  Would you consider the Royal Dutch Mint’s restrikes of the silver daalders to be coins or medals.  They bear a date and are struck by the Nederlandse Munt, and are commemoratives of the original daalders/ducat/ducaton.  NGC appears to recognize it as a ‘daalder’ or ‘dollar’ coin, but it doesn’t have an assigned Euro denomination.  So is it a medal then?   Thanks in advance.


  11. Hi, I started to collect franklin half for a couple of month. I have a type 1, 1956 in mint state, my question is being in mint state would this be class as a franklin variety or not. Thanks don

  12. OGH Rattlers

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    Recent Entries

    Here is my newly graded MS-62 Cha'Or Flanders (1346-1384) Fr-163 Louis II  De Male !!

  13. Can anyone explain all the different NGC awards? Or is there a page somewhere? What's the difference between the blue and the red awards?


  14. John Cava

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    Recent Entries

    This new blog is on, probably, my greatest hero outside of my immediate family, Nikola Tesla. The coin is one ounce .999 fine silver minted in the Serbian Mint for 2018. It has a 39.0 mm diameter. It has a value of 100 Serbian dinara. The total mintage is only 50,000.

       Featured on the obverse is a portrait of the inventor at the approximate age of 40.His name is above him. It is inscribed in both English and Serbian Cyrillic. Under his portrait is the legend "ELECTRICAL VISIONARY", then a lightning bolt. Below that is inscribed "POWERING THE FUTURE".  

       Centered in the middle is a picture of Tesla's induction motor, with the Serbian Coat of Arms top center. Below that is inscribed "ALTERNATING CURRENT" above and "LIGHTING THE WORLD" and "2018" below. Also inscribed are the words "REPUBLIKKA SRBIJA", 1 OZ., .999 SILVER" and "DINARA 100".

       The man himself has a varied and remarkable history. From the moment of his birth in 1856 during a lightning storm, to his questionable death on January 7, 1943 he led a mysterious life and career. He is most notable for inventing the A.C. motor. He was caught up in a war between Edison and Westinghouse. He was taken advantage of by both men and died penniless instead of the rich man he should have been. He had hundreds of patents and scientific awards to his credit.

       It has been theorized that he received help from aliens, as he was such a prolific genius. On the day of his death many cases of his notes were taken by the FBI. To this day not all of them are accounted for. The reader should research him themselves as I will go off on a rant.  He also was working on limitless, wireless, free electricity and a so called death ray, at the time of his death. Remnants of these can be found in Colorado Springs and New York.

       I better stop now. Please look at the photos below and comment on this blog. Thanks for your time.




    file-20180102-26163-8mp710 (1).jpg

  15. Greetings once again;

                 Was wondering (since I have no experience) selling coins thru an auction house and it sounds like they charge basically the same for the same service, which Auction house(s) would you recommend in consigning coins to ?  What has been you positive AND negative experiences with them.  Appreciate all the responses.

    moondoggy (Mike)

  16. I have a number of world coins from renowned collections and it is a privilege to be their current custodian however most of these are raw - so how do I prove it?

    I do have the original invoice which demonstrates when and where I bought the coin but do people really provide a copy of this should they sell the coin to keep the provenance intact? Apart from 'flagship' coins where each individual is well documented it is only recently that auction catalogues have included pictures of most of the coins in a sale but then these are not always of sufficient quality to confirm a match. Graded coins include a reference number which would be an obvious way to track a coins history however not all auction houses include this is in the description or include a picture of the holder in addition to that of just the coin.

    Provenance included on the label of graded coins is very useful in this regard and I have some coins that highlight their pedigree this way (D. Moore Collection, E.P. Newman etc) however there is limited space on the label so for coins such as a very rare English Charles I halfcrown* which appeared at auction a few weeks ago, this is not the solution either as it would not be possible to include all this information on the holder, it is also impractical that labels will be updated each time a coin changes hands anyway. However I think it would be useful for this information to be added to the TPG databases and be available when looking up a certificate number. The grading company could verify the invoice etc, thereby protecting the personal details of the owner and thus attach valuable provenance to an individual coin (already done as part of adding provenance to a label?). In addition it would also be possible to attribute other important information associated with a coin such as whether it was used as a plate coin in reference texts etc, the wonders of modern technology means that this information could easily be updated.

    With new legislation, such as the German Cultural Assets Protection Act, starting to appear across the globe restricting the sale/export and/or ownership of such things as coins I consider a documented, unbroken, provenance critically important for current and future collectors and as such my major goal for 2019 is to try and sort out all my invoices, photograph/scan of all my coins and generate an electronic record of everything in a format such that my family can easily find things should I not be able to!

    *ex Mrs Street Collection, ex Hon. Robert Marsham Collection, ex Hyman Montagu Collection, ex J. G. Murdoch Collection, ex Virgil M Brand Collection, ex Richard Cyril Lockett Collection, ex John G Brooker Collection - abbreviated list!, I expect I am not the only one who views coins like this at auctions even though their value means they are never going to form part of my collection but it is nice, just the once, to have held them in my hand.

  17. This coin caught my attention, when it came up for auction recently, and I checked on the type in CoinFacts wiki and read that the obverse legend for this daalder included Philip's title as King of England.  

    With a little more research, I can say that the July 25th, 1554 marriage of Queen Mary of England to King Philip of Spain brought about a short period where Philip gained the title of King of England and Ireland and was deemed co-ruler by an Act of Parliament.  The terms of the marriage agreement limited Philip's reign to the duration of the marriage -- it lasted until Mary's death in 1558 upon which the throne went to her half-sister, Elizabeth I.

    As far as I can tell, coins using Philip's title as King of England are limited to a few issues from the Spanish ruled provinces of the Netherlands.  This interesting history plus the fact that I did not have a Spanish Empire crown from the reign of Philip II sealed the deal so I've added it to my crowns of the world collection.

    Obverse: Armored bust of Philip II, legend PHS D G HISP ANG Z REX COMES FLAN 1558 (Philippus dei gratia Hispaniarum Angliae etc rex comes Flandriae -- Philip by the grace of God King of Spain and England, Count of Flanders)

    Reverse: Crowned coat of arms of Philip II over the Burgundian cross, golden fleece below between a pair fire irons* emitting sparks, legend  DOMINVS MICHI ADIVTOR (dominus michi adivtor -- Lord my helper)

    *Jean Elsen catalog listings consistently call these "vuurijzers" which translates to fire irons, the iron implement struck by flint to start a fire. 



    edited: to correct the translation of vuurijzers

  18. The title of my Journal, and this specific entry, is a takeoff on a series of old Kellogg's Corn Flakes commercials from when I was a kid. In those commercials, someone who had tried the cereal before, and maybe not enjoyed it or appreciated it, tried it again and really did like it. The tagline for the commercials was: "Try them again, for the first time". 


    In late 2018, I was on another forum where I responded to a thread about 2019 numismatic resolutions. My response was that I was going to try coin collecting again, for the first time. I think most of us know what I meant when I said that. Most of us made beginner mistakes when first collecting. And, in fact, most of us continue making mistakes even after we are no longer true beginners.  Unfortunately, these mistakes can lead us to have collections which we are not happy or satisfied with. This can lead to even more rash purchases as we try to just get that one coin that will turn around our collections. This scenario can be extrapolated out in many different ways unique to each collector, but nonetheless it is commonplace and relatable.


    So I decided to take a step back and try collecting again,for the first time.

    An important early step in this process is writing here in the Journals. I plan to give voice to my goals, lessons, and experiences,  not only to help myself but hopefully to help others.

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




  20. 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.


  21. 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! 

  22. 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


  23. 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!





  24. 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.