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Entries in this journal

Added a key Auction Catalogue

The catalogue for the Paramount Collection from Heritage has just arrived and I will be adding this to my collection as it has some great information on rare world coins and will no doubt get referred to for many years to come. As I mentioned in the ‘Auction Catalogs’ thread some of the standard references used in sales for the areas I have an interest in are actually auction catalogues rather than books, the main one being Napoleonic medals. I already had a copy of Bramsen (reprint, origi

The last coin I bought

Well it has been a while since I actually bought a coin and 2020 turned out to be the first year in a long time that I didn’t pick up multiple lots at the major European auctions over the autumn. I should say this was not from a lack of trying, it is just that I was outbid on the lots I was interested in – sometimes quite spectacularly – so I was delighted when I picked up a 1809 20 Lire from the Milan mint of Napoleonic Italy in AU58 (although the mintage is 52,640 there are only 27 coins grade

Plans for 2021

Short version – do all the things I still haven’t done from 2020, 2019, 2018 etc Longer version – I bought less coins in 2020 than I have done for many years, and this is not because of the current environment we all find ourselves in, but that the higher grade coins in my collecting areas, even the minors, seem increasingly scarce and have rapidly moved beyond by budget making completing sets effectively impossible. At least partial acceptance of this fact prompted some specific resea

Completed a set - or thought I had!

A week or so ago I thought a recently completed set would form the basis for a Journal entry given the interesting range of denominations, metals and mints. The basic set is made up of 12 coins and my set is currently comprised of ungraded coins and coins in both NGC and PCGS holders and as such is a long way from being suitable for the NGC Registry. It is a good start though as it does include some key dates in top grades. However, whilst assembling the coins for a 'group photo' I found that

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Reverting to type

As I have mentioned my original goal in coin collecting was to assemble all the die numbers for the British sixpences from 1864 to 1879 which resulted in many other collectors questioning my sanity as there are about 600. So many years ago, having nearly acheived this goal which the acquisition of 100's of different die numbers my focus shifted to colonial coins and the Napoleonic period yet I have never quite shaken the die number challenge and always check auction listings although I have usua

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

The Mystery of Auction References

It is good practice that auction houses cite references for the lots they are selling however, and it may just be me, but this can sometimes make research difficult for a number of reasons. 1) What is the actual reference? Fortunately, some, but not all, auction houses list the references used but do not always state which one the abbreviation used in the lot description corresponds to. For example, using ‘P’ and then citing several books with titles/authors/publishers that could all be th

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Further thoughts on grading world coins

Whilst trawling a dealers inventory, looking for something else, I was very pleased to come across a 1809W 10 centimes (PCGS AU55 – main image), and I immediately bought this coin for my Napoleon collection as I was lacking an example from the Lille mint for this denomination. Why the instant decision? Having, decided to assemble a graded set of 10 centimes in 2012 I later reviewed the population reports (2017, included in the introductory text to my Registry Set) which not only highlighte

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Frustrations of coin collecting

Unfortunately, things have not changed since my Journal Entry last month - How difficult can placing a bid be? In that never-ending challenge of trying to fill gaps in my collection several more very nice examples of coins, ungraded and possibly the finest available for the issue, have appeared and passed me by yet again. Typically, there were multiple bidders and they achieved 4x the top estimate and as the prices kept rising, I just couldn’t bring myself to bid again. As a result I

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

How difficult can placing a bid be?

With an ongoing interest in far too many coin series there is usually something suitable at most auctions for filling a gap in my sets with a quality coin however I have bought almost nothing for months. Even with some outstanding top-grade minors appearing I just do not seem to be able to press the ‘bid’ button one more time to try and secure these elusive examples for my collection and in some cases I am already regretting it. I think some possibilities for this, subconsciously or not, a

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Another Discovery

In a vain attempt at sorting out auction catalogues at home I found a small book buried in their midst. This was 'Coins & Tokens of Tasminia 1803 - 1910' by Roger V. Neice. As a collector of British Colonial issues and those of the Napoleonic period it was refreshing to go through this again as it includes all the various types of 'money' that circulated in Tasminia with plenty of historical context conveying the variable fortunes of the island and its people. To say Napoleon's influenc

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Working & coin collecting during lockdown

Like lots of people I am working from home at the moment, although this greatly restricts normal operations I thought that this would be a great opportunity to catch up on the vast amount of paperwork that needs doing and maybe even get ahead. An advantage of no longer needing to commute means I would also gain 2 & 1/2 hours each day which would be an unexpected chance to further research the coin series I collect. My experience so far has been that the 'work' tasks that now need to be do

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

In search of varieties

Having chased die numbers on British sixpences for many years I am always on the look out for different varieties of the world coins I collect. Whilst trying to complete a graded typeset of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy coinage* - to mirror my typeset of the French issues - I recently acquired a gold 20 Lire issued by the Milan mint in 1808 in NGC AU58. For the French issues the 20 Franc coin is the most common by far of the two gold denominations whereas for the Italian coinage it is the opposite

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

It only took 12 years

As my username would suggest I have a long standing interest in British colonial coinage, whilst the vast majority of my collection is made up of raw coins in VF I do occasionally improve to a graded example. I was therefore pleased to see a 1942 bronze penny from Southern Rhodesia in NGC MS63BN appear recently at Heritage,* as this was a lot at a weekly auction the estimate isn't usually added until the close of the preceeding weeks sale so I was very surprised when this was set as $20-$40. I s

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Quality, multiple sets and financial reality

My last journal entry highlighted that completion of my Spanish Charles IV 2 reales Registry Set may be somewhat of a challenge and this prompted me to look again at how practical this would actually be. As mentioned before only 19 of the 41 issues have graded examples and of those only 11 had mint state examples, often as a single coin, making completion of a graded mint state set extremely unlikely, the equivalent raw coins also seem to be lacking. Assuming the coins actually exist for such

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Collecting the small coins

As my original collection was British sixpences I seem to have a preference for the smaller denominations over trade coinage as these saw extensive day-to-day use and high grade examples are therefore much more of a challenge. This situation coupled with surprisingly limited data and research means that the opportunity to make new discoveries is much greater - or is it that I am just a glutton for punishment? For example at a recent auction a major London dealer thought my quest for die numbers

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

If you wait long enough ....

It is nice to see people are making progress with their collections, despite other commitments my own collection is ticking over albeit very slowly. In the introduction to my Typeset of French Napoleonic Coinage I ended with 'The distinct prospect of finding that first, or elusive high grade example for a particular issue remains and makes every auction catalogue a potential source of a new discovery' and this situation probably holds true for the majority of older world coins, particularly mino

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

A rethink

In my last journal entry I probably took the suggestion made by my wife a little too lightly - never a good idea!Having mentioned the apparent lack of detailed information available on numerous aspects of world coinage the suggestion of putting together such articles would be very interesting and also introduce some much needed focus. My initial thoughts on this highlighted two main challenges:1.   High quality pictures of the coins are essential.2.   Examples of all coin types are needed.To add

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Where did 2019 go?

It has been nice to see that people have been making progress with their collections this year, unfortunately work commitments have meant that I have made very little progress on my goals for 2019 - apparently my employer is starting to become aware of something called 'work-life-balance' so hopefully things will improve a bit. I seem to have missed a number of key coins as a result, one of which went for multiples of an already top end estimate so this would have been impossible anyway - app

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Thoughts on Provenance and a goal for 2019

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

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

Upgrade or new addition to the collection?

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 co

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

An unexpected challenge in collecting world coins

The recent thoughts by Revenant1 on their choices following the eventual appearance of not one but two examples of a long sought after 1877 Netherlands 10 Gulden coin prompted me to post my first journal entry although the nature of my dilemma is somewhat different. As a collector of world coins one of the challenges over the years has been to improve the quality of my collection, however, the number of suitable examples appearing at auction here in the UK is extremely limited with the conseq

ColonialCoinsUK

ColonialCoinsUK

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