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About this journal

I started collecting coins when I was about ten, starting with Lincoln Cents. My acquisitions were funded from newspaper delivery money - what was left after putting some away for college. My collection of "wheaties" was complete except for the five toughest ones that we all know. I assembled a mint state set of silver Roosevelt Dimes and had acquired other late 19th and 20th century items from circulation and from my older brother. I also spent many Saturdays at the bank going through rolls of cents.

When I got to high school age, I began collecting half cents, large cents, and Morgan Dollars. The early copper was at the top of the list.

Unfortunately, my numismatic spending had to stop when college started. Grad school, marriage, children, private schooling (a ski racing academy high school for my older son) and home ownership followed. Except for a 1995 10th anniversary American Eagle 5 coin set, I didn't add to my collection for almost 25 years. (But that turned out to be one profitable addition!)

In the fall of 2003, I realized that I actually had enough money to get back into collecting. I started with a few mint state double eagles. My first coin show was in March 2004 in Baltimore. There I fell for an MS65RB 1850 large cent, and decided to switch gears toward a mint state large cent date collection.

When I stopped collecting before college, I had never seen a coin in a grading service slab. I quickly discovered that NGC and PCGS have some measure of respect, and that other 3rd party graders generally do not. I also discovered the registries. I wasn't about to pay PCGS to cross my NGC coins (or potentially to pay them to claim the coins aren't worthy of the same PCGS grade), so using the NGC registry (as one means of cataloging my collection) was the obvious choice.

It quickly became apparent that I'd never be able to compete with the top sets. (Not to mention that there are superior uncertified collections of early copper owned by members of Early American Coppers, which I have joined.) Though I have money to spend, I don't have that much! Hence my original registry name, Low Budget.

In the summer of 2006 I completed the large cent late dates, and the middle dates followed in 2011. Occasionally I find a nice upgrade.

In addition to the large cents, I have developed an interest in Capped Bust and Seated Liberty half dimes, gold dollars, and nice type coins.

In the pursuit of all this stuff, it occurred to me that Low Budget was not an entirely appropriate name. I'm not super rich, but am able to spend more than many folks out there. So I decided to give myself/my collection a different name that has meaning to me, though nothing to do with coins or collecting. Electric Peak is a mountain along the northern boundary of Yellowstone.

I hope you enjoy viewing my collection, and I wish you much enjoyment building yours!

(last updated 3/21/17)

Entries in this journal

 

Scarce Coins Are Still Out There

Stack's Bowers conducted the auctions associated with the recent Baltimore show, including internet-only sessions after the show. I won three lots (six coins) from one of those internet-only sessions. One lot was a decent circulated 1844-O placeholder for my collection of half dimes. A second lot consisted of four half dimes, the first of which was the one I wanted - an AU 1842 with reverse die cracks. I will probably write something about those two lots in future journals. The topic for no

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

04/19/2017

Last Reply:
04/19/2017

 

Restrike Surprise!

I should have noticed this before... When I started collecting half dimes several years ago, I was still working primarily on my large cent set. My idea with the half dimes was to start with the collector era proofs, 1858-1873. But I ended up getting hooked on the larger, business strike set of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, and only infrequently added to the set of proofs. Late last year, however, I did make one of those proof additions. It is a nice 1863 PR 66 Cameo, certified by PCGS -

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

03/20/2017

Last Reply:
03/29/2017

Restrike Surprise!

I should have noticed this before... When I started collecting half dimes several years ago, I was still working primarily on my large cent set. My idea with the half dimes was to start with the collector era proofs, 1858-1873. But I ended up getting hooked on the larger, business strike set of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, and only infrequently added to the set of proofs. Late last year, however, I did make one of those proof additions. It is a nice 1863 PR 66 Cameo, certified by PCGS - one of

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

03/20/2017

My Photo Setup

In response to a request... I received a PM from a reader asking for details of my coin photography setup. I figured I might as well answer for everyone to see. (See photo below) Please keep in mind that I am not a photography expert, and welcome suggestions! Camera: Nikon D5500 Lens: AF-S Nikkor 18-55 mm, set at 55 mm Aperture: f/11 Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec Light: OttLite w/ OttLite 508 HD bulb Structure: Home-made! The camera is held firm to th

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

03/08/2017

Updating Photographs

I'm finally getting some time to do this. It seems to me that people participate in the registry for a number of different reasons. For me, it is a place to catalog my collection (although the recent policy change regarding PCGS certified coins changes that a bit), to share it with other participants, to see what the rest of you are doing, and to learn something about coins in general since I do not have the time to study them all. Part of the cataloging and sharing is providing photographs

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

03/07/2017

Half Dime Discovery

Having fun examining things closely... Another coin I got from the Heritage auctions associated with the recent FUN show is an 1871 proof half dime. I already had one graded PF 64 Cameo, and wanted to upgrade to this new PF 66 Cameo. But there is a difference more important to me than the TPG grade. The Redbook and other references say that 960 1871 proof half dimes were struck. In his book on Liberty Seated Half Dimes, Al Blythe stated that many of them were melted in July 1873, a few month

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

01/27/2017

My First PCGS Non-Registry Coin

It had to happen sooner or later. One of the other coins I "won" in the Heritage FUN auctions was an addition to my set of proof Liberty Seated Half Dimes, 1858-1873. It fills the 1859 slot in my collection, but not in the NGC Registry. It is graded PR64CAM by PCGS, and is therefore not eligible. It also has a green CAC sticker. This is my first higher dollar purchase that will not be in the registry. I have not been in the PCGS Registry, and have no plans to get involved with that. Why woul

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

01/16/2017

It's Not a Half Dime!

Addition to Type Collection... I had been full of anticipation heading into Heritage's auction sessions associated with the FUN show. I was fully expecting to add another ex-Gardner half dime to my collection. Alas, someone else wanted it more... Not to worry, though. I had other coins in mind. In addition to the series set building that has been my primary numismatic activity, I occasionally add to my type collection. In this case, it wasn't one of those pesky little half dimes. It's a whol

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

01/14/2017

 

About a Century Old

In the spare penny tray One of the secondary collecting goals that I've had, but never put any effort (i.e., $$$) into, is every year to add a 100 year old coin and a 200 year old coin to my collection. The higher priority goals simply took all the money, and I haven't had the time to search for and research those "century" coins. This past Saturday my wife and I made our annual trip to visit my mother at Christmas-time, in Bethlehem, PA. The tradition is for us to chat for awhile and take

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

01/12/2017

Pictured in Bowers' Book

Pretty cool. Because it has been getting harder to find nice examples of the few coins I still need to finish my primary set of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, I have started collecting interesting varieties. This has been an enjoyable addition to my collecting habit. Part of this new pursuit is simply gathering information on the varieties. As part of that effort I have been reading "A Guide Book of Liberty Seated Silver Coins" by Q. David Bowers. While on the 1840-O No Drapery entry, I was oddl

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

12/08/2016

 

Another NGC to PCGS Price Jump

...and I didn't pay it. As some readers know, I am nearing completion of my main business strike Liberty Seated half dime date and mint set. Of the seventy coins in the Registry set, I still need five, and may upgrade a few others. One of the holes is for the 1865-S. One of the Gardner examples was auctioned by Heritage yesterday. In the Gardner sale just over two years ago, this coin sold for $4406.26 as an NGC MS65 with green CAC sticker. Since then, it got a change of clothes, crossing th

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

11/02/2016

Stars About to Shrink

Another unattributed 1838 Small Stars Half Dime In a Heritage session a couple days ago, there was an MS66 1838 half dime that caught my eye. Even on such a small coin, it is a naked eye variety: the Valentine-1, Small Stars die marriage. Even the earliest known state of the obverse die shows obvious evidence of die rust, most notably on Miss Liberty's left arm (holding the pole), by which the die can be identified uniquely. But being in an early state of the die, the stars are not yet signifi

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

11/02/2016

Gardner #13

Or is it Shattered - Part 8 ? About that potential upgrade to the 1855 half dime featured in my "Shattered - Part 7" posts... Back in August, Heritage had an NGC MS66 up for auction. I peeked at it in the fourth session of the Gardner sale last year, but passed in favor of higher priority items. At that time it was in a different NGC holder, graded MS65, with a green CAC sticker. This is one of several ex-Gardner half dimes that have reappeared, upgraded, since the Gardner sales. In the mor

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

10/13/2016

Shattered - Part 7

1855 V-4 As promised in Part 6, this post is not about an 1843 or 1847 shattered reverse half dime die. As mentioned in Part 3, I acquired an 1855 half dime in Baltimore almost a year ago. I had been finding it difficult to find a nice 1855 in my target grade, MS66, for any price. So when a MS65 example appeared in the Stack's-Bowers auction at the November 2015 show, I decided to go for it, and succeeded. At the time, it felt a little like settling for something less than what I really w

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

10/08/2016

Shattered - Part 7 (Obverse Photo)

The obverse of this coin is pretty dramatic, too. Sorry, I'm not good with the photo editing, so I'll post the 1855 V-4 obverse pic in this separate post. Like the reverse, it has obvious clashes and other signs of age. To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

10/08/2016

Gardner #12

I couldn't pass up an upgrade. In the four sessions during which Heritage sold the Gardner collection in 2014 and 2015, I was fortunate to obtain eleven of the 186 business strike Liberty Seated half dimes. As you might expect, some of those other 175 coins have made appearances since the Gardner sale sessions. One of those coins was in the Stack's-Bowers auction a couple months ago. It is a nice 1856-O in an NGC MS66 holder. I had considered it ten months earlier, but went after what I con

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

10/03/2016

Shattered - Part 6

1847 Crain-3C Yes, this is another post about an 1847 shattered reverse half dime. As mentioned in earlier posts in this series, there is a third variety, Crain-3C, about which Steve Crain wrote that he had only ever seen one example. I did not have in mind to search all the 1847 half dimes in Heritage's archives to look for more. But while looking at price histories in that archive, I did look at some of the recently sold coins. The photo below is the reverse of an NGC MS64 that was part of

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

08/10/2016

Shattered - Part 5

More examples found! In the Summer 2015 issue of the Gobrecht Journal (Liberty Seated Collectors Club publication), Steve Crain (half dime expert) wrote an article in which he discussed three varieties of 1847 half dimes with shattered reverse dies. He designated them Crain-1A, Crain-2B, and Crain-3C (numbers 1-2-3 identifying obverse dies, letters A-B-C identifying reverse dies), and noted that he had only ever seen one example of the 2B and 3C. In my earlier posts in this series, I wrote o

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

08/09/2016

 

Eugene Gardner Passes

RIP, Gene. The new issue of The E-Gobrecht (Liberty Seated Collectors Club monthly electronic newsletter) reported the passing last month of Eugene Gardner. Many of you know that he had recently sold his amazing coin collection through Heritage in four sales in 2014 and 2015. He succumbed to complications of multiple myeloma, the same cancer that claimed my mother-in-law several years ago. I did not know Gene well, but did meet and speak with him briefly a few times. All but the first meetin

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

08/01/2016

Now There's a Switch

Only one is graded lower at NGC. Normally I'm pursuing high grade examples of Liberty Seated Half Dimes. For most issues I can't afford the very highest graded coins, but can get nice ones just a notch down, with only a small number graded higher. But as I get closer to completing the set, the remaining slots are harder to fill. So I have been getting some less expensive coins to represent interesting varieties and die states. Almost a year ago I purchased an 1848-O half dime for my main set

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

05/03/2016

The Power of Gold?

CAC Gold, that is... and other colors Because the Liberty Seated Half Dimes I still need for my main set are not frequently available, I have started collecting interesting varieties. One that is visually obvious is the 1844 with repunched date. In the earliest die states, multiple extra impressions of the 1, 8, and first 4 are apparent. It is not clear how many reverse dies were paired with the obverse die in question. Nevertheless, repunched date examples for 1844 are more common than norm

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

03/11/2016

Long Strange Trip

A tale of receiving new acquisitions... I've seen a number of comments in Journals and the Message Boards complaining about how long it takes to receive "winnings" from Heritage. Over the years, I've had a noteworthy experience or two, about which I have written past journals. None of my cases involve unreasonable (in my view) lack of timeliness, however. Last month, I won items in two Heritage auctions. From the FUN show auction (ended 1/10/16) I got three relatively inexpensive coins, an

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

02/03/2016

Registry Awards

Double whammy. Hi friends. Earlier this evening I was taking care of some business on-line, and thought I'd check the Registry Awards before spending some time with my wife. I had won a couple awards several years ago, so I'm in the habit of checking to see each year. Having left my wife so she can get some rest (she's fighting a cold), I wanted to put some of my thoughts out here. First up: Thanks to the judges for recognizing what I do here. I really do appreciate it. I don't write journa

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

01/09/2016

Shattered - Part 4

This is the Part 4 I had hoped for! Several weeks of anxious waiting have almost come to a pleasing end. The Liberty Seated Collectors Club Summer 2015 issue of the Gobrecht Journal (volume 41.3, issue #123) had an article by half dime authority Stephen Crain about three varieties of 1847 shattered reverse (SR) half dimes. I wrote earlier about my acquisition of the first of those shortly after I received the journal. In my quest to complete my set of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, I try to kee

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

12/06/2015

Another Ex-Gardner Half Dime

Unlike some other recent acquisitions, this one is normal. A couple years ago I posted about an 1861 half dime that I had gotten at auction. It is an example of the so-called 1/0 overdate, with the second 1 having extra raised metal that had been interpreted as remnants of an underlying 0. There are at least four 1861 obverse half dime dies that have this feature. It is now generally accepted that a faulty four-digit date punch was responsible, since the date digits and the supposed remnants o

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

11/21/2015