• entries
  • comments
  • views

About this journal

I am now in my later 40's as I write this bio and finally have reached a point in life where I can set aside some money monthly for my "coin allowance."

It was not always this way.

My fascination with coins started at a very young age--although the exact age I am not sure. I would guess I was between 7 to 10 years of age when my mother showed me her silver coins. As a child in the mid 1970's, the sight of a mercury dime design, walker or franklin half and even the old buffalo nickels were somehow exciting and mysterious. Compared to the pictures of the busts of presidents, the older designs were fantastically beautiful in their art and sculpted design...I was hooked!
The only problem was that I was a kid and had no money. My mom and dad got me some thumb busters of Lincoln wheat cents and Jefferson nickels. Oh what a prize to find a wheatie in my dad's change of a date before 1940! Of course I could not just take the coin--I had to do some extra chore to earn that prize, this made the enjoyment all the more.

Later I would have the pleasure of trips to a local coin shop in Rockville (MD)-called Coins of the Realm--I don't even know if it still exists or not. As the holes in my thumb busters became harder to fill, I figured out that I could find many of them at the coin shop. I would cut the grass of the older families in the neighborhood during the summer and if we had a snow in the winter--me and the other kids in the neighborhood would be out early knocking on doors to make that $5 for shoveling a sidewalk and driveway.
The difference was, my friends would spend that money on candy, sports cards or slot cars--for me it was a trip with my mom to the coin shop.
Eventually my mom even gave me her old silver coins--circulated and common date, nonetheless, they were quite possibly the most exciting coins I ever received.
After many years of hiatus from numismatics--about 12 to 15 years ago I rediscovered my passion for the hobby of kings--and with the discovery of the Registry here at NGC--and the ability to hunt for treasures on the internet, I foresee coin collecting being a part of my earthly pleasures until the day when I will leave it. 

Entries in this journal


I've been so busy lately with work, family, yard work and pre-Christmas activities I've barely had any time for hobbies. Even after I made a purchase last Sunday evening it took me 3 days before I even had time to swing by the post office box and pick up my new additions-- and this was because I had gifts for family out-of-state to mail.

I've gotten into replacing some slots in my Washington album with mint state coins if the price is right and I found a nice 4-coin lot of all MS64 PCGS coins from the early 1940's at a recent auction. You know the drill--an early low-ball bid to get the items on my Bid list and then about a half hour before auction end I checked and the price was still pretty low. Someone had outbid me but not by a lot. I waited until 2 or 3 mins left and bid a moderate level with no expectations. Win or Lose I wasn't doing any chasing. There was one more bid under mine but I still won the 4 Washies for just $65 plus $8 buyer's fee-- a nice score. Out of curiosity I checked the Price Guides and the 4 coins combined have a $178 list value, so it seems I did well indeed.

Three are nicely toned and the cheaper one ( 1942-P) is white--overall some sweet additions for my album. I haven't cracked them yet, all are solid for the grade so I'm not worried about cracking out over-graded coins which I never do.

The Washington album is rounding out nicely with mostly 3 pages of AU sliders and BU coins. The first page which are the 1930's issues will remain problem-free circulated issues.


Happy Hunting E1 and a very Merry Christmas to all.......







Numismatic Displays

Along with the random silver trays of coins, I have also used numismatics to inspire some release of my limited artistic expression.

About 3 years ago I did an ink and watercolor drawing of a 1933 St Gauden's. If you look closely you can see quite a few little errors in the design but overall I think it turned out well since I usually use oils for the few paintings I've done.

Also when I was hunting for bear coins for my granddaughters Bear-themed custom set I came across these beautiful Arctic notes made in Norway. I bought 2 of each since the obverse and reverse of the notes each have such beautiful designs and framed them in a hand-made cheap frame I found.

The third one was an ugly, generic picture of a vase or fruit basket. I removed the print, added a dark background and simply Elmer glued a variety of interesting coins and tokens on the page as they would fit and cover as much of the space inside the mat as possible.

The final picture is of an old, antique mason jar from the 30's. I received the jar as a kid from my grandmother as a Christmas present full of homemade peanut brittle. The peanut brittle probably lasted less than a few days but the jar has somehow stayed in my possession, through dozens of moves and states, and now sits in my ( dusty) office with 100 Ike dollars inside. It may take another hundred to fill it completely but it is a nice display on my shelf.

I've always wanted to build a shadow box to try and display slabs for a 20 coin short set of some series, or maybe even a custom coin cabinet or glass display table, but usually these bursts of artistic inspiration are quite brief so I'll stick with my simple wall hangings and knickknack items.....































I have had several of these old silver trays and bowls on shelves in my office for years. At various times I have displayed them as a sort of artistic presentation filled with world coins, Ike dollars, Sacagaweas and classic coin mixes. My granddaughter loves to rummage through the world coin tray with its strange coins of odd shapes, holed coins, different metals and strange writing. It can be quite educational for her when she selects one that has caught her eye and asks about it. I use my Krause to find the country of the coin with her ( teaching her to use research resources), explain the alphabet some ( as I am able) and use the computer to find the country on a map ( some geography learned).


Lately I have been filling up an ornate and beautifully toned tray that is inscribed as being from an officer on a US Navy ship. A wonderful side benefit of working on some album sets lately has been the extra coins that don't make the album. I usually start with a few rolls to fill as many of the common dates as I can. Next I will try and plug the remaining holes to finish the album. Finally I will substitute out a few coins to make each page more uniform. One page may end up as white AU/BU beauties, the early dates may all just be evenly worn VF coins of consistent slate gray. Any coins removed for change-outs ( I won't say upgrades because sometimes I will actually remove a BU coin that sticks out like a sore thumb and replace it with a matching VF/XF example) end up in the tray.


The trays end up almost as an artistic display--equal for my tastes as a collector to someone who would set a figurine or small bronze for display. Here is the latest tray I have filled ( I only spilled it over to show the depth of how many dozens and dozens of coins and the varieties these things end up with.)


When I have time, I will show a couple of my "pictures" I have made with coins---I have found some old frames with ugly prints at consignment stores and bought them for a few bucks. Removing the print and adding a dark background, along with the mat and frame makes a nice display.


Has anyone else used coins for artistic expression I wonder or am I just a little weird with it--whatever, they always seem to draw interest and if it sparks any flame for a future collector then that is just a bonus.............



I just added another MS64 Brown Indian Cent to my collection. This 1892 leaves me with just the 1890 and 1894 to complete my self-styled Indian Short Set 1890-1909. I'm wavering but I think I'll go ahead and expand it to the 1880's as well since most of that decade can be had at a reasonable price and there are no key date, expensive issues that will be needed.


If you wonder why I decided on brown instead of the (usually) more coveted red or RB coins--I just feel like the brown coins come in a wider variety of looks and include some beautifully toned items. Red coins are pretty much just red ( or shades of orange/red).

My latest addition......added to my Custom Set.




Is My Coin "Too Good"

Okay, I may have screwed up a bit. I have bought a few of the coins for my Washington album already slabbed and have had to liberate them for my album.

The primary reason for this is that a few of the pricier ones I was able to get at a very good price in the grades I wanted and as a plus I got the added insurance with the purchase of knowing they weren't cleaned or had issues I couldn't see with the seller's pictures. I am down to just the final 3 or 4 holes in my Washington album. The final slots are not particularly challenging to fill, I just was looking for nicer detailed coins at a good price. Some of these coins I found in BU grade for little above melt cost and others I found in XF or even VF+ quality for some lower mintage issues.

The final 4 coins needed are the 1940-D, 1947-S, 51-S and 52-S, none of which are rare or even particularly scarce--they just happen to be the last 4 holes by random chance. Much of the album was filled with some strategy behind it. I started by buying 2 incomplete albums and taking the decent coins and adding to my singular set. Next came a process of buying the P, D and S together of the same year which got me some great 3 BU runs with some and 3 circulated coins with others.

Whittling away any group dates I could ( the prices are significantly better when purchasing 3 coins for an $8-10 cost per coin as opposed to the asking prices of $15-25 often for single slot fillers.) I finally have ended with these four. I tried hunting for the 51-S and 52-S together but there aren't any groups of these 2 dates. I did find some larger lots which I might purchase and can resell the 51 P& D and 52 P & D and make my purchase for the S mint coins a good bargain.

My "mess up" was with the 47-S. I couldn't find any group lots of this issue and started looking for just nice single coins at reasonable prices. Most raw BU coins were in the $20 range listed which is about the pricelist costs of $17 for a 63 and $28 for a 64---but low and behold I threw out a wild flyer bid of $30 for an NGC MS66 that was attracting my eye. I actually won the MS66 for an unbelievable $24.50 --I was pretty excited to get a $60 coin for under $25 but when it arrived there was a bit of a conundrum. The coin is almost too nice to break out and stick in an album. If I don't crack it out I'll have to buy another and then what to do with a single slabbed Washington quarter?

I already have way too many coins that aren't a part of any set but were just too attractive and well-priced to pass up, so I will eventually crack it out and plug the hole in my album--but for now, I'm just leaving it on my desk and enjoying it....


Here's some pics--It is more of a personal taste thing and I know many here won't see it the way I do, as I love the peachy/rose blush overall on the obverse and the reverse has blotches of really vibrant emerald greens, turquoise and purples...a fun coin but it may skew the "balance" of that page in my album. Oh well, if I have to upgrade a few of the surrounding coins on the page to give the overall look a better blend then that is what I'll do...happy hunting everyone......




Well it seems I picked a great set to build a quick and easy album. Already I am down to just ten holes. I also finished page 4- the 1957 through 1964 silver Washington Quarters in BU at barely above melt costs for these coins.

Although I have a few scattered S mint dates of the 1930's and a smattering of 1940's, I found 2 quality examples for the series "key date" 1932-D & S coins. I was able to get the 32-S for under $120 plus a $12 discount for ebay bucks. The 32-D I got for exactly $100 but there were fees and shipping so it actually cost me more.

I may need to do a submission or two if I wish to finish a slabbed Jersey 1/12th shilling set as they just don't appear pre-graded too much. I already have most of the series raw so it is just a matter of mailing them out. I might as well get my granddaughter's bear-themed coins slabbed too as it is easier for her to handle them and peruse through them when they are in a slab box instead of dozens of individual mint-packed boxes and cases.

Happy hunting everyone, I hope there are some collectors still around here--the posts and camaraderie as at an all-time-low it seems.


PS: the 32-S is still in a slab as I haven't cracked it out and put it into it's slot in my album yet--these darn, newer NGC slabs don't crack very well.






I am not going to post a long journal full of virtue-signaling and fake compassion. I just wanted to extend a heartfelt message to all of the Coin collecting community who lives in the Houston area and the state of Florida. I especially wish to extend my hopes that all of those at NGC and their families in Sarasota stay safe throughout this ordeal.

Submission tracking, guff with grades and mislabeled holders have a way of becoming trivial and returned to their proper level of unimportance at times like these.

Again, my thoughts and prayers to all of you.


Will the coming cashless commerce system be the end of numismatics? Certainly it will affect the number of "business strike" issued coins but will the hobby continue to persevere with Bullion issues and the dozens of commemorative and proof issues annually?


I was perusing some news headlines recently and 2 separate but seemingly related stories caught my attention---

    The first story had to do with a new record-low physical currency decline worldwide.  The global, physical currency has dropped down to an amazing 8.2% of all of the world's money. In certain countries such as Sweden and smaller municipalities in other countries, cash or paper money has pretty much become obsolete. Many other issues are causing this also. We now have the alternative payment methods of Bitcoin, Apple Pay and I even paid for a new Bose speaker at Office Depot with my paypal balance. Obviously credit and debit cards are the largest intrusion upon the domain of cash, but it is apparent that the trend appears to be that technology is grindingly eliminating the greenback.

  I read also recently where we are essentially in a "Retail Apocalypse" as  the old brick and mortar stores are closing by the tens of thousands. Coin collectors saw this happen a decade+ ago as the old-time coin shoppes of our youth have mostly disappeared and on-line webpages, weekly auctions and Ebay have made purchasing coins cash free and incredibly convenient.  Amazon and on-line ordering are burgeoning almost in direct proportion to every Sears, Radio Shack, JC Penney and Macy's that shutters it's doors.


  The second story I read on that same news page was also similar in that it portends the death of cash. It appears that the VISA corporation was offering several hundred businesses/restaurants  a monetary reward if they go completely cashless. Yes, the push is on to not just have alternative payment choices and credit but to actually eliminate cash.

There can be no arguing that banks would love the elimination of cash and the ability to get a cut of every transaction ( often a cut from both buyer and seller!.) The governments of the world wouldn't mind the added revenue either as billions slip through their fingers annually when people have simple bake sales, yard sales, cash for an old riding mower or paying someone to paint your house or plant a few trees. Anyone with a cell phone could do the money transfer seamlessly. For those without phones ( yes, there are still some adults without phones) it would be fiscally prudent for governments to provide cheap phones.

  Of course this brings up many discussions concerning everything from National ID's, implanted chips to protect from fraud, the potential tyrranical implications of having all transactions monitored electronically and the ability of TPTB to "cut you off" for whatever reason ( from back taxes, child support or political leanings.) Surely this is a slippery slope but there is little doubt that there is also great upside from eliminating counterfeiting of currency, armed robberies would decline, much of the illegal street drug industry is done with cash and cash is just plain dirty.

My personal opinion is that the days of physical money are numbered. I do think that the US Mint will continue in business as proofs, commemoratives and even a limited mintage of mint set/MS coins would be produced to satiate the demand of collectors ( as long as it is profitable to produce them.)

I noticed that the journals now allow for polls so I'd be interested in the thoughts of my fellow numismatists......are we going the way of the dinosaurs?


While I wait for the right 1916-D Mercury dime to become available ( and at the right price) to finish the final hole in my last album, I decided to start the next one. I decided on a relatively easy set- an 83 coin, Silver Washington Quarter Dollar, Whitman album of 1932 thru 1964 coinage.

I call it easy for 2 reasons.

The first reason is that I had 4 rolls of mixed-date silver quarters already in my stash. Besides 2 heavily worn Barber's, one holed Seated liberty quarter and a score of low-grade Standing Liberty's, the remaining 120 or so were all Washington's and of a surprisingly wide spread on the dates and mintmarks. I suspect that one of the rolls was from someone's incomplete set they were assembling as almost all 40 were different dates and not the standard roll which usually has 30 1960's coins and a smattering of worn and damaged earlier coins.

The second reason I figure that this album will be easy is because there are really no high-cost key dates. The 2 semi-keys, the 32-D and 32-S appear readily available in VF+/XF quality for $150 or so. I figure I'll snatch up some problem-free coins for these 2 issues, already graded and crack them out. I usually keep the labels and tape them in an envelope or flip inside of the back cover for the cracked-out coins.

So I was surprised to find that I already owned 58 of the 83 coins for this new album. Since I'm not going to give myself the usual challenge of a small grade/quality range or require appearance similarity--it is just a matter of finding problem-free coins with honest wear to finish this set off. Even if it is easy, it is still fun filling the slots and I still wait with anticipation each package that brings me one coin closer to completing the set.

Here's a few photos --- my newly started Washington album and TADA ! believe it or not I actually found an Indian Cent for my collection in an NGC slab--a nice 1889 MS64 BN ( which I listed in the registry for the heck of it but also placed in my true Indian Cent Collection in the Custom page.....

Happy hunting e1.......









Well my Mercury Dime album set has been a lot of fun to assemble. I have ( for the most part) avoided my usual trap of assembling a set and then "just" upgrading this coin and that coin for another with a little more luster/detail/tone etc etc.

I have upgraded about 3 coins of the teens and early 1920's for coins that have a touch less wear. For Page 1 of my Whitman, the general goal is full rims and dates--Page 2 I'm looking for some fasces details/lines and Page 3 ( the late 1930's and the 1940's years) I set AU/BU standards.

I just purchased a nicely detailed and problem free 1921-D. The coin is in an NGC slab so I'll have to crack it out for my album. I usually am averse to doing this but since the coin is very solid for the grade and problem free, I have no issue with liberating the dime.

Of course that leaves me with just the 1916-D. I have $600 set aside in paypal.  I had some unexpected expenses recently but managed to raise the funds for the repairs and left the remainder for the "coin budget." I'm hoping to find a higher detailed G6 or VG8 in that range ( or a little more), which would fit nicely with the min standards for the coins on that page of the album. I never really liked having a bunch of VF/XF quality coins on a page and then a lone G6 which stands out like an ugly eyesore ( even if the G6 is more pricey than all of the rest.)


As a side note, I left my Indian cent registry listing up for now although I also created a Custom Set for the series. This enables me to continue to work on the set and have TONS more options for quality coins. I'm not gonna beat a dead horse but there are probably 9 PCGS Indian Cents for every NGC coin and as a collector, to limit myself to a particular plastic holder in lieu of collecting quality coins would be silly. I recently found an 1890 cent MS64 BN that fits my strict parameters and also has the look I love so this leaves me with only the 1892 and 1894 to finish my little indian short set.

Happy hunting everyone---collectors adapt and the journals will always be a useful place for me to archive my collecting over the years ( although 10 years of my past journals have sadly disappeared  since my registry name and chat board names were sl8ightly different--very disheartening.)






After some recent frustrations with registry sets slots, I have decided to take a hiatus from Grading coins, submissions, NGC vs PCGS and even removed almost all of my Registry "competitive" sets.

The frustration has long been building with the politics in the hobby and not just with trying to get through the myriad of confusion associated with collecting any modern series and their innumerable annual issues. Whether it is SP's listed as MS or as PF's, multiple slots for the same coin but with different names, incomprehensible points assignments ( 2000 points for some $50 coins and 300 points for some $1000 coins) or Pop report/census that only even lists about 25% of an entire series--the fun in registry participation has been sapped away.

However my love of the hobby remains. This is why I have gone back to my roots--album collecting and raw coins. With my coin cabinet and chests with their velvet lined drawers allowing for better viewing, displaying and the weighted feel as I hold the coin in hand, I wonder why I waited so long. I think it was probably half because I enjoyed the sets listed on a page where I could add photos and had easy access to see which slots were needed no matter where I was. The other reason I stayed was the camaraderie among several members here that I PM on occasion, buy/sell/trade with and have been messaging with for years.

Most recently I found an old Whitman Mercury dime album with about 12 coins in it. What fun the past few weeks have been !! Although not as challenging as the old days when I tried filling albums with just the selection from the 2 local coin stores--it is still a lot of fun searching for a certain look, a minimum standard ( full reverse rims and some vertical fasces lines) and hedging on some coins to hold out for a little nicer or a few bucks cheaper.

I have re-discovered the thrill of passing up a $12 AU coin which I almost bought, and then later uncovering a $10 BU coin instead--saved $2 and a nicer coin, WIN ! The only downside is that I'll have to learn some improved restraint. As opposed to slab collecting where I may buy a pricey, graded coin once or twice a month- with the album collecting, I can add dozens of nice, quality coins for the same or less the cost.

My most recent exciting purchase was a very nice set of Merc BU coins with "several toned" coins from 1940-1945 all PDS complete. The listing was vague and the picture so-so of a single, torn out page from a thumb buster. I won the "page" of toners for just $30 ( barely more than melt). Once in hand- WOW what excitement to find that most had glorious colorful tones and 75% were BU. The 1945 even has strong separation of the midline although not complete. I picked through and have mixed and matched with some "pristine white" coins and interspersed several of the toned beauties ( the rest I carefully removed and put in flips in my coin chest to enjoy.)

Unfortunately, I am down to the 1916-D and the 1921 and 21-D to complete the set. Most of the teens and early 20's are in F/VF quality and all of the 1935-1945 coins in AU or BU. I feel at liberty to change parameters or grade limits per page in the album as I please so I've kept every coin pretty cheap to buy.

I've never collected a shield or liberty nickel set and think I might start that next with mostly "readable date" and " problem-free" coins in lower grades but with honest wear. After that maybe a Morgan "short set album of XF/AU grades--who knows it sure is a lot less complex now and no disappointments for bodybags, perplexing grading results, massive shipping both ways or 17 to 20% buyers fees!

Some photos of my recent assemblage which has reinvigorated my collecting passion. Happy Hunting E1......




One thing I feel that is needed in coinage is a uniformity on deciding what is an obverse and what is a reverse. Almost all US coinage is quite simple as we declare that the side with the Bust or Lady Liberty is usually the obverse. There are some instances with modern and classic commemorative issues where there remains inconsistency with opinions on which is the obverse and which the reverse.

Things are far less clear with world coins. Many nations don't use busts at all but have National Shields, emblems or simply have variance on both sides with all issues. It remains often unclear which is considered the obverse. Is it determined by the side with the nation's name? How about the side with the year/date on it?

The grading services seem to have no idea either- or maybe they just don't place any priority or are unconcerned with the issue. However collectors seem to have a certain inherent desire for uniformity or order in our collections.It seems as if the obverse should always be facing forward on the same side of the coin as the label, be it the Queen's bust, Liberty in one of her depictions or a former POTUS. Yet we don't even see this simple consistency. I have seen PCGS deliberately invert the reverse onto the label side simply because the reverse had some nice toning on it and the TPG decided of their own volition to place the coin in encapsulation with "reverse side up."

I have a simple Canadian 10c Proof issue set. The Queen's bust in all its aging glory is depicted on the obverse of all 43 issued coins and my set is 100% complete, yet 11 of my 43 coins have the reverse on the label side and 32 of the coins with the Queen's bust on the label side. I do notice a trend though. Six of the coins with the Bluenose Schooner on the label side are perfect 70's...4 of the other 5 are commem issues with the commemorated event on the label side ( and one PF69UCAM just seems to be reversed for no reason at all, no matter how I try and reach.)

Oh well, not the biggest of issues unless the coins in their slabs are meant for some type of display or group encasing. We can always just flip the coin over in-hand if we want to see the other side...

What brought this about is the 2 sets I just finished--each having 1 coin inexplicably reversed with the obverse of the coin on the back of the slab. Am I the only one this happens to or has nobody else noticed this randomness? As we always say, it's about the coin and not the holder so que sera sera........

Happy Hunting everyone





Along with my recent submission which finished 2 of my Bahamian Silver MS sets, I also added 8 more coins to my granddaughter's growing " bear coins" themed collection. She really does enjoy these coins I find and is not just humoring her pawpaw with the ooohs and aaahs. It is fun to see her loop the 20x loupe around her little finger and stare down at all the small details--shifting and turning to get the right light and focus to get the clearest image ( just as I taught her!)

This submission was a strange one from the start. As I checked to make sure the package arrived safely to Sarasota, the initial logging of the coins had 3 of them as "ineligible.' Since I have seen all 3 of the coins that are marked as "ineligible" in NGC slabs on websites, I figured that what the cataloguer really meant was "illegible" since my writing style is somewhat unique in its -script style.


As the coins progressed through the process, two of the coins lost the "ineligible" moniker and just one retained it--the North Korean coin. I later received an email informing me that N Korea is on the banned list for grading ( I presume Russia, Syria, Libya, Iran and other boogeymen countries will be soon to follow on the list.) Both of the other coins did end up with issues though--the Greenland coin, which has a value of 1 Piastre and is minted at a legit mint is labeled as " fantasy issue" on the slab. The British Virgin Islands coin which is gold gilt and coated in Rhodium was also bodybagged like the N Korean coin because, "colorized outside of mint.' This simply isn't true, the Pobjoy mint which both minted the plain silver issues and the 500 limited edition, gold-gilt issues is the #1 private mint of European countries and mints hundreds of issues which are recognized as legal currency and are in NGC slabs by the thousands. I have the government packaging and coas to prove it is officially licensed product of the BVI govt. If we accept dozens of FM issues, and coins from small countries without their own independent mints, this coin should be allowed. The least they could do is put the coin in a slab without a grade and say "private mint, ungradable"--then I could add it to a custom set or inventory it as well as have it protected with encapsulation, after all-I PAID FOR IT.


I was surprised to be given a credit/refund for the N Korean coin--the first time over the years that I have received my money back ( out of dozens) for NGC not providing the paid service but I'm still hundreds and hundreds in losses for coins they wouldn't grade but kept my cash anyhow. Maybe once they open the box it counts as Tier Service??

Whatever, my bellyaching won't change anything--I'll just blame it on the Russians, like everything else......here are three of my prizes that did get encapsulated. My Greenland "fantasy issue", a wonderfully artistic, geometric rendition of swimming polar bear with cub, and the final one is my newest favorite--a polar bear ( also under northern lights) with actual diamond dust mixed into the silver to give the appearance of glistening snow--really cool stuff...enjoy and happy hunting....






My most recent submission is worth at least 3 separate journals after some issues I had, some newly discovered info, to discuss the coins and overall grades ( 8 of the coins were for custom sets) and of course, the completion of 2 of my Bahamian Silver Registry Sets.........

The Bahamas Mint State silver coins had a relatively short lifespan. There are just 6 years of these issues with quite limited mintages ( it is a smallish island nation so 10's of millions would have made no sense.) The first issue was in 1966 with your 8 coin sets and the 50c, $1, $2 and $5 coins being silver. The $5 coin has an ASW of almost 1.3 oz's and the $2 coins are well above the silver content of the US silver dollar, so these are large and heavy silver coins.

After the 1966 issue, no new sets were made until 1969 and then they were produced yearly for 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973--after 1973, only the proof sets contained the 4 large silver coins ( and some SP sets and commems also were silver) but the mint sets had switched to cuni and alloys.

I started collecting these coins originally because of the beautiful designs and the fact that I could sometimes even snag them below silver cost as it seemed 10+ years ago that not many people realized the ASW of nearly 3 oz's in each mint set. I have also fallen in love with the finish of these coins which appear almost burnished- containing an "inner glow" as they have a simmering sort of shine which does not reflect as much or cartwheel like the very light reflective silver. Who knows, maybe they are burnished in some part of production-much like the burnished silver eagles which have the planchettes spun in a tumbler with fine sand or tiny metal beads.


Anyhow, with the wonderful additions of the 1971 "Dancing Marlin" 50c and the 1973 "Flamingos at sunrise" $2 coin, I have now completed 2 more sets. I recently got some free photography lights so I may try and improve my pics ( or at least make them all uniform.) now that the sets are done--and with just 12 coins to photo/crop/size it won't be too big of a project.


Here are the pics, what do you think? Burnished finish?






Please do not add any "likes" to anything I post on journals ( or the chat boards). I find the whole facebook phenomenon to be a sad indictment of our self involved society. An entire aspect of modern society focused on self-centered, "hey look at me, what I did, ate, drank, vacationed" etc-- in desperate need for some petty validation by being "liked".  Thank You............


Now to you, journal....

One of my strategies I've had with collecting is to keep several sets in the process of building simultaneously. Often I will have a world set or 2, a themed "custom set", an album of thumbuster grade/quality coins, and a few US coin short sets. This strategy has worked well since I have many items to look for at each premium auction or when my coin budget is flush. I never feel like I have not added any additions to my set and am then  never tempted to overpay for a new hole-filler to sate my collecting desire.

With several sets going at once ( but not too many) I can usually find a few hole fillers for different sets, then I simply weigh which one to purchase ( factoring scarcity, a good price, PQ quality, likelihood of finding another etc) based on the varying factors.

With my 2 US coin sets down to the final 2 or 3 slots needed and pickings slim, I looked toward my themed sets and world sets. I snagged 3 really nice coins for my Bear themed coin set. A 2017 polar bear coin with diamond dust sprinkled to make it look like the snow and ice sparkle--very cool coin. The second bear coin was one I've been watching for since Gary posted his ( he got it because the obverse is an allegorical female, I bought the Greenland coin because of the regal beast which is on the reverse.) The 3rd bear coin was a clever geometric configuration design which forms a swimming polar bear and cub under the northern lights...all 3 are already on their way to Sarasota with a few others.

I did find a few coins to add directly to registry sets however--my Jersey 1/12th Shilling set is a cool set and I just like the series. The series encompasses 89 years from 1877 until 1966 but only has 23 coins in it. There are several combinations of the reverse shield ( lion design, pointed or rounded shield, size of shield, lettering, etc) along with 9 different busts of monarchs on the front from younger Victoria to the youthful Elizabeth II and all of those between. There are no extremely scarce or pricey issues but they are low enough mintage to make it a challenge--especially if you are going for BU quality coins. I added a 1923 Rounded tip shield and the 1937 issue--pictured is my newest addition the 1937 with Georgus VI..............




A Nice Score !

I have certain rules that I always (most always) hold on Ebay purchases but none of them are fully iron-clad. I do on occasion buy coins from sellers with low feedback numbers if it "feels right" that a small lot or group of coins really does look like somebody's cigar box collection.

Sometimes I will purchase coins from overseas. I avoid Chinese fakes and those with export/import issues, but I have gotten some nice coins at pretty good prices from Portugal, Spain, the UK etc. One must always factor in the shipping costs and don't buy from Europe or Australia if you expect the coin in a day or three.

I almost never buy coins when the pictures are hazy, look photoshopped, altered or enhanced. It is this last "rule" that I broke when I purchased my recent addition-and it paid off. The images were dark, grainy and slightly out-of-focus. The darkness of the pictures lent the impression that the coin was darkly grey with mottled black areas.

However with my inept photography skills, I have produced the same results from coins that had far different in-hand eye appeal. What I guessed had happened was that some darker cobalt blues appeared blackish and the overall patina was being subdued. Also, I felt that the strike was very good and although not FH, it was close with pretty distinct head details if not full.

Chalk this one up to experience as I was right on the money! ( and then some!) The darker areas that appeared black and grey were indeed spatterings of cobalt mixed with specks of lavender and even a few emerald specks. The overall fields were a nice rose blush. The strike of the head has some flatness but far from the worst I've seen. Also the coin is a true Slider. I could see the graders struggling over whether this coin was an MS64 or AU58- fortunately for me, my set parameters and my checking account, they opted for the AU58 grade.

So my nice little 1920 AU58 leaves me with just 2 coins to complete the registry set of SLQ AU's. I try and get nice eye appeal coins for the easier dates like the 1920 since there are more available and I can be even pickier than normal. Throw in the fact that I got it ( I'm sure the shoddy photo helped) at less than 50% of list and this was a nice little score.

Here are the early, quick pics I took and then the images from the sale/listing......






It may be time to show some discipline and get things in order.

I am not a procrastinator by nature. I am usually the polar opposite. In fact, if I am being honest in my self assessment, I am a bit compulsive with my desire for order in a universe ruled by the ceaseless tides of entropy.
For example, if a bill arrives in the mail I will almost immediately pay it, write the date and amount on the invoice and then file it in the appropriate folder. I am never satisfied to rinse a plate and leave it in the sink when the dishwasher is but a few feet away. Of course I could never imagine folding all of my laundry and just piling it on top of the dresser like my kids most often did.
My dad taught me a few invaluable lessons in the few years I had before he passed. One was that if you were going to do something, then do it right or to the best of your ability. Another was that if you start something, then you finish it. I guess this is where my need for orderliness comes from. 
I seem to have lost my way with my coin "collection." For the most part I buy either graded coins that fill registry slots, some sets from the mint when I need 2 or 3 for different sets ( or when it's more financially sound to buy a 6 coin silver set for a few bucks more than the single coin) or single coins for custom sets or to send in for grading.
It is this last part that has gotten WAY behind. Either out of sight/ out of mind is in effect or I am a closet hoarder ( just with really small objects like coins so I can still walk through my house)- whichever it is, it is time for some discipline to be exercised.
I keep buying more coins for sets, not getting them graded and then looking for more coins. Then the funds for all of the grading becomes too daunting so I procrastinate more...a bad cycle to be stuck in for and orderly collector.
Just looking into 2 coin cases that I acquired to protect raw coins until grading, I was surprised myself to see that I had pretty much filled up all of the various drawers with mint sets, proof sets, silver issues, themed coins and on and on--I really had no idea of the amount.
So as I share this photo with you-and it is just PART of the raw coins I have set aside to be encapsulated, it is not to show off in any way, but instead to confess openly of my "acquisition issues." 
After all, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?

PS: the first 15 have been decided--the final Bahamian 50c to complete that set, the final 4 Bahamian $2 coins with the flamingo at sunset, the Canada "alloy" silver coins from the 2014 and 2016 proof sets of 10c and $2 coins which will complete/update both of those 100% and the final 6 coins will be Bear themed coins for the granddaughter's bear coins collection. This is a step in the right direction to re-establishing order in my collecting I believe.
PPS: thanks Dena