CoinsbyGary

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About this journal

When I was a young boy, my cousin introduced me to the hobby of coin collecting. Because I was also interested in photography, I used to frequent a local camera store. Along with camera supplies, this store had a rotating display case full of coins that I enjoyed scrolling through. My very first coin purchase was an 1881-S Morgan Dollar in BU PL condition; this coin was old, shiny, and inexpensive at just $12! Now 35 years later, I still own that 1881-S Morgan Dollar, even though it is still worth less than $100. I loved looking through the Red Book dreaming of the coins I would buy if I had the money, especially the coins in the back of the book where the gold listings are. As a teenager, I was beginning to show signs of gold fever.

Working through high school, I spent the bulk of the money I did not save on coin purchases. My first gold purchase as a teenager was an 1881 BU Half Eagle for $105 from a mail order ad in "Coins" magazine. Since then I have had this coin graded, and it resides in my Gold Liberty type collection graded at PCGS MS-62.

My next gold purchase as a youth stretched my resources. I purchased an 1858-C VF Half Eagle for $350, and my attraction to this coin was that it had a low mintage from an obscure branch mint. I also enjoy the comradely among fellow coin enthusiasts, and once I invited a kid to attend a coin show with me who was much younger than I was. As fate would have it, this kid happened to be the son of my mother’s boss. This boss always said to my mother how impressed he was with me taking his son to that show. As for me, I enjoy the company of fellow coin collectors, whoever they may be.

Two other purchases I made as a teen were an 1876 20-cent piece and an 1885-CC Morgan Dollar from the Lavere Redfield hoard. Since then my collecting has been sporadic, depending on my life situation. However, the passion has always been there. Gold has still not lost its luster with me, and today I am a very active collector. The cousin that introduced me to coin collecting years ago no longer collects. For a different twist on my collection, visit my website at: coinsbygary.com

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Entries in this journal

Tincture in Heraldry

Have you ever looked at the shield on many of our 19th and 20th century coins and wondered what the lines across the top horizontal bar of our national shield represent? How about the lines on the vertical bars? Beyond the vertical bars representing the 13 original states holding up the single bar representing the federal government you may be surprised to find that the lines or the lack thereof on the bars are defined by certain colors in heraldry called tinctures. Tincture is a relative

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

02/25/2019

Last Reply:
02/27/2019

Lessons From the Far Country

Much of this post is quoted from a response to a recent post by thisistheshow entitled, "Let me try this again, for the first time." I made a lot of points in that response that I thought are worthy of an expanded stand-alone post. In a nutshell this post is an autobiography of my 40+ years of collecting coins.  Thinking back on my 40+ years of coin collecting I liken my numismatic experience to that of the Biblical parable of the prodigal son. I started my numismatic journey as a youth wit

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

02/02/2019

Last Reply:
02/23/2019

Now That I Am Retired, What of Collecting?

As of December 28th 2018, I am officially retired and am eager to move on into another chapter of my life. Retirement came a little sooner than I expected but when my employer offered me a generous buy out, I realized that I had to take it now or never see that opportunity again. Realistically, at 60 years old I had no more than 4 years left anyway and probably a little less. Now retired, I find myself having to live on a lot less money than I had before. To make things easier on my famil

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

01/28/2019

Last Reply:
01/30/2019

 

A Most Excellent Provenance and a Good Friend

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

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

08/21/2018

Last Reply:
08/22/2018

 

The BIDE-A-WEE Medal

Bide-A-Wee is Scottish for "Stay A While" and is the name of an animal rescue and adoption center in Manhattan founded by Mrs. Flora D'Auby Jenkins Kibbe in 1903. Bide-A-Wee still exists today and has a policy of not euthanizing the animals in their care except for pain and suffering. As a result in 115 years of operation they have been able to place over a million dogs and cats into loving homes.  A collector favorite, the Bide-A-Wee medal was awarded to persons in grateful recognition of

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

06/30/2018

Last Reply:
07/03/2018

 

Allegories in Numismatic Art

One of the things that endears me to coin collecting is allegorical art. I have several sets in my collection based on allegories alone. I have always maintained that coins are a powerful medium to communicate national ideals through allegorical images. For me a lot of the fun in collecting coins is deciphering the allegories. In researching the allegories, I am amazed by how much I have learned about world history through the stories told on coins! For instance I had not known that the nam

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

06/02/2018

Last Reply:
06/02/2018

 

Older and Wiser

I always thought it to be a shame if a person only grows older without growing any wiser. People often classify such a person as a fool. Concerning my relationship to coin collecting, wiser after so many years has finally come!   After going trailblazers buying Morgan Dollars several years ago, I had lost interest in the series and finally sold off much of my collection in 2017. Now my interest in Morgan Dollars only includes the following: MS-65 and higher Morgan’s, GSAs, and Carson C

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

01/15/2018

Last Reply:
02/03/2018

 

A Golden Opportunity

Over the last several years I have been feverishly working to upgrade the gold coins in my collection since the spot price of gold has fallen from its peak valuation in the fall of 2011.   In the last two years or so I have been able to upgrade several of the MS-62 and lower graded gold coins in my collection to 63 and 64. To date, I have been happy with the quality of the MS-63 and 64 gold coins I bought and I consider them to be the final upgrades for my gold type set. With the spot

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

12/10/2017

Last Reply:
12/10/2017

 

The National Geograhic Society Hubbard Medallion

The National Geographic Hubbard Medallion is named after the first president of the National Geographic Society, Gardiner Greene Hubbard. It is the National Geographic Society’s highest award and is conferred on persons who distinguish themselves by a lifetime of achievement in research, discovery, and exploration. This prestigious award was first presented to Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary in 1906. [1] [2] The Hubbard Medallion redesigned by Laura Gardin Fraser in 1951 is str

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

09/04/2017

 

The Numismatic Beauty of a Strong Allegory

There are few things in numismatics that I enjoy more than strong allegories on coins and medals. Where the allegory is unknown, I endeavor to decipher it within the historical context of the numismatic piece. Because of this love I created two NGC custom sets, “Inspirational Ladies” and “The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics.” Researching the coins and medals contained in these two sets has given me many hours of enjoyment! One coin that I recently acquired illustrating a strong allegor

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

05/30/2017

Last Reply:
06/28/2017

 

There’s Nothing Like a Coin Album for Presenting Your Collection

With the advent of the NGC and PCGS registries came new and improved ways to catalog, preserve, and display the coins in your collection. This after years of collectors plugging raw coins into albums. Yet, I feel that there was something nostalgic about plugging coins in an album that may have been lost. PCGS has tried to recapture that nostalgia in their registry with their coin album software. I must say that for a while I was impressed and jealous. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer NGC’s regi

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

05/17/2017

Last Reply:
06/22/2017

 

One of the More Intricate & Beautiful Coins I Have Ever Seen

When I read Jackson64’s journal, “Added coins 4 and 5 to my Jersey 1/12 shilling set” I got stoked because there was much about what he was saying about his style of collecting that matches my own. For instance, I like to manage 4 or 5 sets at a time like he does. Currently, I am working on a US type set, along with my custom sets Inspirational Ladies, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, and The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser. Still, there is a bit of a twist to my collecting

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

04/26/2017

Last Reply:
04/29/2017

 

A Beautiful Medal for a Worthy Recipient

The Buffalo Nickel since its release in 1913 is still a collector favorite. Today the legacy of the Buffalo Nickel and its sculptor live on in the 2001 American Buffalo Silver Dollar and $50, .9999 fine, Gold Buffalo. As such, when collectors hear the name of James Earle Fraser they almost invariably think of the Buffalo Nickel. Likewise, but to a smaller degree are some of the medallic works of Laura Gardin Fraser and in particular her rendition of “Fame” featured on the obverse of the Nat

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

04/14/2017

 

Shifting Gears and a Different Direction

One might think that shifting gears and a different direction are synonymous. However, the truth is that though related, they are two separate actions. A different direction in that I will be liquidating a portion of my current collection to focus on another and shifting gears in that I will be buying fewer but higher quality coins to upgrade the remaining sets. All this started with my losing interest in collecting Morgan Dollars. A year or two into collecting Morgans, I got bored with them.

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

03/22/2017

Last Reply:
04/13/2017

Shifting Gears and a Different Direction

One might think that shifting gears and a different direction are synonymous. However, the truth is that though related, they are two separate actions. A different direction in that I will be liquidating a portion of my current collection to focus on another and shifting gears in that I will be buying fewer but higher quality coins to upgrade the remaining sets. All this started with my losing interest in collecting Morgan Dollars. A year or two into collecting Morgans, I got bored with them.

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

03/21/2017

A Coin of Immense Sentimental Value

The story of this coin starts at work on a summer afternoon in Wisconsin. Working at various cell sites throughout the region, I occasionally have the opportunity to observe different kinds of wildlife. On one of those occasions, I heard what I though to be a hummingbird fly by my ear only to find that it was a large praying mantis. Immediately, I had noticed that the praying mantis had landed on the chain link fence surrounding the cell site. I have seen praying mantis's before but this bug w

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

01/02/2017

With the Help of New Friends and Resources

Besides world coins, tokens, and medals based on a particular theme, my primary area of numismatic interest is in United States coins. This past year though I have delved into an area of numismatics that until now was unfamiliar to me. Rather than starting another theme based set, I started a set based on the work of a particular sculptor. I started a collection of coins and medals featuring the artwork of Laura Gardin Fraser. While I was somewhat familiar with the coins attributed to Laura Ga

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

12/11/2016

The 1923 Morgan Horse Club Award Medal

I have finally completed all the write-ups for The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser. This medal was the last write-up for me to complete. Next year I'll have more medals waiting in the wing to add to this set including the 1912 National Institute of Social Sciences medal and the scarce 1930 Endecott Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary medal. As a young girl, Laura Gardin had always enjoyed her family's summer home in New Jersey where she especially enjoyed riding her horse. It was here that

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

11/11/2016

The Type 1 Liberty Double Eagle

To me there is nothing more beautiful than a strongly struck, mint-state or almost-uncirculated, Type 1 Liberty double eagle with a minimal number of contact marks. Conversely, there is nothing uglier than a heavily worn Type 1 double eagle or a highly graded coin with numerous contact marks. Thus, as a type collector, my challenge is to find a double eagle that meets both my criteria, AND more importantly, is affordable. Fortunately, I had a wide range of dates that I could choose from. Examp

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

11/04/2016

The 1913 Better Babies Medal

As America entered the 20th Century, our nation began to turn its attention towards addressing a number of social issues. Among the issues we addressed as a nation was our high infant mortality rate. As a means to educate and encourage parents concerning the proper care and hygiene of their children, contests were held at popular public venues. These contests were then used to measure child development among the contestants and gather statistics. Cash prizes and a medal were awarded to the paren

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

10/28/2016

My Life as a YN

Today as a 58 year old coin collector I occasionally think back on my years as a YN (young numismatist). I have very fond memories of those days and the coins I collected, many of which I still proudly own today. Those were the days when I could spend the lion's share of the money I earned doing odd jobs on coins. At no other time in my life could I do this as I did when I was a YN because my parents provided the cloths on my back, a roof over my head, and plenty of good food to eat! The only

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

09/18/2016

The NYU Hall of Fame for Great Americans Medals

The New York University Hall of Fame for Great Americans is a 630 foot outdoor colonnade featuring the sculpted busts of 98 out of the 102 honorees elected into it. The Hall of Fame was conceived by Dr. Henry Mitchell MacCracken, (Chancellor of New York University from 1891 to 1910) and was formally dedicated on May 30, 1901. The Hall of Fame for Great Americans currently stands on the campus of the Bronx Community College. (New York University closed due to financial difficulties in 1973). [1]

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

08/27/2016

The 1952 West Point USMA Sesquincentenial Medal

Over her long and distinguished career Laura Gardin Fraser had a very cordial relationship with the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Both Frasers loved America and the Armed Forces of the United States. Many of their military related commissions not only included medallic art, but also full size sculptures and smaller bronzes. There are three significant works Mrs. Fraser completed for The United States Military Academy. The first is a 1952 bronze medal commemorating the

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

08/18/2016

The 1928 Lindbergh Medal

On May 4, 1928, the Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution authorizing the striking of a gold medal to be presented to Charles A Lindbergh. This medal was to commemorate him for the first non-stop transatlantic flight between New York and Paris on May 20-21, 1927. In a ceremony held on August 15, 1930, President Hoover presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Charles A. Lindbergh. The resolution also provided for the striking of no more than 10 million bronze medals to be sol

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

08/07/2016

The 1920 Army Navy Chaplains Medal

I know I posted about acquiring this medal earlier, but since then I have had this medal graded. I am also including in this post more of the background information associated with this medal. The last time I posted I started a lively thread on the merits of certifying medals (Actually user RWB in response to my post did). The final grade of this medal represents one of many reasons I am grading the medals in my Laura Gardin Fraser set. I am thrilled with the MS-63 grade this medal received. Bef

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

07/30/2016