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

The Centennial Medal of the American Numismatic Society

This is the second of what I hope will be three finished descriptions this week. This set is coming along rather nicely and I added the Grant Dollar to the Laura Gardin Fraser set two weeks ago. I hope that you enjoy my post, I am learning a lot about the Fraser's and I believe the cumulative descriptions are beginning to give me a glimpse into the heart of Laura Gardin Fraser. The American Numismatic Society was founded in New York on April 6, 1858, to advance numismatic knowledge. In 1958 th

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

06/23/2016

The George Washington Bicentennial Medal

Writing descriptions for the coins and medals in my sets is time consuming for me. First comes the hours of trying to uncover even the most obscure of information about the subject which I am writing. Finally, I have to figure out based on a theme what to write and what to leave out. Then I have to present my description in a readable, grammatically correct way as not to bore the reader. Its quite exasperating but at the same time enjoyable. With a week off from work, I have time to get things d

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gherrmann44

06/21/2016

The 1957 Oklahoma Semicentennial Medal

Thematic coins and medals based on western subjects were a favorite of both Frasers. James Earle Fraser was born in Winona, Minnesota on November 4, 1876. In 1880 his family moved to Mitchell in the Dakota Territory. It was here in the vast openness of the American frontier that James love of the West grew. In the case of Laura Gardin Fraser, I believe it was her love of American history, the allure and excitement of the American frontier, and her love of horses that inspired her rendition of th

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06/02/2016

The Society of Medalists First Issue

Before Laura Gardin Fraser married James Earle Fraser on Thanksgiving Day of 1913 she was an admiring student under his tutelage at the Art Students League in New York City. After three years as a student she joined him as an instructor at the school in 1910. It is here that she honed her skills as a sculptor, receiving several awards for her work.[1] Perhaps on account of James teaching Laura learned that to be successful as a medallic artist she needed to simplify the design, employ appropri

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gherrmann44

05/28/2016

An Unexpected Sale and Purchase

This past weeks Central States Numismatic Society show was full of unexpected surprises. For me, the unpredictability of this years show made it one of the most exciting CSNS shows I have attended. The day started off Thursday morning with a 2 1/2 hour drive to Schaumburg, Illinois where I met a collecting friend who was to sell some of my excess coins through his E-Bay store. One of those coins was a 1924 MS-62 double eagle that I bought about ten years ago. As I recently posted, I just upgra

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gherrmann44

04/30/2016

Finally! The Medal that Will be the Centerpiece of My New Collection

Since I started my collection of Laura Gardin Fraser coins and medals, the 1920 American Army and Navy chaplains medal has been at the top of my list to purchase. These medals rarely become available for sale and the last one I bid in 2015, I lost. Since then I had e-bay searches set up to locate others that may become available. Though these medals are scarce, they don't cost too much since the demand is low. It's just that the people who own them rarely sell them. With a pocket full of e-bay

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

04/19/2016

Meanwhile Behind the Scenes...

When it comes to collecting coins over the course of a year, I typically focus on only one segment of my collection at a time. For instance, three years ago it was Morgan and Eisenhower dollars, two years ago it was my custom set, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, last year it was completing and upgrading my Dansco 7070 type set, and this year it's my new custom set, The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser. Lately Ive written much about my new custom set because it consumes most of

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gherrmann44

04/16/2016

The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser

My new custom set is coming more into focus with this set description. Every pioneer who paves a new trail, marks a trail for others to follow. Laura Gardin Fraser (1889-1966) is the first women ever to design a US minted coin or for that matter any other world coin (The Numismatist July 2013, p. 35). As a result, this has opened the way for many other talented female sculptor/medalists to break into what had been exclusively the realm of men. That said, I dont get the impression that Laura Ga

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gherrmann44

03/20/2016

The First Coin Description of My New Custom Set

This year I am starting a new custom set based on the coins and medals of Laura Gardin Fraser. The Alabama Centennial coin is the first description in this exciting new set. I will have much more to post about this set later and if you want to follow my progress, use this link to view my set. https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=19449 The 1921 Alabama Centennial half-dollar represents two significant firsts in United States coinage. One, the obverse of the coin

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gherrmann44

02/27/2016

Worth the Wait

Two and one half months after I made a commitment to buy an 1802 NGC XF-40 Large Cent, my wait has finally ended! Though I waited about two and a half months from the commitment to buy until delivery, this story really began at the ANA show in August. This is when I purchased a 1901 MS-63 gold eagle. You see, it was then that I asked the person I bought the eagle from to look out for a nice VF-XF Draped Bust Large Cent to complete my 7070 type set. Thereafter, I personally decided to put an en

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gherrmann44

01/16/2016

I Finally Found What I was Looking For

I am already finding the new ANA searchable database of The Numismatist quite useful in finding information I thought didnt exist or was lost. A few years ago I bought a three medal set of ANA convention medals enclosed in a plexiglass holder. The 1969 medals struck in bronze and silver commemorate the 78th annual convention of the ANA held in Philadelphia, Pa. The main attraction to these medals designed by US Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro is the obverse rendition of Lady Liberty remin

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gherrmann44

12/11/2015

The Year in Review and a Sneak Peek at 2016

This past year has been a phenomenal year for my collection and in particular my 7070 type set. In just this set alone, I have both added and upgraded a total of 21 coins! That amounts to almost a quarter of the coins within the entire collection! Believe it or not, this came to me as a surprise along with the sum money I spent. When you assemble a collection with a coin here and a coin there you can amass quite a number of coins in a relatively short period of time. And that when my only inte

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gherrmann44

12/01/2015

Exception Clauses in My Collection

There are those collectors who will under no circumstances have details graded coins, medals, and tokens in their collections. Then there are collectors like me who will make exceptions for them under certain conditions. About a year ago I wrote about replacing three details graded coins in my 7070 type set. I particularly remember how pleased I was with the replacements and finally having the entire set free of problem coins. Then when I purchased a Classic Head Large Cent earlier this year,

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gherrmann44

10/11/2015

Its Time to Stop Dragging My Feet

I was so impressed by Alan Lastufkas, Most Improved post that I thought it was high time I kick it in gear and improve upon a few images of my own. Thus, this post features an image upgrade of one of my all time favorite coins, the Austrian 1908 Franz Joseph I, 60th Anniversary of Reign 100 Corona. Every one of the images of this coin I photographed several years ago and at the time I considered them to be satisfactory. Nevertheless, what was satisfactory then is no longer so today, especially

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gherrmann44

08/31/2015

The Best of All

I have been to a total of five ANA Worlds Fair of Money shows and this year's show was far and away the best I have attended. That said, I have good memories of all the shows I attended. My first show was 2007 in Milwaukee. There I saw a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, a 100 kg gold coin, and Chet Krause's extensive collection of Wisconsin National Currency. Next for me was the 2011 show in Chicago to view M.L. Mosers spectacular collection of Morgan Dollars. Incidentally, I had the opportunity to

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gherrmann44

08/23/2015

If You Think Buying the Plastic is Bad...

Then buying the grade sight-unseen regardless of the plastic or the coin is especially bad! That said, I am embarrassed to admit that in my zeal to upgrade an XF-40 Indian-Head Eagle that I am guilty of doing just that. As a type collector, my main focus is to obtain the highest graded coins I can afford for a particular series. Thus very few, if any of the coins in my set are key dates or even semi-keys and most of the coins are quite common. With the price of gold currently down, I had det

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gherrmann44

08/15/2015

A Couple of Freebies

With all my recent coin purchases, I had racked up quite a few E-Bay Bucks. Thus, I was able to upgrade two coins in my 7070 type set based solely on E-Bay Bucks. With the remaining balance I bought a Conder Token for my seated-imagery custom set at a 32% discount. The first upgrade is of a 2007-D, First Day of Issue, Washington Presidential Dollar grading Brilliant Uncirculated by NGC. I got this dollar as a gift when I first signed up for NGCs Collectors Society back in 2008. However, from t

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gherrmann44

07/23/2015

Buying and Selling Part 2

In my last post, Buying and Selling Part 1, I described how I sold circulated gold coins to acquire mint-state gold coins. In this post I will talk more about the proceeds from the other sales to finance two upgrades and a new purchase. First the upgrades, and I'm not talking one or two grade points higher, but coins that are priced approximately six times higher than the coins they are replacing. The first coin is a PR-66 Three Cent Nickel replacing a common date MS-62. The other coin of whic

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gherrmann44

07/05/2015

Buying and Selling Part 1

Not long ago I posted My Collector Profile and expressed my affinity towards type collecting. Subsequently, I reviewed my entire collection for coins I could sell, and with the proceeds I bought several coins that I am really excited about. As a part of that review, I looked to upgrade a few circulated gold coins to mint-state condition. The first was an Indian eagle from XF-40 to MS-63 and the other an Indian Head half-eagle from AU-55 to MS-62. Finally, I upgraded a type-2 gold dollar from A

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gherrmann44

06/28/2015

An Opportunity I Couldn't Pass Up

My new half-cent is perhaps the most gorgeous half-cent I have run across. I wasnt looking to buy this 1835 Half-Cent piece, but I came across it searching e-bay listings and couldnt pass it up. Fortunately, the coin it replaces in my collection was targeted for an eventual upgrade. In the new piece I get exceptional color and a very strong strike. In other words this coin has exceptional eye appeal. It also fits my plans to add the best looking coins for the price I can afford into my 7070 Ty

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

06/25/2015

My Collector Profile

The definition of profile is to describe, write about, give an account of, portray, depict, sketch, and outline. That said, could someone easily write about, give an account of, portray, depict, sketch, or outline my collector profile by the coins currently in my collection? This is exactly the question I am asking of myself as I examine the state of my collection. More specifically, which coins in my collection represent my core passion as opposed to those I bought on a whim? If I were to be

gherrmann44

gherrmann44

06/01/2015

A Flurry of Collecting activity

It has only been two short months since I returned from a short-term mission trip to Thailand. However, in that time I have been as busy as ever adding coins to my collection, and more specifically my 7070 type set. The highlight of my work year is the payout of my annual bonus the last payday in February. With my bonus I usually buy at least one high ticket coin for my collection. Of course my wife had other ideas on how to spend the money and consequently we will be getting a new couch. Wi

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gherrmann44

04/27/2015

A Worthy Addition to my 7070 Type Set

A very attractive 1855 MS-63 BN half-cent has found a home in my collection. The NGC Collectors Society Dansco 7070 Type Set has slots for the Draped Bust Half-Cent (1800-1808), the Classic Head Half-Cent (1809-1835), and the Coronet Half-Cent (1849-1857). Since I already own the Draped Bust and Classic Head Half-Cents, all I needed was the Coronet Half-Cent to complete my set. That was until yesterday when the piece pictured in this post arrived in the mail. With the half-cent portion of my c

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gherrmann44

04/09/2015

40+ Years in the Making

...Finally after more than 40 years, a youthful fascination becomes reality. As long as I can remember, I have been interested in numismatics. Working odd jobs as a youth I recall spending a large portion of my paycheck on coins. Some of those coins I still own today. I also enjoyed reading about my hobby in Coins Magazine. I loved that magazine and I couldnt wait until the next months edition arrived in the mail. I often read it from cover to cover. As a youth, I discovered that reading is

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gherrmann44

04/01/2015

Beauty is in the Eye of the Camera Lens

...Or is it rather in the skill of the photographer. About two years ago, I spent a goodly sum of money to upgrade my photography equipment. If they say replication is the highest form of flattery, then Brandon of BRG Collection fame has spent a lot of time blushing. That being since he has helped countless persons, including myself, to take higher quality pictures of their coins. Now I dont quite consider myself in his league, but in two years time I have come a long way and I have the pictur

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gherrmann44

03/22/2015