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About this journal

My rekindled interest in collecting started in 2009 with the impulse purchase of a 1783 shipwreck coin.  I did not imagine that collectible grade 8 reales coins were available until I started browsing Ebay to see whether I got a good deal on my first one.  After I realized what a poor deal I made, I set out to build a collection of quality 8 reales of the 1772-1791 design featuring the bust of Charles III.  I've added a modest collection of columnarios, too.

In 2013, I started a themed collection of coins depicting the sport of fencing, my other hobby/activity.

My current focus is on a collection of world silver crowns of the 16th to 18th centuries.  So far I have examples from the Commonwealth and England, France, Holy Roman Empire states and free cities, Swiss cantons, Dutch provinces, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Ragusa, Italian states, the Ottoman Empire, Malta, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, Transylvania, the United States of America and, of course, Spain and Spanish colonies.

Entries in this journal

England without a monarch!

A relic from the 'Interregnum' King Charles I lost more than the English Civil War. In 1649 he lost his head and England began a period of eleven years without a monarch. Even so, crowns were still minted. 1658 crown of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, a single year issue as he died that September. The crown is noted for its high strike quality due to the mechanized milling and press process introduced by Pierre Blondeau, former engineer o

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10/26/2015

A rose by any other name...

would smell as sweet -- but a better photograph can't hurt! My original title for this post was 'Most Subtly Improved', a nod to Gary and Alan's recent posts about their photography, but I could't resist the Shakespearean jest. As my photography skills slowly progress I have greatly improved many of my early coin images but sometimes it's the ones with a subtle improvement that can really catch your attention. That's the case with my Pezza della Rosa or Rose Dollar and I hope you'll agree. Th

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10/12/2015

My Three Suns

A glorious light shines on former Spanish colonies. Three of my favorite 8 reales are from the former colonies of the Spanish Empire in the New World. The hopeful aspirations of these newly independent nations are reflected in the beautiful sunface designs of the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, Republica del Centro de America and Republica Sud Peruana. The birth of new nations is a politically contentious process -- these republics had to deal with years of internal and external strife

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10/03/2015

US Silver Dollar Mint Type Set

I don't collect many US coins but they fit nicely into a mint type set. In a rare case of planning ahead with my coin acquisition strategy, I picked my US silver dollar types so that they each came from a separate mint. The set is now complete and I've created a custom set in the Thematic & Topical Coins section to show them off. coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=19490 Here's a photo teaser. ~jack To see old comments for this Journal entry, click her

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09/27/2015

Light and Shadow

Sometimes a strong lighting angle can bring out a coin's best appearance. The lamps that I use for my coin photographs are too bulky to allow placement near the camera lens so I have to experiment with different angles in relation to the plane of the coin's surface. I have a couple of small LEDs lamps on order that will allow me to get close to a perpendicular angle, but until they arrive I have to make due with what I have. I've read advice that for coins with portraits, you should try t

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03/26/2015

Old Map -- New Presentation

What do you think of this type of coin presentation? I love the look of old historic maps so I thought I would try to use one as the background with a coin of, roughly, the same period. My coin is a 1629 Scudo of Odoardo Farnese, the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, from 1622 - 1646. The map is from 1699, by Phillip Lea of Cheapside, London. I think the map helps to set the coin in its historic, as well as geographic, context. ~jack edit: I posted a larger image to the chat board. To see

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03/17/2015

Two goals in one!

An overdue report on my January world coin activities. I'm not sure if it's the same with US coins but I think the January Heritage, Stack's Bowers, Triton and Goldberg auctions have the best selection of rare and premium quality world coins of the year. Unlike last year, when I was completely shut out of January's world coin auctions, I scored a few goals this time around. One coin was literally two goals in one. I wanted to add a Swiss Thaler to my collection of world crowns and I've also

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02/28/2015

The Fix for Coins Misaligned in their Holders

Somehow this coin got rotated almost 180 degrees in its holder. I put in some strong bids but was not able to win any coins in several world coin auctions this Fall. For the 8 reales collector, it was a special time because quite a few ultra rare varieties were on the block. A 1733/2-MXF in VF-35 sold for $18,800 in Baltimore and a 1778 MoMF in XF sold for over 14000 euros in Barcelona. Last month I was able to take Friday off and visit the Baltimore Show. I enjoyed the dealers room and got

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11/30/2014

Hey, this guy has a face!

When a details coin looks better The leeuwendaalder aka lion daalder was first minted in the province of Holland in 1575 during the revolt against Spanish rule. By 1581 the seven Northern provinces were able to gain their independence, forming the Dutch Republic, formally recognized by the Spanish Empire in 1648. Freed from the burden of supporting a monarchy, the Dutch became a trading powerhouse, developing a globe-spanning colonial empire and the largest merchant fleet in the 17th century

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10/25/2014

The Ugly Truth About 8 Reales

Beware the counterfeits, unofficial restrikes and modern forgeries! It's only natural that the world's most popular coins are the target of fraud. For the 8 reales, this has been a problem for over 200 years. Counterfeits, meaning those struck in the same time frame as the genuine issue, used less silver so that the counterfeiter gained by the difference in precious metal. Unofficial restrikes were produced after the genuine issue, were mostly faithful to design as well as silver content,

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07/04/2014

Beautiful Thaler from Baltimore

I bought, sold and traded at my first coin convention and I'm darn sure the dealers got the better bargain, but I came away with my shirt and two new coins for my small but growing early modern world silver dollar set. I didn't attend any auctions and only visited for a few hours on Saturday morning but I got most of my goals accomplished. My main purpose was to get an opinion on a raw 1860 Seated Liberty Silver Dollar that I won on Ebay. After showing it around I felt confident enough to se

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07/01/2014

Losing and rebuilding a world class collection

The story of Antonin Prokop highlights one of the important qualities of a serious coin collector -- sheer persistence. The Czech numismatist, Antonin Prokop, lived and worked in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century and assembled an exceptional collection of Russian coins during Tsarist rule. In 1919, however, the Soviets considered it communal property and confiscated the collection. It was subsequently auctioned off to foreign dealers. Prokop was able to leave Russia in 1921, takin

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05/05/2014

Surprise Gold Acquisition

I have an example of this coin as a silver proof but I didn't know they were minted in gold. My last journal was about my fencing coin custom set so I wasn't planning on writing about this topic so soon, but I spotted this coin on a German auction site and was very surprised to find out that it even existed. Like nearly all other coins depicting fencing, this is an Olympic commemorative. The historic French mint, Monnaie de Paris, produced silver 1-1/2 euro and gold 10 euro proof coins in 20

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03/30/2014

Started My Fencing Coin Custom Set

I have a bunch of nice coins but only two slabbed examples so far. The ongoing Winter Olympics has inspired me to start organizing my collection of modern commemoratives featuring the sport of fencing. Although fencing is not a winter sport, it is one of five sports which has been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games. As I mentioned in one of my journals from last year (http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=14114), I have been assembling a colle

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02/12/2014

My First US Silver Dollar!

Although I bid on many world lots, the first win of the year was an 1846-O Seated Liberty $1 Happy New Year fellow collectors! I started my New Year by participating in several of the big world coin auctions held in January, but failed to win lots, including any of the 8 reales from Guatemala that our esteemed NGC registry colleague, Isaac Rudman, offered in the Heritage World & Ancient Coins Auction in New York. So my first win of the year was a US coin from the Orlando FUN auction.

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01/26/2014

The 8 Reales Pinnacle

My Colonial Mexico City 8 Reales Type set captures the top spot -- sort of... Last year, I worked at completing the Colonial Mexico City 8 Reales Type Set with the hope that I might get the top spot. This set is eight coins (how appropriate) from the milled 8 Reales series minted in Mexico City during Spanish rule. The years represented by this set, 1732-1821, comprise a significant section of history in the Americas. After all, these coins were the primary specie circulating throughout the

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12/02/2013

When does bidding really close at a live auction?

Floor bidders have the advantage at Sedwick's Treasure Auction 14 I had an unfortunate experience on Wednesday night during Daniel Frank Sedwick's live auction of world coins. My maximum absentee bid was the starting price for a scarce 8 reales overdate, and I watched it go live through my internet connection from home (I had turned off the live audio/video feed). Although I was prepared to counter-bid, no additional bids came in and the item closed at my high bid. Great! Another slot fille

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11/02/2013

Controversial Deaccession

Provides the acquisition opportunity of a lifetime I guess I don't pay much attention to general numismatic news because the events surrounding the deaccession (elimination of items by a museum) of the Huntington Collection of coins and medals from the Hispanic world passed by without my notice. I only started to check out what this Huntington Collection was after I won an interesting 8 reales from an auction house that specializes in ancient coins. Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955), philant

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10/09/2013

Real de a Ocho de Dos Mundos

1762 Eight Reales from the Old World and New World I have a batch of 8 reales in for grading so while I wait on the results, I thought I would journal about the one that I find the most interesting, a 1762 Spanish 8 reales from Madrid. In the mid 1700's, the Spanish mints did not turn out many of the larger silver coins. Production of the 8 reales ended in 1736 and did not appear regularly until 1772, with the exception of the 1762 mintage. Charles III ascended to the throne near the end o

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09/04/2013

Pandamonium strikes!

Update on my recent diversion while I wait for my latest 8 reales submission to be graded. I read Gary's (ghermann44) latest post about his time at the ANA show with Dave (Yankeejose) and noted that he finally bought his wife a silver panda coin. I've been meaning to journal about pandas for awhile so here goes. I got sidetracked from my 8 reales passion earlier this year when I bought an MS 70 2011 1 oz Silver Panda coin for my fiancee to commemorate the year that we met. Since pandas are h

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08/19/2013

First Gold

I've only collected silver, mostly 8 reales, until this one. Now, you might expect an 8 reales collector to acquire a Spanish escudo as their first gold coin, but I've been wary of buying into the current gold bubble. I hope to acquire a few nice 8 escudos when, and if, the price of gold drops back to lower levels. As a fun distraction from my 8 reales focus, I've been building a theme set of coins that depict the sport of fencing, my other main hobby. Since the beginning of the year I'

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08/01/2013

Amazing 8s

My custom set has more than 500 views! Thanks to all of you that have viewed my custom set "Amazing 8s -- Charles III Portrait 8 Reales 1772-1791". The special thing about a custom set is that it's uniquely your own. For my set I selected 20 coins from my collection of 8 reales, one for each year of issue that featured the bust of Charles III (some posthumously) and made sure to choose examples from a variety of mints. I did some research and tried to include a few interesting facts a

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07/12/2013

Spanish Eight Reales countermarked as English Dollars

'Two kings heads and not worth a crown' Yes, this is another post about 8 reales. My last post did not get very many views but maybe that's because it was submerged in a flood of new journals that should have been posted as replies. If this one doesn't get many views, I promise to post on a different subject next time Anyway, several 8 reales, stamped with the head of George III by the Bank of England, have shown up on Ebay recently and reminded me that I needed to take some better photos

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06/07/2013

Early Milled Eight Reales of New Spain

It's as close as I can get to the rare 1732 and 1733 8Rs Milled silver coinage in the Spanish Colonies started to appear in 1732 as a result of a royal decree of 1728 from the reigning monarch, Philip V, the first of the Bourbon Dynasty to rule Spain. Prior to this, colonial coins were hand stamped on irregularly shaped discs, known as cobs. Mexico City was the first of the colonial mints to use screw presses for their coinage on planchets of standardized diameter and thickness. Prior to the

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05/29/2013

This REALLY Bugs Me!

An Ebay seller trying to take advantage of an NGC "clerical error". As an 8 reales collector, I frequently browse the Ebay listings for these coins. Several months ago I saw a NGC certified 1783 Mo FM listed. Now, for those in the know, this is the rarest of the series and no graded examples are in NGC's or PCGS's census. The photos clearly show severe seawater damage over the assayers initials. I might admit that the second initial looks more like an "M" than an "F" but it would be easy t

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05/15/2013