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About this journal

I have been a coin collector most of my life thanks to my grandfather who got me started early. I have taken many detours through out my life and delved it to paper money, trading cards, etc. but have now come back to my roots and only collect coins. My current main project is completing my large cent collection and identifying my current ones with accurate varieties. In addition I have a strong interest in world coins, especially large copper coins and pre 1800 coins.

I kind of came late to graded coins. Now that I have all of my best pieces are either graded or scheduled to be.

 

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Entries in this journal

 

Wildman Coins

A few years ago one of the large coin magazines had an article on expanding your collecting interests and mentioned Wildman coins. I found the article interesting but kind of forgot about it until I ran across one on ebay. It had duel importance to me because if was also formerly part of the Eric Newman collection, a numismatist that I greatly admire. Side note: the new Eric Newman biography "Truth Seeker" is well worth reading.      I grew up helping my grandfather with his collection. All of my early numismatic education came from him. His favorite coins were the "V" nickels. He talked frequently about the rare 1913 issue and told me stories about the "No Cents" issue. We would spend hours sorting coins and building Lincoln Cent sets that he gave to family members. He never purchased a coin even though it meant never finding his No Cents Liberty nickel. I filled the whole with a nice uncirculated piece but it looks out of place. All of his coins came out of circulation. His liberty head collection was filled with coins most collectors would consider fillers but they are priceless to me. His collecting habits influenced me greatly. Yes, I purchase coins, but proof and high grade mint state coins don't do it for me. I appreciate them but I don't get the same rush as holding a nice 200 year old XF coin in my hand. Think of the tales it could tell.    I was fortunate to inherit his collection when he passed and continued to work on building his sets and only rarely upgraded his coins. In addition I purchased a small collection belonging to my aunt.    At some point I decided that it would be a good idea to start a large cent date set. My grandfather didn't have any in his collection. I am still working on this set but as the holes became increasingly expensive and I was making additions less frequently I got bored.    Due to my love of large cents I started searching out large diameter copper and bronze world coins which makes up the bulk of my recent new additions. I tend to gravitate towards crude pieces and generally don't mind coins with minor problems.    I still enjoy my US coins, primarily Large Cents, but I am realistic in my expectations for future additions. Recently I have been reading a lot about the 1776 Continental dollars. It is not realistic for me to obtain one but there a number of world coins available from the same year for a very reasonable price. I happen to have a 1776 Wildman coin. My dream coin is a 1793 chain cent but I have the same problem with this coin.    Wildman History    1) Around AD250 the Greeks referred to anybody that wasn't Greek as being wildmen or uncivilized.  2) Early Middle Ages - one story is about Merlin. After the woman he loved he went in to the forest and lived as a Wildman. He would occasionally return to the forest and have no recollection of his civilized life.  3) Later Middle Ages - the medieval Wildman represented a physical type that was definitely human with racial characteristics similar to those of Europeans. Hair covered everything except there face, hands, feet, elbows and knees. Described as everything from dwarfish to giant in size but always with super human strength. They were frequently pictured with an uprooted tree or club.  As European's migrated to the new world they brought the Wildman myths with them (think Bigfoot).  The mythical Wildman was blamed for unexplained calamities and quirks of nature including missing persons and crop failures. Wildman stories were used to frighten children into obedience. Wildmen were considered to be protectors of the forests and to be feared due to their wild unpredictable nature.    It was believed that if you carried a likeness of the Wildman it would protect you from him. This is a major reason why these coins are typically well worn and often founded mounted in jewelry.      Issuers of wildman coins and medals include various German states, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Greece including Crete, and Switzerland    So why do most of these coins come from Brunswick?  I have searched and can find no definitive answers but did find two books I brought have what I hope are clues.    References  1) "Wildmen in the Looking Glass - The Mythic Origins of European Otherness" - very dry and an excellent cure for insomnia. Dissects why people felt the need to create the Wildman myths.  2) "The Wildman - Medieval Myth and Symbolism" - Free to download from The Metropolitan Museum of Art or you can purchase a hard copy from other sources for $200+    Neither of these titles are numismatic references although the 2nd title does feature 2 coins on page 162 minted during the reign of Heinrich IX the Younger in Brunswich-Wolfenbuttel. He was considered to be unrestrained, aggressive and destructive. He was rumored to have burned a set fire to and burned an entire town to the ground. His own population referred to as a Wildman. Heinrich had coins minted with his likeness on the obverse and a Wildman on the reverse. Some of these showed the Wildman holding a flame as a not so veiled threat of what he was capable of.  So, did this simply start the trend and they just stayed with it, or was it more of a mascot or was it due to extreme superstition.    Wildman coins have become a hot item with a lot more collectors actively seeking them out. You can typically find a couple of dozen examples listed on ebay. I don't consider any individual issue common and actual mintage data is typically unknown. These were minted from the 1500's to the early 1800's although I have never seen any from the 1500's for sale. Mint state examples are not found often. One sold this week in a Heritage auction at the NY show in MS64. Judging by the pictures I wasn't impressed. Judging by the price realized the other bidders weren't very impressed either. These issue are often poorly struck due to the technology of the time.    All of my graded Wildman coins can be seen in my custom set at: https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=20282  

World_Coin_Nut

World_Coin_Nut

 

Be Yourself

I have been collecting my whole life. My collection has taken many wandering paths to arrive where it is today. For years I built sets of U.S coins because that is what I thought you were supposed to do. The few dealers that I had access to (pre-internet) had no interest in foreign coins or really anything that they didn't have. In fact they tried to steer me away from anything other than US coins. They lead me to believe that world coins were junk and not worthy of being collected seriously. In recent years I have had my eyes opened. It started when I got bored with the coins in my collection. I decided I wanted to build a set of large cents by date. That was quite an eye opener. This set is still a work in progress and will never be truly complete. Large cents introduced me to collecting by die varieties. I know, not my original intention, but there has been so much research done on these that it is a natural progression. I fell in love hard with my large cents but as the set grew the pieces needed became increasing pricey so I started looking for alternatives to our large cents. When I first started dabbling with world coins I kept hearing in my head all the reasons I have been given not to do this. Larger world coins were my first interest. There are so many different examples in all price ranges. My favorites are from the 1700's and 1800's but I do not limit myself to these areas. As I said my collection has and still takes a meandering path. My feeling is that you shouldn't avoid an item simply because it doesn't fit in your collection. I have said many times, buy a coin you like and if it doesn't go up in value you will still have something you like. This goes against the advice of a lot of well known collectors. They say you should be more focused. Sorry, to me focused is boring. I am excited to spend time with my collection as often as possible. Collect in a way that excites you, whatever that may be. Don't let anybody tell you what you should like and how to collect. Photos: 1) German States 1705 2/3 Thaler NGC XF45 ex Eric Newman 2) Angola 1814 Macuta NGC MS62BN

World_Coin_Nut

World_Coin_Nut

 

Trying again.

I appologize if this is showing up twice. Still trying to get used to the new journals. Anyone that knows me knows that I tend to collect nice circulated pieces. Despite that when you I see a coin almost 200 years old in almost perfect condition I have to take a second look.  The largest portion of my collection contains coins from the German States. The area of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel put out some fascinating pieces in a wide variety of designs. My favorites by far are the Wildman coins. This particular piece is a 24 Mariengroschen dated 1829. It is not the most interesting design from the area but it is well struck and graded NGC MS66. There were 2 different versions of this coin, this one has the "ZU BRAUNSCHW" legend. When I see a coin like this I always wonder why someone pulled it out of circulation and chose to keep it in virtually untouched condition. Although not unheard of finding these in mint state coins from this time period and geographical area is unusual. Typically they are found well circulated. Nicely struck pieces like this are also hard to come by.

World_Coin_Nut

World_Coin_Nut

Henry Clay Campaign Medal

An American Classic Henry Clay, Sr. (April 12, 1777 -- June 29, 1852) was an American lawyer and planter, politician, and skilled orator who represented Kentucky in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. He served three non-consecutive terms as Speaker of the House of Representatives and served as Secretary of State under President John Quincy Adams from 1825 to 1829. Clay ran for the presidency in 1824, 1832 and 1844, while also seeking the Whig Party nomination in 1840 and 1848. He never successfully ran for president.   This is a campaign medal for his last unsuccessful bid. The obverse features a portrait of Clay with the date below. The reverse has a representation of industry and sailing and in my unbiased opinion is stunning. This medal is graded NGC MS 62. This piece comes from the famous Dr. James McClure Collection. Clay was a dominant figure in both the First and Second Party systems. As a leading war hawk in 1812, he favored war with Britain and played a significant role in leading the nation into the War of 1812. In 1824 he ran for president and lost, but maneuvered House voting in favor of John Quincy Adams, who appointed him as Secretary of State. Opposing candidate Andrew Jackson denounced the actions of Clay and Adams as part of a "corrupt bargain." Clay ran for president again, and lost the general election in 1832, as the candidate of the National Party, and in 1844 as the candidate of the Whig Party. He was a strong proponent of the American System, fighting for an increase in tariffs to foster industry in the United States, the use of federal funding to build and maintain infrastructure, and a strong national bank. He opposed the annexation of Texas and "Manifest Destiny" policy of , fearing it would inject the slavery issue into politics. This cost him votes in the close presidential election of 1844. Clay later opposed the Mexican-American War. Known as "The Great Compromiser", Clay brokered important agreements during the Nullification Crisis and on the slavery issue. As part of the "Great Triumvirate" or "Immortal Trio," along with his colleagues Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, he was instrumental in formulating the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise Tariff of 1833, and the Compromise of 1850 to ease sectional tensions. He was viewed as the primary representative of Western interests in this group, and was given the names "Henry of the West" and "The Western Star." As a plantation owner, Clay held slaves during his lifetime, but freed them in his will. Abraham Lincoln, the Whig leader in Illinois, was a great admirer of Clay, saying he was "my ideal of a great man." Lincoln wholeheartedly supported Clay's economic programs. In 1957, a Senate Committee selected Clay as one of the five greatest U.S. Senators, along with Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Robert La Follette, and Robert A. Taft. To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

World_Coin_Nut

World_Coin_Nut

What makes it rare?

Just a bit a ramble on a topic that bugs me. I have always been intrigued by the entries in price guides where instead of a dollar value it just says "RARE". As a child when flipping through my copy of "A Guide Book of United States Coins" I would see that and think, maybe one of these will show up in change or maybe I will find one at the coin shop in the 25 cent each bin. Of course as I got older reality set in. Now I just hope to able to say I saw one in a museum or a colleague's collection. As many of us do I spend time on Ebay and other sites looking for hidden gems or items to fill holes in my collection. It always bothers me when I see sellers throw around the word rare in the description. Recently on Ebay I did a search under the broad category of coins and paper money and found 86541 items with rare in the title. I then did the same search for anything with a Buy It Now price of $100 or less and this trimmed the list to only 39811 items. Really, I thought. There are almost 40,000 items in coins and paper money for less than $100 that somebody considers to be rare. I know you can't and shouldn't tell sellers how to market there products but it seems to me they could use a different tactic. My guess is that the seller hopes the buyer will see that word and without doing there homework will pull the trigger and make the purchase. Personally I avoid the word when I sell items. I did scroll thru the first couple of pages of the 40,000 item list before there was an item of any interest to click on. A 1915 Italy 2 Lire coin. There were only 7,948,000 minted. The seller claims it is in VF condition. In said condition it carries a value of $22.50. Maybe there is some unknown to me history of this coin that makes it rare......but I doubt it. As I have grown older the focus of my personal collection has grown to include a lot of world coins. I was fortunate enough recently to purchase one of those elusive items marked rare in "The Standard Catalog of World Coins". It is a 1795C 6 Kreuzer from Austria. (2794688-001) I know it is probably not a highly sought after piece and to honest despite it being NGC Graded XF45 it is no where near one of the most attractive pieces I possess. In truth I believe it to be over graded. I still get a thrill knowing it is in my collection. To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

World_Coin_Nut

World_Coin_Nut