Revenant

  • entries
    195
  • comments
    172
  • views
    2,240

About this journal

Thoughts on building my Netherlands Wilhelm III Gold 10 Gulden Set, my modern silver bullion NCLT sets, and the rest of my collection..

Entries in this journal

So that was a privy mark…

There’s only 10 dates / years of issue for the Netherlands 10G coin during the 41-year reign of Willem III. All of these years occurred in a 15-year period from 1875 to 1889. Because of this, he only had one official portrait during this time and all the coins have the same obverse. Because even the date is on the reverse there is absolutely no way to discriminate one issue in the series from any of the others by just looking at the design of the obverse. By contrast, his daughter, ruled for 58 years (longer, but he was still on the throne 4 decades), and Gherrmann44’s 10G set honoring her has, I think, four official portraits on the obverse. The reverse of the coin is a different story. The 10 issues use a total of three different reverse “designs” for lack of a better word - or so I thought. It’s really two different designs and one of those designs has two variants with different privies… but I’m getting ahead of myself. The 1875 - the first and by far the most common with a mintage (4,110,00) that exceeds that of all the rest of the series combined (3,719,657) - is a 1-year type coin (KM 105). In 1876 several design features were re-arranged, and the date moved from the top to the bottom of the design. All the coins made from 1876 to 1889 are the same type (KM 106) and are the same except for one small detail: one of the two small marks on either side of the year is different in the last issues of the series. The issues from 1876 to 1887 have a battleax to the left of the date. The 1888 and the 1889 have a halberd. I have wondered, literally for years, what these marks were and why that one changed at this point. It never occurred to me that these were the mint mark and privy mark. I’m not gonna lie; this makes me feel a bit dumb. How did I figure this out? By reading the coin descriptions on Coin928’s “Curacao 1900-1948, Complete Circulations Issues” set. On more than one coin in that set he explains that the fish on those coins, next to the date, in the same position as the battleax and halberd are on the 10Gs, is a privy mark. The symbol on other side of the date is the mintmark for the Royal Dutch Mint - it’s a “Staff of Mercury.” He was nice enough to give me a link to the site where he found this information. The battleax is the privy for Philip Hendrik Taddel, who served as Mint Master from Nov 1874 to May 1887. The halberd (hellebaard) was the symbol for Hugo Laurens Adriaan van den Wall Bake (Good grief! What a name!), who served from July 1887 to 1909. Thanks to Coin928 for the new resource (website) and the information.

Revenant

Revenant

02/19/2019

Last Reply:
02/20/2019

 

“Samuel Likes Money”

Well, this was drafted and supposed to be queued up before everything went crazy on Tuesday so it may make less sense chronologically than it previously would have but here it is anyway I think it's a sweet and funny story. So, I have this “Heads or Tails” round that I got over 10 years ago as a joke. It has a nude woman on both sides so the “Head” and “Tails” should be self-explanatory from there. It’s the kind of thing that seems hysterical when you’re 22. Of course, my toddler finds it… He has no context for understanding it. It’s just another “daddy’s money.” I wasn’t home when he found it. This happened on a day recently when I was gone from before the sun came up until after the sun sets - this has been happening almost once a week lately. He likes to go into my home office (“daddy’s room”), mess with my stuff and look for me. I don’t necessarily blame him for this. I have a lot of stuff in there that a little boy would love including little robot toys… but I digress… So, he finds this thing and decides that the woman on the coin is Mommy. Why? Apparently when you’re two and you see a woman and she has long hair like mommy and looks even remotely close to mommy, it’s mommy. I have a couple of framed lithographs by Larry Elmore (“Ancient Powers” and his “Betty Paige” inspired work). He thinks both of those are Mommy too. I have to go by what my wife said since I wasn’t home. Ben likes to kiss her belly and tickle her stomach to tickle “sammy-el.” He also likes to try to reach into her belly button to try to get the baby out (Actually says, “I get baby out.”)  – with predictable levels of success. I guess my wife’s stomach is like a room for the baby to him and the belly-button is the doorway to this room. As a logical (to him) extension of this behavior, he decided that he wanted to give this particular “money” to Samuel. He attempted to do so by pulling up her shirt and trying to press the round into her belly-button while giggling and saying “Sammy-el likes money.” My wife was laughing while explaining all of this. I’m a bit bummed that I missed it. It sounds like it would have been hysterical to watch. My wife has joked, in the aftermath of this, that I should get similarly inappropriate silver sounds for both boys and give the rounds to them on their 18th birthdays as a kind of “dad joke gift.” I think the idea has some potential, if only to see their eyes roll back in their heads.

Revenant

Revenant

02/14/2019

And so it begins... Updated 2/22

I was gone all night at a professional function. I finally got home around 9:00, my son was already in bed. My mother-in-law stayed with them all evening while I was gone so Shandy wouldn't be alone, just in case. Maybe 5 minutes after my mother-in-law left, less than half an hour after I got home Shandy started bleeding. We went to the hospital. She was having contractions she couldn't feel and there was no way to stop the bleeding with the contractions and so she's in the OR now and I'm waiting. The surgery will take about 4 to 7 hours, maybe longer. 29 weeks and 2 days. Didn't quite make it to 30 weeks but ya get what ya get. Now just a lot a waiting, and I'm a pacer. Update 2/13: To my unending surprise the doctors came out in less than an hour and said the placenta had detached and there was no acreta like they'd thought. Instead of a 5+ hour operation it ended up taking about 2. They didn't have to do a hysterectomy but we went ahead and had her tubes tied. We will not be tempting fate again after this - all the risk factors would be higher next time. She seems to be recovering relatively well so far but I'm expecting Thursday / Friday to be bad days as some of the pain killers from the operation wear off. The baby was born at 11:55 on 12/12 and weighed a little north of 3 pounds. He's doing well relatively speaking and they haven't had to intubate him but it's still a possibility. He wasn't given steroids in the days leading up to the birth because we had no warning so his lungs are not as prepared as we would have preferred. He will likely spend about 8 weeks in the NICU. The place he's in right now is a Level III NICU, for babies born mostly before 30 weeks - There is a Level IV, for so-called "micro-premies" but those are mostly born at 23-25 weeks, at 29 weeks, Samuel has several substantial advantages over that group. Thanks for all the well wishes. We'll probably know a lot better how he's doing after he's made it to 72 hours old.   Update 2/14 Well, you always hope your kid will defy the odds but they usually don't. Sam had to be intubated today because he was wearing himself out too much just trying to breathe. He's also dealing with some low blood-pressure issues. All of this was stuff they told us to expect that was probably coming. They can warn you all they want in advance but it's still going to suck to hear that it's happening.   Update 2/16 Well, I guess it's a good news - bad news kind of morning. We went to bed last night knowing something seemed wrong but not knowing what. The doctors suspected he might be getting pneumonia. As it turns out, he doesn't have pneumonia, but he has had intraventricular hemorrhaging in his brain. Grade 4 (the worst) on one side. Grade 2 on the other. No way of knowing what, if any, consequences that will have for him.  2/16b: He's showing high bilirubin so they have him on the lights for jaundice. After hearing about the brain bleeding this just seems so mundane. Update 2/17 Shandy was discharged late yesterday and we spent the night at home with our soon-to-be-3-year-old for the first time since the birth. Today leaves me with more hope than yesterday for the first time in a while. The bilirubin levels are down and they've taken off the lights for it. He's breathing 21% O2 air and taking only 30-45 breaths per minute now. In the past they've had to have him on 40+% O2 air and he was still fighting for breath with a respiration rate in the 70s or higher. This is the most peaceful and relaxed I've seen him in that regard. His increased struggles to breathe, in combination with the unusual way he was holding his arms straight out and away from his body were some of the first signs that something was wrong which lead to the diagnostic tests for the bleeding in the brain. Today he's sleeping and resting with his arms bent and brought in to his body and face - much more natural and relaxed looking. I'm adding a picture from yesterday when he was under the lights. I'll see if I can get and share a picture of him today later. Update on 2/19. I think this is going to be the last time I update this post and I'll just include comments as appropriate in other entries moving forward. Sam will be a week old as of midnight tonight. His improvement has continued into this morning. His sodium levels, which were low, have come back up. The bilirubin lights have been on and off recently but they're back on for now. His heart and lungs continue to do well with no signs of new / additional bleeding recently. They think he'll be extubated today and put back on the CPAP. They're going to start feeding him milk again because they're liking the belly sounds they're hearing. So he seems to be doing well and out of most immediate danger.   Update on 2/22: Couldn't resist one more: On 2/20, with the ventilator out (and he took to it well so he hasn't had to be intubated again) we got to hear him crying for the first time. It sounds a little like a small puppy honestly. On 2/21, Shandy got to hold him for the first time. On 2/22, I got to hold him for the first time.

Revenant

Revenant

02/13/2019

Last Reply:
02/23/2019

1886A 20 Franc in MS64 and Resolution on the Anniversary Notes

I got my new 20 Franc coin in the mail just the other day. I’ve been watching a bunch of these late 19th century French 20 Franc coins on eBay through November, December and January. I’ve mostly been looking at examples in MS63 and MS64. The MS63s were more in the price range I was hoping for, but I was really hoping to get an MS64 – I like to stay in the MS64+ range with these purchases. Most of the sellers have been wanting $440-500 for an MS64, depending on the date. After having a relatively easy time picking up the 10G coins in MS65 for $300, this left me with a little sticker shock – a feeling I’m familiar with from looking at US gold on occasion. I knew I was going to pay more for this coin that I have for the 10Gs recently in all likelihood, but I was still hoping to get it for more in the range of $370. I’ve seen cases where the sellers had taken offers for $350-360 depending on the date, but these purchases were from late 2016 and the recent rise in the price of gold seems to have made them more resistant to taking those prices for them. At the same time, the fact that they’ve been listing these coins for 2-3 years and haven’t sold them also served as an indication that I’m not the only one resistant to these prices at the current price levels for gold. I’d been thinking it could be fun to get an 1877 example just to have that link to the 1877 10G, but I wasn’t able to convince a seller to take less than about $425 for one of those in MS64, in spite of attempts – The 1877 seems to be one of the higher priced and desirable dates of this series, but I don’t know enough about the series right now to know why. I knew I could probably get an 1895 or 1898 for a little less but I was hoping to get a date that was a little more significant or “fun.” Wednesday night, after having my offers for 1877s rebuffed, I found an 1886 in MS64 in an auction ending late on Friday. 1886 is also a pseudo-significant date for me because it’s 100 years before my birth year and so I have a little extra affinity for coins from that year. It was going for $260 with an unknown reserve price set. I decided to watch, wait and maybe go for it. The seller is an NGC / PCGS dealer, a PNG member and an ANA member with 100% positive feedback and a score of over 2,800, so it seemed like a safe merchant to go through – something I always like to have some confidence in. Friday arrives and the coin hasn’t gotten any more bids and it’s still going for $260 with about 90 minutes left before it ends. I decide to start bidding up in about $25 increments to try to figure out what the reserve is, hoping it would be about $300-325. It turned out to be $349.99. I put in a final bid of about $375 and decide that I’ll either win it for that or less or I’ll just wait a little longer to get one – no one else bids and I take the coin for $349.99 + free shipping. I have some mixed feelings about the outcome. I got the coin, in a date and grade that I wanted, for the low end of the price range I was hoping to originally get it for. Overall, that makes me happy with the outcome. However, the fact that no one else bid more than $260 (which is only about $10 higher than the current melt value of the coin) makes me wonder if you can really call this an auction. This was basically the seller setting / determining the price with the reserve and the final sale price was not determined organically through the bidding. It may just be hat the audience for that coin just didn’t show up that day / week, but it does make me wonder about the state of the market for these coins – fortunately, I don’t look at these as investments, and I was happy enough with that price for the grade and I think that’s bottom line on the issue. But I am glad I resisted paying $400+ for one long enough to find this one. And, with that, I have officially “blown my wad” (such as it was), for now. Unless things work out very well with the raise / bonus situation and with the pregnancy in such a way that I can’ use part of my bonus for collecting, that will be the last major purchase for a while and my next endeavors will be less capital intensive. In the last 3 months I’ve knocked out two coins I’ve wanted for a while. In other news, my wife got the refund on the note she got me for our anniversary and so we ordered something new to replace it on the same night that I won this 20 franc coin. We sat down together after Ben was in bed, looked at some things I’d been looking at the last couple of weeks and picked out what we’d order together. Since we received a full refund and not just cashback my wife had raised the prospect of going for a coin instead. I decided against that. Her original idea and gift had been a note for the Zimbabwe set. I wanted to swap it out with something that held to the spirit of that idea. To avoid boring those who don’t care about a discussion of Zimbabwe notes, I explained it in a separate entry in the PMG journals: https://www.pmgnotes.com/boards/blogs/entry/1197-picking-out-the-alternate-anniversary-present/

Revenant

Revenant

02/08/2019

Last Reply:
02/13/2019

My Son's Monies

About a year ago, in late 2017, we were going through a move and packing things up. I left the door to the closet open and my son saw the safe. I usually tried to keep the closet closed to hide the safe because he’d developed an odd fascination with it and pressing the buttons to make it beep. He also liked having us open and close it a lot – it’s all great fun apparently. Once he saw it, and remembered that it was there, he wanted to play with it and it’s often not very fun to argue with a toddler. This time, I think for the first time, when we opened the safe, he went after something inside it: a tube of 2010 American Eagles and some smaller tubes of Sunshine mint ½ ounce rounds that I had in there on top of all the NGC display boxes. Initially I really didn’t want him messing with it but he was insistent and cute and so he ended up getting to dump them out and play with them. I guess I decided around that point that they’re just bullion rounds that I was keeping mostly as silver. It doesn’t really matter if they stay pretty. They’re still worth melt, and he was being cute – also, I’m a sucker and he gets what he wants, probably way too often. One of the pictures I’ll post at the end of this entry is from this time. I think it’s the first time he’s really showed interest in these shiny little disks of metal that we call coins / rounds / tokens. We didn’t really repeat this experience for a while. In Sep 2018 I decided to give him some rounds to play with. I’d recently gotten a small 10 round tube of 1 oz buffalo bullion rounds (since there was room in the tube for one more round, I bought an 11th round and added that to the tube). I gave him that to play with one day – he was sick and I was hoping it would cheer him up. It did the trick. He enjoyed them so much that I started leaving this small tube out, often in the living room or our bedroom. Sometimes he’d see it and ask to have it to play with. Sometimes he would just think of them and ask for them, saying, “I want my monies, Daddy.” I don’t know where he got the idea that they were “monies.” I guess it was because we’d counted and rolled up coins from a piggy bank that had gotten full and he heard us call the coins “money.” That’s about all I can figure. I didn't mention this in the prior entry about it, because it might not have made sense without this context, but he also called the elongated cent from the zoo a "money" / "my money." They are sometimes called “daddy’s monies,” but only when he isn’t feeling possessive – if you ask him what they are I’d say it’s about 50/50 whether he responds with “it’s my monies” or “it’s daddy’s monies.” It’s the same tube of rounds. I’m pretty sure he knows this, but the ownership of them is clearly a bit fuzzy and poorly defined. By this point he’d learned to count to about 15 so we had a lot of fun at various times sitting down and counting the rounds. He’d dump them, we’d count the rounds as he put them back in the tube one at a time, and he’d dump them again when we finished. Over and over – and over. Those buffalo rounds have been smacked and banged together a lot in a way that only a toddler can manage and they’re quite scratched and abused-looking at this point – but that doesn’t bother him at all so far as I can tell. I chose the one-ounce silver rounds for a few reasons: They pass the “toilet paper roll test” – he can’t easily swallow or choke on them 99% Silver does not support bacterial growth and biofilms in the same way that some things like copper can. Generic silver rounds don’t have any historical value so I don’t feel guilty watching him trash them in the same way that I would, say, old Morgan dollars. Even if they’re circulated common dates, I’d just hate to see nearly 100-year-old coins abused by a toddler. I’ve tried showing him some of my Chinese pandas recently (he likes bears, I think). When I ask him what it is, instead of focusing on the fact that it’s a picture of a bear he sees the fact that it’s a large silver coin and says, “it’s a money.” He’s not wrong. It’s a nice place to start a love-affair with coins. I think one of the funnier moments to come out of these introductions to coins was showing him a graded coin for the first time. He looked at it for a second, flipped it around a bit, then started trying to find a way to open the slab and said, “We need open it.” “Uhh… No. Let’s not.” I’m sure that will make him popular with those that think coins in general and modern bullion products especially should be raw, but not happening. Not in this house while I’m around.

Revenant

Revenant

02/05/2019

Last Reply:
02/08/2019

So… Why the Rooster?

Ever since I purchased my 1913 20 Franc French Rooster last year, I’ve been wondering why the French government would have made a coin that so prominently featured this bird. My curiosity was peaked further when I saw the older Winged Freedom design and saw that it also had a rooster on it, although, in that case, the rooster was much smaller and was not a dominant design feature. As it turns out, the answer is pretty easy to find online, but It’s just taken me a year to invest the effort into reading about it. The Gallic Rooster is a national emblem of France and, today, is regarded as representing the people of France. This has its roots in a play on words that dates back to ancient Rome. Suetonius, in The Twelve Caesars, noticed that, in Latin, rooster (gallus) and Gauls (Gallus) were homonyms. However, the Gauls at the time did not associate themselves with a rooster. The association seems to have developed more fully in the middle ages, sometimes because enemies of the French wanted to make fun of them by associating them with a not-terribly-frightening bird. The association between the rooster and the French was further developed by the kings of France because the Rooster is also a strong Christian symbol. According to the bible, prior to being arrested, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed on the following morning. At the rooster's crowing, Peter remembered Jesus' words. Its crowing at the dawning of each new morning made it a symbol of the daily victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil. It is also an emblem of the Christian attitude of watchfulness and readiness for the sudden return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment of humankind. That is why, during the Renaissance, the rooster became a symbol of France as a Catholic state and became a popular Christian image on weather vanes, also known as weathercocks. Roosters also appeared at the tops of watch towers and sentry posts around this time as a general symbol of vigilance and watchfulness. It’s not clear to me whether the association with watchfulness and vigilance or the association with Christianity came first. The popularity of the Gallic rooster as a national personification faded over time but had a resurgence during the French Revolution (1789). While it was a minor emblem at the time these landmarks were built, the Gallic Rooster is found at both the Louvre and Versailles. The French Revolution completely re-wrote the traditional perception of the origins of France. Until then, the royals dated the origins of France back to the baptism of Clovis I in 496, the "first Christian king of France". The rejected this royalist and Christian origin of the country and traced the origins of France back to the ancient Gaul. Although purely apocryphal, it was at this point the rooster became the personification of the early Gauls. The rooster was an important revolutionary symbol and it became an official emblem under the July Monarchy and the Second Republic, when it was seen on the pole of regiments’ flags. In 1830, the Gallic Rooster replaced the fleur-de-lis as the national emblem for a time, but it was later discarded again by Napoleon III - He didn’t like the rooster because, unlike the eagle, which he temporarily replaced it with, the rooster is not a “powerful” bird - thus, why enemies continued to use it to make fun of the French. The Gallic rooster, sometimes named or referred to as “Chanteclair,” has been a national emblem off and on ever since, especially during the Third Republic (which ran from 1870 to 1940), when these coins were produced. So, all of this has some very interesting implications for what I wrote in my earlier post about the 20 Franc design with the Winged Figure. Having learned all this, I couldn’t blame someone familiar with the Catholic kings of France and the Rooster’s symbolism in Christianity for seeing the winged figure as an angel and seeing the rooster, if anything, as a confirmation of the coin’s / image’s Christian intent. However, when the coin is viewed properly, in the context of the time period in which the design was produced (1790s) and later revived (1870s), the Rooster is symbol of the people of France and the government, not of Christianity, and the Winged Figure is an allegorical depiction of liberty, not an angel. Given everything I’ve learned from reading about this, I feel like this coin could be a case study in and of itself in bad communication and confused symbolism. It easily lends itself to and seemingly confirms an interpretation of the image / artwork that runs very counter to the artists’ original intent, in part because the creators were very proactively trying to redefine the meanings of those symbols and re-write the history of the nation at the time.

Revenant

Revenant

02/01/2019

Last Reply:
02/03/2019

Ben's First Pressed Penny and My Wife Trolling Me

We went to the Houston Zoo as a family yesterday with my son, wife, and her parents. The zoo here is full of those old penny press machines. I'm sure most of us in the US will be familiar with them but I don't know if they're common outside the United States. For those unfamiliar with the concept: You feed the machine $0.51 (2 quarters and 1 penny) and turn a press-wheel. The quarters go to pay the machine / the company that owns it. The penny... gets smashed. The machine presses / rolls the penny and reshapes it into a thin oval with a new pattern / design on it. I think the Houston zoo has 4-6 of these machines, each one having four different designs that you can press into the penny, so if you wanted to you could make quite a set of zoo / animal themed novelty pressed-pennies. While we were in the reptile house my son saw one of the machines and got really excited about it. There have been a few times when he was younger where he wanted to play with the machine and just spazzed out about spinning the wheel round and round - not really understanding the purpose of the machine. This time we decided to let him press a penny. When the penny got to the point where it was going through the press it got too hard for him to do on his own and I provided a little extra torque. I have joked with my wife about the possibility of coming to the zoo with a roll of uncirculated, shiny new pennies when he is closer to 5 and making a day of collecting a full set of the designs from all the machines. My wife countered with possibly starting a tradition of having him do one penny every time we come and building a set over time with each visit. In other news, my wife has been trolling my photographic efforts recently. I had set up the camera and tripod and made a little area for trying to image some things. My wife decided that she wanted to get a picture of the cake she had just made (the very pink cake she had just made). She walks up, says, "well, since you've got this set up so nice already," drops her piece of cake right in the middle of my set-up and takes a picture of it with her phone. She is smirking the entire time.  I'm just looking at her like, "Are you for real right now?" And she just laughs. At the end of this post I include photographic evidence of her misdeeds! I'll cap off a family-centric post with an update on the pregnancy: As of yesterday, we're 27 weeks in with it expected that we'll have the baby by C-section at 34-35 weeks. The main thing at this point is that she must take things easy and watch for bleeding. If she bleeds or starts having early contractions it could force the doctors to take the baby out earlier - maybe immediately. I am told that these cases deliver prior to 34 weeks about 40% of the time. 28 weeks into the pregnancy is a major milestone. At that point, the start of the third trimester, the baby can be born with minimal, if any, long-term health problems. That's only 6 days away. 30 weeks and 32 weeks are also great milestones with survival virtually guaranteed at that point. At 34 weeks, the baby might only stay in the NICU for one week. One week ago, on the 21st, we went out and took some maternity shots. I took the photos and retouched them myself and I've attached one of my favorites below. My camera skills were definitely part of the deal when she married me.

Revenant

Revenant

01/28/2019

Last Reply:
01/31/2019

That’s No Angel

As I’m sure many of are aware, there’s a series of French 20 Franc coins that were made from 1871 to 1898 that feature a winged figure writing on a tablet. In the US, I’m assuming because we’re a Christian majority country, most of us see a winged figure and think “angel.” As a result, these coins are usually called French Angels or something similar and even the name of the Registry Category references these coins as Angels. But the man that designed the coin probably wasn’t trying to depict an angel or any kind of Christian or religious image when he made the design based on what I can find. The design was originally made by Augustin Dupre, an artist who was principally inspired by the neoclassical school and its themes law, freedom (including “Freedom” personified as a winged person), scales, Greek mythology and Hellenistic beauty standards. (I’ve always found it interesting that, when depicted allegorically, “Liberty” is a woman and “Freedom” is a man.) The design by Dupre depicts a “Génie ailé” (“Winged genius”) and it first appeared on French coinage in 1792, during the heart of the French Revolution. Dupre was named the Graveur général des monnaies (Chief Engraver of Coins) by the national assembly in July 1791.  In the original versions of the coin the figure is writing the word Loi (Law) on a tablet. Some versions of the coin include the motto “Le Règne de la Loi” (“The Reign of the Law”). In the post revolution period the coins might read something like “An III de la liberté” (“Year three of the liberty”). In some later uses of the design the figure is writing “Constitution.” The coin design was revived in the 1870s, long after Dupre passed away in 1833, and placed on these 20 Franc and 100 Franc coins. Saying that these later versions were designed by Dupre is therefore a bit inaccurate, but they do feature his art. If you want another hint that the design might not be Christian in origin or inspiration, the 20 Franc coins simply say “Republique Francaise” (French Republic) on the obverse. The reverse side just says, “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” (“Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood”). There’s nothing on the coin that references “God,” gods, or divine favor. By contrast, a US silver dollar from this period (1878 and later) would have proudly stated “In God We Trust.” For another example, 10 Gulden coins made in the Netherlands during this same period were inscribed with “God Zij Met Ons” (“God be with us”). I thought it was an angel too because it looked like one and because that’s what everyone else was calling it. But I just couldn’t help but wonder why they would have made a design like that and what would have inspired / instigated that in the post-revolutionary period. Why an angel on coins in France in the late 19th century? Now I know: It’s not post-revolutionary. it’s revolutionary. It’s not really an angel. The recurring theme of this coin / design is “freedom,” not religion, faith or God. This is not a religious image - it’s a post-enlightenment image. Apparently, there’s a legend whereby Dupre was headed for the guillotine but he was somehow saved by his “lucky angel.” This seems unlikely to be true. Dupre wasn’t a wealthy noble; he was appointed to his position by the national assembly; he wasn’t a counter-revolutionary. There’s no obvious reason why his “lucky angel” would have needed to intervene and save his neck. He held his official position until 1803, well after the Reign of Terror ended in the mid-1790s. Now I just have to figure out… “Why the rooster?” (More on this when I get around to it in a later post) I still haven’t bought / ordered one of these yet. It’s probably coming in the next few weeks though.

Revenant

Revenant

01/26/2019

Last Reply:
01/27/2019

 

Met Another Society Member and Other Updates

I met another Collector’s Society member face-to-face over lunch today. The other collector and I recently realized that we live in the same city and our offices are only about 5 miles apart from each other – Houston is big, so, in relative terms, that’s pretty close. But I put out there what (geographically and population-wise very large) city I live in and he doesn’t so I ‘m not going to name names. The discussion and the plans to meet kicked-off when he realized that we both have Chemical Engineering degrees, and we both live and work along the Energy Corridor in Houston. It’s a rare and unique meeting when you can meet up with someone that shares some of your educational experience, is involved in different aspects of the same industry, and with whom you share a hobby and an online community. He had brought some of his favorite coins to show me and talk about. I didn’t do so this time because I was on the fence about bringing them out “into the wild” but the more I think about it the more I think it’s mostly worrying about nothing as long as you don’t broadcast what you have. We were in a nice part of town in broad daylight so the odds of a random mugging seem low in retrospect. This is the first time I’ve met another society member since I randomly met Pennyman about 10 years ago at a coin show with my step-father. Continuing a couple of threads from other posts… I decided not to go for the 2012 Koala (or a 2016 MS70 that was also ending that same day) for now. It wasn’t going for a good price (it sold for $42, lower than you can usually get them as a BIN but it still would been the most expensive of the three) but for now I’m going to try to convince myself to knuckle down and go for that French 20 Franc coin. I’ve been eyeing the French “Angels” since November (my research into the coin is finally bearing fruit and suggests that it’s not actually an angel, which was cool to learn, but more on that later). My wife received a response back on Tuesday of last week that we will be able to return that Zimbabwe note. The process of getting the note returned was delayed slightly by her spam folder on her email account and its repeated attempts to eat / hide the shipping label they were sending us. So that went back in the mail today. While working on that on Friday I saw that the PMG-graded 20 Billion notes they had listed on eBay, which I’ve been watching for over a year at $30 (half of what that they charged for that ungraded 20 Trillion note) went out of stock… but then I saw they had listed some 20 Billon notes graded 67EPQ… for $20! I was all over that. I messaged my wife about and was like, “I know we haven’t gotten the money back from the other one and I know this is what you were originally aiming to get me and I know we were going to place the new order together but… you mind if I grab this while the getting is good?” They marked down all three of the notes I was looking at getting but I’m not going to order them all right now – even though I kind of want to. I’m still a little worried that we might get store credit instead of a straight refund. I don’t want to order a bunch of stuff and then wind up with store credit on my hands. Saving those for later will let me sit down with her so she can share that part of it with me like she wanted. I’m excited at the prospect of the other notes as well but I’m pretty darn excited to be picking up that 20 Billion note after it has sat on my watch / wish list for so long. I could just never convince myself to get it – there was always something else I wanted to put the money towards but now it’s coming, I’ll only lack the 50 Billion to have all the “Billions” notes, and I think I got a pretty darn nice deal on it. I promise I’ll try to keep these mostly about coins though… and just sneak in the bits about collecting notes. Lol The annual reviews and related activities at work are being held up until February, which I’m told happens a lot because the end-of-year wrap-up always seems to take longer than everyone would wish. This is consistent with what my supervisor said a year ago so it’s not too surprising and yet it’s still disappointing. So, I’m still waiting to see how things are going to go (3-5 more weeks maybe - really hoping it’s closer to three) and if I’m going to get to do more than window shop for that 1924 double eagle. In the meantime, the window shopping is fun.

Revenant

Revenant

01/23/2019

Last Reply:
02/21/2019

Koalas of Opportunity

I’ve been debating for a few weeks now which silver bullion series I might want to focus on getting caught up on this year. The Kiwis and the Koalas have both been in contention. I’ve been a little reluctant to commit to building out the Koala set this year because I had the first four sets in the series in MS70 and, if I went for the rest of that set, I knew I’d probably want to continue with 70s. This is one of the few of these sets that I’d originally been going for in MS70 – the Kookaburras, Lunars and Pandas I was quite to content to build out mostly in MS69. I had been thinking, based on my memories from ’08-’10, that it would probably run me $70-100 a coin to build out the set in that grade and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go in for that right now. I wasn’t fully convinced that it was worth that to me at this time vs other things I could be doing. I’ve always loved these large bullion coins for the designs, but I’ve really been getting into the 19th century European gold more as I get older and the two have to compete for funds. Just to see I’ve been watching on eBay to see what they’re tending to go for. To my pleasant surprise, while most are listing in the $70-100 range, as I expected, there are several dates available from various reliable sources in MS70 for about $50, which I’m more comfortable with. A couple of weeks ago, on Sunday the 6th, a seller I’ve bought from before listed seven 2011-P Koalas in MS70 for $38 each. It was a surprise seeing that because this dealer normally only deals in classic coinage – I’m pretty sure I bought my 1887 10G from them a few years back. Looking at eBay, these Koalas looked really out of place and were just about the only modern coins they were selling. I have no idea how they got these things in stock, but they priced them to sell – everyone else was asking at least $50 for the same thing. It can be hard to find dealers willing to sell graded MS69s for $35 or less. I had a $10 “eBay bucks” certificate that I had to spend before the month was over anyway and $38 is almost cheap enough to call an impulse purchase (I normally try to cap those at $25 though to be honest). But I thought about it for a little while and decided to pull the trigger. At that price, I just knew I wasn’t going to regret it even if I didn’t decide to make the Koalas a focus this year. Unless a seller listed one in an auction and I got lucky it was hard to imagine getting one any cheaper than that. $38 probably barely covers the cost of the coin and the grading, and it’s a guaranteed MS70. A few days later, around the time the 2011 coin was arriving in the mail, I noticed that there was not one, but four 2017-Ps selling in true auctions with very low starting bids that were all ending on Sunday the 13th. The four coins were selling in pairs. Each pair was being offered by a different seller. One pair was ending around 10:30 AM about a minute apart from each other. The 2nd pair was ending around 10PM, also very close together. A major dealer that I’ve bought from before was also offering the 2017-P with a BIN of $48. All of these had free shipping. Granted, people do crazy things all the time, but it seemed likely that the bidding would top out at or below $48. Assuming the people bidding (and there were about 10-12 people bidding on the various auctions) had done their homework / research, it seemed reasonable to think that no one would keep bidding once the price got close to $48 when there was a BIN option. Sheer number of coins selling that day and having that BIN serving as a ceiling seemed like a perfect recipe for suppressing the sale price and made it seem likely that a good deal could be had. Based on all of this it just felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up. So I decided to go for one of them. I decided I’d bid about $42 on the first of the four, see if I won. If I didn’t win, I’d immediately bid the same on the second. If I lost both, I’d consider bidding a little higher on the second pair. I figured I’d either get a reasonable deal (under $45) or I just wouldn’t bother buying today. Well… I won the first coin for just $34.89. The second coin sold a minute later for $34.00. The second pair ended at $33.20 and $38.00. So, I don’t know if my theory about the large number of coins proved valid in the end or if that’s just the price that the buyers on the Bay are willing to support right now. In about a week I’ve locked up two of the nine coins I was going to need to build back my Koala set for under $75. Not a bad run of luck. I don’t know if this quite locks me into / commits me to going after the Koalas this year, but I’m really close to it. With everything that’s going on lately I think there might also be a “retail therapy” aspect to these small purchases too, but fortunately I’m not going nuts – still very much honoring and sticking to my budget. Now I just need to stop getting distracted and get back to waiting to be ready to purchase that 20 Franc coin in a couple of months. Of course, I say that while knowing that an auction for a 2012 in MS70 is ending this weekend. The included pictures are just a quick attempt. Hopefully I’ll be re-shooting and uploading new pictures with all of these to match what I’ve gotten done lately for the 10G set, the Kiwis, and the Kookaburras. (Bonus! When I told my wife the title of this post, she visibly winced and said, “You are such a nerd!”)

Revenant

Revenant

01/18/2019

Last Reply:
01/22/2019

Why our spouses usually shouldn’t buy our collectables…

Tomorrow is my 3rd Anniversary with my wife. We decided to exchange gifts yesterday because I wanted to give her an opportunity to use her gift. She’d been secretive about my present. Lately she’s been getting me mostly practical gifts but we’re practical people. As I’ve transitioned into my 30s and fatherhood, I find I have less and less desire for random stuff in my life. My coin collection is one of the few things in my life these days that falls into a special category of “it’s mostly useless but it makes me happy.” She’d decided that she didn’t want to get me another practical gift though. She wanted to get me something fun. She also wanted to surprise me and not repeat the arrangement of Christmas where I got the money and I spent it myself (applying it towards that 1877 10G, which we put under the tree). So she goes hunting and spends I-have-no-idea-how-long looking for a link to an old wish list I had on a currency collecting site and ordered me a raw Zimbabwe 20 Trillion dollar note. She said she wanted to get me a coin, but she had no idea what to get. She was very excited. I love her to death for the thought and the effort she put into this. The problem? Well… I already have a graded Zimbabwe 20 Trillion note. A fact that came up when she mentioned maybe having to get it graded so it would go with the others and I was like… “I’m probably not going to grade this.” (and I showed her the one I already had to explain). She was confused because she thought she got something on my list… I had the 20 Billion note on my list, which I still need. It was also a PMG-graded one for about $25-30 depending on grade. We shared a laugh about it after she was done feeling a bit stupid (but, who can blame her with all those zeros?). We hugged and kissed. We’ll laugh about this for years I’m sure. The store she bought the note from has a return policy and so she’s going to hopefully return it to try to get most / all of the money back and then we’ll have a discussion about getting something else. Normally, I would have kept it just for laughs. I truly love that she tried so hard to get me something that I would love for my collection. The problem I have with keeping it is the price she paid. She just got completely taken on this note IMO. The store she bought it from is the store I bought most of my Zimbabwe note set from. Their prices have historically been quite reasonable, and you can still get many of the Zimbabwe notes from them for reasonable prices, even ones already graded by PMG for barely more than the grading fees. However, since I bought most of my set, someone there seems to have gone a little nuts - particularly on the 4 notes in the trillion set - the 10, 20, 50 and 100 Trillion notes. I’m guessing at some point someone there figured out that those are the four notes that most people want, most people don’t collect the lower denomination notes, and so they could probably get away with up-charging on those four where they couldn’t easily on the others. Seeing them charge her $60 for a raw bank note that’s as common as these are has, in all honesty, really hurt my opinion / feelings towards the company. After I showed her a PMG graded note on eBay for $42 she just said, “Oh. I just thought the price was the price.” Nope… This isn’t like buying something off the shelf at Wal-mart. If you don’t do your homework, you’re likely to get taken for all you’re worth and some people will be happy to do it to you. This all comes after, about a week ago, she realized that I have a massive watch list on eBay with dozens of items that I think would be fun to get but I will never have a budget big enough to get all of them. She told me at the time, a couple of days after she’d already ordered this Zimbabwe note, that I needed to share that with her, so I just wrote my eBay user name and password on an index card and gave it to her. She’d have to buy the item with her own account to hide it from me, but it would point her in the right direction. I feel like a horrible gift recipient, but she reads me too well and I can’t hide it from her when something’s not quite right. Honestly though it was a conversation that probably needed to happen. I wouldn’t want her to repeat this and keep over-paying for things like what happened here. Not to brag but I totally hit it out of the park on her gift.

Revenant

Revenant

01/14/2019

Last Reply:
02/21/2019

 

Thank you! Congratulations! & My Hopes for 2019.

Thanks to the judges at NGC for the journal award – 10 years exactly after I won it in 2008. I really appreciate it! I also wanted to say congratulations to the people who won the Best Modern, Best Classic, Best Presented, Best Custom and Overall Achievement awards – especially ColonialCoinsUK, Mohawk, Coin928 and some of the others I’ve talked to in the forums lately. Friday turned out to be a really good day for me on a writing front. I found out that an old paper I submitted in December for peer-review was accepted. It’ll be the 7th peer-reviewed paper I’ve been named on and my 5th first author – my first peer-reviewed paper since I left Grad school in 2015. I’ve been planning out some professional goals for 2019 and also thinking about what I’d like 2019 to hold in a coin collecting capacity. I had been hoping that in 2019 I’d purchase 3 gold coins: a 2019 ¼ oz gold eagle, a 19th century French 20 Franc Angel type coin, and (if I got a good bonus in February / March) a 1924 gold double eagle. At this point I don’t know if it’s going to pan out that way even if I get a solid bonus. If my wife ends up getting put on bedrest and we lose her income earlier than we’d hoped that will probably put us under enough financial stress to make a lot of that unrealistic, but such is life. The 1/4th oz gold eagle would be a coin to mark the birth of my 2nd son and (to my mind anyway) would go with the 2016 I bought when my first son was born. If I only do one of the three, that'll probably be the one. We’ll see how it all comes out in the end. She’s relaxing as much as possible and avoiding over exerting herself. The main question we have is how long she can avoid having any bleeding. If she doesn’t bleed, she can keep working and keep mostly living a normal life. If she starts bleeding, even a little, she’ll be going on bedrest or modified bedrest. I’m not even sure our main concern or problem would be financial at that point – we’re fortunately pretty comfortable. But if she has to stay in bed all day it may drive her insane. There’s a chance that my 2nd son (Samuel) will share a birthday with his maternal grandfather (March 18th). He will probably be born within a week, maybe two, of his older brother’s birthday (3/26). Beyond those three, main goals / purchases I’m eyeing though I think 2019 will mostly have a focus on building up the rest of that Presidential dollars proof set as I’ve mentioned previously and acquiring new coins for a couple of series like the Kiwis, Koalas, and maybe my Kookaburras. To the extent that I pursue the bullion series I’m probably going to try to pick one or two series and focus on filling in the last decade of issues that I’ve been missing in those sets rather than just picking up random coins across all the sets and series I’ve bought coins for over time. I’m seriously considering trying to get my Koala set ready to have a #1 ranking again in December 2019. That could be a fun target to pursue.

Revenant

Revenant

01/12/2019

Last Reply:
01/17/2019

My new, younger, flightless bird

A little less than a year ago I joked about the 105-year-old bird in my house when I got my 1913 French Rooster. Right around Christmas I found another coin featuring another flightless bird that I wanted - a 2009 New Zealand One Ounce Silber Kiwi in MS69. Normally, I wouldn’t have been game to buy another big coin this quickly after getting the 1877 10G. I try to space these things out and savor them a little more, but these coins just don’t come up very often. For context, the 2009 is a relatively common kiwi with a total mintage just 12,500 (rarer coins in the series only have mintages of 2,500-4,000). These coins also usually don’t get graded by the third-party services. They’re usually left in the original mint blister cards. For most of the series issues there’s only 6 or fewer graded by NGC. 2008 is a notable exception with 24 graded by NGC. To build my set 10 years ago I had to buy raw 2004, 2005, and 2006 kiwis and send them in for grading myself. The set by DZ-collection was similar in that his set was composed of mostly coins that he sent in together for grading around 2011 and they all share an invoice number as a result. When one of the six NGC-graded 2009 kiwis pops-up for sale on eBay it does get my attention. I put in an offer for the coin and it was accepted. The name of the seller on eBay, “dz3d,” and the fact that there’s only 6 coins like this in the world had me wondering if this coin might be the one from the #1 ranked DZ-Collection set. It turns out I was right. When I went to register the coin, it didn’t go through initially because the transfer request had to be processed. Turns out he’s liquidating his set and has sold most of the rest of it in the last month or so. Looks like I missed a chance to take in his 2007. Adding the 2009 would have put my set over the top of his regardless but the coin leaving his set to enter mine put my set pretty solidly in first place in the category. I’m hoping I’ll get to work on acquiring the 2007, the 2010 and some of the later years, which mostly receive “specimen” (“SP”) grades. I know it happens a lot and we’ve even had journals recently about major registry sets going up for auction in waves, but it always feels a little bittersweet to grow a set because another great set in the category is being broken up. This set is one of the few that I own that is nearly completely homogeneous in terms of the generation of holder that it uses. Almost my whole set has been graded since NGC started using the Edge-view holders for everything in 2008/2009. It makes for a really charming presentation IMO. I know many that own those refer the original mint packaging, but I don’t like blister cards and cardboard for long term storage. As it is, my 2004 has a nice all-over golden hue to it and my 2005 has some very subtle rose colors over parts of the surface that I think are the result of spending about 5-6 years in those blister cards. So, while I buck the trend in that regard with this set, I’m very unapologetic in doing so.

Revenant

Revenant

01/07/2019

A Final Note on the 1877

When I left things off with my last entry talking about this coin, the one unknown, the one X-factor, was, how nice was this coin going to be in-hand and which of the two coins I’d been looking at would have better eye appeal in-person, the MS65 or the MS66. As is required by the nature of online shopping, I’ll never get an answer on the second point. I didn’t buy both coins. I’ll probably never see that MS66 in person. I’ll probably never know if I would have liked it better. As to the first, I have to say, I was rather happy when I saw the coin in my hand in good light for the first time. I didn’t get to look at the coin until Christmas day because my wife and I agreed to let my toddler wrap it and put it under the tree. The coin looks great with a solid strike and great luster. I’m not sure my latest photographic attempts are the best or do the coin full justice, but they’ve been posted in the set. I think the most important thing that can be said for it is that it has an overall look and feel that’s highly consistent with that of the 1876 and the 1879. They’ll go together well. One of these days I'll have to work out an approach for taking pictures of multiple coins together that I actually like the results I get with it. On another note, the results from the second ultrasound were pretty much the polar opposite of what we were hoping for, so it looks like this is going to be the last pregnancy and last kid for us and it will likely be ending about six weeks sooner than we’d originally thought. The next 10 weeks are starting to look rough.    

Revenant

Revenant

01/03/2019

Last Reply:
01/05/2019

Possibly Some Thwarted Optimism with the Queen's Beast Series.

When I found out that the UK Royal Mint was going to be releasing the Queen’s Beast series a few years ago I got really excited. My mother was always really into family genealogy and the coat of arms and family / clan patterns from Scotland and all of that fun stuff. My family originates mostly from England and Scotland and I’ve always thought the coat of arms was cool. I loved the fact that they were going to be big, thick, 2 oz, high relief rounds and I loved what the artist had done with the Lion of England design, the first coin in the series. I was excited to collect these from the start. When my wife found out there would be a griffin, she jokingly said that she wanted one of those too - she likes griffins, who knew? (I think it’s a Harry Potter thing or something.) But that got me thinking. I decided that instead of building one set for me, I was going to build a set for me, a set for her and a set for each of our kids - we only have one so far with another on the way but I decided I was going to make three more sets because I’d always hoped that we’d have 3 kids. I figured at the time that if we decided to go nuts and have a 4th kid my wife and I could just keep one set and give one each to the kids. At present those sets are half-finished. I have the first 5 coins and I’m just waiting to place an order for the 2019 Falcons - I’m hoping the dealer I usually go through will put them on sale and let me get a break on the premiums. I guess we’ll see there. Well, turns out that’s probably not going to happen - the three kids anyway. We’ve found out that there’s likely to be complications and potential complications that put our chances of avoiding another c-section with our 2nd child at only around 35%. If there’s another c-section, the risks to my wife if we have a third child would be prohibitively high. A third child isn’t completely ruled out at this point, but it doesn’t really look good / likely at this point. Those are risks I just don’t like. I work in risk analysis and those numbers are just too ugly looking. I bring this up in the context of these Queen’s Beast sets because, It’s amazing how it’s the little things that hit you in situations like this. I’ve been mostly fine and accepting of the situation as it has been unfolding for the last three weeks and focusing on supporting my wife but I got choked up thinking about it, I think for the first time really, looking at and thinking about those half-complete sets in their air-tites and what they’re for. I’m going to go forward with finishing the 5th set. Who knows? life could surprise me, and we could get lucky - I’m certainly not feeling lucky so far but life does surprise me sometimes. The extra set may get sold one day. It might end up being a very nice gift for someone. I’m already buying a 6th copy of each issue and giving to my step-father over time as he also likes coins and he doesn’t really shop for / buy these things like I do but he enjoys getting them and he’s hard to shop for. Don’t get me wrong in any of this - it looks like I’m going to get two healthy children (which is more than some get) and the odds currently overwhelmingly favor that my wife will at least make it through this pregnancy in good health. I feel very fortunate and grateful for that. Ultimately, I’m not guaranteed that my sons are going to grow up liking this stuff. With my luck, this 10G set I’ve been building for 10 years will go up on the auction block as soon as I’m in the ground because the kids just won’t share my attachment to any of it. Still, a guy can dream, and I have had my hopes up about sharing this stuff with them. All the same… this kind of bites. We’ll be finding out more about the situation on Wednesday so I guess we’ll see how that goes.

Revenant

Revenant

12/28/2018

Last Reply:
01/03/2019

Revisiting an old project.

I was really excited to collect the presidential dollar series in 2007 and 2008 when they were just starting out. The US History buff in me loved the idea of the set even though they were mostly a naked effort by the US Congress and the US Mint to keep the music playing as the statehood quarters series was winding down (which they did with the America the beautiful quarters). Then, of course, the effort got promptly dropped but not quite entirely forgotten in 2009 when I had to start getting ready to graduate from undergrad and start grad school. I’ve been thinking about getting back to this set for about the last year mostly because I’m a father now and I really want to be able to share these with my kids and use them to talk about US history. This is pretty much exactly the attitude the Mint and the Congress were hoping people would have, but… Yeah, it doesn’t have to be a unique motivation for building it, it just happens to be what motivates me. Having completed the first 2 years of the set over 10 years ago I have a lot of the “big” ones, the founding fathers that live forever – Washington, Jefferson, and Adams – and a couple of other important historical figures that helped shape the country – like Monroe and Jackson. But by not continuing the set I missed out on some important ones – like Lincoln, Polk, the Roosevelts, Grant, and some others. Grant in particular has a soft spot for me because in the 5th grade when we were all getting assigned different presidents to write research papers on I got Grant – also, he’s just kind of a cool looking dude. Gotta love that beard, right? Yes, my wife is laughing at me for the fact that I’m talking about the kids one day taking these as a show and tell for school for their reports on presidents. But I don’t care. It’ll be fun. She can roll her eyes all she wants. She always does anyway. Truth be told I also just think it’d be fun and feel good to get to go back and “finish” one of those old, long idle projects from my early 20s. Sometimes I have an embarrassingly bad track record with long term collecting projects / goals. In this case, "finished" might be a bit subjective because I've noticed that the registry set includes some reverse proof coins and I don't think I'm going to bother trying to get those, so when I'm "finished" the set may not be 100% filled per the registry. The “plan” I’ve been considering was to try to finish the proof set and not really worry about the business strike P & D coins for now. Finishing the proof set in PF69 would give me one coin for each president to show my kids and use as conversation pieces and I’ve been assuming that would be cheaper and easier than trying to build out the rest of the business strike set 10 years after the fact. Back in ‘08/’09 I was getting PF69s because I just didn’t and still don’t personally see the incremental value of going for the PF70s for this set. I’m not looking at this as an investment in any way (and their price performance over the last 10 years would suggest that that was a wise position to take… yeesh). It’s meant to be something for me and my kids as they grow. The 69s do that just as well as the 70s. I also don’t care enough about this set to make it worth the money to make this a #1 ranked PF70 set. I’m not even sure I can call this a “coin collecting” project at this point. It’s a “dad” project now.

Revenant

Revenant

12/23/2018

Last Reply:
12/31/2018

 

Sometimes you hate the game and especially the player…

I’m always amazed by the games some people try to play in conducting business, even the ones that, at least on paper, you shouldn’t need to worry about because they have 100% positive feedback with scores in the thousands… Find an auction for something you like, check it out, see it has free shipping with nary a word anywhere about shipping insurance or anything else. You bid, win the item and, within minutes, the seller sends an invoice for it. Now, if you’re like me and you pay through eBay’s system and pay quickly you might pay for the item before you even see the invoice. But I’m a paranoid sort of soul, and, when I see that an invoice is sent, I check it out. What do you suppose I found? “I can not be responsible for items that are not insured. If the item is not insured the buyer will be responsible. I will combine auctions to save on shipping.” And, wouldn’t you know it, the invoice just says free shipping and has no option for adding shipping insurance. Some might just pay and not worry about it. Some, as I said, might pay before they even see that, if they see it at all. But I’m not really the kind to let something like that go unremarked. So, I bring it up with the seller. The response I get back: “Insurance is not available from me. However, I do send these parcels signature required which works very well.” Ah, well, isn’t that lovely? No – I’m wrong. It’s the other thing – complete BS. Sure, signature confirmation usually avoids problems but what if it doesn’t? You’re apparently still saying I’m on the hook for it and you won’t be responsible unless I buy insurance that you’re not even actually offering. Lovely. Except the next message follows a few minutes later saying that I can pay $7 for the insurance if I want it, which happens to be right at 2.5% of the price the auction ended for. Fortunately, I think, for the seller, I won the auction at a price I was really happy with, and this happens to be something I really want, so $7 is not something I’m willing to raise a stink over and have it risk derailing things. I also happen to be a very risk averse person. So I just paid the $7. I’m just not at all thrilled by this kind of “gotcha” nonsense, trying to sneak things by and absolve yourself of responsibility for basic things like order fulfillment. I finally have the coin in hand today after some nonsense with the post office. I'm at a point where I find it impossible to trust the people at that branch with anything really important - which is sad considering I didn't have that problem when I lived in a place that was basically a ghetto.

Revenant

Revenant

12/19/2018

Last Reply:
01/03/2019

 

Looks like the MS65 is coming home to me!

Well, when I made the last entry I was really leaning towards the MS66. By the time I went to bed on Saturday I had pretty much convinced myself that the MS66 was the way to go and that I should bid aggressively to make sure I got that coin. So then why am I writing this, saying that I bid on and won the MS65 tonight and why am I so stinkin’ happy about it that my wife is snickering about it at my expense? Well, my basis for thinking that the MS66 was the way to go was thinking it looked better in the pictures. But that’s in the pictures. The person that took photos of the MS66 seems to have known what they were doing. The lighting and everything else about the pictures of the MS65 is comparatively lousy, and I think the coin probably looks just fine in person. That undermined the rationale for going with the MS66 for me. Sunday night I was running some back-ups of personal files and cleaning up some old things that I don’t want or need to keep anymore. In the course of this I found my last “family photo” of the 6 coins I had, including the three in the old fatty holders (the 1876, 1879, and 1887). This really got me thinking again about how that MS65 would fit with the rest of my existing set. This also got me thinking again about the fact that some of the serial numbers were the same out to three digits and it got me wondering just how similar they were, so I pulled them out and looked. The serial numbers for the coins in the fatties are: 1876: 195949-XXX 1877: 195945-XXX 1879: 195974-XXX 1887: 196363-XXX … And there you have it. That coin’s invoice number had 5 digits in common with my 1876 and 4 digits in common with my 1879. There’s only a difference of 4 between two of the invoice #s and a span of less than 30 for all three of them. There’s a very good chance to my mind that the 1876 and 1877 were at NGC together getting graded at the same time, and maybe the 1879 too, maybe 15 or 20 years ago (I don’t know exactly when that holder and those numbers were in use – maybe others would know better?). I may never know what that story is, but I have to think there’s a story there and a shared history. That’s something I just can’t pass up. I just love the thought of that and the possibilities. I told my wife about this. She just laughed and said, “you are such a coin collector.” The MS66, in a current gen holder, was probably graded in the last 6-12 months, and it just isn't part of that same story. In the context of the set, that’s worth a lot. Initially I’d been thinking that the MS65 should go for less than $300, but I could see chasing it up to $325. After I saw all of this and got thinking about it, I fell in love with the idea that I decided I was willing to pay up to $350 just to get to bring the three coins, bought at different times, I think from 3 different merchants, back together. It turns out my prior research and watching of the market was about right in the first place I won the coin at $290.

Revenant

Revenant

12/12/2018

Last Reply:
12/16/2018

 

Ah, now this is a pickle.

Well, I managed to convince myself to stay patient, wait, keep my money in my pocket and wait to see if an 1877 Netherlands 10G would show up... and now 2 have! One is an MS65 in an old Fat NGC slab. One is in one of the new, nifty, pretty edge-view holders, graded MS66. The MS65 ends in 3 days. The MS66 ends in 9 days.... This is quite the choice... If the MS65 is ending at a good price do I go for it? Or wait, hold out, and go for the MS66.... The holders are an interesting angle on this as well in some ways. Several of the earlier coins in the set are old fat slabs with 9-digit serial numbers that start in 195 or 196, like this 1877 MS65... Again, points wise, the MS66 would be the better addition for the registry and for points, but my 1876 and 1879 are old fat slabs with 195 serials, just like the one that's on sale right now, and those three could make quite a group together. Granted, the 1888 is in one of the new edge view holders and, if I ever get around to crossing it, the 1875 would be in one too. Really, to make the whole set match I'd need to either re-holder all/most of them or swap out some coins for ones in old fattys... Boy, this is a choice that has me stumped at the moment though. Although... depending on what the final sale prices are... I could try to get both... Would that be crazy? Probably, yes. But being sane is over-rated. I've thought that for a long time. The more I look at the pictures (such as they are), the more I think the MS66 is probably the better-looking coin. The real question I think I'm going to have to answer is: Do I have the guts to pass on the MS65 and go after the MS66, knowing that if I don't win it I'm going to have to wait for the next coin to come around, and knowing that these are the first ones I've seen in 9 months (other than an MS64, which I just didn't want. I'll take an MS64 for a rarer, more key-date coin like the 1887, but not one of the more common dates in the series)?

Revenant

Revenant

12/09/2018

Last Reply:
12/11/2018

We’ll get ‘em next year…

After I graduated from undergrad a bunch of the people that I went to school with started a tailgate for graduates from our year called the “We’ll get ‘em next year” tailgate. I was a reference to the fact that our football team frankly wasn’t that great and when we’d have a bad game or a bad year we’d say, “We’ll get ‘em next year,” and we’d been saying that for several years running at this point. I’m realizing at this point that I’ve let this year slip past me and, contrary to what I said earlier in the year, I never got around to sending in that 1875 Netherlands 10G for cross-grading. With the deadline coming up in about 3 weeks I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it for this year, so I now found myself thinking, “Well, I’ll get it crossed next year.” I think I’ve been thinking this since at least 2016, based on the evidence of past entries. I’m still #1 in the category and I think I’ll still win without it, but the 1875 would put me over 50% complete – something I didn’t think was likely to ever happen when I first started the set, but I didn’t anticipate running across an 1887 or an 1888 at a reasonable price in those days. So that’ll have to be the big mission for 2019: Stop lying to myself and get the 1875 crossed…

Revenant

Revenant

11/21/2018

Last Reply:
11/30/2018

 

Unexpectedly Revisiting the Family Mint Sets

About 11 years ago now, during my last year as an undergraduate, I helped by step-father build a group of mint sets - one for all of our birth years. We worked together on it all summer, hunting down coins and mint sets, sifting through mint sets looking for coins that we would later submit ourselves, going to coin shows together. It was a lot of great fun and when it was all said and done we completed most of the sets. The 1958, 1982, and 1983 sets remained unfinished. We were going to try to go back and finish those later but it's been a wild ride the last 10 years for both of us. I've gone through a lot of life transitions. I think it has been over 10 years since any coins were bought for any of the sets. The sets came up recently in discussion with my step-father when we were having dinner for my birthday. Today they came up again while we were talking on the phone and he talked about wanting to do something about the 1983 set. It was only 20% complete, the most empty set of all of them. All of the others were over 50% complete. I was at a computer at work with nothing better to do this morning so I decided to start looking around on eBay. I found several coins for sale that could have filled holes in the 1983 sets, and then looked and found coins for the 1982 and 1958 sets, and some possible strong upgrades for the 1986 set. The 1986 set is my year and also happens to be my wife's year, so I have my biases. I emailed my step-father links to the coins I found so he could check them out. I told him I was only sending them for his information - what he did, if anything, was his call. He called me back tonight and told me he was thinking about picking up 4 of the 1983 coins and upgrading 2 of the 3 1986 coins I found. I jokingly pointed out that, while I was all for making the 1986 set stronger, those would be upgrades and it might work better for his overall plan / goal to fill holes - I'm honest about my biases for the 1986 set but I always feel compelled to point out if that might not be the best approach for him. He got a laugh out of me. I had to let him go to focus on my son but I told him to let me know what he decided. He emailed me later and let me know that he had gotten those six coins. They'll make great new additions to the sets - the first new coins in a decade. The whole thing got me thinking about the changes in the last 10 years. We'd made good progress on a 2007 set, but since then we've had new babies in 2010 and 2016, with a new one coming in 2019. None of those sets are likely to be addressed in the near term. I don't think any of us have the stomach for that level of undertaking right now. My sister and I have both gotten married since this project was carried out. I lucked out with my wife, another 1986 baby, but my sister's husband was born in 1984. So that may become a new challenge / set to conquer. I'm also staring to make some sets I'm calling the "Atherton Family sets" - 1920 and 1924 sets for my Grandparents. This will be a separate undertaking of mine, separate from what I've done with my step-father, and it'll take me years to pursue it probably, but it's something I'm going to want to do. It has felt really good to revisit these sets, think about that now long-ago summer, and finally move some of these old sets a little closer to completion.

Revenant

Revenant

11/16/2018

Last Reply:
11/17/2018

 

It's the waiting that's going to get me...

We're finally coming up on the end of the year. Starting in January the annual look back on things begins an around February we should find out about pay raises and bonuses. I'm hoping both for a decent raise and a great bonus. I joined the company about a year ago and I think I've performed beyond their expectations in a vast majority of ways, going from being a new hire to a person that's writing technical papers for the company and giving presentations at conferences and symposia. My goals / hopes for the bonus are pretty simple: 1) Pay off the last of my student loans (paying off the wife's will be the next battle) and 2) if the bonus is large enough, picking up a nice gold coin - possibly a double eagle, possibly one of the coins I need for my Netherlands 10G set. I won't know what I can get away with without the wife wanting to kill me until the bonuses are announced. Of course though, it's paying off the loans and getting that monthly bite out of the budget to go away that's the most important part. If the bonus is lack-luster there may be no coin in service of that goal, but such is life. I'm also slowly building up some spending money to try to make a medium-ish purchase as an alternative approach. That could work for a 10G coin but it'd be a long wait if I angled for the Double Eagle, and I'd love to go for the Double Eagle. I really want to know... but I won't get to find out for about another 3 months, so I guess I'll just sit here and continue to wish and ramble.

Revenant

Revenant

11/09/2018

Last Reply:
11/11/2018

 

Looks like I'm going to be looking to buy some MS70 gold soon.

My wife and I found out a couple of weeks ago that we're expecting our second child in the middle of next year. Most people don't know yet but we'll get around to that when we're further along in the process and we know a little more. We won't have the first doctor's appointment for another 3 weeks. When my son was born I picked up a quarter oz gold American Eagle in MS70 for his birth year. I'll be looking to do that again with the new baby.  I'm also hoping I might be able to talk my wife into letting me pick up the 1/10 oz Eagles for 2016 and 2019 and maybe grab the Silvers in MS 70 as well. I haven't kept up with the Silver Eagles like I'd like the last few years between paying my way through grad school and being unemployed for over a year for a while there but I'd like to get back into them at some point. At some point, I'm also going to be looking into the 1986 gold eagles in MS69. That was the first year of issue and happens to be the birthyear for my wife and myself and that just makes all of this the perfect group of coins for what I want to do here with the birth years. One of these days 1920 and 1924 $20 gold pieces will also be on the radar for the birth years of my grand parents. I lost my grandmother in 2016 a couple of weeks before Harvey hit and I'd like to get those for their years. No idea what I'd do in a similar vein for my parents in 1955/56 since the US wasn't really messing with gold in that period. I have zero clue when the budget will let me get away with those double eagles but I'm hopeful that I'll get a good bonus in early 2019 a little before the birth that'll let me get some of the other birth year pieces I want. I'll just have to wait and see what the situation is at the time. I'm not really up to anything else collecting-wise at the moment other than building some sets of the Queen's Beast coins.

Revenant

Revenant

09/13/2018

Last Reply:
12/11/2018

Coins from Aberdeen

In November of last year (2017), very shortly after I got my new job in October, I was sent to Aberdeen to visit the company’s home office for training and to meet all the people I’d be working with remotely face-to-face. My wife lived in England for 3 years and visited Scotand during that time and really wanted to go. We arranged for her parents to watch our son for a week, I bought her an extra ticket to come with me and she stayed in the hotel with me. Since the company was paying for the room it made for a cheap vacation for her. I still had to work during the day but we got plenty of time to do some sight-seeing and have some wonderful baby-free time, which is always good for a marriage. It’s likely that I’ll return to Aberdeen periodically over time if I stay with the company long term but it won’t be terribly often – perhaps once every 2 years or so. My wife wanted to come along because, with our plans to grow or family among other things, we weren’t sure if she’d be able to go when and if the opportunity arose again and she really wanted to go. I’m glad she did. It was a great deal more enjoyable that way. My wife recently dug through her purse to lighten her load and dug out a lot of residual English coinage from our trip. I separated the UK coinage from the American ones and I’m going to be hanging on to them. I need to get some flips to put them in. While we were there she also went by a bank and found a couple of fairly nice looking 10 pound notes for me to take home and those are now in my little currency album along with an old circulated Bar note that I was given by one of the other users here many years ago. They’re lightly circulated. Again, I’m sure they’re not terribly valuable and never will be as collectables, but they’re something I wanted to bring home from the trip nonetheless. The coins are circulated and not particularly collectable, but they’ll be nice mementos of the trip and something to show to my son as he gets older. When I was younger my grandmother, who passed last year, a few months before this trip, used to show me and gave me a bunch of old coins from places like Pakistan (dated around 1961), Argentina, Chile, Mexico, etc. My mother also had friends that brought us back coinage from Singapore, China, and Asian locations. These were coins that my grandfather brought home with him while he traveled for work as an engineer. I was the first male grandchild born after his death. I was named for him and these coins, which I still have, were a nice connection to that piece of my family history. They were a fun addition to my mother’s stories about being in Argentina and buying a whole bunch of French fries (papas fritas) when they thought they were ordering fried chicken (pollo frito). My son, who is named for me in the same way that I was named for him, will hopefully enjoy seeing these and the older coins from his great grandfather as he gets older. Ben is turning 2 this month. I'll have a while to wait before I know for sure if he shares my interests in these things, but I know he likes shiny metal based on the way he likes to rifle through my silver eagles and sunshine mint rounds. I brought home coins. My wife brought home lots of Cadbury chocolate. I think I did better there but the chocolate was good.

Revenant

Revenant

03/03/2018

Last Reply:
03/04/2018

The 105 year old French Bird in my house

I picked this up in late 2017 but we were focused on the holidays and an upcoming move so I never go to log-on here and post about picking this up, or even add it to my registry. Back in December my wife gave me the okay to pick up a small gold coin. The original idea I had in mind was to pick up an 1877 for my Netherlands 10G set. The 1877 is the last of the more common dates that I still don't own for that set and at the time leading up to her giving me the okay there was an MS66 on sale for a good price. Unfortunately, for me, that coin sold about 4 days before I got to buy something. The joys of life and timing sometimes I suppose. I wasn't too broken up about it. Unlike the 1888 that would pop up for sale 2 months later the 1877 comes up for sale pretty regularly in MS65 or MS66. I'll just have to be patient on that front for a while. In the mean time, I'm never one to waste the wife saying it's okay for me to buy something golden, so I started looking around and saw a bunch of Swiss and French 20 Franc coins going for prices and grades that I was okay paying. I thought about it for a while. The Swiss 20 has been on my list for a while because it would form a nice pair with my 1922 Swiss 10 Franc, but I've thought it would be fun to have a Rooster for a while too. I ultimately decided on the rooster, picking up this MS64 from 1913 - the year before the start of WWI. Many European countries were putting out small gold coins with an AGW of about 0.19-0.20 troy ounces at the time. The fact that they're all about the same size and from the same time period makes them interesting to look at together and cross-compare. I'm going to be a bit more relaxed on grades with this set/project. I'll mostly be looking for MS65 or higher when I can find it for a nice price but I'm generally happy with MS64s, especially on 100+ year old coins. I'm trying to be more particular with the 10Gs but that's a very special set for me. I've been wanting to build up a collection of European gold type coins from the late Victorian era (late 19th century) and early 20th century. The years I'm wanting to target for this range roughly from 1875 (the year the Netherlands 10G set starts) to 1913 (the start of WWI). I picked up the Swiss 10 Franc from 1922 years ago mostly on a whim because it looked interesting and was going for a nice price, but I'm wanting to keep this project, as and if I get it off the ground, to mostly pre-WWI coins because the world was a very different place during and after that War than it was prior to it. I will have some deviations from this. I want to pick up some British Sovereigns from the George VI and early Elizabeth II period and I want to get at least one Netherlands 10G coin from during the reign of Wilhelm II (father Wilhelm III, ruling from about 1840-1849, short reign). I will also be looking for a 1920s Swiss 20 Franc to pair with the 10 Franc at some point too, just because I like the Swiss cross design on that coin. I'll be excited to see in person is the French "Lucky Angel" design from the late 19th century, and it'll be fun to add some Italian gold because my wife lived there for several years as a child and Italy holds a special place in her heart. Of course, that's quite a list, and I'm getting ahead of myself because it'll take me a while to get through that and beyond. I'm expecting this to be my next major project as the Netherlands 10G set winds down for a while. Since those coins come up for sale so rarely I can't just buy more for the set whenever I want, so I'll need something else that's more flexible to play with while I wait.

Revenant

Revenant

02/24/2018

Last Reply:
02/25/2018