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About this journal

This journal was originally to record my thoughts on collecting and building my Netherlands Wilhelm III Gold 10 Gulden Set and other projects like  my modern silver bullion NCLT sets. When it got started in the summer of 2007 I was single, in my early 20's, and working on my B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering. Starting in 2016, with my marriage and the birth of my first son, Benjamin, much of my writing has focused on raising my sons to have a love of collecting coins and exonumia and discussing how my collecting occurs in the context of my marriage and life overall.

Entries in this journal

The Queen’s Beast Sets – I might actually finish these.

Over the weekend I got a package with 4 of the Yale coins. Back in December I finished picking up the rest of the Falcons that I needed. So that gives me all of the coins I need for the first 6 issues and 2/3rd of the total I need for the 7th issue – so I’m almost 70% of the way there now and I’m only about 1-ish issue behind. After thoroughly failing to keep up with the statehood quarters and the presidential dollars as they were coming out I’d like to actually be able to say that I

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So… when are you buying that other gold coin?

This was my wife’s question to me shortly after we went to the coin shop on our anniversary. When I got a big raise in October my wife agreed to buying the $10 gold Eagle for Sam’s birthyear but said she considered that more a purchase for Sam and that I should get something that was more “for me.” The answer to her question was basically, “when these other bills are paid off and I feel comfortable enough with the finances to drop $450-500 on something unnecessary.” I got the coin

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I love him, but he just kind of breaks… everything.

Ben came into my office the other day and found the 1986 Silver Eagle I have that’s in the original mint packaging. He’s always coming into my office wanting to take things from there or from my desk. Apparently, I just have all the best… everything! And he just wants to play with and take all of it. So, he decides that he needs to take it downstairs and show it to momma. Of course, he trips on the tile in the kitchen and drops it and breaks a chip off the mint capsule for the coin… Great!

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My Wife Just Used the ANA Money Museum to Tempt Me...

She loves to travel and she desperately wants to get out and take a trip somewhere and is brainstorming all of these ideas about where to go and what to do when this is over. She's looking at taking a vacation for a long weekend to Colorado. In the middle of her research she figured out that the ANA Money Museum is in Colorado and she's trying to use a day there to tempt me into getting excited and agreeing to the idea. Does she know me too well or think I sell too cheap? That is the q

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Elongated Cent Albums

We've been to the zoo a couple more times and gotten Ben a couple of new pennies. This almost immediately brought forward the idea of how do we help him not lose them and keep track of all of them? So I decided to see what I could get on Amazon. I was able to find some "Penny Passport" books for a good price. A seller was offering 1 for about $7.80 and a set of 3 for $15 so I just bought a group of three. I figured, one for him, one for me, and one for Sam and we'll all do it together over time.

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Do we give USPS the benefit of the doubt? I think... No.

So a package ships out from Queens, NY late on a Friday night on 12/13. Tracking says it's due to arrive on 12/16... Every day, it updates to say, at midnight that day, that the package is "In Transit to the Destination." It doesn't say where it is. This makes it rather useless as "tracking" information... It's been 5 days of basically getting updates saying "it's coming. We promise." No measure of progress. Part of me wants to give them the benefit of the doubt - it is mid-Decemb

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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

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The Key Date!

I finally found an 1888 for a price I could afford and which I was comfortable paying. I have eBay send me emails whenever things pop up that could potentially be a match for this set. The search is deliberately broad so most of the items that pop up aren't of interest but it helps make sure I know it when something good pops up. Last week an 1888 came up for sale in MS65 graded by NGC. The seller had great feedback and is an NGC and PCGS member/submitter. Everything looked great.

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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 rel

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Maybe I was wrong about the pricing on the 20 Trillion note…

In fairness to a seller that I have and now continue to do business with I think I need to take back my earlier assessment that they overcharged my wife when she bought that ungraded Zimbabwean 20 Trillion Note for $60.    I guess the thing that should have been my first clue was that they’ve always offered returns and gave us a perfect, no-fuss return on the note and I’ve always been able to get very reasonable prices from them on so many other things, including most of my oth

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New photos of the Civil War Tokens

I have four old graded civil war tokens that I've always found it difficult to take photos of because they're mostly pretty dark brown, they're in the old style holders and it's hard to get a good shot of something dark when it's surrounded by so much white. Anyway... I decided to take another stab at these and see what I could get. I think these came out pretty good so I thought I'd share. Three are pretty common patriotic varieties and one is a store card that I found interesting, es

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Subjective Novelty

It’s a little funny sometimes to come to a place like this and see someone talking about a 225 coin or token and to hear or see them say, “it’s not all that rare or special, but I like it,” and to contrast that with the reaction I get sometimes from my family. You show people a 225-year-old token and they’re going to think it’s crazy cool! - Or maybe not… As others have noted recently, sometimes you show someone something that you think is really cool - and they just shrug and say, “that’s

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Success!! (With the Micka Mouse Money)

After my son’s lukewarm response to the Chuck E Cheese 40-year tokens in the aftermath of his birthday party I left the tokens sitting out on my nightstand. Ben comes into our bedroom a lot in the mornings when he first wakes up and he likes getting things off my nightstand and playing with daddy’s stuff. Today he comes into our room and sees the tokens sitting there. He takes interest, picks one up, holds it out to me and says, “Daddy, I need it” - his way of telling me I need to get it ou

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Mistakes Happen – because we’re all human

We’ve had a fair bit of discussion in the boards lately on phantom sets, ghost sets, inactive sets, and sets with coins that a person no longer owns or never owned or what have you. It’s all a bit cloak and dagger for me. But the discussion did remind me of something that happened to me about 5 years ago. I got a notification from NGC that someone else had tried to register a penny that I had registered in one of my sets. I immediately started getting indignant and bent out shape b

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Happy Father's Day

I know quite a few of us that frequent this place are also fathers. Shandy let me sleep in this morning and, when I got up, she had the boys in Star Wars shirts saying "I am your Son" and one for me that says "I am your Father." I mentioned elsewhere that I had an ebay auction ending late last night. I followed my practice of putting in my best number and going to bed. It so happened that, when I put in my best bid, i was winning it but my bid was maxed out and if anyone else had bid

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An interesting chance to learn about errors?

Ben went to the museum with my wife today and operated the penny press himself. Expert press operator that he is, apparently something went slightly wrong.  Even so, I think it's fair to say that he was happy with the results. Making pre-schoolers happy and making a collector can be quite cheap and easy - $5 for the album and $0.51 every time he gets a coin to put in it. He wants to take that album with him whenever he goes to the zoo or the museum now. Some

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Not just marking time...

I posted on 1/12/2019 about winning the 2018 Journal award and mentioned that, pretty much at the same time as I found out about that, that I'd gotten a paper accepted for publication. I didn't really go into this at the time but it was a paper co-authored with my graduate advisor - who passed away on September 11, 2018. He's the person I decided to name Sam after. I didn't know it at the time but I posted that entry exactly 1 month before Sam's surprise early birth - the "first published" date

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Children can be adorable when it comes to presents

My wife ordered my birthday present about a week ago. She was trying to keep it quiet but then Ben saw her and wanted to "help" and gave it away in a big way. I think she ordered something for my Zimbabwe note set but I don't know for sure so this has me trying to limit / hold off on major purchases for the next couple of weeks until she gives it to me. Ben has been very funny throughout this. First he insisted that he needed to get me a small present too that he had to pick out and then he

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Collecting while married...

That much discussed and debated 1875 came in the mail Tuesday. I over-spent my coin budget a little bit to get it with the agreement that I wouldn’t buy anything for a month or so while my budget caught up with the spending. It’s a deal I’ve made in the past and one I made again because I’ve been worried that the current run-up in the gold price could continue and that could make the coins more expensive to buy in another month or so. Even so, it was a modest over-reach of my budget, just $

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A coin collector's birthday

I got my big surprise that my wife and her mother have been sitting on for about a month and a half yesterday. It would seem that, while in Pennsylvania for work, her mother stopped at the Philadelphia mint, too the tour and these things. The Silver Eagle and the birthday set were for me, the coin explorer book was for Ben and the birth year set was for Sam. She also got a bag from the mint that’s also pretty cool. The book for Ben is pretty neat to look at. I hop

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My new $20.95, TOP POP coin… Patience Pays Off?

Well, I just ordered what will be a companion piece to my Zimbabwe note set / the first coin in a related project – I haven’t decided yet. The coin is a 1980 Zimbabwe 10 Cent piece, graded MS65 by NGC. The coin happens to be TOP POP. I say “happens to be” because it also happens to be the only one of its kind graded by NGC – hard NOT to be top pop at that point. Anyway… MS65 is a decent, Gem BU, grade. I saw this coin come up months ago on eBay and seriously considered buying it, but I

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Because I’m slowly going blind?

So one of my stocking stuffers on Christmas morning was a small pocket magnifier that has a light built-in. I saw this and asked my wife, jokingly, “So is this because I’m slowly going blind?” She said, “No! It’s for your coins!” “… and the fact that I’m slowly going blind?” In early 2016, right around the time Ben was born, I got a 5 mm corneal abrasion right in the middle of my right cornea – it almost split the cornea in half. I was lucky enough that it didn’t cost me use of the eye, but

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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 goa

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Half way there

Well, today was my much-anticipated day off because of my 9/80 schedule. The dealer shipped out the coin very promptly and I went to bed last night knowing that it was in town and due to be delivered on a day when I could be home to wait and sign for it – very useful with the seller requires a signature for delivery. I can’t say I blame him for it but I hate making trips to the post office for packages and this new post office we have has already lost one package for me in the 2 months since we

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Group Photos and re-imaging

Whenever I get a new coin for a set, provided it’s a smaller set that doesn’t require pulling out 20+ coins, it’s always fun to pull out all the coins in the set and look at them together. It can be a lot of fun with the larger sets too but it can also be a lot of work to find them all amongst the other coins, get them out and, eventually, put them all back. When I get the new coin in for such a set I try to get new pictures done and this usually leads to new pictures being taken for the wh

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