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Looking Back on my 70 years of coin collecting

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Chapter 7 How many of you remember when NCLT was a four letter word

As I remember it, I first came face-to-face with the acronym NCLT sometime in the very late 1970’s or early 1980’s. The first time I remember seeing it was in rants in the “letters to the editor” column in  coin newspapers (newspaper not magazine) and it had to do with what might be called “Commemorative Sets” or modified Proof/UNC sets. I believe several of the British Commonwealth countries started issuing these coins/sets in the around 1980+/- depending on the country.

NCLT stands for = Non-Circulating Legal Tender, these are coins struck in silver or gold with a defined value in that country’s currency (thus the legal tender) and the quantity of silver or gold used to make the coins was well in excess of the coins monetary value thus the non-circulating. These sets sold well in excess of its total face value to cover the cost of metal used and to make money for the country.

The rants basically charged that these were not “true” coins and it was just a way for these small countries to make money. Well in fact they really were coins even thought they would never circulate. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum :>)  Countries like the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and China to name just a few saw how much money could be made and starting in the late 80’s the U.S. would issue “commemoratives” for any reason we dream up. Except for our half dollar commemoratives everything from the US, Canada, Great Britain and China are NCLT and some are hotly collected. What still surprises me is that a lot of these early NCLT coins have been melted down and their initial issues were not that large making assembling complete sets of these early NCLT coins a challenge and in some cases near impossible. One such set would be the 250 Cayman Dollar Gold Coins Issues. The set would consist of just seven coins 1985 estimated issue 250 coins, 1986 64 issued, ND 75 issued, 1988 86 issued, 1990 est. 500 issued, 1993 est. 100 issued and 1994 200 issued. All but the 1990 issue had 1.4016 troy ounces of gold. The 1990 issue had 1.0024 troy ounces of gold.

I picked up a 1988 issue for just under $300 from an estate auction in Ohio in the mid-1990’s. The coin did not have a COA and nothing that showed the gold content so everyone but me had to guess at its gold content I had my KM with me so I knew. The $300 purchase included the buyer’s fee. I wanted to sell it for melt several times but the thought of selling a coin for melt when only 86 were minted seemed crazy. I can always get melt but I believe a true premium is warranted. My specimen is PF69UC NGC has certified one other and it also is PF69UC.

The stigma applied to NCLT in the late 1970’s & 1980’s does not seem to apply to current day NCLT coins.

Best regards



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