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  1. In a recent blog post, I mused over having to fill out one of those dreaded NGC submission forms. As with most things I procrastinate over, I eventually got around to it. I have also written about The American Bar Association medallion I bought from a seller on E-Bay who thought it was a fake. Well, today is the moment of truth. That medallion finally made it to NGC, and the grade was released today. If you remember, I wrote in my blog post on April 4, 2020, that I purchased an American Bar Association medal from an E-Bay seller who thought it was a fake. Of course, I thought otherwise. Because the item was offered for hundreds of dollars less than I could otherwise purchase it, I decided to take a chance and buy it. At that, I finally sent it to NGC for authentication and grading. If you’re like me, you are constantly checking on the status of your submissions. After the status changes to grading/quality control, the wait for finalized/imaged/shipped is almost unbearable. Then your status changes and NGC releases the grades. Now unless NGC is in the practice of encapsulating fakes, my medallion is authenticated with a grade of MS-64! I trusted my gut on this, and after hoping for a grade of MS-62, its time for “happy dance!” Presently, other of my coins and medals are waiting on grading. For now, I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, anticipating more good news. Below is the write up of this medallion for my Laura Gardin Fraser custom set. Every year since 1929, The American Bar Association awards this medallion designed by Laura Gardin Fraser for "Exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence." This medallion is an unawarded 75mm example of the ABA medallion struck in gilded bronze. From the reverse picture, it appears as if the gilt did not uniformly take. This medallion is also struck in two sizes 100mm and 75mm, of which the 100mm is scarcer. It's struck in bronze, 24k and 14k gold, and gilt bronze. The obverse features a bust of Chief Justice John Marshall (chief justice of the supreme court between 1801-1835). The motto "TO THE END IT MAY BE A GOVERNMENT OF LAWS AND NOT OF MEN" is contained in the Massachusetts Bill of Rights and written by John Adams. The reverse features a seated image of Justitia holding a scale in her right hand and a downward pointing sheathed sword with her left. Laura Gardin Fraser's monogram appears below Justitia. Gary
  2. I got that Saturn V rocket for myself one year on my birthday. I had a blast putting it together! It's now on display on a bookshelf. ...And yes, adults also love Lego's.
  3. Time and again you show that you have a very good eye for premium quality coins! There may not be another Iceland collection on the face of the earth better than yours! Congratulations! Gary
  4. Ben must be a chip of the old block!
  5. At least my daughter wants to keep my Laura Gardin Fraser set intact
  6. Hmm, I'm intrigued Definite possibilities here. I may have to get one of these depending on how well it works for you. I like that you got one for you (excuse me, spare) so that you don't get the blame if your wife's light is broken! Good idea, absolve yourself of any possible blame!
  7. I'm still sitting on my latest submission. It's time for me to get with the plan. I hope you will be happy with all your grades! Gary
  8. So... if I have the self discipline of a domestic cat, then I'm not alone. I posted this journal concurrently on the ANA's member blog and most of the responses weren't about the pictures but about submissions! Still, if I don't want to do something, I usually wait until the last minute and "get-er" done anyway after 5 or 6 complaints from my wife like, "When are you going to get this done." If you want me to get something done, give me a deadline and it will be done weeks in advance. When I worked in the cell phone industry, I worked five new build sites at once that some spreadsheet-wonk engineer decided should be finished by a certain date. My reasoning here was this, get it done now so that when things go wrong like they inevitably do I'll have lots of time to work through the unforeseen technical problems. Ahh, retirement has been a great stress reliever, no more spreadsheet wonks! In the end though, I think I'm a typical guy. I am including a link to the other blog
  9. There are some things I don’t particularly care to do. When it comes to those things, I usually procrastinate getting them done. Preparing submission forms to send coins and medals to NGC for grading is something I always procrastinate. I just don’t like itemizing the submission form, looking up the market value, separating my medals from my coins, modern vs. classic, etc. Then packing them up and running to the post office is such a pain in the neck. Well, today I finally said, “This is the day” and I grabbed the first item to be submitted. The first item in my submission is a 55mm 1876 William Barber classic, Centennial Medal struck in white metal. Since I just recently finished experimenting with my lighting, I thought, “Why not try a few of those new techniques on this medal.” Well, that’s all it took to successfully kick the submission can down the road a little farther! The first set of pictures was so-so in that they did not significantly improve on the pictures I already had. Then I had the hair-brained idea to try something that I typically have a hard time getting just right to see if I might get lucky. Why not? After all, the alternative was to get back to work on that submission. Besides, the best time to take pictures of coins is in their raw state and this would be my last crack at it. This medal though not classified as a proof has mirrored fields. Why not try to see if I could get the full effect of those mirrors in my picture? The best possible placement for lighting is perpendicular to the object you are photographing. As you can see with my set-up, that is kind of hard to do given that the camera is in the way. There are two workarounds that are quite effective in redirecting the light to simulate a perpendicular lighting source. The first is axial lighting as described in Mark Goodman’s excellent book on coin photography entitled, “Numismatic Photography.” The second is to tilt the coin towards the lighting source. I chose the second as the easiest thing to do. The tricky part in this is to minimize the reflections and there WILL be reflections. Now I used a soft cloth to tilt this medal toward the lighting source about four degrees. Then I tried my best to position the reflections to a place on the medal where they are not distracting. On the obverse, the reflection was under the date 1876. On the reverse, it was in the middle of the 13 radiating stars! Perfect, I thought, because the reflection made the center of the stars look like the sun! Now when you tilt a coin relative to the camera you will run into issues with focusing the camera and distorting the shape of the medal. Because of the tilt, the camera will see the round medal as slightly oval. To improve the focus, I moved the camera farther away from the subject effectively making the image smaller relative to the frame. Then I corrected the oval camera distortion using Photoshop Elements 2019. Please notice the picture on the back cover of Mark Goodman’s book showing the coin tilted towards the light to see that his set-up is similar to mine. Now I use lights on both sides of the medal but since the medal is tilted towards the one, it is tilted away from the other. Thus, the lamp tilted away has little or no effect on the picture. I am posting two pictures of my medal. The one that has darker fields is a picture showing the medal perpendicular to the camera. The other one with the lit-up fields is a picture showing the medal perpendicular to the lighting source. I just had to post this! Now back to my submission? Nah, but I will get to it soon unless I run into more distractions! Gary
  10. gherrmann44

    Elliptical Clip Mint Error

    That's a really neat error coin, congratulations on winning it. I'm glad to see you are doing well with your collection. I have always enjoyed perusing it on NGC and your displays at coin shows. Gary
  11. I know that it would be enough to get me interested. In fact I'd be interested even if the money museum wasn't there. There's a gold mine there that you can tour. They give you a hand pick and let you chip out a piece of gold ore for yourself. Denver has an interactive history museum that is pretty neat also, Ben would love that. I saw this on an education program entitled, "Destination Colorado." I asked my wife a few minutes ago what ANA stood for. She stumbled through it and mispronounced the word numismatic but got it right. In that respect she is one up on your wife. That said she only even cares about coins because I do. I even got her an associate membership in the ANA that I just renewed a few days ago. She only has it so that she can get free admission with me to the ANA's Worlds Fair of Money! She's mostly bored at the show but is kind of interested in the displays. Oh well, this year the only thing I'm doing is saving money for my daughter's wedding in Iceland this October! Next year the ANA will be in Chicago which is less than a three hour drive.
  12. My wife has always complained that at my age my hair hasn't started to significantly grey. All along she is younger than I am and totally grey. Another nice thing is that I am not losing any of it! I'm beginning to think that after my government imposed isolation (I say government because I didn't volunteer to isolate) I'll look like the hippie I always dreamed to be when I was 18! Really my hair gets quite annoying when it gets too long but not long enough yet to trust it to my wife!
  13. I always find it interesting that it is usually between the rim letters that die cracks first show up on a die. And forgive me if I use the Morgan dollar to make my point. On the Morgan dollar die cracks often appear between the stars. Now try to picture that the stars on the die are incuse because they are relief on the coin just as the star and lettering are on the 1880 10G. Now the fields on the face of the die are the highest relief of the die. Thus with the tons of pressure applied to the die with each strike the face of the die will take the brunt of the strike while the metal flows into the incuse areas of the die. Now the weakest points on the face of the die are the spaces between the incuse portions of the die. When a die has run its course, you have numerous die cracks radiating from the center of the die to the rims the same as luster that flows from the center to the rim. When a die reaches this stage it is close to shattering like this picture of a gold eagle from my collection. Notice that the cracks flow from die incuse to die incuse on the shortest distance of die relief.
  14. It’s been a long time since I've written an original blog here. It's not that I didn't have anything new to say but that I've had other responsibilities and distractions getting in the way. However, behind the scenes, I have been accumulating bits and pieces of news about my Laura Gardin Fraser collection. The first big bit of news came to me in the form of an e-mail from my LGF go-to guy. It seems that my friend is moving and wanted to lighten his load. Then as I read further into the body of the e-mail, he went on to offer me ALL his research on Laura Gardin Fraser. I about fell off my chair. Are you kidding? Of course, I want it! Not long after that, the research arrived in the mail. It included several old editions of the National Geographic magazine featuring medals that LGF designed for them. On top of that, there were two large folders containing newspaper clippings, quotes, emails and other records that will prove invaluable to my research. Over the years, he has been very generous about sharing information with me and he is a good friend. I finally met him in person one year at the Central States show and took him out dinner. Now he has dinner for life anytime our paths cross again! The American Bar Association awards a Laura Gardin Fraser designed medal every year for, "Exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence." Awarded versions of this medal are next to impossible to come by and very expensive when available. I have several different Ebay searches set up and an unawarded version of this medal became available early in January. This medal is a gilded bronze version of the ABA gold medal. From the picture, it appears that the gilt did not uniformly take on the medal. I believe that this caused the seller to call this medal a fake in his description. My first thought was who would strike a 73mm medal that would have been more expensive to produce than the price the seller was asking? I ran this through my LGF go-to friend and he didn't think it was a fake either. With practically nothing to lose, I bought it for significantly less than I could expect to pay for an awarded medal. Now I'm going to submit this medal to NGC for authentication at some point in the near future. Next, for several months I've been tracking a 1970's silver restrike of Laura Gardin Fraser's 1930 inaugural issue of the Society of Medalists medallion on Ebay. Of a maximum mintage of 700, the 72mm, 7 ¼ ounces .999 silver medallion has a reported mintage of only 125. The listing for the medallion was a buy it now that I have seen go for less in other auctions. Finally, the seller sent me an offer to buy it for less than the BIN asking price. Even so, the medallion was still listed for more than I wanted to pay. However, he had the "make an offer" button highlighted and I sent him a fair offer. For several days he had not replied and I thought the offer expired. That was until I found an invoice for the medallion in my inbox and it was a sale. This all brings me to the last bit of news and the reason for the title of this blog. Recently I received an e-mail from so-called dollar dealer Jeff Shevlin about an item I had on his watchlist. In an effort to update his list, he wanted to know if I still wanted the so-called dollar he had for me on his watchlist. I replied that I already had the piece in question and that he should take it off the list. Just for curiosities sake I went through his inventory to see if he had anything else of interest and I found a medal commemorating the centennial of Oregon statehood. Interestingly, the reverse of that medal is a variation of the Conestoga Wagon obverse (US Mint definition) on the Oregon Trail Memorial Half-Dollar. Since this medal is related to my collection, I bought it. Naturally, the first thing I did was to research the medal I just bought and found a publication describing it on the Newman Numismatic Portal. Additionally, I found it has a mintage of 5000. My new 1959 gilded so-called dollar is also graded by NGC at MS-67. Besides James Earle Fraser's Society of Medalists 1952 issue #45 and a 1998 ANA convention medal I had not known of any other use of the Oregon Trail Conestoga wagon on other numismatic medals. That was until I found the medal I am writing about and another 2009 medal of the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association for the spring ANA National Money Show in Portland. Now I will have to collect all the medals I am still missing, the 2009 PNNA medal and the 1998 107th ANA convention medal. To sum it up, so far according to my count there are four medallic variations on the Oregon Trail Memorial Half-Dollar. It would appear that good designs never go away but keep coming back for more. The links below are to the 1998 ANA convention medal from The Numismatist and the other is an article about my new purchase from the Newman Numismatic Portal. The pictures of the 1998 and 2009 medals are screenshots of the medals I do not own. Gary
  15. Nope. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the documentary, "Dirty Gold."