gherrmann44

Member: Seasoned Veteran
  • Content Count

    1,364
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    4

Everything posted by gherrmann44

  1. The more I thought about it, the more I didn't want my post to get buried in another post and as such not have the broadest possible exposure. The intention of the stand alone post is to use my lifetime experience in such a way so as to prevent other collectors from falling into the same trap. If just one collector could avoid my mistakes it is worth it. I also post my blogs on the ANA member blog page.
  2. Much of this post is quoted from a response to a recent post by thisistheshow entitled, "Let me try this again, for the first time." I made a lot of points in that response that I thought are worthy of an expanded stand-alone post. In a nutshell this post is an autobiography of my 40+ years of collecting coins. Thinking back on my 40+ years of coin collecting I liken my numismatic experience to that of the Biblical parable of the prodigal son. I started my numismatic journey as a youth with type collecting. I was fascinated by the variety of coinage designs throughout our nation’s history. At the time I was also interested in odd denomination coinage. I soon bought a Red Book and wore out the bindings. I literally spent hours paging through that book dreaming of the coins I wanted to buy. It didn't take too long for me to become fascinated with the coins in the back of the book. No, they weren't the classic commemoratives but the gold coins and especially coins minted at obsolete mints like Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, and Carson City. Here again, I was interested in another type of type set, that of mintmarks. Still as a youth growing up in Wisconsin, I was glad to see a Wisconsin coin in the back of the Red Book! Today I proudly own a Wisconsin commemorative half dollar. Enter my time in the US Navy and my collecting took a different direction. From every foreign port I had visited I collected that country's circulating coinage. The same happened after I got married and lived in Europe for a year. Today, I still own many of these coins mounted in albums. Following this my prodigal journey into the numismatic far country began in earnest. This began several years of hit and miss but mostly miss in my collecting. At that time, I was collecting things like Silver American Eagles and modern commemoratives. In fact, I had so many interests I couldn't keep up with them all. It's kind of like the jack-of-all-trades but master of none. At the peak of my numismatic prodigal journey I started a collection of Morgan Dollars beginning with the New Orleans minted Morgan’s and toners. After this I thought, “why not collect them all.” For two years I was buying Morgan Dollars at a phenomenal rate. I even bought the granddaddy 1893-S in VG-10 condition. Following this I hit burn-out before completing the Morgan collection. This led to a momentary hiatus from buying Morgan Dollars. I thought that the Morgan Dollar hiatus would help to renew my interest in them but to no avail. I ended up selling most of my Morgan's including the 93-S. I did end up keeping the Morgan's grading MS-65 to 66 and all my CC mint marked coins including several GSA CC's. Keeping the CC's was the first indication that I was heading home, to my childhood fascination with obsolete mint facilities. Interestingly, this did not extend to New Orleans. Keeping the 65 and 66's grew from a love of numismatic beauty. This did not include the heavily abraded ugliness of lower graded MS Morgan's. Ultimately this may have been the main reason for my loss of interest. Concurrently with the Morgan's, I thought to collect Eisenhower Dollars. With those I completed the set in short order. Then I sat back and thought what now and sold most of those. Still I found what I had learned by assembling the Ike's to be a worthwhile experience. Serious numismatic soul searching brought me back home to my roots and type collecting. I just love the variety of our nation’s coinage, always have, always will. Now my focus is upgrading the coins in my type sets with coins that have higher eye-appeal. With these coins I am engaging my love of numismatic beauty. Notwithstanding, while I was in the numismatic far country, I discovered that I liked thematic and topical sets. I started sets entitled, "Inspirational Ladies, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, and The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser". In all these sets I continue to add coins as I discover good candidates. When you boil it down what I really like is variety! Consider this, with the exception of commemoratives all the other far country sets were series-based sets. Thematic sets are based on a theme with DIFFERENT coins that match the theme! In these sets I can mix and match coins, medals, and tokens from all over the planet. I wish I knew how much money I wasted in the far country. Sometimes, I refer to the money I lose as the cost of learning and participating in MY chosen hobby. Think of it this way. Say a person likes to golf and spends hundreds of dollars if not thousands on green fees in a year. Is there any means for the golfer to recover his or her losses? No and even more significant you never here them complain about the money spent enjoying what they love to do. Still, I am not in this to lose money and I don’t like throwing good money after bad. Just like the prodigal son came to his senses after he wasted his inheritance so have I in terms of what I like to collect. Just like the prodigal son learned some important life lessons in the far country, so have I. In the end though, you still have to try different avenues of collecting if for nothing else to see if you like it. My problem was not that I started the Morgan set but that I put very little thought into it and went into a full throttle buying binge. When I came to my senses, I had already spent thousands of dollars! Now that I know what I like, I won't be taking any unnecessary journeys away from home and what got me interested in collecting coins as a young lad living under my parents’ roof. I have come full circle back to my numismatic roots. Please enjoy my picture collage of the many different types of coins, medals, and tokens from my collection. Gary
  3. There you have it! I will settle for a picture of your high-relief 1907 St Gaudens Double Eagle to make up for the empty slot in my gold type set. Thanks Capt. Brian!
  4. When I put together my macro set-up years ago I bought a Nikon D3100. A year or so back I perused the cameras at Best Buy to see if it was in my best interest to upgrade my camera. What I discovered was that there were not all that many features in the new cameras to make the upgrade plausible. Of course there is no upgrade for the lens I use. I use an f4 enlarger lens at the end of a bellows mount with a couple of adapter rings to take my pictures . All I need for the camera is an SLR with a manual setting to take my pictures. At 18.6 megapixels I really have all that I will ever need for this application.
  5. Elongated cents are a cool way to introduce your son to numismatics! I like your wife's idea of getting your son a new cent if you go to the zoo on a regular or semi-regular basis. Like your son I think that the elongated cent with the Komodo dragon is really neat. I usually end up picking one of these cents up for free at coins shows. I really enjoy the family aspects of your posts and the wonderful pictures of your family. Every week of your wife's pregnancy is better than the last. With my son my wife had exactly what your wife had. As she moved into the third trimester on bed rest the bleeding stopped and my son was born at full term naturally. My son even at 30 years old still loves to hear the story of how his life was saved before he was born. Every Mothers Day we think of the sacrifice my wife made to be on bed rest so that he could be born healthy. I always say that this is the essence of motherhood, that the mother would willingly and gladly give all to ensure the welfare of her children.
  6. As of December 28th 2018, I am officially retired and am eager to move on into another chapter of my life. Retirement came a little sooner than I expected but when my employer offered me a generous buy out, I realized that I had to take it now or never see that opportunity again. Realistically, at 60 years old I had no more than 4 years left anyway and probably a little less. Now retired, I find myself having to live on a lot less money than I had before. To make things easier on my family I used the buy out money to pay off the main mortgage on our house. This in and of itself will make living much easier. Furthermore, all the other outstanding consumer credit I had is paid off. After all these years of not budgeting because I earned more than I needed to live on I finally sat down and made a budget on a spreadsheet. Remarkably, I found that retirement life for at least this year should not prove to be too difficult. That will change however in 2020 when we will have to buy healthcare. That said, I have very little wiggle room left in my budget to buy coins. So, the question I ask myself is how do coins and collecting fit into retirement? Fortunately, I am discovering that the hobby is bigger than just buying coins. Fortuitously, I saw this life change coming years ago and I worked furiously to complete as many of my type sets as possible before retirement. With gold hanging around at $1200-$1300 an ounce, most of my recent purchases have been of classic gold type coins. Now my 1834-1933 gold type set is complete with the exception of the 1907 high-relief St. Gaudens Double-Eagle. At the price I can expect to pay for that bad girl I’m going to have to leave it as an open slot. Having completed my Dansco 7070 type set (19th through 21st century type) I identified certain coins in my set for upgrading to more eye-appealing coins. I started this upgrade project about 2-3 years ago but have not been able to finish this part of my collection. To complete it I plan on selling the doubles in my collection to buy new coins. My goal has been to have the most eye-appealing coins in this set that I can afford. Thus, instead of using new money to purchase these coins I will sell off existing coins that no longer fit into any of my sets. As a collector who has been collecting coins since I was a boy I currently own hundreds of certified coins. Many of these will make a nice pool of coins for bartering and selling to have the collection I want through retirement. I have five sets that have won major NGC awards and those sets plus the balance of my type sets will make up the core of my collection. In May of 2018 after years of knowing of its existence I finally joined my local coin club. (I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner). This will keep me busy with the local collectors where I live. On occasion one of our club meetings is a buy-sell-trade meeting. This is a popular event for many of the members and especially the dealer members of the club. At the last meeting I offered to image two coins for free to every club member present at the buy-sell-trade. This has allowed me to demonstrate my macro photography set-up and help me to determine if this is something I want to do in retirement for fun and a little extra income. Now that I know this will be a thing I want to do, I will rent a table at local coin shows around the state to offer my services. For the time being this will only be an on-site thing. I don’t want the responsibility for people’s coins off site. Other than that, I’ll have time to do research and write-ups for the sets I currently own. For the most part, this part of collecting will cost me little or nothing! Other than that, I may do more blog posts like I used to do in the past. I may also dabble in doing a display at a major show like the annual Central States show in Schaumburg, Ill. After all, if I can win awards with virtual displays on NGC’s registry, why not real displays at a show? As a sidebar to an earlier post, I got the provenance on the certification labels I was hoping for with two medals I purchased directly from the curators of the Fraser Studio Finds. (The Numismatist, June 2018). With a custom set dedicated to the Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser, I am thrilled to own these medals that once belonged to the Frasers! I want to thank Laurynn at NGC for working with me on this one to note the Fraser provenance on the labels. Interestingly, the 1912 John Cardinal Farley caste medal at 131mm is too big for a holder. In Its place NGC graded the medal as is and sent a card with photographs of the medal and its label. NGC also stipulates that the grade is as is when the medal was graded and that the NGC guarantee for grade does not apply. It seems that in the end just because I’m retired and not buying as many coins as I used to does not mean that I will have to give up on the hobby! Pictured is the card sent back to me with the Farley medal and a macro shot of a 1942-D 2/1 Mercury Dime I took for one of my local coin club members. Gary
  7. The same can be said for the Danish gold 20 Kroner mermaid coin. This coin has that name because of Hans Christian Anderson's, "The Little Mermaid" and the fascination of the Danish people with maritime folklore. The obverse of the coin has a dolphin at the feet of Dania, Denmark's national personification. Because the tail of the dolphin is at Dania's feet the coin is referred to as the mermaid coin.
  8. check out the following links and my sets for ideas. https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetListing.aspx https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=940 https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=13319 https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=19449
  9. There is variety in thematic collecting. In my thematic sets I have combined worldwide coins, tokens, and medals into sets. No two pieces in any of my sets are the same. NGC encourages this type of registry collecting in their custom sets. Like type sets every one of these coins are different, maybe therein lies the key to my collecting passion, variety!
  10. While the points thisistheshow and Revenant made are relevant, my experience has yet another twist. I liken my experience to the parable of the prodigal son. I started my numismatic journey some 45-50 years ago as a youth with type collecting. At the time I was interested in odd denomination coinage. I soon bought a Red Book and it didn't take too long for me to become fascinated with the coins in the back of the book. No they weren't the classic commem's but all the gold coins and coins minted at obsolete mints like Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, and Carson City. Here again, I was interested in another type of type set, that of mintmarks. Still as a youth growing up in Wisconsin, I was glad to see a Wisconsin coin in the back of the Red Book! Enter my time in the US Navy and my collecting took a different direction. From every foreign port I had visited I collected that country's circulating coinage. The same happened after I got married and lived in Europe for a year. Following this my prodigal journey into the numismatic far land had accelerated in earnest. I began years of hit and miss but mostly miss. At that time I was collecting things like Silver American Eagles and modern commemoratives. In fact I had so many interests I couldn't keep up them all. It's kind of like the jack-of-all-trades but master of none. At the peak of my numismatic prodigal journey I started a collection of Morgan Dollars beginning with the New Orleans Mint and toners. For two years I was buying Morgan Dollars at a phenomenal rate. I even bought the granddaddy 1893-S in VG-10 condition. Following this I hit burn-out before completing the Morgan collection. This led a temporary hiatus from buying Morgan Dollars. I thought that the Morgan Dollar hiatus would help but I actually found that I had lost interest in collecting them. I ended up selling most of my Morgan's including the 93-S. I did end up keeping the Morgan's grading MS-65 to 66 and all my CC mintmarked coins including several GSA CC's. Keeping the CC's was the first indication that I was heading home, to my childhood fascination with obsolete mint facilities. Interestingly, this did not extend to New Orleans. Keeping the 65 and 66's grew from a love of numismatic beauty. This did not include the heavily abraded ugliness of lower graded MS Morgan's. Ultimately this may have been the main reason for my loss of interest. Concurrently with the Morgan's, I thought to collect Eisenhower Dollars. With those I completed the set in short order. Then I sat back and thought how boring and sold most of those. Still I found what I had learned by assembling the Ike's to be a worthwhile experience. Serious numismatic soul searching brought me back home to my roots and type collecting. I just love the variety of our nations coinage. Now my focus is upgrading the coins in my type sets with coins that have higher eye-appeal. With these coins I am engaging my love of numismatic beauty. Regardless, while in the numismatic far country I discovered that I liked thematic and topical sets. I started sets entitled, "Inspirational Ladies, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, and The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser". In all these sets I continue to add coins as I discover good candidates. In the end though, you still have to try different avenues of collecting if for nothing else to see if you like it. Now that I know what I like, I won't be taking any unnecessary journeys away from home and what got me interested in collecting coins as a young lad living under my parents roof. I have come full circle back to my numismatic roots. Gary
  11. Yes the golden parachute was very nice. Unfortunately, taxes ate up more than 30% of my parachute (I wonder if I jumped out of a plane with 30% less parachute if I would have a soft landing)? With the rush of cash to my checking account, I was tempted for a couple of micro seconds to spend it on a dream coin. Fortunately, I came to my senses and paid the house off! Anyway a dream coin would have been a hard sell to my wife. For a few micro seconds I didn't see a need to confess a momentary lapse of judgement to my wife! I will be writing a post soon about where do I go from here, new purchases are definitely in my future, just not as many. BTW, I logged into my mortgage account this morning and showed my wife the page that said, "ACCOUNT CLOSED". I wouldn't trade her reaction to that for ANY dream coin!
  12. I also own a Newman coin with a missing envelope. At least mine wasn't lost by Heritage, mine was lost by me. It's in my house somewhere and since I am retired as of 12/31/18 I'll have plenty of time to find it. That said, given the choice of the two I'd rather have it lost in my house. At least that way its under my control. Jack, I hope that somehow Heritage will come up with your envelope soon. The envelope and NGC's label go together very nicely to show the Newman provenance. Gary
  13. Revenant It sounds like your wife is having the same problem as mine did with our second child. My wife was eventually put on bed rest. No climbing stairs, no lifting, and very little of anything else. She was good about it though and came through it to full term with a healthy boy who is now 30 years old! With the birth of her second child at risk my wife like a good mother never complained about what she needed to do. If you'd like for me to explain exactly what happened, message me and I'll give you my phone number. Otherwise, congratulations to both you and all the other award winners for 2018! There are so many fine sets out there and this years winners are the cream of the crop! Oh by the way, good luck on completing your 2019 coin buying goals. I look forward to reading about them and how they came about. Gary
  14. I agree, a coin paid for but not received by the buyer should be refunded. Postage is the responsibility of the seller regardless who loses the coin in transit. This is why insurance primarily protects the seller and signature on delivery ensures that the buyer received the purchase. If I send a coin worth $100 to a seller without buying insurance and it gets lost, the $100 is on me. At the very minimum a seller should require delivery notification. This is also a major reason that when I sell my coins through e-bay that I consign my coins to an e-bay seller who operates a store. Yes he makes money from me, but I don't have to deal with the headache either. Not having headaches has value to me that I am willing to pay to avoid. For coins in my collection valued less than $100 I sell those myself.
  15. I wasn't insinuating that points were the main concern after all we are all a little competitive which is part of the reason we participate in the registry. In the end the most overriding concern is that you like the coin! Many times have I chosen nice AU-58 coins over MS-62, 63 coins simply because of the contact marks on many low end MS coins. You have to be happy with the coin in the hand, that in my estimation is priority 1. There are also those times that I bought a coin with a higher grade that I regretted buying. My bad, I've been educated at the school of numismatic hard knocks! These days I am very picky about the coins I buy. Eye appeal is everything and when the time comes to sell this is what other collectors are also looking for. Of course all this is regulated by my budget. I buy the best coin I can afford. Another thing I have learned is to wait for the right coin to come up for sale.
  16. You are in somewhat of a pickle. In the end you have to go with the one you like the best. That said, there is something about those old holders. Points should be the least of your concerns.
  17. There is a strong possibility that I will be early retired from my company. If I am I'll use most of the pay-out money to pay off my mortgage with little or none of it going towards a coin purchase. Retirement will greatly curtail any big coin purchases in the future. For the time being I am doing an audit of my collection to determine which of my current sets are core sets. Once defined, upgrades and additions to my core sets will be paid for with coins taken from sets that no longer interest me. Going forward my strategy will be sell one to get one! Revenant1 your plan is sound. Responsibility always comes before desires. That said, desires delayed are all the more sweet when they are finally realized!
  18. I am not surprised by this post and your desire to have gold coins mark significant events in the history of your family. You have always impressed me as someone who has your priorities in the right place. Relationships and family are infinitely more important than collecting coins. Congratulations on the soon coming arrival of another baby to your family! I have no doubt that you are a very good father.
  19. Good point on the silver eagles. I remember when the mint instituted the policy to tie their gold commemoratives to the spot price of gold. They were in fear of losing money because of the rapid rise in the spot price of gold. Fair enough, so why is the reverse not true with silver? Forgive me for my cynicism, but why is the mint not as concerned for the wallets of their customers? Besides that, it's nice to have you back moondoggy!!!!
  20. I am in talks with NGC on exactly that issue. More to come later.
  21. Because of my Laura Gardin Fraser collection an article in the June 2018 issue of The Numismatist entitled, “Fraser Finds”, aroused my interest. The author of that article went on to describe his pure joy at the Fraser finds comparable to that of discovering lost treasure. For my part I found this article fascinating. Never could I have imagined that Tom Rochovansky and his wife Nancy were preserving so much of the Fraser’s work as a legacy to them. Normally for me this is where the story ends. Later I was to find out that this was in reality where the story began. A friend of mine who has been invaluable to me in both researching and acquiring many of the Laura Gardin Fraser medals in my collection contacted me about the article. He went on to say that he lives within driving distance of the Rochovanskys and made an appointment with them to inspect the finds for himself. When my friend returned from inspecting the Fraser’s studio pieces he sent me a report of his findings. I was somewhat disappointed that there didn’t seem to be anything of interest to me in the report. Later my friend on a subsequent visit discovered two Items that he missed on the first visit that I was VERY interested in purchasing. Those pieces were a bronze 1912, 131mm cast medallion honoring John Cardinal Farley on his elevation to the cardinalate of New York. The second is a bronze 1915, 64mm Rosemary Hall 25th anniversary medal. I’ll have more to say about these medals later but for now, as Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.” This is where having a friend that knows something about medals is indispensable. After finding out about these two medals I told my friend that I was interested in purchasing both of them. The price for the Rosemary Hall was about what I could expect to pay and well within my budget. The asking price of the Cardinal Farley medallion on the other hand was a stretch for me and just outside what I wanted to pay. With that my friend was willing to negotiate a fair price on my behalf to the Rochovanskys based on his knowledge of the market and it was a sale! Two medals once owned by Laura Gardin Fraser are now in my personal collection! Indeed, both of these medals truly represent a “Most Excellent Provenance”! I mailed a check directly to Tom Rochovansky with a hand written note thanking him and inviting him to peruse my set. After receiving my check, Tom gave me a call and I had a wonderful conversation with the curator of the Frasers studio artifacts. Tom went on to say that he personally knew Laura Fraser as a child and often referred to her as Aunt Laura. I asked him if I could conduct an interview with him about his experiences with the Frasers and he was very willing for me to call him at a future date. Now who could ask more than the prospect of acquiring first-hand information about the Frasers? In a bit of numismatic history Tom Rochovansky went on to say that he loaned the plasters for the 1999 200th anniversary of the death of George Washington half-eagle to the mint. In return the mint sent him one of the half-eagles that he incidentally still owns. The mint also returned the plasters which are also still in his possession. Finally, Tom told me about some of the non-numismatic items he still has, one of which I may be interested in purchasing at a future date when I will likely make-up a display case of this collection. Finally, I was not the only person to benefit from the “Fraser Finds” article in the Numismatist. Another of my friends introduced to me through the same person who contacted the Rochovanskys acquired several plasters, one of which is the obverse of the Oregon Trail commemorative half-dollar. He has also written of his purchases in the July 22 edition of “The E-Sylum” complete with pictures. Lest you think our common friend didn’t find something for his collection, think again. There are now three very happy collectors with their purchases and Tom Rochovansky glad to place a few of the Fraser artifacts into good homes.
  22. It's also been a while since I posted here. Although I occasionally post on the journals side of the boards. This thread however is very encouraging and in my experience with other collectors so very true. I have often put my check in the mail the same day the seller mails me my purchase. All I have to do is to say, the check is in the mail. Occasionally he gets the check the same day I get the coin. For my part I am always very aware that I have a responsibility to uphold the level of integrity that I have enjoyed from others. Therefore, I always represent the items that I sell fairly so that the buyer is aware of all the wrinkles before they buy the coin. This may cost me money at times but integrity is of great value that needs to be defended, sometimes at a cost. Coin collectors are hard to beat for honesty and integrity. Among other things, this is what endears me to the hobby. With that my local coin club will be hosting its annual club picnic today where I can enjoy a good time with other like minded collectors!
  23. To be fair, mistakes do happen on the NGC side of the house also. I have an 1878-S quarter eagle that is in an NGC 1878 quarter eagle holder. Still the point of your post is well taken, PCGS and their followers think their (you know what) don't stink.
  24. For the reasons specified in this thread and more I prefer NGC. For example, although the following experience does not exactly line up with the subject matter of this journal thread, I believe it is evidence of a pompous attitude on the part of PCGS. Yesterday I followed a webpage link to an absolutely stunning MS-64 PCGS 1857-S double eagle offered by APMEX. Interestingly, the coin did not have the SS Central America pedigree and on the surface seemed like a good deal. It was here that I did a little extended research on the coin. First I verified the certification and found the coin had appeared in a recent Heritage auction. The coin that I thought was a decent deal proved to be not as decent as I would have liked since the coin had a 25% mark-up. Next I followed the PCGS coin facts link to an extensive write-up on the 1857-S double eagle. As I read through the write-up I came to a paragraph recommending that you not crack out the Central America pedigreed coin out of the PCGS gold foil holder. Not bad advice, since I believe the pedigree in an original holder commands a market premium. Next they recommended that you not purchase a Central America coin crossed into an NGC holder. Again, not bad financial advice. The next phrase is a deliberate jab at NGC that was not needed to convey the previous two points. The phrase goes on to say, " Stay clear of NGC graded S.S. Central America double eagles. They may be nice coins, but they have been cracked from their original holders and probably upgraded". I know that both grading services have come under scrutiny for over-grading, but this deliberate and unnecessary jab to say that SS Central America double eagles in NGC holders are "probably" upgraded is in my estimation snobbery.
  25. Now that is cherry picking at its best. Congratulations!