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  1. Glad to see this ancient thread resurrected. My latest thought on the subject is that Mercanti mass-produced signature labels can actually reduce the value of a slabbed coin simply because of the perception of gullibility. The idea is that either the seller or somebody along the line was conned into thinking there was added value to having the signature included. Ultimately, when you try showing off your collection to a knowledgable numismatist, they will then scoff at you for having paid extra for an enclosed Mercanti signature, it will become an embarrassment, you can be shamed for possessing it.
  2. Furthermore, as I argued in a previous discussion thread, coins labeled "first strike" are probably on average slightly inferior to those without the designation, and therefore "first strike" labeled coins should generally sell for a slight discount, or preferably be avoided.
  3. If you already have intact rolls or boxes of early silver eagles purchased about when issued, you should definitely scrutinize them carefully for possible 70s, and submit the best candidates to NGC. The limitations are the quality of the materials and your grading ability. However, don't realistically expect to find any 70s in those you've newly obtained, because they will almost certainly have been checked by previous owners. If you're fortunate enough to get any 70s, you can definitely get close to the price guide amounts for them by submitting to auction at such reputable places as Great Collections.
  4. We've all seen the name Mercanti in connection with the current active market in the 2011 American Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary set of 5 coins. I'd be interested in comments from NGC forum members about his signed coin labels, even though his signature apparently only appears on PCGS labels. In the meantime, I'll make a couple comments of my own. I've seen no reason to doubt that Mercanti is a highly skilled coin engraver, recently retired from the US Mint. He's also been a prolific coin designer, but in that respect, there are some doubts about his excellence. His obverse of the American Platinum Eagles has been criticized for making Lady Liberty much too masculine. His reverse of the American Silver Eagles has been criticized for being unimaginative. Still, whether or not you're especially pleased with any of his many coin designs, it might be nice to have his autograph on the label of a coin of which he designed at least one side. I've seen American Platinum Eagles with his autographed labels, and of the ones I remember seeing, they usually commanded no premium, or at least they went unsold if a premium was required. With the current craze for 2011 American Silver Eagles, the sets with Mercanti signed labels initially went for a substantial premium, but I noticed on ebay today that is no longer true, and they seem to be selling at a slight discount in regard to some other labels for the set. If Mercanti had signed the labels for only a strictly limited number of sets, say 100 sets, already meaning 500 signatures, probably the premium would still be there. However, he apparently signed far too many. He signed so many he may have gotten writer's cramp in the process. Wasn't PCGS charging an extra $10 per Mercanti signed label? How much of that $10 went to Mercanti himself? Were all of the signed labels also First Strikes? Did he sign at the offices of PCGS, where they could watch to make sure it was him signing, or did he do them on his kitchen table at home, where maybe his wife did some of them, since she also signs his checks and credit card forms when she goes shopping at the mall? Couldn't they also have added another nuance, perhaps termed First Signatures, with a special higher premium label, for the first few weeks that Mercanti submitted to them the labels he signed, or for the labels done before any particular pen ran out of ink and had to be refilled? The other news about Mercanti is that he has become a paid spokesperson for Goldline, the bullion company endorsed by Glenn Beck. Whether or not you are a fan of Glenn Beck's politics or showmanship, Goldline is probably not the best place to obtain your bullion, and they are on the spot nowadays, being charged with alleged numerous counts of deceptive marketing practices. Mercanti has not been charged, and is undoubtedly innocent of any wrongdoing, but it's not a connection to boast about.