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Journal Entries posted by wdrob

  1. wdrob
    I had my finger on the enter key with a $1k positioning bid but I still could not bring myself to follow through with the press of the button. Why? Well it certainly was not because I did not have the money - no, far from that. It was the thought of paying an arrogant company (will justify that allegation later) a 17.5% buyer's fee for what? To pay for their bloated overhead, that's what!
    I don't understand how this company can get away with charging such a high buyers premium as well as a sizeable sellers premium. From my understanding of those that have bought through their auctions, they generally have to wait in some cases up to 45 days to even receive the item they won and paid for. That would be just one area of observed inattentive customer service indicative of a company that has become so bloated with overhead and a boat load of dead weight.
    There is another auction firm that is not even remotely close to being bloated and at this time, the primary principal running that company has ALWAYS been extremely attentive to the customer, has (in my direct experience) never been condescending when discussing collection to be consigned or been anything but fair in their buyer and seller premiums.
    I stated that I would justify my earlier claim of the company in question being arrogant and with that I will relate the experience of a fellow forum member who contacted the company to enquire about selling some coins through the auction house. He had detailed how he was met with arrogance and condescension as his collection was "not worthy" and a waste of time for the company to even consider dealing with.
    As much as I would have liked to purchase a number of items I am tracking I do not think I will ever get beyond the above mentioned considerations when it comes down to making the actual bid. Granted the auction house in question (and they are not the only ones charging exorbitant fees) might attract some very nice examples but there are various other auction houses that offer PQ examples as well - at a much more reasonable fee structure.
    With that; I think I will just have to leave the coin collecting to the "sophisticated". Will I miss out on some coins that are well within my reach that I would really be proud to add to my collection - yes, I am sure I will. But as is said many times before - "there will always be another coin that you will find equal to or better than the coin you might have to miss out on", due to a matter of principal.
    Sadly I will not compromise my principles to pay excessive buyers premiums and will just sit it out and let some other chump pay those ridiculous fees.

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  2. wdrob
    I recently broke out about 20 or so coins and medals from NGC as well as PCGS holders. All were graded without 'details' and were fine except for the fact that they were behind a piece of plastic, which I can not stand.
    Out of all of those that were freed from the plastic vault, this is one example and how it further increases the inaccuracy of the census data.
    I would imagine that if NGC and various other TPG companies would wish to have more accurate data on hand, they would come up with some other system that does not rely on the individual having to take the time to actually send in the label. I know I am not about to take the time and money (however miniscule it may be) to correct data that they themselves care so little about that they wish for paid members to do the work for them when identifying discrepancies.
    Fact is, there will more than likely never be data available that even comes close to the true representation of what exists and in what quantity. Maybe people like me are the actual problem. Maybe I am failing the community in neglecting to report breakouts and adjustments in population. If true, it is somewhat irrelevant since the data is so far past redemption that the only way to implement a more accurate system would be to start all over with a clean slate.
    Breaking this medal out of the holder allowed me to get a better picture (in my opinion) that demonstrates the PL nature of this medal, and I was further able to play around a bit. Something I could not do in the scratched up holder.

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  3. wdrob
    I had mentioned a while back in a thread about gold that I was tempted to do a bit of digging in an old creek bed back in the woods on my property and focus on an old small waterfall.
    I finally got around to it with a shovel, metal detector, 5 gallon bucket, and my water hose back at the house. Brought some good looking dirt out, by bucket, and worked it with a pan using the grand kids little swimming pool. I did this on 5 different occasions and on each I would only dig up one, and sometimes two, five gallon buckets full of dirt. Just depended on how bad my shoulders were hurting that particular day.
    So after the above efforts I have yielded from this small, old dried up creek bed, about 50 or so miles from Dahlonega, Ga. 4.8 grams of small nuggets and flakes pictured here.
    I wonder if this would be below average, average, or well above average for the dirt in this region, or any region for that matter?
    I think if I go back out there and keep finding some I might have to think about getting serious and buying an old used track-hoe and get busy.
    Anyone have some good examples of gold they have been able to mine on their property?
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  4. wdrob
    In my last journal entry I reflected on my reevaluation of my current collection goals, or lack thereof, and what path I would choose for a future collection, that would more accurately reflect the pride I have in collecting these small slices of history.
    More than likely most have noticed that I have listed my current certified collection, both moderns and classic coins, through Great Collections and, although I will be lucky to even come close to breaking even, the response has been excellent and I am very happy to know that many, if not all, of these coins will find a new home.
    Sunday evening will be the final hammer and, although I will be saddened to see many of these coins no longer in my inventory, I look forward to freeing myself from a somewhat ad-hock collection to a much more focused collection goal.
    I have began that new collection with a cut off grade of MS65/PF65 or above, with few exceptions to that rule. My first two coins to begin this new approach are both 1883-P 'No Cents' Liberty Nickels, one in PF66 Cameo and the other in MS66, both NGC. This is a design that I have always liked very much and I have always found the story behind the 'No Cents' version (even though they were widely saved and not very rare) to be intriguing.
    I hope to remain highly selective in my purchase choices and apply the same standard to the Classic Gold that will be added slowly and with a purpose. My eventual goal is to have an extremely nice, high grade type set, with Gold, and focusing first on those coins that I find to be of great historical importance. Second will be keeping in mind that I am working on a 'Box of 30' (that is the capacity of the aluminum slab case I recently purchased) and being extremely selective will be a must.
    I continue to have an extensive uncertified and OGP coin holding and plan to continue adding to that raw collection when the opportunity presents. In addition, my recent investment into higher quality photography equipment and my continuing desire to learn more and more about taking quality photos also adds to this hobby considerably.
    This is such a great hobby!

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  5. wdrob
    Not long ago I mentioned in a journal entry that I was reevaluating my collecting goals and the box of twenty, or something similar, was the direction I was going.
    I have consigned the majority of my collection with an auction house that is known well, Great Collections, and to many it would seem as though I am getting out of the hobby altogether since I also have listed in the Money Marketplace the sell of all the plastic NGC and PCGS Slab Boxes that I own.
    This could not be further from reality. I am simply implementing my course correction as it relates to my collecting goals. I am selling the boxes because I have chosen to purchase the Aluminum Slab Boxes, and the one I chose first is the 30 slab holder.
    I have considered much of the advice given and particularly that from Roger. The fact that these aluminum boxes, that hold 30 slabs, are much smaller than I had imagined, I have found that my safe will accommodate 4 or more of these very well (without stacking) to go along with all the other items such as raw coins, bullion, and very important paperwork (which the latter is in fireproof safes within the large fireproof safe) that currently occupy the safe.
    Many may not understand wanting to essentially 'clear house' of all the coins I have previously purchased but I believe it will be easier for me to maintain focus by just starting from scratch, save two or three coins that I kept. There is nothing wrong with the coins that I had in my collection and many were deemed by not only myself, but others as well, to have been either under graded or very strong for the grade. The opportunity for others to obtain some nice coins has presented itself with this consignment.
    Also some may have noticed my heightened interest in high quality coin photography and the desire to have a more than adequate setup to be able to take quality photos of future coins that I might purchase. This too was on my list of needed items that I have finally began to invest in. I am doing this strictly for my own personal photo needs and for no other reason.
    Now any future coins that I purchase will be selected with a much greater emphasis on quality while still remaining within my budget. That means much less buying and much more saving. However, at-least when I do eventually buy a coin I will now have the proper photo setup to capture the true quality of the coin.
    Well ..... that is the plan anyway.

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  6. wdrob
    Recently I had mentioned that I was buying a metal detector and maybe I could get lucky and find some Georgia Gold, or anything numismatic related. Surprisingly my metal detector arrived earlier than I had anticipated.
    I have spent the entire night researching my county history, as well as the history of my particular area in the county that I live. I have found maps dated far back, and one in particular, dated 1884, that looks very promising. I also uncovered some very interesting information from cemetery records such as the following which is right in my neck of the woods:
    "I counted 45 unmarked graves of the slaves. The cemetery is on the
    land of C. L. Bond. He lives in the house that Joab Collins built in
    1886. Joab was the son of Elba [Elbe?] Collins. According to Mr. Bond,
    he knew Joab, Collins, Jr. He said he was a deaf mute and very big and
    strong. Joab, Jr. was always looking for his fathers money that he
    believed to be hidden somewhere on the vast property. It was said that
    Joab, Sr. had withdrawn all of his money from the bank and no one knew
    what he did with it. He died without revealing the whereabouts of his
    Joab, Sr. rented out his land to share cropers. He had a store on the
    road in front of his house from which he sold goods on credit to the
    share cropers and settled up with them when the crops came in."
    Very interesting and very close to my property. Of course this is more of a pipe dream than anything even close to promising. However, just the thought of my property being where someone decided to bury their cache is very exciting and I am now awaiting sunrise to hit the woods.
    I know just where I am going to focus my attention as well. I do not own very much acreage, however the majority of it is all wooded. There is one particular oak tree that is very, very old. I have always been attracted to that tree since it is so unique amongst all the other various hardwoods and sparse pines. I figure that this tree maybe a good choice for a marker if someone were to want to bury their treasure.
    So in a few hours I will be heading out for my first try at working this overly complicated gadget and see what I can come up with. It is doubtful I will find much more than a few bullets from hunters and possibly some old military relics. But it is worth a try as far as I am concerned. If I found a mercury dime I would be excited. If I found a 16 star Bust Half I would go crazy. If I find a Templeton Reid gold coin .... well, I may just have a heart attack!
    I will follow up and also describe how I am using Google Earth to find possible sites to search. They are on private property but if I can get the permission to hit some of these old home sites dated back to 1850's then I might come up with a few good finds.

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  7. wdrob
    It is not very often, since I moved from Utah and would frequent the Nevada state line and Wendover, NV. for a little excursion gambling, that I find myself in the position of actually winning something.
    However, I overcame the odds somehow and actually knew the answer to the weekly Numisma-Quest trivia question a week or so ago. As is known by all that participate - knowing the answer is just part of the challenge as you have to be picked randomly as well.
    I felt confident that I had answered the question correctly and when all was said and done, I was actually announced as being chosen. The prize was something far better than a certificate for a submission or something similar. The prize was a book! Not just any book either - for it was right up my alley; "The Treasure Ship S.S. New York - Her Story, 1837-1846" by Q. David Bowers.
    I received the book in a very reasonable amount of time and was excited to open that flimsy paper thin Priority Mail shipping envelope - the kind that is made for sending a stack of papers and such. Well I would imagine you know where I am going with this.
    I was mildly disappointed (an understatement really) when I found the book to be damaged as shown in the pictures. I tried my best to admire the book from the outside but all attempts were futile; it was damaged and that was all there was to it. Luckily for me the contents were relatively unscathed other than the indention on the pages from where the book was just tossed around during shipment.
    On a positive note; this book is a really good read so far, although I am only into the first section where Bowers attempts, quite successfully I will add, to immerse the reader in the actual time period (1846) of American History. I look forward to further reading.
    To summarize I will qualify my reason for this topic as a journal, not as to complain in the hopes of compensation or placing blame. I actually wanted to write this in the hopes that NGC will realize they need to re-evaluate their method of shipping books.
    In the same amount of time, effort, and postage the person who was tasked to ship this book could have easily just placed it into a padded bubble envelope at the very least and it would have provided, I believe, enough protection to have avoided damaging this book to this extent. I am also aware that for a cost that is cheaper than the price they paid for shipping this book they could have shipped it 'media mail' and it definitely would not have been damaged suffering the shock that seems to have been present in this case.
    I therefore am only providing this constructive criticism to help avoid this with a future book winner. Some may look upon me as a person 'looking a gift horse in the mouth' but I defend my position in the context as one that has always respected books as far back as elementary school. Luckily the damage is only present when I take it out of the bookshelf to read.

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  8. wdrob
    It has been close to a year now that I first became involved in numismatics. I was buying and selling gold and silver bullion prior to becoming intrigued by the coins that I saw being bought and sold on eBay. It was not so much the buying and selling that intrigued me as it was the history involved with these coins.
    It was not long after discovering this hobby I decided to become involved and it has been a year, or close to it, in which I have bought many coins, both raw and certified, and dabbled just a bit in the paper currency arena. I have learned a great amount from other more experienced collectors but I would have to admit that the tuition I have paid in various bad purchases and other mistakes has been steep.
    On the other hand, I have enjoyed this hobby very much. There are many aspects (such as the hunt and eventual find of a piece of history that brings me immense satisfaction) that I am going to have to go through some sort of withdrawals (similar to that of a drug addict stopping cold turkey) by putting a end to my purchasing any further coins until I have sold my entire collection in it's entirety.
    I plan to take a short break and really evaluate what I like the most about the coins I have collected up to now and re-focus my goals to a reasonable series to collect when I resume and direct my collecting goals to putting together a truly high end set while taking my time to save so I will not have to settle for just any coin.
    I have to wonder just how many other collectors out there have chosen to step back, re-evaluate collecting goals, sell their entire collection, and start over from scratch?
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  9. wdrob
    In the early Colonial period of American History the United States (not yet the US) had no mints established and it was common to use currency from other nations to buy goods that were not bought directly from Great Britain. The other national coinage included France and Spain and the Spanish King Charles III had ordered the minting and shipment of this Spanish silver to be delivered and used by Americans in order to further establish and concentrate his power.
    This was at a time, after the Revolutionary War in which coincidentally these types of dollars helped the US finance, when Spain was the largest colonial power in the new World. Spain held the majority of what now belongs to the US, however, this would have never been possible if this particular ship had made it to port carrying the coinage to strengthen the Spanish presence.
    The loss of this ship, and more importantly it's silver contents, forced Spain's financial hand and it was for this reason that Spain sold to the French what is now known as the Louisiana Territory. Later, of-course, the French sold this territory to the United States and this led to a major expansion west which would of otherwise not have happened if were not for the initial sinking of the El Cazador "The Hunter".
    One can see that the significance of this coinage is not just 'mythical' or 'hyperbole' intended to increase sales through a carefully thought out and executed marketing plan. Although the marketing and distribution of these coins may have been questionable ( QVC television type marketing techniques) the fact remains that this coin did indeed play a major role in establishing the expansion of the United States Territory and what is The United States of America today.
    Ironically this coinage held two historically significant and noteworthy elements. The first; this coinage helped the US gain independence from Great Britain and win the Revolutionary War through Spanish funding and two; the absence of this coinage through the sinking of the El Cazador resulted in the US purchase that resulted in expansion west.
    For anyone to discount this coin as being of no historical importance is one being extremely naive to it's actual history or that of early American Colonial history. To hold one of these coins in your hand and examine it while bearing in mind that it had spent more than 200 years below the oceans surface is probably only something that a true history buff would appreciate fully. I wish all could experience the wonder.

  10. wdrob
    There is quite a bit of discussion that takes place complaining about eBays fees, shill bidding, proxy bidding, and disagreements with certain eBay policies.
    It is my personal belief that these problems can not be corrected without an alternative auction house option. Complaining to eBay will do nothing and the rates are going to rise regardless. eBay has to do everything it can to satisfy it's stock holders so you end up with the current environment that you have now.
    There are a number of different options available for eBay sellers to choose from depending on what they are selling. Etsy caters to hand made arts and crafts and antiques for the most part. No room for coin collecting there it would seem.
    Some have abandoned ebay only to jump from the pot to the kettle. I have seen some of the fee schedules that nameless auction houses charge and it is not cheap. This alone has kept me from venturing into the registration process at any of those auction houses.
    I did find an alternative to eBay as well as the common auction houses that I felt was a good set up.
    1st - There are no charges for a store front like the one that you currently might be paying eBay monthly for.
    2nd - There are no listing fees withing the given parameters. They afford you 4 pictures for free and if you need to upload more to better describe your item then additional pictures are .05 cents. Sound fair to me.
    3rd - You only pay a final value fee based upon what level of service you selected. There are five service levels and the first two are free. Gold, and Gold Plus. They allow you to sell up to 2000 or 2500 items monthly with no charges.
    If you happen to be of the power seller type then maybe ebay is for you but Atomic Mall also offers plans for those type sellers as well and the max plan allows selling 20,000 items monthly and a monthly fee of $19.00. The final value fee schedules are listed in their FAQ located here: http://www.atomicmall.com/faq.php , It would be beneficial for some to actually shop around and see what else is available and at what price.
    4th - You still have Buyer Protection through the use of PayPal for transactions. That being one of the major selling points of eBay however by using PayPal (yes I understand eBay owns PayPal) as a buyer you are protected.
    5th - Even at the lowest free Gold level the fees are very reasonable. The higher in the plan tier the lower the final value fees become.
    6th - There are automated functions that allow you to transfer your entire inventory from eBay as well as your Feedback. This is a real nice feature for those that have built a solid reputation on eBay as an honest, non-misrepresenting seller who takes care of their customers.
    7th - You can list an item indefinitely and never pay a dime unless and if it sells. You can set a regular price and set the discount price that is reflected in the listing as the actual savings.
    8th - Now this one is the best part of it once a person understand the process and reasons behind it. The items put up for bid are not set by a time limit. They are set by the number of bids that has to be received. It is also a closed bidding type auction format. If you list an item for auction and set it for 5 bids then once 5 people have bid on that item the auction ends, and if the reserve has been met, if you even place one on there, then the highest bidder is then revealed and they have won the auction. Even the seller does not know what amount the bids are until after the auction.
    There are a number of reasons why this is a much better system but right off the bat the main advantage is that it eliminates shill bidding (friends and relatives or alternate screen names falsely upping the bid right up to the point of the outside bidders top bid through back door communication), Snipers are no longer a problem. Since there is no clock ticking down they just have to bid under the same parameters as any other bidder is required to bid under. In a nut shell; it levels the playing field.
    Try as you might I challenge you to come up with a reason why this type of bidding is not better than that which is currently happening over at eBay.
    I think I have outlined enough positive points about this AtomicMall site and it's systems and procedures that one that is truly tired of eBay acting like Ma Bell before the break up and essentially a monopoly will go to this web site and investigate, for your self, what this alternate method has to offer. It is time to be a leader and not continue as the good sheep eBay wants you to be.