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    Learning the Ropes

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  1. That's a really nice one for the grade. However it's also hard to grade just by looking at photos. This pix doesn't show any wear on high points on the Bust and nice original surfaces. However these details can change just by changing the lighting during photography. Still a very attractive coin.
  2. Although I'm a foreign collector I used to watch 'early type US' in the hopes of getting some some day. Unfortunately US keeps getting more expensive so I think I'll stay in foreign forever. I'm going to guess the 1802 dollar is an ms-62, only because of the small nick on the reverse shield. Otherwise it'd be a 63. How far off am I?
  3. Of course there's a limited amount one can tell from blurry pictures as well as not having the coin in hand. Recently {well late 2018} I just bought my 1st Alexander tetradrachm. I've been looking for the Babylon mint as well and just missed an mint state one but I did get a nice one from the Susa mint. I need to rephoto it as happily the Gorny & Mosch pix looks horrible compared to the original. Your piece looks genuine to me. It seems reasonably well detailed although beat to heck. Note that Babylon pieces are not rare but they are much scarcer than the most common Amphiolis (spelling?) mint ones. I don't see any problems with the color as all sorts of things have been done to these over the past 23 centuries. I don't see any evidence of casting porosity or raised pimples. Your weight seems good. I don't know if a ring test works on these but one thing you can do is bring it to a pawn broker and beg him to do a couple free XRF (non destructive X-Ray flourescence spectrospcy) scans of the front & back. I recall these as being pretty pure silver but perhaps some of the experts can fill us in. If the coin is good silver, that goes a long way to indicating it's genuine as frankly I don't think a counterfeiter would make a piece in such beat up condition in good silver. If you could use a bright light and perhaps get some better pictures of closeups of the obv & reverse, that might help.
  4. Sorry for your loss. Actually this item popped up on my email notices or maybe it was featured somewhere. A very pretty coin, I don't know the history behind the Bechlers gold dollars other than they were made after finding gold in Georgia. One day if I ever get rich, I'd love to own a few territorial gold pieces. Usually I don't look for them in P/L unc tho. Your auction experiences are similar to mine as there was one critical coin I needed for my collection. It had been recently sold in a famous collection and I bid on it there but using a representative that screwed up all my bids. Everyone said that the Lissner PR were outrageous but I was prepared to go a lot higher for this piece. Prebids were low which led to a false hope but in the end one other guy, whom I suspect of just chasing all high slabs, outbid me for the piece. Unfortunately there is one unc known to exist , it 's actually quite famous, and everything else for all other dates, the whole type in fact, in is lower circ grades
  5. Actually almost every auction firm tends to do this. Sometimes it's quite a disservice, particularly in foreign/ancients where the prices are more speculative. To give an example, this past NYICS (New York International: the "Big Event" for World/ Ancients) the Heritage Non-signature Auction had the guy after my avatar, which is the Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus (the one after). The pre sale estimate was 10K which was ridiculously low. Yet had noone else bid on it you could've gotten the coin for that. The piece realized 66K ($66,000 including 20% commission), a lot more than the estimate. Goldberg's had a Cleo tetradrachm (ca. 36 BC) with a 24K opener. That piece realized 258K! The 24K was a give away as I've been researching this type for many years. Gorny & Mosch in Munich, Germany, had a critical silver tetradrachm coin in extremely rare mint state with an estimate of 500 or 700 euro. The piece went for 1,700 euro which was completely realistic and what it was worth. I'm mad because I should have put in a winning bid for that piece but I got distracted, just doubled their estimate and forgot to look at my research as I've been looking for that coin since 2014. Thus most of the auction firms insist on these ridiculously low pre sale estimates to get us collectors excited over a bargain.
  6. I couldn't agree more about the fee structure with HA. Personally I like the idea of Great Collections and this is may be a reincarnation of the old "Teletrades" which used to have great research capability. If they can have a search function in which foreign/world coins at least have a country designator AND a grade (if slabbed) it'd be a big help. I've corresponded with Ian Russell, President of GreatCollections but I guess they're only US. As mentioned, it's not just one micro focused area but all world is lumped together as "all world silver coins".
  7. I've tried all of their search methods, I've tried discussing this issue with the guy who heads up GC in detail by telling them about the search procedures. However, I could never get it to work. GC is clearly not interested in foreign material. Since it's imposssible to buy on there I don't think anyone with quality foreign would consign to them. Also just like US, world collectors are looking for a specific coin. "France 1815" won't do it. Suppose you were looking for a ms-64 high relief 20$ Saint Gaudins and you had to go thru every listing for a vg 1907 Indian Head cent to see if they had one?
  8. Great Collections is not keeping up with the times in many areas. For one their pictures are atrocious. I could always use a nice 64 quality Indian Head gold coin but other than verifying that the coin in the slab does indeed say "PCGS or NGC 64", much of the gold at GC appears as nondescript round disks. The grading services sometimes fall asleep and put coins with nasty bagmarks right on the cheek in 64 slabs and I want to avoid those. Also one cannot buy foreign coins at all thru GC. There's no filter so if you want to look for a particular world coin: say a Napoleon 5Francs, 1815 in unc, you have to sift thru every 2018 Chinese Panada round and Nicaraguan Nickel to see if they might have one.
  9. Sorry for the log delay in responding. The Colombian 20 Pesos sold at auction (not to me) some years ago. I might be able to find the auction reference but don't know if it will include the certification #. The other coin, the Argentine sunface 8 escudos is merely from memory & it was sold privately at a major show for I think, around $18.5K. Thus no way to id. I was just concerned that it seemed NGC had a policy of not accouting for, or minimizing rim bangs? In a different issue, there was another coin which was certified by NGC as an ms-62 but was not slabbed. It was put into some sort of sealed flexible flip. This was at the Eliasberg World Gold auction by ANR at NYC in early 2005. The coin was also an 8 escudos, Chile, 1838, and it was described by the auctioneers as having "a removed edge mount" but was graded ms-62 by NGC. The Chilean numistmatist Carlos Jara looked at it, and believed it was a mint produced edge flaw: which is certainly very common in these early or post Independence coins. I bought this piece and should have the NGC certification somewhere in my records. From this photo, it appears that I removed it from the sealed flip tho. I specialize in collecting and studying the coinage of the early Independent Latin American nations + Brazil tho.
  10. Sorry but the link is invalid and I couldn't see the item: " Access denied ! You are not allowed to access that resource! Error ID: 33 I actually didn't address the OP: about Ebay. A friend asked me to get them a certain holed coin for a pendant and I bought one on Ebay. It actually cost way more than Heritage but they wanted it quickly and Ebay was the venue for such pieces. Also I bought a slabbed common coin (1947-S silver Peso, NGC-65) for my son to take to school (2nd grade) for his book report on Douglas MacArthur. However, other than low value coins like this I've always had problems on Ebay. Just recently I bought a used MSI laptop [hi end] for my son's 9th birthday on Ebay for ~$660. The laptop was refurbished, had a bad keyboard (the warantee void if seal broken thing on the bottom was opened), the laptop was a different model than what was advertised, also it had less installed RAM (memory) than advertised. Fortunately I was within buyer protection and was able to send it back. EBay's good for lower value items and used childrens' toys but for critical coins, I have to deal with the majors. Yes I've heard stories about the guy who bought a silver milarense on Ebay described as a miscellaneous Roman silver coin, but how many lots do you have to go thru to find something like this?
  11. Great Collections doesn't do foreign coins. Technically they do, but there is no effective search mechanism for them. So if you're looking for an Austrian thaler in the 1500's, you'll have to sift thru every 2017 Chinese Panda proof to find one. It means sifting thru 1,000 pieces of bullion to see if they have anything in a particular auction: essentially not worth my time. I've told them about this numerous times but their main area is more common US and foreign is not very important to them. Despite a natural inclination to favor the small guy, I've had good experiences with Heritage. On my last bid lot I asked for an eyes-on appraisal of the 1 foreign coin I was bidding on. Chris Birrenbach of Heritage called me, with the coin in hand, to describe it. One cannot beat that kind of service.
  12. I've noticed edge irregularities on some slabbed foreign gold coins and am wondering if these affect the numerical grade. 2 examples come to mind. 1) a Colombian 20 Pesos dated around 1874 in an NGC or PCGS 64 slab. This was in an older "tightly fitted" slab which went around the whole circumference. Thus it was hard to tell if it was a mint induced flaw or a rim bang. My guess was a significant (4-5 mm) rim bang on a coin otherwise of 64 quality. However, shouldn't the rim bang deduct from the grade? The 2nd example was an Argentine sunface 8 Escudos of a slightly better date (1835). I think the coin was slabbed AU-58 which was the grade without any rim bang. This one was in the newer 4 prong holder and was clearly discernable as a rim bang. Surpringly the coin sold by a dealer on the floor despite a very stiff asking price.
  13. My interest in this article was piqued by the auction of a ms-62 1846-O Seated Dollar at Heritage. This is a coin that I've always liked as the 1st branch mint dollar and better date Seated Dollars are challenging to collect in business strike (non-proof) mint state. I'm wondering if making these dollars is what is alluded to in the OP article? New Orleans minor silver was made since 1838 but the dollars were new in 1846. Also their dies would be a lot heavier than those for half dimes. Maybe that's why they weren't struck again till 1850?
  14. Interesting piece, I didn't know the Paraguayan 1889 Pesos circulated at all. These are commonly available in mint state so usually the question is "is it a ms-62 or a 63?" What you could have is a pocket piece: someone got one years ago and carried it for a while. It does look like a VF tho.
  15. I usually collect foreign so I'm not too familiar with US coins. Even in US, the few pieces I have are always business strikes. Ever since a friend got a flock of sets from his Dad, who bought them from the Gov't, I've been intrigued by the old 36-42 proof sets. In these sets, the key piece is the Walking Half. I understand these come in proof cameo (PFCA) and non-cameo proof (PF); the latter appearing more as a regular business strike. So the question is: Since the PFCA attribute was an accident, are there degrees between regular frosted finish and the cameo finish? I'd assume the CA finish was for newly prepared dies, thus as they're used the Cameo Effect should gradually lessen with every strike?Also these things (PFCA/ proof cameo Walkers) seem quite scarce [unfortunately] from the pop reports. The lower prices may also mean that people think there are a lot more of them out there, unslabbed, in people's old 36-42 proof sets sitting in closets? How many are thought to be uncertified? Maybe the lower prices just reflect the unfavor that classic proof coins are currently in?