ColonialCoinsUK

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Journal Entries posted by ColonialCoinsUK

  1. ColonialCoinsUK

    Collecting World Coins
    The catalogue for the Paramount Collection from Heritage has just arrived and I will be adding this to my collection as it has some great information on rare world coins and will no doubt get referred to for many years to come.

    As I mentioned in the ‘Auction Catalogs’ thread some of the standard references used in sales for the areas I have an interest in are actually auction catalogues rather than books, the main one being Napoleonic medals. I already had a copy of Bramsen (reprint, original 1907 and the first attempt at listing) and Julius (1932) so it was great that I have now also acquired a copy of the 1927 catalogue for the Prince d’Essling collection on the coins & medals of the 1st Empire Napoleon I to Napoleon III, so I finally have the three main ‘references’. There have been many more specialist collections since the early 1800’s and due to last minute work commitments I managed to miss the start of the latest Kolbe & Fanning Sale (March 6th) which had some rare catalogues for collections from this early period – this was a bit frustrating to say the least. I was surprised that the copy of Julius that appeared later on in the sale hammered at $550! (only the 3rd copy I have seen, including mine, and therefore looks to be a much better financial return that some of my coins).

    I know that you are supposed to buy the book before the coin but sometimes you have no choice – well that is my excuse.

  2. ColonialCoinsUK

    Collecting World Coins
    Well it has been a while since I actually bought a coin and 2020 turned out to be the first year in a long time that I didn’t pick up multiple lots at the major European auctions over the autumn. I should say this was not from a lack of trying, it is just that I was outbid on the lots I was interested in – sometimes quite spectacularly – so I was delighted when I picked up a 1809 20 Lire from the Milan mint of Napoleonic Italy in AU58 (although the mintage is 52,640 there are only 27 coins graded at NGC for this date and my coin is tied with one other at this grade with only a single coin finer at MS62).

    Just to complicate things there are two known varieties for the 1809 issue which, like 1808, these differ in the stars on the reverse. For the 1808 varieties there are 3 or 6 stars on either side of the standard whereas the 1809 coins both have 3 stars in the design however it is the star below the crown which is now different and this has either 5-points or 6-points. In some examples the 6-point star looks very much like one 5-point star on top of another and these two interpretations exist in the reference books.

    Corpus Nummorum Italicorum (1913), Pagani (1965), Krause and NGC do not differentiate between these varieties. Gadoury (2019) and PCGS highlight 5-pointed (4@XF45 and 2@AU53) and 6-pointed stars (one each at XF45, AU53 and MS62) whereas Montenegro (2020) describes the second variety as a 5-pointed star over another. Gigante (2021) highlights a total of four varieties, which are a combination of the normal 5-pointed star and one with extra points on the reverse coupled with two obverse dies depending on the position of the M mintmark relative to the 0 in the date, with this latter difference being known for the later dates.

    I find coins endlessly fascinating however it is such details which means that the search is never over and it looks like I need to find at least 3 more varieties for 1809M!


  3. ColonialCoinsUK

    Collecting World Coins
    Short version – do all the things I still haven’t done from 2020, 2019, 2018 etc
    Longer version – I bought less coins in 2020 than I have done for many years, and this is not because of the current environment we all find ourselves in, but that the higher grade coins in my collecting areas, even the minors, seem increasingly scarce and have rapidly moved beyond by budget making completing sets effectively impossible.
    At least partial acceptance of this fact prompted some specific research into ancients and banknotes, two areas I have always been interested in and still follow, and the situation is very similar – quality examples are very expensive, even more so than coins. Financially it looks like I should have concentrated on banknotes of the British colonies rather than their coins!
    So where does that leave things? It is no doubt apparent that I have an interest in varieties, this coupled with the rapid improvement in photography of auction lots, has made identifying such things much easier which is great – and even negates the need to buy the actual coin which is a bonus when you can’t afford them. Documenting this level of detail may not always be possible within the standard references, which makes rarity etc somewhat difficult to establish, and it would be useful to have such information available.
    This Journal would be a good place for me to start, and evolve, such a study for the series I am familiar with as committing to paper, albeit electronic, often highlights gaps in the information available which my memory just doesn’t do any more,  so it was a nice surprise to receive another Journal Award from NGC. This was particularly appreciated as friends and family would probably describe me as more of a practical person and allergic to paperwork. I do hope to continue adding to my collection however a shift in focus from date-runs means that Custom Sets will be more appropriate although the current possibilities for these still have plenty of empty slots before they are coherent enough to be added to the Registry.
    I hope everyone makes progress on their goals for 2021 be it coins or anything else (apparently my wife thinks the kitchen needs painting etc etc).
  4. ColonialCoinsUK
    A week or so ago I thought a recently completed set would form the basis for a Journal entry given the interesting range of denominations, metals and mints. The basic set is made up of 12 coins and my set is currently comprised of ungraded coins and coins in both NGC and PCGS holders and as such is a long way from being suitable for the NGC Registry. It is a good start though as it does include some key dates in top grades.

    However, whilst assembling the coins for a 'group photo' I found that I was missing one and I can't find it anywhere  From memory (which is now highly suspect) this was an ungraded coin which are so much easier to misplace than ones in a slab. Just in case I can't find it, and now having an increased need to complete the set, I looked at the current auction listings where there are less than a dozen for sale, all common dates and in low grade/damaged or part of bulk lots, although one appearing in January is a bit better. Graded populations total ~60 for all years across both NGC and PCGS and these do not appear for sale very often so a fresh coin seems to be the only option - I just can't bring myself to bid on coins in 'fine' anymore so it looks like finally completing the set may be a little while yet.
  5. ColonialCoinsUK
    As I have mentioned my original goal in coin collecting was to assemble all the die numbers for the British sixpences from 1864 to 1879 which resulted in many other collectors questioning my sanity as there are about 600. So many years ago, having nearly acheived this goal which the acquisition of 100's of different die numbers my focus shifted to colonial coins and the Napoleonic period yet I have never quite shaken the die number challenge and always check auction listings although I have usually resisted the urge to bid.

    A few weeks ago I failed to control this impulse and submitted bids for two graded sixpences, both of which would be upgrades from the examples I already had in my collection. As this sale was not live I was not tempted to just increase my bids until I secured them and as a result only one of my bids was successful. I am now the pround owner of a 1865 sixpence with die number 18 in MS63 which is an improvement on my original VF example.

    I am sure I am not the only one who 'reverts to type' although unrecorded overdates in my more recent collecting areas is probably the start of another slippery slope. 


  6. ColonialCoinsUK
    It is good practice that auction houses cite references for the lots they are selling however, and it may just be me, but this can sometimes make research difficult for a number of reasons.

    1) What is the actual reference? Fortunately, some, but not all, auction houses list the references used but do not always state which one the abbreviation used in the lot description corresponds to. For example, using ‘P’ and then citing several books with titles/authors/publishers that could all be the mystery ‘P’ is not very helpful, it would also be nice if everyone used the same abbreviation.

    2) Using a reference that is prohibitively expensive.

    3) Using a reference that is out-of-print that no one can get hold of!

    For most of my areas of interest Option 3 seems to be the situation that I am usually faced with and that can be very frustrating. As a result, this Journal Entry was prompted by the eventual acquisition of a copy of the two volume ‘Histoire Monetaire et Numismatique Contemporaine’ by Jean Mazard published in 1965 which corresponds to the ‘MAZ’ references sometimes seen in auction listings (or M, or Mazard, or MZ).

    Once acquired I always find it interesting to compare these older tomes to the more recent references as this not only highlights discoveries made since publication but that they often also contain more detailed and useful information – it also highlights that the citation used for some lots is wrong

    It is often said to ‘buy the book before the coin’ and I totally agree where this is easy to do – Gadoury and Le Franc publish regular price guides for French coinage largely negating the need for MAZ however it is nice to now be able to add this to my collection of books. I expect many of us are searching for ‘missing’ texts for our libraries and, once found, it is just as satisfying as tracking down that elusive coin – well almost.

  7. ColonialCoinsUK
    Whilst trawling a dealers inventory, looking for something else, I was very pleased to come across a 1809W 10 centimes (PCGS AU55 – main image), and I immediately bought this coin for my Napoleon collection as I was lacking an example from the Lille mint for this denomination.

    Why the instant decision? Having, decided to assemble a graded set of 10 centimes in 2012 I later reviewed the population reports (2017, included in the introductory text to my Registry Set) which not only highlighted that this would be a real challenge but that there were no graded examples of the 1809W issue at either service, plus the few examples that I was aware of were in VF at best and usually much worse even though it has one of the higher mintages in the series at 1,160,351.

    My journal article in January ‘If you wait long enough ….’ highlighted that I had been fortunate to acquire a newly graded 1808I example of the 10 centimes (the first at NGC, MS65 – there were already two at PCGS, both MS63). These two new discoveries prompted me to update my records for the Napoleon 10 centimes and this led to some interesting findings.

    In less than 3 years the number of 10 centimes graded, across all dates (1808-1810) and mints, has not only risen by 32% (65 to 86, almost equally split between NGC and PCGS) but the first examples of 1808B and 1809W have been added to the population reports – the latter being my new acquisition. It is no surprise that the most common issue, 1808A, has seen the largest increase with 9 mint state examples being added! I have included a more detailed examination as an update in the introductory text to my Registry Set.

    Although this study is only a miniscule, or even smaller, snapshot of the vast arena that is world coin collecting, the quality, ungraded coins appear to be out there waiting to be discovered. This surprising increase in graded examples coupled with the now routine appearance of graded world coins at auctions across the globe means that I am more than happy with my decision to transition my collection to this format.

  8. ColonialCoinsUK
    Unfortunately, things have not changed since my Journal Entry last month - How difficult can placing a bid be?

    In that never-ending challenge of trying to fill gaps in my collection several more very nice examples of coins, ungraded and possibly the finest available for the issue, have appeared and passed me by yet again. Typically, there were multiple bidders and they achieved 4x the top estimate and as the prices kept rising, I just couldn’t bring myself to bid again.

    As a result I thought I would take the opportunity to expand my library as some interesting books also appeared in the auction lists, one of which, although expensive, is still available brand new from the publisher and as this was the first time I had ever seen a second hand copy for sale I rearranged my plans and followed the auction online with the intention of finally securing myself a copy. I was very surprised when it hammered at 25% more than the cost of a new one!

    Having recovered from my disbelief I thought I can take a hint and ordered a new copy instead – ‘your purchase will not be shipped until September due to COVID-19 restrictions’.

  9. ColonialCoinsUK
    With an ongoing interest in far too many coin series there is usually something suitable at most auctions for filling a gap in my sets with a quality coin however I have bought almost nothing for months. Even with some outstanding top-grade minors appearing I just do not seem to be able to press the ‘bid’ button one more time to try and secure these elusive examples for my collection and in some cases I am already regretting it.

    I think some possibilities for this, subconsciously or not, are:-

    1) The COVID-19 crisis is causing me to cut back on spending in case cash is needed due to an enforced change in job, health etc

    2) I have been on the lookout for two particular coins for a long time, both of which have surfaced over the last year for the first time in decades. The first was in a sale which also included one of my other ‘holy grail coins’ so, with limited funds, I had to make choice. The one that got away subsequently appeared on a dealer’s list for 3x the hammer price and, and as it is still there, I hope that it may re-appear at auction at a more realistic valuation. The second is almost completely missing from the auction records and attracted lots of bidders and sailed way past what I thought was an already high estimate causing me to just stare at the screen in disbelief.

    I expect reality is probably a little of both, although I would like to think with more of the second option. Although both of these coins are very rare the auction results would suggest that they are now really beyond my budget and spending a few hundred dollars on a coin now may not actually make any difference – although restricting the family to beans on toast for the foreseeable future would . There are some auctions this month that will, yet again, test me so will I miss out on some excellent coins or hope that one (and not both ) of my key targets appear at the major sales in November and January?

  10. ColonialCoinsUK
    In a vain attempt at sorting out auction catalogues at home I found a small book buried in their midst.
    This was 'Coins & Tokens of Tasminia 1803 - 1910' by Roger V. Neice. As a collector of British Colonial issues and those of the Napoleonic period it was refreshing to go through this again as it includes all the various types of 'money' that circulated in Tasminia with plenty of historical context conveying the variable fortunes of the island and its people. To say Napoleon's influence was global would be an understatement as Tasmania is about as far away as you can get!
    It also prompted a quick search of the auction archives for some of the rarer issues - it appears that proof examples of some of the early tokens now command serious money .
    This interesting find has renewed my hope of finding my other 'missing' books and I know that I have some actual Australian and New Zealand tokens somewhere although I expect it will only be 'moving house' that finally explains all the disappearances.
  11. ColonialCoinsUK
    Like lots of people I am working from home at the moment, although this greatly restricts normal operations I thought that this would be a great opportunity to catch up on the vast amount of paperwork that needs doing and maybe even get ahead. An advantage of no longer needing to commute means I would also gain 2 & 1/2 hours each day which would be an unexpected chance to further research the coin series I collect.

    My experience so far has been that the 'work' tasks that now need to be done at home, are more extensive, difficult and time consuming than expected, particularly if the necessary IT infrastructure was not already in place. Working at home all day has also highlighted the absolute importance of dedicated and organised office space - and that the current takeover of the dining room doesn't count !

    I had mentioned that one of my goals this year was to sort out my collection and although I have made some progress on this, it has been slow. The experience of working full-time from home has made it very clear that the detailed research needed is going to be a major undertaking, even more so than the 'day job' as it also involves actual stuff - not just the coins but I have 100's of auction catalogues, periodicals, reference books, purchase records etc which are currently scattered across various rooms. An upside of the delayed running of many European auctions has meant that I have bought only a single coin* during this period and that isn't even in the country yet meaning the job at least hasn't become more difficult. I did find two back copies of 'Numismatique et Change' that I have been after for a while - one in France and one in Belgium - although the other reference material I am looking for has proven much more difficult to get hold of.

    Following a review of the various options my solution, once lockdown is lifted,# is to build a 'garden office' or 'glorified shed' as my wife refers to it. Although it means the loss of half of the small garden the whole family is very supportive of the idea as it means they will get the house back .

    * much to my surprise I have been seriously outbid on a few other lots that were of interest.
    # In the UK this probably means planning/regulatory approval is needed and the council offices are closed .
  12. ColonialCoinsUK
    Having chased die numbers on British sixpences for many years I am always on the look out for different varieties of the world coins I collect. Whilst trying to complete a graded typeset of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy coinage* - to mirror my typeset of the French issues - I recently acquired a gold 20 Lire issued by the Milan mint in 1808 in NGC AU58. For the French issues the 20 Franc coin is the most common by far of the two gold denominations whereas for the Italian coinage it is the opposite with the 40 Lire being the most abundant meaning that the 20 Lire pieces are more of a challenge.

    Even though the 1808M issue has the second highest mintage of the short series at 87,183, and that it also has the most graded examples - 37 coins graded at NGC (VF to MS64) and 9 at PCGS (XF40 to AU58) it still does not appear very often. To complicate matters further there are 3 varieties of this coin - Type 1 which is extremely rare and Type 2 which is the version that is usually found. The Type 2 coins are further split into 2 varieties depending on the number of stars on each side of the standard on the reverse, one has 3 stars and the other 6, hopefully the attached scans highlight the difference between the two varieties. As I now have both of these varieties in my collection I decided to look into the possible populations and my research so far suggests that the existing population of Type 2 1808M 20 Lire coins is most likely less than 150 coins with VF being the typical grade encountered and that the 3 stars variety is about twice as prevelant as the 6 stars variety. Although both NGC and PCGS do not yet distinguish between these known varieties on the label what was surprising was that the vast majority of higher grade examples are already in TPG holders and that these also account for a significant portion of the existing examples!

    It should also be noted that, at the moment, I am only aware of a single mint state example, either raw or graded and that is the NGC MS64 '3 stars' example sold by Heritage in January 2015 for $3525, as this is way beyond my budget, and that it also has some light adjustment marks across the middle of the reverse, I am more than happy with my '2nd finest AU58' example. Following Revenants Journal Entry on 'Subjective Novelty' I realise these details on varieties are probably of little interest to most people however I find it fascinating and it keeps me happy!

    *Almost complete as a mixture of NGC and PCGS coins although I do also need to submit a few.

  13. ColonialCoinsUK
    As my username would suggest I have a long standing interest in British colonial coinage, whilst the vast majority of my collection is made up of raw coins in VF I do occasionally improve to a graded example. I was therefore pleased to see a 1942 bronze penny from Southern Rhodesia in NGC MS63BN appear recently at Heritage,* as this was a lot at a weekly auction the estimate isn't usually added until the close of the preceeding weeks sale so I was very surprised when this was set as $20-$40. I say surprised as this is not only the key date penny for George VI but mint state examples seem to be scare to say the least and high grade examples are typically missing from British Colonial collections which usually settle for the proof version of the date.

    Although there are three graded finer at NGC (65BN, 64RB and 64BN) with three others also reported in mint state (two tied at 63BN and one at 62RB) and only a total of two coins at PCGS (65BN and 64BN) I expect it will be a long time before some of these appear at auction as these make up more examples than are contained in the online auction records! Unfortunately I wasn't the only collector to realise the conditional rarity of this coin and I had to pay $85 (hammer) to secure it - which was just over double the top estimate but less than I expected to pay so I guess very few collectors in the UK were up at 3am in the morning. As a result, coupled with the fact that I was outbid in the Baldwin's sale of the Diana Collection in 2008,# I am more than happy to have this rather elusive penny fill another slot in my graded typeset for Southern Rhodesia.

    * Pics are from Heritage as I haven't received the coin yet.
    # I did pick up some nice sixpences though
  14. ColonialCoinsUK
    My last journal entry highlighted that completion of my Spanish Charles IV 2 reales Registry Set may be somewhat of a challenge and this prompted me to look again at how practical this would actually be.

    As mentioned before only 19 of the 41 issues have graded examples and of those only 11 had mint state examples, often as a single coin, making completion of a graded mint state set extremely unlikely, the equivalent raw coins also seem to be lacking. Assuming the coins actually exist for such a set a typical price for the whole would be £18450 as such coins would be about £450 each covering the hammer price, buyers premium, tax, shipping, import duty and for only a few auction houses a bank transfer fee. The last one really annoys me as it is completely unnecessary with modern online banking practices , fortunately it is not the norm at all although I am not sure how to change it. As I am in the UK all of these will also be subject to the prevailing exchange rate at the time as world coins, even British colonial issues, are very difficult to get here at home.

    A set of raw coins in VF is much more realistic and at £2870 (£70 per coin) much more affordable, particularly over time, coupled with the fact that VF may the finest known for some issues the prospect of completion of the set is also much higher. As a result I do have quite a few raw coins in VF/EF particularly for those issues where there are no graded examples at all so at the moment I have the makings of a 'mixed set'.

    I am sure that I am not alone in that I do not just have a single set but multiple sets* and those are in varying degrees of completion and this situation just places further restrictions on the available funds and the chances of completion of any one set - but coins and their history are just so fascinating and diverse.

    The advice always seems to be 'buy the best that you can afford' and I generally agree with that however, at times, the 'gaps' really bother me!

    * $15million should be enough to try and complete the Napoleonic sets 
  15. ColonialCoinsUK
    As my original collection was British sixpences I seem to have a preference for the smaller denominations over trade coinage as these saw extensive day-to-day use and high grade examples are therefore much more of a challenge. This situation coupled with surprisingly limited data and research means that the opportunity to make new discoveries is much greater - or is it that I am just a glutton for punishment? For example at a recent auction a major London dealer thought my quest for die numbers on sixpences was 'mad' - and that's the polite version, as even the most complete 6d collections have not come close and, anyway, it may not even be possible.

    My last journal entry highlighted the discovery of an excellent example of the French 1808I 10 centimes however the upheaval of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic period was felt throughout Europe and beyond, most notably it precipitated the collapse of the Spanish Empire. It is no surprise that 8 reales are very popular with collectors, particularly the colonial issues, and as a result there are some excellent books on the subject and there has been extensive and outstanding research on both the 'real' issues and the many counterfeits - contemporary or modern. Naturally I was drawn to the smaller coins - 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2 and 4R - and found that detailed information was somewhat lacking, particularly for the 'home' Spanish issues and as a result I have picked up a few examples of these over the years.

    There were a few of these minors in rare high grades scattered amongst the 8 reales in the many January auctions and despite strong bids I only managed to pick up a single example, a Spanish 1808S CN 2 reales in NGC MS64.* As the last issue from the Seville mint for Charles IV it can usually be found in Fine/VF although an uncirculated example is very rare so I was happy to add this to my collection - my Registry Set now boasts a total of 3 coins out of a possible 41, so the prospects of completing this single country set in high grade does not look good but there is no harm in trying!#

    * I am still amazed that the 1781Mo FF 1/2 real went for $1800!
    # Graded coins currently exist at both services for only 19 of the 41 Charles IV issues with only 11 of them having mint state examples, often just a single coin - high grade raw coins also seem to be just as elusive if not more so. The Ferdinand VII coinage is an even greater undertaking as the French forces were occupying much of Spain by then resulting in many temporary mints being established. 
     
  16. ColonialCoinsUK
    It is nice to see people are making progress with their collections, despite other commitments my own collection is ticking over albeit very slowly. In the introduction to my Typeset of French Napoleonic Coinage I ended with 'The distinct prospect of finding that first, or elusive high grade example for a particular issue remains and makes every auction catalogue a potential source of a new discovery' and this situation probably holds true for the majority of older world coins, particularly minors. Even with the surge in Third Party Grading over the last few years the populations remain extremely low and for many date-runs a graded set is not even possible at this point. As a result I have submitted quite a few coins to NGC rather than wait for the rare, or non-existant, graded example to appear. It was therefore a surprise to see a 1808 10 centimes from the Limoges mint appear at a recent auction in NGC MS65.* Despite this issue having an intermediate mintage for the series - Le Franc 1,062,123 - my review of the population reports in 2017 (included in the introductory text to my 5 and 10 centimes Registry Set) highlighted only two graded examples, both PCGS and MS63, in addition there also appears to be little or no raw coins in mint state in the auction records which is supported by a lack of prices in both Le Franc and Gadoury for uncirculated coins. Even though I was not the only person to recognise the (conditonal) rarity of this coin I was fortunate to secure it and it now resides in my Registry Set.#

    Despite this success there are no graded examples at all for many of the issues in this Set, and for that matter most of the sets I am interested in, with the possible exception of post-1816 British coinage, and sets are therefore being made up of raw coins. As a result I expect that I am not the only 'collector' of world coins that has ungraded examples which are probably, or close to, the 'best known' all the while hoping that a better example appears at some point as you have to believe the coin is out there!

    * Some European auction houses have now taken to grading certain items as part of the sale process
    # Fortunately I had the funds to take advantage of this opportunity however these were meant to be used for a camera so starting to understand coin photography has been somewhat delayed although I have ordered Mark Goodman's book!
  17. ColonialCoinsUK
    In my last journal entry I probably took the suggestion made by my wife a little too lightly - never a good idea!

    Having mentioned the apparent lack of detailed information available on numerous aspects of world coinage the suggestion of putting together such articles would be very interesting and also introduce some much needed focus. My initial thoughts on this highlighted two main challenges:

    1.   High quality pictures of the coins are essential.
    2.   Examples of all coin types are needed.

    To address Point 1 I have found various threads on the web on how to take pictures of coins, some of which are very technical, so I would have much to learn about photography - I would also need to acquire the necessary equipment (just have my phone and a scanner at the moment). All guidance gratefully received!

    Point 2 is the major challenge as I would not be able to acquire all the necessary 'type' coins to complete any series - financially this is a complete non-starter and would probably take several lifetimes even if unlimited funds were available. The solution would be to use pictures of the coins from other sources (most likely from auction records) although I expect copyright etc therefore comes into play, particularly if the subject matter was in an area popular enough to consider publishing the material as a proper book rather than just as an open access type article. I expect that some members here have published such material and it would be great to get your thoughts on how to approach this.

    It looks like my 'to do list' just got longer!
  18. ColonialCoinsUK
    It has been nice to see that people have been making progress with their collections this year, unfortunately work commitments have meant that I have made very little progress on my goals for 2019 - apparently my employer is starting to become aware of something called 'work-life-balance' so hopefully things will improve a bit.

    I seem to have missed a number of key coins as a result, one of which went for multiples of an already top end estimate so this would have been impossible anyway - apparently my wife feels that taking out a mortgage on the house to buy a coin is not appropriate!

    My impression is that there are many many more graded world coins appearing at European auctions this year so I am glad I had moved into slabbed coins a few years ago and I think the NGC Census/Registry has just highlighted how 'rare/uncommon' alot of decent grade world coins are, particularly amongst the smaller denominations. The downside of this is that such coins are now commanding a premium which is somewhat pushing them out of reach.

    As my coin collecting began by searching for die numbers on Victorian sixpences, and to scratch the 'need to buy a coin' itch I have recently bought some low grade raw world coins to explore further die varieties etc I had identified within my collection. Even with the wealth of information on British coinage there are plenty of gaps and for many European/world issues there is surprisingly little detailed information available at all even for the popular collecting areas. Despite what the reference books say some of these coins are not even remotely 'common' and the highest grade example in the archives may only be in VF (or lower) even though the price guides often give all the dates in a series the same values, and also values for all the grades. My wife says I should write a paper/book on some of these discoveries however she didn't specify where the extra 24 hours each day was going to come from!
  19. ColonialCoinsUK
    I have a number of world coins from renowned collections and it is a privilege to be their current custodian however most of these are raw - so how do I prove it?

    I do have the original invoice which demonstrates when and where I bought the coin but do people really provide a copy of this should they sell the coin to keep the provenance intact? Apart from 'flagship' coins where each individual is well documented it is only recently that auction catalogues have included pictures of most of the coins in a sale but then these are not always of sufficient quality to confirm a match. Graded coins include a reference number which would be an obvious way to track a coins history however not all auction houses include this is in the description or include a picture of the holder in addition to that of just the coin.

    Provenance included on the label of graded coins is very useful in this regard and I have some coins that highlight their pedigree this way (D. Moore Collection, E.P. Newman etc) however there is limited space on the label so for coins such as a very rare English Charles I halfcrown* which appeared at auction a few weeks ago, this is not the solution either as it would not be possible to include all this information on the holder, it is also impractical that labels will be updated each time a coin changes hands anyway. However I think it would be useful for this information to be added to the TPG databases and be available when looking up a certificate number. The grading company could verify the invoice etc, thereby protecting the personal details of the owner and thus attach valuable provenance to an individual coin (already done as part of adding provenance to a label?). In addition it would also be possible to attribute other important information associated with a coin such as whether it was used as a plate coin in reference texts etc, the wonders of modern technology means that this information could easily be updated.

    With new legislation, such as the German Cultural Assets Protection Act, starting to appear across the globe restricting the sale/export and/or ownership of such things as coins I consider a documented, unbroken, provenance critically important for current and future collectors and as such my major goal for 2019 is to try and sort out all my invoices, photograph/scan of all my coins and generate an electronic record of everything in a format such that my family can easily find things should I not be able to!

    *ex Mrs Street Collection, ex Hon. Robert Marsham Collection, ex Hyman Montagu Collection, ex J. G. Murdoch Collection, ex Virgil M Brand Collection, ex Richard Cyril Lockett Collection, ex John G Brooker Collection - abbreviated list!, I expect I am not the only one who views coins like this at auctions even though their value means they are never going to form part of my collection but it is nice, just the once, to have held them in my hand.
  20. ColonialCoinsUK
    I seem to have spent many pleasant hours going through the listings for the various January auctions and have identified 100's of fantastic coins that would be great to add to my collection. Unfortunately the reality of my available funds has now kicked in so 4 or 5, or maybe even just one missing coin is a more realistic proposition however this does present an interesting dilemma.

    Do I upgrade an existing coin or fill an empty slot in one of my sets?

    Even within the lower denomination coins, which I tend to collect, many issues do not appear very often at all in raw state and the graded examples, if there are any, even less so. As a result I am leaning towards the option of filling an empty slot. As my original collection was made up of attempted date runs of raw coins, typically in VF, joining the Registry has prompted some upgrades to nice AU/MS examples however as the numerical grade is often just 'opinion' l am less concerned about a minor improvement such as MS63 to MS64.

    As the vast majority of the sets in my collection have none, or only a few graded examples, the satisfaction of completing a Registry set is not yet a deciding factor. Due to the very low populations of many world coins there are also numerous sole top population coins available throughout January and these are very tempting - but which ones? As I will be bidding live I expect the realised prices and the relative dates the different auctions take place on will make the decision for me. An added complication with world coins is the order in the catalogue (Mexico is usually after France etc, unless the auction is also sub-divided by continent) so do I go for 'earlier in the alphabet' or save the money and hope that the later lots do not go for silly amounts and end up with nothing as happened in the Heritage sale earlier this week!
  21. ColonialCoinsUK
    The recent thoughts by Revenant1 on their choices following the eventual appearance of not one but two examples of a long sought after 1877 Netherlands 10 Gulden coin prompted me to post my first journal entry although the nature of my dilemma is somewhat different.

    As a collector of world coins one of the challenges over the years has been to improve the quality of my collection, however, the number of suitable examples appearing at auction here in the UK is extremely limited with the consequence that most of my purchases are from auctions in the US and continental Europe with some from even further afield (e.g. Australia, Hong Kong and Japan).

    Although the Buyers Premium and shipping costs can vary dramatically between auctions they are known in advance,  whether the purchase will incur import duty should also be considered in what is now very much a global past-time, however the recent biggest uncertainty is currency valuations which seem to be more eratic than ever. Having recently paid invoices in USD, Euros and Swiss Francs my dilemma is do I pay immediately to get the coin in my hands as fast as possible or wait a few days and hope the exchange rate moves in my favour? or risk it going in the wrong direction - as the £ seems to be doing a lot at the moment.

    As coins often provide a tangible insight into the ever-changing history of the world, coupled with (many) years between the appearance of some issues which then may or may not match availability of funds, I expect I will probably carry on regardless and live with the 'excitment' of the currency markets. I can not see myself returning to collecting only UK issues although I would appreciate a more stable exchange rate rather than having to contend with +/- 5% depending on the day of the week!