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About Revenant1

  • Boards Title
    Learning the Ropes

Personal Information

  • Occupation
    Fire and Gas Protection Engineer
  • Hobbies
    Coin Collecting, Photography, Running
  • Location
    Houston, TX

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  1. Revenant1

    Ah, now this is a pickle.

    At the end of the day you're right but I'm too competitive and numbers obsesses to completely ignore it. Lol I had hoped that the entry would sound more joking and make it clear that that wasn't the main or over-riding concern for me. Even if it was more of a concern, the price and point value for most of these coins doesnt increase much from MS64 to MS66 - its not like, say, the roosevelt dimes. This category in the end favors the more complete sets and grades usually only come in as a tie-breaker, which is something I actually love about it.
  2. Revenant1

    Ah, now this is a pickle.

    Well, I managed to convince myself to stay patient, wait, keep my money in my pocket and wait to see if an 1877 Netherlands 10G would show up... and now 2 have! One is an MS65 in an old Fat NGC slab, graded MS65. One is in one of the new, nifty, pretty edge-view holders, graded MS66. The MS65 ends in 3 days. The MS66 ends in 9 days.... This is quite the choice... If the MS65 is ending at a good price do I go for it? Or wait, hold out, and go for the MS66.... The holders are an interesting angle on this as well in some ways. Several of the earlier coins in the set are old fat slabs with 9-digit serial numbers that start in 195 or 196, like this 1877 MS65... Again, points wise, the MS66 would be the better addition for the registry and for points, but my 1876 and 1879 are old fat slabs with 195 serials, just like the one that's on sale right now, and those three could make quite a group together. Granted, the 1888 is in one of the new edge view holders and, if I ever get around to crossing it, the 1875 would be in one too. Really, to make the whole set match I'd need to either re-holder all/most of them or swap out some coins for ones in old fattys... Boy, this is a choice that has me stumped at the moment though. Although... depending on what the final sale prices are... I could try to get both... Would that be crazy? Probably, yes. But being sane is over-rated. I've thought that for a long time. The more I look at the pictures (such as they are), the more I think the MS66 is probably the better-looking coin. The real question I think I'm going to have to answer is: Do I have the guts to pass on the MS65 and go after the MS66, knowing that if I don't win it I'm going to have to wait for the next coin to come around, and knowing that these are the first ones I've seen in 9 months (other than an MS64, which I just didn't want. I'll take an MS64 for a rarer, more key-date coin like the 1887, but not one of the more common dates in the series)?
  3. Revenant1

    We’ll get ‘em next year…

    After I graduated from undergrad a bunch of the people that I went to school with started a tailgate for graduates from our year called the “We’ll get ‘em next year” tailgate. I was a reference to the fact that our football team frankly wasn’t that great and when we’d have a bad game or a bad year we’d say, “We’ll get ‘em next year,” and we’d been saying that for several years running at this point. I’m realizing at this point that I’ve let this year slip past me and, contrary to what I said earlier in the year, I never got around to sending in that 1875 Netherlands 10G for cross-grading. With the deadline coming up in about 3 weeks I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it for this year, so I now found myself thinking, “Well, I’ll get it crossed next year.” I think I’ve been thinking this since at least 2016, based on the evidence of past entries. I’m still #1 in the category an I think I’ll still win without it, but the 1875 would put me over 50% complete – something I didn’t think was likely to ever happen when I first started the set, but I didn’t anticipate running across an 1887 or an 1888 at a reasonable price in those days. So that’ll have to be the big mission for 2019: Stop lying to myself and get the 1875 crossed…
  4. Revenant1

    Unexpectedly Revisiting the Family Mint Sets

    About 11 years ago now, during my last year as an undergraduate, I helped by step-father build a group of mint sets - one for all of our birth years. We worked together on it all summer, hunting down coins and mint sets, sifting through mint sets looking for coins that we would later submit ourselves, going to coin shows together. It was a lot of great fun and when it was all said and done we completed most of the sets. The 1958, 1982, and 1983 sets remained unfinished. We were going to try to go back and finish those later but it's been a wild ride the last 10 years for both of us. I've gone through a lot of life transitions. I think it has been over 10 years since any coins were bought for any of the sets. The sets came up recently in discussion with my step-father when we were having dinner for my birthday. Today they came up again while we were talking on the phone and he talked about wanting to do something about the 1983 set. It was only 20% complete, the most empty set of all of them. All of the others were over 50% complete. I was at a computer at work with nothing better to do this morning so I decided to start looking around on eBay. I found several coins for sale that could have filled holes in the 1983 sets, and then looked and found coins for the 1982 and 1958 sets, and some possible strong upgrades for the 1986 set. The 1986 set is my year and also happens to be my wife's year, so I have my biases. I emailed my step-father links to the coins I found so he could check them out. I told him I was only sending them for his information - what he did, if anything, was his call. He called me back tonight and told me he was thinking about picking up 4 of the 1983 coins and upgrading 2 of the 3 1986 coins I found. I jokingly pointed out that, while I was all for making the 1986 set, those would be upgrades and it might work better for his overall plan / goal to fill holes - I'm honest about my biases for the 1986 set but I always feel compelled to point out if that might not be the best approach for him. He got a laugh out of me. I had to let him go to focus on my son but I told him to let me know what he decided. He emailed me later and let me know that he had gotten those six coins. They'll make great new additions to the sets - the first new coins in a decade. The whole thing got me thinking about the changes in the last 10 years. We'd made good progress on a 2007 set, but since then we've had new babies in 2010 and 2016, with a new one coming in 2019. None of those sets are likely to be addressed in the near term. I don't think any of us have the stomach for that level of undertaking right now. My sister and I have both gotten married since this project was carried out. I lucked out with my wife, another 1986 baby, but my sister's husband was born in 1984. So that may become a new challenge / set to conquer. I'm also staring to make some sets I'm calling the "Atherton Family sets" - 1920 and 1924 sets for my Grandparents. This will be a separate undertaking of mine, separate from what I've done with my step-father, and it'll take me years to pursue it probably, but it's something I'm going to want to do. It has felt really good to revisit these sets, think about that now long-ago summer, and finally move some of these old sets a little closer to completion.
  5. Revenant1

    It's the waiting that's going to get me...

    Sounds like time to get a side-hustle and get paid in cash on the QT. Lol Yeah. I just know that I'll come out ahead in the long run. The wife wants / kind of needs to quit when the new baby comes so we don't get crushed by childcare costs, so paying off these loans is part of a broader plan to reduce our monthly recurring bills for the future.
  6. Revenant1

    It's the waiting that's going to get me...

    If I actually had CC debt that I was paying ~28% interest on that would be public enemy #1 for sure. I charge everything I can to the CC and pay it off each month, even daycare, because I get 1-3% cashback rewards and pay no interest since I pay it off each month, so I make money off using the card. Fortunately the cars are on 0% interest notes, which has left the student loans as our highest interest debt, so I've been chasing that down as best I can. I was thrilled when they changed the policies and made it so that every extra dollar you pay automatically goes to the higher interest debt, so my extra payments all go to the 6.8% loan and not the 4.3% loan. Every little bit helps.
  7. Revenant1

    It's the waiting that's going to get me...

    We're finally coming up on the end of the year. Starting in January the annual look back on things begins an around February we should find out about pay raises and bonuses. I'm hoping both for a decent raise and a great bonus. I joined the company about a year ago and I think I've performed beyond their expectations in a vast majority of ways, going from being a new hire to a person that's writing technical papers for the company and giving presentations at conferences and symposia. My goals / hopes for the bonus are pretty simple: 1) Pay off the last of my student loans (paying off the wife's will be the next battle) and 2) if the bonus is large enough, picking up a nice gold coin - possibly a double eagle, possibly one of the coins I need for my Netherlands 10G set. I won't know what I can get away with without the wife wanting to kill me until the bonuses are announced. Of course though, it's paying off the loans a getting that monthly bite out of the budget to go away that's the most important part and if the bonus is lack luster there may be no coin in service of that goal, but such is life. I'm also slowly building up some spending money to try to make a medium-ish purchase as an alternative approach. That could work for a 10G coin but it'd be a long wait if I angled for the Double Eagle, and I'd love to go for the Double Eagle. I really want to know... but I won't get to find out for about another 3 months, so I guess I'll just sit here and continue to wish and ramble.
  8. Revenant1

    Looks like I'm going to be looking to buy some MS70 gold soon.

    Thanks! I bluff my way through it in a reasonably convincing manner most days. I was happy enough to have enough savings / emergency money that I never had to sell anything during some of the hard times we've been through. I have little tolerance for spending money that isn't there to be spent or taking on debt for non-essentials and coin collecting certainly fits that definition. I'm hoping to retire at least my student debts in the next 6-12 months and then start taking more of a stab at my wife's.
  9. My wife and I found out a couple of weeks ago that we're expecting our second child in the middle of next year. Most people don't know yet but we'll get around to that when we're further along in the process and we know a little more. We won't have the first doctor's appointment for another 3 weeks. When my son was born I picked up a quarter oz gold American Eagle in MS70 for his birth year. I'll be looking to do that again with the new baby. I'm also hoping I might be able to talk my wife into letting me pick up the 1/10 oz Eagles for 2016 and 2019 and maybe grab the Silvers in MS 70 as well. I haven't kept up with the Silver Eagles like I'd like the last few years between paying my way through grad school and being unemployed for over a year for a while there but I'd like to get back into them at some point. At some point, I'm also going to be looking into the 1986 gold eagles in MS69. That was the first year of issue and happens to be the birthyear for my wife and myself and that just makes all of this the perfect group of coins for what I want to do here with the birth years. One of these days 1920 and 1924 $20 gold pieces will also be on the radar for the birth years of my grand parents. I lost my grandmother in 2016 a couple of weeks before Harvey hit and I'd like to get those for their years. No idea what I'd do in a similar vein for my parents in 1955/56 since the US wasn't really messing with gold in that period. I have zero clue when the budget will let me get away with those double eagles but I'm hopeful that I'll get a good bonus in early 2019 a little before the birth that'll let me get some of the other birth year pieces I want. I'll just have to wait and see what the situation is at the time. I'm not really up to anything else collecting-wise at the moment other than building some sets of the Queen's Beast coins.
  10. Revenant1

    Coins from Aberdeen

    In November of last year (2017), very shortly after I got my new job in October, I was sent to Aberdeen to visit the company’s home office for training and to meet all the people I’d be working with remotely face-to-face. My wife lived in England for 3 years and visited Scotand during that time and really wanted to go. We arranged for her parents to watch our son for a week, I bought her an extra ticket to come with me and she stayed in the hotel with me. Since the company was paying for the room it made for a cheap vacation for her. I still had to work during the day but we got plenty of time to do some sight-seeing and have some wonderful baby-free time, which is always good for a marriage. It’s likely that I’ll return to Aberdeen periodically over time if I stay with the company long term but it won’t be terribly often – perhaps once every 2 years or so. My wife wanted to come along because, with our plans to grow or family among other things, we weren’t sure if she’d be able to go when and if the opportunity arose again and she really wanted to go. I’m glad she did. It was a great deal more enjoyable that way. My wife recently dug through her purse to lighten her load and dug out a lot of residual English coinage from our trip. I separated the UK coinage from the American ones and I’m going to be hanging on to them. I need to get some flips to put them in. While we were there she also went by a bank and found a couple of fairly nice looking 10 pound notes for me to take home and those are now in my little currency album along with an old circulated Bar note that I was given by one of the other users here many years ago. They’re lightly circulated. Again, I’m sure they’re not terribly valuable and never will be as collectables, but they’re something I wanted to bring home from the trip nonetheless. The coins are circulated and not particularly collectable, but they’ll be nice mementos of the trip and something to show to my son as he gets older. When I was younger my grandmother, who passed last year, a few months before this trip, used to show me and gave me a bunch of old coins from places like Pakistan (dated around 1961), Argentina, Chile, Mexico, etc. My mother also had friends that brought us back coinage from Singapore, China, and Asian locations. These were coins that my grandfather brought home with him while he traveled for work as an engineer. I was the first male grandchild born after his death. I was named for him and these coins, which I still have, were a nice connection to that piece of my family history. They were a fun addition to my mother’s stories about being in Argentina and buying a whole bunch of French fries (papas fritas) when they thought they were ordering fried chicken (pollo frito). My son, who is named for me in the same way that I was named for him, will hopefully enjoy seeing these and the older coins from his great grandfather as he gets older. Ben is turning 2 this month. I'll have a while to wait before I know for sure if he shares my interests in these things, but I know he likes shiny metal based on the way he likes to rifle through my silver eagles and sunshine mint rounds. I brought him coins. My wife brought home lots of Cadbury chocolate. I think I did better there but the chocolate was good.
  11. Revenant1

    Cracking Out for Pleasure

    I've never been one to crack out, but I usually like the slabs if they've been well-treated.
  12. I love the double eagles from the early 20th. It's a major goal of mine to one day get a 1920 and a 1924 - the birthyears for my grandparents.
  13. Revenant1

    The 105 year old French Bird in my house

    I picked this up in late 2017 but we were focused on the holidays and an upcoming move so I never go to log-on here and post about picking this up, or even add it to my registry. Back in December my wife gave me the okay to pick up a small gold coin. The original idea I had in mind was to pick up an 1877 for my Netherlands 10G set. The 1877 is the last of the more common dates that I still don't own for that set and at the time leading up to her giving me the okay there was an MS66 on sale for a good price. Unfortunately, for me, that coin sold about 4 days before I got to buy something. The joys of life and timing sometimes I suppose. I wasn't too broken up about it. Unlike the 1888 that would pop up for sale 2 months later the 1877 comes up for sale pretty regularly in MS65 or MS66. I'll just have to be patient on that front for a while. In the mean time, I'm never one to waste the wife saying it's okay for me to buy something golden, so I started looking around and saw a bunch of Swiss and French 20 Franc coins going for prices and grades that I was okay paying. I thought about it for a while. The Swiss 20 has been on my list for a while because it would form a nice pair with my 1922 Swiss 10 Franc, but I've thought it would be fun to have a Rooster for a while too. I ultimately decided on the rooster, picking up this MS64 from 1913 - the year before the start of WWI. Many European countries were putting out small gold coins with an AGW of about 0.19-0.20 troy ounces at the time. The fact that they're all about the same size and from the same time period makes them interesting to look at together and cross-compare. I'm going to be a bit more relaxed on grades with this set/project. I'll mostly be looking for MS65 or higher when I can find it for a nice price but I'm generally happy with MS64s, especially on 100+ year old coins. I'm try to be more particular with the 10Gs but that's a very special set for me. I've been wanting to build up a collection of European gold type coins from the late Victorian era (late 19th century) and early 20th century. The years I'm wanting to target for this range roughly from 1875 (the year the Netherlands 10G set starts) to 1913 (the start of WWI). I picked up the Swiss 10 Franc from 1922 years ago mostly on a whim because it looked interesting and was going for a nice price, but I'm wanting to keep this project, as and if I get it off the ground, to mostly pre-WWI coins because the world was a very different place during and after that War than it was prior to it. I will have some deviations from this. I want to pick up some British Sovereigns from the George VI and early Elizabeth II period and I want to get at least one Netherlands 10G coin from during the reign of Wilhelm II (father Wilhelm III, ruling from about 1840-1849, short reign). I will also be looking for a 1920s Swiss 20 Franc to pair with the 10 Franc at some point too, just because I like the Swiss cross design on that coin. I'll be excited to see in person is the French "Lucky Angel" design from the late 19th century, and it'll be fun to add some Italian gold because my wife lived there for several years as a child and Italy holds a special place in her heart. Of course, that's quite a list, and I'm getting ahead of myself because it'll take me a while to get through that and beyond. I'm expecting this to be my next major project as the Netherlands 10G set winds down for a while. Since those coins come up for sale so rarely I can't just buy more for the set whenever I want, so I'll need something else that's more flexible to play with while I wait.
  14. Revenant1

    Coin Photography as Macro Photography

    It's been a long time since I tried proofs. I'd have to play around with that some more.
  15. Revenant1

    Coin Photography as Macro Photography

    I wanted to share a bit of new vs old photo results. Both the coin images are of the obverse of the 1876. I set up my equipment the same way I usually do for macro photography of miniatures and other really small objects. I have a 105 mm f/2.8 VR Macro lens for my D600 and I added the 2x teleconverter so I could shoot really close in to the coin - having the coin fill most of the frame for really high resolution images - while still staying far enough back that I didn't get in the way of my light. I set up 2 speedlites. I initially was going to use both and have them behind the diffusion panels of the shadowbox but that was killing the luster in the images. I ended up just using one speedlite with a 1/128th full power setting undiffused. That gave me the results I liked the best. Using a small LED flash light to shine a little light on the coin made it much easier to autofocus with the lens. It's fairly dark in the shadowbox and the 2x teleconverter limits the effective aperture of the lens, making it hard to get enough light in for the autofocus to succeed without a little help. The circle of light projected by the flashlight also made it easier to keep the coins positioned consistently when swapping them out. Since the light from the small flashlight is so week it doesn't significantly impact the final image - the much more powerful speedlite dominates in the 1/100 of a second in which the image is taken. Hopefully writing all of this down here will give me something to reference and help me remember later when I want to do this again. I'm including a picture of the set-up on the floor of the room I use as a home-office for now. I suppose it might be easier to do these things if I just set all of this up on a table and didn't force myself to flatten myself out on my stomach on the ground but... hey, I'm still fairly young (31) and don't have trouble getting back up... yet. I was able to basically stand the slabs on their edge with them leaning ever so slightly back on the back of the shadowbox in some cases. I think the new shots have much better detail, especially in his hair, beard and the field of the coin. They also look a lot sharper overall. I'm not sure how this compares to how most others do it. Most of my camera equipment - except for the macro lens itself - was purchased for portrait and event photography and I generally find myself putting the same equipment to use here. I'd love to get a really nice lens-mounted ring-flash one of these days. I think that would provide the best and easiest lighting for something like this. But so far I just haven't been able to justify the cost.