Electric Peak

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About Electric Peak

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    Collector

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  1. Cheaper too... And eventually, they'll all be brown, though it may take a while. As a large cent collector, I think brown is much more attractive. So many "red" ones are ugly, with spots and fingerprints.
  2. Hey Rick, et al., I'm still here too, but work and vacations have been taking most of my time. I'm almost done with the half dime set, and adding now and then to Walkers and Mercs. But I'm trying to decide what "classic" set to focus on next. Alan
  3. Steve Crain (Liberty Seated half dime expert) responded to me on the Liberty Seated Collectors Club message boards that as of the last LSCC member survey in 2005, nine examples of this variety were known.
  4. Stack's Bowers conducted the auctions associated with the recent Baltimore show, including internet-only sessions after the show. I won three lots (six coins) from one of those internet-only sessions. One lot was a decent circulated 1844-O placeholder for my collection of half dimes. A second lot consisted of four half dimes, the first of which was the one I wanted - an AU 1842 with reverse die cracks. I will probably write something about those two lots in future journals. The topic for now is the third lot I won. It is an 1848 "medium date" half dime. What caught my eye is that the date is noticeably farther to the right than on other 1848 half dimes. I looked for info, but neither Valentine (1931) nor Blythe (1992) mention it. The newer book by Bowers (2016) says only a few examples are known. The variety is discussed in a couple short Gobrecht Journal articles from 1993, where discovery credit is given to Neil (1927). I was not specifically aware of the "date far right" variety of 1848 half dimes when I first saw the photo of my new coin. But I have been looking carefully at Liberty Seated half dimes for some time now. And when something catches my attention, I check it out. In this case, I noticed what appears still to be a rare variety. The auction session occurred when I was on vacation several time zones west. Before the trip, I wasn't sure I'd be able to bid live, so I entered an absentee bid. Because the coin is a rare variety in a series that is not (yet) especially popular, I had no idea what to expect to have to pay to get it. The coin is in a PCGS AU53 holder. I bid about four times the FMV for a garden variety 1848 half dime. While on vacation, I received email notification that I had won it - for garden variety price! Apparently no one else noticed or cared that it was an unusual variety. So this is another case of finding something interesting and rare for regular price. More such things are certainly out there. If you learn about the things you collect and have the time to look, you can find things like this too. It has been a lot of fun for me... Alan
  5. I should have noticed this before... When I started collecting half dimes several years ago, I was still working primarily on my large cent set. My idea with the half dimes was to start with the collector era proofs, 1858-1873. But I ended up getting hooked on the larger, business strike set of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, and only infrequently added to the set of proofs. Late last year, however, I did make one of those proof additions. It is a nice 1863 PR 66 Cameo, certified by PCGS - one of the last I got into the NGC registry. But there was something about it that I missed until just recently. My last two journals were about taking new pictures of my coins. The proof half dimes just had their turn. When examining the photos, I noticed something peculiar. Some background: Starting in 1871, a defect appears on half dimes: The top of the D in UNITED is broken. According to Valentine, this occurs in all but one variety of 1871 (P), and all Philadelphia and San Francisco half dimes of 1872 and 1873. So the D must have become defective in the hub, but only after at least one 1871 (P) and the 1871-S obverse dies were made. My 1863 proof half dime has the defective D. Judd lists patterns dated 1863 and 1864 that were probably struck in the early 1870s, consistent with use of the hub with the broken D. For 1863, only copper and aluminum patterns are listed, though Breen wrote that one silver example had been seen. My coin looks silver to me. I'll be having some more expert folks look at it in the near future. On the one hand, I'm a little embarrassed that I did not notice the broken D earlier, or, if I did, that I did not note that it "should not" be on a 1863 half dime. On the other hand, I am disappointed in PCGS (in this case) for missing it too. They are supposed to be experts, after all. (The certification is for a garden variety 1863 proof.) Either way, I am very happy to have a rare item! Alan
  6. I should have noticed this before... When I started collecting half dimes several years ago, I was still working primarily on my large cent set. My idea with the half dimes was to start with the collector era proofs, 1858-1873. But I ended up getting hooked on the larger, business strike set of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, and only infrequently added to the set of proofs. Late last year, however, I did make one of those proof additions. It is a nice 1863 PR 66 Cameo, certified by PCGS - one of the last I got into the NGC registry. But there was something about it that I missed until just recently. My last two journals were about taking new pictures of my coins. The proof half dimes just had their turn. When examining the photos, I noticed something peculiar. Some background: Starting in 1871, a defect appears on half dimes: The top of the D in UNITED is broken. According to Valentine, this occurs in all but one variety of 1871 (P), and all Philadelphia and San Francisco half dimes of 1872 and 1873. So the D must have become defective in the hub, but only after at least one 1871 (P) and the 1871-S obverse dies were made. My 1863 proof half dime has the defective D. Judd lists patterns dated 1863 and 1864 that were probably struck in the early 1870s, consistent with use of the hub with the broken D. For 1863, only copper and aluminum patterns are listed, though Breen wrote that one silver example had been seen. My coin looks silver to me. I'll be having some more expert folks look at it in the near future. On the one hand, I'm a little embarrassed that I did not notice the broken D earlier, or, if I did, that I did not note that it "should not" be on a 1863 half dime. On the other hand, I am disappointed in PCGS (in this case) for missing it too. They are supposed to be experts, after all. (The certification is for a garden variety 1863 proof.) Either way, I am very happy to have a rare item! Alan
  7. In response to a request... I received a PM from a reader asking for details of my coin photography setup. I figured I might as well answer for everyone to see. (See photo below) Please keep in mind that I am not a photography expert, and welcome suggestions! Camera: Nikon D5500 Lens: AF-S Nikkor 18-55 mm, set at 55 mm Aperture: f/11 Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec Light: OttLite w/ OttLite 508 HD bulb Structure: Home-made! The camera is held firm to the 1x3 board with a bolt into its tripod mount hole. The thin narrow piece of wood is glued to the 1x3, and serves as a rail for the block with black-painted front. There is another small piece of wood screwed to the underside at the camera end to provide some tilt, so slabs can rest against the black block without tipping. I use the camera's live mode and touch screen to take the shots. That reduces the risk of moving the camera or setup when the pictures are being taken. Even small motions can ruin the photos with the 1/10 sec exposures. Auto-focus seems to work just fine for this purpose at the settings above. But I had trouble getting good focus with larger apertures. Alan
  8. I'm finally getting some time to do this. It seems to me that people participate in the registry for a number of different reasons. For me, it is a place to catalog my collection (although the recent policy change regarding PCGS certified coins changes that a bit), to share it with other participants, to see what the rest of you are doing, and to learn something about coins in general since I do not have the time to study them all. Part of the cataloging and sharing is providing photographs of the coins. Up to now, most of the photos are those provided by the auction houses and dealers from whom I bought the coins, with a few lower quality shots of my own when there were no source pix (as for some coins bought at coin shows). A year or so ago I bought a new camera, primarily for taking vacation pictures. But I recently brought my half dimes home for a photo shoot. I found a setup that I think for the most part pretty accurately portrays what they look like in-hand. I used the same camera settings and lighting for every shot, not attempting to over-expose the more deeply toned coins as the auction companies & dealers sometimes do. I cropped and scaled each photo to 600x600 pixels for uniformity of display. In any case, I have updated the photos in my primary Liberty Seated Half Dime set. I will continue processing remaining photos and will post them in my other half dime sets as time permits. When that is all done, my other certified coins will get the same treatment. I am hopeful that the color will be realistic for the large cents when their time comes. Here is one of my favorite new shots. Enjoy. Alan
  9. BTW, the light spots around the head on the left-hand coin are a feature of the more common proof variety. They are lumps due to die rust.
  10. Having fun examining things closely... Another coin I got from the Heritage auctions associated with the recent FUN show is an 1871 proof half dime. I already had one graded PF 64 Cameo, and wanted to upgrade to this new PF 66 Cameo. But there is a difference more important to me than the TPG grade. The Redbook and other references say that 960 1871 proof half dimes were struck. In his book on Liberty Seated Half Dimes, Al Blythe stated that many of them were melted in July 1873, a few months after the denomination had been discontinued. In the era of proof production for collectors, from 1858 on, references indicate that one die pair was used for proofs in 11 of the years (including 1871), and that two proof varieties exist for the other five years. My two 1871 proofs were not made from the same obverse die. In the images below, you can see that the date is farther to the left in the right-hand image. When I reported this on the Liberty Seated Collectors Club chat boards, one of the other members took it upon himself to examine about fifteen other recently sold 1871 proof half dimes in the Heritage archives. All of them match the coin on the left below, except for my new one on the right. Although fifteen coins is not the entire sample of extant 1871 proof half dimes, for the time being, I think it is pretty cool to own the only currently known example of this new proof variety. Unfortunately, half dimes are not popular enough for this to be especially valuable. But I plan to hold on to it for a long time regardless. I hope all of you have as much fun with our hobby as I do... Alan To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.
  11. It had to happen sooner or later. One of the other coins I "won" in the Heritage FUN auctions was an addition to my set of proof Liberty Seated Half Dimes, 1858-1873. It fills the 1859 slot in my collection, but not in the NGC Registry. It is graded PR64CAM by PCGS, and is therefore not eligible. It also has a green CAC sticker. This is my first higher dollar purchase that will not be in the registry. I have not been in the PCGS Registry, and have no plans to get involved with that. Why would I, with a mixed NGC and PCGS collection, decide to start up in a place that will not accept a majority of my coins? (And a related hint to NGC: Don't expect as many new registry members as you were getting prior to the decision to exclude PCGS-graded coins.) I will, however, continue to participate in the NGC Registry. But I will not cross my PCGS coins. Even at a discounted price, it seems foolish to me to spend money to switch from one company to the other. I collect coins, not holders or special inserts. I won't care if there is a lack of slab uniformity if I ever display or sell my collection. (That said, I have paid to "upgrade" a number of old, beaten-up NGC slabs to newer scratch-resistant edge-view holders for a number of my smaller coins. I wanted to be able to see and photograph them better.) In any case, the new addition to my set of proofs is the first in quite a while. Because there are only a few, hard to locate coins left to complete my main set of business strike Liberty Seated Half Dimes, I probably will try to finish off the collector era proofs in the near future. My goal for that set is cameo designated coins, graded 64 or better. Alan To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.
  12. Addition to Type Collection... I had been full of anticipation heading into Heritage's auction sessions associated with the FUN show. I was fully expecting to add another ex-Gardner half dime to my collection. Alas, someone else wanted it more... Not to worry, though. I had other coins in mind. In addition to the series set building that has been my primary numismatic activity, I occasionally add to my type collection. In this case, it wasn't one of those pesky little half dimes. It's a whole dime! When I was in high school, my collection started expanding beyond Lincoln Cents. In addition to learning to love the early copper, I assembled a complete set of uncirculated Roosevelt silver dimes that still resides in a nice plastic holder, and I dabbled in Morgan Dollars, Washington Quarters, Mercury Dimes, Buffalo Nickels, Indian Cents, and Barber Dimes. The new type coin is now my best example of that last series. It's an 1892 dime. Being in an NGC holder, it even found its way into my registry type sets. It's graded MS 66, with green CAC sticker. It's odd though. I really like the Barber Dimes, but simply cannot get excited about the quarters and half dollars. I'm not sure why. In any event, my new dime is pictured below. Alan To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.
  13. In the spare penny tray One of the secondary collecting goals that I've had, but never put any effort (i.e., $$$) into, is every year to add a 100 year old coin and a 200 year old coin to my collection. The higher priority goals simply took all the money, and I haven't had the time to search for and research those "century" coins. This past Saturday my wife and I made our annual trip to visit my mother at Christmas-time, in Bethlehem, PA. The tradition is for us to chat for awhile and take her out to a local restaurant for dinner. This year's eatery had us paying the bill at a counter by the door. While standing there, I noticed the extra penny tray. I collect coins, after all. One of the cents caught my eye. It wasn't flashy like most of the others. It was brown, but with a bright border. I picked it up to look at it, and saw that it was a wheatie. But because I can't see well up close with my contact lenses, I could not read the date or be certain if there was a mint mark or not. I asked if I could take it, was told "yes", and put it in my pocket. Later that night, I traded contacts for glasses, took the coin out of my pocket, and examined it. All of the wheaties I've found in recent years have been from the 40s and 50s. But this one was older. The date is 1916, and I could see a mint mark. Taking off the glasses for a good close-up view, I saw a tiny S. That had me mildly excited. I have my childhood Lincoln Cent collection in a pair of Whitman albums. I shouldn't call it my childhood collection though, because I have improved only two of them during my adult collecting. There is a decent 1916-S in the first album. (Only the 09-S VDB, 09-S, 14-D, 22 no D, and 31-S are missing). But I also had a Whitman folder for my second bests. I knew that it was far less complete. Sure enough, the 1916-S hole was empty. So my new find has a new place of honor. Well, it's a better place than the coffee can that holds all my other extra wheaties. It isn't exactly 100 years old, but close. And it was a pleasant little experience to start the new year. The bigger numismatic experience so far was getting four half dimes and a dime in Heritage's FUN Show auctions. More on them later. I hope you all had a great Christmas holiday season, and wish you all the best in the coming year. Oh yes, and Congratulations to all the Registry Award winners. Well done! Alan To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.
  14. Pretty cool. Because it has been getting harder to find nice examples of the few coins I still need to finish my primary set of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, I have started collecting interesting varieties. This has been an enjoyable addition to my collecting habit. Part of this new pursuit is simply gathering information on the varieties. As part of that effort I have been reading "A Guide Book of Liberty Seated Silver Coins" by Q. David Bowers. While on the 1840-O No Drapery entry, I was oddly struck with a sense of familiarity when I looked at the photos. I quickly got into my registry set photos to compare. Sure enough, it is my coin that is pictured in the book! Having found that, of course I had to check them all. In the end, I found a total of six matches, five in my primary set (1839, 1840-O No Drapery, 1841, 1859 [detail photo], and 1862), and one in my second set (1844). In four of the cases, the photos in the book are the same as ones I downloaded from auction websites when I got those coins. But the photos for the other two were different. For one of those, I had only my own not-so-great pictures. But I found both in the Stack's Bowers (not where I bought them) archive, and saved those photos. So now I have a little more of the transaction history of two of my coins. In one case (the 1844), the CAC sticker was added after the Stack's Bowers sale and before the Heritage sale when I got it. In the other case (the 1862), the holder changed, having been an ANACS MS67 slab in the Stack's Bowers sale, and an NGC MS67 holder, with CAC sticker, when I got it from a dealer at a Baltimore show. My wife thinks I'm nuts for tracking down all of this information. She thinks I'm nuts for collecting these things that all look the same... But I enjoy it, and I hope you all continue to enjoy our hobby in whatever way you do it. Merry Christmas to all! Alan To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.