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Numismatics has always been an obsession with me. It’s either all in or all out. While I have been able to maintain an even keel on almost all my sets, it has not been easy as she goes with my new custom set, “The Beginning, Dependability, and End of the Spanish Peseta.” This year most of my custom sets have seen some activity including my Inspirational Ladies set with a new French coin commemorating Joan of Arc and a Fantasy Crown featuring, “The Three Graces.” All my sets have had aesthetic upgrades meaning new and reformatted pictures. Having more time to spend on coins is one of the benefits of being retired. Other big purchases this year have included the Apollo 11 commemoratives less the gold coin and two upgrades to my 7070 type-set. The most recent addition to my type-set just this week is a PCGS MS-64 1906 Barber Quarter with a green bean. Trying to keep a promise to my wife, I have sold some of my doubles this year to buy the aforementioned coins. Interestingly, I have been pretty successful in keeping our household budget spreadsheet balanced. However, starting a new and unexpected set has sent me catapulting off into obsession oblivion! Thus, I think there should be a danger label with all coin sales, “Danger, Buying Coins Maybe Detrimental to Your Budget.” All this begs to question, “How did I get here, and why the Spanish Peseta?” To get those answers, I need to go all the way back to 2013 and my seated imagery set. It was then that I discovered coins featuring Hispania in a seated position on the 1870 Spanish Provisional Government coins. While I only needed one of the copper coins and one of the silver coins, I thought it would be nice to collect them all. Today I only lack the two scarcest silver coins. I have held all these coins over the years without having the bulk of them entered into either a custom set or a registry set. As far as the registry set, none currently exists for these coins. That was until I sent an e-mail to NGC asking for a set a few weeks ago. NGC has responded and shortly there will be a set for my set-less Spanish Provisional Government coins. Up until last September I couldn’t imagine myself being here today having completed a nice 16 coin Spanish peseta set complete with write-ups totaling over 10,000 words. That was until purely by chance I noticed an 1868 bronze 5-peseta pattern for auction on E-bay. I knew of these copper patterns and have always wanted one. As you all know, I won the auction, had it conserved, and graded at MS-63. This had the effect of striking a match in an oil refinery and I was off to the races. Now I had to have a so-called home for the Spanish Provisional Government coins in my collection and only intended for limited custom set of just those coins. That was until I was intrigued by the following paragraph on the Royal Spanish Mint’s website: “The currency is a faithful reflection of history. Within its small dimensions, all the coordinates of the moment in which it was coined are enclosed and are always an inexhaustible source of information. The aesthetic, political, religious conceptions and the economic situation of the people are indelibly reflected in these small metal discs. Therefore, the 134 years in which the peseta has spent in the economy of Spain have seen transcendental events happen in the conformation of what is now the life of the Spaniards. Kings, artists, and conquerors have passed through the hands of the citizens; The peseta has become a key piece of popular iconography: longed for, hated, idolized ... in short, the history of the peseta is, in large part, the history of Spanish men and women entering the modern world.” Wanting to capture the essence of that paragraph, I enthusiastically expanded my set and used the paragraph as a road-map for the write-ups. Having bought the coins I needed and read and re-read the many articles and pieces on Spanish history, I believe that I have met the set objective and now it is finished. There is another aspect about this set that is unlike any of my other custom sets and that is that I don’t have to buy any more coins for it. It is complete as a set. My other sets are more open-ended in that when I find a coin that meets the set objective, I add it, much like the coins for my Inspirational Ladies set. Of course, this means I’ll have to come down from my Spanish Peseta high. It is always nice to buy a lot of new coins. However, it’s a huge letdown when you’re done. I’m currently suffering from coin withdrawal. ): The following is a link to my completed custom set: https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=28027 Furthermore, I’m using a picture of my new Barber Quarter as my blog photo. Whew, now I can go out and blow leaves around Gary
Well it’s been a long time since I last wrote. Retirement has kept me pretty busy at my church having delivered the morning sermon last Sunday and again tomorrow. With all that I am doing, I have a whole new appreciation of pastors. However, I’m not writing about my outside exploits today but my numismatic ones. You see while I have been busy with church activities, I have been amassing several new purchases along the way including a new book! I also served as kind of a consultant for a Coin World writer who is publishing an article about Laura Gardin Fraser in the next issue. Oh, and I will have to write about the podcast I recorded for Coin World that is still being edited. But today I’m writing about a Spanish provisional government pattern I got in the mail this week from an e-bay seller in of all places, Argentina. First the new book. I haven’t got it yet but it is on order from Wizard Coin Supply. The book is by Roger Burdette entitled, “Girl On The Silver Dollar.” It is Roger’s contention that the girl that graces the Morgan Dollar is not Anna Williams and I have long wanted to know why not. These are indeed exciting times and without further ado, let me get into the meat of my blog. After the 1868 ouster of Queen Isabella II from the throne in Spain came a new provisional government and new coinage. Without a royal on the throne these exciting new coins featured the feminine personification of Spain, Hispania. I started collecting these coins years ago for my seated imagery collection but it has been a rough go. Because most of the coins circulated very few of them survive today in MS condition. Fortunately, I have been able to purchase all the copper coins in MS condition but the silver coins are difficult and expensive to obtain in that condition. My highest grading silver coin is AU-53. I am still missing three of the silver coins in my collection and need a miracle to get the 20-Centimos silver coin with a mintage of 5000 and a survivability today much lower. However, I digress. Back to the point of toady’s blog. Since I am a guy who only started collecting these for their design, I wanted to have at least one coin with design features as crisp as if they were just struck. In this copper pattern I get all that and them some. The relief on the pattern is much higher and sharper than that on any of the coins, bar none! When I happened upon the e-bay listing by accident I couldn’t believe it. Because it was an overseas seller, I hesitated a little. When I saw that he had an excellent feedback percentage with over 11,000 replies I placed a reasonable snip bid on what is now the first pattern in my collection. I won the auction with a bid that is about half of what certified examples had sold for at Heritage. Still this pattern has a few drawbacks with some sort of foreign residue on the obverse and around the rims and lettering but most important NO mechanical damage. There does not appear to be any nicks or scratches in any of the fields! Yesterday, I sent my pattern off to NCS for conservation that I hope leads to a good grade. With that I am starting a new custom set over at Collectors Society entitled, “The Coinage of the Spanish Provisional Government.” It is populated with all the coins I currently own including my new purchase albeit in “want” status until it is graded. There is a lot of information I have collected and saved that I will have to shake the dust from but it all leads to a great start to a new set! If you look there is a rabbit at the feet of Hispania on the pattern that is not on any of the coins. This design feature goes all the way back to Hadrian and the Roman Empire but for now I can’t remember what the rabbit signifies. I digress again! You know I’m getting excited by all the rambling on! Thus, I will leave you with a link to my new set. https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=28027 Oh BTW, I’m also posting a Germania Mint medal I just purchased featuring you guessed it, “The Allegories.” Germania and Britannia are the first in the series. Germania and Columbia are next! This looks like it will be a pretty cool series of medals that I will want to collect. Gary
When I read Jackson64’s journal, “Added coins 4 and 5 to my Jersey 1/12 shilling set” I got stoked because there was much about what he was saying about his style of collecting that matches my own. For instance, I like to manage 4 or 5 sets at a time like he does. Currently, I am working on a US type set, along with my custom sets Inspirational Ladies, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, and The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser. Still, there is a bit of a twist to my collecting habits that is slightly different meaning that I am actively pursuing coins for my US type set and LGF custom set while at the same time passively seeking coins for the other two. By passively, I mean that if I run across something that I like and it fits into the Inspirational Ladies and Seated Imagery sets, I will often buy those coins. Recently I bought a new coin for my Inspirational Ladies custom set. I get a lot of coin related e-mails listing various coins for sale and I tend to peruse most of them. Much of the time I see nothing of interest and immediately delete them. However, a recent e-mail from Talisman Coins listed a really cool 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation 2017 silver dollar featuring Miss Canada. For a while there, I was hemming and hawing about purchasing it as a single coin. A little later I got another e-mail from Talisman listing a Canadian proof set with the Miss Canada Silver Dollar included but with a twist. This coin was different in that it had gold plating in selected places on the coin. When I saw a picture of this coin my jaw about dropped. Rarely have I seen medallic art with the level of intricacy and beauty as is this coin! The only possible show stopper was that it was not offered as a single but only in a set with proof versions of the other Canadian circulating coins. So I bought seven coins to get one. I considered cracking out the dollar to submit it separately. That said, this set is not at all cheesy because every single one of the circulating coins were struck up in pure silver, from the nickel to the “toonie.” The standard dollar, Miss Canada dollar, and two dollar all have some level of gold plating. Pulling the dollar and submitting it would have been easy had the coins been mounted in individual capsules. When the set arrived it came packaged with book-like leather covers and the coins encased in a single plastic mount. Simply put, this set is way too nice to crack out any of the coins for a submission. This presents a dilemma of how to enter the Miss Canada coin into the Inspirational Ladies set. Perhaps, I will have to buy eight coins to get one. Buy the single all silver uncirculated Miss Canada dollar, submit it, and post the pictures of the gold plated version. This all seems like a pretty big expense just to get one coin into my set. Sometimes this hobby of ours is just not logical! We’ll see, I’m in no hurry. On another front, I just purchased a very nicely toned PCGS MS-63 1853 with arrows Seated Liberty Dime for my type set replacing an XF-40 dime. This presents another problem of how to represent this new purchase in my NGC set. Simple, I just keep the old coin and use the MS-63 pictures. …Or, since this coin was toned I could search Heritage to see if my coin was ever auctioned. What I found was that Heritage auctioned it in 2004 in an NGC holder meaning that someone along the way cracked it out and sent it to PCGS. Thus if the holder number is still valid, I might try entering the old NGC number. Naw, this is all ridiculous I’m not going to that degree. Interestingly, NGC had the coin graded at MS-63 also. Happy collecting all!!!! Gary