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Found 6 results

  1. gherrmann44

    Happy Mothers Day!

    Happy Mothers Day to all the Collectors Society Mothers. Some years ago I may have posted this coin but I don't remember. That said the message of this coin is always appropriate and I dedicate it to mothers everywhere. Therefore, I am posting this coin and its story now. The 2008 Latvian 20-Lats gold coin commemorates the 15th anniversary of the renewal of the Lats currency following Latvian independence from the old Soviet Union. Though this coin commemorates Latvian Independence, it also celebrates motherhood by utilizing a 1922 design conceived by sculptor Teodors Zalkalns, but never used. Additionally, this coin has the distinction of being named the Coin of the Year in 2010 by Krause Publications. Krause Publications is a leading publisher of several numismatic books and periodicals. This NGC MS-67, 2008 Latvian 20-Lats coin minted by the Austrian Mint has a mintage of only 5000. The diameter of the coin is 22mm and weighs 10 grams. This coin has a gold fineness 0.999 and has an actual gold weight of 0.352739 Oz. The gold "Coin of Latvia" shines with the promise of a good fortune and happiness in the future. It is also a special sign of recognition of an outstanding Latvian sculptor, since it carries out the project conceived by Teodors Zalkalns (Grinbergs until 1930; 1876-1972) in 1922 to create a 20-lats gold coin. The plaster model of the coin preserved in the archives of the Latvian National Museum of History contains symbols that are of great significance to Latvia. Zalkalns' images of mother belong to the classical treasures of Latvian sculpture. The sculptures created during World War I and modeled after a refugee from Courland are a potent symbol of the nation's suffering and transcending that suffering. The obverse of the coin also features a woman in a headscarf, which to any Latvian signifies motherhood: when a baby was born, the husband presented the wife with a headscarf. A woman used it to cover her head whenever she ventured out in the world. Folk tradition has it that a person who is lost can find the right way if she turns the headscarf inside out and ties it anew; that a knot in one of the loose ends can help one remember, and if such a knot is tied when a star is falling, one's wish will come true. All these good things are tied to the mother image. Mother is the symbol of never-ending cycle of life, linking the past, present and future generations. The feminine principle gives life to an individual and likewise is at the core of the family and state. The feminine principle unites the spiritual with the material; the symbols on the reverse of the coin, bread, apple, vessel with a curdled milk beverage and a jug of milk also signify fertility and plenitude. A knife, symbolizing masculine action, is placed next to the feminine images. Finally, I want to thank all the mothers out there for the selfless sacrifices they make on behalf of their children. I also want to thank my wife for her unconditional love for my children. I also want to thank my mother for putting up with me and instilling Christian values in my life that have allowed me to be successful and joyful in spite of the hardships. I love you Mom, I love you Linda. Gary
  2. Some of you may remember from my post about getting my MS65 1888 in early 2018 that, at the time I won that coin, I’d only seen one other coin of that date come up for sale that had been graded by NGC. That wasn’t too surprising given that, at the time, only 20 had been graded by NGC and, even now, only 22 have been encapsulated by NGC. I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to check this before but PCGS has graded a total of 33. So, assuming there hasn’t been any that were cracked out and/or re-submitted without having the old labels sent in to have them pulled from the census, there’s at most 55 of these coins graded by the two major companies. Side note – but I’m a bit surprised that more of these have been graded by PCGS than NGC – I thought NGC tended to grade more World coins and had a better reputation with World coins but maybe collectors of this series prefer PCGS overall – or maybe they used to. It’s all hard to say for sure. That other coin was an MS-62 that the seller wanted $875.00 for. I watched that thing I think for the better part of two years, wondering if it would sell and wondering if the seller would drop the price if it didn’t – they never did. In early 2016 – before I got laid off a few months later - I tried to offer the seller $650 for it - more than reasonable I thought at the time (I think the price guide at the time put it at about $575 in MS63). They still wanted over $800 and counter-offered with $825. I passed. I had had a hard enough time just making that offer. I found the idea of an MS62 for that set fairly underwhelming. I really wanted MS65 or better for that set but I had been somewhat willing to accept it for that coin just because it was the key-date of the series. That coin continued to sit in their inventory – until it didn’t! it went poof one day and I never knew (but always wondered) if someone finally bit the bullet and paid what they wanted for it or if they just gave up and pulled it off eBay. Well… I think I might have found out! The other day I got an email for my saved search on the 10G series and it was an 1888, in MS62, in the same generation of holder as that one from before (they were both in the newer generation of holder with the edge-view and the prongs). I can’t remember 100% for sure - it’s been a long time, literally years - but I think it was the same seller offering it for sale too. Except now, it wasn’t not listed as a BIN for $875. It was selling in an auction and the starting bid price of $0.99. I guess, after about 5 years or so now, they’ve finally given up on waiting, wishing, and hoping they’d find someone willing to buy it at that price. It reminds me of something “Just Bob” said on the chat boards recently – “you have to remember that, for many series, 600 pieces extant would be a huge hoard.” Even with only 22 graded by NGC (I have no clue how many of the original mintage of ~35,000 survive to this day), if the collector base is shallow enough, as it seems to be with this set, an MS62 could still prove to be a cheap coin that can be had for near melt. “Rare” is relative and “rare” doesn’t always translate into “valuable.” Seeing this pop up like this immediately got my interest and my curiosity piqued. Obviously, my finances being what they are at this point, I have no interest in getting in on this. Even if I had the cash, I wouldn’t have to worry about bidding on this. I have the 1888 that I want already – fortunately this does not have to be salt in the wound right now. I got to watch this sell, never bidding, and smile the whole time, because I got to see what everyone else thinks this thing is truly worth. Even if I’m wrong and it isn’t the same coin or the same seller, I still got to see what this thing went for when the bidders get to set the price. (There’s only 6 graded by NGC in this grade, so I have at least a 16% chance I’m right, right?) I knew going in that it wasn’t going to get anywhere that $875 asking price of yester-year. Even the MS65 I got only pulled in $500, so unless in the last two years a couple of collects with deep pockets that feel a burning need to get one of these coins that’s graded by NGC this wasn’t likely to exceed $500. The end result? $327.75 after shipping (a hair over 37% of that old original $875 asking price). 15 Bidders made 25 bids. So, you can’t say that it flew under the radar or didn’t get much attention. It feels good to know / have it reconfirmed for me (as if getting the MS65 for cheaper wasn’t enough) that I was right to not go for this back in the day and that I was far from being alone in thinking that that asking price was too high. Always go with your gut. If it feels wrong, if it feels like too much, it is. If it feels like a bad buy, it is. If you aren’t 100% thrilled to pull the trigger / enter the bid / hit “buy,” don’t do it. In my experience, if you aren’t happy in that moment, it doesn’t get better. Now to go look at my MS65 1888 10G - which I still think is freaking awesome 13 months later.
  3. Ever since I purchased my 1913 20 Franc French Rooster last year, I’ve been wondering why the French government would have made a coin that so prominently featured this bird. My curiosity was peaked further when I saw the older Winged Freedom design and saw that it also had a rooster on it, although, in that case, the rooster was much smaller and was not a dominant design feature. As it turns out, the answer is pretty easy to find online, but It’s just taken me a year to invest the effort into reading about it. The Gallic Rooster is a national emblem of France and, today, is regarded as representing the people of France. This has its roots in a play on words that dates back to ancient Rome. Suetonius, in The Twelve Caesars, noticed that, in Latin, rooster (gallus) and Gauls (Gallus) were homonyms. However, the Gauls at the time did not associate themselves with a rooster. The association seems to have developed more fully in the middle ages, sometimes because enemies of the French wanted to make fun of them by associating them with a not-terribly-frightening bird. The association between the rooster and the French was further developed by the kings of France because the Rooster is also a strong Christian symbol. According to the bible, prior to being arrested, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed on the following morning. At the rooster's crowing, Peter remembered Jesus' words. Its crowing at the dawning of each new morning made it a symbol of the daily victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil. It is also an emblem of the Christian attitude of watchfulness and readiness for the sudden return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment of humankind. That is why, during the Renaissance, the rooster became a symbol of France as a Catholic state and became a popular Christian image on weather vanes, also known as weathercocks. Roosters also appeared at the tops of watch towers and sentry posts around this time as a general symbol of vigilance and watchfulness. It’s not clear to me whether the association with watchfulness and vigilance or the association with Christianity came first. The popularity of the Gallic rooster as a national personification faded over time but had a resurgence during the French Revolution (1789). While it was a minor emblem at the time these landmarks were built, the Gallic Rooster is found at both the Louvre and Versailles. The French Revolution completely re-wrote the traditional perception of the origins of France. Until then, the royals dated the origins of France back to the baptism of Clovis I in 496, the "first Christian king of France". The rejected this royalist and Christian origin of the country and traced the origins of France back to the ancient Gaul. Although purely apocryphal, it was at this point the rooster became the personification of the early Gauls. The rooster was an important revolutionary symbol and it became an official emblem under the July Monarchy and the Second Republic, when it was seen on the pole of regiments’ flags. In 1830, the Gallic Rooster replaced the fleur-de-lis as the national emblem for a time, but it was later discarded again by Napoleon III - He didn’t like the rooster because, unlike the eagle, which he temporarily replaced it with, the rooster is not a “powerful” bird - thus, why enemies continued to use it to make fun of the French. The Gallic rooster, sometimes named or referred to as “Chanteclair,” has been a national emblem off and on ever since, especially during the Third Republic (which ran from 1870 to 1940), when these coins were produced. So, all of this has some very interesting implications for what I wrote in my earlier post about the 20 Franc design with the Winged Figure. Having learned all this, I couldn’t blame someone familiar with the Catholic kings of France and the Rooster’s symbolism in Christianity for seeing the winged figure as an angel and seeing the rooster, if anything, as a confirmation of the coin’s / image’s Christian intent. However, when the coin is viewed properly, in the context of the time period in which the design was produced (1790s) and later revived (1870s), the Rooster is symbol of the people of France and the government, not of Christianity, and the Winged Figure is an allegorical depiction of liberty, not an angel. Given everything I’ve learned from reading about this, I feel like this coin could be a case study in and of itself in bad communication and confused symbolism. It easily lends itself to and seemingly confirms an interpretation of the image / artwork that runs very counter to the artists’ original intent, in part because the creators were very proactively trying to redefine the meanings of those symbols and re-write the history of the nation at the time.
  4. As I’m sure many of are aware, there’s a series of French 20 Franc coins that were made from 1871 to 1898 that feature a winged figure writing on a tablet. In the US, I’m assuming because we’re a Christian majority country, most of us see a winged figure and think “angel.” As a result, these coins are usually called French Angels or something similar and even the name of the Registry Category references these coins as Angels. But the man that designed the coin probably wasn’t trying to depict an angel or any kind of Christian or religious image when he made the design based on what I can find. The design was originally made by Augustin Dupre, an artist who was principally inspired by the neoclassical school and its themes law, freedom (including “Freedom” personified as a winged person), scales, Greek mythology and Hellenistic beauty standards. (I’ve always found it interesting that, when depicted allegorically, “Liberty” is a woman and “Freedom” is a man.) The design by Dupre depicts a “Génie ailé” (“Winged genius”) and it first appeared on French coinage in 1792, during the heart of the French Revolution. Dupre was named the Graveur général des monnaies (Chief Engraver of Coins) by the national assembly in July 1791. In the original versions of the coin the figure is writing the word Loi (Law) on a tablet. Some versions of the coin include the motto “Le Règne de la Loi” (“The Reign of the Law”). In the post revolution period the coins might read something like “An III de la liberté” (“Year three of the liberty”). In some later uses of the design the figure is writing “Constitution.” The coin design was revived in the 1870s, long after Dupre passed away in 1833, and placed on these 20 Franc and 100 Franc coins. Saying that these later versions were designed by Dupre is therefore a bit inaccurate, but they do feature his art. If you want another hint that the design might not be Christian in origin or inspiration, the 20 Franc coins simply say “Republique Francaise” (French Republic) on the obverse. The reverse side just says, “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” (“Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood”). There’s nothing on the coin that references “God,” gods, or divine favor. By contrast, a US silver dollar from this period (1878 and later) would have proudly stated “In God We Trust.” For another example, 10 Gulden coins made in the Netherlands during this same period were inscribed with “God Zij Met Ons” (“God be with us”). I thought it was an angel too because it looked like one and because that’s what everyone else was calling it. But I just couldn’t help but wonder why they would have made a design like that and what would have inspired / instigated that in the post-revolutionary period. Why an angel on coins in France in the late 19th century? Now I know: It’s not post-revolutionary. it’s revolutionary. It’s not really an angel. The recurring theme of this coin / design is “freedom,” not religion, faith or God. This is not a religious image - it’s a post-enlightenment image. Apparently, there’s a legend whereby Dupre was headed for the guillotine but he was somehow saved by his “lucky angel.” This seems unlikely to be true. Dupre wasn’t a wealthy noble; he was appointed to his position by the national assembly; he wasn’t a counter-revolutionary. There’s no obvious reason why his “lucky angel” would have needed to intervene and save his neck. He held his official position until 1803, well after the Reign of Terror ended in the mid-1790s. Now I just have to figure out… “Why the rooster?” (More on this when I get around to it in a later post) I still haven’t bought / ordered one of these yet. It’s probably coming in the next few weeks though.
  5. Hi, I've recently been scouring the web for some Isle of Man gold coins and came across this cat coin that is written differently in various places. https://www.ngccoin.com/census/world/isle-of-man-modern-1971-to-date/sc-173/g1-25c/ NGC has it as "Alley Cat" and indeed that's what it says on the holder...but PM retailers have it differently" https://bullionexchanges.com/1990-isle-of-man-1-2-oz-gold-new-york-alley-cat-ngc-ms-68 https://www.apmex.com/product/51984/1990-isle-of-man-1-2-oz-gold-new-york-alley-cat-bu Anyone got any ideas?
  6. gherrmann44

    A Golden Opportunity

    Over the last several years I have been feverishly working to upgrade the gold coins in my collection since the spot price of gold has fallen from its peak valuation in the fall of 2011. In the last two years or so I have been able to upgrade several of the MS-62 and lower graded gold coins in my collection to 63 and 64. To date, I have been happy with the quality of the MS-63 and 64 gold coins I bought and I consider them to be the final upgrades for my gold type set. With the spot price of gold being relatively stable over the last few years, I have had the time I needed to buy these expensive coins at a price I can afford. This golden opportunity has also allowed me to add several nice circulated classic gold coins and varieties to my collection. Except for the 1907 high-relief St Gaudens Double Eagle, I fully expect to add all the major 1834 to 1933 US gold varieties to my collection. This brings me to the 1897-S MS-62 Type 3 Liberty Double Eagle in my collection. Over the last several months I have been looking for an acceptable MS-63 or 64 example. The problem is that I have not found a coin in those grades that is all that much better than the 62 I already own. The problem has always been the location and severity of the contact marks on the obverse. Dare I consider a gem-uncirculated MS-65 upgrade? According to both PCGS and NGC population reports, PCGS grades a total of 8,204 Liberty Double Eagles in MS-65 and NGC grades 9,221. For the most part, gem condition Liberty Double Eagles are very scarce and as a result very expensive. Now if all those 65’s were spread evenly across all the dates I would not be having the following conversation. Of the total MS-65 populations from both grading services, 65% of PCGS’s and 64% of NGC’s population are 1904 double eagles. With thousands of 1904 MS-65’s in the marketplace, the 1904 double eagle presents a wonderful opportunity for the type collector to own a gem quality gold coin at a relatively low price. This then is where a lower and stable spot price comes into play when making my decision to upgrade my current double eagle. In 2011, I bought my current double eagle when an ounce of gold was at its peak valuation. At that time I suspected that gold would continue to rise. Now they say that hindsight is 20/20 and since I bought this coin, gold has fallen to roughly the level it has held for more than a couple of years. Now when I decide to upgrade any coin in my collection I usually sell the lower graded coin to subsidize the higher graded coin. However, in this case I am going to hold onto that 1897-S coin until the price of gold goes back up. With that settled, I went on the hunt for an MS-65 double eagle to replace my 62. After looking around a little, I found about twenty-five 1904 MS-65’s on Heritage’s website as “Buy It Nows” with a few having a “Make Offer” option. Like all the rest of the grades not all MS-65’s are created equal so I picked the coin I liked the best and made an offer for $100 lower than the BIN. Now Heritage was supposed to contact me in three days and when they didn’t I thought they had declined my offer. That was until 11 days after my offer when I received an invoice in my e-mail box for the coin I wanted! With that I upgraded an MS-62 coin to 65 for only $32 more than I paid for the 1897-S! Essentially, I just got a 3-point upgrade for free! If I were to sell the MS-62 at a loss it would then cost me about $600-$700. Still not that bad for an upgrade to a coin of this magnitude. This all reminds me of the UNC-Details 1889-S Saddle Ridge Double Eagle I bought for about the same price as the two coins I am writing about. When I compare the Saddle Ridge coin to the 1904, I think the Saddle Ridge coin has a shot at MS-65 were it not for the cleaning below Miss Liberty’s truncated neck. The cleaning may not be all that apparent in the PCGS photo but in the hand it is front and center. Unlike the 1904, 1889-S double eagles are very rare in MS-65 with a NGC valuation of $36,000 and a PCGS valuation of $30,000! I only paid a small fraction of that price for this coin, about 1/14 to 1/15 of the fully graded coin! Thus, I am thrilled to own this coin even though it has been cleaned. The moral of the story is don’t even think of cleaning your coins, you may do them irreparable damage perhaps costing you thousands and at the same time representing a great deal for me (lol)! Merry Christmas to all!