Jim Bisognani: Frosty Coins to Warm the Heart

Posted on 11/17/2022

Auctions hold a cool selection of silver coins that evoke a winter wonderland.

As I made my way to my work area this morning, I sighed as the inevitable has happened. As I gazed out my living room window, snow — yes that white, frozen blight — has arrived. Truthfully, it doesn’t seem that long ago that the appearance of the white stuff was greeted with reverence and great joy by this young coindexter over half a century ago. That glee is now supplanted with four letter words — like darn and gosh.

Now, as I type away, the snow has turned to a more solid mixture and I can hear the thud of frozen pellets strafing the roof. Two things immediately come to mind. Winter is here (albeit a bit early) and the holiday rush is on, which means holiday gift lists are being compiled in earnest.

As I have reiterated, numismatics really doesn’t have a down season any longer. But it got me to wondering: Is there such a thing as seasonal coins? Are certain coins more profiled or stockpiled by dealers in the spring, summer or fall?

I recall in my collecting youth that this time of year was when I and my collecting friends were beset with mounting anticipation. Not just because of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was because we would soon get a glimpse of the new-dated coins in general circulation.

After the holidays, the calendar turned to January, the countdown began and the search ensued. Though it was usually not until early February that the new dates began to trickle in to local commerce, it was still exciting to find that first new coin wearing the new date.

Yet I still can’t think of a truly seasonal coin. I mean, it’s not like the grading services offer up a batch of pumpkin-red copper coins just for our collecting pleasure in the fall.

Winter Wonder Coins

But wait, how about searching out some previously graded NGC-certified frosty, icy-white silver coins for the winter season! I say, what says winter better than blazing white coins — it’s a natural fit!

For gift giving or for your own collection, may I suggest (no surprise here) coins this holiday. For me, numismatics is the best possible gift (hint). Think of it: There are no moving parts and no extended warranties to buy, just the sheer joy, appreciation and untold hours of visual satisfaction for the giftee.

You Don’t Have To Brave The Storm

I immediately began scanning upcoming sales for some “frosty” the snowman-type coins — and, as the old ad slogans would proclaim, at “popular prices” (i.e., affordable).

So, if you are hard-pressed for suggestions for that finicky collector or looking for something new for that loved one, you can all avoid the holiday rush and not have to brave any winter storm. All transactions can be accomplished in your easy chair. Just summon up your trusty iPhone, tablet or laptop and you’re on your way.

The Frosty Octet

My first find was this Ultra-Gem 1887 Great Britain Florin. Graded NGC MS 66, this Victoria Jubilee Head is a flashy, icy-white example, which gives me a bit of a chill. This superlative example is tied with four others as the finest known.

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Then there is this icy little jewel from the ancient world of Gaul. Graded NGC Ancients Ch AU, this Silver Drachm from around the 2nd century BC is endowed with a blazing thick white frost — wow!

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Just around the corner, appearing in the Heritage early holder showcase auction (December 5, 2022), I found this “Mr. Freeze” of a 1942-P Type 2 Silver War Nickel. Graded NGC MS 67, Jefferson is cloaked in a frosty blanket of white — perhaps the perfect gift for a Dad or Granddad who is celebrating their 80th birthday. Hmm...

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Wow, you need to put on blinders here. Also appearing in the early holder sale is the otherwise-common 1880-S Morgan Dollar. Graded NGC MS 66, the obverse of this Ultra Gem is a total whiteout, virtual blizzard conditions — save for the tad of golden sunlight appearing at the rim, perhaps announcing that the storm is over.

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Here is another Morgan Dollar braving an intense winter storm. This ever-popular 1880 Carson City installment graded NGC MS 65 DPL is a spectacular example from the famed western Mint. The coin possesses such deep reflectively, it appears as if Ms. Morgan (aka Anna Williams) has been caught in a very active snow globe-like scene.

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Here is a stunning blast-white 1939-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar offered up by DLRC Auctions. Graded NGC MS 64, this last-of-the-1930s Denver delivery is an absolute stunner for the grade. A blazing satiny white winter wonder coin. It is a perfect addition for the Walker fan or perhaps for the Silver Eagle collector looking for an example of the original A.A. Weinman design that also graces the Silver Eagle obverse.

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For the connoisseur wanting the absolute finest, here is the “perfect” coin. Also appearing in an upcoming DLRC auction is this mouthwatering 2005-W Silver Eagle. Graded NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo, this black-on-white deep mirrored ice show oozes perfection. It’s ideal for the Silver Eagle fan or perhaps for the Walking Liberty Half Dollar collector enjoying the continued legacy of the A.A. Weinman design.

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Here is one of my favorite world coins – the British Trade Dollar. I wish I had kept the handful of examples that I in my long-ago youth purchased from Aubrey Bebee’s world coin list. Select BU coins were going for $7.50 then — yikes. This offering, a 1901-B graded NGC MS 64+, is about as fine an example you could hope to find. Truly a snowy-white pristine coin. Britannia appears to be bracing the way for the fleet at the end of the storm. The fields are aglow with fresh, thick white frost! Truly scintillating eye appeal, and if a fellow coindexter would be interested, she will be available in the Heritage World and Ancient Platinum sale December 7-9. By the way, a perfect gift for yours truly. All hail Britannia!

Click images to enlarge.

In the meantime, enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.

Until next time, be safe and happy collecting!

Jim Bisognani is an NGC Price Guide Analyst. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.

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