Coins and Baseball: Lifelong Passions

Posted on 10/25/2018

My 200th report finds the Saint-Gaudens and the Red Sox holding up well over the past 14 years.

As I ventured into my New Hampshire home office this Monday morning, I observed that although it was a bright and sunny autumn day, it was a rather wintry 32 degrees.

I will admit the first thing on my mind wasn’t coins but rather what the temperature and playing conditions would be Tuesday night (Oct. 23) as my Boston Red Sox would be hosting Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I hope my readers will indulge me here: I have been a true fan and one of the Fenway Faithful since the 1967 “Impossible Dream” team.

Even as 10-year-old, I was captivated by statistics – batting averages, ERA, OBP, etc. I was always keeping stats for one thing or another, it seems, and this was definitely true for other sports as well.

For me, just digging deeper into the mechanics of the game made it more compelling and entertaining as well. In fact, it was just a year before the 1967 pennant run that I became acquainted with the world of numismatics, and both have been an integral part of my life for over 50 years. I have never been separated from either.

Whether tracking auction data, mintage figures, interpreting the Sheldon Scale or tracking home/road records and analyzing batters’ strengths or weaknesses, both numismatics and MLB have been a lifelong fascination and hobby.

However, being a coindexter, it was my great fortune and rather fortuitous timing that I was to receive an offer for one of my “dream jobs.” It was in early summer of 2004 that I was hired as the market analyst and assistant editor at CDN: The Coin Dealer Newsletter. In fact, it was 14 years ago today, as this article posts, that I was at my desk in Torrance, California, on Monday morning, writing my first full “This Week’s Market” column. I recollect it was a very, very exciting weekend leading up to this event, too.

Fourteen years ago on Saturday (Oct. 23, 2004), the Red Sox and Cardinals squared off and played the first of two games of the 100th edition of the World Series at Fenway Park that weekend. I recall coming into work that Monday morning so excited that I would be authoring my first full columns and that Boston had won the first two World Series games at home.

Although the “Greysheet” was dated for Fridays (... a Friday morning report on the Coin Market), the reports and data were compiled and written on Monday. Tuesdays we would proof, and then off to the printers for the hard copy, and the live online version was posted on Wednesday. Rather miraculously, I was able to compartmentalize and contain my excitement for the Red Sox and their quest for a first World Series title since 1918 and compose my first official “This Week’s Market” report.

Oct. 29, 2004 edition of the Coin Dealer Newsletter.
Click images to enlarge.

Below was my commentary for Dollars - Type & Gold for the CDN edition of Oct. 29, 2004.

DOLLARS: Common is the “King” this week as all of the Morgans considered as “type” are sporting gains in MS 65, now Bid at $128. DMPL’s are attracting further demand, resulting in higher Bids. There is still no let-up in the Carson City contingent! Leading the way is the 1893CC, at $39K in MS 65. The 1889CC is also posting again in AU. Peace Dollars remain quiet in this edition.

1893-CC Morgan Dollar.
Click images to enlarge.

TYPE: Uncirculated type has again made its stand with strong support from dealers and the ever-increasing collector base clamoring for quality Type coins. The Liberty Seated Dime and Quarter tandem has claimed increased bids in MS 63. The 3C Nickel has found a new following and is boasting gains across the board in the VG- MS 60 columns. Proof Type is for the most part, stable with dealers’ content at the present levels.

1924 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle.
Click images to enlarge.

GOLD: This component of the market is being fueled by the surging price in the precious metals. With the spot price of Gold nearing the $430 level we see the necessary adjustments in Bid for lower grade Eagles and Double Eagles. Gains are observed for all denominations throughout the Mint State Bid columns.

Certainly not an award-winning epic, but I was quite proud.

On Wednesday, it was back to work on the Blue Sheet (the Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter). I was thrilled that Boston had just won Game Three on Tuesday night in St. Louis, and coming to work that Thursday morning I was reveling in the fact that Boston had won their first World Series since 1918 – wow! I was bleary-eyed having watched my taped copy of the game into the wee hours! Here I was on the West Coast and I so very much wanted to be back in my native New England to share in the thrill of that achievement! 2004 was a great year: a dream job and my dream team won the World Series!

Now, flash forward to 2018 and Boston is hours away from the first pitch of the first game of 114th World Series! Just as in 2004, the quest for the title commences on Oct. 23 at Fenway Park. However, as I write this report, a quick bit of research reveals that this is a bit of a milestone: This is my 200th Weekly Market Report at NGC! Wow! Where did the time go? It certainly has been an enjoyable adventure here these past 7 ½ years! Boy, it does seem it was just a wink of the eye that I began this wonderful numismatic adventure. Hey, 14 years ago, gold spot was $429 per ounce and Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles in MS 63 were “bid” at $570 vs. an $1,800 NGC Price Guide valuation for the $20 1924 or “type” coin today. That is equal to a 215% gain.

And the 1893-CC Morgan Dollar that I mentioned in MS 65 that was “bid” at $39K is now valued at $92,500 in the NGC US Price Guide, which is good for a tad over 136% increase. Quality popular and rare coins seem to always be great acquisitions, especially if held for the long term.

While the coin caravan has arrived in Baltimore for the Whitman Coin & Collectables Winter Expo (Oct. 25-28), I will be keenly watching the results of the extensive numismatic offerings of the Stack’s Bowers host auction extravaganza, while keeping an eye on the Boys of Summer battling for a World Series title!

Just a tremendous line-up (yes, I am referring to coins and currency) in total: nine live sessions and three Internet-only sales commencing Oct. 24 through Oct. 31. That last day of the sale also happens to be the date scheduled for the seventh game of the World Series, if necessary!

Until next time happy collecting!

Jim Bisognani is an NGC Price Guide Analyst, having previously served for many years as an analyst and writer for another major price guide. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.

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