Jim Bisognani: The NGC Gift — One Size Fits All

Posted on 11/7/2019

Shopping at the Baltimore Whitman Winter Expo and at a mammoth Stack’s Bowers sale; plus, it’s time to cozy up — with your coin collection.

OK, 2019 is nearly over, and I don’t need a calendar to know this. On Halloween night, I witnessed several full-blown Christmas ads airing on network TV. Actually, in mid-October, advertisers were still showing some restraint and were content with giving subtle hints of the fast-approaching season. But then those not-so-thinly-veiled commercials sprang up like weeds.

As if 2019 wasn’t moving fast enough, the more gluttonous advertisers are bulldozing right over Thanksgiving and retailers are making the big play for all your Ho Ho Ho dough before Turkey Day is here.

Black Friday sales are popping up all over, too. It wasn’t that long ago that Black Friday came only after Thanksgiving.

Cozy up with your coin collection

Rats! Snow, that dreaded four-letter word, is in my local forecast (and vocabulary) this week, so it appears that Old Man Winter is getting ready to settle in for another long stay. With Old Frosty’s appearance, shorter days and colder temps bode well for a renewed interest in the great hobby of ours — numismatics. When we spend more time indoors, it’s great to spend it revisiting our coin collections and numismatic libraries. Get warm and comfy, weed out some duplicates and concentrate on filling a few vacancies. It isn’t too early to make a wish list.

NGC — one size fits all

So, with all this push to capture your holiday cash going on, let me suggest that our coin collecting fraternity does have a place in the equation here. Hobbyists, think of your fellow hobbyists and Coindexters and acquire something numismatic for them now. We can all avoid the rush and take time to cherry-pick dealer’s websites. A new book for the newbie or an annual membership to NGC — perhaps a nice NGC-certified coin from a friend’s year of birth!

NGC-certified coins are available in all sizes, metals and denominations. One size fits all, so to speak! So, whether your budget is $20, $200 or $2,000, quality, scarce and rare coins are gifts that any self-respecting hobbyist would be forever grateful to receive.

Baltimore Whitman Winter Expo and a mammoth Stack’s Bowers sale are on deck

The last major show of 2019 will be getting underway next week at this time. The Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Winter Expo scheduled for Nov. 14 to 17 will be a superb opportunity to rub elbows with major dealers and to scope out some deals for those special numismatic wish lists. And you can visit the historic Inner Harbor area of the city, too!

The always enjoyable and diverse Stack’s Bowers sale will be the major highlight. This mega event will feature mammoth 10 live floor sessions November 13 through 16 and four internet-only sales beginning November 18 and concluding November 20.

A handful of the mouthwatering numismatic fare includes these NGC slabs of early federal and contemporary series rarities. (By the way, any or all would be on my wish list. If you were interested, I mean.)

My wish list

What a great gift idea — a 1936 Buffalo Nickel graded NGC PF 68.

A 1936 Buffalo Nickel that is a brilliant NGC PF 68. Just amazing! This first year of the “brilliant proof” buffalo nickel is just knockout gorgeous! A luminous rainbow accentuates the chief’s noble portrait, softening to a vibrant golden hue at the peripheries. The reverse is tantalizing, too, as the buffalo, Black Diamond, also is fully struck and a similar rainbow patination highlights its proud silhouette. It’s as near perfect as any collector could hope for. Approximately 1,500 Brilliant Proofs were struck and, according to the NGC Census, this coin is tied for the finest known! Hey, the perfect gift!

A 1925-S Buffalo Nickel graded NGC MS 65+. Here is another Buffalo Nickel for your consideration. This semi-key issue is a prize in mint state, especially with as outstanding a strike as this coin possesses.

The 1925-S Buffalo Nickel graded NGC MS 65+.

This San Francisco delivery always has been one of the more poorly executed due to striking deficiencies and the S mintmark is sometimes nothing more than a glob of indistinguishable metal flow! Other than the bold strike, this coin’s overall appearance also befits the top grade because gold, apricot, lemon-yellow and light rose are on radiant display! Only three coins grade numerically higher at MS 66 than this beauty. Ok, I will take this one, too.

An 1863 Three Dollar Gold Princess graded NGC MS 67. Just try and show some restraint, if you can. This is one exciting coin. This Civil War-era $3 Gold was limited to only 5,000 business strikes and few were saved. Its estimate consensus is that only 300 or so of the coins remain in all states of preservation. Quite amazingly, several Ultra Gems probably were squirreled away during the height of the Civil War! According to the NGC Census, three were graded MS 67 and two designated as MS 68 appear on the roster. This coin is a dynamic, frosty Semi-Proof-Like jewel — just an awe-inspiring coin! The last time this exact coin appeared was at the 2015 Heritage Summer FUN sale. Ok, if you insist, you can put this on my wish list, too.

For the numismatist who has everything — an 1851 Braided Hair Large Cent N-10 graded NGC MS 67 BN.

An 1851 Braided Hair Large Cent N-10 graded NGC MS 67 BN. This is just a scintillating large copper cartwheel endowed with an incredible thick, frosty, chocolate luster. A true prize for the copper specialist or those collectors just looking for a dynamic type coin. With nearly 10 million produced at the Philadelphia Mint, overused dies for this issue are frequently encountered. While the obverse's stars — as is typical for this delivery — lack full delineation, the portrait of Ms. Liberty is magnificently razor sharp! The last time this exact coin appeared was just two years ago as part of the Heritage Dallas Signature Auction. Then housed in an older-style NGC slab, she has since been placed in a newer-style holder that includes the N-10 designation. It is numerically tied for the finest known within this designation. No, no, you are too kind! But, Ok, put me down for this one, too.

The Baby Boomer delight

A 1957 Franklin Half Dollar graded NGC PF 69. Well, here it is — a perfect gift for yours truly.

This 1957 Franklin Half Dollar is graded NGC PF 69.

As mentioned earlier, I said it would be great purchase a coin from a fellow Coindexter’s year of birth as a gift. This is your chance. A glimmering, shimmering, near-perfect Proof Franklin Half Dollar. The Franklin Half was a favorite of us Baby Boomers. The largest circulating US coin is not rare as a business strike and, as a Proof, well, this was the first year that Proof Set orders exceeded one million requests! In total, 1.25 million Proof Sets were produced. Perhaps the spike in demand was to satisfy the record 4.3 million Baby Boomers born that year!  Interestingly, only a fraction of that total (24,428) basic designation 1957 Franklin Proofs appear on the NGC Census today. The quality control is evident, as PF 67’s account for nearly 57% of all those graded, whereas the PF 69’s amount to under 5% of the total. Considering that PF Cameos and Ultra Cameos are in the NGC price guide at nearly five times and over 55 times, respectively, above this terrific PF 69, I am sure any others from this record Baby Boomer year would be forever grateful to own such a coin. I know I would. Just sayin’.

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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