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A British Historical Medal Featuring a Canadian Train Trip that also Included Stops in the United States
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth undertook an extended springtime tour of Canada that included a four-day visit to the United States. The trip was important for all three countries involved for various and interrelated reasons.
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April 2016 Baltimore Show Report
The spring Baltimore show was held this past week and, while I did not have high hopes for a good show prior to the start, I was pleasantly surprised by what might have been the best show in the last two years. Continue...
Will the Efficiency of the TPGs Naturally Lead to all Worthwhile Coins Becoming Overgraded?
A sobering thought to help you along on Leap Day. Continue...
Observations from the Bourse; But-Coins
There are myriad places on the internet to find coin blogs, coin show reports and coin commentary. Some of these are quite well written and at times very informative; others are sloppy, scattered and/or repetitive while a few are essentially no more than commercials for their authors.
Continue to read...
Wonderful Die Polish on Newfoundland Coinage
Take a look at a trio of 1904-H Newfoundland twenty-cent pieces to obtain an extra appreciation of die polish. Some people dislike die polish while others are fascinated by it. The majority, however, either are not certain what die polish is or view it as slightly negative to just a bit cool.
Read on to see a bit of extreme die polish on this quirky Newfoundland issue...
November 2015 Baltimore Show Report
So...how was the recent Baltimore show? Err...
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I've written before about the Canadian Gold Reserve Coinage of 1912-1914 and, in fact, have another article/blog post about it from March 31, 2015 on my site. If you are interested in these coins, you should go read it, too.
The history of these pieces is fascinating, their design is fantastic and the opportunity for numismatists to purchase un-messed with, original skin, mint state gold coinage that has a traceable provenance for a century is simply amazing. Indeed, I believe most modern numismatists who pass on this opportunity are missing out on something special. Please keep in mind that this does not mean they are missing out on something that will be guaranteed to earn them money in a quick flip; rather, they are missing out on the history of coinage and the ability to obtain an FDC (fleur de coin) example of gold coinage.
PCGS board members may recall that on September 17, 2008 a Chinook helicopter carrying Cpl. Michael E. Thompson went down in western Iraq. Lost with Cpl. Thompson were the remainder of his Red River 44 flying unit, part of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, including fellow sons of Oklahoma Chief Warrant Officer Brady. J. Rudolf and Sgt. Daniel Eshbaugh as well as Sgt. Anthony Luke Mason, 1st Sgt. Julio Ordonez, Chief Warrant Officer Corry A. Edwards and 1st Lt. Robert Vallejo II all of Texas. The connection that Cpl. Michael E. Thompson had to many of us on the PCGS boards is that our fellow board member, BRdude, was his father. Continue...
I live close enough to the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site (SGNHS) such that my wife and I have visited several dozen times over the years and we have brought our daughters there numerous times, too. In general, we drive out to the SGHNS at least twice and up to four times during the year.
Chicago 2015 ANA Show Report
The recently concluded Chicago (Rosemont) ANA show continued some longstanding trends, but was surprising in other aspects.
My article on the frequency of the center mintmark for the 1897-S Barber quarter issue has been published by the Barber Coin Collectors' Society. I have been a member of this society for many years and it is well worth it for those interested in this niche of US numismatics.
Observations from the Bourse; CAC
I've decided to write a sporadic series of articles dedicated to some of the quirks or peculiarities that dealers might face, both on the bourse and behind the keyboard. It might give insight into the frontline industry side of the hobby. The first of these will deal with CAC.
A Young Numismatist & A Lost Future
Chadler Alan Williford, better known to many of us in the coin world as munkeyman95, passed away April 30, 2010 at the age of seventeen years old. Chad had joined our world of coins on the NGC and PCGS boards several years previous to his death and grew not only as a numismatist, but also as a young man in that time. I was fortunate to have an early interaction with Chad that led us to send messages to one another fairly frequently and allowed me to watch as he became more logical, analytical and passionate about numismatics and from afar to see him grow. Chad liked to play around on the boards and some might have interpreted that as lacking discipline or a serious nature, but he was able to apply himself to many subjects and would have been spectacular at near anything he could have chosen if given the chance.
When I Buy a Coin, I Want to Hear it Sing to Me; When I Open a Box, I Want to Hear a Symphony
At the recently concluded Baltimore coin show, I uttered that phrase to a good client. It wasn't something I had spent long hours on; rather, it was something that just came tumbling out of my mouth. We were discussing the merits of purchasing duplicate coins in a collection with my position being that duplicate coins are great if the coins are really nice. Many of you know I am not a dedicated date and mintmark set collector and would rather have a group of really cool pieces instead of a full series. Therefore, I buy truly cool coins when I find them and put away pieces that match the overall feeling or direction of my collection, which even after more than two decades still numbers only in the double digits. So, if you are willing to step up and pay what it takes for individual coins that sing to you, why not make it a goal to build a symphony?
Canadian Gold Reserve Coinage 1912-1914
Tucked away for decades in the vaults of the Bank of Canada, nearly one-quarter million pieces of Canadian gold lay known to the numismatic community yet entirely inaccessible. An extraordinary undertaking by the Minister of Finance, Bank of Canada and Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) resulted in the inspection of these pieces with the finest 30,000 being released into the numismatic community. The remainder of the reserve, some 215,000 coins, were melted into bars and used as financial instruments.
I was fortunate enough to have some first-hand experience in the inspection and distribution of a small portion of the reserve and the coins I reserved for my clients were generally far nicer than one might expect to find. Moreover, these coins represent what the surface of an uncirculated gold coin might look like after decades of storage and no evidence of mishandling or other abuse. Most of the surviving reserve has been disbursed, but some small groups remain.
Continue for the RCM press release from 2012 and other information on these coins...
Knowing the Quirks of the Auction Venue
I have participated in scores of auctions conducted by the major auction houses as well as looking through a seemingly endless array of items listed online. It's wonderful to be able to see so many things as conveniently as they can be displayed on a computer monitor and even better to sit down with a good loupe and take notes regarding an in-hand examination of potential lots. However, something that many times goes unappreciated is that different auction venues can have different terms of service and these terms can and do change from time-to-time.
A great way to protect oneself and even acquire cool coinage is to understand the particular quirks of each auction setting and use those quirks to your advantage. Continue...
Writing a blog was something that folks had suggested to me for years, but that I had little interest in doing. After all, how much could I write and, perhaps more importantly, would anyone care to read any of it? Thus far, it appears that I have a bit of material to share for those interested. The question remains, however, is anyone out there? Regardless of if it is just me and my cat, Spooky (dang lazy cat doesn't help with any writing), or if there is a larger audience, here is another bit of collecting insight based upon experience.
This article may help very much if you are building, or are thinking about building, a US type set and many of the points work equally well for raw or certified sets...
A Simple Study on the Frequency of the Center Mintmark Position for 1897-S Barber Quarters
I'm a coin geek and if you're on this site reading this blog and/or the associated articles then there is a good chance that you're one, too. There's nothing wrong with knowing who you are, and part of the fun of being a coin geek and a scientist is looking a little deeper into those curious things that pique are interests. Although I don't collect Barber quarters as a series, I appreciate how tough the original, mid-grade pieces are and I have a favorite issue...the 1897-S. Here is an examination of the two mintmark positions found on this coin.
Collecting Mid-Grade Barber Half Dollars
It seems like forever since I was a dedicated set builder for circulated Barber half dollars. I must have studied this series for near a half-decade before taking the plunge to build the entire set. Not only is this set challenging in that finding the tougher coins is really tough, but aside from a few relatively easy pieces there is not much of a chance to take a breather. My five or so years of labor in building an original skin, VF/EF set resulted in a complete set for all but one coin...the 1893-S. That bear was only an F15 broken out of an old, small white ANACS holder. Fittingly, shortly after I broke the set up and sold the coins to clients, I found a raw EF 1893-S with exquisitely original surfaces. That coin is used for the image here and in the article on this series.
The article is one that has appeared on my various sites since around 2005 and will continue to appear on sites of mine as long as it is relevant. The full-length article continues here...
The Mighty, Toned Washington Quarter
Back in the 1990s, a period that doesn't seem like it should be that long ago, but which is rapidly receding from the rear view mirror, it was possible to snag wonderfully toned Washington quarters on the bourse floor. Not only was it possible, but the coins didn't cost an arm-and-a-leg and they were reasonably plentiful enough that selling an especially nice piece didn't always hurt that badly. That all changed for me when I tripled my money on a fabulously toned 1949-D WQ (paid $15 and sold for a whopping $45) and the buyer took the time to send me through the USPS a handwritten letter to tell me it was the most spectacular coin he had ever purchased and to please let him know if I ever had another coin like this that I was interested in moving. I had been hesitant to sell that 1949-D because it was so much nicer than the-then market valued it; the very nice letter hammered the point home. I was playing with fire when I sold these coins and there was no guarantee that another would take its place. Continued...
My take on coin topics is influenced greatly by my experience as a scientist, writer and teacher. I hope this proves enjoyable to the reader.