These folks were quite knowledgeable and they knew what they wanted. Lots of them had done their homework on the Internet. The knowledge they gained there made them more confident and smarter buyers. I came away with a very good feeling about the future. Less book learnin' but more readin' online – seems like a fair trade off to me to get more folks involved in the King of Hobbies.
People Really Like Reading This E-Newsletter … Or Do They?
First off, I would like to thank all the folks who stopped by my table at the ANA to say that they enjoyed reading this e-newsletter. After confirming that they weren't confusing my newsletter with someone else's, I told each that I was grateful for their kind words. It's nice to know that there are at least a few people in Internet Land that appreciate this mix of semi-interesting numismatic tidbits and offerings of fresh-to-market coins.
But just when I was getting a swelled head and started to ponder a 2nd career as a highly compensated e-newsletter writer, I received a text from a close friend in the coin business who has quite a different opinion:
“Just my personal observation is that your (newsletter) seems to get clogged up with some verbose minutia. If that appeals to a lot of people then you should keep it up, but I'm just giving you my personal take (maybe that also delays getting out your list?) “
He's absolutely right, of course. Between getting all of the new coins home from the show and photographed, then describing them, then performing my regularly scheduled procrastination duties, then finally getting to writing all of the verbose minutia and sending it out, I'm positive it could be out the door much sooner. But since I can't fire myself, and since these are still a lot of fun for me to write, I'll keep on plodding away as before.
Making Your Own Coins – An Alternate View
In the last newsletter I relayed an account of the crude and backward nature of our colonial era times, and remarked on how amazing I thought it was that the colonists were able to accomplish such a complicated task as minting their own coinage.
However, later I stumbled upon a book that made minting one’s own coins seem rather simple. It is called, “Striking Gold in Alaska; Making Tokens from Placer Gold.” It is written by Dick Hanscom.
Written with self-deprecating humor and illustrated with photos he has taken of his "minting facility" (which consists of his daughter's old bedroom and a closet in his house, among other rooms), he tells you step-by-step how he did it.
It is a small book, a quick read and available directly from the author himself. Just Google the title and author.
To be fair to the Colonists though, there are some important differences between what Mr. Hanscom is doing and what the Colonists achieved. Mr. Hanscom is making coins out of a soft metal (gold). His coins are small as well; he carves the dies directly from the planed off head of a bolt. And perhaps it is unfair to compare making high production quantities of silver coinage in 1600’s Massachusetts with someone doing it today.
In any case though, if you are like me and dream about how cool it would be to make your own coins, this book will help you “get your Walter Mitty on.”
On to the NewP's
As in my previous newsletters, these coins are the items I have gathered over the last few weeks. The plan is to upload all these coins to my website. In the meantime, readers of this newsletter will be the very first to lay eyes on these offerings. By popular demand, I've included photos of the coins where I have them.
The “Making the Grade” Featured Coin –
1795 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Eagle. PCGS graded VF-35, CAC.
13 Leaves. A classic US type coin, and an iconic design (in fact, I use this design as the logo of my company, as it is my favorite US coin design). Lemon gold in color, free of distractions and – intriguingly – some cartwheel luster among the devices. An issue that is very difficult to find with the coveted CAC sticker verifying its grade, as most 1795 $10’s have seen numismatic abuse of one kind or another over the years. Not inexpensive, but it is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often these days. PCGS #8551. $56,500.
(circa 1645-1670) St. Patrick’s Farthing. PCGS graded VF-25.
A truly lovely example of this enigmatic issue. An issue like this is what makes colonial numismatics really fun. Despite having our best people on the case for decades, we don’t know for sure really basic information about these coins. Basic info such as - who made them; why there are so many different die varieties, but each is quite rare; when they were made; why they are so elaborate (a complicated design, reeded edges, a brass splasher on the “king” side to make the crown look like it is made of gold); what the original denomination was supposed to be; and so on. We do know for sure that they were made legal tender in the Colony of New Jersey in the 1680’s. Regardless – this specimen happens to be quite beautiful, with milk chocolate brown surfaces, lots of detail, and a large and showy splasher. And who knows - maybe YOU will be the one to solve the mystery of these coins. PCGS # 42. $2275.
1787 Fugio Copper. PCGS graded VF30.
A boldly struck example of this popular and historic coin. Medium brown color with lighter brown color on the devices. The surfaces are hard, free of roughness, and slightly glossy. There is a flan flaw on the reverse near 7 o’clock that does not impede any of the design. A handsome specimen of our very first Federal coin. PCGS #883. $1385.
1883/2 Shield Nickel. PCGS graded AU-55. CAC [ogh].
FS-302. Just a beautiful, frosty and original example of this tough and popular overdate. All of the die markers are visible, and the overdate feature is especially bold. Housed in a 25 year old PCGS slab. PCGS # 3814. $1985.
1818 Bust Quarter. PCGS graded VF-25, CAC.
Light gray with hints of gold, and very pleasing for the grade. PCGS #5322. $875.
1834 Bust Quarter. PCGS graded XF40, CAC.
Even light gray in color, with a crescent of gold on part of the obverse rim and a thin crescent of blue on part of the reverse rim. Some mint luster is fighting to peek out around some of the protected areas of the design. PCGS # 5353. $575.
1814 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded AU50, CAC.
As you can see from the photos, it is stunning. Just stunning. PCGS #6105. $1150.
1823 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded AU-50 [ogh].
O-106a die variety, considered to be rarity-2. Flashy and attractive example of the “poor man’s broken 3” variety (also known by the less interesting moniker the “tampered 3”). Bright and flashy cartwheel luster, and just starting to tone a light gold, coming in from the rims. Housed in a 25 year old PCGS slab. PCGS #6131. $875.
1833 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded AU-50, CAC.
Beautiful gold toning with hints of blue. Quite a lot of luster remains for a coin graded AU-50. PCGS #6163. $595.
1835 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded AU-50 CAC.
Rich blue and gold toning that lightens in the centers. Attractive bust halves in AU are one of the most popular items in the current coin market. PCGS # 6168. $575.
1806 Draped Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded XF-45, CAC.
Pointed 6, Stem Through Claw. Overton-116, considered to be rarity-3. Attractive gray toning with hints of green and gold. (this coin is housed in a PCGS holder incorrectly marked 1806/5; it is not an overdate). PCGS #6071. $3675.
1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar. NGC graded AU58.
Very lustrous and quite well struck, with light golden toning as one approaches the rims.. Anyone who has put together a set of Walkers knows how difficult these mintmarked dates in the 1920’s are to find. $425.
1884-S Morgan Dollar. NGC graded AU58+ “Star” CAC.
A gorgeous example of this key date. The slab label says it all. $5250.
1862-S Type 1 $20 Gold. PCGS graded XF45.
Purchased uncertified at an antique shop in the Southern US and just certified. Light yellow in color, a strong strike and more mint luster than one would expect on a gold coin in this grade. PCGS #8938. $2675.
1936 Cleveland Half Dollar. NGC graded MS66, CAC.
“Stunning” is not a word that crops up often when discussing Cleveland half dollars. However, this one really fits the bill. Booming luster under gold, green and blue toning. PCGS #9288. $495.
1937 Roanoke Half Dollar. NGC graded MS66, CAC.
Wild green, gold and russet toning over superb luster. From the same collection as the previous coin. I can’t remember – is it better to buy beautiful coins when they are out of favor and ridiculously cheap, or is it better to wait until there is feverish demand and then pay a lot more for them? I cannot recall the wiser thing to do…. PCGS #9367. $550.
1761-Mo Pillar Dollar. PCGS graded XF-45.
Mexico City mint. ¡Ay, Caramba! What a pleasing coin. Medium gray in color with a ring of pretty toning on the reverse. Perfect for someone who wants a nice representative of this important precursor to our silver dollar, at a most reasonable price. PCGS # 403035. $675.
Exonumia, Esoterica, Exotica, Etcetera
1753 Pillar Type Contemporary Counterfeit 2 Reales. Very Good [uncertified].
Mexico City mintmark; M assayer. Struck in brass. Unlike the portrait type 2 reales, the earlier pillar type 2 reales struck counterfeits are very rare. I had exactly one of this type in my extensive collection. $250.
1797 Contemporary Counterfeit 2 Reales. Fine [uncertified].
Unlisted in either Kleeberg or John Lorenzo’s update to Kleeberg. Unique. Brass. Similar to some of the known obverses, but differing in some aspects. The reverse appears to be Kleeberg-L2. Clipped from 2 to 4 o’clock. A great opportunity to add a unique piece to your collection at a price that won’t break the bank. $475.
1804 Contemporary Counterfeit 2 Reales. Extremely Fine [uncertified].
Kleeberg 04A-L12. Lima mint; TH assayer. Struck in German silver or copper-nickel. A very high grade example of an issue that was purposely engraved with very little detail on the head, to simulate circulation wear. $385.
1808 Contemporary Counterfeit 2 reales. Very Fine [uncertified].
Unlisted in the Kleeberg study, but it has since been given Kleeberg #08D-G4. This is the plate coin to John Lorenzo’s update to the Kleeberg study on these pieces, and still unique. While being unique is cool, that is not even the coolest part of this piece. At one point it must have circulated among a Spanish speaking population, and after discovery as a counterfeit it was stamped “FALSA”. Even after it was stamped, it appears that it circulated for some time after that. Well made, with abundant silvering still remaining. This coin would be a highlight of any collection of contemporary counterfeits. $785.
1819 Contemporary Counterfeit 2 Reales. Very Fine [uncertified].
Venezuela. Royalist coinage. Caracas mintmark, BS assayer. Struck in copper nickel or white metal or German silver; I am not certain. This style of 2 reales was also heavily used in commerce in the early United States.$275.
1824 Central American Republic Contemporary Counterfeit 1 Escudo. Extremely Fine [uncertified]
NG-M. Lightweight at 3.6 grams, and likely made of debased gold, this specimen was likely accepted as genuine without a problem throughout the Americas. Today it is very difficult to find contemporary counterfeit coinage made of gold, as much has been destroyed and melted over the years. $575.
(1849) Twenty-Five Cent size California Gold Period 3 “Charm”. ICG graded MS65.
Round, Indian Head design. Rich gold color with prooflike surfaces. The Breen / Gillio "California Pioneer Fractional Gold" book divides California fractional gold coins into three periods: Period 1 (1852 - 1857) for the first coins manufactured to meet the needs of local commerce, Period 2 (1858 - 1882) for coins made specifically as souvenirs or for use in jewelry, & Period 3 (1900 – 1920 or so) for later-made coins that were back-dated in order to take advantage of collector demand for these coins. $295.
(1884) Twenty-Five Cent size California Gold Period 3 “Charm”. ICG graded MS65.
Round. This is the popular “Arms of California” design. Again – prooflike surfaces with somewhat frosty devices. $350.
(1853) Fifty Cent size California Gold Period 3 “Charm”. ICG graded MS65 PL.
Round. Strong mirrors grace this 50c sized “Arms of California” design. $375.
(1855) Fifty Cent size California Gold Period 3 “Charm”. ICG graded MS65.
Round. Indian chief obverse design. Quite flashy. $350.
(1880) Fifty Cent size California Gold Period 3 “Charm”. ICG graded MS65 PL.
Round. Bright medium gold in color, and nearly perfect. $395.
1883 Hawaii Half Dollar. PCGS graded MS63, CAC.
Rich sky blue toning over lustrous surfaces. The 50c is the toughest denomination of the Hawaii series to find in high grade with eye appeal. Your search has ended. PCGS #10991. $2550
1900 Lesher Dollar. NGC graded AU-55.
HK-787; Z-1. Medium gray-gold toning, with flashes of luster around the lettering. There is a thin diagonal mark on the reverse. While not perfect, this coins is a very acceptable representative of a very difficult Lesher type to obtain. PCGS # 19000. $5250.
1901 Lesher Dollar. J.M. Slusher. PCGS graded AU55.
HK-792. This coin has Lesher’s lucky serial # 13 stamped onto the obverse. Attractive light gray in color, with the beginnings of rim toning around the periphery. Comes with PCGS TrueView images. PCGS #643508. $4250.
1901 Lesher Dollar. Boyd Park. PCGS graded AU58.
HK-796. Serial #502, and the earliest known serial # of this type known to me. Very slightly prooflike surfaces over medium gray toning that deepens to a blue-green at the rims. Quite attractive. Comes with PCGS TrueView images. PCGS #19012. $4350.
(ca. 1920's) Guttag Brothers Coin Dealer Medal. Choice Uncirculated [uncertified].
Struck in the 1920s for the Guttag Brothers In the 1920s and ’30s, Henry and Julius Guttag were well known dealers in New York City. Securities dealers by trade, the pair was also responsible for publishing several coin reference books, and their price lists are still avidly collected. all were created in the twenties by sculptor Jonathan M. Swanson. Not all the varieties have been cataloged and not all have been published. Quite inexpensive, and unusual to find so pristine. $85.
Contact info to reserve coins:
Website - www.DaveWcoins.com
My email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - (203) 231-1213