I'm pleased to report that I have reached the milestone mentioned as a goal in my last newsletter. I now have over 100 fresh coins listed and in glowing full color on the website as of this writing.
There are lots more cool coins to come. But first – some ramblings and rantings to entertain, amuse and/or annoy you.
Why Do Humans Fold Laundry? And other Philosophical Questions
A few days ago I was trying – mostly unsuccessfully – to interest my kids in helping do some household chores. At one point my son asked me: “Dad – why do people fold laundry, anyway?”
My first instinct was to give him one of the usual, knee-jerk responses: “Because I asked you to”. Or, “Because my parents did it and their parents before that and dammit, that's just the way we roll around here.” And so on.
But I resisted, and just thought about the question. Why do we fold clothes?
Well, I ended up coming up with several good reasons why it was a good idea (much to my son's chagrin), but the fact that such an obvious question needed to be re-examined reminded me of the question I have been turning over in my mind the past several years.
Specifically my philosophical question was: What would the perfect coin business be like? And I wanted to look at it from the customer's point of view, of course.
Because from this particular coin dealer's perspective, my ideal business would involve eating pizza and drinking beer while watching football at the beach. My ideal version of the biz probably wouldn't work, of course. For one thing, the coins would get all sandy. There are likely other flaws as well.
The Perfect Coin Dealership (Version 1.0, by Dave Wnuck)
Unlike in every other coin business I have been involved in since I quit my “real” job lo those many moons ago, I'm designing this business to be a true solo operation. No other employees; just me and my efforts.
Fortunately that is much easier to do these days, because of the the huge assist that technology provides. This is in startling contrast to the business landscape when I graduated in the mid-1980's.
Early in my career I remember watching as company after company installed labor-saving devices called “computers”. They then proceeded hire a bunch of smart, well paid employees who created whole new departments to maintain, repair and upgrade these machines.
The productivity boost did come eventually to businesses. It just seemed to come about 20 years later than originally promised.
No matter. The productivity benefits are clearly present now. And I'm a-gonna use them to help build that perfect coin business.
Perfect Coin Dealer Goal #1: Make it Easy to Do Business
The fact is – collectors are busy now. No surprise here - there are just too many demands on folks' time.
In the realm of coins, I have observed that collectors now wish to choose from a hand selected group of choice & desirable coins rather than wade through long and boring lists of ordinary coins to ferret out the few good ones that might be of interest to them. That is what I aim to provide.
Ideally, you might want a dealer to show up at your doorstep with such a hand selected group of coins. Then you could examine them all first-hand and then choose the ones you want. That'd be awesome, wouldn't it? But since the tele-transporter I am building for this purpose is still months away from completion, we still have to rely on the good ol' US mail for now.
To make it easier though, I offer free shipping & Express Mail service on most coins, along with a no-questions asked return privilege. I will even pay for the return shipping. And to do everything I can to prevent you from the hassle of returning coins, I provide clear color images of the coins the way they actually look, not all juiced and jazzed up like a clown's make up.
Nothing new there. There are several other solid dealerships out there that do pretty much the same thing. But read on to learn of how this coin business will be different than all those that came before.
Perfect Coin Dealer Goal #2: Find Untapped Sources of Coins to Offer
My strategy is to find lots of fresh sources of coins to offer you. This means unearthing coins out of old collections, country auctions, small coin shops and other such off-the-beaten-path spots.
When I see an exceptionally good deal in a major coin auction I will, of course, still buy it and offer it on my website. These days though, that does not happen very often. It is much more likely for a coin to sell at auction for more than it is worth than it is to sell for less.
The auction companies have done their job well. They may have done it too well for the many of today's dealers (many of whom are friends of mine) who have built their businesses on getting “rips” at these auctions. The market is too efficient these days for that to be viable.
I have observed that to survive and thrive in this new environment dealers must adapt. The alternative is to watch their businesses wither.
I am a coin business survivor, and I thank my lucky stars that I developed the contacts I have when I did. Sourcing fresh coins will not be a problem for me, as you will see first hand in future lists.
Perfect Coin Dealer Quandary: To Maximize... or Not to Maximize? That is the Question
This point is key. Most dealers these days maximize the value of the coin in every possible way they can. They resubmit, crack out, conserve, dip, send to CAC for verification, etc.
I don't blame them one bit for doing that. It is not illegal or immoral; it is just smart business.
I plan to take the path less traveled, however. I have been and will continue to buy coins, and then sell them in the same grades and holders. If they come with CAC stickers, I will sell them that way. If not, I will still sell them as they come to me.
For example, I am certain that there are coins offered below that – if sent in – would get CAC stickers. There are also coins listed below that would very likely upgrade if resubmitted.
But I'm not gonna be the one to do it. Why? Two reasons. First: I want to turn the coins over quickly. All the things that maximize the grade and marketability of a coin also lengthen the time it will spend in my inventory. That doesn't fit in with my low overhead, quick turnover model.
Secondly and much more importantly, I want to be known in the hobby for selling coins that aren't “maxed out,” to use a coin dealer term. Leaving some meat on the bone seems crazy to nearly all of my dealer associates, but I believe it is actually a brilliant strategy if one has a long enough time horizon.
I view it as an advertising expense. And I have already seen some early effects of this strategy in action. For example, when I set up at smaller and regional shows so far, I have been immediately besieged by crack out dealers who want to look through my inventory right at the start of the show.
I am not trying to market to crack out dealers. [“Crack out dealers”, by the way, are dealers who make a living by upgrading and reselling the coins they buy. Sorry for all the industry jargon in this newsletter issue]. But I don't discourage these buyers either, as they are the early adopters and the early beneficiaries of this long term strategy. The collectors I sell to will also benefit, though it will be longer for them to fully realize it.
I don't want to be all things to all people in this wonderful hobby. My goal is to do a few things, but do them well. So far, so good.
Now On to the NEWP's
As in my previous newsletters – these coins are all items that I have gathered up over the last two or three 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 eyeball these offerings.
Below you will see some fresh type coins, some wild toners available at reasonable prices, and even a few high end contemporary counterfeits. Enjoy!
The “Making the Grade” Featured Coin:
In each newsletter I pick out one coin to highlight. It doesn't have to be expensive; it just has to be interesting.
1847/7 Liberty Half Eagle. PCGS AU55.
A cool variety on a very beautiful coin. As you can see from the photo below, there is the top of a “7” buried in the dentils near the rim below the date.
This is one of the the PCGS CoinFacts plate coins for the variety. It is not the typical 47/7 variety, which is just doubling of the tip of the 7 in the date. This is the MPD (Misplaced Date) variety with a 7 dropped way south. This variety was missing from the extensive Harry Bass collection (note that Mr. Bass collected all the different variations and varieties of US gold coins that he could find, and in fact discovered some new and quite collectible varieties in the process). $2450.
NEWPS Too New for Photos (in most cases)
1806 Draped bust Large Cent. PCGS AU50.
S-270, rarity 1 – the only known dies for the date. Choice medium brown surfaces, with no extraneous marks or discolorations. A perfect choice for a date set for this conditionally challenging date. Though not indicated on the PCGS tag, this is the Benson collection coin which was sold by the Goldberg's in 2001. Prior to that is was ex Ira Reed circa 1944. $4450.
1853 Braided Hair Large Cent. PCGS MS65 BN CAC.
A lovely gem large cent with about 15 % original mint red adhering and very strong cartwheel luster. $995.
1881 Indian Cent. PCGS PR65RB CAC.
Deep mirrors over blue and red surfaces. Quite striking when viewed in-hand. $985.
1884 Indian Cent. PCGS PR65RB.
A crazy quilt of colors including brick red, sky blue and a burst of brilliant gold on the obverse headdress. One for the color fanatic. $1500.
1910-S Lincoln Cent. PCGS MS64 Red.
Full, screaming red on both sides. The obverse looks like a full MS66 Red, while the reverse has a few flecks. Just one grade higher and this is a $1000 coin. $525.
1913-D Type 2 Buffalo Nickel, PCGS MS63 [CAC].
Attractive, completely original, lustrous and fully capable of fitting right in to a gem set of Buffaloes. $450.
1943-D Mercury Dime. PCGS MS67 Full Bands [CAC].
Very light toning, and otherwise pretty much the way it fell from the dies over 70 years ago. $295.
1863 Seated half Dime. PCGS PR66.
A stunner in miniature. Brilliant gold-green at the rims that quickly morphs into bright blue in the centers. $3500.
1876 Twenty Cent Piece. NGC AU50 [fatty].
An attractive, peripherally toned specimen, holdered during the early days of NGC grading. The slab label predates the advent of NGC's use of bar codes. 1876 is a much scarcer date, but trades for only a small premium. $695.
1824/2 Large Sized Bust Quarter. PCGS XF45.
Some luster. Blue toning fading to gray towards the centers. A choice example of this rare date. $7975.
1940-D Washington Quarter. PCGS MS66 CAC.
Light to moderate variegated toning with an area of brilliant green in the left obverse field, as if Washington was passing by a verdant field. A great choice for a collector who is facing the challenging task of assembling a toned set of Washington quarters. $575.
1860-O Seated Quarter. PCGS VF30.
Pleasing gray color and free of problems. Just one year after this coin was struck New Orleans (and the rest of the nation) would be mired in a bloody conflict. $175.
1831 Bust Half Dollar. NGC AU58 CAC [Fatty].
A stunning toner, with breathtaking blues, and reds, golds, and just a hint of green. Darn close to 100% full cartwheel luster, and a coin that speaks to the color enthusiast. $1975.
1834 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS AU55 CAC.
The Small Date, Small Letters Redbook variety. Subtle blue-green toning mixed with gray on the obverse, with a faded rainbow toning swath on the reverse. $695.
1835 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS AU55 CAC.
Choice light gray toning over lustrous surfaces. $675.
1874-S Trade Dollar. PCGS VF30.
Medium gold-gray toning, with a pleasing look. Though it doesn't add one cent to the value of this coin, it is interesting to note that this is the only VF30 PCGS has graded of this date. $255.
1881-O Morgan Dollar. PCGS MS64 CAC.
This is what is known in the biz as a “reverse toner.” No, that doesn't mean that it has the opposite of toning on it, but rather that it has a gorgeously toned reverse, with green, blue, light gold and pinkish red. $475.
1885-O Morgan Dollar. PCGS MS66 CAC.
Brilliant white and looking exactly as you would expect it to. $575.
1895-O Morgan Dollar. PCGS AU53.
Peripheral blue and gold toning quickly fades to near white centers. A key date, and quite expensive in grades higher than this. $1750.
1896 Morgan Dollar. PCGS MS66 CAC.
Beautiful light gold and green toning. Fully struck and quite lovely. $925.
1923-S Peace Dollar. PCGS MS64 CAC.
Well struck and lustrous example of this S-mint peace dollar. Attractive blue peripheral toning fades to medium gold. For anyone engaged in the formidable task of building an attractively toned set of peace dollars, this would be a great selection. $850.
1935 Arkansas Commemorative Half Dollar. PCGS MS67.
So begins a wonderful grouping of spectacular, high end toned commemorative half dollars. Nearly all are housed in 10-12 year old PCGS holders (or older), and none have been submitted to CAC for their verification of grade. In this e-newsletter is just a sampling of the coins; the full grouping will be uploaded to my website in the next day or so, along with color images. This Arkansas sports brilliant rings of vibrant toning fading to near white centers, all over immaculate surfaces. Commem specialists know how tough this type is to find with eye appeal and with technically superior surfaces. See photo below. $6,750.
1918 Lincoln Commemorative Half Dollar. PCGS MS67.
Coin #2 from the same collection. Nearly perfect surfaces, booming cartwheel luster and beautiful peripheral toning. A superlative example of what might be my favorite classic commem design. $4250.
1936 Norfolk Commemorative Half Dollar. PCGS MS67 CAC.
This coin is not a part of the spectacular commem collection I am featuring here, but it is quite desirable in it's own right. Lively green and gold toning, and quite photogenic as such. $850.
1920 Pilgrim Commemorative Half Dollar. PCGS MS67 [rattler].
Lime green toning at the fades to light gold near the centers. MS67 was a grade that PCGS rarely gave out in the early “rattler holder” days of their existence – certainly not with an issue like a Pilgrim. $5950.
1937 Roanoke Commemorative Half Dollar. PCGS MS68 [ogh].
What can I say? This is pretty close to absolute perfection in an early commem. Burnt gold toning quickly fades to light gold, all over lustrous & mark free surfaces. $ 9950.
1902-O Micro 'O' Contemporary Counterfeit Morgan Dollar. ANACS Cache VG-8.
For collectors of contemporary counterfeits (like me, and at least a few other folks reading this right now), a coin like this is a little slice of heaven. You see, the counterfeiters did such a good job that these were considered genuine coins until recent years (until 2005, to be exact). This coin was collected and slabbed simply as a major variety (as the 'micro O', which was cataloged as a VAM-3, as stated on the ANACS tag). Only a small number of these now discredited micro 'O' coins are still encapsulated by the grading services (PCGS, NGC and ANACS), and a slabbed one is doubly desirable for that reason. For more info on this fascinating chapter in numismatics, Google “1902 Micro O $1”. It has been a while since a slabbed version of this coin has sold, to the best of my knowledge. $495.
1843-O Liberty Quarter Eagle. Contemporary Counterfeit Struck in Copper, with Gold Wash. VG [uncertified].
This coin clearly was meant to be passed as a genuine $2.50 gold piece and judging by the wear on it, the counterfeiter was successful. Crude, but well made and with full edge reeding and with some of its original gold wash still adhering in the protected areas. Possibly made by the same counterfeiter that made the 1844-O $10 counterfeit featured in my last newsletter, but this is just a supposition. $185.
1853 Liberty Quarter Eagle. Contemporary Counterfeit Struck in Copper, with Gold Wash. XF [uncertified].
Unlike the 1843-O $2.50 counterfeit on this list, this coin retains about 80% of its original gold wash. There are some test scratches in the left obverse field, where someone's long ago suspicions that this coin was a counterfeit were confirmed – the underlying copper shows through there. Still, the coin did circulate for a bit, so chances are this coin was passed successfully and someone was cheated out of $2.50, which was no small sum back then. Full edge reeding, though weak in some areas. $135.
Contact info to reserve coins:
Website - www.DaveWcoins.com
My email address – email@example.com
Phone - (203) 231-1213