RCNH Monthly Newsletter: September 2016 Issue
Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
A Newsletter By:
Monthly Or Bimonthly Newsletter?
We Asked And You Responded
By Warren Mills
We asked our customers and friends to give us some feedback on moving the newsletter to an every-other-month publication instead of monthly. The overwhelming response was to keep it monthly, but to shorten the length a bit. Others that enjoyed our articles understood that moving it back to every two months was fine with them, but they did not want us to stop writing it. Some very knowledgeable people wanted us to do it every two weeks, instead of monthly! I want to give them a hearty thank you for their vote of confidence.
The reason behind the polling on our newsletter is because we have a standing office in a bank building, and we do free appraisals for anyone that wants to make an appointment. This usually means that we have as many as ten daily appointments with those who have a collection.
We also buy jewelry plus we buy and sell bullion products. With a markup over cost of 1% on gold and 2% on silver, we are fairly busy for many reasons. We also try to explain all the in’s and out’s of the coin or bullion market to anyone that requests our guidance. We love the hobby, so we take the time to go the extra mile. Unfortunately, time demands can be tremendous. July and August are also big vacation months, and with multiple people out of the office for two weeks at a time, the time demand is exacerbated. When you’re the chief cook and bottle washer, it’s hard to keep up with everything.
The bottom line is that I have decided to go back to a monthly letter. We are coin nerds and realize that our basic technical knowledge of internet use for marketing impacts us. However, I have found that - in many instances - the advanced technical internet knowledge of many newer numismatic firms is inversely proportional to their lack of numismatic experience.
We have been on the front lines for decades, gaining knowledge and experience from a cavalcade of numismatic luminaries – Dave Akers, Walter Breen, Art Kagin, etc., were all first name basis friends and colleagues. Certainly, we welcome suggestions you may have that would allow us to more effectively use the internet/social media to help our clients. In the meantime, if you want me to write on a particular subject, let me know. Should you wish me to respond in private, I am glad to do so.
Bottom line: we welcome the opportunity to be even better!
August is when the American Numismatic Association (ANA) convention is held. This year it was hosted in Anaheim, CA. Shortly, you will be able to see on RCNH.com, those coins that we purchased at the ANA. The CAC issues will be first; the coins we purchased without CAC stickers are ones that we sent to CAC for review. These coins will be up in a couple of weeks. You will note that there were not a lot of new purchases from the show. The reason: too many coins to see, with too few that represented strict grading. We walked through a couple of gold coins for grading at the show and they graded 2-3 points higher than we expected. They will gladly be wholesaled.
We examined many auction lots for customers. They were tremendously disappointing. We make a commission on lots we like and could not stand behind one coin. All were grossly over-graded. There was one coin that we liked that was under $1,000 and I forgot to execute the bid. I’m so mad at myself that it’s making me crazier than normal. Yet, to examine tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of auction lots for clients and only like one coin is sad.
Next month, I’ll either pick up on “My Coin Journey” again or start to go in a different direction. Please let me know what you think. Your emails are always welcome here at Rare Coins of New Hampshire.
Partner and owner of Rare Coins of New Hampshire, Inc. since June, 1990 and a full time coin dealer since 1979. Warren is a full member of the Professional Numismatists Guild and a life member of the American Numismatic Association. He was selected by the Rosen Numismatic Advisory as one of the ten leading numismatists in the country for twelve consecutive years. He was selected by PCGS and written up in their newsletter as handling and submitting some of the nicest coins they have ever seen.
Backdate vs. Current Date
By Joseph Presti
Whenever I call our gold wholesaler to order American Gold Eagles (AGE) for a client the first question I am asked is, “Do you want current or backdates?” A current date AGE is a coin with the present year on it. For instance, right now a current date AGE is 2016. A backdate is a coin with a year anytime before the present year, sounds simple. Why then does it cost more to buy current dates rather than backdates? After some investigation it comes down to a rather basic principle, supply and demand.
Before I get into a discussion of why this conundrum exists, let’s examine the cost differences. With gold at $1,320 per ounce, the difference in cost is about $9-$10 per one ounce coin. When you purchase fractional AGEs the price difference can be as high as $30 per ounce. This is a substantial difference when one considers that it is a commodity. Some may have the attitude of, “I am buying for the long-term and I feel gold is going to appreciate many thousands of dollars per ounce, so what is a few extra dollars per ounce?” That thought pattern is fine if you are comfortable with it and have money to burn, but I cannot wrap my head around paying more for something when I can get the exact same thing for less. It is the same as buying gasoline. There are two Exxon stations literally next to each other. All things are equal, you pump it yourself, you pay cash, the grade of gasoline is the same, but one station charges more than the other, why? Oh, and did I mention that when you sell you get the same price for current and backdated coins? It makes no sense.
After dealing in metals and coins for 35 years, I thought I was missing something because I could not figure out why one cost more than the other. My problem was that I was trying to look at it as a numismatist would. Was one coin in better condition, a rarer year or was there something else special about it? The answer to all of my questions came back the same, no. So why then is a current date more expensive than a backdate? None of the bullion dealers around the country I spoke with had an adequate answer.
Whenever I have a client that wants to purchase AGEs, I ask if they want backdates or current dates and I get the same response, “What’s the difference?” I explain about the cost structure and that as soon a January 1 comes along their coins are now considered backdates. Inevitably they chose to purchase backdates to save $10 per coin. So, the next time you purchase AGEs, whether from RCNH or someone else, ask about the cost of backdate vs. current date coins, there should be a difference. If there is no difference in price, more than likely the dealer is overpricing the backdated coins.
Those Crazy Coin Collections
By Dave Carleton
I’d like to start by thanking all the people who responded to our request about the frequency of our newsletter. There were some excellent points made regarding both monthly and bimonthly issues.
I’ve often said that although we’re in the coin business, we’re really in the people business too. The broad diversity of coins brings with it an equally broad and divergent group of collectors. Quite often, I’ll speak with a caller who used to collect when they were young, but got away from it when they went away to school, fell in love, and started a family. Now they’re back, have access to more resources (money) and want to get involved in collecting again. Many have asked me what area of numismatics I would recommend collecting, and I tell them that no matter what path they choose, to make sure they’re having fun with it. If you’re buying coins but losing sleep at night because of the money you’ve spent, then that’s not fun. I’ll often recommend embarking on a “Type” set, where you acquire one coin from all the different denominations and styles. In the process of doing that you might find a series that you want to focus on completely. Another variation of doing a “Type” set, would be to do it with a “Key” date from each series. That could get expensive, but a lot of fun if you have the resources.
The cool part about coin collecting is the myriad ways people do it, which reminds me of one of my favorites. One of my customers is in love with American history and is in the process of acquiring a coin from the time frame of each presidential tenure. That means when complete he’ll have 44 coins in his collection and he’ll have to add one more after November. He has coins like a 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar for Washington, an 1813 Capped Bust Half Dollar for Madison, an 1861 Three Cent Silver for Lincoln. He has a lot more, but what made me think of this set was because in the last few weeks we were fortunate enough to purchase a nice group of Flowing Hair and Draped Bust Dollars, he called to express his dilemma. His problem was that he had recently purchased an 1807 Draped Bust Half Dollar in VF-30 for his favorite president, Thomas Jefferson. Now we have an 1801 Draped Bust Dollar in XF-45 that he really wants. He thinks his favorite president deserves the best coin in the collection, but the only problem is the 1801 dollar costs about $6,000 more than the Draped Bust Half. I don’t know how this is going to work out but I know one thing, either way he won’t be losing any sleep over it.
David Carleton, a New Hampshire native was introduced to coin collecting by his father and Grandfather in the 50’s. Gold bullion speculation dominated the 70’s culminating in 1980 when focus on Numismatics returned. He became a life member of the ANA , met Warren Mills (his coin Guru) and they cofounded RCNH in 1990.
My Summer Of 2016 (So Far….)
By Paul V. Battaglia
Well, my wife Lillian & I took a week in early June (despite it not being summer) with my sister and her husband to Hyannis on Cape Cod, MA. The weather was flawless and there were no crowds anywhere. We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. We miraculously managed to take off a Friday together up into the Gloucester-Rockport, MA area to visit places we had not seen in ten years or more. The penalty for taking off a Friday together was searing heat in the range of around 101º F. (38.333º C.), no sea breeze and a torrid west wind. I have not had to cut my lawn since mid-June when our southern NH drought took hold which is good, I guess….but the entire lawn is now a striking washed-out yellow colour. My heirloom cherry tomatoes did not co-operate despite my extra watering. I continue to visit the gym four times a week to stay in shape. I turn 65 very soon and have plans to ascend Mount Whitney as my birthday gift to me.
All in all, an interesting and varied assortment of events.
Oh, one more thing….I acquired a 1928-S Liberty Standing Quarter in PCGS F15: Inverted MM FS-501 for my lower grade set. Man, was I thrilled to pick up that piece.
Over the decades in collecting coins, I have upgraded, traded, sold and swapped countless coins in my sets and as single type pieces. As a rule, I do not purchase varieties unless they have to do with my interests OR are listed in the landmark book, “Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins” by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton.* My 20th century specialty has been the Liberty Standing Quarters as readers know, since I began collecting coins at 7 years of age. As you may know, this series is quite lean when it comes to varieties. The most noteworthy is the kingpin 1918-S, 8/7, of course. However, for “a price”, you can chase this one down coupled with effort.
My variety was originally cherry-picked out of ordinary junk silver, yup, that is the truth. I was not the one to be so lucky, but was the first to come across it and snapped it up without thinking. My point here: ALWAYS KEEP LOOKING THROUGH JUNK SILVER, COPPER CENTS, COINS IN GENERAL, etc. Someone has to find these jewels and it might as well be you OR, you might be the first one to have such a coin offered your way!! Heck, I located my 5 dateless 1916 Liberty Standing Quarters in junk silver through the knowledge of the position of the gown folds.
I got this variety “right” as the parlance goes, with cash, and stepping up to the plate without hesitation. This variety books for rather impressive figures at $275 in VG-8 and $400 in F12 with nothing reported above those grades. This one plugs the hole nicely in my lower graded circ. set and is better than the raw F-12 (my opinion) I have had for many years. I have not encountered any others in my travels, but once saw “J” Cline’s example years ago, yet have now forgotten it’s grade and physical characteristics, unfortunately.
This specimen is fresh, wholesome and intact. The naked eye is easily drawn to both the date and mint marked area as both are (seemingly) backlit by the fashion in which the toning developed, being darker grey fields against a lighter hue upon the devices. A 5x glass suffices to initially generate a mental query as to the distinct possibility of a variety presenting itself. The application of 10x positively identifies this coin as being the Real McCoy in this collector’s experience. A tilting of the coin in hand reveals some fine, translucent cobalt blue and palest burgundy hues on both the lower right and lower left obverse quarters. Variegated patches of deeper grey are scattered like low-lying storm clouds (for lack of a better description) in random fashion, yet do not mar the harmony and balance in my opinion. The reverse is more golden-grey with palest blue tinges well along in development. Both obverse and reverse have no surface metal damage….just honest, even wear and tear.
I can rarely add a new coin to my collection at this point in time for many reasons, many of which are also known to you, my readers and collectors. I am otherwise very content to be happy with what I have and call it a day.
My point? Well, it was not to boast or humble-brag, the latter being both a fresh term as well as a new behavioural pattern with some people. YOU, the reader/collector, YOU, must maintain hope and zeal at all times for lightning strikes of its own accord and when it chooses. KNOWLEDGE, the pursuit of knowledge, rewards us all with enlightenment at the very least with an occasional tangible treat in our scholarly hobby. There will never be a time when all coins are discovered, found and done with, period. Walter Breen made this brilliantly, and simply, clear in his “Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins” when he stressed VARIETY and VARIETIES, both major and minor, would be the ongoing future of numismatics. He took great interest in anyone’s coins. I will also add that Q. David Bowers still gives unselfishly of his time and genuine interest to all who approach him on the bourse. I tip my hat to these men as well as the nameless, innumerable numismatists out there who seek the higher road for the benefit of us all.
I welcome your opinions and criticisms as always. Thanks much.
*(This excerpt and scans on upper page 156 are from “The Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties, Fifth Edition, Volume II” Reprinted with permission from Whitman Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)
Paul Battaglia is the Senior Numismatist and a Life Member of the ANA. He travels with owner, Warren Mills, to the major coin shows across the country. Paul has 50+ years numismatic experience and has been with RCNH since 1990. He also cherishes reading, cooking, language, music, classic cars, lily/orchid culture, chess, economic statistics, differing viewpoints and FISHING.
Questions From The Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
Question: Warren, I've been collecting coins for a few years but I struggle with my ability to identify cleaned and altered coins at times. Any tips or advice to make better coin purchases when at coin shows? I've bought some real crummy coins over the years, because of this I have never been taught how to really check out a coin, any help would be much appreciated.
Answer: Thank you DW for your question.
If I am at a show, I encourage anyone to come to me at any time for my opinion. If you go to a show, first observe dealers looking at coins at a table. Watch the way they rotate a coin under a good light source to look for abrasions or any alterations. You must spend at least a day doing this. Move away from tables that dealers exhibit that they are only label readers. All certified and raw coins should be examined in great detail. A label reader will not even look at the coin. If you are a raw coin buyer, get a guarantee that the coin will certify to the grade.
I had a pristine original lustrous 1952-s Franklin Half in ms63 that I thought was a shot 64. A man comes to the table and needs it as the last coin for his unc. set. He asks me what the price is. I tell him and he wants to know if I can do $10 better, I say I can't. He says that he is going to keep looking. I see him the next day and ask him if he found a piece. He said he did, and it was $10 less than mine. I asked if I could take a look and he shows me a lightly cleaned slider that was worth less than half of a real 63. So get a guarantee of certification!
On certified coins, get a return option time in writing. Show the coin to proven dealers you trust for an opinion. I know at shows, many dealers are no return. You should say, “No return, no business.” A good dealer will want to satisfy a customer.
If you can, find a mentor. There are times at a show that a customer will take up hours of my time if I allow it. I just set an amount of time that I can allocate to them. A mentor is of utmost importance!
Lastly, look at as many coins as you can. Spend a day or two viewing auction lots. Auctions are the dumping ground of horridly over-graded coins, but they also have some of the best and greatest coins for sale you may ever see! Remember the vast majority are the bottom of the barrel coins that dealers or collectors can't sell elsewhere. Attend the auctions! Review the notes you made on coins of interest during the sale. If everything you liked went for begging prices, Repeat all the steps above. If many of the coins you liked brought P.Q. prices and had a lot of action, you're on the right track. Then you can start spending some of your hard earned money.
Patience is its own reward.
Thanks again and please keep those questions coming. We welcome your questions. So please send them to me directly or emailfor future newsletters, and if you prefer, I will answer them for you privately.
September Highlighted Coin
1850 Liberty $20 Gold Piece PCGS AU-50 CAC - $5,550.00
CAC, First year issue hard to find with CAC sticker. CAC pop-17 with 81 higher, Could 53, most are cleaned.
1848 Sutter Mill, CA: Gold is discovered, the rush is on! So much gold is being produced by the California gold rush, the US government must determine a way to use it. The idea of a new $20 gold coin is proposed and a single pattern is struck in 1849. Meeting with approval, the new denomination was authorized and regular coinage was struck starting in 1850. The Philadelphia Mint struck nearly 1.2 million $20 gold coins the first year, and most have been lost through melting, abuse and normal attrition. The result is that very few wholesome coins exist today.
To put things in perspective, our highlighted coin is an 1850 Liberty $20 Gold Piece PCGS AU-50 CAC. PCGS and NGC have graded a total of 430 coins in AU-50, and CAC has only stickered 17 pieces, a paltry 3.95%. This gives one a better idea of how difficult it is to find wholesome, original early gold, and the larger the coin the harder it is to find.
Our AU-50 CAC, as with all of our coins, is original and represents an opportunity to purchase a rarely offered first year of issue $20 Double Eagle at only, $5,550.
Please emailif you'd like to order this coin, or if you have any questions or comments regarding it.