RCNH Monthly Newsletter: July 2015 Issue

on 17 July 2015. Posted in News

Over 200 Years of Combined Numismatic Experience at Your Disposal.

A Newsletter By: July 2015 Issue

 

Welcome to Our First Newsletter!

 

My Coin Journey

By Warren Mills

Welcome to our inaugural newsletter. Since this is the beginning of what we hope is a well-received and educational look at the coin business, I would like to give you a background of my start in coins. I'm not a writer, but I love the hobby and field of numismatics. I hope to continue for a long time to provide our clients with the best coins for the grade that we can source.

When I was nine years old, my grandfather showed me a small box of old coins. For some reason, I was fascinated by them. I believe that was my first tap on the shoulder from God about the coin business. The collection consisted of two silver dollars and a handful of varied copper and low denomination silver issues. He was not a collector but just put them aside as obsolete issues that were not circulating anymore. We had no discretionary income to allocate to collecting coins, but the ember was there and on a slow burn.

As a young teenager, I was able to amass enough money through odd jobs to rationalize the expense of buying a coin book. My first Red Book probably cost me all of a dollar, but I knew if I told my parents that I spent a dollar on a book about coins, I'd be lectured on wasting money. Reading that book opened up a world about which I had never known. Every bit of change was scrutinized. I found a very common 1909 VDB Lincoln, not the S-VDB, yet, I still felt like I hit the lottery.

For the rest of my high school years I bought, sold and traded to amass enough coins to fit in a small tie box. As my social life bloomed, I lost interest. Then in my junior year of college, I showed my girlfriend my old coin collection! That's when God really put me on the path of numismatics. I started going to any small coin show I could find, dragging my girlfriend along with me. It got to the point that my father sat me down and said, "You'll never make a living with coins, so be sure to hit the books and study." Without a blink of an eye, I said, "Dad, I'm going to try to make a living doing what I love. If I can't do it, I'll never look back with regrets and say I wonder what would have happened. I'm still young enough that if I can't do it, I will go headlong into the field of my major."

Upon graduation, I took a job in the retail field and quickly worked my way up to store manager. With the extra income, I started to buy coins from a firm called New England Rare Coin Gallery in Boston. I told my representative that if a job ever opened up, please get me in for an interview. Well, one did and I was one of almost a hundred candidates for the position. I was hired and my life as a Professional Numismatist began.

I wanted to share a bit of my background because many things I have experienced over the years in numismatics will show up in our monthly e-letter. Our other numismatists will be contributing varied educational articles and my hope is to educate and assist all of our clients to enjoy their investments and/or hobby. I think that you will find our upcoming articles thought-provoking and educational!

Please send any questions you'd like us to address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Those questions that would most interest our readers will be published, with your permission, in the next issue.  I will be happy to address any privately, too!

Our business philosophy, triumphs and foibles, coin show happenings and personal interactions will appear in these issues. My hope is that you will learn from our experiences so that you will become an even more knowledgeable buyer.

Your feedback is appreciated. I hope you like our first issue.

Thanks,

Warren

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Coin Terminology 

Dip or dipping - Dipping and cleaning are often used interchangeably. It is a matter of interpretation as to whether they are the same or not. Dipping is the act of dipping a coin in a chemical solvent to remove the toning or color on a coin. The toning is removed by stripping or removing a micron-thick amount of metal from the coin, thus leaving a bright surface.

Cleaning - This is typically done with some sort of abrasive such as baking soda or cleaning agent. The result of the rubbing action between the abrasive and the metal surface of the coin will usually leave the coin damaged and unmarketable. Dipping, on the other hand, is typically more market-acceptable by some people.

Toning - Toning is the natural interaction of the metal of a coin with, chemicals that the coin comes in contact with in the environment. In years past, coins would be stored in paper envelopes that often contained sulfur. The sulfur over time would react with the surface of a coin and create various colors from beautiful reds, blues and greens to drab browns. The intensity of the colors and beauty often depends upon the environment in which the coins were stored.

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I'm Not Going to Work Today 

Being the Bearer of Good News

By David Carleton

There's a saying that goes something like, "If you love what you're doing for a living, then you'll never work a day in your life". Well it hasn't been quite that easy. Yet, in my next several missives, I'm going to share some of the things that have made me look forward to coming into my office each day for the last 25 years.

One of the best parts of the day is speaking with regular folks who have acquired coins in myriad ways and who are unsure as to the value of their coins. We'll set up an appointment and, in the process, I'll ask a few questions about their coins to try to get an idea of what to expect when they bring them in to Rare Coins of New Hampshire. The fun part is the anticipation of seeing the coins and hoping that they are really "mint," as described by the owner. The reality is that many coins that come in off the street are common or have been altered or mishandled in some way. We have to tell them in a respectful way that the coins don't hold the value for which they were hoping.

It goes both ways, though, and sometimes something comes in that's worth a ton of money. This makes my day and makes their day, too! Being the bearer of this good news is awesome and to see the expressions on the faces of these individuals is priceless.

This is one of the enjoyable things that happens when one is a numismatist. I invite you to contact us when you think you have coins that you sense may be valuable. We'll treat your coins with respect and provide you an honest, candid assessment as to their worth.

I look forward to hearing from you and, hopefully, you will be one with that valuable coin that allows us to make your day, too!

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.

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My Newest Avocation - Not Just a Job

By Lou Roten

 

Like many in my generation, I began collecting circulated coins when I was young, eight-years-old. My grandfather brought home some old coins recovered from sacks of cacao beans from Brazil - he worked for Baker's Chocolate in Boston and found coins in the bags, some of which had gone through processing machines, got bent or dented, but were really interesting. My uncle had some coins and currency he found during WWII from France and Germany. I started searching through the family's pocket change.

As a kid, it was fun just to fill empty holes in Whitman blue albums. Sadly, after spending 40% of my life putting together a Lincoln penny set with five empty slots, my collection was stolen when I was 14 years old. All the Buffalo nickels, early 50's proof sets my mother bought for me, Mercury dimes, a nice 1917 S OBV Walking Liberty Half, a few Roman coins (I was studying Latin in school) - all gone. I turned to stamp collecting, having a starter group of British Commonwealth from an uncle.

My interest in coins was renewed a few years ago - yes, the state quarters. I bought some silver proof state quarter sets of 1999 to 2004 from eBay and the US mint. I started checking out eBay for deals on Morgan dollars and bought a few that were ungraded. They looked great in the photos, were described as AU/BU or BU, and even looked fine to me when they arrived in the mail.

A few of what I thought were nice Morgan examples were submitted to PCGS, NGC and ANACS. You all can guess the result - almost all came back 'details, cleaned'. A few were graded AU50, AU55; only one came back mint state. That result was more than disappointing. I felt duped and stopped buying Morgan dollars on eBay. Oh well, education usually costs money. My 'coin tuition' had taught me about cleaned coins. I simply stopped buying coins on eBay unless they were graded by PCGS, NGC or ANACS. Then, there is CAC.

Last year, having purchased a few raw coins on eBay, I searched for a local company to help me with a decision on whether to have them graded, finding Rare Coins of New Hampshire nearby. I spoke on the phone with Dave Carleton, who told me that an inquiry of whether to grade my coins was a great question - something I now understand. I made an appointment for the next day.

Warren Mills and Dave sat with me while Warren looked over my coins. Warren told me which coins would grade and what grade they had a chance to receive, and told me which coins to return to the seller. About a month later I got a call from David telling me that PCGS had graded my coins exactly as Warren had predicted, increasing the value of the coins well over what I had paid, not to mention saving on the coins I returned.

My experience was so positive and educational, and learning that RCNH specializes in original surface coins, I decided that here was an opportunity to vastly increase my coin knowledge, particularly about coin conditions. I asked if there was a chance I could join RCNH on a part-time basis. After a month or so of reminders (gentle pestering), Warren agreed. I joined RCNH in May of 2014. I would like to share some of my observations as I move up along my learning curve.

First: emotion caused by barkers has no place when buying coins that will be readily available in the future. I learned from the often-given advice, 'buy the coin, not the label', wait for the right coin, and that money spent on classic coins was usually better spent. Spending a lot of time with old coins here at RCNH has been a great learning experience

1999 silver proof sets were going for well over $200 in the initial frenzy and now can be had for less than $100. TV coin shows selling very common silver American Eagles, entice viewers with graded slabs labeled as first strikes, with autographs, special themed labels, American flags, and almost anything to avoid attention to the fact that these coins are just silver bullion from the US mint in fancy clothes and priced to match the fancy clothes, not to mention that virtually every American Eagle minted today will grade at least MS or Proof 69. Coins are often offered on TV shows with a 'was' price and a 'new low' price. That is all one needs to know.

Trust is a huge positive factor in any business. It became clear to me that the most important product of RCNH is trust: trust in the integrity of the coins that are offered and sold, and trust in the advice given by the numismatists here. It is not uncommon for a client to be advised NOT to buy a coin, either a coin offered in an auction, or even one in our own inventory if we know it is not exactly what a client is seeking - a real consequence of the relationships we like to build with clients. Of course, we will encourage the purchase of a coin that has true merit as original, has been graded properly, and fits the criteria of a client's want list. Warren Mills selects all the coins to be put in our inventory, according to the strict rule of originality.  

Although I now work here, I was first a customer; the confidence of knowing that RCNH coins are original, untampered with, and are as described or better, is worth a great deal, translating to real value for our clients.

Lou Roten - current adjunct instructor - mathematics / physics, Franklin Pierce University; environmental scientist; fiddler; life-long interest in collecting coins and stamps with some interruptions; very interested in the evolution of the coin making process.

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