on Wednesday, 09 August 2017 02:39. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  August 2017 Issue

A Newsletter By:

Welcome to Another Issue of the Rare Coin Enthusiast

By Warren Mills

It’s a huge blessing to work at what you enjoy.  To make a living at your hobby is fun and humbling.
I wish there were more ways to make numismatics fun.  We have young collectors come in to see us and we will sit down with them and their parents and try to educate them as best we can.  Once we find out their interests, we try to give them a coin or two - unless they want to collect Saint Gaudens $20’s – to help them along. 
If you have a child or grandchild that is interested in collecting, let me know.  If I have a Whitman Album for that series on hand, I’ll give it to you free to help spur their desire for coins.  Sometimes, a youngster will really take to the hobby when they see a goal of completing a set.  As a parent, or grandparent, a gift of a scarce date for their collection can go a long way.
For an adult, I believe that buying a book on your areas of interest is a great way to start.  Virtually every series of coins has a reference book to assist you with grading, rarity and varieties.  There’s an old saying, “buy the book before the coin.”  Most books will also open up a world of history during the era in which the coins were struck, too!  If you find a rare variety in your collection, that’s fun. 
I was having a conversation about collecting a series of coins that were fun, and while speaking with a very knowledgeable customer, he mentioned to me that results mattered in collecting.  Whether it’s for appreciation or hobby enjoyment, grading must hold up or the coins must appreciate to be fun.  I mentioned to him the importance of CAC at one point and he said that if he likes it, he doesn’t care about CAC and if I liked it, he’d rather have the RCNH approval.  I thanked him and said that I wish others knew about RCNH.  Later that day, which was July 6th, I noticed a posting on the PCGS coin forum.  Here is the word-for-word post that was titled, “Total success with Warren Mills and Rare Coins of New Hampshire, all CAC’ed!”
“I purchased approximately 35 coins from Warren approximately five years ago, finally decided to send the group into CAC and see what stickers, every one stickered, i.e. 30 went green with five going gold.  And the five Warren opined were under graded, what a phenomenal eye Warren Mills has, and a nice guy too!”
I have to admit that I was shocked to see the amazing results of the post.  At RCNH, we try to select the most accurately graded coins that we can find for our clients.  Now, not all results are like this, but we probably average close to an 80% success rate.  I hope his results were fun for him; his post was fun for me.
A week after that, we sent in 14 coins for a client that he bought from us over ten years ago -- 13 of them CAC’ed.  However, a week before that, we only had six of 10 work for a customer.  Compared to the industry average, I know that’s still very high, but I was disappointed.  One thing I can say about CAC is that they only care about the strength of the coin.  The coin itself has to earn the sticker; there is no dealer favoritism.  The reason I say that is because a very knowledgeable dealer had us send in 14 coins for him to CAC.  He’s a dealer that I tremendously respect.  Last week we received the results and only one of 14 stickered!  He did not buy the coins from us, but I was still disappointed for him.
This, though, is how dealers have had fun for themselves for years.  You buy and submit a collection of coins and hope that the grading results are fun and not disappointing.  Thankfully, we’ve had a lot more good news than bad news for our clients when they submit coins that they purchased from us.  I would recommend to anyone that they consider sending some of their past purchases into CAC.  I hope the results are good; if not, maybe we can help you with your grading.
I examined a collection of coins that were purchased from another firm, and I told the client that I thought the coins were really commercially graded and to send eight of his pieces to CAC and see if any worked.  I know that if only one worked, it would more than offset the CAC fee for all of the coins combined.  One did work, but it was only a 10% price differential.  Yet, it still easily offset all the fees.
You can buy coins anywhere.  Great coins, however, are the challenge.  If you stick with top quality for the grade when you choose to sell, you will have a lot more fun than those that try to sell the run-of-the mill coins.

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.

Remembering an Interesting Friend

By Dave Carleton

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how much I enjoy reading the many research articles I find in numismatic publications like The Numismatist, Coin World, Numismatic News, etc. I particularly focused on a paper written by a very prolific numismatic researcher and writer, Mr. Joel J. Orosz. His article dispelled the previously accepted theory that George Washington, or, more appropriately, his wife, Martha, had donated some of their silverware to be used in the production of our first coins from the US Mint, the 1792 half dismes. As it turns out, Thomas Jefferson was responsible for presenting the coiners with the silver to produce the dismes and then he was the one who distributed them on a trip he took from Philadelphia to Washington.

This brings me to another article I just read in the July 17th issue of Coin World, and again it was penned by Mr. Orosz. The title of the piece was “Remembering Carl” and it is a very fine tribute to a numismatic researcher and collector, Carl Herkowitz. Mr. Orosz credits Mr. Herkowitz as the person who - after intense research - provided proof that the claims of Washington’s silver being used for America’s first coins were incorrect. Mr. Orosz, Len Augsburger, and Pete Smith were also going to dedicate their new book 1792: Birth of a Nation’s Coinage to Carl because of all of his contributions, but, unfortunately, he passed away in April and they didn’t have a chance to let him know.

I met Carl on the phone one day about 25 years ago. We were running an ad and I got the call.  The gentleman was quite animated when he asked me in a kind of a yelling tone, “Why do you have the 1872 Indian Cent in your ad?” I was taken aback and responded in a flippant manner that that was how we sold coins. Then he said that “I’m Mr. 1872 and I deal with Warren and he’s supposed to set every 1872 Indian Cent that comes in aside for me.” That’s when I realized that it wasn’t a crank call and that he was actually a customer of ours. I tried to calm him down by telling him that we were not perfect and sometimes things like this happen. He mellowed and said that he knew how such things happen and that he’d like to order the coin. That’s when I told him that the coin had been placed and off he went again. After a while of his venting, we settled down to a very civil conversation and he told me that he had hundreds of the 1872’s and, jokingly, he said that he had coin dealers camping in his back yard, trying to get him to part with some of the coins. I told Warren about the conversation and how Carl and I were now at least phone friends. Warren laughed and said that he had met Mr. Herkowitz and that he was quite a unique individual. I remember telling Carl that the 1872 Indian Cent was one of my favorite dates of the series and that now that I knew his story, it was probably he that was responsible for the scarcity of the date. He uttered a devilish laugh and said that it might be true.

We interacted with and placed a lot of 1872’s with Carl, but I was never aware of his numismatic contributions until I read Joel Orosz’s article about Carl’s research of 1792 half dismes. It’s so nice that the unassuming numismatist, Carl Herkowitz, gets some deserving credit in a nationally published newspaper like Coin World. Thank you for some great memories, Carl.   


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.


Paul V. Battaglia


As a long-time student in numismatics and exonumia, I am not unduly concerned with the fluctuations in the metals.  Sure, I see them all through the day, but I give it a jaundiced eye.  To the extent their numbers affect the semi-numismatic portion of rarer coins, yes, I take note of that.  I have many loyal and serious customers in this area who want my actions carried out on their behalves. 

As of recent, the whipsaw activity in gold and silver has proven to be substantial fodder for writers both for and against -- analysts, soothsayers, pundits, hard asset dealers, etc.  A few of these individuals are very good at what they do and have accurately forecasted past events. Current forecasts have not yet come to fruition.  Hats off to them -truly. They have earned their fees and also fully served their clientele.  I read their work, but lose no sleep over it nor do I act impulsively.  The deck is stacked to an extent.  I accepted that over thirty years ago and work within the confines of that arena for the benefit of my customers. 

That being said, let’s now get into coins.

My opinion on seeking out better date gold and silver coins is this month’s contribution, though it is one topic that has been beaten soundly into the good Terra firma by writers superior to me.  Perhaps my parlance can fire up the enthusiasm of those who were, otherwise, not interested or just neutral on the subject.  If I succeed there then my efforts here were well worth the time. 

STRONG BUYING OPPORTUNITIES generally coincide exactly with a strong lack of disposable, after-tax monies.  One also sees a simultaneous increase in “off-quality” goods at drastic reductions.  PASS entirely on the latter for it is wasting your funds and time.  Likewise, STRONG SELLING OPPORTUNITIES also coincide with a tippy-top market loaded with wonderful, desirable goods… plus more cash in our pockets.  The former is where you try to BUY a neat deal.  The latter is where to try to SELL and take profit if it is solely about the bottom line.  If not, the same thinking does apply unless you “…just have to have that last coin for the series!” OR “…the toning on that coin rivals the rainbow bands on planet Jupiter!”

A study of the CDN Greysheet Monthly Supplement, which has come a long and positive way with new ownership, reveals an overall lowering of bids in the $2 ½ , $5, $10 Indian and $20 Saint-Gaudens from AU58 – MS63, with some exceptions.  The Saints are feeling the brunt of lower bullion prices from XF _MS63-NO EXCEPTIONS.  $10 Liberty Gold is seeing much the same, as are the Saints, once you move into their 1880 decade (excepting the better dates) and in that same range of grades hitherto mentioned.

The repatriation of many $5 Liberty Half Eagles from Europe has also exacerbated the weakness in this series and, indirectly, contributed to the malaise, as well.

Surprise awaits us when we review the $20 Liberty Double Eagle series, With Motto, in these lower grades into MS62 and a number of certain dates in MS63.  A basic combination of SIZE… and .96750 troy ounces of 21.6K gold helps, eh?!  This series has benefited from sinking gold bullion and why not?  Many have blown off their Saints for their earlier counterpart brethren that are statistically scarcer.  I still hasten to add that Saints are a most worthy acquisition when their older $20 Liberty’s are not forthcoming. 

Currently, an indeterminate number of U.S. gold and other gold coins are being sold/purchased for 1) just above gold spot, 2) at spot per their melt value, of course, and 3) below their melt value.  CASH is scarcer than common sense.

At RCNH, we are experiencing a busier than usual summer season.  The economy is very poor, skewed, rigged and helter-skelter the world over.  All of this has been in place for age, but is now reaching a point of no return when exponential growth of debt defies even the world’s most elaborate computers’ ability to explain in mortal language.  I should have you, dear reader, consider focusing on these rare coin opportunities as they will surface more and more – count on it.  Counterfeiting is rampant and one almost has to doff the skimmer on their work.  Stolen goods are commonplace and shall increase.  BOTH are reasons to seize the reality of our times via the gold and silver coins that you have always wanted, especially better date pieces, the focus of this article.  A continuation of softening in these metals will erode the confidence of people who, otherwise, thought they were staunch and immovable.  These times ARE trying with basic costs rising, but quality and quantity shrinking (Some levity here….I never liked all the air they puff into bags of potato chips, do you?) 

Be mindful and aware of what our great hobby is now revealing.  The gold coin series about which I mentioned earlier are pouring out into dealer coffers and as “lots” in countless auctions.  These lots are often placed at the ends of auctions when funds and enthusiasm are both gone.  Look for them and you can be rewarded.  Stick with what you know and never apologize for the modesty of your collection.  It is special and dear to you, which is all that counts.  The days are on our doorstep when the coin(s) of your dream will sail by, so be ready to the best of your ability.  Whether it be “the most bang for the buck bullion Saint, etc.” OR that neat branch mint piece that you have only seen in a fine catalogue, save up, be patient and make it a reality.  You will KNOW when it is right, trust me, for I have been there countless times.  Early quarter eagles are a fine area as well as ones that are pre-1880… many Half Eagles are forgotten and overlooked much as are Capped Bust Quarters, in my professional experience.  The keys in these two series are very well known, but their circulated grades and even XF/AU might, just might, surface given time. 

Last and not least, try to acquire your coins that have CAC stickers on them unless you feel competent enough to know originality in a few seconds or have a dealer/friend who is willing to help you.  CAC has been of great service to numismatics, collectors, investors and dealers.  I believe they will stick to the high ground and be a true servant in the years before us all.

Thank you for your time and interest.



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 Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
"What is the future of coin conventions in the age of the internet?  I rarely have the ability to buy on a sight-seen basis anymore."  D.M.
Thanks for the questions D.M.
I believe the majority of collectors and dealers feel that coin shows will go the way of the passenger pigeon.  They may, but I don’t think so and furthermore, I hope they are always around.
In this age of instant gratification, many new buyers to the coin business want to use their eyes and thumbs to view coins.  They pull it up on their I-Phone, look at a scan and say yes or no.  It’s sad because you can never gain an appreciation for a coin by not being able to rotate it when examining it.  For proof coins, a scan is impossible!  All you can determine is if it’s dipped out to be white; if heavily toned it will dip out gold, or toned.  Even then, you can’t tell if the coin is original toned or altered surface and re-toned.  To be clear, I am only writing about PCGS or NGC coins or any other slab service certified coin.  I know many buyers now feel if a coin is slabbed, it’s okay.  They may justify, by price that they are getting a good deal and are afraid to test their knowledge by sending coins to CAC.  They may even have tried CAC and felt that CAC is too strict or a gimmick because none of the coins worked.  I examined this week an 1857-D Gold Dollar in an AU-55 holder that was not net graded and was obviously bent.  I was shocked and I feel bad about the collector that will end up with it.
This is why coin shows are needed, specifically to give serious and fun buyers a chance to learn about coins.  There will probably be a consolidation of shows so there may be less of them, but where else can you get to examine and learn from the best experts in the business and all at one venue.  The auction houses need to have sales that are located in major hubs for viewing at least!  The more serious potential buyers that get to examine the coins, the better the sale.  Now these buyers may opt to bid online or over the phone or through an agent if they don’t want to attend the sale itself.  If the opportunity presents itself to attend a major show….just do it!
Also, when you go to a show, speak to many dealers.  Get a feel for how they operate and how they educate!  By talking to many, you will get a good feel for the pretenders and the real deal numismatists.  You will also find that some of the so-called experts aren’t.  There are many that can read a label, but could not tell you if a raw coin is original or cleaned or what grade it is.  Also, a true steward will do his best to make time to educate.  One of my favorite dealers and a true specialist is Fred Weinberg from Encino, CA.  He is an error specialist and I have a nasty habit of bothering him now and then but he is the real deal.  Every person I have ever sent to him has been treated with respect and courtesy.  Let’s face it; if Fred can put up with me, he’s a good man.  I don’t say this because I have known him for a long time.  The feedback I get from others and how I see him interact with collectors at the shows tells it all.
At most shows, the majority of business is also dealer to dealer.  Even if hundreds or thousands of people attend, dealer business drives a show…period.  As long as there is a dealer community that is willing to pay a table fee, shows will go on.  However, stick with the majors or larger regional shows where full time dealers attend.  The small vest pocket shows are a waste of time because in many instances, you may know a lot more than the seller!
As to the second sentence in your question:  if you do not have the ability to examine a coin in person before you purchase it, get a solid return privilege.  Here, the reputation of the dealer is of the utmost importance.
Thank you for your question and please keep them coming.

on Thursday, 06 July 2017 01:16. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  July 2017 Issue

A Newsletter By:


July 2017 Issue

By Warren Mills

Ah, summertime… but the livin’ ain’t easy for a coin dealer.  However, it’s a great time for an astute buyer.  Long Beach was two weeks ago and it was very slow, with limited availability for nice coins.  It’s the same old song and dance… get the music theme to this article!  Now is the time to play this up to your advantage.  When the market is slower and thoughts are diverted to summer vacations and/or travel or just the temperature outside, it’s a big buying opportunity. If you see a nice coin, don’t hesitate to buy it now. 
I can’t remember the last time this happened, but on June 19th, we added 25 new nice coins to our inventory.  As soon as they came up on our site, a dealer bought eight of them at our full asking price!  This is a reflection of two things.  First, the market is starving for fresh original coins.  Second, when the price is fair and the coins are nice, don’t let a great piece pass you buy!  A knowledgeable buyer will always be there and have an interest in a great coin.
We looked at many dealers’ coins at Long Beach, but there weren’t too many exceptional coins to be had.  There was the odd six-figured rarity but a noted lack of $1,000 to $10,000 strictly graded coins.  We did acquire a very nice 1914-S $10 Indian in MS-64 and a handful of large size gold pieces, but not many.  I did see a group of gold pieces that were all CAC’d, but the price levels at which they were offered was almost for the next higher grade.  Again, astute purchasing has a lot to do with value consideration, too! 
I have no problem stretching for a nice coin, particularly if there is a nice price spread to the next grade.  As an example, if I find an exceptional $2,500 bid piece and the coin is high-end, but the next grade up is $9,000, I will stretch to between $3,000 and $3,500 for a corker.  However, I won’t go to $4,000 or more.  I’ll look for better value unless it is a silver piece with great color or a copper coin that is labeled as red and brown but nearly is full red.
Old dealer and personal friend, Charlie Browne, is teaching the advanced grading class at the ANA Summer Seminar.  He asked me if he could come in to pick out some of our coins for the class.  I used to always let the ANA have a group of our coins for the summer classes, but sometimes it would take over a month to get our coins back after classes had ended!  I said for their lack of consideration, I would not do it again after four years of this happening.  However, Charlie said they really need nice coins for the advanced class and could I help them out.  I said sure, so he came in and picked out 20 coins for the advanced grading course.  And you know what was really nice about it is that Charlie said he would personally be sure our coins got back to us right away, and he was very complimentary about how nice our coins are.  If you don’t know, Charlie was a long time PCGS graded and finalizer.
Try to make that your goal with your collection… to buy coins that impress the most knowledgeable numismatists.

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.

My hopes for the future are being restored

By Dave Carleton

I got a call a couple of days ago from a lady that wanted to make an appointment for her and her nephew.  She reminded me that she and her nephew had been in before and that her nephew had requested that she bring him in again.  It all came back to me as she reminded me of a $10 Indian I showed him last year.   She said that he was totally enamored with the coin and was hoping that we still had it so he could check it out some more. She usually buys him a few coins because as it turns out she has brought him here on his Birthday for the last two years and this will be his third visit on his 11th Birthday.  I told her that the $10 Indian she was referring to had been placed and that the only affordable one I had right now was a 1915 PCGS AU-55 for $750.  She said that was way out of her price range for now but it would definitely be a consideration in a couple of years on his 13th Birthday.

They arrived right on time and I was immediately flattered when I was told that he specifically wanted to work with me.  He had his portable strong box with a cipher lock and when he opened it I complimented him on the many new acquisitions he had since last year.  He wanted an evaluation of his collection, which I was happy to do.  I think we’ve got it straight now that the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars are 90% Silver and the ones minted from 1965 through 1970 are 40% Silver and the Bicentennial Halves are just copper nickel.  He had quite a few Bicentennial coins that had been given as gifts because a lot of the older folks saved them at the time because they were different.  His Aunt bought him a couple of coins last year and he was particularly interested in their current value.  The first was an 1896 Indian cent PCGS MS-62 BN which he paid $55.00 and we would purchase it for $50.00.  The second was a real nice 1889-S Morgan PCGS AU-55 CAC which his Aunt paid $165.00 and we would repurchase it for $135.00. He was OK with the evaluation as he understands that there is a mark up on the purchase price of the coin and that it takes time for the coin to appreciate to a profit position.  He also understands that there are many other forces that affect coin prices like the fluctuations in the Gold and Silver markets.

It was at this point , because I was so impressed with his enthusiasm,  that I asked him if I could interview him for an article I was about to write for this column.  He was happy to oblige.  I asked him how he got interested in coins and he said that one of his Uncles has a coin collection and he showed it to him one day and he loved it, so his Uncle gave him a few coins , and that was all it took to get him on the Numismatic path.  I asked him what he expected from a coin dealer and he said that he wanted the dealer to educate him and share some coin knowledge and not just try to make a sale and that was why he wanted to come to our company.  Apparently he was not impressed with some other places his Aunt has taken him.  I asked what area in Numismatics interested him the most and he said that small coins were his favorite like Indian cents and Lincolns and that Quarter Dollars were probably his favorite series.  Then he said something that really struck me.  He said that he was done with the Disney coins and the fancy packaged sets and that he wanted to focus on coins that would appreciate over time.  I asked what he would do with his collection years from now if it had appreciated significantly and he looked at me in a strange way like I had asked a stupid question and said “I’d give them to my kids”…that’s coming from an eleven year old. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with this young gentleman, and how my faith in some of the youth has been reinstated just by meeting with this young man.

In closing, I had assembled a few coins in anticipation of our meeting.  The first was an 1853 Arrows and Rays Seated Quarter in Fine for $35.00 which he jumped on because it was a one year type and because it was a Quarter. An 1883 No Cents Liberty Nickel in MS-63 for $29.00 which he liked because it was such a short run and he liked the history of the “Racketeer Nickel”.  The last coin he wanted, that his Aunt purchased, was a 1942 Mercury Dime PCGS MS65FB for $35.00. He almost didn’t want it because “it was too shiny”. Then he saw the reverse toning and wanted it.  He told me that he didn’t like flashy brilliant coins because they looked too new and he just likes old coins that are Original. That was music to my ears and like I mentioned earlier, I am so happy to see that there are some real good young collectors coming along.  

He did say or should I say whispered to his Aunt, something like” what are we going to do when he’s not around “.  His Aunt told me what he said right after he said it and that he was referring to me being dead.  I said that I was hoping to stick around at least until his thirteenth Birthday.

I just want to say to anyone that’s out there trading coins to treat these young collectors with respect and answer their questions (they’ve got to start somewhere).  These kids are the future of our hobby and the way I see it …the future looks pretty good.

Thanks Dave  

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.


is a plain FACT.

Paul V. Battaglia


Yes, yes, Paul….we’ve all heard this from you, Warren and the rest of the guys at RCNH.  The weekly sheets tout it most admirably as well.  The major auction houses report their sell-through percentages with the so-called exorbitant prices on one or two of their multiple date/mint mark coins as quite probably being the “sight-seen” specimens and price realized to boot.  The CCE clearly lists activity in all categories.  Every show has its report with exceptional coins being mentioned and the price another dealer or customer paid.

Yesterday afternoon, Monday the 19th of June, was when Warren passed around a modest number of coins for us to review.  I must admit they were as diverse group as I have ever seen in a month of Sundays.  Every coin was CAC Green which did not surprise me as our batting average on our coins is between 85 – 90%.  Yes, the coins were all captivating and fetching, but that was not at all a surprise either.  The real surprise came in the form of a well-known national dealer who, after having reviewed our newps, stepped up to the plate and purchased seven (7) pieces at my regular retail level without quibbling, whining or hesitation.  This man is well-known, a gentleman and KNOWS REAL COINS through and through.  He thanked me for including him in my BCC email to my customers and is eager for future pieces we acquire.

Obviously, I will not mention his name.  I will only state that when someone of his stature and notoriety snaps up our material, at FULL RETAIL, in this market, in this global economy and with such a scarcity of cash among most people out there, well then, REAL COINS, like tide and time, transcend mortal cares and all the parlance that sees only the surface of this life instead of its heart.

Carpe diem et praeoccupemus!


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.

The Value of a Superior Coin

Lou Roten


The 2018 Red Book was delivered to us last week. Over the weekend I started reading the introduction to the Red Book once again. On the first page of “How to Use This Book”, there is a brief paragraph that reads as follows:
“Those who edit, contribute to, and publish this book advocate the collecting of coins for pleasure and educational benefits. A secondary consideration is that of investment, the profits from which are usually realized over the long term based on careful purchases.”
Recently, a 1799 Bust Dollar was acquired for our inventory. The grade: XF45 in a PCGS holder with a green CAC sticker. There was immediate interest in the coin and it has been sold. I was able spend some time examining it and saw that there remained traces of the original surface in the hair on the obverse. The obverse also showed evidence of being a later die state with some remarkable die cracks. Warren attributed it as a rare Die State IV.

The reverse is free of major hits and has no die cracks. The obverse has an overall subtle gold toning; it is a remarkable coin for one that is circulated and is 218 years old.
We all agreed that this was a considerably above average coin with its condition, color and lack of tampering. It is a common date, but not at all common in this condition.
Third Party grading service price guides provide average retail prices for coins.  The key words are “average” and “guide”. The Red Book provides “average” retail prices, as the book states, “approximately two months prior to publication”.  It is June of 2017 and the 2018 Red Book has just now been delivered to my desk. The 2018 Red Book will be in use until approximately one year from now with prices established in April 2017: not exactly current, especially for coins in high demand. Those who follow the grey sheet are comparing average wholesale prices to market prices. The publications are guides and do not reflect, in real time, an active market. I certainly do not mean to denigrate the services provided by guides; they are very useful for the information provided, coin details, images, manufacturing data, varieties and pricing trends. I make use of them all every day.
From my perspective, it is a treat to be able work with and examine examples like this remarkable 1799 Bust dollar. For some it is an opportunity to obtain a beautiful piece of American coin making history, like obtaining a work of art. The Philadelphia mint had been in operation for just 6 years and silver dollars were going to be discontinued four years later by Jefferson in 1803 after a brief minting period of only 10 years, 1794 to 1803; for most collectors, the 1794 might as well be made of unobtainium.  
Then, what is a fair price for such an above average coin: plus 10%, 20%? Coins do not just appear in our inventory. Each coin is selected, cherry- picked, among hundreds of coins that are searched at shows, from collections and from estates. An efficient search takes time, patience-the result of many decades of experience, as well as careful attention to RCNH’s ‘Prime Directive’ – make every effort to buy and offer to our clients original surface, untampered with coins.

Lou Roten - adjunct instructor emeritus - 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.

Questions From Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
I have always enjoyed collecting coins and, at one point, you helped me to assemble a very highly ranked registry set of U.S. gold type issues.  Why was the $20 Liberty in MS-66 so hard to find?  I looked at a piece here and there that I didn’t think deserved the grade, but you then found me a real “corker.”  It just seems that with so many years and high mintages, it should have been an easy piece to put into my set.  Even after all of these years, I still haven’t seen one at a show or auction that I’d consider a true 66, except for yours.  Yet, $20 Saint Gaudens are all over the place.  Most are over-graded, but at a show I seem to always find a real beauty.  L.M.
Thanks, L.M.
This is an excellent question, which I’ll paraphrase as “why are MS-66 $20 Libs so hard to find, yet MS-66 and even 67 Saint Gaudens are readily available?”
There are a few reasons why $20 Libs are so much harder to find above gem or MS-65 grades.  Keep in mind that it gets even harder when you are looking at a strictly graded MS-66 as opposed to a commercially graded 66.  To refresh our readers’ memories, a commercial 66 is a coin that may have nice eye-appeal but falls short of the true technical grade.  It may fall short for a number of reasons; too many marks, altered surfaces, hidden hairlines, etc.
For the entire series, PCGS has graded 193 Type I $20’s in MS-66 with 188 accounted for from the 1857-S hoard date.  There are also 14 in 67 with 12 from the 1857-S hoards.  There is only one MS-66 Type II and one MS-67 Type II.  The Type II’s are truly rare!  Now the Type III may seem like a lot of coins, but factor in all the dates, not to mention resubmissions, which is a critical factor to determine rarity, and you are dealing with a scarce grade.  The Type III in MS-66 has a pop of 243 for all dates; 10 in MS-66+, 10 in MS-67, and one lone 67+.  The 1904 accounts for 200 in MS-66 with eight in MS-66+ and two in 67.  Even accounting for hoard dates, the total current PCGS pop is 437 in MS-66, 25 in MS-67 and one 67+.
Now let’s look at CAC pops.  For the Type I, there are 66 in MS-66 and six in MS-67.  Sixty-four are the 1857-S hoard and five of the 67’s are 57-S’, too!  The Type II has a CAC pop of two with one in 67.  In addition, the Type III has a pop of 45 in MS-66 and one in MS-67.  So, the total CAC pop - including hoard dates - is only 113 in 66 and eight in MS-67.  CAC also takes both PCGS and NGC coins into consideration.  The possibility of resubs distorting pops for CAC is also very remote.
As you can see, MS-66 and MS-67 $20 Libs are scarce to rare and if we eliminate the 57-S and 1904 dates, they are rare to very rare.  For a quick comparison, PCGS has graded 33,042 Saints in MS-66, 878 in MS-66+, 1252 in MS-67, 15 in MS-67+, 109 in MS-68 and 11 in MS-69.
So why are $20 Lib’s so much rarer?  First, is the design… look how little detail is on the coin’s surface.  Aside from the hair on Miss Liberty on the obverse and the lettering and date, you have a large area
of open flat surfaces that make it impossible to not see marks of all sizes; the coin’s large size made them subject to abrasion.  In addition, it was a common practice in the 1800’s and probably later to take bags of large size gold coins and throw them off the roof of buildings or beat the bags with coal shovels.  When the bags were shaken, small flakes of chips of gold would slip to the bottom of the bags and when the bags were cut from the bottom, the coin count was correct but these chips and flakes could be pocketed and accumulated and taken for assay and, viola, instant money.  Yet, imagine the abrasions on the coins… ouch! 
The economic times were different when the $20 Libs were circulating.  Aside from the odd bank holding, most coins were being used in commerce.  When the Saint started to be struck in 1907, the mint vault and banks did not need as many coins for commerce.  More people were using paper money and then came the roaring 20’s.  Everyone was pretty flush and large coins became impractical to carry around.  Then when Roosevelt started recalling gold, many bags were sent to Europe.  I had the opportunity to work with large companies in the late 70s and early 80s that tapped into and are still tapping into these European U.S. gold hoards; almost all of the 20’s that come back to our shores are Saints.
Bottom line, true gem 20 Libs in MS-65 or better are great coins.  Even 1904’s are neat in true gem.  For the more knowledgeable buyers, I would try to stick with a non-1904 in MS-65.  However, I would not be opposed to a wicked MS-66 if strict for the grade.  If the budget allows, a real MS-67 $20 Lib is a sight to see.  For protection and maximum demand, try to stick with a CAC example.  However, I would avoid at all costs the 1857-S $20’s.  Many of those sea-salvaged coins had to be treated to remove detritus and who knows how many are still out there.  When you compare the pops of $20 Libs to Saints, they seem like no brainers to me!
Thanks for your question, L.M., and please keep your questions coming.  If anyone would prefer for me to answer your questions privately, I would be happy to do so.



on Tuesday, 06 June 2017 01:16. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  June 2017 Issue

A Newsletter By:



By Warren Mills

The Pogue sales have ended.  What a collection of numismatic treasures.  When it was done, over $106.5 million of coins crossed the auction block.  Keep in mind, that does not include two pieces that the family decided to keep that would have pushed the total to over $120 million.  Wow, it shows that top quality for the grade and wholesomeness still rule the day among knowledgeable buyers.

There are lessons here to be learned for all collectors of rare coins.  The following is a list any buyer of coins should consider.  These are listed in no particular order, but try to focus on all of them at some point.

  1. Be patient with your acquisition.  Most collectors want to have everything yesterday!  This simply does not work when trying to assemble a strictly-graded collection on a piece-by-piece basis.  The exception to the rule is when you are fortunate enough to buy an intact collection from one knowledgeable buyer that knew what they were doing.  When you rush the process, you are more apt to settle for marginal quality.  Always remember, you are assembling a collection that will appeal to the most knowledgeable buyers in the business.  Top quality is always in demand.
  2. Try to work within a budget.  If you are comfortable, exceed it on a nice piece, which is fine.  Stretch where you find it prudent to do so or you may never get the opportunity again!  However, if you see a magnificent coin that you must have, you may not want to blow your allotment for the next few years on one piece!  However, I would not discourage someone from acquiring their coin of a lifetime, if they would have no regrets in the future.  Objectives can change and flexibility is a must in building a set.  The joy of ownership on a special piece can last a lifetime.  If the objective is a complete set or bust, then you need to exercise discipline.
  3. Find a mentor….one who really loves the hobby.  Usually, a short conversation will allow you to determine if this person is knowledgeable, wants to exercise good stewardship, and will spend the time to educate you.  I have spent countless hours working with collectors that have never done a lick of business with us.  Some will think nothing of tying you up for hours at a show or auction just to pick your brain.  Unfortunately, I find this to be the norm.My advice is that if you are that self-serving and don’t care or respect a dealer’s time, at least be courteous and thankful.  When I look at a dealer’s inventory, I do everything I can to try and buy at least one coin.  I want them to know that I’m appreciative that they took the time to allow me a chance to find a coin I may need for a customer.
  4. Look at a lot of coins and make notes.  This is especially true at auctions.  Large auctions are a treasure trove of coins for your viewing pleasure.  Pick a series or a few in which you have the most interest and make detailed notes.  Focus on color, luster, eye appeal, etc.  Then, attend the auction and watch who is buying the lots.  If only dealers are spending, it may mean that the coins are going cheap or that knowledgeable eyes recognize the exceptional quality of the coins in the sale.  If they are going to the book, it may mean that the quality is marginal and a reserve has been set.  If they go to the phone or internet, it may mean that dealers are bidding that way so they cannot be seen or some heavy-duty customers are jumping in.  The final step to assess these auctions is to go on the bourse floor and ask dealers their assessment of the sale.  In addition, ask if they saw a few of the lots that you really liked and get feedback from them on what they thought of the same lots.  However, don’t monopolize a single dealer’s time.  This is how they make a living.
  5. Don’t be intimidated.  Some buyers wonder if a dealer will give them the time of day if they are buying coins for less than $100.  Remember, it takes a lot of raindrops to make a puddle.  If I could sell a hundred $50 coins at a show or out of the inventory from the office, I’d consider that to be a successful day!  Years ago, I had a couple of collectors come in to show me (2) Indian Cent sets.  They were both labors of love for them.  The coins were wholesome and fresh and I examined every one of them in each set.  A handful could be replaced, but overall, they were exceptional.  I asked each collector if they wanted to sell their sets multiple times… they declined.  I asked if I could get first shot when they sold.  One was a VG to Fine set and the other was a rock solid XF to Choice XF set.  I wanted them both!Quality is always in demand.  If they went to a dealer that only handled $10,000 coins and up, they may not have been well-received.  However, a dealer with a knowledgeable collector base for bread and butter coins would crawl through glass for them.
  6. Think long-term with your acquisitions.  Market cycles are like the tide -- you cannot stop it.  You may acquire the odd pieces that rise in a down market, but that’s the exception to the rule.  That’s the reason why you want to buy exceptional coins for the grade.  Unforeseen circumstances could come up and you need to raise money.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen collectors try to sell the usual cleaned, re-worked, and over-graded coins in a pinch and have been told by the dealer from which they bought the coins, that he can’t use the coins!  If you learn your lessons well, nice coins are always wanted and needed.  It just may not be at the price for which you were hoping.  Low-end PCGS & NGC coins can go begging, too!
  7. If you don’t have time to learn or have trust issues, but you love coins, warm up to CAC, which focuses on solid coins for the grade that may be the top 25%.If you are skeptical, check auction records and you’ll see that CAC coins perform very well.  I don’t agree with all CAC-stickered coins and I feel that in some instances that they should have stickered coins that they didn’t.  Yet overall, they provide a necessary service in this very specialized field.

These are just some areas of focus.  A case can be made for others, but consider this a thumbnail sketch for success.

I hope to interview some of the longtime dealers in our field.  I find their stories and experiences to be incredibly interesting.  Years ago, one dealer bought 656 Pan Pac $1 gold commems in one collection!  If you would find these stories of interest, please let me know.

One May 17, Catherine Bullowa passed away… she was an icon in the business.  Imagine all the neat experiences that she took with her to the grave that no one will ever know!

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.

Modern Treasure Hunters

By Dave Carleton

I’ve always been supportive of any young coin collectors and anyone that’s trying to cultivate an interest in numismatics with these youngsters.  I’ve spoken with the Cub Scouts, the Boy Scouts and several of my sister-in-laws 3rd grade classes.  We’ve had lots of occurrences where a parent will come in for an evaluation with their kid, but the children have absolutely no interest in the coins at all and would rather play with their wireless devises.  It wouldn’t be fair to say that all the kids are like that.  Some show a real interest and if so, I’ll give them some interesting coins like an Indian cent, a Buffalo nickel and maybe a colorized State Quarter.  They love those colorized coins, but I tell them that they’re just for fun and it’s really not cool to alter coins like that.

As I drove into the office this morning I saw a man and probably his son, metal detecting and it reminded me of a camping trip I took last fall on the coast of Maine.  My brother-in-law brought his metal detector with him and we went out searching.  It was late in the fall and there weren’t many campers so we were searching different sites, especially around the picnic tables. I couldn’t believe all the things we were finding.  While we were searching, we picked up the attention of three boys that were camping with their parents a few sites away.  They approached us and asked what we were doing and we told them that we were looking for Pirate treasure, but really anything we could find.  They asked if they could join us and we said that they could if they had permission from their parents.

This is the point of my story…the boys went wild!  Every time the detector buzzed, the boys would dive down and start digging.  Coin after coin was found and even though we never found anything of real numismatic value the excitement was building.  Most of the coins were corroded Lincoln cents, Jefferson nickels and Roosevelt dimes but we found about a hundred.

Needles to say, I was trying to get a little bit of numismatic education in while all this crazy digging was going on.  It wasn’t of course all coins we were finding.  We found a bunch of tent pegs, combs, tooth brushes, earrings, and a Swiss army knife.  Up until we found the knife, we were letting the boys keep the coins, but when we found the knife a big brawl ensued over who would get it.  We had to end our little hunt as the boys were out of control and we told them that my brother-in-law would get to keep the knife because it was his detector.

So now it has just occurred to me that metal detecting is probably one of the best ways to introduce kids to coins.  The metal detector has head phones, a buzzer, a digital screen and all kind of adjustments, just the things that attract kids these days.  Now that I think of it, I’m going to go out and get one. 


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 First Experiences with Early Copper and US Currency

Lou Roten


I have spent most of my education time here at RCNH examining coins, attempting to get some understanding of surface conditions; for example:
-  Trying to recognize what differentiates an AU-58 from an uncirculated coin, searching for, at least for me, what can be elusive evidence of rub.
-  Recognizing a cleaned silver coin with no toning just to produce a ‘bright’ white surface.
-  Recognizing a toned silver coin that has been cleaned and allowed to tone on its ‘brand new’ surface.
-  Tilting a coin under good lighting to finally reveal tiny hairlines resulting from whizzing or brushing methods.
-  Understanding that planchet flaws are interesting features of the minting process and not necessarily a factor reducing the value of a coin, rather maybe an enhancement.
-  Examining coins for die cracks and clashes; repunches; misplaced dates and mintmarks which often just barely appear in the denticles.
-  Learning about copper “woodies” in the Indian and Lincoln cents series.
Grading is another story – As you all know, too much goes into grading a coin, and I may never learn enough.
Recently I went to a local coin show determined to begin my education of early copper coins.  I sat down at a vendor’s table and said I would like to look at his tray with early copper cents from 1796 to the 1830’s. He quickly obliged, opened the case and handed me the tray.   I sat with my loop thinking I had the time to examine a wide range of dates and several series, looking at them one-by-one; the early coins were mostly pitted while the surface conditions gradually improved in the later dates.  The prices ranged from a few hundreds to several thousands of dollars. The dealer came over to ask if there was anything he could do; I told him I was just learning about early copper and that I was probably not prepared to buy anything right now because I had just begun learning about these coins.  I identified myself and that I worked for RCNH, having only recently joined them.  Instead of asking me how he could help me learn about his coins, he told me he was not going to let me sit there much longer.  I folded my tent right then and there.  If his table had been busy and he needed the chair I would have no problem moving on but, he was not busy at all. I do understand competition, but there is nothing proprietary about coins.  I do think it is healthy to develop good business relations with many dealers.
One key point, all his copper coins were in “2x2” stapled holders with penned grades.  I observed that the coins were all shiny, having an almost polished appearance, with no originality that even I could see; no dirt – i.e. in spite of his written grades on the cardboard holders, almost certainly professionally un-gradable.   A “2x2” cardboard holdered coin costing several thousands of dollars is at the very least suspect and at worst a problem coin.  There is no other reason for such a coin not to be graded and protected in a modern Third Party Grader holder.
I also wanted to look at some US currency, generated by my introduction to the 1896 Educational series $1, $2 and $5 (‘the banned in Boston note’) dollar notes – just beautiful examples of that period’s engraving.  I stopped at a small table loaded with US currency, and having been asked what I was looking for, I told the dealer that I was new to currency.  He spent almost an hour explaining US currency, showing me many examples and educating me on conditions.  I moved off when a customer needed help, and returned to our conversation when he became free again.  He was very patient and did not at any time ask me to leave.  I had also identified myself and that I was working at RCNH.
The latter is the kind of dealer we should all look to work with. RCNH is such a dealer.

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.

Questions From Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills

Should a collector/investor ever purchase a non-CAC coin?

Thanks D.M. 

Yes, however the majority should be CAC’d.  Why pass on the assurance of a coin being solid for the grade that’s been examined by a founding member of both PCGS and NGC?  As a collector and dealer, I try to send in most of our coins that I purchase for inventory if they are $300 or more.  Why?  To protect the interest of our customers.  A CAC sticker will enhance demand and liquidity in most cases.  However, I must offer a caveat.  CAC may sticker an unattractively toned coin or a coin that’s been over-dipped.  They may sticker a coin that is circulated and does not have original surfaces or is cleaned and through aging has toned over the cleaning.   All coins should be examined individually.  Watch out for CAC copper and nickel with lots of carbon flecks.

The reason why I say yes is because if your coins are mostly CAC’s and your non-CAC pieces are rare and/or just miss coins with nice appeal, they will be desirable.  Classic rarity still commands lots of interest.

I recently acquired ten gold coins in MS-63 to MS-66 grades.  None were CAC’d.  I sent them in and they all CAC’d!  So there is also the possibility that a non-CAC coin has not been sent in.  For the sake of your protection and value for the buck, I’d recommend a good mentor give you an opinion on a non-CAC coin, too!

Please keep those questions coming and if you prefer that I just answer anything for you privately, I’m happy to do so. 
Also, if there are any areas of the coin business you would like us to address in the newsletter, let me know!  So please keep sending in your questions to me directly.


on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 00:28. Posted in News

  May 2017 Issue

A Newsletter By:
Rare Coins of New Hampshire's Logo

Some Thoughts From Warren

By Warren Mills

Protecting the interests of our clients sometimes costs us money!  I know as a business person, you may read this and be skeptical. I’ll give you an example in a moment.

First, I would like to recommend that you read Joe Presti’s excellent article about consigning a collection to a local auction.  The job of the auction house is to acquire consignments to keep the lights on, I get it. They can also give an added incentive by agreeing to rebate some of the commissions or include the nicer coins in a more prominent sale.  Recently, a large well established auction house succeeded in getting a nice collection for one of their sales.  Good for them.  However, it was not all good for the consignor.  Why have collectors consign certified bullion coins to an auction?  After commissions and fees, the consignors usually receive 15-20% below melt!  I feel these firms should have a sense of obligation to tell customers to sell the graded bullion coins outright instead of increasing the commission to the auction house by selling them in an auction.

When we were at the FUN Show in January, a family of four came to our table and asked me what I would pay for eight early Bust coins that were PCGS and NGC graded.  I said that I loved two of the coins but the others, even though they were graded, were not original and exhibited varying degrees of cleaning or alteration.  I was then told that the two coins I loved were acquired from us at Rare Coins of New Hampshire and that the client was a customer of Dave Carleton’s.  I put a price on the two nice coins and told the family that I would put a value on the other pieces just to establish a basal value.  I would buy the whole collection but my prices on the other six coins would reflect a price that would allow me to wholesale the unwanted coins.  If I lost money on them, so be it, I would have the cream of the collection to retail.  I recommended that they keep all eight coins together and offer them as a lot.  The two nice coins would make the deal more desirable to others who may look at the coins. I gave them the name of two or three other dealers that are more commercially oriented sellers and told them to take the highest offer.  I’m sure I could have convinced them to sell the two coins I liked back to us, but from day one, we feel we have an obligation to protect and help our clients.  It’s simply the RCNH way!

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.

Don’t Outsmart Yourself

By Joseph Presti

There was recently a local auction that included some nice Draped Bust $5 along with a host of other coins, bullion and paper money.  The local dealer community, as usual, bid up the coins to unrealistic levels because some of the material was fresh and there is a great need for these types of coins.  However, when you get through adding the 23% buyer’s fee to some of the prices realized the prices paid were a little top heavy.

So, after the auction, the gossip lines opened up and the dealers started talking.  Come to find out a local dealer had bid on the collection two years earlier.  Being nosey, I called him to get the scoop on what happened, what he bid for the coins and why he did not get the deal.  I have known this dealer since I was 15 years old and he is nothing but a straight shooter so when he tells me something I can take it to the bank. 

The story he related is one I have experienced many times in the years I have dealt in rare coins and I may have written about it here as well.  A family brought the collection to my friend including the early five dollar coins.  He told me that the coins and paper money brought exactly what he offered two years prior!  The unknown here is why did the family decide to consign the collection and pay a hefty seller’s commission versus sell it to the dealer?  There are several assumptions we can make as to why they would have made this decision.  May be they felt that the dealer’s offers were too low or possibly felt that selling at auction gave them access to a wider range of people interested in their coins.

I can almost understand selling the coins at auction but what I don’t understand is why anyone would want to sell K-Rands and 100 oz. silver bars at auction and pay a 15-23% seller’s fee.  My friend told me that he only made an offer on the coins and paper money, not the bullion.  Since the prices realized were equal to his offer, the consignors netted 15-23% less because of the commission charged by the auction house.  In this case that amounted to $20,000-$30,000 less than if they had accepted the dealer’s offer two years prior.  I don’t even want to consider the bath they took on the bullion.

There is a lot of information available especially on the internet, so much so that it only leads to confusion.  Realize what you don’t know and do not try to determine what your coins are worth unless you have specialized knowledge.  More important decide on a dealer you trust for an honest evaluation and offer.  If you are not going to trust the dealer you bring your coins to please don’t waste their time or yours.  As a seller, you have to allow the buyer to be able to make some money when they buy your collection, which is why they are in business.

For The Love Of Coins

By Dave Carleton

I love coins, always have and always will.  I love to hold them, look at them and wonder where they’ve been.  I often wonder how a “key” date got so worn before someone identified it for what it was.  I like the people that collect coins and the people I work with who share my passion for coins.  Along with the physical aspects of coin collecting, I also enjoy reading the history surrounding all the different types of coins.  There are many really great numismatic authors out there who have done incredible research into the many aspects of our hobby.  I’d like to mention an article that I just read and that I thought was not only educational but a pleasant story as well.   
The April issue of Coin World is honoring the 225th anniversary of Congress’s establishment of the Federal Mint.  The cover feature is written by a very prolific numismatic author Joel Orosz.  I enjoy his writings because of both the depth of research and his ability to weave an interesting story in a very understanding and entertaining way.  The article entitled “Jefferson’s morning walk” dispels, right off the bat, a belief that I had and I believe many other collectors have had, that America’s first coinage, the Half Dismes, were made from some Silverware donated by Martha Washington.  Mr. Orosz’s research shows from Thomas Jefferson’s personal memorandum book, states that on the morning of Wednesday July 11th 1792 Jefferson withdrew $75.00 worth of Silver from his personal bank account to be coined into 1500 Half Dismes. Two days later on Friday, Jefferson picked up the coins from the subcontractor who made them as the Federal Mint was still under construction and was not ready for coin production.  According to the story, Jefferson left Philadelphia with his daughter that Friday to travel the 250 miles to their home at Monticello. He spent many of the Half Dismes traveling and when Congress convened in the fall, all the coins had been distributed.

This was just the latest article that got me excited about coins and their history. There are plenty of excellent numismatic writers with great sources for stories like this. The Numismatist, the monthly publication from the ANA will certainly have an article that will appeal to just about every collector. I’m going to read one right now by David Lange.    


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 Experiences With The 1936 & 1937
Proof Washington Quarters

By Paul V. Battaglia

Well, my experiences have been rather few and far between, but educational most of all.  My points, on which I shall elaborate further, are the instances where I encountered not only original specimens but ATTRACTIVE and ORIGINAL pieces. 
I have seen very few of these dates in original condition.  Of those that were original they were technically correct, yet too dark in coloration.  The few that were not very dark possessed splotchy, non-descript, occluded neutral shades that were plainly ugly-blah.  Or, I saw specimens resembling lighthouse beams which, as we know, have been stripped of their natural toning.  I have to surmise the reason for dipping out those pieces was primarily due to the coin being ugly and/or very dark.  “Totally stripped out white” as well as “dark environmental damage”…is one superior to the other?  Two schools of thought exist on that subject.  Personally, I would pass on BOTH CHOICES and wait patiently for the right coin.  I generally pass on coins that have been turned into permanently damaged specimens.
Also, I have seen a minute number in both dates that were both original coupled with natural hues.  I wish that I had not passed on those very few in years gone by.  Readers will now ask, “OK, Paul, why the fuss and WHY so much attention about a coin within a proof set that garners little or the least attention??”  Granted, the Lincoln Cent, the Indian Head Nickel, the Winged Liberty Dime and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar all have their huge following.  I am certain an unknown number of collectors also back these quarters, but I have yet to be cognizant of them….honest.  Are there so few of these proof quarter dates rating “pretty” that nobody cares?
My conclusion and my opinion:  both dates are highly underrated, possibly forgotten and deemed to be an overall insignificance in numismatics.  My choice for an upcoming rarity is the 1937, not the 1936 which, of course, has proven it to be the ultimate acquisition proof set in so-called contemporary proof sets.  Those sets I have seen most often have a rather poor looking or blast white quarter.  The strength and following on all the other pieces greatly outweighs the quarter’s visuals…unfortunate, but true.
NUMBERS….yup, they are on-line but they do need to be seen and reflected upon by readers and collectors just the same.
1936 original Proof Quarter mintage:  3,837
1937 original Proof Quarter mintage:  5,542
1936 PCGS PR pops total in all grades:  969
1937 PCGS PR pops total in all grades:  974
1936 PCGS pops in PR65: 251: PR66: 164; PR67: 25, PR68: 15 and PR69: 1
1937 PCGS pops in PR65: 289; PR66: 274 and PR:67: 104
PCGS Proof Cameo:  None
PCGS Proof Deep Cameo:  None
NGC Proof Cameo:  None
NGC Proof Ultra Cameo:  None
NGC 1936:  No CAC designation
PCGS 1936:  65: 2 and 66: 6
NGC 1937:  No CAC designation
PCGS 1937:  65: 1; 66: 11 and 67: 12
(Please note that there are currently no varieties of these dates in proof, but both dates, in business strikes, have a single doubled variety that is extremely rare…start looking through junk bags of quarters when that privilege is extended to you!!!)
There, done with what I consider to be pertinent numbers, but correct me if I left out something of importance, please.  Keep in mind that all population figures have been skewed for many years.  Obviously, these numbers became incorrect through cracking out otherwise already viewed-recorded coins to simulate a hitherto “new sub”, re-coloring, re-surfacing and submitting said coins through creative outlets.
All over the board as to be expected with higher/highest numbers to be construed as probably?  Being SIGHT-SEEN QUALITY due to that coin’s  1) Immediate, positive visual impact on the viewer because the coin required no more than the classic “2 second look”  2) Hopefully, FULL ORIGINALITY and  3) Affordability.  The last is often the killer, the stopper, the decider, which has nullified so many purchases.  After all, we do have budgets.  Therefore, I am not going to come on like some arrogant fat cat and have you throw your budget out the window.   Should you come across either date in the series, try, try, try and try to work out a layaway plan.  These two dates represent the rarest quarters in the 1936-1942 (inclusive) proof set series.  Settle only for those coins that possess a combination of original/naturally attractive toning, are graded and pass the SIGHT-SEEN test!  Ask me about this TEST!
CAC green and gold stickered specimens receive higher or highest attention as a general, not conclusive, rule of thumb.
Above all, enjoy the hunt and thrill of knowledge.
P.S. “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” – Dave Willis

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 Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills

This question was actually posed to me by a long-time client of ours over the phone.

Please let me set the stage.  We assisted the client with the assemblage of an Indian cent set.  He originally wanted a raw set and then decided to get them all graded by PCGS.  Our raw coins certified fabulously.  Many of the others he acquired from other dealers came back as cleaned!

Now, he is onto Washington quarters.  As an enthusiastic collector, he wants the coins sooner rather than later.  We try to help everyone acquire the strictest graded coins in the market place which puts us at a disadvantage.  Patience is truly a virtue in the coin business.  The client had me look at other dealers’ certified coins and I have not seen any that I thought weren’t over-graded or commercially graded at best.  Recently, I looked at three Washington quarters for him from a large retailer.  Two of the coins were graded MS-65 and the other was MS-66.  The NGC-65 had a foreign substance like tape residue on the obverse and the PCGS-65 had a long wipe across the upper one-third of the obverse.  The PCGS-66, had a wipe on the cheek.

Here is the question at last,

Warren, I looked at the short set of B.U. Washington quarters that I bought from you and many of the coins have small marks and maybe a slight wipe.  Why are you rejecting coins like these that are certified for me?
- G.D.

Thanks G.D. for the question.

Brilliant uncirculated coins in sets will normally grade MS-61 to MS-64.  Sure the odd AU-58 or MS-65 may turn up in a nice B.U. set, however, I expect a large difference between an MS-62 or MS-63 quality coin when compared to an MS-65 or MS-66.  In my opinion, a wipe is inexcusable on a MS-65 or better coin, period.  I know that Washington quarters, aside from a handful of dates, are very affordable and inexpensive in MS-65 or better. However, it does not justify over-grading a coin because it is inexpensive.  If you settle for commercial quality, you will never learn how to grade technically.  I’m sorry that, your Indian cent set was not a lesson learned, but we will not compromise our standards and sell coins any other way.  If the coin is not good enough to put in RCNH inventory, it is not good enough for our clients.

Next year at the F.U.N. Show, feel free to bring any coins you wish to our table and I will be happy to help you understand the nuances of certain grades.  If a new grading service replaces PCGS or NGC, you’ll be glad to have strictly graded coins.

Please continue to send your questions.  Also, if there are any areas of the coin business you would like us to address in the newsletter, let me know!  So please keep sending in your questions to me directly or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Thank you,




on Thursday, 06 April 2017 22:45. Posted in News

Thankfully, I made it back from harm, I mean charm city!  It was a nice flight into Baltimore but I had to return in a snow storm.  Overall, it was a show of promise.  Many more dealers than usual were looking to aggressively buy coins!  That’s a complete change of attitude from the last few years.  The show itself didn’t start until Thursday but right out of the chute on Tuesday, dealers started buying…and I mean heavy.  It carried over to Wednesday and by the time the show started on Thursday, everything fresh was gone!

If I may give our clients a tip, usually dealers start to buy and store up nice inventory months in advance before the average retail customer.  So if you see a coin you want or need, get it now.  Chances are it will be more expensive later.

We didn’t light the world on fire but we did buy some nice pieces.  Our inventory will probably be updated on Monday.  If you are looking for something specific, call us ASAP.  We may have it and it may not make it to Monday to list in inventory.  I was able to buy a handful of nice “want list” pieces and I did help a few clients by grading their collections for them at the show.  I am always happy to help anyone that needs it at a show.  Please ask ahead of time and if I’m attending the show you are going to, I’ll be happy to meet with you.  There was a fairly good attendance at the show but most customers kept their hands in their pockets.  The majority of business was dealer to dealer and it was strong!  I bought about 20 non-CAC coins and sent them to CAC.

The Blue Moon Collection was sold in Baltimore at auction and did very well.  Once again, the focus on original coins from that collection proved that untampered with, strictly graded coins rule the day.  It’s been that way for a long time.  However, many original coins that dealers buy don’t stay that way for long!  If it’s a clean coin, it will be dipped and resubbed.  I wish CAC would change their stance of stickering dipped coins.  It just encourages the practice and hurts the stewardship in the industry.

I was looking at a dealer’s inventory and a retail dealer sat down beside me and asked if the dealer whose inventory I was viewing brought any boxes of off-quality over-graded slabs that he could buy cheap and sell expensively!  Unfortunately, many dealers have that attitude.  We, at RCNH, would rather buy and sell top quality right off the bat.  We want to appeal to the most knowledgeable buyers in the industry so our clients, upon liquidating, have the best chance at making money.  Not educating or fooling a customer is not right but it’s a common practice.

It would be nice to see an uptick in prices.  It’s been a long time.  I’m hoping that with the last Pogue sale being finished in Baltimore, that there will be discretionary income entering the market and not being saved for a big auction event.  Great auctions are few and far between usually, but the last few years have seen some of the greatest collections ever assembled enter the marketplace.  Now may be the time when collectors re-liquefy themselves and a market uptick follows.

Our new newsletter is on our site.  Please check it out and let me know if there is anything you’d like me to address.  We will have a new Coin World and Numismatic News ad in the Central States editions.


Thank you.


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