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
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.
BLINK….AND OPEN YOUR EYES TO A MAJOR TREND THAT IS ABOUT TO FLOURISH.
Paul V. Battaglia
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.