on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 13:35. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  November 2016 Issue


A Newsletter By:

Interview With PCGS, NGC And
CAC Founder John Alabanese

By Warren Mills


I told our readers that I wanted to ask a few important questions to clarify some points about CAC.  John Alabanese was kind enough to answer my questions and give his honest opinions.  For brevity, I condensed answers to address the most pertinent points.

Why start CAC?
The reason, Warren, was because guys like you and me have always bought and selected nice coins for the grade and lower-end coins for grade were dragging down the market.   Lower-end coins punished high end coins for the grade, and I saw a need to separate the two so that the non-expert coin buyers could identify solid coins for the grade. 

How is the market acceptance of CAC coins?
It seems like there is wide acceptance of CAC coins and things are progressing for CAC as planned.  CAC-approved coins are selling well and, in many instances, bringing substantial premiums.
CAC is providing buyer assurance for people that are not experts at grading.  CAC also posts bids on many coins and is happy to buy them.


What do you see the future to be for CAC?
There are only a finite number of rare coins.  As time goes on, almost every relevant rare coin may be seen.  As the submissions of coins to CAC dwindle, the future focus for the company will be in making markets for CAC coins.  There will be a lower volume of grading and a higher volume of buying and selling CAC coins.

What series of coins has had the highest success rate of passing at CAC and the lowest success rate of earning a CAC sticker?
The highest success rate, without looking at figures, seems to be in Proof Three Cent Nickels.  They are a small coin with few hairlines and nice eye-appeal.
The lowest success rate has to be with Saint Gaudens $20’s.  Better date, higher-quality Morgan dollars also have a low sticker rate.


 Why do you think that some dealers and collectors are resistant to CAC?
Dealers who have always dealt in higher quality coins fully support us whereas those dealers who only purchase a coin based on price alone appear to be resistant to CAC. There is a tendency to look at CAC as the bad guy and not try to emphasize the need for solid graded coins to pass CAC muster.
Right now we are at 100% working capacity.  We’ve pulled back our marketing because we are so busy.  Our goal at CAC is to support coins that are solid for the grade and to support the dealers who have always dealt in higher quality coins.


This is a sensitive subject to me.  When coins with a plus are submitted to CAC, do you just judge the coin on the whole grade point or do you take the plus into consideration?
CAC only takes the whole point into consideration, not the plus.  The plus on a coin has caused some confusion in pricing.  Also, if registry points were not added to collectors chasing higher points, the plus sticker would bring a much smaller premium.   Look at a 1928-S Peace Dollar:  the spread between a 64 and 65 is so great that a true solid to high-end 64 may be worth a 10% or more premium.  But if it has a plus on it, I don’t see the value when some dealers add a ridiculous number to the price.  A 1928-S in MS-64 is bid at $750, but I’ve seen 64+ coins offered for $4,500!  Dealers in many instances are capitalizing on over exuberant Registry buyers.
CAC only posts bids for the solid point grade and, in some instances, I may buy a plus coin for my bid on a non plus coin.


Will you ever sticker foreign coins?
No, there are many beautiful and significant foreign coins that are great to collect and buy.  But I am not confident in grading them, so we will stick to the U.S. issues that we grade.

I have a problem with CAC stickering dipped coins….why do you not hold the line on original coins and not sticker a dipped coin?
I prefer original coins.  If a coin is properly dipped and has full luster, CAC will give it a sticker if it is solid for the grade.  To an original coin, we are more apt to give the benefit of the doubt than on a dipped coin.  CAC will not automatically reject a coin because it has been dipped.  In order to receive a sticker, the coin must have nice surfaces.
I want to thank John for his time and candor.  In the next issue, I may elaborate on my thoughts to some of our questions and the answers John provided.

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.

Coin Terminology

Crown – A generic term for any dollar size coin. 

Hobo Nickel – Most often made from a Buffalo nickel, but it could be any type of coin.  These coins mostly originated in the 1930’s and were often made by Hobos.

Matte Proof – Coins struck between 1907 and 1916, they are proof coins with an experimental surface.  After striking, the coins were either sandblasted or pickled in acid.  They were a radical departure from the traditional brilliant proofs and were not very well received by collectors of the day.

Two-Tier Markets

By Joseph Presti

Some of you may have heard of “gradeflation.”  This term refers to a coin whose grade may have been MS-64 in 1986 when PCGS started, but now may grade MS-65 or 65+.  It is essentially a loosening of grading standards.  It has nothing to do with coin doctors or a grand conspiracy, but has everything to do with “market acceptability.”

When the grading services started 30 years ago, grading was for the most part spot on, bordering on conservative.  Over time, grading has gotten looser.  Some of this could be due to human nature when a grader looks at a coin they mentally form a line in their head, and if the coin falls on that line it gets the grade.  Well, over time with fewer nice coins coming in, that line gets longer and coins that initially would not have gotten the grade, now do. 

For the conspiracy theorists out there the other reason gradeflation may happen is competition between grading services.  Let’s face it, there are only so many coins to grade and although there is no fact to point to, that’s why it is a conspiracy theory, the services could overgrade particular coins, to give submitters an incentive to encourage them to keep sending coins to their service for grading. Who knows?

The result of this gradeflation has been a two-tiered market and the introduction and success of CAC.  Most collectors, whether new or experienced, question the legitimacy of a two-tiered market. It exists and here is why.  Gradeflation.  The way I explain it to people is that you could have two 1965 Mustangs, both original in every way but they will bring different prices, why? It could be personal tastes or it could be level of trim or paint color, but they are both original 1965 Mustangs.  Same with coins, the strike, attractiveness of toning, bagmarks, etc.  Two coins could grade the same but have varying degrees of desire.

The second reason for gradeflation is “market acceptability.”  What this means in simple terms is that if you can sell it to a buyer, wholesale or retail then it is okay.  To me and my associates at RCNH this is absolutely wrong!  People put their trust in you and you owe them your best effort, that is, sell them a coin that is accurately graded.  A perfect example of market acceptability are 18th and early 19th century type coins.  What would have been considered cleaned years ago now routinely gets graded without any indication of cleaning or other negative connotation.  This is wrong and has led to why the sight unseen market for coins is weak and premiums being paid for sight seen coins, thus you have a classic two-tiered market.

The Cash Register Figures It Out

By Dave Carleton

The Fall foliage this year in southern New Hampshire is wonderful.  I was thinking that because we’ve been experiencing a drought, the colors would be muted, but that’s not the case. Our view from the top floor of the People’s United Bank building is outstanding and as I survey the surrounding area I’ve been thinking about how much growth has occurred around us since we’ve been here. When Warren and I chose this location 26 years ago, we were the first tenant in the new bank building. We chose this location because the State Police had a barracks across the field from us and the local police were a half mile down the street. The fact that we get to use the bank’s vault facility is a huge bonus too.

One of the businesses that moved in near us is a great grocery store and I use it like my own pantry.  I’m over there quite often gathering lunch items or getting supplies for our coffee and lunch room.  I haven’t done it lately, but many times in the past just for fun I’ve paid for my supplies with $2.00 bills, Eisenhower dollars, Susan B. Anthony dollars, and Sacagawea dollars. I’m usually met with a response like, “What is this? Is this real money?”  Or in many cases the cashier will scoop up the coins and replace the till with more common money.  I just tell them not to call us because the money isn’t rare.   

I was in the store a few mornings ago and the young cashier said that they were going to have to start charging the New Hampshire food tax for the one donut I was purchasing and the price was going to be .86 cents instead of .79 cents.  I wasn’t sure what the food tax was, but I said to the cashier that the tax was about 9 or 10 percent.  She said to me that she didn’t know anything about percent and that the cash register figured it out. That got me thinking about several events that have happened lately. It occurred to me that in the last couple of months, I’ve met with at least three gentlemen that have made purchases of “junk silver” (90% pre ’64 dimes, quarters and half dollars) silver Eagles, small gold Eagles and Morgan silver dollars, in an attempt to start making their kids aware of money.  They all told me that they had come to the realization that their children had no clue about money in its different forms or even where it came from for that matter.

Recently, I had to go to the vault and the lady that let me in was mentioning that she was going to have to beat (figuratively speaking) on her daughter when she got home from work.  I asked why and she told me that her young daughter had “borrowed” her debit card and had racked up a very sizable bill, upgrading her position on some gaming site.  Perhaps to pay for a moat around her castle, I don’t know. Anyway, I told her that if I had ever done something like that when I was a kid, my parents would have killed me (figuratively speaking). She told me that she felt partly to blame because her daughter really doesn’t have any perception about money because she never sees cash and only sees a plastic card, which when used, magically results in packages coming to the door, gas pumps filling the car and groceries filling the cart.

My point is that, to me, it is becoming more apparent every day that the youngsters coming up the path to adulthood have very little knowledge about our monetary system. I know that understanding the whole system is daunting, I’m no expert either, but I’m here to say that you’d be doing some youngster in your family a great service if you’d just sit them down once and a while and try to educate them about money.  Learning how to count it and make change would be a great start.


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.

MCMXXI….Highlights, Expected, Surprising
And Colorful

By Paul V. Battaglia

This year witnessed the official ending of World War I per President Harding; Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan both starred in the silent film, “The Kid”; a young Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister of The Colonies; Warren G. Harding was inaugurated on the 29th of March; Vladimir Lenin proclaims New Economic Politics; Albert Einstein lectures in New York City on his “Theory of Relativity”; Babe Ruth was arrested and fined $100 for speeding (later that year he hit his then record 59th HR); Cy Young at 54 pitched two innings; J. Edgar Hoover became Assistant Director of the FBI and the U.S. Mints in Philadelphia, Denver (first and only time) and San Francisco strike designer Charles Morgan’s final year of his silver dollar.

As many of you know, the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars are a great challenge to locate well struck, clear and clean-in-look, lustrous….and devoid of those chronic (genetic??) heavy hits that wreck the overall balance of an otherwise fairly pleasant specimen.  (You could easily correlate the heavy hits on the 1921 genre to many Carson City dollars, too).  Great, you found one, but do not pop the cork on the Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine quite yet.

Next task….take a huge breath and hold it.

Now, dear reader, I ask you to seek out an attractively toned piece among this trio of mints in addition to the already superior coin you located and of which we just discussed.  All grades qualify.  Hmmmm, I thought as much.  The yeoman’s task sits heavier on your shoulders now, does it not?  Sure, those coins do exist, but I will bet you paid dearly for that coin when it surfaced.  Did you snap it up?  No?  Well, I cannot fault you as, I too, have passed on more coins than I can mortally recall in my five decades within Coin Land, USA.  Oh, you said you DID make the purchase after all?  What was your immediate reaction afterward?  How did you feel after displaying your purchase to your coin buddies?  How did you feel the next morning?  I have both positive and (still) neutral feelings about all the 1921 P, D and S minted silver dollars in my stash.  I admit this is one date that nags at me, ha.  Yes, we dealers are human (well, most are) and prone to indecision as well as insecurity.  To begin with, there were never many of the 1921s around that looked good!  Today, through the natural progression of time, accidents, meltdowns, loss and cleaning, there are frighteningly few.  One’s attempt to be comfortable and excited over the 1921 P, D and S silver dollars is a challenge, but most worthy, please trust me.  Your efforts and time here are well invested

Obverse Image Of My
1921 Morgan Dollar MS-62

Reverse Image Of My
1921 Morgan Dollar MS-62


Back on 22nd March, 2012 I was attending the huge Whitman Baltimore Convention with friend/owner Warren Mills.  A fellow friend/dealer sought me out and dropped this NGC MS-62 1921-P Morgan into my hands.  WOW!  The grade was humble, yet the unusual cleanliness-from-large hits, decent strike, decent lustre and elegant coloration were all above the norm for this date.  I could envision this coin’s singular attributes to be present on an MS-64, no foolin’, my opinion.  I had not given much thought in locating anything for myself while at the show.  After all, I was there to work and pound the bourse pavement for a solid twelve hours.  Lo and behold, this date of all dates pops up.  I paid him his asking price without taking another breath, but then took a big breath upon realization of what I had just forked over!  In retrospect, I thought to never see an acceptable specimen of this date for my set OR, I would locate a knockout toned beastie in MS-65 CAC with an equally knockout beastie tag.  Not so, Paul, for not all kings are adorned befitting their station, yet they are still kings.  Most important, all beauty and goodness emanate from the coarsest and humblest of beginnings.  The struggle IS the glory in both coins and in life.  Enjoy our hobby and in all you do, dear readers and customers.

Paul Battaglia is the Senior Numismatist and a Life Member of the ANA.  He travels with owner, Warren Mills, to the major coin shows across the country.  Paul has 50+ years numismatic experience and has been with RCNH since 1990.  He also cherishes reading, cooking, language, music, classic cars, lily/orchid culture, chess, economic statistics, differing viewpoints and FISHING.

Questions From The Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
My interview with John Albanese this month is a collection of questions, some were asked to me from our readers in our "Questions From The Mail Bag" articles over the months we have written this newsletter.  This article will continue next month as usual, so please keep sending in your questions to me directly or email.  Thank you.

 November Highlighted Coin

1918-S Walking Liberty Half MS-64 PCGS, CAC 


Click Here To See Enlarged Image

Click Here To See Enlarged Image


Here is a truly special example of an early Walking Liberty Half.  I acquired the coin uncertified thinking the coin would grade MS-64+.  The luster and color are way above average with a good strike for the date!  Take a look at the surfaces and you’ll see minimum surface abrasion.  The price spread between MS-64 and MS-65 is also attractive.  Here’s a coin that has a bid price on the grey sheet of $2,500 in MS-64 and $16,500 in MS-65.  I feel the spread is justified based on the population.  PCGS has graded 426 pieces in MS-64, 26 in MS-64+ (which I believe this coin to be), 31 in MS-65, 2 in MS-65+, 2 in MS-66 and 1 in MS-67.   Let’s contrast that to the CAC population, which includes both PCGS and NGC coins.  The CAC pop is 45 in MS-64 and MS-64+ combined, 7 in MS-65 and MS-65+ combined, none in MS-66 and 2 in MS-67. 
I’ve always liked early Walkers and have seen 1918-S halves in MS-65 holders that are inferior to this coin!  Take a moment and examine the photos.  In hand, the coin comes to life.  In many instances these early pieces may grade MS-64 or MS-64+ but have unattractive color, indifferent luster and a poorer than usual strike.  To me, these coins do not merit the grade.  A quick check of auction records show over the last year that MS-64+ pieces have sold for a range of $3,760 to $5,058.  This superb example is here for your consideration at $3,250.

Please call 1-800-225-7264 or emailif you'd like to order this coin, or if you have any questions or comments regarding it.

on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 13:35. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  October 2016 Issue

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

Thoughts About CAC

By Warren Mills

I am very happy to have the summer behind us.  It’s always a challenge to go through the quiet time for the coin business.  I’m glad customers get in their hard-earned time off and recharge.  Yet, it really puts a wrench into the business we do. 
This year, I decided to do something a little differently.  We ramped up our Coin World advertising with two full page ads in August and September.  Both issues surprised us.  The August issue, in particular, was very well received.  Not only did business from the ad exceed expectations, but we had almost 40 new subscribers sign up for our newsletter.  I was very happy to have new customers give us a shot.  The September ad was not as well received, but it came on strong at the end.
Something of concern was how little people knew about CAC (Certified Acceptance Corporation) or how some clients thought it was a gimmick of some kind.  I guess newer clients to our company were surprised by how many CAC coins we had in our ad, so they were happy to give us their opinion when we asked what they thought about CAC-approved coins.  The two main questions about CAC were, “why is it necessary?” and if I have coins that are already graded by PCGS or NGC, “why is CAC so reluctant to sticker more certified coins?”
The first question is “why is CAC necessary?”  As a collector or buyer of coins, now and before I became a dealer, I wanted to learn as much about grading as possible.  The better the grader I am, the better the desirability of my collection and the value of my collection becomes greater.   CAC is a company that affixes a sticker to the grading holder to differentiate the high-end quality coins for the grade from the average or low-end quality coins for the grade.  I have collectors that equate it to an “A” coin for grade from the “B” and “C” coins for grade.  I personally see it as a necessity because I want a client to know that we want to sell the most conservative and strictly graded coins that we can find.  Commercial grading is rampant in the industry.  A commercially graded coin may have good eye-appeal because it is bright, but it is not original.  We prefer to stick with original surfaced coins because we feel that we are stewards for future generations of collections.  This subject of grading coins will be a never-ending debate.  It is something on which we will touch over and over again as time goes on.
The second question is “why is CAC so reluctant to sticker more PCGS or NGC coins?”  I don’t feel that CAC is reluctant to do it at all.  If more coins were high-end for the grade, more coins would get a sticker for the grade.  For years, dealers such as RCNH have always preached that collectors should buy the coin, not the holder.  We always believed that premium quality coins would hold up better than average or below average coins for the grade, and this has always been true.  I have been in the business since 1979 as a full time numismatist, and I can never think of a time when collectors assembling the best coins they could afford ever wanted to compromise and settle for low-end coins for the grade. 
Keep in mind, CAC makes it very affordable, too!  For coins below $10,000 in value, the charge is $12.50, plus shipping.  For coins valued over $10,000, the charge is $25, plus shipping.  To me, it is money well spent.   A smart buyer would examine a CAC coin and compare it to non-CAC pieces of the same grade.  If you cannot see a difference, find a dealer that will explain the difference to you.  Once you are able to differentiate between high-end and low-end for grade, your collection and desirability for it will be greatly enhanced.
I’d like to wrap this up with a quote from the latest Rosen Numismatic Advisory.  It is on page 6 of the Sept./Oct./Nov. 2016 issue.  The quote is referencing the percentages of coins submitted to CAC for Proof 19th Century Type coins and the CAC sticker or pass rate for these series.  They ranged from a low of only 8% of the “No Motto” quarters in Proof-67 passing the CAC muster to a high of 37% of Trade Dollars in PR-64 receiving a CAC sticker.   I thought the follow-up paragraph by Maurice Rosen was very telling:
“The CAC’s low pass rate Types are a fine place to start looking for good investments.  Particularly appealing pieces regularly bring big premiums.  Three such coins were auctioned by Stacks-Bowers at the ANA in Anaheim.  An 1864 No Motto $, PCGS PR-65 realized $28,200 ($9,500 CDN bid, + 197%).   An 1870 With Motto $, PCGS PR-64 brought $18,800 ($5,250 CDN bid, + 258%).  And an 1883 Trade $1, PCGS PR-65 went for $11,162 ($5,750 CDN bid, + 94%).  Granted these are not your “ordinary” CAC quality coins but they do alert you to the market’s fervor for outstanding ones.  CAC pieces generally fetch premiums up to about 25% - where skillful eyes will bag good deals.”  CDN are the initials of the Coin Dealer newsletter.
This paragraph is important.  I caution you and will tell you that CAC is not a gimmick.  Prices realized at auctions and on the bourse floor at shows will attest to the premiums they can garner.  So don’t let pride get in the way of good judgement.  If you submitted coins to CAC and the pass rate was very low, find out why.

Next month, I will publish an interview in our newsletter with John Albanese, a founding member of PCGS, the founder of NGC, and also of CAC.  I believe you will find his perspectives enlightening. If you have any questions you would like John to answer, please email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?subject=Interview%20with%20John%20Albanese" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy10823 + '\'?subject=Interview%20with%20John%20Albanese>'+addy_text10823+'<\/a>'; //--> or call me directly.

Thank you.

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.

Coin Trivia

1.  What is the official name of the dime minted from 1916-1942?

2. Does the government print paper money at the Philadelphia Mint?

3. What is the design of the first dollar coin to circulate in the United States?

Answers to Coin Trivia Can Be Found At The Bottom Of This Newsletter
RCNH Discovers Rare Doubled Die Nickel

By Joseph Presti

Warren recently handed me a group of coins to submit to PCGS for grading.  One of the coins was a choice uncirculated 1919 Buffalo nickel.  Being a coin nerd, I always look at the coins going in for grading to see if there may be anything that Warren has missed, better two sets of eyes than one.  As I examined the nickel, I noticed that the digits of the date had some doubling, nothing dramatic, but it was there.  Initially, I thought it might be machine doubling, so I opened my trusty Cherrypickers’ Guide and there it was, a new listing for a 1919 doubled die obverse nickel.  Some of you may recall that recently there was a rather dramatic 1919 doubled die obverse dime discovered, but the nickel was not nearly as doubled as the dime.  So my feeling was that the nickel was probably a minor variety.

Off to PCGS my submission went.  I decided to send the coin as part of an economy package since Cherrypickers’ valued the coin at $350 in MS-63.  I checked off variety attribution and paid my $18 for the added service and took a chance.  Two months later, the submission comes back and PCGS agreed with me and graded the coin MS-64 with the doubled die attribution.

Next step, off to CAC the coin goes and John felt it was solid for the grade and put a sticker on it.  So now we have a 1919 doubled die nickel in PCGS MS-64 CAC, but what do we do with it? 

I do a little research and discover that it is the first of its kind graded by either PCGS or NGC.  Next question Warren and I contemplated was do we retail it or auction it?  The question we then have to ask is if we decide to retail the coin how do we price it?  That turned out to be an incredibly difficult question because it was the first and only 1919 doubled die nickel.  Some of the sources we checked with could not venture a guess and our fear is that the coin could be esoteric or what happens if we retail it and in a few years the grading services decide that they will not recognize the variety anymore, like they recently did with the 1914/3 nickel.  In the end, we decided to put the coin in auction and take our chances.

Off to Heritage the coin went and it is put into the Long Beach internet session of their sale with the following description;

1919 5C Doubled Die Obverse, FS-101, MS64 PCGS. CAC

When I saw the description I was not very happy and I called Heritage and complained.  I thought the coin should have been placed in the signature portion of the sale or at the very least, been given a description worthy of its’ apparent rarity being the only one graded.  My pleas fell on deaf ears and no changes were made to either sale placement or description.  As internet bidding opened, I monitored the bids and it quickly rose to $900, an amazing price, we thought.  A day before the sale the internet bids sat at $4600, Warren and I were dumbfounded. 

It is Sunday night, the weekend of the sale and I am wasting time on my laptop, watching TV.  I logged onto Heritage to check how our auction lots sold.  I take a look and have to refresh the page because I thought there was a mistake.  The nickel sold for $11,000 plus the buyers fee, making the total almost $13,000!  I call Warren at home and tell him what the coin sold for, there was silence on the phone, I think he thought I misspoke.  We are both so confused as to why this coin sold for so much other than to think that it was the first and only coin graded to date.

We have seen it so many times, especially in the early days of the grading service, pop one coins selling for ridiculous prices only to come down later as more get graded. I just hope this coin turns out to be truly rare and that the Buffalo nickel community appreciates it for a long time.

Unsolicited Mailings

By Dave Carleton

We have featured our inventory in Coin World twice over the last two months and have had not only the opportunity to place some nice coins with new collectors, but to also get fresh opinions about their experiences in today’s market. One of the most common comments is the inability to find original material to complete albums and “Type” sets.

Another subject that I’m hearing a lot more these days is that many of these people are being inundated with unsolicited mailings offering myriad hard asset products. The subject comes up all the time as to whether we sell our mailing list or not (which we don’t), and I suspect that the reason these folks are receiving these offers is because they have done business with a company that sold their contact information. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of this onslaught as more and more companies beat the drum about gold ownership. I also believe that everyone should have some gold in an amount relative proportionally to their total investment portfolio, let’s say around 10%, but that would obviously vary depending on how much faith one has in paper assets.

I also strongly believe that numismatic coins should have a place in the hard asset tier of your portfolio, too (they’re not making them anymore). Many people have voiced their concern about using bullion coins for goods and services in case of an emergency and have asked what I would recommend. The resurgence of these questions reminds me of 1999, when we were approaching the new millennium year of 2000 and the fear of Y2K. My answer is the same as it was then, and that was,” If you think you’re going to need something other than paper to pay for goods and services, then I would recommend smaller denomination gold coins like the 1/10th oz gold American Eagles.“  Back in 1999 we were selling them for $35.00 and today we’re selling them for $145.00 based on spot of $1,315 right now. That’s about a 10% premium over melt, but I think it’ll be worth it if you ever have to use them for reasons aforementioned.

This brings me back to all these unsolicited offerings. One of my customers got a piece cautioning him to “Avoid Costly Rookie Mistakes” and then they offered him a “deal” on $2.00 Australian Kangaroos for $64.99. These are ½ gram coins and there are 31 grams in a Troy ounce so there are 62 of these Kangaroos in an ounce times $64.99 equals $4,029. Unless you have a thing for kangaroos, I think that as much as I like small denomination gold, this is a rookie mistake. A 300% premium over the spot price of gold is totally unacceptable to me, especially if one intends to use them for barter or for anything for that matter. As you search the internet for information about gold, silver and hard assets, rest assured that future sidebar ads offering gold and silver will litter your computer for months.  So do the math and try to avoid those “Rookie Mistakes.”  Actually the best way to do that is to just call us.


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.

Two Silver Dollars, John Muir’s Countenance
And My Mount  Whitney Attempt

By Paul V. Battaglia

The Owens Valley is approximately 75 miles long and rather U-shaped.  The massive, eastern rampart of the Sierra Nevada range is to the west (one’s left when facing north) while the White and Inyo Mountain ranges are to the east.  Interstate 395 runs down the middle and is the lifeline to all the fascinating and richly historical towns along the way.  This beautiful highway stretches from the border of British Columbia all the way down to the outskirts of Los Angeles.  Merely driving from one end to the other brings the traveler through more than several growing zones as in Death Valley to mountainous terrain or vice-versa.

Now, this column is supposed to focus on coins, exonumia, paper money and closely related subjects.  You will be wondering about the “two silver dollars” that I mentioned in my title.  I am neither a good will ambassador or tour guide for this area, though my wife & I have been visiting it for about five years straight.  The two silver dollars come into the picture after my attempt to ascend Mount Whitney.  I had been pondering what to offer for this month’s column for weeks.  A writer wants to intrigue his readers, capture their attention, provide them with some education, a laugh, a point, ask their position on his subject, etc.  My sixty-fifth birthday came to pass on 2nd September, which also marked my fiftieth year in rare coins “business wise”* and fifty-eight years total since I first held a coin with a collector’s mindset.  You would think I could relate dozens of tales offhand, but I confess this is not to be.  Most would come out dry, slightly pompous, meandering, peculiar or, seemingly, without much of a satisfying finish.

To make a long story short, I had been working out at a professional gymnasium for many months in preparation for my attempt to ascend the highest peak in the lower 48 states.  My progress had been nothing short of sterling, but gold was needed in the end.  I acclimatized for several days and nights prior to my ascent and felt marvelous.  My partner came in from Cincinnati, OH, and turned out to be a swell, true-blue, stand-up guy of impeccable character and experience.  We started out at 1:11 AM on 7th September with full, useful packs that carried only what would be needed to sustain life….no waste or super cargo tolerated!  Not when you are gaining 6000+ feet in eleven miles over mostly granite and scree!  (Remember, you also have to come down, too….eleven additional miles.)  I caught a touch of AMS or Altitude Mountain Sickness at 12,000 feet.  My stamina was great and I was in fine form, but AMS has the final word.  We packed it in after a rest and headed back down as AMS is nothing to fool with, ever.  This malady can strike anyone, anytime for any reason and one had best heed the warning.  We still had a grand time and took many pictures in that wilderness.

Fast forward to a day later after we both hit the hay and slept like babes-in-arms that night.  My partner, Chris, headed back down I-395 South to LAX….I was driving back north on I-395, carefree and filled with elation.  I pulled over for a bite to eat at one of the many small, family-run eateries that take immense pride in their cleanliness and large portions to the public.  A fair size roadside flea market was nearby with everything from A to Z.  I love poring through “stuffe” as I refer to it and will get down and dirty hoping to locate something of use.  A box with a mish-mash of stuffe was off to one side with a sign stating “$4 for any single item.” I found a weird gold coloured/plated belt buckle of an unknown maker with two U.S. Morgan Silver Dollars within….GENUINE silver dollars I might add.  Plus, they were original as evidenced by their dark patina!  I held it up to the owners and nearly placed it in their hands out of fairness and courtesy given the obvious error in pricing.  The man waved it off from further viewing….he just wanted the payment, ok.  The silver dollars were set up with the obverse of one and the reverse of the other showing.  This would provide the ever-changing viewers with a look at what constituted the Morgan Silver Dollar design as the proud wearer strutted his stuff past them.  Well, I must say that my heart raced when I saw the obverse dated one as being an 1879.  Carson City was nearby and it was vaguely possible that the reverse might sport that coveted “CC” mintmark.  The other coin was a Philly, as the reverse only was showing, but there are plenty of rare ones from that mint, too.  Alas, no such luck when I released them from their screw holds.  No matter, these silver dollars are a fine piece of luck and shall always remind me of my trip.  I also snapped up this neat John Muir medal for fifty cents despite it being marked $4.95.  I did not need it nor was I seeking one, but given my proximity to Yosemite National Park and the Tioga Pass (about fifty miles to Lee Vining from where I stood), it seemed more than fitting to have this remembrance of a true conservationist.  I continued my journey back up highway I-395 North and the trip’s end in Carson City.  I drove into Reno next day and headed home into New Hampshire.

I wonder how that belt buckle came to end up where it did.  Who was the owner prior to the folks from whom I purchased it?  Did they not realize it held two genuine U.S. Morgan Dollars?  Perhaps one of their children or a relative was entrusted with the examination and subsequent pricing.  Ultimately, who was the initial owner?  Someone did wear the buckle as it exhibits light wear on the high points excluding the worn silver dollars.  The individual who placed those silver dollars within the buckle had definite knowledge to only use worn and common date pieces.  The dollars had been residing in that buckle for a long time with such dark grey patina upon their respective obverse and reverse.  I ask questions to which there are no answers.  I seek the simplest of clues for it is through salient indicators that we often discover the answers to greater issues.  When no answers are to be had, acceptance must and will suffice….especially with this find, this little gift that shall stay in my hands for a hitherto unknown span of time.

Click Here To See Enlarged Image
Click Here To See Enlarged Image

The granite spires surrounding Mount Whitney, the token remembrance of John Muir and two silver visitors from Philadelphia.  We are all travelers at different speeds.  Our self-imposed method of time determines our paths within Infinity.

*My first bit of rare coin business was when I was fifteen.  I received a finder’s fee for locating a deal successfully purchased by that dealer, hence; I use that as my benchmark.

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.

Coins Changing In The Holders?

By Lou Roten

About 2 ½ years ago I bought some United States 1955 and 1956 proof sets on eBay. I discovered that a few of the 1956 sets unexpectedly had the type I Franklin. I looked for a local coin dealer to inquire about grading and found RCNH nearby. I was encouraged to have several of the 1956 proof Franklin type I halves and Washington quarters submitted to PCGS. RCNH did that for me and about 2 months later I got a call from David Carleton telling me that the Franklins returned: 1 PR-67, 2 PR-66 and 1 PR-65 – not bad. The quarters came back PR-68 cameo.  Again, not bad.  I did not pay Franklin type I prices.

Off these coins went into storage. Last week I took them out and noticed that a slight rusty looking spotting had developed on each of the coins around the perimeter of the surfaces, more on some than others. The rust color spotting is clear evidence that the coins were dipped for appearance to sell on eBay and for initial viewing once received. I should add that the coins were not in the original government packaging, but in Capital holders, another clue that they may have been dipped. The coins showed absolutely no evidence of dip residue when I first saw them and brought them into RCNH in April 2014. I knew nothing about dipping at the time.

Of course, eBay is a dangerous place and is often a dumping ground for problem coins as well as for coins that have that (often temporary) pristine fresh blast white look. If ever there was any doubt in my mind about the surface of coins continuing to react to a foreign substance while in TPG holders, I have none now, though the holders are not the problem.

When coins are dipped, they must be rinsed, neutralizing the acid in the dipping solution completely. But molecules are very small and any dipping solution residue is not visible after the coins are rinsed after being (almost) neutralized. Water used to rinse off all chemicals remaining on the coins needs to be distilled de-ionized water. Tap water can contain minerals, very fine suspended solids and dissolved gases that can cause more problems. The dipping is intended to remove a very thin layer of silver and copper sulfides, both of which are dark grey to black in appearance. The rusty red color on my coins is the light that is reflected back to us from the boundary layer at the surface of the silver when the oxide layer is very thin, a few nanometers (0.000025 mm)1. When the oxide layer is very thick, the coin will be various shades of dark grey and black, the color of the silver and copper oxides themselves, as no light can pass through that thick oxide layer to be reflected from a boundary layer beneath the oxide surface.

It seems clear to me that a small amount of the dipping solution had remained on my coins and has continued to react in the sonically sealed holder. An anaerobic condition does not mean safety for the coin; the pollution is on the coin’s surface and slowly continues to react with the silver. The holder will keep the damage to a minimum as the airborne source of sulfur (for the most part atmospheric H2S) has been eliminated.

I still have nice examples of the 1956 type I Franklins, however not as nice as they could be because of the unnatural spotting. It is a shame how much dipping of coins is done simply for the sake of a short term appearance. The natural patina and original flow lines of the coin are compromised. 

I also had been buying what I thought were AU to UNC Morgan dollars for a few months before the Proof set purchase. It being pre-RCNH, I sent several of the Morgan dollars to be graded. I think I recall 6 or 7 of 10 came back details – cleaned. I thought they all looked pretty good at the time, of course, before my education here at RCNH. Most of those raw Morgan silver dollars are now showing the familiar rust color in the reeded edges – an area difficult to rinse completely. The coins once looked OK to me when I bought them, but now have no “life” when compared to the original coins I see here. Lesson learned.


  1. “Coin Chemistry, Including Preservation and Cleaning.”, Third Edition, 2012, Weimar W. White.

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 The Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
This month’s question was posed in different ways by a few of our clients.  It specifically pertained to reviewing auction lots for our customers in conjunction with a major show.  We are happy to offer, as a service to our clients, a review of any auction lots in which they are interested.  We do it free of charge, too!  All we ask is that if they have us bid for them, we will charge a nominal fee for bidding.  Just the protection alone of preventing our customers from purchasing inferior coins for their collection should be worth it.  Here is the gist of the questions.

I appreciate the fact that you look at auction lots for me.  I just can’t figure out why you reject so many of the coins for me to bid on?
The answer is that you are asking a professional for help to assemble your set of a collection of top quality graded coins.  We put our name on the line to do our best to try and select the top-end graded coins for your consideration.  If we are asked to examine ten or twenty coins and we feel they are low-end for the grade, we do not want you to bid.  We just examined a $40,000 lot for a customer and my recommendation was not to bid on it.  I was not sure about the coin being a true business strike!  To me, it was a proof.
Auctions are frequently a dumping ground of marginally graded material.  Yes, there are great collections that come to the market and the coins are wonderful.  However, the majority of auction coins are pieces that we feel are overly commercial or low-end for the grade, not to mention altered surface and problem coins.
Today, you may not care about the strength of the grade.  If the hole in the collection is filled, that may be good enough.  However, the time may come that you may want to have your coins examined for future sale or CACing or anything else that may lead to enhancing the value.   If that day comes, we do not want to be responsible for a client holding marginal quality.  I’m not saying that another numismatist may look at a coin and feel it is great and I may think it is marginal or vice versa.  I’ve seen plenty of CAC coins that I feel did not deserve the sticker, and I’ve seen coins rejected by CAC that I thought were great.  That’s the subjective element of grading. 
The bottom line is that your collection will be nicer if you adopt strict grading standards to each coin that you buy.  In addition, if we examine 10 coins in an auction and feel that two are ones on which it is not worth bidding, this is a high percentage for us.  We are not interested in the money for bidding on coins; we are more interested in protecting our clients.

Thanks again and please keep those questions coming. We welcome your questions.  So please send them to me directly or emailfor future newsletters, and if you prefer, I will answer them for you privately.


October Highlighted Coin
1776 Colonial PCGS XF-45 Currency, Pewter CAC  -  $52,000

CAC, Surprisingly wholesome, looks like a shot AU. History in your hands!


Click Here To See Enlarged Image

Click Here To See Enlarged Image


If you collect coins, chances are that you appreciate history and art.  Well, you can’t get more historic than the Continental Dollar.  To say that it was present during the birth of our country is not an understatement.  Issued in 1776, the Continental Dollar was widely circulated as a $1 coin, and it is believed to be the substitute for $1 notes issued by the Continental Congress.

These coins were issued in copper, brass, silver and pewter, with the latter being the most collectable.  The coin features a radiant sun shining on a sundial with the phrase “Mind Your Business” underneath, a popular theme at the time.  The reverse has 13 circles with the name of each colony surrounding an inner circle spelling out “American Congress” with “We Are One” in the central circle.

This particular coin is a lightly circulated example exhibiting an above average strike, not showing the typical weakness evident on some examples.  Being made of pewter one would expect some pitting of the metal, especially for something almost 250 years old, but this coin is very clean and does not show any pitting. 
This historic piece is graded PCGS XF-45 with claims to AU and comes with a CAC sticker, priced reasonably at $52,000.
Please emailif you'd like to order this coin, or if you have any questions or comments regarding it.

Coin Trivia Answers

1. The Winged Liberty Head, better known as the Mercury dime.

2. No, it is printed at the Treasury department in Washington, D.C.

3. It was actually the Spanish Milled Dollar, commonly called the Pillar Dollar and was legal tender until 1857.


on Wednesday, 31 August 2016 13:29. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  September 2016 Issue


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

Monthly Or Bimonthly Newsletter?

We Asked And You Responded

By Warren Mills

We asked our customers and friends to give us some feedback on moving the newsletter to an every-other-month publication instead of monthly.  The overwhelming response was to keep it monthly, but to shorten the length a bit.  Others that enjoyed our articles understood that moving it back to every two months was fine with them, but they did not want us to stop writing it.  Some very knowledgeable people wanted us to do it every two weeks, instead of monthly!  I want to give them a hearty thank you for their vote of confidence.


The reason behind the polling on our newsletter is because we have a standing office in a bank building, and we do free appraisals for anyone that wants to make an appointment.  This usually means that we have as many as ten daily appointments with those who have a collection. 


We also buy jewelry plus we buy and sell bullion products.  With a markup over cost of 1% on gold and 2% on silver, we are fairly busy for many reasons.  We also try to explain all the in’s and out’s of the coin or bullion market to anyone that requests our guidance.  We love the hobby, so we take the time to go the extra mile.  Unfortunately, time demands can be tremendous.  July and August are also big vacation months, and with multiple people out of the office for two weeks at a time, the time demand is exacerbated.  When you’re the chief cook and bottle washer, it’s hard to keep up with everything.


The bottom line is that I have decided to go back to a monthly letter.  We are coin nerds and realize that our basic technical knowledge of internet use for marketing impacts us.  However, I have found that - in many instances - the advanced technical internet knowledge of many newer numismatic firms is inversely proportional to their lack of numismatic experience. 


We have been on the front lines for decades, gaining knowledge and experience from a cavalcade of numismatic luminaries – Dave Akers, Walter Breen, Art Kagin, etc., were all first name basis friends and colleagues.  Certainly, we welcome suggestions you may have that would allow us to more effectively use the internet/social media to help our clients.  In the meantime, if you want me to write on a particular subject, let me know.  Should you wish me to respond in private, I am glad to do so. 


Bottom line:  we welcome the opportunity to be even better!


August is when the American Numismatic Association (ANA) convention is held.  This year it was hosted in Anaheim, CA.  Shortly, you will be able to see on RCNH.com, those coins that we purchased at the ANA.  The CAC issues will be first; the coins we purchased without CAC stickers are ones that we sent to CAC for review.  These coins will be up in a couple of weeks.  You will note that there were not a lot of new purchases from the show.  The reason: too many coins to see, with too few that represented strict grading.  We walked through a couple of gold coins for grading at the show and they graded 2-3 points higher than we expected.  They will gladly be wholesaled.


We examined many auction lots for customers.  They were tremendously disappointing.  We make a commission on lots we like and could not stand behind one coin.  All were grossly over-graded.  There was one coin that we liked that was under $1,000 and I forgot to execute the bid.  I’m so mad at myself that it’s making me crazier than normal.  Yet, to examine tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of auction lots for clients and only like one coin is sad.


Next month, I’ll either pick up on “My Coin Journey” again or start to go in a different direction.  Please let me know what you think.  Your emails are always welcome here at Rare Coins of New Hampshire.

Partner and owner of Rare Coins of New Hampshire, Inc. since June, 1990 and a full time coin dealer since 1979.  Warren is a full member of the Professional Numismatists Guild and a life member of the American Numismatic Association.  He was selected by the Rosen Numismatic Advisory as one of the ten leading numismatists in the country for twelve consecutive years.  He was selected by PCGS and written up in their newsletter as handling and submitting some of the nicest coins they have ever seen.

Backdate vs. Current Date

By Joseph Presti

Whenever I call our gold wholesaler to order American Gold Eagles (AGE) for a client the first question I am asked is, “Do you want current or backdates?”  A current date AGE is a coin with the present year on it. For instance, right now a current date AGE is 2016.  A backdate is a coin with a year anytime before the present year, sounds simple.  Why then does it cost more to buy current dates rather than backdates?  After some investigation it comes down to a rather basic principle, supply and demand.
Before I get into a discussion of why this conundrum exists, let’s examine the cost differences.  With gold at $1,320 per ounce, the difference in cost is about $9-$10 per one ounce coin.  When you purchase fractional AGEs the price difference can be as high as $30 per ounce.  This is a substantial difference when one considers that it is a commodity. Some may have the attitude of, “I am buying for the long-term and I feel gold is going to appreciate many thousands of dollars per ounce, so what is a few extra dollars per ounce?”  That thought pattern is fine if you are comfortable with it and have money to burn, but I cannot wrap my head around paying more for something when I can get the exact same thing for less.  It is the same as buying gasoline.  There are two Exxon stations literally next to each other.  All things are equal, you pump it yourself, you pay cash, the grade of gasoline is the same, but one station charges more than the other, why?  Oh, and did I mention that when you sell you get the same price for current and backdated coins?  It makes no sense.
After dealing in metals and coins for 35 years, I thought I was missing something because I could not figure out why one cost more than the other.  My problem was that I was trying to look at it as a numismatist would.  Was one coin in better condition, a rarer year or was there something else special about it?  The answer to all of my questions came back the same, no.  So why then is a current date more expensive than a backdate?  None of the bullion dealers around the country I spoke with had an adequate answer. 
Whenever I have a client that wants to purchase AGEs, I ask if they want backdates or current dates and I get the same response, “What’s the difference?”  I explain about the cost structure and that as soon a January 1 comes along their coins are now considered backdates.  Inevitably they chose to purchase backdates to save $10 per coin.  So, the next time you purchase AGEs, whether from RCNH or someone else, ask about the cost of backdate vs. current date coins, there should be a difference.  If there is no difference in price, more than likely the dealer is overpricing the backdated coins.

Those Crazy Coin Collections

By Dave Carleton

I’d like to start by thanking all the people who responded to our request about the frequency of our newsletter. There were some excellent points made regarding both monthly and bimonthly issues.

 I’ve often said that although we’re in the coin business, we’re really in the people business too. The broad diversity of coins brings with it an equally broad and divergent group of collectors. Quite often, I’ll speak with a caller who used to collect when they were young, but got away from it when they went away to school, fell in love, and started a family. Now they’re back, have access to more resources (money) and want to get involved in collecting again. Many have asked me what area of numismatics I would recommend collecting, and I tell them that no matter what path they choose, to make sure they’re having fun with it. If you’re buying coins but losing sleep at night because of the money you’ve spent, then that’s not fun. I’ll often recommend embarking on a “Type” set, where you acquire one coin from all the different denominations and styles. In the process of doing that you might find a series that you want to focus on completely. Another variation of doing a “Type” set, would be to do it with a “Key” date from each series. That could get expensive, but a lot of fun if you have the resources. 
The cool part about coin collecting is the myriad ways people do it, which reminds me of one of my favorites. One of my customers is in love with American history and is in the process of acquiring a coin from the time frame of each presidential tenure. That means when complete he’ll have 44 coins in his collection and he’ll have to add one more after November. He has coins like a 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar for Washington, an 1813 Capped Bust Half Dollar for Madison, an 1861 Three Cent Silver for Lincoln.  He has a lot more, but what made me think of this set was because in the last few weeks we were fortunate enough to purchase a nice group of Flowing Hair and Draped Bust Dollars, he called to express his dilemma. His problem was that he had recently purchased an 1807 Draped Bust Half Dollar in VF-30 for his favorite president, Thomas Jefferson.  Now we have an 1801 Draped Bust Dollar in XF-45 that he really wants. He thinks his favorite president deserves the best coin in the collection, but the only problem is the 1801 dollar costs about $6,000 more than the Draped Bust Half. I don’t know how this is going to work out but I know one thing, either way he won’t be losing any sleep over it.

David Carleton, a New Hampshire native was introduced to coin collecting by his father and Grandfather in the 50’s. Gold bullion speculation dominated the 70’s culminating in 1980 when focus on Numismatics returned. He became a life member of the ANA , met Warren Mills  (his coin Guru) and they cofounded RCNH in 1990.

My Summer Of 2016 (So Far….)

By Paul V. Battaglia

Well, my wife Lillian & I took a week in early June (despite it not being summer) with my sister and her husband to Hyannis on Cape Cod, MA.  The weather was flawless and there were no crowds anywhere.  We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary.  We miraculously managed to take off a Friday together up into the Gloucester-Rockport, MA area to visit places we had not seen in ten years or more.  The penalty for taking off a Friday together was searing heat in the range of around 101º F. (38.333º C.), no sea breeze and a torrid west wind.  I have not had to cut my lawn since mid-June when our southern NH drought took hold which is good, I guess….but the entire lawn is now a striking washed-out yellow colour.  My heirloom cherry tomatoes did not co-operate despite my extra watering.  I continue to visit the gym four times a week to stay in shape.  I turn 65 very soon and have plans to ascend Mount Whitney as my birthday gift to me.

All in all, an interesting and varied assortment of events.

Oh, one more thing….I acquired a 1928-S Liberty Standing Quarter in PCGS F15: Inverted MM FS-501 for my lower grade set.  Man, was I thrilled to pick up that piece.

Paul's Inverted S Mintmark

Inverted S Mintmark from "Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins

Over the decades in collecting coins, I have upgraded, traded, sold and swapped countless coins in my sets and as single type pieces.  As a rule, I do not purchase varieties unless they have to do with my interests OR are listed in the landmark book, “Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins” by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton.*  My 20th century specialty has been the Liberty Standing Quarters as readers know, since I began collecting coins at 7 years of age.  As you may know, this series is quite lean when it comes to varieties.  The most noteworthy is the kingpin 1918-S, 8/7, of course.  However, for “a price”, you can chase this one down coupled with effort.

My variety was originally cherry-picked out of ordinary junk silver, yup, that is the truth.  I was not the one to be so lucky, but was the first to come across it and snapped it up without thinking.  My point here:  ALWAYS KEEP LOOKING THROUGH JUNK SILVER, COPPER CENTS, COINS IN GENERAL, etc.  Someone has to find these jewels and it might as well be you OR, you might be the first one to have such a coin offered your way!!  Heck, I located my 5 dateless 1916 Liberty Standing Quarters in junk silver through the knowledge of the position of the gown folds.
I got this variety “right” as the parlance goes, with cash, and stepping up to the plate without hesitation.  This variety books for rather impressive figures at $275 in VG-8 and $400 in F12 with nothing reported above those grades.  This one plugs the hole nicely in my lower graded circ. set and is better than the raw F-12 (my opinion) I have had for many years.  I have not encountered any others in my travels, but once saw “J” Cline’s example years ago, yet have now forgotten it’s grade and physical characteristics, unfortunately.

This specimen is fresh, wholesome and intact.  The naked eye is easily drawn to both the date and mint marked area as both are (seemingly) backlit by the fashion in which the toning developed, being darker grey fields against a lighter hue upon the devices.  A 5x glass suffices to initially generate a mental query as to the distinct possibility of a variety presenting itself.  The application of 10x positively identifies this coin as being the Real McCoy in this collector’s experience.  A tilting of the coin in hand reveals some fine, translucent cobalt blue and palest burgundy hues on both the lower right and lower left obverse quarters.  Variegated patches of deeper grey are scattered like low-lying storm clouds (for lack of a better description) in random fashion, yet do not mar the harmony and balance in my opinion.  The reverse is more golden-grey with palest blue tinges well along in development.  Both obverse and reverse have no surface metal damage….just honest, even wear and tear.

I can rarely add a new coin to my collection at this point in time for many reasons, many of which are also known to you, my readers and collectors.  I am otherwise very content to be happy with what I have and call it a day.

My point?  Well, it was not to boast or humble-brag, the latter being both a fresh term as well as a new behavioural pattern with some people.  YOU, the reader/collector, YOU, must maintain hope and zeal at all times for lightning strikes of its own accord and when it chooses.  KNOWLEDGE, the pursuit of knowledge, rewards us all with enlightenment at the very least with an occasional tangible treat in our scholarly hobby. There will never be a time when all coins are discovered, found and done with, period. Walter Breen made this brilliantly, and simply, clear in his “Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins” when he stressed VARIETY and VARIETIES, both major and minor, would be the ongoing future of numismatics.  He took great interest in anyone’s coins.  I will also add that Q. David Bowers still gives unselfishly of his time and genuine interest to all who approach him on the bourse.  I tip my hat to these men as well as the nameless, innumerable numismatists out there who seek the higher road for the benefit of us all.

I welcome your opinions and criticisms as always.  Thanks much.

*(This excerpt and scans on upper page 156 are from “The Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties, Fifth Edition, Volume II” Reprinted with permission from Whitman Publishing, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.)

Paul Battaglia is the Senior Numismatist and a Life Member of the ANA.  He travels with owner, Warren Mills, to the major coin shows across the country.  Paul has 50+ years numismatic experience and has been with RCNH since 1990.  He also cherishes reading, cooking, language, music, classic cars, lily/orchid culture, chess, economic statistics, differing viewpoints and FISHING.

Questions From The Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
Question:  Warren, I've been collecting coins for a few years but I struggle with my ability to identify cleaned and altered coins at times. Any tips or advice to make better coin purchases when at coin shows?  I've bought some real crummy coins over the years, because of this I have never been taught how to really check out a coin, any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you DW for your question.
If I am at a show, I encourage anyone to come to me at any time for my opinion. If you go to a show, first observe dealers looking at coins at a table. Watch the way they rotate a coin under a good light source to look for abrasions or any alterations. You must spend at least a day doing this. Move away from tables that dealers exhibit that they are only label readers. All certified and raw coins should be examined in great detail. A label reader will not even look at the coin. If you are a raw coin buyer, get a guarantee that the coin will certify to the grade.

I had a pristine original lustrous 1952-s Franklin Half in ms63 that I thought was a shot 64. A man comes to the table and needs it as the last coin for his unc. set. He asks me what the price is. I tell him and he wants to know if I can do $10 better, I say I can't. He says that he is going to keep looking. I see him the next day and ask him if he found a piece. He said he did, and it was $10 less than mine. I asked if I could take a look and he shows me a lightly cleaned slider that was worth less than half of a real 63. So get a guarantee of certification!

On certified coins, get a return option time in writing. Show the coin to proven dealers you trust for an opinion. I know at shows, many dealers are no return. You should say, “No return, no business.” A good dealer will want to satisfy a customer.

If you can, find a mentor. There are times at a show that a customer will take up hours of my time if I allow it. I just set an amount of time that I can allocate to them. A mentor is of utmost importance!

Lastly, look at as many coins as you can. Spend a day or two viewing auction lots. Auctions are the dumping ground of horridly over-graded coins, but they also have some of the best and greatest coins for sale you may ever see! Remember the vast majority are the bottom of the barrel coins that dealers or collectors can't sell elsewhere. Attend the auctions! Review the notes you made on coins of interest during the sale. If everything you liked went for begging prices, Repeat all the steps above. If many of the coins you liked brought P.Q. prices and had a lot of action, you're on the right track. Then you can start spending some of your hard earned money.

Patience is its own reward.

Thanks again and please keep those questions coming. We welcome your questions.  So please send them to me directly or emailfor future newsletters, and if you prefer, I will answer them for you privately.


September Highlighted Coin
1850 Liberty $20 Gold Piece PCGS AU-50 CAC  -  $5,550.00

CAC, First year issue hard to find with CAC sticker. CAC pop-17 with 81 higher, Could 53, most are cleaned.


Click Here To See Enlarged Image

Click Here To See Enlarged Image


1848 Sutter Mill, CA:  Gold is discovered, the rush is on!  So much gold is being produced by the California gold rush, the US government must determine a way to use it.  The idea of a new $20 gold coin is proposed and a single pattern is struck in 1849.  Meeting with approval, the new denomination was authorized and regular coinage was struck starting in 1850.  The Philadelphia Mint struck nearly 1.2 million $20 gold coins the first year, and most have been lost through melting, abuse and normal attrition.  The result is that very few wholesome coins exist today.

To put things in perspective, our highlighted coin is an 1850 Liberty $20 Gold Piece PCGS AU-50 CAC.  PCGS and NGC have graded a total of 430 coins in AU-50, and CAC has only stickered 17 pieces, a paltry 3.95%.  This gives one a better idea of how difficult it is to find wholesome, original early gold, and the larger the coin the harder it is to find.

Our AU-50 CAC, as with all of our coins, is original and represents an opportunity to purchase a rarely offered first year of issue $20 Double Eagle at only, $5,550.

Please emailif you'd like to order this coin, or if you have any questions or comments regarding it.


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on Tuesday, 05 July 2016 13:31. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  July 2016 Issue

A Newsletter By:


My Coin Journey Part XIII

By Warren Mills

We found ourselves with our backs against the wall.  I knew it was time to start a company.  I’d had enough of working for individuals that had different perspectives and objectives than mine or my customers.  Often, what I believed was the most honorable thing to do was met with incredible resistance.  I always believed that if you protect and preserve the interest of your customer, you would be doing the same for your business.  You instill loyalty by earning it! 
I can say that it doesn’t always work.  In some instances, customers get caught up in the sizzle of the presentation and not the steak, i.e., the coin.  In many cases, one is at a disadvantage if they tell the truth when others lie about everything.  Some people just don’t understand the coin business and feel every certified coin should be priced the same and that there is no difference from one coin to another.  This is refuted in auction records every week!  So, I resign myself to the fact that the customers we have are the ones we are meant to have and I’m thankful for them.
It’s now June of 1990 and we incorporate Rare Coins of New Hampshire.  Due to non-compete contracts, we had to find a source of leads and money to buy inventory and advertise.  So I took my coin collection and sold it for capital, and then acquired coins and bought leads.  I had a long background in the coin industry and I was able to negotiate a deal to acquire the customer mailing list of Joe Flynn, someone I had known as a dealer for many years, and who was retiring.  I felt good about the acquisition because he had an educated customer base and we both knew coins. 
I also acquired a partial list of Security Rare Coins customers from a lead broker.  Security was not a source for knowledgeable coin buyers, but it gave us the opportunity to work with people that needed help.  We also started to advertise in Coin World, Numismatic News, Coinage and others.  I was reviewing a copy of one of our early ads and remembered that I acquired a hoard of 1893-S Morgan Dollars, all graded by PCGS from Good 4 to Fine-15.  There were 19 coins in the hoard and they were all priced at less than a $1,000 in the ad.  Though 26 years have gone by, it’s still hard to believe that not only would those coins be priced much, much higher, but they were also original and nice for the grade.  Now you see many of these early coins or scarce dates that are commercially graded, and cleaned or altered, and that never would have certified years ago.
It was fun to get a response from an ad in a numismatic publication.  Right away, you knew you were dealing with a knowledgeable collector, which was right up our alley.  Back then, you also had people that were collecting for decades that knew that each coin had its own uniqueness and character.  Every attribute for grading was considered, not just rarity and condition; bag marks from severity and location; luster from blazing to subdued; strike from weak to full; color from pastel to rainbow… and one of my personal favorites, originality.   Add all of these factors together and you get balance. 
I have always acquired coins from a balance perspective.  If a coin has many positive attributes, but it has a small mark somewhere, I own it.  The one thing about coins is that there is always something on which to focus that takes them out of the MS-70 category.  If you have sufficient wonderful, desirable qualities in a coin, but you reject it for a minor reason, you may want to examine your criteria.  In our next issue, I will expound on our fledging experiences.

Coin Trivia Questions:

1. Name the only father/son team to be Chief Engraver of the US Mint.

2. Who donated the silver used to make the half-disme and disme pattern coins of 1792?

3. Who was the first “real” woman on a US coin?

Answers found at the bottom of the newsletter

What Happens When Coins Are Over Graded
Or Altered and Still Certified?

By Warren Mills
We have a long-standing customer that will not buy a coin with any mint imperfections, noticeable marks, specks, etc., and it must have a full strike.  I asked to examine some of his pieces to see if I can help him add to his collection.  Every coin was certified, but they were all compromised to some degree -- old light cleanings, wipes, etc.  There were no die cracks or laminations, and no real noticeable marks or carbon flecks.  Yet, give me original balanced coins every day and all day long.  None of the pieces I examined from his collection were original. 
The reason I focus on originality is because you do not have to worry about a coin changing in the holder.  About 15 or 20 years ago, there was a big dust-up in the coin industry about certified coins changing color in the holder.  The coin publications printed that it was because the holders were not airtight.  I said to anyone who asked that the airtight reasoning would be minor, if anything.  The major reason for the coins changing in holders was because of improper dip neutralizing or chemical changes or drying putty on coin surfaces, plain and simple.  Today, the services are very in tune with alterations, but they make allowances.  Now, if we can just get them to not grade so many cleaned and altered early circ type issues.  The more coins you grade that are inferior, the more you dilute the price. 
Let’s look at Early Dollars.  Customers look at pop reports on Bust Dollars and see that over 10,000 Heraldic Eagle Bust Dollars from 1798 to 1803 have been graded by PCGS in all circulated grades. That’s a fair amount if you’re looking for a type piece.  However, my guess is that maybe only 25% are original pieces.  It’s only a guess from what I have seen over the years in the marketplace, but consider that effect on pricing a series when the supply is inflated.  This also has an effect on desirability!  If you exclude the 1799, there are about 7,000 pieces available.  If 25% are original, the rarity and desirability increase dramatically.  Factor in then how strictly or loosely graded the coins may be and the whole picture changes on the series.   
Many old timers may feel that most of the XF-40’s should be VF-30 or VF-35’s.  I feel that unless a coin is blatantly over graded, an allowance for wholesome pleasing examples should be made.  I recently went to a small show and a very experienced and knowledgeable dealer had about ten early Bust Dollars. Every coin was severely compromised and some were over graded, too!  What this does is distort rarity, lessen desirability, and negatively impact pricing today and also in the future.  
For this simplified example, I did not factor in resubmission to PCGS.  If you have 10,000 circulated examples of coins that are fairly expensive in all grades, the resubmissions could represent 2,500 to 5,000 coins.  It’s all speculation, but when you crack out a coin, you have to factor in the risk vs. the reward.  If the certification fee is $50, but the upgrade is a minimum of $500, it’s worth the shot.  However, if there is a question about how original a coin is and you crack it out, if it “no grades,” your risk goes through the roof.  That is one reason why originality is so important to me.  It protects our clients and if we consign wholesome coins to an auction for our clients, we know knowledgeable buyers will key in on them.  Many coins that we have consigned for our clients or they have consigned and bought from us have set record prices.
The bottom line is the larger the supply of an item, the less likely it will appreciate due to rarity distortion.  Again, the rarity distortion can lead to a lack of desirability, too!  When I am looking for early circ type in auctions or the bourse floor, I always find that the most wholesome pieces for grade sell for the most in auction or are priced in dealer cases for the most money. 
Another factor that hurts commercially graded coins is that a collector will never learn the correct criteria for grading coins.  I don’t want to hear about another client telling me that they want to assemble a set or buy a single type issue of an 18th Century coin in circulated condition that is brilliant.  I will try to offer my opinion, but the comeback is always that I see them graded at the shows and they are bright white in all conditions from Good on up.  And the person is right!  And they are not net graded, either!
It makes me sick to see an early Bust Dollar in V.G. that is not net graded but looks polished.  I tell people to try and buy coins that appeal to the most knowledgeable buyers.  Original coins have character, and as long as there are stewards that want to pass on their knowledge of the importance of originality, you will have character coins leading the way.  These coins will always be the easiest coins to sell and the most knowledgeable buyers will climb over themselves to buy them.  Once you clean a coin, you can never go back!

CAC Grading Submissions

By Warren Mills
We have a reputation for trying to buy the strictest coins for the grade.  Our submissions to CAC reflect that a very high percentage of our coins we submit will receive a CAC sticker.  These are coins from our regular inventory or coins we have sold to our clients in the past that want them CAC’d.  Recently, we had a combined two invoices of 26 coins we submitted.  We went 27 for 26 because of a gold sticker on one of the coins.  In other words, all 26 coins received a sticker, but one piece received a gold one.
Since we are a CAC submission dealer, some collectors want us to submit coins for them in the hope that our reputation for quality will allow their coins to get the benefit of the doubt.  I may tell them that I think certain issues have no chance, but they want them submitted anyway.  We will submit them, but I assure you that CAC plays no favorites… period.  They examine each coin on its own merits, as it should be, and affix a sticker only if the coin meets their strict standards.  So if anyone reading this article would like us to examine their coin for CAC, we will do it free of charge.  However, don’t expect any CAC favoritism if we submit coins for you.

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.

Cheerios Dollars

By Joseph Presti

In 2000, General Mills, maker of Cheerios cereal decided to celebrate the new millennium by including a specially packaged one cent and new dollar coins as a giveaway in Cheerios boxes.  A total of 10,000,000 cents and 5,500 dollar coins were given away. 

Everything went great until a collector happened upon a 2000 Sacagawea (Sac) dollar from a Cheerios box and thought it looked different.  He submitted the coin to ANACS for authentication and they graded and labeled the coin with the Cheerios pedigree.  In 2005, he submitted the coin to NGC and they consulted with expert Tom Delory about the coin.  After some research, Tom discovered that it looked similar to examples he saw at the mint in 1999.  The primary difference was that the eagle’s feathers were much more distinct than on circulating examples.

During an interview with the designer of the reverse of the Sac dollar, Tom confirmed that the change in the reverse tail feathers was done very late in the design process, “probably in October 1999,” with business strike production beginning in November of 1999.  It was also confirmed that General Mills needed the 5,500 promotional coins late in 1999 so they could be boxed and on grocers' shelves for the beginning of 2000.  The thought is that the mint used the prototype or pattern reverse to strike the coins for General Mills, but thought nothing of it.  So it wasn’t noticed until 2005 when NGC first confirmed the difference.

Another interesting tidbit is that the mint produced thirty-nine Sac dollars from 22K gold and flew some on the space shuttle.  Of the original thirty-nine, twelve coins remain and are housed at Fort Knox.  Interestingly, the gold Sac dollars and the Cheerios dollars were struck using the same prototype reverse.

This image was found at usacoinbook.com
Further research has also confirmed that all Cheerios dollars are not created equal.  Some these coins were produced with the regular circulating reverse, not exhibiting the strong tail feathers.  Speculation is that from the original 5,500 coins shipped to General Mills, maybe 100 were not acceptable.  The mint then shipped “regular” issue Sac dollars as a replacement.  So, while actually much rarer than the prototype reverse Cheerios dollar, the regular issue Cheerios dollar does not sell for anywhere near the value of the prototype. 

With a total of only 139 coins graded by both services, the coin is rare, but beware.  Like most modern rarities when first discovered, they bring big money, but as more get discovered, the price comes down.  Just think how many more coins could be waiting to be found sitting in drawers or how many were spent. So check every 2000 Sac dollar you come in contact with and maybe you will get lucky.

A Small Tribute To A Great Man

By Paul V. Battaglia

Ideas, subject matter, topics of interest or none at all…. where do I tread this month?

Well, a combination of many busy evenings, some travel, appointments and a general change-up in my non-routine schedule has left me dry for this month’s newslettre.  That is, until the other night, Thursday 24th June.

My wife and I needed to clear out a lower dresser drawer for some files and important papers.  The dresser belonged to my father from the mid-1950s until his passing in 2006.  I had a fair idea of what might be within, but nothing specific as such things are usually left static, given their nature and the sentiment they hold.  I was pleasantly surprised to see items that had been out of my mind for many-a-year.  As I shared with you in my earlier articles, dear readers, my dad was an avid and devoted coin collector.  What I re-discovered in that lower dresser drawer immediately brought me back decades in thought.  An otherwise dormant memory link came richly to life once more.

My dad would have turned 91 this upcoming 25th July had he still been with us.  Therefore, I thought it apropos for me to step away from pure U.S. numismatics and share a few of my dad’s “stuffe” (my word creation here and pronounced “stoof”) for this month.

Dad turned 50 back in July 1975.  I clearly recall having purchased two 1925-P Peace Silver Dollars via post from a numismatic firm on Long Island, NY State.  The better of the pair cost me the kingly sum of $50 (plus postage!?-honest) solely due to the owner’s advertisement extolling the supposedly unique surface qualities and visually arresting appeal.  My coin buddies were shocked at my paying that price, but my horse sense and experience told me, “KEEP IT PAUL.”  The coin pictured before you was the other 1925-P and priced more in line with current prices.  I gave both to my dad for his birthday.  He decided to have the latter coin placed within a Capital Plastic holder that included a base and his full name.  (I wrapped the other 1925 Peace Silver Dollar in tissue paper to tone it over time.  When the grading services came to fruition, I had PCGS grade it for dad in 1989.)  So, I am now just observing this coin again as of yesterday evening and with it a living, glowing memory.

Dad picked up this cereal box favour at some point since Cheerios remained one of his preferred daily dry breakfast cereals.  Aside from an obverse fleck @ 9 o’clock obverse, this Year 2000 Lincoln Cent remains a blazing orange-red.  (I daresay the surrounding holder is far, far rarer than the cent is and ever will be!)

Dad also owned this 1902-H (Heaton Mint) Canada Ten Cent Piece.  He picked that one up when our entire family visited Old Quebec City in July 1966.  I recall he and I located a coin shop in Quebec City proper to look for possible U.S. coin finds.  We located nothing, yet he came away with this roll-fresh specimen for reasons unknown to me.  However, it was graded and returned a GEM. 
Last and certainly not least are these silver-denominated Italian Lira all dated 1927.  They have acquired some striking deeper cobalt-blue toning with golden tinges over many decades of dormancy within old type envelopes.  These coins belonged to my paternal grandfather and possibly on his person when he, his wife (my grandmother) and all their children, of whom my dad was one, emigrated from Cefalu, Sicily.  Cefalu is a small mountain town in northern Sicily overlooking Palermo for you geographers.  They came over in the 1920s.  Grandfather Battaglia was a fresh produce and fish monger back in his town.  He brought his trade over into Boston, Massachusetts.  I can well imagine how much better they all fared over many other people, especially when the Great Depression hit in autumn of 1929.
Now I will put these relics away again for an indeterminate amount of days.  Time passes into an ever-present eternity and change is inevitable with all its indifference to what we want and need.  However, all of us can hold any moment in our lives with a relic from yesterday and the power of our thoughts.

Thanks again, Dad!

Your grateful son,

Questions From The Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
Question:  Why are 19th Century Type coins so dead?  They are historic and beautiful, but the prices have really come down.
Thanks to multiple clients that have posed this questions over the last few months!

Nineteenth Century Type is one of my favorite areas.  I particularly like Seated Half Dollars, but every 19th Century series seems to be in the doldrums.  I attribute this to the aging collector base.  For many decades, 19th Century Type coins were a mainstay for most collectors.  Dollars, though beautiful, were just looked at as common, available coins.  Nineteenth Century issues had a large representation of series mintmarks and so many varieties that it captured many collectors’ fancy because they could never learn or see everything.  As dollars were studied more widely, and less often seen, a flood of new collectors entered the market for them.  The old timers still looked down their nose at dollars, but as Father Time marches on, the old guard is retiring or passing away; new generations take over with varied new ideas about what is desirable to them.   Now, dollar collectors look down their nose at modern coin collectors, but modern Eagles and promotable mint issues are the current rage.
Does that make 19th Century Type undervalued?  It sure does, but you need a group of buyers to support the market.  If the interest is waning, it will take a concerted educational effort by dealers to allow new buyers to appreciate the older historical coins.  Now that coins are certified and many dealers are just label readers (they couldn’t even grade a raw coin), 19th Century issues may never again enjoy the glory days of old.  They are legitimately hard to find, and I love and buy the odd nice pieces when I see them, but it doesn’t mean they’re soon in for a resurgence.

Thanks again and please keep those questions coming. We welcome your questions.  So please send them to me directly or
visit the contact us page for future newsletters, and if you prefer, I will answer them for you privately.


Coin Trivia Answers:

1.  William Barber 1869-1879 and son Charles Barber 1879-1917

2.  It had been widely accepted that the silver came from Martha Washington in the form of her silver flatware set.

3.  Queen Isabella on the commemorative 1893 Isabella 25c

CLICK HERE to sign up for Rare Coins of New Hampshire's Complimentary Monthly Newsletter

on Friday, 10 June 2016 13:18. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  June 2016 Issue

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

My Coin Journey Part XII

By Warren Mills

As I stated in My Coin Journey  Part XI, we had a perfect storm for making money for our clients in 1989.  I recognized that we were right in the middle of a speculative bubble.  So I issued an all-out sell signal.  For a few weeks, we were able to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars of rare coins back from clients for incredible profits.  Talk about a win-win: take your original investment off of the table and roll the profits into under-valued areas.  It worked like clockwork! 
Then in the middle of June, I went on vacation and left instructions to keep the ball rolling.  Alas, the owner got cold feet and concocted a story about putting the company in jeopardy.   The buy-back program was stopped on a dime and many people missed the greatest run-up in coin history.  Thankfully, we made many hundreds of people huge money: 2 to 5 times their initial purchase price!
As the summer of 1989 rolled on, the market weakened, but one area held up well until the spring of 1990.  That area was 19th Century high grade type coins.  For decades, 19th Century type always had the most knowledgeable client base of all numismatics.  This base of buyers knew how rare certain issues were and they remained loyal supporters of the area they loved for longer than they should.  As the avalanche kept coming, even 19th Century type could not hold on.  It also slid dramatically.
I could read the writing on the wall for the coin market not holding up much longer.  In addition, I could see myself not working for the company I was with much longer.  I knew I had to leave because I lost all respect for the firm.
In late 1989, I was approached by a large coin firm about working with them.  I had no interest in moving, but I would be happy to work out of New Hampshire for them.  I told my friends I was leaving and gave my notice.  Other people elected to leave and some of us started an office for Oaktree Numismatics.  One of the principles in the firm was a former business partner of mine and he respected my knowledge and ethics.  However, they sold coins that I did not believe would meet clients’ objectives for the future.  When I was pressed to sell high grade foreign issues that , in my opinion, were no more than glorified bullion, a rift was started.  I would not compromise and sell that material.  I could not recommend it. 
Due to my friendship with one of the principles, we tried to work things out; but in less than six months, I told them I could not work for them any longer.  I knew what I wanted to do and that was to sell the best coins available for the grades that were strictly and technically graded.  So, in June of 1990, Rare Coins of New Hampshire (RCNH) was started.
In our next issue, I’ll share the row we had to hoe to get RCNH off of the ground.  I will say that it’s been fun, but not all fun and games.

Plus Coins and CAC

By Warren Mills
In many instances, I see plus coins that are no finer than a non-plus issue.  From MS-62’s to MS-67’s, I’ve seen CAC sticker a plus coin, such as a 67+, which may make it one of the finest graded and CAC’d.  However, keep in mind that CAC is not stickering it as a 67+; it is stickering it as a 67.  The inconsistency of the grading services in assigning plus grades is scary!  I’ve seen 67’s that are much nicer than 67+ coins.  I believe that CAC only examines the coin as the whole point grade.
Two problems I see:  the first problem is “how do you assign a formula to figure a plus price?”  The second problem is the ego-driven mania for the highest graded registry set coins may cause someone to pay a tremendous but unjustifiable premium on the coin.  If another couple of plus pieces enter the market, the price could tank.  Again, in many instances, the plus on the grade is not justified.
I believe that CAC should only sticker a plus graded coin if it truly is a plus in their eyes.  That way a premium price can be more justifiable.  I will try to speak with CAC about this issue for a later newsletter.

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.

Pogue Auction Breaks Multiple Records!

By Joseph Presti

The competition for a once in a lifetime offering continued with the recent completion of the Pogue IV sale at the end of May.  This most recent sale brought in $16.7 million, bringing the total for the collection at more than $85 million.   So far, this collection has easily surpassed any other rare coin collection for total value, and there is still more to come.

Two coins officially brought over $1 million in this sale.  The proof 1833 half eagle ($5) and the specimen 1795 bust dollar.  What is more amazing is that neither the 1822 half eagle or the finest known 1804 dollar sold!  A bid of over $10.5 million was received for the 1804 dollar, and over $7 million was bid for the only collectible 1822 half eagle.  Neither of these bids met the consignor’s reserve and failed to sell.  If both of these coins had sold, the total price paid for them would have been more than what the entire sale brought in.

In addition to the two million dollar plus coins sold, eight coins brought in 6 figures each.  They are as follows in descending order of price bid:

  • 1825/4 half eagle - $940,000
  • 1829 Small Planchet $5 - $822,500
  • 1832 12 Stars $5 - $822,500
  • 1835 Proof $5 - $822,500
  • 1795 Draped Bust dollar - $763,750
  • 1829 Large Planchet $5 - 763,750
  • 1838- Bust half dollar -  $493,500
  • 1838-C half eagle  -  $235, 000

 Information for this article was found at PCGS.com

All Aboard!  All Aboard For The “C, D & O!”

By Paul V. Battaglia

Our readers and customers who are also railroad buffs might be wondering if this acronym once stood for a standard or narrow gauge line given my title and presentation.  Not this time around, yet I bet a few of you deduced the above three characters represent the Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans mints.  Good for you, coin aficionados.

A number of fine books have been written on these mints over the decades.  My focus here, though brief, is about locating real, true and fresh pieces in the $1, $2 ½ , $3, $5, $10 & $20 series.  With very few exceptions, the mintages on these coins are dreadfully low; their survivors beyond that are lower and it’s almost anyone’s guess as to how many are TRULY ORIGINAL.  I will wager that we at RCNH have handled and placed no more than a few dozen in our twenty-six plus years of ongoing operation.  Our company want lists on these coins are ongoing, of a permanent nature and transits from year to year without discussion or question.  Once in a while, lightning does strike and we locate a precious survivor.  In addition, we are actually able to purchase it.  Coins of this caliber are of an “understood, non-verbal buy” when located.  However, do not be fooled into thinking that we are also encountering a so-called larger number of these mints that we are rejecting due to their sight-unseen states, ha!  No sir, and no ma’am!   We have, and I have, found that nearly any and all of these coins are snapped up with zeal as well as a blind eye where non-originality is lacking.  (Sadly, yet unsurprisingly, the latter prevails.)  Like today’s coins from famous collections as well as that cool find on any bourse floor, they are often being socked away into what I term “multi-generational” collections.  None of us will be around to witness their re-entry into numismatic society.

I have digressed too long as the point of my article is to implore you to initially:

  1. Substantiate that you are beholding an ORIGINAL SPECIMEN from one of these mints. 
  2. Ask yourself the one and only relevant question:  “If I were to crack out this coin, my 1847-D $5 Half Eagle in VF25, would it return in the same grade?”  All right, I will bend here and accept “any grade” as ORIGINALITY trumps grade in my book.  I have coins in my collection that have been knocked down in grade, yet were still certifiable and gradable.  Gee, not too crazy about that you and I would say. 
  3. What about the coin being returned with “altered surfaces?”  How would that do?  Yeah, I knew you would kick on that the hardest.  So would I.  Collectors and investors reading my article are now collectively yelling at me and in a single voice are stating:  “Sheeeesh, Paul, I have to buy something for my set.  I have saved up the money, and have been waiting years.”  (Therefore, you deserve to buy the coin?  Is that what I hear?)  Well, I do see your point and more than sympathize.  However, do not take this as my being in agreement with you.  OK, the sheer rarity-combination-lower survivability of these coins rather assures that their market will continue at some type of level.  After all, nobody wants to lose money nor can it be “tolerated” within the industry, if I know the industry like I know the back of my hand. Look out now, here comes the Devil’s Advocate stating the tried-and-true fact that:  “A coin is original but once.”  Touché.  Commercial grading is just that, period.  I should not make excuses nor relax standards due to a lack of originality.  Hmmmm, sounds as if I am naïve in my thinking after five decades in numismatics.  Or, will patience alone guarantee my/your locating an original example?  In theory, yes.  In reality, possibly not.  Possessing the genes of Methuselah might help, but random order and statistics rule any and all days.

Have I shot holes and blown your thunder in enjoying your collection and pursuit* of these gold coins?  I hope not for it was never my purpose.  Just re-think your strategy and return to the ABC’s in acquiring C, D & O-mint gold coins.  What would I do?  A relevant question.  I would wait, yet keep my eyes open for opportunity.  Opportunity, like hope, is always out there.  I will end this article with two thoughts I have harboured for many years, yet rarely broached.

“The Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans Mints regarding U.S. Gold Coins are all underrated and a challenge with few other equal numismatic series peers.”

“It is my staunch opinion that the American South has an unknown number of these coins in  very private coffers of an indeterminate number of citizens.”
I would invite your opinion on these statements….do not be shy.
*The PURSUIT of a coin always outweighs the chase in my experience.  That ongoing chase keeps us alert, sharp, hopeful and questing for knowledge and human interaction among ourselves.

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. 

A Bargain? An 1811 Half Cent Found On eBay

By Lou Roten

I recently saw what appeared to be a nice (raw) 1811 half cent purchased on eBay for less than $100. One of the first coins I bought after joining RCNH was an early half cent, the more common 1804  (stemless, plain 4). I like the design, but more than that, it was interesting to me because the series is very old and the coin reverse bears the fraction 1/200, indicating its value relative to the dollar; the reason possibly to reach those who could recognize a number but may not be able to read. 

Image of fake 1811 reverse found on eBay
Actual 1811 reverse
(Image found at ha.com)

The consensus was that the eBay coin was a fake. This prompted me to find out why. The fact that the coin was not graded is certainly a clue; to Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of Half Cents I went.
The wreath design was changed in 1809: the reverse was redesigned to be a continuous clockwise wreath with 27 leaves and 13 berries originating from the ribbon; the earlier design had 16 leaves clockwise on the left and 19 leaves counterclockwise on the right, both originating from the ribbon at 6 o’clock. Also the 1/200 fraction was removed in 1809 with the Classic Head series.
From Breen’s Encyclopedia section on the issues of 1809 to 18291:
“Precisely because the wreath and its contents are invariable, the only source of variation from one working reverse to another will be the positions of letters in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with respect to each other, and to the leaves of the wreath.”
Paraphrasing from the same citation (moving clockwise) Breen’s method focuses on the:

  • 6th leaf – the outer leaf of the 2nd group at about 9 o’clock under the D of UNITED
  • 13th leaf – highest leaf of the 4th group, under the ES of STATES
  • 15th leaf – outer leaf of the 5th group under the F of OF at about 1:30 o’clock
  • 23rd leaf – outermost of the 6th group, at about 4:30 o’clock, nearest the C in AMERICA

The job now was to learn how the leaves are counted on the new 1809 wreath design and later to understand Breen’s method of determining variations.
Counting the leaves:
Moving from the left and clockwise (I believe the leaves are counted from the outside in):

  • The first leaf is alone and just to the left of the ribbon
  • The first group has 4 leaves, #2 – 5 (above the U in UNITED)
  • The second group also has 4 leaves, #6 – 9 (to the right of the D in UNITED)
  • The third group has 3 leaves, #10 – 12 (under the A in STATES)
  • The fourth group has 2 leaves, #13 and 14 (under the 2nd S in STATES)
  • The fifth group has 4 leaves, #15 – 18 (under the F in OF)
  • The sixth group also has 4 leaves, #19 – 22 (to the left of M in AMERICA)
  • The seventh group has 3 leaves, #23 – 25 (above the C in AMERICA)
  • The last group is just to the right of the ribbon and has 2 leaves, #26 and 27 (above the 2nd leg of the A in AMERICA)

Discriminating factors in this case are a leaf in the 6th group, the 24th leaf and the 13th leaf in the 4th group (if counting from the outside in). Look at the position of the real 1811 24th leaf tip (2nd leaf in the group) with respect to the first leg of the 2nd A in AMERICA. The tip of the leaf is just reaching that leg of the A.  The position of this leaf is the same for all variations of the 1811 half cent.

Image of fake 1811 half cent reverse found on eBay

1826 half cent reverse
(Image found at ha.com)


Matching reverse to the fake 1811 – the 1826 reverse

Look at the position of the same leaf (the 24th) tip on the 1826 reverse with the tip reaching well beyond that leg of the A to the center of the letter. After looking through the reverses of this series, I have concluded that the reverse of the eBay fake 1811 is closest to that of the 1826 CMM1. According to Breen there is no reverse variation of the 1811, wide date or close date, with the tip of that leaf so positioned. Rather all the variations have the position of the 1811 image, just reaching the first leg of the A.  
Now look at the position of the S slightly to the left of the tip of leaf #13 of the 1826. This is the position of the S on the 1811 eBay coin. The reverse of the eBay 1811 again matches very well with the 1826 reverse. Given that the 1811 sold on eBay has a reverse much like the reverse of the 1826, the conclusion can only be that it is a fake, a non-existent die pair variety. Without the availability of a large library here at RCNH, I would not have known.
This is another example of the need for caution. The red-flag has to be the fact this rare coin was not graded. All raw coins must be considered with great care, particularly if a coin is rare. There is no reason whatsoever not to have such a coin authenticated and graded. It is possible that someone may unwittingly offer a coin that is both rare and authentic, but the obvious precaution of a solid return policy must be in place; the coin so purchased must be authenticated immediately within the return window.    

  1. Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793 – 1857, © 1983, page 293

Images of the real 1811 and 1826 half cent reverses courtesy of Heritage Auctions

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.

A Bit Of Research Pays Off

By Dave Carleton

It has been a very active month of May here at RCNH. The appointment calendar has been pretty well filled Monday through Friday. If possible, when I have the opportunity, I like to ask the people who come in for evaluations, how they heard about us. Part of the reason I ask is to get an idea of how our advertising is reaching these folks. Even though we’ve been here in the People's United Bank Building for 26 years, there are many people who live nearby that never knew we were even here. Many of the people that come in don’t have any idea of what they have because they had acquired the material from a member of the family that has passed on. When asked, many say they found us in the Yellow Pages, on the Web and some from the radio.  Some people have found notes with the coins, urging them to contact us because they knew the new owners would be treated fairly.
I asked a lady recently how she found us and was pleasantly surprised by her answer. She said that when she was doing her search for a dealer, she found that we had what appeared to be a bunch of market affiliations and even though she didn’t know what they meant, they seemed impressive. Then she did something I wish more people would do and that was to follow up on those affiliations and see what they were all about. She told me that she was impressed with our associations but was particularly attracted to our PNG (Professional Numismatists Guild) membership. I was so happy that she went this far to check us out because the PNG is the crown jewel of our affiliations. (I’m including a link to PNG at the end of this article, so you can read about all the requirements and Code of Ethics the members have to abide by.) Briefly, the PNG is a nonprofit organization founded in 1955 and is composed of many of the country’s top numismatic experts.  There are only 310 members of the PNG in the whole country and only 51 that are APMD (Accredited Precious Metals Dealer) of which we are one.
It really makes me scratch my head why it happens so often that someone buys numismatic and bullion material from someone that has no affiliations and then do their due diligence to find us so we, as so often happens, can tell them that they got involved in a bad deal . It’s just that it’s hard to convey this negative news to people, and at the same time, try not to condemn the whole hard asset market. The funny thing is that if you are reading this missive then you’re probably aware of what I just spoke about. It’s unfortunate that the people who need to know these things have yet to enter this market and the process will continue to recycle.    

Click here to see the PNG's Code of Ethics

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. 


By Joseph Presti

If I told you there is only one computer in the world for every 542 people who want one, or one gallon of gasoline in the world for every 542 people who want one what would you do?  Most people when presented with a statistic like this would react by attempting to buy or hoard more computers or oil because they realize that at some point in the future the price of the object in question is going to have to rise in order to secure more computers or oil.

Conversely, if there are several of the same item for every one in demand then the price will or should fall unless people believe incorrectly that the item is scarce.  To prove my point, I had an older gentleman come to our office the other day and said he wanted to buy some silver.  I always ask why, because I like to hear different people’s perspectives.  He told me that it is the only thing “real.”  He said that his grandfather would give him a silver dollar when he was a kid and he could buy 4-5 gallons of gas with it for his motorcycle.  Today, that same silver dollar can still fill a motorcycle, but the dollar bill can’t buy one gallon of gas.

Let’s get back to the title of this article, 542:1, what does this represent?  This is the actual number of ounces of gold sold on the COMEX for every ounce of physical gold in their possession.  Stated another way, a COMEX gold contract controls 100 oz of gold, so for every five plus contracts there is only one ounce of gold backing that contract. So, unlike other commodity contracts, you can no longer execute your contract and take physical possession of the underlying metal.  Talk about your ultimate paper asset!  At least when you buy a stock you theoretically own a piece of the underlying company.

According to the article that I read in
the Business Insider, the ratio of paper to real gold was consistent until around 2014.  That is when it exploded to 100:1, then 300:1, to the current 542:1.  This time period also corresponds with the selling of most of the physical gold that COMEX had in its’ possession to under 1 million ounces, from several million ounces.  What is even more disturbing is that the gold has been gobbled up by Russia, China, India and the Middle East.  All of these countries have sputtering of failing economies. So logically we should ask, why are they putting so much money into something you can’t eat or make everyday life better for their population?  The answer is simple, they do not have faith in paper and are planning for something to happen in the financial markets sometime in the future.  Unfortunately, this country has more of a short-term attitude toward everything, that’s part of the reason we have a $19 trillion deficit and don’t seem worried because we can’t think beyond the next election. 

As a government, we should admit the obvious or we could all wake up one morning and have a nasty surprise waiting for us when all of our paper assets are worth much less than we thought.  Unfortunately, the government and Wall Street have a vested interest in propping up the paper assets because not doing so would cause havoc with the mortgage market, government entitlements such as social security and most of all pension plans.  If you don’t think anything is going to change then you owe it to yourself and your lineage to hold some physical gold and silver because it is only a matter of time before these historical stores of values will rise and with it rare coin prices.

Questions From The Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
Question: “How does Warren buy early type or dated coins if he won’t make an allowance for cleaning or over grading?”   (This question was posed to Joe Presti at a recent auction.)
Thanks C.B. for the question.

Answer: The simple response is, “I don’t buy them for those reasons.”  If we have a circ type coin in our inventory that is a late 18th Century or early 19th Century piece, it is original & superb.  I find the horrid acceptance by the grading services to certify wretchedly cleaned, putrid alterations and over grading to be an abomination to the coin business.  I choose to step aside and pass on these early or dated issues until either an acceptable piece comes along or not sell them at all!  I’ll let the geniuses talk their customers into buying these types of coins.  It’s sad because these early pieces are the essence of coin collecting history.  I’d love to have a dozen in our inventory every month.  I just won’t compromise my standards.
Thanks again and please keep those questions coming. We welcome your questions.  So please send them to me directly or email
for future newsletters and if you prefer, I will answer them for you privately.