on Tuesday, 21 November 2017 20:25. Posted in News

Suspect Passing Counterfeit Gold

The Numismatic Crime Information Center is assisting the Ohio Attorney General's Office in identifying the suspect pictured below who sold a victim over $12,000 in counterfeit one ounce gold Perth bars. The victim contacted the suspect through a listing on Craigs List.


Anyone with information should contact:


John Costello
Criminal Investigator - Economic Crimes Unit Consumer Protection Section Cincinnati Office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Direct: (513)852-1534
Fax:  (866)461-8089
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Doug Davis


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



The Numismatic Crime Information Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit
corporation. P.O. Box 14080 Arlington, Texas 76094.

This was an email update by The Numismatic Crime Information Center.

on Wednesday, 15 November 2017 15:58. Posted in News

By Warren Mills

It’s always a quick one hour flight to Baltimore which makes it a pleasure to get too!  A major show so close is always wonderful to attend.  I arrived a day early to see dealers that were showing their wares in hotel suites.  It gives me an opportunity to see coins early on that I may miss if I wait for the start of the show and also allows me to get coins that are saved for me by dealers that appreciate our focus for original strictly graded coins.  You have to pay for the privilege but it is well worth it in the long run.  We never want to compromise our standards and this pays off when our clients go to sell their material.  Pre-show, we spent about six figures, I'd call that a good start.

Thursday, November 9th, was the first day of the show.  The weather was very cool and the show seemed a bit slow. I asked anyone that handled nice coins to show me anything of top quality.  We were lucky to find a bunch of nice want list coins for our clients so our new purchase inventory may be a little sparse.

An interesting observation is that for most series of coins, CAC bids are much stronger than non-CAC bids.  The prices for silver dollars are especially shocking.  As an example, 1892-O Morgan dollars have a grey sheet bid of $3000 but a CAC bid of $6000!  This reflects the commercialized grading of this series and the many over graded coins on the market.  Many silver dollars have similar differences in the bid levels.  An interesting note also is that a well struck true 1892-O in gem condition will sell for more than the $6000 CAC bid wholesale!  If CAC holds the line on their standards, CAC should continue to lead the market.  Gold coins that are scarcer also reflect a significant price differential.  The underlying message here is that over grading or commercial grading is destroying the price structure of many series of coins.  Look at the pricing of the silver commemorative series.  Stripping and dipping became the rage and nice MS-63 coins started to get graded as MS-65.  Over population ensues and bidders stop supporting the market, prices drop and then the series goes into free fall.  Franklin halves and Walkers have also been destroyed due to over grading.  Bulk submission gold and dollars have led to competition for grading fees and the services sometimes give the benefit of the doubt for a full point.  Grading needs to tighten up or the market may never recover.  Nice original commemoratives that are attractive still are desirable and real pretty toned coins are incredibly strong but buyers know to throw away the grey sheet when they find the truly superior coin.  The overhang of marginally graded coins drags down everything.

CAC is also not immune to coins that have no business being stickered.  For the most part I love the concept but every coin needs to be inspected with a jaundiced eye.  I saw some CAC coins that I thought did not deserve a sticker.  However, I’d rather have a poorly graded stickered coin than a non CAC coin if I’m a little unsure of my grading.  The other advantage that CAC has over the other services is that if you bring a coin to their attention that does not deserve a sticker they will buy the coin and take the sticker off.  Bottom line, they put their money where their mouth is.

I did spend a few hours reviewing coins for customers to help them with their grading.  I’m always happy to give opinions and pick out any coins that should be sent to CAC, held onto as they are or sold for a better example if it becomes available.  This critiquing is necessary for people to learn about the nuances of grading.

I also noticed that the people walking the floor are less educated about buying coins than they were 10 years ago.  Baltimore was a mecca for older educated collectors that flocked to the show years ago.   As that population aged, the knowledge was not handed down.  That’s why I try to spend as much time with people as I can to impart any tidbits that my help them.

One dealer I greatly respect had cases of affordable coins that he lets collectors pick through with no pressure at all.  When he was at the Long Beach coin show last month, he sold over $10,000 worth of these coins to knowledgeable buyers.  His sales in Baltimore were $143 of the same types of coins.  I asked him for his observation as to why there was such a divergence and he said the customers he spoke to in Baltimore have a fraction of the knowledge than the customers in California have.  I was shocked and I have no explanation for this.

This show surprised me in the sense that it was easier to sell a six figure coin than a low four figure coin.  Does this mean that big money which is normally smart money is picking off the classic rarities while prices are down?  At some point, there should be a filtering down for attractive lower priced pieces.  I don’t remember this phenomenon happening for a prolonged time period in the market before but it is happening now.

There is also one major buyer in the market place that has spent so much money in the past year that he is making some dealers careers.  One dealer I spoke with told me a couple of years ago that he had no retirement plan and didn’t know if he would have to work until his dying day.  Now he is making so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it.  I’m happy for him but again, smart money usually jumps in ahead of the market.  Let’s hope this is the beginning of something good for all of us.

on Friday, 20 October 2017 16:17. Posted in News


Pat Whitley sits down with Warren Mills from Rare Coins of New Hampshire. Today's Topic: Counterfieit Gold & Silver Coins.

This was found on the "Wicked Bites" Facebook page

on Tuesday, 10 October 2017 20:24. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

October 2017 Issue


Strive for Those Win-Win Relationships

By Warren Mills

Welcome to the October issue.  It seems that people are getting a bit more interested in specific ideas and recommendations.  In this issue, I’ll try to address a few things that have been brought up that I hope you find interesting.
This month, I had a chance to examine a collection of coins that included most issues in a specific series from 1801 to 1964.  Wow, what a neat undertaking.  I was asked about my interest in the set and my first question was “from where did you acquire most of the coins?”  When I was told from where they were purchased, I said, “It was not for me!”  I hated to do it, but the source of acquisition was known as a dumping ground for marginal coins.  Imagine that – I couldn’t believe I had to pass. 
We try to act as stewards for future collections.  I knew right away the degree of over-grading and commercialism that I would see would be a disappointment to both me and the customer.  He e-mailed and said he really wanted my opinion and hoped I would help him.  If someone needs help, I’m all in and so I said I would examine, critique, and price every coin… which I did.  I described and priced everything:  all the brilliant circulated bust issues, and all the circulated pieces that were graded and were mostly one full grade off.  For six straight hours, I went at it.  I came up with a price of just under $75,000 and said that if the coins were more technical for the grade, I would have easily paid well over $100,000. 
One of the coins was certified as AU and I graded it VF.  He said upfront he was going to get other offers; yet, I knew that going in and I told him that was fine.  After a couple of weeks, he e-mailed me and asked if I could stretch almost $3,000.  When I considered the hours of work I would have to dedicate to re-grading, a handful I could send to CAC and what I would accept from PCGS as downgrades, I couldn’t stretch.  I was thankful for his kind consideration and giving me the ability to have the final opportunity.
I couldn’t believe I had to say no.  If the collection were solid and original, I would have been stretching probably to $125,000.  Yet, I had to let someone else offer these coins to others.  I know that of the 200+ coins in this collection, I could only offer less than twenty to our list of great clients.  I just couldn’t stand behind the rest.
The lesson here is on my part – stick with your gut and be nice.  I could have used those six hours.  On the collectors’ part, establish a relationship with a handful of knowledgeable caring professionals!  Anyone can be an order-filler and take one’s money on commercial fodder.  A dealer that cares about their clients and industry wants to have a great relationship and sell the best coins.  This way, they have a chance to help you get real value for your money and a hopeful opportunity to help you make a profit and sell your coins to other customers that keeps the circle going.  In other words, strive for those win-win relationships!

Lesson Learned!

By Warren Mills  

I tried last month to establish a relationship with a new dealer.  He had some coins that I would have loved to acquire if they met my criteria:  #1 original, #2 no damage, and #3 accurate for the grade.  This dealer is a long time advertiser in many coin publications.  I had never done business with them before.  I called the office the first time and no one called me back.  I just thought the coins were sold.  Next month, the same pieces are in their ad.  I called back and spoke to a nice customer representative and told him I was interested in the entire lot, but only if they were original, undamaged, and graded accurately.  If not, I didn’t want to waste my time and theirs.
I was assured all the coins were fine.  Since we hadn’t done business before, he asked if I would send a check in full and they would refund on any pieces I wanted to return.  I gave them references, but I said to myself, “Well, they are Coin World advertisers and I’d love to establish a new relationship,” and so I said “okay.”  I sent a check… they sent the coins.  I was mortified at what I saw!  I tried my best to buy what I could, but I then sent back the rest.  Now beforehand, we agreed on a price for each coin.  When I relayed to them over the phone what I was keeping and returning, the rep said “fine.”  A few days later, they called me and reneged on the pricing because I didn’t keep enough of the coins.  Wow, this stuff is still happening!
Renege on your word and misrepresent the product???  I’ll let you know how it works out!  Is it a lack of knowledge, ethics, or both?

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.

 A Lucky Turn of Events 

By Dave Carleton
I want to make a brief comment on an observation I made earlier this month.

 A client came in to our office toward the middle of the month. I thought I recognized her and when she reminded me that she had been in here about a year ago, it all came back to me. At that time, she had come in to sell a large assortment of silver-related items --silver rounds, bars and junk (90% pre-1964 circulated coins). The total came to $75,000 dollars and, as I remember, she said that she was raising funds for a project on which she and her husband were about to embark. This time she had 90 ounces of gold to sell and, again, it was an accumulation of a variety of pieces from 1 oz. rounds to 10 oz. bars.

We figured the assortment for approximately $120,000, but we would have to wait to write the check for another 24 hours until our wholesaler tested the larger bars for authenticity as we don’t have the equipment to test those bars that are 10 oz. or larger. She was a little upset because she was hoping to leave with a check in hand that same day. That’s when she told us that her husband’s job had taken them all around the world for the last several years and that the traveling aspect of the job was winding down and they were looking for a nice quiet town in New Hampshire in which to settle.

She apparently had found a “nice little place” and was anxious to put a substantial down payment on it, and that’s why she was in kind of a rush to get the money from the sale of the gold. She had mentioned earlier that they had been accumulating these hard assets for just this purpose.  I remember thinking that it probably was a pretty small place based on the town she mentioned and the fact that they had about $195,000 to spend.

At one point our conversation focused on timing and how when you need the money, it seems like the market isn’t cooperating. That’s when it was mentioned that perhaps her selling of the silver last year was a bit premature. A big smile came to her face and she said that sometimes things work out for the best in strange ways. She then said, “Thank goodness for Bitcoins.”

I must have shown a strange look as I asked her what she meant. She told me that last year when she sold the silver that her son talked her and her husband into buying $75,000 worth of bitcoins and that they were now worth $280,000. She was going to use these funds and the money from the sale of the gold to buy the new house.

I know that we delivered a good check to her the next day, but I have no idea if she was able to sell her Bitcoins. I hope everything went well and I can’t help thinking that her son must have demonstrated some pretty good salesmanship to get them to dive into the Cryptocurrency market.

I seem to remember being offered bitcoins about 5 or 6 years ago for $15.00 bucks. Who knew? I think I’ll just keep buying silver. I even like the fact that it’s heavy.


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.

Questions From Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
R.S. posed an interesting question:  Warren, I enjoy reading the articles in “The Enthusiast,” but when are you going to come out with specific recommendations about what people should buy?
Thanks for your question, R.S., and the question hit between the eyes!  Everyone has different time frames for holding and collecting or investing objectives.  It’s hard to know what to say when you don’t know the criteria you are trying to meet.  I will try to give a basic idea to coin purchasing success and I hope it will help.
First and foremost, establish a relationship with ethical dealers that have a long standing reputation in the industry.  They will guide and help you not only learn about the coins but also help you avoid pitfalls.  Then, enjoy the pursuit.  Try to buy coins with nice eye-appeal.  I don’t mean that you have to become an expert grader - that’s what your dealer will do for you.  Just learn the difference between original and dipped or enhanced surfaces. 
When you’re not sure, CAC is a good protective area to consider allocating funds.  Even though CAC will sticker non-original dipped coins, they will still have meat on the coins and they won’t be totally stripped.  Grey Sheet just had a recent article about commercially graded brilliant Morgan Dollars that are white but are over-graded; rest assured, these coins will pull down the prices on Morgan’s in virtually all grades from MS-63 to MS-67.  Have the right coins and you will weather the storm.
Try to acquire coins that are under the radar.  In all series there are undervalued coins.  A good source to determine what is undervalued is to examine pop reports.  Look at the coins from the lowest circulated grades to the highest uncirculated grades.  There are many dates in all series of coins that have not been exposed that are vastly under-valued.  I like Indian Cents, but copper coins have been fully exposed.  There are no secrets.  The same is true for nickel pieces.  Everyone knows how rare certain business strikes are in the Three Cent Nickel series or how rare the True 1880 Shield Nickel is in business strike.  However, these coins are exposed.
Examine series of coins that you enjoy!  Seated Half Dimes to Seated Halves have many “P,” “S,” and “O” mint issues that are a joke!  They are rare and unexposed.  The same with gold $2.50, $5, and $10 pieces:  there are many “P,” “S,” and “O” mint coins that are under-valued.  In the silver series, the “CC” and rarest dates are coins to buy with an objective of set completion but not as much for investment.  The same is true for most “CC,” and “C” and “D” mint gold:  these coins are exposed, plus there is rampant over-grading and surface alteration.  Do some homework on the above series and you could be a huge winner!
I also believe in diversity.  The specialist that is a die-hard for one series and more interested in investment return may have to wait for years for their ship to come in.  That person may want to collect coins from two or more series that are not exposed.  In addition, key dates are coins about which everyone knows.  Look for the under-valued coins in a series.  You may be able to buy ten or more underexposed coins for the price of one key.
I hope this answer helps, and keep those questions coming.
Warren Mills


on Tuesday, 12 September 2017 14:30. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  September 2017 Issue

A Newsletter By:


September 2017

By Warren Mills

In our last issue, I tried to elaborate on having fun with your coin collection.  We are elated when a youngster comes in to see us and has an interest in the coin hobby. 
For many younger generations, collectibles are of no concern at all!  It’s unfortunate because you lose a connection with history.  My offer stands that if you have a child or grandchild that expresses an interest in any area of coins and I have an album for it, I’ll be happy to give it to you at no charge.
Adults also need a hand when they are bit by the rare coin bug.  There seems to be a tendency to go headfirst into numismatics with little regard for learning the ins and outs or getting true value for one’s money.  This can be devastating, especially when it’s time to sell.  One doesn’t want to learn an expensive lesson too late.
As an example, we had a collector come in last week with a Morgan Dollar collection.  He said that the Red Book price for his collection was $96,000.  We said we would be happy to look at his coins and make a “no obligation, free of charge offer.”  Joe was examining his collection and asked me to look at one of the coins.  It was graded MS-64 and slabbed by a service with which I was unfamiliar. The current Red Book price is $1,300.  I looked at the coin and saw a piece that was whizzed and to top it off, it looked like it was also erasered!  I felt awful about it and told him that I would pay $20 for the coin, which is the same price for which Joe had evaluated the coin.  We came to that figure totally independent of one another. 
Needless to say, these “certified” coins left much to be desired, and when it was all said and done, his $96,000 Red Book priced coins were evaluated at around $4,000.  You’d think this would be an isolated incident until the next day when someone mailed us a group of coins that again were “certified” by companies with which I was also unfamiliar.  One beauty had a price on it of $7,600 that again fell into the $20 range. 
These examples are extreme, but it is a shock to me that people are still susceptible to buying these types of coins.  With no coin knowledge, you have people buying from internet sites, various auctions, and estate sales that may use a Red Book as a guide but with no idea of grading.  They know enough to be a danger to themselves.  If they only knew what to do to ensure that what they were buying had a solid value.  So what do you do?
In a previous edition of The Enthusiast, I asked our readers to inquire about the types of coins their friends may be buying so as to gain our advice and be protected.  You would hope that friends and family members would exercise due diligence to protect themselves, but in many instances, they don’t know how!  As stewards to the hobby and as good people, we owe it to ourselves to help others learn.  Sometimes, there is a fine balance to being intrusive and protective, but isn’t it better to just explain why you are inquiring about what they are buying?  A little extra effort can go a long way to helping others.
I have always felt that for any serious collector, the two most important factors in buying coins are to buy the coin (not the holder) and to deal with honest and knowledgeable dealers that will educate you and protect your interest.  For assembling a top-notch collection, the next most important factor is patience.
I’d like to explain what I mean by “buying the coin and not the holder.”  The coin inside the plastic carries most of the weight for pricing, desirability, liquidity and future potential.  I recently met a new collector that fell in love with Morgan Dollars and, to a lesser extent, Peace Dollars.  He found out in his research that he should only buy PCGS or NGC holders since he was no grading expert.  He went hog wild, spending tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars on brilliant certified Morgan and Peace Dollars.  Auctions that had the product caught his attention.  He tried on his own to learn more about grading and stumbled on CAC.  He gave me a call and asked me what CAC was all about. 
To sum it up, I said that for the most part, a CAC sticker represented the higher end of the grade for a particular coin.  Their focus for the A and B coins for grade or high-end pieces would merit a green CAC sticker and the C coins or commercially graded or lower-end examples for the grade would not qualify for a CAC sticker.  The enhanced desirability and future liquidity could really be enhanced with a CAC sticker.  He liked the idea and sent in 43 of his coins for CAC review.  Seven of the 43 stickered, a 17% success rate that - for a beginner to the hobby - wasn’t bad.  We then looked at coins so I could point out to him low-end examples for the grade and original white as opposed to dipped white coins.  Remember, anyone can read a grading insert tag!  When you can have your grading eye for technically correct graded coins and separate them from the commercially graded pieces, you are on your way to buying the coin on its own merit and not what the insert tag says.
How to find a knowledgeable caring dealer can be tricky.  Some people are very deceptive.  If you’re not inclined to go to shows and observe dealers in action or don’t know what to say to discern the good from the bad, I’d say look for a P.N.G. member.  These P.N.G. members have a strong commitment to the industry and are subject to binding arbitration in a customer dispute.  I find many P.N.G. dealers to be knowledgeable and interested in helping customers learn.
Beware of giving a dealer a price range on a coin that you want to pay. This is a scenario where you could end up with a horribly over-graded coin.

You’re better off asking the dealer what is their philosophy on buying coins. He or she could sling you a bunch of BS, and I don’t mean Bachelor of Science! So ask about his or her thoughts on high end or low end for grade coins. This should flush them out. Finally, if you are offered a coin, ask if it will CAC. Tell them you will pay to have it sent in. Then you should get a crystal clear picture.

Remember that beginner client I referred to in the earlier part of this article? Just before we put this on our site, another batch of his coins came back from CAC. He went 1 for 14!  You can buy all the brilliant ms65, or better, PCGS and NGC Dollars that your budget can hold in this market. The trick is avoiding the commercial fodder for high end coins. The grading now is so lax in the series that I believe prices are going to fall. There’s just too much over-grading going on.

Remember, if a CAC coin represents the top three pieces of the grade spectrum, there are still seven pieces that are graded the same but are lower-end or subpar coins for the grade. Take these factors to heart, and coins should be a rewarding pursuit 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.


A Hard Call to Make

By Dave Carleton

We do coin evaluations daily and it can be a very pleasurable experience most of the time, but sometimes not so much.

We’ve had an incredible number of people coming in this Summer; the last couple of weeks we’ve seen more collections/accumulations then we can remember. I’m certainly not complaining as we welcome the opportunity to review new groups of coins. Part of the fun for us is that we never know what’s in the next envelope or can or Alka-Seltzer bottle. In a vicarious way, we get as much or more enjoyment when we find a coin of significant value or rarity than the owner, who in many instances has no idea of what they have. This usually occurs when someone has inherited a collection or accumulation of coins and exonumia.

The good part of the evaluation and purchase process of these collections is when the owner is completely elated with the cumulative value of what they thought was just a bunch of junk. As a matter of fact, in many cases, it is the junk (90% Silver coins) that adds a large portion of the value (12 times face value adds up quickly).

The buying process can get a bit sketchy when the owner of the coins comes in armed with all kinds of misinformation regarding the value of their coins. This erroneous information may come in many ways such as “My neighbor knows coins and said that they should be worth X” or “I looked on eBay and it shows MY coin is worth X dollars” when they were actually looking at someone’s ask, which could be totally arbitrary. It’s at this point where we educate the person about the many factors that go into valuing a coin and about which they may not have been aware. We’re happy to do this because we don’t want anyone leaving RCNH feeling bewildered about the process. These are just a couple of observations of face to face transactions.

Then there are scenarios such as the one that occurred yesterday. I received a call from a gentleman who told me that he had sent us 12 Morgan dollars that he would like us to review and give our buy prices. I asked him if he had checked us out before he sent the package, and he said that he had and that we had come highly recommended. I asked him to give me a clue as to what I should expect and he said that he has between 200 and 300 Slabs and several bags of dollars as well, and that these were just some random pieces from the stash. We ended the conversation with me telling him that I would contact him as soon as the package arrived and we should have prices at that time as well. 

A while later I went into our mail receiving area to give them a heads-up to keep an eye out for the package and to bring it to my attention. To my surprise, the package had already arrived. As part of our process when we receive packages, we log the contents.  As I’m not the one that opens packages, I had to wait for a while, but I did notice that the package had been heavily insured, so I thought that there must be some very nice material within. The box went to Warren and he called me in to discuss his findings.

This is the uncomfortable part of my story, but I’m just going to tell it like it is. I’m under the impression and I believe the general coin collecting community will agree with me that there are three grading services that have proven themselves over time with consistency of grading and have their prices printed in various numismatic publications. They are PCGS, NGC, and ANACS. The slabs in the package we received were not graded by any of these three. It’s not that I haven’t seen slabs graded by these other companies; it’s just that I haven’t seen so many slabs in one package. The grading services that certified these coins were NCG (kind of reminds me of NGC), ANGS (really looks like ANACS), WCG, ACG, and TAS. 

Warren had completed the evaluation, and the first thing he asked me is, “What did this person pay for these coins?” because the group of coins came to a total value of $410.75. I told him that I didn’t know, but I would find out, but before I made the call, I wanted to find out how the PCGS Price Guide would value the coins. I knew the number would be significantly higher, but when the total came to $138,250, I almost fell out of my chair.

The numbers really add up when you have a coin like an 1897-O in MS-65; PCGS Price Guide has the value at $55,000; upon close inspection, we figured the coin as an XF-Cleaned for $19.00. How about a 1902-O Morgan in MS-67? PCGS says $15,000; we graded it MS-60 with a scratch under the ear for a total value of $33.00.

Unfortunately, the “grading” of these coins nowhere reflected the evaluation that would have been given by PCGS, NGC, and ANACS.

Anyway, you get the drift. Now I must make the call, and believe me, this just about makes me sick. When the person answered, I greeted him and then asked, “Did you ever hear the expression, don’t shoot the messenger?” He said that he had and I asked that it be invoked.

I was unable to find out what he had paid for the coins right then because he didn’t have any receipts handy, but he said that he had paid way more than our evaluation, but not as much as the numbers I got off the price guide. I could go on, but the bottom line is that he thought all grading services were basically the same and if a coin were sealed in plastic then all worries about the condition were eliminated.

I hate making these calls because I don’t like being the bearer of bad tidings, and I can’t help thinking how much more these coins would have been worth if they had been properly graded. I’m glad I met this person before he dug himself into a deeper hole, and I’m hoping he still has an interest in coins after we get done evaluating his holdings. As you might appreciate, this is the part of our business that’s not all fun and games.


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



Paul V. Battaglia

“The next assignment is a favor.  I have had these coins lying around for at least fifteen years.  Would you look at them and see if any should be certified?  I have always read and enjoyed your RCNH Newsletter where you tell your personal connection to a particular coin.  Some of the above coins have stories from my childhood.  One takes me back to Vermont Heights, Florida, and a Civil War diary written by a Tennessee volunteer.  After looking at the diary, which was an English teacher’s nightmare, but a historian’s treasure of personal thoughts and everyday experiences, the son of this vet said, ‘Would you like to see my coins?’  I became a two cent collector on that day.”

Thanks so much.  Wayne  (actual date unknown)


“Wow, dad! [or something to that effect as the individual has forgotten] … this dime was in your pocket and is a 1916-D [since verified as a VG, but remains raw]; can I have it instead of my allowance [a dime] this week?”

(Wednesday, 18th June 1958)


“Hey, Paul, my daughter found this on the edge of our plowed field just before a big storm rolled in.  We washed it off and it says ‘1800,’ a large cent….any worth?” 

Kyle in Iowa, April 2017

Any of this sound familiar, my fine readers?  Of course.  Nearly all of us have had a similar experience minus names and faces at points in our lives, since most of those life-shaping individuals’ countenances have been softened .  Our personal coin collections ARE a time portal, just for YOU, the actual owner-steward, as to when and where each coin brought us when it first came to intermingle with our life.  Each coin we own holds a deeply personal and unique tale that can be brought to life with our mere touch, over and over again, and with a different perspective. 

Our mind’s eye is often bent unto romanticism for it is of days past softened with sweet, forlorn longing, gentility, simplicity and, often, how WE would want it to be played out instead of how life handled it.  The richness, the colour, the warmth of those moments and all other forces that interacted to create that imperishable spot in eternity are powerful and beyond comprehension.  WE created it and we own it, but always strive to share it… that which can never quite be shared to our chagrin, as it belongs solely to the spirit. 

Yet, we keep trying!  Yes, never give up, ha!

The individuals whose words I have shared with you are all true as well as their coin experiences.  I credit the idea for this month’s article to “Wayne,” a fine gentleman and avid collector who knows quality and has a natural eye for original coins, whether they be circulated, business strike or proof pieces.

What these three people have told me is TRUTH, for they are my friends, firstly, and, yes, customers as well.  Over the years, we have crossed that invisible boundary of “‘just business’, no more than that” into mutually shared stories and the sharing of our coins.  At some equally unknown moment, I realized these customers (among others) and I transcended what I have termed “mere dollars and cents” into a “we may never shake hands, but we still feel like pals nonetheless” type of friendship.  From that elevation the flames burn brighter… where does that already razor’s edge of being professional now lie?  Was I wrong to share more of myself and my coins with some of my customers?  What did I surrender OR did we both gain? 

The latter seems to be the case.  After all, it WAS the coins that acted as a sort of metallic matchmaker of sorts, was it not?  Coins… so cold to the touch despite their beautiful visages and unique-to-each dulcet tones upon any surface, yet, they do bring us together for reasons far beyond their base value.  Hmmmm……. something for we mortals to grasp, eh?

Give some time to the role your coins have played in your life.  If you can recall, harken back to that beginning when you both met.  They have equally endured the full breadth, scope and sweep of human interactions and mute witnesses to all vices and virtues.  Each coin you own takes with it a few human atoms as it passes time.  Our personal coins have had a direct bearing on who we now are, where we are, and our place in the universe.  Again, give simple thanks to when your coins gifted themselves to you and the happiness you felt by sitting with them for a spell.  They have taught you much and permit us to dream of infinite possibilities.

Until next time, happy trails and give me a call as I would invite your thoughts.  I am a good listener.

Yours most truly,


PS:  With the eventual passing of all but the most specialized books, many non-profit stores and Sunday flea markets are giving away numismatic books for a song.  I picked up Walter Breen’s book on half cents last Sunday for $5.


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

Questions From Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
Hey Warren, what gives with your new inventory purchases from the ANA show?  I was waiting for newps and didn’t see anything.  S.R.
Thanks S.R.  I’m sorry to say that we only acquired 13 coins from the ANA.  Most were “want list” pieces that never made our inventory list.  As you know, I’ve been looking for three pieces for you for months now.  The coins you need are not rare, however, for me to buy a coin for you or any of our customers, it must be exceptional for the grade.

ANA is a major show with thousands of coins on display.  It wasn’t a lack of effort but a lack of top quality coins for the grade that led to us not posting newps from that show.  We are always looking and periodically add to our inventory.  So, keep an eye on our site and thanks for the questions.
Thanks for your question, S.R., and please keep your questions coming.  If anyone would prefer for me to answer your questions privately, I would be happy to do so.



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