on Tuesday, 03 January 2017 14:41. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  January 2017 Issue

A Newsletter By:

The Rosen Numismatic Advisory:
The 2017/2018 Crystal Ball Survey, Part-1

Answers By Warren Mills

Welcome to our 1st issue of the 2017 RCNH Rare Coin Enthusiast.  As I wrote in our December issue, I was asked to contribute my thoughts on the market in the Rosen Numismatic Advisory.  Maurice does a good job in getting to the heart of the matter with his questions.  Please find information on his newsletter subscription at the end of the article.
 
I’ve included for our readers the questions I was asked and my responses.  If you wish to see the responses of his other panel members which included John Albanese, Don Ketterling, Rick Snow, Scott Travers & John Feigenbaum, feel free to contact Maurice.  If you have any questions about my responses, feel free to call or e-mail me at your convenience.
 
Part One of the responses will appear this month and with his permission, Part Two will be in our February issue.
 
I hope you had a blessed Christmas and all of us at RCNH want to wish you a happy & healthy New Year.
 
Thank you,
Warren


1)  What are the most important issues facing the coin market in 2017/2018?

     1.  How the election is going to affect the market.

     2.  For knowledgeable buyers, I feel a very important issue is the inconsistency in grading.  Will we continue to see an ever growing gap between sight and sight unseen buying?

     3.  Counterfeiting of bullion and certified coin holders.              

 
2)  How should those issues be dealt with and what posture should investors take in light of those issues? 

     1.  Fear is a great motivator.  I normally would recommend a capital preservation strategy of U.S. American Eagle gold & silver as well as U.S. circulated silver coins, pre-1965 and circulated dollars, pre-1936.  However, for the more well-heeled, the semi-numismatic or generic U.S. gold issues could be a wonderful buy.  You can acquire MS-63 and MS-64 Saints for a very modest premium above melt and they are certified for grade and authenticity.  With diligence and knowledge of grading, cherry picked examples may CAC for an added price and demand benefit.  Another important factor to consider is the tidal wave of counterfeits that will enter the market in many bullion related items.  These generic $20’s will be great protection as well.  For diversity, MS-62 or 63 $5 Libs, $10 Libs and $10 Indians would be nice additions too!

     2.  It’s amazing that after the wonderful and much needed certifying of coins, that the grading is still looked at as a problem.  I’m very concerned that commercially graded and off quality coins will continue to be a drag on the whole coin market.  Even the most knowledgeable buyers that have exercised great diligence by only selecting the top coins for the grade are seeing the effects of poorly graded coins in their collections.  Off quality drags down the whole market.

The best way to deal with the problem is to recognize that there really is a two tier pricing market.  It’s a fact…so you deal with it by trying to buy the strictest and most eye-appealing coins for the grade.  If you’re not an expert, seek out CAC approved pieces.  CAC is trying to sticker all the solidly graded coins for the stated grade.  Do I agree with them all, no!  Just pass on any coins that may not appeal to you until you find one that does.

We’ve seen many things happen in the coin industry since the inception of the grading services in 1986.  As less and less vintage coins are certified, the grading services make their money certifying modern bullion and foreign coins. When the vintage coins start to be less available, CAC will ramp up their marketing effort of solid and high end coins for the grade.  When this happens, the gap between the low end over-commercialized junk will widen and premium coins for the grade could escalate dramatically.

     3.  Counterfeiting is going to come on like a tidal wave.  I believe all forms of bullion, except maybe junk silver, will be affected.  As coin dealers you can’t say “who cares.”  This problem will shake confidence in the entire hard asset market... know your dealer.

I recommend obviously looking at PCGS and NGC graded coins.  Stock up on the $5’s, $10’s & $20’s that are certified.  In times of economic uncertainty, they should trade for large premiums.

 
3a)  Dave Bowers wrote in the 9/12/16 Coin World: “Grading is more disorganized that it has been any time in the past 30 years.”  How do you see grading today?

Grading is inconsistent.  It is truly amazing to see that after 30 years, it’s still not right.  Circulated type coins that are horribly cleaned are now being graded without designating them as cleaned!  Ten years ago, about half of the circulated type coins for all series that are graded today would have been called “no grades.”  Mint State coins are extremely commercial.  Today’s MS-65 coins in many instances were yesterday’s 63’s!   Remember the days of NCI graded coins?  They were looked at as a bane to the industry.  Today, they’d be considered a fresh deal with dealers regrading them for upgrades at PCGS and NGC.
 

3b)  What advice do you have for coin investors looking to get their money’s worth?

Find a dealer that not only knows how to read a label, but can actually grade the coin in the holder.  If you don’t trust anyone, start seeing green and gold dots in front of your eyes from buying green & gold stickered CAC coins.
 

3c)  What advice do you have for the grading services to overcome their “disorganized” ways?

Don’t train individuals with little to no experience in coins to be graders, because you can hire them for less money than an experienced numismatist.  I also do not understand why finalizers don’t look at every submission or rubber stamp the submission if two graders agree with the grade.  The other issue are plus (+) grades.  Are these coins really better or is it another way for the grading services to increase their revenue by giving people the incentive to submit their coins for a better grade?  How finite can the grading services split the hairs between MS-65 and MS-66 and all of the full grade points?
 

4)  What undervalued area of the coin market is ready for exploitation that may be realized in 2017/2018?  Please explain and give specific issues you favor.
 
Many series are under-valued, if you look at technically graded coins.  Strictly graded coins with good eye-appeal are what everyone’s focus should be.
 
I think the price compression between grades on larger size gold type coins are too tight.  Like a coiled spring, they could bust out to the upside.  All bets are off if the central banks and governments keep manipulating the bullion prices, but if the metals break out…watch out.
 
Remember the old days of gold commemoratives being promoted every few years?  They’re beautiful and abundant in high grades.  However, there is a larger supply of them available than everyone anticipated.  I feel that MS-67 CAC pieces that are close to the 66 prices are worthy of speculation.
 
Lastly, I love large size Seated Type quarters & halves… ”No Motto” in particular.  This area is a personal favorite of mine in all grades, from circulated to uncirculated.  However, they are not easy to promote.
 

5) The CDN has made great strides improving its price reporting and coverage.  What additional improvements would you like to see?

I’m not impressed at all with CDN.  What great strides have they made?  I find the CDN adding plus or minus signs to specific issues is arbitrary at best.  They recently killed the early Walking Liberty Half series.  Many of the 1917 to 1933 issues, if strictly graded, should be increasing in value…not decreasing.  Again, a classic case of over-graded coins bringing down the true, solidly graded, hard to find standouts.  Isn’t the CDN (Greysheet) supposed to reflect the prices of high-end coins for the grade?  It doesn’t seem that way to me!
 

6a)  Premiums on generic U.S. Gold coins have fallen greatly.  Is this an opportunity for investors bullish on gold or are premiums staying low for a long time?

I like these coins.  The wildcard is in the future effect on world currencies, banks, world economics and government manipulations.  I believe the US. Dollar will lose its reserve currency status.  That’s one of the reasons why I really think these coins will be important in the future and will have applications for appreciation, preservation, insurance, etc.
 

6b)  What specific issues are your favorites and why?

Stick to the larger size pieces: In gold, $5’s, $10’s and $20’s primarily in MS-62 and MS-63.  In silver, common date Walkers MS-64 to MS-66 and Dollars in MS-63 to MS-66 could be heavily promoted.
 
*The Rosen Numismatic Advisory, The 2017/2018 Crystal Ball Survey, Part-1.
Vol. 41 No. 6, December 2016.

Editor:

Maurice Rosen

Publisher:

Numismatic Counseling, Inc.

Mail:

P.O. Box 38
Plainview, NY 11803

Office: 

1120 Old Country Road, Suite 306
Plainview, New York 11803

Phone:

516-433-5800

Fax:

516-433-5801

E-Mail:

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

Subscription:

One Year………….$48
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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.


Many Gold Coins Are Now Going From Common To SCARCER
And Sometimes, RARER.

By Paul V. Battaglia


 
My inspiration for this month’s article came from author and writer Richard Giedroyc. Mr. Giedroyc is part of the Numismatic News staff.  He has written extensively for them plus has other publications to his credit.
 
I was captivated by his article after a few sentences which is the mark of an accomplished writer.  Mr. Giedroyc stated how many otherwise common/available European gold coin, both classic and modern, were often available for two (2) percent over melt.  The VAT (Value Added Tax) and capital gains tax are (currently) not applicable upon these coins at the moment.  Also, collectors have subsequently raised their grade expectations from VF, upward.  Therefore, this being a buyer’s market of unrivaled singularity, the collector can now afford to reach for an AU or into the BU grades.  DEMAND has fallen off noticeably as well.  Why? Our current economy is dreadful, plainly speaking.  VALUE in nearly all things from hourly labor (and its’ inherent worth) up to most real estate has eroded due to an ever-available glut. 
 
Many of my/our readers can readily cite situations where $20 Double Eagles have traded at melt, sometimes behind melt.  Most of the current auctions have multiple examples of these coins below melt.  Mr. Giedroyc continues by quoting well-known numismatic dealers and those dealers’ firsthand experience with the meeting of these varied coins in his article.
 
This numismatist particularly enjoyed his quip where “…the Bank of Canada in December 2015 ordered 215,000 $5 and $10 gold coins dating from the 1930’s to be melted to help balance the federal budget and avoid raising taxes.”*  (Hmmm, cool, but I thought gold coins were no longer MONEY per some well-known investment firms, some newsletters, many huge banks, etc.?  Yet, someone or somebody bought those gold coins, many of which are numismatic, right?  Right.  Canada’s shortfall was eliminated, right?  Right! To which I must insert Steve Buscemi’s quote from the movie “Con Air” (1997):  “Define irony:  a bunch of…”  Got it?  Good, I knew you readers would.  MY quote here is:  “Gold and silver, satisfying all debts public and private for the last seven thousand (est.) years.“  Numbers do not lie.  Gold & Silver both satisfy DEBT, period.
 
Time for me to make my point.

  • So-called common/available gold coins ARE becoming scarcer with their current destruction.
  • Once gold rises, demand tends to pick up.
  • Once demand picks up so do the prices.
  • Most people adore buying things when the rest of the herd is also buying en masse.  Instead, be a swordfish, not a minnow.
  • Those who are now acquiring the best grades they can afford will enjoy seeing these scarcer to rarer coins (made as such per the tinkerings of misguided economists and QE worshippers) rise in both demand and perceived-actual value.

I would make some room in the 2017 budget for such gold coins.  THIS IS PLAINLY AN OPPORTUNITY, readers.
 
Our table at F.U.N. 2017 is #1524.  Stop by, show me what you have found and give me your opinions!
 
Thanks much, have a fine New Year 2017.
 
Paul
 
My sincere thanks to Mr. Richard Giedroyc of Numismatic News for his generous permission in permitting me to reference his insightful article.
 
*”Gold coins now hitting melting pot.” Posted on November 27, 2016 by Richard Giedroyc


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.


My Lucky Dollar

By Dave Carleton



Well here we are at the beginning of a New Year.  I hope 2016 was a good one for you and I certainly wish the best for all of us in 2017.
 
At this moment, Warren and Paul are attending the F.U.N. Show in Ft. Lauderdale.  They went armed with an extensive “want list” and I hope they’re able to find some nice material.
 
A couple of weeks ago while we were in the holiday mode, I got to thinking about how coins, especially when I was young, were an integral part of my Christmas presents.  My Mom and Dad always put some kind of coin or coin related product in my stocking.  Years later, after PCGS was started, I gave my Dad a certified 1925 Peace Dollar to commemorate his birth year.  He accepted it graciously, but told me that he had a Peace Dollar that he had kept for a long time that was pretty important to him.  I asked what coin he was referring to and he blew me away when he told me the story.
 
The story goes like this…
 
When I just turned 13, I rode my bike to a farm a few miles from my house and asked the farmer if he needed any help getting in his bales of hay.  He hired me and I started making $1.00 an hour.   As time went on, I started working more and more doing everything on the farm.  Over time, the money started to add up and I told my parents that when I turned 16, I wanted to buy a Corvette.  My mother said that it was my money and I could do what I wanted with it. I had a habit back then, and it was to go to the Souhegan National Bank here in Milford and convert my pay into silver dollars.  I just loved the feel and the weight of the coins and I also found that I was less likely to spend them.
 
Fast forward to my 16th birthday and I re-announced my intention of buying a Corvette.  Both of my parents responded with “no way” you’ll kill yourself in a car like that.  I was crushed, but I moved ahead and bought a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air for $25.00.   I still wanted something cool and I set my sights on a 1961 Corvair.   Unfortunately, I had to cart most of my silver dollars back to the bank to turn them into paper, which is what the dealer requested for the transaction.  I bought the car and drove it off the lot.  I had just come from the bank and had five Peace Dollars in my pocket which I put in the glove compartment.
 
Several months later I spun out on a wet corner, did a 180° and took out a telephone pole backwards.   I took off my eyebrows when my head hit the glove compartment and there was blood everywhere.  Off to the hospital I went.
 
In the meantime, my parents were driving through town when they saw the tow truck bringing my car to the garage.  My mother recognized the car and they followed the wrecker to the lot.  Seeing all the blood made my parents crazy because the tow truck driver couldn’t tell them about the condition of the driver.  My dad cleaned out the car of my possessions and he found the Peace Dollars.  He kept one of those dollars and always thought it to be lucky because I probably should have been killed in that accident.
 
I never knew he did that until that Christmas when I gave him the 1925.  I have that coin now and it has a very special meaning to me.
 
Dave


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


Questions From The Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
 
M.B. asked:  What should I do with problem coins I bought from a dealer?
 
A new customer recently came in and asked me to review his AU to Unc. Peace Dollar collection.  I said we do all appraisals free of charge and I will be happy to look at them.  He came in with his set and I said everything was cleaned to varying degrees.  I said for expensive coins, and particularly better grade pieces, it is not wise to buy them uncertified.  The 1928 and 1934-S should always be certified for authenticity alone, let alone the grade too!  If I give the dealer that assisted you the benefit of the doubt and say that he didn’t realize the coins he was selling you were cleaned, the proof will be in the pudding.  Take them back and get a buy price for the set.  M.B. informed me that he acquired the coins a while ago over time and hasn’t seen the dealer for a while.  I said it’s a good idea to renew your acquaintance. 
 
He took the set to the dealer who had a handful of regulars in his shop.  M.B. handed him the set and asked him what he’d pay.  The dealer looked at the set and said all of the coins were cleaned to which M.B. said…”I bought them all from you.”  Unfortunately, a deal was not consummated by M.B.
 
If you insist on buying raw coins, get a guarantee like the one we have.  We guarantee that all raw coins, at a minimum, will certify to the grade we sold them as.  I believe we’re still the only dealer in the country that has this guarantee.  Also, before you are in too deep, offer coins back occasionally to see if a dealer stands by his or her product.  Recently, we had a customer that bought a fair amount of 69 and 70 bullion coins for a premium and the dealer did not need them when they wanted to sell!
 
I told M.B. to bring his set back when he can and we’ll look into certifying what we can for him and help him to value the rest.  Thanks M.B.  I wish the outcome had been better.

 
We will have our usual Corner Table at the F.U.N. show this month.  I hope to see you there.


We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.  So please keep sending in your questions to me directly or email Thank you.

 

on Tuesday, 06 December 2016 14:55. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  December 2016 Issue

A Newsletter By:

My Thoughts On Last Month’s Interview With John Albanese

By Warren Mills


My comments and thoughts about our interview in the November issue of our newsletter with John Albanese, a founder of PCGS, and the founder of NGC and CAC.
 
I think it is important for our friends and clients to get my perspective on John’s answer to my questions.  RCNH has long been known as a company that buys the coin and not the holder.  We’ve always been strong proponents for collectors enhancing their grading skills and helping them to do so.  The proof has always been in the pudding.  We are aggressively pursued by the major auction companies to consign our coins for them to offer for sale.  And many clients that we’ve helped with Registry Sets and just filling in holes for their collections have told us that many of their best coins were purchased from us.  Many of our coins, when consigned to auction, have set record prices for the grade.
 
Please find my thoughts here on John’s answers:

 
Why start CAC?
 
John:   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. 
 
John’s comments here were spot on.  There needs to be some standard that is recognized by any or all coin buyers that separates the lower-end coins for the grade from the solid or high-end coins for the grade.
 
If you have a chance to look at a major auction catalog, you will see many issues that are represented by multiple lots of the same date and grade.  Yet the price differences can be astounding.  Key series to check are Lincoln Cents, Morgan Dollars, US $20 gold pieces and US commemorative halves.  These series usually have multiple lots that are the same date and grade but prices for these coins can vary by hundreds of percent.  Low-end or altered surface pieces will go begging and may not sell.  Average coins for grade may come closer to published bid prices, but indifference to the readily available average coin could lead them to also bring a low price.  Yet a high-end coin for the grade always will shine.  Many beginners think that a white coin must be the most desirable and to a novice it may be.  But a coin that is identified as high-end is where the educated buyer will concentrate.  Now, these coins are being identified by a CAC sticker.  The work is being done for you.  Check prices in major sales for non-CAC and CAC coins and in most cases, CAC coins will command a substantial premium in virtually all series of coins.
 
I may not agree with all CAC stickered coins, but the concept is correct.


How is the market acceptance of CAC coins?
 
John:  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.

 
John’s answer is the same as how I feel about CAC.  The CAC product is widely accepted and many coins bring a substantial premium over their non-CAC counterparts.
 
You can always have experts examine one coin at a time and disagree on whether a piece is solid for the grade or not, but CAC does provide buyer assurance to people that are not grading experts.
 
I feel that CAC does an excellent job of identifying solid coins for the grade with only a few exceptions.


What do you see the future to be for CAC?
 
John:  There are only a finite number of rare coins.  As time goes on, almost every relevant rare coin may be seen.  As the submissions for 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.

 
I had no idea what John’s answer would be here!  His answer made me very pleased.  There is no denying that there are a finite number of coins to grade.  For years now, PCGS and NGC have done business expanding their items to grade and working off of resubmissions of vintage coins.  Since our market and business consists of buying and selling vintage coins, you can only loosen standards so much before almost every coin graded is low-end to average for the grade.  When submissions to CAC slow, John will ramp up marketing efforts for buying and selling the CAC approved coins in the market.  At that point in time, we could see a significant price increase for those buyers that focused on high-end coins for the grade.
 
We recently did an appraisal for a customer that acquired 13 coins prior to CAC from us.  I recommended that we send them into CAC to see if they would receive a sticker.  Alas, no gold stickers but 12 of the 13 coins received a green bean.  Percentage wise, that’s not bad!


What series of coins has had the highest success rate of passing at CAC and the lowest success rate of earning a CAC sticker?
 
John:  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.

 
The highest rate of 3 Cent Nickels is great for the nickel collector, I guess!  However, I disagree with the amount of Proof nickel coins that CAC will approve that have a fair amount of carbon flecks.  I would weigh carbon flecks more heavily than John does.
 
As for the lowest success rate, Saint Gaudens and better date Morgans…that’s an important revelation.  Many new buyers to numismatics are attracted to larger size coins that have nice aesthetic appeal.  Morgan Dollars probably have the largest collector and investor base in all of numismatics!  Yet, it is deemed to be one of the areas with the highest amount of low-end to average coins for the grade.  I know just from my pursuit of looking for top-end for grade pieces for our clients, that it can take me years of searching for better date Morgans before I find a coin I truly consider as high-end for the grade.  Sometimes, I examine dozens of examples and I’m still not satisfied with a coin for our clients.
 
We had a buyer contact us that was just starting to assemble an uncirculated certified Morgan Dollar set and wanted us to help him.  We said that we’d be happy to!  Dave called him in two weeks with a few coins and he said “I already completed that set, now I’m trying to decide about what’s next.”  How about learning to be patient for strictly graded coins?
 
Saint Gaudens success rate is no surprise.  The bad thing is to realize that these coins are so over-graded by the grading services, even with the vast quantities that come out of Europe, that CAC lists them among the lowest pass rate of all coins.  How come that is so?  You have great aesthetic appeal with the design, exceptional luster, and great freshness from hoarding and yet they still don’t pass!  My answer here is due to commercialized grading.  If you want a great collection, stick with technical grading.
 

Why do you think that some dealers and collectors
are resistant to CAC?

 
John:  Dealers who have always dealt in higher quality coins fully support us whereas those dealers who only purchase a coin based 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 the dealers who have always dealt in higher quality coins.

 
Dealers that are label readers and have no technical grading expertise or believe in selling anything to make a dollar are dealers that handle commercially graded coins.  Their submission success rate to CAC by them or their clients is so low that they have no use for CAC.
 
Collectors that solely buy on price fall into the same category.  However, it’s different for a collector.  In many instances, they are just trying to protect themselves and pricing is one way to do it.  What they really need to do is homework.  Go to a major show and speak with dealers.  Find out how they do business. Ask about affiliations and return privileges.  Get a feel for who you may be dealing with.  Exercise due diligence before you spend a nickel.  Go to a major auction and view coins.  Don’t go to buy!  Make notes on coins and see what prices realized are.  Then ask questions of the auction house or dealers you spoke to before to find out why coins bring the prices they bring.
 
In this market, your best barometer for pricing is to research auction results.  In many instances, the Greysheet or Bluesheet could be misleading.
 

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?
 
John:  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.

 
John left no room for doubt with his answer.  The sticker is awarded based only on the whole grade point.  The “+” or plus does not garner any consideration at all!
 
This answer is important.  I have seen many coins with a plus grade on it that were not as nice as whole point graded coins with no plus at all.  However, it does seem that a “+” (plus) grade coin should have some kind of a premium affixed to it.  Should it be 5 to 15%?  I guess it depends on the series; but above all, the look of the coin.  A “just missed the next grade” coin could command a high premium over a plus coin that does not deserve a plus.  I always tell people to take into consideration technical grade of the coin, eye-appeal, luster and color.  Even the placing of where a bag mark is can affect the price dramatically.  Pricing will never be an exact science, but some plus coins are priced at hundreds of percent higher than the non-plus grade just because the next grade up price may be so high.  In this case more than ever, make sure your plus coin is truly nicer than a real whole point grade or better yet, pass on the piece!
 

Will you ever sticker foreign coins?
 
John:  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.

 
John said “no.”  Not because there are no great foreign issues but, in many instances, world coins can be graded on a different scale. 
 
I think John is sticking to his strength here with US coins only and I agree with him.
 

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?
 
John:  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.  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 have no problem with John’s answer here.  For me, it’s hard to admit that a dipped coin, when done correctly, can still be an appealing and desirable piece.  We preach stewardship and prefer coins remain in their original state.  However, a coin that is dipped in some instances can still be desirable.  There are many dealers that dip everything.  They don’t believe in education or the characteristics of age that make coins unique.  To me, that is a disservice to future generations of collectors that may never become educated about how coins have been stored or preserved for tens to hundreds of years.  Although to me, white is not always right, unless it is original.  But a correctly dipped coin can still be a prize in a collection.
 
I’ve had people call me to assist them with putting sets together for such items as circulated Bust Halves from 1808-1839 in VF to XF white coins and for help in acquiring sets of Seated and Barber coins in uncirculated to superb proof that all have to be brilliant!  In these instances, I’ve had to pass.  The odd white coin…okay, but complete sets just make me feel sad for the future of the industry.
 
I have been asked to contribute to “The Rosen Numismatic Advisory’s Annual Crystal Ball Survey” for this year.  I’ve already completed and turned in my answers to all of the survey questions.  This survey is a good read for anyone that has an interest in numismatics.  Maurice selects a handful of respected and knowledgeable dealers in our industry to ascertain their thoughts about the future of the coin business. 
 
I know you may say, “Why, then, has he asked YOU to participate?” (A touch of humor here!)  Yet, in light of his questionable judgment, I will post in our newsletter his questions and my answers to them, when he allows me to do so.  The first half I may be able to include in our newsletter next month.

 
Thanks,
Warren


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.


 

Quiz: Identify The Coin


Try to identify the coin based off of the close up images below.

 

A.)


Click To See Enlarged Image

B.)


Click To See Enlarged Image

 

(Answers at the bottom of the newsletter)


 

Is The Plastic Worth It?

By Joseph Presti

During the mid-1960’s, silver had risen to a price that made it uneconomical to make coins out of the metal anymore. The U.S. did however, allow the exchange of silver certificate paper money to be redeemed for silver dollars until 1968.  Once the dust settled, the government performed an inventory of their vaults and discovered more than three million silver dollars in storage.  Many of these were original bags of uncirculated coins and a majority were from the Carson City (CC) Mint.  No one knows why most of the coins were from the CC mint but it turned out to be a coin collector’s dream come true.

Below is a chart of what was discovered in the government vaults;

 

Date

Number Discovered

% of Total Mintage in Hoard

1878 CC

61,000

2.7%

1879 CC

4,100

.54%

1880 CC

131,500

22.2%

1881 CC

147,500

49.8%

1882 CC

605,000

53.3%

1883 CC

755,000

62.7%

1884 CC

962,000

84.6%

1885 CC

148,300

65%

1890 CC

3,950

.17%

1891 CC

5,700

.35%

 
*There were also a small number of 1892-CC and 1893-CC dollars in the hoard, but these were packaged in soft packs, which for the most part were for circulated coins, whereas the above chart is for uncirculated coins.

Prior to the discovery of this hoard, many of these CC dates were thought to be rather scarce as one can see by referencing an early Red Book.  The first sale of these coins occurred in 1972 and I have listed the 1972 Red Book value in uncirculated grade for the corresponding dates. Keep in mind that common date uncirculated coins were valued at $4.00 each.

 

Date

1972 Redbook Value

1878 CC

$16

1879 CC

$210

1880 CC

$65

1881 CC

$75

1882 CC

$35

1883CC

$30

1884 CC

$40

1885 CC

$65

1890 CC

$30

1891 CC

$28

 

Once the government decided to liquidate the hoard, the task fell upon the General Services Administration GSA).  These dollars have come to be known as GSA dollars named after the department in charge of the sales.  The GSA packaged these coins in soft packs similar to 40% Eisenhower dollars of the day and hard plastic cases.  If you will, they were the original third party graders.  Each hard pack came with a card with a serial number in the upper right hand corner.  The first two numbers of the serial number indicated the date of the coin, so a card that began with 82 was an 1882-CC dollar.  The hard plastic holders the GSA used were rather bulky by today’s standards, but served the purpose.  The cases were labeled in one of two ways, they either said “Carson City Silver Dollar” or “Uncirculated Silver Dollar.”  The hoard did contain some non-CC coins and these were put in the latter type holder.  These coins did come with a card that did not contain a serial number.  So if you have a card with your CC dollar but without a serial number, it is not an original card and has been swapped out at some point.

Once these GSA coins hit the market, dealers quickly discovered how bulky and cumbersome they were to cart around and began cracking them out to put into more manageable 2x2 flips.  I can remember working for a major wholesaler in the 1980s and breaking out hundreds of these coins, because you could not sell them otherwise.  Then came PCGS and NGC.  For years neither service would grade these coins in the government packaging so what choice did you have but to break them out?  All of this had the obvious result of lowering the surviving number of CC dollars in the original GSA packaging.

Getting back to the title of this article, is the packaging really worth the extra premium over that of a non-GSA dollar?  That ultimately must be answered by the collector.  Some of the premiums for the scarcer GSA dates can be as much as 100%-300% over that of a non-GSA coin in the same grade.  This reminds me of the registry coin chase, bid up a coin to unrealistic levels just because it is the top coin graded, forget about value.  Then when it comes time  to liquidate, the collector is amazed when they can only get a fraction of the price paid because no one really cares about the label, what really matters is the coin.


 

Scaling Back Prognostication

By Dave Carleton



I’m only going to touch on this subject briefly and that’s it.  I think I can speak for many here in New Hampshire when I say what a relief it is to have no more political commercials on TV.  We really only have one major television station in this state and it was saturated with those commercials.  The closer we got to the election, the more intense and frequent they became – then there were the phone calls from the pollsters (at least three a night), which just about put me over the edge.  That was in the evening after work. 

During the work day, I received many calls from people wanting to purchase bullion “before the election,” and wanting to know which way the metals would go depending on the outcome of the election.  My answer was basically, “I don’t know.”  And I didn’t.  It seems like every time I make a prediction on which way the metals are going, I’m wrong.  So I’ve made a resolution to try to not go there.  What I do say to the caller is that if you are thinking of purchasing gold or silver, then go ahead and get started.  My advice is usually to make several purchases over time and that, by nature, would be cost averaging.  Hindsight’s a wonderful thing and it seems so obvious looking back why gold, silver and numismatics performed the way they did.  However, when you’re in the middle of it like today, it’s very hard to predict.  The strong dollar is one wild card that I never used to factor into my buying decisions, but today it’s a huge factor.

Back in 1999, unbeknownst to us, we were recommended by a very prestigious newsletter, “The Weiss Safe Money Report.”  They had done their due diligence and recommended us as a safe place to purchase bullion.  One reason was because we only marked gold and silver up a couple percent over our cost.  They never told us of their recommendation, so we were blindsided (in a good way) with a ton of bullion orders and it has continued to the present time.
 
I remember one of the first calls I got when this recommendation came and at that time I was still unaware that Weiss had touted us.  The call was from a lady who stated right up front that she had no clue about buying gold, but if Martin Weiss said to buy it, then she was going to follow his advice.  I think at that time I asked her who Martin Weiss was.  Anyway, she said she wanted to make a purchase and because she didn’t know anything about gold, she was only going to “stick her toe in the water.”  So, I’m thinking an ounce or two.  She specifically wanted K-rands and wanted me to quote a buy price to her.  I remember at the time that I quoted $326.00 each.  Without hesitation, she snapped back and said, “I’ll take 300.”  I almost fell out of my chair.  I remember thinking if this is just her toe in the water, what would happen if she took the plunge.   
 
Now when I think back on it, I ordered 300 ounces from my supplier without having a nickel of her money.  That was 16 years ago, and my how things have changed.  I would never dare to do that in today’s environment.
 
By David R. Carleton


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. 


 

“One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Treasure”

By Paul V. Battaglia


 
This oft-quoted idiom has many other substitutes such as trash, goods, etc., but I believe my readers get the gist of it.  Upon Googling this phrase, I was presented with endless explanations as you can imagine.
 
Specifically, I am referring to junk silver as well as circulated copper, nickel and gold coins….sometimes heavily circulated.  “Treasure” in the actual sense of that word lies within well circulated coins that are often dateless, yet due to their being a one-year type coin, for example, reduces or eliminates many possibilities into a few or just one.  Yes, time and opportunity are necessary in addition to the owner’s willingness to permit your (obvious) cherry-picking.  One way to avoid blowing your cover is to purchase more of that known quantity instead of ONLY the cherry-picked items that your efforts have uncovered.  Many dealers place little or no time in mish-mash hoards, groupings or mixed-bag deals they acquire.  Politely asking to search through these deals can sometimes be rewarded with an affirmative reply.  (By the way, if nothing of interest to you comes as a result of your search, purchase something just the same.  After all, you took up the dealer/owner’s time and you were afforded a privilege, right?  Yes.  Good.)
 
The test of your integrity and honesty will come about once you present the item(s) for pricing IF they hitherto have not been priced, of course.  Most of the time the dealer/owner will give your choice(s) a hard second look.  Whitman’s “Cherrypickers’ Guide” will be pulled into the arena and/or you will be questioned as to why you want the piece(s) or what they are.  Never, ever lie.  BE HONEST, period.  Your forthright answer will often be met with a reduced price by the owner/dealer.  Most important, you will thereafter be remembered for your integrity; trust me on this statement.  I would suggest you make the purchase when a reduced price is offered to show good faith.  If a price is not offered and the piece is pulled away from you, such is the owner/dealer’s option… but that action is rather unkind in my eyes.  After all, you did state your intentions beforehand (there’s that HONESTY thing again).  I feel you earned the right to ask as to why those picked coin(s) were suddenly not for sale.  Be prepared for anything.  I have been escorted out of shops more than once in my fifty years of doing no more than intensely scrutinizing dealer’s stock.  Other owners will ask if you are a dealer, point blank, prior to looking at anything.  If I am refused service, I quickly opt and offer my wholesaler services to them instead.  This has often turned the tide since every owner/dealer also needs other wholesalers with whom they can trade/sell.  Once I established my integrity, I was thereafter then offered the privilege to look at their coins.  (Yup, there’s that HONESTY thing again).
 
I offer and invite my suggestions as to cherry picking these numismatic areas.  Note:  this is by no means all-inclusive or complete.
 

  1. 1793 Half Cent Liberty Cap, Head facing Left. A one year type, but the coin has to be a near planchet state of Poor-1 with no date and virtually no other details. Don’t laugh; I just placed our PCGS Poor-1 CAC green with a friend dealer-collector. I also recall one being cherry-picked at 1982 Orlando F.U.N. out of “a huge mess of non-descript ‘copper coins.’” The dealer probably scanned them quickly, spotted the rarity, and then just paid the asking price without quibble. Smart.
  2. Most worn, dateless (no damage) Half Cent Liberty Cap Half Cents, Head facing Right.
  3. Worn, dateless Flowing Hair Cents, Chain & Wreath reverse of 1793.
  4. Worn, dateless Liberty Cap Cents, 1793-1796.
  5. Worn, dateless Draped Bust Cents, 1796-1807.
  6. Worn, dateless Classic Head Cents, 1808-1814.
  7. Worn, dateless Liberty Head Cents, 1816-1857.
  8. Worn, 1869 Indian Head Cent….could be the coveted 1869, 9 over 9.
  9. Worn, 1873 Indian Head Cent….could be the coveted Doubled Liberty.
  10. Worn, 1888 Indian Head Cent….could be the coveted last 8/7.
  11. Worn, 1894 Indian Head Cent….could be the coveted Double Date.
  12. Worn, 1909-S Lincoln Head Cent….could be the coveted V.D.B. (I have seen a few of these coins where certification revealed an obliterated V.D.B.)
  13. Not too worn, 1917-P Lincoln Head Cent….could be a Doubled-Die Obverse.
  14. Worn, 1922, No D, Lincoln Head Cent….check The Official Red Book and CherryPickers’ Guide for specifics here as to variety.
  15. Not too worn, 1936-P Lincoln Head Cent….check Red Book for specifics here.
  16. Regular 1944-D Lincoln Head Cent….could be the “D over S.”
  17. Regular 1956-D Lincoln Head Cent….could be the “D above shadow D.”
  18. Regular 1958-P Lincoln Head Cent….could be the “Double Die Obverse.”

 
Now….two of my favorites:
 

  1. 1880 Shield Nickel in TRUE Business Strike. Authentication absolutely necessary plus prior review by experts in this field. Most challenging and (often) proves to be a PROOF.
  2. 1916 Liberty Standing Quarter….Miss Liberty’s lower gown folds (her right hand side) are markedly different than all subsequent Variety II quarters. Please, call me/us for particulars. I own five dateless 1916 Standing Liberty Quarters all picked from junk silver.

 
All right, do you get the gist of what I am pointing out?  The above information was gleaned straight out of my current Red Book.  This is not rocket science.  Your sound and common horse-sense will kick into gear upon a simple review of your Whitman’s “The Official Red Book, A Guide Book of United States Coins 2017”* and “Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins.”*  I start each and every day with my A, B, C’s because time and experience have taught me to apply the basics.  One can become daunted with rhetoric and a know-it-all attitude, thereby leading to errors that might have been avoided….or, fondly recalling the initial pleasures in numismatics when one first began….all because you hearkened back to your beginnings.
 
So, get cracking and open up these two basic, wholesome books.  Review your favorite series and become a professional student by embracing those “basic A, B, C’s” into conscious knowledge of an involuntary nature…like breathing, blinking your eyes and swallowing.  At the least, you will be proud of your deep love of this grand hobby.  At best, well, who can tell what each new day brings?  The possibilities are infinite and they do exist.  One final idiom… “If you watch the pennies (should be CENTS!) the dollars take care of themselves.” 
 
As in, “If you start with your A, B, C’s, you will reach X, Y, Z.”
 
Have FUN and give me a call so we can “talk coins.”

 
*www.Whitman.com


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


 

The 1856 Flying Eagle Cent

By Lou Roten



I remember having a Flying Eagle cent when I was a kid. I don’t remember how it came into my possession. Most of the cents I had, including many Indian cents, came from circulation. I had a very circulated example and was happy to have it.  I do not remember whether it was ’57 or ’58 and was certainly not aware of the large letters, small letters varieties.

Recently my interest in this short series was revived with several examples passing through RCNH. I began looking up prices and found that the PCGS and NGC sites listed the 1856 issues differently. There were no prices for mint state on the NGC site. NGC states on their website that they do not recognize any of the 1856 mintage as mint state.

Oddly enough, on the NGC Coin Explorer discussion of the Flying Eagle cent, the following paragraph appears:

“Flying Eagle cents have proved enormously popular over the decades, beginning with the pattern issue of 1856. It is unclear exactly how many 1856 cents were struck, but the best estimates fall in the range of 800 to as many as 1,500 pieces. Both proofs and business strikes were made, as well as originals and restrikes. All are valuable and have been extensively hoarded over the years, the most famous hoard of which came from the estate of Colonel John A. Beck, who at one time owned 531 pieces.”

Much has been written about these coins as mint states, proofs, restrikes and patterns. The details are probably well known to many of our readers, but not to me. This brief note is just the beginning of my looking into the story of this valuable and scarce coin.

 

Why does PCGS recognize both mint state and proof, while NGC has what appear to be conflicting statements? Snow 3 has been graded by PCGS as both mint state and proof, while NGC does not list Snow varieties. PCGS lists some mint state examples as Snow 3 with most unattributed; then lists the proofs as Snow 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9
 
NGC main listing does not list Snow die pairings; NGC Variety Plus does not list the 1856 Flying Eagle cent at all and no Snow die pairs are listed.
 
The combined populations listed of all varieties graded by NGC (424) and PCGS (1146) is 1570, a number which certainly includes re-submissions. Of the 1146 listed by PCGS, 300 are mint state, 846 are proof.


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
 
"I enjoyed coming to your table at Baltimore and Central States to see you and Paul and get some tips on grading and have you review my coins.  Why have you decided to give up your tables and walk the floor at some of the shows?  I’m sure some of your other customers feel the same way."   B.R.
 
Thanks B.R.  It’s an excellent question and one to which you deserve an answer!  It’s just economics.  We could no longer justify the expense of the tables to the business we were doing from it.  Part of that is our fault.  We come in a day early for shows and do a lot of buying and selling before the bourse even opens.  My primary goal at a show is to buy coins.  We use shows as a source of replenishing our inventory.  Everything that I purchase at a show goes back to the office.  If a friend came to us at a show and said he was looking for a coin and I happened to buy a real corker, I’d sell it to him.  However, we never will price new coins we purchase at a show and put it in our case. 
 
When Paul puts the coin in our showcases for the show, our selection of material may be limited.  However, a large factor was how few new collectors are coming into the business to get an education about coins.  Our loyal friends and customers can always page us to see us at a show.  Yet, fewer and fewer people are interested in learning about coins.  I used to spend time reviewing coins for anyone that wanted an opinion on their collection.  We also would have dealers and collectors come by to show us coins for purchase.  Since we have always tried to buy high-end coins for grade, it became an exercise in looking at low-end to marginally graded coins most of the day.  In the end, I found a better usage of my time was in seeing dealers without the anchor and expense of a table.  Corner tables at a major show now run from $1,000+ to $2,000+ per show. 
 
Always feel free to contact me at the office prior to a show and I will be happy to see anyone that would like me to help or review any coins.
 
We will have our usual Corner Table at the F.U.N. show in January.  I hope to see you there.


We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.  So please keep sending in your questions to me directly or email  Thank you.


 

December Highlighted Coin

1907 St. Gaudens $20 Gold Piece 
PCGS VF-30 High Relief - Wire Edge, CAC

 


Click To See Enlarged Image


Click To See Enlarged Image

 

Talk about the quintessential pocket piece.  Most high relief $20’s that we see, believe it or not, fall into the AU-Unc. range, probably because they were so unusual for the time and beautiful a lot got saved.  This coin is striking for it’s perfect circulated surfaces.  The reason we feel this was a pocket piece is because there is zero damage on the coin that you would normally associate with circulated gold coins.  The surfaces are still a deep yellow gold and as someone mentioned, it’s a gem but someone wore $40,000 worth of gold off of the coin by keeping it in their pocket as compared to putting it away when it was new.

The coin would be a great addition to a gold type set or twentieth century set.  There are so many pluses going for it, the surfaces are very pleasing to the eye, it is one of the most popular coins ever produced by the mint, it is PCGS graded VF-30, it is CAC stickered and most of all it is affordable at $10,400.


Answers: Identify The Coin
 

A.)


Walking Liberty Half Dollar

B.)

Iowa Commemorative

on Thursday, 10 November 2016 19:57. Posted in News

By Warren Mills

I arrived in Baltimore on the morning of Wednesday, November 2nd for 3 days of diligent searching at the Whitman Coin Show.  We are starting to see a bit of a turnaround in business activity.  So my sole purpose in Baltimore was to buy coins for our inventory.  As soon as I arrived at the hotel, it was all business.  I saw about ten dealers pre-show at the hotel and purchased something from all of them.  That’s a good start!  When the show opened on Thursday morning, it was one deal after another.  There was a fair buzz throughout the show and steady activity.  Some dealers had a good day on Thursday but a so-so day on Friday and vice versa.  I can’t say the market is hot, but I was pleased with the selection of coins I found.  It was unusual for me to find exceptional coins that we could immediately place in want lists.  The only drawback is that even though it was the best show I’ve had for buying in years, almost everything was immediately placed with customers.  If you go to our site, you will not see the usual mix we have after a major show.  Virtually every 5-figure coin I purchased went right to our eager base of client friends.  I spent anywhere from 2 to 4 times what I normally spend at a show and virtually all of it is gone already. 

Please view our new purchases which are now less than 40 coins, which is only 1/3 of the coins I purchased at the show!  It’s a nice feeling to sell 2/3rd’s of our new inventory before we can even post it!  However, I apologize for having fewer coins posted than normal but it’s for an excellent reason.  I will try to add pieces here and there as new items of interest come our way.

I’ve been asked again to participate in the annual Crystal Ball Survey for The Rosen Numismatic Advisory.  I will post the questions and my answers as soon as Maurice gives me the okay.  This survey is a good read for anyone with a mild to major interest in the coin market.  You will see it on our e-letter probably in December.

I can always use questions to answer for our e-letter too!  So if any burning thoughts are running through your mind, please let me know.


Thanks,

Warren

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.

Thanks,
Dave


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


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 + ':' + addy44845 + '\'?subject=Interview%20with%20John%20Albanese>'+addy_text44845+'<\/a>'; //--> or call me directly.

Thank you.
 
Warren


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.

Dave


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


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.

Reference:

  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.

Warren


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.

 

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