on Tuesday, 06 March 2018 15:30. Posted in News

  March 2018 Issue


How to Survive at Auction
By Warren Mills

Welcome to the March Edition of The Rare Coin Enthusiast.  This month I want to address the need to acquire coins from auctions.  This is my 39th year in the coin business and it is a true blessing to work at your hobby.  However, there are times when I encounter situations that can be very frustrating.  Allow me to give you a description of such a scenario.
We connect with a customer by phone, email, or at a show.  After pleasantries the question is, “Are you still buying coins?”  In many instances the answer is, “Yes, but I buy most of my coins in auctions now.”  I follow up with, “How come, you’ve acquired great coins from us in the past, why now mainly auctions?”  Usually it has to do with our inability to supply or find solid coins when there are tremendous amounts of marginal ones in auctions.  Auctions do have some great coins, but most are marginal at best!  Okay, I get it, but three recent encounters with clients made me see a need to address potential pitfalls here.
Auction houses are great at marketing their products.  Once your buying patterns are established, they email you about future lots that are coming up for sale which may be of interest to you.  This is fine if you know what you are doing.  Many buyers only have an idea of what they like.  They may have started buying coins with one or two reputable dealers, then figured out they’ll cut out the middleman and buy direct.  This is just enough knowledge to actually have a negative effect on the value of your purchases.  Here are a few examples that we recently encountered: 

The Morgan Dollar Enthusiast - He found a wonderful offering of dates and price ranges in auctions, checked out the scans, focused on the lots he liked and went to town.  When I reviewed his purchases, I found that he had no ability to detect original white from over-dipped bright.  His nicely toned coins had way too many marks to justify grades, but the marks were partly hidden under the toning.  Proof-likes and Deep Mirror Proof-likes had too many die striation lines to technically warrant the designations.  Older holder P/L’s and DMPL’s are particularly subject to this.
So after years of making these types of acquisitions, the client decided to send them all in for CAC review.  Only a handful CAC’d and although there was disappointment, I informed the customer of why the coins didn’t work out and the education benefits made it all worth it to him.  The customer received a better understanding of what to buy and how to grade.  We also re-established a relationship with a customer who has since acquired very nice dollars for his set from us.  He still buys from auction, but allows us to review all the lots ahead of time for him so he is getting the best value for his hard earned dollars.  We do charge a modest fee for this service.

The Beautifully Toned Proof Indian Cent Buyer - I love original, pretty toned Indian Cents, however focus on the keyword “original”.  Nice iridescently toned Indians take decades to acquire their beauty and to top it off, we’re talking about proofs!  However, I have an awful time finding any in the market that I am 100% sure are original!  I know that is sad and a shock, but there are many dealers that doctor coins, who have spent decades perfecting techniques to fool the grading services and retail buyers.  If I handle a handful a year that are 100% original, I’m lucky.  I see quite a few at auctions and in dealer cases that makes me suspicious.  In all cases, I err on the side of caution and pass. 
One collector recently told me that he sent in about 30 of his pretty toned Indian Cents, which were all acquired from well known companies, to CAC.  Alas, only one stickered, wow that’s a shock!  Again, the lesson here is don’t let your passion cause you to acquire coins that are a terrible value or compromise the liquidity for you or your heirs in the future.  Be patient and continue the learning process with honest dealers, so tens of thousands of dollars later, you’re not wondering what went wrong!

The Pretty Toned Silver Type Buyer - He recently decided to have his collection CAC’d.  We sent in 73 of his 19th Century type coins, all with varying degrees of bullseye and rainbow toning from PCGS and NGC.  Many were auction purchases, but a fair amount were from dealers. 
When I was previewing the coins, I noticed a lot of his dimes graded Proof-67 with bad surface hits, I couldn’t believe it!  I told him that small Proof coins should not have marks, and any denomination that has abrasions on Proof surfaces should be graded substantially lower.  Nice color can only forgive so much, especially on a Proof coin.  Also, many of the coins were lightly cleaned and/or dipped and toned back.  The surfaces at some point were tampered with.  There were also quite a few coins that I thought had color added and were Q-tipped with dip to give it that bullseye toned appearance. 
Remember, when an auction house sees your pattern of buying, they pigeonhole you to be notified on those coins.  Also, when a dealer knows your pattern of buying, you will be fed, or should I say stuffed.  In many instances, there will be no regard for the true technical nature of the grade.  It will be, “Sell it and forget it!”  Oh yeah, and about those 73 pretty toned coins we sent in to CAC for him.  Only 11 of them CAC’d, a success rate of only 15%!  I know for some dealers that’s good, but it should be much, much better.
In all of these recent cases, there is obviously still a lot to learn.  Remember, high grade coins are around, you just need to focus on the cream of the crop.  Why? So you can get real value for your money.  Beware of dealers running your bids up on you if you attend the auction.  I always stay at the back of the room so as to not publicize my buying for customers.  I want to attend just to get a feel for how the sales are.  I try to watch out for shill bidding and inordinately high reserves.  Also, beware of dealers calling your attention to auction lots and then kindly helping you formulate bids.  These coins could be their own pieces in the auction or coins that friends of theirs consigned and then they split the profit!
Many people buy in auction because they feel that under-bidders assure them of limited downside.  That is wrong!  If an under-bidder doesn’t really know what they are doing, they could be caught up in auction fever and guess what, that’s contagious!  Plus, a dealer or two may focus on a coin because they feel it is an upgrade.  They chase it for that reason and you have the fever, so you go right along and feel great to get it.  This is when you need to step back and examine recent auction sales to see why this is dangerous.  Look at the Gardner and Newman sales, some of those coins sold for great numbers.  Yet, less than a year later those coins are being auctioned again and voila, they sell for substantially less!  In some instances, less than half the original sale price!  Why?  Well, in many instances they are tainted.  The perception is that they didn’t work for upgrade, so here they are again.  Then they sell for substantially less.  There’s more to consider, but let’s not write the whole book today.
So what do you do? 
First, stop being a slave to auctions.  Align yourself with not just knowledgeable, but honest dealers that truly work to deliver value.  Go back to school and realize you don’t know what you think you know.  When you open your mind and not just your wallet, the value for your money will improve.  Also, you can still have the fun of bidding on auctions.  Just pay a fair compensation to a dealer to review lots for you.  This way the traps will be sprung on someone else.  In the end, you will end up with less coins, but the quality of the coins you do buy, will be way better.  And guess what, in many instances a good dealer can sell you great coins at a lot less money than what you’d have to pay in auction!

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.

Gold Eagles – Proof or Uncirculated
By Joe Presti

Most bullion calls we receive, center around the American Eagle gold coin in uncirculated condition.  These coins can theoretically be minted in unlimited quantities, as long as there is gold available to mint the coins.  The government produces enough coins to meet demand, and as such, mintages have ranged in the 500,000 to 1,000,000 coin range since the inception of the series in 1986.

On the other hand, proof gold Eagles are struck on specially prepared planchets, encased in a velvet box, and packaged in a cardboard outer box.  They have mintages that average around 50,000 coins.  Anyone who collects coins would readily admit that there are not many coins more beautiful than a proof gold piece, even if recently minted.

If someone wanted to purchase a backdated gold Eagle today, that coin would cost approximately $1346.50 per coin, plus associated costs including shipping.  That price is based on gold spot of $1321 per ounce and current premiums could possibly change, increasing or decreasing that price.  On the other hand, proof gold Eagles with their beauty and limited mintages can be bought for something in the $1375-$1400 per ounce range, with earlier dates and sets sometimes commanding a premium.  These proof Eagles, up until about a year ago, were selling for upwards of $300 per ounce premium over gold, as compared to a $50 premium today.

What has changed? 

Back in the 1980s, the government instituted regulations which prevented individuals from putting rare coins into their IRA’s.  The exception was that bullion of various types were still allowed.  What the government did not foresee was that proof gold and silver Eagles, as long as they were ungraded, were considered bullion.  As this loophole began to be exploited, some dealers saw an opportunity to focus on this area and began to sell massive quantities of these coins.  This caused premiums to skyrocket as high as $500 per ounce or more on a retail basis. 

The reason for the price collapse, appears to be two fold.  First was the lack of people funding gold and silver IRA’s.  The other was that some of the dealers that charged high premiums, went out of business.  Both situations resulted in decreased demand. 

If someone is interested in buying any of these proofs, we only recommend that they be in their original mint packaging, which includes the inner and outer boxes mentioned above, along with the certificate of authenticity issued by the mint.  By all means do not buy graded gold Eagles.  Many dealers have scammed the uneducated buyer on Proof-70 silver and gold Eagles, charging outrageous premiums based on a low population story.  Don’t be fooled!

The thought here is that if one were to purchase uncirculated gold Eagles, why not contemplate buying proofs, which have much more going for them.  Beauty, limited mintage and a history of higher premiums than the uncirculated version has ever had.

The Calvin Coolidge 1928 Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Half Dollar Presentation Piece
By Dave Carleton

Last Monday was President’s Day, and because we are located on the top floor of The People’s United Bank that honors the holiday, we found ourselves having a three day weekend too. This I thought would be one of our last chances to go skiing in Vermont before the snow melts. Our mountain, Mad River Glen, was extremely crowded on Sunday because of the holiday and school vacations, but the skiing was wonderful.

When we return back to our home in New Hampshire from these trips, we like to take alternative routes with the hopes of stumbling on some interesting sites or historical markers along the way. On Monday we really weren’t thinking about President’s Day at all as we traveled south on Route 100.  I was checking out the map and noticed that we would be traveling right through a town named Plymouth Notch, which happened to be the birth place of our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge. We decided to stop and check out the Coolidge family homestead.

When we arrived at the location, it was very quiet and peaceful and we walked around reading all the informative markers.  Then we noticed a building that turned out to be the
Calvin Coolidge Visitor Center with a parking lot full of cars.  The center isn’t usually open until the middle of April, but because it was President’s Day, they were open and there was a crowd listening to an orator reciting one of the President’s speeches. We came in towards the middle of the presentation, so we went in to another room and watched a movie of his life.

Some of the facts that we learned was that while he was Vice President to Warren G. Harding and on vacation at his homestead in Plymouth Notch, VT in August 1923, he was informed of President Harding’s untimely death.  Later that day, he was sworn in as our 30th President by his father.  He was known as the first President to address the American people by radio.

This is where the coin part comes in.  In 1928, during his administration, the Territory of Hawaii asked our government to produce a coin commemorating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Captain James Cook, the first European to come to the island.  At that time, getting such a request granted was almost impossible, but for some reason it was approved without any hold backs and President Coolidge signed the order. 

While touring the visitor center we also went into a room with all kinds of documents and some very interesting coins, like the President’s inaugural medal.  That’s when I realized that I had a connection to this.  It came to me all of a sudden, five years ago I had placed with one of my collectors the 1928 Hawaiian presentation coin that was actually given to President Coolidge by the Territory of Hawaii!

The US Mint produced 10,000 Hawaiian Commemorative half dollars, and out of that number 50 were made for presentation. They were originally referred to by the Mint as Sand Blast Proofs and had similar surfaces as the Proof gold coins from 1911 through 1915.  Many of these coins were acquired by non-collectors and were mishandled. The Proof Hawaiian my friend has is graded by PCGS as a PR-64, with all the proper paperwork that accompanies and authenticates the coin’s provenance. Not only is it the actual coin given to President Coolidge, but it’s the only Proof Hawaiian that CAC has ever approved. 

These are the kind of happenings that make me love coins. It seems to me that the saying, “a coin is a piece of history in your hands,” never stops ringing true.


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

Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills

What’s your viewpoint on toned Proof Indian Cents?  The rarity of them, originality and pricing?    - D.M.
Thanks D.M.!  This is a question that fits right in with the first article of this newsletter.
I love nicely toned Proof Indian Cents.  Copper tones differently than silver, so really nice colored coins are like works of art.  They were popular at shows in the early 1980s, so much so that many artificially toned pieces were being sold.  Then the grading services came along and wouldn’t grade blatantly artificially toned coins.  On many occasions at shows, I saw people that had no interest at all in original red coins.  They seemed to always want nice toned ones.
True original toned beauties are scarce!  Unfortunately, there are some dealers that spend years perfecting techniques to deceive.  It’s at the point today that probably less than half of the certified toned Proof Indians are close to original!  Now, instead of total artificial color, some dealers will enhance color.  This enhancement is still artificial, but a lot harder to tell. 
For the no doubt, original, pretty 65’s, start at $1,000 against a bid of $400+.  Proof-66 beauties are what a buyer will tolerate for the price.  With these coins, originality is of the utmost importance.  CAC is a good starting point.  They are very much aware of enhanced toning and try to err on the side of caution.  Remember, some dealers that handle these coins are making no representation other than they are nice looking.  To get the real value for your money stick with CAC coins, not all of them are nice, just the ones that you really like.

Feel free to email me with any questions you have.



on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 15:59. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  February 2018 Issue

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

My Responses to The 2018/2019 Crystal Ball Survey

By Warren Mills

Welcome to the February issue of The Rare Coin Enthusiast.  This month I have permission from Maurice Rosen to publish my answers to his probing questions about the coin market.  His newsletter, The Rosen Numismatic Advisory, is an excellent read about the numismatic and bullion markets.  Maurice picks a panel of numismatists every year that he feels has his or her finger on the pulse of the coin market.  I am honored to have been selected to give my opinions for over 10 years.  With all of the great numismatists in the country, it is a nice feeling to be regarded so highly.  His subscription information follows this article.  Also, if you have any answers that you would like me to elaborate on, feel free to call me or email me at your convenience. 
Thank you,

The Rosen Numismatic Advisory
THE 2018/2019 CRYSTAL BALL SURVEY, Parts 1 & 2

1.  The long-term price performance record for many of the popular coin areas participated in by investors has been poor.  What’s your take on this and how do you explain this to your collector/investor clients?

Mills:  Over-grading has diluted the quality, resulting in an over-supply and eroding of market confidence.  Also, due to aging and lack of interest in collectibles there are less people interested in coins.
2.  Aging demographics is the uncomfortable reality affecting our hobby, market and business.  A) Looking ahead 10-20 years when participation by many of our clients and fellow dealers will be greatly reduced or have passed, what realities will confront the industry?  B) What needs to be done to preserve and grow the hobby and industry?

Mills:   A) Oversupply and lack of buyers.  B) A concerted effort of education and interest from historical, aesthetic and economic points of view needs to occur.  If the industry doesn’t get in gear, we’ll go down the way of stamp collecting.
3.  What is the future of coin shows?  A) Take the ANA’s major Mid-Winter and Summer shows.  Can you see them no longer taking place 20-years from now?  B) How about the FUN Show?  What makes it so successful?

Mills:  A) Shows should dwindle down to very small shows and a few majors.  People still need shows to experience coins in hand and learn about grading.  The auctions alone with the vast amount of coins to see are an education in themselves as scans of coins are not enough to really get an accurate read on a coin.  B) The FUN Show is a nice break from the winter, and is exceptionally well run.  Dealers save their inventory to show at this show.
4.  It seems we are moving towards a cashless society.  How would that effect the coin market?

Mills:  The coin market has an aging demographic.  Many current customers are concerned and don’t trust Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies.  They are also worried about compromised privacy.  I feel a cashless society would negatively impact numismatics. 
5.  Assume that in the years ahead the price of gold is $5.000 to $10,000, and silver is well over $100.  How do you see the coin market at such a time?

Mills:  With proper customer education about rarity and desirability of numismatics, the market could be in a glory-day up cycle.  If we fail to educate potential customers, bullion will be the rage and numismatics more of an afterthought than a legitimate alternative for diversification.
6.  Staying with gold, premiums for generic U.S. gold coins have collapsed over the last couple years.  A) Do you see premiums staying low for a long time or not?  B) What are today’s best long-term values in this market?

Mills:  A) Premiums will stay low until a major event dictates a hard asset run.  Many current U.S. gold type coins are a half-point or more overgraded.  Is it because the grading services want bulk submitters to submit all their coins to them?  This creates over supply and inferior products.  B) I like strictly graded gold type coins, the premiums are small.  CAC MS64 $20 Saints could benefit for a lot of reasons.
7.  I’ve asked these questions in many past Surveys but it’s the #1 topic among my subscribers and clients.  A) How satisfied are you with the current coin grading system?  B) Are there any changes you would want to see implemented?

Mills:   I am disappointed.  The allowances make for bulk gold submitters has put many coins into the market that are one-half to a full point overgraded.  Circ. Silver type is atrociously graded.  Most now are so cleaned and altered that an original coin looks out of place!  Originality needs to be emphasized.
8.  The Greysheet (CDN) has made many changes to its price reporting over the last year.  A) How satisfied are you with their price reporting?  B) What changes would you like to see?

Mills:   The Greysheet is being used less and less.  I’m not impressed, though I like and respect the people involved.  I’d like to see changes to educate.  New columns need to reflect original coins.  Look at Bust Dollars.  Many sell for almost one-half of bid, yet original CAC coins bring over bid in the same grades.
9.  What are your Best Buys for Mint State and Proof U.S. Type Coins?

Mills:   I like the Civil War issues, also there are many Philadelphia, New Orleans and San Francisco mint type coins that are underrated.  Examine population reports and buy original coins only.
10.  What are your Best Buys in the Morgan and Peace Dollar market?

Mills:   Commercial grading is killing these series!  If it’s dipped white, the services 64 or 65 it.  That’s awful.  Original white or attractively toned MS64, 65 and 66 pieces is the only way to go.
11.  What are your Best Buys in the U.S. Commemorative series?

Mills:   WOW, commercial grading murdered this series!  Over-supply hurts, while monster toned pieces set records.  Buy strictly graded pieces with nice color that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
12.   What are your Best Buys in the U.S. Gold coin market?

Mills:   1) Look at the population reports and search for “P”, “O” and “S” issues.  Many go under the radar and are rare and cheap.  It’s a speculation but isn’t guaranteed.  2) Super gem and type gold should come back.  3) Nice CAC MS-64 $20 Saints are good deals.
13.  What are your Best Buys in any other area of your choosing?

Mills:   I like most Civil War issues.  The historical interest alone should add to demand.  Original only!
14.  What one fairly low-priced coin is a very appealing put-away coin for collectors and investors to accumulate for the long-term?  Why pick it?

Mills:   I like Seated $0.25, $0.50, and $1s in VF and XF.  The $0.25 and $0.50 pieces are very inexpensive with limited risk; the $1s have suffered some from so many cleaned ones being certified.  Nice pieces of all these coins are a neat area of interest.  History and eye-appeal and a good collector base are positive. 
15.  There is talk of new and/or added increased taxation on internet sales.  What would be the result on coin sales if that became a reality?

Mills:  Anytime an added expense is put on a coin, there will be some backlash.  Keep in mind, it would be across the board on all products sold on the internet.  I’d just expect more office or show business.
16.  A) Do you see further coin dealer consolidation and fewer dealerships in the years ahead?  B) What would that mean for the coin market?

Mills:   Yes I do.  As dealers get older and retire, there will be fewer around.  Just like our client base, there is a dwindling effect.  There are only a handful of sharp, young dealers.  The big dealerships will get larger, and their innovations and large budgets will get the remaining collectors.
17.  What’s the one coin you would love to own though it may now reside in a collection or museum?  You would have clear title to the coin.

Mills:   I’d pick a high grade, well-struck original 1794 Bust Dollar.  The reason is mostly sentimental.  When I started RCNH in 1990, I had one but had to sell it to help fund the company. 
18.  Your opportunity to free-wheel on any subject of your choice.

Mills:   I wish the grading services would stop grading so many cleaned circulated coins.  The price for all original coins will start to suffer because of the tidal wave of cleaned certified coins.  Look at Bust Dollars (#8 here).  This does nothing to educate people on the virtues of owning original, uncleaned coins.




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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.

The Spirit of Giving
By Dave Carleton

I can’t believe that January is already in the rear view mirror.  It seems like only yesterday we were gearing up for the FUN Show.  I’m sure Warren has shared some interesting observations of the show as he was all over the place.  I was stationed at our table and got to meet a lot of collectors and a few of our customers.  It is always nice to finally meet someone face to face after speaking on the phone with them, in some cases for years.  We had a great show and the convention center in Tampa was excellent.   

One thing I’ve noticed as the New Year begins is the wave of calls seeking donations for just about everything.  We’ve had to condense our giving to just a few organizations that we really trust.  Regarding this theme of giving I’d like to share an interesting fact I learned this week.  My wife and I had an anniversary earlier this week and we decided to go to the beach for a seafood dinner.  I called Jonathan Danch, one of my associates who lives up at the beach, to give me a recommendation for a good restaurant.  Jonathan is well connected and knows all of the great places along the New Hampshire coast, so he gave me an excellent tip. 

The next day, Jonathan called me to see how our day went and if we were satisfied with his recommendation.  I told him it was great choice and while we were conversing, I mentioned that we stopped along the way at a Lindt Chocolate Shop, where I bought my wife some chocolates.  Jonathan said it was interesting that I had stopped at the Lindt Shop because he had an inspiring story to tell about them. 

Jonathan Danch is among many other things, a Pease Greeter at the Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and has been for years.  Jonathan and a group of other volunteers have greeted service men and women who are either leaving the U.S. or returning from duty overseas.  They give every service person a bag with assorted goodies that have been donated from a variety of groups and organizations.  As it turns out, The Lindt Chocolate Company gives a bag of chocolates to every service person.  Jonathan said that last year 269 flights came into The Pease Air Base with an average of 150 service men and women.  Doing the math, that works out to be over 40,000 bags of chocolates that they give out every year!  I think it is nice to hear a story about a group of people helping out others and not expecting or looking for any acknowledgement.


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

Questions From Our Mail Bag 

By Warren Mills
With so much counterfeiting going on, can counterfeit CAC labels be out there?
Dave told me at the show that a dealer said to him that CAC stickers could be bought over the internet!  To me, this is a dealer that probably had such a horrid success rate of getting coins to CAC, that he is casting aspersions.  It is an awful thought, but at some point, I would not be surprised to hear about counterfeit CAC stickers!  Well, that leads to the next question…

How do you protect yourself if this comes to be?
The answer is simple, know your dealer.  An ethical experienced dealer will always buy and sell the coin in the plastic.  Find a dealer that is not just a label reader, but truly knows if the coin inside the holder deserves the grade.  There are high and low end coins in PCGS, NGC and lesser 3rd party grading service holders.  The same is true for CAC coins, there are coins that truly deserve the sticker and those that don’t.  If you are not a great grader, align yourself with dealers that are.  Also, don’t be so greedy that you put yourself in a bad position.  By greedy I mean that if you are offered a CAC coin at an abnormally low price, a red flag should go up.  You can always verify a true CAC coin by going to the website and typing in the coin number.  If you’d rather do everything on your own, this could be the easiest and best protection of all.
Please keep those questions coming!

on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 15:55. Posted in News

Dave and I left for Tampa on January 2nd, 2018.  The temperature in New Hampshire was a balmy 13 degrees below zero without the wind-chill factored in!  We were definitely looking forward to the warm environment.  Even at a little less than 50 degrees and vicious winds, it was very nice to be going to Florida.


We landed at 9:30am on Tuesday and the show didn’t start until 2:00pm Wednesday.  So, we hit the ground running and immediately started to see dealers that were offering coins prior to the show.  The mood was upbeat!  I was able to buy a choice piece here and there and Dave was showing the coins we brought to the show.  Surprisingly, there was a fair amount of decent coins to see.  Everyone looks forward to FUN, so I was anxious to see more coins from a large contingent of dealers that never go to any of the other coin shows.  As I tell everyone, FUN is a must attend show in the coin business.


Later on, we both attended the PNG luncheon and there was a lot of discussion regarding counterfeit coins and precious metals.  As I’ve said in our e-letters, this problem could explode, and the erosion of confidence in our industry could impact us detrimentally for a long time.


The show opened on Wednesday January, 3rd and there was a nice flow of activity throughout the show.  We met some new customers and dealers that made the show a lot of fun.  Gold coins appeared to be the strongest area of interest, which may be attributed to the recent bullion upswing.  Circ Type was abundant with only 1 of 10 being old time, original, standard coins.  Unfortunately, the cleaning and over grading of coins will hurt this market.


I had a once in a lifetime numismatic highlight.  I got to see the one and only 93-CC GSA Dollar in the hard plastic holder.  It’ll be a shock when the press release comes out on it.  I don’t want to steal my friend’s thunder, but a really good guy is working with this coin.  Also, the pieces with it were cool too!  The two 79-CC GSA Dollars in 64+ and 65+ were very nice and I saw the most beautifully toned Morgan Dollar I’ve ever seen. It was a gorgeous MS-68 example.  If the show is a barometer for 2018, it may be a very good year.





on Tuesday, 09 January 2018 16:42. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  January 2018 Issue

Copper Spots

By Warren Mills

I recently received an urgent call from a good customer about his 102 US Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins that are .9999 fine gold.  He was concerned because a couple of the pieces had small copper spots on them.  With the amount of counterfeit bullion in the marketplace, he was concerned about them possibly being fake.  He could not understand how with so much purity of gold that there could be enough copper to show through.  He thought for sure that the coins were fake. 
I explained to him that even though they are so pure, that other metals are still mined with the gold.  The US has used copper as a hardening metal with US gold since the inception of minting US gold coins.  Many dealers even look at copper spots as an assurance of the coin being genuine!  Many coins from other countries have the same copper spotting that can result during the annealing process.  I’ve seen many Canadian Gold Maple Leafs and a huge amount of Chinese Panda Gold Coins with annealing spots.  So please rest easy, the coins are genuine.

By the way, I would like to mention that in next month's newsletter, I should be posting the Maurice Rosen, Crystal Ball Survey.  I am one of a few dealers that were invited to answer questions for Maurice Rosen's yearly article.

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.

2018, Let’s Get it Started!
By Dave Carleton

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season and I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year.

As you read this, Warren and I are probably at the Florida United Numismatist (F.U.N.) Show in Tampa, Florida.  We’ll be there from Tuesday, January 2nd through Saturday, January 6th.  Warren has a Want-List as long as his arm and he’ll be diligently trying to find the right coins to fill those orders.  I’ll be stationed at our table and look forward to seeing some of my collectors and meeting new ones.

A short while ago, one of our employees, Donald Dee, told Warren and I about a conversation that he just had with one of his clients. The way I heard it, the man gave his son a couple of one ounce Gold American Eagles as a gift.  His son took them to a classy jewelry store in New York City and they said that they’d be happy to purchase them from him at face value ($50 per coin).  I’ll give the store’s buyer credit for being so bold, but that’s it.  Apparently, the young man didn’t know the value of the Gold Eagles at the time, but he knew enough to realize that he was being taken for a fool, so he left.  He called his dad to get the details and tell him of his experience and his dad straightened him out and told him that he should be offered approximately $1,300 for each one ounce Gold American Eagle.  The man was horrified about his son’s experience and called Don to tell him the story.  He could not believe that a fine jewelry store would pull such a stunt.

The minute Warren heard the story he turned to me and said that I should mention it in one our monthly missives, so that’s what I’ve done.  Even though I don’t believe anything was done illegally, it’s just hard to believe that there are people out there in fine establishments that are comfortable taking advantage of customers who happen to be naïve about hard assets.  I know that store will never get a referral from that kid, but I wonder how many times they’ve pulled that play and got away with it.

That story kind of dovetails into something that I wanted to mention.  Today I got an email from the Numismatic Crime Information Center (NCIC), They are a nonprofit organization that keeps dealers like us abreast of various crimes in the numismatic community.  We’ve been interacting with them for several years and in their latest donation drive they mentioned how much activity they have been involved in over the last year.  I’ll paste their message below. 

In 2017 the Numismatic Crime Information Center fielded over 1000 phone calls and emails from dealers, collectors and law enforcement.  Over 115 cases were reported to NCIC with numismatic losses exceeding 2.1 million dollars.  NCIC participated in 52 cases and provided investigative strategies to law enforcement on the remaining investigations.  These efforts resulted in the recovery of over $300,000.

We will continue our educational initiatives in 2018 by providing free training to law enforcement across the country on "Investigating Numismatic Crimes".  These classes provide officers with the basic tools and resources to effectively investigate a numismatic crime.

NCIC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and all resources are free to dealers, collectors and law enforcement.

An anonymous dealer will match up to $2500 in a matching grant campaign until January 1, 2018.  If you would like to donate go to www.numismaticcrimes.org or send to P.O. Box 14080 Arlington, Texas 76094

Have a safe and Happy New Year!!

I think these folks are doing a real service for our marketplace and I’m a bit surprised at the amount of activity this little organization gets involved in on an annual basis.  We support them and appreciate that they make us aware of stolen items and what to be on the lookout for if they are brought into our establishment.

Thanks and have a Happy New Year!  Warren will probably write a summary of his impression of the F.U.N. show in his professional and technical manner and I’ll write mine in my untechnical laid back manner.

Thanks again,

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.

It Has Happened Again!

By Joe Presti

The other day, a customer who has sold us some things in the past came in and asked about selling some “African silver.”  That phrase got the hair on the back of my neck to stand up because no legitimate coin dealer would use a term like that.  Only someone trying to make something sound more than it is would say that.  He told me he had Rwandan Meerkat and Water Buffalo 1 oz silver coins and Congo Gorilla silver coins.

So, I proceeded to treat him as I would treat anyone else who walked into our office.  I called our normal bullion wholesaler and asked what he would buy these coins for.  His reply was 5¢ behind spot silver, just what I expected.  Since I had the dealer on speaker phone, the customer heard and immediately became defensive.  From experience, I knew where he probably bought them and didn’t want him to think I was making a lot of money at his expense.  So I told him I would call the dealer he bought the coins from.

On speaker again, I told the dealer that I had approximately 50 of each coin available and asked the dealer what he would pay for the coins and his reply was a little more palatable.  He quoted $5 over spot for the Meerkat, $8 over for the Water Buffalo, but did not want to purchase the Gorillas even though he had sold them.  The customer would be losing money because silver had gone down since he purchased these coins, but it was much more than he was quoted when he called this same dealer on his own.  He wanted to sell.  When he told me the quantity he had was between 300-500 of each, I told him to come back the next day with the coins and we would consummate the deal.  I suspected the dealer would not honor his quotes for the quantities the client had.

Bright and early the next day he showed up at our office, silver in tow and I called the dealer.  Sure enough, the dealer who sold him the coins and quoted the higher prices the day before, would not honor the prices for that quantity of coins. Needless to say the customer was extremely disappointed with the transaction that never occurred, but we went above and beyond to attempt to help him the best and most ethical way we could. 

I tried to explain to this gentleman that although he had purchased his coins from a major bullion dealer, what he bought were coins that had limited distribution and only a few dealers in the country dealt with them.  In hindsight, he would have been much better buying silver Eagles because there is a much wider distribution of these coins.  Even if the dealer you bought from goes out of business, most other coin dealers in the country buy and sell silver Eagles.  Not many dealers buy and sell “African silver.” 

Questions From Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
I’d like to buy some silver, but I’m not sure what I should acquire.  I am leaning toward silver bars, what do you think?  -B.D.
Thanks B.D.!
I really like 90% circulated silver coins, also known in the industry as junk silver.  Right now, I like it for a few reasons.  It is denominated US coinage, accepted and well recognized.  What entity or country would bother trying to counterfeit circ silver coins?  It just doesn’t pay, so this offers a layer of protection.  On top of that, it is also trading incredibly close to melt value.  The premium above melt right now is only 2 to 3%.  The premium above melt for Eagles is about 15% over melt for nice, unspotted pieces.  The amount of silver bars and rounds in the marketplace gives me great pause.
As I said in earlier e-letters, the tidal wave of counterfeit bullion is just beginning.  It is going to get worse!  Try to acquire items that are less likely to be impacted negatively and compromise your liquidity.  I also feel that this will cause the future premiums for junk silver to escalate dramatically.  Get it now while the getting is good!
I also want to alert our customers to the fact that spotted and imperfect Silver Eagles trade for a discount in the marketplace now.  Don’t be fooled by a bargain price.  Also, watch out for esoteric private medals and world issues, they can impact your liquidity.  Premiums are a concern too!

on Thursday, 07 December 2017 17:14. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  December 2017 Issue


The 2017 Baltimore Show

By Warren Mills

Welcome to the December issue of The Rare Coin Enthusiast.  November was a whirlwind of activity for us.  We are seeing a huge amount of people coming in with coins to sell!  It got to the point that we were overwhelmed.  Alas, most are the usual instances of boxes of proof & mint sets, along with quantities of junk silver.  Very few people are coming in with any scarcer coins and when they do, we recommend that they consider certifying, CACing or holding on to them if they can.  We put a price on everything, but at some point, we feel that really choice material will enter a favorable up cycle again and that now is not the time to sell.  It is true that the base of clients for top quality coins is shrinking due to the aging demographics.  However, there are a handful of new serious buyers coming in with a more educated approach and striving for quality.  One affluent collector has spent over $100 million in a quest to assemble an Eliasberg Collection of top quality US coins in a very short time!  The future for top quality coins may finally be bright again.
The recently concluded Baltimore Coin Show was very good.  I was surprised that I saw a better selection of material than I had seen in the last few years.  It is very strange to be in a market where a wonderful 6-figure coin is actually more easily traded than a nice 4-figure or low 5-figure coin.  This really brought home the point that new buyers are not only interested in top quality, but are learning about high-end coins for the grade.  They are getting their education and entering the market with more discretionary income than most buyers have had to allocate in the past.
While I was attending the show, I had scheduled time to review clients’ coin collections and critique what they have been buying.  It’s a pleasure to see when the grading lessons are really sinking in.  One of our long standing clients came to me with a box of interesting key and semi-key dates of varied series of US coins.  I went through them all and gave an analysis of each coin.  His grading skills and market feel are now on par with many dealers in the industry.  He wanted to CAC some of his more expensive pieces, so I selected 10 coins and sent them to CAC for him.  I am happy to report that 9 out of 10 stickered!  The best part of it is that he is so appreciative.  We spend hours of time trying to help people with not so much as a thank you, sometimes going over their items for years and years with them.  Either way, it is rewarding for everyone to see when lessons are being learned.
I know that I’ve touched on this before, but a glaring example recently raised its ugly head.  We need to be diligent to help others and not fall into coin traps.  Many friends or relatives may not be collectors, but may actually be funding Golden IRAs and not even telling you about it. 
One last note, once again we’ve been asked to participate in the Rosen Numismatic Advisory, Crystal Ball Survey.  Maurice selects a panel of knowledgeable numismatists and asks for their opinion on a bunch of pertinent questions.  As one of the 6 participants, I am honored to have the opportunity.  With his permission, I will ask if he minds that we include the survey questions and responses in our next issue.  I hope you find the survey interesting and informative. 

Modern Proof Gold Rip-Off

By Warren Mills

The following is a case that we were alerted to.  Some of you may not know that there is a consumer organization that is lead by John Albanese, called The Numismatic Consumer Alliance.  Its sole purpose is to help people that may have been caught up in a coin scam.  We at RCNH dedicate our time when alerted to these situations to try and help people get some of their money back.  There is no compensation for it, but it is the right thing to do. 
As you all may know, the coin and bullion markets haven’t been good for almost 10 years now.  Coming into the end of the 2008, the market was strong with anticipation of continued activity and then came the financial correction.  The rare coin market stopped dead and the mind set for many people was motivated by fear to buy bullion for protection.  Bullion became harder to find and even with higher premiums, did well until 2011 and then began to fall.  We’ve been waiting for a recovery ever since.  Some people became interested in tangibles with no inclination for collecting, but thought for diversity that it made sense.  We are finding that many elderly people have been approached with starting Golden IRAs and to put Modern Proof American Gold Eagle Coins into it.  The problem is that these Proof Gold Eagles are being promoted as numismatic coins and in this instance, a client paid almost double the going rate that they should have paid. Right now, the premium for Proof Gold Eagles has dropped so much that they are about on par with uncirculated ones.  They may actually be a good buy now, but only at the true current market levels. 
If you or anyone you know has funded a Golden IRA in the last few years, you may want to take a look at it.  I hope that we can help this person, but it will be a long row to hoe.  In any case, we only recommend funding these IRAs with coins that are priced according to their bullion content.

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.

Taking The Red Eye

By Dave Carleton

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have an interest in coins. My grandfather collected them, my dad collected them, and then I collected them with a little help from my dad. The first coin my dad and I found that really set a fire underneath me was in 1959 and it was a 1955 doubled die Lincoln cent.

That first big find was the beginning of my weekly visits to the Souhegan Bank here in Milford, to gather cents to review and to return the rolls I had checked out.  I did this for several years with the constant hope to find that elusive 1909-S VDB or the 1914-D or another 1955 doubled die.  The coin I hoped to find the most was a 1943 copper cent.  I never found any of those dates and I was too broke or cheap to purchase them because I actually thought that I would find them sooner or later. I used to look at pennies until my eyes were bloodshot.

I haven’t sat down to look at thousands or even hundreds of pennies in years, but I’ve observed Warren doing it almost daily for the last thirty years.  He doesn’t just look at Lincoln cents; he looks at everything with a passion.  It’s amazing what he has found, especially in the variety category.

My appreciation for what Warren does was reignited last week when a gentleman came in with a collection he had inherited from his father.  Warren did the evaluation and I believe he paid 2 ½ cents for the Wheat Cents and, as usual, he told the gentleman that when we have time to go through the cents, if we find a better date, we would set it aside and pay a fair price for it. We wrote him a check and he was on his way.

Later on that afternoon, the man came back to our office and asked to speak to me as I was the one who scheduled his first appointment.  When I went out to meet him, it was apparent that he was a bit stressed out.  He told me that he had gone home after coming here and he went on his computer to review Lincoln cent prices because he thought that they would have been worth more than 2 ½ cents. He said that while he was researching the subject, he found that a 1943-D Lincoln cent was worth a ton of money and that there was one in the bag of pennies he brought in. Then he pulled out a sheet of paper with all the dates and quantities of each date and, sure enough, there was a 1943-D listed.

I was immediately excited and told him that if in fact it was in the bag, we would have brought it to his attention when we went through it.  Seeing how he was here and the bag of coins was right where it was left when he walked out, we looked though it. While we were looking, I took the opportunity to tell him of the many ways Lincoln cents have been altered to look like 1943 coppers.  Aside from copper plating a steel cent, I believe the next most common practice of producing a 1943 copper is to alter the 1948 by retooling the 8 into a 3. This is what I suspect we’ll find, but we’ll soon find out.  Wouldn’t you know it; we were down to the last handful of coins when I found a 1948-D with a scratch right through the 8 and it was very easy to see how this man had mistaken the coin for a ’43-D.  He had no idea at the time about such a rarity.

I tried not to be a pessimist, but I did mention several times while we were searching that the coin was probably an error as there are only two known as far as I knew, so when it turned out to be a ’48, he was more prepared for the letdown.  After he left, I had to take an aspirin for the massive headache I had behind my eyes. I couldn’t stop thinking about how many thousands of pennies I looked at years ago and now how only six- or seven-hundred would just about kill me.

This rare situation of me going through hundreds of coins made me appreciate what Warren does almost every day.  I still love coins, but I’m finding out that some aspects of the hobby aren’t as easy as they used to be!  


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

Questions From Our Mail Bag

By Warren Mills
Dear Mr. Mills,
I have acquired coins from many different sources over the years.  Now is my time to cash out.  However, I don’t want to sell for a wholesale price, I want to get a retail price.  Will I get a retail price by consigning my coins to an auction?   - G.F.

Wow G.F., this is a great question!  The short answer is no.  That is a big misconception about auctions.  Even the largest auction houses have commissions of 20% and the smaller ones can be up to 30%.  If you deliver a quality consignment and know how to negotiate with a good auction house, you can reduce that commission substantially.  However, if your consignment is of marginal quality, you will get less than what a reputable dealer may pay you.
Also, never ever consign bullion coins to an auction.  I’ve seen this happen with certified bullion coins that could be sold to a dealer for around $1,300 per ounce, but the consignor only gets $1,000 to $1,100 per ounce at auction settlement, ouch!  Your best course of action is to consult with a reputable dealer.  They will let you know what to consign and assist you with auction placement and descriptions.  This knowledge is very valuable.  You don’t want nice coins lost in a bulk lot or poorly placed in an internet sale with less exposure.  Then you can find out which coins should be sold outright and which coins should be consigned to get you retail or better prices.
Merry Christmas and God’s Blessings,

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