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  • The Rosen Numismatic Advisory - Part Two

    Kathleen and several other notable industry leaders were asked last month by The Rosen Numismatic Advisory to participate in the 38th annual Crystal Ball Survey. Each responded to questions about the state of the market, challenges faced by rare coin collectors and investors, and outlooks about the near future of the rare coin market. The Crystal Ball Survey is published in two parts and below are excerpts from Part 2. To view Part 1 click here.

    Part 2

    Rosen: Which Morgan and Peace $1’s look underpriced to you? Which look fully priced?
    Kathleen: I’ll focus on Peace Dollars as I don’t specialize in Morgans. My favorite underpriced date is the 1924-S in PCGS MS65 at around $6500. PCGS has graded only 78 pieces, with just 6 higher. This population has increased only slightly in the past decade. As for an overvalued date, the 1922-P in PCGS MS67 is too high in the $20,000 range. You can by 40 MS66s for the price of one MS67.

    Rosen: How can someone make sure they’re getting a good deal when A) bidding at an auction, and B) when consigning to an auction?
    Kathleen: A) Make sure you view the coins in person or have a reputable dealer represent you. Photos are a poor substitute. Never assume that just because there is an under bidder, you are getting a fair price if you keep bidding to the bitter end. B) It’s useful to also trust a dealer to negotiate a good deal for you. This is extremely important when figuring reserves, a venue and the auction firm to use. The hazards of not having such an advisor are if the auction house only works to fill their next catalog and encourages you to sell your items without reserves, which can be disastrous.

    Rosen: Which under-$1000 coin is so appealingly cheap to you that you would love to sock away a large position in that coin?
    Kathleen: Besides many classic silver commems, I really like the 1939-1942 Walking Liberty halves in PCGS PR67. These are beautiful coins, with relatively low images that have tremendous upside potential.

    Rosen: Among U.S. copper, nickel and silver Type coins, pick a few that are especially appealing to you with good investment potential, and explain why you picked them.
    Kathleen: I like high-grade Mint State Barber Dimes, Quarters and Halves. These series contain some really scarce and rare coins that are trading at levels well off of their highs, presenting excellent values.

    Rosen: Now, U.S. Gold Type coins. Please state your favorites with good investment potential.
    Kathleen: The $2 1/2, $5, and $10 liberty series contain many tremendously rare dates, yet sell for prices that are exceptionally reasonable considering their scarcity. Many have low mintages and/or low survival rates. They really offer terrific bang for your buck.

    Rosen: What is your outlook for the Modern Coin market? It is a large part of the numismatic landscape now. How do you see it developing in the future? B) Are there any specific issues with good potential you favor? C) Do you view the growth of the Modern market as a long term threat to the market for vintage coins?
    Kathleen: Modern coins are money-makers for the Mint, so as long as there are buyers, the Mint will continue to produce more. B) I don’t trade in the modern market, but some lower mintage issues can certainly offer investment consideration though buyer should be wary of paying premiums for high-grade, albeit common, high-mintage items. C) Buyers of modern coins are simply a different breed of collector than those of the vintage material. However, I have seen some modern buyers convert to vintage issues, so it’s possibly a positive rather than a negative for the vintage market.

    Rosen: Please use this space to freewheel on any topic of your choice relating to numismatics.
    Kathleen: 1) Do your homework before you buy. Attend conventions and auctions to view as many coins as you can. Take a look at coins online and compare the coin you are considering with online images of other coins of the same type, date and grade. The internet is an incredible resource and learning tool. 2) Buy only from reputable dealers. Ask long-time advanced collectors who they trust. Make sure that the dealers you buy from have a buy-back policy on every coin they sell. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they would pay for the coin to buy it back, assuming unchanged market conditions. 3) If you are buying or selling through an auction house, have dealer representation. 4) Buy what you like. If a certain series doesn’t appeal to you, don’t buy it, unless you are buying strictly for investment. The collectors who historically profit the most are those who truly enjoy and are passionate about the hobby. If you like what you’re buying, you will invest more time researching your chosen series and will become a better buyer as a result. The result will be more profit and more fun!

    The Rosen Numismatic Advisory examines issues and trends within the industry. The annual Crystal Ball Survey publishes the opinions and predictions from some of the industry’s most skillful and respected professionals. For copies of the full version of this report and subscription information about future issues and other reports, contact Numismatic Counseling, Inc. at MauriceRosen@aol.com  or call 516-433-5800.

  • The Rosen Numismatic Advisory Taps into Kathleen's Market Insight

    Kathleen was once again asked by The Rosen Numismatic Advisory to participate in the 38th annual Crystal Ball Survey.  Kathleen and several other notable industry leaders responded to questions about the state of the market, challenges faced by rare coin collectors and investors, and outlooks about the near future of the rare coin market. The Crystal Ball Survey is published in two parts, here are excerpts from Part 1.

    ROSEN: How do you describe the condition of today’s coin market? Is it an opportune time for investors to look for opportunities or not?

    KATHLEEN: Yes absolutely. The economy has forced many collectors to either cut back on their purchases or sell their collections, so it’s definitely a buyer’s market.

    ROSEN: What are the main concerns of your retail clients about A)the hobby and B)the market?

    KATHLEEN: A) Gradeflation is a major concern with the hobby. When the grading changes for certain series, as it recently has for Walking Liberty halves and Washington quarters, the populations explode driving down prices. This is only good for the grading services which get more submissions, as dealers and collectors will resubmit hoping for upgrades. B) Clients of certain segments of their market have seen dramatic price drops: those buying Classic Commems for example. Although price drops usually signal opportunity for buyers, it’s not always easy to buy into these areas.

    ROSEN: What are the best coinage areas for an investor to concentrate? Why pick those areas? What potential do you see for them?

    KATHLEEN: Two areas that offer particularly good value are high-grade Mint State and Proof Seated and Barber coinage. They’ve not seen any price increases in two decades, although very few new coins have been graded over that time period compared to 20th century series. Also, there are other areas at historic lows as well: MS66 better-date 3-cent nickels, Shield and Liberty Nickels.


    ROSEN: I just published a report on 1892-1928 silver commems. Am I beating a dead horse here or are commems in general (silver and gold) great values? Do you have any favorites?

    KATHLEEN: I’ve liked the value of these coins for the last five years, and surprisingly they have gotten even cheaper since then. This is one of the greatest areas of opportunity right now. 70 of the 144 issues have original mintages of under 10,000, yet remarkably many can be purchased in MS65-67 grade for under $500. My favorites: Gettysburg, Huguenot, Lexington, Lynchburg, Maryland, Robinson and 1936D San Diego in MS67. All have populations of under  100 and are at historical lows.

    ROSEN: A) How are your clients responding to the CAC and PCGS-plus coins? B) Do such coins cast doubts on coins without those extra grading attributes?

    KATHLEEN: We have clients on both sides of the fence. Many are advanced collectors who feel very comfortable with their own grading expertise along with that of PCGS and our opinions as dealers. They don't care about CAC one way or the other. But we also have a minority of clients who feel the sticker gives them an additional layer of protection. For them, coins without a sticker are often questionable. Plus coins are, in general, bringing substantial premiums to non-plus coins, although premiums have diminished in the past year as more plus coins are graded. I haven't found that plus grading casts doubts on non-plus coins. It simply is an "in-between" graded with an "in-between" price.

    ROSEN: How do you view the market opportunities for six and seven-figure coins since the announcement of the Pogue Collection auction sales?

    KATHLEEN: Until the August ANA auctions, the market for six and seven figure coins seemed to be going nowhere but up. There were quite a few bargains to be had in that area, however, in those late summer auctions. Quite a lot of high dollar rarities entered the market in 2014, out-pacing demand a bit. The fact that Stack’s Bowers is auctioning the Pogue collection over three years (2015-2017)will hopefully give demand time to catch up with supply.

    The Rosen Numismatic Advisory examines issues and trends within the industry. The annual Crystal Ball Survey publishes the opinions and predictions from some of the industry’s most skillful and respected professionals. For copies of the full version of this report and subscription information about future issues and other reports, contact Numismatic Counseling, Inc. at MauriceRosen@aol.com  or call 516-433-5800.

  • Lincoln Cents - A Classic Numismatic Journey

    lincoln_blog_picThe Lincoln Cent has been produced longer than any other United States design and in far greater numbers than any coin in the history of the world. Since its beginning in 1909, it has endured to this day with the same obverse, honoring our beloved 16th president. It was also the very first circulating coin to portray a President’s likeness. Although only the most well-heeled have the necessary resources to complete a collection, numismatists of all levels can pursue this fun and fascinating series as its collecting options are seemingly endless.

    Many collectors begin their numismatic journey assembling sets of this interesting, historically rich series due to its relative affordability. A good percentage also return to it when finances are more discretionary later in life. The design run features not only the most valuable error of all time, the 1943 Bronze Cent, but the most dramatic double die in all of numismatics. Due to the intense publicity the 1955 Double Die received, more people than ever began taking an interest in the hobby of Kings. When collecting, a premium is placed on coins displaying original mint red color. Red status is reserved for those deemed to have 85% or more mint red. A Brown cent is defined as having less than 15% red remaining and a Red-Brown shows 15%-85% of its original mint color.1914D_L1C

    President Teddy Roosevelt influenced changes in all United States’ numismatics designs between 1907-1921. He became acquainted with Victor David Brenner when Brenner was commissioned to do his portrait for the Panama Canal Service Medal. As the Centennial of Lincoln’s birth was approaching, Brenner had completed a plaque featuring a bust of the beloved former President. Thus the idea for the Lincoln cent was born, and the designer chosen. Brenner’s obverse displays Lincoln’s portrait facing right, with the inscription LIBERTY on the left and the date on the right. For the first time on a cent, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears along the upper obverse rim. Two sheaves of wheat frame inscriptions E PLURIBUS UNUM, ONE CENT and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. While the obverse design continues to this day, the reverse was altered in 1959 on the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s birth to feature the Lincoln Memorial.

    Look for Kathleen’s article "The Lincoln Cent’s First 50 Years" in next month’s Coin Dealer Newsletter.



  • Winged Liberty - An American Archetype

    The Mercury dime is an icon of a not so distant past.  It is a symbol of an awakening, a budding America. It was pocket change during the Great Depression and carried by soldiers of both World Wars. In the early 20th century, Teddy Roosevelt launched a campaign to redesign U.S. coinage. In 1915, the Fine Arts Commission rejected Chief Engraver Charles Barber’s designs for the three silver denominations in lieu of a contest between three renowned sculptors – Adolph Weinman, Hermon MacNeil, and Albin Polasek. Weinman’s designs won both the dime and half, with McNeil taking on the quarter.  Their goal was to produce silver coinage that rivaled the artistry of the gold coins done by Saint Gaudens and Bela Lyon Pratt in the previous decade.

    "Liberty of Thought"

    Weinman’s spectacular work on the dime is often overshadowed by the larger half dollar, but for such a small planchet, the design is quite ornate. The obverse displays a portrait of young Liberty wearing a pileus with wings attached, meant to symbolize “liberty of thought.” The winged matron is not original, and was used as far back as ancient Rome. The reverse use of fasces also dates back to ancient coinage and symbolizes strength (or war) and authority.  This is wrapped in the olive branch of peace. Both obverse and reverse motifs were thought provoking themes for a world on the verge of war.

    Weinman's Iconic reverse.The life span of Weinman’s dime lasted long after the design was discontinued in 1945. The Roosevelt dime was produced after the death of FDR, as the late president started the campaign to end polio with the March of Dimes. Mercury dimes, however, were regularly seen in pocket change until the removal of silver from our nation’s coinage in 1965.

    The Mercury dime brings to heart nostalgia for a past generation that has been deemed the “great one.” The coin designs from the beginning of the last century are truly the most artful in our nation’s numismatic history. Each is a tiny work of art representing freedom and strength, born of an America growing into a great nation.

    Pinnacle has acquired a fabulous collection that while not complete, contains 75 wonderful examples of this beloved series. View the collection and other Mercury dimes HERE.

  • Fallbrook 1853 Mint Set

    Fallbrook 1853 Year SetThe year 1853 represents an interesting time in our nation’s coinage.  With 30 different issues, nearly every denomination produced by the Mint is represented. Only two short lived series, the twenty cent piece and three dollar gold issues, are lacking from the 1853 roster. The year includes a couple one-year silver design types with the “Arrows and Rays” quarter and half dollar.  The gold issues include all denominations from Philadelphia and representations from each of the three branch mints: Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans.

    This carefully curated Year Set contains 27 of the 30 possible 1853 issues, along with two duplicates and a variety.  The Fallbrook collection focused on quality for the grade as well as eye appeal.  The resulting set has many green tag holders and other very conservatively graded specimens, many in affordable collector grades.

    Historical Background 

    From 1850 through 1875, more gold was discovered than in the previous 350 years combined.  The flood of the precious metal into the world market distorted the ratio between gold and silver prices. As gold prices declined, silver skyrocketed and the market prices of U.S. silver coins exceeded their face values. Melting became rampant and change for retail businesses dried up.  Merchants and bankers were forced to make change with three-cent silver pieces, heavily worn dimes and half dimes, and Spanish fractional silver.

    The Silver Coins of 1853

    The Coinage Act of February 21, 1853, was enacted to ease the hoarding and melting of circulating specie. It reduced the weight (and thus the silver content) of all the silver coins except the dollar and three-cent piece by approximately 7 percent.  9624470_revTo distinguish the new lower-weight coins, they were given distinctive designs.  For the quarter and half dollar arrows were placed at each side of the date, with rays emanating from behind the reverse eagle. The arrows were also added to the dimes and half dimes. The “rays” design format (for the quarters and half dollars) lasted only one year, with a reminder of the reduced weight carried on through 1855 in the form of arrowheads only.   Congress’ plan evidently worked and by early 1854, for the first time in U.S. history, there was an adequate supply of fractional coins for commerce.

    The Gold Coins of 1853

    The smallest coin in U.S. history also owes its existence to the California Gold Rush. The groundwork was laid for the gold dollar in the Carolinas and Georgia, where the nation’s first big gold rush took place in the early 1800s. That rush had a major impact on United States coinage, leading to the establishment of two branch mints in the region—in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in Dahlonega, Georgia—and a notable increase in the number of gold coins being produced by the U.S. government.

    The first gold dollars made were privately minted by German immigrant Alt Christoph Bechtler, who operated a jewelry shop in North Carolina. As gold dust and nuggets were the primary medium of exchange in the area, Bechtler offered to refine raw gold into coins.  By 1840, Bechtler and his family had turned out more than $2.2 million worth of gold coins, of which about half were gold dollars.25003698_rev

    The gold dollar didn’t take its place in the official U.S. coinage lineup, however, until 1849, when yet another gold rush—this one in California—provided the spark. The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 gave Congress the impetus to expand existing uses of the metal in U.S. coinage and find some new ones.   On March 3rd, 1849, Congress passed legislation authorizing not only gold dollars but also $20 gold pieces. Thus the nation’s smallest and largest regular-issue gold coins were born.

    By 1853, the U.S. Mints were producing all gold denominations except the $3 coin which didn’t begin production until 1854. The gold coins were in high demand and produced by Philadelphia as well as three branch mints. The value of silver had risen to be worth $1.06 in gold. And the early 1850’s saw the undervalued silver coins being melted and then sold for payment in gold coins. The gold coins were traded for silver coins, which were then melted and sold for gold. This practice, as mentioned earlier, dried up circulating silver coinages eventually leading to the Coinage Act of 1853.

    This offering, a year set from 1853, proves to be an interesting glimpse into one of nineteenth century numismatics' most prolific and varied years.

    To view all available selections from the Fallbrook collection, click here.


  • The Really Big Show


    Another World’s Fair of Money has come and gone. It’s like any other coin show, except bigger. A lot bigger. A bigger bourse, more tables, more dealers, more exhibits, more collectors, more coins. As anticipated, it was an exceptionally active (and long!) week of both buying and selling. Our appreciation goes out to all those dealers and collectors who stopped to chat or do business. Between dealer setup on Monday until closing on Saturday, we saw hundreds of old friends as well as met quite a few new faces. As usual, we did little roaming around, as the business came to us. It is amazing how many contacts you develop when you’ve been in the industry for over 25 years.

    On the buying side, we perused well over 10,000 coins to acquire those 200 or so special pieces that met our criteria. This translates to coins that possess above a certain benchmark of rarity, either at their grade level or intrinsically. From there an item is judged on its eye appeal and technical attributes for its respective grade. Price and relative value compared to other segments of the market are also contributing factors. A final consideration is current demand from our clientele and the overall marketplace.

    Flowing Hair, along with Draped and Capped Bust issues remain especially strong. The same goes for early, rare date and proof gold. It’s impossible to keep enough of those items in stock. Seated Liberty and Barber material continue to exhibit weakness. The values present in these segments are so great, however, we continue to acquire a few of these series’ best examples. Better-date Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters and Walking Liberty halves remain excellent sellers, and as such were well represented in our buying endeavors. Classic Silver Commems remain at impossibly low prices, so we continue to be the market maker in this area as well. Some of our favorite new purchases are a gorgeous 1904-S Barber Half in PCGS MS66; a glowing 1918-S Standing Liberty Quarter in PCGS MS66FH; an amazing 1938-D Buffalo Nickel in PCGS MS68; and a lovely 1917-D Mercury Dime in MS66FB. We brought home coins in many series and most price ranges, so hopefully a bit of something for everyone. Our inventory has probably never been so full and diverse as it is right now, so enjoy browsing and we look forward to hearing from you.


  • 10 Things to Do in Chicago without Going to Chicago

    The Pioneer Memorial Statue, as featured on the reverse of the Elgin Classic Commem, is located a short drive from the Donald Stephens Convention Center. The Pioneer Memorial Statue, as featured on the reverse of the Elgin Classic Commem, is located a short drive from the Donald Stephens Convention Center.

    We are busy preparing for the upcoming American Numismatic Association's annual World’s Fair of Money. This year’s show is billed as Chicago. Much has been said about the fact that it is actually hosted in Rosemont. I’ve stood on my soap box several times berating both the ANA and CSNS for overexposing the Chicago hinterland with consecutive major shows in the same area. This trend appears to be what we’re stuck with for at least a couple more years. So as a favor to rare coin collectors, their families, and for dealers and their spouses, I give you “Ten Things to Do While Attending This Year’s ANA Convention in Chicago, without actually travelling to Chicago.”

    1. For the die hards, the ANA is sponsoring an “Oktoberfest in August,” a kickoff event. Meet up with fellow collectors and dealers at this ANA sponsored event. Click HERE to find out more about this and other ANA events.
    2. For the classic commemorative collector, visit a cool coin related site nearby. In Elgin, IL, just a short drive from the convention center you can see Trygve Rovelstad’s “Pioneer Memorial” as featured on the reverse of the Elgin Centennial Half Dollar.
    3. Into sports? Get your hoop dreams on either Sunday before or after the show, with the Chicago WNBA team the Chicago Sky. They play at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL. Tickets surely available.
    4. Go shopping – The Fashion Outlets of Chicago are located in Rosemont and is loaded with upscale shopping, view a store list HERE. For a bit of bargain hunting you might chose Wolff's Flea Markets located at the Allstate Arena. For hours of operation and other information click HERE.
    5. For the party minded, on Thursday there is a group called Wedding Banned. The gig is to pick two attendees to act as bride and groom, skip the ceremonies and get right to the party. Click the link above to find out more. They will be playing at the MB Financial Park just walking distance from the convention center.
    6. For the more serious types, this museum should be chocked full of historical significance. A sobering outing that would surely enlighten many of us. Evanston IL, just a short drive from Rosemont, is home of the Illinois Holocaust Museum.
    7. For the adventure seeker, there is a company called iFly. They operate an indoor skydiving facility that recently opened nearby. Book reservations HERE.
    8. For the less adventurous, you might try the Hummel Museum, donated to the city by the convention center’s namesake Donald Stephens. Visit and view hundreds of the popular German figurines.
    9. Although not up to true Chicago dining standards, there are numerous restaurants in and around the convention center.  Ask your concierge or look HERE
    10. I couldn’t come up with a tenth. But, who needs ten other things to do, when the biggest and best coin show of the year is in town!

    These were not listed in any particular order and the list is in no way meant to promote or endorse any of these sites. But, please come see us at table #430 and tell us what you did. Or visit www.Pinnacle-Rarities.com immediately after the show to view our new purchases and show reports. Hope to see you there!

  • Buffalo Nickel Basics

    Buffalo Nickels A quick primer on the Buffalo nickel series.

    As a continuation of the drive to beautify the nation’s coinage that began with Teddy Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens revamping the gold denominations, all five minor U.S. coins received design upgrades between 1909 and 1916. In 1913, Charles E. Barber’s Liberty Head nickel was replaced by the Buffalo nickel of sculptor James Earle Fraser, who formerly worked as Saint-Gaudens’ assistant. The obverse renders an authentic portrait of a Native American warrior facing right and the initial reverse (Type 1) depicts a bison on a raised mound.  As the words “FIVE CENTS” were quickly showing wear on the initial design, a modification (Type 2) removing the mound was made by Charles Barber.

    Over 1.2 billion Buffalo Nickels were minted at three Mints: Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver.  Circulation strikes were issued from 1913 through 1938.  In most years they were struck at all three active Mints, but none at all were produced in 1922, 1932 and 1933.  Additionally, Denver didn’t mint any for the years 1921, 1923, 1930 and 1931.  The Philly mint struck no nickels in 1931 and the final year, 1938.  And San Francisco didn’t create any in 1934 or 1938.  The 1938-D/S was produced when it was decided that Buffalo nickel dies would not be sent to San Francisco during the issue’s final year.  Reverse dies earmarked for San Francisco were instead repunched with D’s and produced in Denver.  There are a total of 64 regular issues spanning 23 production years.

    Proofs were struck from 1913 until 1916 and again in 1936 and 1937. Mintages range from a low of 600 for the 1916 to a high of 5,769 for the final proof issue in 1937.  (In the late 1980s, five 1927 so-called Specimens were also discovered.)  Proofs from 1913 to 1916 display a matte finish and exhibit a slight granularity and frostiness.  For the most part, this style was not favored by collectors, and mintages declined steadily due to weak demand.  After a twenty year hiatus, Proof sales resumed with the more traditional “brilliant” or reflective style, which was much more favorably received.  There are actually two different Proof varieties in 1936: The Type 1, Satin finish, which is semi-prooflike; and the Type 2, Brilliant finish, which is more highly mirrored and reflective.  The 1937 also features the Brilliant finish.

    The Buffalo nickel has been resurrected not once, but twice – the first time as a 2001 commemorative silver dollar, and again in 2006 as a $50 gold bullion coin proving its enduring appeal. The series hailed from the time when renowned artists created some of numismatics’ all-time best designs.  We continually seek out high quality examples of this series, so if you are interested in collecting these beloved coins, check out our current selection.


  • The Brief Life of the Two Cent Piece

    2c Series A quick overview of the two cent series.

    The denomination, designed by James Longacre, was struck for a mere ten years from 1863 (patterns
in 1863, circulating coins beginning in 1864) until 1873. Prototype patterns dated 1863 and early 1864 Proofs were struck with a small letter legend. The first business strikes of 1864 were produced from dies made from the same Small Letter variety hub.  A new hub with the Large Letter variety was used to make dies for the majority of the 1864 coins and for all subsequent dates of the denomination.

    During the first couple years of the Civil War, virtually all U.S. coinage vanished from circulation. Hoarders, speculators and frightened Americans set aside every gold, silver and even base-metal coin they could obtain.  Starved for coinage of any kind, Americans embraced the Two-Cent piece when it made its debut. Acceptance and mintage levels fell off dramatically after the war, however, as other coins made their way back into circulation. Fewer than 3.2 million Two Cent pieces were struck in 1866 and by 1870 production dropped precipitously below the one million mark. Business strikes hit rock bottom in 1872, when the Mint issued only 65,000 pieces for circulation. Finally in 1873, only proofs were produced. In all, the Mint coined just over 45.6 million business strikes and just over 7,000 proofs. Proofs were struck in each of the series’ 10 years.

    Despite its failure as a medium of exchange, the Two-Cent piece made an enduring contribution to the nation’s coinage history as the coin that introduced the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Until then, U.S. coinage had carried no reference to a higher power. That change was largely attributed to the religious fervor created by the Civil War.

    Due to its short duration and absence of great rarities, this is a set that many collectors can complete by date (especially considering that only one mint—Philadelphia—produced this coin).  The Proof set is sometimes assembled with ten coins (one of each date), eleven coins (both varieties of the 1873) or twelve coins (including the extremely rare 1864 Small Motto). In addition, the set can be assembled in Brown, Red & Brown, Red or a combination of the three. We recently acquired a lovely group of six of the ten proof dates along with one business strike. All are gem quality Red-Brown examples, which represent terrific bargains compared to their full Red counterparts.

    Take a look…or two!

  • Gold, Gardner and Government - A show report for the Whitman Summer Baltimore Expo 2014

    Baltimore 2014

    The summer Baltimore Expo is generally the slowest of the three shows put on by the great folks at Whitman. This year’s show was no different. The slower paced summer event was a bit more quiet than the Spring show, as expected, but some the show did have a buzz. Unfortunately the buzz wasn’t a result of large numbers of collectors clamoring for coins. Instead, the sources were recent events leading into the show. The three things that everyone was talking about – gold, Gardner and government.

    Gold showed some strength coming into the show. The yellow metal bounced back from recent loses to regain levels lost since the first quarter of this year. Silver too headed back over $20. Positive gains in the precious metals market always provide a good back drop to trading.

    Another big event that was on the tip of everyone’s tongue was the recent Eugene Gardner sale in New York by Heritage auctions. The sale featured many amazing coins with Part One hammering just shy of $20 million. Many exciting examples came out of the sale, with dealers opining about the overall strength the sale showed.

    Another topic at the show held so close to DC, were a pair of legislative movements brewing which will directly impact the hobby. One is the Internet Fairness Act. This bill will force dealers to comply with sales tax laws from each and every state and municipality to which a dealer sells coins. This would force each dealer to independently monitor rare coin tax laws (which differ state to state) as well as county and city sales tax laws (which differ from county to county and even city to city within a county). And it will open every dealer to scrutiny from every state, municipality and even tribal governments. The bill passed the Senate last year, but has hit a snag in the House of Representatives. The main hold up is the awareness that compliance would be an extreme burden for businesses as no comprehensive data base for various laws and regulations are in place. And, currently 45 state require a “use tax” on goods purchased from out of state vendors so this bill could be considered as a bit redundant. However, “use tax” has proven difficult to accurately enforce. The other bill is what was titled “Operation Choke-Point." The idea behind this is to allow banks to terminate relationships with businesses listed on a government list as high risk. Going into the show, rare coin dealers were on that list. Ex-Senator Jimmy Hayes, who work closely with ICTA (Industry Council for Tangible Assets) and the Gold PAC was quoted in Greysheet (Vol. LII No.26) that he “does not believe that coin dealers will be a target of this overreaching initiative by the DOJ.”

    So despite slightly slower than optimal activity and attendance, there was still plenty to talk about. Additionally I obtained a copy of the new book Morgan Dollar, and you can read my review here. And of course, we did manage to pull a few nice items from the bourse as well as from our extended client base. Enjoy our new purchases here, and we look forward to our next major outing – the ANA – Chicago.

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