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Archive for the ‘knowledge is power’ Category

Over the years, as an avid collector of all things related to numismatics, I have talked to many colleagues who accurately regard themselves as true, “bona fide collectors”.  That is to say, they have absolutely no interest in discussing their collection as an investment instrument under any circumstance.  Well almost any circumstance.  They will rock back on their rears when they start talking about how much their AU-50 1909 S VDB cost them back in 1957.  Yes, they will remind you that they have made some good purchases over the years.  However, they most likely will say they have no desire or interest in “investment grade or investment quality coins” right after telling you about that very nice Lincoln cent.  They are investors aren’t they?  They say they are collectors and collect for the pure enjoyment of participating in the hobby.  They often remind you that it’s the hunt that drives them year after year, looking for that one special coin(s), book or piece of paper money to add to their collection…and they are dead serious and proud of that pursuit.  However, aren’t these collectors also investors by the simplest of definitions?  They have invested in America’s future by investing (collecting) in her past!

 

I know a number of collectors that fall under the definition of “bona fide collector” and they are some of the most knowledgeable and enjoyable people you will ever find when it comes to discussing collecting or any other topic as far as that goes.  I guess the simple point they make is that making money is not the most important aspect of their collecting activities.  Money has not been the driving force that has kept their interest in collecting alive over the many decades of what they consider a very nice leisure activity.  In addition to being quite knowledgeable about the history of the coin series they find most interesting, in general, they are always willing to share their collection with you, seek your opinion, giving new and young collectors sound advice and in the end, everyone gains an abundance of new knowledge and new friends.

 

If you talk to these people long enough you will generally find that they have no plans of ever selling their collection.  Talk to them a little longer and you will find out why they will never sale.  Very often, they are going to pass their collection on to future family generations.  I know one gentleman that has assembled five complete sets of Indian Head Cents in EF to MS 65.  They will go to his five grandchildren.  I have seen three of these sets and they are truly amazing.  Beautifully matched in color and quality and just about as problem free as you can imagine.  These sets have been assembled over a forty year period.  A truly remarkable task has been accomplished by this gentleman, reflecting on his own personal character as well as his dedication to pass not only his interests on to his children and future generations, but also the history of our country.

 

A second gentleman I met many years ago has put together three complete sets of Indian Head Cents for his grandkids.  To add to the hunt, he is attempting to upgraded each coin in every set to “four full diamonds”.  What a goal.  His sets are in the grade range of EF to AU 58.  Another wonderful accomplishment and he knows hel’ll never get full diamonds on all the coins, but he keeps looking.. 

 

I know individuals who have inherited multiple Lincoln Cent and Buffalo Nickel collections from a previous generation.  These people are not collectors but continue to hold the collections in hopes of future generations taking interest in a hobby enjoyed by a past generation.  These are remarkable coins that are properly stored and cared for and just waiting for their next custodian. 

 

I could go on but I think the point has been made.  These collectors have had a goal to leave something special to their families that gave them great enjoyment and satisfaction over many years.  They didn’t call themselves investors, but if fact they were.  All of these sets have greatly appreciated over the years.  It doesn’t matter who reaps the benefits of the financial gains, these gentleman have had a great experience collecting and assembling something they love and because they stuck with quality purchases, and made the key and semi-date purchases, they indeed have made a handsome investment over time. 

 

Any collection that has been assembled by a “bona fide collector”, as they might call themselves, stressing strike, luster and eye appeal, have done very well over the decades.  You don’t have to spend a million dollars, or make a million dollars on the sale of a collection to be both an astute collector as well as an investor. 

 

Collecting and investing in coins is synergistic!

 

COLLECT OR INVEST IN AMERICA’S FUTURE BY COLLECTING AND/OR INVESTING IN HER PAST!  IT IS TRULY AN AMAZING STORY FOR ALL GENERATIONS.

 

 

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On Sunday, September 14th, 2008 in Beverly Hills, CA, Ira and Larry Goldberg will be auctioning The Ray Rouse Collection of United States Half Cents.  There are a number of great opportunities for acquiring some highly desirable Half Cents to add to your exiting investment portfolio

The first one to get my attention was lot 31, a 1796 C-1 (R6) in Fine 15+.  This is the No Pole variety pushing a grade of VF 20.  This coin was plated in the Gilbert half cent book and in Wayte Raymond’s standard catalogue to illustrate the No Pole variety.  This coin comes with a long distinguished provenance.  Wonderful example.

A second desirable Half Cent, lot 32, is another 1796 issue, this time the C-2, an R4 in VF 30.  This issue is the With Pole variety.   It also comes with an impressive provenance.

Still another treasure is found in lot 39, an 1802/0, C-1 R6 Over  date, 2 over 0, reverse of the 1800.  Graded at VG 10. 

This is going to be a very strong and exciting auction.  Visit Goldberg’s website for their listing of other rarities

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Hard Time Tokens are Alive and DOING WELL! The Dice-Hicks’ Collection Part I (7-28-08)

Numismatics is enjoying an absolutely astonishing time despite the down turn in the economy.  Just one simple point to be made here and that is, the rare become increasingly rare and there you have the enigma to this market! 

This last week, Stacks offered the James E. Dice and M. Lamar Hicks collection of Hard Time and Merchant Tokens.  This is indeed a very unique collection in many ways, not the least of which was the fact that the two gentlemen built the collected as a team.  How did this strategy work?  Just take a look at the catalogue and admire the rarities they managed to assemble and the answer is pretty impressive.  I have often heard individuals describe the rarity of a coin as one that only comes across the auction block every 5-10 years (certainly on way of looking at it) but, read on if you really what to know what the true meaning of rarity is in numismatics.

 Also keep in mind the great social and financial significance these Hard Time tokens represent.  Hard Times tokens were issued due to an unusual period in the financial history of the United States and one that was not to be unique!

 

Just a bit of history:  In President Andrew Jackson’s 1832 campaign for reelection (served from 1829 until 1837), he was passionately opposed to the Second Bank of the United States due to what he considered fraud and corruption in this powerful institution.  Jackson had the bank investigated and concluded that the investigation established beyond doubt that the bank had been actively engaged in attempting to influence the elections of the public officers by means of its money.”. 

The Second Bank of the United States had been chartered in 1816, five years after the expiration of the First Bank of the United States.  The Second Bank was founded after the War of 1812 when it was realized that without a national bank (the charter on the first bank was allowed to lapse) it would be impossible to fund another war such as the one just fought.  It was also founded out of desperation to stabilize the currency during the administration of President James Madison.  The Second Bank of the United States was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was said by opponents to control the money supply in favor of the wealthy merchants as mentioned above.  The bank issued its own currency, quickly became the most stable paper money supply in the land and did exercised considerable control over credit and interest rates throughout the country.

When Jackson was reelected President he did manage to abolish the bank despite opposition from Henry Clay who tried to extend it’s charter for an additional four years.  The bank was always a privately owned institution and lost its Federal charter in 1836 and ceased operations in 1841.  While attempting to close the bank, the president of the bank, Nicholas Biddle, tightened the money supply which resulted in a financial panic.  While other banks issued paper money, they did so with little or no gold or silver backing and quickly failed.  By 1837 over 100 banks had failed and the small change necessary for everyday commerce began to disappear.  

Merchants began to issue tokens to provide a means for the public to deal with this small change shortage.  It is no surprise to any student of these historic tokens the frequent and almost common political or satirical nature of these issues, much like the satire found on the Conder tokens that were used in England during the late 18th century. 

The tokens of the period 1832-1844, during the time when Jackson, Van Buren and John Tyler served as president are classified as the Hard Time issues. During this time America entered a depression, many banks were forced to close, and legions of people lost their savings. 

 

Some Highlights from the Auction:

 

Lot 3125 was certainly one of the top prizes in the Dice-Hick’s collection.  It was a Huckel, Burrows & Jennings, 1836, brass, Merchant Token (Low 102) with a R7+ rarity rating (suggesting as few as four being known).  It is the only St. Louis, Missouri Token in the Hard Time Series and therein resides it desirability and very unique position within the series.  Huckel, Burrows & Jennings were Dealers in Groceries and “Choice Wine”.  It would be interesting to know the kinds of wine and where they likely came from during this historical period.  Maybe there is a wine expert out there that can help us!

This company was also in the business of serving as a “Boat Store and Ship Chandlery” and was located on Main Street in Saint Louis.  What a unique piece of Early American History.

The coin was graded choice almost uncirculated.  Considerable mint luster remained in the protected areas as described in the catalogue write up.  A second example of this token exists in the American Numismatic Societies collection.  As the present token has made two of the 3 or 4 auction appearances during the last 100 years, this was truly the chance of a life time for some astute collector to add such a historically significant and desirable token to ones collection.

The Huckel, Burrows & Jennings Merchant Token sold for $80,500, (including the buyers’ fee).  On June 23, 2004, this exact token sold at auction, by Stacks as Part IV of the John J. Ford collection, for $60,375 (including the buyers’ fee).  The pedigree of this coin extends back to F.C.C. Boyd, New Netherlands Rare Coin Company, Horace Louis Philip Brand and Virgil M. Brand. 

The Huckel, Burrows & Jennings Merchant Token: A TRUE NUMISMATIC RARITY SIMPLY DEFINED BY IT MERE EXISTANCE AND NOTABLE PEDIGREE.

To view this lot please go to this link.

More highlights to come.

Thanks for Visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coin collectors, old and new, as well as many non-collectors, often wonder these days whether the coins in their pocket (or modest collection) are worth more than their face or bullion value.  The following are basic factors that in general influence a coins value.  No rocket science here, just common sense.

How rare is that Lincoln cent I just found in the parking lot?  It’s for sure old because it has the wheat stalks on the reverse and those haven’t been around for almost 50 years.  Ah, my ship has landed….or has it!

People generally realize that the rarer a coin the higher the coins value. Of course the condition of the coin is most often also very important.  The exception to this would be a unique coin, i.e., one of a kind in which case condition takes a back seat.  Additionally, the common belief that the older the coin the greater its value is not always true.  The bottom line is 1) condition, 2) mintage (number produced), and 3) demand.  These are “in general” pretty good criteria to follow when you start to evaluate that parking lot find.  

Is the coin in good condition?  The better the condition the greater the value and thus the more it will bring in the marketplace.   The condition (strike and luster) and eye appeal of a coin contribute heavily to a coins value.  A coin that is in mint state condition could actually be worth a hundred times the same coin in a lower circulated grade.   If you don’t know how to grade coins, find a trustworthly dealer that can help you.  You also have the choice of sending it to a third party grading service such as PCGS or NGC.   But remember, knowledge is power and you want to keep the “knowledge card” in your hand.  The ANA sponsors excellent grading classes during the Summer Seminar Series each July.  The instructors represent the best in the industry.  Inaddition, the way the grading is taught keeps you in tune with the market and thus the ever changing commerical demands of the market.

If the coin is in nice condition the next question is, how many were made.  Is the coin rare or just a common date (which might be the reason you found it where you did) within the series.  Pick up a “RED BOOK” at you local bookstore, or just google “US Coin Mintage” and find out how many were made.  Low mintage usually means a higher price.  If you find a coin with a mintage less that 500,000 you probably  have a very interesting coin in your possession.  However, if they made 50,000,000 million, well, you probably don’t have anything of great value. 

Supply and demand!  In those series that are heavily collected, Indian Head Cents, Lincoln cents, Buffalo Nickels, Liberty Head Dimes, the key dates are always in demand….there just aren’t enough of the low mintage coins to go around and the prices stay high.  However, higher mintage issues cost a fraction of these other key dates and this is even true of the mint state issues. 

What about the idea of age, how old is the coin.  Is an older coin more valuable that a relatively modern issue?  No, just because a coin was made in the 16th century does not mean it is more valuable than a coin made in say 1972 (Lincoln double die).  It goes back to rarity, demand and availability.  There are many 16th century coins that can be purchased for less than a hundred dollars, or even fifty dollars.  There were just a lot of them made and they have surived over time. 

Once again, how many are available and what is the demand.  Those are the two big questions for those of us in the world of collecting.

A Coin is Worth More Than a Coin…When it is RARE and in DEMAND!

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The term “Stand Alone Coin”, in the numismatic context, refers to a coin that is generally free from market swings resulting from economic, political or promotional occurrences. To be sure, this is the environment in which we live these days! This makes “Stand Alone Coins” an ideal investment vehicle, however, the projected rate of return is difficult to ascertain and actually, the best information on the potential return is gathered by looking at historical data to get a glimmer of future performance. However, as a warning up front, past performance does not necessarily guarantee future performance, and this statement should be taken very seriously by all interested in investing in rare coins.

There is a certain segment in the rare coin market that is often overlooked by most collectors, and to a lesser extent investors, that has often provided those who pursue it tremendous rates-of-return on their investment. We are talking about a segment consisting of coins that are critically important to the field of numismatics. These coins are pivotal within the denominational series they represent. We are talking about “Key Date” coins, a term every collector and investor alike is familiar with in numismatics. These “Key Date” coins are in fact, for the most part, “Stand Alone Coins” as well.

Why are these coins so critical to the numismatic market? It is a simple matter of supply and demand. Stand Alone Coins have never existed in great quantities and the demand for them has always been intense since the earliest days of numismatics. Furthermore, astute collectors and investors are more than willing to pay record prices for these rare coins because they establish the price by which all other similar coins are valued.

If purchased at competitive market price, “Stand Alone Coins” will meet the following criteria and have the corresponding advantages:

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