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 Middlesex, 1795 Newgate Prison, Uncirculated Example of

D&H 396

The London, England, auction house of Dix Noonan Webb will be selling the  collection of Conder tokens formed by the late Robinson S. Brown Jr in four parts, beginning October 7th 2009 (Bedfordshire thru Lincolnshire). Subsequent auctions are scheduled for October 2010 (Middlesex), October 2011 (Norfolk thru Yorkshire) and October 2012 (Wales, Scotland, Ireland and an extensive run of duplicates).

Catalogues may be ordered  from Dix Noonan Webb, 16 Bolton Street, London W1J 8BQ, England,  ww.dnw.co.uk.

They can also be contacted by phone at: 011-44-20-7016-1700.

For a direct link to the online catalogue use the following URL:  

www.dnw.co.uk./coins/auctions/rostrumauctions/

This is sure to be another major “Copper Event” since the anticipation of sale of the Brown collection of British Tokens his  has long been awaited.  Many say Brown’s collection is among the most complete (if not the most complete) collection of Conder Tokens ever assembled. 

The last great Conder Token Sale was held July 7th & 8th, 1998 in Melborne, Australia.  It was the W.J. Noble Collection of British Tokens offered by Noble Numismatics Pty. Ltd. (sale No. 58, part B). 

This “UNDER PUBLICIZED” auction of Brown’s collection on October 7,2009 is sure to be an exciting  beginning to a fantastic group of events over the next several years for Provincial Token collectors of the 18th century.

 

The political satire of the illustrated token is that all the “issuers” were all currently prisoners residing in Newgate Prison.  They had been found guilty of subversive libel.  Notably, Ridgeway was publisher of Paine’s “Rights of Man”

These are the prices realized, without the commission, for the Noncollectible Large Cent Varieties  from the Dan Holmes’ Collection auctioned by Larry and Ira Goldberg on Sunday September 6, 2009.  Prices including commission will be published when the results are available from the auction house.

 

Table:  Prices Realized for the Noncollectible Large Cent Varieties from the Dan Holmes’s Collection (commission not included).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lot Year NC # Rarity Grade  Estimated/Realized 
4 1793 NC-1 R8 BS1+  $10,000/$25,000 
7 1793 NC-2 R8+ PCGS Fair 2  $150000/$230,000 
8 1793 NC-3 R8- PCGS G4  $150,000/$190,000 
15 1793 NC-4 R7+ G6  $10,000/$24,000 
17 1793 NC-5 R8+ EF45  $1,000/$5,500 
25 1793 NC-6 R8 G4+  $20,000/$35,000 
29 1794 NC-4(S-17b) R8 AG3+  $10,000/$23,000 
34 1794 NC-7(S-20a) R8+ G4  $10,000/$22,000 
40 1794 NC-8 R8- F12  $20,000/$24,000 
41 1794 NC-11 R8 VG8  $20,000/$23,000 
57 1794 NC-1 R7+ G5  $10,000/$12,500 
64 1794 NC-2 R8 VG10  $20,000/$46,000 
70 1794 NC-10 R8+ F12  $20,000/$51,250 
72 1794 NC-5 R8 AG3  $20,000/$23,000 
77 1794 NC-9 R8- G5  $20,000/$14,000 
78 1794 NC-9 R8- AG3  $20,000/$11,000 
106 1794 NC-6 R8 F12  $30,000/$35,000 
115 1794 NC-3 R8 F12  $20,000/$52,000 
122 1795 NC-2 R8 AG3  $10,000/$13,500 
123 1795 NC-3 R7 AG3+  $5,000/$7,000 
129 1795 NC-1 R8+ PCGS F15  $50,000/$80,000 
130 1795 NC-1 R8 Fair 2  $20,000/$32,000 
132 1795 NC-4 R8+ Fair 2  $20,000/$22,000 
133 1795 NC-4 R8+ G5  $30,000/$28,000 
149 1796 NC-1 R6 VG7  $4,000/$3,900 
150 1796 NC-1 R6 VG8  $5,000/$3,300 
156 1796 NC-2 R7 VG10  $10,000/$9,250 
159 1796 NC-3 R6+ VF30  $20,000/$21,000 
160 1796 NC-3 R6+ VG10  $8,000/$7,250 
169 1796 NC-4 R5+ F15  $10,000/$7,500 
170 1796 NC-4 R5+ VG8  $4,000/$3,700 
188 1796 NC-5 R7 AG3  $4,000/$6,500 
201 1796 NC-6 R8 AG3  $10,000/$15,500 
205 1796 NC-7 R8 PCGS Fair 2  $20,000/$27,000 
208 1797 NC-1 R7 G6  $7,500/$8,250 
218 1797 NC-2 R6 VG8  $3,000/$4,200 
219 1797 NC-2 R6 VG10+  $5,000/$4,600 
220 1797 NC-3 R6- G5  $2,000/$2,900 
221 1797 NC-3 R6- VG8  $3,000/$4,200 
236 1797 NC-8 R8+ VF20+  $25,000/$36,000 
240 1797 NC-7 R8+ VG7  $25,000/$34,000 
243 1797 NC-6 R8 G4  $10,000/$15,500 
248 1797 NC-4 R8- AG3  $10,000/$12,500 
258 1797 NC-5 R6 G6  $2,000/$2,600 
259 1797 NC-5 R6 VG8+  $4,000/$4,200 
283 1798 NC-1 R7+ AG3  $5,000/$4,400 
286 1798 NC-2 R7+ VG8  $15,000/$18,000 
287 1798 NC-2 R7+ VG8  $20,000/$18,500 
348 1799/8 NC-1 R7 F12  $50,000/$57,500 
356 1800/1798 NC-6 R6+ F15+  $10,000/$8,750 
357 1800/1798 NC-5 R8- VG10+  $15,000/$25,000 
367 1800/179 NC-1 R8- VG10  $15,000/$27,000 
368 1800/179 NC-2 R6+ VG7  $3,000/$2,100 
369 1800/179 NC-2 R6+ VG8  $2,000/$2,300 
377 1800 NC-3 R6- VG8  $1,500/$2,400 
394 1800 NC-4 R7 EF40  $20,000/$22,000 
395 1800 NC-4 R7 Fair 2  $4,000/$2,400 
407 1801 NC-1 R5+ F12+  $5,000/$4,600 
415 1801 NC-2 R7 F15  $15,000/$14,500 
416 1801 NC-2 R7 BS1+  $1,000/$2,300 
417 1801 NC-5 R7+ AG3  $10,000/$12,000 
424 1801 NC-4 R7 VG8  $5,000/$6,750 
427 1801 NC-3 R6+ VG10  $5,000/$8,000 
438 1802 NC-1 R5+ G5  $500/$675 
439 1802 NC-1 R5+ EF45  $15,000/$14,500 
445 1802 NC-2 R6 VF25+  $10,000/$9,000 
493 1803 NC-1 R5+ VG7  $1,000/$650 
494 1803 NC-1 R5+ F15+  $7,500/$6.250 

Part I, the” EARLY DATES”, of the Dan Holmes Large Cent Auction has elevated several of those special Early American Coppers to a new height.  The legendary 1795 Reeded Edge Sheldon-79 brought $1,260,000 (with the 15% buyer’s commission); a new record price paid for any US Large Cent.   For a video replay of this lot use this link(1).  Apparently purchased by a dealer for a serious large cent copper specialist.  However, it wasn’t the only star amongst the group.  Lot 352, the Mint State 1799 Sheldon-189, considered by many to be the most valuable large cent in the auction, came in a close second at $977,500 (including the commission).  Marvelous results for all Large Cent collectors and investors.

But that’s only the beginning.  Lot 24, the Finest Known Bisected Obverse 1793 Sheldon-14 was hammered down at $506,000 including the buyer’s commission.  Then there was Lot 531which was the Unique Certified Mint State 1804 Sheldon-266c graded MS 63 BN by PCGS that fell at $661,250 with the commission.

The Sheldon-Holmes Color Set which consisted of 6 Colonials and 60 Large Cents sold for $37,950 with the 15% commission.

We will have a more detailed analysis as we digest the  results. Congratulations Dan and Family, Ira and Larry, and of course Chris and Bob.

(1) Video Courtesy of H Craig Hamling.

Ira and Larry Goldberg’s auction of the Dan Holmes collection of Large Cents, in collaboration with Chris McCawley and Bob Grellman, will offer the large cent collector an opportunity to bid on a total of 68 NC varieties.  There are 55 NC varieties recognized by collectors and Dan was able to assemble 54 of the 55.  The one missing from his collection is the unique (1795 NC -5) which is located in the American Numismatic Societies Museum in NYC. 

In Dan’s collection of NC varieties there are 14 coins where there are duplicates.  Several of those NC varieties are of considerable interest and value.  For example, Lots 77 and 78 are examples of the 1794 NC-9, R7+.  Lot 77 is net graded Good-5 but the reverse vertical die crack is very weak (EDS, Breen state 1).  In the case of Lot 78, net graded About Good-3, the sharpness is slightly better and the reverse die crack is very strong indicating its LDS.  There are only four known examples of the 1794 NC-9 variety, two of which are in Holmes’ auction.  The census of these four examples are, 7-6-5-3.  The estimated value of these two lots is in the $20,000 range.  The VG-6 example was sold in February 2008 by Superior Galleries for $36,500.

Lots 129 and 130 offer two examples of the Jefferson Head 1795 NC-1, R8+.  Lot 129 is the “Unique” Thick Planchet Jefferson Head with Lettered Edge of 1793.   One of only three examples of the 1795 NC-1 and the only one struck on a thick planchet.  Graded by PCGS as Fine-15 and by McCawley/Grellman as Fine-12.  Estimated value for Lot 129 is $50,000.  Lot 130 is the thin planchet example of the NC-1 of which there are only two known examples.  Lot 130 grades as a Fair-2 with an estimated value of $20,000.  The second example has a grade of VF-20.

Lots 132 and 133 are also a pair of Jefferson Head NCs.  Lot 132 is the 1795 “Unique” Jefferson Head NC-4 (R8+) Thick Planchet Overstruck on a 1795 NC-1.  The coin is holed at the top of the head but is the second finer of only two known for the variety and grades Fair-2.  It is also unique that it is overstruck on an NC-1 thick planchet!  This varieties estimated value is $20,000 and UP.  This is truly a unique specimen.  Lot 133 is another “Unique” Jefferson Head NC-4.  This Jefferson Head is struck on a Thin Lettered Edge Planchet and grades Good-5.  The estimated value of this NC-4 is $30,000.

There is also Lots 394 and 395.  Lot 394 features an Outstanding 1800 NC-4 EDS.  It is the finest known of eight examples in all die states.  It grades EF-40 and is the Noyes plate coin.  Estimated value is $20,000.  Lot 395 is the 1800 NC-4 in MDS and grades Fair-2.  Estimated value is $4,000.

A complete listing of the NC varieties is listed in the table below.  It offers a unique opportunity for the large cent specialist.

Table:  A listing of the NC varieties in the Dan Holmes Collection being offered by Ira and Larry Goldberg on September 6, 2009.

Lot

Year

NC #

Rarity

Grade

Estimated  Value

Realized (+15%)

             

4

1793

NC-1

R8

BS1+

$10,000

 $28,750

7

1793

NC-2

R8+

PCGS Fair 2

$150,000

 264,500

8

1793

NC-3

R8-

PCGS G4

$150,000

 218,500

15

1793

NC-4

R7+

G6

$10,000

 27,600

17

1793

NC-5

R8+

EF45

$1,000

 6,325

25

1793

NC-6

R8

G4+

$20,000

 40,250

29

1794

NC-4(S-17b)

R8

AG3+

$10,000

 

34

1794

NC-7(S-20a)

R8+

G4

$10,000

 

40

1794

NC-8

R8-

F12

$20,000

 

41

1794

NC-11

R8

VG8

$20,000

 

57

1794

NC-1

R7+

G5

$10,000

 

64

1794

NC-2

R8

VG10

$20,000

 

70

1794

NC-10

R8+

F12

$20,000

 

72

1794

NC-5

R8

AG3

$20,000

 
             

77

1794

NC-9

R8-

G5

$20,000

 

78

1794

NC-9

R8-

AG3

$20,000

 
             

106

1794

NC-6

R8

F12

$30,000

 

115

1794

NC-3

R8

F12

$20,000

 

122

1795

NC-2

R8

AG3

$10,000

 

123

1795

NC-3

R7

AG3+

$5,000

 
             

129

1795

NC-1

R8+

PCGS F15

$50,000

 

130

1795

NC-1

R8

Fair 2

$20,000

 
             

132

1795

NC-4

R8+

Fair 2

$20,000

 

133

1795

NC-4

R8+

G5

$30,000

 
             

149

1796

NC-1

R6

VG7

$4,000

 

150

1796

NC-1

R6

VG8

$5,000

 
             

156

1796

NC-2

R7

VG10

$10,000

 

159

1796

NC-3

R6+

VF30

$20,000

 

160

1796

NC-3

R6+

VG10

$8,000

 
             

169

1796

NC-4

R5+

F15

$10,000

 

170

1796

NC-4

R5+

VG8

$4,000

 
             

188

1796

NC-5

R7

AG3

$4,000

 

201

1796

NC-6

R8

AG3

$10,000

 

205

1796

NC-7

R8

PCGS Fair 2

$20,000

 

208

1797

NC-1

R7

G6

$7,500

 
             

218

1797

NC-2

R6

VG8

$3,000

 

219

1797

NC-2

R6

VG10+

$5,000

 
             

220

1797

NC-3

R6-

G5

$2,000

 

221

1797

NC-3

R6-

VG8

$3,000

 
             

236

1797

NC-8

R8+

VF20+

$25,000

 

240

1797

NC-7

R8+

VG7

$25,000

 

243

1797

NC-6

R8

G4

$10,000

 

248

1797

NC-4

R8-

AG3

$10,000

 
             

258

1797

NC-5

R6

G6

$2,000

 

259

1797

NC-5

R6

VG8+

$4,000

 

283

1798

NC-1

R7+

AG3

$5,000

 

286

1798

NC-2

R7+

VG8

$15,000

 

287

1798

NC-2

R7+

VG8

$20,000

 
             

348

1799/8

NC-1

R7

F12

$50,000

 

356

1800/1798

NC-6

R6+

F15+

$10,000

 

357

1800/1798

NC-5

R8-

VG10+

$15,000

 

367

1800/179

NC-1

R8-

VG10

$15,000

 
             

368

1800/179

NC-2

R6+

VG7

$3,000

 

369

1800/179

NC-2

R6+

VG8

$2,000

 
             

377

1800

NC-3

R6-

VG8

$1,500

 
             

394

1800

NC-4

R7

EF40

$20,000

 

395

1800

NC-4

R7

Fair 2

$4,000

 
             

407

1801

NC-1

R5+

F12+

$5,000

 
             

415

1801

NC-2

R7

F15

$15,000

 

416

1801

NC-2

R7

BS1+

$1,000

 
             

417

1801

NC-5

R7+

AG3

$10,000

 

424

1801

NC-4

R7

VG8

$5,000

 

427

1801

NC-3

R6+

VG10

$5,000

 
             

438

1802

NC-1

R5+

G5

$500

 

439

1802

NC-1

R5+

EF45

$15,000

 
             

445

1802

NC-2

R6

VF25+

$10,000

 
             

493

1803

NC-1

R5+

VG7

$1,000

 

494

1803

NC-1

R5+

F15+

$7,500

 

Congratulations Dan, you have managed to accomplish something that all who love and collect large cents can share and enjoy with you into the future.  Your perseverance over the last 35 years has resulted in an historical “first” for the coin collecting community on the whole, and particularly, for large cent collectors everywhere.  To further distinguish your accomplishment, you compiled your collection by what we will call the “old school approach” of untiring patience in your search, meticulousness in your purchases, and all done with an “eye” for unwavering quality in your choice of copper.  Your assembling the most complete set of Early Date US Large Cents in history is an event that will go down in numismatic history as one of the foremost events in our hobby.   

Not only has Dan brought together all 302 Sheldon varieties in the early date years (1793-1814) in a single collection, but even more remarkably, he has managed to couple that with bringing together all 53 of the NC (noncollectible) varieties as well.  Dan was able to obtain all of the noncollectible varieties but one.  Through the generosity of the ANS, they have loaned to Dan that single unique coin, the 1793 NC-5, through his September auction to make it possible to display, and for collectors to view, a complete set by Sheldon number of United States Early Date Large Cents for the first time.   This display contains all 355 varieties including the NC varieties of this remarkable era in our Early American history.  What an amazing triumph!

The extent of Dan’s accomplishment has further been amplified by Bob Grellman when he noted that there are probably two dozen coins in this early date large cent collection whose rarity exceeds both the 1804 dollar and the 1913 Liberty nickel!!  Another remarkable accomplishment!

And, there are over 50 coins listed as finest known for the variety, or condition census pieces including many of those described below. 

The sale will take place September 6, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills at 1:00 PM with auctioneers Larry and Ira Goldberg in collaboration with Chris McCawley and Bob Grellman, The Copper SpecialistThis continues to be a phenomal team for bringing high quality large cent auctions to the cutting edge for both collector and investor.  We owe these gentlemen a great deal of gratidue in bringing us these landmark events.  Thanks to you and you hard working staffs gentlemen! 

We will mention a few highlights of the auction to further heighten your interest.  We will give you the PCGS grade as well as McCawley and Grellman’s grade (The Copper Specialists/EAC grade).  

Let’s begin with Lot 128, the legendary 1795 Reeded Edge Sheldon-79.  This Holmes coin is the finest of 8 known examples (R7+).  Even through the grade assigned by PCGS is only VG-10, the Reeded Edge is clear and strong with the exception of a small area over the S-OF-A where it is weak or missing.  McCawley & Grellman give the coin a VG-10 designation.  To help put this particular coin in perspective, a G-4 with heavy wear brought $402,500 (lot #1143) in the Nov. 20, 2008, Bowers and Merena auction in Baltimore.  What will be the final hammer for this exceptional treasure, one of the most famous coins in the collection?

Probably considered to be the most valuable coin in the collection is Lot 352.  This is the extraordinary Mint State 1799 Sheldon-189 (Normal Date).  It is the only Certified Mint State coin of that year.   It has been graded MS-62 BN by NGC.   It is the superior coin for that year by a wide margin, the runner-up being a VF-30 example housed in the ANS Museum.  Catalogers McCawley & Grellman give the coin an AU-55 designation.  This is the “must-have” coin for anyone assembling a registry set of mint state large cents!

Lot 3 is another amazing coin.  It is the second finest 1793 Sheldon-2 Chain America graded MS-63 BN by PCGS.  It ranks as an R4+.  This copper has incredibly well defined hair detail and magnificent surfaces beaming with luster.  McCawley and Grellman assign this coin a grade of AU-55 due to the light friction on the highest points.

Lot 5 is another Chain America, the 1793 Sheldon-3, which is the Levick Plate Coin.  It is an R3- and graded MS 63 BN by PCGS.  McCawley and Grellman assign this coin a grade of AU-50+. 

Lot 7 is the Unique 1793 Strawberry with One Cent Centered, NC-2, R8+, graded by PCGS as Fair 2.  This is the Levick-Crosby Plate Coin. McCawley and Grellman assign this coin a grade of Fair-2+.  An extraordinary coin!

Lot 8, also a 1793 NC-3 Strawberry Leaf Wreath Cent with the ONE CENT High is one of only three known and is referred to as the “Common Strawberry”.   PCGS graded this coin as Good-4 with which McCawley and Grellman  concur.  The finest known example is a VG-7 (EAC grade) which sold for $862,500 as lot #51 in the January 5, 2009, Stack’s auction in Orlando.  This set a record  price paid for a large cent.  Will it stand or fall during the Holmes auction?

Accordingly, in a single collection, Dan has assembled two of the four known examples of the Strawberry Leaf Wreath Cent.

Lot 9 is a Prooflike 1793 S-5 (R4) Wreath Cent with Large Date and Liberty.   This is simply a near flawless Wreath Cent.  The coin is sharply struck and has reflective prooflike surfaces.  PCGS graded this coin MS-65 BN while McCawley and Grellman assign it a grade of MS-63 prooflike.  NGC had graded the coin as Specimen-65 BN.  This is simply another amazing coin in Dan’s collection.  Auction estimates are $150,000-UP!

Lot 79 is yet another spectacular and popular coin for the large cent collector.  It is the attractive high condition census 1794 Sheldon-48  (R5) Starred Reverse graded by PCGS as VF-30.  A very rare coin indeed in this grade!  McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of VF-25.  In Dan’s example, all 94 stars are clearly visible and reflect the quality of this great collection.  Someone will walk away with a pristine example of this popular variety.  Once again, auction estimates are $150,000-UP!

Lot 1 is the American Classic 1793 Sheldon-1 (R4) Chain Ameri. graded by PCGS as AU-58.  This coin represents one of the finest known of this variety.  Graded AU-55 by McCawley and Grellman, this is a true American Classic.

Lot 24 is the Finest Known Bisected Obverse 1793 Sheldon-14, a R5 and residing in an AU-53 PCGS holder.  McCawley and Grellman give this coin a grade of EF-45.  With an estimate of $100,000 and UP, given the exquisite nature and rank of the coin, this is surely a figure which will be exceeded.

As we continue, Lot 31 is another remarkable mint state large cent.  This lot is the lustrous 1794 Sheldon-18b, Head of 1793 with Edge of 1794 and is a R4.  PCGS graded this coin as MS-63 (tied for the finest they have graded) whereas McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of MS-60.  Estimated value for this coin is $100,000.

Lot 74 is the Finest Known 1794 Sheldon-45 (R5+), and the finest by a wide margin.   There is no roughness or planchet flaws on this coin which is from the Oswald group of mint state early dates.  PCGS graded the coin MS-65 RB, and McCawley and Grellman concur.  An absolutely beautiful specimen with an auction estimate of $100,000 and UP.

Lot 95 is a Gem 1794 Sheldon-59 (R3-), another Oswald coin graded MS 66 RB by PCGS.  McCawley and Grellman give the coin a grade of MS 65+ and note that it is certainly one of the finest 1794 cents of any die variety.  An incredible gem in all respects as well as being from the famous Oswald collection.   An auction estimate of $100,000 and UP.

Lot 101 is a Choice Mint State 1794 Sheldon-64 with Missing Fraction Bar, graded MS-64 RB by PCGS with an R5- rating.  McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of MS-63 to this choice steel brown coin with ample mint red color remaining.   Another coin with an auction estimate of $100,000 and UP.  Surely a true rarity with a PCGS population of 1 and none finer at PCGS for the variety.

Lot 185 is a Gem 1796 Draped Bust Sheldon-110 with an R3+ rating and graded MS-66 BN by PCGS and MS 65 by McCawley and Grellman.  Tremendous coin, possessing highly lustrous steel brown surfaces which have eloquently faded from the underlying mint red color which still remains strong in the protected areas.  An incredible gem which makes the large cent enthusiast gasps for breath and weak at the knees.

Lot 531 is the Unique Certified Mint State 1804 Sheldon-266c Large Cent graded MS-63 BN by PCGS with an R2 rarity rating.  This is the Sheldon Plate Coin.  McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of AU-58.  It is worth reading the description of this coin to understand the disparity in grade.  In any event, this is the finest known in both census lists.  This coin is a true prize for the most discerning collector of Early American Coppers.

Finally, also offeredd in this sale is the Unique Sheldon-Holmes Color Set.  This set consist of 6 Colonials and 60 Large Cents assembled by Dr. Sheldon and sold intact to Dan in 1976.   Auction estimate is $20,000-UP.  

We all eagerly await September 6, 2009 to learn the outcome of his historical sale.

We also wish Dan the very best and look forward to the remaining three sales in 2010.

Instructors: William Shamhart, Jr., Charles Browne, Lane Brunner, John Dannreuther & John Albanese

Week of July 4, 2009

If you aren’t familiar with the five names above, you should make a concerted effort to find out who they are and where you might meet and learn from their years of experience in numismatics. These gentlemen have a strong background in numismatic research, the marketplace, pricing and “grading” some of the most famous collector coins that have appeared in the market during the last 20-30 years. Of course, these were the gentlemen who taught the ANA’s Advanced United States Coin Grading and Problem Coins class out in Colorado Springs during the second session of this year’s ANA’s summer seminar series.

Bill Shamhart has been teaching advanced grading out at the ANA during the summer seminar series for a number of years and always brings along an “all star” roster of graders, numismatic experts and innovators in the hobby. Of course, Bill heads up the class and is a demanding mentor with the students’ best interest always out front. He is nothing less than a consummate professional whose philosophy is deeply seated in education.

Charles Browne is likewise a most respected PCGS grader and summer instructor with magnificent grading skills and a more than unique ability to explain the subtlety between that PF 66 and PF 67. Charlie also has a very enjoyable personality which enables him to readily share his strong fundamental understanding of market grading and the market place. He also has a mature and profound knowledge of the field of numismatics.

John Albanese, as most of you know, is the president of CAC. He was also one of the co-founders of PCGS and founder of NGC. He is a soft-spoken individual who is easy to engage and discuss grading and answer your questions. He is a man of many interests and seems to be one of the few who are able to see the “big picture” in the “collectibles space”. What an opportunity we had to have him there as an instructor for the week! It was a unique occasion to learn firsthand his insight into creating that little green “CAC” sticker. In addition, we benefited from his one-on-one instruction about grading which was an experience in itself. He was indeed, as they all were, splendid gentlemen with education at the top of their agenda.

Dr. Lane Brunner has served several positions with the ANA. Lane has a sharp and critical eye when it comes to grading high end coins and spotting coins that have problems of every description. His natural teaching skills were evident in our one-on-one examination of coins and explanation of problems that were present on many of the coins.

Finally, there was John Dannreuther, one of the co-founders of PCGS, a well-known world class researcher, author, consultant and rare coin dealer. John was just a wealth of information and enthusiastically shared his personal experiences in the business, as well as, some of his unpublished results regarding the minting process and in particular about proof coinage. His attention to detail during our one-on-one exercises was truly informative. John is currently working on his opus on proof gold coins and gave an excellent lecture on the production of proofs. What a wealth of information!

John, or JD as we learned to call him, rounded out a particularly unique gathering of instructors of exceptional caliber for our one week course.

All of these fellows have been around the business for a while (sorry for that guys), but as I am sure Bill would say……’the truth sometime hurts’.  These gentlemen are to be applauded for donating their time and energy so their students will not only be better at grading and detecting problem coins, but will also continue the generous giving of time and energy to numismatics through their example.

These instructors have seen, and in fact, been part of a lot of the change we have all seen during the last twenty years or so in our hobby. Their accomplishments range from the founding of the two most successful grading services and subsequent innovations, such as CAC, participating in numismatic service organizations, publishing articles, reference books and teaching.  Finally, they have been successful dealers who have prospered through ethical practices and survived the chaotic markets that occurred during the late 70’s and early 80’s.

From a historical perspective, these gentlemen’s mentors and current colleagues are among the greatest names in 20th century US numismatics.  I am sure that in future years, all the students in this class will delight in the fact that they sat in the room with these men for a week and were able to discuss the timely developments of grading, the coin market itself and contemplate the future of our hobby.

Now some comments about the class and its content.

There were twenty five students in the class, including one YN. We had five instructors for almost every exercise we conducted with one-on-one follow-up. The line of attack in the class was simple: we were to look at and evaluate as many coins in 5 days as possible, and then be able to gain a consensus within a group setting about the grade of those coins. I think we saw most US type coins (in copper, silver and gold) and in grades from AU 58 to MS 68 as well as a good number of proof issues.

Not stopping with the grade, you had to determine the method of manufacture (mint state or proof), color designation for copper, other designations such as PL, DMPL, cameo, ultra cameo, FH, FBL, FSBs, FS, as well as, whether the coin had been lightly dipped (and thus graded) or harshly dipped and a “no grade”, cleaning (heavy vs light hairlines), re-colored or doctored to cover scratches or spots….and so own. All the coins were either PCGS or NGC to the best of my recollection.

We broke up into five groups with one instructor assigned to each group. Then the fun began.  “Number you papers from one to thirty” came the directive from one of the instructors. Another instructor might tell us that we have 30 seconds to inspect each coin and then must pass it to our neighbor. They reminded us to go with our first impression using only the naked eye and then if you see a problem use your loupe. A loupe was also appropriate for the smaller coins. It seemed as if we were off to the races…and in fact we were!

Coins were passed around the group; you recorded your grade; and after everyone had graded the coins, we begin an in-depth evaluation of the coins. The objective was to arrive at some consensus regarding the grade within the group. All the while, we were getting feedback from our table instructor in the way of questions, comments and tips such as, you might want to look at that coin one more time (since you clearly missed something the first time).  The greatest learning tool was in the effort to gain consensus regarding a grade.  This was the process that exposed everyones thoughts about  the grade of the coins and thus provided the forum for disussion with the each other as well as the instructor.

At first, it was hectic but as that first day progressed I think most of us fell into a rhythm that at least helped everyone get to the second day. Then it started all over again on day two.

We were looking at a lot of different coins and were processing a lot of information in a very short period of time. In the first couple of exercises the grade spread within a given group might be from AU 58 to MS 65 or higher.  The objective of the class was to narrow that range down to the correct grade, or to be at least only one point away. Despite the hectic nature of the process the composure and positive instruction from the instructors resulted in little anxiety associated with the process after the first day. We were now on a steep learning curve and had nothing but critical information to gain. This realization, I think, was a big turning point in the class. Now, we had nothing to lose so to speak, but everything to gain. So listen and learn!

As the week progressed, each groups’ consensus grade became tighter and we also gained a much better understanding of A, B and C coins within a grade.  This is something John expanded on with regard to certified coins getting those little green “CAC” stickers.  

All in all it was a great week and is among the strongest classes I have seen the ANA summer seminar series offer in many years.   There were several people that signed up for the class next year before leaving Colorado Springs at the end  of the week.  That says an awful lot about the instructors and class content.  I don’t know of another place where you could gain this type of information from a fine group of experts.  I might also mention, there were several students in the class that had taken the class in previous years (as in last year).

If  you have the opportunity and are interested in grading ,be sure to look into this class.  You must have completed the Beginning and Intermediate grading classes before you can get into this advanced class. 

Remember: Eye Appeal and Luster are the two things that your eyes see first when looking at a coin and thus represents that critical first impression.  Eye appeal and luster are the top factors being considered in market grading and thus pricing.

We were constantly reminded that with market grading, eye appeal adds a little, but forgives a lot.

P1010404

In the July 6th (2009)  issue of Coin World Steve Roach wrote an interesting article entitled, “Is Old better than new? Age of slabs plays pricing role“.  This is a very informative article which suggests that in some cases because of the more conservative grading practices at PCGS and NGC in the early days, that coins in their old holders might be under-graded by subsequent market standards and thus would be a prime target for a nice profitable upgrade.  Over the years this has happened numerous times to be sure.  Steve gives several examples in his article (p. 46).

P1100222_edited

An Example of one of the early PCGS Holders

There are a couple of aspects about these “old slabs” that need a comment or two that were not mentioned in Steve’s article.

It is common knowledge that this has always been a  hot area for the crack-out artist. There have been a lot of these early graded coins which have been cracked out, received an upgrade, and thus brought more money.  But just as likely, there were probably coins that were over-graded!  What happened to those coins?

In spite of this earlier point in time, let’s be realistic.  Considering the bull market we have seen in rare coins during recent years, it is probably better to face reality and realize that most of those coins in the “vintage” holders have likely been inspected by the crack-out artist who are expert graders working for the larger dealers (who see such a huge volume of coins that the average collector can’t even comprehend) and auction houses.  Therefore, if you come across one of these old holders you need to ask the question, why is it still in that old holder!  Was it because no one thought it would upgrade, or was it over graded to begin with while grading standards were being established?  Likely, there is a very good reason the coin in that older holder is in its “final resting place” (the vintage holder).  You must realize that the day after they started slabbing coins, someone starting cracking them out and resubmitting them hoping for better grades; essentially taking advantage of the subjective nature of grading.  And as we all know, that crack-out process continues to this day and we don’t have to limit the crack-outs just to old PCGS or NGC  holders.

The bottom line remains, you have to be able to grade the coin and not make a judgment about grade on whether it is in an old holder.  Certainly, don’t draw any firm conclusions about whether it has been under-graded  just because of the holder and when the coin was graded.  All this despite the changes in grading standards we have incurred over the last 20 or so years.

NGC Holders with Black Inserts ARE VERY COLLECTIBLE!

Now, there is another aspect to these old holders, particularly early NGC holders, that one must consider, i.e., the collectability of some of these very early holders.  For example, NGC started out on day one putting their coins in holders with a black background…..that only lasted about three days before it was discontinued probably due to negative market feed back and the fact, the holder simply didn’t have nice eye appeal, particularly for copper coins.  Thus, NGC coins (see below) in these old black holders are quite collectible and often can be valued at multiples of the coins they contain.

NGCBlack193910cbackNGCBlack193910cfront

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above photos came from the following link which gives a great deal of information regarding these collectible NGC slabs.  Thanks to Lane Brunner for pointing this area of collecting out to Gammill Numismatics, LLC. http://forums.collectors.com/messageview.cfm?catid=26&threadid=727096 

 

Conclusion:  It’s still the same old advice…..buy the coin, not the holder…..unless you have found an old NGC “collectible holder“. 

This is probably new information to many collectors, but none the less, gives you something else to be on the lookout for when looking in dealers’ showcases or someone’s personal collection.  You may be able to tell a fellow collector that the coin in that old holder isn’t of any great value but the holder, well,  is worth a lot!

I guess a green CAC sticker on one of these early black NGC holders would really be a keeper for a collection.

Think thrice: is the coin under-graded, over-graded or is it in a collectible slab (holder).