Gerry's Daily Blog Archives - September 2014
September 30, 2014
The Gerry Fortin Rare Coins subsidiary on eBay has been mentioned several times within these blogs. Yesterday, I spoke with Jim Poston (Dr J Coins) on eBay and we calibrated on the remaining action items and launch date. With the help of a local artist, Jim has created eBay logo that captures the spirit and focus of Gerry Fortin Rare Coins. The subsidiary will be simply named GFRC as a direct link back to its parent and mentoring business. I am proud to publish our new eBay trademark here for the first time....note the 1839 Pie Shattered obverse dime within the logo!
Jim and I will rollout combined Gerry Fortin Rare Coins and GFRC marketing at the Denver Coin Expo. See us at table 210 as we have four cases filled with nice seated, bust and other type coin offerings targeting the Denver area customer base. Immediately after the Denver show, Jim will launch the eBay GFRC store with combined offerings from Gerry and Jim. Our business strategy will be straightforward. Gerry Fortin Rare Coins will focus its efforts on Investment Grade coins while GFRC eBay will handle Collector Grade coins and other non core items. This will allow Jim to continue sellings larger coin lots while providing Gerry Fortin Rare Coins with an avenue to market and sell consignor's collector coins.
My thoughts about Kevin Flynn's upcoming Liberty Seated dime and half dollar books will be delayed until Wednesday's blog.
Today's featured coin is a crusty original raw 1851-O half dime graded EF45. This is a better date with mintage of 860,000 pieces. If only I could locate more Seated coins with this original patina and blemish free surfaces for inventory.
September 29, 2014
Another Monday is upon us and October arrives shortly. The Liberty Seated Collectors Club will publish the E-Gobrecht on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to the new issue. Dennis Fortier has taken over my role as Regional Program Director and will be publishing his first Regional News column.
I'm watching the Hong Kong SAR protest with keen interest as the Beijing government will be unable to tolerate demonstrations that challenge its firm control of the country. Regardless of prior agreements with the British to allow Hong Kong to operate as a "Semi Autonomous Region", Beijing must ensure alignment of its political structure across provinces and directly with Beijing's central committee. It faces multiple challenges in this situation; not allowing information about southern protest to reach the mainland (more efforts for self deterimination at the local level) and controlling another round of emmigration by Hong Kong intellectuals once they realize that Beijing will treat Hong Kong no differently than its other major cities. The latter is important as there have been mass emmigration of Hong Kongese people in the past causing recession. The most notable was the mid 1990 period prior to 1997 transfer of Hong Kong to China control.
Today GFRC activities will focus on several web-book updates as I try to reduce contributor backlog. September sales have been seasonally slow and I am in a cash raising mode entering the Denver Coin Expo and Baltimore show in three weeks. If there are coins that might fit well into your collection, then please don't hesitate to call or email with an offer.
The featured coin of the day is a strictly original 1855-O Seated half dollar. It is the WB-11 variety with medium gray patina. Strike is full and surfaces are completely blemish free. This peice is superior to the WB-11 plate coin in Bill Bugert's Register. By the way, Bill Bugert's Liberty Seated Half Dollar Registers are a requirement for serious numismatists. Attributing Seated half dollar varieties is straightforward with Bill's clear images of important diagnostic points and a simple to use format.
Tomorrow, I may comment on Kevin Flynn's stated goal to publish Liberty Seated dime and half dollar books in his "Authoritative" series when both Seated denominations have been so thoroughly researched and published.
September 28, 2014
In yesterday's blog, I mentioned that Maine weather was perfect. That may have been an understatement considering current conditions are 60F and today's projected high is 77F under bright skies. We took advantage of this "Indian Summer" and had lobster rolls and beers on an outside patio in Naples yesterday evening. Life is good!
The quality and value of GFRC consignments are increasing as the brand name gains more visibility in the numismatic marketplace. Providing the best possible service to consignors for marketing their coins is paramount for offering customers exciting new purchase opportunities. Without consignors and customers, my humble business would not thrive. So please accept my sincere thanks for visiting GFRC website frequently and considering involvement in this facilitated "trading desk" business model.
Today's featured coin is a superb gem and arrived yesterday via express shipment. I am excited and proud to offer this 1875 Carson City dime given its essentially perfect state of preservation. Due to the Coinage Acts of February 12, 1873 and January 29, 1874, United States small denomination currency saw profound changes. The 1873 Act eliminate the 3 cent silvers and Seated half dimes while the 1874 Act became known as the Specie Payment Resumption Act with goal of removing "greenbacks" and fractional currency issued starting 1862 in response to the hoarding of hard currency during the Civil War. As a result of these acts, all three United States mints were challenged with huge production ramps with the Carson City mint increasing dime production from 10,000 during 1874 to 4,650,000 in 1875. Many die were employed to achieve this feat with most being used into terminal states and fully cracked. 1875-CC dimes come with different striking characteristics; some well aged dies are heavily frosted with a substantial amount of metal flow lines while early die states will be seen with lightly proof like fields. The offered dime (F-107) falls into a hybrid situation with heavily frosted late die state obverse that is covered with metal flow lines being paired with a new In Wreath reverse die. The result is a striking difference (no pun intended) between the obverse and reverse surface characteristics.
September 27, 2014
Maine is experiencing a perfect weekend with sunny skies and temps in the mid 70s. Foliage colors are starting to appear but seem later than normal as I would expect peak season to be within 10 days or so. I'm hoping to spend the day outdoors and taking a break from numismatics.
Today's blog is a tad late as spent time this morning researching Amtrak transport to Baltimore for the Whitman show or to drive. I found that the cost is about the same when including Inner Harbour parking charges and the transit times are also the same. So the decision comes down to schedule flexibiity while driving against the stress free transport of a train.
I'm starting to work through the new Seated dime varieties backlog but it is a slow process mixed in with other GFRC tasks that have priority. Yesterday, I remembered there was a box full of common dates raw Seated dimes that are new die pairs and were accumulated over past 15 years or so. These were the coins that lacked priority and they've piled up. Included in the group is a large number of 1877-CC and 1891-O pieces. The 1877-CC web-book chapter is probably the least researched and needs several uninterrupted weeks of careful study; where will I secure that time when operating the GFRC business and supporting the ongoing flow of new varieties/die states inputs from collectors or dealers? Most people don't comprehend the amount of time committed to web-book maintenance and supporting the numismatic community. So if you plan to submit new varieties, then please consider that unless it is a significant new finding (this week's 1881 F-103 or 1849-O F-103bab rotated reverse as examples), these will sit in backlog for an extended time period since being a staff of one.
Today's blog will be short as packing lots and reaching the post office before noon is a priority. The feature coin of the day is a wonderful 1831 O-104 bust dollar purchased at the Gettysburg show. I've graded the piece as AU58 due to the perfectly surfaces and lack of any obvious wear. The eye appeal is superior due to full strike and even gray patina that screams originality. Please email or call me if this capped bust half may be a candidate for your collection.
September 26, 2014
Grade Inflation is an issue that impacts dealers and collectors alike and at a risk of being controversial in today's Blog, I would like to explain my perspectve on this matter. Comments are related to United States coins only. Today's blog was stimulated by last evening's online viewing of Heritage's NYC International show lots and in particular the Seated dimes and quarters in new PCGS reverse hologram holders. As an old timer, I was generally dismayed with the circulated coins though the CAC approved pieces were quite attractive. The purpose of this article is to raise awareness about Grade Inflation so that GFRC customers can render best decisions when purchasing investment grade coins.
The TPG services play an important role in the numismatic hobby but their business model is challenging. For the services to maintain revenue growth and profitability, they must grade more coins each year or raise their fees. However, the population of coins that are not slabbed decreases each year especially for early type coins. How can the TPG services survive let alone grow? Incremental programs like conservation, plus grades, variety attribution, cross overs, custom labeling for modern coins and penetration of overseas markets are strategies that are well recognized today. But fundamentally, the TPG services must provide an incentive to collectors for regrading earlier graded coins. That incentive is Grade Inflation coupled with the challenge of making a coin at a higher grade.
Grade Inflation is the loosening of grading standard over the longer term. It is no different that monetary inflation where the value of the US$ erodes and purchased items (food and energy) become more expensive.
I can say with certainty from grading Seated dimes from personal collection through PCGS that the following Grade Inflation has taken place between 1990 - 1996 timeframe and the post 2010 timeframe; approximately a 20 year period. Evidence is from recent PCGS grading of Brian Greer's Chapter 3 grading plate coins from his Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Dimes published in 1992. Remember these are shifts in grading standards for accurately graded and original coins in both time periods as Brian's coins were of high quality.
VF20 is now VF30, EF40 is now at least EF45 or better; EF45 is at least AU53; AU50 is at least AU55 and can be AU58; AU55 is at least AU58 or low grade Mint State; AU58 with eye appeal can be MS63; MS63 is easily MS64 or better.
A few examples from Brian Greer's Guidebook and the Chapter 3 grading section well illustrates this point but I have countless other examples from early to mid 1990s purchases that have graded in the same manner.
1839-O EF45 plate coin - Now resides in PCGS AU53 holder.
1847 EF40 plate coin - Now resides in PCGS AU53 holder.
1854-O VF30 plate coin - Now resides in PCGS EF40 holder.
Today's feature coin is another strictly original example from my collection and is an 1847 F-101 Top 100 Seated dime recently graded PCGS AU53 with CAC approval. I purchased this dime during 1991 so off the market for nearly 25 years and representative of the quality raw coins that collectors were able to locate years ago. In the present market, locating raw coins of this quality takes substantial patience and only comes about when old time collections are broken up.
September 25, 2014
The release of duplicate Seated dime from personal collection is going well. The 1859 PCGS MS62 CAC and 1854-O PCGS AU55 CAC sold withing hours to GFRC customers whom I consider advanced collectors. I'm pleased these dimes are heading into important collections and will maintain this strategy. Yesterday afternoon, an 1839 F-103 PCGS AU53 dime was added to the price list and I struggled to let this one go due to the Wayte Raymond toning and conservative PCGS grading. Shortly, it will be posted as the featured coin of the day. Also added to price lists were 1831 PCGS AU53 JR5 dime (incredibly fresh to the U.S. market) and an important 1849 F-103 PCGS MS63 CAC dime with cracked reverse. I've been searching for a mint state 1849 F-103 for many years and one finally came to market. It will become the web-book plate coin but is immediately available for sale.
I'm pleased to announce that two new consignors have decided to work with GFRC to sell important Seated dimes. In transit are 1863 PCGS MS63, 1866-S F-102 PCGS45, 1867 PCGS MS64 CAC and 1875-CC IW NGC MS67 as examples of new inventory arriving shortly. These selections will well augment existing Seated dime offerings.
Expanding Seated quarter and half dollar inventory is an ongoing priority and I do seek new consignors for those denominations. If you've considered pruning your collection to raise funds for upgrades, then please contact me to discuss holdings and how GFRC might help liquidate at low commision rates and with the best possible service. At GFRC, consignors are actively involved with the sale of their coins as compared to auction house consignments.
Today's focus will be shipping accumulated orders and returning to new variety postings from Harry Smith and Tim Cook.
Here is today's feature coin.....this one is difficult to let go given toning and eye appeal.
September 24, 2014
After uploading yesterday's Daily Blog, I received an email from well known researcher and all around nice guy John Dannreuther. He was obviously excited and I became equally amazed that John had just discovered a third obverse proof die for the 1881 date. This obverse is easily diagnosed due to a date punch that is position far right as compared to the F-101 and F-102 varieties. For those GFRC readers who do not know John, he is performing comprehensive United States proof coinage research that will be published in hard bound book. John had recently moved into the Liberty Seated dime series and employed my web-book to validate his research findings. When arriving at the 1881 date, John discovered a third obverse die and it appears that this variety has a sparse mintage of ONLY 50 pieces! Interesting, an example recently sold at Heritage Auction during August 2014 ANA convention completely undetected. This example has become the new F-103 web-book plate coin courtesy of Heritage Auction archives. Please see following. Interested readers can learn more at the new 1881 F-103 web-book link.
Continuing with yesterday's topic of the decision to start releasing some nice Seated dime from my collection, the featured coin of the day is an 1854 New Orleans dime and the F-105 variety (R4 in VF or better) with obverse die crack down through the 8 digit in the date. As with nearly all the dimes in my collection, this piece features a bold strike with full head, hair curls, star centrils and complete wreath leaves on the reverse. There is minimal wear across knee and breast high points. I purchased this lovely dime during 1997 and it was the initial F-105 piece in variety reference collection until I located a PCGS MS64 example years later. This dime has even satiny surfaces and received CAC approval last week for its prior PCGS AU55 designation. I believe you would agree that this piece is "fresh to market" and conservatively graded against today's standards.
September 23, 2014
Eventually everyone reaches a point in their numismatic career when selling some priced acquisitions is a prudent step. This realization came about as I continue to process my seated dime reference collection through the TPGs and CAC review. Handling each piece brings back memories of the purchase transaction and the reason for acquiring. But fundamentally, I am only a curator of this collection and the museum is the Liberty Seated Dimes varieties web-book. It is time to start slowly selling some pieces and allowing other serious collectors to share the same enjoyment in acquiring high quality coins. Therefore starting today, the releasing of select collection duplicates will begin. Readers and GFRC customers will immediately notice the grade inflation that has occured during the past 20-30 years. Grade inflation will be a separate Daily Blog topic as I believe it is important that current collectors realize the shifting grading standards brought about by the Third Party Grading services.
The first dime to be released is my 1859 F-103 (Misplaced Digit in Gown) graded PCGS MS62 and approved by CAC last week. I purchased this dime at the 2001 American Numismatic Association show and paid a premium as the dime was so well struck for the assigned MS62 grade. If one understands the 1859 date and strike characteristics, nearly all examples come with uneven strikes. This example, however is a hammered strike with full definition of Liberty's head, hair curls, gown lines and scroll edges. The reverse is similar with all wreath leave veins and the bow know fully defined. The strike coupled with the misplaced digit variety made this an important acquisition which was featured in my PCGS Set Registry set for years until purchasing a fully struck PCGS MS66 upgrade and an NGC MS65 upgrade for the F-103 variety within personal Top 100 Varieties set. So this PCGS MS62 example sat quietly in the bank vault until being sent to CAC last week where it stickered.
Serious inquiries are welcomed.
September 22, 2014
I worked until nearly midnight reviewing CAC results from this past week's submission. The submission was large at about 155 seated dimes including the first time sending in proofs to John Albanese and staff for review. Overall, I was pleased with the results at almost 65% CAC approval rate. Did I expect a higher approval rate since my first submission achieved 83% level with 10% golds? No, the first submission was 200 pieces that were hand picked as being the best in my collection. Achieving 65% on a second group that was passed over from the initial 200 was still a favorable outcome in my mind.
In today's blog, I wish to discuss why I am such a strong supporter of CAC review. In my mind, the primary benefit is that of education and using a review by one of the best graders in the numismatic industry to understand the attributes of premium coins. By using large submissions, one can quickly determine the surface conditions that are acceptable to CAC and those that are not due to certain grading "themes" that arise across the submission. For example, mint state coins are held to much higher standards that circulated coins for surface anomalies. A small line or mark on a MS64 or better coin will most likely disqualify the piece form CAC approval. Other surface aberrations like spotting, uneven toning though subtle in the owner's mind are immediately seen by CAC graders. Dipped coins can achieve CAC approval if the original surface luster is intact and without breaks on mint state pieces. For circulated coins, surfaces need to be original with uninterruped gray or gray/brown patina as a key attribute for approval.
It can be difficult to place into words the attributes of silver coins that will received CAC approval, but one can develop a visual sense for the appearance of original circulated and mint state coins after careful study of CAC submission results. After submitting over 350 dimes to CAC, my grading skills have improved significantly and I believe this is of benefit to GFRC customers. I've acquired a fundamental understanding of what will and will not grade at the TPGs (when they are behaving rationally) and also have a strong "gut feel" of what will and will not pass approval at CAC. Obviously, I have become an astute buyer of original material and can provide better service to customer on raw coins than most dealers who still sell non slabbed items. Some dealers have a business model of acquiring raw coins and processing through the TPGs and asking significant premiums for their time and effort; they believe their customer will only purchase coins in TPG holders. My philosophy is to still sell nice raw original coins and not tie up inventory in the grading cycle. The result is reasonable price for a nice original coin that is not slabbed and potential heading into a Dansco album.
One final note is in order. I frequently meet individuals are coin shows on a casual basis who 1) don't believe there is a need for CAC to be evaluating the work of the TPGs and 2) who believe their grading skills are well refined because of the number of years they have been collecting. My message to these individuals is the same....knowledge is power whether for cherrypicking varieties or obtaining the best possible coins for monies spent. I believe CAC is the most cost effective "grading school" in the numismatic market and a learning from experience opportunity rather than classroom approach. It is well documented that adults learn faster from hand's on experience rather than classroom teaching.
Today's feature coin is a piece that I purchase for inventory without CAC approval and fully expected to CAC this week. I was not disappointed as this 1837 PCGS VF35 seated dime is strictly original with even gray/brown patina. It would be a nice addition to a Basic Seated type coin collection or a date and mintmark set.
September 21, 2014
Back from the Gettysburg show and Michael Dixon should be congratulated on staging a well organized regional show. I attended the show from 7:00am through 2:30pm followed by a long drive to Maine via I-81 through Wilkes-Barre and Scranton connecting to I-84 through New York. Having lived in the East Fishkill and Wappinger Falls area while working at IBM, it was nice to drive through an area with many fond memories.
Gettysburg show attendance was active during the opening hours but slowed in the afternoon. Bill Bugert gave a very insightful presentation on 1861 New Orleans half dollars along with the striking of the four known Confederate half dollars with unique reverse. I had not known that the reason for only four pieces being struck is that the Conferderate reverse die would not fit in the steam press and required an usage of old screw press. The most memorable moment at the Gettysburg's show was when Bill Bugert presented the test copy of the completely redesigned Gobrecht Journal; large sized format, full color with glossy paper. The first edition of the new format will be issued to club members in Novmber and I hope that everyone shares my enthusiam for the revised format and club member publishing options.
I worked hard at the Gettysburg show to locate Newps consistent with GFRC philosophy for offering nice original and problem free seated and bust coins at reasonable prices. Fourteen new pieces are sitting on my desk waiting to be listed with the highlight being the 1873-S Pittman/Richmond seated dime graded NGC MS63 and a wonderful 1831 O-104 Bust half. Also, the CAC visit went well and as mentioned previously, I will be releasing some dimes from personal collection to the price list this week.
Following are Gettysburg Newps. Descriptions will be posted on price list later today with images to follow on Monday. I suggest that you contact me with a hold if interested on particular piece and can decide once images are available. These pieces were carefully selected.
3 Cent Silver: 1862/1 crusty original EF
5c Bust: 1832 LM-12 original VF; 1837 LM-5 EF remaining luster
5c Seated: 1840 ND AU55 original gray, 1841-O PCGS AU50 heavy clashing/rainbow tone; 1859-O PCGS AU50 gun metal gray; 1860 original EF45+; 1862 heavy clashing/lustrous MS62
10c Seated: 1860 F-103 original gray EF45+, 1873-S NGC63 Pittman/Richmond F-102 even gray
25c Seated: 1862 gun metal gray/blue AU; 1891 MPD Denticles AU Top 25 Varieties
50c Bust: 1831 O-104 Gem original AU58, light gray
50c Seated: 1855-O WB-11 Choice AU, gray/brown
September 19, 2014
Greetings from Branchburg, NJ which is just south of Far Hills, home of CAC. I enjoyed a quiet Thursday after submission drop off and able to catch up on GFRC backlog and also to start working on Seated dime web-book updates.
Firstly, I've added more dimes from the partial set to the Discount list along with offerings that have aged on the regular price list; the latter are discounted to sell. Also offered is a nice used Dansco Seated dime album with slip cover with the purchase of $175 or more from the Discount list. I have too many seated dimes in inventory and wish to find homes for these.
I became a tad excited yesterday when reviewing Scott Grieb's wonderful 1891-O F-102a dime and realized that the bold clashing is the result of separate clashing events with two different reverse dies. You are invited to review the 1891-O F-102a web-book page as detailed images are provided which support the conclusion. The F-102a variety has been elusive for me and being handed a gem AU58 example at the ANA show for web-book inclusion is most appreciated. Scott Grieb and Harry Smith provided other new varieties or important die state examples at ANA and I will try to get through these in the next week after loading Gettysburg show Newps on Monday/Tuesday. There are still new varieties from Tim Cook that should be acknowledged in backlog and need attention.
Jim Poston emailed the new GFRC eBay store logo artwork and I like the creativity. We will be discussing the eBay store launch next week as Jim has been aggressively buying and building an impressive Seated inventory with some pieces coming to the this website and other destined for the eBay store launch. My goal is to provide GFRC consignors with faster sales options for their Collector Grade coins....stay tuned as we roll out the entire strategy.
Finally, I am realizing that it is time to start selling some of my personal Seated dime collection as there are other potential uses for the monies besides buying more coins. Once the CAC submission is returned and results digested, a few will make their way to the price lists.
Next blog will be Sunday morning as tomorrow's focus is Early Bird buying at the Gettysburg show.
Today's feature coin is an 1843 Seated dollar residing in NGC MS61 holder with CAC approval. Fields are proof like and transform the even gray appearance of my images to vibrant gold and copper colors. This piece is obviously mint state and well struck. A perfect specimen for the Basic Seated Type Set in the Open Registry.
September 17, 2014
Today's blog will be brief but wish to point out some deceptive Liberty Seated counterfeits on eBay. What concerns me is that the counterfeits are common dates where the casual buyer may not have sufficient knowledge to recognize these as bogus. These two likely Chinese counterfeits have characteristics that remind me of those manufactured at a large counterfeit coining facility in Fujian province known as the "Big Tree Coin Factory".
The first is an 1842-O seated dime with date digits that are too large and mishaped to be genuine. These digits are typical of Chinese counterfeits. Also the reverse has a large O mintmark which is unknown for the 1842-O date. I contacted the seller to explain his offering was a modern counterfeit and he removed the listing.
Next is an 1877-CC seated quarter that is more deceptive than the 1842-O dime. The obverse image suggests the quarter grades EF45 with remaining luster while the reverse is weakly struck. The seller lists the quarter as grading VF+ while the toning appears to be consistent with an aged coin. However, if one carefully studies the date digits, the 77 digits are incorrectly sized and appear to have been added to the obverse die or mold separately from the 18 digits. The poor reverse strike is another indication that this is a modern counterfeit. This piece remains on eBay as the seller has not been advised that his offering is likely a counterfeit.
I'm leaving for NJ early tomorrow morning and therefore unable to write a Daily Blog but do plan to post a blog on Friday before picking up my CAC submission and driving to Gettysburg. Even though I am traveling, please do not hesitate to place orders on price lists items and I will response via smartphone.
Now to geniune and desireable United States mint offerings at GFRC.....
Today's featured coin is an 1850-O seated quarter housed in PCGS AU53 holder and approved by CAC. Surfaces are covered with even gun metal gray patina and still exhibit a subtantial amount of remaining luster. This is the Briggs 1-A variety with a rusted obverse die and weakness surrounding the date. This offering is strictly original and ideal for an advanced Seated quarter collection. Inquiries and offers are welcomed.
September 16, 2014
I received an Open Registry update request yesterday that brought a smile to my face and believe it is a fitting topic for today's blog. Why the smile? Watching a serious collector improving grading skills to the point of receiving his first CAC gold sticker is rewarding. This individual is building a very competitve Liberty Seated dime date and mintmark set and purchases a fair amount from GFRC. Over a period of two years, I've watched and gently advised the collector on grading and original surface conditions that the TPGs will easily holder. He's made significant progress to the point of his purchases consistently receiving CAC green stickers and yesterday, the report of making his first CAC gold sticker. During this learning process, the individual had no hesitation to quickly sell off his earlier marginal Seated dimes to reallocate funds towards Investment Grade coins. Watching a collector's transition from purchasing Collector Grade coins to Investment Grade coins has been a pleasure.
The Open Registry is a tool is help facilitate that maturity process and provides a forum for collectors to display their set building progress within the numismatic community. The beauty of the Open Registry is its non exclusive nature whereby individuals can list raw and certified coins. I was not worried about the competitve nature of the Registry but rather the inclusiveness for all collectors. The Registry also allows collectors to review some of the best Seated coinage sets in the country and set their goals for weighted grade and CAC approval rates. Last November, I visited CAC with three double row slab boxes and had John Albanese and staff conduct a critical evaluation of my better Seated dimes. The exercise was a significant learning experience and as a result, I added the CAC approval rate to the Open Registry in the hopes that other GFRC customers and friends would also use CAC as a feedback and learning vehicle. Yesterday, that vision was realized with the Open Registry update submission from the North Georgia Collection.
Also yesterday, I spent several hours in the bank vault going through my Seated dime collection and selecting another 150 dimes for CAC submission on Thursday. The selection process was straightforward as I have a reasonable understanding of what CAC will and will not sticker at mint state and circulated grade levels. This time however, I am submitting all of my proof seated dimes as another learning opportunity. Come next week, the CAC results will be posted on the Open Registry. I hope that more collectors will be less skeptical about CAC validation and see the service for what it is; an opportunity to improve grading skills by using John Albanese and staff as a consultant to evaluate one's purchases. The cost is minimal for early types coins with the feedback being well worth multiples of the review cost.
Today features coin is a CAC approved Seated dime. The 1872-S date has a meager mintage of 190,000 and is always difficult to locate in problem free EF or better grades. It is not as difficult as the nearly impossible 1870-S but provide a considerable challenge. The offered piece resides in a PCGS EF45 holder with CAC green sticker. Surfaces are fully original with residual luster.
September 15, 2014
This is shaping up to be a busy week with CAC visit followed by Saturday attendance at the new "National Battlefied Coin Show" in Gettysburg, PA and then returning to Maine that evening. The LSCC will have a club table at the show hosted by John Frost and Paul Kluth while Bill Bugert is giving a presentation on seated halves in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to checking out the new show and visiting with Bill in Gettysburg.
Yesterday's blog generated positive email feedback and one of the three proof like Seated dimes (1852 PCGS MS62) is now sold. Also finding new homes were the 1889 F-103 AU55 Top 100 Varieties dime from last week's consignment and the 1917-D Type I PCGS MS64 FH quarter with superb toning. It is obvious that astute GFRC customers place considerable thought into purchases as they seek out the best possible selections for monies spent. The day ended with more circulated seated dimes from the partial set being loaded into price lists. Finally, the Red Sox and Patriots both won; it was a solid day for New England sports fans.
Today's blog will be brief as I have a full agenda including activities related to a Board position at our Venice, Florida condominium association and other outdoor tasks will the weather remains seasonal.
This 1840-O No Drapery NGC MS62 Seated quarter makes its first appearance as the featured coin of the day. This is a pretty piece with soft luster and uniform gray/lavendar toning. Locating Seated quarters at this quality level is very challenging. Most 1840-O No Drapery examples seen have been heavily toned while this example has a recently minted appearance with subtle coloring.
September 14, 2014
During the past week, I did an email Q&A session with several of my Shanghai customers on the topic of proof and proof like strikes. Determining if certain modern Chinese and U.S. bullion pieces are proof strikes can be confusing if only examining surfaces and using this observation to make a business or proof strike determination. I stated the following to my old Shanghai collector friends,
"Some business strikes will look like proofs due to early strikes and die preparation. Remember that NGC or PCGS designation is for the manufacturing condition and not the actual coin surfaces. There are U.S. business strike coins that have proof surfaces. They are labeled as MS and PL. MS for manufacturing condition and PL for Proof Like surfaces."
This response triggered thoughts about my experiences with Liberty Seated dimes. First is the ongoing issue of identifying Philadelphia business strikes versus proofs during the 1862 to 1867 timeframe and secondly, the occasional With Stars and branch mint examples that are found proof like. This is the topic of today's Daily Blog.
How does one identify a Liberty Seated dime that was purposely struck as a proof? I've been asked this question many times and my standard response is....1) mirrored fields, 2) sharp wire rims, 3) a lack of mint frost on the main devices, 4) sharp lettered edges in the legend and 5) lint marks. Lint marks were common on pre 1880 proofs due to the hand polishing of planchets before striking and polishing cloth treads adhering to the planchet during striking.
Why are some Liberty Seated dimes found with proof surfaces but are business strikes? First strikes from new and well polished dies will be found with proof like surfaces. The fields are lightly mirrored but the dime will not have all of the typical proof strike characteristics. There is also the possibility that certain dimes with proof like surfaces were struck with polished planchets. Case in point is the 1876-CC Type II Reverse specimens; some come with heavily frosted devices while others will appear to be proof like. ANACS, during its old white holder period, would designate Proof Like (PL) on the label for those dimes with obviously mirrored fields. NGC also provides the same designations on their labels while I am NOT AWARE of PCGS adding this designation on their holders.
How do the TPGs grade proof like seated dimes? It has been my experience that the TPG services will apply strict technical grading to proof like dimes since the mirrored fields highlight any blemishes or hairlines. TPG graders use natural luster (from business strikes) as one of the mint state grading attributes. Aged dies will transfer metal flow lines onto business strike coinage and provides significant luster due to the multi angled metal surfaces for reflecting light. Proof like coins, on the other hand, do not have typical mint luster and can be undergraded, especially by PCGS since there is no Proof Like designation. Case in point are several 1876 and 1877 Carson City dimes in my collection purchased from Jim O'Donnell. Jim loved proof like seated dimes especially from the Carson City branch mint and was always frustrated by the low assigned PCGS grades. Once in PCGS holders and appearing undergraded, I gladly purchased these from Jim even at a premium to the guides.
While collecting Seated dimes, I went through a maturity process leading to my current preference for proof like business strike specimens rather than those with frosty surfaces. Why? First reason is the "thrill of the hunt" as locating high grade mint state proof like dimes is most challenging as the population is small. Secondly, I enjoy owning business strike dimes with mirror fields as atypical in the market and a hybrid between low mintage proof strikes and high mintage business strike counterparts. I especially like to own and sell earlier dated Seated dimes (No Stars, No Drapery and With Stars) with mirrored fields as a differentiated item.
I hope today's discussion will aid GFRC customers understand why I stock Seated dimes and other denominations with mirrored surfaces. When located and choice, I will buy these based on my collector instincts. Today's featured coin is an 1857 F-114 PCGS MS65 dime with mirrored surfaces that expose every tiny defect on the striking dies. This dime has an aquamarine/teal center that transitions to rose/gold surrounding the stars and some reds at the date. I've heard comments from customers indicating the dime is "dark" in my images which is true. Many high grade proof seated dimes have dark original patina but bring about a color explosion once tilted in the light. This is the case for this piece and several others in my inventory; 1852 F-106 PCGS MS62 and the 1858 F-111 NGC MS63.
September 13, 2014
Maine is experiencing a beautiful Fall weekend as temperatures continue their slow decline and the first signs of foliage color start to appear. The long northern New England winters can be tiring but the spectacular seasonal transitions are fair compensation. It is the time of year when winter preparations start; moving the firewood into the garage, clearing small brush for ease in leaf blowing into composting locations and making appointments with the chimney sweep and oil furnace cleaning guys....it is the rhythm of northern New England life.
The small Seated dime consignment arrived yesterday and contained four pieces; 1852 F-105b (rev cud) original G4, 1876-CC Type II reverse original VF20, 1889 F-103 Top 100 MPD/RPD AU53 and 1889 F-115 PCGS MS64 and so choice original. All four pieces are photographed and will be online today.
I've made a change to the Seated dime price lists and separate the proofs from the AU/Mint State offerings as suspected the proofs were not receiving sufficient attention. Customers will note the new For Sale page icon table this morning with the Currency icon moving down with the Discount and Contemporary Counterfeits. Speaking of the Discount list, I continue to load more offerings from that partial Seated dime set and the sell rate is quite good. I have too many seated dimes around me and hope to move these lower grade pieces quickly so don't hesitate to email with an offer for multiple lots. Cash is important going into next week's Gettysburg show as the attention will be on improving larger denomination Seated and Bust inventories. My goal is to become a fully mainstream dealer during 2015 with inventory balance being paramount.
Finally, please consider GFRC for handling duplicates or as a collection liquidation option. The fun part of this business is working directly with collectors and supporting their purchase or liquidation needs. As collectors, we are only curators of our collections; the acquisition process or "the hunt" is a significant part of the enjoyment while the liquidation can be difficult for several reasons. Not wishing to part with favorite coins or recognizing the need to trim an accumulation can be emotional. My role is to well represent your coins and to locate buyers who will enjoy them as much as the consignor has.....
Today's feature coin is the 1889 F-115 PCGS MS64 that arrived yesterday. My first impression when opening the registered package was Wow! For those who appreciate strictly original and choice coinage, then this is candidate for your collection. Under bright light, this piece features a host of pastel colors including olive green, blue, rose and gold supported by adequate mint luster at the MS64 grade level. The misplaced digit right of scroll end is also much more visible on this specimen than my plate coin and will need to snap a quick macro image to update the web-book.
September 12, 2014
Already Friday and can't believe another week has gone by. Yesterday was special as met with a customer/consignor and now friend at a small bar in Standish, Maine for beers and Investment Grade coin show and tell. I've known and done business with this individual since the late 1990s when selling duplicates on eBay and this was our first opportunity to socialize in a private setting. My new friend bought the 1856-S PCGS45 dime and so pleased that he acquired this semi-key date in choice original condition.
One of my customers/consignors is an individual who recently graduated from university and is already an astute collector. Establishing a home down payment fund is now a priority and he's consigned a group of bust half dollars and other coins with GFRC towards that goal. Just yesterday, he requested some pricing reductions to attract attention and stimulate potential sales. You will find his coins marked with the Reduced attribute on the price lists.
I'm expecting a new Seated dime consignment to arrive today with numerous variety offerings. Also, I've taken in an 1864 NGC MS66 dime on consignment and working through asking price with owner. This is a lovely blast white frosty piece with some subtle gold toning and a no question business strike.
Next week will be busy with a trip to CAC in Far Hills, NJ followed by a visit to the new Gettysburg, PA "Battlefield" show where I will be in a buying mode and can bring along selected inventory items on an as requested basis.
Today's feature coin is from the consignment previously mentioned that has pricing reductions. I recommend this 1875-S quarter with proof like fields (from heavily polished dies - Briggs 1-A) and even light rose/gray/gold toning for your consideration. Asking price is reduced to $775 and fair value for this not so common date residing in new NGC MS61 holder. That wispy line on the reverse image is on the holder and not the coin.
September 11, 2014
Typing the September 11 header this morning brings back emotions and vivid memories of that fateful day. At that time, I worked for Fairchild Semiconductor as was on a typical Asian subcontractor road trip and found myself in Shanghai. After a day of meetings at Advanced Semiconductor Mfg. Co., I took a taxi to the Shangrila Hotel in Pudong to meet a friend for beers and arrived early. The waitress poured my favorite Irish cream ale, Kelkenny, and then I looked up at the TV monitors in the bar. There was New York City on CNN with one of the twin towers burning. The bar moved the imagery to a large screen projection system on the stage and the crowd went hush. I was in disbelief and then it happened on live television; the second plane hit the other tower. Immediately, I recognized the severity of the situation and rushed out to locate a taxi back to my hotel, the Portman Ritz Carlton in Puxi, as I knew international airline travel would be halted and I would be trapped in China for an unknown period of time. Due to the quick action, the Portman located an alternate hotel and I spent over a week in Shanghai watching CNN each day from hotel room or gathering with other emotional ex-pats in bars. Ultimately, United Airlines advised that I move to Hong Kong as this would be the first southern Asian city to reopen flight to the US mainland. Their guidance was followed and after a few days in Hong Kong, I was notified of a seat on the second flight out of Asia and bound for San Francisco the following day. That flight was not without event either. Security at the United gate was massive with soldiers carrying automatic weapons due to a small terrorist attack in Macau the day before. (Macau is just a ferry board ride from Hong Kong). We boarded the 747 after an hour delay only to be removed from the plane, again rescreened and searched before being allowed back on board. The moment the wheels were off the tarmac was equally memorable as there was an incredible cheer throughout the cabins and sense of relief from the passengers that we were heading home.
Writing today's blog still brings back so many emotions of the entire time in Shanghai including the days of hopelessness after the attack and the efforts to find a way back home to family. We will end today's blog here as it is best to pay respect to those who lost their lives and to the emergency responders throughout NYC.
September 10, 2014
Maine weather is changing quickly as we proceed through September and only 30 days away from peak foliage color. I went for daily walk yesterday morning at 9:30am in shorts and was surprised to feel the cold numbing my legs. Moving the wood stove firewood into the garage is becoming a priority before traveling later next week.
Response to yesterday's blog was excellent as the 1870-S PCGS EF45 CAC half dollar is sold and I received an offer on the two proof 3 cent silver pieces. I wish to express a sincere thank you to everyone who reads the Daily Blog and takes action on featured coins.
Building relationships with fellow collectors is one of the personal joys derived from my humble coin business. Tomorrow I meet a consignor/customer at a small Maine restaurant for a few beers, a purchase hand-off and some show and tell on new inventory. I'm looking forward to the meeting and a chance to talk coins with an astute collector and also speculate what really went wrong with the Red Soxes this year!
I've made an appointment with CAC for a large seated dime submission during the latter part of next week and then drive to the Gettysburg coin show. This is part of long term strategy to have my seated dime collection holdered and CAC reviewed before taking the individual pieces to market. Given the size of the reference collection, it will take a number of years to accomplish but most major projects are done one step at a time. Thoughts are to sell the variety coins first and preserve the PCGS Set Registry collection for later life retirement monies or as a legacy to my children.
Today's feature coin is a lovely Seated dime that is on consignment. The owner is building an important Set Registry collection and employing GFRC to sell his duplicates. I am honored for being selected on this matter. Bold creamy luster is the highlight of this 1842 dime that is graded PCGS MS63 and approved by CAC. It is a perfect dime for a mint state registry set due to full strike, clean fields and luster.
September 9, 2014
There are some mornings where I sit down and wonder what can be discussed in today's blog. This is not one of those morning.
One of GFRC's early consignors experienced an unfortunate weather event in the Michigan area two days ago. The consignor and I were discussing an offer for one of his seated quarters and then he disappears from email for 24 hours which is completely uncharacteristic. After prompting him, he reports back via a smartphone that he has no power and his home has a large oak tree resting on the roof. Luckily (if you can call it that), the roof protected a car and truck from being crushed. The country's dramatic weather events continue and I wish this individual well with his clean up efforts and the insurance claims process.
Closer to home, the property line dispute at our Androscoggin Lake summer camp may be heading to resolution. A lawsuit threat for an outright easement resulted in suggestion for a proposal to purchase that tiny strip of land. Lawsuits are expensive propositions and a typical property line dispute was conservatively estimated at ~$20,000 by our attorney; that number is just for one party. Hopefully, this matter can be settled shortly.
Back to GFRC business....the Open Registry continues to grow as more customers decide to publish collections. In particular, Ed Sims' seated type sets are quickly capturing attention as I received another submission this morning.
While August was a record month at GFRC, September is off to a slow start and constantly turning over inventory is paramount for serving my customer base. If there is interest in coins that have been on the price list for more than three months (those without the "New!" designation), then please do not hesitate to contact me with a reasonable offer. In particular, I would like to sell the two remaining proof 3 cent silver pieces (1868 and 1873 PCGS PF63).
Today's feature coin is an 1870-S WB-1 half dollar graded PCGS EF45 CAC and in late die state with weak date and base. This crusty original half was added to the pricelist this weekend and is scarce in this state of preservation.
September 8, 2014
Another Monday morning arrives. Yesterday, we retrieved our 2005 Toyota Tacoma truck after a full frame replacement under warranty. It is well known that the 2001-2004 model years were built with defective steel easily prone to rusting. That issue is now appearing on the 2005 models and our 4WD truck was typical with only 31,000 miles and several holes in the frame. Toyota honored their 10 year warranty and replaced the entire frame and other associated components. Our cost was $685 for gas tank straps, rear shocks and other items being proactively replaced since all labor was covered by Toyota. After this work, the truck is essentially new and I'm pleased with the no hassle service from the dealership of purchase and Toyota. For the record, we own three Toyota vehicles (Tacoma, Rav4, Avalon) and a cherry 1993 Mazda Miata.
The loading of coin shop purchases and the partial Seated dime set is in progress with maybe 15 pieces added Sunday evening and lots more to go today. The Open Registry continues to be a strong success as I'm receiving nearly daily submissions from serious collectors who are assembling advanced sets. It is a pleasure to be part of that process and help enable their set building. The concept of an Open Registry for slabbed and raw coins started back in 2005 as an awareness approach for the Top 100 Seated Dime Varieties set. With time, the concept has migrated to GFRC customer defined sets and I enjoy seeing their perspectives on set building.
My web-book update backlog is also growing and must carve out a few days from GFRC biz to focus on publishing new die varieties and updating many of the remaining poor quality images for the later common date coins. Finally, I've promised myself that I will attend a CMASS/MMMSC model rocket launch this Saturday if the weather cooperates.
Today's feature coin is from the partial Seated dime set purchased on Friday. The 1861-S date is always challenging to locate in middle to higher circulated grades due to a delicate obverse design features that wore quickly. This piece is not perfect but better than many seen and has a decent strike. Please email me if there is interest.
September 7, 2014
Sunday's arrived and looking forward to a quiet day with blue skies and lower humidity; today will be an outdoor day as I've spent so much time on GFRC biz and website as of late and a break is warranted. Yesterday, the Currency price list made its debut and the Seated type sets in the Open Registry were finished. Now I'm facing over a 100 new coins to be photographed and added to price list along with building a color ad for the November Gobrecht Journal. Thinking of the LSCC......
LSCC club members will soon be treated to important changes with their club experience. If you are not a member and reading this blog, then please consider joining the LSCC immediately to enjoy the new services (just email me!). The most obvious will be the all color, large size format Gobrecht Journal (comparable to the ANA's Numismatist). Bill Bugert is working relentlessly designing the initial edition and a test printing is happening this week. Paul Kluth and John Frost are leading a webcasting development project and planning to test at the upcoming Gettysburg show. If successful, then we might be webcasting the November Baltimore regional meeting to members....technology needs to be proven and the GlobalMeet application funded so much remains but we are moving in that direction. We changed the LSCC officer roles with Dennis Fortier becoming the input point for new member applications. Dennis will work closely with Carl Feldman (New Member Chair) to contact new member with phone greeting and welcome package in ~ 2 weeks after dues receipt. We wish to know why collectors made the decision to join the LSCC and how the club can meet their expectations.....
There is still so much that can be done but our volunteer group is small and those volunteers are giving on an unselffish basis to the club members. One area that needs much help is the Message Board as currently on life support. I would like to find a moderator who would try to stimulate discussion with creative postings, questions, polls etc.
I believe the LSCC is staffed by the best numismatic experts in the country and those experts are giving their time at a high level. We need more help.........
Today's GFRC feature coin is an 1849/6 half dime in raw AU58. I bought this piece as part of the bust half dime cud lot at the ANA show. According to Stephen Crain, there are always questions about the 1849/6 over date validity but when an example has a cracked reverse, then agreement that the piece is properly attributed. This example is strictly original with lovely gray patina and belongs in an advanced set. I'm positive it will grade and probably CAC. Won't you consider giving this pretty half dime a new home?
September 6, 2014
Friday was a most busy day. At first, the thought was landscaping work but the temperatures and humidity made me rethink that plan. Instead, I visited several local coin shops and also finalized the purchase of a partial Liberty Seated dime set (93 out of 121 coins) in Dansco. The dime set is mostly VG-VF grades with a combination of original and some cleaned pieces. Today's task, after another morning of packaging and shipping, is to photograph the dimes and start listing in both the regular and discounted price lists. Unfortunately, there are no significant die varieties here and the pieces will be priced aggressively to sell.
Back to the coin shop visits.....I've been in discussions with a coin shop owner with considerable amount of currency inventory and wishes to partner with a dealer for establishing a retail channel. This shop owner has fractionals, large notes, small notes and foreign in a variety of grades. He is a long time paper collector but as a busy coin shop owner has no time for eBay and his Maine location is not ideal for retailing. Therefore we decided to work together and GFRC customers will see a currency price list by the end of weekend. If there is customer interest, then the inventory will be ramped. Please share this new information with friends who may have an interest and feedback potential demand for others notes (once the currency price list is online).
This morning, I received email that another Seated dime varieties consignment will be shipped early next week. This is from same individual who offered his 1876-S RPD and 1891 DDO dimes last week; these never reached the price list due to quick demand from Top 100 collectors.
Today's feature item is a 1914 Federal Reserve Bank Note, New York B-2 (Fr-712) Series of 1918 in EF condition. The paper remains crisp with three folds being evident on the reverse. I did a spot check of eBay and believe that the GFRC asking price of $185 is attractive. Again, there is a strong source for these quality notes and if there are initial sales, then a larger inventory selection will be added including Fractionals and small size notes.
September 5, 2014
Welcome to another Friday. Maine weather is absolutely perfect and I hear more landscaping projects calling me. These should be hornet free as several birch trees need to be cut down before winter.
Yesteday's accomplishment was loading Ed Sims' Liberty Seated Advanced type set in the Open Registry. Working with Ed opened my mind to a non traditional type set definition. For example, including each denomination's mintmarked coins in the set along which the 1859 half dime "hollow stars" is clever and representative of smaller visual differences. I'm targeting to have a basic or simplified type set loaded by this weekend and hope GFRC customers consider submitting their sets even if only containing subsets. I've also not forgotten Matt Berry's Basic type set that remains to be completed.
The GFRC order backlog was fully processed and shipped yesterday. I will be removing many of the coins marked "On Hold" in the coming days as customers acknowledge receipt and acceptance.
Now that I'm caught up with consignments, this is an excellent time to contact me about handling your duplicates coins. GFRC provides an optimum sales alternative as compared to a major auction house. Auction houses are primarily focused on large and high value (>$1M) consignments or (>$1K) lots due to their significant overhead. Auction houses charge 17.5% buyer's fee but consignor net return is typically 30% or lower than retail as most coins sell to dealers at auction. Submitting coins to an auction house also means surrending control of the sales process. An average consignor is unable to control the listing of their coins in an auction catalog, if they will be photographed and when they will be auctioned. One of the reasons that I've built GFRC is to personally handle the sale of my own Liberty Seated dime collection when that decision is made.
Why should an Early Type, Bust or Liberty Seated collector select Gerry Fortin for disposing of duplicate coins or even a major collection?
- I am a well known and respected numismatist having built one of the finest Liberty Seated Dimes collections on record without the help of a dealer agent. My eye for original problem free coins that provide investment value is well tuned.
- I am a 35 year semiconductor industry executive having held Vice President positions in Marketing, Sales, Quality and Engineering for large United States and China companies. Confidentiality and attention to details are paramount to be successful in these leadership roles.
- I work closely with consignors to evaluate their collection and a mutually developed pricing strategy. GFRC consignors never lose control of their coins during the sales process and can have coins returned immediately if a better sales alternative is located.
- GFRC is a one person operation with minimal overhead therefore consignment rates are aggressive and more attractive than auction houses.
- GFRC imaging is of the highest quality and true to the coin in hand. My return rate is essentially 0%.
- GFRC carefully manages cash flow and consignors are paid FAST when their coins are sold. Many consignors choose to use their consignment credits to purchase other coins from GFRC inventory.
- GFRC attends major national shows to market customer coins. I am also developing alternate sales channels to handle the sale of Investment Grade and Collector Grade coins as a single point sales solution for GFRC customers.
Please email or call to discuss how I may be of service to you in the upcoming year.
Today's feature coin is a beautiful 1807 Bust Half Dollaor graded PCGS EF45 CAC. This is a premier piece for the advanced type set collector.
September 4, 2014
Amazing how the days just fly by when focused on multiple projects and a coin biz. I managed to load more consigned material on price list yesterday but there is still more to come. The high quality images, attributions and descriptions take considerable time, but the end product leads to pleased customers and essentially a 0% return rate. Without strong customer relationships, my humble business could not exist. You may note that no shopping cart is offered at GFRC; this is due to a lack of HTML sophistication but also a desire to communicate and learn the collecting strategies of my customers. Thank you for the ongoing visits to the Daily Blog and coin purchases.
Yesterday's other important activities included an LSCC officers' conference call to assure smooth operations transition and discuss projects for increasing LSCC exposure in numismatic hobby. There were planning discussions with Jim Poston for establishing the GFRC eBay storefront and another conversation with my good friend W. David Perkins on FUN and March Baltimore table strategies along with email exchanges with our attorney concerning the Andro lake property line issue. By evening time, I started working on Ed Sims' Liberty Seated type sets in the Open Registry and some progress was made there.
Today's focus is packaging and shipping more orders coupled with a conference call hosted by Paul Kluth to explore webcasting of LSCC regional meetings via vendor support. My end of day goal is to make progress on the Open Registry items if not interrupted too often.
The featured coin of the day is an 1889 proof Liberty Seated dime that is value priced. If one checks the PCGS price guides, you will note recent Seated dime and quarter pricing increases. Many of the PCGS guide prices are lagging the market. Back to the 1889 dime; PCGS increased PF63 pricing from $640 to $675. The following dime resides in a PCGS PF63 holder and is priced well under the PCGS guide and also under CDN wholesale bid ($490). The white reverse spots on (D)IME are scuff marks on the holder.
September 3, 2014
Yes, today is indeed Wednesday and awoke much too early to take Diane to the Portland train station. She is heading to Boston for several days to be a nanny for our granddaughter, Natsumi. Therefore here I am at 6:00am writing the Daily Blog. I had originally planned to attend Long Beach this week but Diane's nanny adventure required staying home to watch the dog. Staying home is probably best as August was an very busy month with the ANA show, LSCC annual meeting, the Florida trip and growing GFRC demand.
Yesterday was a productive day with a reasonable number of new price list entries and maintaining shipments. Loading draped and capped bust half dollars takes time due to attributions and learning the die markers. Quickly learned that draped bust halves employ the reverse berries/stems as a primary diagnostic. Subsequent attributions will take less time once familiar with these markers.
Over the next few months, you will start to notice some of the Seated dime web-book "plate coins" being offered for sale. My reference collection totals over 1600 pieces with a fair number of duplicates that just seem to accumulate. It is time to start pruning and returning duplicates to the market and allow other collectors to enjoy these coins. As simple as that last statement may sound, actually selling some of these dimes will be difficult, as if selling one's children. But we are only curators for our coins and eventually the reference set and PCGS registry set will be sold.
The coin of the day is the 1838 F-101 Small Stars web-book plate coin. It was purchased November 1990 at a New England coin show and is a silver white lustrous piece. Reverse doubling is prominent on the lower wreath and ribbon bow. Once sold, this piece will remain as the web-book plate coin and the owner's name will be updated if so wished.
September 2 , 2014
Another Monday (it was really Tuesday) arrives and I'm so pleased to be working from home rather than dealing with the daily commute. During my Fairchild/National Semiconductor days, the commute was a 40 minute drive from Raymond to South Portland, Maine and while in Wuxi, China it was a 20 minute taxi ride from the apartment to the wafer fab. That was 20 minutes with an honest taxi driver I might add, and I had to scold a few if they deviated from the known routes.
Last evening, I was having an email conversation with a collector and said the following, "Collecting original half dollars is kinda boring....you are looking for coins in the different shades of gray and gray/brown between the 1877 and the 1858 PCGS45 pieces on the price list." Discerning original silver coins is not that difficult once the eye is trained. But the collecting challenge is locating these in local coin shops or smaller shows. I can see where collectors will become frustrated if only building a single denomination set and end up purchasing coins that are not original but still with decent eye appeal. That is perfectly fine if the collector does not wish to have the pieces graded by a TPG service at a later date.
I have a full agenda for the day; loading a group of seated half dollars, then a group of draped bust half dollars followed by packing and shipping orders received last Friday and through the Labor Day weekend. On my list of things to do is adding a new Seated Coinage Type set into the Open Registry (by Ed Sims) and also finishing the Basic Type set by Matt Berry.
Yesterday's feature coin sold within a few hours. Today's feature coin may experience the same fate. It is a common but original 1877 seated half dollar that is accurately graded. The surfaces are essentially perfect with even light grade patina. At GFRC, being excited about coins is not driven primarily by rarity but rather originality.
September 1, 2014
Enjoyed a lovely barbecue yesterday at our Androscoggin Lake camp with friends but back in the GFRC office this morning to catch up on GFRC orders and LSCC correspondence. Today's blog will provide some insights on forthcoming Liberty Seated Collector Club changes as I assume the President's role effective September 1.
Bill Bugert is well ahead of schedule for the first all color and large size Gobrecht Journal issue. He's circulated a draft copy to the officers for review and secured feedback on several minor modifications. The new Journal will be printed on gloss paper and will have a similar appearance to auction house catalogs in terms of size and print quality. Club members can take advantage of the color format to better highlight their coins via current digital imaging capabilities. I'm very excited about the new Gobrecht Journal and believe it will be well received by the membership.
Club member education and fraternal relations opportunies are high on my agenda as President. An officer meeting is scheduled this week to discuss approaches for rapid new member personal contact once dues are submitted. Being an LSCC member is not only about receiving the Gobrecht Journal. Based on my LSCC new member experiences during 1989, the club has a host of senior numismatists who are experts in the hobby. Being able to correspond with one of this individuals for mentorship is an invaluable opportunity. It is my goal to bring about rapid dialogue with new members and determine their reasons for joining the club. Carl Feldman is our New Member Chairman and will be conducting the new member contacts and then feedback his findings to the officers.
Back to GFRC business items; I received a strong number of email orders yesterday and working through those this morning. There is still much new consigned seated inventory to be posted to the price lists along with some incremental type sets to the Open Registry.
Today's feature coin is inexpensive while being a challenging entry in the Top 100 Seated Dime Varieties set; 1890 F-105 MPD. What I like about this coin is the strict originality coupled with the variety. This is the type of coin that I consider Investment Grade in a holder or raw and always willing to take back as an outright purchase or on consignment. Nice original coins will always be in demand.