Share Your Passion For Collecting Barber Coins

March 12, 2012

by Dan Flood (Barber Coin Collectors’ Society)

As is the case with many numismatists, my wife and son do not share the same passion that I have for collecting coins, specifically, Barber quarters and halves.  In fact, both have little to no interest at all, with my coin collecting hobby.  When there’s no one around to share your passion and enjoyment for these beautiful coins, this can make the hobby a very lonesome proposition.

When it came to purchasing new Barber’s for my collection, I always followed the same old routine.  I would consolidate all of my new coin purchases that were made over about a 2 to 3 week period and then proceed to drag my coins into work, where at lunch time I would pay a visit to my local safety deposit box.  My new Barber coin purchases were never held or viewed “live” by anyone, other than myself, before being stashed away to the abyss of my safety deposit box……never to be seen again.

After working at my company for some time, I became very friendly with a fellow who shared my passion for hiking, and as it turned out, collecting coins.  From the early conversations that I’d had with Rick, it sounded like he was more of an accumulator, than a true collector who had goals in mind for his collection.  He mentioned owning a bunch of Walking Liberty half dollars, a single U.S. gold coin – a later date Eagle, and some other coins.  Through our conversations on early U.S. coinage, I found Rick to be a very knowledgeable numismatist, much more knowledgeable than what his coin collection might suggest.

Rick soon learned of my passion for collecting Barber quarters and halves.  He knew that I was working on completing sets of Barber quarters and halves, the majority being in the VF – XF grade range, with an occasional AU coin thrown in for good measure.  Being unfamiliar with the nuances of the Barber series, whenever I discussed Barber coinage with him, or talked about my latest Barber acquisition, he seemed to show a keen interest in the subject.  Since this time, it’s become apparent, that what limited knowledge of Barber coinage I may posses, a lot of this knowledge has rubbed off on Rick.

My old routine suddenly had a new step put into the routine.  Along with my coins, I also made it a point to bring in my magnifying glass to work.  This way, Rick could get a better look at my latest acquisitions, before they headed off to the safety deposit box.  I actually look forward now to this new ritual……..having my coins critiqued, in hand, by someone else.  He’s very familiar with my tastes in Barber’s and is very honest with his assessment of any coin that he views, (is the coin graded properly, does it have nice toning and eye appeal, does it have a decent strike, etc.).

If initially, I hadn’t shared my passion for collecting Barber coins with Rick, this wonderful opportunity to share my hobby with someone else may never have come up.  After viewing many of my circulated Barber quarters and halves, Rick had mentioned to me that he never realized how beautiful the design of these coins are, and how attractive nice, original examples can be.  Who knows, if Rick gets into collecting coins on a more serious level…….maybe we’ll have another Barber fanatic on our hands.

About the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society

The Barber Coin Collectors’ Society (BCCS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge of coins designed by Charles E. Barber, Chief Engraver of the Mint from 1880 to 1917. The BCCS was founded in 1989, and has hundreds of members from all over the United States.

Visit the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society at http://www.barbercoins.org/

Philadelphia Mint $20 Liberty’s: The Dates That Make the Best Buys Today

March 8, 2012

by Jim Fehr (The Winning Edge)

Hope your summer was great. Last year was a big year in the metals market and in all key date gold and silver coins. So far this year both have been mostly stable except for bullion prices which rallied in the spring, waned in the summer and have recently begun to rally again.

Today the coin market is good – stable prices and strong demand along with a growing collector/investor base. With increasingly more buyers putting their money into rarities along with a shaky governmental fiscal backdrop, both rare coins and bullion fared well as a safe haven for the weakened dollar. In fact, a 1787 Brasher Doubloon PCGS graded AU50 traded for $7.4 million early this year and was reportedly purchased by a Wall Street Investment firm that has $250 million earmarked for rare coins. Regardless of how much or where the money is coming from, the most important strategy you can do to improve your rare coin holdings is to concentrate on PCGS and NGC graded rarities.

Anyone that has purchased certified Key Date coins – Morgan dollars, Walkers, Mercury dimes, Buffalo nickels, $20 Saint-Gaudens, Rare Date gold Indians, Key Date gold and silver type – just to name a few, are going be the winners over the next few years. I have written many articles on the subject of how market demand has been gravitating to rarity and have covered all the major date collected series – including those mentioned above. In this issue of The Winning Edge I’m going to look at one series that is ripe for appreciation – Rare Date Type 3 $20 Liberty’s.

$20 Liberty’s

Twenty-dollar gold coins were first produced in United States in 1849 after legislation was passed to strike the $1 and $20 gold pieces. With the discovery of gold in California these new $20 pieces or “Double Eagles”, were favored among bankers at the time due to their larger denomination – twice the face value of the $10 gold eagles.

The series (1849-1907) has three types and were minted in Philadelphia, Carson City, New Orleans, Denver (1906 and 1907 only) and San Francisco. Type 1 Twenties, minted 1849-1866, did not have the motto “In God We Trust” on the reverse. Type 2 Twenties, minted 1866-1876, have the motto added and Type 3 Twenties, 1877-1907, have the previously abbreviated denomination, Twenty D., completely spelled out. Over the years Type 3 Twenty-Dollar Liberty’s have become more date collected and today enjoy greater date demand than both Type 1 and Type 2 Liberty’s. The fact that they are not as yet date collected as much $20 Saint-Gaudens only makes them a better deal now.

A closer look shows that Type 3 $20 Libs. have a wide disparity of prices along with rarity. Many of the rarest dates came from Philadelphia due to their lower mintages.  No business strikes were made in 1883, 1884, and 1887 and in 1882, 1885, and 1886, one thousand or fewer coins were minted for each year. The rare Type 3 $20 Philly mints are the focus of this article as I believe they are overlooked compared to the Carson City and other mint mark dates.

Most Common Date $20 Liberty

1904-P

Mintage:                             6,256,699

MS65 Population:                   10,386

MS65 Price:                            $3,850

 

Lowest Mintage Date

1882-P 

Mintage:                       571

MS62 population:             1

MS62 Price:         $175,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a breakdown of eleven other rare date Philadelphia Type 3 $20 Liberty’s. You will notice that these dates are among the lowest mintage dates in the series and are priced inexpensively compared to many rare date higher mintage Carson City twenties. These are great dates to have and are worth seeking them out for a type piece or getting them all. I truly believe their value today is among the best in U.S. gold coins and as such should continue to have great demand and future growth potential.

The tables below show a list of eleven rare dates recommend along with their PCGS and NGC combined populations. The second table also gives the 1885, 1886, and 1891 populations in AU50 thru MS60 grades.

 

Date

Mintage

Rank

 

 

Population:

 

 

 

 

MS61

MS62

MS63

MS64

MS65

1877

397K

253

33

2

0

1878

543K

514

58

12

0

1879

207.5K

85

27

14

3

1880

51.4K

39

9

8

0

0

1885

751

9

6

3

0

0

1886

1,000

2

0

1

0

1

1891

1,390

1

1

3

1

0

1892

4,430

19

19

5

3

0

1902

31.1K

288

82

10

0

1905

58.9K

353

62

10

1

1906

69.5K

399

148

37

10

 

The dates below, which are also included above, are for populations in AU50 thru MS60 grades.

Date

Mintage

Rank

 

 

Population:

 

 

 

 

AU50

AU53

AU55

AU58

MS60

1885

751

8

9

17

64

3

1886

1,000

4

10

8

12

1

1891

1,390

5

6

18

22

1

 

1877.  Mintage is just under 398K and it’s the first year of the Type 3 $20 Libs. The date is available in low uncirculated condition but is scarce in Choice BU and higher grades – only 35 certified coins exist in MS63 and MS64. The price of an MS63, $13,000, and MS64, under $30K, seem cheap compared to their low populations.

1878.  Many of this date were shipped overseas and have since made their way back. Most are heavily abraded and like the 1877 above are a very tough coin in MS63 and higher grades.  As you can see from their certified populations most of the uncirculated coins are MS60 to MS62. Love this date in MS63 or MS64 at today levels.

1879.  The highest mintage date of the group yet only 44 coins are graded in MS63 and higher condition. Equally as scarce as the dates above and scarcer when all grades combined are considered. A great find in MS63 if you can get one under $16,000 and worth the stretch in MS64 at $26K.

1880.  Mintage 51,420. Rare date in all BU you grades with just 79 coins graded MS60 to MS63 and none to date have graded higher. I like this date in any BU grade and if you can find one in MS62 or MS63 you’ll have just one of 17 pieces so grade. You may have to pay a bit over the levels for one of these but it’s worth it.

1885.  Mintage 751.  Very hard Philadelphia issue and with a mintage of less than a 1,000 coins it’s a popular sought after piece. A great date to own in any grades XF and higher.

1886. The rarest of the group based on PCGS and NGC populations. Only 1,000 pieces were minted and like the 1880 above there are very few coins to go around. A popular date as no other mints struck 1886 $20 Liberty’s. Only 50 coins have been graded by both services combined in all grades.

1891. Mintage 1,390. Only 69 coins have been graded in all grades and only 7 in BU condition.  Like the 1886 it’s a date I like in any grade XF40 and higher. In the last ten years only four coins have traded in auctions in uncirculated condition.

1892.  Another very low mintage date and a date you rarely see in MS63 and higher grades. Only 4,430 coins were minted and only 12 coins have been graded MS63 or higher. A great date in MS60 and higher grades.

1902.  First of the 20th century rarities in the group and the lowest mintage date among them. As shown by their PCGS and NGC population data, Choice MS63 and higher coins are difficult with only 10 coins certified MS64 and none finer. A great date to find in MS63 or MS64.

1905.  A mintage of just 58,919 coins compared to over 6,000,000 from the previous year, 1904. One of the most popular date $20 Libs in the series and a date you should look to get in MS63 and higher. Only 73 coins graded by PCGS and NGC in MS63 and higher grades – just one exists in certified MS65 condition.

 1906.  Like the 1902 and 1905 a later date rarity with just 69,596 coins minted. Although ready available in low uncirculated grades it’s recommend in MS63 and higher grades. If you have the opportunity to buy one of the 49 coins graded MS64 and higher, you should stretch for it if you can – you won’t be disappointed.

 

The tables below show an estimated acquisition price for the coins mentioned. The second table also gives prices for the 1885, 1886, and 1891 in AU50 and higher circulated grades. Prices are based on various sources including The Coin Dealers Newsletter, Certified Coin Exchange prices, CAC trading levels and PCGS and NGC price guides.

 

Date

Mintage

Rank

 

 

Price:

 

 

 

 

 

MS61

MS62

MS63

MS64

MS65

1877

397K

$4,250

$13,000

$27,500

1878

543K

$3,750

$15,000

$26,000

1879

207.5K

$5,850

$16,500

$25,000

$75,000

1880

51.4K

$11,500

$18,500

$28,500

1885

751

$87,500

$120K

$140K

1886

1,000

$125K

$140K

$175K

1891

1,390

$67,500

$90,000

$145K

$190K

1892

4,430

$23,000

$35,000

$45,000

$53,000

1902

31.1K

$4,350

$13,000

$24,500

1905

59K

$4,850

$15,000

$35,000

1906

69.5K

$3,250

$7,500

$16,000

$27,500

 

The dates below, which are also included above, are for prices in AU50 thru MS60 grades.

Date

Mintage

Rank

 

 

Price:

 

 

 

 

 

AU50

AU53

AU55

AU58

MS60

1885

751

$36,000

$40,000

$52,000

$62,000

$72,500

1886

1,000

$75,000

$82,000

$92,000

$105,000

$155,000

1891

1,390

$22,000

$29,500

$40,000

$45,000

$55,000

 

If you would like to own or sell some or all of the dates listed call us because we are always on the lookout for these pieces and can help you locate the ones you need. Plus, we’ll be glad work with you on building a complete set.

About Jim Fehr & Winning Edge Coin and Bullion

Jim Fehr, president, has been buying and selling high quality rare coins for over 25 years. He owned and operated Ellesmere Numismatics until 2006 when he sold it to Spectrum Group International.  After working for their subsidiaries, NACT and Bowers & Merena, he opened Winning Edge Coin and Bullion in 2010.  Winning Edge Coin and Bullion specialize in coins authenticated and certified by the most recognized independent grading services in the country – the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC).

Visit Winning Edge Coin & Bullion at http://www.winningedgecoins.com

An Enjoyable Pastime for Us, But A Collection of Coins, and Memories, for Them

March 5, 2012

by Chris Moran (The Happy Coin)

I have been talking to our clients recently about their main motivations for collecting. I’ve gotten many of the
expected answers; an interesting pastime, a way to learn about our past, hope of some financial reward, a
distraction from life’s harsher elements…a familiar list. Then I’ve gotten many of the well-known sentimental
reasons; it’s something they did with their Father or Grandfather, they remember how they felt after finding an
interesting coin in circulation, they traded a shoebox full of baseball cards for an album of pennies…that sort
of thing.

My favorite answers, however, are the answers about the future. I’m privileged to know several collectors who
are investing in various coins for their grandchildren or yet to be born great grandchildren. While it’s certainly
common to hope to leave something meaningful behind for our loved ones, there is something more
interesting and deliberate about this. It’s an effort to leave not only something of financial value, but also
something that was important and of personal interest and concern to them.

It reminds me of the collector from the 1800’s who carefully preserved and saved a collection of proof sets
starting in 1883. As many have already said, it’s amazing to think about the coins surviving through all the ups
and downs of the past nearly 130 years, particularly the Great Depression. These sets were auctioned last
year and aside from the money realized, the thoughts of his careful planning and instructions…all for
someone else, someone whose parents were not even born when the collection began; I can’t think of many
activities more noble, more caring, more selfless and more thoughtful than that.

What is especially interesting is the sentiment behind these collections. The specific wishes and hopes are
inspiring. One couple has shared with me their early financial challenges and worries, how the angst over the
bills, the mortgage, and the college fund…could be so difficult at times. While they enjoyed the time spent
together assembling the collection, their primary goal was to spare their future generations the same
struggles and to make their everyday lives a little easier, a little less pressure filled. They believe this goal has
added a higher purpose to their collecting activities.

It is understandable that numismatic investing is part of estate planning. While price history and past
performance are by no means any guarantee of future returns, here is some compelling historical data:

Greysheet Bid in October 1982 Greysheet Bid in October 2012
1856 Flying Eagle MS 65 $4,400 1856 Flying Eagle MS 65 $45,000
1918/17-D Buffalo Nickel $18,500 1918/17-D Buffalo Nickel $240,000
1916-D Mercury Dime MS 65 FB $6,000 1916-D Mercury Dime MS 65 FB $34,000
1916 Standing Liberty MS 65 FH $8,000 1916 Standing Liberty MS 65 FH $30,500
1907 High Relief MS 65 $11,500 1907 High Relief MS 65 $42,500

 

I loved my Grandparents, but I was very close with my mother’s father. Of the many things he left behind,
none were more important than his spirit of faith, compassion and generosity. But the coins he left behind are
also important, mostly because they were important to him. The care that he took in encouraging their survival
and future presence, well…it is part of my direct connection to him, his memory and his ideals. So, in his
endeavors to leave something of value behind, he was quite successful; but, if his plan was to remain alive in
our hearts and minds, successful only begins to describe his achievement.

About Chris Moran

Chris Moran is a full-time coin dealer and member of the PNG.

Visit The Happy Coin at http://www.thehappycoin.com
Visit The Happy Coin on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Happy-Coin/485872124779544
Visit The Happy Coin on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheHappyCoin
Visit The Happy Coin on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/thehappycoin

The Happy Coin is an authorized dealer for CAC, PCGS and NGC, and a member of CoinPlex, CCE and CoinNet.

 

 

 

 

Old Coins, New Friends

March 4, 2012

by Tom Hyland (Tom Hyland Collector Coins), written for NJ Numismatic Journal

About five years ago, I was set up to buy and sell coins at the Hackettstown Coin Club Show.  This is usually a very busy show with lots of opportunities to purchase some interesting collectables.  Over the years, I have purchased everything from bullion silver to a collection of about six pattern Flying Eagle and Indian Cents, as well as a handful of Proof Indians, including an 1877.  Quite a buy for a local club show!  You never know what’s going to come through the door.

On this particular day a very nicely dressed couple approached me and took my business card.  They asked if I would be interested in purchasing a large quantity of collectable coins.  The woman told me that her father had been a coin, post card, and stamp dealer in Pennsylvania and that he had passed away quite a few years ago.  She was now ready to start liquidating the contents of his store.  I expressed an interest in seeing the coins and she just laughed in a way I have come to know very well.  It sounded like there were a lot of coins.

Several years passed.  It’s not uncommon for someone to take a business card and never contact you.  After all, they had been interviewing other dealers that day.  I was disappointed at first, but that’s the nature of the business, and I forgot all about them.

Then one day I came home and my wife told me that someone had called.  A woman called and said her father had been a coin dealer, she had talked to me at Hackettstown, and would I call her back?  Yes, I would!  This was the beginning of a wonderful experience as a coin dealer.

I’m going to call her Mary and her husband Bill.  I made an appointment to meet them at their home.  What a delightful couple!  Mary told me that they knew they would contact me about the coins, but over the previous two years they were taking care of selling off the stamps and post cards.  Now they were ready to do the coins.  It turned out to very fortuitous that they saved the coins for last.  By now silver was hot and getting stronger every week.

Mary is very organized.  The first thing she showed me was a cardboard box full of Lincoln Cents in individual envelopes.  She has an accompanying typed list about five pages long.  Almost all the coins were circulated and not of great value.  I felt badly that she had done so much work and explained that it wasn’t necessary.  However, this was her connection to her dad and she did not change her ways.  Every container of coins had a list.  Every jar of coins was counted and listed by date and mint mark.  I was working at the kitchen table, right by a window, in what eventually became known as “Tom’s chair”.  As I worked on a container of coins, Mary would go off to the living room and come back with more coins of all denominations, all dated before 1970.  After a few hours and a massive pile of containers of coins in the kitchen, I asked if there were many more coins.  That’s when she let out that now familiar laugh.  She took me into the living room and showed me stacks of boxes of coins that covered about a third of the floor, the piano, and other furniture.  Too many to count!  I said, “So this is all of it?”  There goes that laugh again.  She said, “Nooooo, this is just what I’ve gotten ready for you so far.”  I spent some more time going through random boxes of coins and loaded my car, nearly filling my trunk and part of the back seat.  Little did I know then that over the next year and a half, I would make a total of eighteen trips to their home.

Buying this accumulation reminded of the way people collected back in the 50’s and 60’s.  There were little envelopes with a customer’s name and a price, sometimes marked “lay-away”.  There were literally hundreds of rolls of uncirculated coins.  There was a large box of rolls of Wheat Cents in the living room that I could barely move.  I had been there several times and kept procrastinating on the rolls of Wheaties.  Then one day I said to myself that I had agreed to buy everything, so I might as well tackle the Wheaties.  Turns out they were all BU rolls from 1930 to 1958.  I’m still selling the roll of 1930’s, one at a time, in PCGS 65 and 66 RED.  Collectors used to put coins like this away by the roll!  One day I bought over 100 two cent pieces.  Another time there were about 200 Large Cents, mostly well worn.  There were several rolls of 1950-D nickels, late date Walkers, and beautifully toned War Nickels.  The most exciting roll, to me, was an original roll of 1936-SBuffaloNickels.  They too now reside in PCGS holders.  How times have changed in the way we collect and the way we market coins!

But, wait!  I didn’t tell you about Bill.  He’s a model railroad buff, which is also a very strong interest of mine.  Once Bill found out about my interest in trains, he was anxious to show me to the basement.  The entire basement of their rather large home was an HO scale model railroad depicting a well known area of NJ and PA.  His modeling skill was outstanding.  I could look at a model of a particular town and immediately recognize the town.  The businesses, landmarks, signs, and factories were modeled as they were around 1950, and many of the scenes aren’t much different today.  A few months later, I would bring my son and grandson to meet this wonderful couple and enjoy the trains.  By the fall, my wife also got to visit.  We went out to dinner with Mary and Bill and had a delightful evening with trains, post cards, doll houses and many other historic collectables they had about their home.

Mary and Bill still visit me when I’m at the Hackettstown show.  We have met each other’s children and grandchildren.  Occasionally, we talk for a bit on the phone and catch up with each other’s family news.  Not too long ago Mary called me and asked if I’m ready to come to her house again.  I was surprised because it has been about six months since I was last there and I thought I had completed the purchase of the coins.  When I said, “Do you mean there’s still more coins?”, you guessed it.  There’s that laugh again.  Looks like I’ll have another visit with some good friends.

 

 

 

One of CAC’s collector members, Tom Hyland is an active buyer and seller of U.S. coins, collections, and key dates. He runs his business, Tom Hyland Collector Coins, in his spare time since retiring from teaching high school math. He attends local and Baltimore shows, as well as ANA and FUN events.

In addition, Tom has been the convention chairman for the Garden State Numismatic Association for 15 years. The annual GSNA show is held in Somerset, NJ every May. The 75 table event typically attracts dealers from across the country.

Visit Tom Hyland Collector Coins online at http://www.NewJerseyCoins.com
And Visit the Garden State Numismatic Association at http://www.GSNA.org


NCA RECOVERS MORE THAN $1 MILLION FOR BUYERS OF OVERPRICED COINS

March 2, 2012

The Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc. (NCA) helped recover more than $1.1 million in the last eight months of 2011 for victims of unscrupulous coin sales, according to John Albanese, founder and president of the not-for-profit watchdog organization.

NCA intervention in eight cases led to settlements totaling $1,114,200 for buyers who unwittingly purchased grossly overpriced coins, Albanese said

The Alliance has recovered more than $6 million since becoming operational in 2005. That’s an average of more than $1 million per year.

The most recent cases followed the same disturbing pattern as previous ones, Albanese said.

“We’re seeing the same kinds of abuses,” he said. “Fringe grading services slab inferior coins with outrageously high grades – and then these coins are sold to unsuspecting buyers for prices that are far beyond what they’re worth.”

In one particularly egregious instance, a fringe grading service awarded a grade of Mint State-65 to a 1912 half eagle that Albanese said “at best is AU-50 with light cleaning.” This, he said, “converted a $500 coin into a $12,000 coin.”

There have been growing problems lately, Albanese said, with sellers who fail to deliver coins after receiving payment from consumers.

“We’ve been getting more complaints about non-delivery,” he reported. “This amounts to a double ripoff: After paying far too much, the customers don’t even get the overpriced coins.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “non-delivery is something we can’t do much about. We’re not a law-enforcement agency, and we don’t have police powers to investigate this sort of problem. But we try to help out.”

The New Jersey-based Alliance intervenes on behalf of coin scam victims – engaging legal and other professional assistance if necessary – in an effort to counteract and discourage flagrant abuses in coin-related transactions.

In one recent case, for example, NCA received expert assistance from Joseph Presti, a New Hampshire professional numismatist who also is a licensed attorney. Presti’s legal work played a key role in bringing about a recovery of more than $300,000 for an aggrieved consumer.

“This was a case where modern coins were sold for inflated prices,” Presti said. “It’s the sort of thing that frustrates me, because it gives a bad name to coin dealers as a whole, including the great majority who are honest.

“I’ve chosen to make this industry my profession – and there’s a difference between a profession and a job. I treat it as a professional, and I want other dealers to do the same. The work NCA does is wonderful, and I’m proud to be associated with them. I think more dealers need to get involved for the long-term betterment of our business.”

NCA seeks no compensation when it enters a case on behalf of a victimized consumer – even though it frequently incurs substantial legal bills and other expenses in the process. The funds to cover such costs are contributed by coin dealers and others who share its concern about fraud and deception by disreputable coin sellers and the harmful effects these practices can have on the marketplace as a whole.

Cases involving potential abuses are referred to NCA by a number of sources, including hobby organizations, numismatic periodicals, law enforcement agencies, reputable coin dealers, and victims’ families and friends.

Upon learning of such cases, Albanese said, NCA contacts the consumers to determine the validity of their claims and asks for copies of all pertinent paperwork. If it concludes that the buyers were scammed, it contacts the sellers and urges them to make restitution in order to avoid legal action.

Further information about NCA contact:

John Albanese
Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc.
Bedminster, New Jersey
1-908-781-9101
or visit the website at , www.stopcoinfraud.org.

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