I attended our local annual coin show yesterday and today. All in all I enjoyed the show except for an unpleasant experience I had today.
I was looking for something in particular and a buddy sent me to a dealer's table. It turned out the item was not to my liking. I am always on the lookout for nice counterfeits and I asked the dealer if he had any counterfeits. He said that he had two - a counterfeit $2 1/2 gold piece (not an Indian) and a very nice altered coin. (I don't want to go into any more detail about the coins because I don't want to even hint as to who the dealer is.) So I looked at the $2 1/2 and it is OK but not great. (By that I mean it would probably fool a lot of people but it was not good enough to fool someone that knows what to look for.) I asked his price and he said, "I bought this coin as a genuine coin. Another dealer told me it was fake. I paid $250 for it and I have to get what I paid for it." Really? OK. Melt on the thing is $180 and I am willing to pay...
I have often been a strong believer that marks in that marks in the prime focal area of a coin are essentially grade limiting marks. After all, how many times have we seen a gem coin with one distraction that prevents the coin from achieving gem status. Here is a good example of what I am talking about. This 1880-S Morgan Dollar was graded MS64* by NGC because of the significant mark found on lady Liberty's cheek.
Peace Dollars are often found weakly struck. It is not uncommon to find uncirculated Peace Dollars with incomplete reverse lettering and mushiness on the obverse. The TPG's claim that strike is an important factor in determining the grade of a coin. Yet they seem to contradict themselves when grading coins from a series that were often weakly struck. Take a look at the photos below. Shown are five gem state Peace Dollars ranging from MS65-MS67 in grade. I have organized them by strike. The top coin is the most weakly struck Peace Dollar I have ever encountered. The second coin is just a little bit better struck. The third coin has an average strike and the last two are fully struck.
1924 PEACE DOLLAR IGC
Shown with expressive and diverse imagery today, coinage started from very humble beginnings. The ancient author Herodotos wrote that “the Lydians were the first people we know of to use a gold and silver coinage”. Through hoard evidence and research, numismatists have confirmed that coinage did indeed begin in Asia Minor, likely in Lydia or Ionia.
The earliest coins were made of an alloy known as “electrum”, or “elektron” to the Greeks. Electrum is naturally occurring, found in riverbeds and in nugget form, and is composed primarily of silver and gold with trace amounts of platinum, copper, and other metals. The ancient Greeks referred to electrum simply as “gold” or “white gold” as opposed to “refined gold” which came later when dedicated bi-metallic currencies of pure gold and silver were created. However, electrum worked particularly well for coinage because it was harder and more...
Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Silver Testoon – A rarity struck just before Henry 8 death, it could also have continued to be struck after Henry 8 death
1546-1547, Bristol 2 years minting under (WS MOMOGRAM of Sir William Sharington)
*HENRIC 8 D G ANGL FRA Z HIB REX Ornate style with roses and pierced quatrefoils in legends. Pellet in lower left of double rose. Bristol Local dies, mm. -/WS monogram, CIVITAS BRISTOLIE, 6.88g, (S.2368, N.1843). A rose crowned between the letters; H. R. also crowned, the legend being CIVITAS BRISTOLIE, with three triple florets before each word. M. M. WS in monogram. It was, therefore, struck at the time when William Sharington was chief officer of the mint at Bristol. Bristol shillings have were not described in any of the works on the English coinage before 1855. The coin is the fourth coinage, or...
The lowest priced coin I got at the Fredericksburg show was a wire kopeck of Peter I of Russia. Oddly, within a week before I won another on eBay (for twice the price!) which arrived while I was at the show. The two make an interesting comparison of an issue where the dies were well over twice the size of the flans.
I recently made the switch from incandescent lighting to compact fluorescent and I thought I'd share some of the immediate changes I've noticed, along with a side by side photo comparison of a few toned silver coins. All photos below were taken on a point-and-shoot camera with two lights. The incandescent lights were ordinary 60W bulbs, while the CFLs were natural daylight bulbs with a color temperature of 5500K.
The first difference I noticed was how much brighter CFLs are than regular bulbs. The 15W CFLs I bought were supposed to be equivalent to a 60W incandescent, but in practice I found them much brighter. Brighter isn't always better, as too much light can wash out the color on coins with more delicate toning. I currently have my CFLs in adjustable-neck lamps with metal shades, so I may experiment with using just the bare bulbs to see if that diffuses the light a bit more.
Another big difference I found was how much easier it is to achieve correct white balance with the...
As evidenced by my avatar, my favorite emperor is Antoninus Pius. I’ve read several books and articles about him but have not found a concise summary of the highlights from his life. I had a flight delayed for a few hours this week and had some extra free time, so I’ve written out my takeaways from his history. I've also recently begun re-photographing my collection and this aureus of Antoninus has always been troublesome to capture (so I've been using auction pictures) but I think I'm happy with it now. Apologies for the long post, but I hope you enjoy it!
Antoninus Pius is remembered by history as a kind, just, and intelligent emperor. Having held the title for twenty-three years, the longest reign since that of Augustus, he had a great deal of time in office to make a lasting mark on the Roman society. Unlike most of his counterparts, his legacy was not focused on military conquests, rather,...
There are active threads on the CT boards that touch upon, at least partially, eye appeal for circulated coinage, the utility of CAC for certain grade ranges and what constitutes a problem or problem-free coin. All of these are topics that I have discussed with others in the past, both at shows and via email, and some of these topics I have no doubt discussed within threads, too. I’ve been involved in the niche of classic coinage for many years and for the last five years or so have made being a numismatist and numismatic photographer my full-time profession. However, this article is written along the lines of a collector who has years of experience and who might have some buying discipline. The article is written this way because the pieces shared are coins that reside in my collection and that will not be placed into my inventory. I have been a collector for more than two decades, my collection has approximately 80-coins in it and is comprised of perhaps 25% circulated type,...
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