When this project started, I never realized just how educational and ironic this would become. I have chosen to write about David Rittenhouse for my Security Engravers Presentation. David Rittenhouse should not only be remembered for his contributions as an engraver, but more importantly his contributions as a Scientist, Philosopher, Patriot, Surveyor, Astronomist, Clock Maker, Mathematician, and successful Businessman. In 64 years of life his contributions to astrology exceeded all others living in this area of study. Rittenhouse later put aside his most accomplished scientific work to give his full support to the American Revolution.
My introduction to David Rittenhouse started in the summer of 2009 while studying coins. The Rittenhouse name came up in passing as the first Director of the US Mint while looking for other information. It immediately caught my attention because I have a coworker whose last name is Rittenhouse. I did not read much at the time but...
I've bought several coins that carried the CAC green bean and gladly paid a slight premium because they appeared very nice for the grade. I was impressed enough that I began to seek CAC coins over others as long as the premium wasn't too great.
I had seen enough CAC coins that I began to have great confidence in the sticker. So much so that even with bad pics online I would buy one knowing my experience to be a positive one. Then I got cocky.
In one week I bought MS66+ CAC Walking Liberty Half and an MS65+ CAC CC Morgan. I "assumed" that being a plus grade coupled with a CAC would border on making a next grade which could carry significant premiums. I was excited for them to arrive because they were bought off photos.
When they both arrived and were in hand I must admit I was disappointed. Neither impressed me much and certainly didn't appear worthy of a + grade, much less a + with CAC. Then I did what I should have done before hand. I researched CAC.
I found that CAC...
The Bugs Bunny Franklin
Children and adults alike have laughed at that wascally wabbit, and numismatists too have a good time with the buck toothed carrot-eater – as an interesting variety on certain Franklin halves.
B. Max Mehl, the great promoter of coins, was in large part responsible for the popularity of the “Bugs Bunny” variety on the 1955. Other dates also display this interesting feature, but Mehl focused his talents on the 1955 – in large part because it is the most common. The Bugs Bunny variety is so named because it appears like Franklin has buck teeth, like a rabbit. I’ve also heard some people refer to this as the Vampire Franklin, for obvious reasons. This interesting variety is due to clashed dies, as we shall see shortly.
(My 1955 Bugs Bunny)
Once again, the folks who put on the Long Beach Expo did a great job of promoting and putting on a great show. And usually the summer Long Beach show is much “quieter” than the spring and fall shows, but this one turned out to be very active, with lots of foot traffic.
Before the show started I had the opportunity to examine about 150 rolls of better grade Indian cents. While I love Indian cents and searching rolls, going through this many rolls can be a painstakingly tedious process and took me several days to go through them, but having a glass of wine made it even more enjoyable!
I brought quite a few of them to...
Lens Comparison using Nikon D7000
Objective: To find a better lens to replace my Sigma 50mm prime, or to determine if the lens is not the problem. The resolution of the Sigma 50mm prime was fine on the D70, but it just does not appear to make take sharp images using my D7000, tripod, and fast shutter speed. They are soft, and also the focus gets distracted by my aperture range (5.6-8.0) by scratches on slabs. I don’t appear to have enough resolution to be able to tell by manually focus past the scratches. It may be the lens, or it may be something in my current setup. My goal is to determine if the Nikkor 105mm will show a clear difference, with no other changes to the coin photography setup. Likewise, I will test my other lenses with the same setup, using a single coin so users here can see the differences.
Caveat: This is not meant to tell you the “right” way to do coin...
I have had this medal for many years, it belonged to my father before me.
Samuel J. Bridge Medal
GIFT OF SAMUEL J. BRIDGE / MDCCCLXXVIIII 
AWARDED TO / Frank O'Donnell / 1895
Metal: Silver, darkened over time
The medal has a ring with a piece of frayed ribbon attached.
I finally got around to researching it.
It is inscribed "Frank O'Donnell, 1895".
I knew that Frank was a relative of my father's mother, whose maiden name was O'Donnell.
The family lived in San Francisco in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
The medal is pretty dark, and I didn't know it was silver until I did the research.
Who was Samuel James Bridge?
He lived from June 1, 1809 to November 6, 1893.
He was born and died in Boston, Massachusetts, a member of a wealthy family there.
In 1856 he was assigned to San Francisco as Appraiser General of the Pacific Coast.
Two months ago I posted the first of an irregularly produced series of observations from the bourse and the subject was “but-coins”. Today I will take on what might be viewed as a slightly more controversial topic and that is the value or usage of CAC. I’ll be upfront and state that from my vantage point, there is little that is controversial about CAC, but that has not stopped this newest market presence (market maker, perhaps?) from becoming a lightning rod of criticism and conspiracy theory while at the same time proving to have an avid and sometimes extraordinarily loyal base.
Prior to my career as a full-time numismatist I had been a scientist and serious coin collector, or more accurately a student of numismatics, for quite a few years. As a collector I had four criteria for placing coins into my collection and these criteria existed well before CAC came onto the scene. They were-
1) The coin must have superb eye appeal.
2) The coin must appear to have original surfaces...
Master List of Online Coin Dealers
Dealers with GREAT Websites
Many dealers have a websites that are either attractive or functional or that have great selection or great photos. But not that many sites have ALL of the above. I wanted to make a short-list of dealers that met certain criteria and to list them here for all our members. To me, if you don't already have particular dealer(s) you exclusively work with, the coin websites below should be your first stops.
Back in 2012 I purchased four new, unused Capital Plastics U. S. Commemorative Half Dollars holders #431C at a coin show cheap with the idea of reselling them.
Did not happen. Last week I finally thought of a way to put them to good use, re-purpose them so I can sell them. I erased the title, P D S and holder # on three of them. Then I went through my coins for sale/trade and found some half dollars to make up my own short sets.
The first one has 1943 Walking Liberty, 1953 Franklin and 1964 Kennedy inserted in it.
The second one I inserted one of each of the three metal content types of Kennedy halves, 90% 1964-D, 40% 1966, and a clad 1979-D.
The third one I inserted a 1964 reverse side up, a 1970-D for the obverse, and 1976-S with the Bicentennial reverse side up.
I think they all came out pretty nice and now I am going to keep them. I have one holder left and am...
Several weeks ago I bought this NGC 1827 XF45 on eBay for $245. The reason I paid that much was because I recognized it as the overdate 1827/6. Upon getting it in-hand, I noticed that it had pretty severe artificial toning. (Don't let the seller's pics fool you. It was chalky, blue toned. Not dark and grey like the pics). I was at a loss what to do since I didn't feel like joining NGC just to send it back in to have the overdate added. So I cracked it out.
Seeing it out of it's holder, the artificial toning looked even more pronounced, but I couldn't see hairlines from cleaning underneath. I really think someone just decided to try and add some color to it. So I used some heavily watered down dip and lightly touched it to the surfaces, attempting to remove the fake tone. It took a while, and I was in no hurry.
When I was finished I thought to myself, "Well, now it's going to come back as cleaned." I was disgusted...
I had an...
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