Featured Jules Reiver- if you own one of his coins post it here

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Eric Babula, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Eric Babula

    Eric Babula Active Member

    Jules Reiver was a WW II war hero who passed away in 2004. He had an amazing coin collection, focusing mainly on die varieties and die states of all U.S. silver and copper coinage from 1793 through 1839. Much of his collection was sold at the Heritage auctions in Jan 2006.

    From what I understand from some of my reading, Reiver was a pretty cool guy, who would chat about coins and impart his knowledge to pretty much anyone, whether he knew them or not. If you have any stories about personal encounters with him, I'd love to read them!

    I picked up 2 of these coins (later, from ebay, not during the Heritage auction), just because I wanted to have a piece of that collection, not particularly because I collected copper. Actually, I didn't care much about copper (sorry). I mostly collected silver (I like shiny things!) But, after seeing these chocolate beauties on ebay and in hand, I kinda changed my mind about BN copper, and found a new appreciation!

    Here are the two Reiver coins I have. If you have any, please post them.
    J Reiver 1851 Cent MS-62 NGC.jpg J Reiver 1851 Cent MS-62.jpg J Reiver 1854 Cent MS-61 NGC.jpg J Reiver 1854 Cent MS-61.jpg
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  3. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

    I met Jules for the first time at the 1983 or 84 EAC convention. I ended up sitting next to him at a dinner one night. He was passing around a few coins he had in his pocket for show and tell. I only remember 2 of the coins, two strawberry leaf large cents. I was only 16 or 17 at the time and I think it impressed him that I recognized one immediately as an electro type. We ended up keeping in contact over the years and in the 90s when I was working for CNG in Pennsylvania, he invited me to his house a few times. He always had some great coins to pull out and show me and I found his war stories fascinating. He was one of the most interesting people I ever had the pleasure of calling a friend.

    Barry Murphy
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  4. okbustchaser

    okbustchaser Just plain busted Supporter

    Jules was one of the nicest friends I ever made in collecting...always ready to share info or just a story.

    Here are a couple of the only coins I own which are still in the slab--simply because of the pedigree.

  5. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    This 1825 Capped Bust Dime is from the Jules Reiver Collection.

    I was particularly interested in the variety (JR-3, scarce), and the added Reiver provenance was a nice and interesting bonus.

    1825 capped bust dime OBV1 N JR-3 Jules Reiver collection - 1.jpg 1825 capped bust dime SLAB LABEL REV1 N JR-3 Jules Reiver collection - 1.jpg 1825 capped bust dime SLAB LABEL N JR-3 Jules Reiver collection - 1.jpg
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  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I only have a book to Jules sent to me as a gift.

    Jules was a student at the University of Delaware when my mother went there. She knew him from that time. I met him a couple of times at a few shows. My best memory was at an Early American Coppers convention that was held in Los Angles.
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  7. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    I once went to a half cent whist match at his house. Nice guy. This coin was from his collection, but I no longer own it.
    1825 C02 copy.jpg
  8. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

    I met Jules at a gathering of friends at the home of John Haugh in 1998 during the ANA Convention in Portland, Oregon. John invited me and Rob Retz and our spouses to the gathering. Attached is a scanned copy of John's copy of Jules' book.

    What a treat, present were the who's who of Early American, and pre-federal coinage collectors. Jules was good friends with John and was a major contributor to Jules' book, The United States Early Silver Dollars 1794 to 1803. Jules had some wonderful New Jersey's with him that we all got a chance to look over. Other goodies were also there for viewing. I personally was offered several NJ's but had to defer as they were very high quality (read...way too expensive for the likes of me) and scarce issues.

    Jules was a hero for sure. Jimmy Stewart portrayed him in the movie The Battle of the Bulge. Jimmy was very tall, well over six feet. Jules was very short and like many seniors had shrunk with age. I'm 5'8" and I could see the top of Jules' head. It was a fantastic experience, both John, Jules and my friend Rob were very generous people. Rob's book on Fugio's was finally published two years ago. Rob died in 2004.

    I had the good fortune of meeting John at one of our local coin shows.
    Graduate of Notre Dame Law School we struck up a friendship over the defeat of Notre Dame in 1966 by Michigan State University with a touchdown by a fellow classmate and friend of mine from our Detroit high school.

    I had never met John when I walked up to his table. Right off the bat I asked John if he remembered the 1966 game. John was still steaming over the loss and that was 1995 or so. John died in 2002, the numismatic community in Portland turned out in force for his funeral mass here in Portland, OR.

    Several years later I was rummaging my way through Powell's book store in the numismatic material section when I happened across some really important works.
    I opened the Silver Dollar book, and lo and behold, it was John's copy of Jules' book inscribed to him by Jules. I walked out of there with about eight books from Johns library all of which I still have. A lot of us locals wondered what had happened to John's library.

    This is a great hobby, it's not about just collecting things, it's about collecting friends as well. Cheers to all.

    Attached Files:

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  9. Eric Babula

    Eric Babula Active Member

    You have some great interactions and great stories! Some day, I have to get myself some friends like these!!! :) Gotta actually get to some coin shows, etc., to meet people in the hobby. If only work wouldn't get in the way of my fun all the time......
  10. longshot

    longshot Enthusiast Supporter

    Not a great picture, but here's one. I think I also have a large cent somewhere.
  11. Eric Babula

    Eric Babula Active Member

    I read somewhere that NGC overgraded many of Reiver's collectioin. Not sure if that's true or not. What do you all think? Or, what is the general concensus?
  12. okbustchaser

    okbustchaser Just plain busted Supporter

    NGC was (let's just say) "liberal" with many of the grades given to his collection. They also tended to forgive such things as cleaning/wiping. Many of his coins wouldn't straight grade today.

    Jules didn't really subscribe to the idea that his coins had to be "perfect". To him, damage was simply part of the history of the coin.

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  13. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Jules had a wide variety of detailed variety sets. For example he collected the early half dimes by Valentine variety. I collect them by Red Book variety.

    He was not overly fussy about condition. For example he purchased an example of one of the two rarest 1800 half dime varieties. It was only Fair with just enough detail to tell what it was. Later I spotted one in Fine-VF that showed all of the detail. I contacted him about it and told him where it was, but he wasn't interested. He was more interested in getting one of everything instead of higher grade pieces.
  14. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    NGC graded a lot of the Eric P. Newman collection liberally also. This ex Newman Vermont portrait copper was in an NGC AU holder when it was sold. When I bought it, it was in a PCGS EF-45 holder.

    1787 Vermont O.jpg 1787 Vermont R.jpg

    You can only grade this piece by the obverse. The reverse was made intentionally weak by the Machin's Mills people who made the later Vermont coppers. It was also used on one of their counterfeit British half pennies. One of the ways to "palm those coins off" was to make them look circulated. That way it seemed as if other people had accepted them.
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  15. Eric Babula

    Eric Babula Active Member

    So, going back to my two coins. The Heritage Auction listed them as:

    1851 1C N-21, R.3. MS62 Brown NGC. XF45 EAC. Grellman state b. Chocolate with smooth, glossy surfaces. There is a tiny dig right of star 6. There is an old, faint pinscratch under C in CENT.

    1854 1C N-22, R.4. MS61 Brown NGC. AU50 EAC. Grellman state a. A short line extends right from the top of the 4. Attractive chestnut brown color with a splash of reddish patina at stars 1 and 2. A few trivial surface marks are visible on both sides.

    I'm no copper expert by any means (nor an expert at anything, really!), but I feel like NGC was closer to reality than EAC. Is EAC overly strict? Or, what am I missing that gets these coins XF45 and AU50? Maybe it's impossible to tell from the pics alone. Maybe I need to bring the coins back and study them more closely.
  16. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The EAC grading system is much stricter than the TPGs on most items. What the grading services might call MS-62 might make no more than AU-50 or even EF according to EAC.

    EAC is the system that those collectors use. The grades are lower, but the prices are almost always higher than the price guides. “If the alligators don’t get you, mosquitoes will.” EAC prices can seem high, and you have do your evaluations to decide if the price is fair.

    One of the things I like about the EAC system is the way it handles coins with issues. Most early copper coins have problems, and the TPGs don’t handle those well. Some times the TPGs net grade the coins with not explanation at all. In the old days, they body bagged the coins, which implied that the coins had little value. In some cases, that was very much THE WRONG CONCLUSION.

    The EAC system might say for example, “EF Sharp, light porosity, net VF.” That gives you a basis from which to evaluate the piece.

    Often EAC grading is honest, especially in their annual convention auctions, but there can be a political element to it. Sometimes collectors who own condition census pieces (among the finest known) will use it as a way to down grade potential challengers. That is one instance where I have issues with it.

    Here is an example of EAC grading. This 1809 half cent was only graded MS-60 in an EAC auction a few years ago. The coin grades at least MS-63, Brown, and has a strong shot at making MS-64 in a TPG holder.

    1809 B Half Cent O.jpg 1809 B Half Cent R.jpg
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  17. Eric Babula

    Eric Babula Active Member

    Thanks for the info on EAC, John! I think it’s just a bit insane that NGC can see my 1851 as MS-61 (I honestly don’t see enough hits to warrant that low - different standards than Morgans?), but EAC sees EF-45! How can two “respectable” grading entities be that far off? I see, and occasionally participate in, the GTG threads, and we’re usually not that far off from each other.....and we’re just looking at pictures!

    There was recently a thread on another forum about whether collectors could grade. Goes to show you that you can’t even necessarily trust the “experts”. Market grading vs technical grading. Games being played (as you alluded to). Bad day for some graders. Who knows what might affect the grade of a specific coin on a particular day? Guess that’s why the crackout/resubmission game still exists. This all sucks for novice/intermediate collectors who are trying to learn how to grade accurately so they don't get ripped off when buying, or selling.
  18. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    When I bought this coin at the Gimbels Department coin counter in the mid 1960s, they graded it EF. NGC graded it MS-62, Brown. My grade is AU-58, maybe MS-60 on a good day.

    1853HalfCentO.JPG 1853HalfCentR.JPG

    The Braided Hair Half Cent has never been a popular coin. The citizens barely used them when they were issued. To the present time, coin collectors don't show a great deal of interest. That probably inspired the low grade the Gimbels (Coin and Currency Institure) put on it.

    Here is higher grade one I have for type. PCGS graded it MS-64, R&B. The color has been helped a bit, but it's stable. I've owned this piece for 10 years, and it hasn't changed.

    1855 half cent O.jpg 1855 half cent R.jpg
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  19. Eric Babula

    Eric Babula Active Member

    I can't tell from the pics, but if there's wear, then AU-58 is probably right. But, IMO, an MS-60 is generally not an attractive coin, at least not when looking at Morgans! Too many hits, dings, bag marks, contact marks = ugly. I don't see those kinds of marks - couldn't call that 1853 an MS-60. Actually, given the color, I think I might like it more than the 1855 you have there! Would have to see them in person, to be sure! So, if you wanna send them my way......uhhh, for my learning experience, of course......that'd be cool! :)
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  20. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    One of the hallmarks of a Mint State coin, which is often overlooked when the TPGs grade early, middle and late date half cents and large cents, is mint luster. The 1853 half cent has Mint State sharpness or something close to it, but there is not much luster there. The 1855 and the 1809 half cent that I posted earlier both have full luster on both sides. Mint luster shows through the brown surfaces.

    Here is another Mint State copper coin from the 1850s, an 1856 large cent. This one is graded MS-65, R&B, CAC and has original surfaces in my opinion. Copper is the most reactive of the three classic coinage metals, copper, silver and gold. For that reason you can't expect red copper to look like a new, modern bronze cent. The color will be orangish and subdued if it is original.

    1856 Cent O.jpg 1856 Cent R.jpg
  21. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    For those who are interested in learning about EAC grading, I recommend the book: Grading Guide for Early American Copper Coins, which was published by EAC in 2014 and VERY well-received both inside and outside of the club. (Full disclosure: I was one of the authors, and none of the authors has any financial interest in the book.) The 1500 copies printed have been sold, but a few are still in the hands of dealers. If you're serious about early copper, you need this book.

    The description by Johnmilton above is very good, but there's more to it than he could put in a short writeup, which is why I recommend the book.

    EAC and TPG grades really cannot be compared. EAC grade is an opinion of how the coin has changed since it was struck; TPG "grade" is an opinion of its price/value. Since they are based on completely different criteria, the two grading systems cannot be directly compared. That said (but don't bet the farm on this), typically the EAC grade will be at least a full grade lower than the TPG grade. Frequently, it will be much lower, and occasionally even higher. That does not mean that EAC standards are more strict; it means that EAC standards are completely different from the ever-changing "standards" of the TPGs. The Grading Guide covers this in much more detail.

    One thing that is important is that early copper coins tend to sell at auction based on the assigned EAC grades and not the slab grades.

    It is also worthy of note that, of the three major auction houses, only Goldbergs and Heritage give EAC grades, and Heritage only gives them for the nicer coins in their auctions. SBG doesn't give EAC grades at all, which amazes me given some of the people on their staff.
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