CoinsbyGary

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About this journal

When I was a young boy, my cousin introduced me to the hobby of coin collecting. Because I was also interested in photography, I used to frequent a local camera store. Along with camera supplies, this store had a rotating display case full of coins that I enjoyed scrolling through. My very first coin purchase was an 1881-S Morgan Dollar in BU PL condition; this coin was old, shiny, and inexpensive at just $12! Now 35 years later, I still own that 1881-S Morgan Dollar, even though it is still worth less than $100. I loved looking through the Red Book dreaming of the coins I would buy if I had the money, especially the coins in the back of the book where the gold listings are. As a teenager, I was beginning to show signs of gold fever.

Working through high school, I spent the bulk of the money I did not save on coin purchases. My first gold purchase as a teenager was an 1881 BU Half Eagle for $105 from a mail order ad in "Coins" magazine. Since then I have had this coin graded, and it resides in my Gold Liberty type collection graded at PCGS MS-62.

My next gold purchase as a youth stretched my resources. I purchased an 1858-C VF Half Eagle for $350, and my attraction to this coin was that it had a low mintage from an obscure branch mint. I also enjoy the comradely among fellow coin enthusiasts, and once I invited a kid to attend a coin show with me who was much younger than I was. As fate would have it, this kid happened to be the son of my mother’s boss. This boss always said to my mother how impressed he was with me taking his son to that show. As for me, I enjoy the company of fellow coin collectors, whoever they may be.

Two other purchases I made as a teen were an 1876 20-cent piece and an 1885-CC Morgan Dollar from the Lavere Redfield hoard. Since then my collecting has been sporadic, depending on my life situation. However, the passion has always been there. Gold has still not lost its luster with me, and today I am a very active collector. The cousin that introduced me to coin collecting years ago no longer collects. For a different twist on my collection, visit my website at: coinsbygary.com

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Entries in this journal

Contrasts in Lighting

A few days ago, I was contacted by a friend concerning a medal that he had photographed by someone other than me! 😊. To be exact, he didn’t like what he got and wanted to know my thoughts on the photography. Now, if a person asks me questions about photography, they will always get more from me than they asked! The pictures my friend sent lacked details. The devices were hazy and had a strange blue hue. The fields on the medal were basically flat. Because the medal had a reverse proof finish, I

My Most Recent NGC Submission

Lately, there has been much criticism and suspicion about the length of time it takes to get your coins graded. And my recent submission is no different. Like me, at the end of the day, when all your coins have been returned, you will probably ask yourself if it has been worth it? In the end, I weighed my worth against the grades I got, the price I paid, and the wait I had to endure. On April 22, 2021, I mailed a 13-coin submission to NGC. On August 10, I received the last of my coins back

The Three Graces on the Cheap

In December of 2019, the United Kingdom launched a series of commemorative coins based on the classic works of “The Great Engravers.” The inaugural issue features the classic “Una and the Lion” engraved by William Wyon. When this coin was first issued, you could find the 2-ounce silver version on e-bay for less than $500. From then on, the resale price has sky-rocketed. Recently, I saw an NGC PFUC-68 Una and the Lion on e-bay sell for $4000.00! Fortunately, I bought mine long before the numismat

The Who, What, Where, When, and Whys of Researching Coins

When I first look at a coin, I often ask myself, "What's this coin trying to tell me about itself?" Sometimes that coin's story is in its date, mintage, mintmark, die variety, and metallic composition, to name a few. However, I almost always find my coins' design features far more interesting than its technical characteristics. If they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I want to know what my coins' allegorical images intend to communicate. To help me research and understand the symbo

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

The Agony and Delight of Axial Photography

Over the last few weeks, I haven’t had much time to write blogs. This is because I’ve been working on my photography skills and, in particular, axial photography. I have learned a lot, and now I have several excellent examples of coins photographed using axial photography. The first thing I did was to craft a holder for my glass reflector. Then I reinforced the edges of the glass with electrical tape to prevent the glass from accidentally shattering. For the holder, I used a cardboard box t

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

My Best Submission Yet

It’s been a while since I posted about a submission I dreaded to send but finally mailed to NGC in June. As of August, NGC posted the grades of the last two coins of a nine-coin submission. This submission may have been the best I have ever sent. I divided the submission into four parts. The first is the WORLD-MODERN tier with three coins, followed by the WORLD-ECONOMY tier with two coins. Next is a single medal under the TOKEN-WORLD-VALUE tier, and finally, a three medal TOKEN-EARLY-BIRD t

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

Sometimes You Just Have to Trust Your Gut

In a recent blog post, I mused over having to fill out one of those dreaded NGC submission forms. As with most things I procrastinate over, I eventually got around to it. I have also written about The American Bar Association medallion I bought from a seller on E-Bay who thought it was a fake. Well, today is the moment of truth. That medallion finally made it to NGC, and the grade was released today.  If you remember, I wrote in my blog post on April 4, 2020, that I purchased an American Ba

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Preparing an NGC Submission

There are some things I don’t particularly care to do. When it comes to those things, I usually procrastinate getting them done. Preparing submission forms to send coins and medals to NGC for grading is something I always procrastinate. I just don’t like itemizing the submission form, looking up the market value, separating my medals from my coins, modern vs. classic, etc. Then packing them up and running to the post office is such a pain in the neck. Well, today I finally said, “This is the day

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

It’s been a long time since I've written an original blog here. It's not that I didn't have anything new to say but that I've had other responsibilities and distractions getting in the way. However, behind the scenes, I have been accumulating bits and pieces of news about my Laura Gardin Fraser collection. The first big bit of news came to me in the form of an e-mail from my LGF go-to guy. It seems that my friend is moving and wanted to lighten his load. Then as I read further into the body

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

When One Thought Leads to Another

Last month I received a notice that the bank I stored my coins at was closing and I had until February 4th to vacate my safe deposit boxes. Fortunately, I was able to rent another box close by and for cheaper than the boxes I had. Having secured a new and bigger box, the next step was to transport the coins to the new location. I was very uncomfortable transporting my coins from one location to the other and in particular standing at the teller window with my coins in a shoebox waiting to c

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

My Alternative to the 2019-S Enhanced Proof ASE

Let me preface my post by stating that I was not interested in purchasing the recently sold out enhanced reverse proof ASE. That said, I think the finish on the ASE is exquisite. As such it is a remarkably beautiful coin that I would be proud to own. Still, ASE’s are not among the coins I regularly collect.  However, there are a few comparisons I’d like to make between the 2019-S enhanced reverse proof ASE and the British 2019 proof 5-pound “Great Engravers” two-ounce silver coin that I now

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

How Did I Get Here?

Numismatics has always been an obsession with me. It’s either all in or all out. While I have been able to maintain an even keel on almost all my sets, it has not been easy as she goes with my new custom set, “The Beginning, Dependability, and End of the Spanish Peseta.” This year most of my custom sets have seen some activity including my Inspirational Ladies set with a new French coin commemorating Joan of Arc and a Fantasy Crown featuring, “The Three Graces.” All my sets have had aesthe

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

I Couldn't Be More Pleased!

A few months ago, I purchased a Spanish Provisional Government 1868 5-peseta copper pattern from an E-Bay seller in Argentina. The listing picture wasn't too good and it seemed like the pattern was a little suspect. Still, this piece is scarce and I have wanted one for quite some time. If I could get it on the cheap, all the better. With what I thought was a fair bid, I won the piece for about half what I could expect to pay for a certified piece. When the pattern arrived, I was very happy

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

A Coin May Have Saved the Isabelline Line of Spanish Succession

When I research the coins in my collection I often pour through websites like “Numista” that list dates, mintages, and basic data about world coins. As I have previously posted, I am assembling a Spanish peseta collection. While I was going through the copper issues of the 1870 1, 2, 5, and 10-centimos coins I noticed some anomalies in the years these coins were minted. Interestingly, sometimes you learn more from the questions you ask than you do by the information you absorb. Below are some of

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

The Mighty Peseta

Here I go again, just as I got started on a new collection with a narrow scope, things began to get out of hand and now I am now faced with a giant. Is there a cure for my collecting obsession? Do I want to be cured? Probably not and hence my dilemma as the scope and of necessity, the expense expands. Oh, how I love it! As I previously wrote I intended to start a new set based on the 1869-70 coins of the Spanish Provisional Government. I thought this would be easy because I already owned mo

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

My First Podcast Interview

As a result of my Money Talks presentation at the Words Fair of Money I came into contact with Coin World writer Chris Bulfinch. Chris wanted to talk with me about an article he was working on concerning Laura Gardin Fraser. At the end of that conversation he asked me if I would be willing to do a podcast interview with him of which I was only too happy to do.   Last week that interview was posted on Coin World's website as episode 027. After listening to the interview I think it went

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

...Of Cracks and Clashes

Since I am starting a new NGC Collectors Society custom set based on the Spanish Provisional Government coins of 1870, I thought to re-image all the coins in the set. It’s funny how when you give your coins another look that you notice new things about them. Or, is it that you haven’t looked in a long time and simply forgot. Either way its part of what makes this hobby fun for me.   One of the coins I re-imaged is an NGC 1870 MS-65 Red 1 Centimo coin. This coin represents the lowes

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

In the Mean Time...

Well it’s been a long time since I last wrote. Retirement has kept me pretty busy at my church having delivered the morning sermon last Sunday and again tomorrow. With all that I am doing, I have a whole new appreciation of pastors. However, I’m not writing about my outside exploits today but my numismatic ones.   You see while I have been busy with church activities, I have been amassing several new purchases along the way including a new book! I also served as kind of a consultan

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

Old Friends, New Friends, Good Times

This year’s annual ANA World’s Fair of Money is perhaps one of the most memorable coin shows I have ever attended. Every show is special in its own way but this one was the first one in which I was a Money Talks presenter.   The annual ANA World’s Fair of Money is a wonderful opportunity for advanced and novice collectors alike to locate those hard to find coins for their collections. For some it is a rare opportunity to roam a large bourse floor filled with dealers from across the cou

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

Summertime Fun

Every year in August my local coin club sponsors a picnic for the members of the club. Out of a total of just over 100 members, 20-30 people typically come out to the picnic along with their spouses. The club supplies the meat and drink and the members bring a dish to pass. If you have good people and good food you usually have a good time.  If that was all there was to the club picnic, I’d be totally happy. What really sets this outing apart is the bingo games for spectacular numismatic pr

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

The Very First Coin I Purchased and a New Toy!

Recently I bought a new macro lens for my camera. The lens is a Laowa V-DX 60MM F2.8 Macro 2:1. Now I know I already have a macro lens but if I am ever going to take my coin photography on the road, I will need a much more versatile lens. For versatility this lens is it. I can focus in as close as 18.5cm and as far as infinity. At 18.5cm I have 2-1 magnification. The only drawbacks are that I have to focus manually and set the aperture manually. No big deal on those since I already do that.

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all the Collectors Society Mothers. Some years ago I may have posted this coin but I don't remember. That said the message of this coin is always appropriate and I dedicate it to mothers everywhere. Therefore, I am posting this coin and its story now. The 2008 Latvian 20-Lats gold coin commemorates the 15th anniversary of the renewal of the Lats currency following Latvian independence from the old Soviet Union. Though this coin commemorates Latvian Independence, it also

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

I Am Honored

Sorry folks no image this time! It just doesn't seem quite appropriate for this post. You see, today I have accidently discovered that one of my writings was linked on the website of a national humanitarian organization!   I still have to pinch myself to see if this is really happening! This all started with my coin club asking for club members to give a presentation at some of our upcoming meetings. I thought it would be nice for me to do a presentation based on my Laura Gardin Fraser coi

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

I've Wanted One of these for a Very Long Time!

...And now I have it! A search encompassing a fair number of years has culminated with the purchase of an MS-61 1882-H Newfoundland $2 gold coin. This is like a dream come true from the first time I knew that this coin existed until now. FYI, I bought the book, "The Gold Coins of Newfoundland 1865-1888" shortly after it was published in 2017. In 1865 the Royal Mint began striking new coins exclusively for Newfoundland including a $2 gold coin for a then population of 122,631 people. You w

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

Tincture in Heraldry

Have you ever looked at the shield on many of our 19th and 20th century coins and wondered what the lines across the top horizontal bar of our national shield represent? How about the lines on the vertical bars? Beyond the vertical bars representing the 13 original states holding up the single bar representing the federal government you may be surprised to find that the lines or the lack thereof on the bars are defined by certain colors in heraldry called tinctures. Tincture is a relative

coinsbygary

coinsbygary

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