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About this journal

Updates and Improvements in the Registry and Forum

Entries in this journal

In what universe is this coin NOT CLEANED?

Grading services, especially PCGS, seem to give a pass to high ticket or marque coins. I tried this once before but it got bogged down on the peripheral issue of the role of the auctions houses in this issue. It drives me crazy when I send in a perfectly good coin and get it back "code 92" or improperly cleaned or maybe that's code brown. Here is another shining example of a coin that is er... Proof-61? Or should it be Proof Unc details? The upper red arrow shows a protected where the ab

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What do you think, Full Head?...

I found the 1916 in FH I had been waiting for. After a long wait I found a full head 1916 Liberty Standing Quarter with original surfaces and a great strike. What do you all think? The 1916 FH is always much softer than the 1917 FH. In my opinion the 1916 is not really a "type one" to be grouped with the 1917's. It has a completely different master hub. Look at the stars on the gateway or the letters on the obverse and on "United States of America" on the reverse. The stars have a softer

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My original title was What Would You Grade This Coin?...

My original thesis was that Marquis coins get preferential treatment but I could not leave well enough alone... I am glad that we got the discussion that we got. 21 people felt it worth their time to write a response and over 200 views. The original Title was "Marquis coins get a pass from PCGS" Then I changed it to "Is this fair grading? See the grade PCGS gave and guess who submitted it." The point made by Mark on his posting was a good one. It did not escape my attention that the holde

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What would grade you give this coin? PCGS ...

ridiculous variations in grading standards depending on the coin and who submitted it. PCGS is like a politician, you get the grade you pay for. I first recognize that something was not kosher about 6 years ago when I bid on and won a 1934--S Peace Dollar in a PCGS AU-58 holder from Heritage. The photographs were washed out and that when I got the coin in hand... WOW talk about ugly. At best, the coin should have graded XF-45. I concluded; Marquis coins submitted by auction houses get up

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I reached a long awaited milestone

I have always had my eye on reaching 1 million points but never really thought I would get there. I have a strong predilection for New Orleans coinage. So it seems fitting that the coin the put me over 1 million point mark was a New Orleans issue. I have been looking for this coin in and circulated condition for the past 8-10 years. After careful analysis of auction records there are probably less than 20 truly Mint State examples in the market. Many have come to the auction block multiple

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A cool Soft Pact Circulated MS-63 from the GSA. Yup, an oxymoron from the Govt.

What a time the THREE GSA employees had going through and classifying all of those CC dollars. First, I love the "Soft Packs" because they remind me of my youth when I collected the 1971-73 40% silver soft packs. The 40% Ikes were like a time warp back to the days when you could collect actual Silver, Silver dollars. I must have close to fifty of the various blue packs now. Yes that may cross the line from collecting and move in to hoarding. But many of the soft packs I ha

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A rare coin

Number 1 of my top 10 rare coins... in no particular order. I have previously posted about how freely the word RARE is used about particular coins when they come to auction. To me if there are 20 examples of a particular (rare) coin in a single auction it really begs the question: How do they define rare? One of the most glaring examples of this is also a coin many of us dreamed of owning as a kid and a few of us were lucky enough to find in pocket change: The 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent. The

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An Actual Rare Coin

So many coins when offered at auction (especially daily coins) are touted as being Rare... Scarce... Low Mintage and the verbiage goes on. Most of these are not even close to being rare. I have given thought to writing in article about my top 10 rare United States coins. I'm not talking about this 1792 half disme, or the 1796 no stars $2-1/2 gold piece, these coins are ones that I will never be able to afford. To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be adde

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Doubled Die Obverse or Strike Doubling?

I just got the coin and noticed the doubling on STATES OF AMERICA. This looks like strike doubling to me. Primarily due to the linear direction of the doubling rather than rotational. The doubling is toward the 12 o'clock position rather than to the left of each letter. What do you all think? To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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Do key date coins get a bump in grade?

1934-S S$1 in MS-65 or should it be 64. I must admit that the coin might have graded a 64 if it were a Philadelphia issue. I think that the key or semi key dates get a slight "benefit of the doubt" so that the grading services can keep them their holders. This, i my opinion is more common with the Heritage-PCGS connection but I could be wrong... what do you all think? To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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New Orleans Type Set Finally complete!

Added the last of the New Orleans issues to complete the type set. Finally, I finished my New Orleans type set. Although the registry has a Carson City--one per denomination, a type set, the New Orleans Mint has not been deemed worthy of such a designation. Nevertheless, after completing the Carson City set, I slowly, over several years, worked to complete a New Orleans type set. The Double Eagle was difficult only based on price, the $3 was not bad and the halftime, no stars, was actually

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Oops another New Orleans notable

The 1839-O half-dollar was the first minted in New Orleans and not Philadelphia! How could I forget the first New Orleans half-dollar. This has always been a favorite of mine. Although many reference books describe the first New Orleans half-dollar as being one of the few 1838 proof issues, current research suggests most if not all, most likely all, were minted in Philadelphia. This has to do with the dye characteristics and the proof quality. As for the re-punched mint mark it turns out t

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Rare 1877 Indian Cent, Not

This coin is anything but rare, just check out any major auction. This coin was brought from Rick Snow. It got the PS designation but only, in my opinion, because of the date. This coin is poorly struck on the its right side, including the date and AMERICA on the obverse and the bow and arrows on the reverse. The fact that I bought it means the only person I really have to complain about is myself. I chose the coin. With that said I am a bit tired of hearing that this is the toughest is

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Collecting modern coins, take II

Here for modern coins that, I think, have investment potential. Shhh don't tell though. This is a continuation of the thread that was started about a week ago. We were talking about ordering mint sets and sending in a handful of coins to try to get a few top population for grade. If you order 10 mint sets (~$30 per set with shipping) that's $300. If you submit 2 coins from each set that will add on an additional $15 per coin minimum, that adds an additional $300. So we are up to $600. Fo

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just another problem coin

When does is a coin go from having where to having a "scratch"? This poor excuse for a coin has been given the scarlet letter of numismatics, the details grade with the NGC purple insert. Exactly when the coin goes from having where to being "scratched" it is not clear to me. I brought this coin because its dreaded defect is essentially unnoticeable in hand. What do you think? To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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Investor v Collector at Auction

Which coin would you pick? I paid a bit of a premium price for this coin that, unfortunately, happened to be in a PCGS holder with a CAC sticker. These slabs attract the wrong kind of bidder... the investor. (I am of course joking, kind of). After writing about, "Problem Coins", the thread went to the question of what a person is buying: the coin or the slab? I think when it comes to these better type coins or rare date coins, IN GENERAL, you get more coin for your money for a coin in a NGC

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Problem Coins Part II

Checkout the scores for the 1793 Half Cent If the 1796 quarter posed a quandary the 1793 Half Cent is downright insane. Here are the scores for a 1793 Half Cent. Pr G VG F VF 40 45 50 58 4416 5651 5771 5965 6089 6215 6343 6473 6874 The coin pictured below garners a whopping 3045 points. That's over 1000 points less than the coin that has been rubs so smooth that you can only tell what it is by the faintest of attributes. Also the diff

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Problem Coins II Continued

Here is a my problem VF Details (3043 pt) next to a current auction Problem Free Pr-1(4416) pick one Sorry for the formatting flaw and typos in the last message. Here I think a (or 4) pictures are worth a thousand words. To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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Problem Coins

Is problem finely detailed rare coin better than a no detail Problem free coin? A one year type quarter. So She has the mumps and graffiti which are nicely described as "Counter Stamped". Why not American Chop marks? I think that the "problem free" coins at some point will not be the be-all-and-end-all of collecting. In this case the coin pictured was in an auction with another that was problem free but with "About Good" grade (rubbed smooth) and sold for thousands more. I lost this coin

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Points and type sets

Is a 1909-S VDB red equal to a 1958-D? Sometimes I don't understand the scoring system. At first look it is almost a dollar per point system or maybe it is based on rarity? But by what standard, mintage bears little to no resemblance to population (severely overestimates in an un-equal distribution) or the population reports (which over estimate due to re-submissions). The score seem vaguely reasonable but I have a pet peeve. In the type set it seems you should get more points for say....

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What about New Orleans?

Carson City gets itself and denomination set shouldn't New Orleans? And maybe even San Francisco and Denver. I lived in New Orleans for 4 years in the early 80s. I grew to have an affection for the city below sea level. The New Orleans Mint Museum is one of the most un-pretentious and enjoyable museums that I have been to. New Orleans was the first "branch" Mint to coin non-gold coins. It began with a beautiful "no stars" dime. The 1838 New Orleans proof half dollar was likely minted in Phila

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New Orleans part 2

another great New Orleans coin here is the affordable New Orleans half dollar, mint mark obverse. To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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Improperly Cleaned... Blindsided

Improperly Cleaned or Improperly Graded Some of my most beautiful coins are Improperly Cleaned (problem coins). If you look at my (JTO) 1792-1964 type set and view the pictures of the 1793 wreath large cent and the Capped Bust Half Dollar I think you will see what I mean. I think, in some respects we, as collectors, have lost our way. The grading services have hijacked our hobby. Numismatics is a form of art albeit within historical contexts. With the registry system "collectors" seem to

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As I try to learn that collecting is a journey not a destination

Another "Problem Coin" Here is another "problem coin". I think that the picture is worth a thousand details or adjectives. If I had an unlimited budget I would buy all mint state and ultra cameo coins. But if reality was not an issue I would just go back in time and get one from Mr Rittenhouse at the mint hot off the screw press. Since neither of these is going to happen I like my problem coins and have some fun wondering about just where they have been and what they have done to get in to

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