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Garys May Coin of the Month



This months Coin of the Month (Volume 3, Number 9) is my first column featuring a coin I do not own. Instead, it is an NGC MS-66+ 1951-S Washington Quarter from the personal collection of NGC Collectors Society member Yankeejose.

I am featuring Yankeejoses coin for reasons that shall become apparent in the body of this months post. Therefore, I am blending a narration on the Washington Quarter with a show report of the recently concluded 75th Central States Numismatic Society convention.

Our day started with a drive to Schaumburg, Illinois just as the bourse floor opened on Thursday April 24. After registration, my wife and I went to NGC's table with a submission of foreign coins and my selection of five free photo-proofs from my award winning set, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics.

Our next stop took us past the educational displays where my wife and I marveled at a series of ancient coins dating from 600 BC. From there we perused a seven-case display based on the two-cent piece. An interesting narrative accompanied some of the highest graded two-cent pieces available. Finally, as Christians we found a theme based exhibit of ancient coins from the cities of the seven churches in the Biblical book of Revelations quite fascinating.

From there we stopped at dealer Gary Adkins table with my 7070 typeset want list. On my list were a copper-nickel Indian Head Cent along with a no-motto and with-motto Seated Liberty Quarter. Gary first showed me a nice MS-61 Indian Head Cent and a gorgeous proof-like Seated Liberty Quarter. Unfortunately, the quarter was outside my show budget.

Then I asked Gary if he brought a PCGS MS-63, 1863 Indian Head Cent I had observed over the past month on his web site. At that, he removed the coin I wanted to see from a nearby display case. The overall eye appeal of the coin swept me away and it was a sale in spite of weakness on the front four feathers. Who knows, I may yet add that lovely quarter to my collection.

Casually walking the bourse floor we stopped at a Spider Press Exhibit manned by two retired Bureau of Engraving and Printing employees. There my wife and I entered a raffle for one of one-hundred special edition 75th anniversary prints printed on the spider press. To our delight, we both won a print and subsequently sold one to a proxy-buyer for $25 while keeping the other for ourselves.

Like last year, we had an enjoyable lunch at the local IKEA store. Blending a little domestic business with our attendance at the CSNS show, we bought a dresser for my son. As an extra bonus, we got a coupon for a free lunch when we spent more than $100 on my son's dresser. Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?

Later that afternoon we met Yankeejose at the show. One of the coins he was interested in purchasing was a certified upgrade for his details graded 1950-S/D Washington Quarter. Having got everything at the show I wanted, my wife and I went on a scavenger hunt for a certified 1950-S/D Washington Quarter. Unfortunately, this coin is scarce and as far as we could tell, there were none to be found.

While on our scavenger hunt, I stopped by a dealer that specialized in Civil War Tokens, Conder Tokens, and So-Called Dollars. Unfortunately he had nothing there of interest to me. Overall, the show seemed a little flat to me. However, I did notice more dealers selling ancients and tokens at this show than at any other show I had attended.

Last year I had offered to image Yankeejoses quarters for the price of a dinner. Thus, I arranged to take my photography gear with me and photograph his entire collection of Washington Quarters in my hotel room. This was a new experience for me and the first time I offered my services to image any other coins than my own.

I found that imaging Yankeejoses collection turned out to be much more challenging than I had anticipated. First, I did not have the time to focus the camera on every coin with the precision I am normally accustomed. Next, I ran into technical difficulties transferring more than one hundred images to his laptop. Finally, time did not permit me to photograph every coin Yankeejose brought. This forced us to concentrate on imaging only those remaining coins with the most eye appeal, including the one I am posting as Mays Coin of the Month.

Earlier in the evening Yankeejose treated my wife and I to dinner at one of his favorite Mexican restaurants. More than anything, we enjoyed our time with Yankeejose just talking coins and getting to know him on a more personal basis.

The next morning after a continental breakfast, I attended a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Numismatists for encouraging fellowship and devotions. The Fellowship of Christian Numismatists is a group of Christian dealers that meet as often as they can when traveling to various coin shows. After the meeting, my wife and I traveled home with my new Indian Head Cent, an extra $25 in our pockets, and having spent nothing on food.

Now as promised a short narrative on the Washington Quarter:

With the nation in the clutches of the Great Depression and little to celebrate, the Treasury Department moved ahead with plans to issue a commemorative coin to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washingtons birth in 1932.

For the design, they sought the Commission of Fine Arts and the Washington Bicentennial Commission for recommendations. Through a contest, the commission recommended a design submitted by Laura Gardin Fraser, the wife of James Earle Fraser, designer of the Buffalo Nickel. However, the Treasury Secretary passed over this recommendation in favor of a design by John Flanagan.

The Treasury Department originally intended to commemorate George Washington on a half dollar, but Congress having other ideas decided that the coin should be a quarter-dollar. Perhaps due to the Great Depression, Congress thought that a quarter would find its way into the hands of more Americans than a half-dollar. Instantly popular with the public, the Washington Quarter replaced the Standing Liberty Quarter in 1932, and except for 1933, continues to this day.

Snubbed at the time, Laura Gardin Fraser finally got her recognition in 1999 when her design appeared on a $5 gold coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of George Washingtons death. Now without further ado, I present Yankeejoses 1951-S Washington Quarter.



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