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Like a Kid in a Candy Store



My day at the Central States Numismatic Society convention.

I had a wonderful time at the Central States Numismatic Society convention last Friday. I arrived with a 1908 Austrian 100 Corona gold coin in an old NCS holder to cross over to a purple holder and 2 coins with which to barter. The bartering coins were an uncirculated details 1906-D Half Eagle and a MS-69 1989 Russian Ballet 25 ruble palladium coin.

The moment I got there, the first place I went was NGC?s table. I queried the representative about NGC?s proof 70 definition and found exactly what I expected, that die and planchet defects count against a coin when grading. This still does not explain how they miss-graded my Abigail Fillmore first spouse coin at PFUC-70, but at least the term ?post-production? is a bit of a misnomer. If I had thought about it, I wished that I had brought the coin in question to show the representative.

I came to the show prepared with a list of coins I still needed for my basic US type set. My first priority was certified early coppers, and I was looking for XF or AU graded coins. What I found were certified MS coins and raw circulated coins. This was not only true for the early coppers, but for all the other coins as well. It appears that dealers love to bring their big-ticket coins when they travel to major coin shows.

While browsing from table to table, I came upon a dealer who specialized in Seated Liberty Halves. One of the coins I still needed was an 1853 arrows and rays half and I asked him if he had any. He had three, an XF-40 and two AU?s, all certified. I told him I was interested in the XF-40, but that I still wanted to look around a bit more.

As I went from table to table, I eventually decided that I wanted to purchase the 1853 half, and I looked for anyone interested in buying my 1906-D Half Eagle and Russian Ballerina. The first dealer I came to offered me a decent price for the Half Eagle, but I wanted to see if I could get more. To my dismay, details graded gold is like an anathema, and no one was willing to give me a good price. I went back to the first dealer and found his table swamped with people making deals and repeated visits yielded the same results. Not willing to wait in line, I thought maybe I could get a better price on e-bay.

No one there knew what the palladium coin was worth, but one dealer told me details about the coin I had not known before. It seems that when palladium was over $1000/oz, most of these coins were melted making my already low mintage coin that much scarcer. He told me to check the population reports and I would see how scarce my coin was. I did, and PCGS grades less than 10 and NGC grades 53, with my coin being the top pop. Re-thinking whether I wanted to sell the coin or not, I decided to keep it.

This left me scurrying around for ATM machines since the dealer with which I wanted to purchase the 1853 half could not process my debit card. After making withdrawals from two separate ATM machines, I paid cash for the half. Then, as icing on the cake, the dealer pointed out that my coin was a double die. I hope the photo on this post shows the doubling, as it looks neat when examined with a loupe.

The rest of the day I spent drooling over the coins I could purchase if ONLY I had the money. Oh well, they were a sight, and anytime I can view true rarity is a treat. Since I was on the arrows kick, I bought a raw 1853 dime and 1854 ? dime along with an 1859 Indian Head Cent that I will submit for grading later. In all I had a lot of fun and that is really what it is all about. Happy collecting all!





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