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Here I Go Again!



Is there any cure for this disease? I hope not!

Just the other night, while I was reading the owner description on my 1907-O Barber Quarter, I thought (thinking can be dangerous) wouldn?t it be nice to start a complete set of Morgan Dollars based on the New Orleans Mint? There has always been an attraction for me in the New Orleans mint ever since I learned of its history. Discovering that the New Orleans Mint may not have reopened after the Civil War had it not been for the Bland-Allison Act and a return of the silver dollar in 1878 only increases the allure of this once venerable branch mint. Therefore, since the New Orleans Mint coined Morgan dollars from 1879 to 1904, I thought it would be nice to start a Morgan Dollar year set based on the New Orleans Mint.

Having come up with this on a whim I needed to do a little homework to establish the feasibility of such a collection. With 26 coins in the series, I decided on a budget of no more than $200 per coin. Encouraged by what I found, 15 of 26 coins in MS-63 to MS-65, and 8 in AU 50 to MS-62 have fair market values of less than $200. The 1893 1895 and 1903 are the key dates in the series and exceed my budgetary constraints, leaving me to decide what my minimum acceptable grade would be. On these three dates, I will accept coins as low as VG and while each of these coins exceeds $200, they are still somewhat reasonable.

On another whim, because a large number of coins in this set are collectable in mint-state condition, I thought I would like to collect rainbow-toned coins. Currently, a large supply of certified rainbow-toned Morgan Dollars affords me the opportunity to collect coins that align with my aesthetic tastes. Coins with steely toned cobalt blue, teal, burnt orange, and burgundy coloring are preferable, although I will collect some coins with ?carnival? color toning. Typically, most rainbow-toned coins display toning on either the obverse or the reverse. Generally, I prefer toning on the obverse, but for variety, my set will also include reverse toned coins.

Although rainbow-toned coins are popular with some and not with others, they still command a premium. While perusing several E-Bay listings, I noticed the price range on rainbow-toned coins covers a wide spectrum, from a small premium over fair market value to thousands of dollars for a common date. Nevertheless, I have found eye-catching rainbow-toned coins grading MS-63 for MS-65 money at less than $200. The hardest aspect of collecting rainbow-toned coins will be passing on coins I really like because they are simply too expensive.

As always, key dates will be challenging to collect. In the case of the 1893 and 1895 dollars, I will have to settle for coins grading from VG to VF. MS coins with these dates are rare and worth thousands of dollars. The 1903 dollar is a bit of an oddity though, with a fair market value of $288 in VG and $500 in MS-64. With a gap of only $212 between VG and MS-64 on this ?condition? rarity, I recently purchased an MS-64 example on sale for less than fair market value.

Financing this set as always will be tricky. Either I add this set onto my current collection, or I sell portions of my collection to finance my new set. In light of my present financial state, I will be selling coins to finance this set. When it comes to selling, decisions on what goes and what stays are always tough. Since my passion is returning to my roots in classic coins, it is likely that many of my modern coins will be sold to finance this set. In any case, I will not be making the final decision anytime soon. For now, my excess coins and duplicates will finance my current purchases.

Here I go again, just at the time I pat myself on the back for sticking to my goals, I go ahead and start yet another set. Now I ask myself, ?Is there a cure for this collecting disease?? I hope not, but I do need something to keep my ?disease? in check. For this, I find my wife the perfect prescription to keep my collecting in check and that is a good thing.

The first coin I purchased for my Morgan Dollar year set entitled, ?Born on the Bayou? is an 1879 MS-63 dollar costing less than fair market value AND within my $200 budget. It does not get much better than this. In my next journal, I will be chronicling the journey of a coin very near to me that I purchased as a youth, until then, happy collecting all!





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