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A Sentimental Journey



In a story that has all the elements of a good drama; follow the journey of my lowly 20-cent piece from the time I purchased it until its crowning glory!

To lay a little groundwork to this story, misfit coins have always intrigued me. You know the type, the half-cent, two-cent, three-cent, and 20 cent pieces. Moreover, coins minted at out of date branch mints such as New Orleans, Charlotte, Dahlonega, and Carson City captivates my imagination. At my very first coin show as a youth in the mid 70?s, I remember purchasing a XF 1828 ? cent for around $30. In those days, mail order was a popular venue in which to purchase coins. Through the mail, I acquired a Lavere Redfield 1885-CC Morgan Dollar and an 1858-C half-eagle. Another of those mail order coins from the mid 70?s was an XF 1876 20-cent piece. The 1876 20-cent piece has a low mintage of 14,640 and as a coin was a perfect fit in my collection, combining low mintage with a peculiar coin.

When my 20-cent piece arrived, I was quite disappointed. The advertised condition of the coin in the magazine ad was XF, but the coin I received seemed closer to VF than it was to XF. I called the dealer and they stood by their assessment of coin. Since I ordered the coin sight unseen, it was my word against his. For whatever reason, I decided to keep the coin anyway and thus began a long ownership that continues to this day.

After I graduated from high school in 1976, I joined the Navy. This began a long lapse in my collecting activity. However, I did try to collect a complete set of circulating coins at every port I visited. Meanwhile back at home my 20-cent piece sat idle in my mother?s safe deposit box. When I left the Navy in 1982, my collecting activity picked up with the purchase a 1984-W Olympic Gold Eagle. Then I was married and lived in Europe for a year continuing my custom of collecting each country?s circulating coinage. When I returned home, I retrieved my coins from my mother?s box, thus re-uniting me with my 20-cent piece. It was a joy to hold and examine my coins again after a long hiatus.

About five years ago, I thought it would be nice to have all my coins certified. I choose NTC (Numistrust Corp) to certify my coins, and felt somewhat vindicated when my 20-cent piece received a grade of VF-20. Little did I know at the time the troubles I would have with my NTC graded coins. Then, a little more than two years ago, I joined Collector?s Society and decided to cross over my NTC graded coins to NGC. I cracked out my 20-cent piece along with some other coins and submitted them for grading. My 20-cent piece came back to me un-gradeable, improperly cleaned. Disheartened, I thought to sell all my un-gradeable coins since at that time NGC did not do details grading.

Before I listed my 20-cent piece on E-Bay, I opined about my dilemma in a journal post. A fellow Society member responded to my post, suggesting I should reconsider selling my coins because it sounded to him as if the coins in question were heirlooms. Moreover, he went on to detail several other options I might consider. When I thought about my coins as heirlooms, my attitude towards them decidedly changed and my 20-cent piece was spared from auction. Unfortunately, my un-gradeable, first coin show purchase, 1828 ? cent was not. To this day, I regret letting that coin go.

For the next year and a half, my 20-cent piece lay in my safe waiting for me to resubmit it for a purple label and inclusion into my type set at half-points. With a 5-free coin certificate from my annual renewal, I submitted it for grading along with other un-gradeable coins and a few raw purchases. My submission hit quality control early last week. For the next three days, I checked multiple times each day to see if NGC released the grades. This seemed a bit odd, since I never had coins in quality control that long before. Finally, my coins cleared quality control Friday morning. Even though there were a few disappointments, my 20-cent piece got a full grade of XF-40! I could not believe it, how could a coin graded VF-20 by a lower tier grading company and un-gradeable by NGC, now have a full grade of XF-40? What an unexpected comeback, and to think I very nearly sold this coin. Now my 20-cent piece will take its rightful place in the registry with FULL points. Maybe the dealer who I purchased the coin from really did know something I did not, even though I still think the coin is somewhere in the VF range. Nevertheless, today I am one happy camper, and it is quite possible I will own this coin until the day of my death. Happy collecting all and may you be delighted with your submissions!





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