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Recent Purchases and an Interesting Contrast



Two recent purchases and the quality of New Orleans Mint coins.

Greetings collectors, these past two months have been an active period of acquiring coins for my collection. My New Orleans Morgan Dollar collection now stands at 14 coins, all acquired within the last two months and partially paid for by the sale of existing coins from my collection. My two most recent purchases made just this past week was an AU-55 1886-O and a MS-65 1900-O Morgan Dollar.

With the 1886-O Morgan Dollar valued at $270 in AU-58 and $630 in MS-60, I determined AU-55 to be the best example I could obtain and remain within my budget. Last week Teletrade had a rainbow-toned NGC 1886-O AU-55 coin up for auction. The toning on this coin, unlike most was not particularly attractive, but then again, I did not expect to acquire this coin with rainbow toning. Thinking I would not win the auction because of the market premium on toned coins, I placed my budget limit as my maximum bid. When the auction ended, I found I won the coin with room to spare. Had this coin not been somewhat of an ugly duckling, I may not have won it. On the other hand, the reverse of this coin is so much more attractive than the obverse with a green, to blue, to burgundy, to orange rainbow transition along the upper left rim of the coin.

My stated goal is to collect as many rainbow-toned coins as possible, but I know that when my set is complete it will comprise of something less than 100% mint-state toners. Rainbow-toned New Orleans dollars dated 1883 to 1885 are among the most available coins in the marketplace. After these dates, the others are much scarcer. Additionally, due to the cost, rainbow-toned ?star? grades, MS-65, and some MS-63 to 64 toners are out of reach. With all the low hanging fruit picked, future purchases may be a slow go. Conversely, many non-toned MS-65 New Orleans Morgan dollars are affordable and within my budget. Furthermore, a blast-white MS-65 coin could be a representative example for the entire collection because it looks as close to a freshly minted coin as possible. With this in mind, I had several inexpensive MS-65 coins on my E-Bay watch list. Because the year 1900 is the turn of the century and the coin is affordable in MS-65 condition, I targeted the 1900-O Morgan Dollar for my collection. Since not all MS-65?s are created equal, I bought the most appealing ?buy it now? coin on my watch list. What made this coin especially attractive is that it was listed significantly below fair market value. Throw in a fresh allotment of E-Bay bucks and I obtained this coin for almost half of what it was worth!

I am relatively new to collecting Morgan Dollars, but now with my set beginning to take shape, I see the issues many collectors have with New Orleans minted coins. New Orleans minted coins have a deserved reputation for being weakly struck. The reason for this is not so much in the strength of the strike, but in the spacing of the dies. With the dies spaced further apart than that at other mints, the metal would not always flow into the deepest crevices of the dies. This difference at times can be stark and is most visible in the hair above Liberty?s ear and along her forehead. The picture attached to my post is of two New Orleans minted Morgan dollars side-by-side. Because I like to compare oranges with oranges both are graded MS-64. The 1885 coin is PCGS certified and CAC approved for its grade. The 1903 is graded by NGC. Could the difference be any clearer? On the reverse of these coins, which are not pictured, this difference becomes apparent in the detail of the eagles' breast feathers. I bought the 1885 coin because I liked the toning and the fact that this coin represents my first CAC approved coin. Furthermore, the strength of strike does not detract from the coins? toning. On my future mint-state purchases unless the toning takes my breath away, I will be cherry-picking coins that have strong strikes, gorgeous toning, and a reasonable price.

Soon I will be highlighting the fascinating history of the 1903-O Morgan Dollar. I just love the 1903-O coin pictured here and it may well be my favorite coin in the set. I think we all can agree, there still is not a better hobby on the face of the earth! Happy collecting all!





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