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  1. There's not much more I love to do in numismatics than spending time imaging my coins. I like your setup. Seeing your setup and pictures shows all the work you put into this. I get a lot of satisfaction from looking at pictures that pop and knowing that they are mine! Good luck with the annual registry awards!
  2. The captain of our cruise ship announced the interesting fact you mention in your response to my journal as we sailed NW through the canal from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. Our entire voyage in the Pacific was SE along the coast from Los Angeles in the Pacific time zone, to the Mountain time zone, to the Central time zone, and finally to the Eastern time zone in Panama. Our last port of call before Miami was east and north to Cartagena, Columbia on the continent of South America!
  3. How did a medal I never knew existed become something I had to have in less than two months? Several improbable events, that’s how. The improbable events started at the end of November as my wife, and I prepared to go on a cruise. Our 16-day cruise began in Los Angeles and ended almost 4,700 miles away in Miami through the Panama Canal. At the time, I was excited about transiting the Panama Canal. But I was especially thrilled to spend 16 days with my daughter, her husband, and my 17-month-old grandson. I was all in on the canal when we finally reached Panama City. I gobbled up as much information about the canal as possible. I took dozens of pictures of one of the seven engineering wonders of the world. To this day, I’m soaking up all things Panama Canal. I even have a wallpaper image of the canal on my laptop! When I got home, the most improbable event of all occurred. A few years ago, I decided to let my membership in the Central States Numismatic Society lapse in favor of PAN. When I went to the post office to pick up the mail, I noticed a large envelope with a return address to CSNS. Inside the envelope was their newly reformatted winter 2023 copy of “The Centinel” and a note asking me to come back. As an aside, I like “The Centinel’s” new format. At any rate, The Centinel had an article entitled “Commemorating the Big Ditch” by Juan L. Riera. The article described the opening of the Panama Canal on August 15, 1914, and the so-called dollar struck to commemorate it. Do any of you have that “gotta have” coin for your collection on your want list? After reading the article, this so-called dollar (HK-398) immediately went from never heard of to first on my want list of “gotta have” pieces for my collection. I immediately went surfing on the internet to find my new must-have. I finally settled on a nice medal from a dealer I had previously dealt with. Having a medal available in the marketplace for me to purchase is the last improbable event in a long series of incredible events. Fortunately, this medal was reasonably priced and now stands as the perfect addendum to a most memorable cruise! Add to the fact that this medal (1 of 50,000 serialized medals) was carried aboard the SS Cristobal. The Cristobal was the first ship to transit the Panama Canal on August 3, 1914. At the official opening of the canal on August 15, 1914, this medal was given to 200 dignitaries aboard the SS Ancon. The Ancon is the first official ship to transit the Panama Canal. Though this medal is 1 of 50,000, the dealer who sold me this medal estimates that only a couple hundred examples of it survive today. Perhaps the low survival rate can be attributed to the high international appeal of this medal scattered around the world. This I do know that my medal graded MS-62 by NGC is among the nicer surviving examples. The design of the Panama Canal completion medal was recommended to the John F. Newman Co. of New York (manufacturer of the Panama Canal Completion medal) by Miss Elizabeth Rodman, cousin of Capt. Hugh Rodman, U.S.N., Supt. of Transportation, Canal Zone. Though the Panama Canal completion medal was copyrighted in 1913, the official issuing date of the medal is recognized as 1914. This medal measures 38mm in diameter and is struck in bronze. The serial number marked on the reverse is 11138. The obverse of the medal features a woman standing on the prow of a ship transiting the Panama Canal. Her arms are outstretched, holding a ribbon. Under her hands are two globes, the eastern hemisphere on her right and the Western hemisphere on her left. The inscription on the ribbon, translated from Latin, is “Columbia unites the oceans.” The woman has rays of light emanating from her head. There is a banner over her head with the motto boldly proclaiming, “Prosperity to all Nations.” Though I can not find any documentation of the fact, I believe the woman is a personification of Columbia. The reverse features an inscription under the seal of the Panama Canal Zone. It reads: Commemorating the opening of The Panama Canal to the Commerce of the World Copyrighted and Bearing A Serial number is one of 50000 Carried on the Vessel making the First Passage Through the Panama Canal as Authenticated in Certificate Signed by (signed) Geo. W. Goethals Chief Engineer and Chairman lsthmian Canal Commission. A significant expansion to the Panama Canal opened on June 26, 2016. This new expansion allows much larger ships like my cruise ship, carrying 5000+ crew and passengers, to transit the canal. I am posting a picture I took of the Agua Clara locks as my ship exited the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side. References: Winter 2023 edition of The Centinel, “Commemorating the Big Ditch” by Juan L. Riera https://www.so-calleddollars.com/Events/Panama_Canal_Completion.html
  4. Signature sets have been my mainstay for many years. Because of my eclectic collecting interests they are the main outlet for me to display my sets. That said, you are correct, the signature set is an archaic and cumbersome format. Years ago, NGC promised to udate the signature set website after completing the last major upgrade to the competative registry. I'm still waiting. I also noticed that the PMG website is still waithing for the same upgrade when I entered the first note I submitted for grading in August. My "Beginning, History, and End of the Spanish Peseta" signature set is scattered over several competative sets that probably won't be considered for awards because most of them are less than 50% complete. This leaves me with archaic or nothing and still waiting for NGC to upgrade the signature side of the website. Except for my type sets, I wish I was more interested in collecting series like Lincoln cents or Mercury dimes or even an interesting foreign series like my Wilhelmina 10G gold set. Oh BTW, the following is a link to my first PMG note, a legal-tender star note 1953C $2 bill that I bought as a young teen at a camara shop! https://notes.www.collectors-society.com/registry/notes/NoteDetail.aspx?PeopleNoteID=135936&PeopleSetID=34770
  5. My congratulations to you on your awards and the others you named, especially Mike. I've seen his name on a number of my journal post replies! BTW, I hope your kids are are doing better now. Gary.
  6. Several months ago I changed internet providers. Before I was allowed to settle my account with the old provider I was referred to their customer retention department. Talk about pushy, you havn't seen pushy until you've talked to someone who is employed and paid by the number of people they retain. This person used every trick in the book to keep me. First, the associate asked me who I was switching to and how much I was paying. I told her it was none of her buisiness. I also asked her why this provider spends so much to get new customers but doesn't seem to care about their current customers until they threaten to leave. Next they started to offer me new customer deals that were about half I was already paying. Instead of feeling grateful, I was angered by the fact that they were perfectly willing to take double the money as long as I wasn't complaining. Finally they gave up on me and my account was settled. As I hung up the phone, I felt like David going up against the giant Goliath! In the end, I was never going back because last winter another provider was burying fiber in my backyard. The thought of having a direct fiber connection with the possibility of almost unlimited speed to my house interested me. I always thought the prospect of having a fiber connection to my house would cost me an arm and a leg. But the provider's basic service gave me faster speed than I had before at about half the cost I was paying to the old provider! On another occassion I got a call from a bullion company trying to sell me a high relief silver Australian coin. I told the person I was retired, and on a fixed income with a very limited coin purchasing budget. (No lying here, all true). This coin, while stunning, did not fit into any of my current theme based collections. From there, I went on to have a very pleasant 15-minute conversation with the sales rep about collecting in general! It was refreshing to see that there are still a few friendly sales reps out there!
  7. ...Who needs enemies, or so the saying goes. Recently, a fellow coin club friend who collects modern coins notified several club members and me of a new Canadian-minted coin that I was unfamiliar with. The UHR-proof coin he referred to is the stunningly beautiful 2023 Canadian Peace Dollar. This coin has selected rose-gold gilt surfaces with an obverse luster that pulsates as the coin is tilted in the light. Having already spent what I budgeted for coin purchases this year, I just had to grit my teeth and pony up for this coin. It was just too beautiful to pass up. In jest, I told my friend at the last club meeting that it was all his fault for making me purchase this coin. His answer? “I love spending other collectors’ money!” Now, he may have spent my money, but I get to keep the coin! When I finally viewed the coin in my hand, I was glad that I had bought it. Truth be told, “With friends like these, I am truly blessed and thankful.” It is nice to know other collectors have my back. To show my gratefulness, I hope to reciprocate their kindness back to them. The Royal Canadian Mint has been issuing .999 fine 1-ounce silver peace dollars yearly since 2020. A 2019 medal features the “Peace” Canadian obverse designed by Susan Taylor and a “Libertas” US reverse designed by John Mercanti. Each year the Canadian Peace Dollar has featured the same design with a different surface finish. There are several similarities between the US Peace Dollar and the Canadian Peace Dollar. Since the mint documentation that came with my coin describes this coin better than I could, the following paragraphs are directly copied from that documentation. In 2019 the Royal Canadian Mint made history when it brought together former engravers from both the US Mint and Royal Canadian Mint to create the Peace & Liberty Medal. The “Peace” side of this medal, which was crafted by retired Royal Canadian Mint Senior Engraver Susan Taylor, was then selected as the face of a new, legal tender Canadian Peace Dollar. Like De Francisci, Taylor used family to help create her rendition of Liberty. In Taylor’s case, her daughters Erin and Sarah modeled for the design. Erin wore up-swept hair adorned with flowers for her wedding, which served as the inspiration for the maple leaves in Peace’s hair. Taylor combined both daughter’s facial features to create Peace’s profile. Taylor had more to say on the inspiration for her Peace design: “Initially the [Ottawa National War Memorial] Cenotaph was the primary direction, and then the US Peace Dollar design was introduced as a reference. This reference to the US Peace dollar was very helpful, since it evoked a clear and elegant message of not only peace but also of harmony and grace. This is what I tried to portray in this Peace design. In these troubled times, we need to strive for harmony in our relationships with each other and to respond with grace and compassion.” Like the 1921 US Peace Dollar, the Canadian Peace Dollar series comes struck in high relief—Ultra High Relief, to be exact—and has featured a variety of finishing effects over the years. The following information I gleaned from the COA. This coin has the serial number 2178 and a total mintage of 6,000. The Latin motto over Peace (Pax) reads “From sea to sea.” This coin is struck in ultra-high relief. It is 36.15mm in diameter and weighs 31.39 grams. The obverse (the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on coins has always been considered the obverse) features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II engraved by Susanna Blunt. In closing, I have much to be thankful for, like my coin club friend, who referred me to the 2023 Canadian Peace Dollar. In fact, I am grateful to God for so much more that I can’t name everything. Finally, I wish everyone who blogs here and the ANA staff a Happy Thanksgiving. Gary.
  8. Ditto, there are no words I can add to zadok's to comfort you concerning the seriousness of Sam's condition. I just want to add my prayers to zadok's.
  9. I here you on this. I've had USPS leave a slip in my mailbox without ringing my doorbell before. Just last week, I've had all my ANA submissions return. NGC used both UPS and FedEx. Unfortunately, everything was due to arrive when we were out of town for our son's wedding. The UPS left a post-it on my door and when I read it, I noticed a second delivery date for a single box. When that date arrived I made sure I was home for the entire window. However, the delivery was more than an hour late into the early evening. With FedEx I started gettting notices from our hotel. I quickly set up a hold-mail request account with FedEx and got another notice for delivery for a date that we'd be home. They showed up in the delivery window with three boxes and without incident. Too much drama for me with these submissions. I will say this for both UPS & FedEx. From shipping to in my hands was at best two business days. I was very surprised and never thought my items could be delivered while I was out of town. USPS could take over a week to deliver registered mail. Gary
  10. Hmm, you may be on to something with the big coin, little coin theory. It makes a lot of sense considering big coins are bagged together at the point of minting. They are heavier and have a larger surfaces to bang together. Without knowing a thing about Venezuelian coins on my part, you managed two 66, and two 67, 50C coins. At the end of the day this is an exceptional submission by any strech of the imagination. Congratulations on the submission. You also have a good eye. Gary
  11. Summer 2022 has ended with a couple of numismatic events that I thoroughly enjoyed. The first was the ANA summer show in Chicago. The other, just this week, was my coin club’s annual picnic. Both were significant and, for that matter, the year’s numismatic highlights. First, there is nothing like a major coin show for buying new coins, viewing educational displays, making new friends, and catching up with old friends. The annual ANA Worlds Fair of Money is one of the year’s best shows, and whenever it is in Chicago, I try to attend. This year instead of driving to Chicago, I took the bus my coin club chartered. There is nothing like riding 2-plus hours with your club friends talking coins. Furthermore, riding to Chicago on the bus was much cheaper than driving. Once there, I took care of business first. I went to the US Mint area to buy the just-released Liberty silver medal. Desiring the ANA provenance, I took the medal to NGC with several other submissions for grading. Because the medal went on sale Thursday and I went to the show on Friday, I didn’t know if one would be available when I got to the show, so I ordered one online Thursday. As an aside, I found the online ordering process with the US Mint much better than in the past. No hang-ups with the website and shipping that same day. It doesn’t get much better than that. Now, if I’m going to whine about how messed up the US Mint is for placing orders, I ought to let them know when things are working as they ought. Later that afternoon, I told the new US Mint director in person how pleased I was with the latest ordering experience. The smile on her face beamed from ear to ear. After window shopping dealer tables and viewing displays, I was tired and had to sit down. I eventually stopped by the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists table. Having introduced myself as a fellow PAN member, I had a pleasant conversation with W. Thomas Corey. We mainly talked about other PAN members and persons I thought he should know. I also attempted to visit ANA member World_Coin_Nut’s table, but he was away at the time. However, I had a brief but pleasant conversation with his wife. Overall, I had a nice afternoon and enjoyed chilling on the bus ride home. Currently, member dues for my coin club are $5 per year. Attending the club’s picnic means I get more from my annual dues than I paid. The club paid for subs, chips, and a cookie for my wife and me. Oh, and I paid for my drinks which amounted to two bottles of bottled water. I often wonder where my club gets the money for all the club activities I take advantage of. Then I remember that my club hosts two regional coin shows a year. One of the highlights of the annual picnic is the BINGO games we play for coin-related prizes donated by a generous local coin dealer. There were 8 games to be played by 30 people in attendance, with one grand prize. The grand prize this year and in past years has been a small gold coin, usually a 1/10 ounce gold eagle. As was pointed out by the member calling the game, there would be only 8 winners and 22 losers. My wife and I always brace for the worst. Last year we won NOTHING ☹. Still, we left with a smile on our faces having had a good time. Each game increases the odds for the losers since the winners are ineligible to play after they win. However, everyone plays the last game for the grand prize. As fate would have it, my wife finally won something this year. She won a 50 State Quarters Coin & Die Set. The set included a Kentucky State Quarter with the die that struck it and a COA with all the pertinent information about the die. The quarter has a considerable amount of residue on the coin’s surface. This all begs to question of how it got there. One clue is found in the COA, which states that the accompanying quarter is “one of the first acceptable production coins struck with this die.” I am guessing that the planchet wasn’t washed or something of that sort. That brings me to the final BINGO game for a 1996, 1/10-ounce, $5 gold coin. The game started very slowly for me. However, since it was a full card game, I had plenty of time to catch up. After about ¾ of the way through, I started hitting all the numbers on the card. Finally, I was down to one number, hoping nobody else would call BINGO. The following number was called, and I yelled BINGO! I had just won the gold coin! My wife and I beat the odds this year and brought two of eight prizes home. It seems as if it’s feast or famine for us! And that’s OK. It’s all about fun and fellowship anyway! Ultimately, I realized that it’s more fun to yell BINGO than to take home a prize. To have to fill a full card was very satisfying. It made winning that much sweeter! Finally, if anyone wants to know the name of the generous dealer who donated the prizes, please send me a personal message. Otherwise, the $5 gold coin should cover next year’s dues! Gary
  12. I'm glad to see you back and I am sorry for your loss. As for your grades, they are awesome. Even more awesome is the eye appeal of all your medals. They are all in excellent condition, and yours maybe the only collection of its kind. Congratulations on the little one on the way. My first grandson was born a year ago on July 4 and it's been a pure joy to see him grow in his first year. I just can't express how much I love that little guy! BTW excellent photographs! Gary
  13. Now if only the AU 53 dime was a PF 53 dime, you might have something. What a sham or wishful thinking? I'll go with wall of shame sham for a coin worth 10 cents.