coinsandmedals

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  1. @zadok Your question was more than reasonable, and I enjoyed giving it its due consideration. There were several attempts to get the Soho Mint involved with the early coinage; however, there was far too much opposition to the idea of a British company producing coinage for a nation in its infancy. Jefferson was very outspoken and argued that such an arrangement would violate the sovereignty of the nation. The arguments against Boulton's direct involvement were well-founded given the contemporary political climate, but I can't help but wonder what could have been. Although the Soho Mint never secured a contract to strike U.S. coinage, it did supply a healthy amount of copper planchets and an immeasurable amount of technical advice. It also appears that on at least one occasion, the two swapped specimens of their products. I plan to share a medal from my collection that was purportedly included in a swap between the two in 1826.
  2. @zadok It’s a good thought, but in this case, there is a preponderance of evidence to conclude that the shells are an original Soho product. Given the breadth and quality of the other items produced at Soho (i.e., the Mint and Manufactory), it seems unlikely that the shells were of any consequence to produce. The most troublesome part might have been preparing the dies, but only because of the relative difficulty obtaining good steel at the time. The shells also do not have any screw or snap mechanism. Instead, they are designed to fit firmly around the edge of whatever they are designed to protect. Often, the shells are not interchangeable. For instance, the shells used on a 1799 British Farthing are not likely to fit a different coin of similar dimensions if there is even the slightest difference in either diameter or thickness.
  3. @zadok Matthew Boulton had business contacts in just about every area of manufacture that you can imagine. That said, we know he had close connections with notable watchmakers such as John Whitehurst, Thomas Wright, and B. L. Vulliamy. The Soho Manufactory was renowned for the quality of their watch chains, but I have no direct evidence to link the two together beyond what I’ve listed above. The shells in my collection range in size from 23mm to 57mm, but larger and smaller versions may exist. I am no expert in period pocket watches, but it appears the majority of the movements were in the 57mm or larger category. That said, the case would have needed to be a bit larger to house the movement. Now I am curious! Why do you ask?
  4. @zadok Yes, the shells were produced at the Soho Mint. If you are interested, I wrote a post about the shells last year. https://boards.ngccoin.com/topic/420813-matthew-boulton%E2%80%99s-soho-mint-and-the-curiosity-of-the-silver-lined-brass-shells/
  5. @Revenant Oh yikes, I hit enough paywalls with apple news. I appreciate the words of encouragement!
  6. @Mohawk Thanks, Tom! Your jealousy is well understood given what you collect. I imagine no such records, or perhaps very few, exist for Faustina, but as you mention, that comes with the territory. I suppose to some degree that the mystery adds a bit of appeal, correct? As luck would have it, contemporary documentation is abundant for the areas I collect as Boulton kept meticulous notes on a wide range of subjects. Most of these documents are publicly available, but generally, you can only inspect them in person (i.e., they have not been digitalized). If I had a spare month or two and the requisite funds, I would love to dig through the numerous archives. Thanks for asking about the set! Lately, I have been struggling to find time to work on the set. I am teaching two upper-level courses on top of my dissertation and countless other obligations. Most of my progress has been made during odd 15-20 minute intervals in which I have "free time" between meetings. So far, I have completed the introduction and about half of the write-ups for individual medals. I still have another ten or so medals to research and write up, but who knows when I will get the free time to do so. My goal is to have it finished in time for the registry awards next year.
  7. Here is another sneak peek of a new NGC custom registry set that I am working on. Please feel free to share anything related! The Boydell Shakespeare medal is so named because of the gentleman who commissioned its production, Alderman John Boydell. Saving any historical tidbits for the section below, it is worth mentioning that this medal is a notable exception to those typically struck at the Soho Mint. The design directly violates the guidance Boulton provided to Droz in a letter fifteen years earlier. In his letter dated December of 1787, Boulton instructs Droz that "Any allegorical figures should be few and simple and as free as possible from obscurity". This guiding principle was closely adhered to at the Soho Mint well after Droz departed, yet this medal clearly violates this. The obverse design depicts two allegorical figures, which without additional context would likely be easy to identify, but the depiction of Shakespeare absent the inscription on the reverse would prove far more obscure. As it turns out, the obverse was closely modeled after the sculpture created by Thomas Banks in 1789 at the direction of Boydell (Pollard, 1970), which explains why Boulton's general design principles were seemingly disregarded. This is one of a handful of collaborative pieces between Küchler and Phillps, the obverse being engraved by the former and the reverse by the latter. According to Pollard (1970), the dies for the medal would be completed by the summer of 1802, but Boydell would not issue the medals until 1805, which he would later blame on the Soho Mint. It is worth noting that nearly all of these medals were struck in silver, with only a handful of gold specimens, one of which was presented to King George III. Additionally, it appears that several were likely struck in copper at a later date under the careful supervision of James Watt Jr. The presence of these "late Soho" pieces is interesting given that Boulton refused a request made by his friend, Ambrose Weston, to purchase an additional copy of the medal. In the excerpt provided by Pollard (1970), Boulton is recorded to have said the following in his response – "… I shall charge the die to the Alderman, I cannot honorably strike one medal more from it than the number he think proper to order; but I suppose he could have no objection to obliging any of his subscribers with duplicates or more upon their paying for them…". Perhaps Watt Jr. felt justified in producing the copper versions, given that the venture giving rise to the production of the originals had since been relinquished by Boydell. On any note, Tungate (2020) reports that 654 were struck in 1804 and 1805, with an additional 100 examples being struck in 1807. Regardless of when they were struck, all examples are dated 1803 and adhere to the standard specifications agreed upon by Boulton and Boydell. According to Vice (1995), the dies for this medal were held for Matthew Pier Watt Boulton when deciding how to dismantle the Soho Mint in 1850. From his records, it appears that one punch and two dies were never in danger of being included in the original auction catalog. Although their existence is possible, restrikes in the typical sense (i.e., medals struck after the demise of the Soho Mint) are not known to me. Historical Context: John Boydell sought to apply art to commerce in a way that would subsequently appeal to the nationalistic sensitives of the era while also generating a handsome profit for himself. As already mentioned in the introduction to this set, the appreciation of art and design had gradually transformed from an activity restricted to the elite to something predominantly consumed by the rising middle class. From a business perspective, a larger base of consumers paired with the tastes of popular society provided an environment ripe for opportunity. The encouragement of the arts was seen as a noble pursuit, and patrons of any level were often held in high esteem. This fact was likely not lost on Boydell, but he and his partners took it one step further. According to Friedman (1973), historical painting was held in the highest regard by both society and the Royal Academy, but it had been in decline for some time as contemporary artists could generate far more income for themselves by focusing on portraits and landscapes. This translated into a sense of national embarrassment as foreign artists were all too willing to fill the gap, which directly inflamed English societal efforts to gain independence from foreign artists and establish themselves as a beacon of art among their European counterparts. Of chief concern was England's ability to compete with the finest French artists, a point that was only further heightened by the continual wars within Europe. In part, this movement prompted the widespread proliferation of the most notable English artists across many domains, William Shakespeare being no exception. The consumption of Shakespearian productions was all the rage in the 18th and 19th centuries, which is evident in the sheer amount of controversy surrounding his work. I discovered one such fascinating story about a series of forged letters and unpublished plays while researching a new addition to my wife’s collection of Shakespeare books. Written by George Chalmers and published in 1797, the book entitled "An Apology for The Believers in the Shakespeare Papers" deals a devastating blow to the credibility of the forged documents. The copy in our library was presented to Sir Stephen Cottrell and inscribed by the author. Although this is a very interesting story on its own, it is tangent to the current topic, so I digress. On any note, contemporary society placed a high value on art, most notably that of historical painting, and that paired with the prolific consumption of all things, Shakespeare created the perfect opportunity for Boydell. Being the opportunistic businessman that he was, Boydell embarked upon the construction of a gallery depicting scenes from the most famous Shakespeare plays. In doing so, he could bolster his reputation as a patron of the arts while also triggering a sense of national pride on behalf of his customers by devoting his efforts to reinvigorate the practice of historical art. As argued by Friedman (1973), Boydell had the perfect trifecta of momentum that almost all but guaranteed the early success of his Shakespeare Gallery. The general idea was easy enough to envision. Boydell would commission some of the most renowned and up-and-coming artists to paint scenes from Shakespeare's numerous works. These paintings would then be displayed in a dedicated gallery, which patrons could view upon paying an entrance fee of one shilling. The admission cost was low relative to that of the Royal Society and further catered to the needs of all patrons (Friedman, 1973). The Shakespeare Gallery was opened at Pall Mall in 1789. At its opening ceremony, the gallery contained a mere thirty-four paintings. By 1805 that number had grown to 167 unique works of art (Friedman, 1973). A buzz of excitement throughout London marked the early days of the Shakespeare Gallery at Pall Mall, and guests from across the continent soon came to marvel at the breadth of the talent on display. By all accounts, the gallery was a great success. To offset the high initial costs, Boydell and his partners devised a plan to produce prints of these paintings and sell them on a subscription basis. Those interested were given the option of either purchasing the larger format prints or the same images in a smaller format. The former would cost the subscriber 2 Guineas initially, with another Guinea due upon delivery. The latter would only cost 1 Guinea upfront, with another due upon delivery. In both instances, the initial subscription cost only afforded the subscriber one volume of prints of the nine that were proposed. Although the business idea was simple enough, in theory, the practical execution of the plan was far more complicated. One of the primary issues faced by Boydell and his partners was the rampant abandonment on behalf of their subscribers. The initial subscription fees were far from sufficient to offset the high costs of commissioning the artists. Without collecting the other half of the payment upon delivery and the initial fees for future subscriptions, the financial situation of the venture quickly became bleak. It appears several court proceedings were registered on behalf of Boydell to collect the money owed by his subscribers, the most notable of which was the case against Drummond, which resulted in Boydell's defeat (Friedman, 1973). The documents binding the patrons to their dues were far too disorganized and ambiguous, making them all but indefensible in court. From all contemporary documents that I have viewed, paired with the work of many others such as Freidman (1973), it appears the quality of the prints were far inferior to the expectations of the subscribers. This issue was further compounded when Boydell and his partners decided to alter the terms of the subscription in 1792. Before the changes, the prints were the same between the large and small format subscriptions, but the new approach altered this to give rise to two distinctly different versions. This new approach was wildly unpopular. Subsequently, the already dwindling number of subscribers was further reduced to nearly one-third of what it had initially been (Friedman, 1973). To reverse this seemingly evitable ruin of their business venture, they hatched the idea to issue medals to their loyal subscribers, but only to those who subscribed to the large format. As already noted in the introduction of this set, collecting medals and being a patron of the arts was all the fashion in contemporary society. More specifically, collecting Soho Mint products was a particularly tasteful pursuit. I imagine Boydell could think of few better ways to reinvigorate his subscribers than by commissioning a medal to be struck at the Soho Mint and exclusively available only to his current subscribers. Although the exclusivity of the medals paired with their production at the Soho Mint was a stroke of marketing genius, it proved too little too late. The subscriptions were the lifeblood of the Shakespeare Gallery, and their plummeting numbers paired with the international events that unfolded in this era eventually led to its demise. By December of 1803, Boydell had petitioned and successfully negotiated a special act of parliament granting him a lottery. In justifying his request, he argued the "unhappy revolution" (i.e., the French Revolution) destroyed any potential profit from the continent and that his fervor for supporting the artistic independence of England had made him blind to reality (Friedman, 1973). In other words, he had overestimated the profit to be made by foreign visitors, and his desire to build the Shakespeare Gallery fueled his decision to invest any profit into further commissions without setting money aside for himself. Luckily for the nearly bankrupt Boydell, the lottery was a great success. According to Freidman (1973), 22,000 tickets were sold, raising a sum of £45,000. The Shakespeare Gallery was dismantled upon the execution of the lottery held in late January of 1805. The paintings were given to the lottery winners, and unfortunately, it appears many of them have since disappeared. Although the Shakespeare Gallery met a painful end, it has captured the attention of countless modern scholars. Thanks to their efforts, we can now enjoy a virtual tour of what the Shakespeare Gallery likely looked like (see the interesting links section below for more information). Obverse: The obverse design of this medal is rather striking. It depicts Shakespeare looking to the distance while resting upon a rock wearing a buttoned tunic with a decorated collar. His right arm is stiff against the rock, holding his weight up, and his right arm rests on the shoulder of the allegorical figure "Genius of Painting". His right leg is outstretched while his left leg is bent and partially obscured by his left leg. The rock rests upon a rectangular pedestal. Upon which is engraved in four lines, "HE WAS A MAN | TAKE HIM FOR ALL IN ALL | I SHALL NOT LOOK | UPON HIS LIKE AGAIN". The Dramatic Muse appears at the left of the rock with her gaze set on Shakespeare. A theatrical mask adorns her hair, which seems to be tied in a close-fitting knot. Her left arm is outreached, holding a laurel wreath. A four-stringed Greek lyre rests between her chest and her left arm. Her right arm is outstretched with her hand open toward Shakespeare. A loose scarf runs from her left shoulder meets her figure at her lower back, flowing freely in front of her before lopping back behind her. She wears a clinging dress with her right shoulder exposed. Her left foot is back with her toes resting on the foreground. Her right foot is slightly forward and flat, bearing her weight. Her dress is long and freely flows to the floor in the space between her feet. On the right, the Genius of Painting is depicted looking to the right. Her right arm is outstretched with an open hand pointing to Shakespeare. Her left hand is down and bent in front of her holding a paint palette with several noticeable globs of paint. Her left shoulder and both breasts are exposed, but her dress is draped over and pinned by her right arm. The dress extends to the floor, but her outward extended left leg is exposed from the knee down. Her right leg is bent behind her and rests on her toes. Her dress piles behind her and to the left of her right foot. This entire design seemingly rests upon a stage detailed with vertical hatch markings. A small area devoid of detail occurs between two raised lines. Immediately below, a larger void area occurs in the shape of a semicircular protractor. The outer portion of this shape is blank, with the engraving "M·B. Soho occurring on the top left and "C·H·KUCHLER. F." occurs at the right. The usually hollow portion of the protractor shape is adorned with the same vertical hatch markings described earlier. All of this is contained within a very thin raised circular line and a relatively thick beveled rim. Reverse: A scroll appears at the top under a tipped over four-string Greek Lyre pierced by a laurel branch. Several raised lines radiate from this design. The legend "THIS | MEDAL | REPRESENTING SHAKSPEARE BETWEEN | THE DRAMATICK MUSE AND THE GENUIS OF PAINTING | IS RESPECTFULLY PRESENTED TO | THE PERSON| WHOSE NAME IT BEARS | IN GRATEFUL COMMEMORATION OF THE GENEROUS SUPPORT | GIVEN BY THE SUBSCRIBERS | TO THE GREAT NATIONAL EDITION OF THAT | IMMORTAL POET | BY | I. I. & J. N. BOYDELL. | AND | G. & W. NICOL. | 1803.". All of this is contained within a very thin raised circular line and a relatively thick beveled rim. The reverse has some pleasant pastel toning. Edge: This example has a plain edge, but often these are encountered with an engraved edge with the recipient's name (i.e., the subscriber). Boydell wanted these medals to be large, but he was also concerned with the cost. The edge engraving required a decent thickness, which translated to an increase in the cost. Size: 48mm Notes: This particular example has retained its original shells and was purchased from my good friend William (Bill) McKivor in 2020 before he passed away. This medal has a special place within this collection, as it brings back fond memories of our conversation. Bill and I were discussing ways to intrigue my better half in my numismatic pursuits. In passing, I mentioned that she greatly enjoys Shakespeare. Over the years, I made it a tradition to pick up antique copies of his works whenever I traveled without her to academic conferences. Her small but growing (albeit not lately due to the pandemic) collection of leather-bound books on the subject were a point of exception to her immunity from the collecting bug. Bill and I laughed while determining if it truly counted as I was the only one adding to the collection. As our conversations often did, that turned into us discussing the Soho Mint. At the time, I had just started exploring the Soho Mint medals, and I had no idea that it existed. Bill joked that perhaps this would be a shiny piece of metal that my wife and I could mutually enjoy, given the topic. I was happy to report to Bill that my wife had given the nod of approval and seemed to enjoy looking at the medal. I suppose I lost her in the details when I started to explain why it came about, but it was interesting to see her attention captured by it. Bill also seemed to get a chuckle out of this, suggesting a Shakespeare collection of tokens and medals. Of course, in his usual way, he was forthcoming with what he knew and named off a dozen or so pieces that could be included in the proposed set. Bill could carry on a good conversation about almost any topic. Beyond the fond memories, the piece is one of my favorites because of its impressive presentation made possible by the simple yet elegant design and the relatively large size. To date, it is also the only silver medal in this collection. For those interested in pursuing Soho Medals, I recommend trying to find an example of this type. It appears these medals come up for sale rather often but frequently have not retained their original shells. References: Friedman, W. H. (1973). Some Commercial Aspects of the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery. Journal of the Warburg and Courtland Institutes, 36, 396-401. Pollard, J. G. (1970). Matthew Boulton and Conrad Heinrich Küchler. The Numismatic Chronicle, 10, 259-318. Tungate, S. (2020) Matthew Boulton and The Soho Mint: copper to customer. Worcestershire: Brewin Books. Interesting links: https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/john-boydells-shakespeare-gallery-1789-1805 http://www.whatjanesaw.org/1796/rooms.php?location=NRNE#wjs
  8. Excellent idea, Tom! Although at odds with the rest of my collection, I do have something to share (RIC 934). It seems fitting that Antoninus Pius should make an appearance to celebrate his daughter’s birthday.
  9. @World_Coin_NutYou bring up a fair point. I did not view the coin in hand, but I do not think it would have drastically changed my opinion even if I had. I have seen enough of these pieces in hand to be comfortable stating that there are nicer raw examples in the marketplace if you know where to look. Although not recently, I take a similar approach and focus my efforts on one or two lots that I have a reasonable chance of winning. I, too, am no stranger to paying multiples of the high estimate when I really want something. I did just that earlier this year, paying nearly 6x the high estimate, but it was a unique piece that I knew I would likely never get the chance to purchase again. I wish more auction houses would post videos. That would make assessing the coin much easier as opposed to a photo. Of course, nothing can replace an in-hand inspection. Nice coin, by the way!
  10. @Mowhawk I appreciate the kind words, Tom! It is nice to see that a few of us have been spared from the current craziness of the market. It appears you have found the perfect niche area of focus to keep you occupied for some time without necessarily breaking the bank.
  11. @ColonialCoinsUK I started as a U.S. coin collector before moving to English and Irish copper, and the “top pop” game was always a bit frustrating to me. I am far more content to have a nice coin than a nice holder (i.e., I collect coins, not holders)! You and I are very much alike in that regard, Mike. It seems as though more demand is being placed on world coins in these “top pop” holders in recent years, which makes me wonder if the recent influx of competition is primarily U.S.-based. This may have changed in the last couple of years, but generally speaking, TPGS and thus “top pops” are far less meaningful amongst European collectors, so I doubt their influence is as significant. The odd part about the Irish piece I mentioned above is that it isn’t even a true “top pop” coin!
  12. @coinsbygary As always, excellent picture, Gary! I do not plan to step away from adding additions to my collection, but I do intend to be far more selective. For instance, I have purchased two items from trusted dealers in the last month, both from the Boulton estate. Nowadays, it has to be something truly remarkable to get me to spend money.
  13. His time at the Soho Mint is a dark stain on an otherwise impressive career. There is no disputing that Droz had talent, but the evidence makes it clear that he had no issues taking an Englishman’s money without putting those good skills to work. I think it would be pretty cool to own a piece from the Bonaparte family! That said, it is likely a safe assumption that those pieces come with a hefty price tag.
  14. Whew, what a sigh of relief that both tests came back negative! I am glad to hear all is well on that front. It appears you have a terrible case of the “wait game” jitters! I am sure many of us have experienced this. You bring up a good point about the bottleneck, and I can only assume that higher tiers are receiving priority (as they should). We likely will never know the complete picture of their current situation, but all of your suggestions seem plausible. Hopefully, your order will start moving through the process again, and your agony will dissipate. Given Mike’s comment, I can’t help but wonder if that last part was meant for me with my seven multi-holder invoices currently at NGC? Yeah, sorry about that! If it makes you feel any better, those have been there since June 11th. Part of me is excited to get them back, but the other part is very nervous about the resulting bill even after correcting for the $700+ credit I have with NGC. Maybe the world economy tier taking longer will be the delay I need to fully prepare myself for the resulting bill.
  15. In my opinion, having pieces graded is always worth the wait. While I enjoy testing my skills against the professionals, I place relatively little value on the assigned grade. Sure, it is fun to see how things turn out, but for me, the protection provided by the slab paired with the potential market gain by having them graded makes it all worth it. By the way, you did a fantastic job with the pictures!
  16. This reminds me of something King George III purportedly said when presented proof pence pieces by Sir Joseph Banks in 1797 (Tungate, 2020). Upon accepting the proofs, he also took a business strike example and, while handing it to the Keeper of his Medals, said, “Take care of this. I like one struck for common use better than a fine one”. This quote seems fitting given that the gold medal you mentioned was undoubtedly struck for a specific purpose, while the copper version was likely for “common use”. I am sure that I firmly fall in the minority here, but I would much prefer a finely preserved copper piece to a gold specimen independent of the price. Assuming my eyes are not playing a trick on me, it appears that Droz engraved the obverse bust. I think it is very cool that despite our areas of focus being very different, we can count Droz as a commonality. Of course, his tenure at the Soho Mint was troubled, but nonetheless, he played an essential role in the early days of its formation. On any note, I enjoyed the write-up! Thanks for sharing!
  17. The current market, especially for certain world coins, is absolutely insane. As I alluded to in my earlier journals, I have decided to slow down a bit to focus my efforts on more pressing personal matters, but I have kept a close eye on the auctions out of pure curiosity. As a mere spectator, I place a few lots on my watch list and resist checking on it again until after the auction is over. I have made an early Saturday morning routine of making a cup of coffee and relaxing while I see how my watched lots performed. I wasn't too shocked initially, as I had always thought the world coin market was a bit underappreciated, but recently I find myself nearly spitting out my coffee in shock as the page loads. Of course, there are exceptions in which an "average" coin sells for "average" money but generally speaking, prices are up across the board. The most recent coin to send my coffee spewing across my computer screen was a gilt-proof 1805 Irish Penny graded by NGC as PF-66 Cameo. Although this coin is nice and seemingly deserving of the cameo designation, the fields look hazy, and honestly, the coin does not seem to merit the grade assigned. I have personally handled much nicer examples, both raw and graded, over the years. Nonetheless, gilt Soho proofs tend to command high prices, and I assessed the auction estimate of $800-1200 to be absurdly low. Although I'm not too fond of the coin for the grade, I know the label in a U.S.-based auction house would command a premium, and I estimated it would sell for around $2500. You can imagine my shock when I checked it the following Saturday morning and realized it sold for $8,400! The next hour was spent trying to figure out why this coin sold for as much as it did. My initial hunch was that the label unduly influenced the price, as the coin itself was far from the nicest example I have encountered. As is often the case, the cameo and ultra-cameo designation for this series can command multiples of the selling price for a non-designated piece. It seemed plausible that this piece might be the finest graded in numeric grade and designation (i.e., none graded above 66 cameo and no 66 ultra-cameos). Although PF-66 is the highest assigned grade, there are two ultra-cameos assigned the same grade at NGC. In fact, there is only a single gilt example graded by NGC that was not awarded either a cameo or ultra-cameo designation out of the 11 recorded. That said, it seems very unlikely that the combination of the assigned grade and cameo designation alone could count for the high price. Although I could not find an auction record for any of the ultra-cameos, an NGC PF-65 cameo example sold in January of 2018 for $1400 (including the BP). It seems insane to think that a single-point bump, which would still not truly qualify the coin as a "top pop" is enough to justify the extra $7400! Assuming this was not some sort of fluke, I can't help but wonder what the two NGC PF-66 ultra-cameos would fetch at auction today. Other notable "label coins" came up to auction recently that fell short of their auction estimates. Perhaps the most notable example from my realm of collecting was a gilt-proof 1799 British ½ Penny graded NGC PF-68 cameo. The auction estimate was $4000-6000, but it limped across the auction block at $2880 (with BP). The assigned grade paired with the cameo designation is a grand slam for the label enthusiasts. The next closest graded gilt-proof example is a PF-66 ultra-cameo, and it isn't even the same variety. With that context, the price realized for the Irish piece seems even more outlandish. Many of you have expressed similar situations, and I would be very curious to hear examples from your collecting area that also highlight the madness of the current world coin market. Would you mind sharing those here?
  18. @zacharis425 I am not sure what is going on at NGC. It might be a shortage of staff, or an unprecedented volume of submissions, or maybe a combination of the two, but regardless of the cause, they have a significant backlog at the moment. This spans the entire process, from receiving your coins to mailing them back to you once they are graded. That said, the delay you mention with your first submission might not be that uncommon depending on what you submitted (e.g., coins, tokens, medals - U.S. of foreign) and under which tier (e.g., modern, economy, early bird). The delay with your second submission in opening your package and marking it in the system seems to be the norm at the moment because of the backlog. From their provided records, it looks like they are just now opening mail that was delivered the week of August 14th, so I would assume your package will be entered relatively soon if it was delivered around that time. I've been directly involved in thousands of submissions, either through my account or that of my dealer friend, and I have experienced very few issues. When an issue did arise, they were quick to correct it, and I always walked away satisfied with the service they provided. I know these delays can be frustrating, but to be honest, this also appears to be an issue at the other major TPG.
  19. The economy tier submission I sent along with the other items is currently in the "scheduled for grading" stage. That invoice will likely delay the shipping of the rest. If the others get done quicker, I might reach out to NGC and ask them to ship it separately. I think it would be worth the extra $25-30 to have the others back sooner.
  20. Oh wow, I did not check the turnaround times for the modern and economy tiers. I submitted an economy invoice to be shipped with the larger order, so we may get our things back at the same time. I suppose 2022 might start well for both of us!
  21. Update: I received another call from my contact at NGC last week, and things are starting to progress quickly now. Three of the invoices are already in the grading/encapsulation/imaging stage! I will be sure to update this journal as more information becomes available. Side note: Things seem to be moving pretty quickly at NGC now. A dealer friend just submitted a medal on my behalf under the early bird tier. Including shipping to and from it only took 29 business days. The published turnaround time is 36 business days, which doesn't include shipping time to and from. It still hasn't been 36 business days, and I now have the coin in hand after being shipped to me from the dealer. Now that's a pretty quick turnaround!
  22. @ColonialCoinsUK I’ve never had the chance to inspect one in hand, but I imagine it makes quite the impression. There have been some genuinely remarkable gold pieces up for sale recently. They are just a bit out of my budget, so I watch in awe as the bidding wars commence. The Irish Penny looks like a nice example, but my already nonexistent budget is gone for the foreseeable future. That said, I may PM you for more information on the auction. I’m always on the lookout for good trading material. With funds being a bit tighter, most of my recent additions have been acquired this way. I really appreciate you thinking of me! It’s always nice to have a fellow collector keeping an eye out for me. Hopefully, I can return the favor at some point!
  23. Hi Mike, it is nice to see you posting here again. I'm sorry to hear about your recent health issues. You seem to have a good outlook, and it's nice to see that numismatics can remain an important part of your life. I know next to nothing about Napoleonic medals, so I am excited to learn as you share your knowledge with us. Please let us know how the local auction turns out!
  24. @Just BobBob, admittedly you’ve given this way more thought than I have. That said, your description seems to be the most plausible that I can come up with. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain the obverse rotation paired with the relatively severe reverse rotation. I assume that this was done on purpose by Taylor as he could often charge more for “collector” pieces.
  25. @coinsbygaryGary, your kind words are much appreciated! I can’t say that I consider my collection a world-class set, but I certainly aspire to that level of achievement. In my opinion, although our sets differ in that regard, they are similar in terms of what motivated them. It is clear from the introduction of your Fraser set and the accompanying descriptions of the pieces within it that you are captivated by the relevant historical, artistic, and social circumstances that gave rise to their existence. I echo these same sentiments in my set detailing the Soho Mint. Like you, I have also been helped along the way by several good friends. Unfortunately, many have since passed away, but they certainly left a mark. My most recent project, “The Medals of Soho near Birmingham”, is a tribute to one of those friends. As soon as my most recent submission comes back from NGC, I hope to make that new registry set available. We are merely temporary curators of history, but our connections with fellow collectors are likely something to last a lifetime. I have come to form some truly amazing friendships with people whom I otherwise would not have likely encountered. I find it amazing how easily numismatics can bring people together!