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  1. It’s been a while since I posted about a submission I dreaded to send but finally mailed to NGC in June. As of August, NGC posted the grades of the last two coins of a nine-coin submission. This submission may have been the best I have ever sent. I divided the submission into four parts. The first is the WORLD-MODERN tier with three coins, followed by the WORLD-ECONOMY tier with two coins. Next is a single medal under the TOKEN-WORLD-VALUE tier, and finally, a three medal TOKEN-EARLY-BIRD tier to round out the submission. There was a twist in the WORLD-ECONOMY tier that I had not anticipated. The coin in question is a 1937 Spanish Second Republic peseta that I hoped would grade MS-63. Before NGC finalized the grade, they recommended that NCS should conserve the coin. The invoice they sent me was puzzling because they listed the grade of the coin at MS-64. However, because of my grading credits, I agreed to have this coin conserved that I originally purchased for only $8.00. Now, I would not have usually sent such an inexpensive coin in for grading, let alone conservation. However, this coin fits nicely into my Spanish peseta custom set. After conservation, the 1937 peseta received a final grade of MS-64+. The top-pop coin in the NGC census is MS-65. Considering the before and after pictures, I’m glad I gave my approval for NGC to conserve it. Now, an otherwise dull coin has come back to me, revealing spectacular luster. The other coin in my two-coin WORLD-ECONOMY tier is an 1869 Spanish 50-centime coin for my Spanish Provisional Government registry set. This coin is next to impossible to acquire in mint state condition. Good examples of raw circulated coins are also hard to come by on E-Bay. My hope for this coin was to have it graded VF-20. However, I knew this coin could go either way between F-15 and VF-20. I was thrilled when NGC graded the coin VF-20. I had been eyeing an MS-64 German medal for my seated imagery custom set on E-Bay for several years. However, in all those years, the seller never came down on his high asking price. Later, I bought a raw medal for approximately 40% less than the E-Bay medal in my watch list. After holding this piece for a couple of years, I finally sent it in to have it graded under the TOKEN-WORLD-VALUE tier. This medal came back to me graded at MS-65. My WORLD-MODERN submission features two coins for my Inspirational Ladies custom set and one for my Spanish peseta custom set. I had hoped for the 2001 Spanish 2000 peseta coin that I purchased to grade MS-65. Instead, I was delighted to get a top-pop grade of MS-68 for this beautifully toned coin. Late last year, I purchased a 2019 Great Britain “Una and the Lion” silver five-pound coin. Since I purchased this coin, the value of the coin has skyrocketed. Naturally, I had hoped for a PF-70 grade but realistically expected a PF-69. Unfortunately, I ended up with the expected PF-69 grade. Notwithstanding, this coin today is worth at least twice as much as what I paid for it. The last coin in this tier is a 1998 German 10-mark coin that received an expected grade of MS-64. Both these coins are currently residing in my Inspirational Ladies custom set. Rounding out my total submission is a three medal TOKEN-EARLY-BIRD tier. A while back, I lost an E-Bay auction for an “American Bar Association” medal for my Laura Gardin Fraser custom set. The biding had gone over $500 when I gave up. Shortly after that, I found another medal listed on E-Bay for a Buy-It-Now price of less than $100. The only caveat was that the seller thought the medal was a fake. I thought otherwise and quickly snapped it up. I was hoping for an MS-62 grade but figuratively did cartwheels when I got a fully authentic MS-64 grade. The other two medals are the silver “Society of Medalists #1” medal by Laura Gardin Fraser and the “Edmond H. Harriman Memorial Medal” by James Earle Fraser. Both of these medals I would have liked graded MS-67, but the “Society of Medalists” medal returned with a grade of MS-66. Incidentally, the “Society of Medalists” medal is a silver restrike of the bronze medal using the original dies, and it has a reported mintage of 125. Both these medals are now part of my Laura Gardin Fraser custom set. Overall, I couldn’t be happier, especially since there are no “details graded” coins and medals in the entire submission. Gary
  2. Its their a listing of what the NGC will grade besides coins. IE medals, large round paper weight like coins, etc. I am unable to find anything besides coins but I see graded items that are not coins out on the market. Thanks
  3. In a recent blog post, I mused over having to fill out one of those dreaded NGC submission forms. As with most things I procrastinate over, I eventually got around to it. I have also written about The American Bar Association medallion I bought from a seller on E-Bay who thought it was a fake. Well, today is the moment of truth. That medallion finally made it to NGC, and the grade was released today. If you remember, I wrote in my blog post on April 4, 2020, that I purchased an American Bar Association medal from an E-Bay seller who thought it was a fake. Of course, I thought otherwise. Because the item was offered for hundreds of dollars less than I could otherwise purchase it, I decided to take a chance and buy it. At that, I finally sent it to NGC for authentication and grading. If you’re like me, you are constantly checking on the status of your submissions. After the status changes to grading/quality control, the wait for finalized/imaged/shipped is almost unbearable. Then your status changes and NGC releases the grades. Now unless NGC is in the practice of encapsulating fakes, my medallion is authenticated with a grade of MS-64! I trusted my gut on this, and after hoping for a grade of MS-62, its time for “happy dance!” Presently, other of my coins and medals are waiting on grading. For now, I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, anticipating more good news. Below is the write up of this medallion for my Laura Gardin Fraser custom set. Every year since 1929, The American Bar Association awards this medallion designed by Laura Gardin Fraser for "Exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence." This medallion is an unawarded 75mm example of the ABA medallion struck in gilded bronze. From the reverse picture, it appears as if the gilt did not uniformly take. This medallion is also struck in two sizes 100mm and 75mm, of which the 100mm is scarcer. It's struck in bronze, 24k and 14k gold, and gilt bronze. The obverse features a bust of Chief Justice John Marshall (chief justice of the supreme court between 1801-1835). The motto "TO THE END IT MAY BE A GOVERNMENT OF LAWS AND NOT OF MEN" is contained in the Massachusetts Bill of Rights and written by John Adams. The reverse features a seated image of Justitia holding a scale in her right hand and a downward pointing sheathed sword with her left. Laura Gardin Fraser's monogram appears below Justitia. Gary
  4. Dear all, Hello I'm a coin collector from India. I am having this big Nickel token/Medal of former US President Theodore Roosevelt. The legend has a spelling mistake and the miss-spelled name has a double-die error. Please let me know your expert opinion on its authenticity, and whether it has any good value. Thank you
  5. There are some things I don’t particularly care to do. When it comes to those things, I usually procrastinate getting them done. Preparing submission forms to send coins and medals to NGC for grading is something I always procrastinate. I just don’t like itemizing the submission form, looking up the market value, separating my medals from my coins, modern vs. classic, etc. Then packing them up and running to the post office is such a pain in the neck. Well, today I finally said, “This is the day” and I grabbed the first item to be submitted. The first item in my submission is a 55mm 1876 William Barber classic, Centennial Medal struck in white metal. Since I just recently finished experimenting with my lighting, I thought, “Why not try a few of those new techniques on this medal.” Well, that’s all it took to successfully kick the submission can down the road a little farther! The first set of pictures was so-so in that they did not significantly improve on the pictures I already had. Then I had the hair-brained idea to try something that I typically have a hard time getting just right to see if I might get lucky. Why not? After all, the alternative was to get back to work on that submission. Besides, the best time to take pictures of coins is in their raw state and this would be my last crack at it. This medal though not classified as a proof has mirrored fields. Why not try to see if I could get the full effect of those mirrors in my picture? The best possible placement for lighting is perpendicular to the object you are photographing. As you can see with my set-up, that is kind of hard to do given that the camera is in the way. There are two workarounds that are quite effective in redirecting the light to simulate a perpendicular lighting source. The first is axial lighting as described in Mark Goodman’s excellent book on coin photography entitled, “Numismatic Photography.” The second is to tilt the coin towards the lighting source. I chose the second as the easiest thing to do. The tricky part in this is to minimize the reflections and there WILL be reflections. Now I used a soft cloth to tilt this medal toward the lighting source about four degrees. Then I tried my best to position the reflections to a place on the medal where they are not distracting. On the obverse, the reflection was under the date 1876. On the reverse, it was in the middle of the 13 radiating stars! Perfect, I thought, because the reflection made the center of the stars look like the sun! Now when you tilt a coin relative to the camera you will run into issues with focusing the camera and distorting the shape of the medal. Because of the tilt, the camera will see the round medal as slightly oval. To improve the focus, I moved the camera farther away from the subject effectively making the image smaller relative to the frame. Then I corrected the oval camera distortion using Photoshop Elements 2019. Please notice the picture on the back cover of Mark Goodman’s book showing the coin tilted towards the light to see that his set-up is similar to mine. Now I use lights on both sides of the medal but since the medal is tilted towards the one, it is tilted away from the other. Thus, the lamp tilted away has little or no effect on the picture. I am posting two pictures of my medal. The one that has darker fields is a picture showing the medal perpendicular to the camera. The other one with the lit-up fields is a picture showing the medal perpendicular to the lighting source. I just had to post this! Now back to my submission? Nah, but I will get to it soon unless I run into more distractions! Gary
  6. I have not submitted any of my special Government medals (sGm) to NGC since there are no catalogs that lists them (body bag bait), however I did write a paper that was given a copyright. This paper is ongoing research and only represents a snapshot in time of my research. Before I took on this research project I was amazed that these medals were not catalog at all as these medals were struck by the US Mint in the late 1940s. What is a special medal for U.S. Government agencies? Long story made short. It was found by cluster analysis as part of my research. All things manufactured by the US Mint clusters toward one of three manufacturing groups. As troubling at it may seem, no enacted US law (for the medals themselves) was required for special Government medals. US coin/medal laws places a set of requirements that the US Mint must adhere to (design elements, mintage, metal composition, issue dates, etc..). However, there was an enacted US law that created the Honor Awards (redacted law identifier protects my ongoing research) for US Government agencies. The US Government agency was free to select the design, mintage, issue, metal, etc.... I have evidence that simple phone calls was used to up the mintage or stop pending designs. Do you see Gilroy Robert's hallmark on the right at the base of the building ? My research made a match with the medal's engraved date with the April 28, 1948 convocation date (from National Archive and Records Administration (NARA)). I also found the number issued at the first convocation (92 bronze). Most importantly I found the awardee! You can readily get this Department of Interior medal. How about the rarer US Treasury special Government medal? Reverse has the names of Adam Pietz (left) and JR Sinnock (right) at the bottom of the building. This is a 1972 convocation medal. How rare is the Department of the Treasury honor awards? The Department Treasury was readily giving out a cash awards instead of medals.. Here are the low numbers for the first years of issue. Once again, initial issue in the late 1940s. Then again, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a few special Government medals. Check out Frank Gasparro's initials. Still not convince? Find Frank Gasparro's initials. FG has a habit of placing his initials between the tail and right talon (not shown is the reverse of the Kennedy half dollar series). To be continued.
  7. Hi, Are Alaska medals can be grade? Thank you. Noel
  8. Hi, I would like ask if these brass medals are accepted to be graded? Thank You.
  9. As a result of my Money Talks presentation at the Words Fair of Money I came into contact with Coin World writer Chris Bulfinch. Chris wanted to talk with me about an article he was working on concerning Laura Gardin Fraser. At the end of that conversation he asked me if I would be willing to do a podcast interview with him of which I was only too happy to do. Last week that interview was posted on Coin World's website as episode 027. After listening to the interview I think it went pretty well. The first 19 minutes of the podcast was dedicated to a conversation between the hosts of the podcast Chris Bulfinch and Jeff Starck. My interview then occupied the rest of the podcast which was almost 43 minutes in length. Finally I want to thank the ANA for putting me in touch with Chris who was unable to attend my Money Talks presentation but followed up to contact me through the ANA. This was a lot of fun for me and I am amazed by the people I have worked with and come into contact with over the years through my Laura Gardin Fraser collection. It is truly a privilege and a blessing to be involved with so many of the fine people associated with this hobby! Gary The following is a link to my podcast: https://www.coinworld.com/coinworld-podcast
  10. I’m selling a few choice and very rare pieces in the upcoming Heritage Central States auction. This medal is one of my all-time favorite acquisitions. It is a near-gem BHM-1669 which bears the same motto and general theme as Hardtimes token Low-54. BHM-1669 is a larger and much more refined production by expert English engraver and manufacture Thomas Halliday. The obverse features a shackled female slave on bended knee, before a standing personification of Justice. Above, AM I NOT A WOMAN AND A SISTER. Below, LET US BREAK THEIR HANDS ASUNDER AND CAST AWAY THEIR CORDS. PSALM II:3. On the reverse is a wreath laced with a ribbon that bears the names of prominent British abolitionists. Examples of this medal appear on occasion. They are virtually always in white metal and with hairlines, rim bruising and at least a few tiny spots of corrosion. So naturally I wanted to beat the odds and find an excellent problem-free unc. I was elated when the presently offered specimen crossed my path. I consider this extremely rare as it is not only finer than any other BHM-1669 that I could trace, but is far rarer to begin with, having been stuck in bronze. I thought the grade given by NGC to be a bit conservative. It’s stunning in hand; the surfaces are lustrous and essentially free of the type of distractions and hairlines that can often be inclusive of an MS64. I was pleasantly surprised to see the cataloger at Heritage had picked up on the same and noted such in the lot description. He/She arrived at that conclusion independently of my own thoughts as I had not communicated this to HA. Lot 33065: https://coins.ha.com/itm/great-britain/world-coins/great-britain-temp-william-iv-bronze-abolition-of-slavery-in-the-colonies-medal-nd-ms64-brown-ngc-/a/3073-33065.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
  11. coinsbygary

    I Am Honored

    Sorry folks no image this time! It just doesn't seem quite appropriate for this post. You see, today I have accidently discovered that one of my writings was linked on the website of a national humanitarian organization! I still have to pinch myself to see if this is really happening! This all started with my coin club asking for club members to give a presentation at some of our upcoming meetings. I thought it would be nice for me to do a presentation based on my Laura Gardin Fraser coin and medal collection and I went right to work on my power point presentation to be given at the next club meeting on May 8. I really enjoy my club and the opportunity I had to offer other members free imaging of their coins at a recent buy-sell-trade event. This upcoming presentation will give me the opportunity to share other aspects of my numismatic interests in research, writing, and collecting. If that goes well, I plan to apply for a "Money Talks" presentation of the same material at the Chicago "Worlds Fair of Money" later this summer. One of the medals in my presentation is the "National Institute of Social Sciences medal". The mission of the National Institute of Social Sciences is to "promote the study of the social sciences, to support social science research and discussion, and to honor individuals who have rendered distinguished service to humanity." The bronze medal in my collection was presented to Clara D Noyes to honor her for distinguished service to humanity. Though the bronze medal is no longer awarded, the gold medal is still awarded on an annual basis since 1913. Because the medal design has not changed and it appears prominently on the upper left hand corner of every page on the institute's website I thought to comment on the artistic numismatic legacy left to them by Laura Gardin Fraser. This led me to a page that described the medal. As I went down the page I noticed a few additional reading links, One of which curiously seemed familiar to me entitled, "A Beautiful Medal for a Worthy Recipient." I thought, no it can't be? Yes it can! The link directs you to an article I posted at NGC's collector's society on 4/14/17! How awesome is that! In fact, I've been a collector for a very long time and no other set that I have ever put together has brought me more accolades than "The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser." My contact network of medal collectors is phenomenal, especially considering that I am not a medal collector and that my network has sent me referrals, watched e-bay listings on my behalf, and gladly have shared information without which my LGF set would not have been possible. I've had three LGF articles published in the PAN publication, "The Clarion." In fact the post from the link that I am referring is in the October, 2017 issue of the Clarion! I've had cold contacts from authors wanting to publish my images, other people wanting to sell me their medals, and the family of Clara D Noyes that wants to buy my social sciences medal back! Incidentally, I have every intention of selling it back when I find another example for my collection. In return the family representative has sent me a signed copy of a biography he wrote about Clara! All these things do me great honor along with all of you who follow my blog posts. This has all been a surreal ride for me that brings new and amazing things my way. As I always say, "Who would have thunk it?" It has just been a wonderful ride that I would have never in a thousand years anticipated. I am indeed blessed! Here are two links to the National Institute of Social Sciences website. The first will take you to the main page and the second to the page with mu link. http://www.socialsciencesinstitute.org/ http://www.socialsciencesinstitute.org/the-gold-medal Gary
  12. Because of my Laura Gardin Fraser collection an article in the June 2018 issue of The Numismatist entitled, “Fraser Finds”, aroused my interest. The author of that article went on to describe his pure joy at the Fraser finds comparable to that of discovering lost treasure. For my part I found this article fascinating. Never could I have imagined that Tom Rochovansky and his wife Nancy were preserving so much of the Fraser’s work as a legacy to them. Normally for me this is where the story ends. Later I was to find out that this was in reality where the story began. A friend of mine who has been invaluable to me in both researching and acquiring many of the Laura Gardin Fraser medals in my collection contacted me about the article. He went on to say that he lives within driving distance of the Rochovanskys and made an appointment with them to inspect the finds for himself. When my friend returned from inspecting the Fraser’s studio pieces he sent me a report of his findings. I was somewhat disappointed that there didn’t seem to be anything of interest to me in the report. Later my friend on a subsequent visit discovered two Items that he missed on the first visit that I was VERY interested in purchasing. Those pieces were a bronze 1912, 131mm cast medallion honoring John Cardinal Farley on his elevation to the cardinalate of New York. The second is a bronze 1915, 64mm Rosemary Hall 25th anniversary medal. I’ll have more to say about these medals later but for now, as Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.” This is where having a friend that knows something about medals is indispensable. After finding out about these two medals I told my friend that I was interested in purchasing both of them. The price for the Rosemary Hall was about what I could expect to pay and well within my budget. The asking price of the Cardinal Farley medallion on the other hand was a stretch for me and just outside what I wanted to pay. With that my friend was willing to negotiate a fair price on my behalf to the Rochovanskys based on his knowledge of the market and it was a sale! Two medals once owned by Laura Gardin Fraser are now in my personal collection! Indeed, both of these medals truly represent a “Most Excellent Provenance”! I mailed a check directly to Tom Rochovansky with a hand written note thanking him and inviting him to peruse my set. After receiving my check, Tom gave me a call and I had a wonderful conversation with the curator of the Frasers studio artifacts. Tom went on to say that he personally knew Laura Fraser as a child and often referred to her as Aunt Laura. I asked him if I could conduct an interview with him about his experiences with the Frasers and he was very willing for me to call him at a future date. Now who could ask more than the prospect of acquiring first-hand information about the Frasers? In a bit of numismatic history Tom Rochovansky went on to say that he loaned the plasters for the 1999 200th anniversary of the death of George Washington half-eagle to the mint. In return the mint sent him one of the half-eagles that he incidentally still owns. The mint also returned the plasters which are also still in his possession. Finally, Tom told me about some of the non-numismatic items he still has, one of which I may be interested in purchasing at a future date when I will likely make-up a display case of this collection. Finally, I was not the only person to benefit from the “Fraser Finds” article in the Numismatist. Another of my friends introduced to me through the same person who contacted the Rochovanskys acquired several plasters, one of which is the obverse of the Oregon Trail commemorative half-dollar. He has also written of his purchases in the July 22 edition of “The E-Sylum” complete with pictures. Lest you think our common friend didn’t find something for his collection, think again. There are now three very happy collectors with their purchases and Tom Rochovansky glad to place a few of the Fraser artifacts into good homes.