The Wells Fargo Hoard .. How did this happen?
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190 posts in this topic

On 2/26/2022 at 6:07 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Well, I'll let him speak for himself but if finding coins to actually match documents takes YEARS than it delays the book a long time.  And sometimes the coins might be tough to track down.

I know Roger posted in the long Saints thread that he observed many of the coins for the sections on die varieties.

My point is, sir, that only looking at the coins matters. Documents are written by people. They are subjective and prone to errors of many kinds, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH is intentional lying. Mint employees and even their Superintendents do not have stellar honesty records. And worse yet, some are worse than dishonest; they’re stupid, including some VERY RECENT examples. (2016 anniversary gold issues chief among them)

Edited by VKurtB
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In case you weren’t in the game then, at a Mint forum at the Rosemont ANA show in 2014, I had the opportunity to leave Mint decision-makers agape by PROVING to them that what they had been promising for the 2016 gold pieces was physically impossible. They had promised:

1) 1/10, 1/4, and 1/2 Troy ounce ,999 gold coins.

2) same size as the 1916 original silver pieces. 
 

It had NEVER occurred to ANYONE in that administration’s Treasury Dept. that you can’t do that due to the vastly different specific gravities. Their answer? Literally: “We’re the U.S. Mint; we’re pretty resourceful.” Outcome: they were either epically stupid or they lied. 

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The quote from Mr. Kurt B is more pathetic than anything else.

Solid research methodology has been openly presented in multiple venues and to multiple audiences from novices to academics. Mr. Kurt B appears dismissive of rigor and accuracy, and has demonstrated no grasp of scientific investigation. Possibly his fear of truth has a deeper emotional base? It does not matter, however. There is nothing that will change his mind.

Edited by RWB
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As to "Why no one mentioned them earlier?" the reason is simple. No one looked. No one did the detailed research among coins and documents. Thus the pieces were scattered and unintelligible. I merely brought them together with an open mind and a desire to understand. Much the same for the entire 1905-1921 period; for multiple unknown gold patterns; for how MCMVII $20 were made; mechanical and equipment processes, and many other subjects. I do not "skimp" or "push deadlines" or accept some "magical revelations from the ancients."

Good research uses all available sources both written, observed, physical, and manufacturing. These must be balanced and understood in historical context.

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On 2/26/2022 at 7:11 PM, VKurtB said:

My point is, sir, that only looking at the coins matters. Documents are written by people. They are subjective and prone to errors of many kinds, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH is intentional lying. Mint employees and even their Superintendents do not have stellar honesty records. And worse yet, some are worse than dishonest; they’re stupid, including some VERY RECENT examples. (2016 anniversary gold issues chief among them)

I agree documents can have errors in them and maybe even an occasional deliberate mislead....but short of inventing a time-travelling machine and hovering over the people in real-time....I don't even think that observing the coins will be 100% fool-proof.

The point is to reasonably be certain -- 95% confidence level, something as a lawyer you should appreciate -- that things are as they appear to be and were claimed to be.

I think the documents that RWB uncovers are fascinating.  Not all of them interest me, but they are all chock full of information.  They provide SOME information -- sometimes definitive, sometimes not.

It depends on the coin and circumstances.

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On 2/26/2022 at 7:30 PM, VKurtB said:

It had NEVER occurred to ANYONE in that administration’s Treasury Dept. that you can’t do that due to the vastly different specific gravities. Their answer? Literally: “We’re the U.S. Mint; we’re pretty resourceful.” Outcome: they were either epically stupid or they lied. 

OK, that proves the CURRENT Mint workers don't know everything....I don't think that means you can't gather useful information from documents that are 100 years old or more.

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On 2/26/2022 at 10:19 PM, RWB said:

As to "Why no one mentioned them earlier?" the reason is simple. No one looked. No one did the detailed research among coins and documents. Thus the pieces were scattered and unintelligible. I merely brought them together with an open mind and a desire to understand. Much the same for the entire 1905-1921 period; for multiple unknown gold patterns; for how MCMVII $20 were made; mechanical and equipment processes, and many other subjects. I do not "skimp" or "push deadlines" or accept some "magical revelations from the ancients."

Good research uses all available sources both written, observed, physical, and manufacturing. These must be balanced and understood in historical context.

Maybe an example can help....can you give an example from the Saints or RoAC books of some original research that you did that debunked something that had been accepted as fact which wasn't the case ?

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On 2/26/2022 at 10:19 PM, RWB said:

As to "Why no one mentioned them earlier?" the reason is simple. No one looked. No one did the detailed research among coins and documents. Thus the pieces were scattered and unintelligible. I merely brought them together with an open mind and a desire to understand. Much the same for the entire 1905-1921 period; for multiple unknown gold patterns; for how MCMVII $20 were made; mechanical and equipment processes, and many other subjects. I do not "skimp" or "push deadlines" or accept some "magical revelations from the ancients." Good research uses all available sources both written, observed, physical, and manufacturing. These must be balanced and understood in historical context.

Very well said.  I should say this is also the key to good investment and financial research. (thumbsu

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On 2/26/2022 at 10:36 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

OK, that proves the CURRENT Mint workers don't know everything....I don't think that means you can't gather useful information from documents that are 100 years old or more.

Considering how past Mint leadership has ALWAYS been political patronage, I think you’re being awfully generous. 

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On 2/26/2022 at 11:38 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Maybe an example can help....can you give an example from the Saints or RoAC books of some original research that you did that debunked something that had been accepted as fact which wasn't the case ?

Almost everything in RoAC could be considered an example. One of the clearest, and silliest BTW, was the notion that the low relief Peace dollar resulted from "Morgan hitting the high relief galvano with a board," or similar. This is from his Encyclopedia and was long accepted as gospel. None of it is correct.

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On 2/27/2022 at 10:40 AM, RWB said:

Almost everything in RoAC could be considered an example. One of the clearest, and silliest BTW, was the notion that the low relief Peace dollar resulted from "Morgan hitting the high relief galvano with a board," or similar. This is from his Encyclopedia and was long accepted as gospel. None of it is correct.

Speaking of Peace Dollars....have you seen any uptick in your Peace Dollar book since the Mint released the new Peace Dollars ?

I have to think that the 2021 coins are causing people to look at classic Peace and Morgan dollars.  Prices are certainly up, especially for toned, PL, and DMPL Morgans < $500.

 

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On 2/27/2022 at 10:21 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Speaking of Peace Dollars....have you seen any uptick in your Peace Dollar book since the Mint released the new Peace Dollars ?

I have to think that the 2021 coins are causing people to look at classic Peace and Morgan dollars.  Prices are certainly up, especially for toned, PL, and DMPL Morgans < $500.

 

No need to single out toned, PL and DMPL examples. Most Morgan’s - including untoned pieces -and for that matter, other types of coins, have enjoyed significant increases in value during the past year or two.

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On 2/27/2022 at 11:21 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Speaking of Peace Dollars....have you seen any uptick in your Peace Dollar book since the Mint released the new Peace Dollars ?

I have to think that the 2021 coins are causing people to look at classic Peace and Morgan dollars.  Prices are certainly up, especially for toned, PL, and DMPL Morgans < $500.

 

Sales quantities for any of the Guide Book series are not large. This means that it takes only a few extra sales in a month to create a spike. The difficulty is separating a random spike from short-term interest or some form of publicity. Personally, I've had a small increase in Peace dollar interest over the past 18 months. I attribute this mostly to US Mint publicity, with a little from the TV shysters. I've noticed little direct connection between the 2021 imitations and 1921 authentic coins. However, counterfeits of almost any coin continue to increase. (Take a magnet and a shovel to the next "flea market.")

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On 2/27/2022 at 11:57 AM, MarkFeld said:

No need to single out toned, PL and DMPL examples. Most Morgan’s - including untoned pieces -and for that matter, other types of coins, have enjoyed significant increases in value during the past year or two.

Yes, I agree Mark.  My Morgan experts and others say it is definitely broad-based.  And again, the biggest % boosts have been at the lower-priced end.

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On 2/27/2022 at 12:17 PM, RWB said:

However, counterfeits of almost any coin continue to increase. (Take a magnet and a shovel to the next "flea market.")

Most of those fakes are made at least of real silver though, right ?  So if you pay spot, at least you are not getting taken too badly.

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On 2/27/2022 at 12:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Most of those fakes are made at least of real silver though, right ?

The Chinese manufacturers have several levels of quality. Most are steel often given a quick silver or gold wash. Better quality, both fidelity and alloy, are .800 fine silver. I've been shown superlative counterfeits of higher-priced coins that require extensive visual, physical and analytical examination to detect, including a run of 1853 no arrow quarters. I have no information about TPG abilities to detect these pieces.....but the ones I saw were beyond "frighteningly good."

[PS: There are also what are called "gold shell" fakes. Real Liberty-type eagles and double eagles are separated into two thin shells, filled with pressurized lead and rejoined with matching reeding. A bit of surface gold completes the package. Evidently, these "ring" much like real coins although at a lower pitch. I don't know how such a composite could be made to give a coin-like ring.]

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On 2/27/2022 at 12:36 PM, RWB said:

The Chinese manufacturers have several levels of quality. Most are steel often given a quick silver or gold wash. Better quality, both fidelity and alloy, are .800 fine silver. 

Ugg...if you buy any in size at .800 fine silver, you're losing money from Day 1.

On 2/27/2022 at 12:36 PM, RWB said:

I've been shown superlative counterfeits of higher-priced coins that require extensive visual, physical and analytical examination to detect, including a run of 1853 no arrow quarters. I have no information about TPG abilities to detect these pieces.....but the ones I saw were beyond "frighteningly good."

That's scary.....:mad:

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On 2/27/2022 at 11:27 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Most of those fakes are made at least of real silver though, right ?  So if you pay spot, at least you are not getting taken too badly.

Nope, overwhelmingly NOT silver. By quantity, most of the weights are nowhere close. The “better” fakes are truly indistinguishable to the average schlub looking for a bargain. Many of the better gold fakes are gold plated tungsten.  Fakes generally are nearly omnipresent and very believable. To me, the most astonishing thing is highly believable aging and wearing, INCLUDING toning. 

Edited by VKurtB
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On 2/26/2022 at 10:35 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I agree documents can have errors in them and maybe even an occasional deliberate mislead....but short of inventing a time-travelling machine and hovering over the people in real-time....I don't even think that observing the coins will be 100% fool-proof.

The point is to reasonably be certain -- 95% confidence level, something as a lawyer you should appreciate -- that things are as they appear to be and were claimed to be.

I think the documents that RWB uncovers are fascinating.  Not all of them interest me, but they are all chock full of information.  They provide SOME information -- sometimes definitive, sometimes not.

It depends on the coin and circumstances.

Every bit of information retrieved from NARA diving has been there since the documents were created, every blessed bit (including digital) of it. There is NOTHING new there. Roger’s contribution is LITERALLY “he has the time and local ability to rummage through it.” Literally anyone can do it, if they care. 

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On 2/27/2022 at 8:16 PM, VKurtB said:

Every bit of information retrieved from NARA diving has been there since the documents were created, every blessed bit (including digital) of it. There is NOTHING new there. Roger’s contribution is LITERALLY “he has the time and local ability to rummage through it.” Literally anyone can do it, if they care. 

Still have to organize it and present it in an interesting fashion.  The lawyout for RWB's Saints book makes the information digestible to interemediate collectors like me.  You have to present interesting information in the proper context othewise it just stands out and doesn't flow with any narrative.

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On 2/27/2022 at 8:21 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Still have to organize it and present it in an interesting fashion.  The lawyout for RWB's Saints book makes the information digestible to interemediate collectors like me.  You have to present interesting information in the proper context othewise it just stands out and doesn't flow with any narrative.

Narratives are vastly overrated. My opinion. It becomes over glorified story telling. Give me raw data any day. No agendas. “It’s all about the accuracy”. Story telling be damned. All story telling does is subjectivize data that has been held out to be objective. Slippery slope. 
 

I worked around people who did that for the last 13 and a half years of my career. They are known as “spinmeisters”.

They called THEMSELVES “communicators”. I had a better word - liars. 

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On 2/27/2022 at 9:32 PM, VKurtB said:

Narratives are vastly overrated. My opinion. It becomes over glorified story telling. Give me raw data any day. No agendas. “It’s all about the accuracy”. Story telling be damned. All story telling does is subjectivize data that has been held out to be objective. Slippery slope. 

Well, to be perfectly honest, the story of the Saint-Gaudens coins that I follow most closely ARE about story telling, Kurt. 

It's part of the appeal...the intrigue....what makes them interesting, at least to me.  Quite frankly, there aren't that many stories about modern or recent coins, right ?  So what besides simply "collecting" and "getting all the coins" could the chase and study of the coins be about ?  Not much, IMO....hence my interest in Saints and probably the reason others here like Early Copper, or Franklins, or Walkers, or Trade Dollars, or Morgans, or Mercury Dimes, etc...etc...etc.

I WANT to read about specific stories regarding the 1920-S and the CT State Library, knowing that the specifics of this coin, or the ~130 Saints from 1932 or any other year, are part of the intrigue.  The auctions...the sales....the yanked coins (1933 and others)....the experts' favorites coins, years, and mintmarks....etc.  It's part of the history of the coins and in general, I love reading about history period.

I have a story on all of my favorite coins.  It's not just a coin from a particular year or mint in a plastic slab. (thumbsu

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On 2/27/2022 at 8:51 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Well, to be perfectly honest, the story of the Saint-Gaudens coins that I follow most closely ARE about story telling, Kurt. 

It's part of the appeal...the intrigue....what makes them interesting, at least to me.  Quite frankly, there aren't that many stories about modern or recent coins, right ?  So what besides simply "collecting" and "getting all the coins" could the chase and study of the coins be about ?  Not much, IMO....hence my interest in Saints and probably the reason others here like Early Copper, or Franklins, or Walkers, or Trade Dollars, or Morgans, or Mercury Dimes, etc...etc...etc.

I WANT to read about specific stories regarding the 1920-S and the CT State Library, knowing that the specifics of this coin, or the ~130 Saints from 1932 or any other year, are part of the intrigue.  The auctions...the sales....the yanked coins (1933 and others)....the experts' favorites coins, years, and mintmarks....etc.  It's part of the history of the coins and in general, I love reading about history period.

I have a story on all of my favorite coins.  It's not just a coin from a particular year or mint in a plastic slab. (thumbsu

There ARE all kinds of stories, yes. My approach has been to talk to Mint personnel personally, across a table, or frequently at a dinner or banquet. My deeper research on the Langbord case, for example, started after being seated next to Counsel for the Mint at a PAN dinner in Pittsburgh at that snazzy restaurant at the top of the cog railway. The Mint Director was seated IMMEDIATELY behind me at an adjoining round table. 
 

We all have our preferred methods. When you talk to the principals themselves, the need for documents diminishes. 
 

By the way, there are MASSIVE numbers of stories about modern coins and the decisions made regarding them. The problem is that they fairly DRIP SYRUPY of hard core nasty politics. Ooh, can’t go there! /eye roll

Do you know the Mint has a plan to replace 75/25 Cu/Ni as the dominant metal in our coins? They do. How do I know? I speak with the guys at  Carpenter Technologies of Reading, PA who are doing the hard core work for it. I’ve held the new alloy in my grubby paws.  If you stay connected, you don’t have to read documents. You know stuff BEFORE it comes to pass. 

Edited by VKurtB
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Do you ALSO know that there is NO REASON ON EARTH that any modern vending machine does NOT handle modern small dollars? The upgrade is ridiculously cheap and the intellectual property was literally GIVEN AWAY FREE by the inventor of the upgrade. Another Reading, PA firm - Goodman Vending - was the contractor and the inventor. The stories are out there. Do we REALLY need to wait 80 years for some ersatz later day Roger to search the archives about them?

By the way, both Carpenter and Goodman are from my home town, and in the district of the Representative and Chairman for whom I worked for over 13 years. 

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On 2/27/2022 at 10:06 PM, VKurtB said:

There ARE all kinds of stories, yes. My approach has been to talk to Mint personnel personally, across a table, or frequently at a dinner or banquet. My deeper research on the Langbord case, for example, started after being seated next to Counsel for the Mint at a PAN dinner in Pittsburgh at that snazzy restaurant at the top of the cog railway. The Mint Director was seated IMMEDIATELY behind me at an adjoining round table. We all have our preferred methods. When you talk to the principals themselves, the need for documents diminishes. By the way, there are MASSIVE numbers of stories about modern coins and the decisions made regarding them. The problem is that they fairly DRIP SYRUPY of hard core nasty politics. Ooh, can’t go there! /eye roll o you know the Mint has a plan to replace 75/25 Cu/Ni as the dominant metal in our coins? They do. How do I know? I speak with the guys at  Carpenter Technologies of Reading, PA who are doing the hard core work for it. I’ve held the new alloy in my grubby paws.  If you stay connected, you don’t have to read documents. You know stuff BEFORE it comes to pass. 

I have no problem with this, but that's MODERN INFORMATION or story-telling about modern or older (1933 Saint) coins.

I want the story AT THE TIME regarding these coins.  If a 3 or 4 or 5 Saint series in a row ended up in Treasury vaults and getting melted in  the 1930's, then I want to know why the 6th one went to South America as part of some balance of trade deal.  Or why one particular batch of coins from San Francisco stayed domestically to back Gold Certificates but the Philly and Denver issues went South of the Border.

That kind of thing.

Maybe some folks today have that information off the tip of their tounges, but I venture not many.  I don't know too many people who can spit out data and facts that stream like Aker's 1907-33 Gold Coin book or Roger's Saints book.  

I'm sure the Mint Director gave you their POV and their legal approach on the 1933 Saints, but I strongly doubt he had the depth of knowledge from documents that were available and incorporated in Roger's chapter on the 1933's such as on die varieties, striking dates, Coin Exchange policies, etc. (let alone provide alternate perspectives on holding the 1933 Saints that RWB and Bowers both advocated for).

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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RE: "Every bit of information retrieved from NARA diving has been there since the documents were created, every blessed bit (including digital) of it. There is NOTHING new there. Roger’s contribution is LITERALLY “he has the time and local ability to rummage through it.” Literally anyone can do it, if they care."

Absolutely true -- note the last phrase "if they care." How many "care?"  Anyone can go to the archives and look. Anyone can copy large quantities of documents. How many make sense of these? How many can the Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt name? How about his ignorant self? No? Hmmmm. Written any original research articles or books lately? No? Does that mean you don't care? Are simply too foolish to credit anything or anybody except your own vapid ego?

Then, once found, what does one do with the information? Just toss it over the fence as raw meat to hungry tigers? Does that actually create anything more useful than the data merely sitting in a NARA vault?

No. Once you have data on a subject, one has to study it, correlate it, relate it, analyze it --- one has to go down many dead ends until concordance of information is found - or not found.

Reality is what Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt fails, and fails miserably to comprehend, is that no data has value unless it is understood. Research is an investigation of data using all the tools and methodologies available. Scientific research is the core of forensic science and any other methodology of understanding the information and meaning of isolated raw bits and pieces. Communicating that - the language, packaging, and presentation are the things that make all of this available to real people who want to know and understand.

A final remark -- sitting next to a Mint lawyer at dinner is one of the worst ways imaginable to obtain a balanced view on anything. The attorney, as Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt claims to understand, is an advocate for the client at all times. Admitting anything contrary to the client's story in a public setting is be a violation of attorney-client relationships. (I happen to be friends with the government's lawyers in the 1933 case. But that does not alter the facts or one word of what was presented by anyone.

The more Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt says, the less sense he makes and the less trust he appears to inspire. He is adept at belittling others, but contributes nothing original himself.

Edited by RWB
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One little side light. None of the Mint Directors was involved in any of the litigation relating to the 1933 DE either in the 1940s or 2000s. That was not their role, and in the 2000s, they no longer had the authority to :"make a deal." That was done by Treasury, only. Dir Moy was especially careful to say out - he was well known and had a lot of direct contact with hobby/business leaders and collectors. His involvement would only have been detrimental to the Treasury case.

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On 2/28/2022 at 12:05 AM, RWB said:

One little side light. None of the Mint Directors was involved in any of the litigation relating to the 1933 DE either in the 1940s or 2000s. That was not their role, and in the 2000s, they no longer had the authority to :"make a deal." That was done by Treasury, only. Dir Moy was especially careful to say out - he was well known and had a lot of direct contact with hobby/business leaders and collectors. His involvement would only have been detrimental to the Treasury case.

For me, to track the production....usage.....shipments.....of Double Eagles (Liberty's and Saints, but mostly Saints since the numbers are higher)...... from 1907 (Panic) through 1933 (Depression/End of Gold Standard) is fascinating.  That's what makes your chapters on gold and trade so interesting. (thumbsu

There isn't as much "story" in the history of the Liberty DEs compared to the Saint DEs, aside from the former's much lower survivor numbers.  At least that interests me. xD

Biggest thing I was disabused of in reading about Saints was how few circulated and/or were saved/collected.  I thought it was ~10% based on my mid-1980's economics learnings, and it is of course much, much lower.  0.1% or less seems to be a good number for the entire number that circulated on average each year.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 2/27/2022 at 11:34 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

For me, to track the production....usage.....shipments.....of Double Eagles (Liberty's and Saints, but mostly Saints since the numbers are higher)...... from 1907 (Panic) through 1933 (Depression/End of Gold Standard) is fascinating.  That's what makes your chapters on gold and trade so interesting. (thumbsu

There isn't as much "story" in the history of the Liberty DEs compared to the Saint DEs, aside from the former's much lower survivor numbers.  At least that interests me. xD

Biggest thing I was disabused of in reading about Saints was how few circulated and/or were saved/collected.  I thought it was ~10% based on my mid-1980's economics learnings, and it is of course much, much lower.  0.1% or less seems to be a good number for the entire number that circulated on average each year.

I do not recall WHY I always knew EXTREMELY few Saints ever circulated, but I did. It has been a core of my basic knowledge for literally many decades. It is only a SLIGHT exaggeration historically, that with exception of the Carolina, Georgia, and California gold rushes, gold coins almost NEVER circulated. This makes sense when you stop to think that in the early 19th century, even Bust halves seldom circulated. These high denomination coins were reserves held in major banks. 

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On 2/27/2022 at 11:00 PM, RWB said:

RE: "Every bit of information retrieved from NARA diving has been there since the documents were created, every blessed bit (including digital) of it. There is NOTHING new there. Roger’s contribution is LITERALLY “he has the time and local ability to rummage through it.” Literally anyone can do it, if they care."

Absolutely true -- note the last phrase "if they care." How many "care?"  Anyone can go to the archives and look. Anyone can copy large quantities of documents. How many make sense of these? How many can the Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt name? How about his ignorant self? No? Hmmmm. Written any original research articles or books lately? No? Does that mean you don't care? Are simply too foolish to credit anything or anybody except your own vapid ego?

Then, once found, what does one do with the information? Just toss it over the fence as raw meat to hungry tigers? Does that actually create anything more useful than the data merely sitting in a NARA vault?

No. Once you have data on a subject, one has to study it, correlate it, relate it, analyze it --- one has to go down many dead ends until concordance of information is found - or not found.

Reality is what Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt fails, and fails miserably to comprehend, is that no data has value unless it is understood. Research is an investigation of data using all the tools and methodologies available. Scientific research is the core of forensic science and any other methodology of understanding the information and meaning of isolated raw bits and pieces. Communicating that - the language, packaging, and presentation are the things that make all of this available to real people who want to know and understand.

A final remark -- sitting next to a Mint lawyer at dinner is one of the worst ways imaginable to obtain a balanced view on anything. The attorney, as Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt claims to understand, is an advocate for the client at all times. Admitting anything contrary to the client's story in a public setting is be a violation of attorney-client relationships. (I happen to be friends with the government's lawyers in the 1933 case. But that does not alter the facts or one word of what was presented by anyone.

The more Mighty All-Powerful Oz-Kurt says, the less sense he makes and the less trust he appears to inspire. He is adept at belittling others, but contributes nothing original himself.

Roger, your “contribution” (as if…) is nothing more then glorified REGURGITATION of known material. And it is worth exactly that … vomit. 

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