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Silver Eagles posted by Richard Blaine

3 posts in this topic

  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

How I became a nut job.


Since I intended to use coin collecting as an investment vehicle, I did a lot of thinking about what to collect. I knew relatively little about collecting, but I intended to learn quickly by cramming. I watched every TV coin related shows. I read books by Rick Tomaska and several others. I signed up for news letters about coins. I also studied paper money collecting. I`m a retired law enforcement evidence tech. expert. I could testify as an expert witness in court. Particularly about fingerprints, etc. While studying this stuff, I kept casting about for something I could really get into and actually be able to complete. I decided that I wanted to have a collection that was world class. That could only be matched, never beaten. I settled on American Silver Eagles.

At first, I collected 70 grade business strikes and proof strikes. I soon figured out that I couldn`t ever afford to complete a MS70 set, let alone both MS70 & PF70. So I focused on just proof issues. I thought that I would try to control myself and only collect the rarest issues and ignore all the common ones. It took me about six months to figure out that I was never going to find them, let alone buy them. I gave up for awhile. Unexpectedly, I found someone selling most of the hard to find Silver Eagles. I didn`t know what to do. Buy them, not buy them, buy them, not buy them, etc., etc. Fight or flight response! Flipping a mental coin, I bought them. Suddenly it looked like maybe a could make a world class set.

In a few months, I had the full set of, at that time it was 23 coins. Now what do I do? Lots of people had full sets. Well, maybe not lots of people but certainly several people. What to do, what to do? Everything I thought of seemed to have already been done. Finally I came up with the idea of building a Silver Eagle mint mark set. I looked around and couldn`t find any of them. I would include all of the associated sets too. 10th Anniversary, 20th Anniversary, etc. I saw a whole bunch of different type labels our there. Most of my coins had been certified by NGC. I decided to go with NGC, and I`m glad that I did. PCGS, in my opinion, is too picky and their high grade coins are few and far between and therefore more expensive to buy. Once I was focused on NGC`s labels, I tried to figure out what all the different labels meant. There was a series of Anniversary Set labels, next was the Liberty Series, etc. I decided to only collect NGCs sole proprietary labels. None that some other intity paid them to create. I would be a purest! So now, it was a mint mark and NGC label collection. Then I became aware of some odd labels. Labels that shouldn`t exist and are therefore must be rare and interesting. I don`t know about the wisdom of placing importance on labels along with the coins, but I enjoyed it, so why not? I also started thinking about First Strikes and Early Releases as a way to help seperate my set from others.

That took me into the long wait to find a 2005 W Silver Eagle, First Strikes label in red. I saw that only 163 had ever been graded, making it the most rare of all NGC labels. When I finally found one, I had absolutely no idea of what its` real value was. Now, it`s been about a year and a half since I started my attempt at having a world class set. At that moment I was cash poor and coin rich. I traded for the 2005 W First Strikes. I won`t say what I traded for it, because that would make it totally obvious that I am an insufficiently_thoughtful_person and a babe in the woods. I did eventually atone for it, somewhat at least. One day, on Ebay, I spotted something wierd. It was a 2006 P Reverse Proof, PF70 that didn`t have a black 20th Anniversary label. Instead, it had a blue 20th Anniversary label. The label looked just like the one on the 20th Anniversary 2 piece gold and silver set. Maybe that`s how the mistake was made. I`ll never know. NGC seemed very surprised, and somewhat aggravated, that such a label existed. Of course, I bought it. That deal was okay. I was getting better at this, little by little. There are also some brown labeled Early Releases, and who knows what else.

Until next time, take care coiners! - Rick


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