Walter Breen's Numismatic Legacy
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273 posts in this topic

5 hours ago, t-arc said:

Would never pay a farthing for anything written by RWB.  We miss him so ATS.

Sorry to mention it, he's back ATS, much to the credit of ATS. As RWS said, Breen was good in his time, which is an opinion I endorsed. Time and research moves on, which is what we have seen.

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10 hours ago, BillJones said:

Sorry to mention it, he's back ATS, much to the credit of ATS. As RWS said, Breen was good in his time, which is an opinion I endorsed. Time and research moves on, which is what we have seen.

Oh well, after this experience I will attempt to avoid him like the plague both here and ATS.  Thanks much for the heads up!!

Edited by t-arc
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1 hour ago, t-arc said:

Oh well, after this experience I will attempt to avoid him like the plague both here and ATS.  Thanks much for the heads up!!

If, despite his private life, you pay attention to what Breen wrote, why would you avoid RWB's (often highly informative) posts?

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33 minutes ago, MarkFeld said:

If, despite his private life, you pay attention to what Breen wrote, why would you avoid RWB's (often highly informative) posts?

Because of past run ins and other peoples experience.  It just is not worth it.   And calling Breen “Wally" is his idea and his alone.  (Thats why I refer to him as Birdie) Tells you a lot about his acerbic personality.  

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On ‎6‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 4:19 AM, t-arc said:

All of the above verbiage by RWB cannot explain away the sharp squared brilliant rims with no beveling whatsoever that this coin possess, and is so noted on the slab insert. 

I rest my case. 

I do not have much confidence in research or science in terms of conclusive answers, as they rarely (and given enough time, perhaps never) turn out to be quite as conclusive after further research and examination.

Having said that, a second opinion regarding the coin in question would seem to be the logical next step in an attempt to determine its proof status. While such a determination by NGC or PCGS would not produce a conclusive answer (at least, in my opinion), it would be sufficient enough for most, and, should they agree with SEGS, afford you vindication.

If they do not agree with SEGS's assessment of the coin, and as you seem to have great confidence in SEGS's opinion, you can always resubmit to them. Of course, SEGS's answer the first time around may not turn out to be so conclusive the second time around. If they are even still in business.

In my opinion, which by no means is conclusive, the SEGS holder, justifiably or not, leaves too much room for reasonable doubt.

 

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7 hours ago, Afterword said:

I do not have much confidence in research or science in terms of conclusive answers, as they rarely (and given enough time, perhaps never) turn out to be quite as conclusive after further research and examination.

Having said that, a second opinion regarding the coin in question would seem to be the logical next step in an attempt to determine its proof status. While such a determination by NGC or PCGS would not produce a conclusive answer (at least, in my opinion), it would be sufficient enough for most, and, should they agree with SEGS, afford you vindication.

If they do not agree with SEGS's assessment of the coin, and as you seem to have great confidence in SEGS's opinion, you can always resubmit to them. Of course, SEGS's answer the first time around may not turn out to be so conclusive the second time around. If they are even still in business.

In my opinion, which by no means is conclusive, the SEGS holder, justifiably or not, leaves too much room for reasonable doubt.

 

SEGS has been in business since 1998 and doing a good job in my opinion.  I don’t think they are going away anytime soon

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30 minutes ago, t-arc said:

SEGS has been in business since 1998 and doing a good job in my opinion.  I don’t think they are going away anytime soon

SEGS, as described above, are (were? how old is this slab) using the out-dated and speculative fantasy of a superceded authority. I realize that you've got a dog in the fight, but you're not doing a lot for your case. SEGS is a third world slab, and doesn't really carry much weight. There is no evidence to support your claim. 

I've been there. I've had prooflike business strike coins that I swore were PL's, but the authorities claimed they were proofs. I was disappointed, but in the end, we have to learn, grow, and adapt.

 

SEGS is wrong. You are wrong. Hate to sound mean, but life isn't always pleasant. 

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1 hour ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

SEGS, as described above, are (were? how old is this slab) using the out-dated and speculative fantasy of a superceded authority. I realize that you've got a dog in the fight, but you're not doing a lot for your case. SEGS is a third world slab, and doesn't really carry much weight. There is no evidence to support your claim. 

I've been there. I've had prooflike business strike coins that I swore were PL's, but the authorities claimed they were proofs. I was disappointed, but in the end, we have to learn, grow, and adapt.

 

SEGS is wrong. You are wrong. Hate to sound mean, but life isn't always pleasant. 

 

well as we all know (and are constantly told) every service but the top two are third world.  This includes anacs and icg.

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1 hour ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

SEGS, as described above, are (were? how old is this slab) using the out-dated and speculative fantasy of a superceded authority. I realize that you've got a dog in the fight, but you're not doing a lot for your case. SEGS is a third world slab, and doesn't really carry much weight. There is no evidence to support your claim. 

I've been there. I've had prooflike business strike coins that I swore were PL's, but the authorities claimed they were proofs. I was disappointed, but in the end, we have to learn, grow, and adapt.

 

SEGS is wrong. You are wrong. Hate to sound mean, but life isn't always pleasant. 

Superceded authority?  OH, I guess that is Walter Breen while the Superceder is RWB?

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I do have some level of experience with buffalo nickel proofs.  Over the past three years I have cherrypicked a total of SEVEN matte and satin finish proofs from eBay as follows..

one 1913 type one matte

one 1915 matte

two 1916 mattes

one 1917 (one we are talking about here)

two 1936 satin finish

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Nobody will argue that proofs were made in 1915 or 1916. That is a well recorded fact. There is documentation to support it. 

There is no documentation or evidence that proofs were made in 1917. That's the major difference here. 

 

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I have many suspicions about your success: either you are an incredibly lucky savant who should really play the lottery, the seller you are picking is an incredibly stupid insufficiently_thoughtful_person, or there is some mistake being made in the identification of these pieces. 

Occam's razor suggests one of these is more likely than the other. 

I don't claim to be extremely knowledgeable on buff proofs..... but that's just too much of a lucky streak to be coincidence. 

Edited by physics-fan3.14
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9 minutes ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

I have many suspicions about your success: either you are an incredibly lucky savant who should really play the lottery, the seller you are picking is an incredibly stupid insufficiently_thoughtful_person, or there is some mistake being made in the identification of these pieces. 

Occam's razor suggests one of these is more likely than the other. 

I don't claim to be extremely knowledgeable on buff proofs..... but that's just too much of a lucky streak to be coincidence. 

I do agree with you and can say nothing except that it has happened.

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I want to appologize to all for misdirecting this thread from its original intention.  It was supposed to be about Walter Breen and has digressed far from that because of me as to the veracity of 1917 specimen coinage.

I will also apologize to RWB for making less than flattering comments about him.  I know that he is a prolific numismatic writer who, I guess, has sort of taken over for Breen.   Lets get back to talking about Wally, er, I mean

Walter as that was what we were supposed to be doing in this thread.

I will add the following.

I met this tie-died hippie at the August 1989 ANA convention in my home town of Pittsburgh Pa.  (Home of the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins!!)   I got the letter concerning the 1935 specimen

nickel from him that day.   I paid a modest sum for the paper and still have it.   It was hard to get a word in with him edge wise as he was constantly being deluged by other collectors to look at their coins.  His shirt was brilliant.

 All and all an unforgettable experience.    Everyone should own a copy of his US coin encyclopedia as well as his proof encylopedia.  

But Take both with a grain of salt too. 

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True Walter Breen story:

we were all seated at the restaurant table during a break of the action at a Long Beach show, Walter in his inimitable rainbow striped shirt, talking, when some random guy comes up to Walter and says: "You're Walter Breen, aren't you?" and of course Walter loved being recognized and said "Why yes I am" and smiled. Then the guy said "You're married to Marion Zimmer Bradley!!" and if you can imagine the sound of someone stifling a laugh by closing his mouth and breathing through his nose, imagine that sound times six or seven...

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On ‎6‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 11:18 AM, mommam17 said:

A dealer told me he would see Breen at Long Beach many years ago. He said if you bought him a bottle, he would give you a certifying letter about your coin......

a $100 bill was effective... I knew Walter well-enough to call him over to our table by his first name. Brilliant, quirky, weird: they all can be used to describe him. In the 1980's he was funny; in the '90s creepy with serious a serious lack of consideration of what he may be doing in public (and that includes propping a good collector/dealer friend of mine). If you knew him, he'd regale you with stories of Yesteryear, about Dorothy, WHS, (some people who are still alive), etc.

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mommam17: was he from the Springfield MA area?

I remember going into Old Man Romano's shop in Boston. He'd be there, smoking in the dark before the shop'd open, and let me in. He'd tell me about 19thC Boston Coin Dealers, B. Max Mehl, breaking heretofore unknown hoards, etc. Interesting stories

Edited by allmine
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Back to the cherry-picked nickels...Does anyone here think/know that the incuse line on the reverse rim at 7 is  is also found on some business strikes? 

Edited by Insider
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1 hour ago, mommam17 said:

No, he is from Ct. and doesn't smoke cigars

Oh yeah... Vinnie
saw him regularly at the Westford show up until a couple of years ago. Nice guy, affable-always wears a tie

Edited by allmine
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41 minutes ago, Insider said:

Back to the cherry-picked nickels...Does anyone here think/know that the incuse line on the reverse rim at 7 is  is also found on some business strikes? 

die placement (misaligned die)-it can affect any coin series at any time

Edited by allmine
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"I've been there. I've had prooflike business strike coins that I swore were PL's, but the authorities claimed they were proofs. I was disappointed, but in the end, we have to learn, grow, and adapt. "

simply check the milling; proof strikes have decidedly different reeding than do their business-strike counterparts

Edited by allmine
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22 hours ago, allmine said:

mommam17: was he from the Springfield MA area?

I remember going into Old Man Romano's shop in Boston. He'd be there, smoking in the dark before the shop'd open, and let me in. He'd ell me about 19th Boston Coin Dealers, B. Max Mehl, breaking heretofore unknown hoards, etc. Interesting stories

I never met Corrado Romano who was founder of the Worthy Coin Store in Boston. I bought some really nice coins there, but by the time I came along Corrado had turned over all of the shop duties to his son, Don, who was an excellent numismatist in his own right. From what Don said his father did not feel comfortable coming into the store any more.

Corrado's pride and joy was a Silver Centered Cent. When he died that coin went up for auction along with the rest of his coins in a Stacks' sale. I think the collection realized something like $1.9 million.

After Corrado died and sold his collection, the shop went downhill in my opinion. They held a Saturday auction, and after a while there was just too much shilling going on for my tastes.

I heard that Don Romano died a couple of years ago. He was a troubled person, and after awhile the smoking, drinking and drugs got to him. He was a really great guy, and I was sorry to hear of his passing.

As for Vinny Blum, I remember the name, but can't place the face. I think of him from my New Jersey days, but that is wrong.

Edited by BillJones
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oh Bill, you're fondly remembered here...

The Old Man would come into the shop around 8am waiting for Don, then leave

Don didn't do "drugs"; but the other two took its toll
he was acerbic as you know; but with his "best friends" being Jimmy and Robbie, well...
Paul went crazy, and it was a far cry at the end on Bromfield St. from the Henry days...

remember Lie, Cheat and Steal?

Edited by allmine
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5 hours ago, allmine said:

die placement (misaligned die)-it can affect any coin series at any time

Thanks, I don't understand die placement.  Note: I'm asking about the incuse line at 8 OC (not 7) across the reverse rim that is considered a diagnostic of Proof Buffalo nickels.  It is obvious on the 1915 above. 

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I looked a bunch in Heritage; the "line" moves

Slight misalignment of the upper Reverse  die is my guess
that it's a Hallmark of Matte Proof Nickels I have no idea, but it is not limited to them
the line does not appear on the obverse, and you can see that the rim opposite the line is thinner

Edited by allmine
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RE: "Will also apologize to RWB for making less than flattering comments about him.  I know that he is a prolific numismatic writer who, I guess, has sort of taken over for Breen."

Thank you. No offense or consternation taken. I make absolutely no pretense of "taking over" for anyone from the past, especially Breen. They did their best under the circumstances, and there is a corpus of knowledge that must not be ignored. But, in the 21st century, we choose to investigate more thoroughly, applying basic rules of academic research and scientific method to what we observe.

Every article and book I've written is founded on open and complete disclosure of sources, and includes an honest effort to separate fact from my own interpretation or interpolation. In that regard, a brief anecdote might be useful ----. Before beginning what would eventually become Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921, I asked many of the "leading lights" of numismatics about sources -- where could more be found about the 1916 design competition and the 1921 Peace dollar. The unanimous reply was they don't exist. "Taxay found it all and that's all there is." It took nearly 5 years of work to complete the final draft. Anyone reading the RAC 1916-21 book will see what a more thorough investigation produced; and they can access every document and photo for free.

This is not "tooting my own horn" as some might think. I've never been that kind of person - otherwise I would have retired as the CEO of the company and not a lowly VP. The point is to encourage others to dig deeper, question accepted knowledge, make decisions from facts and data, and let those who were present so long ago tell their own story.

 

Edited by RWB
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