Roger Burdette's Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Book
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9 minutes ago, RWB said:

Glad you found the 1927-D section interesting. The auction database at Heritage was very useful as were those from other large companies and the NNP historical data (although much of that is repetition and speculation).

The section on 1933 might prove disappointing - no "drama" - just facts and data similar to the others. This had to await Supreme Court action on the Langboard appeal for complation.

Thanks Roger.  What made you have "Circulated-62" as one of the groupings ?  Most articles/books I see usually keep the AU's separate from the MS's.  I don't really care, I was just curious.  

Do you know of any book or articles that gives a short bio on all the key coin collectors whose names I am slowly picking up but really don't know that much about ?  Mehl....Eliasberg....Norweb....Kelly..... Paramount and Superior Coins.....Price....Ira and Larry Goldberg....Duckor.....Simpson....etc.  I keep seeing their names in your book and other books/articles but I've never read a few pages solely on each to know what they collected, when they started, when or why their collections got sold, etc.

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13 minutes ago, RWB said:

Glad you found the 1927-D section interesting. The auction database at Heritage was very useful as were those from other large companies and the NNP historical data (although much of that is repetition and speculation).

I went to my 1st big coin convention this past January, FUN.  And as you know they sold the 1927-D owned by Dr. Duckor.  It was really thrilling to be there, and I really lucked out to see one sold at my very first FUN and big coin show.

I was taping the auction on my smarthphone with the phone held over my head....my friend sitting next to me says if I raised my hands any higher they were gonna think I was bidding on the coin at the $1.6 MM level !!! xD  

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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

Do you know of any book or articles that gives a short bio on all the key coin collectors whose names I am slowly picking up but really don't know that much about ?

Click on the pdf link found here Numismatic Biographies:

https://www.coinbooks.org/resources/index.html

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RE: "Thanks Roger.  What made you have "Circulated-62" as one of the groupings ?  Most articles/books I see usually keep the AU's separate from the MS's.  I don't really care, I was just curious."

That is the grade range where double eagles are largely bullion pieces. Gold collectors prefer higher grade pieces than real MS-62 (not the inflated AUs labeled "MS-62"). It also helps separate out coins that knocked around European banks and ended up very scruffy and dirty.

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8 minutes ago, RWB said:

RE: "Thanks Roger.  What made you have "Circulated-62" as one of the groupings ?  Most articles/books I see usually keep the AU's separate from the MS's.  I don't really care, I was just curious."

That is the grade range where double eagles are largely bullion pieces. Gold collectors prefer higher grade pieces than real MS-62 (not the inflated AUs labeled "MS-62"). It also helps separate out coins that knocked around European banks and ended up very scruffy and dirty.

Totally agree...in fact, here and on CT we discuss how many AU58's are better-looking than banged up MS62/61/60's.

I bought an MS63 1915-S at FUN for bullion purposes. xD

 

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A coin that has passed from mint to bag to bank to customer to cigar box (or savings jar) will have few marks and will likely grade accurately as AU (or AU-58 to use distorted terminology). A coin that passes from mint to bag to bank to bank to bank to bank to vault to dealer/buyer will still be uncirculated but have numerous dings scrapes and dents, and will be correctly graded as Unc-60 to Unc-62.

Personally, I much prefer the AU coin with its trace of legitimate abrasion on the highest points.

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41 minutes ago, RWB said:

Personally, I much prefer the AU coin with its trace of legitimate abrasion on the highest points.

Yup, 100% agree...unless I hit MegaMillions, when I buy a 1907 High Relief I'm probably gonna look at AU58's rather than low-60's MS.

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On a somewhat related note...found this on David Akers book on gold coins:

"This is just a rehash of Akers' original withOUT all the personal wisdom and insight that Akers shared with the reader, which is what made his books the best coin guides around. There's very little in this book that isn't readily available on the internet. Look for the original...it's just a better book."

If you have the 1988 version (NOT the 2008 edition) of his book, let me know if this is true.... hard to believe that the 1st Edition of a book has useful commentary that was left out of a 2nd Edition.  I have the 2nd.

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Me? I don't know. I only used the original and that sparingly.

I start with original research and only examine publications later in the process. Helps avoid bias.

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7 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Roger, how long did you work on this book ?  6 months ?  1 year ?  Or did you work fewer hours a week over a longer period of time ?

I've been copying documents related to subjects in the book for 15-20 years. Part of my research approach is to preserve anything of possible use even if not related to the current subject. I also have a lot of material from research in the Renaissance of American Coinage series, especially the 1905-1908 book. I had also previously published all of the original Annual Assay Commission minutes and these were a prime source.

I drew on all this plus new research in assembling and writing the book. Coin examination, photos, data tables, correlation and other pieces took about 18 months. Concentrated work of putting it all together took a year of almost full time attention. Each date/mint coin required several hundred individual examinations, comparisons and image normalization steps to arrive at the varieties shown in the book. Heritage's authors took time from their busy schedules to do pricing, variety numbering, and they also "test drove" the book for about a year to look for mistakes and omitted varieties. They have a regular flow of double eagles in auction consignments and did an excellent job with this critical review.

A notable factor in this approach is that most of the book's content is entirely new and never before published - anywhere.

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Thanks Roger...hey, I loved the chapter so freakin' much that I didn't notice:  the 1927-D section did NOT have a price guide.  Was this deliberate or an oversight ? 

I'm guessing deliberate because you went into the coin-by-coin analysis which mentioned price.  But I cheated and fast-forwarded to the end of the book and saw that the 1927-D is the only coin (besides the 1933) that doesn't have that nifty price grid.  

No big thing, just thought I'd mention it.

 

 

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4 hours ago, RWB said:

 Heritage's authors took time from their busy schedules to do pricing, variety numbering, and they also "test drove" the book for about a year to look for mistakes and omitted varieties.

Were there any new varieties or other unknown information discovered during this time?

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GoldFinger1969 - 1927-D and 1933 are too rare and too variable in price for a grid to be of much use. 1927-D has auction prices with the individual specimen listing. 1933 has no realistic price, although if the known pieces were available, it might be in the same range as 1927-D, possibly a little more due to the magical date.

Just Bob - There were some corrections and tweaks (no 'twerks'), that's all. Auction companies and coin sellers almost never come across meaningful new information. The last time I can recall was the Raymond T Baker family holding, and most of those pieces confirmed what had already been discovered through archival research and published.

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5 hours ago, RWB said:

A notable factor in this approach is that most of the book's content is entirely new and never before published - anywhere.

You don't have to tell me -- it's already The Bible on Saints as far as I am concerned.

I just have to figure how to get the key pages on my smartphone so I can reference them when I'm looking at Saints.  

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50 minutes ago, Just Bob said:

Were there any new varieties or other unknown information discovered during this time?

JB, the book has several PAGES for each year on that year's Mintmark and Die varieties, errors, alignments, strikes, cracks/breaks, etc. all outlined.  Some years have more than others.

As for unknown information....some of it is 100% brand-new, but the best thing about the book is the VOLUME of information in one book.  Roger uses quotes from Bowers and Akers books when appropriate, and this is good (why reinvent the wheel ?).

Each coin review (by year and/or mintmark) is 5-8 pages long at LEAST.  The section on the 1907 High Relief is 20 pages !  I'd say he has 4-6x what Akers has on each year/mintage, considering this book has more pages per year AND is a bigger book size-wise (and page-wise).

The sections that don't deal with specific coin mintages -- like The Gold Standard or the sections he has at the end of the book (not there yet) -- are really great.

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RE: "I just have to figure how to get the key pages on my smartphone so I can reference them when I'm looking at Saints."

Could you use your phone to photograph the pages you want for show reference? If you have clear images (using high quality JPG of TIF) load these to your PC, then convert these to Adobe Acrobat and run OCR on them. That will give you searchable text for each page along with the page photos. Plus, you can discard bits you don't want or need. Upload those to your phone.

For individuals that's OK....just not for sale or businesses.

Edited by RWB
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16 minutes ago, RWB said:

RE: "I just have to figure how to get the key pages on my smartphone so I can reference them when I'm looking at Saints."  Could you use your phone to photograph the pages you want for show reference? If you have clear images (using high quality JPG of TIF) load these to your PC, then convert these to Adobe Acrobat and run OCR on them. That will give you searchable text for each page along with the page photos. Plus, you can discard bits you don't want or need. Upload those to your phone.  For individuals that's OK....just not for sale or businesses.

Yeah, I could....probably better/easier than scanning the pages because that would damage the book to use my printer/scanner and have to bend the book and then "crunch down" on it like you would using an old Xerox machine.  

I'll need to get my nephew to help because converting using Adobe Acrobat and whatever OCR is are beyond my limited PC skills. xD

I'm not worried, when I'm in the market for a coin I probably only need 1-2 of the sections and databases with me.  It's not like I'd be looking at 15-20 different coins.

I'm in the process now of re-creating your database and Akers' for coin mintage/survivors/rarity in Excel.

Should finish the 1933 section by tomorrow, BTW.

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For those who have not seen the S-G DE book's interior date/mint listings, here is a composite of 1923-D, the shortest entry.

1923-D composite.jpg

Edited by RWB
Reconfingure composite image
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OCR = Optical Character Recognition. An image of text and tables is scanned internally by the software and the letter shapes and table borders are converted to machine code. This permits almost any search engine or word processing program to identify individual words, numbers, and exact phrases, then display them in their original context.

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That's fantastic, Roger....shows all the different sections.  I know a few people were wondering what the layout was.

The COMMENTARY section is usually much larger that what was shown above, if anybody is interested.  It can sometimes run 2 pages or so.  Combined, each yearly coin or mintmark review can run 7-10 pages on average.

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Here's the 1923-D Commentary for those who might be interested. There is also information in the previous Appearance section.

"Commentary:

Denver Mint Superintendent Robert J. Grant was appointed Director of the Mint on October 1, 1923. He succeeded the inept Frank. E. Scoby in this capacity.[1] Although certainly better that Scoby, Grant depended on Assistant Director Mary O’Reilly to keep the Mint Bureau operating and make reports to Congress. At the Denver Mint, Grant was replaced by Frank E. Shepard on November 12, 1923.

At the end of the year the Denver Mint held $138,645,762.50 in gold coins. Many of these were produced by the San Francisco Mint and they moved to the larger storage vaults in Denver. Operations were confined to silver dollars for the Pittman silver and double eagles.

To hold the silver and gold coins being produced, two more new vaults were added to the Denver Mint. Both were approximately 28x52 feet, and were equipped with an elevator to make movement of heavily loaded trucks easier.

This is one of the few collectible branch mint double eagle issues from the 1920s, and is popular with those building gold type sets.

The implication from authentication and auction records is that most surviving 1923-D coins were originally shipped to South America where they remained untouched for decades. This is confirmed by the overall high quality of specimens which is contrary to what is seen with surviving U.S. gold from European sources."


"[1] Frank E. Scoby was a poker buddy of President Harding with no experience in finance or manufacturing. In the family biography it is noted that he was mint director for too short a time to do any real damage. See Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921 for a brief biography and Scoby’s post-directorship occupation."

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One thing is clear from the price grid, even for exclusive coins like super-rare Saints:  Saints (and probably most coins) probably deliver a positive (if not financially-acceptable) return over a long period of time, provided you do NOT buy at an absolute peak (i.e., 1980, 1989-90).....HOWEVER....price gains are so compacted in such a short-time period that you either need luck or a very long time horizon to eak out a positive or decent return.  That assumes you do not market-time an absolute or near bottom.

Even the Saints that are pricey, which presumably were in "very strong hands" (i.e., folks who did not need to sell in the future for financial reasons)....had big price declines several times over the 1976-2015 time period covered in the book.

 

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1931-D Section:   I love the stories you tell about trying to track down small numbers of these 1930's Saints, Roger.  You don't oversell what you aren't sure about -- i.e., whether coins were domestic or were sent overseas and then came back -- but you give the reader facts and anectdotes and let him/her make up their mind.

Question:  This section mentions tracking of coins and President Hoover's mid-1932 trial balloon that we might go off the gold standard.  That got me thinking.....do you have any idea of the thoughts, discussions, fears, conversations, letters written, etc....by coin collectors of this era and coin dealers who might have been thinking as they hear Hoover contemplate going off the gold standard "Hey, it might pay to stash some coins overseas" or "Hey, I better complete my collection before they make it illegal to buy gold" or "Hey, what do you guys think this means for our business/hobby?"

I mean, I haven't gotten to the 1933 section yet but I can pretty much guess Israel Switt's mindset in 1932 (and maybe earlier), even before losing those 78 coins:  he probably doesn't trust the government and he's probably not only hiding whatever 1933's he has later on, he probably thinks anything gold might be taken (certainly he had to think that way after he lost the 78 Double Eagles) as early as 1932.  

Or maybe not.  But I can tell you if I were a gold collector or dealer back then, and I heard Hoover talking about an end to the gold standard as early as mid-1932 (maybe it was floated earlier, the UK got off in 1931).....I'd be not only saving up a few coins or bars, I'd probably be stashing them somewhere the govt can't find them.

To Make A Long Story Short:  Did these guys discuss or think about the possibility of gold and/or coin ownership changing 180 degrees ? xD

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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RE: "Did these guys discuss or think about the possibility of gold and/or coin ownership changing 180 degrees ?"

I don't know.

There were few active collectors of gold coins compared to those who collected minor and silver. A look at production numbers for minor, silver and gold proofs will give you an idea of the proportionate breakdown - even assuming only 10% of collectors every bought proofs direct from the Mint. Dave Bowers' books would be a good place to look as well as the Harvey Stack materials. I recall nothing along these lines in Eric Newman's papers....but he was more academic collector than most.

That being said - few of the US Mint letters from the early 1930 have been examined in detail. There are court and USSS records but those do not convey personal opinions. The diary of Congressman William Ashbrook expresses his dismay about dropping gold coins in 1933-34 (he was on the 1934 Annual Assay Commission and bought a bunch of the rare Eagles with knife rim at the 1908 Assay Commission meeting and  was on the 1934 Annual Assay Commission) but by 1934 his personal collection had been sold after most was stolen from his bank vault.

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34 minutes ago, RWB said:

The diary of Congressman William Ashbrook expresses his dismay about dropping gold coins in 1933-34 (he was on the 1934 Annual Assay Commission and bought a bunch of the rare Eagles with knife rim at the 1908 Assay Commission meeting and  was on the 1934 Annual Assay Commission) but by 1934 his personal collection had been sold after most was stolen from his bank vault.

Thanks Roger....I'm going to do more research on Congressman Ashbrook.

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I'm surprised MORE collectors didn't volunteer to do the assay stuff.....they were all wealthy, didn't have jobs probably that took up their time....what better way to get 5 or 10 of any year's coin at face value ?

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There was a lot of interest in being on the Annual Assay Commission - collectors were not alone. But appointments were made by the President (actually Mint Dire recommended people to Sec Treas, etc.) and there were many applicants in the 1860s and later. Special medals were given to each member and these were highly prized - only 10-15 made and given only to members.

RE: "Thanks Roger....I'm going to do more research on Congressman Ashbrook." You will fine more about Ashbrook and his coin collecting in RAC 1905-1908.

 

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26 minutes ago, RWB said:

There was a lot of interest in being on the Annual Assay Commission - collectors were not alone. But appointments were made by the President (actually Mint Dire recommended people to Sec Treas, etc.) and there were many applicants in the 1860s and later. Special medals were given to each member and these were highly prized - only 10-15 made and given only to members.

 

 

You would think they would have all wanted at least 1 and probably a few of that year's Saints that they were testing for their own trophy cases.  Certainly would have increased the surivor population. :(

You get 5-10 of them....sell a few to your collector friends...give 'em away as gifts.....Bar Mitzvahs, Christmas, birthdays, whatever....

By 1930 or so it was pretty apparent that these coins would always sell at a premium....worst case is face value....not saying I expect someone to ask for a bag of DE's but some of these guys were millionaires at the time (when being a millionaire meant R-I-C-H) and to them buying 5 or 10 would have been pocket change.

Darn !! xD

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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