Roger Burdette's Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Book
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2,051 posts in this topic

On 5/13/2022 at 2:43 PM, Tazcollector said:

The Bass collection that will be put up for auction has a UHR so we may see one trade in the near term (they announced they were selling relatively recently so I don’t know whether it will be up this year or if they’ve picked an auction company yet—will also be interesting if it’s graded and sent to CAC (I would do that given the even higher value it would bring)).

Off the top of your head -- or anybody's head -- does anyone know if the Bass Collection has lots of Saints or just a few here-and-there ?  Do they have multiple examples at a given date ?

How about Liberty DE's ?

I remember like 30 years ago and it was one of the top collections in the country, especially after the Eliasberg sale.  Must be a complete inventory somewhere, right ?

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On 5/13/2022 at 3:36 PM, Elite Collection said:

I would assume they would grade every coin and send them to CAC before the auction.

I found the inventory; lots of coins purchased DECADES ago that haven't been for sale since many of us were teens or younger.

http://hbrf.org/coin-collection/coin/hbcc-1044/

The UHR/EHR is from the Eliasberg Collection.  It appears to be ungraded.  Will be very interesting to see what it grades because a few of the other Proof UHRs caught gradeflation.

  • One of the MCMVII HRs is from a Paramount sale from 1984.
  • Another MCMVII HR is from a RARCOA sale 1973.
  • An 1861-S Paquet Reverse is from a direct sale in 1987 via an auction in 1967.
  • A 1907 Saint is from Abner Kreisberg 1966.
  • A 1911-D is from 1967.
  • A 1915 is from a 1981 sale.

Looks like the collection only has 6 Saints for sale, including the UHR/EHR.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Posted (edited)

Yes, only a handful of Saints as you referenced.  He had a much bigger collection that was sold years ago.  The 09D from the Warren collection sold at Heritage has a Bass pedigree (not CAC though).  They only kept the handful of representative coins (each is a different type).  A couple of them look fairly baggy in the pictures (and a few look good but always hard to tell with just pictures).

Edited by Tazcollector
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On 5/13/2022 at 4:50 PM, Tazcollector said:

Yes, only a handful of Saints as you referenced.  He had a much bigger collection that was sold years ago.

I must have missed that.  If this sale is to generate $$$ for the Foundation, I wonder what the sale was for years ago.

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Descriptions for #1041 and 1042 are filled with obsolete information. Look in Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908 and Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse and Steven Duckor Collections for correct descriptions.

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On 5/13/2022 at 6:19 PM, RWB said:

Descriptions for #1041 and 1042 are filled with obsolete information. Look in Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908 and Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse and Steven Duckor Collections for correct descriptions.

Getting these pieces ready for sale will take awhile. Seems like a catalog to hang onto long term. 

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On 5/13/2022 at 7:25 PM, VKurtB said:

Getting these pieces ready for sale will take awhile. Seems like a catalog to hang onto long term. 

It's not anywhere near as big as the (1982) Eliasberg Collection, right ?

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On 5/13/2022 at 7:19 PM, RWB said:

Descriptions for #1041 and 1042 are filled with obsolete information. Look in Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908 and Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse and Steven Duckor Collections for correct descriptions.

Yeah, off the top of my head it looks like some of the descriptive information dates to the 1980's.

I didn't realize that some of these prestigious collections had so many uncertified coins.  Should be very interesting for some of the Trophy Coins to see where they stand next to their graded peers.

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Many of the very best old collections are not in slabs. The grades are meaningless and the coins are original. It's only "nervous Nellies" who must have slabbed coins.

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On 5/14/2022 at 11:51 AM, RWB said:

Many of the very best old collections are not in slabs. The grades are meaningless and the coins are original. It's only "nervous Nellies" who must have slabbed coins.

What makes it interesting is that the PR69 Trompeter/Morse coin definitely caught some gradeflation.  I think I read where had it been submitted raw TODAY....it would grade PR67, MAYBE a weak 68.

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On 5/14/2022 at 12:02 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

What makes it interesting is that the PR69 Trompeter/Morse coin definitely caught some gradeflation.  I think I read where had it been submitted raw TODAY....it would grade PR67, MAYBE a weak 68.

This is the prime fallacy of commercial "grading" - it is inherently unstable and therefore unreliable. A court could not determine if someone sold "overgraded" coins, or not.

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On 5/13/2022 at 11:01 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

It's not anywhere near as big as the (1982) Eliasberg Collection, right ?

No, not as large, but the expectations of the market are higher now than in 1982. 

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On 5/14/2022 at 12:10 PM, VKurtB said:

No, not as large, but the expectations of the market are higher now than in 1982. 

Oh, I would expect the $$$ volume to much larger....at least for the gold coin section.  Not sure how some of the small denomination coins would fare today as they have had 1 or 2 bubbles and then deflated over the last 40 years.

1982 was a bad year to sell....coins were in the dumpster, and silver/gold had collapsed from 2 years earlier.

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On 5/14/2022 at 10:51 AM, RWB said:

Many of the very best old collections are not in slabs. The grades are meaningless and the coins are original. It's only "nervous Nellies" who must have slabbed coins.

By the way, Kerry Wetterstrom, recently retired from Classical Numismatic Group’s Lancaster, PA location, and the LAST Farran Zerbe Award winner, puts this comment even more strongly than Roger does here. He says almost NONE of the great collections are graded and slabbed. They BECOME that way preparing them for sale. And at cut rate grading prices too. 
 

And I would add that in that particular neck of the woods, that applies to many collections, not just the great ones. In my beloved PA back country auctions, slabs are actually kind of unusual. Recently, JMI of Stewartstown has started to put his graded material into online auctions, but the “best” stuff is live bid in person only, because it’s raw. 

Edited by VKurtB
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On 5/14/2022 at 11:14 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Oh, I would expect the $$$ volume to much larger....at least for the gold coin section.  Not sure how some of the small denomination coins would fare today as they have had 1 or 2 bubbles and then deflated over the last 40 years.

1982 was a bad year to sell....coins were in the dumpster, and silver/gold had collapsed from 2 years earlier.

In 1982, I was taking a “life break” from numismatics, only lightly keeping my hand in. I was flying all over North America installing and servicing One Hour Photo Labs made by Gretag AG of Switzerland. But it would GREATLY surprise me if the Eliasberg gold sale were not several times this one. 

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On 5/14/2022 at 11:14 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Oh, I would expect the $$$ volume to much larger....at least for the gold coin section.  Not sure how some of the small denomination coins would fare today as they have had 1 or 2 bubbles and then deflated over the last 40 years.

1982 was a bad year to sell....coins were in the dumpster, and silver/gold had collapsed from 2 years earlier.

I good friend and customer in my family’s camera store and photo lab hanged himself over one of the severe collapses in graded coins. He was “all in” and lost the will to live. 

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On 5/14/2022 at 12:20 PM, VKurtB said:

I was flying all over North America installing and servicing One Hour Photo Labs made by Gretag AG of Switzerland. 

I remember those kiosks.....blasts from the past....did any mall or shopping center or strip mall NOT have one of those little shacks in the parking lot ?  They were almost stand alones.

I guess they died out in the early-2000's when everything went digital. 

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On 5/14/2022 at 12:28 PM, VKurtB said:

I good friend and customer in my family’s camera store and photo lab hanged himself over one of the severe collapses in graded coins. He was “all in” and lost the will to live. 

Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky's friend and Kings owner, got caught up in an inflated collection pledged as collateral.  That 1988-89 bubble was wicked.

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On 5/15/2022 at 1:19 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I remember those kiosks.....blasts from the past....did any mall or shopping center or strip mall NOT have one of those little shacks in the parking lot ?  They were almost stand alones.

I guess they died out in the early-2000's when everything went digital. 

The brand I worked with went primarily into already existing camera shops and photo labs. 

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Posted (edited)

LUSTER:  In any book -- especially one that is 600+ pages long -- you are going to remember stuff that sticks with you for years and maybe even decades.  I can still remember some funny 1-liners from baseball books and novels that I read as a kid in the 1970's. xD

Reading this Saint-Gaudens book, the section on LUSTER was fascinating.  It's one of those things that you take for granted whenever you read about coins and luster.  I just assumed that luster was synonymous with being shiny or reflective of light.    When the book spells out the microscopic details of what luster entails, let's just say that if I am fortunate to be around in another 40+ years I'll remember it like those books I devoured from Scholastic in the 1970's.  xD

I had always just assumed that luster was simply a smooth, shiny surface.  Not so. :| 

From the book:

"Luster......is the visual result of light reflecting off of thousands of tiny ridges and grooves of metal in the smooth (field) areas of a coin.  These imperfections were created in a working die as the hard steel was stressed during the striking of thousands of blank planchets.

The original surface of a coinage die is smooth....and largely free of imperfections.....The pressure, or force, applied to the planchet was approximately 100-120 tons per square inch.....with each blow of the die, an imperceptible movement occured in the crystals of the die face. 

Following several hundred strikes, the die face had distored slightly so that the fields were no longer completely smooth, but consisted of miscroscopic ridges and grooves.

This type of surface alteration was most prominent in the fields of a die where movement of the metal was greatest and least inhibited by details of the design.  The portrait, inscriptions, and other design elements were sujbect to similar die deformation, but at a much lower rate and magnitude.  This explains why a coin shows luster in the fields but not in the raised areas."

This is the best (only?) REAL explanation of what causes luster that I've come across.  So at a microscopic level, the smooth fields are really more like a micro-version of a house roof with shingle tiles.

My only question is....wouldn't you then have pretty much EQUAL luster from coin-to-coin, year-to-year, since you would expect the die crystals to deform each year pretty much the same way ?  Why is the 1923-D so much higher on the luster scale compared to the 1924 or 1925 ?  Why is the 1908 NM so lousy on luster compared to the 1908-S ?

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Every die has its own deformation micro-structure. This derives from the original alloy, uniformity of elements, and especially the details of hardening and tempering applied to dies. Luster is also affected by the surface character and hardness of planchets -- This is why some pieces from the same year have very attractive luster and others seem subdued. Lastly, dipping and cleaning alters the original coin surface by adding minute irregularities which dull reflections. Sandblast proof coins are especially degraded by dipping because the grit left an array of chipped and angular facets on the coin, and these are visually altered more readily than normal luster.

An extreme version of luster is called "starburst." The only differences are of scale.

[PS: The previous post has a funny typo in the 4th paragraph. The word "typo" should be "type."]

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On 5/16/2022 at 10:56 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

LUSTER:  In any book -- especially one that is 600+ pages long -- you are going to remember stuff that sticks with you for years and maybe even decades.  I can still remember some funny 1-liners from baseball books and novels that I read as a kid in the 1970's. xD

Reading this Saint-Gaudens book, the section on LUSTER was fascinating.  It's one of those things that you take for granted whenever you read about coins and luster.  I just assumed that luster was synonymous with being shiny or reflective of light.    When the book spells out the microscopic details of what luster entails, let's just say that if I am fortunate to be around in another 40+ years I'll remember it like those books I devoured from Scholastic in the 1970's.  xD

I had always just assumed that luster was simply a smooth, shiny surface.  Not so. :| 

From the book:

"Luster......is the visual result of light reflecting off of thousands of tiny ridges and grooves of metal in the smooth (field) areas of a coin.  These imperfections were created in a working die as the hard steel was stressed during the striking of thousands of blank planchets.

The original surface of a coinage die is smooth....and largely free of imperfections.....The pressure, or force, applied to the planchet was approximately 100-120 tons per square inch.....with each blow of the die, an imperceptible movement occured in the crystals of the die face. 

Following several hundred strikes, the die face had distored slightly so that the fields were no longer completely smooth, but consisted of miscroscopic ridges and grooves.

This typo of surface alteration was most prominent in the fields of a die where movement of the metal was greatest and least inhibited by details of the design.  The portrait, inscriptions, and other design elements were sujbect to similar die deformation, but at a much lower rate and magnitude.  This explains why a coin shows luster in the fields but not in the raised areas."

This is the best (only?) REAL explanation of what causes luster that I've come across.  So at a microscopic level, the smooth fields are really more like a micro-version of a house roof with shingle tiles.

My only question is....wouldn't you then have pretty much EQUAL luster from coin-to-coin, year-to-year, since you would expect the die crystals to deform each year pretty much the same way ?  Why is the 1923-D so much higher on the luster scale compared to the 1924 or 1925 ?  Why is the 1908 NM so lousy on luster compared to the 1908-S ?

 

Welcome aboard on understanding what luster is. I have to say that I’ve had that covered for over 50 years. It’s good you’re into Roger’s Saints book, but I can’t shake the feeling you’re missing a great deal of widely known information from books you might have read before his. That said, Roger deserves kudos for including basic concepts that might have evaded his audience. 

Edited by VKurtB
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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2022 at 1:04 PM, VKurtB said:

Welcome aboard on understanding what luster is. I have to say that I’ve had that covered for over 50 years. It’s good you’re into Roger’s Saints book, but I can’t shake the feeling you’re missing a great deal of widely known information from books you might have read before his. That said, Roger deserves kudos for including basic concepts that might have evaded his audience. 

Did other books discuss luster at the miscrospic scale ?  I've seen luster talked about generally in other coin books I have (granted, my library is probably not as large as yours or other veterans) but I never saw it described as in the Saints book.

Not to say it hasn't been described as such elsewhere. I'm just saying I've read lots of books AND articles -- and I can't recall that microscopic analysis being included, which is why it stuck with me so much when I read it in the Saints book.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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I merely attempted to make what was already known clear and concise within the context of DE and related coins. This is one of several subjects where the US Mint could provide comprehensive and accurate information, but fails to to so.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2022 at 4:44 PM, RWB said:

I merely attempted to make what was already known clear and concise within the context of DE and related coins. This is one of several subjects where the US Mint could provide comprehensive and accurate information, but fails to to so.

It was a home run.  It's one thing that just stuck in my head and I didn't forget it nor need to read it again to absorb it.  Needless to say, lots of other stuff in a 600-page book I could benefit from re-reading them....and I plan to do that. (thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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The DE book, much like some of my others, uses a more expansive approach the date/mint materials that is common. Nice that the "side bars" are appreciated.

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On 5/16/2022 at 7:33 PM, RWB said:

The DE book, much like some of my others, uses a more expansive approach the date/mint materials that is common. Nice that the "side bars" are appreciated.

They made the book, IMO.  Sort of like how TV dramas in the 1970's and 1980's would have 3 stories in an hour-long episode.  If you didn't like one of them, you had the other two. (thumbsu

The sections on copper spots etc. was also very informative dealing with Double Eagles.  And of course the longer chapters on gold flows, the Gold Standard, gold mining, Assay Offices/Sub Treasuries, etc....this was all a nice break from just turning the page and going 1-up chronologically on Double Eagles by years.

As I stated....I commend you and Heritage for not only compiling great information, but laying it out in a very useful format.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2022 at 12:33 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Did other books discuss luster at the miscrospic scale ?  I've seen luster talked about generally in other coin books I have (granted, my library is probably not as large as yours or other veterans) but I never saw it described as in the Saints book.

Not to say it hasn't been described as such elsewhere. I'm just saying I've read lots of books AND articles -- and I can't recall that microscopic analysis being included, which is why it stuck with me so much when I read it in the Saints book.

I don’t keep a card file documenting where I read things like I did as a high school debater, so I don’t recall specifically where I first read about the microscopic causes of luster. It’s just one of those things I have known seemingly forever. Roger still gets kudos for including it where he did. It is a fairly comprehensive treatise. It never occurred to me that there were serious people out there who DIDN’T have this in their knowledge base. 

Edited by VKurtB
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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2022 at 9:22 PM, VKurtB said:

It never occurred to me that there were serious people out there who DIDN’T have this in their knowledge base. 

I honestly thought it was just referring to reflectivity and shinyness (is that a word ?xD) of light bouncing off the coin.

I had no idea that it was caused by deformation and microscopic changes in crystalline structure of the die.  I've admittedly not read many books that might go into luster in-depth....but I've read tons of articles and even posts by "experts" and nobody ever explained it like that.  In fact, it's kind of counter-intuitive:  the luster INCREASES as the die gets more worn and the crystalline structure changes.

If it was common knowledge, I sure didn't have it.xD

I wonder if we did a multiple-choice question how many on the site would guess the correct choice ? (thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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