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Cameo-Coins-Albums... tons of subjects :)

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I am working on a few collections such as Lincolns, Jefferson's, Roosevelts, Washington's (JFK,Ikes, SBA, Frankies to follow) and wanted to pose a few questions and thoughts to the forum.

 

I have been buying proof and mint sets, cracking them open and putting all the coins in albums... does anyone, like me, exhibit this unusual behavior? What do you guys do with duplicates? Sell? Keep? What coins in the above series do you find hardest to come by? Whether in good condition or scarcity (sp)

 

In reviewing a good deal of the coins, I noticed at a certain point that Cameo's came into play. What year did they start making cameo coins? Any additional info along the lines of cameo coins would greatly be appreciated.

 

In creating these collections, what are some key coins to look out for. Key meaning "Key in the series", mint errors and anything out of the ordinary.

 

When you collect coins, when do you announce your set is complete? In completing my SAE collection, I replaced one date twice because of problems with the coin. I finally found one that was "perfect" but in reviewing the coins again, I noticed a small scratch on another coin... Do we tend to make ourselves crazy with the "perfect" set... or is it just me.

 

How about grading? After my first fiasco with a Professional Grading Service (finger prints and other foreign matter) I swore from that day forward that I would let no one else handle my coins... my wife only handles them after they are placed in an album or are protected by an airtight or flip. I'd eventually like to have some of them graded... but it still tough for me to get over that first experience. Should I give NGC a try or wait until I feel more secure with other people handling my coins?

 

I guess that should do it for now.

 

-Dave

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...and let's say your going nuts for coins... any coins.... you just want to handle them all.... I've been thinking about sending an email out to my family, friends and relatives to say if they have any coins and would like them "appraised" or are looking to build a collection or buy coins that they should see me first.

 

Has anyone done this?

 

Thanks,

Dave

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Wow, have you had a few cups of coffee this morning, dakra? wink.gifsmile.gif Actually, these are great questions that reflect what many of us have gone through. I will address some of your post with my experiences.

 

I don't crack proof or mint sets open to fill sets, however, I don't build many sets so the point is really moot for me. I have put together raw, silver Washington and silver Roosevelt sets and a raw, early Wheat cent set. From this experience I can tell you that the mid-50s branch mints typically produced some of the worst struck silver coins that you will find. Also, mid-20s branch mint copper coinage is very mushy.

 

Cameo coins have come and gone in our Mint's history. A fair number of proof coins were cameo in the 19th century and early 20th century, however, with the break in proof production, it seems that either the technology was lost or the desire was gone to produce cameo coins once proofs were again made. It wasn't until about 1971 that most coins were again made cameo, with some years since then being better than others.

 

If you build a clad Washington set I would look for very nice examples from 1982 and 1983 as there were no Mint Sets in those years, I believe, and this makes nice coins tough to find. Also, there are other coins that are just made nasty in this era.

 

I've had coins graded by both NGC and PCGS and have never had a fingerprint put on any coin. I have had, however, a piece of bread encapsulated on the obverse of an MS68FB Merc graded by PCGS and the bread left a slight stain on the coin by the time they re-holdered it. 893frustrated.gif

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Tom,

Thanks for the input. I only had half a cup of coffee by the time I posted that but had a killer headache... perhaps too many thoughts going through my head at the time. I feel remorse when I crack out the proof and mint sets as I feel I am disturbing the coins but I do know that I want some of the best examples in my collections. I am trying to double up on proof and mint sets when I can because I also want to have a collection of those as well. Since my finances are getting back on track, I am starting to give myself an allowance that I can put towards coins.

 

In some of the proof sets I have purchased recently I have found some nice cameo coins but one JFK almost looks like it could glow in the dark. In fact, it's nice to see some of the cameo coins in my Lincoln collection stand out from the other coins.

 

It's pretty amazing looking at my Lincoln collection. From 1909-1940+ they all seem dark and dreary and suddently from 1950 on, they really 'shine'.

 

I can't believe how nuts I've getting over coins, it's the caffeine that keeps me going smile.gif

 

-Dave

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You might be interested in Rick Tomaska's book: Cameo and Brilliant Proof Coinage of the 1950 to 1970 era. You can find it on his web site web page . And I HOPE that if you come accross a cameo proof that you are VERY careful handling it. If you're not going to get them slabbed, I would use intercept shield devices and nothing else (not even air-tites) to preserve them. There are some really beautiful cameo and ultra cameo proofs from the 1800's that are, of course, not covered in this book.

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I sincerely hope your killer headache is better, dakra, I have had many of them. Typically, I will use Excedrin or Advil, however, if they are migraines, I will use Maxalt XLT or Zomig. If you have not tried either of these and if you get many migraines, you should consult your physician.

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