Saturday, January 26, 2013

Donated Coin Collections Auctioned at Goodwill

One of the lesser known features of the familiar non-profit Goodwill organization is its internet auction site
Participating Goodwills from across the country offer for auction on the site a wide array of art, antiques and collectibles as well as new and nearly new items pulled from their vast inventories of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous. Revenues from these auction sales fund Goodwill's education, training and job placement programs for people with disabilities and other barriers.
Among the art, antiques and collectibles are coins. From the home page click Listings then Collectibles then Coins. The day I visited the site there were 165 lots including US Morgan and Peace Dollars, mint sets, and varied lots with descriptions such as "Junk Silver Barber Half Seated Liberty Mercury”, yes that’s right, Seated Liberty.

Consider when you are looking for coin auctions off the beaten path. In addition to coins there are stamps, comic books, historical documents and more in the collectibles category. Check out their Hot 50 items, this day featuring Gibson and Fender guitars, oil paintings and a Louis Marx “O” Steam Engine Electric Train set. Goodwill offers great items on auction for a great cause. From About
Through its services, Goodwill's network helps people overcome barriers to employment and become independent, tax-paying members of their communities. In 2009, Goodwill helped 1.9 million people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care, to name a few — and get the supporting services they needed to be successful, such as English language training, additional education, or access to transportation and child care

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Logout, Visit, and Support your Local Coin Shops

Harlan White's Old Con Shop

Does anybody remember gumball machines stocked with collectible coins? I remember “winning” a Liberty Nickel at Harlan White’s Old Coin Shop. I spent a good amount of time in that shop as a kid in the 1970’s. I recall lines out the door in 1979 when silver was approaching $50 an ounce. I bought a 1973-S Brown Box Eisenhower Proof Dollar there and more than a couple proof sets. Unfortunately none of them are the no-s variety.

In those days the May Company department store in San Diego’s Mission Valley had a coin department, really just a couple of jewelry glass counters. I know I considered a 1955 doubled die that I probably should have bought but silver was hot and I ended up with a set of circulated 1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes which has long since been sold.

A city the size of San Diego in the 1970’s could support several coin shops. I was limited only by how far I could ride my bike. I don’t remember the name, maybe the La Mesa Coin Shop, but I bought what turned out to be an NGC MS65 1982cc Morgan Dollar there. That helps make up for the silver bullion I bought high and sold low. Part of an education I suppose as I’m still leery of bullion.

I learned a lot from just looking and listening. Looking back I find that I associate specific coins with specific shops. I'm sure it took time and help and I appreciate the patience the staff must have had for us kids. Share your own memories, then log out, visit, and support your local coin shops. Get to know the dealers and customers. Stay and chat, you already have something in common. If you don’t find what you are looking for, ask the dealer, chances are he or she can find it at a good price. One more thing, when you buy something, use cash. You might be surprised at the coins you get back in change at a coin shop.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PCGS Offers $10,000 to See an Authentic 1964-D Peace Dollar

Image provided by PCGS
"PCGS Offers $10,000 to See an Authentic 1964-D Peace Dollar!" I just got this headline via email. It's a great idea but I'm not sure that if I owned a (the) legendary 1964-D Peace Dollar - assuming of course there is one, that I would risk confiscation by the US Treasury for $10,000.

Remember the sad story of the ten 1933 Double Eagles? Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:
'On July 20, 2011, after a 10-day trial—a jury decided unanimously in favor of the United States government concerning ownership of the ten additional double eagles. The court concluded the circumstantial evidence proved that Israel Switt illegally obtained the coins from the United States government and they are still government property.'
Some background on the 1964-D Peace Dollar also from Wiki:
'Both the public and many congressmen saw the issue as a poor use of Mint resources at a time of severe coin shortages, which would only benefit coin dealers. On May 24, one day before a hastily called congressional hearing, [US Mint Director] Adams announced that the pieces were deemed trial strikes, never intended for circulation. The Mint later stated that 316,076 pieces had been struck; all were reported melted amid heavy security.'
I'm assuming heavy security in 1965 was heavier than when the five 1913 Liberty Nickels were illegally struck - those are worth millions now and change hands freely. So, no telling what the Treasury might do.

So yes, PCGS, if I had one, I'd let you see it and authenticate it, but I'd want more than the price of a used car to go public with it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

NCS Coin Conservation vs. PVC Green Slime

The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) has created several videos on their 
NGCCoinVideos YouTube channel. One that I find especially interesting is the NCS Conservation Video. Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS) is a sister company of NGC. As stated on their video:

 “NCS provides expert professional conservation services for public and private collections of coins, tokens and medals. Coin conservation can help remove harmful residues and stabilize the surface of your coin”

This video features amazing before and after pictures of coins that have been conserved by NCS. Not all coins benefit from conservation, including those with active Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) residue. PVC in some coin holders can react with the surface of a coin and leave a “green slime” or haze. As stated in the video, some Chinese modern coins acquired a haze from their shipping holders.  If the conservator determines that the PVC is inactive, the coin’s original surface may be restored. Blemishes like copper spots can also be removed.

Conservation may be an opportunity to restore eye appeal and add value to previously undesirable coins.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with NGC or NCS although I have had a few coins certified by NGC.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Collector finds $15,000 Copper 1983-D Lincoln Cent

The switch to copper-coated zinc Lincoln Cents was supposed to be complete in 1982. The 1983 cents were to weigh 2.5 grams instead of 3.1 grams. However, Numismatic News reports:

Jeff Young of Ohio appears to be the latest collector to find a heretofore unknown Transitional Error on a Lincoln cent worth $15,000. After years of searching, he is the first to report to Numismatic News an example of a 1983-D cent struck on a pre-1982 (or early 1982) homogeneous 95-percent copper alloy planchet, or what most folks just call a “copper planchet.”

The key here might be “after years of searching.” Ironically there are tons of pre-1982 copper cents being hoarded while 1983 cents are being tossed aside. Nobody knows how many are out there so if you’ve got the time, 1983 cents, and a coin scale accurate to 0.1 grams, start searching.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lucky Money and Uncut Sheets of US Currency

Imagine the surprised and likely suspicious looks you’ll get when you clip a $20 bill from an uncut sheet of currency and hand it to a cashier. Actually this stunt will probably get you some unwanted attention from security.  The US Bureau of Engraving andPrinting at the aptly named URL, sells uncut sheets of US currency.  These sheets come at a premium and are suitable for framing, clipping, even gift wrap.

In addition, the BEP sells “Lucky Money,” bills with serial numbers beginning with “8888” or “168” complete with special packaging. From the description if the Prosperity Forever Note:

Achieve a lifetime of good fortune and success with the Prosperity Forever Note.  This uncirculated $1 note is beautifully packaged with decorative Chinese symbolism capturing the significance of the number "168."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Coin Photography - Part 2, Digital Camera

As I wrote in Part One, I’ve been experimenting with coin photography with a USB microscope. I was able to get a sharp image but was having trouble getting the color right. I know people have been successful with these scopes, see for some great advice.  

I’m now working with the Olympus FE 3000 point and shoot digital camera that I received for Christmas. One thing leads to another and I needed a tripod or copy stand to keep the camera steady. I found one like this at our local Porters Camera store.

Using the camera’s self-timer and no flash, I’m pretty happy with the sharpness and color of this 1957 D Lincoln Cent reverse. However, that is supposed to be a white piece of paper in the background. The people at advise using a 5000k compact fluorescent bulb. One of my goals is to avoid post-processing or photo-shopping the image so I will work on lighting next. Any tips to share?