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Posts posted by marv

  1. This is a very nice coin, and an example of what you can get for not a great deal of money. Don't buy retail (from a dealer) if possible. Become familiar with the prices for various qualities of coins in this series (if in a slab, the grade on the slab is just a starter - once you look at enough coins at auction, you will develop a sense of what is nice and what is not). Don't buy the first thing you see. Then, when you have this experience, you can begin to get serious at auctions and have an idea of about how much to bid if the coin is really nice for the grade. It's important to look at many coins and the prices they sell for; otherwise, you have no idea what a fair bid is. If you can't attend auctions in person, a good website with high resolution pictures is worthwhile - Heritage (www.ha.com) comes to mind, but Kuenker and others in Europe take pretty good photos. To me, at least, the pictures on Spink and Baldwins are crap - pardon my terminology. You can't judge coins by their pictures IMO. The picture in your post is a very good picture. But beware - it is impossible to really see a coin except in the hand with good lighting. Pictures will never reveal very fine hairlines or missing luster (usually indicative of wear on post 1816 coins). So, when you get serious, if you can't attend in person and view the coins, find a good agent who will attend and give you a good description of the coins in which you're interested. You might have to pay that person a small commission, but it's worth it to prevent buying something you really won't end up liking.


    What I'm telling you is from personal experience. I have bought coins based solely on a picture, even a high res picture, and ended up dissatisfied with the coin.


    BTW, I started this thread with two pictures, one of which was my 1850 (raw) halfcrown. I guessed MS66 or (hopefully) MS67. Just got it back from NGC, and it is now officially in an MS67 slab! Finest graded at PCGS or NGC. Next best at NGC is the Cheshire MS65. There is only one other 1/2 crown graded 67 between 1816 and 1887, and that's a high-mintage 1844. I've not seen that coin at auction, so I don't know how it compares, but I'm sure it's nice - anything MS67 is nice, but there are many variations of "nice."

  2. What is "overpriced?" There are no bargains in coins. You will never (or almost never) get "lucky" and find a coin for $25 for which someone else will pay $1000. Unless you educate yourself, it's much more likely that you will pay $100 for a coin that no one else will pay more than $25 for. Search ha.com, ebay results, coinarchives.com, sixbid.com, acsearch.info, and other auction sites to see their historical prices for the 1818-1820 crown in various grades. Then you will have an idea what people are willing to pay for these coins. Only then will you be able to make a judgement as to whether something offered by a seller is "overpriced" or not.


    Once you know what comparable coins have sold for in the near past, you are better armed to go into an online auction at Heritage or Stacksbowers or Spink or Baldwins, or ebay, etc., and make a reasonable bid on a coin you like and think you can afford. Unless you are able to distinguish possible Chinese counterfeits, stick with coins graded and encapsulated by reputable grading houses such as PCGS or NGC (or their British equivalent). At least that way, if you spend $500-$1000 for a nice AU example with some luster and good strike (most are very well struck), you will be getting something that you will always enjoy and not be worried that when you sell it you will discover that it was a fake.


    FWIW, a really nice high-grade coin of that type can sell for $4000-$10,000 depending on eye appeal and whether it's a proof.

  3. Perhaps you're referring to adjustment marks? This was common before about 1840 when planchette preparation was not as exacting as it became in more modern times. When coin planchettes were sufficiently over weight, the weight was "adjusted" by removing material from the planchette with a file before striking. In some instances, the marks left by the adjustment were not obliterated by the striking process showing up on the finished coin. Underweight planchettes were re-melted to start over. With experience, adjustment marks are relatively easy to distinguish.


    Here is a good article on adjustment marks: http://coins.about.com/od/coingrading/f/adjustment_mark.htm

  4. Die lines on a coin are not hairlines. Because lines resulting from wiping a die are incuse, i.e., they cut into the die's surface, the resulting lines on the coin struck from a die that's been wiped are in relief, i.e., they stick out above the surface of the coin. True hairlines cut into the surface of the coin. So while die lines may at first look like hairlines, they are not and are easily distinguished from hairlines with a good glass. In general, the grading companies do not downgrade a coin due to die lines. I have seen proof coins from dies that have been lightly wiped, and there are fine lines projecting abouve the proof surface, but the coin can still be highly graded unless of course the die lines are so evident and massive that eye appeal is affected. If this is the case, then the coin may be downgraded since the grading houses factor in eye appeal (in their opinion) a great deal.


    Die lines, then, are part of the original surface of the coin whereas hairlines are damage added after the coin has been minted. This is an important distinction for the grading companies.

  5. In my opinion, it's all a question of degree. I've followed Russian coins at auction for 10 years. It seems to me, anecdotally at least, that NGC is a bit "softer" on hairlines in the circulated grades and for 18th century and earlier coins. In reality, it's a miracle to find a 250-year-old coin that hasn't been wiped ("cleaned") at some point. If the lines are very evident, then the coin may come back in a "details" holder, but even then, perhaps not if the coin is an important one. If the TPG details-graded for even light hairlines for 200-300 year old circulated coins, perhaps collectors wouldn't send them any coins of those eras, and there goes the income stream. For unc coins, they're a little more rigorous in my opinion, but even there, I've seen MS63 coins with a some significant hairlines. In fact, the PCGS guide lines permit hairlines on unc coins to a certain degree. A tiny patch is even permitted for MS65 and 66 (tinier patch).


    If any coin is blasted with deep and pervasive hairlines, then they become "scratches" and then most probably it will be details-graded.


    So it boils down to the opinion of the graders. But that's what grading is, right?

  6. Very impressive, not to mention lighting fast research! I was considering bidding on this coin at Stack's, but was unsure about the color. Beautiful as it is, I still prefer to see the impact of centuries on my coins.


    From what I see on Omni coins your collection is shaping to set a new record for rarity and quality.

    Well thanks for the compliment. I take my time and try to buy coins that I like and (hopefully) when the time comes, others will also like them. Since you're obviously interested in talers, you really should take a look at taleruniverse.com. He's got a very impressive number of just beautiful talers and 2 talers!


    If you would have tried for the coin at Stacks, you would have had to have deep pockets as I was told that the Austrian dealer was prepared to go to $10,000 for the coin.


    I'm with you on having some toning, but this is once that I had to make an exception. There have been other times that I've bought "white" coins with fabulous luster, but most of those have been Morgan silver dollars. They were in bags so most didn't tone, but a high grade brilliant silver proof-like Morgan is an object to behold. Of course the nice rainbow-toned coins in high grade blow you out of the water. But then again, they're not 500 years old.


    Just FYI, Heritage has auctioned many, many talers, but only two of this type since 2003. In fact the best one they sold was in 2003. Here's a link: http://coins.ha.com/itm/austria/world-coins/austria-ferdinand-i-taler-nd-1543-dav-8030-hall-mint-armored-bust-with-crown-and-scepter-eagle-and-legends-choice-unc-a-super/a/332-11460.s#Photo


    Not as nice as the one I bought, but still nice. Sold for $2357 with commission. I'm guessing there was a small horde at some point.



  7. OK, here is what I dug up (NPI): I can't find any history prior to March, 2014, but this coin (raw) was in a Kuenker auction, 246, lot 3397 where it sold for around 2400 Euro plus commission (15%?). In August, it appeared in the Stacks auction, in a slab. In the Kuenker sale, this coin had more of the black toning around the periphery and possibly some light toning in the fields. By the time it appeared in the Stacks sale, much of the black toning around the periphery was gone, and the coin was now a blast white. My theory is that the successful buyer at Kuenker recognized what an outstanding coin it was, and guessed that it might grade high, especially if the ugly black "stuff" was removed, so he/she sent it to NCS where as much of the black was removed without over dipping the coin. There is enough pattern of the black "stuff" left to recognize that the Kuenker and Stacks coins are the same, but the Kuenker picture online is too fuzzy to really see what the coin looked like prior to slabbing. So the Kuenker buyer realized a gain of about $2500 for the process since the coin sold at Stacks for just shy of $6000 including commission. Although I generally don't buy blast white coins, this coin has such brilliant and genuine frosty luster that you just can't pass it up, especially on the reverse. To be picky, the obverse has a few hairlines, but where do you find another 16th century coin with such luster and strike? Every wrinkle in Frederick's bust is absolutely full. You have to see it to believe it. The Stacks cataloger raved about it.


    In searching acsearch.info or coinarchives, this variety is not common compared to other varieties of Frederick's coins. There are quite a few VF and EF coins, and one or two unc, as well as coins with planchet defects, but nothing comes close. Even some nice AU coins sold for $2000-3000 years ago. There just aren't many coins from the 1500's that are unc period. Perhaps there was a small horde of these found at one time. Just couldn't pass it up. But now I am researching it's history, and I'm hopeful that an "expert" might shed more light on the circumstances of the coin's issue. I've emailed the Hall mint museum and the Austrian Mint for an expert opinion. We'll see.


    WRT its genuineness: I have compared the dies to every other example on those search sites, and there are several different varieties of this coin; however this particular variety compares 100% to others of the same variety. I have no doubt it is genuine. It was bought out of Stacks by a famous Austrian dealer that anyone who collects Austrian would be familiar with, but whom I won't name. So if anyone knows talers, that man does. It has stimulated my interest in HRE talers. See www.taleruniverse.com

  8. I recently purchased this coin of Ferdinand I, no date, struck sometime in Ferdinand's reign (1558-1564) as Holy Roman Emperor or posthumously by his son. The Stacks cataloger attributed it to Dav-8030, but I note there are several varieties of Dav-8030. This coin is struck from roller dies and has rosettes on both sides, has HIS. rather than HISP for Spain on the reverse. Since I don't have a copy of Davenport's "European Crowns 1486-1600" where this Davenport number is located, I don't know what the defining properties are for the various varieties. Perhaps someone who is knowledgeable about HRE early talers might help.


    According to what I've read, scholars used to assign this roller-die strike to Ferdinand's son as roller presses weren't in general use until after Ferdinand's death; however other expert opinions I've read mention the fact that Ferdinand experimented with roller presses in Augsburg before his death, and this variety might come from that time. Otherwise, all Ferdinand's talers are hammered.


    The Stacks cataloger called this one of the finest known, and the luster and strike as well as the surfaces are amazing for a coin of this age. Ex: Stacks ANA 2014.


    Here are the pictures:


    1521 Austria Obv

    1521 Austria Rev

  9. To me the coin looks like it has some wear but has been wiped or lightly cleaned to make it appear bright. Just for your information, a graded (NGC AU55) was sold this year by Heritage for around $500, so unless the coin really is uncirculated, it's worth far less than 1500 Euros.


    Here is the link to the auction: http://coins.ha.com/itm/russia/world-coins/russia-nicholas-ii-rouble-1915-bc-au55-ngc-/a/3035-34819.s


    (You have to create an account to see the sale price, but it was $499.)


    You might also want to search the Heritage site for all 1915 roubles that have been sold, look at them and compare them to what you have. Your coin has a lot of hairlines that are indicative of cleaning, usually to make a coin look "better" i.e., brighter, so one would think it's uncirculated. I would be very careful before shelling out that kind of money without an informed opinion, either from a knowledgeable collector or dealer with the coin in hand. Pictures are not enough to render an informed opinion, especially with that kind of money at stake.

  10. And the great thing about this crown is that even collectors of modest means can own a relatively nice example. At the GEF or AU levels, they're reasonable. Just make sure you find one that isn't cleaned (hairlines) and might have some attractive toning. You will then have a real piece of history in your hands. In the US, those grades would probably be MS63 OR MS64.

    I really like the 1818 LXIII Crown, one of the finest pieces ever struck.


    If you study the history of this coin's creation, you will lean about the competition between Benedetto Pistrucci and William Wyon, and how the master of the mint at the time colluded to try and make the Italian (Pistrucci) the Chief Engraver of the Mint but found he couldn't. It's also fun to contemplate the fact that at the time of issue of this crown, George III was a mentally ill old man with a long white beard rather than the heroic leader depicted on this crown. So, lots of history connected with the George III 1818-1820 crown type.

  11. Here, for those that appreciate great coin photography, are a couple of new pictures that I've had taken of some of my nicest British coins. Coin photography is tricky, so I had a pro do it.


    1818 LXIII Crown - one of the finest preserved of the first steam-driven crown coinage of Great Britain. William Wellesly Pole, the master of the mint, took great care in the production and handling of these coins, and the average condition today is quite high. Of course, after two hundred years, a coin in this state of preservation is very scarce. Most have suffered from owners wanting to keep them "shiny" by polishing them (like silverware) if they toned. A coin without many hairlines and with original toning like my coin is a real treasure.





    1850 Victoria YH half crown - superlative example (proof?). The 1850 is one of those early half crowns that are so difficult to find in mint state. It had a smaller mintage and is elusive in any condition. Just search Heritage for the 1850, and the best you'll most likely come across is an MS65 1850 that doesn't hold a candle to this coin. Still unslabbed but, according to David Hall (meet the experts at Long Beach show), probably an MS66-67 (or proof?).



  12. Of course the 1818 crown was a history-making production. The master of the mint devoted a great deal of care to each strike, making sure that they were each wrapped in tissue paper. That's why, today, you'll find many nice examples. Supposedly there were proofs made, but the quality of the business strikes was so high that it's tough to really tell a supposed proof from a high quality proof-like strike. The coin I have is proof-like.


    1818 was the first year of steam-driven crown production.

  13. Here, for those that appreciate great coin photography, are a couple of new pictures that I've had taken of coins of mine. Coin photography is tricky, so I had a pro do it.


    1818 LXIII Crown - one of the finest!





    1850 Victoria YH half crown - superlative example (proof?). The 1850 is one of those early half crowns that are so difficult to fine in mint state. It had a smaller mintage and is elusive in any condition. Just search Heritage for the 1850, and the best you'll most likely come across is an MS65 1850 that doesn't hold a candle to this coin. Still unslabbed but probably an MS66-67 (or proof?).






  14. Strike, luster, wear and surface quality (i.e. hairlines, scratches, etc.) are all used by the major TPG companies to arrive at a grade. In addition to hard factual issues such as detecting a bit of wear by the loss of luster at the high points of the design, there is, as as been commented upon, a great deal of subjectivity involved. In the end, it all goes back to eye appeal. That's why you might hear references to the "technical grade" as opposed to the "market grade." The technical grade corresponds to what the TPG publishes in terms of the degree of wear, number and position of marks, degree of strike weakness, etc. The "market grade" is more or less about eye appeal; that's why you might find a beautifully toned coin with a tiny bit of wear but great luster showing up as a MS62 instead on an AU58. This reflects the grader's opinion that the coin will bring "62 money" rather than AU money. Some TPG tilt towards technical grading and some towards market grading, and it can vary from coin to coin. In addition, each grader brings his own preferences along, so there's a degree of variation for any coin. That's why there are supposed to be at least two graders involved with a "finalizer" if each grader's opinion is different. Also, my experience has been that the TPG are a bit looser, i.e., more forgiving for extremely important or valuable coins, again reflecting their opinion about the market value of the coin. Additionally, some coins transcend the grade, they are so rare - they look "better" in an MS holder than an AU or EF holder. I'm not excusing anything, it's just the reality that I've seen over the years.


    In addition, if any attribute of the grade component is particularly prominent and beautiful, such as toning, luster, strike, etc., graders often bump up the grade a bit, again a reflection of their estimation of eye appeal.


    And due to the many subjective components of eye appeal, it is almost impossible to compare coins, perhaps with the exception of modern mint products which are more a commodity than a numismatic object. As for determining the cause of an MS/PR69 versus an MS/PR70, the TPG service know the price differential and therefore look for any microscopic hairline or mark to make the cut. I recently purchased the reverse proof Buffalo from the mint. When I looked at the coin closely with the naked eye and with a 4x glass, it appeared perfect. However, when I put it under my 40x stereo microscope, a few very, very fine hairlines jumped out at me which I then saw, knowing where to look, with my 4x glass, so I sent it back. It's replacement, which I again inspected, looked perfect. I sent it to PCGS and it came back PR70.


    Another case in point: I bought a gorgeous full red 1862 GB half penny with immaculate surfaces. Fully struck on the obverse, the reverse had a flatly struck head. I sent it to PCGS, and it came back MS65red. I'm convinced that with a better reverse strike, it would have been a 67. The PCGS grading guide states that a 66 must have a good strike (i.e., not full) whereas a 67 must have a full strike. So strike quality is important.


    WRT walking liberty halves from San Francisco, many of the dates come poorly struck on both sides in the center resulting in Liberty's hand showing no detail, and the eagle's leg feathers on the reverse not struck up. I would guess that none of these would grade better than 66, but the TPG services might make an exception since these NEVER come fully struck, so again it's a market based grade in essence.

  15. I agree that barring heavy deposits, it's better to leave the coin alone except in cases where the deposits are "active" and may causing increasing amounts of damage to the underlying surfaces of the coin. A case in point with many modern coins is PVC deposits which are acidic in nature and, if left on the coin, will irretrievably damage the surface of the coin.


    I'm not advocating that one who knows nothing about the subject take out the brillo pad and start scrubbing away. That's not common sense. It's also a function of the value of the coin, i.e., how much it's worth to someone else. Patina, or light corrosion products on the surface of silver or copper coins is viewed by many collectors, myself included, as usually desirable, however there are some who like the untoned appearance of coins, hence removing the tone or patina may be fine for that collector. That said, there is a right way and a wrong to to do any activity that has the chance of creating observable damage to the coin's surface. That's why NCS was formed. I have used their services to remove PVC deposits on two chinese crowns. Since PVC is soluble in acetone, it's easy to remove without removing any patina or toning. In this case, cleaning or conserving is not only acceptable, but encouraged by all coin experts. BTW, conservation as it's used with coins is not restoration. Restoration involves restoring something that has been lost. This is impossible to do with coins without damaging the coin in the eyes of all coin experts. A worn coin cannot be restored to an uncirculated state. Adding metal to the coin is almost always visible under magnification and results in a loss of value, and no true collector would advocate that. Conservation typically involves removal of contaminants or deposits that obscure the coin without damaging the original surface of the coin to the extent that the change is observable. Read the material on the NCS site. They give a good explanation of conservation as it applies to coins. Conservation, if done properly, can, in fact, improve the eye appeal of the coin which can translate into a higher price at auction. I know that based on personal experience.


    In sum, "cleaning" as it applies to coins usually involves a process that creates permanent damage, i.e., hairlines or scratches, to the coin. Removal of light or unattractive toning or patina by chemical means, if one desires that, and if done by an expert, would not fit that definition. If done by an amateur, removal of toning could possibly remove underlying metal to the extent that the luster would be affected if the coin is uncirculated, and that would clearly be unacceptable.

  16. Without researching, I plan on not doing any coin cleaning for fear of doin it improperly and risking damaging my coin. What's the norm on this subject? Is there easy, safe cleaning? Is it recommended at all? Would you have it professionally cleaned depending on value? Thanks in advance for the answers.



    Rather than posing these questions on a forum, I would recommend that you do your own research. For example, visit www.ncscoin.com which is the home of numismatic conservation services to learn about the different types of "cleaning," what is harmful and what is not. It is not true that all types of "cleaning" detract from the value of a coin. It depends on how the coin's surfaces are affected. For example virtually every ancient coin has been cleaned. Most ancient coins were buried and, if not cleaned, would be most unattractive and covered with crud. The comment by the previous poster that "...any cleaning is considered damaging and detracts from value" is dependent on just what one means by the term "cleaning." So I advise you to do your own research and not expect to find simplistic answers to complex questions. I mention the NCS site as they have quite a few explanatory pages of information about conservation methods that are used with coins. Conservation is a term that implies preservation and improvement of the appearance of valuable items such as paintings and coins. Done properly, it is not considered damage and does not detract from value. On the contrary, done correctly, it enhances value - that's why it's done. Coin collectors, just like collectors of any item desire the best states of preservation. If a coin's eye appeal can be improved by the removal of residue without impairing the coin's surfaces, then there is nothing wrong with the process. The masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel in Rome were conserved a few years ago to reveal their original splendor which had been hidden under centuries of grime. It's just like washing your face.


    You should investigate the case of the recovery of the SS Central America treasure for example.

  17. There are some series where you can obtain uncirculated coins for relatively low cost, and you should have no qualms about handling them. One is the winged liberty dime such as you show in your post. There are some very valuable dates, but there are lots of dates that are available in unc condition for low cost unless, of course, you want to play the slab game and insist on an MS68 where you will pay a large premium over an ungraded unc from a high mintage year. That's why I mentioned subscribing to a magazine like coin world where you can see price lists for common date coins available as unc for low cost.


    Another coin series where you can obtain high quality coins for low money is the buffalo nickel series, my favorite!! Growing up, I was able to find XF or better buffalos in change. Today, a true XF or AU coin can be a very pleasing coin with most or virtually all of the design still visible. You can find the 1938-D buffalo in average unc for less than $20. This can be a beautiful coin with lots of history to show a child. It's the first coin with a true representation of a native american on it, while the Bison is a true american also, only existing on the North American continent.


    Lincoln wheat pennies are easily available, in certain years, in top condition. Even Morgan silver dollars can be bought for near bullion cost in AU to unc unless they're nearly flawless unc examples or rare years, in which case their prices go up.


    Try to buy low cost coins that have little difference in price between an AU and a basic UNC price. That way you should have no problem letting your kids handle them. If they get scuffed up, who cares?


    What I'm trying to say is that you need to educate yourself before, not after, you start buying coins. With Ebay, as long as you stick to reliable buyers, 100% positive feedback (be aware that in some cases sellers can have negative feedback deleted!) or close, and you are not spending more than $100, your risk is low. If you gravitate to dealers that offer a return period, than you decrease your risk further. But take advantage of coin shows. They, along with study, are the best way to see lots of coins, and get the best price. Ebay introduces lots of fees to sellers, so you will probably get better prices at a show, particularly if you get to know a dealer by chatting with him/her and being interested in the dealer's offerings. If you mention that you have children and want to introduce them to coins, most dealers will be only too happy to suggest appropriate items they might have.


    Also My opinion: don't buy coins by weight on Ebay. If you want foreign coins for your child, go to educational coin company (www.educationalcoin.com). They are the largest dealer for coins by weight, and they put together low cost, uncirculated coins that can be a lot of fun for kids. A lot of Ebay sellers just re-sell coins bought from Educational Coin. I use this source for my class room presentations to my wife's third grade class. I give the kids each a foreign coin and ask them to learn something about the country and the design of the coin (with their parents' help of course). The prices at Educational Coin are quite reasonable. They also deal in banknotes. This can be really interesting for kids as some of the notes are very colorful and feature pictures of animals, birds and plants native to the country.

  18. My advice is to buy the book before the coin. Subscribe to one of the better coin publications such as Coin World. Learn about the different series or, if you're interested in world coins, subscribe to World Coin News. Find a series that you're interested in and spend some time learning about the history of the designs and engravers.


    Take the time to go to a good coin show where you will be exposed to coins of all types and qualities. For example, silver coins acquire the most beautiful ranges of toning so that even two coins of the same series and year may look completely different if they are uncirculated and toned. Establish a relationship with a quality dealer, preferably one that is a PNG member. They subscribe to a code of ethics that is enforced by the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). You can learn a lot from a good dealer. Ebay, by contrast, is a terrible place for a beginner, akin to shark infested waters. However, there are reputable dealers on Ebay such as dealers who are PNG members, but it's hard to establish a personal relationship with an Ebay dealer.


    Also, IMO, it makes more sense to buy fewer, better preserved coins than a greater quantity of more well-worn coins. What you end up with, when you save up for better coins are coins that you will always enjoy looking at, and which you will be proud to show to friends. With an uncirculated coin, for example, you can really appreciate the design and engraving on the coin whereas with a coin in poor shape, much of the design is worn away. Also, in the future, if you might want to sell some coins so you can buy others, uncirculated coins hold their value better and may also gain in value, whereas poorly preserved coins do not appeal to as great a number of people, so their values may not change much over the years.


    This is one collector's suggestion for a beginning collector. I've been collecting for almost 60 years. To get some idea of the different types of coins that I collect, you can click on my omniCoin link at the left.

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