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ikaros' Jefferson Project


ikaros
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In the words of Ambassador Kosh from Babylon 5, "And so it begins."

 

I have resolved to build a collection of Jefferson nickels in no less than MS-60 condition, and if at all possible, do it from the beginning and work my way forward. I am not interested in 'Full Steps' designations -- if I need a loupe to see the difference, it's not a difference that's worth the premium to me. I just want nice uncirculated Jeffs with plenty of eye appeal.

 

Jeffersons were my gateway drug. When we were selling antiques at a flea market every Sunday back in the mid 1970s (back before flea markets were all Amway and Herbalife and Beanie Baby dealers), there was one coin dealer who (wisely) pointed me at Jeffersons to start with. It's a great coin for a twelve-year-old: you can collect them out of pocket change, and back then, the series wasn't even 40 years old yet, and there really are no killer dates, no semi-permanent holes in your collection, spots you won't fill without a minor lottery hit at least.

 

But I never did them *right*. Sure, I salvaged coins from change, bought a few, but it's a series that you don't need to be wealthy to do in regular uncirculated grades. Even the early proofs aren't out of reach.

 

Day One: 1938. I was presented with a dilemma straight out of the gate, as the two Philly Jeffs battled for the privilege of spending their retirement with me. One was a gorgeous clean with miles of eye appeal, possibly even slightly under-graded. Allen's 'BU' generally means MS-63 and this one had I think a legitimate shot at -65. The other had some of the most spectacular rainbow toning I've ever seen on a Jeff, in an unbroken circle around the bust. They were the same price; in the end, I plumped for the non-toned one because I thought it was undergraded -- and what it lacked in colors, it more than made up for in lustre. I may still go back and get the toned one, just because the colors were so stunning, but until then, here is Jefferson Project Coin #1: 1938 in BU:

984481.jpg

 

The 1938D also presented a choice between a regular BU and a toned BU. The toning was a nice even goldish smoke, but again, I thought the untoned was a marginally better coin. Thus, Jefferson Project Coin #2: 1938D in BU:

984482.jpg

 

The 1938S presented no choice at all -- they had but one, an MS60 that doesn't quite have the fire of its siblings, but does have tons of detail and a gorgeous goldish cast to it that just might tone out very nicely indeed. So, Jefferson Project Coin #3: 1938S in MS60:

984483.jpg

 

Next week... 1939. Probably going to slow down to one coin at a time to get through those. I can pick up speed later when I get to more common (and less pricey) dates.

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Woo!! What a project! I can't wait to see you at the end!

Presuming I remain employed more or less permanently, it's my goal to add at least one coin a week, or when I get to the 'cheap' dates, at least $20 worth of purchases. Once I clear the war years, there really aren't any high-dollar dates, so it might go fairly quickly.

 

What I still haven't decided yet is how to display it. I don't want to leave them in their cardboard flips, but I'm not sure I want to put them in a folder, no matter how 'archival' the cardstock is. I'm open to suggestions! :ninja:

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Great project. I think that you'll find some of the "common" date Jeffersons are a challenge to find in truly GEM UNC condition.

 

I'll certainly enjoy watching your progress on this one.

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For my Peace dollars, I have them in hard plastic individual cases. Makes them a little easier on the eyes than plastic flips or slabs... and they're cheap!

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Great project. I think that you'll find some of the "common" date Jeffersons are a challenge to find in truly GEM UNC condition.

 

I'll certainly enjoy watching your progress on this one.

Yeah, finding nice sharp details on some of the '60s issues may be tricky, but it'll be fun, too. But yaknow, a '64 that's a little soft but has that 'glow' will do just as well, I think. I just want a coin I can look at and go "Ooo!"

 

I still haven't decided where I am on certain varieties. I mean, do I want a both a 1939 rev 38 and rev 40, or just the nicest 1939 I can find regardless? Errors hold no interest for me, so that keeps me out of the financial trouble a 1971 No S proof would bring -- although if one came along at the right price at the right time, I wouldn't say no. :ninja:

 

Boy, I'm still thinking about the toning on that other '38 though. I'm probably gonna go back and get it just for the pure eye appeal of it.

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For my Peace dollars, I have them in hard plastic individual cases. Makes them a little easier on the eyes than plastic flips or slabs... and they're cheap!

I've thought about that as one route. Ultimately, I'd like some way to display them, not just put them in a box and pull them out once in a while to look at. I'm toying with the idea of casting sheets of acrylic, drilling nickel-sized holes in one, and making a sort of 'sandwich' of the three of them. What I don't know is if the acrylic cast I have is safe for long term storage, and that means sacrificing at least one nickel and at least one silver piece to make sure. That, I can do -- better to lose a recent common date even if BU, than a high-grade 1939-D.

 

I could always seal them inside acrylic blocks, like paperweights -- but that would be a crime too gruesome to commit. :ninja:

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All the more reason I think there should be a coin care/storage dedicated subforum. I'd love to see the out-of-the-box ways people store their coins, ways other than flips or slabs.

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All the more reason I think there should be a coin care/storage dedicated subforum. I'd love to see the out-of-the-box ways people store their coins, ways other than flips or slabs.

Oh, I'll be sure to let y'all know what happens with the acrylic.

 

I expect to leave something in there for several months minimum -- maybe as long as a year -- before I'm willing to trust the good stuff to it. Probably ought to make one to hold several different issues at once so I can see how it affects the different metals. If it turns up clean, or promotes favorable toning, I may have me a little side venture. :ninja:

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The project progresses.

 

Went back and got that toned Jeff. Better images when I get back to town (these are just quick scans), but this should give some flavor of it:

984833.jpg

 

The toning is all the way around, great magentas and blues with a couple hints of green and gold. The reverse is a nice strong strike, with almost no toning at all.

 

Since the 39D and 39S are going to hit a little harder, I'm slowing down a little here. Just the 1939. I believe it's a T2; I have a hard time seeing the difference between the two. It's starting to go gunmetal blue around the rim, with a hint of rainbowing on the reverse between the 5:00 and 7:00 positions, and might tone out like the one above.

 

984834.jpg

 

So far, so good!

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Time to deviate from the calendar. the 39D and 39S were a little too rich for my blood this week (gonna have to save up), so I decided to skip forward a little and grab some silver.

 

The 1942P is just absolutely blast white:

985071.jpg

 

And the 1942S has got some lovely toning going on:

985072.jpg

 

As always, more next week!

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Oh, ikaros! You skipped! My heart is broken!

I figured it's better to do them later and right, rather than now and inadequately. Soon, though! They will happen soon! Certainly before I get out of the 1940s!

 

Besides, ain't that a drop dead gorgeous 42P? I decided if I was going to skip, it would be for something reasonably dramatic. :ninja:

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Have you considered Capitol Plastics mounts? I have always liked them and have a Roosevelt set in one for 30 years with no obvious problems.

Oh, those are nice. Pricey, but nice. Worth thinking about it, yes. I'll have to write and ask what slots are specifically in there, though -- I don't want holes for 43P/42 or the doubled-die '39 that I have no intention of filling. Thanks for the heads-up!

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  • 5 months later...

It's lain fallow for a while, but I'm finally back on the hunt. Price breaks have made going in strict year order impractical. I had some scans done... but Photoshop crashed before I could save the images. So those will happen later. Got another toner, a 1949 with a stunning rainbow bullseye.

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I'm glad to (finally) be back at it, too. :D

 

Anyway, here goes. 1946PDS:

989225.jpg

989226.jpg

989227.jpg

 

1949PD -- no S in stock at the time. I wouldn't've got these except for the colors on the '49 that this image only really hints at:

989228.jpg

989229.jpg

 

1963PD - these are probably more bound for my birthyear set than the Jefferson Project. I am discovering that finding really sharp coins from the late 50s and early 60s is going to be a challenge -- they really did let the dies go to pot, didn't they?

989230.jpg

989231.jpg

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I've found a handful of well-struck nickels from the 50s/60s in change. I think the main problem is that there were few rarities, so few people put uncirculated coins aside. At any rate, the coins from this point in time are generally of better quality than the junk after the design "improvements" of the 70s.

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  • 6 months later...

I just noticed that tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of this project, which has due to regular daily financial concerns lain fallow for a while again.

 

Until yesterday. 52S, 53PDS, some really sharp 1968-70DS, a gently frosty 1963 proof, and a 1962 proof that is the most astounding shade of plum. Pictures when I can get some good ones!

 

Obviously I've dispensed with just doing it all in chronological order. It's going to be the right coin at the right time as based on my available cash... which is really how it should be, isn't it?

 

Anyway, I've already decided that once the Jefferson Project is put to bed and in maintenance mode, the next one will be a top-notch Eisenhower set. After that, I might go after Roosevelts. I can't think of any killer dates in the Roosies.

 

Boy, looking back on this thread, I need to get better pictures, too. Some of these look really ratty.

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