Coins: Breaking a Date Roll

29 May

Coins: Breaking a Date Roll

The question I’d like us to ponder is when a date roll breaks, what is optimal for maximizing value?  I believe there is a mathematical model for this.  What does the model look like?  I have a theory, but we’ll look at it another day.  For the meantime, let’s bring to light a few possible decisions while allowing you to determine optimization of value with the discussion of roll-breaking analyses.

A good question to ask is whether the roll is a common date, scarce date, or rare date; let’s assume that these are the only categories of availability.

If the roll is of a common date, it probably won’t matter if the roll is broken and submitted for grading.  Once the roll is submitted for grading the grades are put on the population report.  When the coins hit the market, the roll is unlikely to affect prices.

If the roll is a scarce date, we are getting warmer with importance.  One roll of a scarce date could yield a change in wholesale and retail prices for the date.  The change would likely be a touch downward.

If the roll is a rare date discovery, the breakup of the roll could be a bit tricky; the coins could be metered out one or a few at a time.  They could be graded all at once or one to a few at a time.

A Couple of other Necessary Considerations

1. Once submitted for grading, coins go on the population report of whatever grading service they are submitted to and can only be removed from the “pop” report .

2. Do you tell other dealers about the roll or do you show only one to a few of the coins of the roll to other dealers?

3. Do you attempt to locate a collector, or two collectors, who would maybe pay a premium for the intact roll? Unlikely, I don’t know if this has ever happened or would happen; the thought seems contrary to the common manner in which a roll would be divided to maximize sale value.

4. Do you sell the coins in auction or sell them privately?  How many do you sell at a time?

5. Do you sell one every six months, grade one every six months?  Do you sell one, once per year; grade one, once per year?

Thank you for writing with meaningful remarks and additional questions.

-The Numismatic Enthusiast


A National Money Show to Remember

14 May


My trip to Casa Bonita over the weekend was more exciting than the ANA’s National Money Show last week held in Denver, Colorado, May 10-12.  The sweat beads down my forehead from the hottest dining room ever were more welcoming to my body than the sore knees and feet from the concrete slabbed convention center floor.  The physical and emotional pain would have been worth it had there been an awesome coin in the room.

The coolest coins in the room were at the Stack’s Bowers table where being displayed were a few of the pieces from the Battle Born Collection of Carson City coins.  The complete set of 111 coins will be up for auction at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money come August in Philadelphia.

Bill Bugert gave a very good presentation for forty five minutes on Carson City Seated Half Dollars.  He spoke about die marriages, how he estimates surviving populations of each date, and suggestions for putting CC half dollar sets together.

While on the show floor, I asked for prices on well over a hundred different coins and trade tokens and actually purchased fewer than 5% of the coins I was interested in.  In dealer cases and in backup boxes, in regular inventory and newps, I dug for and yet purchased far fewer coins than I had expected.

Reasonable counteroffers were made, yet most mid-size and smaller dealers seemed more interested in continuing their year-round mobile museum that they trek to shows in hopes of retail buyers.

Retail asking prices are just fine for coins that are deserving, but most of the coins that were on the bourse floor were the ones that nobody wants.  They are common coins, over graded, cleaned, damaged etc.  Some of the seemingly derogatory descriptions mentioned are okay for coins since I believe that there is a buyer for every item, but the prices being asked for such material at the show were outside of most budgets.

Show attendees appeared to make little noise on the bourse floor on Thursday and Friday.  From my estimates between 125 and 150 collectors and part-time dealers were lined up outside of the convention hall doors right before ten o’clock Thursday morning, May 9.  Is that a lot?  I didn’t think so.

With dealer setup held on Wednesday afternoon, some dealers had left the show for home by Friday afternoon.  In regard to future ANA shows, Dave Harper wrote that the ANA voted to discontinue the Autumn ANA show schedule starting as soon as 2013.  He thinks that the Spring show could follow suit.

Is this termination of Fall ANA shows a big surprise?  Is the elimination a big loss?  There are so many national and regional shows across the country already and this show is not the first show to recently be eliminated, the longtime Santa Clara Coin Expo was recently discontinued in California.

Clearly, my analysis of last week’s show is subjective to my mind only.  If you went to the show, share your thoughts with me.  If you appreciated my debriefing of the show, please leave me a comment.  Thank you!

Shopping a Coin Around: Buyer and Seller

1 May


From the perspective of The Numismatic Enthusiast, Buyer: 

A young man (probably mid-twenties) walks into our store and asks what we would pay for his liberty half eagle.  It’s a common date, I grade the coin ms61 or ms62 and I offer $385 at the time.  I can sell the coin raw for about $405, at the time, wholesale.  If we had a customer to sell it to, which we didn’t, we could have made maybe $30 instead of $20.  The thing is nobody ever comes into the store asking for a BU or CU quality liberty half eagle.  For one thing, the Indian fives are way more popular and nowadays many customers ask for the coin to be PCGS or NGC certified, even for a common bullion type coin like this. 

The customer tells me I can get more for this item at another shop down the street.  That may be, but let’s say he is offered the same exact price ($385) down the street, what is the chance that he will actually take the time to walk or drive back down to us to sell the half eagle for the same price that I just offered??  My guess is he will just sell the coin in the place where he received the most recent offer and not waste any more of his time, that’s rational. 

Maybe it is best to make the second or third offer.  On an item like this, does the twenty dollars make a difference?  You decide.  Should I get upset?  No, I should, however, reevaluate the situation and try a different approach next time.  The seller/shopper of an item should, however, try to be clear in their intentions saying something like, “Good afternoon, I am shopping around for offers on this coin or collectible and would like to see what you would pay for this,” something like that. 

At this time, the potential buyer can then make a judgment of whether the item is worth making an offer on or whether there can possibly be another nontraditional manner in which to handle the situation.  Example, “May I make the second offer?…Would you go ahead and get some other offers and come back to see me last?  I’ll make the last offer<– Nobody ever said that business was pretty.  Many dealers and collectors across an array of professional fields do this, it’s a common scenario.  As the potential buyer, you ask yourself the question: Play or pass? And what could be the repercussions of each?

I encourage you to share a moment with me that this post reminds you of.  Have a great day!


David Bozsik

The Numismatic Enthusiast

My 6 Best Value Morgan Dollars in AU

30 Apr


Designed by the Englishman George T. Morgan circa 1876, a great collectible United States silver coin was produced.  The entire Morgan Dollar series, from 1878 until 1921, is filled with very cool die varieties and many special better date coins

I chose the grade of almost uncirculated here because these pieces tend to have a lot of remaining mint luster while still having seen circulation by means of some of the great hands of our ancestors.  These combined attractions create an eye appealing and historically significant cool factor!


                The capped CC or the clear CC variety in AU is a good value in my opinion (appx. $1600). For a low end uncirculated example you would likely pay double and the lower XF grade would demand about a thousand bucks so why not pay a few hundred dollars more for the lustrous AU.  I really love this date in all grades but for our purpose we’ll stick with AU.


                This date can be found for about $250-$300 in AU.  Very easy to come across in XF and lower grades but AU examples get difficult, Uncirculated coins in this date get challenging if not plain scarce!


                Not much more expensive than an XF quality example (around$600) and not as expensive as an MS60 might cost.  If you can encounter an MS60, the coin would probably cost double that of an AU.


                This coin is the second lowest mintage year that was produced for the purpose of circulation.  Demanded in all grades, and an AU would probably only run $1800.  Worth mentioning, the 1893-s was the lowest production in the Morgan Dollar Series with an original mintage of 100,000.


                This coin is very hard to find in grades VF on up and it really holds great value in AU.  A nice, original, uncleaned specimen should cost less than $500.


                In my novice+ opinion, this coin in AU is just undervalued.  A nice example of this should only cost about $250.

There are definitely some other dates in the Morgan series that demand respect.  There are six figure valued Morgans and thirty dollar Morgans, but that’s not the point.  These are six of my best value Morgan Dollars in AU condition, but who am I?  Not an expert, only an enthusiast!!

Please leave me your thoughts.

6 Cheap Collectors Coins Found in Circulation Today

24 Apr

I have heard it said that in order to be a coin collector you have to have a lot of money.  I disagree with this; I believe that to be a good coin collector you need only to pay attention to detail and have a somewhat curious, detective type of mindset.  It is very easy to pull out cool collectible coins from circulation if you know what you are looking for.  Here are six coins that I know can be found in circulation today because I have found each type myself.

  1. 1.       Wheat cents: Abraham Lincoln has been on our nation’s cents since 1909, and all the way up until 1958 the reverse side of the Lincoln cents had a wheat stalk on the reverse side of the coin; most of these coins today have a minimum resale value of three cents per coin, some are definitely worth more.
  2. 2.       Copper Cents (pre 1982): In 1982, cents were struck in a copper alloy and a zinc alloy, thus 1982 serves as a transitional year for the elemental makeup of Lincoln cents.  The primarily zinc coins started in 1982 are what we make cents out of today.
  3. 3.       Silver War Nickels: From 1942 until 1945, nickels were made of 35% silver because the nickel was in high demand during World War II.  These coins are worth more than a dollar per coin today.
  4. 4.       Silver Dimes: Prior to 1965, dimes were made with 90% silver.
  5. 5.       Silver Quarters:  Washington quarters have been struck since 1932 and it wasn’t until 1999 did the reverse image change from the traditional bald eagle design in order to start the statehood quarter series.  From 1932 until 1964 the quarters were made of 90% silver.  In 1965, just like the dimes mentioned above, the United States Mint began to strike the coin in the modern day copper nickel alloy.
  6. 6.       Silver Half dollars:  These cool coins are rarely found in circulation anymore for a couple of reasons; one, because hardly anyone ever uses a half dollar as form of payment for anything in this country, and two, because the last half dollar struck in silver for the purpose of circulation was made in 1970. There are two types of silver half dollars. Prior to 1965, silver half dollars were struck in a 90% silver planchet just like the dime and quarters of the time.  From 1965 until 1970, silver half dollars were made in 40% silver.

Knowing the information about these coins can be a fun and inexpensive way to collect coins, or at least start to collect coins. Please let the information provided above be the spark of a numismatic enthusiast in you!

Evolution of Numismatics through Social Media

22 Apr

For many coin dealers, the internet is an efficient way for their businesses to scale their reach in advertising for usually low costs. There are many ways that this are currently practiced: mass emails to customers, sales tweets to Twitter followers, latest offer posts to friends of the business on Facebook and the list of “delete at first site” marketing messages goes on!  I know this because I receive the e-newsletters, subscribe to the blogs and get solicited to all day, every day from these guys (some take a break on the weekends).

Fortunately, the social media channels online today are much more than just a tool for smart business people to try and take advantage of.  Just as easy as it is for the content creators of “discount offers” and “brand new listings,” it is equally simple to click “delete” or “unsubscribe” when the flash messages and e-sales pitches become annoying.

Dealers, auction firms, grading services and the other goods/services providers are in business to make money, we all get that.  However, I believe that this is the decade that urges numismatic related organizations to become social businesses and mix their sales pitches with some informative, helpful publications.  Teach your audience something that they might not otherwise know, it will automatically help your trust and reliability factor.

There are already numis news sources, auction houses, dealers and grading services that have begun to catch on to this decade’s social trend.  They are implementing share buttons to relevant content and actually taking the time to share information with people and businesses that follow them and somewhat depend on them

People and businesses who only take information in without sharing may find themselves at a quick disadvantage to their competitors who are willing and able to converse with customers.  It may no longer be enough to have the best website design and the best quality inventory if you are not helping the collector move forward on their learning curve of numismatic education.

I believe that we should be doing a better job of being attentive to the changing needs of the social industry, me included.  I am the Numismatic Enthusiast, please write me with any comments that you have.  I would love to read what you have to say 🙂

Seated Liberty Quarters Recent Sale

21 Apr

In the recent Central States numismatic convention held in Schaumberg, Illinois, there were some key date seated liberty quarters that brought strong prices. 

Most notable was an 1852 P quarter graded PCGS 64 that brought more than $4500. This coin, same date and grade, had been selling for less than $4000 when available within the last couple of years.

An 1867 P seated liberty quarter graded PCGS xf40, a very tough date, brought better than $1800.

Surprisingly to me, a nice original representative of an 1867 S 25c graded PCGS f15, brought a little under $1300.  A similar coin in 2009 sold for $1610 in auction, same grade and same service.

Another healthy seated liberty quarter increase was seen, however, with an 1869 P graded PCGS vf25 that sold for $1265.  This coin is irregularly encountered, comes from an original circulation issue mintage of 16,000 and should always be considered as a purchase when encountered.

These better than average price results for the seated quarter series seem to be good for the niche market within the industry.  Let me know what you think!