Archive | April, 2012

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!

Buy Low Sell High

17 Apr


I know this may sound like common sense but what comes across as common sense is not always common practice.  It is very important to have the most up-to-date pricing references (some special items make this preparation very difficult) on whatever coin, token or other sweet collectible/antique you are negotiating to buy.

It is up to you to decide how much money you want to make on a deal.  It is also up to you to decide how much money you can lose on a deal.  Once your upside and downside risks and rewards have been calculated, it is time to negotiate. 

The person across from you is not your friend but they are a business acquaintance and should be treated respectfully.  They may or may not be your friends personally outside of business but when you are in the moment of doing business with them, keep it that way.  Make sure that they understand that haggling and negotiation tactics are only business, they are not personal jabs in an attempt to make them upset. 

You want to pay the least possible price for your item; one of many strategies is to offer the least amount that you think that they will consider without getting upset with you.  If the price is too low, you can always move up with another offer.  If your price was accepted right away, you will always wonder if you could have paid less.

There are other buying strategies that you can use for maintaining certain suppliers or volume discount approaches. However, for now we are buying low and selling high; selling high will come later and involve asking the most for your items because if you never ask for a lot, it will never be offered to you and you will never get it.

I am not a negotiation and strategic genius or even a seasoned veteran but I have bought and sold coins and collectibles before I have seen what works and what does not. Every person is different too, never forget that.

I would love to hear about some of your negotiation experiences in buying low and selling high; send me an email or leave me a comment at the bottom of this post!

He who Hesitates Loses

15 Apr


When I was much younger, my dad told me that a person who hesitates is lost; in certain life-personal respects I disagree with this; a person who hesitates is simply weighing his options, the upside and the downside.  In regard to making a purchasing decision within the business that you should be very familiar with, I agree with this statement now more than before!

A little over a month ago there was a very early year in the series, rare date Seated Liberty Quarter up for sale in a private sale.  The coin was raw but would have likely graded VF30 at PCGS or NGC without a problem.  The only easily attainable auction results yielded a similar quality coin valued near $3750 two years prior with the finest known being XF45.

In this case, my dad’s words of wisdom proved to be right.  Unfortunately, I bid super conservatively on the coin thinking that is was raw and that not too many people at this little auction were going to pay more than $3000 for a raw seated silver quarter; boy was I wrong, the piece brought $3450.  I missed out on an opportunity to buy a very cool and super eye appealing, rare date coin that could have been a very nice addition to the business inventory because I hesitated to bid aggressively enough.

Don’t let a good coin slip away; don’t be afraid to pay a little too much for a rare coin with great eye appeal!  Write to me, I know this has happened to you, maybe more than once L

Never Care for a Coin in these Manners…

14 Apr

Never clean your coins.  Cleaning coins can diminish or take away all original age and patina decreasing the appeal and likely value of your coin.

Never store your coins in a damp or wet place.  Moisture can leave coins with environmental damage.

Never pick up a coin holding it with your fingers in direct contact with the obverse and reverse of the coin; always hold the coin by the third side, the edge or rim.

Never store your coins in a plastic that is susceptible to sweating.  Polyvinyl Chloride PVC plastic flips are not recommended for long-term storage. 

Never keep your higher grade coins under direct sunlight.  The coins, especially silver, can tarnish in unwanted ways.

Above are some of my recommendations to you for best practice measures for taking care of your coins to ensure a longer lasting preservation of your rare coins. More in regard to cleaning, some people clean their coins lightly to remove dirt or grease, among other things, because they think that they are making their coins look nicer; most of those people also don’t know what they’re doing and they know even less about coin preservation so I recommend to you to just refrain from cleaning your gems.

Keep your historical treasures looking their best and feel free to leave a comment or question for me about your coin care.