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In an exclusive partnership, David Lisot of and Scott Purvis of CoinLink have merging to create a new website called

The NEW site will offer the same great online rare coin news covering all areas of the numismatic hobby, but we will be adding New Video content with industry leaders and prominent collectors featured in VIDEO segments, interviews and articles contributed by numismatic experts.

Major sections of the site include:

Coverage will highlight all the major coin conventions including auctions and market reports with a focus on delivering the most current and unbiased information for both new and advanced collectors.

We are in the process of converting over the 6000+ existing articles presently offered on CoinLink, and until this is completed, CoinLnk Will Remain On-line for archival purposes.

ALL NEW Articles and News will now appear on CoinWeek

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We also have a NEW Events Calendar which will be listing virtually ALL rare coin shows and Auctions worldwide.

Finally we are most proud to offer the CoinWeek Video Library. This is a subscription based Video Archive which will draw from over 1000 video titles produced by David Lisot of Coin Television.

Presently we have over 100 hours of video content, and we will be adding in 40-50 hours of NEW content each month

For the past 25 years, David has been producing numismatic Video content of Seminars, Presentation and educational material, and the New CoinWeek Video Library will be presenting this unique and important content to our subscribers.

Content includes Interviews with historic numismatic figures such as Walter Breen, Aubrey Bebee, Q David Bowers and Eric Newman, along with the best educational presentation ever produced. This material is NOT Available anywhere else on the web, and will be a major resource for collectors of all interests.

We invite you to Visit our New site, send us comments and become part of the largest and most comprehensive online rare coin news and resource site.

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Fun Has Begun

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #34

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

While the Summer ANA Convention includes a wide variety of items of interest to collectors of U.S. coins, paper money, tokens and medals, plus some coins of the world, the Winter FUN Convention is the leading event of the year in the field of rare U.S. coins. Today’s discussion will be a little shorter than usual as I am busy in Tampa viewing coins, witnessing events and gathering information during FUN week. Yes, the winter FUN Convention formally begins on Thursday, at the Tampa Convention center. Coin related events, however, have already occurred.

I. B&M Pre-FUN Auction

I attended the Bowers & Merena pre-FUN auction on Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which is near the Tampa Airport. In last week’s column, I discussed the fact that Bowers & Merena and Stack’s are in the process of merging. The new Stack’s-Bowers president, Chris Napolitano, was in attendance. It was made clear that QDB and Chris Karstedt would continue to play roles in Stack’s-Bowers. Brad Karoleff, the longtime auctioneer for B&M, and Melissa Karstedt, an auctioneer at Stack’s, served as auctioneers during Tuesday night. Unfortunately, as this auction did not finish until well into Tuesday night, there was not time for me to thoroughly analyze this event.

On Tuesday, the lot viewing room for the B&M auction was packed. There were, at times, people waiting for seats in a fairly large room on the main floor of a very large hotel. My sources tell me that lot viewing attendance was excellent on Sunday and Monday as well, and that there were many collectors and dealers viewing at Heritage’s lot viewing room at the Tampa Convention center on Monday and Tuesday. So far, there seems to be even more interest in the FUN auctions than there was last year. It is too early, however, to draw a conclusion on the topic of collector interest in FUN week auctions.

In my column of Dec. 8, I raised the topic of FUN auctions, and I then provided explanations as to the general importance of January FUN auctions. My column of Dec. 8 is primarily about Jim O’Neal’s landmark set of Indian Head Half Eagles ($5 gold coins) and I remind readers that I wrote a two part series on O’Neal’s Eagles ($10 gold coins) in 2009. Please also read my article about the Jan. 7, 2010 Platinum Night event. (As usual, clickable links are in blue.)

In my column of Dec. 22, I focused upon the Henry Miller collection, the core of which Heritage will auction on Thursday, during Platinum Night. On Dec. 15, I wrote about the Malibu set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters. The collector known as ‘Malibu’ also consigned Proof Liberty Seated halves and silver dollars to Tuesday night’s event, plus a few other coins. As I earlier suggested, his set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters is far more spectacular than his respective sets of halves and dollars. I was delighted to finally have the opportunity to view all of his Liberty Seated Quarters, Half Dollars and Dollars. Continued

PMG Announces Second-Generation Holder

The next generation  PMG label and holder is scheduled for release on Jan. 3, 2011.

PMG will begin use of a new generation holder on January 3, 2011. All notes encapsulated after that date by PMG will automatically be placed in the new holder. Additionally, the new holder will be used for on-site grading during the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) convention in January. This holder marks the first design iteration of the PMG holder since the company launched in 2005. The second-generation PMG holder is made from the same high-quality inert materials and is very similar in shape and overall aesthetics; however, it features new, highly sophisticated anti-counterfeiting and tampering-prevention technologies.

While PMG has not had any reported instances of holder tampering or counterfeiting, the company’s mandate requires periodic reviews of the security of its products. PMG was able to take advantage of advances and technologies used by other Certified Collectibles Group companies, including NGC, in their own certification holders. Ultimately, the holder was upgraded to maintain PMG’s leadership role and the strong preference for its certification holder among currency collectors.

“Our newest label and holder fully satisfies PMG’s combined objectives of exceptional visual display, security and long-term preservation,” comments PMG Grader Richard Stelzer.

Some of the changes will be almost invisible. For example, the label in the second-generation PMG holder includes a conservation-grade UV fiber paper, as did the previous version, but also includes a new UV watermark. These features are not visible under normal light, but when viewed under ultraviolet light these features help confirm the authenticity of PMG product.

Additionally, spot metallic-foil and holographic patterns have been added to the label design and borders. A state-of-the-art hologram is also now fused directly to the label paper. All of these features combine to make the PMG label virtually impossible to reproduce.

The outside holder itself has also undergone important changes. The holder’s sealed edges now include an embossed pattern. The custom design relies on a unique safe-sealing method pioneered by Certified Collectibles Group. The complex repeating texture includes the PMG logo and other elements within the seal that also confirm the quality and thoroughness of the holder seal.

For more information or to have your notes encapsulated in the newest PMG holder, contact PMG customer service at 1-877-PMG-5570 or [email protected]

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Ten Leading Topics of 2010

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #33

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

This is my last column of the year 2010. It seems appropriate to list the ten leading topics of the year, starting with number ten.

Please note that I am referring to news relating to rare U.S. coins, not to coins actually minted in 2010 or to coins minted in recent years. In addition to often discussing rarities, I have written, and will write more, about classic coins that are not rare. Please see my two part series on why 1933/34 is the clear dividing line between classic and modern U.S. coins (part 1part 2), and my column on advice for beginning and intermediate collectors. I have recently written about modern coins as well. (As always, clickable links are in blue.)

X. The Fate of 1933 $20 gold coins

For decades, the U.S. Treasury Department has maintained that it is not legal for individuals to possess 1933 Double Eagles. Indeed, the Federal Government has allocated considerable funds to chase and seize 1933 Double Eagles ($20 gold coins).

In 2002, Stephen Fenton, who owned a 1933 Double Eagle, and the U.S. Treasury reached a settlement that stipulated that the Fenton 1933 Double Eagle be sold at auction and the proceeds, after the auction house’s commission, be split between Fenton and the U.S. Treasury Department, which granted title to the successful bidder. Sotheby’s, in partnership with Stack’s, auctioned the Fenton 1933 Double Eagle for $7.59 million on July 30, 2002. This result remains the auction record for a coin.

The Switt-Langbord family acknowledges inheriting ten 1933 Double Eagles. The U.S. Treasury Department and the Langbord family are currently involved in litigation over the title to these ten 1933 Double Eagles.

Although the Langbord case could have been more of a non-story than a story in 2010, as not much happened in Federal Court, it was discussed at length by innumerable collectors and received much attention in the media. Importantly, researcher Roger Burdette announced in 2010 that he unearthed government documents that demonstrate that the “first 1933 Double Eagles were struck March 2nd, during the Hoover administration.” Before Burdette’s recent find, the “assumed date was March 15 or shortly before, since that was the initial delivery date.” Moreover, Burdette discovered that the Mint Cashier was provided with forty-three 1933 Double Eagles on March 4 and these “balanced” the accounting of the production of 1932 Double Eagles as some 1932 Double Eagles were earlier found to be defective.

So, in my (this writer’s) view, some or all of these 1933 Double Eagles that were counted, for bookkeeping purposes, as 1932 Double Eagles could certainly have been traded to collectors and dealers. Documents discovered by Burdette support the argument that collectors may have legally traded earlier dated Double Eagles for 1933 Double Eagles before President Roosevelt ordered the Treasury Department to stop ‘paying out’ gold coins. Continued

More News at a Glance – December 28, 2010

Cents of 1794-1795 Reflect Changes

Those collectors who specialize in the early copper cents often have a soft place in their hearts for coins dated 1794 and, to a lesser extent, 1795. The cents of 1794 in particular have been studied with great care by researchers for 150 years yet new information still comes our way from time to time. The years 1794 and 1795 were an era of great change in the copper coinage, perhaps more so than at any other time in the history of the old large cents.
[ Read Full Article]

‘One of world’s largest gold coins’ estimated at $600,000 at Heritage
Paul Fraser Collectibles
It was struck for the first Olympic Games in China with ancient stone carving techniques. Heritage Auctions’ World & Ancient Coins sale on January 3-4 is billed as being its “largest” World Coin auction to date – and one of the most hotly anticipated lots in the auction is also one of the largest gold coins in the world.
[ Read Full Article]

2011 Platinum Eagle Design Candidates Reviewed by CFA
Coin Update News
The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) has recently reviewed the design candidates for the 2011 Proof Platinum Eagle. This coin will feature the concept “To Insure Domestic Tranquility.” The collector version of the American Platinum Eagle is in the middle of a six year design series exploring the core concepts of American Democracy. Each concept is presented on the reverse design of the coin, while the obverse of each coin features an image of the Statue of Liberty designed by John Mercanti.
[ Read Full Article]

Counterfeit Detection: 1914-D Buffalo Nickel
Unscrupulous people have made counterfeit and altered coins to fool collectors since time immemorial. These fakes were almost always key or semi-key dates, and collectors knew to exercise additional caution with coins such as the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent or the 1916-D Mercury Dime. Common date gold coins were also copied, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, because of their intrinsic value. Coins with little collector value were generally ignored by counterfeiters because there was not a lot to gain.
[ Read Full Article]

2011 Annual Sets Release Dates

Mint News Blog
The release dates are now available for the United States Mint’s 2011 Proof Set, 2011 Mint Set, and 2011 Silver Proof Set. The Mint had previously announced that these products would be available earlier in the year due to collector feedback. The 2011 Proof Set containing 14 different proof coins struck at the San Francisco Mint will be released on January 11, 2011. The 2011 Silver Proof Set, containing 90% silver versions of the proof dime, quarters, and half dollar, along with the remaining coins in standard compositions will be released on January 25, 2011.
[ Read Full Article]

Public waits for 5 oz coins

Numismatic News
People who want to buy the new 5-ounce America the Beautiful silver bullion coin are caught up in a circle of supply and demand. The demand is there, but the supply of coins is limited and the normal distribution channels are clogged. Only 33,000 of each of the five designs were minted, far short of the 100,000 mintage originally planned. “That’s really a big problem,” said Lee Crane of L&C Coins. “I think the Mint didn’t read the market really well. They are creating rarity by the number they are minting. If they wanted everyone to get one, they should have minted more.”
[ Read Full Article]


Hot Topics by Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

Consolidation in reverse! I expected a few firms to fold and smaller dealers to shut. Out of the blue comes the mega merger of Stacks and Bowers and Merena. I was not so shocked because for the last 3 years it had been no secret I tried to talk the owners into selling Stacks to Legend. The apparent loss would have been too great and doing a deal this way, they get a shot at some stock that could go up. Regardless, I feel it was a tragic end to once powerful and glamorus dealership.

It is my strong opinion, in this mergers case, bigger is NOT better for the coin market. Why? We already have one mega monster firm who obviously has reached their limits-Heritage. They know they can’t expand any more with in coins, so they did the smartest thing, branched out into other areas. I give them tons of credit for that because it seems as they grow, they do not forget their roots and promote coins to this new crowd.

To satisfy two large auction companies with huge staffs, where are all the coins going to come from? These firms need expensive coins to generate large fees. If these firms on their own were not getting much prior, where are the coins going to come from after the merger? Think about how big each firms overheads are. Will fees rise? Will coin values artifically inflate because of excessive tiny demand with each auction?

This new mega merger concerns me. My goal in going after Stacks was not to make it bigger-just better. In my opinion, the potential of Stacks combining with Legend was huge. I believe it would have greatly benefited collectors. I do admit, I was nervous about where the consignments would come from, but Legend has sold OVER $600,000,000.00 RETAIL so we have some contacts. I have always viewed owning an auction company as a natural extension for us and our customers. Unfortunately, I do not have the time or energy to try again to enter the auction field from scratch. I saw the demise of Stacks as inevitable. I would have loved to have fixed it. It is frustrating to me ownership decided to end the misery this way. When I was told about it I was angry for one second and have moved on. Now I just wonder if bigger is really better? And how will it effect the marketplace?

I do wish The B+M team good luck in their merger. Greg Roberts, CEO of Spectrum is one of the sharpest executives in this business.


My prediction is that FUN will be a good show. Out of the clear blue, collectors were buying strong in December-a time when they normally fade away. Yet again, only supply was the problem. So if nothing else, dealers will need to replenish at FUN.

Gold coins are still screaming crazy hot. Prices are NOT moving up, but collectors do want them. We think 2011 will be the tell tale year for gold. It will be interesting to say the least. Continued

Dr. Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins on display at NYINC

Heritage Auctions has announced that we will be auctioning The Dr. Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins, the most important collection of its kind, from one of the most famous Asian numismatic experts to have lived. This collection will be featured in our September 2011 Long Beach Signature Auction.

The groups of coins from both nations individually represent possibly the most complete sets of Japanese and Korean coins and currency ever assembled, and most likely the most important numismatic offerings of both countries in the last half century.

Collectors will not have to wait 10 months to get a look at these amazing coins, however, as highlights will be on display at the New York International Numismatic Convention, at the Waldorf-Astoria, Jan. 6-9, 2011, in conjunction with our New York Signature World and Ancient Coin Auction. This appearance will be the beginning of a “world tour” for the coins, as they visit the Chicago International Coin Fair, April 13-16, 2011, heading to Tokyo in May and coming home for the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, Aug. 15-21, 2011.

“Collections such as Dr. Jacobs’ is what we live for here at Heritage,” said Cris Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “Handling the incredible Asian rarities that Dr. Jacobs dedicated his numismatic life to is a great honor to us. The World Coin department at Heritage, along with our entire company, will be working hard to produce a catalog and an auction that match the fantastic accomplishments of Dr. Jacobs in Korean and Japanese numismatics. The next 10 months are going to be a great ride.”

In 1953, Dr. Jacobs (along with Cornelius Vermeule) wrote the first English language book on Japanese numismatics that covered both ancient and modern coins. It was also the first publication (in any language) to catalog Japanese coins by date and type. That book opened up the world of Japanese (and modern Korean) coinage to western collectors.

The principle highlight of the auction comes from the Korean collection: a unique set of 1909 Korean gold in 5, 10 and 20 Won denominations — the only other set in existence is in the collection of the Bank of Japan.

“The vast majority of these coins, and the core of the collections, were purchased in the 1940s and 1950s,” said Bierrenbach, “during Dr. Jacobs’ time in Asia. He also added significantly to his collection when he worked with Robert Friedberg at Capital Coin of New York in the 1950s. So the vast majority of the ultra rarities have been in his collection for 50+ years.”

Bowers and Merena Auctions and Stacks Announce Merger


Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SPGZ.PK) announced today that its subsidiary Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s pre-eminent auctioneers of rare coins and currency, has entered into an agreement with Stack’s, the oldest rare coin retail and auction company in the U.S., to combine their operations.

The new company, which will be known as Stack’s-Bowers Numismatics, with a world coin division to be known as Stack’s-Bowers and Ponterio, will be owned 51% by Bowers and Merena Auctions and 49% by Stack’s. The closing, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions, is expected to take place in early 2011.

Greg Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Spectrum Group (SGI), commented, “We believe that this combination, once consummated, will create a major player in the coin industry. Stack’s had over $65 million in aggregate sales in 2010 and between them, the two companies have handled many of the significant coin collections that have sold at public auction, including the Eliasberg Sales, the Norweb Sales and the Ford Collections.”

Bowers and Merena Auctions president Chris Napolitano, who will serve as president of the combined company, said, “I am honored and excited to lead this new venture, which combines two of the leading names in our industry. We consider Stack’s to be the crown jewel of coin auction houses and with this partnership, we have assembled a numismatic team that we believe to be unequaled in the industry. We look forward to continuing and expanding Stack’s auction and retail locations in mid-town Manhattan, which serve not only the greater New York metropolitan area but also the entire east coast.”

Added Mr. Roberts, “A significant factor for SGI in pursuing this merger was the opportunity to partner with Charles, Joel and Harold Anderson and the rest of the Anderson family, who own a controlling interest in Stacks. For years I have enjoyed a strong personal and professional relationship with the Andersons and now look forward to a long-lasting association with the family through Stack’s-Bowers Numismatics. We intend to continue the long tradition that the Stack family developed over many decades in New York. For years it has been a goal of ours to have a presence in NYC. With this partnership, we will achieve that goal at one of the most famous and prestigious addresses in the numismatics industry: 123 West 57th Street, New York, New York.”

Joel Anderson commented, “We are looking forward with great enthusiasm to the successful combination of these two fine companies. Both have rich histories of service with integrity to the numismatic community and together their combined resources and talents will bring new levels of service and value to the numismatic market. In addition, Charles, Harold and I have assembled some nice collections and we are pleased that Stack’s-Bowers Numismatics will be there for us when the time comes to sell.” Continued

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Henry Miller Collection

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #32

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. FUN Auctions

Two weeks ago, I wrote about Jim O’Neal’s set of Indian Head Half Eagles ($5 gold coins), which will be auctioned during the Jan. 6, 2011 FUN Platinum Night auction in Tampa. During the FUN Convention, Heritage will auction a wide variety of items, including the Henry Miller collection. Miller specialized in Proof gold coins and many of his coins will also be sold during this Platinum Night event. He also had business strikes. The topic here is the Henry Miller collection.

To attain some understanding of FUN Platinum Night events, please see my column two weeks ago and my articles concerning coins auctioned in Jan. 2009 and 2010: The Jan. 2010 Platinum Night, $3,737,500 for a nickel, the O’Neal Collection of Indian Head Eagles, and Jay Brahin’s $20 gold coins.

II. Henry Miller

Henry Miller collected coins for decades before passing in 2009. He lived and worked in New York City. Miller collected Proof Liberty Head Double Eagles ‘by date’ and gold coins from many other series mostly ‘by type.’ Though Miller had a few pre-1834 Half Eagles and some early 20th century gold coins, he generally focused on U.S. gold coins of the second half of the 19th century. Additionally, he had an accumulation of ‘not rare date’ Liberty Head and Saint Gaudens Double Eagles. Also, Miller had a complete 1887 Proof Set, copper, nickel, silver and gold, which Eric Streiner regards as “a fantastic set.”

Eric Streiner remembers Miller’s coins though he has not seen any of them for more than a dozen years. Streiner “knew the guy quite well. Miller really liked his coins. He spent a lot of time looking at his coins,” Streiner recounts. Eric emphasizes that Miller was an enthusiastic collector.

Eric reports that “Miller bought most of his coins in the 1970s from dealers in the New York area, many from Stack’s. He bought some at auction, but mostly he bought coins privately,” Streiner says. “He bought a few coins in the mid 1990s,” Eric adds.

Streiner relates that, “in the late 1980s or early 1990s,” Eric arranged for Miller’s coins to be submitted to the NGC for grading and encapsulation. Streiner remembers that Miller contacted him through Stack’s. At the time, Eric was a very young dealer who had a reputation as a grading wizard. I (this writer) heard many stories, some clearly verifiable, of Eric spotting coins that were undergraded, or not clearly graded, by other coin dealers.

John Albanese recollects that, “a long time ago, probably in the late 1980s, [he] had lunch at a seafood restaurant with Eric Streiner and Henry Miller, who was a really nice guy.” Albanese is glad to have had the opportunity to view Miller’s Proofs again. Recently, Heritage sent many of Miller’s Proof coins to the CAC.

John Albanese was the sole founder of the NGC in 1987. Mark Salzberg, the largest current shareholder in the NGC, joined Albanese as a partner in 1988. Ten years later, Albanese sold his shares in the NGC to Salzberg. In 2007, John founded the CAC, which evaluates the quality of coins that are already graded and encapsulated by the PCGS or the NGC. Submitted coins may be approved or rejected. Approved coins receive a CAC sticker.

Both Albanese and Streiner were very impressed by the quality of Miller’s coins. Streiner, “even around twenty years later,” recalls Miller’s coins “as great pieces, nice original stuff, mostly gem, definitely good eye appeal.” Indeed, John and Eric separately emphasized that Miller’s Proof gold coins tend to be “original,” meaning that these have never been dipped, substantially cleaned, or doctored.

Though Streiner “hates to say it,” Eric is concerned that “some of these coins might lose their original surfaces, after the auction”! Some dealers will dip or doctor them in efforts to get higher grades assigned. Continued

Odyssey Marine Exploration Comments on WikiLeaks Information

“Black Swan” and HMS Sussex projects named in Government Communications

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX) a pioneer in the field of deep ocean exploration, was named in several U.S. State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and furnished to the media worldwide. Some of the released cables suggest that the State Department offered special assistance in the “Black Swan” case to Spanish officials in exchange for assistance in acquiring a French painting confiscated by the Nazis during World War II and now controlled by Spain.

The cables indicate that the U.S. Government also provided confidential documentation on Odyssey to Spain.

Other State Department cables contradict Spain’s claims and support Odyssey’s previously stated version of events relating to the company’s activities in Spain, including the HMS Sussex project and the boarding of Odyssey’s vessels.

“While we are obviously concerned about these implications regarding the ‘Black Swan’ case, we are attempting to obtain additional information before taking any specific actions. I have personally sent a letter to the Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, requesting additional information and a review of the position taken by the U.S. in the ‘Black Swan’ legal case,” stated Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO. “The possibility that someone in the U.S. Government came up with this perfidious offer to sacrifice Odyssey, its thousands of shareholders, and the many jobs created by the company in exchange for the return of one painting to one individual is hard to believe. The WikiLeaks cables clearly show that we have worked cooperatively and transparently with both Spain and the State Department for many years, in spite of claims to the contrary. That fact makes the revelations all the more disappointing. The cables also make us wonder what other agreements may have taken place between U.S. Government officials and Spain regarding the amicus brief filed in support of Spain’s position in the ‘Black Swan’ case.”

“We’ve wondered why the United States changed its long standing position on sovereign immunity, which prior to this case was consistent with U.S. law, international law and U.S. naval regulations that in order for a foreign country’s ships and cargo to be immune from the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts they must be engaged in military, non-commercial activities,” stated Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey Vice President and General Counsel. “These released cables do call into question the motivation behind the amicus brief filed by the Executive Branch supporting Spain in the ‘Black Swan’ case.”

Additional cables released support Odyssey’s statements that, contrary to allegations of certain Spanish officials, the company always cooperated with the Spanish Government and that permits from the Spanish government were granted for work on the HMS Sussex project. The cables also demonstrate the obstructionist activities carried out by certain Spanish officials who had personal reasons for trying to prevent Odyssey from working on the Sussex. These obstructions took place even though Odyssey has an exclusive contract for the archaeological excavation of this UK sovereign immune warship (which was on a strictly military mission when it sank in 1694 off the coast of Gibraltar). Odyssey filed an affidavit in 2007 with a chronology of Odyssey’s interactions with the Spanish Government since 1998. It can be accessed at The document contains entries that are corroborated by information in the State Department cables, which directly contradict claims by some Spanish officials and the Spanish media. Continued

US Mint Director Edmund Moy Resigns

Director of the United States Mint Edmund C. Moy announced today that he has submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama, effective January 9, 2011.

Mr Moy reportedly will depart for a private-sector job, however the Mint didn’t disclose Mr. Moy’s new position and a spokesman didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking more information.

Moy was sworn in as 38th Director of the United States Mint in September 2006 after being appointed by President George W. Bush for a five-year term. Prior to assuming his duties as Director of the Mint, Moy was a Special Assistant to President Bush for Presidential Personnel.

In his remarks to all Mint employees about his departure, Moy praised their performance during his tenure. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over four and a half years. The Mint is a better place and delivering more value to the American taxpayers. The foundation has been rebuilt and the work is now in your capable hands,” he said. “Please know that I will always remember my being Director of the United States Mint as a special time in my life.”

In comments to the Wall Street Journal, David Ganz, a former president of the American Numismatic Association said: “What is surprising is how long he has lasted into the Obama administration. If you look back 50 years, there’s no Mint director that has served a full term when there has been a change of administration.”

Mr. Ganz said Mr. Moy has long had an interest in coins.

“The most fascinating thing about Director Moy is that as a kid he worked in his parent’s Chinese restaurant and as a cashier he used to go through the cash draw every night and pick out coins for his coin collection,” said Mr. Ganz.

Prior to his public service in the White House and Mint, Moy spent eight years working with venture capital firms and entrepreneurs. From 1989 to 1993, he served President George H. W. Bush as a political appointee at the federal Health Care Financing Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has also served as a sales and marketing executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.

Moy graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1979 with a triple major in economics, international relations and political science. He and his wife Karen have a daughter, Nora.

Malibu Collection Part II Anchors Bowers and Merena’s January 2011 Rarities Sale

Nearly 1,700 lots to cross the auction block in Tampa, FL immediately prior to  FUN

Bowers and Merena, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency, will conduct the January Rarities Sale as its first event of 2011. The single-session sale on Jan. 4 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay will offer nearly 1,700 lots of rare and desirable United State and Colonial-era coinage.

“It is and honor and thrill to start my career with Bowers and Merena with such an important sale,” said Chris Napolitano, President of Bowers and Merena. “Our January 2011 Rarities Sale will be presenting a wide selection of United States, Colonial and Territorial coins which range from affordable collector coins to world-renowned absolute and condition pieces.”

Headlining the sale is Part II of the Malibu Collection. “The first part of this impressive Malibu Collection helped propel our Official Auction of the November Whitman Coin & Collectible Baltimore Expo to the forefront among numismatic events of 2010. Part II promises the same rarity, quality and eye appeal that we have come to expect from the collection,” said Napolitano.

Highlights from the Malibu Collection include lot 855, one of the finest-known 1866 Motto Seated Dollars in PCGS Secure Proof-66 Deep Cameo, as well as lot 594, an important strike and condition rarity 1918-S Standing Liberty Quarter certified MS-67 Full Head by NGC with a combined pop of just 2/0 by PCGS and NGC.

“From U.S. minors to patterns, bidders will also enjoy Part II of the G. Edward Reahl, Jr. M.D. Collection and the Abingdon Collection,” said Napolitano.

Additional highlights in the sale include:

* Lot 48, 1883 Hawaii Eighth Dollar, Proof-62 Cameo (PCGS), Secure Holder
* Lot 59, Undated (Circa 1616) Sommer Islands Twopence, BMA Type I, Small Star Below Hog, AG-3 (PCGS)
* Lot 73, 1776 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Pewter, MS-63 (NGC)
* Lot 302, 1924-S Buffalo Nickel, MS-66 (NGC)
* Lot 304, 1925-D Buffalo Nickel, MS-66 (PCGS), Secure Holder Continued

Coin Profiles: Unique 1834 Original Half Dollar O-104, Ex: Brand, Norweb

1834 Capped Bust Half Dollar PR65 NGC. O-104, Unique as a Proof.

Only a few proof 1834 half dollars are known, mostly restrikes from the dies used to produce the Crushed Lettered Edge coins. In the catalog of the George “Buddy” Byers Collection (Stack’s, 10/2006), the cataloger enumerated these Overton varieties used to produce the Crushed Lettered Edge restrikes, of which at least 10 pieces survive in all: O-101, O-103, O-104, O-106, O-114, and O-122.

The cataloger also included five Overton varieties known for the 1834 proof half dollars, each unique original coins, that were not CLE restrikes. Those varieties include: O-101 (Large Date, Large Letters, ex: Floyd Starr), O-103 (Large Date, Large Letters; in the King of Siam set), O-104 (the present piece, from the Norweb Collection), O-106 (Large Date, Small Letters; the Byers coin), and O-114 (Small Date, Small Letters; Bowers and Merena, 8/1991, lot 2268). Each one of those unique proof original half dollars is much, much rarer than the 1834 Crushed Lettered Edge restrikes.

The present coin is one of those original pieces, unique as far as we can determine. The catalogers in the Norweb Collection sale described it in this way:

“1834 O-104. Large Date, Small Letters. Proof-64/65. A glittering gem specimen with full Proof surface on all areas, including within the shield stripes on the reverse. This piece is breathtakingly beautiful and is toned a delicate blend of muted rainbow colors, ranging from magenta at the center, to electric and gunmetal blue, to gold at the borders.

“Perhaps unique as a die variety; Walter Breen did not know of other examples, but he was aware of this one, as he participated in the sale of it to Mrs. Norweb. “Here is a superb gem coin, a half dollar for the ages.”

Technical Description: Large Date, Small Letters. The 4 in the date is tall and recut, with the 18 wider than 834. The 4 is higher. The Overton reference describes the date “with an open 3 and extra tall tapered 1” a half-millimeter from the drapery, “the closest of any large date 1834.” On the reverse the top of the C in the denomination is close to the olive stem. The I is centered left of the crossbar of the T. This die lacks the die lump normally seen on business strikes under TE, providing evidence that this proof was struck first. The thin left stand of the M is joined at its base to the center stand. Continued

Historic proof sets and ‘Stella’ pattern coins present momentous opportunities for collectors at FUN

1834 and 1846 proof sets from private collection released as part of Heritage’s Jan. 6 FUN Platinum Night offerings in Tampa, FL

Two rare early proof sets and a remarkable set of six pattern coins associated with the famous “Stella” coinage experiment are important collective highlights of Heritage’s Tampa FUN Platinum Night U.S. Coin Auction, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

“All three of these sets have remained intact from the time of issue,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “It’s amazing to be able to see an 1834 proof set all at once, or the three coins of an 1846 proof gold set, or a six-coin set of Stella patterns. We understand that many collectors are interested in particular coins rather than sets, so we’ve chosen to offer the pieces from these sets as individual lots. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, if a single buyer were to keep one of the sets together.”

The earliest set is an 1834 eight-piece proof set, half cent through half eagle, with grades ranging from PR63 to PR65 NGC. While this proof set does not include the denominations included in diplomatic presentation sets of that year – namely the legendary 1804-dated silver dollar and gold eagle – it does include eight denominations, all extremely rare: the half cent, large cent, half dime, dime, quarter, half dollar, quarter eagle, and half eagle.

“Perhaps four or five of these non-diplomatic sets were issued,” said Rohan. “All the rest were broken up long ago. Depending on who buys these coins, this may literally be the last chance for collectors to bid on one of the non-diplomatic sets while it’s still intact.”

The second set, smaller but just as important in its own fashion, is a three-piece gold proof set from 1846. It contains the three gold denominations struck that year, the quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle, and each coin is graded PR64 Cameo by NGC. The three-coin gold set was part of a larger 10-coin complete proof set that was last offered as part of the legendary John Jay Pittman Collection. The coins trace their origin all the way back to an 1892 sale by Ed Frossard.

“Today’s collectors have a chance to make these incredibly rare 1846 gold coins part of their collections,” said Rohan. “The half eagle, for example, is the only proof specimen not in a museum collection. We hope the winning bidders enjoy the same pride of ownership that Pittman displayed.”

Chronologically last, but of similarly momentous importance, is a set of five pattern pieces dated 1879 and 1880 and related to the famous proposed international trade coin, the four dollar or “Stella.” The first five coins, all very rare or extremely rare, were made of copper and later gilt. They grade PR62 to PR64 and include a Judd-1636 1879 Flowing Hair four dollar, a Judd-1639 1879 Coiled Hair four dollar, a Judd-1658 1880 Flowing Hair four dollar, a Judd-1661 1880 Coiled Hair four dollar, and the legendary Judd-1644 1879 quintuple stella – a trade-coin spin on the existing double eagle. Continued

Three Big Rarities Offered at FUN Auctions

By Steve Roach – First published in the Jan. 3, 2011, Special Edition of Coin World – Rare Coin Market Report

For the past few years, arguably the main annual event for the rare coin market has been the massive Heritage auctions at the Florida United Numismatists convention, a major coin show that will take place during the first week of the new year in Tampa Jan. 6 to 9.

The multiday auctions and the packed bourse floor at FUN set the tone of the market for at least the year’s early months, as dealers reposition their inventories, and collectors make their first buys of the year.

Some expensive coins were sold at the 2010 FUN Heritage auction, including $3,737,500 realized for one of finest known examples of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coin, tying the third-place record for the largest sum ever paid at auction for a single U.S. coin.

Two other million-dollar coins traded hands in the 2010 Heritage FUN auctions: a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle graded Mint State 66, which sold for $1,495,000, and an 1874 Dana Bickford gold $10 eagle pattern in Proof 65 deep cameo, which sold above expectations for $1,265,000.

In total, more than $36.5 million in coins traded hands at the 2010 Heritage official FUN coin auctions.

While the new year’s first auction lacks an obvious million-dollar superstar on the level of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent piece, three exceptional coins could prove dazzling.

Perhaps the most noteworthy is an 1852-O Coronet $20 double eagle graded MS-65. It is the finest known example of the date and the catalog description states that it is “quite likely the finest New Orleans twenty of any date.”

In 2009, a Specimen 63 1856-O Coronet double eagle realized $1,437,500. In addition, 1850 to 1866 New Orleans Mint double eagles enjoy a healthy popularity.

Since the offered 1852-O Coronet double eagle has been off the market for more than 30 years, it’s anyone’s guess as to what this grand condition rarity will bring.

Another New Orleans Mint gold coin may also soar – the finest collectible 1909-O Indian Head $5 half eagle, graded MS-66. The lot description counts 19 examples graded MS-64 to MS-66 and the issue is the key to the series. The offered example last sold publicly in May 1998 as part of the Thaine B. Price Collection for $374,000, where it was described by auctioneer David Akers as “the finest collectible example of the rarest issue in the entire series.” Continued

Ponterio & Associates Kicks-Off 2011 with the January N.Y.I.N.C. Auction

Sale features outstanding selection of Mexican and ancient coinage and Italian banknotes

Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, is pleased to present the January 2011 N.Y.I.N.C. Auction at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Jan. 7-8. The auction will feature 2,558 lots including Part I of the Len Novotny Collection of Mexican Coinage, the Michael Demling Collection of Ancient Coinage, David Ian Wright Collection of Italian Banknotes and a superb selection of Fussli specimens.

“After wrapping up our December Hong Kong auction with the Wa She Wong Collection, we are excited to offer another extremely diverse selection of ancient and world coins and paper money,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “Sure to be the center of attention, the 1854 Guatemala 8 Reales, lot 1036 and graded AU-55 by NGC, is perhaps the rarest crown-sized type coin for all of Latin America.”

Shortly after the production of this coin, the Republic of Guatemala adopted the decimal system and began producing coinage in Pesos and Centavo-equivalent denominations. This marks the coin as the first, last and only 8 Reales produced by the Republic of Guatemala.

Another anchor of the sale is lot 827, an extremely rare and important 1897 Anhwei Pattern Dollar, graded MS-62 by PCGS. “This particular specimen is clearly intended for special presentation purposes as it exhibits a bold, full-bodied strike with all special characters and sharp details,” said Ponterio.

Furthering the significance of the piece, the short-lived Anhwei mint only produced silver coinage for approximately two years before operations ceased and the mint was dismantled.

Additional coin and paper money highlights of the auction include:

· Lot 116, 1784/3 Mexico 8 Escudos, Key Charles III Proper Portrait, Choice Extremely Fine

· Lot 131, 1823 Mexico 8 Escudos, Hookneck Eagle, AU-55 (NGC)

· Lot 258, 1835 Belgium 40 Francs, MS-64 (NGC)

· Lot 357, 1850 Costa Rica ½ Onza, SP-61 (NGC), (Ex: Fredrick Mayer Collection)

· Lot 464, 1883 Honduras 10 Pesos, , AU-50 (NGC)

· Lot 549, 1926 Italy 50 Lire, MS-64 (NGC)

· Lot 550, 1926-R Italy 20 Lire, MS-65 (PCGS)

· Lot 2031, 264 B.C. Siculo-Punic Silver Dekadrachm, Time of First Punic War, Sicilian Mint, Choice Very Fine

· Lot 2536, 1892 Bank of Greece 100 Drachmai, P-45

· Lot 2611, 1913 Imperial Bank of Persia 2 Tomans, P-2, About Uncirculated, Consecutive pair

· Lot 2613, 1890-1923 Imperial Bank of Persia 1,000 Tomans Specimen, P-10s, Choice Uncirculated

The first day of the two-day auction will feature Part I of the Len Novontny Collection of Mexican Coinage and an array of world gold coins, world crowns and minors. The second day will host the Michael Demling Collection of Ancient Coinage, David Ian Wright Collection of Italian Banknotes, and ancient and world paper money including Fussli specimens. Lot viewing will be conducted before the sale at the Waldorf Astoria in the Morgan Suite, floor 18, Jan. 5-8. Continued

Medallic Art Company Announces New Web Site

The world-famous Medallic Art Company announced today a new web site, , designed to better display its 100+ years of minting excellence and to provide ready access for customers and art historians to numerous product categories, galleries, and historic slide presentations and custom minting information.

The new is intuitive, which lets a site visitor navigate with ease, letting visitors examine Medallic Art Company’s custom medals, institutional chains and maces, stock and collectible medals, specialty items, lapel pins, and spinning medals and plaques. The ten new galleries feature outstanding creations of renowned sculptors such as James Earle Fraser (the Buffalo Nickel), Victor David Brenner (the Lincoln cent), and Augustus Saint-Gaudens (the ‘double eagle” coin). Since its creation, great artists have always been affiliated with Medallic Art Company.

The new website also provides a fascinating look at the entire minting process from concept to finished medallion, underscoring the complexity and artistry demanded of the sculptors, artists, die-makers, and production specialists in the creation of a fine work of art. Highlighted for visitors is the complete film, “The Medal Maker.” First shown to the Society of Medalists in 1929, it features multi-award winning coin and medal designer, sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser in her famous New York Studio in 1929 creating the models for the Special Medal of Honor for the National Sculpture Society, America’s highest sculptural award. Every step of creation and production is shown, including sketching, preparing background plate, transferring the drawing and applying clay pellets to the model, foundry casting of the pattern, die making and striking the medal at Medallic Art Company. This exceptional movie is narrated by Elizabeth Jones, sculptor, and former United States Mint Chief Engraver, from her studio in Philadelphia.

About Medallic Art Company

Medallic Art Company was formed in 1903 by Henry Weil, a highly respected French sculptor living in New York City. Through the years, the company has reproduced bas relief work of some of the most famous 20th century American sculptors, as well as many of the important medals and awards in the United States, including the Pulitzer Prize, Congressional Medal of Honor, National Medal of Science, President’s Medal for Freedom, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the inaugural medals for 11 United States Presidents. Continued

NGC Certifies Historic Cache of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

These coins were part of a family’s possessions during World War II exile and remained together for more than 65 years.

NGC has certified a very interesting group of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles that have remained in the possession of a family since prior to World War II. When purchased in Europe last month, their unusual history was revealed to the buyer. During the turbulent period prior to World War II, these coins were a trove meant to sustain a family through the worst possible situation.

Just subsequent to the Nazi invasion of this family’s home country in 1940, each of these coins was sewn into the lining of a leather coat. With great risk, they were spirited out to a safe-haven neutral country, where they have been kept ever since.

According to the gold buyer, who relayed the history of these coins to NGC, the family in possession of the coins elected to sell them this year because gold had risen to record price levels. The group of 200 coins has been encapsulated with the pedigree WWII EXILE HOARD.

While other US gold coins come from caches with similar histories, several features contribute to the significance of this group. When they arrived at NGC, many of the coins still had bits of leather still adhering to the coins’ rims.

At the submitter’s request, professionals at Numismatic Conservation Services expertly removed the leather so that the coins would be eligible for certification. Their unconventional storage imparted a number of the coins with a delicate reddish patina that was left untouched during conservation.

Another unusual feature is the uniformly high grade of these coins. Each graded from MS 63 to MS 67, with seven coins achieving this highest grade and a greater number grading each MS 66 and MS 66+. All are dated 1924 and 1925, with over three-quarters being from the latter date.

More News at a Glance – December 17, 2010

‘First example’ of the 1882 Gold banknote sells with $500,000 estimate

Paul Fraser Collectibles
Limited to just 14,000, this note, appearing for sale for only the second time, is the star at Heritage. Heritage Auctions, the official auctioneer of the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show, will present a substantial number of rare and exceptional notes as part of its Signature Currency Auction. The sale is being held on January 6-10 in Tampa, Florida.
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Dealers Confused by New America the Beautiful Sale Rules
Numismatic News
Dealers say new rules imposed by the U.S. Mint on the sale of 5-ounce silver bullion coins are far from clear. “I think there is some question on exactly how those rules apply, and we don’t have answers to the questions,” said Michael Haynes, CEO of American Precious Metals Exchange, one of 11 companies authorized by the Mint to sell the new America the Beautiful coins. APMX has ordered 3,000 sets, the maximum allowed per distributor.
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Yoko Donates Gold Lennon Coin
A unique 22-karat gold version of the new John Lennon £5 coin of Alderney has been donated by Yoko Ono to Great Britain’s Alder Hey Hospital’s Imagine Appeal for auction next year to raise money. Ono is the widow of the famous Beatle songwriter/singer/musician. The coin is part of the British Royal Mint’s Great Britons series of £5 silver Alderney coins. Lennon was chosen to accompany in the series such luminaries of history as Winston Churchill by choice of the British public.
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Interview with the Central Bank of Ireland’s Coin Department Head of Marketing
Coin Update News
One of the most innovative sets of national coinage of its day (many would say they can still hold their own against some of the most innovative coinage concepts today) were the designs which came to be affectionately known as the “Barnyard” series. They are once again resurrected as Ireland issues the first of three coins in a new series of silver collector crowns. In 1926, a commission organized to decide the themes for circulation coins of the newly established Irish Free State came into being and was headed by the poet (and later Senator) W. B. Yeats.
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The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair Million Silver Dollar Exhibit

The E-Sylum
One of the many committees working on the 1962, six-month-long, Seattle World’s Fair, which would live on in the Space Needle and Monorail, was responsible for producing, promoting and selling souvenir medals for the exposition. The committee, with Northwest Historic Medals, was also charged with producing a venue for medal sales and was thus attracted to an advertisement for Behlen buildings. The committee also conceived of the display of a million silver dollars to attract medal purchasers and thus contacted Gerry Joseph, Behlen’s sales manager, to see if they might be interested in a package promotion.
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US Mint Sales: Silver Coin Products in Demand

Silver Coins Today
The United States Mint welcomed a newcomer to their America the Beautiful product portfolio. The five ounce 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins began with debut sales of 75,000 from Authorized Purchasers. That is 375,000 ounces of silver in a single day on their launch Friday.As for the other US Mint bullion product, demand for Silver Eagle bullion coins picked up compared to the first week of December. The .999 fine bullion Silver Eagles advanced 1,005,000 in the last seven days, which totals 1,422,000 in the first half of December. Annual sales rolled in at 34,312,500.
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Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Malibu Collection of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters, with information for beginning and intermediate collectors

News and Analysis of scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #31

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. The Malibu Collection

In Tampa, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, B&M will auction the second part of the Malibu Collection, among other consignments. The focus here is on Malibu’s collection of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters dating from 1863 to 1891.

This sale will occur almost exactly two months after B&M auctioned the first part of the Malibu Collection, in Baltimore. In my column of Nov. 17, I reviewed the sale of the Malibu set of Standing Liberty Quarters. On Nov. 4, B&M also auctioned Malibu’s business strike Liberty Seated Half Dollars and silver dollars. On Jan. 4, B&M will auction Malibu’s sets of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters, Proof Liberty Seated Half Dollars and Proof Liberty Seated Dollars, plus a few other coins from the Malibu collection, as well as a wide variety of items from other consignors.

This Jan. 4 auction will be conducted just prior to the FUN Convention. Please see last week’s column for a discussion of FUN Convention auctions and a review of the O’Neal Collection of Indian Head Half Eagles that Heritage will offer. (As always, clickable links are in blue.)

Since the collector who formed the Malibu collection has not granted permission for his name to be mentioned, the code name Malibu is employed for his overall collection, sets of specific series, and the collector himself. Other coins from the Malibu Collection may be auctioned in Baltimore in March. Most of the coins in the Malibu collection are, or were, included in set listings in the PCGS and NGC Registries.

Besides Malibu’s set of Standing Liberty Quarters, which was complete and excellent, each of his sets seems to be a ‘work in progress’ with some missing dates that are not difficult to find. It is sad that his sets of Proof Liberty Seated coins were not completed as he seems to have had both the budget and the dedication to ‘complete’ sets of ‘later date’ Liberty Seated Proof Quarters, half dollars and silver dollars, those dating from 1858 onwards.

Starting in 1858, Proof Sets were publicly offered by the U.S. Mint each year. Before then, Proof coins were released quietly to collectors and dealers who had contacts at the Philadelphia Mint or elsewhere in the U.S. Treasury Dept. While Proof sets were not available to collectors every year prior to 1858, my impression is that these were often available to collectors who took the initiative to seek Proof coins.

Generally, it is customary to define a set of each series of Proof Liberty Seated silver coins, or of Proof Liberty Head gold coins, as a collection of one of each issue from 1858 onwards. Pre-1858 Proofs tend to be much rarer, and a set of all Proof Liberty Seated coins would not be feasible.

Clearly, the Malibu collector was in the process of assembling sets of Proof quarters and halves dating from 1858 to 1891, and of Proof Liberty Seated Dollars dating from 1858 to 1873, which was the last year of Liberty Seated Dollars. The Malibu 1858 to 1891 set of Proof Liberty Seated Halves contains twenty seven Proofs of different dates, and a second Proof 1887 Half Dollar. This half set is missing eight dates.

A set of Proof Liberty Seated Dollars consists of sixteen dates and the Malibu set has eleven plus a duplicate Proof 1873 dollar. The PCGS and the NGC Registries ignore the 1866 ‘No Motto’ Proofs of quarters, halves and silver dollars, as these are mysterious strikings about which little is known, and were not available to the public. While the Malibu sets of halves and silver dollars are important, and will receive much attention when auctioned on Jan. 4th, the topic here is his set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters. Continued

More News at a Glance – December 14, 2010

United States Mint Uncirculated Coins Get a New Look in 2011

United States Mint
The United States Mint today announced that it is discontinuing the satin finish on numismatic uncirculated coins produced for the United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set® and other products. Instead, beginning in 2011, uncirculated-quality coins will feature a brilliant finish. The United States Mint began using the satin finish for its uncirculated coins in 2005 to be consistent with other products in its portfolio, such as commemorative coins. The satin finish, however, highlights surface marks that inherently result from the coin-handling systems.
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The Mint coins a new phase: After 50 years, Lincoln Memorial gone from the penny
The Washington Post
You may have noticed a small change in your small change. More likely, you haven’t. “Now, when did they do that?” asked Victor Schubert, a lawyer from Racine, Wis., squinting at a freshly minted 2010 penny. “And why?” Schubert and other tourists on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial one recent afternoon were surprised to see a brand-new look to that most familiar of coins.
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The Recovery of Julian Leidman’s Stolen Inventory
The E-Sylum
Court papers filed in New York identify the son of a Diamond District jeweler as the man who allegedly bought a multi-million dollar collection of coins and currency stolen in October 2009 from a Maryland coin dealer’s van as he dined in a Montville restaurant. What the papers don’t show is who the FBI believe was responsible for the theft. A complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Daniel X. McCaffrey, Jr. details how Yan Kandinov allegedly bought the cache for $80,000 from an unidentified individual who said they had “something for him to look at.”
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Napolitano named Bowers president
Numismatic News
Bowers and Merena Auctions, a subsidiary of Spectrum Group International Inc., announced Dec. 1 that numismatic professional Chris Napolitano has joined the 27-year-old auction house as president. A collector since childhood, Napolitano decided to make numismatics his life’s career in 1989 with the founding of Summit Rare Coins, Inc., serving as president and CEO since its inception. Under Napolitano’s leadership spanning more than two decades, the company has handled in excess of $250 million in rare coins. In 2001, Napolitano co-founded American Rare Coins and Collectibles with locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which he helped to grow into a $20 million business.
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France Seizes Lava Treasure Coins

France recently seized an unannounced number of third century A.D. Roman gold coins as well as an ancient gold plate allegedly with a pedigree linking the material to the Lava Treasure, according to an Oct. 27 announcement. The Lava Treasure, consisting primarily of ancient Roman gold coins, received its name because the find was discovered accidentally by fishermen diving in the Gulf of Lava. The gulf is off the west coast of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. Corsica belongs to France.
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Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and Other Asian Coins Tops $10.7 Million at Hong Kong Auction

Exclusive NGC-graded sale marks most important array of Chinese coinage offered at auction in 20 years

Over 300 anxious bidders filled the live auction floor for the highly anticipated sale of the Wa She Wong Collection and other Asian Coins on Dec. 3-4. The Hong Kong auction, presented by Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, featured 1,107 lots with total sales reaching $10.7 million.

“A collection of Chinese coinage of this magnitude has not come to market in over 20 years and it surely did not disappoint,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “We saw such spirited bidding, the sale of the first 487 lots took an astounding 11 hours with many of the lots selling for multiple times their estimated value.”

Drawing worldwide attention, the collection is a compilation of Wa She Wong’s lifelong passion for collecting which contained multiple rarities missing from major exhibits including many scarce pattern coins that were never released into general circulation. Headlining the collection, the 1890 Kwantung Mint Specimen Set, lot 220, began with an estimated value of $300,000 and realized a staggering $718,750. The set represents a landmark in Chinese minting as the first silver coinage produced with modern machinery.

Another important coin was the extremely rare “Flying Dragon” Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, lot 311. Opening at $12,500, lively bidding quickly brought the coin to a final selling price of $460,000. “The buyer had been searching for this rarity, one of only two known in private hands, for more than 30 years. The two other examples known to exist are housed in public museum collections,” said Ponterio.

All major rarities in the collection were certified by the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC), a market leader in grading Chinese coins, and pedigreed as “Wa She Wong Collection” on individual holders. Additional highlights of the Wa She Wong Collection include:

  • Lot 3, 1920 “Yuan Shi Kai” Dollar Struck in Gold, MS-64 (NGC), realized $138,000
  • Lot 27, 1911 “Long-Whisker” Dragon Pattern Dollar Struck in Silver, MS-65 (NGC), realized $431,250 (Ex: Kann Collection)
  • Lot 130, 1844 Changchow Military Rotation Dollar, AU-50 (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 139, 1909 Honan Pattern 20 Cash Struck in Copper, AU-55 BN (NGC), realized $126,500
  • Lot 147, 1930 Hunan Pattern 500 Cash Struck in Copper, MS-63 BN (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 162, 1897 Kiangnan Dollar, Plain Edge, Proof-66 Cameo (NGC), realized $373,750 Continued

Coin Profile 1804 Bust Quarter, Single Finest Certified B-1, Ex: Colonel Green

Colonel Edward Howland Robinson Green (better known as Col. E.H.R. Green or, more simply, Col. Green), was the son of Henrietta Howland Robinson Green, née Henrietta Howland Robinson (1834-1916). She, too, is known more simply as Hetty Green, and even more familiarly as the “Witch of Wall Street.” Hetty Green was connected on the Howland side of her family to one of the great merchant families of New England. She grew up in a Quaker household, noted for its austerity.

Upon their deaths in 1865, her father and maternal aunt willed to her a total of about $10 million. Even after her 1867 marriage to Edward H. Green, she kept her finances separate, managing them herself with single-minded monomania. Her father and grandfather had educated her in finance from early childhood, and she dedicated herself to expanding that fortune. As her wealth increased, she continued to live with her son and daughter in modest surroundings, avoiding all social contacts or displays of wealth. In time she became a major force on Wall Street, despite which she often appeared in public in shabby garb and sought medical treatment for herself at charity clinics. She left an estate valued at more than $100 million when she died in 1916, reputedly the world’s richest woman.

“Extremely rare grade and one of two finest known of just three, possibly four known in full Mint State. Certainly the most famous specimen and long thought to be clearly the finest.”

The most often-repeated story concerning her penury is that concerning her son Edward, whom she refused to take for medical treatment, resulting in the need for his leg to be amputated. Col. Green was born the year following Hetty’s marriage to Edward Green, during his parents’ tour of Europe.

By age 25, Col. Green had been admitted to the bar and become president of the Texas Midland Railroad (his mother Hetty had owned many railroad stocks during her lifetime). He was active in Texas Republican politics, served as chairman of the Texas Republican State Committee, and was a director of the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. In order to maintain a Texas residence, he kept a suit of clothes and one of his wooden legs in a “fine residence” in Terrell, Texas. He died at age 68 in Lake Placid, New York.

At the time of his death–with a total estate valued at more than $40 million–his coin collection was valued at an estimated $5 million, along with a stamp collection worth $3.5 million. Green’s numismatic holdings included at least seven different 1838-O half dollars, a Brasher doubloon, all five of the 1913 Liberty nickels, and a staggering hoard of 1796 quarters, said to number more than 200 pieces. Continued

More News at a Glance – December 13, 2010

Coins Honoring Nation’s Oldest Military Branch Unveiled at Army/Navy Game

United States Mint
Designs for the 2011 United States Army Commemorative Coin Program were unveiled today during the annual Army/Navy football game played in Philadelphia, PA. Public Law 110-450, the “United States Army Commemorative Coin Act of 2008,” authorizes the United States Mint to mint and issue $5 gold, $1 silver and half-dollar clad coins to recognize and celebrate the founding of the United States Army in 1775.
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How Peru Became the Counterfeit-Cash Capital of the World
The E-Sylum
Back in the 1980s, Peru’s government ran the printing presses as an answer to the country’s massive economic crisis, but churning out currency only made things worse and hyperinflation topped off at 1.2 million percent by the end of the decade. The printing presses have returned, but this time it is not the government cranking out bills, and the currency coming out is not necessarily the Peruvian nuevo sol.
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Peter the Great rules Russian Coins and Currency sale with a $234,000 gold piece
Paul Fraser Collectibles
The commemorative medal marking the Battle of Riga led the way in Bonhams’ spectacular sale. Bonhams completed their sale of roughly 550 lots of rare Russian coins and currency last week with nearly 100 coming from the Tsarina collection. We felt confident in predicting that many of the best lots would shoot past their estimates given the rapidly increasing power of the Russian collectibles markets which certainly has numismatics at its head. We weren’t disappointed.
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Hobby Popularity Boosted Dime Saving
Perhaps it is time we take a second or even a first look at some of the lower-mintage Mercury dime dates like the 1938-D. Right now the 1938-D seems fairly stable in terms of price, but you have to think that $34 for an MS-65 and $62 for an MS-65 with full split bands is awfully inexpensive when you consider its mintage and the potential for demand for a coin that is now more than 70 years in age. The 1938-D Mercury dime had a mintage of 5,537,000. It seems unlikely that a coin with such a mintage would be overlooked, and especially overlooked for seven decades.
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Morgan dollars in high demand after silver surge

Rare Coin Market Report
Gold and silver continued their assent Dec. 6, with gold hitting a record $1,432.50 and silver reaching a 30-year high of $30.73 during trading on Dec. 7. Investors continue to be worried about the financial stability of Europe, the potential for a weak U.S. dollar, and the possibility that the Federal Reserve will expand its latest stimulus package to buy more U.S. bonds. These factors, combined with increased demand associated with the holidays, means there is a strong likelihood that bullion prices may keep increasing.
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Mint delays sale of America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Coins

Numismatic News
A flood of complaints about high prices caused the U.S. Mint to postpone the beginning of sales of the 5-ounce America the Beautiful silver bullion coins. The Mint was supposed to begin selling 165,000 of the new 3-inch diameter pieces to its Authorized Dealer Network on Dec. 6. However, before the day was finished, the Mint issued a statement saying it was not confirming any sales that day.
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Heritage’s World and Ancient Coin Auction in NYC

International numismatic treasures highlighted by rare German, Polish and South American coins, as well as the largest gold coin in the world, a Chinese 321+ ounce Beijing Olympics gold 100,000 Yuan

DALLAS, TX – As the profile of Heritage Auctions’ World & Ancient Coins category has continued to skyrocket over the last few years, each consecutive offering has raised the bar significantly. With the Jan. 3-4 New York Signature? World & Ancient Coin Auction at the Waldorf Astoria, coinciding with the New York International Coin Show (NYINC), Heritage has not only assembled its largest World Coin auction to date, it has also once again raised the bar in terms of absolute quality.

“With more than 5,000 total lots in this auction we have literally scoured the planet for the best possible international numismatic offerings,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “The incredible scope of countries represented, and the depth to which the collections go is so advanced that putting this catalog together was like a getting a graduate degree in world numismatics at a crash course pace.”

More than 240 consignors have placed coins in the auction, most of which will be on display for lot viewing, Dec. 29 and 30, at Heritage’s jewelbox New York space at 445 Park Avenue (at 57th). To further entice International coin collectors, Heritage will have highlights from the upcoming auction the Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins, the most important collection of its kind, on display at the NYINC, January 6-9, at the Waldorf-Astoria.

A Polish Sigismund III gold 10 Dukats 1588, Fr-83, XF45 NGC represents one of the superb early highlights of the auction. This exceedingly rare type, with its clean lines and striking imagery is appealing as much for its numismatic value as for its artistic value, and is sure to be the subject of spirited bidding. It carries an estimate of $175,000+. Continued

Laura Sperber: 2010 IN REVIEW-MY VISION



What a year it was. We saw gold hit a new record and the stock market made a semi come back. The coin market had what I would call a turbulent but productive year. Prices did not go up as much as good coins weren’t being drowned by dreck anymore. There actually has been a small influx of new collectors.

It was also great year in the sense of we dragged certain taboo subjects (like gradeflation, coin doctoring, etc) through the mud and brought them out in the publics eye in the nick of time. While the bad guys all have been pissed off, it unquestionably has given the collecting public a better feeling and renewed sense we can self police ourselves and that some of the “leadership” of the hobby does indeed care. Consumer confidence is critical to having coins rise in value and maintaining a healthy marketplace.

I do NOT regret saying or doing what I did to help make coins and the coin market a better place.


Exposing how bad the coin doctoring issue had become, was by far the MOST important POSITIVE thing to have happened. Had everyone just kept their heads turned and let these criminals rape coins and the coin market, it would have killed the hobbies future.

PCGS took a heroic lead in firing off a lawsuit with absolute hard evidence against a small crew. Other coin small to mid size docs took notice and are running scared. Now, PCGS is coming out with even more sophisticated technology to catch these guys and hopefully make them stop forever. I knew this was a critical problem when the Kutasi Collection of $10’s and $20’s was sold a few years ago and the putty was so thick on many coins sometimes you could not see all the details! I do not regret standing up and speaking out about this subject when it was really taboo to do so. Just passing on a coin certainly was not stopping the doctors fromtheir reign of destruction. In my opinion, destroying a coin should be considered a full criminal act. These low lifes are taking away the few pieces of original history we have and are slowly ruining our enjoyment of collecting. They deserve to be harshly punished and shamed.

The grading services are definately doing their share to work on the problem, however I am disgusted with so many retail dealers who will not speak out. No, its not just the lame PNG (next topic), but the dealers who want to be your friends, the ones who can’t grade for crap, or have huge web sites. They are greedy cowards in my book, worth no more than the bad slabs they sell. There needs to be a shake out of these people.

I know there is still a long, long way to go in this fight. A few major firms who still employee doctors are still quietly practicing thinking they are just too big to tackle. I believe in 2011 they will be exposed and will fall. Its a matter of compiling more evidence. They certainly have been frustrasted at the very least in 2010. At least this issue is moving forward and not backwards. I hope this year to get more people speaking out. EVERY voice is important-no matter what size collector you are! Continued

Wikileaks Reveals State Dept Deal with Spain In Black Swan Treasure Lawsuit

For years, Odyssey Marine has been in litigation with the Spanish government over a 17 tons of gold and silver coins that Odyssey discovered from “The Black Swan”.

The 19th-century shipwreck at the heart of the dispute with Odyssey Marine Exploration is the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes — a Spanish warship sunk by the British navy southwest of Portugal in 1804 with more than 200 people on board.

The Legal Proceedings:

Odyssey announced in May 2007 it had discovered the wreck in the Atlantic and raised 500,000 silver coins and other artifacts worth an estimated US$500 million (€324 million). The coins and artifacts were brought into the United States with a valid export license and imported legally pursuant to U.S. law. Odyssey brought the artifacts under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court by filing an Admiralty arrest action. This procedure allows any legitimate claimant with an interest in the property to make a claim.

Spain went to the U.S. federal court claiming ownership of the treasure and the case is currently set for Oral Arguments tentatively scheduled to take place during the week of February 28, 2011 at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Additional appeals have been filed by groups who have presented documentation indicating that if Spain is correct, and the recovered cargo originated from the Mercedes, they are descendants of the owners of Mercedes’ cargo and have legitimate property rights. Those claimants have recognized Odyssey’s archaeological recovery efforts and have acknowledged Odyssey’s right to a salvage award. Continued

California Gold Dealer, Superior Gold Group LLC is seized, assets frozen

On Monday, a California judge froze the assets of Superior Gold Group LLC of 100 Wilshire Boulevard, as well another office in Woodland Hills,  after it was accused of fraudulent business practices in a civil lawsuit filed against the company and owner Bruce Sands by the Los Angeles County district attorney and the Santa Monica city attorney.
Editors Note: This company has NO relationship to Superior Galleries, a well known and respected numismatic firm.

Superior Gold Group, which sold gold coins and bullion and other precious metals, is alledged to have taken  payments from customers but never delivered the gold ordered, charged prices much higher than fair market value and misled customers into buying expensive specialty coins according to the lawsuit, filed Friday.

In their lawsuit, the agencies said Superior Gold took advantage of investors who flocked to gold as the price of the precious metal rose and the value of many other investments fell in recent years.

“By fostering fear and confusion among its customers, Superior has induced them to pay far above market prices for various gold products,” the complaint said.

In a report by The LA Times, they recounted one victims story…”

Steven Siry, 61, of Los Angeles is one customer who believes he was ripped off. Siry said he invested $20,000 in a “gold IRA” through Superior Gold. But company representatives sold him collector’s coins at an inflated rate rather than offering him bullion, and it took more than a year and numerous phone calls before the coins were delivered to the trust company that was to hold them, he said.

Siry estimates the actual value of the gold, when it finally arrived, as a little more than half of what he paid for it.

“It was a big mess, it was uncomfortable, and I felt kind of stupid, quite frankly, because I didn’t do enough shopping before I used them,” he said.

In another complaint the victim stated: “Nearly two years ago (Mar. ’09), I purchased approx. $47, 000 worth of gold and silver coins (my entire life savings). I have yet to recieve (sic) a single coin! I have been calling for years and they refuse to give me my money back or to buy my coins,” Continued