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Author Archive for Tim Shuck

Tim Shuck is a life-long Midwestern resident, and started collecting coins after finding an Indian Head cent on the ground at his childhood farm home. Additional encouragement came from looking through a collection of well-worn late 19th and early 20th century coins kept by his grandfather in an old leather coin purse. Current collecting interests include U.S. types from the Civil War era through the early 1930's, and Colonial and Early American coins.

The News at a Glance – August 6, 2010

Ostheimer Collection Rarities Offered
The E-Sylum
NBS members who attended the NBS annual meeting at the 2000 ANA Convention in Philadelphia may recall a presentation by W. David Perkins titled, “The Ostheimers of Philadelphia and their Extraordinary Collection of Silver Dollars.” The Ostheimers assembled one of the largest and most complete collections of early U.S. Silver Dollars 1794-1803 by die marriage (Bolender reference numbers). The Ostheimers purchased from Freeport, Illinois dealer Milferd H. Bolender the early dollar collections of both K. P. Austin and W. G. Baldenhofer (See The Asylum, Volume 25, Number 2, Spring 2007: “Who was Farish Baldenhofer?”), adding rarities along the way including one of the two Lord St. Oswald 1794 silver dollars, Lot 137 in the 1964 Christie, Manson and Woods auction of the Lord St. Oswald Collection.
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Treasures from the Vault: U.S. Patterns
U.S. Patterns cover a wide range of coins that were struck (for the most part) to test new designs, new metal  compositions, new denominations, or new minting techniques.  They are an extremely interesting series that include famous coins such as: 1792 Silver-Center Cent; 1879 and 1880 Stellas; the 1866 No Motto Quarter, Half, and Dollar; certain Gobrecht Dollars; and a plethora of other rarities.  Most patterns are extremely rare, many of them unique or with mintages in the low single digits, although there are exceptions (over 1,000 1856 Flying Eagle Cents were made).  Pattern coins appear on the market infrequently and usually end up in strong hands when they sell.  In some cases, it might be years (or even decades) before a particular pattern coin comes on the market.
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PMG Registry Set Showcase: Legal Tender Greenbacks
Paper Money Guaranty
The Small Size Legal Tender Notes Complete Set requires 29 different notes, one from each series and denomination of small size red seals ever issued. These notes are very collectible, evidenced in part by the 56 different sets competing in this Registry category, creating some stiff competition. The top set currently has 27,665 points but is followed closely by two tough competitors with 23,487 and 22,616 points. Registry sets are ranked by score. Scores are assigned to each individual note and a set’s score is simply the sum of the scores of the individual notes that it contains. Scores are based on a proprietary algorithm that considers a note’s value, rarity and desirability. This “raw” measurement is then adjusted by a formula designed to maximize Registry competition and reward Set completeness.
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Methods of Collecting Coins
For years I followed the collecting philosophy of “collect what you like”. What I ended up with was a hodgepodge of random coins from all over the spectrum: moderns, random 19th century type, the odd world coin, etc. It was clear my collection had no focus. So I began “filling holes”. This means concentrating on a specific series and attempting to accumulate each date and mintmark of that series, usually displaying them in a folder or album. These albums consist of individual spaces, or holes, for each coin, thus the term “filling holes”. If you were to poll 100 coin collectors, you would probably find that these two approaches are the most common. However, I was always disappointed with my “random accumulator” collection. There was plenty of variety but it looked amateurish.
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CCAC Chairman Gary Marks Talks Coin Art
Numismatic News
CCAC Chairman Gary Marks was on Capitol Hill to share the message. Of specific concern: The lack of design quality has been evidenced in designs that are cluttered and lack focus; Design devices are used that are so small they cannot be readily discerned by the naked eye; and The use of “storyboard” depictions that attempt to illustrate design themes in literal terms. “Historically, some of this nations most acclaimed coin designs have been achieved through the effective use of allegory and symbolism,” Marks told Congress last month. Sometimes the CCAC is given just one design for a medal and asked to make a recommendation, Marks said, allowing no time for revisions because of tight production schedules.
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Rare Chinese Silver Pattern Dollar Offered
Paul Fraser Collectibles
Baldwin’s summer sale of coins, medals and banknotes in Hong Kong is set to be another major event in numismatic collecting and investment next week. As we’ve already reported, the medals section of the sale is set to be led by two variations of the Order of the Double Dragon – each expected to fetch up to around US$90,000 – impressive enough for a stand-alone medals sale. But they are not the expected top lots in the auction. There are coins and banknotes available from all over the world: China, Japan, Australia, India and a few from the United States and Britain. As you’d expect, however, it’s the Chinese coins which are expected to impress the most.
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The News at a Glance – August 5, 2010

A Review of NGC’s Collection Manager
Coin Update News
The advertisements declare, “You spoke. NGC listened.” My response? Now it should learn to program. I’m writing today as much in my capacity as journalism school director as numismatist. I’ve dealt with software for decades, buying, vending and even designing virtual reality prototypes with others at my science-oriented institution. NGC’s Collection Manager is cumbersome and too detailed for most users with little or no experience with this company. The advertisements state that collectors wanted a Web-based software able to be accessed anywhere 24/7 that organizes collections and allows them to be shared with others. Excuse me, but that’s called a set registry, and because hundreds of them already are registered on the NGC site, Collection Manager has to operate technologically under the registry protocol, format and design.
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2010 $1 James Buchanan Coins Available August 19
U.S. Mint
James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791, near Mercersburg, Pa. The oldest of 11 children, he began a successful law career in 1812. During the War of 1812, he helped defend Baltimore against British attack. In 1845, he became President James K. Polk’s secretary of state. His later service abroad as U.S. minister to Great Britain helped insulate him from the growing domestic controversy over slavery, which was reaching a crescendo by 1856, helping him secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. He served one term in office, 1857-1861. Former President Buchanan died on June 1, 1868, in Lancaster, Pa. … To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, any order placed prior to the official on-sale date and time of August 19, 2010, at 12:00 Noon (ET) shall not be deemed accepted by the United States Mint and will not be honored.
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David Alexander Receives Burnett Anderson Memorial Award
Stack’s News
The Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for Excellence in Numismatic Writing is presented annually to a researcher, author or journalist in recognition of his or her career contributions to numismatics. First conferred posthumously in 1999 to its namesake—a newsman’s journalist—the award is sponsored by F & W Publications, and the winner is selected in a cooperative process by the American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society (ANS) and Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). The recipient of this year’s award is David Thomason Alexander, an accomplished writer, cataloger and numismatist currently employed by Stack’s in New York City. Born in Brooklyn, Alexander and his brother, John, began collecting coins in 1949 after the family moved to Florida.
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2010 U.S. Boy Scout Silver Dollars Sold Out
Mint News Blog
It appears that the proof version of the 2010 Boy Scouts of American Centennial Silver Dollar has finally sold out at the United States Mint. The coin had been lingering on “waiting list status” for an unusually long time. The United States Mint began sales of the Boy Scouts Silver Dollars on March 23, 2010. Because of the large number of current and former Boy Scouts and the relatively low authorized mintage of 350,000 coins, a sell out was widely expected. On April 23, 2010, the US Mint indicated that they had received orders sufficient to meet the “maximum limit” for the uncirculated version of the coin. They continued to accept orders for a waiting list, which would have orders fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis if coins became available due to order cancellations.
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Spreading Knowledge Helps Grow the Hobby
I got a call not long ago from a woman who had a coin she couldn’t identify. “It’s a silver dollar,” she said. “I took it to a local bookstore, and we couldn’t find it in a book they had. The owner of the store said you could tell me what it was.” “What’s the date?” I asked. Of course, I was thinking that she and the bookstore owner had probably tried to find the coin in the Red Book (A Guide Book of United States Coins), and if it wasn’t in the Red Book, what could it be? “1829,” she said. What did she have, I wondered. A fantasy piece? “What’s it made of?” “Oh, it’s silver,” she said. We made arrangements for me to see the coin, and I met her the next day. Can you guess what the coin turned out to be?
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Royal Canadian Mint Adds New Dinosaur Coin
Royal Canadian Mint
Euoplocephalus tutus is the newest addition to this series that sparked the imagination of dinosaur hunters everywhere when it was first introduced in 2007. This large armadillo-like creature lived in Alberta between 76 and 70 million years ago. Its body was covered with bony armour embedded in its skin. Even its eyelids were covered with moving bony plates and its tail had a defensive club that was formed by four bony growths fused together. … A selective aging effect creates a powerful impression of fossilized bones in stone. In fact, this technique ensures no two coins are exactly alike. Each 99.99% pure silver coin is unique and—with a design that was developed in close collaboration with palaeontologists at Alberta’s Royal Tyrell Museum—is an original and compelling keepsake of one of humanity’s great fascinations.
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The News at a Glance – August 4, 2010

The Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Numismatic News
Who doesn’t like the Walking Liberty half dollar design? The Saint-Gaudens design for the gold $20 might win the honor of being called the most beautiful coin of the United States, but the Walking Liberty half dollar surely was the most beautiful coin design accessible to the average person. Only the Buffalo nickel might dispute that title with the Walking Liberty half dollar. If we didn’t all collect Walking Liberty half dollars out of change in the 1950s and early 1960s, it wasn’t for artistic reasons. It was purely financial. A half a buck was just too much money to tie up in one coin. Years of inflation might make that statement hard to believe for youngsters today, but it was true.
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American Medallic Sculpture Association at Boston
The American Medallic Sculpture Association (AMSA) has created a medal commemorating its meeting and exhibit at the 2010 ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston. The obverse, designed by Daniel Altshuler, honors John B. Hynes, mayor of Boston (1950-1960) and namesake of the show’s Hynes Convention Center; the reverse, designed by Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, features AMSA and the ANA. A first run of 25 medals will be made available to fulfill advance orders and sell.  Should the 25 bronzed medals run out, a second numbered edition of 3″ diameter silver plated copper medals will be struck.
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Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) Banknote Designation
“Why didn’t I get EPQ?” We get this question often. Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) is an important attribution that can add significant value, so it is important to understand. This month I will review some of the factors that prevent a note from receiving the EPQ attribution. First, let’s review the criteria for the EPQ designation. PMG uses the EPQ designation for notes that have not been physically, chemically or materially processed to lend the appearance of a higher grade. Some visible factors that prevent a note from receiving EPQ are pinholes, stains, stray ink, paper pulls, erasures, tears and splits. These are visible even to the untrained eye.
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“The Medal Maker” Video Online
The E-Sylum
Medallic Art Company has placed “The Medal Maker” on its web site in four parts. The 1997 video features master medallist Laura Gardin Fraser and was filmed by Hollywood film producer Michael Craven. It was narrated by Elizabeth Jones, former U.S. Mint Chief Engraver. The script for the 30-minute video was written by Dick Johnson, a frequent contributor to The E-Sylum. It is a recasting of a 1929 black-and-white film which shows Laura Fraser creating a model for a medal of the National Sculpture Society, their Special Medal of Honor. It takes the viewer through every step from preparing a background plate to the critical review of the finished medal by five of her sculptural peers.
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Understanding the Coin Dealing Business
Susan Headley
Whether you are buying or selling coins, you can increase your advantage when dealing with coin dealers by understanding how things work behind the scenes. One of the biggest problems I see, as an observer of the coin collecting marketplace, is the wide gulf between what the average consumer expects from a coin dealer, and what the average coin dealer believes he should provide to the consumer. The majority of these differences boil down to trust. The average consumer thinks he can trust the coin dealer to give him an honest appraisal and pay a fair price for the coins he is selling. The average dealer feels it is right to pay the lowest price he can for the coins, to maximize his profit, and that it is up to the consumer to do his homework.
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No Coins Needed
Dave Harper
At least since the great coin shortage of the mid 1960s, collectors have been aware of the role the vending machine industry plays in overall demand for U.S. coins. What the vending machine industry wants in terms of coin composition and electronic signatures has carried great weight with the Treasury. Venders don’t want to spend money to refit their coin discrimination mechanisms. That may be about to change. What if the vending industry stops using coins, or greatly reduces their use? Then what? I began thinking about the flip side of yesterday’s blog about growing coin demand because of a timely article in the Wall Street Journal.
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