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Category: Dealer News

Bowers and Merena Auctions and Stacks Announce Merger

BOWERS AND MERENA AUCTIONS TO JOIN FORCES WITH STACK’S TO CREATE STACK’S-BOWERS NUMISMATICS

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.” (more…)

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,” (more…)

Pricing Controversy with New 5 oz. “America the Beautiful” Bullion Coins

The U.S. Mint’s Dec. 1 announcement that the new 2010 America the Beautiful 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion quarter dollars were to go on sale December 6th was canceled earlier this week over Mint concerns and complaints that the much anticipated coins were being overpriced.

The US mint does not distribute its bullion products directly to the public, but rather uses a network of 11 “Primary Distributors” who purchase the coins from the US Mint at $9.75 over the spot price of silver, and then in turn mostly wholesale these out to retail dealers. Few of these Primary Distributors have retail facilities.

Here is a list of the Primary Distributors:

  • A-Mark Precious Metals
  • Coins ‘N Things Inc.
  • MTB
  • Scotia Mocatta
  • Dillon Gage of Dallas
  • Prudential Securities Inc.
  • The Gold Center
  • American Precious Metals Exchange, Inc. (APMEX)
  • Commerzbank International (Luxembourg)
  • Deutsche Bank A.G. (Germany)
  • Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K. (Japan)

As part of the December 1st announcement, the Mint surprisingly drastically reduced the mintage’s for the much anticipated 5 oz  America the Beautiful Bullion coins from an anticipated 100,000 coin  (for each of the 5 designs this year), to a mere 33,000.

After the announcement, APMEX decided to offer the 2010 5 coin set to customers and allow them to pre-order the coins from their website. Apmex is one of the few Primary Distributors that maintains a retail presence  through their website (which is excellent by the way). The 5 coin set was being offered at $1,395.

Obviously with such limited supplies, the large (3 inches in diameter) bullion coins were expected to be in hot demand .

However within hours of this pre-launch offering, complaints started to be registered with the US Mint because Apmex, responding to the anticipated demand and low mintages, had placed a $130.00 premium per coin on the set.

Apmex customers didn’t seem to mind the hefty premiums too much because within 19 hours after the posted  pre-launch offer, they had sold 1000 sets. But the US Mint did mind. In fact they halted the release of the new 5 oz coins to review the situation. (more…)

Scott Travers’ ‘Survival Manual’ Now Available in Seventh Edition

(New York, NY) – Gold and grading share the spotlight in The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual, Seventh Edition, the just-released latest edition of the perennial hobby bestseller by award-winning author Scott A. Travers. Published by Random House, this thoroughly updated 400-page book also contains two new and timely fact-filled chapters; one on buying and selling gold coins and other precious metal items, the other on recent innovations in coin grading.

With gold scaling record-high price levels, Travers examines the impact the precious metals boom is having on the rare coin market. Citing one expert’s prediction that gold might soar to $10,000 an ounce, he shows why this is not far-fetched. A new section of the book looks at possible negative effects for collectors and dealers if burdensome IRS 1099 reporting requirements are not changed before their scheduled implementation in 2012.

Travers also provides pointers on how to avoid being victimized when buying or selling valuables containing precious metal, and goes behind the scenes to show in detail how buyers determine the value of gold and silver in items they buy from the public. Travers reveals insider secrets for getting the most money when selling gold and silver coins, jewelry or “scrap.”

He cautions that high-profile gold buyers who advertise extensively often pay rock-bottom prices, “luring cash-starved victims with slick TV commercials or eye-catching newspaper ads promising ‘top dollar’ for the gold that’s sitting idle in their jewelry boxes or drawers.”

A new chapter titled “A Grade Leap Forward” explores what Travers calls “the new math of coin grading” – the enhancement made possible in early 2010 when the Professional Coin Grading Service introduced its PCGS Secure Plus™ system and added intermediate “plus” (+) designations to coins at the high end of their grade level. The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC) soon began offering similar grading.

Exclusive first-time photographs show the differences between “regular” and “plus” grades.

Travers also explains how Secure Plus™ combats coin “doctoring” and shares insiders’ tips on how to get the greatest value when buying and selling PCGS and NGC plus-grade coins.

Hundreds of never-before-published digitized coin images give readers a clear look at subtle grading nuances and ways to detect altered coins. In a beefed-up color section, surprising photos reveal how the same coin was given different grades by leading services. It also shows examples of difficult-to-detect doctored and altered coins, plus endangered coins rescued from harm’s way through proper conservation.

Exclusive color photographs pinpoint how to distinguish between Morgan dollars and Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles that are Mint State-65 and Mint State 65+ — a small difference in grade that can make a significant difference in marketplace value. (more…)

Chris Napolitano Named President of Bowers and Merena Auctions

Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency and a subsidiary of Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SPGZ.PK), announced today that noted numismatic professional Chris Napolitano has joined the 27-year-old auction house as president. At the same time, Spectrum Group International (SGI) reported that its Collectibles Division achieved a record $45 million in worldwide aggregate auction sales for the three months ended December 31, 2010, its second fiscal 2011 quarter.

Mr. Greg Roberts, CEO of Spectrum Group International: “His numismatic knowledge is virtually unsurpassed, and I have tremendous confidence in his business and leadership abilities. Along with the addition of Chris, who will be relocating to Orange County, Bowers and Merena has also acquired certain assets of Summit Rare Coins, furthering our goals of expansion and growth.”

A collector since childhood, Mr. 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 Mr. Napolitano’s leadership spanning more than two decades, the company has handled in excess of $250 million in rare coins, including many classic American rarities, and has attended every major show and auction during that period. In 2001, Mr. 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. Mr. Napolitano belongs to many important numismatic organizations and is a Lifetime Member of the American Numismatic Association.

Mr. Napolitano has personally handled approximately 80 of the coins featured in the popular numismatic reference book by Jeff Garrett, “100 Greatest U.S. Coins,” along with many notable pedigrees. He counts the L. Rogers 1794 FH $1 in PCGS 66 among his favorites, and other career highlights that include:

* 1794 50c PCGS 64
* 1793 Chain 1c PCGS Specimen 67 BN
* 1793 Wreath 1c PCGS Specimen 68 RED
* 1870-S Seated $1 PCGS AU 58 EX-NORWEB
* 1893-S $1 PCGS 67 EX-NORWEB/JACK LEE
* 1870-CC 25c NGC 64 EX-ELIASBERG
* 1856-O $20 PCGS 58 EX-AMON CARTER

“My mission in business has always been to provide great service and the right product — at the right price — to both the wholesale and retail community,” Mr. Napolitano said. “I have known Bowers and Merena throughout my career in this industry, and I am excited to join such a highly regarded business that shares my goals.”

“We are very happy to welcome Chris to our team,” said Greg Roberts, president and CEO of SGI. “His numismatic knowledge is virtually unsurpassed, and I have tremendous confidence in his business and leadership abilities. Along with the addition of Chris, who will be relocating to Orange County, Bowers and Merena has also acquired certain assets of Summit Rare Coins, furthering our goals of expansion and growth.” (more…)

Mike Printz Joins Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.

Veteran professional numismatist, Michael D. Printz, has joined the staff of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. in Chicago.

“When it came to our attention that Mike was no longer affiliated with Larry Whitlow, Ltd., we regarded it as an opportunity of great potential for increasing our dealings in higher-end U.S. rare coins because Mike is a market savvy, knowledgeable numismatist of great integrity. We certainly are pleased he has agreed to become part of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. We’re confident our dealings in U.S. numismatics now will match what we are known for in the field of classical numismatics,” said Harlan J. Berk, President of the company.

A University of Illinois graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance, Printz worked for Larry Whitlow, Ltd. for 19 years until Whitlow sold a portion of his business earlier this year to concentrate on other areas.

“Having specialized in U.S. mint state and proof type, better date 20th century and classic commemoratives, I saw an exceptional opportunity to join Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. because their strong policy of fine customer service matched my own philosophy,” said Printz.

“I’m also pleased my imaging skills in U.S. numismatics will complement their already outstanding ancient coins photography department. This will be a win-win for customers and the entire Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. team.”

Berk’s retail store and gallery are located in downtown Chicago, one block from the famous Daley Civic Center and City Hall, and open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Central time.

For additional information, contact Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., 31 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60602. Online: www.HarlanJBerk.com. Phone: (312) 609-0016. Email: mdprintz@hjbltd.com.

Gold & Silver Political Action Committee (PAC) Formed to Support Rare Coin & Precious Metal Community

Updated 10-19-10
The first informational meeting of the recently created Gold & Silver Political Action Committee (GSPAC) occurred in Long Beach, California on September 22, 2010. The creation of the PAC was prompted by enactment of new Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 reporting requirements and other proposed legislation that could create tremendous burdens on dealers as well as collectors and investors.

GSPAC is registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC)

Thirty-one people attended the inaugural meeting in Long Beach, including state and federal government relations experts, rare coin and bullion dealers, executives of several national numismatic organizations and a former US Mint Director who also previously served as chief of the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/092310_pac_stuppler.html 544px 395px]

“The Gold & Silver PAC is an effort to elect public officials with a better understanding of the numismatic and precious metals community and pending legislation and regulatory issues that could positively impact or adversely affect the hobby and profession,” said Barry Stuppler, Chairman of GSPAC.

“GSPAC does not compete with existing organizations, such as the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) or the Coalition for Equitable Regulation and Taxation (CERT). By working to elect legislators who understand our community’s needs, issues and concerns, we complement their efforts in Washington and state capitals.”
Veteran government legislative specialist, Nicholas A. Pyle, President of Pyle & Associates in Washington, is volunteering his time to work with GSPAC and among those attending the meeting. Pyle will create an informal “Congressional Coin Caucus” composed of members of Congress interested in coin and precious metals issues.

Stuppler outlined nine “core issues” that GSPAC will use as criteria to evaluate candidates:
• IRS Form 1099 reporting on purchases of merchandise over $600
• Regulation of the purchasing and marketing practices of gold and precious metals dealers
• Enforcement of the Ancient Antiquities Act on Greek and Roman coin imports.
• Problems caused by high-quality Chinese-made counterfeit coins and bogus certified numismatic holders
• Traveling and hotel gold buyers who may be purchasing gold coins and jewelry without required licenses
• Allowing certified rare coins to be placed in IRA accounts
• Exempting coins, currency and precious metals from possible Value Added Taxes (VAT)
• Exempting coins, currency and precious metals from the Streamlined Sales Tax Plan (SSTP) all inter-state Internet or mail-order sales taxes
• Capital gains tax rates on precious metals and rare coins

“I am excited to share that the Gold & Silver PAC raised over $160,000 in contributions from individuals and another $150,000 in pledges,” explained Stuppler. (more…)

Legend Numismatics Pays $2 Million Dollars For 3 Lincoln Cents!

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatic Market Report

You may have noticed the past two weeks or so we have been saying and doing little with our web site. NEWPS have been minimal and Market Reports and Hot Topics have slowed. We can now tell you why. We have been super busy traveling completing deals-not just any deals, deals that are at world record prices and that include some of the rarest coins on earth! We are now finally back home and are pleased to make the following announcement:

LEGEND NUMISMATICS HAS BOUGHT AND SOLD THE UNIQUE 1C 1943D COPPER FOR $1,700,000.00!

We actually purchased a 3 coin coin deal for $2,000,000.00. We figured the 1943D at $1.7 million cost. The other two coins in the deal were the finest 1944 P Steel cent PCGS MS64, and a 1C 1942 PCGS 65 made out of white metal. Yes, you have read this right-3 pennys for $2 million dollars!

The 1943D and the 1944P are both now part of the ONLY COMPLETE PDS sets for their metals. The steel cent collection is by far the finest, as are the coppers. We are hoping to display both these sets at the PCGS table at FUN 2011.

Hard to believe, but Legend tried unsuccessfully for four years to buy the 1943D. The seller in the end was still reluctant. However, we can state ALL of the monies he received from the sale are going to a pet charity project of his. The seller (who wishes to remain anonymous) was represented by Lincoln Cent Specialist Andy Skrabalack of Angel Dee’s.

Our customer is thrilled to own the 1943D. Ever since he heard the coin existed, we had been sent on a mission to acquire it. His desire to own the complete and only PDS copper set came from his finding what he thought was a 1943 copper when he was young. Sadly, this piece was found to be a fake. Still he keeps this coin in his desk draw. He believes 43 Coppers are one of the ultimate classic rarities (and so do we). While the price we paid was stiff, the monies went to a good cause and the coins are now locked away in a great home.

Legend Numismatics has handled MANY million dollar plus classic rarities over the years. The 1943D really is one special highlight for us. We thank the seller and congratulate the new owner. For us, it really has been a career highlight.

WHAT ELSE DID WE TRAVEL FOR?

We have now flown several coast to coast trips over the past 2 weeks. There have also been stops in Dallas, NYC, and Denver in between.

One exciting collection we purchased was a spectacular Pattern Collection. When we got the call we were like, “oh great, more patterns”. This deal turned out to be an incredible “old time” collection with the majority of the coins being raw. Highlights included Earring Quarters, Amazionan Dollars, and several R-8 Seated patterns. These coins will be sent in for grading shortly. We did not grade anything less than PR65! ALL of the coins have been off the market for at least 20+ years. Guess we can never have enough great Patterns!

Besides patterns, we also bought and sold a 50C 1919D PCGS MS65. The price was in excess of $200,000.00. This sale now completes what maybe the second finest Walker set assembled (no, its NOT registered). (more…)

Rare Coin Road Warrior: Tales From The Road – September 2010

By Vic Bozarth – Rare Coin Road Warrior
This is a NEW Monthly Column by Vic Bozarth, the “Rare Coin Road Warrior” who spends over 200 days a year traveling to Coin Shows. We hope you enjoy Vic’s unique perspective on the coin collecting and the rare coin Market. – Editor

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. Our website is Bozarthcoins.com. Last year we spent over 200 days on the road on nearly 45 different trips. As a professional numismatist and buyer for other companies I have been a ‘rare coin road warrior’ for nearly 25 years. My wife and I attend all major coin shows, as well as most large regional or state coin shows.

Many fellow numismatists and collectors have expressed an interest in hearing about our experiences during our coin show and buying trips. Recently I decided to write a short article each month on the shows we attend as well as the coin buying trips we take to different cities across the United States.

Buying NICE rare coins at reasonable prices becomes more difficult each year. There are a lot of logistical and security considerations we have to plan for with every trip. Not only do we have flights to book, but we also have to find a comfortable and safe hotel or motel preferably close to the show. If we have appointments with customers or other dealers we often rent a car. Those are most of the logistical considerations. Security is the biggest concern. We do have one big advantage. Because we are most often able to travel together, one of us can always watch the coins. We never leave our coins unattended.

Although we have tables at most shows, sometimes I buy an ‘Earlybird’ dealer badge and just attend a show by myself to buy only. During weeks with no major shows, we often fly to a major city and ‘hit’ the shops and offices of the coin dealers in that area. Over the years, I have visited virtually every major city in the continental United States at least once. Fortunately both my wife and I love to travel, because the schedule can be grueling.

Last week we attended the Illinois Numismatic Association show in a suburb of Chicago called Tinley Park. A couple of days before the show we flew in to Detroit, rented a car, and did some business with other dealers on our trip west to Chicago. We really enjoy these trips. Although we experienced a flight delay out of Houston due to bad weather from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, we were able to see several dealers in Michigan before arriving at the ILNA show in Tinley Park.

The weather in Michigan and Chicago is gorgeous this time of year. The summer heat has softened and the nights are cool and comfortable. The folks with the ILNA Show did a great job in putting on the show despite the construction to enlarge the current convention center in Tinley Park. ILNA moved to this location a couple years ago. They are to be commended for running a good show in a location that has both safe and reasonably priced lodging and good restaurants.

Business on the bourse floor is always busy during dealer set-up. Getting ‘first shot’ at someone’s inventory is the prize for those lucky enough to get there first. Basically ‘first shot’ is what we dealers refer to as the person (usually a dealer) who gets to look at another dealer’s inventory before any other dealer looks. Often times you will hear, ‘Joe got first shot, but I still want to look’. Many dealers attend only a few shows a year and their inventory is ‘fresh’ to other dealers. They have often purchased coins from collections or estates that other dealers haven’t seen, thus the desire to get ‘first shot’. (more…)

Warren Tucker Named VP of Heritage World Coins

Following on the heels of a $8.57 million World Coin auction at the Boston ANA World’s Fair of Money, Heritage Auctions has announced the promotion of Warren Tucker to Vice President of the World Coins division.

“Warren is one of the best known numismatists in the business and his reputation is second to none,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Under his careful watch, the World Coins category at Heritage has grown by leaps and bounds, as clearly evidenced by the recent showing in Boston. This promotion is in recognition of his tireless promotion of World Coins at Heritage.”

Tucker became a full-time coin dealer in 1964. In 1968 he joined Jack Boozer and Doug Weaver in business in Waco, Texas, where he first met Steve Ivy. After moving back to Georgia, Warren became a partner with John Hamrick at WorldWide Coin Investments of Atlanta.

In the 1970s, he began more extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia to buy coins before joining forces with Steve Ivy, in 1979, and opening an office in Atlanta. Associations with noted numismatists Richard Nelson and Ronald J. Gillio followed thereafter. From 1985 TO 1995 spent a great deal of time in the Orient, with extended stays in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. Tucker moved to Dallas in 1999, where he lives today, working at Heritage headquarters.

“Working with Warren on a daily basis is like getting free tuition at ‘Numismatic University,'” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “There are but a handful of numismatists worldwide with his experience and knowledge of world coins. He’s also one of the most well-liked and respected coin professionals in the market.”

During his tenure at Heritage, Warren has been instrumental in the consignment and subsequent auction of numerous International numismatic rarities and collections that have realized World Record prices. He is a lifetime member of PNG.

With Tucker as the primary world coin expert since the World Coin Department’s inception as a separate entity at Heritage in 2000, Heritage has grown to be one of the worldwide leaders in world coin sales.

“I’m fortunate to be able to work every day in a field that I love, for a company that I’m dedicated to and with colleagues that I very much respect,” said Tucker. “I look forward to continuing my work at Heritage in keeping it the World’s premier rare coin auctioneer.”

Pinnacle Rarities Trades Finest Known Walking Liberty Half

Elusive 1921-S PCGS MS66 is Placed through Private Treaty

Pinnacle Rarities is proud to announce the private treaty sale of the finest known 1921-S Walking Liberty half. The coin is graded MS66 and is the single finest graded at PCGS. The 1921-S is by far the rarest Walking Liberty half in the uncirculated grades, and is very elusive in the top gem grades.

Most of the early Walkers are tough, especially in gem or better. With the end of WWI, the early twenties saw a decrease in demand for circulating coinage. As such, the mintage figures for 1921 are low. The years surrounding the end of the war produced the series’ most prized dates.

For 1921 all three mint marks are elusive, and despite the slightly higher mintage from San Francisco, the bulk of them were heavily circulated or lost to attrition. Today surviving quality examples are scarce, Coinfacts gives this date a 9.1 in MS65 on a rarity scale of 1 – 10.

In relation to the other series keys, the 1921-S has a bit higher mintage. The lower circulated grades are more available than some more common dates. But as the condition reaches the extra-fine (XF) level, the date becomes increasingly tough. No date in the series has fewer coins graded in the uncirculated grades. Nothing is even close.

The 1919-D is considered by some the King of the Walker series. However, there are just 202 1921-S coins graded in the uncirculated grades and the next closest is the 19-D with 344. So, there are 142 more 19-D halves grading in MS60 or better then there are uncirculated 21-S halves.

In fact, Jeff Ambio author of Collecting & Strategies for Walking Liberty Half Dollars agrees, describing the date as “the rarest Walking Liberty Half in Mint State, (with) Choice examples having tremendous appeal in virtually any numismatic market.”

At Pinnacle Rarities, nothing gets sold on our website that we don’t want to buy back. Pinnacle Rarities takes pride in the fact that after decades of placing some of numismatic’s finest material, many of these rarities come back through our offices. This is a prime example. We have been lucky enough to trade this coin several times. We originally purchased this example from late numismatic icon – Jack Lee. We then placed it into the PCGS Hall of Fame GBW Collection. Although retired, that set still ranks as the all-time finest.

In 2004, we were fortunate enough to buy that collection. We again sold this example privately. When it was time to sell, that collector knew to call us first. And again, we found it a home in a very astute collector’s cabinet. We are unlikely to see this superb example again anytime soon. But rest assured, it has found a good home – no a GREAT home.

The coin has fabulous in hand eye appeal. It is the sharpest struck 1921-S example we’ve encountered. While there is some weakness evident in the central devices, it has great detail with good hand definition and crisp eagle leg feathers. The surfaces are extremely clean with only a couple light hits on the obverse.

The reverse is faultless. Some light toning in the peripheries provides a pleasing palette of color represented along the rims. This coin has been the centerpiece to every collection it’s been in, and will likely never find an equal.

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Defining Coin Doctoring and Dipping, Additions to the PCGS Lawsuit Against Alleged Coin Doctors

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #17

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. The filing and re-filing of this lawsuit

Over the last forty years, especially from the late 1990s to 2006 or so, the coin collecting community has suffered from the terrible problem of coin doctoring; coins are deceptively altered for the purpose of tricking experts, particularly those employed by the PCGS and the NGC, into concluding that a coin is of higher quality than it was before it was doctored. The process of doctoring a coin reduces its level of quality and, in many (though not nearly all) cases, permanently damages the coin. Coins ranging in value from less than $50 to more than $1 million have been doctored.

In many instances, doctored coins ‘turn’ at a later time, as unintended byproducts of doctoring processes result in unsightly delayed chemical reactions or the decomposing of added matter on the doctored coins. It is not unusual for a coin doctor to deliberately harm (often permanently) a coin that grades MS-64 in order to try to deceive experts into believing that it grades MS-66.

John Feigenbaum is president of David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC), and has been involved in the coin business for more than twenty years. In 2004 and 2005, DLRC sold one of the fifteen greatest collections of classic (pre-1934) U.S. coins ever to be publicly auctioned. Feigenbaum says, “in general I [John] applaud PCGS for taking action on this matter, and I think they should take any and all actions in the future towards parties that are trying to slip doctored coins past them.”

In my column of June 2, I analyzed the CU-PCGS lawsuit against alleged coin doctors, which was filed in late May. I encourage readers who wish to learn about this lawsuit, its importance and its implications, to read my column of June 2nd. On Aug. 10, CU-PCGS filed a “second amended complaint” along with a new motion.

II. The basics of the lawsuit

Although technically PCGS is a subsidiary of Collectors Universe (CU) and it is CU that filed this lawsuit, the PCGS predates CU and the PCGS is the core of Collectors Universe. Further, the PCGS certifies coins. So, it is clear and helpful to refer to the plaintiff as the PCGS as the lawsuit concerns allegations that dealers deliberately submitted doctored coins to the PCGS, without disclosing intentionally added defects, for the purpose of deceiving graders at the PCGS into assigning higher grades to such coins than the coins would have merited before they were doctored. Coin doctoring, of course, reduces the grade of a coin, often to the point where the coin no longer merits a numerical grade.

The submission contract that each dealer signs to be a dealer-submitter of coins to the PCGS for grading and authentication prohibits dealer-submitters from sending in doctored coins for numerical grading. At the very least, it is argued that dealers who submit doctored coins for numerical grading have breached their respective contracts with the PCGS. Moreover, the PCGS argues in the lawsuit that such coin doctoring is in violation of several Federal and California State laws. Curiously, attorneys for the PCGS declare that conspiracies to doctor coins and submit them to the PCGS fall under RICO statutes, and are thus said by the PCGS to constitute racketeering.

Importantly, attorneys for the PCGS argue that coin doctoring is not just a civil offense, a racket and a breach of contract. Attorneys for the PCGS maintain that coin doctoring is a crime under Title “18 U.S.C §331,” which is cited in the lawsuit as follows, “Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales or lightens any of the coins minted at the mints of the United States … [or] … Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish or sell … any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled or lightened … Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years or both.” (more…)

Arthur Blumenthal appointed Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions, New York

Heritage Auctions has announced that Arthur Blumenthal has been appointed Senior Numismatist by the company, working out of Heritage’s recently opened New York offices at 445 Park Avenue (at 57th Street).

“Arthur brings a tremendous amount of experience to his position with Heritage,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “His expertise encompasses the numismatic, currency and gold markets as well as the New York market, easily one of the most important in the entire business.”

Blumenthal, a New York native, graduated from C.W. Post College with a B.A. in History Education, teaching school for a few years before going to work in the coin department at Gimbels in New York.

Arthur then made his way to Galerie des Monnaies of Geneva, also in New York, where he spent more than a decade as head trader. From there he spent almost 15 years with Stacks, where he focused his talents on all aspects of the coin business, from buying important collections, consigning great collections for auction and helping to develop the currently high powered bullion market.

“I’m thrilled to be part of Heritage’s expansion into New York,” said Blumenthal. “This is an important move for Heritage and I look forward to establishing the company’s presence in the financial center of the world. As the planet’s biggest numismatic dealer, this is the exactly where we need to be.”

Blumenthal has been interviewed by CNN, USA TODAY, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Observer, among many publications, and has been a frequent guest on the FOX Business Channel with Stuart Varney, where he has established himself as an authoritative voice on the role of gold, U.S. numismatics and currency in world financial markets.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

Boston ANA Show Report by Bill Shamhart

William Shamhart, Jr. – Numismatic Americana

After months of anticipation and preparation, the ANA’s annual World’s Fair of Money in Boston is over. And while there are always little details that could use a little more attention, I must say that the staff of the ANA produced a convention that blew me away. Many show reports have been written about this year’s ANA, and I sure many more are to come, so let me get to the “meat” of this one:

Bourse floor:

Held on the second floor, actually third if you count the street level, it was set up into two rooms. I have never been a fan of spitting up the bourse floor of a show for many reasons; yet this year’s show seemed to work. Christine’s and my table was in the “main” room, centrally located. We picked this table for a reason. And it worked. Most collectors had no problem finding us (especially if they use the great program the ANA put together). It didn’t hurt that it was on a major thorough-fair into the next room either. Many collectors/dealers stopped at our table, and it was great to see many familiar faces and finally meet so many of our customers in person. The aisles were wide enough so that there weren’t any major traffic jams. This is great, especially in a room where most if not all the attendees had briefcases or rolling carts in tow. I’m sure that the ANA took this into consideration when they decided to use two rooms. I personally think it was a smart move. The only downside to this that I saw was that many of the collectors/dealers never made it into the other room! Seriously! There was more than enough quality material in either room to have a stand alone show in itself.

Bourse floor sales:

Collectors
After 30+ years of attending ANA summer shows, I can say without a doubt that this was our (my) best one to date for collector sales. I can attribute this to many factors, but one stands at the top. Christine Monk. She has been in the business for nearly twenty years and has met many, many collectors during that time. Collectors I knew by sight, but had never met in person. They came up and congratulated her on her new position, chatted like old friends, sat down, looked at coins, talked coins, and walked away with many new purchases. That was what drew me to this hobby as a child, and has kept me in it throughout my adult life. In Boston, Christine reminded me of this. Thanks Chris!

At the top of the list of what was selling was U.S. Commemoratives. I always knew that this series had a great following, and in Boston I saw it in person. Don’t be fooled though. Not all commems, or any coin for that matter, are equal (no matter what the label in the holders says). The coins we sold had that little something special that I always talk about going for them. Abundant luster, wild color, or outstanding eye appeal is and was needed. This doesn’t apply only to Commems though. Every coin we sold had to have it. (more…)

Resignation of PNG Member, Suspension of Another Announced

The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) has announced the resignation of one member, the suspension of another and the hiring of legal council specifically in connection with allegations of “coin doctoring” against some PNG member-dealers.

“The PNG Board has regretfully accepted the resignation of long-time member-dealer Jonathan Kern of Lexington, Kentucky. Mr. Kern was currently serving a two-year term on the PNG Board of Directors, and that position now is being filled by PNG member-dealer James A. Simek of Westchester, Illinois who had the next highest number of votes in last year’s PNG election,” said Robert Brueggeman, PNG Executive Director.

Meeting in Boston on August 8, 2010, the PNG Board ratified the suspension, effective immediately, of member-dealer Jonathan Lerner of Scarsdale, New York for non-payment of arbitration fees.

In another matter, the Board retained a lawyer to provide the Guild with legal advice specifically in connection with allegations of “coin doctoring” against several PNG member-dealers. The Guild’s legal counsel, Armen Vartian, is co-counsel for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit naming several PNG member-dealers among others as defendants.

“We have retained an independent legal counsel to avoid any potential conflict of interest concerning specific ‘coin doctoring’ cases involving possible breaches of the PNG Code of Ethics and possible conduct prejudicial to the organization. PNG affiliate member and attorney, Robert A. Levinson of the law firm of Levinson, Arshonsky & Kurtz, LLP in Sherman Oaks, California, will assist the Guild as we investigate these important matters,” said Brueggeman.

For additional information about the Professional Numismatists Guild, contact the PNG at 3950 Concordia Lane, Fallbrook, California 92028; by phone at (760) 728-1300, or online at www.PNGdealers.com.

ANA Urges Members to Contact Congress to Repeal New 1099 Requirements

The American Numismatic Association urges its members to contact their members of Congress and ask to repeal a law that could significantly increase the paperwork burden on dealers and increase the risk of identity theft for all collectors who buy and sell numismatic material.

Under Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as health care reform legislation, businesses will be required to report all goods and services purchased in excess of $600 with an IRS 1099 form. As written, the law would, beginning in 2012, require all coin dealers to report on IRS form 1099 all goods and services (totaled across a taxable year) they purchase from other dealers and customers in excess of $600.

While the legislation applies to all types of businesses, an unusual burden would be placed on numismatic dealers who, unlike most businesses, buy goods and services from each other and their retail clients. In addition, dealers will be required to gather personal information on all clients who sell them goods or services in excess of $600, including name, address and social security number.

“All dealers will be disproportionately and unfairly impacted by this legislation,” said ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd. “As a former dealer, I can see how a small-to-medium-sized dealer could easily be required to submit 1,000 or more 1099s in a typical year, at very significant cost. In addition, all collectors would be forced to give out personal information that could increase the possibility of identity theft. This section of the healthcare reform bill is a nightmare for everyone in this hobby. We need to make sure that our voices are heard.”

Shepherd cautioned that the numismatic community should understand that this is not a new tax, but rather a method by which the IRS can collect more information in hopes that more taxpayers will report taxable income. The assumption is that the new regulation would generate about $17 billion over 10 years, increasing tax revenue to cover some of the costs of health care reform.

Already, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) has introduced HR 5141 to repeal this part of the health care reform act, and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 3578. Both bills are titled “The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act,” and will likely need more co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and Senate.

“The ANA urges everyone who loves this hobby to contact your representatives and urge them to sign on to HR 5141 and to contact both your senators and urge them to sign on to S. 3578,” Shepherd said.

The ANA has posted sample letters from dealers or collectors below and on its website at www.money.org.

For contact information on your members of Congress, go to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov. Anyone without a computer should contact the local office of your representative or senator, or call the U.S. Capitol at 202-224-3121. (more…)

The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) Announces 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award Winners

The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) presented its outstanding achievement awards for 2010 during the PNG Day banquet held in Boston, Massachusetts on August 9, 2010.

Patrick Heller of Liberty Coin Service in Michigan was given the Abe Kosoff Founders Award presented in recognition of a PNG member-dealer who has made a significant contribution to the Guild or to the numismatic fraternity in general. “Pat has shown enthusiastic leadership, dedication and selfless sharing of knowledge,” said Gary Adkins, who chaired the Kosoff committee. The award is named after PNG’s Founding President

Prolific author and prominent dealer, Q. David Bowers of New Hampshire, received one of the two Robert Friedberg Awards presented at the PNG Day banquet in Boston, August 9, 2010, and was also honored for 50 years of membership in the Professional Numismatists Guild. (Photo courtesy of Donn Pearlman. All rights reserved.)

David Hall, President of Collectors Universe, Inc. and a co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service, received the PNG Significant Contribution Award “for years of dedication and significant contributions to numismatics,” according to committee co-chairs Dana Samuelson and Barry Stuppler.

New Jersey coin dealer Ken Starrett was presented with the Sol Kaplan Award. He assisted in the recovery of coins stolen from long-time PNG member-dealer Julian Leidman of Maryland, according to Kaplan committee chair, Jeffrey Bernberg. Jointly presented by the PNG and the Lewis M. Reagan Foundation to people who have helped fight fraud and thievery in the numismatic profession, the award is named after a former PNG President who was responsible for the apprehension of several people suspected of numismatic-related crimes.

Paul Whitnah, a Texas collector and travel agent, received the Art Kagin Ambassador Award “for his many decades of volunteering and tireless support of the entire numismatic community,” according to Kagin committee chair Fred Weinberg. The award is named after a former PNG President who provided distinguished service as an advocate of numismatic goodwill.

(Paul Whitnah of Texas received the PNG’s 2010 Art Kagin Award in recognition of his decades of professional assistance to PNG member-dealers and volunteer work in the numismatic community. (Photo courtesy of Donn Pearlman. All rights reserved.)

Book authors Q. David Bowers and Cory Frampton each received a Robert Friedberg Award. Committee chair Tom Denly said Bowers received the award “in honor of his exemplary work on the Whitman Encyclopedia of U.S. Paper Money,” and Frampton received the award “in honor of his exemplary work on Mexican Paper Money.” The Friedberg award is named in honor of a well-known publisher and author of numismatic reference books.

Bowers also was recognized for 50 years of PNG membership. PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman announced that Bowers is being given lifetime membership in the organization, only the fifth person in PNG history to be so honored. Bowers joined the PNG in 1960 and holds membership number 58.

Three 25-year members were honored: John Wilkison (#351), PNG Immediate Past President Gary Adkins (#352) and Larry Stack (#355). All three joined the organization in 1985. (more…)

PNG Adopts Coin “Doctoring” Definition

The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) has created a definition of coin “doctoring” and now officially included it as one of the prohibitions in the organization’s By-Laws.

“The deliberate and unacceptable alteration of a coin in an effort to deceive is a complex matter. Everyone seems to know what coin ‘doctoring’ means, but it’s a difficult thing to concisely and substantively define,” said Paul Montgomery, PNG President.

“After extensive discussions and consultation with both Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the official grading service of PNG, and with executives of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the PNG has created its first formal definition of coin doctoring,” Montgomery added.

PNG already required disclosure of information about altered coins.

“Section seven of the PNG Code of Ethics specifically states that PNG member-dealers must refrain from knowingly dealing in counterfeit, altered or repaired numismatic items without fully disclosing their status to their customers. Section four of the Code prohibits misrepresenting the quality of a coin,” said PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.

“Adding a more specific definition of coin doctoring is a major step toward helping the PNG review any complaints against members accused of compromising ethical standards established by the organization. We now have an enforceable criterion for our membership.”

The PNG Board of Directors has adopted this initial definition:

Coin doctoring is the action of a person or the enabling of another to alter a coin’s surface or appearance, usually to diminish or conceal defects, and thereby represent the condition or value of a coin as being superior to its actual condition or value.

Among the practices defined as doctoring are effacing hairlines by polishing or manipulating the surfaces of proof coins, applying substances to the surface of coins to hide marks and defects, hiding marks or otherwise changing the appearance of a coin by adding toning, adding chemicals or otherwise manipulating the surfaces to create “cameo” frost on the devices of proof coins, and making a coin appear more fully struck by re-engraving portions of the devices, such as re-engraving bands on the reverse of a Mercury Dime or adding head detail to a Standing Liberty Quarter.

Altering dates or mintmarks or other struck portions of a coin to make it appear to be from a mint date or type other than that of origin, and altering business strike coins to make them resemble proof issues are also examples of coin doctoring. This definition is not intended to be all-inclusive, but only illustrative of forms of coin doctoring.

“As of today, no one has filed any formal complaints with PNG or presented evidence directly to the PNG of alleged coin doctoring by any of its members. However, we have been closely monitoring developments, and are taking action regarding a civil court lawsuit over alleged coin doctoring that was filed by PCGS in May of this year,” said Brueggeman.

Founded in 1955, the Professional Numismatists Guild is a nonprofit organization composed of many of the top rare coin and paper money dealers in the United States and other countries. PNG member-dealers must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic items. For additional information and the locations of PNG member-dealers, call (760) 728-1300 or visit online at www.PNGdealers.com.

Legend Market Report – The PCGS Invitational

This was by far the BEST one we have EVER attended since they began about 5 years ago. No, its not because our Jose sat down and in a few spins won a 4800 quarter jackpot, no activity on the bourse was strong.

Grading wise, we were happy they held the line and there were no massive quantities of drecky generics made. In fact, most dealers who do make coins like that did not seem happy with their results. Maybe they need to change their rose colored glasses? Those days are over!

Selling wise we were shocked. WHOLESALE was strong, as strong as we have EVER seen it-in fact we were surprised. Another deler who was only there for a day claims he sold six figures (we do believe him). Dealers wanted to do business. It is a possibilty they saw this small show as a chance to stock up for ANA. There were only about 25 tables.

The public turn out was decent. You don’t get more than 50 or so collectors coming to these (especially with the temps at 110 outside). But each show we are seeing a different collector or two who are there to spend some serious money. This show, we sold two coins OVER $25,000.00 to collectors! Thats more than we can do at Long Beach these days! Even more to our surprise, we were able to BUY some really nice coins as well from the public. We look forward to the next show in Septemeber.

BACK AT THE OFFICE

Sales were strong. We had hoped to make it a week to catch up on our paperwok-NOT! We ran a little sale (did very well) and managed to sell some bigger Want List coins. Collectors now can see there is not a ton of exceptional material in the ANA and pre ANA Sales to satifisy their hunger. So they are now back buying off of web sites (so it seems).

We also did a totally surprise huge seven figure sale in matter of minutes. We will be announcing that sometime next week.

You will be shocked how strong the $1 million dollar PLUS market for coins is. Does it make a difference to the collector buying an 1879S MS65? in our opinion, YES! It shows confidence. ALL levels of coins buyers always seek confirmation of confidence. Plus, you will find dealers with strengthen their bidding on less expensive items knowing the top tier is really strong, or they may have sold a huge coin and have become flush.

THE ANA AUCTIONS

We have now looked at B+M and Heritage. If you wish representation, please contact us NOW! We will be pretty cranky if you show up at the ANA table and ask us then. ALL representation is on a first come first serve basis. There are some great coins in these sales.

Do not forget to check out the Simpson coins in the Heritage sale. We sold him virtually ALL the coins and most are of the top quality you have come to expect from us. NOTE: We did NOT send all the coins to CAC. If you need to know which did go, please contact us. We will give you an honest opinion of the coins. Pattern collectors, this offering represents some exceptional opportuntiies-do NOT miss them (and Mr. Simspon will not be bidding-how refreshing)!

THE DENALI PATTERN COLLECTION

WOW, this is some collection. We did get all the coins graded at the PCGS Invite. Even David Hall came up to us to say how blown away he was at what he saw. Due to time restraints, we are hoping to have some portion of the collection ready for offering by next Monday. We know the bulk will not be offered until either at the ANA Show or shortly after. We still need to figure pricing and reinventory the coins.

We will confirm the collection consists of a 2Cent set, a 3CN+3CS set, a 20C set, and the most comprehensive set of patterns from 1870 (not he 1870’s, just 1870) EVER formed. There are an incredible amount of 1-2 known R-8 coins and many FINEST KNOWN coins (including a MONSTER 1869 25C PCGS PR68 cameo J-894-which we believe is the FINEST known Standard Silver 25C). If you need top quality coins from any of these sets, stay tuned!

Rare Coin Wholesalers Names Laurel Kamper Marketing Director

Laurel Kamper has been appointed Marketing Director of Rare Coin Wholesalers (RCW) of Irvine, California.

“Laurel has excellent experience in successful advertising and marketing in a half dozen business fields as well as trade shows. She’ll be a tremendous help in our efforts to keep our company in the forefront of the numismatic community, and to expand the awareness and enjoyment of rare coins with new audiences outside the usual hobby universe,” said Steven L. Contursi, RCW President.

Contursi generated international headlines in May when he sold his unique 1794 specimen Flowing Hair silver dollar for a record $7.85 million.

A native of New Jersey, Kamper is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Alabama with a major in advertising and a minor in English.

“I’m very excited to be working with the RCW team. We’ll be looking at fresh advertising and marketing strategies to educate new customers about the benefits of rare coins because they can be a great asset to an individual or investor. Keep an eye on RCW for upcoming announcements and a ‘new look’ in our print materials and web site,” said Kamper.

For additional information, contact Rare Coin Wholesalers, 8015 Irvine Center Dr., Suite 440, Irvine, California 92618. Phone: (800) 347-3250 or visit online at www.rcw1.com.

Gold to Shine in Forum at World’s Fair of Money

Two leading experts on the acquisition and trading of gold coins and bullion will provide a wealth of inside information on those subjects – free of charge – during the ANA World’s Fair of Money (www.WorldsFairOfMoney.com), the year’s biggest coin show, on Friday, August 13, 2010, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

The experts, Scott A. Travers and Maurice H. Rosen, will be the featured speakers at Coin Collector’s Survival® Conference 2010, a 90-minute seminar that will give attendees useful information on how to “survive and thrive during the decade of gold.”

The Survival Conference will start at 10:30 a.m. August 13 in Room 200 of the convention center. Admission is free, and everyone who attends will receive a copy of one of the bestselling books authored by Travers, as well as a newsletter published by Rosen. The free books and newsletters will be vintage copies of earlier editions.

Travers is a nationally known New York City coin dealer, author and consumer advocate who has written more than half a dozen award-winning books, including The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual®, a hobby bestseller that will have its seventh edition published by Random House in November. The New York Times has described him as “the Ralph Nader of numismatics” for his consumer activism.

Rosen is a prominent professional numismatist and coin market analyst from Plainview, New York, whose influential Rosen Numismatic Advisory is recognized perennially as the outstanding newsletter in the field of rare coins and precious metals. He forecasts in the soon-to-be-published edition of the Survival Manual that “by the end of 2020, the price of gold in U.S. dollars will be $5,000 to $10,000 per ounce.”

Travers and Rosen both foresaw the tremendous advance in the market value of gold well before it began. Travers was predicting $1,000-an-ounce gold in books and articles several years beforehand, when the price was less than half that amount and barely one-third its present level of about $1,200.

Also taking part in the symposium will be Jerry Jordan, award-winning news editor of The Examiner, a newspaper in Beaumont, Texas, who wrote a series of articles exposing apparent abuses by traveling gold buyers. Jordan’s four-part series revealed that in many cases, the itinerant buyers – operating out of hotel suites – apparently offered unwary sellers a small fraction of the true value for their gold coins and jewelry.

Rick Snow Named 2010 ANA Numismatist of the Year

The American Numismatic Association has named Rick Snow its 2010 Numismatist of the Year. Snow will receive his award on August 13 during the Awards Reception at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston.

President of Eagle Eye Rare Coins in Tucson since 1992, Richard “Rick” Snow started collecting in 1972, focusing on large cents and colonial coinage. In 1977 he attended his first ANA Summer Seminar, where he took the “Counterfeit Detection” course. He sold most of his collection during the mid-1980s while drifting through Tennessee and Mississippi looking for work.

Snow moved to Tucson to live with his sister and started to renew his collection. His knowledge of coins and ANA life membership got him a job at Allstate Coin Company in Tucson in 1986.

His experiences there and interaction with other hobby professionals allowed Snow to gather the information he needed to write his first book, Flying Eagle and Indian Cents. To make time to promote the book, Snow left Allstate and became an independent coin dealer.

PCGS Video of Rick Snow at the February 2010 Long Beach Expo

As one of the few specialists in the hobby, Snow sells $2 to $3 million in cents annually. He also continues to write award-winning reference books on his favorite subjects – Flying Eagle and Indian Head cents – and writes and edits Longacre’s Ledger, the official journal of the Fly-In Club, which he co-founded. Snow is preparing to launch his new business, GreatCoins.com, an Internet auction company geared toward honest practices and consumer protection.

He is a 2007 recipient of the ANA’s Glenn Smedley Memorial Award.

The American Numismatic Association is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items.

Legend Numismatics acquires the Denali Collection of Patterns and more..

By Laura Sperber as part of the Legend Market Report

Legend has acquired the Denali Collection of Patterns. One of the most comprehensive collections of 2C, 3C, 20C pieces along with 1870 pieces. While we do know of several incredible Pattern collections out there, none are of the scope or size (this collection is OVER 350 pieces). There are many R-7/R-8’s (with the only other coin being in the Simpson Collection). We rank this multimillion dollar Collection second only to our Simpson Collection.

This collection was assembled by a long time friend and customer of Legend. Ironically, he built this collection before we ever started dabbling in Patterns!

The collector is also a true scholar. In fact, since we started working on the acquisition of this set, we have learned MANY things about certain Patterns from him we never knew (like how the Mint tested dipping one side of a coin in silver, or how it made some dies, etc).

There are some monster wicked cool coins we never knew existed even though they are in the Judd book -like 793A, a 2C piece obverse with a 25C Standard silver reverse. WOW! We could go on and on.

ALL of the coins in this incredible collection are graded by PCGS. Grades range from VG 08 to PR67! Due to time restraints, we are hoping to have the coins inventoried by the end of the month (we have another major deal incoming). Our goal is to offer some coins starting at or immediately after the ANA Show.

If you have a Pattern Want list, make sure we have it, or subscribe to our email blasts (we are NOT spammers) to find out when these coins will be available. in many cases, this will be your ONLY chance to acquire a certain Judd number.

THE SIMPSON COLLECTION DUPLICATES-THE HERITAGE SALE

As you may know, Legend is the exclusive dealer for the Simpson Collection. This collection already ranks as one of the greatest EVER assembled. So we’d like to let you know whats happening with the collection.

Legend did indeed place a multimillion dollar consignment of coins from the this incredible collection in the ANA sale. No, Mr. Simpson is not slowing down or selling (you’ll certainly see that by the next few major announcements we’ll make). He actually needed more room! He is building so many sets that his boxes become cluttered. So he allowed us to outright buy a few coins, but his desire was that his duplicates be placed in auction so other collectors have the opportunity to finish their sets. The majority of the coins are UNRESERVED. We can assure you, the quality is all there and then some. His standards are amazingly high. Legend did sell him the majority of what is in the sale. So if you have any questions, please feel free to ask us about any coin. (more…)

Steve Deeds Leaving as President of Bowers and Merena and Michael Haynes to become CEO of APMEX

Bowers and Merena announced  today that its president, Steve Deeds, is stepping down from his full-time position to pursue other coin-related interests, and will continue to have an ongoing role with the company.

California-based Bowers and Merena is one of the prominent US auctioneers for rare coins, currency and exonumia, with its affiliate Ponterio & Associates conducting auctions of ancient and foreign coins and paper money. Bowers and Merena also offers direct sales for rare coins and currency and publishes a number of important numismatic books.

Bowers and Merena is an affiliate of  The Spectrum Group International–a consolidated global collectibles network and the third largest in the world behind Christies and Sotheby’s.

Ten major brands comprise Spectrum Group International, including:
A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc., Bowers and Merena Auctions, LLC, Corinphila Auktionen: Headquartered in Zurich, Greg Martin Auctions: The world’s premier auction house for arms, armor and militaria., H.R. Harmer, Inc.: one of the world’s leading auctioneers of rare and collectible stamps, John Bull Stamp Auctions, Ltd., Spectrum Wine Auctions, Spectrum Numismatics International, Inc.: a leading buyer and seller of rare coins, currency and fine wines, Teletrade: conducts Internet and telephone auctions for rare coins, currency and exonumia.

Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena, stated:  “We wish Steve well in his new endeavors and we are pleased that he has agreed to continue to obtain consignments on behalf of Bowers and Merena.  His new role will allow us to continue to take advantage of Steve’s demonstrated skills in promoting the numerous benefits of consigning with Bowers and Merena.”

Mr. Roberts continued, “I will remain as CEO of Bowers and Merena, working closely with our talented group of executives and consignment directors, including Rick Ponterio, Scott Reiter, Brett Renaud, Debbie McDonald, Ron Gillio, Matt Quinn, Kent Ponterio and Kyle Ponterio.  With our distinguished team and Mr. Deeds’ support, we will continue our tradition of putting together outstanding rare coin and currency auctions.”

In other news The American Precious Metals Exchange (www.APMEX.com) announced  that Michael Haynes, former CEO and Board Member of Collectors Universe has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of APMEX.

APMEX is one of the largest precious metals retailers in the US, with annual sales over $600 Million.

APMEX Chairman of the Board and Founder Scott Thomas said ” Haynes brings both public company and private company experience in high growth companies. We look forward to sharing and benefiting from his vast experience.”

“It is a great privilege to join the team at APMEX, where Scott Thomas has directed the growth of the company, combining the excellent service with a simple, yet user-friendly Internet-based trading platform,” explained Haynes. “In today’s marketplace, gold and other precious metals are key elements in the diversification of assets that assist in stabilizing the individual portfolio and the hedging of portfolio asset values against what is rapidly becoming a more volatile currency dependent financial world. Our objective is to bring gold and precious metals ownership through the Internet to every person who seeks protection for their portfolio while providing easy and direct access to gold and other precious metals products with superior service and support.”

Ian Russell to launch GreatCollections.com – a “new” way to buy and sell coins.

Well-known numismatist and online auction expert Ian Russell has announced plans to create a new online marketplace catering to coin collectors, dealers and traders. The marketplace, named GreatCollections.com, is set to go live in late 2010.

Russell said, “Coin collecting is one of the most popular hobbies in the United States, and also one of the most conducive to online trading. I think there is the void in the market that GreatCollections can fill. It’s about technology, products and service.”

Until recently, Russell was COO of Collectibles at Spectrum Group International, the parent company of Teletrade and Bowers and Merena, among other auction houses, and continues to consult with them. Russell left the company with the full support and backing of Spectrum, whose CEO Greg Roberts, commented, “We are delighted that Ian is starting his own venture. With Ian’s talent and industry knowledge, GreatCollections.com should be hugely successful. We are glad that we were able to work out a mutually beneficial arrangement to work together during the near-term and possibly beyond.”

On a limited time basis, collectors and dealers can now register and become Foundation Members of GreatCollections. Available only to the first 1,000 members who register prior to GreatCollections.com’s formal launch, this group of special members will receive lifelong benefits such as discounts and exclusive services. To register, visit www.greatcollections.com/register or telephone 949-510-5310.

“If you collect coins, own coins or trade coins, I recommend you register and become a Foundation Member of GreatCollections,” said Russell. “It’s free and will ensure you are notified about the company’s progress over the next few months.”

In addition to creating its own marketplace, GreatCollections will immediately begin offering confidential bidding services at all major live auctions within the United States.

For more information about GreatCollections, its marketplace and confidential bidding services, please contact Ian Russell at 949-510-5310 or e-mail ian@greatcollections.com.

The 59th annual congress of the International Association of Professional Numismatists (I.A.P.N.) took place in Reykjavik, Iceland in May of 2010

The 59th annual congress of the International Association of Professional Numismatists (I.A.P.N.) took place in Reykjavik, Iceland in May of 2010. Despite disruptive clouds of volcanic ash interfering with airlines flights the congress was well attended.

Many of the world’s top numismatic firms were in attendance, with eleven countries total being represented. The congress began May 21st with opening ceremonies by I.A.P.N. President Paul Davies and Olafur Asgeirsson “Director of the National Archives of Iceland”.

Many important topics were discussed during the business sessions. These include the ongoing efforts of The International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins (I.B.S.C.C.) and the work being done to combat forgeries entering the market. The I.B.S.C.C. is a subsidiary of the I.A.P.N that’s primary function is focused on these areas.

Other discussions were held regarding new legislation regarding cultural properties, import regulations and its effects on the numismatic trade. Three new firms were elected including Stephen Album Rare Coins of Santa Rosa, California, Daniel Frank Sedwick of Winter Park, Florida and Patrick Guillard from Paris, France.
The I.A.P.N. also presented its annual book prize. Although many good books were submitted, this year’s winner was Helmut Zottl for his two volume work on the coinage of Salzburg.

Congress attendees were fortunate to visit the Museum of the Central Bank of Iceland where senior numismatist Anton Holt gave a viewing of their numismatic collection. Members were able to view coins tokens and what is considered by many to be the acme of Icelandic banknote collections.

The I.A.P.N. general assembly for 2011 is scheduled to be held in Edinburgh Scotland.
For more information on the I.A.P.N please visit www.iapn-coin.org

Wayne Herndon Acquires Dick Osburn Rare Coins

Dick Osburn and Wayne Herndon announced that effective June 17 the assets of Dick Osburn Rare Coins were acquired by Wayne Herndon Rare Coins, Inc. of Chantilly, Virginia. Key aspects of the transaction include:

· Dick Osburn Rare Coins will continue to be operated as a separate entity. The company will relocate its headquarters to Chantilly, Virginia and share office space with Wayne Herndon Rare Coins and Wizard Coin Supply, also operated by Herndon. The company will retain a satellite office in Kemah, Texas.

· Dick Osburn will remain active in the business, splitting his time between the Chantilly and Virginia offices. Administrative functions will be provided through infrastructure already in place in Herndon’s organization, allowing Osburn to focus on the numismatic aspects of the business as well as spending more personal time with his wife, Ruth.

· Brian Cushing joins the company as Senior Numismatist. Cushing began his career as a professional numismatist in 2004 at J. J. Teaparty, where he was in charge of coin photography and developed an interest in attributing bust and seated coin varieties. After leaving J. J. Teaparty, Cushing operated Brian Cushing Rare Coins, where he gained additional experience dealing with early U. S. type coins. He was recruited by Herndon in August, 2009, to work on the Osburn transaction. The transition planning has been in progress since that time.

· Osburn and Cushing will manage the numismatic and customer/consignor aspects of the business with Herndon providing strategic, managerial, and administrative support.

· Consigned coins remain with Osburn pending approval of assignment of consignment agreements by individual consignors.

Dick and Ruth explained that “the business has grown to the point where it was becoming more and more difficult for us to manage without hiring additional employees.” The new structure allows the company to make full use of the infrastructure already in place at Wayne Herndon Rare Coins and Wizard Coin Supply while retaining the practices that have made Dick Osburn Rare Coins one of the most respected dealers in the industry and the national leader in the marketing of U. S. bust and seated coinage.

In the coming months the company will be making significant upgrades to its technology. “We invested heavily in a technology platform for Wizard Coin Supply that we can now leverage across Dick Osburn Rare Coins,” noted Herndon. Planned improvements include a fully e-commerce-compatible website with digital coin images and shopping cart functionality.
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Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Bowers & Merena auction, Proof 1876-CC dime, and $150 million for the CAC

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #5

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

I will not be discussing the most expensive or the rarest coins that are coming ‘on the auction block’ this week. Rather, I have selected a few that I find to be both newsworthy and particularly interesting. Admittedly, these are expensive. I continue to insist, though, that an understanding of rare coins, and of the values in the coin collecting community, requires knowledge of coins that most collectors cannot afford.

Suppose that this column was geared towards art enthusiasts rather than coin enthusiasts. Would it then make sense to discuss only the paintings that most art collectors could afford? Collectors who cannot afford great and culturally important paintings enjoy learning about them and often learn to apply their knowledge of famous painting to their interpretations of a wide variety of not-so-famous paintings. Likewise, coin enthusiasts, in general, appreciate coins that are great, famous, very rare and/or important to the culture of coin collecting.

Please see my discussions below of the following coins. The 1851-O trime is the only Three Cent Silver issue that was not struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Indeed, it is curious that the New Orleans Mint struck this denomination, as the Branch Mints tended not to manufacture small denomination coins in the 19th century. The Hawaiian Eighth-Dollar is certainly extremely rare and extremely curious. The 1926-S nickel issue is just incredibly difficult to find in MS-65 or MS-66 grade. As I discussed one in last week’s column, I could not resist mentioning another, as B&M will auction it this week in Baltimore. Similarly, I discussed a rare and historically important King James II English gold coin last week and B&M will auction a coin of the same design type this week. Plus, the unique Proof 1876-CC dime is one of the most exciting coins of all.

II. The CAC Surpasses $150 Million Level

It is widely known that the CAC approves (or rejects) submitted coins that are already graded by the PCGS or the NGC. Approved coins receive a green sticker, or, in rare instances, a gold sticker. It is not as widely known that the CAC will make sight unseen commitments to pay competitive prices for CAC approved coins. These are not ‘low ball’ bids. As of June 15, the CAC has purchased $154 million of coins, almost all of which are CAC approved.

The CAC was founded by John Albanese in Oct. 2007. CAC purchases have thus been averaging more than $4.7 million per month. The $150 million level was reached in early June.

Albanese was the sole founder of the Numismatic Guaranty Corp (NGC) in 1987. Around Dec. 1998, he sold his shares in the NGC to Mark Salzberg, who is the current NGC Chairman. (For more discussion of the CAC, please see my articles on CoinFest, Jay Brahin’s Coins, the PCGS graded MS-68+ 1901-S quarter, the 20th Century Gold Club, and Dr. Duckor’s quarters.)

Although the CAC has acquired thousands of coins that are valued at under $5000 each, the CAC has approved and acquired some very famous coins. Among others, the Eliasberg 1870-S silver dollar and the finest known, Rogers-Madison 1796 ‘No Stars’ Quarter Eagle ($2½ gold coin) come to my mind.

III. Unique Proof 1876-CC Dime

Laura Sperber, of Legend Numismatics, acquired the unique Proof 1876-CC dime from a New Jersey dealer in early June. On Saturday, June 12, she sold it for an amount in excess of $200,000. It “went into a collection of Proof Seated Dimes,” Sperber reveals. It is certified as Proof-66 by the PCGS and has a sticker of approval from the CAC. (more…)