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Category: Top Stories

Liberty Dollar Office Raided by FBI – Gold and Silver “Coins” Seized

Liberty DollarsThe future of an Evansville-based company that produces a “private voluntary barter currency” known as the Liberty Dollar is in question after federal agents raided the facility this week, according to an e-mail sent by its founder.

Federal officials reportedly raided the group’s headquarters, located in a strip mall at 225 N. Stockwell Road, early Wednesday morning and seized documents and precious metals.

FBI Agent Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Indianapolis office, directed all questions on the raid to the Western District of North Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office. A spokeswoman there said she had no information on the investigation.

Bernard von NotHaus, the group’s monetary architect and the author of the e-mail, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Von NotHaus developed the Liberty Dollar in 1998 as an “inflation-proof” alternative currency to the U.S. Dollar, which he has claimed has devalued since the Federal Reserve was established in 1913. The silver medallions are produced by a private mint in Idaho on behalf of Evansville-based Liberty Services, which also issues paper notes which the group says are backed by silver reserves. (more…)

All-Time Finest Collection of Private & Territorial Gold Patterns

by Greg Reynolds, a CoinLink exclusive report

1849 Cincinnati Mining & Trading Company Pattern $20 The Robert Bass collection of Private & Territorial gold patterns, die trials and related pieces is the all-time finest in this field. Bass started buying territorial gold coins and patterns in the 1960s. He sold his collection of territorial gold in 1999. He was too emotionally attached to his territorial patterns, however, to part with them, until 2006 when he had to deal with personal and health problems.

Don Kagin reports that he purchased this collection from Robert Bass “more than one year ago.” It has taken a long time to inventory, weigh, research and prepare a catalogue of the items. Kagin emphasizes that a featured trio are “three unique Humbert $50 pieces” that were previously in the legendary Bushnell and Garrett family collections.

Items from more than thirty private mints or prospective mints are in the Bass collection. Eleven of these may never have minted gold coins.

This Bass collection contains 179 pieces. For about eighty-three of these, fewer than five pieces are known. Even more startling is that, of these eighty-three or so, more than fifty of them are unique, meaning just one piece is known to exist today. (more…)

Many kinds of prices at work in marketplace

By Mark Ferguson for Coin Values

In the wholesale market for coins, which is dealer-to-dealer trading, some dealers buy and sell coins through electronic trading networks.

The dealers who use these networks regularly post “bid” prices or the prices they are willing to pay for certain coins. Many bid prices are sincere attempts to purchase coins wanted by customers, but others are attempts to buy great bargains if willing sellers are found.

Participating dealers also post on the network “sight-unseen” bids, in dealer parlance, indicating a willingness to accept any coins graded by particular grading services in the grades they are seeking to purchase.

Finest Known Ultra-High Relief Changes Hands Again

One of America’s greatest numismatic treasures has traded hands in a private-treaty sale. The finest-known “Ultra-High Relief,” graded Proof-69 both by NGC and PCGS, was purchased by Certified Assets Management (CAMI) of Wilmington, Delaware, from Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas acting on behalf their client-owner, who remains a significant owner and collector of American numismatic rarities.

This rarity was last offered publicly in the Heritage auction of the Philip Morse collection of St. Gaudens twenties in November of 2005, where it realized $2,990,000, a record at the time.

While the actual price was not disclosed, both parties confirm that the new price substantially exceeds the previous auction price.

Heritage to Auction Kaufman’s Seated Proofs

Heritage will conduct the official American Numismatic Association auction in Milwaukee, and a Platinum Night event will be featured on Aug. 9, during which the first part of the Phil Kaufman collection will be offered.

Kaufman assembled one of the top all-time collections of proof Seated Liberty coins, many of which were earlier in some of the best collections ever. One highlight is Kaufman’s 1853 quarter, with arrows and rays, that is certified Proof-66 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

Kaufman’s collection will be sold in parts, with additional selections tentatively planned to be offered at Heritage’s September Long Beach auction and at the January Florida United Numismatists auction in Orlando. Earlier in this decade, Heritage sold many (or all?) of Kaufman’s proof Seated Liberty coins dating from 1859 to 1891. My impression is that Kaufman then retained his coins dating from the 1830s to 1858. Proofs from the 1838-1858 period are very rare.

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David Lawrence Rare Coins Sells 1894-S Dime for Record-Breaking $1.9 Million

(Virginia Beach, VA) John Feigenbaum, President of David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC, agent for Buyer) and Mitchell J. Spivack (wondercoins.com; agent for seller), jointly announced today the completion of DLRC’s purchase of the finest known 1894-S Barber Dime. The transaction was completed in a private treaty transaction between the collector (seller), Daniel Rosenthal and his professional representative, Mr. Spivack on the one hand, and DLRC on behalf of their buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous.

This is the third time John Feigenbaum and David Lawrence Rare Coins have successfully sold this important numismatic rarity. According to Feigenbaum, “this is the one coin that most defines my numismatic legacy. My father, David Lawrence Feigenbaum, originally wrote a detailed pedigree on the 1894-S dime in 1990, and it was his life’s ambition to own this specimen. It is the finest of the nine known examples, and both PCGS and NGC have graded it Proof 66 on several occasions. Even at the current market level, I think this piece remains underrated, especially considering its peers in other collectibles. Being the finest example among a top-5 U.S. coin is truly special. Frankly, I think it’s right up there with the 1913 nickel and 1804 dollar in desirability.”

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$15 Million Platinum Night Highlights Heritage’s 2007 Milwaukee ANA

Dallas, TX: Heritage’s 36th Official ANA Auction at the 2007 Milwaukee “World’s Fair of Money” is featuring a Platinum Night session containing the highlight coins of the 3,500 lot auction. The Signature Auction sessions will be held August 8-10, and Platinum Night will take place on August 9, 2007. All sessions are currently posted at www.HA.com . All auction sessions will take place at the Midwest Airlines Center; lot exhibition begins there Sunday, August 5 in Room 201 B-D, 400 West Wisconsin Ave in Milwaukee.

“Heritage’s Official ANA Auction will be an incredibly exciting event,” predicted Heritage President Greg Rohan. “Approximately 350 consignors are participating in this event, and they have entrusted us with $25-$30 million of their numismatic treasures. As you can easily see from our list of highlights, the number of truly important coins in this auction seems almost limitless. I predict that many Registry collections will pick up their most important coins at out Milwaukee Platinum Night Session.”

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Capped Bust Quarter Leads Heritage Auction

An 1827/3 Capped Bust quarter restrike that sold for $126,500 is the top lot in Heritage Auction Galleries’ sale at the Summer Florida United Numismatists show in West Palm Beach.

The Heritage cataloger specified that the die rust and other markers on this piece indicate that it is from a later group of restrikes, from which about a dozen pieces are known. This one was graded Proof-66 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. It sold to an Internet bidder. The total prices realized in the July 12-13 auction was not available by press time. All prices reported here include buyer fees. An 1893-O Morgan dollar in NGC MS-65 came in next at $115,000.

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‘Revisionist’ Theory Wrong About Gobrechts

Editor’s note: It is the opinion of the authors that revisionist theory about Gobrecht dollars is invalid. The Breen theory, that originals can be determined by noting that the eagle flies upward when the coin is properly rotated, they believe should be immediately restored. This article is an attempt to support the contention. It is divided into two parts, with a conclusion following. The first section, by R.W. Julian, deals with the historical aspects of the Gobrecht dollar coinage, while the second, by Craig Sholley, examines the critical areas of mint machinery, weights, die rotation and rarity.

Prior to about 1975 the Gobrecht silver dollars of 1836 through 1839 were all considered to be patterns. It was known that restrikes had been made in the late 1850s but until Walter Breen tackled the problem in the mid-1970s, no one knew how to distinguish the true originals. At the same time, documentary proof was published showing that some of the dollars of 1836 and 1839 were in fact coins issued for circulation.

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Phil Kaufman’s Early Seated Proof Sets Begin Auction Appearances at Heritage’s Milwaukee ANA Event

Dallas, TX: Phil Kaufman’s superlative collection of Early Seated Proof Sets (1839-1858) is being offered by Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries in a series of events starting with the August 8-10, 2007 ANA World’s Fair of Money Platinum Night Auction in Milwaukee.

“Mr. Kaufman’s Collection is so extensive – and so valuable,” noted Heritage President Greg Rohan, “that we will be offering important pieces over four of our Signature/Platinum Night auctions during the coming year. Mr. Kaufman wanted to start this process in Milwaukee at the Official Auction of the summer ANA, as this represents one of the most important venues of the year. Milwaukee marks Heritage’s 36th selection as the Official ANA Auctioneer.”

“Mr. Kaufman is an extraordinary collector,” continued Rohan. “We started selling important selections from his collections in 2002, and have successfully concluded more than a half dozen separate consignments. He has been so pleased with his results that we are now privileged to offer his beloved early Seated silver proofs.”

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Import Restrictions Imposed on Cypriot Coins

The ACCG deplores this unprecedented extension of UNESCO inspired import restrictions to include historical coins of possible Cypriot origin. In this action, without stating any justification or disclosing reasons for this decision, the State Department departed from its prior decisions exempting coins from import restrictions – even though the solid factual basis for this exemption has not changed. Under the CPIA statute, import restrictions should only be imposed on artifacts “found in the ground”. There is no statutory authority to impose import restrictions based on where an artifact was made.

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United States Mint to Publicly Display Never-Before-Seen Gold “Space Coins” In Milwaukee

The United States Mint will display for the first time 12 gold proof Sacagawea Golden Dollars that flew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in July 1999. The 12 gold versions of the circulating Golden Dollars will be unveiled at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money® in Milwaukee, the largest coin show in the nation. Until now, the gold “space coins” have been stored at Fort Knox. They never have been seen in public, and similar gold coins were never sold, making them extremely rare. Although the coins’ value has not been established, they are very unique as historic artifacts.

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1944-D Steel Cent Error to be Auctioned by Heritage!

Dallas, TX: During World War II, copper was in short supply. Vital to the war effort for everything from ammunition to military equipment, the US Mint researched alternative metals from which one-cent coins could be made, thus increasing the supply of copper for military purposes. Various metals were explored, as well as plastics, but eventually zinc-coated steel was decided upon. All three mints – Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco – produced these coins in 1943, but problems with the new metal were soon discovered, including a tendency to rust and their confusion with dimes, and the zinc-coated steel production was abandoned the following year in favor of salvaged brass shell casings augmented with pure copper. (more…)

New Specimen of First American Copper Coin Dug in Virginia

Coined for Maryland ca. 1658, Only Seven Specimens Are Known

(NEW YORK – July 11) The collectible population of one of the rarest and most historically important of all colonial issues has increased by 50% with the discovery of a newly discovered specimen, making a total of three Maryland denariums in private hands. A pair of metal detectorists working in the historic riverside community of Middlesex County, Virginia – near where the Rappahannock River meets the Chesapeake Bay – uncovered the tiny copper coin in the spring of 2007 and contacted Stack’s upon finding the extremely rare coin listed in the Guide Book of United States Coins and realizing they had discovered something of great importance.

While two examples of the Maryland denarium have sold at public auction in the last 25 years, those two examples appear to be the only other specimens in private hands from a total population of just seven coins. Specimens are known in institutional collections in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian Institution (where two reside permanently), and the St. Mary’s County (MD) Historical Society. One of the Smithsonian coins and the St. Mary’s County coins were also dug up, apparently both in Maryland, as was the John Roper specimen (sold by Stack’s in 1983), which was found with a metal detector by a Maryland college student in 1977

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A Patriotic U.S. Coin Wins “Coin of the Year” in International Competition

WASHINGTON – A United States Mint commemorative coin, the Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar, has been named “Coin of the Year” (COTY) by a distinguished panel of international judges. The COTY competition also recognized two U.S. circulating coins, the 2005 American Bison Nickel, as the “Most Popular Coin,” and the Oregon commemorative quarter-dollar, as the “Best Trade Coin.” The 2007 COTY Awards span a two-year judging period. “The men and women of the United States Mint create beautiful coins that reflect the spirit, traditions and values that Americans hold dear,” said United States Mint Director Edmund C. Moy. “We are proud that our coins have been honored.”

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The Principle of Sound Money

Today’s national money regimes bear no resemblance to Mises’s sound-money principle. The quantity and quality of money is no longer a free-market phenomenon; it is determined by government-controlled central banks. To prevent governments from misusing their coercive power in monetary affairs, two “institutional arrangements” have been put into place. First, central banks have been made politically independent to prevent politicians from trying to trade off benefits resulting from an inflation-induced, short-term, cyclical upswing against the medium- to long-term costs resulting from the debasing of the means of payments.

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New Battle Looms Over Rights to the World’s Richest Shipwreck

A lengthy legal battle over the rights to treasure believed to be worth £1bn, which went down with a Spanish galleon 300 years ago off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, was thrown into further confusion yesterday despite a ruling by Colombia’s highest court to finally decide ownership.

The gold, silver and jewels on board the San José, which sank on June 8 1708 while trying to outrun British warships near the port of Cartagena, make it one of the world’s most valuable shipwrecks. The treasure has been the focus of a legal battle between the Colombian government and American salvagers.

The supreme court ruled yesterday that Colombia holds the rights to items deemed to be “national cultural patrimony”. Anything else will be halved between the US salvage company Sea Search Armada and Colombia.

The ruling, which cannot be appealed against, overturned two earlier court decisions that awarded Sea Search half of the haul. But a Colombian lawyer for Sea Search Armada still claimed victory.

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