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The News at a Glance – August 3, 2010

The Rare Bronze Octagonal 1904 St. Louis Olympics Medal
Stack’s News
The first modern Olympic Games, spearheaded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, were held in Athens in 1896. In the 114 years that followed, a wealth of medals and coins has been created, sought after by an fanatically determined group of specialized collectors. The Athens contest and the 1900 Paris Games followed with increasing success and medals exist from them. Then the decision was made to hold the Games of the III Olympiad (the four-year interval culminating in the next Games) in distant St. Louis, Missouri, in conjunction with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (LPE). This was the kiss of death to the dignity of the Games, which were promptly relegated to an expo back closet called the Physical Culture Department under the Director of Exhibits. Only 554 athletes took part from 11 countries.
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NGC Hosts Exhibits at the ANA World’s Fair of Money
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) will host two numismatic exhibits at its booth (#704) during the convention. The first is also from the Simpson Collection and includes two incredibly rare coins. One is the finest known proof 1804 $10 grading NGC PF65 Ultra Cameo, among the most desirable and most valuable of all US gold coins. Struck in 1834 for presentation to diplomats, just three exist today. The second is the very seldom seen proof 1804 $10 struck in silver graded NGC PF64. This pattern coin, designated as J-34 in the standard Judd reference, is one of no more than five known. This exhibit marks the first time these two companion coins have been exhibited together.
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The Biggest Show of the Year
The annual convention of the American Numismatic Association is always the biggest coin show of the year. Dealers bring out their best coins, most of the major buyers attend (many plan their summer vacations around the ANA show), and there are always huge auctions held in conjunction with the show. This year the ANA summer show is being held in Boston, August 10 to 14, though there is a “pre-show” August 7 and 8. There will be three auctions…Stack’s, Bowers and Merena, and Heritage held before and during the show. The show auction is the Heritage auction and it is huge. Both the B&M and Stack’s auctions have some great coins. I estimate that over $50 million worth of coins will be sold at the three auctions and another $50 million worth of coins will trade hands on the floor of the coin show. It is going to be a monstrous event.
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The Art and Science of Coin Buying and Selling
Scott A. Travers
Coin buyers and sellers are constantly making deals. Some end up doing very well for themselves, while others learn later that the joke was on them. Unlike the contestants on Let’s Make a Deal, however, those who negotiate deals involving coins don’t have to operate strictly by guesswork. They can arm themselves with facts, figures, insights and common sense and emerge from just about any deal with at least fair value – and perhaps a good deal more. Deal-making is second nature for professional numismatists. “Deal,” after all, represents two-thirds of the word “dealer.” You don’t have to be a dealer, though, to grasp and even master the art (and science) of deal-making. At the outset, it’s important to understand some conditions that are peculiar, if not unique, to the rare-coin marketplace.
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New Book on Buffalo Nickel Abraded Die Varieties
Great opportunity awaits the dedicated Buffalo variety collector, and this book is the ultimate guide in that endeavor. One look at the advancing values of the two best known abraded die varieties, the 1937-D 3 leg and the 1936-D 3 1/2 leg Buffalo nickels, and one can see the genuine need for this reference. Taking into account the increasing popularity and Red Book acceptance of these varieties, now is the time to begin your search! What are abraded die varieties? In Part One of this book Ron Pope defines traditional and non-traditional abraded die varieties, explains how these varieties were produced, and devotes a full page to the description of each known date and mintmark for which that variety occurs.
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What’s the Proper Way to Examine a Coin?
Numismatic News
One thing has not changed since the first class I taught in Colorado Springs, Colo., with Charles Hoskins back in 1973. I saw students using all kinds of methods to view coins. A few would lay the coin flat on the table and bend over it with their magnifier blocking most of the light needed to see the coin. Others would hold the coin and magnifier practically at arms length while trying to see the image in the lens almost a foot away from their eye. Unfortunately, many students continued to do this after being shown the “correct” way to view a coin. I believe the best method is to hold the magnifier to your eye and bring the coin up to the lens until it is in focus. Place your head close to the light source so that the light is between your magnifier/eye combination and the coin.?
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