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All Posts Tagged With: "Adam Crum"

Multi-year Gold Bull Market Is Firmly Intact

Adam Crum – Monaco Rare Coins

Critics Believe Second Round of Quantitative Easing By the Fed Will Further Devalue the Dollar and Create Inflation

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been quoted as saying he would fly over the United States and drop dollars from a helicopter should it be necessary.

Sans helicopter, for the time being at any rate, the Federal Reserve has announced that it plans to breathe new life into the economy with additional quantitative easing, a series of Treasury purchases starting with $600,000,000 that may ultimately total $1 trillion or more according to some sources. With the U.S. economy expanding at just 2 percent annually in the third quarter of this year and the jobless rate apparently stalled at about 9.6 percent, the Fed was pressured to do something to stimulate the economy.

Bernanke explained to students at Jacksonville University that a second round of easing will enable the Fed to accomplish its two Congressional mandates, ensuring full employment and stable prices while preventing deflation and generating some “good” inflation.

Critics say the dollar will weaken and create inflation

Critics believe that the dollar will weaken as these purchases (accomplished by printing money) increase the Fed’s balance sheet. Inflation is fueled by a weaker dollar as the real price of goods and services becomes more expensive. Using past research and her own models, Goldman Sachs strategist Robin Brooks suggests the dollar will need to drop a great deal more than the Federal Reserve thinks in order to meet the central bank’s inflation target.

“Substantial additional monetary stimulus is needed for the Fed to meet its dual mandate on inflation and employment,” wrote Brooks after the Fed’s announcement. She has raised her estimate for the total size of this second round of quantitative easing from $1 trillion to $2 trillion. “If indeed the Fed sees the dollar as one of its key policy levers for preventing inflation from staying below its mandate for a prolonged period, the dollar needs to fall a lot further from here,” says Brooks.

The big question is when Bernanke discovers that the plan isn’t working, how much farther could the dollar fall? This controversial plan of additional quantitative easing takes the Fed into essentially uncharted waters and puts the dollar at risk of crashing. Frankly, these additional bond purchases could be more destructive than critics even think if inflation is ignited when the economy finally comes around. (more…)

What would happen if the United States lost its AAA credit rating?

by Adam Crum – Monaco Rare Coins

Two years ago‚ a company that performs financial research and analysis on commercial and government entities and has a 40% share in the world credit rating market warned the United States government that it risked losing its triple A rating if it didn’t get its finances under control. That company was Moody’s and the warning was motivated by the future of healthcare and Social Security costs and long before the present financial upheaval.

Does our government deserve a triple A credit rating?

While the U.S. government has had a triple A credit rating since 1917‚ there are those who feel that if the United States were any other country‚ its coveted top-tier credit rating might have been stripped away by now.

“For too long‚ the U.S. has delayed making the tough but necessary choices needed to reverse its deteriorating financial condition‚” David Walker‚ chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and a former comptroller general of the United States‚ recently wrote in the Financial Times. “One could even argue that our government does not deserve a AAA credit rating based on our current financial condition‚ structural fiscal imbalances and political stalemate.”

“The triple-A rating is undeserved‚” suggests Peter Morici‚ a professor of international business at the University of Maryland. “If Washington were a state capitol‚ we would have lost the AAA with the current budget.”

Here are just some of the reasons Mr. Walker and Professor Morici would make such statements:

* Equal to about 80 percent of total output of the United States‚ the Treasury Department recently reported that the total U.S. government debt is $11‚270‚547‚397‚564.64.
* With the U.S. relying on foreign buyers to keep its borrowing costs low‚ China and Japan alone hold more than $1.4 trillion of U.S. Treasury bonds as of March‚ according to U.S. Treasury data. A sovereign downgrade would certainly alarm at least some of those buyers.
* The Fed is now burdened by the same kind of toxic paper that has been plaguing private U.S. banks for several quarters.
* Leveraging its capital 48-to-1‚ Fed banks are holding total capital of just $45.7 billion against the sum total of $2.19 trillion in assets. Two years ago the ratio was only 27-to-1.
* The government’s $787 billion economic stimulus package and $700 billion bank bailout fund have strained the country’s resources and the jury is still out as to whether any of this will actually make a difference.
* The International Monetary Fund expects the debt-to-GDP ratio to hit 97.5 percent next year. Standard & Poor reaffirmed its AAA sovereign rating for the United States in January; however‚ the ratings agency also cautioned that the hundreds of billions of dollars committed to bailing out the banking sector would lead to a “noticeable deterioration in the U.S. fiscal profile.”
* The Chinese premier and the head of the People’s Bank of China have expressed concern over America’s long-term credit worthiness and the value of the dollar. China has also called for the creation of a new international reserve currency to replace the U.S. dollar.
* With a loss of 5.7 million jobs since December 2007‚ the number of workers collecting unemployment checks increased to a record of more than 6.6 million in the week ending May 9‚ the highest level of unemployment since 1983.
* The present economic situation in the U.S. is taking a huge chunk out of tax income‚ reported to be down 34%.
* Manufacturing in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic area shrank in May for the eighth straight month.
* States like California have been hit hard by the credit crunch and are struggling to arrange backing for municipal bonds and short-term debt.

(more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Specimen 1853-O Eagle, Duckor-Price 1893-O and 1895-S Barber Half Dollars

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #12

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

After covering rarities in the upcoming Boston auctions for weeks, I saved the most awestriking collection for last. Dr. Steven Duckor’s collection of Barber Halves is the greatest of all time for this series. Please read the two part series that I wrote about the importance and depth of this set. Click here to see Part 1, which was published yesterday. Part 2 will be posted soon. As those articles deal with the collection as a whole, with discussion of only a few specific coins, I will mention some additional Barber Halves in the Duckor collection in my columns, including commentary on the 1893-O and 1895-S below.

Just recently, I noticed that one of the most interesting Liberty Head U.S. gold coins will be in the upcoming Stack’s auction, which will be held on Sunday, Aug. 8 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. It is an 1853-O Eagle that is NGC certified as ‘Specimen-61.’

I. Specially Struck 1853-O $10 Gold Coin

This 1853-O Eagle (U.S. $10 gold coin) is incredibly interesting. I very much enjoyed examining it. I have never seen another coin that very much resembles the texture and other characteristics of this 1853-O Eagle. I wish to thank Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins for enabling me to spend considerable time viewing this coin in 2008. It is one of five or so 19th century gold coins that has received a Specimen designation from the NGC, and the only Liberty Head Eagle to be so designated.

As far as I know, the only other Branch Mint gold coin that has received a Specimen designation by the NGC is the 1856-O Double Eagle that has been certified as SP-63 by both the PCGS and the NGC, and has a CAC sticker of approval. It sold privately for $1.8 million in March, as I reported in my inaugural column. It is important to point out, though, that 1856-O Double Eagles are Great Rarities overall, and any 1856-O Double Eagle is worth more than $150,000.

There is a unique Proof 1844-O Eagle, though that coin merits a separate discussion. Earlier this year, I wrote an article about the Proof 1907-D Double Eagle.

The late researcher Breen strongly believed that this 1853-O Eagle is a ‘Branch Mint Proof.’ Breen is probably the foremost U.S. coin expert of all time. In my view, however, it is not a Proof, but is fairly termed a “Specimen” striking.

Breen declared that this 1853-O Eagle is a Proof in two different books, which appeared more than ten years apart. In 1977, is encyclopedia of Proof coins was published, and, in 1988, a giant book was published that covered Proofs and business strikes, and other strikings, of all U.S. coins plus many colonial and territorial issues. Many of the coins that are listed as Proofs in 1977 are not listed as such in 1988. Breen never saw a good number of the coins that he listed as Proofs in 1977. Later, he changed his view of the status of some of these when he actually saw them or when he heard more about them from reliable sources. Moreover, between 1977 and 1988, he may have changed his mind about the Proof status of some coins that he had seen before 1977. Breen certainly did not change his mind about this 1853-O Eagle. He was certain that it is a Proof.

It is true that most experts now have come to believe that some of the coins that Breen labeled as Proofs in 1977 are really just Prooflike. Coins that are clearly not Proofs yet have mirrored surfaces are often termed ‘Prooflike,’ especially if such coins are well struck and/or have extra-smooth fields.

Prooflike coins are usually early business strikes from new dies or later business strikes that were struck from worn dies after they were extensively polished. Even though this 1853-O Eagle clearly has reflective surfaces, Prooflike would not be a correct attribution for it. The dies employed to strike it were not just polished; they were prepared much differently from the ways in which dies were prepared for routine strikings.

This 1853-O is very sharply struck. Quite a few other New Orleans Mint Eagles of the period are sharply struck as well. The characteristics of the design elements of this 1853-O, however, go beyond being sharply struck. Many of the design elements are in relatively higher relief than the corresponding design elements on business strikes. (more…)

SS Central America Shipwreck “Ship of Gold” Exhibit Comes to ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston

Exhibit Includes Treasures from 1857 SS Central America Shipwreck

The incredible “Ship of Gold” exhibit, showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America, will make port in Boston at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money, August 10-14 at the Hynes Convention Center. The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach, Calif.

The SS Central America was recovered in 1988 from nearly 8,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857 while carrying California gold from Panama to New York City.

“There will be examples of historic assayers’ ingots as well as San Francisco Mint and California territorial gold coins with a combined value of over $10 million,” said Adam Crum, vice president of Monaco. “One of the highlights is a huge Kellogg & Humbert ingot. Weighing just over 55 troy pounds, it is the largest surviving gold ingot of the California Gold Rush.”

The exhibit also includes one of the 13 recovered octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the United States Assay Office of San Francisco, and the remains of a wooden cargo box that still contains approximately 110 Double Eagles as they were found on the ocean floor. Many appear to be 1857-S $20 gold pieces, apparently freshly struck at the San Francisco Mint when they were placed in the container for shipping.

Visitors will see the front pages of three 1857 newspapers that published stories about the shipwreck, the ordeal of survivors and the devastating economic effects created by the loss of the gold. Robert Evans, the chief scientist on the 1980s mission by the Columbus-America Discovery Group that located and recovered the magnificent sunken treasure, will be in Boston to meet visitors and discuss the SS Central America, her cargo, crew and passengers.

The Ship of Gold display was first publicly presented in February 2000. Over the years it has been seen by more than one million people in exhibitions at several venues and cities across the country.

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[Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins Gives a  Tour of the Exhibit – Originally Filmed on Long Beach
Video Courtesy of CoinTelevision.com]

The ANA World’s Fair of Money is the nation’s premiere money show. Show hours are 1-5:30 p.m. August 10, and 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. August 11-14. Dealer set-up is from 8 a.m.-
1 p.m. Tuesday, August 10. Admission is $6 for adults, and free for ANA members and children 12 and under. For more information on all of the show highlights, call 719-482-9857 or visit www.worldsfairofmoney.com.

New Weekly Column: Coin Rarities & Related Topics

Coin Rarities & Related Topics #1News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community

A New Weekly Column By Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

I maintain that the demand for rarities, while not readily apparent or provable, is very strong, and that reports of minimal supply in 2010 have been overstated. There have been considerably more transactions of rarities, so far in 2010, than even most dealers realize.

Specimen-63 1856-O Double Eagle CACYes, it is true that there are far fewer rarities in auctions during the first six months of 2010 then there were during the first six months of any other year since 2004 or earlier.

The diminishing supply of rarities consigned to major auctions is at the forefront of the ‘news.’Consider that Heritage’s ‘Central States’ convention Platinum Night, on April 29, 2010, contained only a shadow of the offerings in Heritage’s CSNS Platinum Nights in 2009, when the “Joseph Thomas” collection was featured, and 2008, when David Queller’s complete set of silver dollars was offered, including an 1804 that realized $3,737,500! All coin auction firms have experienced declines in consignments of rarities, not just Heritage.

Widely published reports of a dearth of available rarities are not entirely true, at least not in every respect. There is considerable volume in private trading of rarities, more so during the last three months than during the period from Feb. to mid-May 2009. Discussion and examples follow.

II. Introduction to My New Column

Before discussing private sales of rarities, I wish to welcome readers to this inaugural installment of my new column. While my articles tend to focus on SPECIFIC coins, coin issues, collections or auctions, each weekly ‘Rarities & Related Topics’ column will include discussions of several items that may only be loosely connected. This first column will be longer than most subsequent columns. Much has occurred in coin markets since my reports relating to events in Orlando in January. (Click to see Platinum Night review, 1913 Liberty Nickel, or Proof Denver Mint Double Eagle articles.)

I have already written about the coin that has received the most attention since the FUN Convention, the PCGS graded MS-68+ 1901-S quarter. In this column, I become the only analyst reporting on private transactions of rarities so far this year, including Great Rarities. (more…)

14 Fundamental Reasons Why You Should Be Investing Your Money . . . In Money

Concentrate on popular‚ rare‚ historically significant quality coins as part of an overall investment plan in good times and bad…and history suggests that the rewards are great. There are numerous reasons why the demand for rare coins is growing among collectors and investors alike. Here are fourteen of the most fundamental:

Fundamental Reason #1: Diversification

Investment professionals recommend ten to twenty percent (and sometimes higher) of an investment portfolio be devoted to tangible assets in order to maintain diversification‚ reduce overall risk and create a hedge against inflation. Rare coin investing‚ and owning hard assets‚ should be one of the foundational elements of any portfolio.

Fundamental Reason #2: Stability

There is little history of dramatic sudden price shifts with truly rare and popular rare coins. This is partially due to the huge collector base…an estimated 35‚000‚000 and new ones entering the market all the time…who create a steady‚ consistent demand for the coin market. And‚ since a collector/investor takes physical possession of his or her coins‚ there are none of the destabilizing forces that exist in other markets.

Fundamental Reason #3: Rarity

It is estimated that only 2% of all the rare U.S. coins ever minted still exist. This existing supply is consistently being reduced as collectors/investors buy more‚ hold them longer and take them off the market. By the year 2015‚ experts believe that there will be some 100‚000‚000 coin collectors/investors worldwide‚ or nearly three times the number that exist today. Since there will be no more new coins available for these new collectors/investors‚ prices should continue to rise to meet the increased demand—a basic supply/demand fundamental.

Fundamental Reason #4: History

Since coins have commemorated heroes‚ great achievements and significant events throughout history‚ a collector/investor is essentially purchasing a piece of history AND a piece of art. (more…)

A Western Assayer of the Mark Twain Period – The Wiegand Silver Ingots

by Fred N. Holabird with permission from Monaco Rare Coins

Introduction

Conrad Wiegand was a boisterous man who was born in Philadelphia, worked for the US Mint, and came to the California Gold Rush in the early 1850’s. He went to work for the US Branch Mint in San Francisco at or near its inception in 1854.

Wiegand was small in stature, but big in ideas, and even stronger still in his opinions. He was a devoutly religious person who saw such injustice in the world that he undertook the publishing of his own newspaper—two of them, in fact. His other passion was the metals question, particularly his political stance generally held by most miners that money should be in the form of circulating hard specie—gold and silver coinage and ingots. Wiegand’s outspoken nature repeatedly got him into trouble, especially during his life on the Comstock. He was severely physically assaulted and beaten twice, which endeared him to the likes of Sam Clemens. As he advanced in age, his mental troubles worsened. Ultimately, his life ended in a hangman’s noose at the age of fifty in Virginia City.

A number of his precious metal ingots exist today as testimony of his work as a mainstream western assayer. These include nearly every phase of gold, silver and copper bullion in which Wiegand worked, as well as examples of items used to promote monetary specie.

Background

Conrad Wiegand shared with friends in Virginia City that he was born in Philadelphia in March, 1830. His father was John Wiegand, a one-time banker and later surgical instrument manufacturer. His brothers included a pharmacist (Thomas) and an inventor (George). The family lived in Philadelphia. Conrad, however, soon disappeared from the written historical record of Philadelphia and all American census data.

In an interview later in life, Wiegand said that he “entered the assay department of the Philadelphia Mint on $1 a day for wages.” Wiegand apparently trained for several years at the Philadelphia Mint, and mention was made that he worked in New York as well, probably for a private assaying firm.

Wiegand Appointed Assayer, Branch Mint, San Francisco, 1854

In 1854 he was appointed by President Pierce to the Branch Mint at San Francisco as Assayer. By his own admission, he returned to the east coast shortly after to run the New York New Boys Club, then left that job to study for the ministry. Unsuccessful with the Boys Club, he worked for a stint at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. President Abraham Lincoln subsequently appointed him as assayer to the Branch Mint in San Francisco once again. Working again in San Francisco, he soon published an opinionated pamphlet promoting the use of gold and silver as circulating specie.

As one of the original presidential appointees of President Pierce for the US Branch Mint at San Francisco when it opened in 1854, Wiegand held special status. Information on this early period is scant. By 1855 he held the position with the Branch Mint as Assayer, though this may be near the time that he returned to New York for a short while. While working there, his naturally boisterous and vociferous nature came to the forefront almost immediately, particularly when the Vigilance Committee was formed and action later taken. Wiegand gave a public speech, reported October 12, 1856 on the moral aspects of the Casey matter. He also published at least one article under the pseudonym William Carroll. (more…)

Adam Crum and the Ship of Gold Exhibit from the Long Beach Coin Expo – Video News

A decade after its first appearance, the precedent-setting “Ship of Gold” display showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America was again docked in Long Beach, California.

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The $10 million exhibit was publicly displayed during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo in February, marking its 10th anniversary.

“The ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit is out of dry dock” said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman. “The eye-opening display on the convention center floor is housed in a specially-constructed 40-foot long representation of the famous ship’s hull. This will be the first public appearance of the ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit anywhere in the country in six years.”

The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach and involved months of work to coordinate the display with collectors who privately own and now have generously loaned many of the items for the exhibit, according to Adam Crum, Monaco Vice President.
(more…)

Platinum Night was Golden; Bellwether Sale Sparks Markets for U.S. Coin Rarities

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Introduction & Overview

In 2010, the annual FUN Platinum Night event was held on Thursday, Jan. 7. It is just one session in Heritage’s annual auction extravaganza, which is conducted in association with the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention in Orlando. During this one night, however, an incredible selection of U.S. gold coins was offered. The total prices realized for Platinum Night alone was more than $25 million. The most famous coin in the sale is the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel, which realized about $3.74 million.

olsen_1913_liberty_nickelAlthough Heritage conducts two to four Platinum Night events per year, the January FUN Platinum Night event is usually the most newsworthy. On, Jan. 7, three different items sold for more than one million dollars each, and there was an excellent offering of Brilliant Proof gold coins.

One of the most interesting coins in the sale is a Proof 1839 Half Eagle ($5 gold coin). It is NGC certified as Proof-61. This coin is, indisputably, a Proof. Many pre-1840 coins that are regarded as, or even certified as, Proofs, are questionable. Matt Kleinsteuber agrees, “it is definitely 100% Proof, other coins of the era are ambiguous” in regard to Proof status. Moreover, it is one of only two known Proof Half Eagles of this date. It was formerly in the collection of King Farouk. It brought $181,000.

Several past Platinum Night events have featured dazzling collections of U.S. silver coins and/or individual silver coins of tremendous importance. The Jan. 2010 event will be remembered primarily for business strike Saint Gaudens Double Eagles ($20 gold coins), Brilliant Proof gold coins, a Bickford $10 gold pattern, a few exceptional gold type coins, a neat run of 19th century quarters, some popular Mint Errors, and a 1913 Liberty Nickel. Please click here to read the article that I devoted to this 1913 Liberty Nickel. Therein, I cover the coin, its importance, and the auction action, in detail.

Since then, David Hall has told me that he “thought the 1913 Liberty nickel brought a good price. [$3,737,500] wasn’t a moon price, but it’s a $3 million dollar coin so an extra 25% is a lot of money.” Hall is the primary founder of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), and remains a force behind the PCGS and its parent company.

Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins agrees that the $3.74 million result is “a really strong price” for this nickel. Moreover, Crum remarks that, “for weeks, buyers of expensive gold coins were sitting on their hands waiting for the Platinum sale. The success of Platinum Night ignited a fire. On Friday, there was a mad rush nationwide for rare gold coins.” (more…)

Giant Gold Rush Ingots at Long Beach Expo

Two huge California Gold Rush era assayers’ ingots, recovered from the fabled SS Central America and with a combined weight of over 100 pounds of gold, will be exhibited at the next Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 10 – 12, 2009, in the Long Beach, California Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Ave.

Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins holds the 598-ounce Justh & Hunter ingot, one of two huge California Gold Rush-era assayers' bars recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America

Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins holds the 598-ounce Justh & Hunter ingot, one of two huge California Gold Rush-era assayers’ bars recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America

“The display will feature a Kellogg & Humbert gold bar that weighs 662.28 ounces and a Justh & Hunter ingot that is 598.08 Troy ounces. Both were recovered in the late 1980’s from the Central America, the legendary ‘Ship of Gold’ that was carrying tons of California Gold Rush coins and ingots to New York City when it sank during a hurricane in 1857,” said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman.

The Kellogg & Humbert gold bar is stamped as number 804 and with a value in 1857 of $12,225.62. It is the fourth largest gold bar among the 532 ingots recovered from the Central America. The Justh & Hunter ingot is #4255 and marked at the time as $11,089.95

The historic ingots will be displayed by Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach, California.

“The exhibit also will include some of the finest known Augustus Humbert $50 denomination octagonal ‘slugs’ produced in San Francisco during the height of the Gold Rush,” said Adam Crum, Monaco Vice President. “These colossal gold bars and big $50 coins, literally, are treasures of Wild West history.”

During the three-day Long Beach Expo more than 1,000 dealers will be buying and selling rare coins, paper money, stamps, postcards, historic documents, antiques, estate jewelry and other collectibles. Some will provide free, informal appraisals for visitors.
(more…)