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Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Ten Leading Topics of 2010

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #33

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

This is my last column of the year 2010. It seems appropriate to list the ten leading topics of the year, starting with number ten.

Please note that I am referring to news relating to rare U.S. coins, not to coins actually minted in 2010 or to coins minted in recent years. In addition to often discussing rarities, I have written, and will write more, about classic coins that are not rare. Please see my two part series on why 1933/34 is the clear dividing line between classic and modern U.S. coins (part 1part 2), and my column on advice for beginning and intermediate collectors. I have recently written about modern coins as well. (As always, clickable links are in blue.)

X. The Fate of 1933 $20 gold coins

For decades, the U.S. Treasury Department has maintained that it is not legal for individuals to possess 1933 Double Eagles. Indeed, the Federal Government has allocated considerable funds to chase and seize 1933 Double Eagles ($20 gold coins).

In 2002, Stephen Fenton, who owned a 1933 Double Eagle, and the U.S. Treasury reached a settlement that stipulated that the Fenton 1933 Double Eagle be sold at auction and the proceeds, after the auction house’s commission, be split between Fenton and the U.S. Treasury Department, which granted title to the successful bidder. Sotheby’s, in partnership with Stack’s, auctioned the Fenton 1933 Double Eagle for $7.59 million on July 30, 2002. This result remains the auction record for a coin.

The Switt-Langbord family acknowledges inheriting ten 1933 Double Eagles. The U.S. Treasury Department and the Langbord family are currently involved in litigation over the title to these ten 1933 Double Eagles.

Although the Langbord case could have been more of a non-story than a story in 2010, as not much happened in Federal Court, it was discussed at length by innumerable collectors and received much attention in the media. Importantly, researcher Roger Burdette announced in 2010 that he unearthed government documents that demonstrate that the “first 1933 Double Eagles were struck March 2nd, during the Hoover administration.” Before Burdette’s recent find, the “assumed date was March 15 or shortly before, since that was the initial delivery date.” Moreover, Burdette discovered that the Mint Cashier was provided with forty-three 1933 Double Eagles on March 4 and these “balanced” the accounting of the production of 1932 Double Eagles as some 1932 Double Eagles were earlier found to be defective.

So, in my (this writer’s) view, some or all of these 1933 Double Eagles that were counted, for bookkeeping purposes, as 1932 Double Eagles could certainly have been traded to collectors and dealers. Documents discovered by Burdette support the argument that collectors may have legally traded earlier dated Double Eagles for 1933 Double Eagles before President Roosevelt ordered the Treasury Department to stop ‘paying out’ gold coins. (more…)

ESM Collection of Early Proof Copper Coins To Be Displayed at Long Beach Coin Show by PCGS

Professional Coin Grading Service ( will provide on-site authentication and grading services and showcase the first West Coast public display of the acclaimed, award-winning ESM Collection of early proof copper coins during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 23 – 25, 2010.

PCGS will accept Show Service submissions starting with dealer set-up on Wednesday, September 22 through 5 p.m. Friday, September 24. All other submission levels, excluding bulk, will be accepted through mid-afternoon on Saturday, September 25.

In addition to viewing the coins from the ESM Collection, visitors to the PCGS booth (#807) can Meet the Expert with PCGS Co-Founder David Hall, and have their coins personally examined by him from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Assembled by Illinois collector Pete Miller, the ESM Collection ranks among the all-time finest of its kind in several PCGS Set RegistrySM categories with some of the finest known proof Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents and matte proof Lincoln Cents. The weighted Grade Point Average for the collection is an astounding 65.974.

“This amazing treasure of early proof copper certainly was one of the highlights of the recent ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston when it was displayed at the PCGS booth. Now West Coast collectors and dealers will have an opportunity to see these coins in person in Long Beach,” said Don Willis, PCGS President.

An informative, illustrated brochure about the ESM Collection will be available free at the PCGS booth while supplies last.

The following show specials will be available in Long Beach to PCGS Authorized Dealers and members of the PCGS Collectors Club:

* Walkthrough: one-day turnaround for $100 ($125 for Secure Plus) on any coin with a maximum value of $100,000
* Show Economy: $65 per coin for U.S. and world coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of five coins
* Show Gold: $45 per coin ($55 for Secure Plus) for any U.S. gold coin valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of ten coins.

Customer Service representatives will be at the PCGS booth to answer questions and accept submissions. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see demonstrations of the convenient PCGS Photograde™ Online applications for the Apple iPhone™ and Apple iPad™.

“Aside from our PCGS Members Only Show at The Venetian in Las Vegas, September 9 – 11, this will be the only opportunity in September for collectors and dealers to take advantage of PCGS on-site grading services at a national show. We will not be attending the Whitman Philadelphia show scheduled for the week after Long Beach,” said Willis. (more…)

Coin News Daily from CoinLink

Julius Popper and the Coins of the Argentine Gold Rush
By David McCarthy on PCGS
A few years ago, I had the chance to participate in the sale of Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.’s collection of world gold coins. The opportunity to examine a collection of great, under-appreciated material that I would ordinarily never encounter was a thrill, and in the weeks leading up to the auction, I found myself taking a crash course on world coins. As I examined the catalogue, I was fascinated by two lots near the end of the sale: a pair of coins from Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago found at the southern tip of South America. I had no idea that Tierra del Fuego had ever issued coins and I was captivated by the catalogue’s short description of Julius Popper, the man responsible for striking the mysterious pieces in the first place. .
[ Read Full Article]

COME TO AMERICA! (forfeit your heritage)
By Wayne Sayles
What is “Heritage” anyway? We all know the word, and probably think that we know what it means, but when you get right down to it the exact meaning is a slippery little rascal. The Heritage Foundation, a Washington DC based conservative think tank, believes in “free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom….” (our American heritage?) Not a word about ethnicity, ancestry nor culture.
[ Read Full Article]

Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Program Signed into Law
By Michael Zielinski – Coin Update
A bill authorizing Medal of Honor Commemorative coins was signed into law on November 6, 2009 by President Obama. The commemorative coin program will include $5 gold and $1 silver coins to be issued in the year 2011. The Medal of Honor is America’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force. Fewer than 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces.
[ Read Full Article]

Middle Age coins found in Tyrol
Austrian Times
Amateur archaeologists have unearthed more than a thousand coins more than 500 years old in what they claim is one of the largest finds of its kinds. The 1,200 coins dating from the years 1360 to 1439 were dug up in a field near Innsbruck, Tyrol, according to the association Archaeo Tirol.
[ Read Full Article]

This project has proven to be MUCH larger than I thought it would be – however, I am having a lot of fun with it. I’m getting quite the education in Greek Epigraphy! My main focus has been with the technical portion – the easiest way to collect and store all this data. In continuing to research the data collection/storage issues, I thought it was funny the other day when I ran across a blog entry citing an E-Sylum article from exactly 2 years ago, talking about the DNID system that was then being tested by the ANS site
[ Read Full Article]

Rare and Expensive Coins Are Being Tossed Back Into Circulation
By Jeff Angello, of American Coin & Stamp Company, Inc
For some lucky shoppers, that pocket change could contain super rare coins worth thousands of dollars. To Jeff Angello, of American Coin & Stamp Company, Inc., rare coins and precious metals are a hobby, a passion and a thriving business. As a token of his gratitude for the many years of collecting, buying and selling rare coins, he is placing 107 coins back into circulation. With a face value of only a few dollars, the rare coins add up to an approximate value of $4000.00.
[ Read Full Article]


Coin News Daily – Recent Headlines

BREAKING NEWS ! – Motions to Dismiss Filed in Brasher Doubloon Lawsuit
Armen R. Vartian
Armen R. Vartian, the attorney for Steven L. Contursi and Donald H. Kagin, has filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit recently filed against them by William Swoger over the Brasher Doubloon. Attached (via PACER) are PDF copies of the Notice of Motion to Dismiss, the Memorandum in Support of the Motion to Dismiss, and a Request for Judicial Notice asking the Court to enter into evidence a Los Angeles Times newspaper story in which the Plaintiff (Swoger) is quoted as making statements inconsistent with some of the allegations in his lawsuit against Defendants Contursi and Kagin.
[ Notice Of Motion ] [ Motion to Dismiss ] [ Judicial Notice ]

£1m Viking hoard of jewels and coins goes on display
Times Online UK
The largest and most important Viking hoard of jewels and coins found in Britain for more than 150 years have gone on display for the first time. The Vale of York hoard, unearthed by a father and son team of treasure hunters in a field and dated at more than 1,000 years old, includes many precious metal objects including 617 coins, a gilt silver vessel, a rare gold armring, ingots and chopped-up fragments known as hack silver.
[ Read Full Article]

Goldberg Auctions, McCawley/Grellman to Sell Dan Holmes Collection of Large Cents – Premier Sale September 6
PCGS – Video
The Dan Holmes Collection of U.S. Large Cents represents a unique accomplishment in American Numismatics. It is the most complete Large Cent collection by date and die variety ever formed either publicly or privately. The product of over 35 years of collecting, Mr. Holmes’ collection lacks only one unique early-date cent, the 1793 NC-5 (impounded in the ANS museum), and one late date, the unique 1851 N-42, for completeness.
[ Read Full Article]

United States Mint Launches American Samoa Quarter September 3
US Mint
The official launch of the American Samoa commemorative quarter-dollar will kick off September 3, at 10 a.m. in Pago Pago. United States Mint Deputy Director Andy Brunhart and American Samoa Governor Togiola T.A. Tulafono will preside over the event. The reverse design of the American Samoa quarter depicts the ava bowl, whisk and staff in the foreground with a coconut tree on the shore in the background.
[ Read Full Article]

Central Banks Become Net Buyers Of Gold For First Time Since 1987
By Patrick A. Heller, Market Update
One of the most respected analysts of gold activity, GFMS (formerly known as Gold Fields Mineral Services), reported last month that “Central banks’ swing into net demand territory during the second quarter of 2009 was something of an exception.” The exception is that this is the first time that central banks, in total, have purchased more gold than they have sold since 1987!
[ Read Full Article]

Coin Dealer Mark Yaffe Back in Business
Tampa Bay
Well-known and embattled coin dealer Mark Yaffe has a new company with what may be an appropriate name: The Phoenix Gold Corp. Just two weeks after National Gold Exchange Inc. — the coin business Yaffe and his brother opened more than 20 years ago — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, Yaffe is operating another firm dealing in coins.
[ Read Full Article]

Coin collector Clifford Mishler hits jackpot as president of American Numismatic Association
Stevens Point Journal
A friend of his collected canceled postage stamps, and he tried to convince Mishler to start collecting them, too, but he said he didn’t see the point. Then Mishler saw a mail order ad in a magazine offering 10 pieces of obsolete World War II paper money and an assortment of coins for 10 cents. He got approval from his father and sent out his order.
[ Read Full Article]