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All Posts Tagged With: "Joe O’Connor"

20th Century Gold Club Holds Fascinating Meeting During FUN Convention

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Introduction to the Club and this Meeting

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010, the 20th Century Gold Club conducted their fifth meeting at a hotel near the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando where the January FUN Convention was held. In the field of choice and rare U.S. coins, the annual Winter FUN Convention is one of the leading events of the year.

This club is private, small, exclusive, and sophisticated. I am honored to have been invited to attend. Moreover, I feel privileged to have the cooperation of the founders for the purpose of writing about the proceedings and communicating the educational and other purposes of this club to coin enthusiasts at large. Some of the presentations and discussions at the event were truly fascinating and the enthusiasm of the members for coins filled the atmosphere. The event was stimulating and fun.

The current president, Jay Brahin, directed the meeting. The speakers were David Hall, John Albanese and John Dannreuther. David Hall is the primary founder of the PCGS and he is currently the CEO of its parent company. Hall is an expert in early 20th century U.S. gold coins.

Hall spoke about the new PCGS program of identifying coins that each have a market value of $1 million or more, the “Million Dollar Club.” I asked if coins in museums are included, and I was surprised that they are with rather specific estimated values. I also asked why the two unique 1797 Half Eagles in the Smithsonian are not on the list. Reportedly, these two 1797s are the only known survivors of two different, readily apparent varieties. Additionally, Hall voiced intriguing comments regarding PCGS estimates of the values of 1933 Double Eagles.

In the second part of David Hall’s presentation, he introduced the results of research at the PCGS regarding the market values in 1970 of Saint Gaudens Double Eagles. The tricky part of such research is determining how specific coins in 1970 have or would be later graded by the PCGS, so price appreciation of specific dates in specific grades can be tracked and analyzed. Though David Akers voiced a critical remark or two regarding such values, most of the members of the club were impressed by the data and astonished by how low the prices were for such terrific coins in 1970. As an aside, note that Dr. Duckor has long argued that gem quality, better-date early 20th century gold coins were not really appreciated until the 1980s. One of the purposes of the club is to bring about a greater appreciation of early 20th century gold coins. (more…)

The Basis for Collecting and Appreciating Naturally Toned Coins, Part 3

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

In Part 1, I frame the topic and put forth perspectives of very accomplished, active collectors regarding natural toning. As I discuss in Part 2, preferring coins with natural toning is a tradition at the core of the culture of coin collecting in the U.S.

Here in Part 3, I maintain that the case for strongly favoring naturally toned coins goes beyond collector opinions and tradition. There have always been logical reasons for determining that coins with natural toning and/or mostly original surfaces are superior.

nat_toned_120609(1) Coin collecting has been a popular and serious pastime for around 150 years in the United States, and there has always been a strong tradition of valuing, all other things being equal, coins with mostly original surfaces and/or natural toning over those that have been treated with acids (including dipping), artificially toned, surgically altered or deliberately chemically affected in other ways.

It is fair to conclude that experts in earlier eras were employing reason, not just following a tradition, especially before the tradition evolved. (Please read Part 2.)

(2) The layers of a coin’s surface that are stripped off, and the changes in the texture of the surfaces of coins, through standard dipping or the application of many chemical concoctions implemented via ‘conservation,’ or other deliberate, short-term modifications are, to some extent, irreparable. The original state of the coin can never be restored, and will never fully return on its own. Parts of the coin are destroyed, and, while some coins can largely recover, parts of the nature and history of each coin are lost forever.

Please note that I am referring primarily to rare or at least scarce old coins. Usually, recently minted coins are minimally or not noticeably toned. So, not much toning is destroyed when a recently minted, or modern coin, is dipped in a standard acidic solution. For high quality, rare coins, dipping or ‘conservation’ through liquids, almost always destroys toning.

Typically, a coin will be much brighter after it is dipped, and some will thus conclude that the coin’s luster is not impaired. Luster is the way that the metal flow lines on a coin reflect light. When layers are stripped via dipping, the characteristics of the flow lines are changed. The coin may end up being brighter than it was before, or even brighter than it was the moment it was minted. Destruction still occurred, however, and metal was removed.

Jeff Ambio very much agrees with the above statement (#2), and he “believe[s] that, if more collectors understood this point, it would really help to the put the coin doctors out of business.” Ambio is the author of three recent books on coins and is a cataloguer for leading auction firms and coin dealers. He has analyzed and written about thousands of U.S. coins, including innumerable rarities.

Dipping changes the texture of a coin. Ambio, Joe O’Connor and myself all agree that toning that occurs after dipping, natural or not, will be different from the toning that would have occurred had the coin never been dipped. (more…)