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All Posts Tagged With: "Kathleen Duncan"

Thematic Collecting of US Silver Commemorative Coins

By Kathleen Duncan – Pinnacle Rarities

The silver commemoratives produced between 1892 and 1954 are remarkably adaptable in terms of collectibility. Most collectors assemble a standard fifty piece type set which includes a single example of each basic half dollar type plus the Isabella quarter and the Lafayette dollar. This set can then be expanded to fifty-three coins with the addition of the basic major varieties: 1921 Alabama 2×2, 1922 Grant With Star and the 1921 Missouri 2×4. Taking this a step further, the collector can assemble a complete 144 piece set which contains an example of the branch mint and multiple year issues, where applicable.

What about the more casual collector who likes silver commemoratives but who doesn’t have the resources (or perhaps level of interest) to delve this deeply into these issues? We recommend thematic (or topical collecting) which is very popular in the field of stamps and which can be very well adapted to silver commemoratives.

In a nutshell, a thematic collecting of silver commemoratives takes a group of approximately four to six coins which are tied together by a basic theme. Four examples which we find appealing are as follows:

(NOTE: Because of the relative availability of these coins in lower grades, we suggest the collector stick to PCGS or NGC graded examples in the Mint State-66 to Mint State-67 range. The values listed below are for attractive, nice quality coins.)

I. Civil War Issues

There are a number of commemorative half dollars that are related to battles or great leaders of the Civil War. Listed alphabetically (along with the year in which they were issues), these are as follows:

* Antietam (1937). This issue was produced to commemorate the 75th anniversary of this epic Maryland battle. It is a very affordable coin with nice MS-66 examples currently valued around $750-1,000 and MS-67’s at $1,350-1,650. (more…)

Need Money? 5 Steps To Sell Right.

Reprinted with Permission from Pinnacle-Rarities

Whether or not you need to sell, these five basic steps can help focus your collecting so you can receive maximum enjoyment and profit. Start by getting organized. Next, cull some of the lesser coins from your portfolio. Finally, focus on those areas which are the most meaningful to you.

1. Make A List
The vast majority of our clients keep their coins in safe deposit boxes, and rarely do have an opportunity to look at everything together. Since they were likely acquired over many years, accompanying records and notes tend to get scattered. A comprehensive list of the necessary information is very useful. It will allow you to see exactly which coins you’re missing, which coins you have too many of, and give you a starting point to review your collecting goals. It helps not just to list the date, grade, and denomination, but the certification service, amount paid, purchase date, and source as well.

Having all of this information at your fingertips will prevent mistakes such as purchasing duplicates or passing on coins that you need.

The best charts are sorted first by denomination, then by date, and third by grade. This will make it very easy for you to find coins. The certification number on the holder is useful to keep track of duplicates, and can be important in locating your coins if they are lost or stolen. Knowing whom you bought your coins from is also surprisingly useful. We will always make a stronger offer on coins we’ve sold, since we are picky buyers and we are, therefore, confident the coins will be nice for their respective grades.

2. Cull Your Duplicates
At this point, you may find that you have some extra coins. You may have purchased an MS66 to replace an MS64, without trading the lower grade example, or you may have mistakenly bought two coins of the same date and grade. We recommend that you eliminate those items that are not essential to your collection or portfolio. These coins can either be sold outright, or can be used as trades to reduce the amount of cash necessary for future acquisitions. (more…)


by Kathleen Duncan of Pinnacle Rarities

pinnacle_commems_092409Between 1892 and 1954, there were 50 different silver commemoratives authorized by Congress: 48 Half Dollars along with a single Quarter and Dollar. Because many of these were issued for multiple years, were struck at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints, and were issued with subtle design variations, there are a total of 144 different silver coins that constitute the Classic Silver Commemorative category. Many of the coins were designed in contest by important sculptors and among them are some of the most creative examples of coinage art in all of numismatics. They also form an instructive history course of our nation, as each commemorates an important event.

Commemoratives differ from regular issue coins as they are struck primarily for collectors rather than to circulate as money, although they are legal tender. Most Classic Commemoratives were struck in conjunction with a large exhibition and festival. These coins were sold to collectors at a premium to their face value, typically to raise money for a monument to be built or to defray the costs of the particular celebration. The very first such exhibition was the 1892 Chicago World’s fair, which produced the 1892 Columbus Half Dollar, honoring the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World.

Silver Commemoratives can be assembled in nearly an endless number of ways, in all price ranges, making them an easy area to pursue. Purchasing one of each of the 50 unique designs is referred to as a type set. The ambitious pursuit of a complete set requires one of each of the 144 dates and mintmarks referenced above. If you prefer a less daunting task, you can choose among any number of sub segments to match your particular interests.