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All Posts Tagged With: "NGC"

NGC Certifies Historic Cache of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

These coins were part of a family’s possessions during World War II exile and remained together for more than 65 years.

NGC has certified a very interesting group of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles that have remained in the possession of a family since prior to World War II. When purchased in Europe last month, their unusual history was revealed to the buyer. During the turbulent period prior to World War II, these coins were a trove meant to sustain a family through the worst possible situation.

Just subsequent to the Nazi invasion of this family’s home country in 1940, each of these coins was sewn into the lining of a leather coat. With great risk, they were spirited out to a safe-haven neutral country, where they have been kept ever since.

According to the gold buyer, who relayed the history of these coins to NGC, the family in possession of the coins elected to sell them this year because gold had risen to record price levels. The group of 200 coins has been encapsulated with the pedigree WWII EXILE HOARD.

While other US gold coins come from caches with similar histories, several features contribute to the significance of this group. When they arrived at NGC, many of the coins still had bits of leather still adhering to the coins’ rims.

At the submitter’s request, professionals at Numismatic Conservation Services expertly removed the leather so that the coins would be eligible for certification. Their unconventional storage imparted a number of the coins with a delicate reddish patina that was left untouched during conservation.

Another unusual feature is the uniformly high grade of these coins. Each graded from MS 63 to MS 67, with seven coins achieving this highest grade and a greater number grading each MS 66 and MS 66+. All are dated 1924 and 1925, with over three-quarters being from the latter date.

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Malibu Collection of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters, with information for beginning and intermediate collectors

News and Analysis of scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #31

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. The Malibu Collection

In Tampa, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, B&M will auction the second part of the Malibu Collection, among other consignments. The focus here is on Malibu’s collection of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters dating from 1863 to 1891.

This sale will occur almost exactly two months after B&M auctioned the first part of the Malibu Collection, in Baltimore. In my column of Nov. 17, I reviewed the sale of the Malibu set of Standing Liberty Quarters. On Nov. 4, B&M also auctioned Malibu’s business strike Liberty Seated Half Dollars and silver dollars. On Jan. 4, B&M will auction Malibu’s sets of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters, Proof Liberty Seated Half Dollars and Proof Liberty Seated Dollars, plus a few other coins from the Malibu collection, as well as a wide variety of items from other consignors.

This Jan. 4 auction will be conducted just prior to the FUN Convention. Please see last week’s column for a discussion of FUN Convention auctions and a review of the O’Neal Collection of Indian Head Half Eagles that Heritage will offer. (As always, clickable links are in blue.)

Since the collector who formed the Malibu collection has not granted permission for his name to be mentioned, the code name Malibu is employed for his overall collection, sets of specific series, and the collector himself. Other coins from the Malibu Collection may be auctioned in Baltimore in March. Most of the coins in the Malibu collection are, or were, included in set listings in the PCGS and NGC Registries.

Besides Malibu’s set of Standing Liberty Quarters, which was complete and excellent, each of his sets seems to be a ‘work in progress’ with some missing dates that are not difficult to find. It is sad that his sets of Proof Liberty Seated coins were not completed as he seems to have had both the budget and the dedication to ‘complete’ sets of ‘later date’ Liberty Seated Proof Quarters, half dollars and silver dollars, those dating from 1858 onwards.

Starting in 1858, Proof Sets were publicly offered by the U.S. Mint each year. Before then, Proof coins were released quietly to collectors and dealers who had contacts at the Philadelphia Mint or elsewhere in the U.S. Treasury Dept. While Proof sets were not available to collectors every year prior to 1858, my impression is that these were often available to collectors who took the initiative to seek Proof coins.

Generally, it is customary to define a set of each series of Proof Liberty Seated silver coins, or of Proof Liberty Head gold coins, as a collection of one of each issue from 1858 onwards. Pre-1858 Proofs tend to be much rarer, and a set of all Proof Liberty Seated coins would not be feasible.

Clearly, the Malibu collector was in the process of assembling sets of Proof quarters and halves dating from 1858 to 1891, and of Proof Liberty Seated Dollars dating from 1858 to 1873, which was the last year of Liberty Seated Dollars. The Malibu 1858 to 1891 set of Proof Liberty Seated Halves contains twenty seven Proofs of different dates, and a second Proof 1887 Half Dollar. This half set is missing eight dates.

A set of Proof Liberty Seated Dollars consists of sixteen dates and the Malibu set has eleven plus a duplicate Proof 1873 dollar. The PCGS and the NGC Registries ignore the 1866 ‘No Motto’ Proofs of quarters, halves and silver dollars, as these are mysterious strikings about which little is known, and were not available to the public. While the Malibu sets of halves and silver dollars are important, and will receive much attention when auctioned on Jan. 4th, the topic here is his set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters. (more…)

NGC Launches New Coin Price Guide Powered by NumisMedia

Powerful resource includes over five years of historical data and dynamic charting tools.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) has released a new online price guide, the NGC Coin Price Guide, powered by NumisMedia.

The price guide is now available to all NGC website visitors for free at www.NGCcoin.com. It includes five years of accurate coin pricing data for nearly all US coins, and collectors can analyze coin prices using dynamic graphing tools and ranking filters. Many of these features are entirely new to the numismatic marketplace.

For example, the performance of up to five different coins can be viewed on a single graph. Innovative trend spotting tools allow users to rank coin performance based on criteria they supply to gain unique insight into the value of collectable US coins.

The rare coin values shown in the NGC Coin Price Guide are independently compiled and edited by NumisMedia based on real, documented market transactions.

Since 2005, NumisMedia has served as the official price guide of NGC and the NGC Collectors Society. NumisMedia is the industry’s most accurate, impartial report of US coin values. The online guide constitutes the most comprehensive pricing available for US coins, including prices for the full range of AU and MS grades, as well as prices for a broad number of modern issues.

“Tools this powerful simply were not available to coin collectors before today,” comments Mark Salzberg, NGC chairman. “Since the price guide is free, we’re offering everyone complete access to the most advanced way to assess rare coin valuation trends. NGC is providing the ultimate means for collectors to make better purchasing decisions and build better collections.”

The NGC Coin Price Guide launched November 30, 2010. The price guide is part of a suite of collecting resources available on NGC’s Web site, including a US coin encyclopedia, US coin variety attribution guide, and US coin grading guide. Earlier this year, NGC launched a comprehensive coin collection management portal. Like the price guide, it is a free resource available to the numismatic community.

Rare Slabs Can Carry Big Premiums!

By Steve Roach- First published in the December 6, 2010, issue of Coin World

Some collectors wouldn’t agree with the statement, “buy the coin, not the slab,” because to them, the slab is just as important as the coin.

In particular, some collectors have acquired a taste for Numismatic Guaranty Corp. “black” holders.

NGC was formed in 1987 and these holders were used for the first several months of operation, roughly from September through November 1987.

They are similar in shape to today’s NGC slabs, but differ in that the insert securing the coin is black, and the white insert with the coin’s identifying information is on the side that displays the reverse, where the coin seems upside down.

The obverse in black holders is displayed on the side with the NGC stamped logo, which for current holders is on the back of the slab.

Few of these holders remain today. Estimates on the number of surviving black holders range from 35 to 200, and they are collected as novel relics of the early days of third-party coin grading.

Occasionally they turn up and trade at auction.

At a Nov. 14 eBay auction, a New Jersey seller offered a 1924 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle in an NGC Mint State 62 “black” slab. (Pictured, image courtesy of Danielle’s, on eBay as onionsavenged)

It sold for an astonishing $3,805. In comparison, one major dealer is selling current-holder NGC MS-62 double eagles for $1,600 and MS-66 coins for $2,850.

While grading was perhaps more conservative back in the early days of NGC, and the seller said the coin “looks like a MS64,” the huge premium must be attributed more to the holder than to the coin.

Nine bidders competed for the coin, with the underbidder dropping out at $3,755. The seller set the starting bid at $2,750 – a price nearly comparable to a current holder NGC MS-66 piece.

While the black holders were flattering to brilliant silver coins or lustrous Mint State gold coins, the holders did little to flatter dark coins and copper, and the holder was retired at the end of 1987.

There is even a 420-page book on slabs by Michael Schmidt, Third Party Grading/Certification Services, that covers more than 80 companies that produced slabs and 200 varieties of normal production slabs.

NGC at the Beijing International Coin Expo

The premier numismatic event was well attended and provided an opportunity for Chinese dealers and collectors to learn more about NGC and submit coins for certification.

Among the most important annual coin shows held in China, the Beijing International Coin Expo provides an ideal opportunity to look at the previous year’s coinage and look ahead to the next year. It is an event focused on modern coinage, with mints from Asia and around the world showcasing their coinage. NGC was present with its Guangzhou-based submission center, both accepting coins and providing information about certification. Additionally, NGC hosted an educational numismatic seminar conducted during the show.

The Expo, jointly hosted by China Gold Coin Corporation, the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, and the China Numismatic Museum, was held on November 7 to 10, 2010, in the China World Trade Center. Nearly 250 exhibitors from 27 countries were present at the 15th annual Expo. This event is very popular with the public. On opening day, large bustling crowds made it difficult to maneuver down the aisles. As in previous years, a special-edition commemorative coin was issued in celebration of the event. Owing to its popularity, the opportunity to purchase this coin is awarded in a lottery.

The Chinese coin market itself is extremely vibrant, with many scarce modern commemorative issues trading at record price levels. Collectors identify strongly with commemorative issues from the past 30 years that celebrate Chinese cultural heritage. In particular, large-format coins that are five ounces and larger are highly coveted, as many have small mintages. The NGC Oversize Holder is especially popular for these coins because of the inherent challenges of storing and transporting large coins.

It is also evident that certification is gaining a greater foothold in the Chinese market, as NGC-certified coins could be seen throughout the exposition area. During the official auction of the Expo, nearly a dozen of the 110 lots were NGC-certified. Once again this year, NGC was the only certification company represented in the auction.

NGC also hosted an educational symposium to discuss certification with prominent members of the Chinese numismatic community. A detailed discussion of the grading process and grading terminology was followed by an open question-and-answer session. “Certification is attractive to collectors in China for three major reasons: first, collectors appreciate the protection it affords against counterfeits, which are of concern even in the Chinese modern coin market; second, collectors value the standardization of grade, which makes it easier for them to identify superior condition coins; and, third, collectors love NGC’s holder, which provides incredible long-term protection for their coins,” said Scott Schechter, NGC vice president, sales & marketing, who presented at the symposium.

Thoughts on the Simpson Dime Sale

By Jason Feldman – The E-Gobrecht

The Simpson dimes were being broken up. [ Heritage Long Beach Sale #1144] This would be a great opportunity to upgrade dimes in an advanced Seated Dime collection. The big problem was there were so many coins that few buyers would be able to purchase them all and no one did surface who did. Even more amazing are some of the coins left in the collection like a MS66 1844 Dime. Legend (Numismatics) has made available to me so many wonderful dimes that news of this sale created euphoria.

It would come as no surprise that most of the coins were either crossed over to PCGS at the same or in many cases a lower grade. Seeing the secure plus holders and Simpson pedigree would make this obvious. There was a lot bidding research needed prior to bidding. There were cases where buying too many coins early would limit the ability to chase coins later. One the highlights of the sale being a simply gorgeous 1872-S, I was not the only one to think so as the coin went to the moon.

One of my regrets of the sale was not being able to purchase the 1845-O dime in mint state. This is a very rare opportunity indeed but as a rule if you set a maximum bid and exceed it by 10% you have to know to stop. Being the under bidder was really not satisfying and maybe a higher bid was warranted. Another highlight of the sale was a gem 1860-S. Prior to the sale, Laura (of Legend Numismatics) and I spoke as to where the coin would sell. It was another on my short list. I think we both underestimated the demand for this coin. It went far over preauction estimates but I don’t doubt it to be well worth the hammer price $40,250. A nice return on investment considering one sold for roughly $7,000 in 1994.

One of the interesting notes about these coins is how many were not picked up by Seated Dime registry collectors but rather a just collectors and dealers. I know one dealer picked up roughly 10% of the coins and most all have been sold. There were many bargains in this sale too. Mostly the coins following the Simpson dimes went too cheap. One example is an 1858-O is a MS64 PCGS holder population 1 with 8 finer sold for just under $3,000 while the Simpson PCGS MS65 population 7 with one finer soared to $9,200. With the grade covered it was not really possible to call either coin much better than the other.

Some of the real steals in the Simpson collection came in the coins in NGC holders. The obvious assumption is these are coins that on a given day did not cross over at PCGS. A good many of them did regrade at NGC. In the case of the ultra-rare 1853-O MS64 the coin was simply overgraded. The coin did have a wonderful and original look to it but just had too many marks to be graded higher than MS62 in my opinion. The coin could easily be traced back with little effort to its previous holder. In general the ultra high grade trophy coins were the ones hitting the moon. Clearly one of two mint state 1845-O Dimes should be worth more than a other coins that sold in the low $20,000’s. This was a sale where knowledge was king. (more…)

Unusual Items: NGC Black Slab

On Nov 14th, a rarely seen and unusual item sold on eBay, but what made this sale interesting was not the coin being sold, but rather the holder it was in.

The coin was a 1924 Saint graded MS-62.  and it sold for $3805.oo with 9 bidders, over twice what one might expect given this is a common date Saint in an unremarkable grade. The 100% premium was for the slab, a First generation BLACK NGC Holder.

The eBay sellers description offered the following comments on the holder…..

“When NGC first started operations in late 1987, they used this black holder with a white grading insert.

The first generation black NGC slabs didn’t always carry the big premiums that they do now.

The main problem was, while Gold coins and untarnished Silver coins looked amazing, copper coins (especially brown oxidized ones) and other dark, circulated Silver coins proved hard to see with the black filling.  Thus, for the second generation NGC holders, the filling was changed to white and has remained that way to this day with NGC.

Following marketing advice at the time in 1987, the coin was inserted right-side-up the coin is upside-down reverse!  This was also corrected in the subsequent generations on NGC slabs so the coin would be right-side-up when the grading insert is viewed right-side-up.

The black holder was only used by NGC for a month or so (September-November 1987).  Grading was quite conservative in those days when compared to grading today.  As such, the black holders that surfaced in later years were cracked and the coin resubmitted in pursuit of a higher grade which is why they subsequently became so rare!”

What Gold Coins Do CAC Stickers Add the Most Value to?

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

After two+ years of being traded on the open market, I think few collectors and dealers would argue the statement that CAC stickering has added considerable value and liquidity to many types of United States gold coinage. But are we now able to determine with a decent degree of accuracy which coins are most affected by a CAC (or the absence of a sticker)? Let’s take a look at some areas of the gold coin market and see how CAC is adding value.

One of the areas that CAC has added the greatest amount of value is in the St. Gaudens double eagle market. The impact is seen two ways. The first is with common “generic” issues in MS65 and MS66. One of the main reasons why the premium for non-CAC certified MS65 Saints is so low when compared to MS64 coins is that most of the coins in MS65 holders are not significantly better than those graded MS64.

What CAC has done is to identify those coins graded MS65 that are nice quality and which are “real” 65’s. Currently, non-CAC Saints in MS65 trade for around $2,300. Those with CAC stickers are worth at least 10-15% more. They are also quite liquid and can be sold even when dealers have extensive numbers of non-CAC coins in stock. Non-CAC MS66 Saints are currently worth around $2,750-2,850 per coin. The premium for MS66 Saints with CAC stickers is at least $750-1,000 per coin. Given the fact that the stickered MS66 coins I have seen are very nice (as compared with the non-stickered coins which range from inferior for the grade to decent) this premium makes sense.

Another area where CAC stickered coins are selling for a significant premium is in the better date Saint market. Let me pick a random issue: the 1927-S in MS64. This coin has a current bid of $70,000 in this grade and a bona-fide Gem is worth double this. The quality of 1927-S double eagles varies greatly and there are coins that are very low end and hard to sell for $55,000 and coins that are very high end and worth over bid. I can’t recall having ever seen a 1927-S in MS64 with a CAC sticker but if I had a PCGS/CAC coin that I liked I’d quote $75,000+.

Early gold (i.e. gold coins struck from 1795 to 1834) is area that has shown itself to be influenced by CAC stickers. I don’t like every single piece of CAC-stickered early gold that I see but I like at least 90% of the coins. Compare this to non-CAC early gold where probably 50-60% (or more) of the coins offered at auction or through dealer’s websites are not, in my opinion, nice for the grade. I find this to be especially true with early gold in the MS63 and MS64 grades. As an example, an 1812 half eagle in MS64 with a CAC sticker is currently worth around $40,000. The same coin in the same grade that is not stickered and which is not a CAC-quality coin, in my opinion, might be hard to sell for $32,500. More and more collectors of coins like this are demanding that they be CAC stickered and the premium for the pieces that have the Green Bean is at least 10-15% and climbing.

Because so many Proof gold coins have been doctored over the years, CAC-stickered pieces are currently garnering high premiums. This is more so with Matte Proofs than Brilliant Proofs. I can’t remember seeing more than a few Matte Proof gold coins in the last two years that weren’t doctored to the point that they weren’t even the right color. When the few remaining fresh pieces come onto the market, they realize strong prices. As an example, Stack’s just sold at auction a lovely 1913 Matte Proof gold set. All four coins were CAC stickered and all four brought exceptional prices. I see similarly graded washed-out NGC Matte Proof gold from time to time and it brings Greysheet prices or lower; these superb, vibrant Gems brought numbers that were way over “sheet.” (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: 1856-O Double Eagles and other Great Rarities that I have seen

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #19

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

This week, I wish to focus upon the topic of viewing Great Rarities. This topic relates to several key concepts:

(1) To understand and appreciate Great Rarities, there is a need to see them.

(2) Viewing Great Rarities is important for coin enthusiasts, especially for those who cannot afford them. At a major art museum, most of the people viewing paintings cannot afford to buy such paintings or commensurable ones. They may still learn a great deal by seeing and interpreting works of art. Coin enthusiasts can and should learn about coins and examining Great Rarities is part of a learning process.

(3) Of course, I realize that many coin enthusiasts do not have the time or the resources to travel to view many Great Rarities. I hope that this is a reason, among other reasons, why coin enthusiasts read my columns and articles. Indeed, I hope that readers care about my interpretations of important coins, as I have devoted innumerable hours to viewing, analyzing, and writing about Great Rarities.

(4) I strongly maintain that, to be qualified to analyze coins, there is a need to carefully examine them. Further, to become an expert, there is a need to direct questions to experts, and I often do so. Certainly, viewing coins and asking questions are not the only criteria to qualify someone to analyze Great Rarities. These activities, though, are crucial to attaining knowledge in the field of rare U.S. coins.

(5) Though digital images of coins are sometimes wonderful, and imaging technology, along with its implementations, continues to improve, there is a great deal about many coins that cannot be seen in pictures. It is necessary to view actual coins to understand them. This will always be true.

(6) My comments below regarding many of the Great Rarities that I have seen are not meant to be boastful. Rather, such discussions relate to my qualifications and I wish to share my enthusiasm for Great Rarities with others.

Why discuss the topic of viewing Great Rarities now? While viewing the 1856-O Double Eagle ($20 gold coin) that Heritage will auction in Long Beach, I thought about the number of 1856-O Double Eagles that I have personally examined and then about some recent open discussions among coin enthusiasts regarding the “coolest” coins that each has held in his or her hands. I have seen at least seven different 1856-O Double Eagles.

I. 1856-O $20 Gold Coins

In the official auction for the Sept. Long Beach (CA) Expo, Heritage will offer a recently discovered 1856-O Double Eagle that is NGC graded “EF-45+.” In regards to how circulated, early New Orleans Mint Double Eagles are typically graded by the NGC, the “45+” grade is fair. I must admit, though, that there are several 1856-O Double Eagles that I like more than this one. Even so, this coin is sharply struck for the 1856-O issue and has minimal noticeable contact marks. It may not be easy to find a better one. All 1856-O Double Eagles, which I have seen, have been cleaned and/or dipped at one time or another. Type One (1850-66) Double Eagles have surged in popularity over the last ten years, and prices for rare dates of this type rose dramatically from 2003 to 2008.

“The two key collectible Type One Double Eagles are the 1854-O and the 1856-O. These have appreciated in value more than virtually any other United States gold coin in the last five to seven years,” declared Doug Winter in Oct. 2008.

In 2007, I wrote an article about 1856-O Double Eagles and I then focused upon a PCGS certified 1856-O that B&M auctioned in March 2007. On July 31, 2009, Heritage sold two 1856-O Double Eagles in one Platinum Night event. One of the two very much appealed to me. It is PCGS certified EF-45 and has a CAC sticker of approval. It has nice color and a great overall look. It scores particularly high in the category of originality.

Just weeks earlier, also in Los Angeles County, Heritage sold the special striking, ‘Specimen-63′ 1856-O in the official auction of the Spring 2009 Long Beach Expo. For years, I had dreamed about viewing that coin, and I was not disappointed. It is truly astounding. It is perhaps the most memorable and important of all New Orleans Mint gold coins. (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The rise in the number of collectors of rare U.S. coins and the importance of the PCGS & the NGC

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #15

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

Today’s topic relates to the number of people who collect rare or scarce U.S. coins, and, at least once in a while, spend more than $1000 on a single coin. The number of such collectors has grown tremendously since around 1998.

At various times since Sept. or Oct. 2008, a substantial number of collectors have stopped buying, not because of lack of interest, but rather because of their own personal financial circumstances. After all, in the middle of 2008, a rather severe recession began that negatively affected almost everyone. Further evidence of my point regarding the increase in numbers and in interest of coin collectors is found in the fact that rare U.S. coins went down in value to a much lesser extent than almost all other categories of assets.

There has only been a modest amount of attrition since coin markets peaked during the first seven to eight months of 2008. (Please see my remarks about coin markets in the following articles: O’Neal’s Eagles – Part1, Part 2; Queller’s Patterns; August 2009 Market Report – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3; and my Review of the Jan. 2010 Platinum Night event.)

Why is there is a reason to put forth such points now? After all, I could, and had planned to, write more about the terrific coins that I saw at the ANA Convention in Boston. (Please click to read last week’s column.) Unfortunately, very recently, in a print publication (CW), a widely recognized commentator (QDB) has put forth a theory that most “serious” collectors are well over fifty years old and that the number of coin collectors has not been increasing. This poorly reasoned theory needs to be addressed.

I. Young Adults and Coin Conventions

Without research, it can be logically deduced that most young adult collectors do not have the time to attend many first tier coin conventions or expos. Further, because of the growth of the Internet and other advances in technology, there is less to be gained, than before, by attending major conventions, though I still recommend attending them. If a majority of the collector-buyers at major events, like the ANA and FUN Conventions, are over the age of fifty, this does NOT prove that a majority of collectors who are seriously interested in expensive U.S. coins are over the age of fifty.

It should be obvious that most collectors between the ages of seventeen and fifty just do not have the time to attend ANA or FUN Conventions, or Long Beach Expos. Surely, many young adults in their twenties, thirties and forties, are busy with their careers and/or busy running their own businesses. A lot of people work ten hours a day to further their business or occupational pursuits, especially many of those collectors who spend more than $1000 per coin. It is also true that collectors in their twenties or thirties may be focused on their respective families.

In general, it is unrealistic to expect a thirty-three year old entrepreneur to be staying up at night thinking about locating a Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar, completing a set of Three Cent Nickels, or assembling a type set of Proof Liberty Head gold coins. Of course, there is an occasional thirty-three year old, very affluent collector who devotes ten to twenty hours a week to studying coin related materials and to building his coin collection. Clearly, though, few thirty-something collectors will have the time to attend ANA or FUN Conventions. Therefore, QDB and also Doug Winter are correct in that collectors in the fifty to eighty year old range are more likely to engage in BOTH spending on rarities and extensive travel to coin events. It is indisputable, however, that there are many unseen coin collectors in their twenties, thirties and forties. (more…)

FREE Online Coin Collection Manager Now Available at NGC Collectors Society

NGC Collectors Society has unveiled its newest website feature today – a comprehensive Collection Manager. This new tool allows collectors to organize and track their entire coin collections online in a secure password-protected environment. It is completely free to use, and requires only a free NGC Collectors Society account for access.

Watch “Features at a Glance” video to learn more

The goal of the NGC Collectors Society is to enable collectors to build better collections by providing the tools, community and resources that they need. Through feedback received from members, new features are planned and developed. The addition of the Collection Manager is the most significant enhancement to the Collectors Society toolkit since the initial launch of the NGC Registry in 2002. Since that time, over 500,000 coins have been registered in nearly 60,000 individual NGC Registry Sets.

The Collection Manager relies on an easy-to-use and intuitive interface that allows collectors to maintain records of all the coins in their collections – including US, world and ancient coins, as well as certified and raw coins. In addition to keeping track of coins they currently own, collectors can store information about coins that they want to buy and coins they have already sold or traded. Current market values are automatically displayed for all US coins tracked in the Collection Manager. Accurate market information is supplied by leading, independent price guide NumisMedia.

One of the unique features of the Collection Manager is that it is seamlessly integrated with the NGC Registry, the most-advanced and largest online showcase of coin collections. As of today’s launch, coins included in NGC Registry Competitive Sets and Custom Sets (formerly called Signature Sets) are pre-loaded into the Collection Manager and are already available for private recordkeeping. A new feature is that, in addition to public Registry Sets, collectors can create private Customs Sets that are visible only to them. These private sets allow collectors to group coins to keep their collection organized, and unlike public sets, they can contain raw coins and coins graded by any company. As in the past, only NGC and PCGS certified coins can be displayed publicly in the NGC Registry.

Security and privacy of Collectors Society members is a high priority. Information tracked in the Collection Manager is visible only to the owner of a particular coin when logged-in to the Collectors Society and coins are never displayed publicly unless they are added to a Registry Set that is publicly visible. Purchase and sale records are always kept private and cannot be publicly displayed. To maintain collectors’ privacy, the owner of a set is only identified by a Public Name, a pseudonym supplied by the user. (more…)

Heritage adds CAC Population Data to Rare Coin Auction Archives

A very quick way to measure a coin’s rarity is to look at how many coins of a particular date have been graded by the major grading services. Three figures are key as a rule of thumb in determining rarity:

  • The population of a coin in a particular grade, which shows how difficult the coin might be to replace exactly
  • The population of a coin in all higher grades, which shows how difficult a coin might be to upgrade
  • The population of a coin in all grades, which shows how difficult a coin might be to find at all.

The first two figures above are often written in shorthand. For example, a coin with a population of 100/4 has 100 known in the same grade and four known in higher grades. A coin with a population of 1/0 is the finest known to the grading service that certified it.

One of the features that has long been available on the Heritage Web site listings and archives HA.com/Coins are population reports. PCGS and NGC keep track of every coin they grade, and Heritage is generous enough to post this information, in condensed form, on the web page for every US coin.

Now, Heritage has added the CAC population data to it’s population listings.

As an example, the table you see here covers an 1911-D $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle, graded MS65 (in this case by NGC). Under the header “Population”, you can see that the PCGS Population Report shows 1731 1911-D $20 Saints with an MS65 grade, NGC Census figures show 1831 similar coins and CAC has stickered 130.
(more…)

Coin Grading: NGC Certifies Rare S-79 1795 Reeded Edge Liberty Cap Cent

Among early United States cents one of the rarest and most mysterious is Dr. William H. Sheldon’s variety number 79 having a reeded edge, an example of which has just been certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

Only eight pieces are confirmed to exist, and this one has been off the market for some 30 years. Its last public appearance was in a 1977 auction by the now-defunct Numismatic and Antiquarian Service Corporation of America (NASCA). NGC has graded and encapsulated this remarkable coin as having Fine Details with corrosion.

Aside from its rarity, S-79 is an intriguing variety on several counts. It possesses a reeded edge, the only large cent of any type to have such an edge device. Its obverse is unique to this die marriage, though it is similar in most respects to those of other 1795 cents. Where things really get odd, however, is that this cent variety was coined using a reverse die shared only with several varieties of 1796-dated cents. It was thus almost certainly coined well into that year and possibly as late as 1797. The U. S. Mint is known to have employed dies of earlier dates for as long as they remained serviceable, and this appears to be the case with S-79.

The reason for applying a reeded edge is entirely undocumented. This edge device evidently was used well after the December 1795 order reducing the weight of cents in response to the rising price of copper. The thinner planchets that resulted from this weight reduction precluded usage of the lettered edge device common to some 1793 cents, all those dated 1794 and the early issues dated 1795, which is why most 1795 cents and all 1796 cents have plain edges.

The only comparable instance of an unusual edge device occurs with the two die marriages of 1797-dated cents having “gripped” edges. These show a series of shallow cuts on their edges that were imparted by the edge milling machine. Perhaps they were contemporary with the extremely rare reeded edge cents dated 1795, as the U. S. Mint experimented to find a suitable replacement for edge lettering. Again, no documentation is known which would verify this theory.

The rare S-79 just certified by NGC is a previously-known specimen, though it has not been seen in the marketplace since its last recorded sale in 1977. It appears in fourth place in the condition censuses published by both William C. Noyes (United States Large Cents 1793-1814) and Walter Breen (Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents 1793-1814, edited by Mark R. Borckardt).

Though the variety was evidently known to collectors as early as 1862, this particular specimen was discovered by famed dealer Henry Chapman and included in his auction of June 1916, where it brought the grand sum of $1.75! It later passed through the collections of several legendary numismatists, including Howard R. Newcomb, Henry C. Hines and Dr. Sheldon himself.

The coin was submitted to NGC by Silvertowne of Winchester, Indiana. Owner David Hendrickson is delighted to be able to handle this great rarity. “It’s such a wonderful experience to come across a coin which has remained extremely rare despite a century and a half of searching by collectors,” Hendrickson said. “We at Silvertowne are proud to become a part of this cent’s distinguished pedigree.”
(more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Bowers & Merena auction, Proof 1876-CC dime, and $150 million for the CAC

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #5

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

I will not be discussing the most expensive or the rarest coins that are coming ‘on the auction block’ this week. Rather, I have selected a few that I find to be both newsworthy and particularly interesting. Admittedly, these are expensive. I continue to insist, though, that an understanding of rare coins, and of the values in the coin collecting community, requires knowledge of coins that most collectors cannot afford.

Suppose that this column was geared towards art enthusiasts rather than coin enthusiasts. Would it then make sense to discuss only the paintings that most art collectors could afford? Collectors who cannot afford great and culturally important paintings enjoy learning about them and often learn to apply their knowledge of famous painting to their interpretations of a wide variety of not-so-famous paintings. Likewise, coin enthusiasts, in general, appreciate coins that are great, famous, very rare and/or important to the culture of coin collecting.

Please see my discussions below of the following coins. The 1851-O trime is the only Three Cent Silver issue that was not struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Indeed, it is curious that the New Orleans Mint struck this denomination, as the Branch Mints tended not to manufacture small denomination coins in the 19th century. The Hawaiian Eighth-Dollar is certainly extremely rare and extremely curious. The 1926-S nickel issue is just incredibly difficult to find in MS-65 or MS-66 grade. As I discussed one in last week’s column, I could not resist mentioning another, as B&M will auction it this week in Baltimore. Similarly, I discussed a rare and historically important King James II English gold coin last week and B&M will auction a coin of the same design type this week. Plus, the unique Proof 1876-CC dime is one of the most exciting coins of all.

II. The CAC Surpasses $150 Million Level

It is widely known that the CAC approves (or rejects) submitted coins that are already graded by the PCGS or the NGC. Approved coins receive a green sticker, or, in rare instances, a gold sticker. It is not as widely known that the CAC will make sight unseen commitments to pay competitive prices for CAC approved coins. These are not ‘low ball’ bids. As of June 15, the CAC has purchased $154 million of coins, almost all of which are CAC approved.

The CAC was founded by John Albanese in Oct. 2007. CAC purchases have thus been averaging more than $4.7 million per month. The $150 million level was reached in early June.

Albanese was the sole founder of the Numismatic Guaranty Corp (NGC) in 1987. Around Dec. 1998, he sold his shares in the NGC to Mark Salzberg, who is the current NGC Chairman. (For more discussion of the CAC, please see my articles on CoinFest, Jay Brahin’s Coins, the PCGS graded MS-68+ 1901-S quarter, the 20th Century Gold Club, and Dr. Duckor’s quarters.)

Although the CAC has acquired thousands of coins that are valued at under $5000 each, the CAC has approved and acquired some very famous coins. Among others, the Eliasberg 1870-S silver dollar and the finest known, Rogers-Madison 1796 ‘No Stars’ Quarter Eagle ($2½ gold coin) come to my mind.

III. Unique Proof 1876-CC Dime

Laura Sperber, of Legend Numismatics, acquired the unique Proof 1876-CC dime from a New Jersey dealer in early June. On Saturday, June 12, she sold it for an amount in excess of $200,000. It “went into a collection of Proof Seated Dimes,” Sperber reveals. It is certified as Proof-66 by the PCGS and has a sticker of approval from the CAC. (more…)

Phenomenal Simpson Collection of United States Pattern Coins Helps NGC Launch Plus Designation

Many of the coins from this superb collection have received NGC’s new Plus Designation.

Followers of the numismatic scene have already learned of the fabulous Simpson Collection of United States pattern coins, but one remarkable numismatist is a connoisseur of other series, as well. He possesses superb holdings of nearly all United States coin series spanning the period from the 1830s to the 1930s, most of which have been graded and certified by NGC.

Many Simpson Collection coins have received the new Plus () Designation from NGC. Launched on May 25, 2010, the is used to identify coins at the high end of their assigned grade, approaching the quality requirements for the next grade. This new NGC service offering is heralded with the placement of the important Simpson Collection coins on the NGC Registry. Now updated to accommodate graded coins, the NGC Registry is the go-to place to find the rarest and most beautiful coins from around the world. The addition of the Simpson Collection sets only confirms this trend, and users of the NGC Registry will be able to view these remarkable coins for themselves in glorious color.

Texan Bob Simpson is the ultimate numismatic connoisseur, desiring only those coins that meet his exacting standards. He knows what he wants, and nothing less will do. Facilitating his efforts is his longtime numismatic consultant, Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics. The old saying, “Know your coins or know your dealer” is particularly apt, as Mr. Simpson knows both, and this relationship has paid off with an epic collection of coins that compares favorably with the great named collections of the past.

Mr. Simpson’s premier passion is United States pattern and trial coins, and his collection of these is unparalleled. Comprising most of the entries found in Dr. J. Hewitt Judd’s standard reference work, United States Pattern Coins, now in its 10th edition, the Simpson Collection is the greatest assemblage of such coins since Judd’s own collection was dispersed some 50 years ago.

Among its amazing highlights is a complete set of the highly coveted stellas, or four-dollar pieces, complete in all types, dates and metals. While perhaps less known to most collectors, his array of early US Mint patterns is of the greatest historic value and rarity. These coins include 1792-dated pieces such as the silver-center cent (J-1), the even more rare example of this coin without a silver center (J-2), the most popular of early federal patterns — the HALF DISME (J-7) and the exceedingly rare DISME in all three varieties (J-9,-10,-11).

Also included are both uniface impressions of Joseph Wright’s famed quarter dollar pattern (J-A1792-1,-2). These coins are seldom offered for sale, as their owners are typically devoted numismatists who cherish their immense historical importance. Such a figure is Bob Simpson. (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The PCGS Lawsuit Against Alleged Coin Doctors

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #3

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

Welcome to the third installment of my column. I had planned to write more about auctions and about current demand for rare Liberty Seated coins. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by the most important lawsuit in the history of coin collecting: The PCGS lawsuit against six named individuals and other not yet named individuals regarding coin doctoring is pathbreaking and earth shattering.

Even if the PCGS does not prevail on all points or against all defendants, the educational value of this suit, and the impact that it will have on coin doctors, goes way beyond the fate of these defendants. For legal reasons, I will not comment on the defendants in this suit. I am asserting that a significant number of coin doctors who are not defendants will be discouraged by this lawsuit from doctoring coins.

The PCGS SecurePlus™ program, which was inaugurated in March 2010, also discourages coin doctoring. For some discussion of the ‘plus’ aspect of the program and my idea as to how the NGC can discourage coin doctoring, please see last week’s column.

Under the SecurePlus™ program, submitted coins are scanned, for purposes of identification, with CoinAnalyzer devices. The PCGS will be able to identify each scanned coin if it is submitted to the PCGS again in the future, and, when a match is found, the submitted coin will be closely compared to an image of the same coin that was taken when it was previously submitted. Changes in the appearance of each matched coin will be investigated. The positive effects of the SecurePlus program, though, will build very gradually over a period of many years. This lawsuit will be extremely effective at discouraging coin doctoring in the near future.

Four years ago, when coin doctoring was rampant in the dealer community, had PCGS officials threatened a coin doctor with a lawsuit, the coin doctor probably would have figured that PCGS officials were bluffing. I am almost certain that this is the first time that a grading service has sued some of its dealer-members for submitting coins that are allegedly doctored and misrepresented.

Now, if PCGS officials threaten a coin doctor with a lawsuit unless he stops submitting doctored coins to the PCGS, the threatened individual is likely to take the threat very seriously and believe that the PCGS might actually follow through with a suit. Yes, I realize that not every coin doctor will be deterred by the threat of a lawsuit. Most will be deterred, at least to an extent. (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Upcoming LB Auctions, PCGS Secure Plus & NGC Metallurgic Analysis

Coin Rarities & Related Topics #2News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Today’s Theme

Welcome to the second installment of my column. Today’s primary topic is upcoming auctions. A secondary topic is the new policies of the PCGS and the NGC, which I will discuss often in the future. Below, I will put forth a proposal regarding the NGC’s new metallurgic testing program. For an explanation of the purpose and scope of my weekly column, please see last week’s installment.

Yes, I said last week that this year’s Spring auction offerings, in total, pale in contrast to those in the Springs of 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 or 2009. Even so, there are some noteworthy coins being auctioned. Besides, most collector-buyers will hone in on coins of interest to them, without considering market phenomena as a whole. Additionally, prices realized will shed light upon market conditions. I will focus here on the upcoming auctions in Southern California.

At the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza hotel, in late May and early June, the Goldbergs will auction the Daniel Holmes collection of Middle Date large cents, plus assorted U.S. and World rarities. On May 30, the firm of Bonhams will conduct a coin auction in Los Angeles. The star of the Bonhams event is a 1795 Eagle ($10 gold coin) of the very rare variety with just nine leaves on the branch. (For some explanation, please see my Feb. 2007 article on 1795 Eagles.) In conjunction with the Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectible Expo, Heritage will auction a wide variety of numismatic items.

II. Dan Holmes’ Middle Dates

On May 30, the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg will auction the Dan Holmes collection of U.S. cents that date from 1816 to 1839. The specialty firm of McCawley & Grellman handled the cataloguing. Previously, I reported on Holmes’ Early Date cents, which were auctioned in Sept. 2009. Furthermore, I wrote a series articles about the sale of the late Ted Naftzger’s Middle Dates on Feb. 1, 2009 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Naftzger’s collection of large cents, early dates, middle dates and late dates, is the best of all-time, in almost all categories. No one is expecting Holmes or anyone else to come close to equaling Naftzger’s collecting achievements, which required many decades, intense concentration and some luck.

Holmes’ Middle Date collection includes some exceptional representatives of ‘better dates’ and relatively rarer varieties. In my view, it is a little disappointing. I was expecting it to be of higher quality overall, or, at least, contain better representatives of some of the scarcer dates. Further, I was hoping for some more and better quality Proofs. Indisputably, however, Holmes has one of the five best, currently intact collections of Middle Date large cents, maybe one of the top three. I predict intense bidding competition for the rarer varieties.

Curiously, there are more than a thousand large cent collectors who focus upon die varieties. There are more than twenty-five thousand, though, who collect ‘by date,’ including readily apparent varieties that are collected ‘as if’ these are separate and distinct dates. Holmes has impressive representatives of some of the scarcest dates of the Middle Date type. The 1823, 1823/2 and 1839/6 are probably the only Middle ‘dates’ that are rare, or almost so, though not one of these ‘dates’ is extremely rare. While the “1826/5” may possibly be rare, it is debatable as to whether it is really an overdate. Even if it is so, the difference in the date, versus an 1826 Normal Date issue, is just too subtle to be collected as if it is a distinct date. In my view, even if the 1826/5 is a true overdate, it is just a die variety.

The 1821 large cent issue is very rare in grades of AU-50 or higher. Holmes has five 1821s. The finest he has of the first die variety is PCGS graded AU-58, and is graded AU-50 by Chris McCawley & Bob Grellman, the cataloguers. Holmes’ best representative of the second die variety of this year in large cents is PCGS graded MS-63. McCawley & Grellman grade it as “MS-60+,” which means MS-61 or -62 in standard terms. This 1821 cent was earlier in the Wes Rasmussen collection that Heritage auctioned in Fort Lauderdale in Jan. 2005. (more…)

NGC Launches Plus Designation on Coin Grades

Beginning today,Tuesday, May 25, 2010, all eligible coins submitted to NGC for grading will be reviewed for the Plus Designation (+). NGC assigns a to coins at the high end of their assigned grade, approaching the quality requirements for the next grade. In addition to their superior technical merit, coins receiving a must have above-average eye appeal.

NGC assigns the + only to United States coins issued from 1792 to 1964, and the is available in combination with all grades from XF45 to MS68, inclusive. Coins submitted to NGC under applicable grading tiers including Economy, EarlyBird, Gold Rush, Specialty Gold, Express and WalkThrough tiers are automatically examined for + during grading, and there is no additional fee or special service request.

All coins submitted for on-site grading at tradeshows and other events are also considered for + at time of grading. The first on-site event where NGC will evaluate all coins during grading for the Plus Designation is the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo, where on-site grading will be offered June 2 through June 4, 2010.

Coins already certified by NGC must be submitted for regrade using one of the above mentioned grading tiers to be evaluated for + . Crossover submissions at applicable grading tier levels are also reviewed for + during grading. More detailed information concerning submission requirements and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on NGC’s website at www.ngccoin.com/plus.

“We have been overwhelmed by the flood of support and enthusiasm for the launch of the NGC plus designation. For a number of years, collectors and dealers have wanted NGC to recognize premium quality-grade coins because our unique capabilities allow us to distinguish these differences with accuracy and consistency – providing credibility and consumer confidence to this segment of the market,” comments Mark Salzberg, NGC chairman and grading finalizer. (more…)

NGC Launches New Metallurgic Analysis Service for Coins

NGC is introducing a new service line to perform metal composition testing at the submitter’s request. Metallurgic analysis is available for pattern, essay, trial and mint error coins, as well as tokens and medals. The cost of this service is $75 in addition to the NGC grading fee. Coins already certified and encapsulated by NGC can be re-submitted to NGC for metal testing and re-encapsulation for the flat fee of $75.

NGC performs composite surface scans of coins using x-ray fluorescence. While the tests are entirely non-invasive, they do allow NGC to peer beneath surface plating and any contaminants. Methods used by NGC are so gentle, however, that they can even be performed on coins that are still encapsulated. After testing, the results of analysis will appear on the NGC certification label along with the weight of the tested coin. NGC lists the three most abundant non-trace metals present on the coin’s surface.

Metallurgic analysis is performed at NGC’s facility by trained technicians. The turnaround time required for this service is approximately three-days in addition to the standard turnaround time for the accompanying service request. After certification is completed, tested coins are encapsulated in the Scratch-Resistant EdgeView® holder.

“NGC has used metal composition analysis for authentication purposes routinely, but we always believed that there was also a role for it to play in more precise attribution. Certainly this service will be a boon to collectors of pattern coins,” comments Rick Montgomery, NGC President.

NGC CEO, Steve Eichenbaum states that, “This service launch was really predicated on the availability of highly advanced and new technology. At NGC, we take innovation very seriously, and we continue to implement new services whenever we believe that they will meet the needs of collectors and numismatic professionals.”

While the next version of the NGC submission form, coming this summer, will include this service option, NGC is accepting coins for metallurgic analysis immediately. To submit coins for this service, prominently write “METAL COMPOSITION TEST” on the submission form, and include the additional $75 per coin service charge in the fee calculation at the bottom of the form. Coins to be tested should be listed on a separate submission form from coins not being tested. You can always request that multiple submission forms be shipped backed to you together.

Any questions about submission procedures or this new offering can be directed to NGC customer service at service@ngccoin.com or by phone toll-free at 1-800-NGC-COIN (642-2646).

Legendary 1898 Single 9 Pond South African Coin Certified by NGC

“King of South African Coins”, the unique and historic 1898 Single 9 Pond, sells for a record multi-million rand price and is certified by NGC.

The sale of South Africa’s rarest and most celebrated coin, the 1898 Single 9 Pond, has been concluded for an unprecedented multi-million rand figure. [Editor: $1.00 USD = 7.51133 ZAR]

The sale, like the prior two sales of the same coin, was facilitated by Mr. Walter Fivaz. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, is thrilled to own such an impressive and important part of South Africa’s heritage. The Single 9 has justifiably been dubbed the “King of South African Coins” and is among the most valuable rare coins in the world.

Upon completion of the purchase, the coin was promptly sent to NGC for certification. NGC was selected because of their consistency in grading, their extensive South African numismatic knowledge and the prestige offered by NGC certification. The coin graded MS 63 PL by NGC. The grade of MS 63 identifies it as a choice uncirculated example. Many coins of such illustrious provenance have been mishandled, and fortunately this coin has retained its original surface quality. Additionally, the fields of the coin are mirror-like, indicating that it was struck from freshly polished dies. Accordingly, it has been designated PL, for proof-like, which is assigned to coins that possess some of the special attributes that are often seen on presentation coinage.

“We are very proud to certify such an important and historic coin. Seldom does a coin play so significant a role in cultural history and for many years this coin has been considered the most coveted of all coins struck on the African continent,” commented Ken Krah, NGC vice president, who heads NGC’s world coin grading department.

The details surrounding the creation of the Single 9 Pond form one of the most compelling stories in numismatics. The Single 9 was the first one pound gold coin produced during the Anglo-Boer War between South African and the British Empire in 1899. At that time, the government of the South African Republic sought legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. One of the best ways of doing this was to manufacture their own coins and currency. Since they did not have a facility to produce dies for coinage in South Africa, the government contracted with a mint in Germany to create dies for 1899 coinage. En route from Germany to the Transvaal, the shipment of dies was intercepted and seized by the British. (more…)

World Coins – Unique 1928 South Africa 6 Pence Graded by NGC

Certified by NGC is this recently discovered South Africa 6 Pence dated 1928. It is the only known example bearing this date.

The coin was first spotted in an English country auction where it was cataloged with an unusual notation: the coin’s date was not listed in the standard series reference. It was purchased by a dealer who had a strong suspicion about the its origin.

Although he had no doubt about the coin’s authenticity, he sent it first to South Africa, where a number of experts examined the coin, all declaring it genuine. The coin itself, as a unique discovery piece, created a sensation among collectors of South African coins, who marveled that this discovery took over 80 years to occur.

From South Africa, the coin was sent the coin to the United States to be certified and encapsulated by NGC.

The dies for South African coins of this era were manufactured in England and then sent to South Africa for use in coinage production. Mysteriously, six pence dies of this year were not shipped and no pieces dated 1928 were struck in South Africa. Other denominations of coins were produced in that year, however, and it is not certain why the six pence was omitted.

Numismatist believe that the coin was produced in England as a specimen piece.

It has shallow mirrored fields, a crisp strike, as well as squared rims, similar to all South African presentation coinage of this era. It is also struck on a .925 fine silver planchet, while coins struck for circulation in South Africa are only .800 fine. It has a deep amber patina and is remarkably well preserved, evidence that it resided in the possession of a collector since it was struck.

Win a Full Scholarship and Free Airfare to ANA Summer Seminar!

NGC and the ANA offer three numismatists the experience of a lifetime.

NGC has teamed up with the American Numismatic Association (ANA) to bring three motivated individuals to the numismatic educational event of the summer. Winners of the ANA Summer Seminar Registry Contest will receive full tuition and room and board for one session of the ANA Summer Seminar, courtesy of the ANA. Air travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado, will be provided by NGC. The ANA Summer Seminar is a life-changing event that has catapulted the careers of many of the nation’s most successful numismatic collectors, authors and dealers. It has also been instrumental in shaping young numismatic enthusiasts into respected hobby leaders.

To enter, the collector must be an NGC Registry participant. Each contest applicant should send a self-nominating e-mail to SeminarContest@NGCcoin.com by Friday, April 30. The e-mail should include the collector’s public registry name and a brief description (fewer than 500 words) of how attending Summer Seminar could contribute to his or her experience as a collector. Winners will be selected by the NGC Registry Awards judging panel, based on a combination of Registry Sets and the e-mail provided, on Wednesday, May 5.

“No collectors are more passionate about the hobby than those who participate in the NGC Registry,” said Scott Schechter, vice president of marketing and sales at NGC. “This contest is a phenomenal way to recognize and encourage them. Summer Seminar is the single best learning environment in numismatics, and we are thrilled to work with the ANA to make it available to three collectors who otherwise may not have been able to attend.”

Susan McMillan, ANA education project manager, commented, “We think Summer Seminar is the best education in numismatics. Period. We are very excited to be able to offer NGC Registry members the opportunity to attend this year’s Summer Seminar and hope to be able to offer more such scholarships in the future.”

The ANA Summer Seminar, a hobby destination for 42 years, will feature a lineup of classes to suit virtually every collector’s hobby needs. Mini-seminars will cover topics such as ancients, paper money, Morgan dollars, Lincoln cents, shipwreck coins, commemoratives, and medals and tokens. Seminar attendees can learn to grade coins and detect counterfeits. Most importantly, participants will have the opportunity to meet and converse with the hobby’s most distinguished scholars, rising young stars and successful business leaders.

The Summer Seminar, held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will consist of two sections, the first from June 26 to July 2, 2010, and the second from July 3 to July 9, 2010. The ANA will provide contest winners with their choice of attendance at either section, plus basic accommodations and meals ($1,000 value). NGC will provide round-trip airfare for each winner. Some classes in each section are already sold out and will not be available. Winners can pay for room upgrades if so desired.

To learn more about the ANA and educational opportunities at Summer Seminar, please visit www.money.org

NGC Instructors at ANA Summer Coin Seminar

The ANA Summer Seminar is called “the best education in numismatics.” Take a look at the courses being taught by NGC experts.

Numismatists from NGC will be present in full force at this year’s ANA Summer Seminar. Now celebrating its 42nd year, Summer Seminar features a lineup of classes to suit virtually every collector’s hobby needs. Whether your interest is ancients, paper money, Colonial Americana, Lincoln cents, shipwreck coins, commemoratives, or medals and tokens, there’s a class or mini-seminar for you. Want to start or grow a business, or learn something about security? There’s a class for you. Students can learn to grade coins and detect counterfeits and, most important, hobnob with the hobby’s most distinguished scholars and successful business leaders.

Classes are held in small groups so everyone can actively participate. You’ll learn not only from instructors who are recognized leaders in their fields, but from the collective experiences of fellow students, who range in age from 13 to 90. And rarely do students or instructors attend just one Summer Seminar. They come back time and time again for the education, friendships and camaraderie.

To learn more about summer seminar, visit the information page on the ANA’s Web site, or download the full course catalog [PDF].

The following courses are instructed by professional numismatists from NGC:

Advanced United States Coin Grading and Problem Coins

This course concentrates on the nuances of high-grade, mint-state and proof coins. Students learn how to distinguish original surfaces from mint-state and circulated coins that have been cleaned or altered, and to identify minute imperfections and color variances that can affect a coin’s grade. Students will learn the methods used by experts, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. Prerequisite: Successful completion of “Intermediate Grading of United States Coins,” or permission from the instructor, is required. Prospective students must complete a questionnaire before enrollment is confirmed. Each grading class is limited to 21 students. (more…)

Some Thoughts on PCGS’ New Secure Plus Coin Grading Program

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

PCGS recently released the details on their new Secure Plus program. Instead of summarizing it here, I’d suggest that your go to their website and play the video link that will explain their interpretation of the new program. I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts and feelings about it.

You can essentially split this new program down the middle and look at it as two distinct facets. To me, the “Secure” aspect is a no-brainer. In a nutshell, PCGS has basically harnessed the technology that will enable them to make a record of all the coins that are submitted to them under this new program. They claim it will end coin doctoring and stop gradeflation in its tracks.

As someone who has been pretty public in his disgust with coin doctoring for many years, I’m glad that PCGS is instituting this program. By the same token, it seems sad to me that a) this had to happen and b) that it took as long as it did. In some areas of the market, there are barely any “original” coins left. PCGS’ step is sort of like making a decision to preserve Bison in 1937: great idea but a little late in coming.

I have always partially attributed coin doctoring, to some degree at least, on PCGS and NGC. If these services had rewarded originality from the beginning and had been really, truly consistent this would have eliminated a lot of the doctoring that has occurred for the last twenty+ years. In the area that I specialize in, United States gold produced from 1795 to 1900, “bright and shiny” has always trumped “dark and crusty.” The irony here is that, finally, dark and crusty is becoming in style. After decades of coins being dipped, dunked, doctored and debilitated (catchy, no?) the coins with character that many people want are exceptionally hard to find.

While PCGS is not really publicizing this, I think the security aspect will be very important in their future efforts to fight counterfeit coins and holders coming in from China. I can’t possibly imagine that some clever guy in Shanghai isn’t already coming up with remarkably good quality early type coins or better date dollars. All it takes is a good distribution system for these to flood the market and by PCGS making it harder for these coins to make it through, that has to be a big positive. (more…)

Counterfeit Detection: Proof 1885 Liberty Nickel

From the NGC Series on Counterfeit Detection

This newly made fake is certainly deceiving some collectors as we’re seeing it appear in recent submissions. Learn how to identify it!

Genuine 1885 – Click To Enlarge Counterfeit 1885 – Click To Enlarge

Recently this unusual fake, believed to be of new manufacture, has appeared in NGC submissions. Although not particularly deceptive, NGC has received a handful of them.

Our best guess as to why: it’s not a coin that anyone really would expect to be counterfeited. It demonstrates that fakes of just about every issue exist and it’s worthwhile to be vigilant when buying uncertified coins or from an unfamiliar source.

There are obvious clues that identify this 1885 nickel as a fake.

First, the devices (design elements) show a pebbled or rough texture that is unlike that seen on any authentic examples. Knowing the texture of a coin’s surface does require a degree of familiarity with authentic examples, but it can also be the easiest telltale of a fake.

Authentic proof Liberty Nickels have crisp design features and smooth or very, very fine grained devices. Large nooks and crannies visible throughout the design are the hallmarks of this copy. Compare an enlargement of the date area with that of a genuine example — the real coin is on top.

The second giveaway that this coin is bad is the shallowness of its design elements. Note how the Liberty’s ear dissolves into the fields. Same with the hair detail above her temple and at top of her neck.

The shape of these elements will be crisp on an authentic specimen and clearly separate from the fields with a sharp delineation. Other elements of the design are similarly not crisp. Look at the stars. On genuine proofs, the intersecting lines will be clear. Here, the first star is especially weak and the others are rounded and amorphous.

Learning to pick out clues like those mentioned above are a great starting point to spotting fakes.

Leading Coin Grading Services PCGS & NGC Announce “Plus” Designation

The plus designation, a notation of premium quality, has been announced by NGC and PCGS. The service will be available from NGC beginning in approximately 60-days and launched formally by PCGS on March 25, 2010.

Denoted by a + symbol appearing after the grade, the plus designation indicates that a coin is of superior quality for the grade and that it approaches the next technical grade level. In numismatics, in addition to plus, several terms are used interchangeably to indicate this including premium quality, PQ, and high-end.

Aspects of the service offered by NGC and PCGS are similar. The plus designation applies only to US coins from select classic series, and it is not currently planned to be applied to modern coinage issues. Additionally, it will be used on eligible coins grading from the XF-range up to MS 68. For coins to be evaluated for the plus designation, submitters will have to opt-in to a plus designation review service in addition to the standard grading tier.

After the service launch, in approximately 60-days, coins with the plus designation will receive a point premium in the NGC Registry and be reported in a forthcoming enhancement of the NGC Census. Additionally, price guides and coin trading networks including the Certified Coin Exchange will be supporting the plus designation.

“The coin marketplace has evolved in the nearly 25 years since NGC and PCGS began certifying coins, and this is a very logical progression. We have always been conscious of the variation within grades. By providing this information on the label in the plus format, it is communicated in a simple and direct way that allows these distinctions to be readily understood,” comments NGC Chairman, Mark Salzberg.

PCGS founder David Hall stated, “The reality of the market place is that coins considered high end for the grade are recognized by sophisticated dealers and collectors and such coins are worth a premium in the marketplace. The term plus has been part of the everyday trading and grading lingo for years. For the market’s two leading grading services to recognize this reality and designate these premium coins as part of their grading services is a huge benefit to all participants in the rare coin market.” (more…)

NGC launches a new free website resource for collectors of certified gold coins from around the world.

NGC’s website now features a value guide for the most popular world gold coins. Included are sovereigns, 20 francs and other frequently-traded world gold coins. Average asking prices for common-date examples are shown in all grades from MS63 to MS67. This chart also details each coin’s intrinsic metal value calculated from current market gold asking price. Gold ask is updated approximately every 20 minutes and the values for graded coins will be updated periodically as current market information is made available. For each set of figures, the last time of update is also displayed.

The World Gold Coins Value Guide is entirely free and can be seen by visiting the following link:

World Gold Coins Value Guide

In addition, NGC’s website also features the most accurate and comprehensive price guide for US coins available, the NumisMedia FMV Price Guide. A free NGC Collectors Society account provides complete access to the NumisMedia Guide.

“This new site feature is part of NGC’s ongoing commitment to provide the most comprehensive and valuable suite of resources to coin collectors. It’s one of a number of great site enhancements coming this year from NGC,” comments Scott Schechter, NGC Vice President, Sales & Marketing, “We hope to improve the accuracy and number of issues covered on the Gold Values Chart, and welcome any user feedback.”

To suggest a revision or an update to the World Gold Coin Value Guide, users can e-mail goldvalues@NGCcoin.com. To explore other numismatic resources available from NGC, visit the NGC Research Home Page.

Counterfeit Detection: KNOW Your Dates

From the NGC series on Counterfeit Detection

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

A basic lesson will help you always catch fakes, like this 1895-O Morgan Dollar, which could be deceptive to many.

In high school history class, a student asks his teacher, “Do I need to memorize dates for tomorrow’s test?”

The teacher replies, “No dates.”

Encouraged, the young student goes home and studies hard, following the teacher’s instruction. The next day he fails the test. Miserably.

Of course, the teacher had not told the student there would be NO dates on the test, but that he should KNOW dates. For aspiring counterfeit detectors, this instruction should be made even more clear: K-N-O-W dates!

Dates are very important areas to examine because they are unique to a particular coinage issues. The position, size and shape of the date should be the first elements examined when attempting to determine authenticity (unless better diagnostics are known for that coin). Often a misshapen or wayward digit is confirmation that something is amiss.

While this advice might seem to apply primarily to altered date coins, it is just as important for die-struck counterfeits. This 1895-O Morgan Dollar is a die-struck counterfeit recently made in China. It is of the correct weight and metal composition of an authentic coin. It is made from transfer dies and this coin would deceive many collectors.

By looking at the date under magnification, the coin immediately falls apart. Raised blobs of metal can be seen surrounding the 5, most prominently at 5:00 and 7:00. The metal flow is also suspiciously smoother in this area, dissimilar from the texture seen around the other digits. If you knew nothing else about this coin, those markers alone should scream, “not genuine.”

The counterfeiter made transfer dies for this coin by using a model coin from the 1890s, replacing the last digit with a 5. While this reveals the counterfeiter’s methods, it also tells us something else. Coins of every date and mintmark combination can be made in this same fashion. It’s therefore important to remember that this rule always applies: “Know dates!”