My Coin Blog

Coin Collecting and Socks???

31 Jul 2013 00:45

There are times when information gleaned from coin collecting can help you with something else in life such as history. Back in 2009 we made a possible connection between stock market performance to coin mintages in our forums.

To provide a short summary, we decided to use dime mintages as a baseline and compare it to the performance of the Dow. The general idea was that if the economy was starting to get depressed the order for coinage would decrease and if times were good then demand for coinage would increase. Sure enough back in 2009 we saw a possible trend. But, identifying a trend after a major stock market crash is in itself not that impressive. Anyone looking in hindsight can make oddball connections so I am revisiting the theory to see how it has panned out over the last few years (good years) to see how the trend is going.


As annual mintages increased from 2010 to 2012 there were also annual increases in the Dow. It appears the trending works in up years as well as down years. Yet the real proof is still yet to be had as we still need to predict a significant stock market fall or even a rise. So where are we for 2013? As of June 2013 the U.S. mint has produced 1.12 billion coins and is at a pace to handily beat the 2012 figure of 1.6 billion coins.

If the trend theory holds up then the Dow should close out the year up versus the end of 2012. Now we have our first forecast and considering there are some financial experts claiming the market is overvalued and due for major correction it will be even more interesting to see how this forecast works out. If it does work out it still does not prove out the trend between the two. Beyond forecasting an up year it will also need to forecast a down year. This is definitely getting interesting :))

Please note that this all theory and speculation and should not be used for making financial decisions.

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A New Way to Test Coins

09 Dec 2012 15:53

One of our members (Steve) sent me a message for helping to determine if 1967 Canadian dimes or quarter were 50% or 80% silver (Check out the video).

Do not know why no-one thought of this earlier as most collectors know that certain metals have distinct tones when dropped but it was definitely a brilliant find. Beyond the Canadian coin test, I can see a great application for this in testing authenticity of older silver coins providing us with yet another tool in our arsenal.

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Another Toy

25 Jun 2012 00:47


Earlier this year I picked up another great toy that has proven fantastic for coin shows. It is a 7 inch tablet that has allowed me to no longer carry books or lists to coin shows.

I realize some folks use smart phones that can do the same while others use an ipad, my problem was with size. I needed a screen that was large enough to easily bring up e-books but small enough that it was easily portable and a 7 inch screen was perfect and since I like to wear cargo pants it fit perfectly into the large pockets.


Now for the good stuff, I loaded an electronic copy of a Krause catalog for 20th century coins, a want list (in MSExcel), photos of all my coins, and an electronic copy of grading coins. Having these resources at my fingertips saved me money, time, and even allowed me to haggle for some coins. Best of all I didn’t have to carry around a notebook, pens, or books! Surprisingly I was the only person walking the floor using a tablet but I can see that changing in the very short term.

I am not going to endorse one tablet maker over another as I made my decision based on functionality. I needed a tablet that could handle e-books, use MSOffice tools, and be able to link with my home computer and it just happens that an Archos 70b tablet fit the bill. Currently, Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the top dog in the 7 inch screen size and major competitors want in on the action so expect to see lots of new stuff from major manufacturers (such as Samsung or Acer) and at reasonable prices if anyone wants one for the same reasons.

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Pocket Change

09 Apr 2012 00:34

Every so often I love to look at what is going on with pocket change and thought I'd share some finds about what makes this hobby so darn interesting. After a week I collected 21 pennies, 2 nickels, 3 dimes, and 14 quarters (total of 40 coins) and all from everyday transactions like buying a cup of coffee.

I divided the coins into piles, 1 for coins older than 20 years and 1 for coins younger than 20 years and was shocked by the disparity. 18 of the coins were older than 20 years while 22 were younger. And the ones that were 20+ years were actually in decent condition with the exception of two quarters from 1967 & 1969 and a 1940 cent which were worn down to a very good condition. It is hard to believe that many of these coins have been circulating 20, 30, or even 70 years and that is one of the elements that attracts new collectors. The history in your pocket change is absolutely amazing.

Since the bulk of the coins were pennies (21) I thought I'd share some pics on how well good o'l Abe Lincoln has withstood over the years.

First up is a 2011 coin and here we see Abe in all his pride

After 20 years Abe is still looking pretty good, a bit dirty and nicked but not bad

Here is 49 years and still looking mighty fine

At 72 years old Abe is finally showing his age

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A Dry Month

04 Mar 2012 11:59

February for me was what I refer to as a “dry month”. Not a single coin did I purchase. This was not because I’m bored or disinterested in the hobby but do to the fact I am exercising responsibility. After twenty years in the hobby I still love it as much as day one, the only difference now is that I’m more mature and level headed.

This leads me to a piece of advice for all new collectors and maybe even some older ones :). Do not place a hobby over your personal life and commitments. It is understandable that you can get excited about a hobby but I have witnessed firsthand people that should have used money to pay bills or save for something big (like college) instead spend it on a coin purchase. In my case, all of the holiday shopping and credit card bills finally came due so without hesitating coin collecting was placed on hold and the bills got paid.

The same can be said about personal time, you can spend too much time on the hobby and not enough with family or friends. If you over extend yourself people will feel ignored and resentment starts to set in. At the end of the day it all comes down to practicing time & financial management. Find that balance and you’ll be a happier person all around for it.

As for me personally, March is the beginning of signing my kids up for the start of traditional spring activities (more time & money). Also, some of the February commitments did bleed over to March as I couldn't pay off everything in one month so I expect to not be buying coins again until April as I need to take care of family first. As the old saying goes…"Life just happens".

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Small Local Coin Shows

03 Nov 2011 21:35

The last show I was at a dealer complained to me that collectors who come to the show always went to two or three tables. What few collectors did buy from him were only interested in single type pieces and never spent a lot of money. He continued his rant by stating it’s the shows promoter that is also at fault for not providing better advertising to get more people into the show. He was an angry dealer and partially correct, when you looked around the room there were always crowds around three tables.

The remainder of people that wandered around were vest pocket players or other dealers looking for new material which sounded fine until it hit me. These tables that were suffering are small local dealers. They do not attend the major coin shows, tour the country, have the wealthiest clientele, or access to some of the larger coin auction houses. When a dealer or vest pocket investor approaches them with a coin for sale they hesitate with making a $2,000 to $5,000 investment and almost can never afford anything above that price range. To them this is a big investment; their ability to turn over high value coins is much less so their business has had to rely on the collector as much as dealer to dealer sales. Coin shows probably make up a decent percentage of their income. Now I’m starting to appreciate their anger or frustration.

So what is going on here? Is it collector attitude, the show sponsor, or dealers? The internet has been an information and point of sale boon. Millions of coins are available for sale with photos, there are specialty websites to assist almost any collector, forums to trade war stories, and even a place where you can sell your stuff at auction. This new technology without a doubt has influenced collector attendance at the local shows but it seems too easy to blame the internet.

I asked the dealer if he was interested in my opinions and he said he was willing to listen. So I explained from my perspective (nice word for my opinion) that it has nothing to do with collectors but the issue is with dealers and promoters.


1. Most dealers at this particular show price their coins incorrectly. When you ask how much for a coin most reach down grab a grey sheet and then quote the ask price and only come down a few dollars. Here is the reality check, as a buyer I can pay that price anywhere so why should I buy from you! Understand that collectors have internet access and can get as good or better pricing online. Dealers need to factor this in to create some financial motivation so ease up on the high prices.

2. Are you listening to your customers??? Each show location probably has different buyer habits so watch and listen to what they are buying and adjust your inventory. In this dealers case he said most buyers are interested in a single type of coin and not a whole series. So stop displaying 100 Morgan Dollars in a case and throw in variety.

3. Figure out how to accept credit cards. Coin shows are one of the few venues that still do not accept credit. Are you kidding! Most folks do not walk around with thousands of dollars in their pocket. How about creating a paypal account and advertise you accept paypal. Many people have smart phones with web access so this would open a whole new world for both the customer and dealer.

Well at this point the guy was pretty much upset but he didn’t stop me from continuing so I moved on


1. Most promoters do a darn good job of advertising and getting dealers to rent tables but that is usually where many small shows stop. You cannot stop there, as a customer I can go anywhere to buy coins so add something else to the venue. Most successful shows have some type of speaker or special learning sessions. One really good one I witnessed was at a Texas coin show. The promoter advertised a special session for collecting 20th Century coins. It was about an hour of powerpoint presentations and when they were done they handed out info pamphlets about 20th Century U.S. coinage and a checklist to make a set. He also announced that dealers had special sections to find these type coins and they could be easily recognized by a round green sticker on the coin holders at each dealers table.

2. Offer free wireless, this day in age how much does wireless access cost for a day? This would give dealers another resource to use at the show. You could use it to show customers additional content online and educate your customers that you do have an online presence. Or offer to let a customer use your laptop for that paypal customer without a smartphone.

3. What happened to door prizes and giveaways? I’m not talking about that free garbage from the U.S. Mint that’s handed out at the door but useful stuff; books, coins or supplies. There are still small shows that do this and benefit greatly but overall most small shows have dropped this to keep table prices down to attract dealers. My advice here is stop being so darn cheap!

4. Speaking of the door how about a greeter? It would be nice if someone said “Hi welcome to the… “ and then give you a map of the show/tables, a schedule of events and a list of dealers with additional contact info (shop location, website, e-bay, whatever). A friendly face still goes a long way.

At this point I stopped my rant and the dealer just shrugged and just said “yeah I guess so”. I think he stopped listening after I criticized his pricing and got him upset. What he probably heard was “your too expensive and you should give your coins away” and everything else just went in one ear and out the other.

Regardless of whether or not he listened I did listen to him and now appreciate the position of smaller dealers. At the same time I have seen good and bad shows and tried to share that experience. Hopefully there are some folks out there that get the message that coin shows need to be freshened up with new venues and a sprinkle of modern technology.

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Condemning Cleaned Coins?

20 Mar 2011 12:37

Unfortunately not all coins sold are properly annotated so buyers should be on their toes. One type of cleaning involves what is referred to as "dipping". Dipping involves a chemical cleaner with the result of a cleaner looking coin but with less luster. Coins improperly dipped typically leave a white film on the surface of the coin. One of the best tools I've discovered for this is to use a lighted loupe. The bluish/white LED light on loupes or magnifiers really brings out the white film to make detection easier and it makes it easy to point this out to a seller who will probably lower his/her asking price.

The next level of cleaning is much more severe. As coins tone or tarnish this is not dirt but the actual silver or copper material so when you remove the toning or tarnishing the actual silver or copper is being removed from the coin. If the tarnish or tone is light then damage is minimal but if its heavy then the composition of the coin and design change drastically. Look at this Australian large copper coin I grabbed for a dollar just for this article. It was bought at an online auction and the picture was zoomed so far out that you couldn't inspect the coin. A clue that this was a cleaned coin was by its color. Most large copper coins tone very quickly to brown or even a chocolate dark brown color, being such a bright copper color signaled it was a recent cleaning and since the coin was from 1919 my hunch was toning was pretty severe before the cleaning.
cleaned1.JPG cleaned3.JPG
After receiving the coin there were obvious brush marks on the surface of the coin confirming cleaning suspicions. After zooming in on one of the cleaned areas of the obverse the real damage can be seen. The surface is dotted with pits where material was removed, so this coin was first chemically treated and then brushed. The reverse was no better, it showed the same brush marks and pitting. To determine what this cleaning did to the coin it was thrown on a scale. Most large coppers from this period weigh 9.3 to 9.5 grams but after a thorough cleaning it's weight dropped down to 9.1 grams removing anywhere from .2 to .4 grams of copper. So the question at hand is "is this good enough for a collector"?

cleaned2.jpg - cleaned4.JPG

The answer is maybe. The material removed is not obvious without magnification but the tremendous amount of brush marks in the coins fields are quite a distraction. For myself I was simply looking for a single example of a George V design and I believe a little aging and toning may diminish the the ugliness of the brushed fields so it barely squeaks by as an acceptable piece but I will annotate it as "Heavily Cleaned".

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Tools of the Trade

17 Jan 2011 01:06


Just got a new toy last week…a digital caliper and this thing is so fun to play with! Before I got this toy, I used a tape measure so this this is a FANTASTIC improvement. For most collectors this is definitely not a required tool and I'm sure some folks are thinking "this guy has lost it" but there is a good reason.

Sometimes we blindly trust our ever faithful catalogs like Red Book or Krause World Coins but does anyone ever question if they are right? No one is perfect (including this site). Myself and other collectors have found errors throughout the years with mintage figures, composition, and attributes.

Usually it is pretty easy when using a reliable source (like the U.S. mint) to find these errors but what happens when you don't have a reliable source? Or even worse, the sources you find all conflict with one another? That is what I am trying to resolve and this is one of the last tools I needed to do this and to share with the coin community.

Let take the example of a Philippine Centavo issued from 1937 to 1944:

  • Red Book - lists a diameter of 24mm and no weight
  • Krause World Coins - lists a diameter of 25mm and a weight of 5.3 grams
  • The U.S. Mint - could not locate the data
  • Misc Websites - most list a diameter of 24mm and a weight of 40 grains (not grams) to 5.184 grams

So who is right? Luckily I have three different examples and all different years (1940, 1941, 1944) so lets run through some real tests. First is weight; my digital scale came in at 5.1 grams for 1 coin and 5.2 grams for 2 coins so the 5.184 citation sounds accurate. The 40 grains is just wrong as 1 gram = 15.43 grains and 40 grains would equate to 2.6 grams so that source was just down right bad.


The final test is diameter; the digital caliper measured all 3 coins at exactly 24.7mm so neither the Red Book or Misc Websites hit the mark here. Krause was close with 25mm but still not accurate.

The lesson here is that while coin info (printed or online) is incredibly valuable it does have mistakes and you should have more than one source available to you to help in your coin collecting. My commitment is to validate as much coin info as possible and to aid me on that quest will be my precious toolbox of toys:

* lighted 20x loupe
* digital scale
* digital caliper
* gloves
* magnet

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Coin of the year?

10 Jan 2011 22:51

I am not going to re-hype any coin media outlet on what were the best coins during 2010 but just simply vent my opinion on what coin I think had the greatest impact for collectors.


I did not base my opinion on some artistic masterpiece, some exotic metal composition or funky coin shape. Neither did I base it on some some incredible auction sale where only 1% of the U.S. population could even think of buying at those prices.

My criteria is more simplistic, I based it on what contribution it has to the everyday collecting community. I will it admit it was a tough call as I did consider the discovery of a new VAM variety but I came to the conclusion this discovery was important to numismatics all around and too important for just a single year of recognition.

My selection for coin of the year is the lowly 2010 U.S. Shield Cent! I'm sure all of the Lincoln Cent collecting folks are screaming “I could have told you that!” but if my reason for choosing the Shield Cent insults any Lincoln collectors I will apologize in advance. No I did not choose it because it was a new design, the fact that it comes in different compositions or even its reverse design.

What I saw over the course of the year actually came from non-collectors. I witnessed more people receiving these little coins in their change and actually pausing to examine the coin more closely. I had more people ask me “Have you seen this? Cool huh?”. These little copper beauties were creating new collectors throughout the year and this was without a lot of fanfare or mass media hype. I haven't seen this much interest in pocket change since the 1999/2000 time frame when the introduction of the Statehood Quarters motivated many to start collecting.

What made this a success was that the coins were readily available. The designs were not changing every few months allowing for the coin to quickly circulate and much of the public is becoming numb to the ever constant quarter design change so a change to a different denomination was a welcome sight. Will this have staying power to generate new interest every year? Definitely not on the same scale, but for its first year it has done one heck of job and I haven't seen another coin during 2010 bring more new collectors into this wonderful hobby.

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Wonderful Distractions

19 Dec 2010 12:18

Like other collectors, I focus on completing a set or sets of coins and occasionally will fall under the influence of an impulse buy that has nothing to do with any of my current collections.

This is not an uncommon practice as one can get tired from searching for that "right" coin to add or complete a set and buying something different is a temporary but wonderful distraction. It was one these "wonderful distractions" where I discovered I discriminate against certain coins.

When my eye tended to wander it was always towards large world (crown size) silver dollars or U.S. key/semi-key coins and I would quickly skip past or scroll by anything in between. Not sure how long I have been this doing but I caught myself recently on e-bay by pure accident during one of my lightning speed screen scrolls I accidentally clicked a listing. What popped up was a beautiful 1800's Portugal 500 REIS silver coin, which I ended up buying for $14.

It was not a huge piece of silver and it was not even close to the definition of rare. Wondering what else I have overlooked because it was not big & flashy really hit me between the eyes. Once you start looking at a wider field the number of interesting designs expands by 10 fold. Going forward I will not take any coin denomination, size or even composition for granted during an impulse buy.

Of course this could lead to the new issue of becoming too distracted to complete the set you had originally started out on but with so many coins out their to appreciate we'd be silly to not make the occasional impulse buy. Maybe a better way to look at is getting ideas for a new future set :)

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What's up with all of the Canadian Coins

05 Jul 2010 21:38

Anyone following the site probably has noticed a lot of Canadian coin descriptions and many are probably asking…"Dude, what's with all of the Canadian Stuff?"

Well…the secret is out! I am a Canadian Wanna Be (LOL!)

Special thanks to Candy over at CCU for the link :)

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Patience is a MUST with World Coins

01 Jun 2010 22:31

Patience…this is one of the toughest things to have when collecting coins. If you are collecting coins in your own country (mine is the U.S.A.), patience may be 3-6 months of waiting but for world coins this is an entirely different story! The supply of foreign coins and a dealers ability to replace that supply takes so long you may be waiting years instead of months.


I was reminded of this very recently working on a type set of Russian coins and all I needed was one 1/4 Kopeki. According to price guides it was affordable and readily available but I was thwarted at almost every turn. I could find no local dealers that carried the diminutive coin and struck out coin show after coin show. Not so easily beaten I turned to online dealers but struck out again. After 6 months I realized this was not going to be simple.

Refusing to admit defeat I wasn't out of tricks yet and switched tactics to online auctions. Finally I found what I wanted but was outbid on the very first attempt. Not a problem I thought to myself, I'll bid above current price trends. Still I was outbid at the last minute auction after auction (ARGH!).

It was suddenly 9 months, still no coin and my patience ran out. On the next few auctions I bid double the trend price and was still out bid at the last minute. Then for quite sometime even E-Bay had no 1/4 kopeki coins. After a 12 month search, I finally lost interest and moved onto another set. Then something amazing happened another 12 months later (we are up to 2 years for those counting), one coin popped up on my radar on a secondary online auction site and I won it for just $9.

At the end of the day this coin was far from rare but just shows the availability of foreign coins. So don't loose faith in completing a set, instead put it down for a bit and just check in once in awhile and that coin will eventually show up. They are out there we just need to be a little ahhh well patient :)))

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Time for Annual Inspections

03 Jan 2010 11:59

Many collectors dread this day and some never get around to it! But yes it is necessary to perform an annual inspection and inventory of coins. Don't believe me? I already found three coins I forgot to remove from a vinyl flip that they were shipped in and yes they started to get a a green hue from the PVC (softener for plastics) already beginning to leach onto the coins.

Still whining? Come on folks, its the dead of winter! What else do you have to do. Trust me when I say its healthy for the collection, your mind, & soul! So without further hesitation let's begin…


#1 Holders

Inspect those flips. Are they hard & brittle? Cracking? Did a Vinyl flip sneak in somehow? If you answered yes to any of these questions then its time to change that holder. If you are unlucky like myself and had some PVC leach onto a coin then you'll need an Acetone bath. If you don't know how to do this its simple. Buy pure Acetone (Walmart has some in the beauty section but make sure it is 100% pure) and a gallon of distilled water. Dip your coin in the acetone for just a few seconds and then rinse with distilled water. Quickly dry the coin (pat and never rub) with a soft cotton towel. Do not let the coin air dry as the water droplets will leave stains on the coin.

Alright time for those cardboard flips. Has the mylar window torn? Is the staple rusting? If using self-sealing types has the glue become unstuck? Are the coins starting to change color? If the answer is yes to any then change that holder!


#2 Coin Storage

Use coin pages? Pages can stretch overtime and shouldn't be ignored. Inspect each coin by tugging each holder in each pocket. Does it slip out easily? If so it is time to replace that page. How about the seams on each pocket? Have any torn?

Whats that? You say you use coin albums and this doesn't pertain to you? How about fit, even cardboard can wear over time. Feel like all of the coins are constantly slipping out of their slots a sliding behind the leatherette cover? Is the adhesive of the leatherette separating from the cardboard? If you run into any of these problems then the fix is a little tougher. You will have to contact the manufacturer or supplier to see if they carry replacement pages. Most do so you should be okay but if they don't you'll have to make a tough decision.

What about desiccants (like silicon packs for moisture). If you use these it is more than likely that it was thrown in and forgotten about. Bad news is its probably no longer effective. But not to worry, check with the desiccant manufacturer as most can be re-used by simply drying them out in an oven. Note: DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS THE MANUFACTURER GIVES YOU DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO DO SO.

#3 Inventory

You think you have the most organized coin collection around and it may very well be true but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do the once over anyway.

First is loose coins, we all have at least one lying on a desk or a shelf just waiting for us to do something. Well? Do something!

Second is neatness. Look at your storage options, is it time to straighten out those albums? Maybe label those boxes? How about neatly stacking everything in that safe?

#4 Cataloging

Using a coin software program, excel, data base or pen & paper? Is it up to date? Do you need to add another attribute to make searching a little easier? Some useful attributions I've seen are where your coins are stored (box #2, album #1 page 4, bank safety deposit box, etc…). Another useful attribute is if the coin is part of a set (20th Century Type Set, Lincoln Cent Album, etc…)

#5 Collecting interest

So you've sorted & organized your coins but do you still like what you have? Collecting interests can change overtime and you may have coins that no longer fit and become a real pain every time you do your annual organizing. Its a at this time you really need to ask yourself if you truly want the coin or are you just being a coin hoarder (a.k.a. pack rat)? You can attempt to sell those collection oddballs via a dealer or auction (like e-bay) but if you are not comfortable with this then why not try trading? Many dealers at coin shows are open to trade and there are many online coin communities where fellow collectors swap coins daily.

#6 Coin Receipts & Photos

This one is for the Insurance Man! I pray this never happens to you but coins can be stolen or damaged from a house fire, tornado, or some other natural disaster which means you'll have to deal with an Insurance company. To help this process gather up all of your receipts and place them in a fireproof box along with pictures of your coins. Do not have a fireproof box? How about scanning everything and storing it on a CD at a friend or relatives house? If you don't have a scanner then I recommend using a bank safety deposit box.

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From 2009 to 2010

01 Jan 2010 14:50


The Good:

  1. Lincoln cent collectors had their day in the sun with 4 circulating commemoratives, a return to a mostly copper composition in uncirculated sets, and it was all topped off with a Lincoln Silver Dollar.
  2. The U.S. Territory Quarter program came to an end with the Northern Mariana Islands wrapping up the series with the lowest mintage of 72 million.
  3. The 2009 UNC & Proof Sets were the largest in mint history with 36 coins in UNC sets & 18 in Proof sets. Interestingly, 2009 was the 50th year of the mint issuing a single UNC set (prior to 1959 UNC sets came in pairs i.e. two Philly & two Denver issues) and this little fact went unnoticed by collectors and the U.S. Mint.
  4. Native American dollars make their debut, based on previous SAC & Pres dollars demand was expected to be low but surprisingly collectors warmed up to the design.

The Bad:

  1. The U.S. Mint announces that no American Silver Eagle proofs will be produced for 2009 causing disappointment for thousands of Eagle collectors. But collectors should look on the bright side as the proof series has not been eliminated but simply on hold. While this may not provide solace to collectors they should look at coinage from the 20s & 30s where there were many gaps for different coins.
  2. In late spring the U.S. Mint announces that they are ceasing minting of Nickels & Dimes creating the smallest mintage of those denominations since the 1950's.
  3. In December, the U.S. Mint announces they have produced enough dollar coins to last 12 years. Since producing dollar coins is a federal law this inventory should steadily increase unless Congress takes action.


I have no crystal ball so I won't even attempt to predict the good or bad so instead I'll rant a little for the upcoming year :)

So a new cent design will be released, yes it is a rather dull design but it's still change (no pun intended) and I will be looking forward to a new design.

The Mint announced yet another quarter program (National Parks). Many seasoned collectors have been mumbling enough is enough with these quarter programs. But before we become so condescending, this is actually a boon for anyone that collects circulated coins. True, it is more than likely that these coins will never achieve any significant numismatic value but is hoping for value the only reason for collecting? If it is then I quit! And here's a radical concept for all of those mumbling collectors….DON'T BUY'EM AND KEEP YOUR OPINIONS TO YOURSELF! The rude comments by some really discourage new collectors that what they are doing is worthless, please get off of that damn high horse!

A new Native American Dollar design will be released this year based on a design representative of the Iroquois Confederacy. I was a late looking at this new series but have to admit that it's attractive enough that I will be acquiring some :)))

A new Boy Scout Silver Dollar Commemorative. I expect this to be as popular as the U.S. Marines commem, Imagine how many Scouts will get this coin when they receive the honor of Eagle Scout.

Coin Shows!!!! The last three months of 2009 showed some really crappy inventories at coin shows. There were lots of common high grade coins, very little in the way of collectors grades (VF to XF), and foreign coinage (especially silver) was non-existent. I'm really hoping with the NY International Numismatic & FUN conventions that this will allow some dealers to restock with new inventory.

Well….that's a wrap folks :) Here's to some blogging in 2010

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Be True to Thy Self

24 Nov 2009 21:43

There are three area a collector can find themselves in: 1. The Joy of Collecting, 2. The Obsessive, and 3. The Investor. As a collector you always want to be in #1 but sometimes you catch yourself drifting into the other areas and soon the hobby turns into a chore and it's all down hill from there.

I moved from collecting U.S. Coins exclusively to collecting World Coins to keep me in that perfect state of mind but sometimes things change. Over the last 4 months I have been attending a lot of coin shows and there has been less and less foreign coins so my attention turned back to U.S. Coins. Soon I was searching for die varities & errors and chatting up a storm here and there about my purchased victories but I wasn't having Fun! If anything, I was constantly researching and hunting for that next under-valued coin to the point that it was interfering with life.

I found myself becoming obsessive and to some extent an investor and for me it just wasn't that joy that turned me on to the hobby. Varieties and errors were never the reason why I started collecting. It was all about history and how I connected to it through coins. Once I realized what was happening, the brakes were applied and my bliss returned once more. In other words, I wasn't being true to the real reason why I love coin collecting.

The more you learn about a hobby the greater the possibility is of forgetting what is was that attracted you in the first place. My advice to readers is never forget why! Write it down if you must, cause if you don't then it's a quick road from fun hobby to laborious chore or rut.

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Coffee & Coins

08 Nov 2009 11:39


I start every morning buying a cup of coffee. It's a ritual I've come to really enjoy this year as the cup-of-joe costs $1.79 so I get the added joy of seeing if I get lucky finding a 2009 dime or Lincoln commem penny and a quick side note, I've only gotten 1 2009 dime & penny so far.

After going through my change search ritual, I cracked open the old newspaper and noticed the headline that Starbucks exceeded earnings expectations yet again.

This got me thinking, some investors view the sale of commercial coffee chains (like Starbucks) as an indicator to the health of the economy. So if more folks by premium coffee then they have more disposable income and the economy is on its way to better things. Can the same philosophy be used for predicting increases/decreases of mintages for U.S. coins? This remains to be seen, but it was a crazy enough thought I might actually keep an eye on this to see if there is a connection.

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What's a dealer to do?

01 Nov 2009 16:10

When it comes to buying coins, I for one prefer attending a coin show versus stopping in at the local coin shop. Most of this is logistics as I work all week and instead of going from shop to shop it's just easier to go to one show. Usually it's tough to find common collector grade coins at a show (VF to XF) but when you get to know a few sellers they go out of there way to bring some material to the show. In an odd sense, they are packing up part of their shop and bringing it to the show to make my life easier and I really do appreciate it. But this weekends coin show I saw something odd and felt bad for a dealer.

Two gentlemen were at a table of dealer I'm fond of and monopolizing 8 coin boxes. Normally this isn't an issue but the two gentlemen were there before I arrived and were still at the table when I left two hours later. They sported a Red Book and were pouring over every individual coin and when I was leaving I noticed that they only set aside 3 coins.

With no access to the table I figured no big deal as I can catch him at the next show, but on the drive home it hit me. I'll usually spend 10 to 20 minutes and drop anywhere from $50 to $200 for coins (granted we are not talking $100 and up coin values here as the selection is the $2 to $75 variety) so even if we took a lower number (say $25 in 15 minutes) that equates to $100/hr on the low side to upwards of $400/hr. That's quite a bit of business to lose out on but what was the dealer to do?

If he drives them away then he could miss out on repeat sales from them in the future but if he let's them stay he misses out on making money. That is a pretty tough spot to be and really makes me appreciate what a dealer has to contend with.

My only advice here is this: The next time you are at a coin show and a dealer is very friendly and courteous be sure to thank him/her even if you don't make a coin purchase. Anyone that can stay that upbeat deserves the occasional THANK YOU!

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2009 Mint Sets

12 Oct 2009 21:42

Received my first order of U.S. mint sets the other day and I was actually surprised at the poor quality of the Philadelphia coins. This mint has been so below where Denver has been over the years that it's pathetic. Is it the machines? Do mint workers at the Denver facility care about quality more? No answers here.

On another note, they changed the packaging size yet again though it's not a real surprise considering the addition of the 4 Lincoln commemorative cents (did anyone forget that these are copper?). It must really stink for coin supply manufactures making storage devices for these things. The height of these new sets are significantly taller than last years so if you bought a storage box last year then get ready to buy a new one. (doh!)

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New Pages & New Coins

19 Sep 2009 11:28


New Pages

Created a couple of new pages for folks, the first is Current Metal Prices & Currency Calculators. This is a neat little page that displays current precious & base metals, watch those nickel prices:). Also added 2 cool google widgets for our users, a currency converter and an inflation calculator for anyone wondering how much purchasing power had. I played with this by plugging in a 1941 Walking Liberty Half and it returned a value of $7.32 in 2008 dollars.

The second page was for Coin Storage. This is part of our collector learning series which has been on the back burner for a bit. The next planned page to create for this series is for the topic of Coin Handling

New Coins

Website maintenance isn't the only thing I do and of course I bought more coins (yes!). My goal for a 20th Century Canadian set continues on as I grabbed 3 different George VI 5 cent coins. Already posted a page on these so I'll work on pics next,

Another purchase I couldn't help myself with was a 1947 Philippine 50 Centavo General MacArthur commemorative. Probably overpaid by a $1 or $2 but it was in great shape and what really got my juices flowing was the subject of MacArthur himself and all of the soap opera moments with President Truman, Congress, WWII, & the Korean War. Yep…just had to have it ;)

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New Computer, New Outlook?

01 Sep 2009 22:35

My contributions have been light lately but in my defense I've been fighting for time using the family PC. But now all of that has changed as I bought a new laptop last night and it's all mine (bwa ha ha ha)!

The good - small, light, cheap, and long battery life
The bad - windows vista, and I ran out of cash to buy MS Office so I'm going it with just OpenOffice

Well, enough of that lets move onto the good stuff…coins :)

I've heard lots of banter lately over whether or not certain U.S. denominations should be eliminated (like the cent) or if coin compositions should change. So here are my opinions on this:

Regardless of what some people may say coins have no purchasing power thanks to inflation. We use a decimal monetary system so the primary purpose of coins is to complete a decimal cash transaction for retail. In this light, it shouldn't matter what the composition of coins are as long as they are cheap enough to make and serve their function in life. If anything we may want some funky denominations to make decimal transactions easier so less coins are required, how about a 75 cent coin? Long story short…coins are good and we should keep them!


What really mucks with our government decision making for coins are special interests groups, in particular the vending industry. Yes they fight to keep coins (which is good) but they fight any change in weight, size, or denomination (which is bad) because they do not want to modify their machines that take coins. This drove me nuts last weekend as I went to a self car wash that cost $4 but they only took quarters (argh). After my wonderful car wash experience my son wanted something out of a nearby vending machine and with a dollar in quarters left over I figured why not. The only thing less than a $1.25 was a pack of gum and of course I used my last singles on the darn car wash change maker leaving only a $10 bill in my wallet. In the end we walked away with nothing and stopped at a corner store. Why can't these machines take larger bills!!!

Another argument I hear is that toll booths need coins at their current composition & weight so as not to change their equipment. I don't know if anyone has driven on a highway lately but most states are putting in those electronic EZ-pass detectors. Coming back on from Massachusetts there were 4 toll lanes open with three for EZ-pass and only one for cash (guess which lane I was stuck waiting in)! So this argument holds no weight (joke intended).

My final opinion…coins good, lots of denominations good, composition (or weight) change good!

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