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slybluenote's Blog

30 Apr 2020

April

Coins-United States | slybluenote

Well, at least April wasn't a complete disappointment. I received my program 2020 Silver Proof Set complete with the 2020 Reverse proof nickel from the West Point Mint. This is a beautiful set and inspecting it made me feel like I made the right decision to enroll. It still don't alleviate the losses of family members to death this month, but it did provide a bright spot in a month filled with sadness and darkness. It gave me pause to reflect on positive things in my life versus the negatives, so I live to fight another day. Now that I've started getting older, collecting coins is fitting right into my life style. Looking at the craftsmanship of the silver proof set makes me recall good memories. I'm so fortunate to have acquired the 2020 Kennedy Half dollar, but I also enjoy the ATB quarters also. And, like last years penny, the nickel is immaculate.

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27 Apr 2020

A Bitter/Sweet April

Coins-United States | slybluenote

Is it just me or does everyone think like I do? Sitting here in the dark, rainy early morning, I was reflecting on how this month has impacted my life and how it intersected with my Kennedy Half dollar collection. I've decided to honor my brother-in-law's memory by associating him with my 1979 Type 1 & 2 Kennedys. I met him just a few hours before I met my best friend, whom I later married. Yesterday, he passed away at his home in San Leandro, Ca. His name is Rodney Loucks but he just went by Rod. He helped my mother and father-in-law to pay for our wedding. Rod bought the "booze" which everyone knows is no cheap deal. Rod retired a few years ago from the City of San Francisco. He was the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) for the city by the bay. He graduated from the University of Pittsburg with a BA in finance and accounting which served him well. Rod liked to travel and came back to the East coast every few years to visit friends and family. One year he financed a family trip to Niagara Falls, Canada. We stayed there for 3 days to tour the city. Rod was 72 and I had known him for 42 years. He was smart and a stand up kind of guy. Speaking of bitter sweet, a couple of weeks ago, I lost a 3rd cousin to gun violence. She was just 21 years old. The newspapers and local news channels described it as a "domestic" altercation. Her father, my 2nd cousin was also injured with a gunshot to his arm. Her boyfriend also died of a gunshot wound. My cousin was beside herself that her grandchild had died a violent death. My step Dad also passed away on 21 April back in 2010 from cancer, on our anniversary. Little would I realize that this month of my marriage would also hold so much tragedy but at the same time was one of the happier times in my life. It's ironic to me that in 1979 the city where my Kennedy Half dollars were minted (Types 1 & 2) in the same year I was married to my best friend would soon acquire a new Chief Financial Officer, my brother-in-law Rod. These were the thoughts that were running through my head while I sipped my coffee this dreary, rainy morning. I cherish all the good memories we shared and I'm thankful to have known such a good-hearted, kind person. In closing, I urge everyone to support responsible ownership of weapons. Being a veteran, I've witnessed the destruction that weapons of war can inflict, so I think these weapons belong on the battlefield, not America's streets. I'm a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but at the same time, weapons, when used irresponsibly can claim the lives of of those we love. I'm thinking a lot of people just don't realize that "fact". My Kennedy half dollars also remind me of the union that was committed to in the year of their manufacture. Until my next blog, tell those you love that you really love them and stay SAFE, healthy and Coronavirus free! P.S. Did I mention what a beautiful bride my best friend is? :-))Charlie aka slybluenote

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21 Apr 2020

Family Dynamics

Coins-United States | slybluenote

Today is a special day for me as some of you are well aware. 41 years ago I married my best friend! I did start another collection today of quarters, so it's my second collection on this website. The pictures here and in the collection are just some of my favorites. Last year I enlisted in the U.S. Mint Silver Proof Program. In my case silver is more affordable than gold. I'm not overly knowledgeable about quarters but I'm still on the learning curve. Today I learned that 147 million Americans collected the State Quarters and that number represents at least one person from every household collected these quarters. My step dad married my mom when I was about 10 years old. Although he never "officially" adopted me, I still called him Dad. He was quite a drinker so our family was what is now called dysfunctional. Being prior military, he commanded respect. I wasn't a big fan of his discipline tactics, but I did respect him. When the state quarter program began, he went to a local bank and obtained a map and started collecting the different states quarters when they were distributed. He didn't live long enough to complete his map, so I did it for him. I wouldn't meet my birth father until much later in my life. That's a WHOLE different story which will eventually be revealed in another blog.

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19 Apr 2020

Time Lines

Coins-United States | slybluenote

It was a GREAT week for grading Kennedy half dollars! I decided to grade a bicentennial and a 1978-D. The bicentennial was from my step Dad's collection and the 1978-D is a recent purchase from GoldenEagle Coins. Upon reflecting on this weeks choices for grading, it was ironic that I chose these coins. They are all linked in time with the pictures I took. Let me explain before I discuss the grades I assigned these coins. In Sept. 1976 I had just finished a 39 month tour of duty in Bamberg, Germany and was headed to Ft. Stewart, Ga. for a short tour with the 24th Infantry, B Btry. 1/13 FA. A couple of years later in 1978 I proposed to my best friend, my wife. On April 21, 1979 we were married. 10 years ago today my step Dad passed away. On this coming Tue. I will have been married to my best friend for 41 years. Did I mention that time flies when you're having fun?

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16 Apr 2020

Differences

Coins-United States | slybluenote

Hello again folks! I've just completed grading my granny's last 1964 Kennedy half dollar, along with a 1979-S, type 2, Clear, Kennedy halfthat was graded Choice Proof, MS-63 by Profile Coins and Collectibles. I added these 2 coins to my collection yesterday but have been takingmy time during the grading process. I graded the 1964 VF-30 for several different reasons. It's a circulated raw coin and as such it has it's problems. There are a few scratches and it has some carbon spots. It's also starting to tone a little. It has retained at least 3/4 of it's luster though which is the reason for the grade that I gave it. I wrestled with this decision for over a week. One of the main hurdles is that I'm emotionally attached to it. It's not the same as a coin that I would purchase from a store, like the 1979-S that I will address next. I'm considering upgrading my library soon. I used the Internet, the ANA Grading Standards 7th Edition, and Franklin & Kennedy Half Dollars 3rd Edition by Rick Tomaska as references for this project. Looking at these 2 coins side-by-side, the difference is quite obvious. Now, speaking to the 1979-S, is why I concurred with the grade that Profile Coins & Collectibles assigned to it. This is where I learned A LOT! Rick Tomaska is knowledgeable when it comes to Franklins & Kennedys. He appears to be biased in his coverage to Franklins though. He also doesn't cover raw/circulated Kennedys in depth the way that he does proofs, SMS, minting and cameos. My thinking is that it all boils down to a "West coast" thing :-) ! Now when I hear 1979-S, the first thing I think about is it a Type 1 or Type 2? I've learned that the type 2 is more scarce, costs more, and has a low mintage. According to Mr. Tomaska, striations are common around the nose area in proof Kennedy halfs. I found this to be true during my examination of the 1979-S. This was only noticeable under a magnifying glass and good lighting which are important during grading. This is another reason I went with the MS-63 grade. I found myself visiting and re-visiting Mr. Tomaska's book when looking at this coin. This is clearly a case of "buy the book before you buy the coin"! It also didn't hurt that I had a few other 1979-S Kennedys to look at also. One thing is for sure; the 1979 portion of my collection expanded due to my research of the San Francisco mint! So far, the only error I've found in Mr. Tomaska's book is on page 138. The book says "On the obverse, the value HALF DOLLAR, Gasparro's initials, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are the only elements besides the seal". I know I'm still a "rookie", but I think I read somewhere that the obverse was the "HEADS" part of the coin! The part he's describing is the REVERSE of the Kennedy Half Dollar. Just sayin' ! :-) Until next time folks, mind your social distancing, wear your mask, stay SAFE and coronavirus free! Charlie aka slybluenote

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11 Apr 2020

Exonumia

Exonumia | slybluenote

I only own 2 Medals. 1 is the First Lady medal that came with my Presidential Kennedy dollar. The other one I didn't realize that I had until I readDr.Darryl's blog. I split my government service into 2 periods. The first period I was in artillery, in which I spent 6 years. My next 21 years was spentin what I call the "Deep State" :-) I started this period as a 72G, Telecummunications Center Operator. I progressed through the ranks to E-5 again.I was an E-5 in the artillery also serving as a Motor Sergeant. After completing 72G school I attended an extra course called the DSSCS (DefenseSpecial Security Communications Systems) course. While attending this school, I was visited by two gentlemen in 3 piece suits who wanted to offerme a "job". They informed me that they were from WHCCA (White House Communications Center Agency). They told me that I would be TDY (awayfrom home) 7 months out of the year. I politely declined their offer due to the fact that I was engaged and didn't want to be displaced after I was tobe married. A couple of weeks later I was visited again by two gentlemen in 3 piece suits who offered me another job. They advised me that they hadheard that I had declined the previous WHCCA job, so they had another offer. It was a position in Mons, Belgium and was a civilian assignment. I wasworking (indirectly) for Gen. Alexander Haig who was then SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe). This was before he became Chief of Staff toRonald Reagan. To make a long story short, I exited the military in 1986 but continued working for the Dept. of the Army until 2000. Upon my departure from the Dept. of the Army, I was awarded the below certificate along with the medal. I had put them away until I recently readDr.Darryl's blog and got to thinking I may have one of those! I exited my government service as a Tables Manager/Telecommunications Specialist, GS-9.I'm not sure what kind of metal the coin is made out of but I know that it's HEAVY and looks like maybe bronze. It's fairly thick also. Notice the picture ofthe wooden holder they gave me. Dr.Darryl's blog got me to reminiscing when I read the one about the CIA ...LOL! I've worked with folks from thatAgency and have good friends who have worked there. I'm proud to be a veteran and was once part of the "Deep State" ! The first picture is of me in myNEW uniform of the day. I call it my coronavirus uniform. The bottom 2 pictures are of my better half and I during my Deep State years. Until next timemy friends, stay SAFE and healthy and PLEASE help flatten the curve ! Charlie aka slybluenote

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07 Apr 2020

Charlie Duke

Coins-United States | slybluenote

I hate to admit it, but I didn't learn until recently the importance of Charlie Duke and how he was related to thenumismatic world. So in case anyone else out there is like me, I'll touch briefly about the significance of this astronautand his contribution to numismatics. Charlie Duke was part of the Apollo 16 mission and was the 10th man to walk onthe moon back in 1972. He was also the youngest person to step foot on the moon and still holds that record today. WhenI learned that he had a connection to Kennedy Half dollars, which I collect, I knew then that I would eventually own one. When I was growing up, I had heard the name Neil Armstrong, and knew he was the first person to walk on the moon. Ialso knew of the quotes that he made famous. I think the reason I knew Armstrong but didn't remember Duke was the yearin which they performed their feats that they were known for. In 1969 I was still in school and actively learning. In 1972, I wasthinking about things that would soon impact my life. My whole vocabulary would be changing. In April while Charlie waswalking on the moon, I had just received a letter from my Uncle, Sam that is. I was preoccupied with what my draft numberwould be in April 1972. The only Charlie I was concerned with was North Vietnamese soldiers. Saigon, DaNang, tripwires,and booby-traps had become my new vocabulary. In closing, I have 2 observations. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? And two, pay closer attention to what'shappening in the world around you. In these days and times I often recollect the famous motto of the Non-CommissionedOfficers Corps. which was painted on the side of a building at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, "Mission First, People Always"! Sage wordsof wisdom. I want to thank LongStrider for pointing me toward the Modern Coin Mart where I purchased the piece of historythat I now own below! They do have some pretty good deals. Until next time my friends, stay SAFE and healthy! Charlie akaslybluenote

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02 Apr 2020

Storage and Care

Collecting Tips | slybluenote

When I was young and had just finished college in 2010, they called me an "Alternative Student". I personally looked at myself as "39 and holding" eventhough I was only 8 (in dog years)! :-) As far as numismatics was concerned, I had all my Junk money in a box and the coins that my granny and step-fatherhad left me were in plastic sandwich bags. I had my collection appraised one time back in the 90's and was told I had about $700 , but it was all in the silver coins that I had i.e. silver melt. Of course this was before I started collecting "seriously" and doing the proper research. In Dec. 2019 I decided to start a storage system. I had never cleaned my coins so after I found out that you were NOT supposed to clean them, I thought to myself, this is good news! One less task to preserving my collection. I like a shiny new coin as good as the next guy but old coins have their own particular beauty as well. Since I was looking at affordability as well as something that would accomplish the mission, I chose the cardboard flips for the majority of the silver coins and slabs for my Kennedy Half Collection. I purchased the silver box for my silver coins. I do have a few SusanBAnthony's and Sacagawea's in there as well. See the pictures with this blog. I was reading a blog in the forums and there were a couple of comments on "staples". I'm no scientist, but being in a 174MM Artillery Battalion, I do know RUST! For me, this was a case of "monkey see, monkey do". If I keep the cardboard flips dry and stored properly, they will still be silver long after I'm outta here ! Since I was going to be aggressive about my Kennedy Half Collection, I chose to slab them and house them in boxes inside a briefcase. See the pictures with this blog. I know this process is more expensive, but I'm going by what I learned in the military, and that is if you want to keep something nice, you have to pay the price! The red book that you see with this blog is what I call "Gracie's Coin Journal". Gracie is my daughter. Even though she's now 20, still a "babe in the woods", I want her to know the process of collecting and maintaining a collection. My sister gave me the idea when I was talking to her on the phone one day. So now when I purchase a coin/coins I make an entry into the journal so that one day when the collection is hers she will know about it and the history behind it. It will be my parting gift to her. Right now, she's not interested one bit about numismatics and that's ok with me. She will be older one day and have something nice to pass on to future generations! In closing, did I mention I also do windows, laundry, dusting as well as vacuuming, dishes and cleaning? Being retired has it advantages and disadvantages I guess ! Until next time my friends, stay SAFE, healthy and Coronavirus FREE ! Charlie aka slybluenote

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