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02 Apr 2020

Chronicles of a Numismatist : From Woes to Can’t Wait!

Coins-United States | user_14581

Whenever something goes against the grain usually there can be found an interesting glimmer of hope/ light. My previous post was concerning the 4 voucher submission return I received and how the grades went against me due to the 4 toned coins all receiving Detail 91 - Questionable Color. Not what one wants, but there are several opportunities underlying this story and the one I choose will sure have a Part 2 posting. I am looking forward to it.This is not the "Can't Wait" I am referring to in the title, however. See equal with this submission was another one I sent in simultaneously. At an auction online I found a unique Morgan Dollar, an 1921 P. I know you aren't standing over the proverbial air grate with the gust of air blowing straight up, but it was a 17 Berry reverse.So the coin had abnormally wide edges to the point I ruled out a missed collard error or broadstruck error because all the details were exactly where they needed to be on the obverse and reverse but an "intentionally" made extra thickness from the back of the denticles to the edge of the coin, as even as could be around the circumference of both obverse and reverse. VamWorld time! I found there was something to the reverse of the coin first and foremost, a 16 Berry or 17 Berry reverse. You can easily tell without counting and that is the Eagles talon on the right side; if the talon extends down to the shaft/tail feather of the arrow then an extra unit of the shaft/tail feather behind it (usually has 4 parts - just look at 16 Berry reverse and you will count 4 parts) will have 5 parts. (Essentially a doubling of the hub caused the extra unit and extended Talon). Then if you see this look at the top of the left side of the wreath and you will see a very large berry and on the opposite a little one. (don't count these berries first because some die states and wear could have caused that little berry to be lesser in appearance than should be).There are many VAMs for the 17 Berry reverse and of which a particular Holy Grail variety, The Zerbe Proof. (Not an actual Proof but a severely extra polished business strike). Now the coin I had also contained an error, yes graded, was designated an Error - strike thru reverse - but not graded a VAM nor a Zerbe. The error, and I will quickly explain because I don't have the pictures yet, has metal removed around the D and O of Dollar and goes right up to the edge of the bottom of the wreath and ribbon. I think more of a lamination issue due to the D and O still struck, still there but the material removed doesn't extend to any of the devices but just to the edge... little too close for strike thru but lamination error could very well be. Anyway, I placed a bid and figured one of 2 things would be TRUE if I win: 1) I either win an Error Zerbe Proof ( Very low probability ) or an error VAM ( high probability). Both are a win in my book. Why I thought it was a Zerbe? Well it appeared to have on the Obverse the die polish line from the second U, first serif, in UNUM to the denticle above. With the toning of green and blue (I like toned coins, yes) in that area it made it very difficult to tell definitively from the auction house photo. It has many more die polishing marks all over but the Zerbe has that one trait along with the 17 Berry reverse. I won the coin, received it and was floored by the strike, luster, eye appeal and overall visual aesthetics of the coin. In an NGC holder I contacted PCGS wanting to send it in for a crossover but I needed to know the service level to choose. I was advised how to submit it and what to select for service level and I did. Shortly after I was contacted to be advised it was not a Zerbe, "rats", but it was a VAM just not one PCGS recognizes yet. So I was right after all. Whew Who!Now is the interesting part... So this pandemic juuust so happened around the time my Coin was going through Quality Check and Imaging. And PCGS shut down, temporarily, the doors to their facility and my Coin is still there. So why is this a "Can't Wait" and not a Woe part 2? Well I figured I am going to submit it to ANACS for attribution, then re-submit it to PCGS for the VAM attribution plus Error designation. This is why I can't wait, I am stoked about this and am patiently waiting for enough flattening of the curve of the virus in Cali so PCGS can re-open and finalize the processing of my submission. Not their fault they have to shut the doors temporarily and so I wait... irrational exuberance (to quote Mr. Greenspan) to complete the full error+VAM attribution on my label. Who knows...maybe I won't be finished there with all the "submissions" I could continue on? (hands rubbing over each other with "up to something facial expression" and Evil Scientist Laughing while purposefully leaving my reader in suspense).

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30 Mar 2020

Chronicles of a Numismatist: Grading Woes

Coins-United States | user_14581

I am a PCGS fanatic. I like NGC and ANACS also, but for me the aesthetic appeal of the PCGS holder along with the high prices realized made it easy to go with. I appreciated early, when I first started, David Hall's video market report that he would make almost on a weekly basis at one point. With their video series on coin grading as well, it again made it easy for me to send my coins to them. Albeit I live in Florida, and NGC is in my back yard too.This recent submission was based on the 4 coin free grading submission I received for the level of service I currently subscribe to. I have too many choices, which is a good thing, but I figured I would use the 4 coins I have which are brilliantly toned. (I love errors and you can't send errors on the free submissions you receive, I will probably never submit toned coins for that service either ever again). Yeah, I am a little touchy on this as you are reading. Hence perfect article in my opinion because not all of our hobby is roses and sunshine days. Sometimes in our best efforts we receive epic fails or mishaps that tend to semi halt the progression, but only for the purpose of learning from my error(s) so that I don't do it again. Never halting to stop collecting, not even close.So 3 explanations on my choices for submission: A) My first choice was the 1886-P Morgan. I bought this around 3-4 years ago from a small dealer outside of Orlando. It was in a 2x2 stapled flip (can't stand those) and when I saw this coin I knew I had to have it. It was not priced at a toned Morgan pricing should have been, but the color and toning did not scare me nor brought any concern. B) 1963 Washington Proof Quarter. This was purchased through a huge purchase I made from a 2 generational family collection that was turned into the Boy Scouts 1-2 years ago. I bought a complete 1955-1964 Proof set 2 fold, One set complete unopened OGP and One set opened OGP. The Grand Father and Father bought tons of the same year and just hoarded them year after year. Mercury Dimes, Morgans, Peace Dollars, etc. So I opened the sealed sets I had because I was nosey and wanted to see how they looked. The 1963 Proof set screamed from the Washington. The Franklin has toning across the bust of Franklin but nothing like this Washington. The dime has some toning too. C) The 1962 Franklin and Washington come from a OGP '62 proof set. These along with the dime and nickel are wonderfully toned. The dealer that sold me the set actually wanted to not sell it to me because after he took it out of the case I continued to look through his shop and he came around to show me the packaging the coins were in and said that he didn't like the toning and didn't want to sell it to me. I said I still wanted it, especially since we had talked for 1/2 hour about grading services and how he offered to always submit coins for me if I chose to.So February I decided to submit my coins for grading and used my 4 coin voucher for this. About 4 weeks ago I received the grades and photos and ALL the coins came back Details- Questionable Color. I was pissed. Honestly, I am by no means a perfect expert and would not call myself an expert but to receive 4 back questionable? Man, I just said to myself, "Never again a voucher for a toned coin". Not a chance. I submit raw coins, and with raw coins I get the adherent risk reward. But these 4? To me I don't get it. You see Morgans that are outrageously toned with pinks and lime greens. I have seen a major auction house have a graded Washington that was highlighter yellow and it was mint state. The PCGS Rare Market report one month had that substantially Gold Coin that was Red and Blue toned all over... Gold! So I had to ask myself are they saying I doctored the coins? What does each coin stand in it's own merit?I finally determined they don't believe I doctored the coins. Had they, I believe they would have not graded and sent them back to me. Okay, then what are they saying? I researched the auction house I mentioned earlier and also NGC. (I wanted an alternative TPG because I needed to see if they have received similar coins that I have and gave same grading). I did find a ton of NGC Morgan toned coins that have both obverse and reverse with a halo ring of toning and they Detailed Graded the coins. Buttttt... after I was just about to stop I found an equally amount of Morgans from NGC with Halo toned rings with full grades. Now I am back at square one. What about the '62 Proof coins? Well the pictures don't do it justice. The orange and amber looks like a forest fire on the coin especially with the dark spots looking like ashes. I have only seen one or two Franklins close to that and they were both Net Graded by PCGS. The '63 Washington Quarter? I haven't seen the blueberry color like that obverse and reverse. It is brilliant and wonderful. What I have seen is a huge gathering of toned Washingtons in auction houses that have vibrant toning and sometimes reminiscent of colors from Morgans and sometimes out of this world. I have noticed that coin series tend to have toning that is particular for that series. My Proof nickels I have from these sets, some have that awesome dark blue or bright blue that you see in pictures on PCGS coinfacts, but that particular toning isn't found on Proof Washington or Proof Franklin coins. But I research toning and study it. Heck I collect antique silver and some of my pieces tone magnificently and other pieces go dark very fast.Where do I stand? Well I could send these back saying you got these wrong, but I am skeptical. I do plan to take these to one of the dealers I have a strong relationship with to talk to him and see what he thinks.For now though I have to sit and practice social distancing. But when this ban is lifted I do plan to make an appointment and receive a good educational experience. This will be updated once I speak with him.

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11 Nov 2019

2017S Proof Silver Eagle Mint Error

Coins-United States | user_14581

Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you the 2017S Mint Error, Struck Thru Obverse, Proof Silver Eagle, PF 69 DCAM... "The Moon Eagle".I initially won the Proof Eagle through a major Numismatic Auction House in 2018. I placed the bid on a Wednesday/Thursday because I noticed the fields looked extra black with the devices frosty white. Just an immaculate coin. The auction would end on Sunday and that Saturday evening prior I decided to look at the picture enlarged and that is when I noticed the mark above Lady Liberty. I thought, "Not a milk spot?". I noticed while enlarged the top line of E had a raised reversed "C" curving down and figured it could be a blemish of debri on the coin inside the slab, or possibly some sticker on top if the slab. When I won the auction and received the coin I instantly said, "That is no milk spot or sticker anywhere".I did take it to a couple of dealers around town and showed them and they said it was interesting but would not consider it an error. This past January at the FUN Show here in town I took it to Fred Weinberg. One, I could not believe I was sitting down talking to Mr.Error himself and 2) "How does he get these extraordinary errors"? My Lord, sorry I am back in track. I showed him the coin (mind you at this point it is just graded PF69DCAM Limited Edition First Strike by PCGS) and he said he believed it to be a Struck Thru. However, he said he had never seen one like this ever. He couldn't decipher what caused it and said the challenge for me is to find coin number 2, he also said to have it graded and see if it comes back a Mint Error. I then went to Jason from Orlando Coin Exchange and he liked it instantly and after careful review of the coin he looked up and said, "From this point on it will be called The Moon Eagle". He advised me to also get it graded. He stated he believed it to be a Mint Error but that it has to be authenticated as such.I sent in the submission to PCGS and it is Official. I read the Cherrypickers Guide and try when I can to find those overlooked varieties or errors, but for an accidental Cherry pick? This could not be any better. I have been honored to show the pictures to Mr. Bob Mellor and speak to him. He reiterated exactly what Fred Weinberg said and it is to find coin number 2. The Hunt Is On! To be continued...

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