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Kevin Leab's Blog

21 Mar 2021

The 1916 D Mercury Dime

| Kevin Leab

The Mercury Dime was minted between 1916 and 1945 and was designed by Adolph Weinman (1870-1952). Also known as the Winged Head Liberty Dime, Weinman is believed to have used Elsie Stevens as the model for the obverse of this coin. The key date to this series is the 1916 D with a mintage of only 264,000, how many have survived to this date is unknown, but there are many fakes or counterfeits out there to be aware of, and they far outnumber those that have been lost, missing, melted or otherwise. It is entirely up to you to take the chance on buying one raw.. With any key date coin it is always wise to buy one authenticated by one of the top TPGs. If you know how to detect a fake and you have a trained eye for these things then you know what you're doing. As a novice, I wouldn't suggest spending the money to buy a key date raw....unless you know all of the things to look for. There are tooling marks and die varieties and 4 different mintmark placements that you must look for with a loupe. (photos below). There was four dies used for the reverse of the 1916 D Dime also....You should study those and know what they look like. Before I dive into spending a lot of money on a key date, I buy a book on the coin and/or I read the info online from a reputable web site such as NGC, PCGS or ANACS. The values of the key dates in any series keep rising. Can you take a chance on an expensive raw coin for a few thousand dollars only to find out years later that its worth nothing? In the Virgil Hancock/Larry Spanbauer book "Standard Catalog of United States Altered and Counterfeit Coins" it states how many of these 1916 D Mercury Dimes were counterfeited including "Sandwiching" which means putting a 1916 Mercury Dime from Philadelphia on top of a common Denver "D" minted coin and fusing them together. There have been individuals that worked at the Philadelphia "factory" (as they put it in the book) who have altered the coin there by creating the "D" by melting and forming a "D" on the reverse, which is called "chasing" because you're "chasing" the silver around and forming a "D" into a mound to look like the desired mint mark. Another way to detect a counterfeit coin is by the tooling marks (photo below) especially around the inside rim and around the mint mark. There are many stories of old widowed ladies cashing in on her deceased husbands prized collections to only lead to disappointment. Its hard to tell how many raw 1916 D dimes are stuck away in old albums . I hope this blog has informed you and at least entertaining. The reason I wrote this is because I just bought one of these myself....authenticated by PCGS of course. Thanks for reading

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07 Mar 2021

Flying Eagle Cents 101

| Kevin Leab

When we think of the Flying Eagle Cents we think its only a two year series....not counting the proof 1856 coin. We are all familiar with the 1857 and the 1858 Large Letters and Small Letter varieties.... But wait....there is so much more to these small but exciting coins!! The 1856 Flying Eagle was meant to be a pattern coin for the series and only 2,000 of these coins were minted. Designed by James B. Longacre and meant to take the place of the Large Cent...there were actually 2 different One Cent coins in circulation in 1857, the Large Cent and the 1857 Flying Eagle Cent. Anyway, 1857 was the first year of production for circulating Flying Eagle Cents....of which 17,450,000 coins were minted that year. But there are two varieties of these....One of which may or may not be known by you if you're not familiar or have studied the series. In the beginning of 1857 some dies from 1856 were used to strike the obverse, resulting in the variety 1857 reverse of 1856. "The "0" of the word "Of" was thinner than the new 1857 design". (I have included images) ...and the serifs on the "E" in "States" and the "F" in "Of" are larger so much as they almost touch the line above.You may be more familiar with the 1858 8/7 variety... Besides the Large and Small letter variety, this is the only other variety listed in the "Red Book". To the top right of the 8 in the date there is a faint but visible "7" Some of us may need a loupe to see this. BUT another indicator of this variety is the broken wing tip between "OF" and "AMERICA". The tip of the wing may be slightly attached or completely separated from the rest of the wing. This is more obvious and can be easily detected with the naked eye. This variety is not easily found. Another variety is the 1858 "High Leaves" and "Low Leaves" coins....All of the coins minted in 1857 were of the "High Leaf" variety. Some of the reverse dies used in 1857 were used in 1858 also, creating two different reverse varieties in 1858 (see attached photo). From the wreath there are two leaves that stick up near the "C" and the "T" in the word "CENT". In the "High Leaf" variety these leaves almost touch the "C" and the "T". In the "Low Leaf" variety it doesn't come close. There is also a "Type 3" of this variety that is the "open" "E" where the serifs are much smaller. There are many different varieties in the Flying Eagle series if you want to get more advanced into collecting these beautiful coins...there are many die clash varieties, too many to mention here. Also, according to Snows attribution guide there are 41 circulation strike varieties for 1857 and 1858 which are mostly double dies and repunched dates. If you want to dive into this collection and attempt to get them all then all I can do is wish you luck. It will definitely be a lifelong journey...Thanks for readingKevin Leab

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20 Feb 2021

Pioneers in Numismatic Publications Pt.2

| Kevin Leab

Mr Wayte Raymond (1886-1956) ANA member#396..Just a brief history of this man....A Connecticut native and son of a brush manufacturer Mr Raymond was one of the great pioneers in Numismatic history.....In his early life he worked as a bank teller (1901-1912) and admired the old money that he handled every day and that sparked his interest in collecting coins. During his time as a bank teller he joined the ANA in 1902 becoming member #396. During his youth he also started taking out ads in The Numismatist selling English silver pennies. He continued placing ads in The Numismatist with offers of buying and selling English and United States coinage. Mr Raymonds first known fixed price list appeared in the February 1908 issue of The Numismatist. In September of 1912 he quit his position as bank teller and started The United States Coin Company and became a full time coin dealer at 200 5th Avenue, New York City. In 1917 he married Olga Osterholm and were congratulated by the ANA in the October 1917 issue of The Numismatist. It wasn't until 1935 that he began publishing price guides for US coins for collectors. He had many other price guides before these but they were all geared towards Ancient and Roman coins and US Gold coins. These "new" price guides called "Standard Premium List of United States and Early American Coins" and "Standard Price List of United States Coins"....These were very popular among collectors at that time. These books eventually became the "Standard Catalog of United States Coins" which were hardback books and released every year. He wrote many price lists, auction catalogs and books, way too many to be listed here. He hired many people to help him with his work through the years including a man by the name of Walter Breen, who he sent to the National Archives, the US Mint and the Library of Congress to do Numismatic research from the original sources...Breen wasn't paid until the project was done. In 1952, Mr Raymond was awarded the 50 year Medal from the ANA...something that all of us would love to achieve.Mr Raymond passed away in September of 1956 and is buried in Rowayton, Connecticut without fanfare and marked by a humble unkept tombstone. He will however be greatly remembered in our Numismatic community as a great pioneer of our "hobby". Thank you Mr Raymond

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19 Feb 2021

Pioneers in Numismatic Publications

| Kevin Leab

Have you ever grabbed your "Red Book" or "Blue Book" to check information about a coin or series that you wanted to collect? Or maybe you were curious about what your coin was worth? You can thank this man, Richard S Yeoman for that book. Mr Yeoman (1904-1988) was one of the pioneers in our hobby who published price value guides for us collectors to use for years to come.....and has become a collectible in itself. Mr Yeoman started out as a commercial artist and a coin collector like the rest of us.....He started working for Whitman Publishing Co. In 1932 developing coin "boards" for collectors....youngsters and adults alike suddenly took on the challenge of filling every hole in the board....eventually the boards developed into the thin coin folders that we know today... Imagine being a kid in the 1940s and being a coin collector, armed with one of Yeomans coin boards and a roll of wheat cents from the bank, lying on your bedroom floor searching that roll and filling those holes. ...what fun that must have been. Yeoman went on to win the Farran Zerbe Award in 1956, the highest honor given from the ANA.. RS Yeoman then retired in 1970 with Mr Kenneth Bressett taking over as Editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins and the Handbook of United States Coins.. How fortunate we are to have this man so dedicated to our "hobby" and give so much of his life.

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08 Dec 2020

Involving Kids in the ANA

Coins | Kevin Leab

About 2 weeks ago I signed my son Andrew up for an ANA membership.....He is 19 years old and has Cerebral Palsy from a birth injury.. He loves looking at old coins with me and I talk to him about them and their history. Even though he is nonverbal I can still tell that he has an interest because he pays attention to me. I am all about involving our children in the world of numismatics and I believe that it should be heavily promoted and the National and local levels....and I believe they all do a fantastic part in it. I very much want to get this jumpstarted in our local club but they haven't met since last March when this Covid thing started.....but I will once they get back together.. Our local club consists of mainly older retied men, about 8 of them in total. I'd love to raise awareness locally in my community. I very much enjoy doing this with my son. When my grandkids get a little older I will try to get their interest and buy them a membership also.....in reality, that's where my collection will end up anyway.

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01 Dec 2020

Buffalo Nickels

| Kevin Leab

I have read over other members blogs here and it seems like mine pales in comparison to many others...I have just been posting whats on my mind and my meager thoughts.....Anyway' I haven't been active for a while....with the holidays and poor health its been hindering my activity. I am about 3/4 done with the second page of my Whitman Classic Buffalo Nickel Album...I'm now working on 1923. Seems like its getting harder to find good examples with full dates.. I'm getting there!!!!

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22 Oct 2020

My 1955 Proof Set

| Kevin Leab

I started collecting in 1979 and as a 14 year old boy with a minimal allowance, except for what little I made working in the local orchards, I couldn't afford much.. It didn't help matters when the Hunt brothers came about and tried to corner the silver market..that made owning nice silver coins nearly impossible. I've always had my eyes on Franklin Half dollars and the very first coin that I purchased was a proof 1963 Franklin Half.. I still to this day don't know where its at.. anyway, The 1955 proof set caught my eye as a young Numismatist and being that I couldn't afford it myself, asked my parents to buy it for me as a Christmas present. Well, I got one that year with the original cardboard box and all... Years later I ended up selling it to help pay bills and I felt bad since that day. I decided about 6 months ago to put together my own 1955 Proof Set but certified and graded individually by PCGS. I know it cost me more to do it this way but at least they're protected..I just wanted to share them with you....

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10 Oct 2020

My rarest US coin

| Kevin Leab

My rarest coin is the 1882 Three Cent nickel with a mintage of 25,300. The survival rate I'd guess is probably about 60% 0f the total mintage. The coins were small and I'm sure very easy to lose. I would say that my example is an XF40... Do any of you collect these by date or just for your type album.. I am missing some of the later dates in my album...

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10 Oct 2020

Standing Liberty Quarters

| Kevin Leab

One of my favorite series to collect is the Standing Liberty Quarters. They're what I consider one of the best coin designs we ever had in this country. I started a date/mintmark set of these a little while back and I'm over halfway done with it. I know I'll never get it finished because of the ever expensive 1916.. I also only collect coins in circulated condition VF - XF because I love the history....where the coin has been and the time period that it was a part of....

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08 Oct 2020

Collecting in my world

| Kevin Leab

When I started collecting in 1977 I was 12 years old....My neighbor collected and turned me onto the hobby. I immediately went out and bought those little blue Whitman folders and a 1963 proof Franklin half dollar for about $8 bucks I believe. The further I got into collecting the more coins I had...the more I bought the better my collection looked.....then I learned that I wasn't supposed to clean coins....but, I bought this solution and two little wire brushes at the coin shop that made my coins bright and shiny! I quickly learned that this wasn't a good thing....Education is the key....The more I learned the more I spent....and I broke down and bought the Whitman Classic coin albums...the ones that had the plastic slides and you could see BOTH sides of the coin!! I thought this was the best thing ever, so I bought the albums one at a time...because even back in the 1980s they were expensive for a 15 year old. I was always excited to see how full I could get my albums until I eventually got to the point where there was always a few that were way out of reach and I thought I'd never afford those....Never say never. Never give up...tell yourself that you can afford those someday....don't lose interest like I did once and sell because you think you'll never get any further....I've had all of the key dates in all of the most popular US series....and I'll have them again!

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