Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Royal Mint is taking a golden leap forward

This morning there was a post on LinkedIn that caught my eye. It was a piece from The Telegraph that talked about how the Royal Mint is going to begin offering gold trading using blockchain technology.

Are you asking yourself, "What the hell does blockchain mean?" Don't worry, I'm sure you're not alone. I knew the term was somehow related to cryptocurrency, but that was all. I spent a couple of hours reading and bouncing ideas off my three-year-old, always a good sounding board, and decided to write a little bit about it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Remarkable Machine

I hadn't even posted the final piece in my 3-part series about computerized grading when I was contacted with some incredible news. There is a coin dealer in northwestern Washington named Tim Rathjen, he runs The Stamp & Coin Place. He has also invented a machine. At first glance, the contraption appears to be a simple coin sorter. It isn't until you look in the collection bins that you see the genius at work.

Called simply, "The Machine," by it's creators, the invention utilizes bright field digital imagery and coin recognition software to sort coins by type, year, mint, grade, and value.

Saturday, November 26, 2016




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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Canadian One Kilo Silver Commem - From CoinUpdate

On November 11, the Royal Canadian Mint officially launched an extraordinary numismatic homage to the country’s 150th anniversary of confederation. The pure silver coin, with a weight of one kilogram, pays tribute to the many commemorative and circulation coins issued since Canadian confederation in 1867. The collage-style design includes some of some of Canada’s finest and most widely recognized coins, in precise detail, at actual diameters, and in ultra-high relief. (Scroll down for more on these coins, and on the history of Canada’s confederation.)

Featuring approximately 35 obverse or reverse images from previous and current circulation coinage, this amazing large-format coin makes the ideal canvas of purest silver. The subjects range from the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote to the Victory nickel of the Second World War; from the War of 1812 to the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag; from the Canadian Arctic Expedition to the Canadian Centennial series. And of course the iconic and ever-familiar Voyaguer dollar, though hard to find, is included the design.

The obverse includes the effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II as created by Susanna Blunt and used on all Canadian circulation and many commemorative coins since 2003. The reverse of the 2017-dated coin is sure to include an example of most every collector’s favorite Canadian coin, with many being easy to spot. Suitable as a collector’s piece as well as for presentation, this one-kilo coin is limited to 500 pieces.

Read the rest here...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Road to Computerized Grading - Part 3

So far we have covered why an impartial and automated grading option would be beneficial and how the machine itself could possibly function.

Unfortunately, I do not foresee any of the current major grading companies working to develop this level of technology. It would be irresponsible of them to try. Building a computer that can identify, authenticate, and grade coins is going to be a cash-hungry black hole for a large company. The amount of funding it would take to get the computer fully functional, especially to accurately grade mint state coins, where eye appeal is a factor, would put too large a strain on an existing company's cash flow to make the endeavor worthwhile. In addition, the current companies have jobs to protect. No one likes to let people go. When computerized grading becomes fully functional it will mean a loss of jobs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Unscrupulous Coin Dealers - What to look for.

"You're off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters." ~ Captain Barbosa Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

I wanted to post something a little different. Lately, I have been focusing on how to improve the hobby and, hopefully, how to save some of the larger companies we attribute with numismatics. This time, I want to call bullshit on three companies:

Littleton Coin Company
National Collector's Mint
Home Shopping Network

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Recap of the Watertown, SD Coin Show on 11/12/16

I attended the semi-annual Watertown, SD coin show this past Saturday. Here are a few of my more interesting purchases.
I am having a heck of a time finding information about this Lincoln bronze medal. If you know what it is, or who may be able to point me in the right direction, please let me know.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Help Support Apollo 11 Commemorative - From Mint News Blog


For the next few weeks, collectors and space-program enthusiasts are turning their attention to the Apollo 11 Moon landing, and its 50th anniversary in 2019. At issue is the passage of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act. The manned Moon landing was a singular achievement for humankind, and one of the greatest moments in modern American history. Only one country gets to be first to put a man on the moon, and on July 20, 1969, the United States became that country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Affordable Large Cents - from Whitman's Coin Update


Struck every year from 1793 to 1857 (with the exception of 1815), the large cent was one of America’s most commonly used denominations of the first half of the 19th century. The cent, or penny as it is often called, might now be a mostly obsolete and rarely used denomination, but at one time it had actual value and people used it every day in commerce. It is no wonder then that in 1857, when the large cent was replaced by a smaller version, people started searching for different dates of the denomination and putting sets together of the coins they’d grown so accustomed to, essentially leading to the beginning of large-scale American coin collecting. Now, more than a century and a half after the last large cents disappeared from circulation, interest in the series remains strong, and many collectors put together date or even variety sets of the different types. This, however, is not a cheap endeavor, and the series might seem daunting to the collector on a budget. However, this article will show that even at a budget of $100 per coin, there are plenty of options to add some appealing large cents to a collection.

Read more here.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Road to Computerized Grading - Part 2

See: verb - perceive with the eyes, discern visually

Can we teach a computer to see?

There are three necessary components for sight to happen. First, you need an eye, something to detect light. In the mechanical world, a camera would serve this function.
Second, you need a brain to decode the messages being passed along the optic nerve. A computer with a software package can accomplish this.

Third, and this is the most critical, you need cognition. That is the ability to understand what is being seen. For instance, when we see a yellow car with a small sign on top and the letters T-A-X-I on both sides, we know that is a taxi. Essentially, our brains take in bits of data and render an opinion based on experience.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Stack silver when it's cheap, to buy a true rarity later

This will be quick. Just an idea I had to slowly grow your money by stacking silver with the intent of purchasing more expensive coins.

I'm assuming everyone has a vague idea what market bubbles are. The worst in recent history was the housing market bubble that popped and caused the crash of 2008. Remember? The crash that caused metal prices to skyrocket? Silver topped out at about $47 per ounce and gold peaked up around $1,800 per ounce.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


In last week's post, "Is Numismatics in Trouble?" I attempted to point out that the hobby is changing, not dying. Social media has given collectors the ability to share information for free, so there is shrinking need for old media. Social media has also provided a way for collectors to talk about their hobby and show off their collections which is phasing out the desire to join coin clubs. The internet has made coins as readily available as they've ever been. For the casual collector, who does not want to closely examine their pieces prior to purchasing, this is the path of least resistance to scratching their numismatic itch.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Road to Computerized Grading - Part 1

Prior to the metals rush of the 1980's, coin buyers had two options when purchasing coins. One, they could become numismatic gurus with detailed knowledge of the series they collected. Two, they could choose to trust a dealer who, hopefully, was honest.

Unfortunately, not all dealers were honest. Grade inflation was common practice. Unwary coin buyers were being fleeced with no indication that something might be amiss. I don’t believe all dealers with over-graded coins did so on purpose. Most collectors know the tendency to overstate our coins' grades, especially when we're first starting out in the hobby. Dealers, especially smaller mom and pop shops without access to a large volume of coins to inspect, sometimes unintentionally over-graded their stock simply because they did not know better. It is easier to believe you have an uncirculated coin than a nice AU, especially if this minute difference results in a large jump in value. This kind of "one-up" grading was an albatross around the hobby’s neck.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

1883 V Nickel makes a mark on history

By Chris Ireland

1883 V Nickel, the first year of issue. When they first came out people got the idea of gold plating them and, since the word CENTS did not appear on it, they were easily mistaken for $5 gold coins. These became known as "racketeer" nickels.
The first racketeer was a man named Josh and he was deaf and mute. He would buy a 5 cent cigar and just put the gold plated nickel on the counter. If the cashier knew what he was looking at Josh would walk out with his purchase. However, many times Josh would receive $4.95 change and would walk away a winner. He was eventually tried but not convicted because his lawyer claimed that he was unable to protest the cashier's mistake. That's how we got the phrase, "I was just joshing."
The word CENTS was added to prevent people from being scammed. The nickels with CENTS on them sell for considerably more than the no CENTS variety. These were made from 1883-1913. (The 1913 is extremely rare and examples sell for millions.)