Old Pueblo Coin – Tucson, AZ Finest Coin Dealer

The Coin Geek

1970 Quarter on Canadian Quarter Error

There have been many news reports about 1970 US Quarters that are worth tens of thousands of dollars. The news reports show pictures that need lines drawn on them so you can see what they are trying to show you. Truth be told they are very hard to tell from a normal quarter.

Here is one quick trick to help you know if your coin is a quarter struck on a US planchet or a Canadian Planchet. As you can see in the picture below the US and Canadian quarters are the same size and measurements. But if you look at the second picture you will find that the EDGE of the coins look very different. That is because the US coin has a ”sandwich” appearance, but the Canadian Coin has one color to it.

US quarter and Canadian Quarter.

US quarter and Canadian Quarter.

 

The bottom is the US quarter. The top the Canadian.

The bottom is the US quarter. The top the Canadian.

 

What this means for you is that if your coin has the sandwich copper look, it is NOT the error coin. If it looks like it is all one color then it possibly is on the wrong planchet.

 

 

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Feinsilber UV Protected Silver from Germany

feinsilberfeinsilberrevSome companies are getting clever with their anti-counterfieting techniques. The German Company Geiger Edelmetalle is producing bars that have many different techniques that no one else is using. First of all they are putting reeding on the bars instead of smooth edges. They also have high quality finishes to them and a security number on them. But what really stands out is that they are putting a special UV reflective stamp on the bars so under a ”blue” or ”black” UV light you can see it. Leave it to the Germans to produce silver you can enjoy at a rave!

feinsilberlev

“LEV” mark in UV light.

 

Year Stamp in UV light.

Year Stamp in UV light.

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Scrap Gold Jewelry Purity Math

Gold jewelry comes in many different purities. These are often referred to as ”karats”.

The standard in Gold is 24 karat. This is pure gold, without imperfection or alloy. Gold is measured in Troy Ounces, so there is 31.103 grams in an ounce (we’ll use 31.1).  Any time you want to figure the purity of gold you divide the karat purity by 24. For example – 18k is 75% pure (18/24=.750). The chart below gives details to the rest of the normally seen purities.

These numbers will help you know how much gold you have in your jewelry and gold items. If you have other questions on gold just give us a call. We also buy gold jewelry by the karat weight. 520-881-7200.

Karat Purity Grams : Pure Ounce   Comments
24K 100% 31.10g This is pure gold!
22K 91.7% 33.91g Most Far East countries prefer 22-24K gold for jewelry.
21.6K 90% 34.56g

90% Gold Stamp on Ring.

Many coins are 90%. This karat weight is not usually used in jewelry…unless it is made from a coin!
18K 75% 41.47g

18k Gold Stamp

Often used in high end and custom jewelry.
14K 58.5% 53.16g

14k GOLD Stamp Back of Watch.

This is the most common karat weight for jewelry.
10K 41.6% 74.75g

10K Gold Ring Stamp.

In the US 10K is becoming the most commonly used weight as many jewelry stores try to lower their costs.
9K 37.5% 82.93g Scarcely seen. Mostly in 19th century Western Europe and UK.
8k 33.3% 93.3g Sometimes used in 19th century Mexico and UK.

 

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Grading Tips – Starting Point

There are a lot of books on grading coins, and many are useful for understanding and identifying the condition of your coins. But most of these books focus on US coins. So what do you do when you have foreign coins? The first thing to know is what the coin looked like when it was first struck. You can not tell how worn a coin is if you have no idea what it looked like brand new. We see this often with people who come in the shop (non-collectors) and they have a coin in G-4 condition but they think it is ”nearly new”, or ”almost uncirculated”. Each coin starts off a bit different and it is helpful to understand the starting point for the coin so you can determine how much wear or contact is on the coin.

Some of the coin books, especially on silver dollars, go into detail on how much detail the coin had to start. Some issues have very soft strikes or had very worn down dies so that the detail was already flat when the coin was struck. All this needs to be taken into account when grading a coin. Many 17th and 18th century coins have either unusual planchets or worn dies. This means you can have a coin with very little detail and still be a very high grade.

So as you learn your coins take note of the starting points on the coins you are collecting.

 

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Albus Dumbledore Coin

When I came upon this coin I thought, “does numismatics have no boundries?”.

Albus

I have my doubts that JK Rowling had any idea that an albus was a unit of money before she came up with Albus Dumbledore. This coin is from Frankfurt, Germany (1656). The Albus was worth 2 Kruezers. They also had a 6 Albus coin which was worth 12 Kruezers.

So it turns out Albus was cash for Frankfurt before Albus was cash for Rowling.

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Sarcoxie Strawberry Tokens

One of the things I love about having collectors come in the store is that they tell stories and they relay history to me. It is a constant learning experience. One of our favorite customers, we will call him Kent, came in recently and asked me if I had ever seen a token with a strawberry on it. This fascinated me and I told him I had not. He told me his family was from Sarcoxie, MO and that he had seen them.

There was a bank in Sarcoxie, it even ended up getting chartered with the Federal Government in July of 1900 (charter number 5515). But currency was apparently not the only thing that was used.

Sarcoxie was known as the strawberry capital of the world. Apparently, if you lived there, you grew, picked, packaged, sold and shipped strawberries. Along side traditional currency the bank also printed aluminum tokens of varying sizes and varying values. These tokens had values of “ONE QUART”, “SIX QUARTS”, “ONE TRAY”, and “ONE CRATE”.  The other side of the token had images of strawberries.

SarcoxieBerriesSarcoxieReverse

I was delighted when I found a set of them for Kent. He was also delighted and brought in a picture of his family from the Sarcoxie farm (circa 1910). Sarcoxie is the oldest town in Jasper county Missouri and as of the 2010 census had just over 1200 people living there. Today it is known for fruit and flowers and is considered the Peonies capital of the world.

Many people have heard of cherry picking – but I suggest trying strawberry pickin’!

sarcoxiephoto

Sarcoxie, MO Strawberry Farm circa 1910

 

 

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2016 State Park Quarters in review

The five parks quarters for the year 2016 (or 2106 as I sometimes write) are :

  • Shawnee, Illinois
  • Cumberland Gap, Kentucky
  • Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  • Theodore Roosevelt, N. Dakota
  • Fort Moultrie, S. Carolina

shawnee

The Shawnee Forest in southern Illinois looks like a very nice place to visit. It appears to have rock formations similar to the Chiricahua mountains.  As far as the coin goes, it is mediocre. It doesn’t really grab you or make you feel like you have to go there. I give it a rating of ”meh”.

CumberlandGAP

Cumberland Gap looks like a cool place to visit based on the NPS website. But I’m not sure the coin relates to the photos of the park. That being said, this coin clearly gets a nod because it has a flintlock rifle on it. This coin has a nice look to it and makes you feel like you are going back in time.

harpersferry

The Harpers Ferry quarter is one of the nicer coins that have come from this series. The modern etching and striking process for today’s coins has made a lot of designers go overboard with trees and leave and animals and details and trying for details. The problem is that they don’t really consider how it will look when it is done. But on this one the building comes to life. I feel like I’m at John Brown’s fort in 1848. This coin has a winning look and is my favorite for the year.

theodore

Theodore Roosevelt National park….let’s just get it over with…is any president since Lincoln more popular than Teddy Roosevelt? Everyone seems to love this guy. The coin itself is okay. It looks good in proof, but I’m not sure it will look very good in the uncirculated version. Extra points for having a horse. This coin get’s a rough riding thumbs up! (BTW- Teddy also has a national park in NY named after him!)

ftMoultrie

I apologize to South Carolina in advance for the Ft Moultrie quarter. My first impression is “what is that Russian guy waiving a flag for?” Fort Moultrie has both colonial and civil war histories that are fascinating. The design for this coin, however, leaves one guessing. It almost gets some extra points for having a ship on it, but the ship is very small and hardly noticeable in the clouds/smoke. Clearly this coin loses the design contest for the year.

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Mercury Gold Coin

mercurygold

For the Mercury Dime’s 100th anniversary the US Mint produced a 1/10 gold version. It sold out in 45 minutes. We have access to a limited number of these. Please call or stop by for current pricing and availability. 520-881-7200.

 

The mint will also produce a 100th anniversary gold version of the Standing Liberty quarter and the Walking Liberty half dollar. We believe these will remain popular with collectors, as the 2001 $1 silver buffalo has stayed popular.

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Greysheet – NGC – Mercanti – Standish – Conflict?

Many of you know that in the last year the Coin Dealer Newsletter (the greysheet) was bought by a conglomeration that included players at NGC, PCGS and Heritage Auctions. It doesn’t take much looking to see the possibilities for the tail wagging the dog.

I think we are starting to see some of that influence already. The March 2016 monthly supplement issue of the greysheet has a guest commentator named Miles Standish. He writes a glowing article about ”Why Mercanti Matters”. The point of the article is to convince the reader that the former US Chief Mint Engraver is a significant historical figure.

Now- skip along the internet path with me to the NGC website. Low and behold – “John Mercanti signs deal with NGC”. On another page , “Miles Standish joins NGC. What can Miles do for you (dealers)?”.

So NGC has become very active in creating a coin market. They do this by getting autographs on labels and then “dealers” sell them on late night TV shows. Then the greysheet promotes this all by having Miles Standish write a guest commentary on John Mercanti.

The CDN was there to supply accurate information about the market place. It was not designed to manipulate or create the market.

NGC and PCGS are suppose to be independent and give opinions on the condition and authenticity of a coin. They are not suppose to create markets. These companies were seen by some as a solution to the problem of how to evaluate rare coins and make trades fair between collectors and dealers. Today, it looks to me, like they are starting to create their own market place instead of providing independent grading.

I do not think either of these developments are good for the coin market. NGC and PCGS have graded most everything of value so they have turned to marketing tricks to keep going. The CDN appears to be in to process of creating marketplaces instead of reporting on the market place. We will see where this all leads, but in my opinion, it is not good for the hobby.

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The Super Bowl and Coins

Question: What do the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers have in common?

Answer: Both have or had a United States Mint in their respected city.

Denver- The Denver mint was first established in 1906 and quickly became one of the main sources for coins in the United states. At that time the only other mints were in San Francisco, New Orleans and Philadelphia. Today only the Denver mint and Philadelphia mint produce coins for circulation. The mint in San Francisco still issues collector coins and sets and there is now a mint in West Point (NY) that produces silver and gold coins. Unknown-1

Charlotte- The Charlotte mint only struck gold coins. It was in use from 1838 until 1861. It is not a coincidence that the mint went out of business at the start of the Civil War. There was also a mint in Dahlonega, GA that stopped production in 1861. All Charlotte mint coins are considered rare and desirable. The mint was sold and moved to a different location where it stands now as a museum.Unknown

Who wins the super bowl? If you are going for volume and longevity you have Denver. The old man Peyton Manning has produced and produced, just like the Denver mint. The flashy team would be Carolina. Nothing but gold baby!   – I’m not sure a numismatist is qualified to make this selection, but I’ll take Charlotte gold any day!

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