From the Coin Commentary Archive

April 26, 2012: The Salmon Classification System for Massachusetts Silver Coins

We are pleased to present this discussion and explanation of the new Salmon classification system for Massachusetts Silver Coins written by Dr. Christopher J. Salmon, author of the superb book "The Silver Coins of Massachusetts".

Massachusetts silver coins were the first native issues of the British colonies in North America and, as such, command a priority of place among collectors and numismatic historians. They are prized and desired for their beauty and charm and as tangible links to the material culture of Puritan New England.

For context, it’s helpful to recount the history and design of the various classification methods for the coins, with reference to their virtues and limitations alike.

Sylvester S. Crosby wrote the first comprehensive study of the Massachusetts Silver Coins in his 1875 landmark work The Early Coins of America and the Laws Governing Their Issue. He classified the coins logically (and ingeniously) by naming their respective obverse and reverse dies, with the ordering of the varieties reflecting chronology and the individual die designations reflecting in due degree evolutionary changes as engravers modified and recut deteriorating dies to yield new ones.

Crosby’s system was widely accepted as the standard until the superb American Numismatic Society Monographs on the Massachusetts Silver Coinage by Sydney P. Noe appeared in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Noe revised the Massachusetts silver coinage classification to include new discoveries and reflect improved chronology and ordering, but departed from Crosby’s approach of naming an individual variety by its obverse and reverse dies.

Instead, each variety - each pairing of dies - was given a single number. Each series was given a single list without regard to denomination. Crosby’s already simple and elegant system was further simplified, and this led to problems.

Einstein is often quoted as saying “make things as simple as possible . . . but not simpler” because if you devise a theory that is too simple it no longer accounts for all of the data. You lose information and the theory cannot be applied in all cases.

So it was, too, for the Noe Classification: Noe aimed to list the coins as simply as possible, but he went too far and oversimplified the already optimally reduced Crosby system. Information was lost and the system could not be applied properly in all cases. And there were other problems as well.

In abandoning Crosby’s practice of naming a variety by its obverse and reverse dies Noe’s system is silent regarding the existence and degree of relationships among varieties.

Simplifying each series (e.g., the Pine Tree coinage) to a single listing results in loss of chronological perspective in comparing coins of different denominations - different subseries - to one another.

Noe’s system is far less adaptable than Crosby’s. New varieties usually cannot be incorporated easily.

In Noe’s system simple differences in die state are often elevated inappropriately to the status of variety. Numismatic scholar and cataloguer Michael Hodder saw that there was often confusion in discerning die states, creating “chaos” for collectors, and he believed that Noe classification numbers given to intermediate varieties were often “absurd.” He is certainly correct. Imprecision and complexity arose in the Noe classification and got worse over time. Noe’s original list was expanded with the addition of intermediate varieties with “Noe numbers” that are confusing and complicated.

For example, in 1968, Walter Breen reported an Oak Tree threepence with a Noe 27 obverse and a reverse closer to the Noe 26, and he named it “Noe 26.8.” Richard Picker later subdivided Breen’s discovery into two separate varieties (differing in reverse die state). Picker also changed the name of the new variety. He didn’t like Breen’s “26.8,” because, after all, the coin had a “27” obverse - and why name a coin with a “Noe 27” obverse Noe 26.8?

This appears to make sense at first, except for the fact that Noe’s classification was not intended to name a coin based on which dies were used to strike it. Nonetheless, Picker named his two varieties “Noe 27.1.1” and “Noe 27.1.” The multiple decimal points are confusing enough, but it’s actually worse than that.

In Picker’s “27.1” and “27.1.1” each “.1” is like to a negative number. Each “.1” is a step backward in variety and a step backward in time. The Noe 27.1 comes before the Noe 27, and the Noe 27.1.1 comes before the Noe 27.1! More than simply inelegant, this is confusing (nonlinear . . . achronological), counterintuitive, and a recipe for classification disaster. As we’ve already seen, and as pointed out correctly by Picker, Breen’s classification of Noe 26.8 was also unsatisfactory in seeming to name a variety as a subtype of a coin it did not resemble.

None of these results are the fault of Breen or Picker: they’re due to the rigidity of the Noe system that does not show relationships among varieties and does not allow easy inclusion of new varieties.

The Noe 27.1.1 and Noe 27.1 coins also expose another flaw in the Noe taxonomy: the classification of die states as separate varieties. Hodder observed that in separately designating die states one might just as well identify “27.1.1.1, 27.1.1.1.1, and so on.” In any case, it’s often difficult or impossible to identify exact die state for a 1g silver piece in F or VF, or one that’s flattened or damaged as these coins often are.

There are many other examples of die states being given unique Noe numbers. For example, there are two general groups of 7-E large planchet Pine Tree shillings, those with early reverse die states (Noe 8) and the much more common specimens with late reverse die states (Noe 8.2). They are not different varieties, but are rather two different die states of the same variety. There has been no re-engraving of the dies.

This is entirely analogous to the early and the (again, much more common) late reverse die states of the Georgivs Triumpho token from the late Federal Period. These coppers are not catalogued separately from one another, except to mention that they differ in die state, and there is no confusion among collectors. This is not to say that die states are not desirable or collectable as such! Specialists are well aware of the eary and late die states. Choice examples of the scarcer early die state Georgivs Triumpho command a substantial premium in the marketplace. In a similar way, most Massachusetts Silver specialists will wish to acquire both early and late die states of the 7-E large planchet Pine Tree shillings.

Because of the unwarranted designation of die states as varieties and the strict rigidity of the terse Noe classification the new classification returns to a traditional Crosby model. This solves the problems of confusing, disordered, and inappropriate taxonomy.

Obverse dies are denoted by a number, with minor changes by a lower case letter.

Reverse dies are designated by a capital letter, with minor changes by a lower case number (a lower case Roman numeral).

The minor changes are not differences in die state. They are changes produced by minor but noticeable re-engraving of dies.

Let’s look at a few examples of how the new classification system is applied.

The 2-C and 3-C are consecutive varieties in the large planchet Pine Tree shilling subseries. The tree of the 2-C obverse was completely replaced to yield the new tree of the 3-C variety (note that the lettering is completely unchanged!). The significant alteration of the obverse die is indicated in the change in number from “2” to “3.” The reverse dies of these two varieties are the same, without any intentional change by the coiners, and both have the “C” reverse designation.

If changes in dies are minor, the primary die designations are simply modified. Minor changes in obverse dies are indicated by lower case letters. This is shown nicely by three consecutive varieties of Oak Tree sixpence: 2-B, 2a-B, and 2b-B. Each has the same reverse die (designated with a capital B), but differs slightly - though clearly - in their obverse dies. The 2-B has a defective and quite weak first S in MASATHVSETS. This flawed letter was re-engraved to give a blundered, backward first S of the 2a-B variety. This errant character, in turn, was recut to yield the forward-tilting first S of the 2b-B variety (the adjacent “A”s were also a bit modified in the process). These three varieties differ in the appearance of their respective first Ss, representing minor differences, yet quite distinctive changes of discrete varieties. The minor change at each step is indicated by the lower case letter of the obverse die designation. The classification captures the chronological progression in a very logical manner.

The Oak Tree twopence varieties are helpful in illustrating how subtle reverse die changes are accounted for and in showing the intrinsic flexibility of the Crosby model used in the new system. All Oak Tree twopence varieties derive from an original single pair of dies, with the reverse die being recut over time and the obverse die remaining stable. Two basic varieties are recognized in the new classification: 1-A (“small date” of “small 2” variety) and 1-B (“large date” or “large 2” variety). Some observers have recognized up to 13 varieties of Oak Tree twopence, but almost all are only variations in die states. Otherwise, reverse die cutting is seen, especially for the characters of the date (but not limited to this).

The simple listing of two varieties is consistent with the opinions of Hodder, Norman Stack, and others. If one wishes to designate subtle reverse die varieties - or if this is the consensus desire among specialists - then this can be easily accomplished within the new system: either by attaching a lower case Roman numeral or by mentioning die state . . . or some combination! All variants can thus be accounted for without difficulty. The system is flexible and accommodating.

The different denominations are listed and numbered separately and independently in the new system. This is a complete departure from previous classification systems and is critically important. It avoids the chronological inconsistencies seen in the Noe classifcation.

In both the Oak Tree and Pine Tree series, Noe lists the fractional subseries along with the shillings in a single sequence. The result: a single listing for all denominations, with order and numbering that do not reflect overall chronology.

For example, the earliest Pine Tree threepence was most likely produced around the same time as the earliest large planchet Pine Tree shilling, based on style and the beads adjacent to the tree trunk . . . but the shilling is called “Noe 1” and the threepence “Noe 34”!

In the new system the threepence is classified as the 1-A Pine Tree threepence, appropriately reflecting its chronological/stylistic relationships to the 1-A large planchet Pine Tree shilling and emphasizing its priority as the first of the Pine Tree threepence subseries.

Classifying all denominations of a series in a single list also makes the Noe classification extremely rigid and prevents proper inclusion of new varieties. This is exemplified by the “Noe 38” Pine Tree shilling. It was discovered by Vlack in 1967. He was unable to attribute it, but Picker recognized that it was a previously unknown marriage of two known dies, namely Crosby obverse die 22 (of the Noe 17 variety) and Crosby reverse die M (of the Noe 23 and 24 varieties).

Because of the rigid constraints of the Noe system, there was no way to list the new variety with the other small planchet Pine Tree shillings. It was therefore added all the way at the end of the Pine Tree listing . . . after all of the shillings, all of the sixpence, and all of the threepence. This was a striking, but unavoidable discontinuity in classification.

In the new system it is listed logically and properly with the other small planchet Pine Tree shillings - and in the same manner that it would be if it were discovered in 2013 . . . or if it had been known since Crosby’s time!

The new system, by its design, can easily accommodate new die combinations in a predictable manner, and in ways that the Noe system can’t. No special name to invent. No exceptions to the rules. No problem in placing similar coins together.

No discussion of separate listings for different subseries would be complete without addressing the two completely different types of Pine Tree shillings: the large planchet Pine Tree shillings and the small planchet Pine Tree shillings.  They differ quite significantly from one another and are listed separately in the new classifcation.

The small planchet Pine Tree pieces, struck on a screw press, differ markedly in appearance and mode of manufacture from the earlier large planchet Pine Tree coins, which arguably have far closer affinity to the Oak Tree coins, struck on larger and thinner flans with a rocker press. The small planchet Pine Tree shillings are the last subseries of Massachusetts silver coinage to be struck, and were produced uniquely with an advanced coining press. The screw press was state of the art coining technology for the late 17th century. They are clearly smaller in diameter than any of the earlier shillings, including those of the NE, Willow Tree, and Oak Tree series - as well as the large planchet Pine Tree shillings. They show no evidence of striking with the rocker press used to produce the earlier large planchet Pine Tree shillings and Oak Tree shillings.

Of incidental note: there are no minor die varieties in the small planchet Pine Tree shilling subseries. Also, it is the opinion of most researchers that the small planchet Pine Tree shillings were struck over a relatively short period, with many dies in use at a given time. As a result, it’s difficult to place the individual small planchet Pine Tree shilling varieties in strict chronological order, unlike the earlier subseries where this was achieved convincingly by previous workers.

We have included here Noe-Salmon concordance tables so that one can see the translation of familiar Noe die varieties to the new Salmon varieties.  Note CRO will be using both systems on all Massachusetts Silver coins in our inventory on this site going forward:

New England Shilling

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1-A 1-B
1-D 1-A
2-A 2-B
3-A 3-B
3-B 3-C
3-C

3-D


New England Sixpence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1-A 1-A
1-B 2-X

 

New England Threepence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1 1-A


Willow Tree Shilling

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1-A 1-A
2-A 2-A
2-B 2-B
3-C 3-C
3-D 3-D
3-E

3-E


Willow Tree Sixpence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1-A 1-A


Willow Tree Threepence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1-A 1-A


Oak Tree Shilling

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1.1  1-A
1  1-A
1.5  1-A
2  1-B
3  1-C
4  2-D
5  3-D
5.1  12-X
5.8  12-X
6.1.1  4-D
6.1  4-D
6  4-D
7  5-D
8  6-E
8.5  7-Ei
9  7-Ei
10  8-F
11  9-Fi
11.5  9-Fi
12  9a-Fii
12.5  9a-Fii
13 10-G
13.3  11-G
13.6  11-G
13.9  11-G
14  11a-Gi


Oak Tree Sixpence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
15  3-X
16  1-A
17.1  4-X
17  4-X
17.5  4-X
18  5-X
19  6-X
20  2-B
21  2a-B
21.5  2a-B
22.1  2b-B
22  2b-B


Oak Tree Threepence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
23  1-A
24  2-A
24.5  2-A
25  3-Ai
26  4-Ai
26.8  5-Ai
27.1.1  5-Ai
27.1  5-Ai
27  5-Aii
28  6-B
28.5  6-B
28.5.5  6-B
35  7-B


Oak Tree Twopence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
29 1-A
30 1-A
31 1-A
32 1-B
33 1-B
34 1-B


Pine Tree Shilling, Large Planchet

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
1 1-A
1.5 1a-B
2 2-C
3 3-C
4 4-D
4.2 4-D
4.5 4-D
5 4-Di
6.1  5-Di
6  5-Di
7  6-Dii
8  7-E
8.2  7-E
9 7a-Diii
10  8-Diii
11  9-F
11.5  9a-Fi
12  10-X


Pine Tree Sixpence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
32 1-A (Oak B)
33 2-B
33a 2*-B


Pine Tree Threepence

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
34 1-A
35 1-Ai
36 2-B
37 2a-B


Pine Tree Shilling, Small Planchet

Noe Variety      Salmon Variety
13  13-X
14  14-X
15  1-A
16  2-B
17  3-B
18  4-B
19  5-B
20  6-B
21  7-B
22  8-B
23  8-C
24  4-C
25  8-E
26  9-E
26.2  9-E
26.4  9-E
27  6-D
28  10-D
29  11-F
30  12-G
31  15-X
38  3-C
---  9-D


Chris' book, The Silver Coins of Massachusetts, is available through the American Numismatic Society website, and ANS members will receive a 30% discount on their order. 

Note also Chris and CRO are always interested to talk about Massachusetts Silver Coinage - you can reach Chris at rockerpress@gmail.com, and you know where to find us!

Coin Commentary Archive

September 20, 2017: Stream of Coin-sciousness

As our regular visitors have by now noticed, we’ve made the move from the sliiiightly cumbersome Coin Rarities Online to the streamlined CRO on the site...

August 31, 2017: August by the Numbers

If this is the last day of August it must be time to recap the month numerically starting right now: Just one:  Shows we attended this month – the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Denver...

June 1, 2017: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Ah yes, June, the official start of meteorilogical summer and an inevitable slow down in the coin business...

April 30, 2017: April by the Numbers

Great news everyone, it is time to recap the month of April numerically: 4 and a Half: Coin shows attended (one was a wrap-around that started in March)...

March 26, 2017: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Ah yes, April, a generally pleasant month for most people, but always, A-L-W-A-Y-S (for reasons we cannot explain) the most jam-packed month imaginable on the CRO numismatic calendar...

December 31, 2016: The Year In Review

As we rocket toward the end of another epic year here at CRO it is time once again for us to encapsulate, summarize and compress 12 frenetic months of numismatic activity into one profusely illustrated TYIR article...

November 11, 2016: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Inventory update: We’ve arrived at our intended steady-state website offering of about 200 coins (give or take), in the process beefing up a few areas where we’ve wanted to maintain a more robust assortment, namely Fugio Coppers and gold coins which circulated in early America...

July 31, 2016: July by the Numbers

With just a few days before we head out to the ANA in Anaheim, we’ve just enough time to numerically recap an especially hot month here at CRO starting right now: 26: New people who signed up for the Early Bird this month...

May 6, 2016: Stream of Coin-sciousness

You may notice some new social media logos and links popping up all over the site over the next few weeks/months as we leap boldly into the 21st century (or at least the part of it where people spend hours a day on Facebook, and post cool stuff on Pinterest)...

March 30, 2016: First Quarter Colonial Auction Recap

Editor's Note: A slightly modified version of the following article appeared in the Colonial Coin Collector's Club (C4) Newsletter, but since not all of our website visitors are C4 members, we thought we'd go ahead and post it here for your reading pleasure...

January 23, 2016: Stream of Coin-sciousness

While winter has descended upon us in earnest this month, it has not slowed down the activity level at CRO, with orders coming in at a pretty steady clip, and new coins arriving every day from literally all over the map...

December 31, 2015: The Year in Review

Celebratory trumpets blare forth, it is time to once again revel in another excellent CRO year which started waaaay back in early January in Orlando and finished here in the office 6 minutes ago when we received what is presumably the last order of 2015...

October 31, 2015: October by the Numbers

As we remove our thick, pancake Halloween makeup and neatly fold and put away our usual B. Max Mehl costume, it is time for another installment of CRO’s ‘By the Numbers’ in which we highlight a month numerically starting right now: 0: Coin shows attended in October...

March 30, 2015: CRO's View of the Kendall Foundation Collection

For the second time in just two months, we are delighted to find ourselves in the position of recapping another major colonial-centric auction containing another, ho hum, half dozen New England Shillings...

February 6, 2015: CRO's View of the Donald Partrick Collection, Part I

Forthwith we are pleased to present our usual CRO-style review of the Donald G. Partrick Collection, Part I, which was auctioned by Heritage at the FUN Show this year...

January 1, 2015: CRO's Numismatic New Year's Resolutions

After considerable thought, here's what we've come up with: Develop a better system to track global numismatic auctions this year so we don't miss anything good...

December 31, 2014: The Year in Review

As we stride confidently toward the end of another exciting year here at CRO it is time for us to pause briefly, reflect on the past year and then unleash some of the notable events here in our annual TYIR article...

November 16, 2014: CRO's View of the Eric Newman Collection, Part V

As a continuation of our May 17th Commentary on the Eric Newman colonial auction Part IV, we are pleased to add our thoughts on the recently concluded colonial auction Part V just held in New York...

August 31st, 2014: August by the Numbers

Right before the exciting start of another school year here in New England, it is, yes, time for another installment of CRO’s ‘August by the Numbers’ in which we highlight the month numerically starting right now: Only one: Shows attended this month, though of course it was the Big Kahuna, the Grand Daddy of Them All, the World’s Fair of Money held in, once again, Rosemont, IL...

May 17, 2014: CRO's View of the Eric Newman Collection, Part IV

We recently had the distinct pleasure of attending the sale of the Eric Newman Collection, Part IV (the colonials!), in New York...

April 16, 2014: The Numismatic Fall from Grace

Numismatic Fall from Grace: n(y)o͞oməzˈmatik fôl frəm grās.  noun phrase...

December 30, 2013: The Year in Review

With mere hours to go before the start of 2014, it is once again time to pause, take a deep, cleansing breath and reflect on the always interesting, occasionally exceptional, sometimes record setting, unfortunately unappetizing, deeply heartening and often entertaining things that happened to us in 2013...

November 18, 2013: CRO's View of the Eric Newman Collection, Part II

As our loyal readers have almost certainly heard, seen and experienced by now, last week a significant numismatic event took place in New York in the form of installment 2 of the Eric P...

October 21, 2013: Stream of Coin-sciousness

In the midst of what has to be the most pleasant New England fall weather I’ve ever experienced (unlike some previous years when we were already shoveling snow by this date), business has continued nicely, with steady sales and more than our fair share of interesting NEWPs...

July 21, 2013: Stream of Coin-sciousness

After an action packed early summer which has taken us from Long Beach to Mexico to Kentucky to Edinburgh, Scotland, we are pleased to be back just in time to write this looong overdue installment of the CC...

March 31, 2013: CRO's 'March by the Numbers'

With a mini-lull between tax time and our next show, we have taken the opportunity to crank out another exciting edition of CRO's 'By the Numbers' in which we highlight a month numerically starting right now: Just one: Shows attended this month, though it was that real big one in Baltimore...

January 23, 2013: Stack's-Bowers Americana Colonial Auction Recap

Aaah yes, when the numismatic calendar turns to late January, it can only mean one thing: It’s time for another fantastic Stack’s-Bowers Americana auction held, as always, on fabulous 57th Street in Manhattan...

December 28, 2012: The Year in Review

Let’s see, with 2012 winding down and another fantastic FUN show just about to begin it must be time for another edition of The Year in Review – you know, the all-encompassing piece where we highlight the most memorable (though not necessarily good) things that happened to us in the past year...

November 3, 2012: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Time to take a deep, relaxing breath here at CRO World Headquarters as we head into what will be, without any doubt whatsoever, the busiest November in our super-illustrious history...

September 15, 2012: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Well, it’s been about 6 weeks since the birth of the “new” CRO, which I hope most observers / collectors / dealers and visitors to the website have concluded looks very much like the “old” CRO...

July 30, 2012: Ch-ch-ch-changes

Note that today’s Coin Commentary is presented in CRO’s familiar Point-Counterpoint format with JA’s comments in blue and DW’s in red...

May 19, 2012: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Today was an exciting day at CRO (at least by coin-geek standards), as Dave received our grades back on a recent submission and informed me that they included an unc...

April 26, 2012: The Salmon Classification System for Massachusetts Silver Coins

We are pleased to present this discussion and explanation of the new Salmon classification system for Massachusetts Silver Coins written by Dr...

March 1, 2012: Rosen Numismatic Advisory Crystal Ball Survey, Part 2

As promised, and like clockwork, we are herewith pleased to present the 35th Annual Rosen Numismatic Advisory Crystal Ball Survey, Part 2 for your reading pleasure...

February 1, 2012: Rosen Numismatic Advisory Crystal Ball Survey, Part I

We are herewith pleased to present the 35th Annual Rosen Numismatic Advisory Crystal Ball Survey, Part I, a forward-looking questionnaire sent to a group of numismatic industry heavyweights including John Albanese, founder of Collector's Acceptance Corporation (CAC), William Paul of American Heritage Minting, Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics, Scott Travers of Scott Travers Numismatics, Doug Winter of Doug Winter Numismatics and our own Dave Wnuck...

December 29, 2011: The Year in Review

If this is the end of December, it must once again be time for an epic installment of TYIR (even though it feels like we just finished writing the 2010 version)...

December 12, 2011: Stream of Coin-sciousness

While the weather here in New England has been surprisingly mild of late, business has been anything but...

September 23, 2011: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Now that we have a few week lull between shows in Pennsylvania, it seems an excellent time to address the following question:  Why do we have two shows in a row in Pennsylvania?  To which the answer is of course:  We have no idea...

August 7, 2011: What is that Red and White Square on Your Home Page?

E. M. of Farmington, MI emailed recently to ask what that red and white square symbol on our home page means...

May 23, 2011: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Ah yes, there is nothing like traveling all over this great land to attend coin shows. But as much as we really enjoy them, there are occasional instances (such as during a 6 hour flight to Portland next to a screaming child) that we wish we could hang out at home more often...

March 31, 2011: First Quarter Colonial Auction Recap

The following article by our own John Agre appeared in the Colonial Coin Collector's Club (C4) Newsletter, but since not all of our website visitors are C4 members, we thought we'd go ahead and post it here for your reading pleasure (though with the addition of a bunch of no-holds-barred editorial comments that we reserved for this site): It’s been a pretty interesting first three months of the year in the world of colonial coin auctions, with significant offerings from Stack’s and Heritage, an interesting piece or two at Bowers and Merena, and an assortment of coins on Ebay ranging from the fairly typical (i...

March 2, 2011: In Memory of My Friend Steve Tanenbaum

I am in shock. My longtime friend, token and medal dealer extraordinaire Steve Tanenbaum, is no longer with us...

January 21, 2011: Stream of Coin-sciousness

Sales continue to be robust around here, which is delightful, except for the part about battling yet another impressive (or impressively disgusting) New England snow storm in order to ship out the latest round of boxes...

December 27, 2010: The Year in Review

And this one really flew by, as it seems like just yesterday we were at the FUN Show back in January of this year laughing at the valet parking attendant dressed like Nanook of the North in 30 degree weather...

November 12, 2010: CRO Goes Hollywood, Part Deux!

That’s right – it is time once again for a recap of my experience as an “Expert Appraiser” (please – hold your applause) on Connecticut Public Television’s Connecticut Treasure Appraisal Fair! Which this year was conveniently scheduled on the Sunday right after the Whitman Show in Baltimore, affording me the excellent opportunity to race home completely exhausted after a busy week, wake up very early the next day, get all gussied up for a possible TV appearance and then zoom to the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena for the scheduled 7 AM start...

August 31, 2010: CRO's 'August by the Numbers'

Good news everyone - it’s time once again for our annual 'August by the Numbers' commentary in which we summarize our business in the 8th month numerically...

June 11, 2010: The Find

Another Original Work of Numismatic Non-Fiction by Dave Wnuck So I’m sitting in the CRO offices one day a couple of weeks ago when the phone rings...

March 15, 2010: Corrections to the Whitman Encyclopedia

As our readers may remember, it was almost exactly one year ago when we wrote a Coin Commentary containing a review of Whitman's then-new Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins...

December 31, 2009: The Year in Review

In the most vivid illustration yet that ‘Time Flies’, we have now reached the end of 2009, our 4th full year together as CRO and, by any objective (or subjective) measure, the best one yet...

November 25, 2009: So you want to be a cataloger, eh?

Well, so did we, which may explain why team CRO is listed in this year’s C4 (Colonial Coin Collectors Club) catalog under the “Cataloging by ...

November 9, 2009: CRO Goes Hollywood!

Well, sort of. I was selected once again to be the official Coin & Currency appraiser for CPTV's Connecticut Treasure Hunt Appraisal Fair, an annual event held this year on November 8th...

September 27th, 2009: We Have a Winner(s)!

We say 'winner(s)' because there are two.  In the first annual CRO "What Does the 'L' Counterstamp Stand for on the 1825 Quarter?" contest, that is...

August 31, 2009: CRO's 'August by the Numbers'

Just 1:  Coin shows we attended. 44:  CRO checks written there. 4 Big Boxes:  Quantity of NEWPs sent out for photography from the show...

July 11, 2009: The Mentor-ist

More Numismatic Non-Fiction By Dave Wnuck Have you ever heard someone described as a ‘natural’ in numismatics?  I have – usually referring to a person who seems to have an intuitive gift for grading, or for coming up with great coins, or for finding ready buyers, etc...

May 21, 2009: Book Review, Part II

In our last Coin Commentary (gee, time sure does fly around here) we reprinted a review of the new Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins by Wayne Homren...

March 25, 2009: Book Review

Recently Wayne Homren, Editor of the fantastic and highly recommended E-sylum (which, in their own words, is described as "a weekly electronic newsletter published by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society for numismatic bibliophiles, researchers, and just plain numismatists around the world"), wrote a review of the new Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins...

March 5, 2009: So you're going to a coin show, eh?

Some time ago a client of ours recommended that we write a Coin Commentary for collectors attending a first show...

February 18, 2009: Notable Numismatic Quotables, Part I

Over the years we've heard and read a number of interesting and thought provoking numismatic quotes from a variety of sources (actually, we've come up with a few on our own, too)...

December 27, 2008: The Year in Review

It's time once again for Dave and me to reflect back on another year of traveling to coin shows and auctions, meeting a lot of nice people, buying and selling cool coins, visiting new cities, using just under 2 miles of packing tape, waiting for hours at various airport baggage carousels, filling out grading forms, etc...

Thanksgiving, 2008: Thank you

Thank you. Thank you to our loyal customers who make it possible for Dave and me to travel around the country going to coin shows and auctions instead of commuting to work at some company that makes widgets and serves as the inspiration for the comic strip 'Dilbert'...

October 1, 2008: Coin Collecting in an Uncertain World

As usual, we're going to tell it like it is in our Coin Commentary. You see, we actually have a number of incredibly clever new topics lined up and ready to go for this section of the site (based on lots of good suggestions by many of our regular visitors), but frankly it seemed odd to post some of them at this point...

July 23, 2008: On CAC

As some of you have already noticed, a number of coins in our current inventory are now identified as having CAC stickers...

July 14, 2008: What are Your Choices for the 100 Greatest US Coins?

That was the question posed to me recently by the good folks at Whitman Publishing. It seems they are hard at work on the shiny new 3rd Edition of their extremely popular coffee table book, The 100 Greatest US Coins, and so they have asked me and a group of other (and I quote) "dealers, collectors, researchers, historians and others connected to the field" to vote on the list...

May 19, 2008: My Love Affair with a Fat, Old Woman

An Original Work of Numismatic Non-Fiction by Dave Wnuck. Shhhhh. Don't tell my wife, but I'm in love with another woman...

March 31, 2008: An Ode to . . . John Agre(?) by Dave Wnuck

This Coin Commentary may sound nakedly self-promotional, but I'd like to tell the folks out there a little about my business partner and the half owner of Coin Rarities Online, John Agre...

February 9, 2008: Colonial Coin Collecting Q & A, Part 2

Waaaaaay back in August of 2006 we wrote part 1 of this Q & A with every intention of adding Part 2 eventually...

December 26, 2007: The Year in Review

As another exciting numismatic year winds to a close, it is appropriate that we look back and reflect on the new friends we made, the coins we bought and sold, the fun we had, the memorable meals we enjoyed, the wonderful grades we received, the bad bus rides we took and the myriad other events which, in total, conspired to make this the finest and most enjoyable year ever in the history of CRO, ever...

November 15, 2007: How Come the Coins Went so Cheap?

I got an email from a customer the other day who had been watching the Stack's 'Amherst & Waccubuc' catalog colonial session online and seeing (with a handful of notable exceptions) very low prices or coins not meeting reserve...

November 2, 2007: Ten Coins we Could Buy and Sell Ten Times

This idea for a Coin Commentary was submitted by one of our customers, and I liked the idea so much that I just started flailing away on the keyboard immediately...

September 10, 2007: So How's the Coin Market? (Parts 1 & 2)

That's a question dealers (including us) hear all of the time from customers. And while responses to this question may vary wildly depending on who you ask, this is our Coin Commentary and here you will get the 'CRO View' (which happens to be pretty well researched)...

July 31, 2007: How Can You Avoid Buying Doctored Coins?

We recently received an email from a collector who was dismayed by the number of doctored, conserved and enhanced coins in TPG holders in the marketplace...

July 4, 2007: Life is Too Short to Buy Ugly Coins

At the recent Baltimore show, I spent a fair amount of time walking the floor perusing the gazillion dealer tables looking for nice coins to buy...

May 27, 2007: The Right Stuff

Is what I saw during a recent visit to view a customer's collection. He graciously invited me to travel to meet him and view his coins, and, of course, I enthusiastically accepted...

April 14, 2007: What should you do with a sub-par coin?

Let's say you have a coin in your collection that really isn't up to snuff. And I don't mean one that is too low grade, or not expensive enough...

March 16, 2007: Why are we talking about trains?

That's an excellent question - thank you for asking. Actually, the answer is quite simple. One of the most informative and important articles I've ever read about coin collecting actually wasn't about coins at all...

Michael Kent Ringo: 05/28/54 - 01/28/07

We lost a good friend and numismatic colleague this week with the passing of Mike Ringo. Most coin collectors and dealers may have never heard of Mike...

January 18, 2007: Should Coins be Purchased as an Investment?

You're in for a treat today, especially since Dave and I totally disagree on this topic. Which means this will be our first Point-Counterpoint Coin Commentary, almost certain to be filled with polite disagreement possibly culminating in pure, unbridled acrimony with computer YELLING in all caps...

December 1, 2006: How NOT to Buy Coins at Auction

We felt compelled to write this week’s Coin Commentary as a sort of numismatic public service announcement after watching all kinds of people buy all kinds of coins at auction over the last couple of decades...

October 10, 2006: Dave Speaks About the Market

Interesting times in the coin market. After an almost unprecedented multi-year run-up in demand, prices and euphoria, we are seeing some changes...

August 30, 2006: Colonial Coin Collecting Q & A, Part 1

An increasing portion of our business is in colonial coins, and so we thought it was about time for us to speak up...

July 18, 2006: One Vote for the 'Box-of-20' Concept

We have been around coins for a long, long time, and we've seen people collect coins of all different kinds in all different ways, from type sets to die varieties to date and mint runs in all series to the odd...

June 9, 2006: Once sold, what item(s) in your inventory will be hardest to replace?

Someone asked us this on the phone today and we thought it was an interesting, thought provoking question...

May 26, 2006: So how much of a premium above sheet levels would you pay for a choice original coin?

Lots of people say they want them. That they value originality. That they hate to see original coins stripped and dipped and ruined...

May 6, 2006: What makes a good client?

Someone asked us this at a recent show and, as is our want, we like to answer particularly interesting or provacative questions right here on the ol' website...

April 16, 2006: Top 10 things we would change about coin slabbing

In no particular order: All slabbed coins would be photographed by the services and would thus be traceable, and it would therefore be impossible to crack out and resubmit a coin and receive a higher grade than the one originally conferred...

April 4, 2006: Do you guys BUY coins for these prices?????

A gentleman came to our table at the Baltimore show a couple of weeks ago, looked in the case for a while, admired a couple of coins, asked a few prices and then with a slightly pained and sarcastic scowl asked me what was apparently intended to be a stinging question: Do you guys buy coins for these prices? The implication of this question was, of course, that our prices are high...

March 19, 2006: Will the last original coin to leave please turn out the lights?

Heres an experiment for you: Go to view lots at a typical major auction. Look through every box of every series and jot down how many original, uncorrupted coins you find...

March 5, 2006: Thoughts on Coin Grading, Part 1

We thought we'd tackle a not-controversial, simple and easy topic like 'coin grading' this week. We’ll start with how we, as dealers, grade and assess a coin: Whether it is in an auction, in another dealer’s case, raw or slabbed, we evaluate a coin by studying it carefully and determining, regardless of the level of wear in evidence, whether we like it or not...

January 15, 2006: Why should I buy from a dealer?

In our experience, this question is typically followed by a statement that goes something like this: "I can just buy from auctions myself, so I really don't need to pay a dealer...

December 26, 2005: The Big Picture

As we’ve had a few days to relax, enjoy the holidays and spend some time with our families, we’ve had a little time to step back and reflect on the year...

 


All Content is Copyright © 2006-2017 Coin Rarities Online, LLC. All rights reserved.
Top Seller Website Software is Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006 Identry, LLC. All rights reserved.