From the Coin Commentary Archive

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.

And it was extreeeemely busy in between, as we bought, sold, traded, graded, photographed, lost (and then found), schlepped, stacked, displayed and twirled a typically diverse selection of exceptional numismatic items at shows all over the country, bid in over 200 large and small auctions, handled a slew of finest known coins and a slew and a half of highest graded coins (many of which had been off the market for decades), graded 2,233 coins, had 396 new people click on the gold Early Bird button on our home page and add their name to our mailing list and, overall, enjoyed another stellar year in numismatics from which we can extricate the following highlights:

Coolest Coin Handled
In a year in which we were pleased to offer the finest known 1796 Myddelton Token in Silver and many other condition census colonial coins (many pedigreed to the Norweb, Garrett, Eliasberg and other notable collections), beautifully toned U.S. type, way more than our fair share of gold stickered gold coins, and myriad magnificent world coins, we’re going to have to go with this exquisite, über-gem, gold-stickered 1837 No Stars Dime:

Housed in one of about 20 surviving ca. late 1987 original NGC black slabs (with the label on the back, which explains why the coin inside appears to be upside down and backward in the photo below) and notable as, in our view, the single most desirable coin in any of these holders.

But while that was the coolest coin, it was not the most popular, that honor goes to this recent 1921 Peace Dollar graded MS64 by PCGS and verified by CAC which was ordered by (as of yesterday) 20 people – a new record for any coin ever to appear on our site:

Alas (and as we always say), every CRO item was one of a kind in our inventory in 2015, and was sold on a first come, first served basis.

Positively Most Positive Trend
This year we observed a noticeable uptick in sales (not restricted to any one category) to younger collectors, a most encouraging development in our view and one which gives us considerable optimism for future years.

The Drinking from a Fire Hose Award
What if two collectors – let’s call them Mr. Partrick and Mr. Kendall - painstakingly assembled world class collections of Massachusetts silver coins over a period of 5 decades or so, sifting through the best of what could be acquired during that time, outbidding lots of other serious collectors (including, frequently, each other) in countless auctions in the US and Europe, and then both collections were suddenly sold at the same time?

Well I have great news for you – we do not need to hypothesize about this since this little case study is what actually happened with the Partrick and Kendall sales in the first quarter of 2015. The result? An inevitable and incredible glut which most notably saw a flood of 12 New England Shillings on the market in a few short months and the price of same dropping to, in some cases, ~50% of recent levels:
 


The 2015 Numismatic King Tut’s Tomb Award
With this year’s clear winner the 1995 American Eagle set in neatly matching PCGS oversized Regency slabs:

Why? Well, in a series of transactions which would have made George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert proud, this set was offered by us twice this year a few months apart, ordered by two different enthusiastic long-time CRO customers, both on layaway, who both then proceeded to vanish never to be heard from again. The only time that has ever happened with any item ever ordered from CRO, and on this item it was 2x:

Still no idea what happened there, hope everyone is OK.

Land of the Lost Dinner Award
As has been well documented on this site, your author and many of his coin cronies enjoy trying new restaurants while on the road at shows, often relying on local experts for recommendations in unfamiliar cities.

Such as in Portland, OR in March, when one epic epicurean suggested an elegant seafood restaurant called Roe. And while the name and address is about all you need in most cities, that would not be the case here. Since it turned out that the aforementioned Roe is actually hidden inside the seemingly unrelated casual joint seen here:

You just have to look for the signs which do not exist, wander through this restaurant, down a hallway, past the guy in the baseball hat at the bar, through that non-descript green curtain and stumble into it.

Also not labeled: The men’s room door there (though we do not know why that would surprise anyone).

Good food though.

Best Anti-Cherry Pick
In the numismatic world, the term to Cherry Pick generally refers to the search for a rare die variety being offered unattributed in an auction or dealer inventory, which can then be swiftly acquired for ‘type coin’ money, and which then represents a wicked windfall for the buyer.

So then an Anti-Cherry Pick would be when your author deftly buys a rare die variety without even knowing it and then, oh, I don’t know, sells that coin for type coin money on an Early Bird Notification or something.  Like this superb, original 1876 Trade $1 which we listed in August as just a lovely example for type:

Of course, it turned out to be an extremely rare and valuable Type II / II variety, as characterized by the 4 fingers on Miss Liberty’s outstretched hand and the ribbon ends pointing downwards on the obverse, and the missing berry under the Eagle’s claw on the reverse (as explained to us by the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th people to order it that day).

Oh well, I’m pretty sure we won’t make that mistake again.

Most Underwhelming Overlap
Given the state of the numismatic market in 2015, with a relatively limited number of major shows that are attended by all of us on the national circuit, it is inexplicable that two of them – namely the FUN Show and the New York International in January - are scheduled to occur at the exact same time:

Now, I don’t know how many people would attend both if they could, but we certainly would have in 2015, all years before that, and all years going forward and we have to believe both shows (and the myriad surrounding auctions) would greatly benefit from not directly competing with one another.

So let’s all hope that one day scheduling logic will prevail.

The Coin We Wished We’d Kept
After reviewing everything, our conclusion was that it would have been this incredible 1724 Hibernia ‘Trident’ pattern, by far and away the finest known example of an incredibly rare issue with a totally cool design and bearing the impressive Norweb provenance:

Alas, that sale and all others added up to another wonderful year at CRO for which we thank our friends, colleagues and, of course, our loyal customers without whom none of this would be possible.

All the best in 2016!

John & MaryAnn

 

Coin Commentary Archive

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April 30, 2017: April by the Numbers

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December 31, 2016: The Year In Review

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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

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March 30, 2016: First Quarter Colonial Auction Recap

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January 23, 2016: Stream of Coin-sciousness

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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

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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

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

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August 31st, 2014: August by the Numbers

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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

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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

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July 21, 2013: Stream of Coin-sciousness

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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

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September 15, 2012: Stream of Coin-sciousness

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

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May 19, 2012: Stream of Coin-sciousness

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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

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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

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December 27, 2010: The Year in Review

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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

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March 15, 2010: Corrections to the Whitman Encyclopedia

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December 31, 2009: The Year in Review

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

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November 9, 2009: CRO Goes Hollywood!

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

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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

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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

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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

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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...

 


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