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Welcome to the Tarnished Truth, your newsletter. There are coins that regardless of rarity or value catch our eye because they are exceptional in some way, be it strike, or luster or overall balance. These are the coins we should put away. Even if it is a year 2000 Jefferson nickel with a true value of only five cents if it is exceptional now, then it will be exceptional when all its brothers are worn and the ability to find such a piece is long gone. Rare is in the eye of the beholder. Accepting only the best may slow down your accumulation of a collection but it sure will give you a collection that you can be really proud of. Never hurts to be known as fussy in this hobby.
Ray D Larson
by G.D. Prather
By Bill Fivaz
Presented by Mark Watson
|During the ANA Summer Seminar, I took a two-evening short course from Bill
Fivaz, one of the greatest numismatists of our time. The course focused on
grading Buffalo Nickels, Mercury Dimes, Walking Liberty Halves, and Morgan
dollars - arguably four of the more collected U.S. series. As part of the
course handouts, Bill had put together a series of five articles - an
overall introduction to grading followed by four articles on each series.
He also gave permission for anyone to copy and distribute the articles as
the more collectors get educated, the more fun they will have in the hobby.
Here is the second article.
[Caption to photo: Martin (front left), having removed glasses to examine some highly interesting item more closely, completely fails to notice line-up for photo behind him. Among the assembled luminaries are authors Bill Lampard (standing, left), Alistair Robb (standing, right) and Alan Sadd (seated, right).]
Martin Purdy (UK 1965)
Readers may have noticed the line in my e-mail signature block that says "Translation from Western European Languages / Coins Bought and Sold". Some have pointed out that the combination is about as logical as advertising one's services as a plumber and a dentist but, as I hope to show, the link between words and coins has been very close in my case, and coins have played a key role in my "day job" as well as most other aspects of my life.
I spent my first few years in Britain in the late 1960s, which I didn't realise at the time were the last years of the traditional coinage system prior to decimalisation, which officially happened in February 1971, a few months after my family emigrated to New Zealand. At that time, a handful of change was likely to include pennies and halfpennies dating back to 1860, and sixpences and shillings as old as 1816 were theoretically possible, though not common.
The coins I saw most as a small child were the pennies and halfpennies, and I spent what must have been hours laying out all the different types that I had on the carpet - "Bun" and Old Head pennies of Queen Victoria, as well as Edward VII, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II, and marvelling at the strings of Latin abbreviations that these huge (1¼ and 1 inch) coins carried around the portraits: EDWARDVS VII DEI: GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP: and so on. (You can probably start to see where the love of foreign words came from …)
Meanwhile, unbeknown to me, a couple of elderly aunts (goodness, they must have been in their 50s at the time!) had put aside a couple of commemorative coins for the new boy in the family - a 1951 Festival of Britain Crown (that required about 14 years' anticipation, mind you) and the 1965 Churchill Crown, a slightly more contemporary piece, as I saw the light of day for the first time in that year. The 1951 coin came in a cardboard box - I can still smell the slightly musty scent of the card even now - with a little paper insert explaining the Latin legend around the edge of the coin: MDCCCLI CIVIUM INDUSTRIA FLORET CIVITAS MCMLI - "1851, by the industry of its people the State flourishes 1951". More Latin to commit to memory, as it turned out. By this time, my family had moved to New Zealand, and had learned to cope with 100 cents in the dollar instead of 240 pence in the pound. I had a little bag of British small change as giveaways for friends, the leftovers of which eventually formed the nucleus of my childhood collection, which I started in about 1973. Cheap foreign coins bought in packets at the local supermarket, plus trades with friends, rapidly swelled the number of coins in my jar - I still had a lot to learn about storage - and the wide range of foreign countries represented meant lots more than just a few Latin abbreviations to try to make sense of. Over the next few years I spent ages at the local library, copying out tables of foreign numerals and alphabets as I learned to read first the dates and denominations, and then whatever else I could, of these strange and wonderful bits of metal. I'm quite happy to admit that I made a complete mess of most of my early attempts at transliterating the legends on the first Arabic pieces that came my way - wartime and 1960s Syrian coins - but the foundation was there for a lifetime of enjoyment to be had in learning to understand how other nations communicated. I still can't let a Japanese coin go by without mentally converting the date to an A.D. value. By the time I left university in 1985 I must have had close to 5000 world coins in a number of plastic albums.
Study took me overseas for a while after that - first to Japan and then France. The coins, of course, stayed at home, and I started buying up new material abroad, first filling in many of the gaps in my Japanese type set and getting my first ancient Chinese coins, then, surprisingly enough, doing the same with the modern French series. Home again in 1988 saw me in my first job, and membership in the two local numismatic societies, the Wellington Coin Club and the Royal Numismatic Society of NZ. I had joined the Manawatu Numismatic Society while at university and made a number of friends there with whom I'm still in contact. Those few years got me used to club membership as well as new opportunities for buying and selling, and by the time I had a regular income it was natural that I should start improving on the material that I had acquired in my earlier "vacuum cleaner" approach. I remember writing a letter to a NZ dealer in about 1990, in which I listed my areas of specialisation. When the list reached about fifteen separate topics, I realised that something had to change, and fast. Since then I've concentrated - well, almost - on improving my British collection and obtaining what I can from the fascinating series of Scottish coins that came to an end in 1706. The Japanese, Chinese and French pieces are still there, along with a few ancients for good measure, but very little has been added to them in the past ten years. The rest, for better or worse, became stock, and has slowly been whittled away in trades or sales since then. Of course, as a part-time dealer, I've been buying collections too, so the net total of bits of metal has probably not changed all that much, just a new range of material to enjoy during its brief stay. Club membership has also given me a few responsibilities, as I served as President of the WCC from 1989 to 1994 and Secretary of the RNSNZ from 1990 to 1997. I've been a Council member of both organisations since about 1989, the Newsletter editor of the RNSNZ since about 1995 and the co-editor of its Journal since the mid-1990s, as well as running the websites for the two organisations.
And the day job? I landed a civil service job involving some language work when I first got back to New Zealand, which provided some good on-the-job training and built on what I had learned first from coins, then later from school and university studies. That was traded after a few years for a full-time position at a translation company, which provided more excellent training, this time in the private sector. Finally, in early 1998 it was time to go it alone, so I set up as a freelance translator and coin dealer, almost completing the circle.
I now happily work from home with my wife Rita, whom I met in 1996 on a car rally - another hobby, but that's another story entirely - and our two children Emma, now 3½, and Adam, 14 months. In Rita's words, I was and probably still am a "scrap metal merchant", with my boxes and albums of coins on the one hand, and a ton and a half of the British car that I was driving when we met on the other. There might be a future job title in there somewhere yet …
There is an 1804 silver dollar minted on top of another coin. What coin was it minted over ?|
Byline Josh Moran
The 1804 Dollar Class III ("Restrike")
|One of the famous rarities that will always be sought after as well as controversial. There are 15 known specimens. There are three groups--the so-called "originals" and "restrikes," with the latter sometimes being divided into two "classes." Truthfully the coins are neither restrikes or originals, since they are essentially fantasies minted well after the coins date, in 1834/35 and then
again in 1857/58 with a different reverse die, and again in the 1860's and 1870's with the edge lettering added after the coins were struck
When I started collecting coins the coin information books at the time routinely listed pattern coins as both collectable and desirable. Now they are hardly ever mentioned even in the hobby press. True when they come up on the auction block they usually go for many many dollars but if an entirely new collecting generation knows very little or nothing about them is not their great history lost? Maybe these coins, some even unique are well beyond the average collector, but then again we know of the 1804 silver dollar and the 1913 Liberty nickel and they are well past almost all pocketbooks. The knowledge of these coins and their history however is affordable for us all.
Sample Listing: ***(From 1944 Standard Catalogue of United States Coins)***
1. 1794 Silver Pattern dollar type of regular issue, without stars. Copper. Unique.
The answer is: The coin was struck on an 1857 Shooting thaler of Bern, Switzerland, with the edge left unlettered.|
by Robert Peterson
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