Last week, I mentioned that investors and many other gullible
people pay sharp premiums for gem Mint State and Proof 68 to 70 modern
coins that are certified, perhaps thinking they are rare.
The secret is just, on your own, to select superb gems – which the
vast majority of modern Proofs and commemoratives sold by the U.S.
Mint are. If you want a rarity, try to find some at “only” the MS-65
or Proof 65 level!
I also left you with the thought that 1917 to 1930 Standing
Liberty, Mailed Breast quarter dollars that are certified as “full
head” usually have nearly full heads, but with some weakness, and, as
likely as not, have some of the rivets in the lower left part of the
shield weak or missing.
Neither I nor several leading experts I consulted have ever seen
such a quarter with “full details” (sharp everything).
To be a smart buyer, you should look at the entire quarter dollar.
Think twice about paying a premium for a “full head” quarter dollar
that is weak, sometimes very weak, elsewhere.
John Albanese’s Certified Acceptance Corp., with its “green bean”
stickers indicating that within a given grade a Professional Coin
Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corp. graded coin has good eye
appeal, has had dynamic market acceptance.
Here is another idea for the innovative John Albanese and CAC:
Issue a “royal purple bean” if a coin has “full details.” Right now,
“full head” doesn’t mean much. Can you imagine the sensation if a
“full details” Standing Liberty, Mailed Breast quarter dollar were found?
Now, with 11 grades between 60 and 70, and with plus signs, stars,
etc., sometimes added to slabs, not to forget CAC “green beans,” there
are dozens of grades to consider. “Help me!” you might plead.
A logical thing to do would be to pick a CAC coin, as this means
that CAC graders believe it is nice, then on your own ask yourself,
“Is it pretty?” “Do I have to say ‘but’ when describing it?” If a coin
passes these simple tests, you probably have one of the finest of its kind.
Now, on your own check for “full details.” Check the head, the
shield, the center of the torso, and the date, then turn the coin over
and check the reverse.
Find one as sharp as you can, even if not completely full details.
Go beyond the label and be a cherrypicker! See my two illustrations as examples.
Q. David Bowers is chairman of the board of Stack’s and numismatic
director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached at his private
or at Q. David Bowers, LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.