US Coins

Guest Commentary: 2013 - coin year in review: the highs, lows and the odd

Here is my take on the year in review.

? Bugged by gold — Gold closed at $1,208, a 28 percent decline.

? And silver was worse — Silver closed at $19.54, a 36 percent decline.

? Best find #1 — Jeff Garrett discovers 100 “special strike” coins, similar to Specimen coins, 1950 through 1979, in the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection. Perhaps if the Smithsonian actually displayed some of the National Numismatic Collection, this discovery might have been made much earlier.

? Best find #2 — Newcomb 5 1825 Coronet cent found in Good, the fourth known.

? Best find #3 — John Reich 1 1802 Draped Bust dime found, the second known.

? Best find #4 — N-7 1834 Coronet cent found, the ninth known.

? Best find #5 — Sheldon 15 1793 Liberty Cap cent found, the 13th known.

? Best find #6 — NC-11 1794 Liberty Cap cent found, the third known.

? Best find #7 — Overton 108 1806 Draped Bust half dollar (Knob 6, No Stem Through Claw), the seventh known.

? Don’t spend it yet — PayPal accidentally credits a customer with $92 quadrillion. Even more money than Bill Gates has!

? Newest error — A new medal from the Vatican misspelled “Jesus.” The medals were withdrawn and those that were sold have skyrocketed in value. (One of the easiest words to misspell is “misspelled.”)

? Oh, so close award — A PCGS MS-65 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain cent sells for $998,750.

? Another very surprising price — 1964 Special Mint set sells for $151,200.

? Most futile search — Professional Coin Grading Service offers a $10,000 reward for examining a genuine 1964-D Peace dollar. The U.S. Treasury has declared that coin illegal to own, and none has ever been publicly displayed.

? When will it ever end? — The Langbords’ appeal of the trial court verdict in the case of the ten confiscated 1933 double eagles starts in federal appeals court.

? Most unusual new coin — “Bitcoins,” virtual currency created by a computer. No, I don’t understand them either.

? Biggest lines at the American Numismatic Association show — For the Reverse Proof 2013 American Buffalo gold $50 coins. Most buyers flipped them for a profit of $100 to $200 per coin.

? Well, we did so well there before, we might as well do it again — The ANA selects Anaheim, Calif., for its 2016 convention. This decision was made after the 2009 Los Angeles ANA convention had the lowest attendance and business in recent memory.

? Most deceptive title — The “Marketplace Fairness Act” seeks to have every Internet seller charge sales tax based on the buyer’s place of residence. It could well have been titled “The Law Requiring You to Report Sales and Pay Tax to Over 7,500 Municipalities.” Here is my simple solution: If I go into a store and buy something, the store charges the sales tax where it is located, not where I live. Why can’t we do that for online sales, too? This would accomplish the task, without requiring a huge amount of additional unproductive administrative effort!

? Strangest entrance — The ANA show in New Orleans entrance had about 16 doors, all locked, except for one marked “Designated Door” that we could open.

? What a return! — Coins from the Eric Newman Collection sold at auction. The cost to Mr. Newman was $7,500, and the sales prices totaled $23 million.

? Gone too soon — Bill Cowburn, collector, Trade dollar expert, exhibitor, and my table assistant and friend. Steve Deeds, headed Bowers & Merena auctions. Dr. Richard Doty, curator of the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection. George Fuld, wrote books on Civil War tokens. Bob Hammond, collector and very nice guy. Alan Herbert, longtime Numismatic News columnist and errors expert. Henry Hilgard, collector and very nice guy who often worked at Sheridan Downey’s table. Ray Merena, co-founder of Bowers & Merena. Gar Travis, numismatic author and photographer. Eric von Klinger, longtime Coin World writer.

? Changing his signature — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had to change his signature (which previously looked like he was either testing out a new pen or drawing a Slinky) in order for his signature to be placed on Series 2013 Federal Reserve notes.

? New currency issued, but does it have a secret mission? — The Series 2009A $100 bills issued in October have more security features, including a much more evident security thread. But the rumor is that these bills can be scanned in luggage or pockets, so that the scanner will know how much money you have.

? More turmoil at the ANA — ANA fires Executive Director Jeff Shevlin after less than a year on the job, then names Kim Kiick the new executive director with a three-year contract.

? Biggest jump bid — Laura Sperber jumps the bid from $5.5 million, to $8.525 million ($10.017 million including buyer’s fee), for a 1794 Flowing Hair dollar in PCGS Mint State 66.

? Best auction — What else? The Eric P. Newman Collection.

Rich Uhrich is a dealer from Hershey, Pa., who specializes in Bust and Seated Liberty silver rare U.S. coins.

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