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Paul Gilkes

Mint State

Paul Gilkes

Paul is a senior editor and has been a member of the Coin World staff since 1988. Paul covers the U.S. Mint beat and has memorably reported for more than two decades on many of the hobby's most important stories including the record sale of the Farouk/Fenton 1933 double eagle and the ongoing legal proceedings of the Langbord 1933 double eagles. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and collects autographs and memorabilia from The Andy Griffith Show.

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Archive for '2016'

    When can United States coins officially be released?

    December 13, 2016 9:54 AM by
    While some government mints around the world strike and issue coins for other than the year struck on the coin, sometimes with a date before or after the current calendar year, such is not the case with modern coin production in the United States.

    The United States Mint is already in production at the San Francisco Mint striking Proof coins dated 2017, but the coins will not officially be released until after Jan. 1. Circulating coin production can also begin in the calendar year preceding the date of issue struck on the coin, but can’t be released until the designated year.

    Production of precious metals bullion coins like the American Eagle and American Buffalo coins are often struck in the last month of the calendar year before the year of issue so coins are on hand for shipment once orders are placed in January.

    However, orders placed in January 2017 for such bullion coins will be filled first with 2016-dated still remaining in inventory before 2017 will be released.

    A question was raised about the 19 ceremonial strikes in November at the Philadelphia Mint of Proof 2017-P Lions Clubs International Century of Service silver dollars and when the dignitaries who struck them would be able to buy the example they struck.

    The answer: January 2017 at the earliest, since that is when the program is congressionally legislated to begin.

    In the fall of 2014, Proof 2015 U.S. Marshals Service $5 gold half eagles, silver dollars and copper nickel clad half dollars were sold to employees during a special ceremony after which they received examples of the coins before their scheduled release. In this case, the enabling legislation permitted the sale and early release.

    If one should come across a coin released in a calendar year other than that designated on the coin, in this case, a 2017 coin in 2016, it’s an anomaly, not the norm.

    After the election: Expect the Trump campaign to issue official inaugural medals

    November 15, 2016 9:55 AM by

    With less than three months remaining in his second term as the nation’s chief executive, President Obama’s selection of designs for his two presidential medals to be struck by the U.S. Mint have yet to be announced.

    And now with Donald Trump elected Nov. 8 as the 45th president of the United States, the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff can look ahead to executing designs for Trump’s bronze presidential medal.

    What the election of President-elect Trump means for collectors: Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States opens the door to a number of numismatic collectibles for hobbyists to pursue.

    Collectors will not only have the opportunity to look ahead to the Obama and Trump presidential medals to be struck by the U.S. Mint, but also the official presidential inaugural medal for Trump to be produced by a private mint.

    It is believed the selections for the Obama presidential medals have been made, but just not announced. The hold-up, apparently, is at the White House.

    There were few designs received from the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff from which the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and Commission of Fine Arts could make recommendations — two proposed obverse designs and one reverse for the first term; and one obverse and two reverse designs proposed for the second-term medal.

    The two coin and medal advisory panels reviewed the designs and made their recommendations in June. Both panels recommended the same designs.

    Designs for two Obama Presidential medals receive CCAC nod: Proposed designs for the two Presidential medals to mark President Obama's two terms were recommended June 27 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

    Private mints have already likely readied proposed designs or prototype medals for submission to the Trump presidential inaugural committee’s team charged with overseeing the medal design selections and execution. The medals are often among the most sought after presidential memorabilia from an incoming president’s inauguration.

    The inaugural medal committee has not likely been established yet, though.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of designs are proposed for the official Trump inaugural medal.

    Will the 2016 Ronald Reagan Coin & Chronicles set be a bust?

    October 18, 2016 11:14 AM by

    Has the ship sailed on limited-edition U.S. Mint products, or is there still unlimited collector interest?

    The Oct. 11 release of the Ronald Reagan Coin & Chronicles set would suggest interest is somewhat waning.

    Just over 21,000 sets were sold on the opening day of sales for a product with a maximum release of 150,000.

    Collectors and speculators seem to be content with ordering the sets at their leisure based on the maximum population available. You would think that hobbyists interested in obtaining the set because of the Reverse Proof 2016-S Ronald Reagan Presidential dollar exclusive to the set would do so sooner than later.

    It’s possible that sales are slow because collectors who actually want one of the sets with the exclusive Reverse Proof dollar and not looking to flip the set for a quick profit have already placed their orders.

    The set will close out the 10-year run of the Presidential $1 Coin Series.

    Earlier Coin & Chronicles sets exclusive with Reverse Proof dollars like those in 2015 for Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower sold out in minutes based on product limits of 17,000 sets each. The John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson sets in 2015 took longer, with limits of 50,000 and 25,000 sets respectively.

    The Mint didn’t even bother with issuing 2016 Coin and Chronicles set for Presidents Richard M. Nixon or Gerald R. Ford. Did the Mint not deem the pair worthy of consideration, or was it because they ran out of different Mint production facilities from which to strike the Reverse Proof dollars?

    The Mint increased the maximum mintage on the JFK and LBJ sets based on the sales performance of the Truman and Eisenhower sets. Beloved as he was, JFK still did not have the numismatic draw the Mint expected.

    And the high regard in which President Reagan was held prompted officials to triple the Reagan Coin & Chronicles set availability from that of JFK. By Oct. 16, sales had only reached 24,983 sets.

    It’s likely the sales of the Reagan Coin & Chronicles are not going to increase in leaps and bounds anytime soon. The only likelihood of a surge is as the calendar year winds down and collectors and speculators decide to make last-minute purchases.

    Although the Mint can still sell the sets into 2017, production of the Reverse Proof 2016-S Reagan dollar and the Proof 2016-W American Eagle 30th Anniversary silver dollar can only go through Dec. 31, 2016.

    The Mint won’t be stockpiling large quantities of fully packaged sets in hopes of possible sales. Whatever doesn’t sell has the packaging scrapped, the coins melted, and the metal reclaimed.

    So, if you’re planning on buying one of the sets, sooner is better. There might not be a later.

    How many customers were successful in placing orders for AmericanLiberty silver medals?

    September 13, 2016 2:42 PM by
    It took just six minutes Aug. 23 for the U.S.Mint to receive sufficient orders to consume the maximum product limit of 12,500 each of the Proof 2016-S and 2016-W American Liberty silver medals.

    And it only took another half hour before Coin World began receiving phone calls from unhappy collectors who were shut out from successfully placing an order.

    The medals, struck at the San Francisco and West Point Mints, were offered at $34.95 per medal, with a maximum household ordering limit of two of each medal,for a total of four medals.

    U.S. Mint officials indicate the medals will remain in unavailable status until all orders placed before the mintage limit was reached are reconciled. That leaves open the possibility medals could become available should orders not be filled because of expired credit cards, or product is shipped and subsequently returned from canceled orders

    Secondary market prices for the medals have already begun to climb. Some dealer trading networks are offering the medals for $100 in original Mint packaging.

    The eBay auction site has multiple listings offering the medals, from $450 to $1,000 or more for two of each medal. Individual medals on eBay are being offered at $200 to $300 each.

    A handful of dealers were offering premiums to collectors willing to place orders for the maximum number of medals permitted per household, with a windfall of $25 to $100 per medal available.

    The medals bear the same obverse and reverse designs that appear on the business strike finish 2015-W American Liberty, High Relief $100 gold coins, but the silver medals bear a lower relief.

    The 1-ounce, 40.6 millimeter silver American Liberty medals are struck on the same blanks as the American Eagle silver dollar.

    The American Liberty High Relief gold coins were struck on blanks with the same 30.61-millimeter diameter of the gold 1964-2014-W Kennedy half dollar, but a thickness of 3.128 millimeters. The extra thickness boosted the coin’s weight to 1 ounce.

    Collectors trying to place orders for the medals had to access each medal option separately, meaning once they got into the portal for one medal option, they had to click into another web page for the second option.

    It will be interesting to know how many collectors were successful in placing orders for both medal options.

    If only those numismatic playbook pages could talk

    August 16, 2016 11:37 AM by

    More often than not, inquiries I receive from collectors – since my primary coverage area in U.S. numismatics is the United States Mint – are about what special products the bureau will offer, when they will go on sale and at what price.

    The Mint posts a running schedule on its website at www.usmint.gov that is updated as specific release dates for products whose issue is “TBD” (To Be Determined) are finally "determined."

    Collectors don’t want to be left out of the hunt and want to prepare as well as possible in advance. Posting that a product will eventually be available by adding the TBD designation whets a collector’s appetite for hopefully being one of the lucky ones to have their order successfully processed.

    I know, as a collector myself, what it’s like to know when a product in which I am interested will become available, and share that information with fellow hobbyists.

    Here’s a comparative twist.

    Professional football coaches are always looking for ways to get an edge on their competition. The practice of using binoculars from a team’s skybox to read the lips of anopponent’s coaching staff, in hopes of discovering the play about to be called has resulted in coaching staffs often covering their lips with their clipboards so the next play won’t be disclosed.

    For a number of years, while covering the summer American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, I often had the opportunity to meet with Dick Peterson, the Mint’s current deputy director of manufacturing, to discuss upcoming Mint programs. He usually carried what I refer to as the “numismatic playbook” – a ring binder holding details of the Mint’s approved and contemplated products for the next few years.

    If the pages of that playbook could talk, I’m sure there would be many interesting stories to tell.

    In my role as a Senior Editor, I do my best to get as much information and details as possible on numismatic products and share them with Coin World readers and potential subscribers.

    When I know details on an upcoming numismatic product, you’ll know. Stay tuned for the next “play” to be called.

    Mountain of silver continues to grow at U.S. Mint

    July 13, 2016 8:29 AM by

    Is there a way for the U.S. Mint, its authorized purchasers and the subsequent secondary market for silver American Eagle bullion coins to confidently forecast the public’s demand for the 1-ounce .999 fine silver dollars?

    In a nutshell, probably not.

    Less than a year ago, the Mint, like many other government mints around the world, were in the unenviable position of being unable to immediate provide buyers with all of the bullion coins they wanted because of competition for planchets on which to strike the coins.

    The U.S. Mint put its authorized purchasers on a strict weekly allocation until it could rectify the planchet supplier shortfall. That problem has apparently been rectified, as Mint officials announce they no longer have planchet supply obstacles.

    Now, the Mint is faced with the reverse scenario. The Mint is sitting on a stockpile of millions of unsold coins that are being carried over each week and added to the scheduled weekly allocation of 1 million coins, a weekly allocation that has been in effect for most of 2016. The Mint has no plans to adjust that allocation to allow for the growing unsold inventory to be absorbed instead of continuing to grow.

    One big question is: Has the silver bubble burst, or are there antsy investors sitting on the sidelines waiting for some unknown market development to trigger them jumping back into the game?” The current situation could be temporary, a simple market correction.

    Some of the authorized buyers – those major dealers approved to buy the bullion coins from the Mint and offer a two-way market – have been building emergency inventories of their own so they are not caught without inventory for immediate delivery should demand surge again.

    Right now, the spot price of silver is at its highest level in two years, climbing over the $20 an ounce mark.

    Despite some investors waiting for a sign that its okay to get back into the silver market to buy and not dump holdings for quick profit, the U.S. Mint’s overall 2016 cumulative sales still remain at a record pace and poised to eclipse the record sales set for the series in 2015.

    Let’s see if the market will surge once again enough for the Mint to reduce its silver American Eagle bullion coin inventory.

    Curtain coming down on First Spouse coin program

    June 14, 2016 1:40 PM by
    On an as-yet-undisclosed date in July, the U.S. Mint will offer Proof and Uncirculated versions of the 2016-W Nancy Reagan, First Spouse $10 gold coin, the final release in the 10-year series.

    How popular the issues will be depicting Mrs. Reagan, who died March 6 at the age 94 before the coins were put into production at the West Point Mint, remains to be seen.

    Her husband, Ronald Reagan, was one of the most popular American presidents.

    Production of the Nancy Reagan First Spouse gold coins will be executed to order, according to West Point Mint officials. There has been no set authorized maximum mintage announced.

    When the series was launched in 2007 with the Martha Washington and Abigail Adams coins, the maximum mintage across all products was 40,000 for each First Spouse.

    The distribution between Proof and Uncirculated coins was to be determined by the orders received. That did not happen.

    After sufficient orders were received to fill the maximum authorizations for the Washington and Adams coins, U.S. Mint Sales and Marketing officials decided to limit the distribution to 20,000 coins per version per First Spouse.

    Since then, annual maximum mintages have been steadily reduced. Some recent issues have recorded sales below 2,000.

    How many First Spouse coins since their release have been melted on the secondary market is unknown. One may only speculate.

    As the series comes to a close, it will be interesting to see how the values of previous issues performed, especially if new collectors decide to take up pursuing a complete collection of Proof and/or Uncirculated versions.

    Nobody has a crystal ball

    May 17, 2016 8:35 AM by

    While the U.S. Mint reconciles how it will dispose of more than 6,200 2016-W Winged Liberty Head Centennial gold dimes in its inventory from canceled orders and returns, some collectors, dealers and speculators are already looking ahead to the looming sale of the 2016-W Standing Liberty Centennial gold quarter dollar.

    And then the 2016-W Walking Liberty Centennial gold half dollar soon after.

    I believe U.S. Mint officials learned soon after the 125,000 maximum mintage of the gold dimes was gobbled up in less than an hour after its April 21 noon launch that the household ordering limit of 10 coins was much too high.

    Many disgruntled collectors were shut out.

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    If they want one of the coins now, they’ll either have to pay a premium on the secondary market, or hope they can acquire one when the Mint restarts sales for the coins still in inventory.

    Some collectors have suggested limiting the resale to one or two sets per household and eliminating those who have already ordered and received coins from getting any more. Not necessarily a popular solution.

    Inquiring minds want to know if the Mint will make the same mistake with the gold quarter dollars and half dollars that they made with the dimes.

    Nobody has a magic wand or crystal ball to determine what the maximum mintage should be nor household ordering restrictions.

    There has been some discussion in collector circles that the ceiling for the gold quarter dollars will be half that of the dimes, and that the household ordering limits be restricted to one or two sets.

    Doing so might provide a better gauge as to actual demand for those wanting to add the gold coins to their collection and not seeking to immediately flip any excess coins for a profit.

    Some are buying just the dime, because at $205, it was the least expensive of the three and affordable for many collectors.

    If the spot price of gold remains in the $1,250 to $1,299.99 range, the opening price for the quarter-ounce, 24-karat gold quarter dollar and the half-ounce gold half dollar, respectively, will be, according to the U.S. Mint pricing grid, $472.50 and $890.

    Those price points become tougher for some collectors who want the coins but can’t afford them.

    Having the ability to buy a maximum of two coins or sets for a limited edition product allows a collector who truly wants one for their collection to sell the extra coin or set to diminish the cost for the product they retain.

    The secondary market price for the issue could conceivably be driven higher with those household ordering restrictions, as dealers and speculators have to reach out to more people to obtain excess sets for their clients who have never heard of the U.S. Mint and think coins just grow on trees.

    Let’s see what the future holds. 

    What will demand be for gold Winged Liberty Head dime?

    April 7, 2016 2:03 PM by

    It will be interesting, to say the least, how long it will take the U.S. Mint to sell out of its maximum mintage of 125,000 Uncirculated 2016-W Winged Liberty Head Centennial dimes from the time they go on sale at noon Eastern Time April 21.

    Orders are being restricted to an initial limit of 10 coins per household, which may be changed or lifted depending on how heavy early demand is.

    The 24-karat gold dime is the first of three Centennial gold coins to be struck and issued in 2016. The coins mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 introduction into circulation of the .900 fine silver Winged Liberty Head dime, Standing Liberty quarter dollar and Walking Liberty half dollar.

    It’s safe to bet that collectors seeking to add to their collections will also be joined by a cadre of speculators banking on cashing in on the projected popularity of the anniversary coins in gold.

    With the spot price of gold in the $1,230 to $1,240 range per troy ounce currently, pricing for the tenth-ounce gold dime is likely to be in the neighborhood of $200, according to U.S. Mint officials, an affordable price for many collectors. The exact price won’t be established until near the end of the week of April 11.

    How many collectors will place initial orders for the maximum 10 coins remains to be seen. While the gold dime may be affordable, the quarter-ounce gold quarter-dollar and half-ounce gold half dollar to be issued later this year may be a tougher buy. Collectors strive for completeness. Wanting one of each is often the norm. Don’t be surprised if a number of collectors seek to buy additional examples of the gold dimes for resale, to bankroll future purchases of the gold Centennial quarter dollar and half dollar.

    And if those extra dimes can’t be flipped immediately, the Mint should brace itself for returns of coins from the original buyers who couldn’t find secondary market interest.

    How the sales of the dimes go and how well the Mint’s state-of-the-art website performs will be strong indicators for how sales of the other two Centennial gold issues will fare.

    And although such details have not yet been disclosed, it would make sense that the mintages for the Standing Liberty gold quarter dollar and Walking Liberty gold half dollar match those of the gold dime.

    Time will tell.

    Will counterfeits ever be vanquished from numismatics?

    March 7, 2016 11:55 AM by

    Counterfeits. They just keep a-coming. 

    While counterfeiting is as old as the advent of coinage itself, it is a plague, nonetheless, for the success of the genuine issues and those who manufacture the real deal.
    The latest scourge to test the numismatic marketplace is the counterfeiting of popular bullion collectible and investment products in gold, silver and possibly other precious metals.

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    For more than a year, I’ve been writing articles dealing with fake gold and silver American Eagles, products of the Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint, and other government mints.
    The two most recent articles have dealt with the counterfeiting of 1-ounce silver and gold bars produced by private mints.
    Among those targeted have been, in the case of the silver products, SilverTowne, Northwest Territorial Mint, Sunshine Mint, Scottsdale Silver and Highland Mint, and for gold, PAMP.
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    The silver bars are manufactured by plating .999 fine silver over brass or a zinc alloy. Place one of these counterfeits next to a genuine article and most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference since the designs, surface fineness, weight and other specifications of the fakes duplicate those of the genuine bars.
    The primary diagnostic, short of drilling into a bar to see the interior composition, is that the fake bars are thicker than the genuine bars.
    In the case of the PAMP bars, not only are the bars plated fakes, the packaging in which they are being peddled i also a counterfeit of the genuine.
    It’s obvious that the intent with the PAMP bars is to deceive and defraud.
    Not so obvious with the silver bars. The silver-plated base metal bars are being marketed in many instances as “novelties,” with the piece described as being plated, even though the pieces bear the hallmarks and designs from private mints who likely have their material copyrighted or trademarked.
    Where the problem lies is when such a “novelty” is passed on or sold to someone as genuine silver.
    The buyer will not know that they’ve just been fleeced.
    The counterfeiting only benefits only the counterfeiters. It threatens and diminishes the branding of the private mints, who must, if they want to protect the integrity of their products, seek civil remedies against those ripping them off.
    It becomes not only a public relations nightmare, but a financial strain, as consumers may steer clear for fear of a product not being genuine.
    There is no large-scale investigation or prosecution of the persons responsible for the counterfeits. Occasionally, local law enforcement may get involved, depending on the dollar amount of an alleged fraud.
    There is no coordinated effort to stifle the criminal activity.
    Government mints like the Royal Canadian Mint have introduced anti-counterfeiting devices in their precious metals products whose authenticity can be immediately verified.
    The U.S. Secret Service, I assume, has larger fish to fry than going after an operation possibly making fake silver or gold American Eagles.
    Counterfeits have been around for thousands of years, and some have morphed into separate collectible fields. 
    I guess counterfeits will be around for thousands of years more. They won’t be fading away anytime soon.

    To digitize or not to digitize, that is the question

    February 1, 2016 11:56 AM by
    To digitize or not digitize, that is the question.
    At the forefront of efforts to digitize printed numismatic works to subsequently make available free for numismatic research,  are the American Numismatic Society and the Newman Numismatic Portal.
    The Newman Numismatic Portal is an educational outreach initiative of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Educational Society.
    The ANS has been focused on digitizing references and other numismatic literature on ancient and world numismatic subjects along with auction catalogs to which researchers, collectors and others with interest would otherwise not have access.
    The Newman Numismatic Portal is also digitizing major numismatic references that have been out-of-print for decades, auction catalogs, as well as periodicals of specialty collector clubs who have granted permission for digitization.
    The subject of whether to digitize the printed word was broached during a January meeting of a specialty collector club. The question was raised about whether permission should be granted for carte-blanche digitization of all club publications, or if there should be any restrictions.
    Opinions were also raised as to whether allowing digitization would affect club membership. Also posed was the effects digitization of original vintage numismatic references would have on the value of printed copies held by collectors. And some authors of numismatic works published in recent years wondered the effect digitization would have on their efforts to profit from their works or at the least, recoup their costs.
    I reached out to two numismatic bibliophiles, Wayne Homren, and Len Augsburger, to weigh in with their opinions on the subject. Both work closely with the Newman Numismatic Portal. Wayne is also editor of The E-Sylum, the weekly electronic newsletter of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
    Augsburger is an NBS governor.
    “I view digitization as a tool which enhances print,” says Augsburger. “Being able to search a large group of documents brings additional value to a physical library. It’s fine to have a complete run of The Numismatist, but unless you can search it some of the value is lost. In many cases you might search on something and then go retrieve the physical copy for easier access. For research purposes, physical copies are often easier to work with.  One can flip through an auction catalog much faster than viewing individual lots online.”
    Augsburger said he doesn’t view digitization as detrimental to printed copies.
    “The American Journal of Numismatics (first series, 1866-1924) has been online for years, and printed copies still trade actively. To use a more extreme example, a physical copy of the Gutenberg bible, or a Dunlap printing of the Declaration of Independence, remain extraordinarily valued documents, even though digital copies are available.”
    Augsburger explains the  Newman Numismatic Portal is working on a solution for text search of in-copyright documents.
    “This is the same thing that Google Books does with snippet-view — the copyright law is settled enough that we can now scan in-copyright material, search it, and provide limited view to users,” Augsburger said. “ We’ve already done a certain amount of in-copyright scanning (about 5 percent of our total operation) but can’t yet provide this to our users — this requires additional software capability on NNP that we don’t yet have implemented. I expect we’ll be able to provide this during 2016. This is middle ground that protects copyright holders and at the same time provides useful information to NNP users.
    “We have talked to commercial publishers about providing us their new content directly, with the understanding that we will provide snippet views and also provide links for users to purchase from the publisher if they so desire.”
    NNP has also digitized back issues of collector club journals, including those of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club and NBS.
    “Keeping current subscribers engaged is an understandable concern, so most organizations with hold back the last two to three years of issues from digitization,” Augsburger said. “Organizations need to have subscribers to produce content in the first place, so protecting the subscriber base is a completely reasonable concern.”
    Homren said numismatic book dealer David Fanning related in a recent interview that references in top physical condition with author signatures or collector annotations will retain or increase their value despite digitization. 
    “Contemporary broadsides, pamphlets, catalogs and periodicals are a tangible link to numismatic history, and are often far more rare than the coins they describe. As more and more people recognize these as collectibles in themselves, demand and prices will increase.
    “I think that in numismatic literature we will see a continuation of the general trend in used and rare books that started with the introduction of the Internet. Common stuff will stagnate or go down in price, but rare items will continue to rise. With greater availability of the information to researchers, there will be more references and more publicity for the rare and interesting items, boosting interest and demand.”
    Digitization of numismatic literature has assisted me tremendously in my research.
    To digitize or not to digitize – What do YOU think?

    Dan Holmes was the consummate collector of U.S. copper coins

    January 12, 2016 11:46 AM by

    It was with great sadness that, not long after I arrived Jan. 6 at the Florida United Numismatists Convention (FUN) after visiting relatives for a few days,  I was informed that the light of another numismatist luminary had been extinguished.

    Large cent collector Dan Holmes passed away at age 77 the day before, following a valiant multi-year battle with the progressive ravages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

    I became acquainted with Dan through my attendance, on behalf of Coin World, at Early American Copper meetings held at the major shows. Dan served EAC in a number of capacities, including as its president. He was always cordial, affable, joking, and loved talking about those circular chunks of copper we all call U.S. large cents.

    Dan had three families – his wife, Joan, and their children; his numismatic family; and his coins, each of which were like children to him. He had no specific favorites among the coins in his collection. He loved them all equally, although he might confide there were a few that might have a slight edge.

    I recall seeing Dan at one of the EAC meetings a few years ago at a FUN convention and he was already beginning to feel the physical effects of ALS. It was only a few months after receiving the medical diagnosis that would chart his next years.

    While Dan had already reached the milestone of assembling one of the greatest collections of large cent collections ever amassed and planned to auction the coins and send them to new homes, his auction plans had to be accelerated.

    By all accounts, the insidious, debilitating nature of ALS should have claimed Dan much sooner, but he had an unmatched internal drive to continue to enjoy what life still had to offer him.

    Not to let the disease be an obstacle, Dan managed to attend the first of the sales, set for Sept. 6, 2009. The night before, Dan was feted at a reception at the Southern California home of Larry Goldberg. Tooling around on his electric scooter, Dan was in the company of fellow collectors and dealers who, like him, cherished early U.S. copper coins.

    I had the honor and privilege of attending the reception, as well as covering the auction the following evening. While the star coin at the auction was the finest of seven known 1795 Liberty Cap, Reeded Edge cents at PCGS Very Good 10, which realized $1,265,000, the real star of the auction was Dan.

    Dan took the time to autograph copies of the catalog Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers published for the Sept. 6 sale of early date large cents. I, like the numerous other collectors in attendance, took our turns in line to accept our signed copies.

    To me it is a constant reminder of what one determined collector could achieve.

    R.I.P. Dan.