I spent the last week in Chicago at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money. It was a show full of controversy, difficult hunts for coins, but it had its rewards as well.
The biggest story coming out of this was of course the Kennedy Gold Coin fiasco, where people, many of them hired by a few specific dealers, lined up overnight to purchase their one-each Kennedy gold coin and flip it to whoever hired them to go through all the trouble.
I know someone who had a very
creepy no, downright scary experience near her hotel room one of those nights, and it’s generally attributed to all the folks hired to stand in line for these coins. We now have a potential for issues at future shows because a lot of people who would normally be looking to engage in petty crime know where they can find lots of small, portable, readily fungible items for the stealing. Although both the ANA and the mint are saying never again, I suspect we haven’t seen the last repercussion of this.
For exhibiting, Mack Martin won Best of Show for Baby Bonds, Tom Uram won First Runner Up with his exhibit on the two cent piece (highlighting it as the first coin to bear “In God We Trust”), and Charmy Harker took Second Runner Up with a modified version of her exhibit from last year. She also earned the People’s Choice award again.
(I will publicly apologize for not making it to Atlanta, Mack, to present you the Steven J. D’Ippolito award in person. Unfortunately my boss walked into my office earlier that month and said I might not have a job the next month, so prudence dictated that I cancel. It turned out to be a false alarm, fortunately.)
With Mack Martin’s win, it has now been three years in a row that the ANA has crowned a new individual as a two time Howland Wood winner. There are now four of us alive–and only three years ago, I don’t believe there had ever been more than one multiple winner alive at a time.
I begin to think we really need some new blood in exhibiting.
As for coins I purchased, I was beginning to despair of finding anything useful for my typeset. Basically, when I walked through the door of the Stephens convention center in Rosement, I was missing thirty two pieces (including two that I actually do have but want to upgrade. Exactly half of these are Seated Liberty coins of some sort. Six of the rest are capped bust, three draped bust, and a smattering of other coins (shield nickels probably being the most irritating of these to have absent). Not forgetting the Gobrecht Dollar (which if one considers it a Seated Liberty coin, and one probably should, is number 17).
So I’ve been trying to pick up “easy” Seated Liberty types for a while. But none of them are. Try finding a regular “with stars” or “drapery” dime from before the 1853 “Arrows”. Not too bad until you want to find it in Unc. It was ironically easier to locate something like that if you were willing to mortgage your house for something in MS-67, than it was to find something in -63 or -64. Same with the half dollar from the same time period. I am not even talking about the No Drapery Half, which is one of the Big Ones in this set. (The others are the draped bust half dime (already checked off), the draped bust dollar, and the Gobrecht dollar.)
So I spent money on the convention medals. And the Austrian Mint’s Evolution coin. The first, apparently, to anodize niobium two different colors on the same coin. Oh and I even bought the first three coins of their prehistoric life series (the fourth–out of five–comes out in October). What came up when I went to that page was the Tertiary coin, the next one out; you can scroll through the three coins I do have by pressing the reddish-purple down-arrow button just below the center of the page. They sell a box for the set, but, vorsicht! it’s priced like a wood box, but is made of cardboard!
Finally on Thursday morning I spotted a no-stars dime! It was hard to see under all the scuff marks on the slab, so I paid to have it reholdered. I even ponied up five extra bucks for the scratch resistant plastic. After all I was holding a really scuffed up slab that was the best possible advertising for it. When I got it back, what I thought I saw was confirmed. The coin is very well struck and doesn’t seem to have any trace of wear on it. It earned an NGC-61 instead of a much better grade, because the toning is a bit funky. Some people I showed it to opined that they’d reject it as cleaned then retoned. One person said, “One thing I will tell you this is not an MS-61.” He wasn’t sure though if it belonged in a “body bag” or a slab with a markedly higher grade. Pics on their way. Update: Here ya go.
Saturday morning, I got my hands on the other no-stars coin, the 1837 Half Dime. MS-64 with honest-looking toning, and sharp. Pics on their way again.
So I can now cross the “No Stars” row completely off my Seated Liberty type chart, where before I had none. Also, I am only missing one half dime now, and that’s the 1837 (.900 fine) capped bust one. And I now need 30 more coins for the set, and fourteen of them are Seated Liberty coins (not including the Gobrecht). And a few of those are still “easy.” But not really.