1652 Oak Tree Shilling,  MS64 NGC. CAC.
1652  Oak Tree Shilling, MS64 NGC. CAC.

By Jim Bisognani for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation….

Coin collecting is not for bravado, it is still a hobby. Collectors give thanks for another triumphant year!

As this article posts, Thanksgiving is here and we succumb to the tantalizing aromas of roast turkeys and home-baked apple pies wafting in our kitchens. The great American holiday season truly is in full swing. While families enjoy a great day of feasting with loved ones and relations and give thanks, we coin collectors also give thanks for yet another triumphant year. Amazingly, coins, especially NGC-certified coins, are now a staple in so many circles. Whether they are being promoted on sundry home shopping shows, the Internet or various published media, the word numismatics, NGC and coin collectors are becoming much more mainstream.

I know in my 50 years of actively collecting, trading and writing about coins a lot has transpired. But who could have envisioned this? We are at a truly exciting juncture in numismatics and I am so happy to be part of it. With the advent and acceleration of digital technology, our favored coins are such a 20-megapixel joy to view! We are all able to access so much data about our favorite coin or series without leaving home, it’s incredible!

Visual platitudes and mounds of resources are tremendous, yet the preservation, security, transparency and liquidity that NGC third party grading has brought to this generation of collectors has enhanced the hobby and marketplace exponentially. Respect for NGC-certified coins has never been equaled. Certified coins are not only a favored and trusted collectible, they are also highly visible and often targeted as an investment medium. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of rare certified coins have sold in the marketplace on an annual basis since the turn-of-the-century. Hundred thousand dollar coins trading hands used to be a significant newsmaker. Now although not blasé, million dollar coins are becoming even more commonplace it seems.

Not surprisingly, for most millennials the excitement of the hunt and sharing the numismatic trophy with others as part of a growing registry set is a driving goal. Conversely, for many of today’s numismatists coin collecting is not for bravado, it is still a hobby, a highly personal and private endeavor too. As one veteran collector told me recently, “it is important to maintain the sanctity and excitement of my own collection.” I still of course come in contact with collectors of all types and collecting specialties at shows throughout the land, many of them foreign collectors who enjoy world coins. While some baby boomers and older still think that the “sterility of certification” takes away from the hands-on feel of numismatics so to speak, the majority of them concede the protection, certification and liquidity is something that future generations will certainly be thankful for.

As 2015 rapidly winds down, the last major show of the year is on tap December 3-5th in the Lone Star State. The 59th Annual Houston Money Show will afford dealer and collector a grand opportunity to close out 2015 with a great show, thanks to Heritage Auction and the hospitality known for at this venue. All attendees can expect a highly enjoyable professional event. The Greater Houston Coin Club always ensures that the show is collector friendly and has a great family feel to it. If you haven’t attended a Houston Money Show, I wholeheartedly recommend it! The host Heritage Signature Auction boasts nearly 3,400 lots over three live floor sessions commencing next Thursday evening at 6 PM at the George R Brown Convention Center. With Colonials through territorial gold issues, there will be something for collectors and dealers of all budgets to wage battle for. Be sure to take a look at the catalog as there are some great collector coins in the sale.

My personal favorite NGC offerings from the Heritage Houston Money Show Signature Sale include the following quintet:

1652 Oak Tree Shilling Noe-2 NGC MS 64. A true rarity in any grade this, 1652 Oak Tree Shilling bears the distinction as the finest known (by far) and only Mint State example believed to be in existence. Beguiling patina engulfs this American colonial antiquity. It will be interesting to see where the market is for this particular coin. Its previous appearance was in the Heritage FUN Show sale as part of the Partrick collection January of this year!

1864 Large Motto Two Cent Piece NGC PF 66 RB Cameo. A superb coin in all respects: First year of issue, a short lived series, a Civil War era coin, the first coin to bear the motto “in God we trust.” The finest known example extent and oh yes: a mintage of probably 100 coins or less!

1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 62. The celebrated over-date from the popular Buffalo Nickel series appears as an attractive mint state example for the specialized collector or Buffalo enthusiast. Struck from an advanced state of the dies, the coin retains ample eye appeal and problem-free surfaces. Approximately 40 coins appear as mint state according to the NGC US Coin Census. A coin of this caliber has appeared at auction only twice in the last five years! A great opportunity to obtain this classic Buffalo rarity.

1905-O Barber Quarter NGC MS 62. Here is a great coin for collector on a modest budget. This is a truly scarce (and underrated, in my opinion) New Orleans mint Barber Quarter. I have always had a soft spot for this issue as the 05-O was the first Mint State Barber Quarter I ever owned! Always considered a semi-key coin to the series there only about 40 coins which meet full Mint State criteria according to the NGC US Coin Census. The present coin certainly deserves to be included in a Barber Quarter collection. It is a much better than average type coin for a modest premium.

1891-CC Liberty Half Eagle NGC MS 63 PL. The 1891 bears the distinction of being the most plentiful Half Eagle emerging from the famed Carson City facility: slightly over 1000 coins appear on the NGC US Coin Census as mint state. However, this delectably originally toned coin is the finest known example of the 4 Half Eagles of this date that bear the “PL” Prooflike designation. Truly a spectacular coin for the Carson City or Prooflike gold specialist!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my collecting friends, enjoy the holiday season!

Until next time, happy collecting!

Jim Bisognani has written extensively on US coin market trends and values and was the market analyst and writer for a major pricing guide for many years. He currently frequently attends major coin shows and auctions.

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