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HomeShows & ConventionsLong Beach Expo Underway—But I'm Snowbound

Long Beach Expo Underway—But I’m Snowbound

Collectors Should Enjoy A Martini In The Morning

By Jim Bisognani for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation ……

Well I spoke too soon in my last report. I had addressed that, much to my relief, we who reside in New Hampshire had not been on the receiving end of a large “named snowstorm” to end the month of January – the first time in three years. Actually, I was able to see some bare ground in spots and fleeting thoughts of a quick transition to spring raced through my mind like the Patriots’ comeback in the Super Bowl.

Unfortunately on February 8-9 we were on the short end of Old Man Winter’s wrath; 16 inches of heavy, wet snow followed up two days later by the monster winter marvel named “Orson”, who pounded us with gale force winds and deposited an additional two feet of snow! With the frozen mantle of white mounded up to my door handle, any thoughts of an escape to sunny SoCal for the Long Beach Expo were put on ice, literally. Even my Beth’s work called her Sunday afternoon to announce that her office was closed on Monday! That never happens!!!


As snow blower engines roar and snow plows roll and thunder around the neighborhood sounding like a column of Sherman tanks, it was time for me to reflect on the enjoyable, soothing aspects of this great hobby of ours.

Over the weekend I took time to view part of my own collection and target a few lots I was vying for on eBay. I was successful on three and lost out to a “sniper” on two others. There are so many opportunities to find rare, common, high-grade, raw or certified coins. US and world coin listings could and have kept me occupied for many, many hours. A quick search of “US Coin” revealed nearly one million listings and “world coin” search displayed nearly 700,000 offerings! Many well-known dealers serve up assorted wares, as do scores of part timers and general hobbyists. Of course there is really no downtime for the coindexter that I am. Most of the time I am busy scanning the prices realized for continuity as it pertains to retail pricing structure.

Sunday night I reviewed the upcoming roster of “featured” lots scheduled for Long Beach Expo and related marquee auctions this week.

My weekday work ritual begins with the “Martini In The Morning” Internet radio broadcast playing softly in the background of my home office. For those of you who are not familiar, it is a great blend of tunes from the Great American Songbook. The music is so calming; stars of yesterday and new performers carrying the torch without scorching the best music in the world. It is both today and nostalgic as well. For me the vintage music goes hand-in-hand with vintage coins! I am sure veteran collectors and dealers of all ages will really enjoy it! A cup of tea in hand and with the Internet finally up and running Monday morning allowed me to take part in the first session of the Goldberg’s Pre-Long Beach sale that ran Feb 12-15. Observing prices realized and comparing previous stats for similar lots at public venues helps to insure that our proud NGC US Coin Price Guide is fresh.

While the focus of the numismatic nation is clearly on SoCal and the first Long Beach Expo of 2017, our numismatic treasures are truly everywhere. Featured in ads on commercial TV, they are “stars” on various cable shows, the Internet and printed media! There is so much information to digest, especially for the new comer to the hobby.

Sometimes it is all going too fast.

We old timers have been through the magical transition of third-party grading. Thirty years ago the concept was new. I don’t think anyone would have believed that certified coins would be the hobby’s mainstays, traded sight and sight unseen to dealers on electronic trading networks and prized possessions in millions of collectors homes.

NH Mint Products

For me the online auctions are satisfying and intriguing. In most instances they are similar to the eBay format. You can track coins that interest you. On the given day the lot you desire goes through the final countdown you can be notified via text or email. You can place your electronic bid and inevitably it seems other cyber bidders always wait to the last few seconds to strike and raise the ante! All the major auction houses employ these sales today and thousands of certified coins are sold in this manner each month. In my native Granite State a perhaps lesser-known yet highly viable player is NH Mint Products.

NH Mint Products’ owner Jeff Kierstead has been an avid collector and involved with coins since 1979 and has proudly operated out of Bedford, NH since 1999 online. Beginning in December 2015 he introduced online and “live” auctions.

Per Kierstead, he has observed an uptick in auction prices realized: “Most of the material is consigned so that has been good for both the consigner and NH Mint products.”

The most recent online sale featuring a quality blend of currency, Colonials and regular US and world coins concluded 1-17-17 and was the firms most active on line sale to date. At present the Granite State company has 10 employees and Jeff is the main buyer.

“It has been a family business as my son works part time.”

Jeff has had a long relationship with NGC and they are his primary source for grading.

“They have been more than fair and their product is consistent and well received by our customers.”

The firm is strictly online.

Heritage Auctions

A quick glance at the Heritage Long Beach Signature sale scheduled February 16-19 features just under 4,000 lots for dealer and collector competition.

However, a single lot for me stands out as a favorite: the 1788 New Jersey copper finest-known Running Fox M77-dd. A tremendous coin from the Eric P. Newman collection IV was first offered up in May of 2014 when the coin captured $105,750. The coin is a true prize, such a bold strike, the detail on the horse’s mane is impeccable and the coloring superb. As we go to press, this lot has been viewed 1,685 times (versus 1,667 views for the 2014 sale). With the buyer’s premium, the coin is already $99,875 which means the next acceptable bid would tie the price generated nearly three years ago.

Regardless, the new owner will have a tremendous irreplaceable numismatic treasure. I have had a fondness for this issue since I had the exciting pleasure to unearth a 1788 Head Facing Right New Jersey Copper in Stratham, New Hampshire. I found my dark old copper buried in an old house foundation the summer of 1969. Although that was only a VG/F it is and always has been so important for me. A true treasure that excites me each time I gaze at that copper. How did it migrate from NJ to NH in the first place? I have the coin sitting on my desk wrapped in a decade’s old piece of tissue wrap tucked inside a small draw string leather pouch. If I had the wherewithal, I would love to acquire this exceptional Colonial!

As winter rages on it is so nice to have order and decorum, at least in the numismatic world!

Until next time, happy collecting!

* * *

Jim Bisognani is an NGC Price Guide Analyst having previously served for many years as an analyst and writer for another major price guide. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.

Jim Bisognani
Jim Bisognani
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 resides in Southern California and frequently attends major coin shows and auctions.

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