November 9, 2010 | Vol. 10 Number 22
Collectors Club Price Guide PCGS CoinFacts Services Set RegistrySM
Gold Prices May Create Coin-Buying Opportunities
By Don Willis

2010 has been an interesting year for our hobby. The headline story continues to be the price of gold which as of this writing is just under $1400 per ounce. That's almost a 25% increase since the beginning of the year! Even more impressive is the increase in the price of silver which today stands at just under $27 per ounce. That's almost a 60% increase for the year. Who would have thought that circulated Morgan dollars would be bid at $22 each! Increasing bullion values are squeezing margins on lower-grade, bullion type coins (MS61-63 Saints and Morgans) which may create some buying opportunities.

While increasing bullion values do not directly translate into increased values for numismatic items, there is a strong correlation. Increasing bullion prices result in improved cash positions for both dealers and collectors, which in turn frees up money which can be used to purchase scarcer collectables. Stated another way, a couple ounces of gold or that small bag of silver might not have been enough to purchase that coin you were considering at the beginning of the year, but today it just might!

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In each issue of eCollector, we randomly draw a name from our subscribers.

The winner in this issue will receive a Kennedy Half Dollar in a special PCGS holder indicating eCollector issue #54. Check the next issue to see if you won. Good luck!

Last week's winner of the Mint State Kennedy Half Dollar was Gerry Neary from Williamsburg, Virginia. Congratulations Gerry!

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The Million-Dollar Coin Man
By Scott Travers

The third time was the charm for Jay Parrino.

Parrino, a prominent coin dealer from Kansas City, Missouri, had been under-bidder at Auction '89 when the Dexter specimen of the 1804 Silver dollar brought $990,000 - an all-time auction record for a single U.S. coin. He was under-bidder again when Reed Hawn's 1913 Liberty Head nickel changed hands at auction in October 1993 for $962,500.

On May 21, when another 1913 Liberty nickel - the one that belonged to Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. - came up for sale at another glittering auction in New York City, Parrino left the underbidding to others: he snared the famous coin with a floor bid of $1,350,000. With the 10% buyer's fee tacked on, his total outlay came to $1,485,000, or just under $1.5 million. Read More...

PCGS Coinfacts 1834 H10C (Proof)

Since the launch of PCGS CoinFacts™, we have been hard at work updating and expanding the site's information. Here's another recent example:

Ron Guth: Breen (1989) listed Proof examples of LM-4 and an enigmatic (and still unknown) variety with the obverse of LM-4 and a new reverse with a die defect on the right side of the first A in AMERICA and a crack through bases of CA to arrow. Breen claimed to have seen this on an example in the Smithsonian Institution, but John Dannreuther (2010) says there is no such coin. Read More...

Get it in Writing
By Armen R. Vartian

I always advise clients to "get it in writing." This is good advice generally when you are buying anything important, but is especially important when buying coins or other collectibles, for reasons we will see throughout this and subsequent columns.

The most important reason for a written contract is a practical one. If there is an agreement, the parties should have something besides their own memories to back it up. Even close friends know that agreements are stronger and more closely followed if they are in writing and unambiguous.

But there is also a good legal reason to have a written agreement. Oral agreements to sell collectibles may not be enforceable against the dealer, based on a very old principle of law called the Statute of Frauds. The Statute of Frauds, which is incorporated in most states' laws through the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC"), declares that contracts for the sale of goods over $500 are not enforceable unless they are in writing and signed by the party to be charged with the obligation. The purpose of this rule is to avoid "your word against mine" litigation over exactly what oral agreements might have been made between buyers and sellers. Read More...
Dollar Specialist Larry Shapiro talks coins, PCGS grading and more.
Watch video!
A History of U.S. Rare Coin Grading
By Mike Sherman

This issue, we begin a ten-part series on the history of U.S. coin grading. We'll cover everything from the birth of U.S. coin collecting in the late 1850s to today.

The last half of the present decade represents the 150th anniversary of the birth of the U.S. Rare Coin market. While there were a few isolated collectors prior to the late 1850s, it was during that period that the first group of U.S. rare coin auctions took place in New York City and Philadelphia. In particular, the Cogan and Levick sales of 1858-1860 established a viable market for U.S. coins. It's interesting to note that some of the attendees were likely alive when the first U.S. coins were struck in 1793. Read More...

How I Got Started in Coin Collecting - Reader Replies

We previously posted a story by PCGS Founder David Hall describing how his numismatic ventures began. In this issue, we have more stories from our readers about how they got started in the numismatic hobby.

"I was born in 1966, and my interest in coin collecting began with a few coins given to me by relatives in the mid-1970s.

My father gave me a 1974 Eisenhower dollar; my grandfather gave me a 1968-D half dollar; my mother, a Bicentennial half dollar; and my aunt, a Bicentennial 40% silver uncirculated set.

My older brother had a budding interest in coins, and he checked out a few Red Books from the public library. Read More...
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