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Buying graded vs. ungraded coins New!
There are 2 comments on this post.

The following is a guest post written by Jody from Washington.

I am not a professional numismatist, rather a student of money and part time collector. Growing up I was intrigued by coins as my father would often talk about his assemblage. I never had much of a collection until a couple of years ago when I walked into my local coin shop looking to invest in silver eagles. I asked a lot of questions but to be honest, a lot of it went over my head.

The coin shop owner showed me a raw gold Half Eagle Indian, which he said was cleaned and thus would sell to me for melt value. That day would forever change me as I would become fixated with quarter and half Eagle Indians. The design alone was intriguing as was the idea of something old and then there was the gold.

I dove head first collecting Indian Quarter Eagles since it only consists of 15 coins with one key date.  Like many before me, I turned to eBay as a source. I began searching and buying raw specimens that looked good on the screen. I bought from trusted dealers with good feedback and took their word for grade, as I had no idea what to look for.

After a few months of buying on eBay and local shows, I succeeded in completing the set with the exception of the key date, which is the 1911-D. I decided to step up my game and traveled to the Long Beach Expo. As you can imagine, I was instantly overwhelmed with the sheer size of the show, but at the same time I was excited to begin the hunt for my key date.

It was at this show that I would deepen my knowledge from so many  folks willing to share their wisdom and years of expertise. It was also the first time I started to question my own purchases. I found many dealers only dealing in graded coins, which made me wonder if my collection was lacking long-term value. In addition, I found very few raw coins, at least of the gold Indian variety.

I was only at the show for one day.  With limited time I began to look for an education rather than coins. That is when I met fellow Indian collector and Indian expert Allan Schein who authored the book, “The Gold Indians of Bela Lyon Pratt.” Allan not only educated me, he point blank told me I needed to be buying the highest graded coin I could afford, he also explained the epidemic and ever increasing market of counterfeit coins. In my mind I thought for sure I was sitting pretty safe with my collection as I had bought them from legitimate dealers, albeit via eBay.

I headed to the ANACS booth as they did not require a membership for grading and my main goal was see where I stood with my collection. I submitted twenty gold Indians, which was scary for a first timer. This was my collection and I am handing it over to a complete stranger. Oh well, it must be legit right?

Four pain staking weeks later, the package finally arrived from ANACS, and I could hardly wait to see the results. Upon opening the sealed box, I first read the grading sheet summary.  Looking down the list of grades, MS61, AU50, AU58, N9, N9, N9…. Um what is N9? It didn’t explain what N9 was and I noticed several coins in the box were ungraded. I called ANACS and I couldn’t believe my ears. COUNTERFEIT! That’s right, I had 6 counterfeit coins, all of which were common dates and the majority were AU or worse. I was mortified and felt taken advantage of, but at the same time I felt relieved to learn this valuable lesson so early on in my collecting adventures rather than 20 years down the road.  A lesson hard learned.

Today, the vast majority of my purchases are graded by NGC or PCGS and I sleep well knowing my coins are legitimate and what they are valued at. I also feel assured in knowing that some day my children will have no question what they are as well.

I learned that utilizing expert graders takes a lot of the long-term risk out of owning and selling coins. I still occasionally buy raw coins, but only in-person and after careful consideration, they will ultimately end up being graded.  As for the counterfeit coins, I was able to get my money back on all of them. You can imagine some of the dealers were just as shocked as I was.

My ANACS submission report

A counterfeit $2 1/2 Indian

A CAC approved 1908 from my collection

Created by: Legacy1 on 12/03/2018

I enjoyed reading your comments. I too am apprehensive about turning over my Morgan set for 3rd party grading. Not because I don't trust them, but because I don't want to find out some of my collection includes cleaned or counterfeit coins! After many years, I completed my Morgan set, year, mint mark and key varieties and about 1/2 are "raw" having started this collection when I was young and cash was tight. I think you've inspired me to submit the set so there is not confusion. Best of luck and thanks for your post.

Created by: davidrhorer on 12/07/2018

The moral of the story: generally stay away from raw coins. And never, absolutely never, buy raw coins on ebay. Why so many do completely baffles me. I honestly just don't get it.
I enjoyed this post, as I enjoy all the posts here. And I greatly sympathize with the author. I knew exactly where they were headed, almost from the very beginning. There's no question they learned a valuable lesson.

Come See Northeast at Gillette Stadium New!

Tom and Brian from our office will be setting up shop at the 2018 Best Years Expo at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Home to the five time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, Gillette will host The Best Years Expo on October 20th. 

The Best Years Expo provides attendees with a host of options to help them celebrate, learn, and experience life in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond. Close to 50 vendors will be in attendance. Guests will enjoy a day of celebrity appearances, seminars, vendors, activities, giveaways, and more!

So to our New England customers, come on down to the stadium and see us. We encourage you to bring any coins you might like to sell. Hope to see you there!


Lifetime Numismatic Goal Achieved! New!

The following was posted by Brian:

We have a wonderful customer named Paul from right here in Massachussetts that we have been doing business with for the last couple of years. Paul is 92 and is a spry, fiery sort. We all enjoy his conversation and enthusiasm for life and his coins. Paul has been collecting for just shy of 75 years and has built an impressive collection of Flying Eagle Cents, Lincolns, Mercury Dimes, and Walkers (among other types). In fact, Paul recently completed his Walking Liberty Half Dollar set with us.

A few months ago after purchasing a 1942/41-D Mercury Dime from us, he proudly mentioned that he now needed only one coin to complete the set - the key date 1916-D. We did have one at the time, but unfortunately for Paul it was mint state and a bit outside the range with which he was comfortable paying. He asked if we could try and locate one in Fine condition.

With that, we added Paul's wish to our want list and sure enough, Tom from our office found just such a coin. I called Paul and he said he hadn't been feeling so good lately, although he did seem to perk up when I gave him the news that we had located a 1916-D Mercury Dime NGC F12. Paul said that if he "makes it through the night" then he will call us tomorrow.

Sure enough we got a call the next morning. Paul was feeling much better and was ready to buy the coin and finally complete his set. He sounded like he was beaming at the prospect of finally reaching this life-long numismatic goal. Congratulations to Paul!

We all like happy ending stories like this one, but remember - you don't have to be 92 and on your last coin in order to give us your want list. Perhaps we can make it happen for you whether you're just starting out or just finishing up your collection. Email us at or give us a call at 800.449.2646 and let us know how we can help you.


1943 Copper Cent - Dreams do come true! New!
There is 1 comment on this post.

The following was written by Tom:

Early last year we acquired a certified 1943 Copper Lincoln Cent in XF condition. This was the first 1943 Copper that I have had the privilege to own and offer in my entire 54-year career. This rarity is among the most desirable and rarest United States coins and it is known among veteran coin collectors and non-collectors alike, as it frequently makes the news. 

All coin dealers, ourselves included, receive phone calls and emails on a regular basis from the public with claims that they have a genuine piece.  In most cases, simply taking a magnet to the coin will prove that the coin in question is just a copper coated specimen of virtually no value, thereby immediately dashing dreams of riches.  Occasionally more sophisticated counterfeits surface that demand more attention to disprove authenticity.  With only about 20 known pieces, the chances of finding a genuine piece are, needless to say, astronomically slim.

We enjoyed the pride of ownership of our piece while displaying it at regional and national coin shows, where it garnered a lot of attention and comments from collectors (and dealers!) who had never seen such a piece in person.  Some folks even asked to take photos and/or hold the coin, figuring another such opportunity would never arise. We were very happy to oblige.

After offering the 1943 Copper for sale on our site ( for much of 2017 without a sale, we decided to take it off the market and perhaps bring it out for display again at some later date.  While packing for the recent ANA Money Show that was held in Philadelphia, we decided this might be a good opportunity for the collectors in the City of Brotherly Love to view the coin, so we brought it along.

One of the collectors attending the show, Willie (a client of ours whom we see at every ANA), came by the table and expressed interest in the coin, saying he had always dreamed of owning one. We then recalled last year that Willie had mentioned he was anticipating the sale of his restaurant and if it happened to go through he would consider the purchase of our piece.

Well, the timing was right for Willie this year!

As we are always willing to work with clients on a layaway basis for big and small purchases alike, we were able to come to an agreement with him on the 1943 Copper.  We are thrilled that our rarity has found a new happy home.  Congratulations Willie - sometimes dreams do come true. Enjoy!

Created by: BogieGolf on 01/11/2019

Is this the same one in the news this past week with an estimated auction price greater than 1,000,000?

Hi. No, this is not the same piece.

An interesting find New!
There is 1 comment on this post.

Our in-house variety specialist and intern, Benjamin Simpson, recently discovered an interesting item. He wrote the following post:

Benjamin found a perpetual calendar ferrotype located at the bottom of a grimy old box in Tom’s office. While it may not look very attractive or special, the medallion is a rare relic of Civil War era America, and highly collectible.

The silver plated brass medallion was manufactured by Ellis and Read of Springfield, Mass during the Civil War. It features an inlaid ferrotype of Major Gen. Benjamin Butler on the obverse, and a perpetual calendar on the reverse. The calendar can be used to determine what days of the week correspond to any date, past, present, or future.

Benjamin Butler, whose photograph is encased in this brass medallion, was a famous general, politician, and businessman of the 19th century. Born in 1818, Butler was a native of Lowell, Massachusetts. He studied to be a lawyer at Colby College and began a career in politics as a democrat after graduating. He entered the Lowell militia in 1840 and rose to the rank of colonel by the beginning of the Civil War. Butler was promoted to major general in 1861. He oversaw the 1862 Union occupation of New Orleans while simultaneously making himself a fortune by manufacturing war supplies in Lowell (Butler used his position in New Orleans to ensure that his textile factories got a steady supply of cotton). After the war, Butler was elected Governor of Massachusetts, and he unsuccessfully ran for president in 1884. Butler died in 1893.

Little is known about Ellis and Read of Springfield, who manufactured these political medallions during the civil war.

Several varieties of the Ellis and Read perpetual calendars are known to exist, including variants that feature ferrotypes of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, George McClellan, and other prominent political figures of the time. They are all highly sought after by collectors and can sell for thousands at auction. There are no Benjamin Butler medallions known to exist, nor have they been listed in any catalog of American political exonumia. Therefore, we believe we have a unique discovery piece for the series of perpetual calendars. You never know what you will find by doing a little digging through Tom’s cluttered office!


Created by: SUgRXVSw on 01/09/2019

Tom - was reading your blog , and my wife Jackie is now retired from the Butler middle school in Lowell Ma, and we found this very interesting . Benjamin Butler 's portrait hangs in the the school library .

Glad you enjoyed it!

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