Northeast's Blog

Our 100,000th Invoice New!
11/02/2021
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The following was written by Tom.

Around 20 years ago we started our current invoicing system, beginning at invoice number one. Today we reached a significant number; we created invoice number 100,000. It means little in the big picture other than to show that Northeast has been busy these past couple of decades. We are proud of our consistent daily activity and fair dealings of buying and selling with collectors, investors, and dealers, all while under the same ownership. We thank you, our customers, for making it all possible. We look forward to reaching the next big milestone!

Comments:
Created by: Panda on 11/02/2021

Congratulations!


Keepin' It Reales! New!
10/27/2021

The following was written by Brian.

One of the most historic events in world currency came in the year 1497 with the creation of the Spanish ‘8 Reales’ silver coin. For many, many years after the first minting, these 8 Reales would be the standard of global currency. The 8 Reales was known as the Spanish Dollar but also was referred to as ‘pieces of eight’. At the time it was the largest denomination silver coin in the New World. The coin boasted a 38 mm diameter size.

For comparison, here is an 8 Reales next to a Morgan Dollar.

These coins were minted in Potosi, Bolivia where the main 'silver mountain' and mine were located. The harsh reality is that thousands of indigenous people were held as slaves to operate the mine. Many died due to the harsh conditions and the demand for silver to pay for Spain's military initiatives. This, however, did nothing to diminish the coins’ impact on world currency and one could say that it was the first uniformly used global currency.

The Spanish dollar coin was worth 8 reales (a unit of currency in Spain) and could be physically cut into 8 pieces or ‘bits’ to make change and indeed this was a very real practice. The Spanish Dollar could also be cut into quarters or even halves.

Here is a modern representation of how the bits might be cut.

If you’re like me, you immediately think of a pie chart when viewing these bits. Here was my first thought and an example we can all wrap our heads around.

Spanish coins were increasingly popular and were preferred over other currency because they had a milled, or patterned edge, which prevented the practice of shaving down the edges of coins without being detected. Many years later, the United States and Mexico would adopt a similar style silver dollar/peso.

For this particular Spanish Mexican colony piece (below), the obverse has a profile portrait of King Charles IV and reads “Del Gratia 1805 Carolous IIII,” (Charles IIII by the Grace of God, 1805). The reverse shows an image of Spain’s Pillars of Hercules lesser royal coat of arms and reads, “HISPAN ET IND REX M 8R T H” (King of the Spains and the Indies, Mexico, 8 reales). 

The ‘M’ is for Mexico, but more interestingly, the ‘T H’ on the reverse refers to the assayers initials; one for each of the first letters of the first names of the senior and junior assayer. In this case, the TH is for Thomás Butrón y Miranda & Henrique Buenaventura Azorín.

A great coin indeed and the popularity of this coin continues to this day. But hey, that’s just my two bits. The most important take from all of this is that you now know truly how much a shave and a haircut will cost you.


Oh My Gaudens! New!
10/12/2021

Fall is a wonderful time to travel in New England, especially by car. This is the season that many thousands of ‘leaf peepers’ will descend upon sleepy towns in the northeast to be dazzled by vivid displays of the changing season. Apple orchards, cider donuts, pumpkin-fests, decorative gourds and of course the foliage are among the many wonderful features to enjoy during your stay.

Believe it or not, this isn’t Photoshopped!

Another perhaps lesser known New England attraction can be found in Cornish New Hampshire. Cornish is a pleasant 2 hours 15 minutes drive from Concord, MA (home of Northeast Numismatics) on the New Hampshire-Vermont border. Cornish is also home to the Saint Gaudens National Historic Park. Within the park grounds you will find the home of Augustus Saint Gaudens. St. Gaudens was one of the world’s preeminent sculptors of the 19th and 20th century and he made Cornish his summer residence from 1885-1897 as well as his permanent home from 1900 until his death in 1907. The grounds also feature many of his bronze sculptures, the Blow-Me-Down farm, dance hall, nature trails, monuments, statues, memorials, atriums, flower gardens, ponds and wide open fields that showcase views across the Connecticut River to the Vermont mountains.

Main House and Flower Gardens

Shaw Memorial on the Bowling Green

St. Gaudens was well known for his ‘Beaux-Arts’ generation sculptures and was quite famous during his lifetime. Some of his major achievements include the Civil War Robert Gould Shaw Memorial which still stands on Boston Common, the General John Logan Memorial in Chicago’s Grant Park and a plethora of other works too voluminous to name here.  

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial honoring the 54th Regiment

It is said that St. Gaudens was a good friend of Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt, early in his time in office, was unimpressed (to put it lightly) with the designs of US gold coins and he developed a scheme to change that. St. Gaudens was commissioned to lead the way for these advancements and was charged with designing a $20 gold piece, a $10 gold piece and a cent (which was never minted). Many consider his gold $20 Double Eagle to be the most beautiful in all of US coinage. Here is one of the finest known of his $20 designs.

And of course the $10 Gold Indian Head

The most famous (and perhaps most controversial coin in US history) is the 1933 $20 Double Eagle of which only 13 remain and just one privately owned. This particular specimen just sold for 18.8 million dollars in June 2021.

Perhaps second only to the ’33 Saint is the equally famous and certainly more attainable 1907 $20 High Relief. This important US coin comes in two varieties; the Wire Rim and Flat Rim, although they are not true varieties as the two different strikings were not planned by the mint, but rather a result of a rather tedious striking process (each coin required 5 blows by the equipment in order to bring up the design elements fully).

Beautiful American coins designed by a very talented American artist. If you’re ever in New England you should definitely make this one of your must-see attractions.


Feuchtwanger! New!
10/08/2021

The following was written by Brian.

Feuchtwanger! It’s just fun to say and it seems that there are a few acceptable ways to pronounce the word.  

Foist-fahnger (the ‘g’ is soft).

Fyooch-twinger (the ‘g’ is like the ‘g’ in ginger).

And finally, Webster’s dictionary has it broken down as foikht-vahng-uhr

Regardless of how you pronounce it (and I’ve heard some very, um, let’s say unusual attempts) it is a pretty cool, well designed and interesting coin.

MS65 Feuchtwanger Cent

 

The Feuchtwanger cent, which is technically a token, was minted privately in 1837 by a Bavarian-born chemist and pharmacist named Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger. The token coins were struck in “German Silver”, a composition of nickel, copper, and some zinc. These cents were no joke either - they were widely accepted and circulated. Like the Liberty Dollar, this was back during a time when the manufacture of such commerce was not unlawful.

The good doctor.

 

‘German Silver’ had already been circulating in Europe when the doctor proposed that his coinage replace the Braided Hair Cent (which was 100% copper). And so Dr. Feuchtwanger presented his cent to the US Mint, but it was ultimately rejected due not to the design, but the metal composition. However, the year 1837 saw much uncertainty and concern with the US banking system and the Federal Reserve. So much so that many people were hoarding coins - silver coins in particular. This may account for a good number of extant coins being mint state or having light circulation.

Though the token cent is far more popular among collectors, Feuchtwanger also developed a Three Cent piece that saw heavy circulation in its heyday. 

Feuchtwanger 3 Cent Piece

 

Such a neat coin, embedded with history, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to own one in the lower grades. So let’s say it one more time…

Feuchtwanger!


There's the Rub New!
09/17/2021

The following was written by Brian.

We recently purchased a large group of coins from a longtime customer of ours and the group included about fifteen 1937-D “3 Leg” nickels, many of those of which were in high XF and upper AU grades. There is little doubt as to the immense popularity of this particular numismatic rarity; it ranks right up there with the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent, 1955 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent and the 1942/1 Mercury Dime.

Upon examining some of the higher end non-MS examples I noticed that many of them were close to qualifying as Mint State and without doubt would have been sliders back in the days of the Wild Wild West (pre-TPGCs).

The Buffalo Nickel series may indeed be the most difficult type to grade and an important distinction (among all coin types, really) is if the coin has seen circulation or if it is Mint State. Grading coins often begins with the obverse of the coin, but with Buffalo Nickels it should start with the reverse and in particular, the hip bone/flank area. As we know, many (if not most) issues in this series were poorly struck and because of this, some coin features are difficult to discern in terms of wear vs. weakness. For instance, you can have a well struck Mint State coin with a clearly defined and well-rounded hip bone area.

Conversely, you can have a weakly struck mint state coin with the hip bone/shoulder area not nearly as well-defined.

Again, neither of the above coins has wear, but due to striking you can see a big difference in the definition of the hip bones and this can really become a big factor when determining upper AU and lower Mint State examples.

When Buffalo Nickels have been circulated, the wear on the hip bone and flank underneath it is known as the “mesa affect”. In Spanish, mesa literally means table. In essence, that area flattens much like a table and it will be accompanied by a dullness in color. Here’s a sold XF example where you can clearly see the mesa affect on the hip bone and also rub on the upper shoulder area.

Here, however, is an example of a coin graded AU58 by NGC. Notice just the lightest hint of wear in the aforementioned areas. As Willie Shakes would say, “ay, there’s the rub.” This is another good reason to keep the loupe on hand and use it. 

After looking at the reverse for the telltale signs of wear, be sure not to ignore the obverse as it can confirm your analyses.