Northeast's Blog

FUN Show report New!
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The following was written by Chris.

The annual Florida United Numismatists convention (the FUN show) was held the first week of January. Tom, Brian, Frank, and I attended. We began our travels to Orlando on New Year’s Day. Flying on the holiday definitely took a little fun out of FUN (fortunately, the next three January conventions will be held the second week of January). Our JetBlue flight was delayed as usual. And as is now custom with that airline these days, no explanation or apology was given. I guess they assume their regular passengers understand that the flights will usually be delayed.

Tom stayed at a Hyatt, as he typically prefers to do for this show. Frank, Brian, and I stayed in our usual location, which was an Airbnb condo in a gated community near the convention center. For the amenities available, it’s tough to beat the price. And with the show being held in the North concourse of the convention center this time, it was an easy 15-minute walk to the show.

It’s impossible for us dealers to start doing business at a coin show on the actual day of the show. There is always pre-show trading going on. If coin show coordinators stretched a show out from five to 15 days long, I can guarantee people will still show up one to two days early to do biz. This show was no exception. I Ubered around to various hotels to meet with wholesale dealers. From a security standpoint, this is far from ideal. Fortunately for me, I never carry inventory on me. Dealers will hold my purchases and deliver them once the show opens.

I went on this trip hoping to be very selective in my buying. I made a concerted effort not to buy anything we already had in inventory, pretty much regardless of price. I got a very early shot with one of my favorite wholesalers and was able to pick up a nice selection of interesting coins (the 1799 $10 PCGS XF45 OGH we have/had on our homepage is one of them). Six Uber rides later to different hotels, I was done for the day. Brian and Tom had success showing our inventory to a couple of dealers that day. Tom also played the Uber game and did some buying. Unfortunately, Frank hit a wall Monday night when we got in, and by Tuesday morning he was quite sick. He stayed in his room at the Airbnb all day. Brian was the ultimate caretaker, and heated up some chicken noodle soup and crackers and delivered a tray to Frank’s room that evening. We were all being quite cautious, as no one else wanted to get sick. Fortunately, Frank was consistently testing negative for COVID.

Wednesday started with more pre-show buying, and one more trip to a hotel to look at some new inventory that had just come in. The show kicked off at 2 pm. I went straight to our table to start setting up. I had barely had time to get the power strip plugged in when someone came over to the table to show me coins. I got my halogen out, took a seat, and was pretty much in that same position looking at coins until close to 7 pm. The other fellas were equally busy.

The show opened to table holders and early bird dealers at 8:30 on Thursday morning. Frank was feeling significantly better, so after yet another negative VID test, he masked up and we all started work right away. Other than a bathroom break or two, I did not leave the table and spent the whole day looking at coins. A lot of YN dealers that Frank knows came to the table to do business with him. Tom was venturing out on the bourse floor looking at coins. And Brian was out on the floor showing our coins to as many dealers as possible. We wrapped up the day at closing time, which was 7 pm. While not big law firm hours, it was definitely a long day.

Friday we checked out of the Airbnb and allowed ourselves a late start to the day, getting to the show around 10 am. Business continued as usual for all four of us, though I was calling it quits early. My wife had flown in from Boston the night before, and we were planning on seeing friends for the weekend. I typically do any necessary shipping from the show. I’m fussy about it, so I feel more comfortable doing it myself (and I think everyone else prefers that I do it, which is understandable since it’s a pain in the @ss). I ended up shipping five large FedEx boxes back from the show.

The day ended for me around 2 pm. I met my wife outside the convention center, and we left to start our mini-vacation for the weekend. Brian and Frank left for the airport a couple of hours later. Tom’s intent was to stay another day and fly home Saturday night. However, we were a little concerned about a winter storm coming our way in Boston. He decided not to risk it and flew out first thing Saturday morning. It wasn’t our intention to leave an empty bourse table on Saturday, but the situation demanded it. And good thing too. On Saturday, apparently a big leak occurred directly over our table. It was the only place on the bourse floor to get flooded!

How was the show? I give it an A minus. I was satisfied with my buying, though I came home with a little bit more than I intended to buy. But I was pleased with what I bought. A last-minute purchase on Friday afternoon was quite satisfying – an extremely rare 1879-O $20 in uncirculated condition, which was cleaned. I typically do not buy problem coins, but I did not want to pass up on the opportunity on such a rarity. Frank seemed fairly satisfied with his purchases and time there. His health improved each day, and he was back to normal by the time he went home. Sales were pretty decent. After some disappointing show sales in 2023, it was a good start to 2024. While we typically do wholesale business at shows, we did make a few sales to the public. Thursday public turnout was incredible. It was as busy a bourse floor as I recall seeing at a show, which was great.

On a personal note, I enjoyed a few extra days in Orlando with my wife. We visited with local friends and some FSU college buddies of mine that drove down from Tallahassee. We used to play all the intramural sports in college back in the day. Now in our 50’s, our sports activities were limited to such things as putt-putt, Top Golf, bowling, and cards. I lost at putt-putt, won at Top Golf (I am terrible at golf…I just happened to be less terrible than my friends), and got absolutely destroyed in bowling. Gone are the days of bowling 185-215. I didn’t crack 100 in either game. Maybe my "sports" report after the next show will be better.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Our JetBlue flight was three hours delayed going home.

Time to show off my mad driving skills (I think I hit one 275 125 yards) at Top Golf.

Putt-putt. As most of my friends know, I am prone to being goofy in front of a camera.

Told you.

We found a GREAT locals bar. They were kind enough to put on the crappy Patriots game for us. Adios, Bill! Thank you for your football service.

I couldn't get anyone to do this ride with me. Maybe this is why: Slingshot Terror

Enjoying brunch with my wife and Florida State buddies. That orange juice may or may not have vodka in it.

Created by: davidrhorer on 01/13/2024

Enjoyed, Chris. And very cool pics. Yes, sad to see Bill Belichick go. What a football mind.

Frankly Speaking - Trickles New!
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The following was written by Frank.  

The Three Cent Nickel has a fascinating origin story that is packed with history. The first example of the denomination, the Three Cent Silver, was minted from 1851-1873. The intent of striking Three Cent Silver pieces was to create an intermediate denomination between the Large Cent and the Half Dime. Also, the price of postage stamps was dropped from five cents to three cents, which made this coin have a very practical use. Instead of carrying around three clunky Large Cents, you could bring a small Three Cent Silver piece to buy a postage stamp at the post office. The Three Dollar Gold piece was also minted for a similar reason; you could easily purchase a sheet of 100 stamps without having to worry about having the correct amount of coinage in various denominations.

Because of economic concerns, the public hoarded vast amounts of silver coinage during the Civil War. Many of these coins were Three Cent Silvers. Because of the coin shortage, stamps were accepted as tender for small change, but it created a sticky situation (pun intended) because the stamps would begin deteriorating much faster than coins. To aid the coin shortage, many merchants issued their own one cent tokens, called Civil War Tokens. These Civil War Tokens were accepted and used in commerce regularly. The government also began printing fractional currency, which were pieces of paper money with denominations ranging from three cents to fifty cents.

On March 3, 1865, Congress passed a bill for the coining of Three Cent Nickels, composed of 25% nickel and 75% copper. The Three Cent Nickel has a diameter of 17.9 millimeters and a weight of 1.94 grams. Fourth Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint James Barton Longacre was in charge of producing a design for the new coin. Three Cent Silvers were struck alongside Three Cent Nickels, but mintages of the silver type were miniscule compared to the nickel type. Eventually, the coining for Three Cent Silvers was halted in 1873, making the Three Cent Nickel the sole type of the denomination until they were discontinued in 1889. Mintages for Three Cent Nickels were quite high during the 1860s, but tapered off until 1889 as the mintages of five cent nickels and higher denominations of silver coinage increased rapidly. The 1880s, with the exception of 1881, had very low mintages; the lowest being just 1,000 pieces in 1885. Many business strike examples from the 1880s are tough to locate.

The U.S. Mint produced only proof Three Cent Nickels for the years of 1877, 1878, and 1886. These proof only dates are in demand for collectors seeking to assemble a date set, as they can only resort to proof examples since none were minted as business strikes. Mintages for proof coins for the type vary from 500-6,609. Many earlier date pieces have lower mintages, while later dates tend to have a higher mintage for proof issues. Proof Three Cent Nickels often come with great eye appeal and a nice cameo contrast.

A few highlights of the series include the business strike 1884 (mintage of 1,700) and business strike 1885 (mintage of 1,000). These two dates are rare because of how relatively low their mintages are. All 1887 proof Three Cent Nickels are overdates (1887/6). The die engraver punched a “7” over the “6” on the die, creating the overdate. There are two varieties of this overdate, a weak and strong overdate. The Mint workers made an effort to polish out the overdate but failed to completely remove it.

The following is an excerpt from Tom Caldwell, president of Northeast Numismatics:

“Speaking of proof Three Cent Nickels, when we first started traveling to major shows in the early 1970s, it was not uncommon to handle complete sets of this series in proof. Starting in 1865, with its exceptionally low mintage of 500 (all from this year have a recut date) through 1889. I recall figuring most dates in the $50 or less range and the proof only years of 1877, 1878, and 1886 for about double. We handled many complete sets during this time period. Specific numerical grades were not in common use during this era; they were either choice or gem, which is hard to imagine today. The coin business was booming in 1980, and amazingly any proof Three Cent Nickel was trading for $1,500-$2,000 regardless of quality. Prices eventually calmed down and became more stable starting in 1986, as the grading services standardized grading. Today, it is highly unusual to find a complete proof set of this series offered for sale.”

 As Tom mentions, finding a complete proof set of this series is a rare occurrence. We have the pleasure of offering a complete proof Three Cent Nickel set on our site: Three Cent Nickels



Created by: PS28 on 01/12/2024

I once tried to assemble an 1885 mint set, excluding of course the Trade Dollar. I never completed the set because I could not find an 1885 business strike. I was offered four coins that all turned out to be proofs. This year, I was finally shown an 1885 business strike, the only one in over 25 years.

Northeast: Were you able to add it to your collection?

Created by: PS28 on 01/18/2024

I did not add it to my collection, it was over $4,500 and while I recognize its rarity I have other priorities for my collection.

Numismatic Puns New!

The following was posted by Chris.

We like to have a little fun around here, and this year we have been slowly compiling a list of numismatic puns. We hope you enjoy them, and welcome any that you might come up with! Just comment on this post.

Has anyone ever taken a proof coin and put it in some pudding, just because?

What do you call a coin midway to its destination? Half Cent.

Why was the numismatist excited about his evening? Because he had a key date that night.

What kind of coin do you put in the bathroom? A Voce Potpourri.

What did the tiny numismatist use to protect himself? A Shield Nickel.

Shouldn't a Clamshell Lamination just be called a Clamination?

Did you all hear about the kids in the young Numismatists class? They got in trouble for passing notes!


The following contributions are from the coin message boards. Thanks to all who contributed!

The trouble with blanks and planchets is that you can't make heads or tails of them. (braddick)

Two couples going out is a doubled date. (TurtleCat)

Favorite coin of a divorced couple? Half Union. (TurtleCat)

Undertakers prefer their coins in slabs. (TurtleCat)

Be nice to your partner or you will be a repunched date. (TurtleCat)

What do you call a collector who goes into a tanning salon? Artificially toned. (TurtleCat)

Q: Why can't anyone understand a broken coining press?
A: Because it doesn't make any cents. (MarkKelley)

Why did the coin thief go to jail? He couldn't show the judge any proof  he was innocent. (Steven59)

What's the difference between a dollar bill and the Cleveland Browns? You can always get 4 quarters from a dollar bill. (Steven59)

When the brockage cleared I had to run to the privy. (Fraz)

Old Coin collectors never retire, they just lose their luster. (Dug13)


And now our favorite.

"The mint said due to inflation, one of us has to go."

"Why are you all looking at me?" (Manifest_Destiny)

Attention coin club members - books for your library? New!

We recently culled the random assortment of books shown below from our library. If you are a member of a coin club and would like to add these to your club's library, let us know and the group is yours at no charge. Given away on a first come, first serve basis. You can request them by leaving a comment on this post.


Long Beach Coin Show Report New!

The following was written by Chris

I’m always very busy after coin shows playing catch-up, which is why the occasional coin show report we post shows up several days, if not weeks, later. But considering how short the show was, I figured I’d bang one out quickly.

As mentioned in our previous show report, NEN did not take a table at this show for the first time ever. Sales were terrible at the last LB show we attended, and two of our other buyers (Tom and Frank) either couldn’t or didn’t want to go to this one. That said, I was not ready to give up on the show. A big reason is that I enjoy attending it. The weather is almost always the same (lovely), and the downtown area is light years ahead of where it was 10+ years ago in terms of things to do and places to eat.

I flew into LAX from Boston Tuesday night. (I sure do miss those nonstop flights from Boston to Long Beach!) I started early Wednesday morning doing pre-show biz with wholesalers. Show setup started at noon, and I was able to get in thanks to getting an Early Bird badge. It was refreshing to see that the show opened on time and everything was set up. Not so the past couple of shows.

From noon until 6 pm or so, I traveled to various wholesalers’ tables looking through their boxes. My plan was to fly home late Thursday night on the redeye, but by the end of the first day, I knew I was going to be taking an earlier flight. I’m disappointed to say it, but wow, has this show declined significantly. More and more dealers are no longer setting up or even attending. That night I changed my flight to a Thursday afternoon flight, with the added benefit of getting a full day in the office on Friday.

Thursday morning I hit a few other dealers who still had their inventory in boxes or who hadn’t set up at all (see my previous show report about trawling the floor looking in showcases). I went to the show with two empty double row boxes, with the plan to hopefully fill them up, but not looking to buy any more than that. I was definitely being selective. After I finished my last deal, it fit perfectly in the second box. I didn’t have to cram anything in nor was there room for another coin. Exactly two double rows!

I shared a ride to LAX with a dealer friend of mine and grabbed yet another shockingly on time JetBlue flight home, getting to my house around 1 am this morning. Now for a quick food summary. Lunch from Islands Restaurant on Wednesday was generously provided to me by one of the wholesalers, and dinner was with a long-time coin circuit friend of mine at some Italian restaurant. I generally do not eat Italian food, so I of course tried their burger. One hockey puck later, it was time to call it a night.

I’m not sure if we’ll be taking a table at the next LB show. Regardless, I will definitely be attending. While there are way fewer dealers at this show now, it was well worth the time and expense to head out there. I am very pleased with what filled the two boxes I bought.