Welcome to Steve's blog, sharing stories of his professional coin career, 1963 to date. Enjoy stories of Steve's numismatic journey.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Shrewd Collector; Smart Purchase

The last post described Bob B.’s exquisite set of Buffalo Nickels.  Here we explore one of America’s most esoteric and difficult sets of coins.

Our friend Bob was a pretty quiet guy, a bit cagey even, for you never knew what he was thinking . . . or what he would bring in to show and discuss.

In the late 1980s, the coin market was moving up in price.  Bob was paying attention. About 1988 he came to my office, saying, “It’s time to sell some coins” unveiling a spectacular and complete set of 3c Silver coins.

Rare 1872 issue
This was, without a doubt, the finest set of 3c Silvers I had ever seen, perhaps the finest set in existence at the time.  The set was stored in a Wayte Raymond album and displayed perfect peripheral target tone.

Bob bought the set from Wayte Raymond in 1951 as an investment.  The set contained gem specimens and had clearly been assembled directly into the album.  The result was a beautifully matched set for quality and color.

As you may know, the 3c Silver series is extremely difficult to assemble for reasons of availability, grade and eye appeal.

Availability:  These small coins were easily lost or worn out by circulation.  There are many scarce dates within the series, extremely limited mintages.

Grading:  The 3c Silver is a tiny, thin, delicate coin.  Many examples have limited details and are not well struck.  Can you imagine the challenge to strike such a small coin?

Eye appeal:  Strikes vary widely. It was difficult for the mint to apply sufficient pressure to create good luster.

Wayte Raymond National album
In addition to Bob’s set being hand picked gems, the album in which they had been stored for 37 years enhanced the coins’ eye appeal.  

Lovely target tone
The National coin album was marketed by Wayte Raymond beginning in the early 1930s and continued, following his death, until 1965.  Silver coins from old time collections stored for decades in Wayte Raymond National albums often display peripheral bands of concentric colors and white or golden-toned centers.  This is also called target or "bull's eye" toning.

We certified the set; coin grades ranged from MS-66 to MS-69. 

I displayed the certified set at a national coin show; soon dozens of dealers and collectors crowded around the table for a look.

Complete sets of 3c Silvers have limited general collector appeal.  It takes a knowledgeable and sophisticated collector to appreciate the quality and beauty of a set like Bob’s. 

Bob B’s set  of 3c Silvers is currently enjoyed by a collector in the Midwest, intact. 

No comments:

Post a Comment