Those who followed my inventory in recent months recognize I've been on a long and complicated search for new coins. Success has come from usual sources (collectors, dealers, auctions) and a bit of gentle arm twisting for access to dealer stashes long hidden away.
Recent experience models the unrelenting search by dealers and collectors to discover the next batch of great coins. Seems like the search was somewhat easier in the early days of my coin career. Best results come both from hard work and being in the right place at the right time.
In early 1981 we were exhausted from the great gold and silver price rise which required months and months of extra long work hours, scrambling mightily to keep body, soul and business together. We just needed a break, so a vacation to
New Zealand and Australia seemed just right.
While exploring these new and interesting regions, coin matters quietly percolated in the back of my mind. It was common knowledge that good
U.S. coins were sometimes available in Australia and New
Zealand, remnants of the U.S. naval fleet being stationed
in the region from 1910 to 1915.
American sailors spent mostly “S” mint coins, including Lincoln Cents, Buffalo Nickels and all Barber denominations. Wouldn't it be great to score some early 20th century coins for inventory? Maybe we should explore a coin shop or two along our journey.
Sydney, we connected with M.R.
“Bob” Roberts, an internationally known Australian coin dealer I had met
several times during my years in Southern California. Bob began in
the coin business just two days before the introduction of and changeover to
decimal coinage in
(14 February 1966) and his Wynyard Coin Centre has been operating since shortly
after that. Australia
|Sydney Harbor View|
, we were fully on
our own. From New Zealand Auckland
to Rotorua to ,
we enjoyed the culture, scenery and other delights, snooping in coin shops
along the way, Wellington
|Steve Estes - early 1981|
The tiny auto in which we traveled
around New Zealand's north island