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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 26, Number 11


November 2013


November Membership Meeting

Tuesday November 5, 2013

Central Lutheran Church, 15th & Cordova

7:00 PM


Inside This Issue

Mark Your Calendar - Holiday Party Thursday December 12 (No membership meeting on Tuesday December 3)

Coin Show December 7 and 8 University Center

MS-60, 61 and 62- The Misunderstood Grades

Mother Nature's "Toning" Process

Tools of the Numismatic Trade



October 1st Anchorage Coin Club
Membership Meeting


Door Prize: 2009-P Lincoln Cent (Formative Years) ANACS MS67 Red Won by: Bill Rodeck.

Membership Prize: 1957-D Lincoln Cent (Clashed Dies) ANACS MS65 Red Won by: Loren Lucason.

Briefing by Club President Carl on the coin show to be held at the University Center on Saturday, October 12th and Sunday, October 13th. Members encouraged to attend show. Member Tim Burke offered use of his portable PA for announcements.

Other announcements:

There is a coin auction being held by Alaska Rare Coins (who advertises in our club newsletter) in Fairbanks on October 5th. List of auction lots were made available for club members to review. Some members indicated they were bidding lots for this auction.

New BU rolls of corns are expected to come in at the Wells Fargo banks in December. Members can request and get them from the bank.

The evening session was a "Show and Tell" in which members brought in their favorite coins and talked about them. Session also was used to buy, sell, and trade coins.

Monthly raffle prize was an 1885-O Morgan Dollar in BU condition. Won by: Bill Rodeck.

There were also some secondary raffle prizes:

Club's monthly coin auction followed with meeting concluding after the auction

Larry Nakata/ Secretary

October 10th Anchorage Coin Club
Board Meeting

Board meeting held at the Yamato Ya Japanese Restaurant (located near the University Center). Called to order at 6:30 PM by Club President Carl.

Discussion on the results of coin show held at the University Center on October 12th/13th. General consensus- Slow at first, but ended up pretty good.

Discussion then moved to the final coin show for 2013.... our club's Holiday Coin Show. Carl will look at holding the show on either the weekend of December 7th/8th or December 21st/22nd at the University Center.

Club's Christmas Party:

For November 5th Membership Meeting:

As there was no further business to discuss, meeting concluded at 7:30 PM

Larry Nakata/ Secretary

Lots Submitted by Bill Fivaz for September 3 (Tuesday) Membership Meeting

1. 1909 VDB 1c MS-64 Red Minimum Bid (MB): $20

2. 1924-D 1c VF MB $ 35

3. 1927-P 1c MS-62BN No Minimum

4. 1995-P 1c DDO MS-66 Red MB $35

5. 1938-P,D,S Jeff. 5c MS-64 MB $10

6. 1921-P 10c VG MB $40

7. 1854-O (Arr.) 25c VF MB $32

8. 1927-S 25c VG MB $25

9. 1896-O $1 (Binion Coll.-NGC) Fine MB $25

10. 1921 Peace $1 VF MB $80

11. 1874 $1.00 (T-3) Gold XF/AU MB $195

12. 1914-D $10.00 Indian NGC "AU Details Bent" MB $720

13. 1953 Red Seal $2 (F) / 1963 Red Seal $5 (VF) MB $10

14. 1934 $20.00 FRN (Atlanta) VG No Minimum

15. 1958 Can. Totem Pole $1.00 CH BU MB $15

16. Donation: Sheet of 6 $2.00 "Inverted Jenny" stamps Mint

by Bill Fivaz (Life Member #7)

         Low grade Uncirculated coins.... good, bad, or dangerous?!

         Well, it all depends on how you look at it. If you want a mint state coin and really don't give a hoot about eye appeal, then a MS-60 specimen might be right up your alley. You must understand going in, however, that when you purchase an MS-60, you're buying an ugly and problem coin for one reason or another.

         What make an MS-60 an MS-60? It may have lousy (or no) luster from mishandling or overdipping, or even from improper storage. Or, it may have so many contact marks that it looks like a 500 mile ride in the back of a gravel truck. In short, it's really not an attractive coin, but, there's no wear on it. Conceivably, however, a MS-60 com could garner less than a mint state price because it's so ugly. Bottom line: A MS-60 coin is a bad coin.

         Okay, how about the MS-61 and MS-62 grades? In reality, there's very little difference between a MS-60 and MS-61 specimen. It's just a little less ugly. When we reach the MS-62 grade however, we should start becoming concerned with low-end, mid-range, and high-end specimens. Remember that there is quality in every grade. A low-end 62 is marginally better than a MS-61, while a high-end 62 is closer to a MS-63, generally a pretty collectable coin.

At this point, I should probably point out that there are two ways to arrive at the MS-62 grade.

         Stay with me, here..... A coin graded AU-55 or AU-58 under the technical grading system should actually be a MS-64 or 65 com with just a little wear on the high points. If it had more contact marks, poorer luster, etc., factors that would lower it within the mint state grade to a MS-63 or lower, it should be graded lower on the AU scale, say to an AU-53 or AU-50.

         However, because it has the positive attributes that would cause it to be graded MS-64 or MS-65 if it didn't have just that little wear, it is a much more attractive piece, and therefore has better eye appeal. In other words, it would fit much better in a mid to high grade uncirculated set than would a MS-60 or MS-61.

Enter market grading......

         Market grading, which is what all third party services use, takes into consideration what it would bring (sell for) on the market because of this eye appeal. They then grade it accordingly. This is why so many technical AU-55/58 coins now reside in MS-62 holders- that's the price the coin would command on the open market. Bottom line: When you send a coin for grading, the services price the coin, they don't grade it!

         Your best bet then, would probably be to buy either a very high-end MS-62 piece that has no wear on it and a few contact marks, etc., or a MS-62 coin that is really a MS-64/65 with just a tad of wear and good eye appeal. It's your call- and your money.

Bill Fivaz

Mother Nature's "Toning" Process
by Stan Mead

         Fall is the time of the year that Mother Nature adds its beauty to the landscape with its many splendid array of fall colors. To start your appreciation and understanding of a natural toned coin, just observe the transition of the colors on the leaves and plants as fall progresses. As a "Tone" collector, this is my favorite time of year. Seeing firsthand how Mother Nature transform the landscape into an amazing display of colors is what I visualize happening to a coin over a period of time.

         Tone collectors are fortunate that Mother Nature's gentle hand almost always exceeds man's efforts, buy viewing as many toned coins as possible to learn and familiarize yourself with the range (depth) and the process that this comes about remains the best way to learn this naturally occurring process. What a better way to see this than in the fall.

         A beautifully toned coin is a coin that has aged well. The magnificent aging of silver in the right environment and circumstances can tone over the years to display an amazing array of colors: ambers, rainbows, deep blues and violets, pale pastels, pearlescent hues, golden rims, 'crescent-moon' rainbows... each one as unique as a fingerprint. This iridescent toning reflects the palette of nature's artwork and is literally Mother Nature's masterpieces.

         This doesn't always happen with either leaves or silver. When it does happen, it pleases the eye. To me, color is simply more appealing than gray.

         For example, why does toning start out light gold? Why does it then progress to gold, amber, russet, burgundy, cobalt blue, light blue, lemon yellow, orange, red, magenta, blue, blue-green, emerald green, and so on. Why can't a coin have gold toning that progresses to green, or some other color, rather than following the "standard progression?" Toning of coins follow what Mother Nature does in real life.

         Fluorescent and incandescent lights will make a coin look different than it will in sunlight. Thus what is reflected back for you to see will differ. Remember this when you are looking at the scan of a coin. An HP scanner or artificial lighting does not produce the same spectrum as the sun.

         While grading (especially technical versus market grading) is one of confusion, there is another issue that can lead to much discussion.... Toned Coins (and how to grade). No two people, let alone the different grading companies will see a coin the same way. Toss in toning, then the confusion is open to a wide range of discussions.

Stan Mead

Tools of the Numismatic Trade
(excerpted from Warman's U.S. Coin Collecting by Alan Herbert and published in

         The most important tool for collecting coins is a magnifier lens: Every coin collector needs at least one magnifier.

Magnifying Glass

         A magnifier is rated by the increase in size of the image. A 1-power magnifier will show you a correctly sized image. A 10X magnifier will show the image 10 times larger than normal. "X" in this case means "times."

         You should never examine a coin just with the unaided eye, whether buying or selling. The mark of the experienced collector is the magnifier hanging from a lanyard around his neck. Magnifiers come with glass or plastic lenses. It's quite worthwhile to spend the extra money on glass, as a good lens will last you a lifetime. I use a 14X lens that I bought in 1967 and there is not a scratch on the lens, despite a dozen trips to the floor.


         As a collector, you need a low power lens for looking at multiple coins, plus a stronger lens to investigate something you spotted. A low power usually lets you see all of the coin, while a higher powered one may only show you something the size of the date.

         Obviously, a lens allows you to see more. That extra viewing power comes in handy when you suspect a coin of being a counterfeit, or an altered or doctored coin. The more coins you look at - and really see - the easier it will be to spot the problem coins. Over the years I've seen hundreds of coins that appear bright and shiny to the unaided eye, but under magnification reveal that they have been buffed or polished or even sand blasted to create that bright finish.

         I have done a lot of authentication work in the past and I was fortunate enough to have a stereomicroscope given to me. This turned out to be invaluable in my work and I took thousands of pictures through it. If you have access to a microscope, it becomes an indispensable tool for authentication or research work. If you have some cash available, a good stereomicroscope will cost a minimum of $300.

         For coins you need a stereo model with a 20X to 40X range. Anything over that, such as the 1200X scopes commonly found in schools, is overkill and useless for coins. With 60X you can find something "wrong" with almost every coin.

         When using a strong hand lens or a microscope, turn and tilt the coin to get the light from different angles. This will expose such common problems as light, or reflection doubling, caused by the light bouncing off a shiny coin. It will also help you catch defects, doctoring or maybe even some hub doubling, which in some instances can increase the value of a coin. A handy trick for your microscope is to invert a plastic cup with a flat bottom and put the coin on that. It allows you to turn the coin without touching it, cutting the handling down to a minimum.

         Another handy tool that will safely handle coins is a pair of plastic coin tongs. They are made with jaws that contact a minimum of the edge of the coin so they are quite safe to use.

         A must for the serious collector is a scale. Weighing a coin will tell you far more than cutting or scratching it. I have two scales. One is a Redding gunpowder scale, which uses grains rather than ounces, from 500 down to 1/10th of a grain, which is plenty for coins. They are available from any dealer who has reloading equipment for sale. The other is an Ohaus balance scale that is even more accurate and has provisions for running specific gravity tests - another research tool.

         Between the two scales I can solve many of the coin problems that come across my desk. There are also electronic scales that will fit in your shirt pocket, invaluable at a coin show.

Coin Tester

         You should make it a practice to weigh each coin before adding it to your collection. It will easily catch some of the more flagrant counterfeit coins. The odds are that you already have a computer so this would not be an added expense. There is very usable software available to catalog your collection and some even will connect to a pricing source. If you have a digital camera you can store copies of your coins.

         If you prefer not to get software for these tasks, you can always use the word processor you already have, as that has search capabilities that make it easy to use. I have been using WordPerfect software for this purpose for nearly three decades.

         A good heavy-duty stapler is a must. You will be doing a lot of stapling on cardboard 2x2 holders and it takes some force to drive the staple through two layers. I have one that came from a government surplus sale that has served faithfully for many years.

         Keep staples as far away as possible from the coin.

         You will also need a pair of needle nose pliers to flatten the legs of the staples, to avoid damage to other coins. Some dealers seem to make a game of seeing how close they can come to the coin with the staples, a dangerous game you don't want to play. The staples are a threat and the overhang of the stapler may damage the coin.

         An inexpensive protractor is useful, especially when you find a coin with the reverse rotated out of its normal position.

         Don't forget a good light. Highly recommended is one of the goose-neck or swing-arm lamps that clamp on the edge of a table or desk and that you see at every coin show. For nearly all work a 60-watt bulb will do the trick, but some may prefer a 100-watt, especially for photography.

         There are also halogen lights that are useful. Some photographers prefer them, but the regular incandescent bulbs will do the job. One warning: avoid florescent lights, as they tend to distort what you see on the coin.

         Metal detectors are often touted as a coin collecting tool, but the unfortunate fact is that nearly all the coins recovered with detectors are corroded to the point of being valueless to the collector. I can cite examples of collectible coins, but they are definitely a minority.




ADDRESS :_________________________________________________

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          $25 / Year Regular Membership

          $10 / Year Youngsters & School Aged Kids up to Grade 12

          $10 / Year for Seniors, Handicapped Members,
                    and Associate Members Living Outside Anchorage

Send application and dues to :

Anchorage Coin Club
P.O. Box 230169
Anchorage, Alaska 99523



Tickets $5 each, 5 tickets for $20, or 11 tickets for $40.

Purchase and Drawing at the next meeting.

1830 Bust Half Dollar VG (donated by Dan Barnhardt).

2010 Lincoln Cent (Union Shield) NGC MS-65 Red (First Day Issue).



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Anchorage Coin Club
PO Box 230169
Anchorage, Alaska 99523