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Modern Coin Blog

Modern Coin Wholesale Rare Coin of the day: Rarely Seen, Choice 1926-D Saint Gaudens Double Eagle PCGS MS64

- Posted on: 4/6/2017 11:01:11 AM
Modern Coin Wholesale Rare Coin of the day: Rarely Seen, Choice 1926-D Saint Gaudens Double Eagle PCGS MS64

A nominal mintage of 481,000 Saint-Gaudens double eagles was accomplished at the Denver Mint in 1926. The great majority of these coins were melted after 1933, leading numismatists of the 1940s to believe that the 1926-D was a great rarity. A small number of coins surfaced in European holdings after World War II, but no really high-grade examples were ever repatriated. The overall availability of this issue has increased since the 1940s, but the rarity of high-grade examples remains virtually unaffected since the days when the 1926-D was considered the second-rarest Saint-Gaudens twenty. PCGS population of just 22 with 5 graded higher.

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Ask a Grader with Ron Drzewucki: Toned Coins

- Posted on: 3/20/2017 10:24:35 AM
Ask a Grader with Ron Drzewucki: Toned Coins

If you're not familiar with Ron, he is the owner/operator of Modern Coin Wholesale. Ron has been a professional numismatist since the age of 15 in the mid-1980s, both owning his own companies and also working as one of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation's (NGC) elite grade finalizers for almost a decade. There are few active dealers with his experience and connections - and CoinWeek is happy to help him talk directly to the collector and consumer about issues pertinent to their day-to-day collecting.

His previous column addressed some of the first questions a collector might have about grading (Shouldn't graders wear gloves?, Is grading precise or totally a matter of opinion?, etc.) This week's article is inspired by a reader's question about toned coins, and touches on such topics as how to tell when it's fake and why is toning desirable in the first place?

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Ron Drzewucki’s Grading Coins: Franklin Half Dollars

- Posted on: 2/17/2017 12:54:56 PM
Ron Drzewucki’s Grading Coins: Franklin Half Dollars

In this installment of Grading Coins, I’m going to talk about the popular Franklin half dollar series.

The Franklin half dollar was struck for just 15 years, from 1948 to 1963. It was replaced in 1964 by the Kennedy half, under circumstances that need no explanation here.

Personally, when it comes to 20th-century type half dollars, I’ve always been most fond of Weinman’s Walking Liberty design, but the Franklin half is a close second. It has a clean, clear design that I find to be uncluttered and timeless.

Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock is best remembered for being the designer of the Roosevelt dime, but it's the Franklin half that I find to be his best work.

The coin’s obverse features a right-facing bust of Franklin. He is surrounded by LIBERTY at the top and IN GOD WE TRUST at the bottom. Both inscriptions wrap around the rim. The date appears to the right of Franklin, just underneath his chin.

On the reverse, centered, is the Liberty Bell. I’ll discuss this feature in depth in a moment. Again, wrapping around the top and the bottom of the design is text, in this case, the legend and denomination: UNITED STATES oF AMERICA and HALF DOLLAR. Our national motto - E PLURIBUS UNUM - appears in a smaller font to the left of the bell. The statutorily-required eagle (drawn in miniature) stands to the right of the bell.

Its this perfect symmetry of obverse and reverse design that makes the Franklin half dollar a true classic.

Today, Franklin half dollars are widely collected by mint, by date, in Proof and Mint State finishes, and by variety. A complete set of BU Franklins can cost as little as a few hundred dollars over silver spot or as much as 10 or more thousand dollars per coin, depending on characteristics that I will describe in this column.

The key to collecting the series is finding coins that you like with great eye appeal, coins that you enjoy looking at, and coins that you want to own.

The key to grading them? Well, that’s another story...

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Ask a Grader with Ron Drzewucki

- Posted on: 2/16/2017 11:43:11 AM
Ask a Grader with Ron Drzewucki

Modern Coin Wholesale's Ron Drzewucki teamed up with CoinWeek to answer any questions you might have about coin grading and how the grading companies work. And Ron is one of the best people for the job; he's been a professional numismatist since 1984 when he turned 15 years old and worked for NGC as an elite grade finalizer for seven years. As a dealer, he's had a depth of experience with all of the major players in the system that has few equals in the industry.

And finally, he knows that an informed buyer is key to a thriving business.

So without further ado, here is the first entry in what we hope is an instructive and compelling new column.

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Ron Drzewucki Opinion: The PCGS and NGC Dust Up Shows Market Realities

- Posted on: 1/27/2017 10:29:29 AM
Ron Drzewucki Opinion: The PCGS and NGC Dust Up Shows Market Realities

On January 17, NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg published an open letter on the NGC website (it also went out in an NGC email). In the letter, which is accompanied by data, Mark alleges that there has been an unusual increase in the grades given out by PCGS to a broad variety of coins over the last five years, and that this has decreased the value of PCGS-graded coins on the market. He graphs out how several examples, such as the 1912-S Liberty Nickel PCGS MS66, have dropped in price over the last half decade or so as grade populations have seen jumps that Mark says aren't explained by the recent discovery of hoards or some similar phenomenon.

The insinuation is that PCGS has changed its grading standards and that as a result populations for high-end coins have exploded, while prices for these one-time conditional rarities have gone down because of this.

Then, on January 19, PCGS President Don Willis responded on the PCGS Collectors Forum, essentially turning Mark's arguments against themselves. Practically every assertion Mark made in his letter is countered with an equal and opposite assertion from Don...

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Modern Coin Wholesale Rare Coin of the day: Highly Elusive Mint State Civil War Issue 1862-S Liberty Double Eagle PCGS MS61

- Posted on: 1/24/2017 9:52:28 AM
Modern Coin Wholesale Rare Coin of the day: Highly Elusive Mint State Civil War Issue 1862-S Liberty Double Eagle PCGS MS61

The hoarding of gold and silver in the East at the outset of the Civil War resulted in the suspension of specie payments at the close of 1861. Consequently, the Philadelphia Mint reduced double eagle production by 97% between 1861 and 1862. However, Western commerce remained relatively unchanged, and gold continued to circulate heavily. San Francisco Mint officials increased twenty-dollar output to 854,173 coins in 1862. Most of the 854,173 S-Mint double eagles coined in 1862 entered circulation, and today the average certified grade is just below AU50. The S.S. Brother Jonathan and S.S. Republic treasure recoveries contributed 190 examples of the 1862-S double eagle to the numismatic marketplace. Despite the appearance of those coins in the last two decades, the combined NGC and PCGS population is limited to 37 examples graded MS61 and only 21 finer, with none above MS63 (11/16).

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