January 2018

Find Opportunities to Examine Mint Made Errors
Post date: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 07:24

In buying and selling coins, we get to see a lot of mint errors--a ton of them in fact, from off-metals to off-centers, and everything in-between! This gives us a lot of insight into what error coins exist, their condition, and also lot of practice in determining authenticity and figuring out how any particular error coin was made. This is all made possible because we get to hold the coins in hand and closely examine them, and as said earlier, because we buy and sell a lot of errors (plus we see a lot of errors we don't buy at all.) So why do we bring this up? To make the point that the more coins you can see, the better off you will be in terms of building a high quality collection. Not being a dealer, this can be hard for many collectors to do, but there are ways to help get some good hands-on experience. Here are some ways you can get some "experience" without having to actually buy any coins.

Ways to Examine Mint Made Errors

Major Auctions

When you get a chance to attend a major auction, take the time to review all the mint errors in the sale, even the ones you aren't interested in buying. Look at them under a loupe, and think about how the error was made. Look at the coin's surfaces, and notice the subtle differences in the error. Review the grading services' description in the coin; did they note all the errors on the coin, or did they run out of room on , and left other errors unmentioned (that happens a lot in fact.) Look at the grade that was assigned--why was the coin given the grade it was assigned? Errors are graded generally much less strictly than non-error coins, and so it's good to understand that so that you don't overpay (or underpay) for and error based on grade.

Also, major auctions allow collectors a chance to see major errors that they wouldn't normally get a chance to spend 10 minutes reviewing--so take advantage of this great opportunity to see some major errors. 

Do you have a friend with an error collection? Take the time to get together with them, and take a good look at their coins. Look at the attribution, grade, authenticity, and surfaces of the coin. If you're one of the fortunate few who have access to one of the really major error collections our there, definetely spend all the time you can with reviewing those coins since some of those coins are doubtless unique or close to it. 

Auction Archives
Although this is not as good as in person viewing, online major auction sites often have excellent photos, and allow collectors the ability to see millions of dollars worth of error coins from their computer screens. Some sites include Heritage Auctions, Stacks/Bowers, Great Collections, eBay, and we have the Sullivan Numismatics archives as well. 

Coin Shows
Although dealers are often busy at coin shows, and may not have the time due to the busy nature of coin shows to allow you to physically look through their entire inventory (we can vouch for that!), you can simply through their display cases at the coins for sale, and get some good experience that way. Many dealers will have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory at coin shows, giving a unique opportunity to see some rare mint errors. 

Buy Coins
This may seem obvious, but buying coins for your collection affords an opportunity to build your knowledge. Some collectors quickly look a coin over, then throw it into a slab box in a bank vault, and never really spend much time looking their coin over. Don't be that collector, but instead, take the time after buying a coin to carefuly review it, consider all it's attributes, and then put it away into your safe deposit box (or wherever you store your collection.) 

The more you know about error coins, the more your will appreciate your collection, and the better collection you will be able to build. Knowledge is key to building a good mint error collection, so learn all you can about errors, whenever you have the opportunity, by carefully considering all their attributes. 

FUN Show 2018...and the Year Ahead
Post date: Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 08:40


The FUN coin show in Tampa FL, January 3-7th, 2018, was one of the best shows we've attended in years, in terms of overall, healthy market activity. There was a good amount of buying and selling for us, but also just for the coin market (errors and U.S.), the activity and buzz was visible everyday we were at the show. Even Saturday, when the show started to wind-down, there were dealers and collectors eagerly doing business--it's good to see a fast paced show! We think this bodes well for 2018, and are looking forward to see what the year will bring to the coin market, and the hobby as a whole.

One of the big stories of the show was a 1943 copper cent (the finest known, and the only "red" example known), which sold for $1,000,000 in a private transaction. This is the most that a 1943 "P" mint copper cent has ever sold for, with the most expensive example being the 1943-D that fetched $1,700,000 a few years back. Here is a link to the PCGS article about the transaction: https://www.pcgs.com/news/bronze-1943-lincoln-cent.

Although we purchased many errors at the show, its inevitable that it takes a while for them all to show up on our website. Many go off for certification, and don't return to us until weeks or months later. Other coins are sold immediately to collectors with want lists on file with us (if you don't have a want list with us, you should do so if you want 1st shot at fresh coins, or at a minimum, join or email list.) We have a number of coins off being certified, and as those come back, they will appear on the website or be offered to our customers. Also, we have 3 major shows in the next 2 months or so, and as shows go, we expect to acquire a lot more errors at those shows--we'll be working hard to track down all we can!

Sometimes we do add the coins that were sold to our want list customers, to our archives, that way we and other collectors can see some of the coins, even thoguh the coins are off the market, since some are unique or really incredible major mint errors that we rarely get a chance to see. So many really incredible errors never make it on to the open coin market. This is true for U.S. coins, errors, and all collectibles really. People who are actively buying a particular error type, or are wanting a certain rare coin, may be directly offered a coin buy a dealer, they buy it, and then no one except the two of them ever really know about the coin or the sale. We do this all the time, and we've seen this happen numerous times with other dealers as well. 

In the coming months expect to see a busy coin market, since collectors get back into the swing of building their collections after the holidays and as they figure out their tax situations (and how much extra spending money they have for the year.) Additionally, for the year ahead of the hobby, with the economy on the upswing, and the stock market at record levels, we think more and more collectors will find the time (and money) to acuire coins for their collections. A good economy and cash in people's pockets, and an upward trajectory in the coin market are all excellent signals that 2018 will be a good one for the hobby. If the FUN show is any indicator of the direction the year is going to go (and it should be to some degree), we are excited to see what it has in store for us and the hobby as a whole.