There is a lot of talk in the last decade about "gradeflation", and it's effect on the coin market. Dealers and collectors are worried about changing standards, and the effect it has on their coins' value. It is this author's opinion that collectors need to go back to their roots, and stop collecting "grades" and instead start collecting "coins." What does it mean to collect a "coin" as opposed to a "grade"? When you collect for the grade, you are buying primarily based on a coin's numeric coin grade; is it an "MS-64" or is it an "MS-65"? That is your concern when you grade-collect. If you are coin-collecting, you are collecting based on the rarity of the coin (e.g mintage of 200 coins vs mintage of 2,000,000), the beauty of the coin's surfaces (luster, toning, spots, etc are more important than the numeric grade), and also based on the history and story behind the coin. Mint errors are collected based primarily on demand for the error type (which could be called the "history or story" of the coin), rarity and last of all, grade (also, grading standards for mint errors are much looser than they are for "regular" U.S. coins.) Error collectors are far more concerned about the coin, than they are about it's grade. They are much more "coin collectors" than they are "grade collectors." This approach also makes a lot of sense for collectors who are collecting non-error U.S. coins. Within any given U.S. coin series, a coin's rarity should be the primary concern, and the "grade rarity", should not matter that much beyond perhaps 3 tiers of mintstate (MS-60, MS-65 and MS-70), with prices reasonably reflective of those grades, but not of that much concern. Things like surface quality, ugly toning/spotting, distracting marks, strike, etc should be more concerning to collectors than a numeric grade number. Grading standards for mintstate coins are unstable and changing, and are actually very hard to even define, so why is everyone buying based on this unstable "grade system" of collecting? Rather than worrying about a coin grading MS-66 over an MS-65, buy a coin for it's physical rarity, overall pleasing appearance, and leave it at that. People seem to be "grade collecting", when they should be "coin collecting."
As the title would suggest, collecting mint errors is something that should be enjoyed by the collector. While this seems like it would be obvious, it's easy to get caught up in various aspects such as paying too much attention to the coin's grade, or being concerned what other collectors may think of the "boring" niche that you collect, or even simply not taking the time to properly organize and look at your collection.
When I began collecting about 25 years ago (it's been that long!), there was not much that was more enjoyable than sitting down and reading the most recent weekly edition of Coin World, or pulling out my relatively small coin collection and looking at the dates and mintmarks that I needed, or calculating what my $75 from cutting lawns for months would be able to allow me to buy at the next coin show. Coin collecting was a blast (and still is) for me, and it should be for all collectors. There so much to enjoy about your collection. The history, the interesting error types that you collect, the rare and special mint error or variety in your collection, or the thrill of the hunt for the next coin to fill another hole in your set.
So what are some good ways to keep the fires burning in your passion for collecting error coins? Here are a few ideas to keep coin collecting fun:
1.Join CONECA. Error coin collecting is more fun when you have other like-minded hobbyists to share it with. CONECA is the premier error coin club, and is publication Errorscope as well as the networking that can be done through the events and publication are priceless.
2.Subscribe to some periodicals such as Coin World and Numismatic News. Learning about your collection makes it so much more interesting!
3.Regularly checkout online forums such as the PCGS and NGC forums, and read and participate in discussions on your subjects of interest.
4.Attend coin shows. There's nothing like going to a coin show and seeing the many cases of rare coins on display, and being able to go to the auction (if there is one) at the show and see rare coins in-hand. Also, there will be numerous experts at the show which you can show your coins to if you have a question. They are also great places to buy coins, since you can see the actual coin in hand and access it better than you can online.
5.Connect and develop a good working relationship with a dealer you trust. Having a coin dealer who specializes in what you collect in your corner is a tremendous asset. I can't being to say how many rare mint errors I've found for customers who have given me their want list and who I've worked with for years. Many coins never make it to dealer's "regular" inventory, since they go straight into their customer's hands upon purchase.
6.Build a library of books on your subject of interest. Books are invaluable when it comes to coin collecting, since much of the available information on coins is not found published online. Buy and read books on your area of interest.
7.Take the ANA's correspondence course on mint errors and the minting process. It's an excellent way to learn about error coin and the minting process.
8.Attend the ANA Summer Seminars and take the error coin class. It's well worth the time and expense, and the people you meet you will likely stay friends!
We hope you enjoy your error collection, and if we can be of help, just let us know! [email protected]
As Fall has rolled around and we are getting well past the Summer slow down that happens every year, when collectors spend time and money on things besides coins (vacations, sports, etc), we are seeing the regular fall "pick up" in collecting activity. In the last few weeks, we have been surprised how many collectors have emailed "out of the blue" requesting this coin or that. This shouldn't be surprise since it happens every year. In August, collectors start slowly returning to their collections, and it only increases as you get into Fall. So, we are glad to see the activity since it keeps us on our toes looking for fresh inventory for our customers, and also just creates a healthy buzz in the market.
We have been listing a LOT of major mint errors on the website in the last few months, in part form a large collection that we have been selling, and also some quality error deals came our way, which has all resulted in lots of off-metals, striking errors, state quarter errors and more being available to our customers. You can expect to see more material as we continue selling the "large collection" we have been selling, and also as coins come back from grading and make their way to the website. It's always nice to be able to offer fresh material to our customers!
If you have a want list, we would encourage you to send it to us. Many coins sell before they make their way to the website, so if we have your want list on file (and if you are an active buyer), you are much more likely to get first shot at fresh coins that come in. This is important, since with the scarcer and more popular mint errors it's frequently the case that the coin is much more rare than the money collectors are willing to spend on it, meaning as soon as the coin hits the market, it's gone.
Our next major coin show will be Baltimore next month in mid-November. If you are attending, it's time to start making plans since it's only a month away. This will be our last show of the year until the FUN show in January. If you are attending the show, please do stop by our table and look at our 5 cases of mint errors--we always enjoy seeing our customers at shows!
A few of the coin we have recently added that our particularly "special" include the following listed below. These are based on price as much as rarity, eye-appeal, and how desirable they are as an error.
1.When was the last time you saw a proof Ike on a half dollar planchet? Very tough coin, and we have in stock TWO offered here! Actually, until now, we've never had a proof Ike on half planchet in stock.
2.Bonded state quarters are rare, and do not often come up for sale. This Delaware example is quite rare, with probably no more than 2 or so examples existing...maybe even just this one (we only know of this example.) https://sullivannumismatics.com/coin/ngc-25c-1999-p-delaware-quarter-2-coin-bonded-pair-ms67
3.Jefferson nickel double-struck off-center on a struck cent. Double-denomination 6c coins we see frequently, but when was the last time you saw one that had a 2nd strike off-center? They are quite rare. https://sullivannumismatics.com/coin/ngc-5c-2000-d-jefferson-nickel-2000-d-lincoln-cent-double-struck-ms66-rd?v=5386
4.Elliptical clip state quarters are relatively common. However, proof examples are scarce. Most proof example are very minor, showing just a tiny amount of the planchet missing. This example is missing a lot of the planchet, and is therefore rare. https://sullivannumismatics.com/coin/pcgs-25c-2007-s-proof-utah-quarter-elliptical-clip-pf66-dcam?v=5391
5.Mated pair sets of dimes are fairly common. Proof examples are rare though, and this is one of the few we have handled. Dramatic, with the 2nd strike mating into the brockage of the 2nd coin. https://sullivannumismatics.com/coin/2-coins-ngc-10c-1969-s-roosevelt-dime-2-coin-mated-pair-pf63-pf66?v=5287
6. 5 Ounce ATBs with minor struck thrus come along on occasion, but not large strike thru and retained coins. This ATB 5 ounce quarter has an incredible, huge piece of plastic struck in and retained in the coin's obverse. https://sullivannumismatics.com/coin/pcgs-25c-2016-5oz-theodore-roosevelt-retained-struck-plastic-ms64?v=5327
7. State quarters are scarce but "available" struck on aluminum feeder finger fragments. However, this 1999 Delaware example is unique as a Delaware on aluminum. It also is the first year for the state quarter series, and so this is an especially desirable coin. https://sullivannumismatics.com/coin/ngc-25c-1999-delaware-quarter-multi-struck-aluminum-feeder-finger-fragment-ms62?v=5229
8.Transtional off-metals are rare, and this 1977-D 40% silver Kennedy is no exception. Something over a dozen examples known, the coin is on the prior years' 40% silver planchet that was being used for 1976 silver half dollar coins. https://sullivannumismatics.com/coin/anacs-50c-1977-d-kennedy-half-40-silver-transitional-metal-au50?v=5313
It's been some time since we have posted in our blog (months in fact!), so we thought we would give some thoughts and updates of things happening here and in the coin market. Over the last few months, we have been having a major overhaul of the website, which has more to do with update "behind the scenes" items in the website's design and stability than it does in any visual or obvious changes. These things are in their finishing stages, and will be going into effect starting next week if all goes according to plan. We are very happy to have this done, since the site will be more robust in handling our customer's traffic (we've had too many customers on at the same time, which effected the site's performance, and we wanted that fixed!) Also, we have some more tools to help us manage the site better for you our customers. You may see some minor changes around the site, but most of it will be the same or minor improvements, with the checkout process improved, as well as some other small features.
The ANA is coming up in under two weeks, and we are excited to be there to see our customers and hopefully buy and sell some errors. This is a tie for "best error show of the year", with the winter FUN being the contender. Both are excellent shows, though, and we always look forward to them every year. If you are attending the show, stop by our table #806. We will have a large selection of mint errors for sale, and will also be looking to buy anything you have for sale!
Overall the error market has been good. We have been able to offer a lot of fresh material over the last few months, but it has been going into collections pretty quickly. Of course, we try to price all our inventory at the current market values, and so from time to time you will see certain errors go up or down in value, depending on where the market is at at any given time. We will be working hard throughout the rest of the Summer to continue to find as much fresh material as we can, and offer great values so keep an eye out for our "new inventory" email alerts (and if you're not signed up, we recommend you do so since the early bird gets the coin!)
Our most recent update of the website's inventory will be our last until after the ANA in a few weeks. If you don't see the errors you need on the website, send us an email and we will be happy to work with you to find the coins you are looking for. Until next time, have a great Summer everyone, and take time to enjoy your error collections!
We recently attended the ANA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was from March 27th-30th. The spring ANA as it is often referred, is one of the historically slow "big shows" of the year. Dealer attendance tends to be on the light side, and perhaps corresponding to that, so does the public attendance. However, I've always enjoyed the Spring ANA show since it does give you more time to spend with dealers and customers alike. There's not the crazy rush of the Summer ANA or Winter FUN show, but is much more laid back, which can lead to interesting converstions and more time to really dig through other dealer's inventories to find good coins for our customers.
This year, the ANA was pretty much all of what was just described. It was overall a slow show, with not a lot of activity, but we still managed to find a decent amount of quality inventory (most of which has already been listed on our website, seeing as this blog post is a few weeks late.) Some of it is still off at the grading services getting graded. There really was not a lot of error coins for sale at the show, and what few coins were in the auction went for super high money for the most part.
Any of the various auctions haven't been offering much in the way of error coins in the last 6 months or so, and what few coins have been offered, tend to sale for retail+ money. Perhaps it's the minimal number of lots that resulted in fiercer competition among bidders? But that pretty much pushes a coin dealer out, since if a coin isn't being offered at a wholesale price, there's no reason to buy it since you cannot retail a coin that you paid retail money for!
There were a few impressice error coins on exhibit at the show, including a red 1943 copper cent, and a nice AU 1944 steel cent (we have one of those in our inventory!) Also were the frequent guests of coin show exhibits, including an 1804 draped bust dollar, and a 1913 liberty nickel. Some other intereting exhibits were on display as well. Coin shows give local collectors the rare opportuntiy to see these historic and popular coins, so it's nice to see the ANA putting these coins on exhibit for collectors to see and appreciate (so often, coins simply sit in dusty drawers in museums, and really do not get shown to the public very often.)
After several days of buying and selling, we got back to our office on Monday, and sold a number of the coins we'd purchased fairly quickly (since we have a fairly large database of customers with want lists who are searching for particular mint errors, when the new coins comes in, they often sell very quickly.) Others get sold on our website, with our email alert subscribers getting first shot at this newly listed inventory--if you are not a subscriber, here is a link to sign up https://sullivannumismatics.com/e-mail-subscriptions