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Posts posted by oldcopper

  1. An interesting anomaly then, if the stops weren't filed off later (doesn't look that way though, clean fields where the stops should be) and I wouldn't have thought three blocked stops would suddenly appear without any intermediate stages being known. I hope the buyer appreciates it. Perhaps we'll see it slabbed at $3K in a couple of weeks at you-know-where. I agree that it's very unlikely to be a proof unless it was some pointless Mint trial (Excuse me, Mr Chief Engraver, I've missed out one and a half colons if that's OK. Yes, no problem!).

  2. I did enquire of Spink USA (before I noticed the missing stops!) and the coin is reverse upright, so it's not P1540. As we all know, the pennies, pre-1850 especially, suffer from missing stops, but to see it on a halfpenny is definitely unusual. Possibly it's a Bramah variety, I'll check when I get home. I ran through London Coins archive for 1853 halfpennies (currency and proofs) and all those photographed had complete stops.

  3. Has anyone else noticed something strange about Lot 107, the 1853 proof halfpenny, in Spink's recent U.S. Numismatic Collectors' Series 17th April 2018 (Auction 340)? Sadly, I cannot paste the images (as I have the computer savviness of a 4-year-old), but you can see it on Spink's Prices Realised section. Don't think I've ever seen a copper Vic Halfpenny with such obvious missing stops, sort of brings the "proof" description into question as well.


  4. There's probably not much difference - I've noticed many in PCGS recently, but they are also in NGC. I made the mistake of buying a George IV Irish proof penny and halfpenny nearly three years ago, both with a beautifully blue or blue/green sheen. However, I then discovered the penny (1823) was from the Strickland Neville Rolfe Baldwin's 2010 sale, thanks to Sixbid's modern coin archives (free then now unfortunately a hefty subscription), and back then it was a lustrous matt orange currency. What impressed and worried me was how all the tiny field areas within the design ie harp were all glitteringly brilliant as well as the main fields whereas the raised surfaces were matt, to all intents and purposes a very convincing proof effect.

    I sold both at a substantial loss, they'd lost their allure for me when I realized. It's a learning curve.....

  5. Rob, it seems to me that in the PCGS secret rulebook, the bluer the coin, the higher the grade, so perhaps MS70's not too wide of the mark!

    It's ridiculous, their "expert" graders should be smelling a rat about all these iridescent blue coins suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Conveniently, most slabs have no provenances and the grader is anonymous, so it's a perfect system for making a coin untraceable. And of course it's a commercial operation and Atlas are probably good customers.

    Sword, I wouldn't have thought PCGS do any of this toning themselves (I may be mistaken), but I think a good comparison is to money launderers - they don't do the crime but they facilitate the rewards for it.


  6. Unfortunately I can't agree that the photo is in any way deceptive. The colouration of these coins (there are many more on the website), especially on the proofs, are exactly the fake colouration blue that I have unfortunately had too much experience of. Often a darker glossy blue for the currencies and a more brilliant royal blue for the copper and bronze proofs(interestingly, any lustrous areas appear less affected, still usually orange/red).

    Here's an interesting example that I mentioned recently to someone via a conversation: check out the Cheshire Collection/Goldberg auction 2005. This is still on the web and can be accessed via Google typing in Goldberg and Cheshire collection. Anyway, Goldberg have a good gush about Lot 3032, the 1853 copper proof halfpenny PF65BN, saying "brilliant mauve and iridescent blue toning" and ending their description with "maybe Queen Victoria herself saved this little darling"! Steady on, old chaps....

    Well, I bought that exact coin from Spink Numismatic Circular in late 2001, and guess what...it was a dull orange colour, no trace of the colour it turned into a couple of years later. I sold it to a local dealer a year or so later who then sold it on, still as a dull orange proof.

    I can tell it's the same coin due to tiny marks and toning patterns being identical, as it was photographed (in black and white) in the original Spink Circular. The Cheshire collection's 1853 proof penny and farthing looked somewhat similar.

    I presume that once doctored, these coins can never be returned to their original state, so for a company to be buying up a significant number of British and Irish proofs and basically painting them irreversibly, is rather depressing. I wonder if the proverbial will hit the fan in a few years, or whether it will keep being the emperor's new clothes!

    Having said that, I don't disagree with Jaggy that some coins on the website are very decent and sometimes quite reasonably priced. Like everyone else, sometimes they'll have gems, sometimes turkeys.....It also helps if you can recognise the coins from previous appearances in the trade, then decide accordingly. Bottom line - be careful!



    • Like 1

  7. Interesting what Jaggy says about Atlas. I used to be impressed with their coins, until I realised where some of their copper coins come from, how they've changed colour, and their mark-ups in some cases being phenomenal.

    For instance 1849 penny, sold DNW 12/12/17 £1700, stained on one side but reasonable coin. Now just sold by Atlas at nearly $6K and it's changed to a glossy dark blue colour! Obligingly slabbed of course by PGCS as MS63BN. It's still on the website but perhaps not for much longer. Check it out while you can. Amazingly enough it is the same coin.

    Also, 1825 proof penny, sold Stacks Bowers 13 January $950 Lot 20358 hammer PF63 PGCS, now "blued up" and on at nearly $6K, good old PGCS again upgraded to PF64+. Distinctive die-flaw and spot on obverse, so easy to recognise. 

    1805 Irish silver halfpenny, untouched thankfully, now $7,500, $1600 hammer Spink Auction 339, Lot 219 14/1/2018

    There are other examples on the website currently. I don't know what other people think, but the combination of huge mark-ups in some cases on the back of chemically enhancing the coin's appearance then getting it re-slabbed and upgraded, is sharp practice in my book.

    • Like 3

  8. I'm always impressed with their 1806 gilt proof penny - "AFDC die flaw obv. slight marks" £275. Check it out.

    A really bad and unsightly gouge in the Obv. field with associated scrape marks, obviously nothing to do with a "die-flaw". Absolutely shameless description. The rest of the coin is no great shakes either, with some gilt worn away.

    They have had the coin for many years now though. It may have come from Spink who more accurately described a coin like this at £50 years ago in their Circular.

  9. Rob - I can't speak too much for the hammered coinage as I know very little about that. I can understand more Spink not illustrating some of the types or sub-types you mention as there are literally 100's of civil war issues and that might require a book to itself!

    My point is that the only major types of milled coins not illustrated are the two I've mentioned, the more important being the 3rd issue as this has new obv and rev, never replicated. Adding to that, the 3rd issue must be one of the most common copper halfpence issues before the bun head era (Peck says £137k issued 1695-1701 1/2d's and 1/4d's which would be circa 100 million coins if split evenly 1/2s and 1/4s!). Every copper collector surely must own one or more, so, Spink, show us a nice one!

    The first place Spink could save space is on the recent gimmick of including the always "extremely rare" gold or even platinum strikings, some of which must surely be unknown outside museums (like that 1825 referred to earlier), or proofs which may be unknown full stop!

    It would be interesting to know how much numismatic experience the new editor has.

  10. Dave, absolutely agree but I think the reason for not listing the DEI GRATIA is, unfortunately, they can't be bothered! I don't think any copper experts have much of an imput into the catalogue and it's easier for Spink to just copy and paste from the last catalogue. Not that I can blame them, they're understaffed and are short of experts these days, but I don't think it would take much to iron out the anomalies and put in, say, W&M - George II proofs, and the 1771 farthing proof (whereas the 1770 1/2d now listed both as copper and silver proofs).

    Rob, with respect, I don't think a plumes sixpence, identical to the normal currency sixpence except for plumes presumably, registers as a major "type" coin, whereas the 3rd issue WM III halfpenny - totally unique obverse and reverse and a very common issue, is surely far more important for an image.

    Talking of Wm III, I would be impressed if any one knows of any sales data for the 2 listed "flaming hair" proof shillings 1698/1699. Though priced, personally I don't think they exist at present, as I have never come across any evidence of their existence. The BM doesn't have any, needless to say. Both dates are priced in Spink but the 5th bust 1699 proof, of which several examples have come up in auctions and sales lists over the years, is unpriced and listed as "extremely rare".  


  11. I've got my copy of the 2018 Spink catalogue now - fist since 2015.

    I do have my caveats about the copper section. Mainly it's inconsistency. If you compare it to it's founding publication Seaby's "English Copper Coins and their values", a booklet from the 60's that I have, well, Spink's is unfortunately a poor comparison. Firstly, Seaby's listed all the proofs, William and Mary, bun head proofs etc with prices given for many of these, blank if too rare. Spink put in some silly examples like the 1825 farthing in gold (one example known: in the BM, "a trifle worn" according to Peck, so yes, this coin listed in FDC will be "extremely rare"!) - yet there is no listing for the commonest 1st issue proof farthing, the 1821. I could go on....

    Seaby's illustrated the 2nd and 3rd issue Wm III halfpennies (with Peck's own example of P687 sold later in Spink auction 14 - beautiful coin) but as always there is no illustration of these major types in the Spink catalogue (and also a proof silver DIL farthing picture unlike the Seaby's currency picture). I think these omissions may date back to the Seaby catalogues of the 70's but they should have been rectified by now. Spink had a beautiful example of the 3rd issue in an auction back in 2015, so even less excuse - they are still the only major types without a photograph.

    So chances of getting the 1695 DEI GRATIA 1/2d in there may be slim. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, there has not been a sale of this variety for some time so pricing it may be difficult. However, this has not stopped Spink with many other coins!