FRONT PAGE NEWS

~ PAWCATUCK VALLEY COIN CLUB MONTHLY NEWSLETTER ~
Celebrating 57 years in the numismatic hobby!
ANA-C1206438


The 666th meeting of the Pawcatuck Valley Coin Club will be held on WEDNESDAY 16TH JANUARY 2019 at The WESTERLY SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER 39 State Street Westerly Rhode Island, Officers Meeting @ 6:00pm, Junior Roundtable @ 6:30pm, Bourse @ 6:30pm and Meeting @ 7:20pm. ~019 DUES ARE NOW DUE!!~ Mail dues to Treasurer Bill Jacobik, 4 Gooseberry Lane, Niantic CT 06357


2018 HOLIDAY PARTY AT THE WESTERLY SENIOR CENTER

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Often Said, Seldom Done By Dennis Fortier

Buy the key’s first is often repeated advice that is seldom employed.  This article was born out of a conversation with Bill Bugert. In the conversation, soon after my winning an 1878-S Liberty Seated Half Dollar at auction, Bill said, “Everyone says buy the key’s first but nobody ever does – you actually did it!”  As editor of the Gobrecht Journal, Bill wanted an article about my experiences accomplishing this achievement.

When I began collecting Liberty Seated Half Dollars thirteen years ago I never set out to complete a set of half dollars.  My goal at the time was much more modest. I simply wanted to learn as much as possible about the series and collect as many rare dates and varieties as I could.  The 1878-S alone would make a complete set an impossibility, as I’m sure most collectors of the series will agree. As such, I considered myself a variety/die marriage collector of the series.  I never expected to be able to finish the series so I thought I could build an interesting collection in an alternative way.

Dick Osburn’s article “An Analysis of Rarity and Population Estimates for Liberty Seated Half Dollars,” GJ #76, Nov 1999, gave advice on collecting this long series.  In it Dick suggests collecting by mintmark, thus breaking this daunting series down into smaller bites.  I found this to be good advice to a point. I chose to focus on small groupings of scarce issues at a time.  This sort of focus helped keep me on track to do what I and many others thought nearly unattainable. I still have many less difficult holes to fill but what is left is much easier.  The heavy lifting is done.

A word about collecting Liberty Seated Half Dollars on a budget: Most of us have budgetary constraints to deal with, and some are more restrictive than others.  I wrote two articles, “Underrated San Francisco Half Dollar Gems” GJ#104, March 2009, and “Building a Short Set of Carson City Half Dollars on a Budget”, GJ#110, March 2011.  Though I didn’t know it at the time these two articles laid out what would become my philosophy for collecting half dollars and paved the way for my entire series strategy Underrated issues like those in my 2009 article became an initial objective for me. The 1856-S, 1857-S, and 1873-S were early favorites of mine.   Their lower mintages, scarcity, and modest prices (at the time) were intriguing. Next the challenge of the CC’s called to me. While not cheap I was reasonably sure they would not get any less expensive as time went on so there was no point in waiting. Completing the ten coin set of Carson City coins took six years of searching for quality examples with the 1871-CC surprisingly being the toughest to locate with a pleasing appearance.  

After completing the Carson City sub-set I wanted to fill in some more of the San Francisco issues I had sidestepped previously; the 1855-S, 1858-S, 1874-S, and 1875-S micro S were the objective this time.  The 1858-S presented an interesting challenge as I felt many were over priced for their rarity. In due course I found one in an old NGC fatty holder at an attractive price. Along the way as opportunities presented themselves I acquired certain scarce issues and varieties that most would feel required for a complete collection.  Additionally as a variety/die marriage collector I’ve always had my attention drawn to rare die marriages. As any Seated collector knows, when a scarce coin crosses your path you must make every effort to add it to your collection. 35% of my collection comprises R-5 or higher die varieties. In 2016 it occurred to me that retirement was only a few short years away.  There were some expensive coins I still needed for my collection; I called these my “someday coins.” I thought if I didn’t go after them now I might never be able to afford them. It took a bit of scrambling, some good fortune, as well as understanding dealers and friends but I made quick progress on the scarce early 1850’s Philadelphia issues. This short run, 1850-1852, are all PCGS-45 CAC. I wish the rest of my collection matched as nicely as these three.  As I was finishing this area of focus a club member/friend suggested I sell a few duplicate cherry picks and use the funds to go after something I needed. It was good advice, and I chose to follow it.

After selling the duplicates I had the money I needed to go after the two very rare varieties I still needed.  The 1847/6 and 1873 No Arrows Open 3 were two big holes I needed to fill. As a variety collector I would not have felt my collection complete without them.  The 1873 NA O3 came along in 2017 but the 1847/6 remained elusive. Finally in early 2018 a fellow club member/ friend offered to sell me his 1847/6. He was concentrating on another series and wanted to move his interests in that direction.  This fortunate purchase brought me to the point of completing all of the major dates and varieties of the half dollar series except for the 1878-S. I see I haven’t mentioned many issues that I acquired along the way these past thirteen years. There are some I would like to upgrade in time but upgrading will most likely have to wait with so many lesser holes yet to fill. Some of my other better date/variety holdings are: 1840 (O) PCGS Fr-2 CAC (WB-12), 1841 PCGS-35 CAC, 1841-O BBDC PCGS-15 CAC, 1845 PCGS-45, 1846 TD PCGS-20, 1846-O TD G-4, 1849 DDD VG (cleaned), 1850-O PCGS-40 CAC (WB-16 Discovery coin), 1852-O AU (cleaned), 1855-S PCGS-3, 1858-S NGC-40 CAC, 1861-O PCGS-35 CAC (W-1a), 1861-O PCGS-30 (WB-103/104), 1865 DD G-4, 1865-S PCGS-40, 1866-S NM PCGS-30, 1868 NGC-40 CAC, 1874-S PCGS-35, 1875-S PCGS-4 CAC (micro S), 1876 PCGS-10 LG over SM date, 1876-S PCGS-15 T-2 Rev, 1877 PCGS-10 (WB-102), 1877-S PCGS-35 (WB-25 T- 1/2 Rev), 1877-S AU (cleaned, WB-39 second weird F Reverse die marriage - Discovery coin) This brings me to the 1878-S, the key date of the half dollar series.  With only a scant few coins I could possibly afford to invest in, the 1878-S seemed a coin I would never own. With this issue price is just one problem, opportunity is equally a big factor. However at the Long Beach Heritage sale in February 2018 an AG example (one of only two certified by PCGS) was up for auction. After consulting with Bill Bugert, and my wife, I made the decision to try for it. I chose to put my maximum bid in early to avoid being caught-up in over eagerness or last minute computer glitches. This proved to be a prudent choice. All that was left was to bite my nails down to the elbow. A week before the auction went to live auctioneer biding I was already at my maximum bid and I fully expected to be out bid by a cut bid at the end. As the bid came to the auction block I was stunned to see no bids come in and I won the coin. Then I was stunned again when I realized I had to pay for the coin; a coin of this magnitude is a game changer for me. We (my wife and I) had made our arraignments incase I won, but it’s still a sobering moment to write a check like that for a coin.  Later I learned that another club member put in a cut bid in at the last minute. He was in the middle of a flight when the bid came down and his bid never went thru. Sometimes providence lends a hand.

I never set out to complete a set of Liberty Seated Half Dollars but having gone this far I now believe it not only possible but probable that I will, in time, complete the entire series.  Buy the Keys first is a shrewd plan of action but it takes a good deal of restraint to stick to it. The temporary pleasure of adding a coin to your collection is difficult to resist; going home from a coin show without a single coin may be the hardest part.  If you’re on a tight budget, as I often am, it requires self-control to keep your cash for the really rare coin you’re after. Making small groups of rare issues a priority has brought me to a point I had not imagined possible. Searching out quality pieces that I could afford brought an added challenge where rare issues are involved.  Without question the success I’ve had in building my collection was to a great extent aided by connections with other club members. Several of these difficult dates and varieties found their way to me via other members. Duplicates or changed priorities freed some of these coins to become part of my collection.The LSCC as a fraternal organization is a great resource for collectors to met and share.  My involvement with the club has brought me into contact with many members around the country. The effort I have put forth on behalf of the club has been repaid many times over. The good people I have met in the club have been very beneficial to the building of my collection and my knowledge. For this reason I strongly urge all members’ especially newer members to get involved with the club. I wish to thank the many club member/ friends I have come to know and who have taught me something about the series or helped me locate a rare coin along the way.  I especially want to thank Bill Bugert for all his help and advice these many years. Bill is someone I am proud to call a friend. It is my hope that this narrative will inspire other collectors to challenge themselves and strive for a goal they thought beyond their reach.

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ATTENTION MEMBERS WHO HAVE BEEN RECEIVING THE NEWSLETTER BY MAIL. The membership voted at the November meeting, that the cost of printing and mailing the newsletter has become cost prohibitive. Mostly because of the cost of ink to print it out. So beginning with the JANUARY 2019 newsletter, you will have to access it online. If you have a computer and an e-mail that I can use, you can use the “CONTACT US” tab on our website to send it to me. IT IS A VERY SECURE SITE !!


2019 Coin Show Dates

AUBURN MA

BLACKSTONE VALLEY MA

DEDHAM MA

JAN 13TH

 

JAN 16TH

JULY 17TH

JAN 6TH

JULY 7TH

 

AUG 11TH

FEB 20TH

AUG 21TH

FEB 3RD

AUG 4TH

MAR 10TH 

 

MAR 20TH

SEPT 18TH

MAR 3RD

SEPT 1ST

APR 14TH

OCT 13TH

APR 17TH

OCT 16TH 

APR 7TH

OCT 6TH 

 

 

MAY 15TH

NOV 20TH

MAY 5TH 

NOV 3RD

JUN 9TH

DEC 8TH

JUN 19TH

DEC 18TH

JUN 2TH

DEC 1ST

DEVENS MA

HARTFORD CT

NASHUA NH

JAN 27TH

JULY 28TH 

 

JULY 21ST

JAN 20TH

JULY 21ST

FEB 24TH

AUG 25TH

FEB 17TH

 

FEB 17TH

AUG

MAR 24TH

SEPT 22TH

 

SEPT

MAR 17TH

SEPT

APR 28TH 

OCT 27TH 

APR 28TH

 

APR 21ST

OCT 

MAY 26TH 

NOV 24TH 

 

NOV 

MAY 19TH 

NOV 

JUN 24TH

DEC 22ND

 

 

JUN 16TH

DEC  

MANCHESTER NH

MANSFIELD CT

WEST SPRINGFIELD MA

 JAN

 

   

JAN

JULY

 

 

 

 

FEB

AUG

MAR 30TH -31ST

  

MAR 25TH

 

MAR

SEPT

 

 

 

 

APR 28TH

OCT 

 

NOV 8TH-10TH

 

 

MAY

NOV

 

 

 

 

JUN

DEC

WESTFORD MA

PAWCATUCK VALLEY CT

ANA ANNUAL SHOW

JAN

JULY

 

 

FEB

AUG

 

 

MAR

SEPT

 

AUG 13-17th 2019 Rosemont IL

APR

OCT

 

 

MAY

NOV

MAY 5th 2019 Norwich CT

 

JUN

DEC

 

 

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

AUBURN MA: Elks Lodge, 754 South Bridge Street (Route 12) 46 Tables.  Free Admission. 978- 658-0160

BLACKSTONE VALLEY: VFW Post 1385, 16 Cross Street Route 16, Uxbridge MA Terrance O’Connor 508-400-7454

DEDHAM MA: Holiday Inn, I-95 exit 15A, Dedham MA. 29 tables, free admission. 603-978-3459

DEVENS MA: Devens Common Center, 31 Andrews Parkway, Devens MA $1 Admission 978-658-0160

HARTFORD CT: Courtyard Marriott, 4 Sebethe Dr. Cromwell CT. 718-323-1930 or stassinsJ98@aol.com

MANCHESTER NH: EBW Promotions, P O Box 3 Wilmington MA 01887-0003, 978-658-0160 ernie@nhcoinexpo.com

MANSFIELD CT: Prospect Street School Gym, 233 Prospect Street, Willimantic CT 06226, C John Ferreri, 860-508-8620

NASHUA NH: Holiday Inn 9 Northeastern Blvd Nashua NH 03060 49 tables, free admission 978-658-0160

PAWCATUCK VALLEY CT: Dave Barbone, 10 Bigelow Street, Pawcatuck CT 06379, 860-599-1571, tyme48@yahoo.com

WEST SPRINGFIELD MA: Dante Club 1198 Memorial Avenue West Springfield MA Peter Setian, 413-596-9871

WESTFORD MA: Westford Regency Inn 219 Littleton Road Westford MA 01886, $1 admission, 978-658-0160


ANY EXTRA AUCTION ITEMS BROUGHT IN TO THE MEETING FOR SALE IN THE AUCTION
MUST BE ITEMIZED ON A FORM GIVING YOUR NAME, THE ITEMS AND THE PRICE YOU ASK FOR EACH ITEM. THE FORMS WILL BE ON THE AUCTION TABLE. PLACE THE ITEMS ON THE COMPLETED SHEET AND LEAVE ON THE AUCTION TABLE. THIS WILL ENSURE THAT YOUR CASH AND UNSOLD ITEMS WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU IN GOOD ORDER. ITEMS LEFT ON THE TABLE WITHOUT THE COMPLETED SHEET WILL BE SET ASIDE AND NOT OFFERED FOR SALE. NO EXCEPTIONS!!