Patience and Persistence: Building an Award Winning Liberty Seated Dime PCGS Registry Set Gerry Fortin ANA Numismatic Theatre August 7, 2009
Why Share This Presentation? • Supporting LSCC efforts to attract new membership • Publicity for the collecting of Liberty Seated coinage and its challenges • Proud of collection and wish to share personal insights about set building • Historical coins have investment value and can be a diversification strategy…..imagine having fun while pursuing long term investing…sure beats the emotional ride of stock market
Gerry Fortin’s Bio? Knowing the collector allows insights into the formation of his sets….. • Gerry’s parents were second generation Canadian immigrants; father, a textile mill worker and mother, a sales clerk • Gerry started working at 13 to raise monies for state university education…first person in family history to enjoy secondary schooling • After graduation with BSEE, employed by IBM, National and Fairchild Semiconductor and now, CSMC Technologies in Wuxi, China • Expertise in engineering, operations, marketing and sales, business development and program management
Set Building Imperatives! The Liberty Seated Dime collection is active part of a retirement investment strategy….. • Patience, persistence and a long term outlook…don’t rush a project of this magnitude • Significant collections can take several decades to build… hard to fathom in today’s instant gratification society • Each coin is a financial investment… do the homework and select the best possible coins that you can afford • Eye appeal, originality, full strikes and PQ for the assigned grade = investment value
The Liberty Seated Dime Sets Registry set dime purchases starting 1988 through 2009; a 21 year journey….. • Multiple PCGS awards including 3 Best Classic Set awards (2007-2009), a Best Presented Set award (2006) and a Most Improved Set award (2005) • Awards for best Date and Basic Set, Circulation Strikes, best With Varieties Sets, with and without the 1873-CC No Arrows • PQ examples are a priority! Purposely took several NGC downgrades into PCGS holder to exhibit PQ coins • PCGS illustrates the set as, “The Number One Finest Set of All Times” but I humbly disagree……….probably the best set of all times is the Eugene Gardner set which features a combination of NGC and PCGS certified coins
The Set Building Journey Liberty Seated Dime with Varieties set requires 121 coins which includes six major design changes and production at four minting locations • Major Design Changes • No Stars, Stars/No Drapery, With Drapery and Stars, With Legend and inclusion of arrows at date during 1853-1855 and again in 1873-1874 • Minting Locations • Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and Carson City
The Set Building Discussion Primary Design and Mint Emphasis Areas • No Drapery design, With and Without Stars has always been a favorite • Grade rarity of 1840’s and 1850’s New Orleans coinage and Carson City 1871 through 1874 key dates • San Francisco Civil War era coinage; 1861 through 1867 Balance of presentation to focus on selected Philadelphia mint highlights
1837 Large Date PCGS 23 in MS65, 8 graded higher • F-101c..A spectacular variety with obverse and reverse die clashing combined with fully cracked obverse die • This is the finest variety example … to my knowledge • Chris Pilliod highlighted this dime during its 1999 Heritage appearance; missed it then but bought when resurfaced in 2007
1837 Small Date PCGS 4 in MS65, 3 graded higher • F-104 variety with clashed reverse die from previous Large Date pairing • Much rarer than the Large Date is same grade • Incredible surfaces, toning and strike • Purchase from Heritage 2003 Fall Long Beach sale
1838-O PCGS 11 in MS64; 5 graded higher • www.seateddimevarieties.com website trademark coin • One of the marquee dimes in the set; originality, bold strike and rarity • Purchased from Eugene Bruder in 2002 in ICG MS65, took downgrade to PCGS MS64…no attempts to upgrade just PQ!
1838 Small Stars PCGS 8 in MS65; none graded higher • Late die state example with circular die crack through stars and date • Stars punch intended for half dimes but mistakenly used for one dime obverse die • Purchased from Heritage 2004 Pittsburg ANA Auction; none certified MS65 after 2004
1839 PCGS 13 in MS65; 19 graded higher • Common in Mint State • Patiently waited years to find the right example to match other No Drapery dimes • Located this gem through RCNH June 2006
1839-O PCGS 1 in MS65; 4 graded higher • Only 1 graded higher at time of purchase in 2006? • Much more difficult to locate in Mint State than Large O variety • Needle sharp strike and excellent eye appeal, could be the finest example of Small O variety…. a marquee specimen
1840 No Drapery PCGS 4 in MS65; 7 graded higher • Moderately available in higher grade Mint State • Like the 1839 date, waited many years to upgrade MS63 entry • Purchased in NGC MS66 holder during 2009 FUN show and took downgrade to MS65 • F-107 obverse with delicate needle strike and eye appeal…a PQ coin for assigned grade
1840-O PCGS 3 in MS62; 5 graded higher; rare in Mint State • From Lovejoy collection, Stack’s 1990; Extremely rare Small O of 1839 variety • Purchased in 1993 from Becker & Kuehnert via mailed flyer • Took 5 seconds to call B&K after receiving flyer…luckily there was short mail transport time from NH to Maine!!!
1842-O PCGS 2 in MS64; 1 graded higher; Mint State rarity • New Orleans 1842 dimes are notorious for weak strike details due to lapped dies and/or having micro defects • Top pop example purchased during 2003 from Jim O’Donnell; finest known at time of purchase
1843-O PCGS 1 in AU53; 2 grade higher! • Single die pair and extensive circulation • Grade rarity similar to 1871-1874 Carson City key dates • Wonderful originality as most EF or better 1843-O dimes have problems • A sincere thank you to Kevin Zietler for providing opportunity in 2003 to add this piece to registry set
1845-O PCGS 1 in AU55; 3 graded higher! • Like the 1843-O, another New Orleans grade rarity that is under recognized • Spectacular strike, originality and Pittman collection provenance • Thank you Kevin Zietler for providing opportunity in 2003 to purchase your 1843-O and 1845-O PCGS AU55 dimes
1849-O PCGS 5 in MS64; none graded higher • 1849-O examples are notorious for poor strikes or lapped dies….Jim O’Donnell despised 1849 New Orleans dimes • Strong strike for Large O variety, the toning is spectacular • Purchased in 2006 from Legend when only 2 examples graded MS64….where did the other 3 come from so quickly???
1850-O WA PCGS 4 in AU53; 15 graded higher • Rare in Mint State; total of 7 graded • Most Mint State specimens seen are Small O reverse • Last Mint State coin to appear at Heritage auction; MS65 in 2001 • This PCGS entry is a filler for date/mintmark • Attempting to cross NGC specimen….see next slide
1850-O NGC MS67 Star • Finest certified • Purchased 2004 Pittsburg ANA from Jason Carter • Attempting PCGS cross at 2009 ANA
1851-O WA PCGS 1 in AU53; 10 graded higher • Another rarity in Mint State • Heritage archives lists three mint state examples; ANACS61 (1996), NGC64 (1997) and NGC65 (1999)…excluding MS60 grade • Current PCGS dime is filler AU53 • One unsuccessful attempt to cross NCG MS63 example
1851-O WA NGC MS 63 • Monster strike and balanced eye appeal • Initial cross attempt failed in 2008
1853-O WA PCGS 2 in MS63; 4 graded higher • Under appreciated rarity in Mint State • Waited over 10 years to locate an acceptable Mint State specimen • Eliasberg specimen finally re-entered market in 2008 via Superior • Wonderful obverse strike that is typically flat on head and Stars 6-8 (Obverse 1, F-101 through F-103)
1871-CC PCGS 3 in EF45; 6 graded higher • Locating original examples of 1871-CC through 1874-CC dimes with no porosity, problems or re-coloring is significant accomplishment and requires much patience! • Purchased during 2005 CSNS Heritage auction via Dick Osburn as agent; from Tim Cook Collection • Several individuals who attend lot preview reported that Tim’s 1871-CC dime was gem for grade and finest coin in his collection!
1872-CC PCGS 7 in EF45; 2 graded higher • Extremely rare in AU and Mint State • Finding problem free circulated examples is major challenge • From Heritage 2003 NY Signature sale • Strong details for EF45 grade; even gray toning over essentially problem free surfaces
1874-CC PCGS 5 in EF45; 4 graded higher • The key date for any Liberty Seated Dime collection; critical acquisition for a top PCGS registry set • Finding problem free circulated examples is major challenge • Trivia: Acquired from Heritage 2003 September Long Beach sale in ANACS holder. Won the lot with internet bid of $24,600 while the hammer price was $24,500. I was incredibly lucky (with pricing research) to win this gem circulated example. Coin immediately crossed to PCGS.
1861-S PCGS 2 in MS62; 3 graded higher • Very rare in Mint State; few examples seen are typically in MS61-62 grades…most lack luster • Delicate Type 1 obverse details that wear quickly • Purchased at 2004 FUN show, the Heritage sale • Well struck and reasonable example of low mintage S mint date
1862-S PCGS 1 in MS63; 2 graded higher • Extremely rare in Mint State • Norweb, Bolen and Richmond collections; excellent pedigree • Purchased from the 2005 DLRC Richmond sale • Strike and originality……… originally in NGC holder and crossed first attempt
1863-S PCGS 2 in MS64; 2 graded higher • Very rare in Mint State • Reed Hawn, Lovejoy and Frog Run collections • Frog Run Collection; ANR 2004 Baltimore sale after private Wolfsboro showing with Frank Van Valen…clearly the finest dime in the Frog Run collection and residing in NGC MS63 holder • Trivia: High bid seconds before Frank V.V. hammer after watching vigorous bidding between Legend, JJ Teaparty and Jason Carter
1864-S PCGS 4 in MS64; 2 graded higher • Most available of the Civil War San Francisco mint years, 1861-1867 • Originality, full struck and excellent eye appeal; an adequate selection for registry set • Private 2003 transaction with Mike Atkins
1865-S PCGS 2 in MS63; 2 graded higher • Marquee dime in registry set…obverse proof-like from deeply basined die, reverse mainly frosty luster • Extremely rare example of F-101 variety with full head! Nearly all F-101 come with flat heads. • Eliasberg pedigree. Heritage 1997 FUN sale via Chris Pilliod as floor agent.
1866-S PCGS 1 in MS65; none graded higher • F-101 variety with weak S mint mark. Often mistaken for 1866 Philadelphia specimen by those with limited Seated experience • Investment grade specimen with balanced attributes of eye appeal, strike and original surfaces; remaining Top Pop in set • Heritage March 2006 Palm Beach sale; the last purchased example of the 1861-1867 S mints to complete the series in desired Mint State range
1867-S PCGS 4 in MS64; 2 graded higher • Once again, very rare in Mint State • Purchased from ANR March 2005 Kennywood sale • Excellent matching eye appeal with 1864-S, 1865-S and 1866-s dimes…
1870-S PCGS 7 in MS65; 2 graded higher • More available in high grade Mint State due to a hoard surfacing in the 1980s. Low mintage issue of 50,00 pieces. • Purchased in 2001 from Jim O’Donnell.
1872-S PCGS 5 in MS64; 2 graded higher • Another Seated dime date that is under appreciated in Mint State; one die pair and mintage of 190,000 pieces • Acquired from Heritage CSNC 2005 sale; outstanding dime from the Tim Cook collection • Once again, eye appeal, originality and strike parameters are present; an investment grade coin
Other Special HighlightsWith Stars Design Philadelphia 1841 – 1859With Legend DesignPhiladelphia 1860-1891
1841 PCGS 5 in MS65; 1 graded higher • Probably the finest example of F-104 repunched 184 die variety • Purchased in late 2002 via Heritage Santa Clara sale • Dime fully meets criteria; original surfaces, strike and eye appeal….simply a lovely gem!
1846 PCGS 2 in AU58 and 2 MS63 examples • Key date for series in AU55 or better • Incredible strike and eye appeal • Purchased during 2004 from RCNH while making China flight connection in Chicago O’Hare • Trivia: I had chance to buy one of the MS63 examples years ago but passed as $25,000 offer price seemed too expensive. Today this dime sits in EHG collection!
1847 PCGS 3 in MS63; 3 graded higher • 1847 rarity in Mint State is under appreciated • Interesting “cut away base” die variety; F-102 • Excellent strike, originality and eye appeal…no need to upgrade! • Purchased during 2002 from Alpine Numismatics
1849 PCGS 7 in MS64; 2 graded higher • 1849 rarity in Mint State is under appreciated • Excellent strike but wished the coin was toned • Purchased in 2000 from Jason Carter in NGC MS64 holder….four years later it crossed
1850 PCGS 20 in MS64; 4 graded higher • Fairly available in Mint State so picking a great example is the challenge…. • Pittman coin purchased via Park Avenue Numismatics in 2003 • I simply love the strike and eye appeal!
1852 PCGS 34 in MS64; 19 graded higher • Common in Mint State so picking a great example is the challenge…. • Obtained from Heritage CSNS 2005 auction • Again, I love the strike, toning and eye appeal! • Repunched date adds a little icing to the cake
1857 PCGS 19 in MS65; 2 graded higher • Common date for With Stars design • Strike, originality and eye appeal are all there…a gem example that was worth the wait • Purchase during 2006
1865 PCGS 2 in MS67; none graded higher • Difficult in Mint State but more available than 10,500 piece mintage would suggest • Registry coin is clearly one of the finest available with proof like surfaces and reverse die striation lines • Purchased from Jim O’Donnell during 2004 FUN show after long search for higher grade Mint State example
1868 PCGS 3 in MS65; 1 graded higher • The 1868 date is an enigma; mintage of 464,000 with 12 known obverse dies and low population in PCGS Mint State holders. • This dime is one of the few in the registry set without full head details but balanced eye appeal due to strong luster. • Originally appeared in Heritage 2001 Long Beach sale from Gulf Coast collection. Re-sold May 2002 and purchased from Jason Carter in 2003 after PCGS cross.
1869 PCGS 5 in MS64; 8 graded higher • Two separate date punches; Long Flag 1 and Short Flag 1 digit • Nearly all Mint State examples are from Long Flag 1 obverse dies and come well struck and proof like • During 1999, purchased from Chris Pilliod in ICG MS64 holder; first PCGS cross attempt several years later successful