Click on graphic to see full survey

Click on graphic to see full survey

During the latter part of 2014, I was asked to participate in a “Coin Experts Survey” by a representative from International Precious Metals. As one of the 19 experts, I was asked ten questions about my opinion about numismatic issues and some numismatic preferences. Although the survey results were published in January, I am now finding time to write about it.

One of the problems I had with writing about this is that I did not know what to say. While it was fun to participate, what can I add to the survey? Rather than just reporting, I decided I would share my answers with some commentary.

Question #1: What is your favorite individual coin?
My answer: 1955 Double Die Obverse Lincoln cent
Prior to the appearance of the 1955 DDO Lincoln cent, there was almost no interest in error coins or that coins with errors can be collectible. After the discovery of the 1955 DDO, it was a number of years before error collecting was considered acceptable—I found a 1960 referenced to “spoiled 1955 pennies.” It is a historic coin in that it is the only coin that can be pointed to that started a type of collecting. That is what makes it so cool!
Question #2: What is your favorite coin series?
My answer: Peace dollars
I love the design of the Peace dollar. The image of Liberty on the front is, in my opinion, the one of the best images on U.S. coins. For collectors, it is the one set of silver coins that may be the most affordable for average collectors with the 1928 and 1938-S being the most expensive. It is also the only complete set of silver coins I own.
Question #3: What coin is most overpriced on the market right now?
My answer: Any coin in a slab with a CAC sticker
I have previously written of my dislike for CAC and how I feel they are practicing market manipulation. There are too many people willing to blindly accept CAC as an authority and some cannot explain why. While that CAC may have helped force PCGS and NGC to improve their processes, I have seen coins with CAC stickers I just did not like.
Question #4: What are some examples of undervalued coins?
My answer: Almost any commemorative coin
I should have clarified this answer to say that almost any modern commemorative coin. There are many commemoratives that did not sell well and not worth much more than their bullion value and a small numismatic premium. Even though they were not popular, they do have artistic value. A dedicated collector could put together a nice collection of modern commemorative coins for not a lot of money.
Question #5: What is the hardest coin to locate and purchase in the US?
My answer: A solid, mid-grade Liberty Head nickel
While most of the people taking the survey left this question blank, I was thinking about my own experiences. Not including rare coins, it is not that difficult to find key and semi-key dates. But if you really want to search for coins that are not easy to find, try to put together a set of extra-fine to almost uncirculated Liberty Head nickels. You can find a lot of lower grade nickels and higher grade nickels. Finding these solid mid-grade nickels can be more difficult than finding a 1913-S Type 2 Buffalo nickel.
Question #6: Do you think the penny will ever be phased out? If so, what year?
My answer: No. Never.
Although I am not in favor of eliminating the one-cent coin, I do not think it will ever be eliminated because of the dysfunction of congress. Congress would not be able to come to any consensus and neither side of the aisle does not have the intestinal fortitude to make a stand one-way or another.
Question #7: What President deserves to be on a coin/bill that hasn’t previously been featured?
My answer: Not counting the presidential dollars, Theodore Roosevelt
In this political climate, I knew what the dominant answer would be. Rather than thinking about the political, I was considering what president had the single largest impact on U.S. coinage. No other president had the impact on coin design than Theodore Roosevelt. While his “pet crime” was directly responsible for the designs by Bela Lyon Pratt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Victor D. Brenner, it was the seed he planted for the renaissance of coin design. Remember that James Earle Fraser and Adolph A. Weinman were Saint-Gaudens’ students and added notable coin designs of their own.
Question #8: Do you think the US will ever introduce a brand new denomination?
My answer: No.
For the same reason that congress would never be able to vote on legislation to eliminate the one-cent coin, the same dysfunction will prevent new denominations from every being created.
Question #9: Which of the following phased out coins/bills do you think the US will begin minting in the near future?

  • Kennedy Half dollar
  • Susan B Anthony silver dollar coin
  • Sacagawea dollar coin
  • Two dollar bill
  • None
My answer: All items in the list are being produced except for the Susie B’s. There is no correlating law to authorize the U.S. Mint to produce the Susie B thus it could never be produced unless congress changes the laws. Kennedy halves and Sac dollars are being produced for the collector markets, but there are correlating laws to allow them to be produced. Authorization is codified in 31 U.S. Code § 5112.
The $2 Federal Reserve Note is different in that the law (12 U.S. Code § 411) authorizes the Federal Reserve to determine what notes are produced. The way the law is written, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is not as regulated as the U.S. Mint. The only legal consideration is that the Fed could only have notes produced based on the denominations codified in 12 U.S. Code § 418. The law does not say these denominations have to be produced. Section 411 lets the Fed decide. In 1969, the Fed decided to stop producing large denomination currency. By the Fed’s definition, large denominations are FRNs larger than $100. Currently, the $2 FRN is being produced. The Fed does not order many and the rest are produced for the collectors market.
Yes, that was my answer and I’m sticking to it!
Question #10: If you didn’t collect coins, what would you collect?
My answer: Cars, sports memorabilia, lapel pins
In reverse order, I do collect lapel pins from situations meaningful to me. I have a collection that includes past professional activities, interests, places I have visited, and more. While I have some sports memorabilia, I am jealous of the collections I have seen of people who just pickup items as they go along. Of course those people are like Penny Marshall who have a phenomenal collection but also has access.
When I mention cars, I am not talking about a Jay Leno-like collection, but I wouldn’t mind his collection. I am just looking for a few cars to have some fun with. While I own a 1974 Plymouth Gold Duster with a 225 cu. in. Slant 6 engine (memories of my youth), I want other classics. A few great examples come to mind like a 1959 Cadillac convertible in red (Eldorado or Series 62, I don’t care which), a 1968-70 Dodge Charger R/T with the 426 Hemi engine in Plum Crazy purple, and a 1930s 4-door car to create a hotrod (yes, I know 2-doors are more popular, but I have an interesting idea). Every so often I see movie or television-related cars that come up for sale that I think would be cool to own.
But I digress. While I am looking for a token with a cut-out “Q” as part of its design (it does not have to be a transportation token since none were made like that), you can check out the survey and compare my answers with those from the other experts.
Infographic courtesy of International Precious Metals.

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