Tag Archives: hobby

The Office Travels to the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association Fourth Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona

19 Oct
US Mexican Association image

U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association



Last week Dan, Augi and I traveled to Phoenix for the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association Fourth Annual Convention in Scottsdale from Thursday, October 15 to Saturday, October 17. While the show is small, some of the most influential dealers and auctioneers in the business attend. The convention is open to members of the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association who were treated to both great “coin watching” and a good selection of outstanding seminars hosted by experts in the field, including Dan. Dan spoke about counterfeit coins to a packed house, so obviously there’s lots of interest in the subject. One gentleman who stopped by our table afterward mentioned that he had inadvertently bought a fake coin many years ago, but between buying The Practical Book of Cobs and listening to the lecture, he had a much better idea of what to look for when buying a coin. We also stressed to him the importance of buying and selling coins through bona fide dealers, i.e. dealers who display knowledge and answer your questions intelligently.

We had a table at the convention where we were busy showing auction lots for our upcomingDan with Customer at US Mex Show 2015 Treasure, World & U.S. Coin  Auction 18 to be held in Orlando, Florida on October 29, 2015.  The hearts and royals were a big hit, as they created an impressive display. We may never see so many of both in the same auction again! 

Another treat was when I got to meet the Executive Director of the American Numismatic Society, Ute Wartenberg Kagan, who was assisted at her table by Matt Wittmann, Assistant Curator of American Coins and Currency. It is vital that organizations like the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association and the American Numismatic Society thrive because they are repositories of knowledge and numismatic material that the average collector might never be able to access otherwise. Collecting is about learning as much as it is about owning.

Ute, Matt and Cori at US Mex Show

While it was a long way to go for a show, I’m glad we were once again able to go. Every show is an opportunity to buy, sell, meet people, show auction lots, and learn!

FUN for All: Report from the summer FUN show in Orlando

16 Jul
Our July FUN Show Table

Our July FUN Show Table

Last week Augi and I manned a table at the summer FUN (for Florida United Numismatists) show at the Orlando Convention Center. It was an unexpectedly busy show, especially considering that our sweltering summers generally have locals running to cooler climates like rats deserting a sinking ship. I guess good inventory trumps hot, humid weather. Check out our online store for our current inventory and great deals and visit our eBay store for more great stuff. If you’re buying, we’re selling!

Mora manning our table

Mora manning our table

While coin collecting is mostly an adult addiction, it’s nice to see that the FUN show offers treats for the youngsters. The youngest member of our team and Augi’s daughter, Mora, not only spent time scrutinizing our coins, but she also panned for gold just like in the Wild West and learned to carve the die of a hobo nickel. I wonder what she’ll know how to do by the time she graduates from elementary school.

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Mora carving a hobo nickel

Mora and Josie Beach carving a hobo nickel

So, if you want to visit a coin show with your children, know that many have fun programs that can entertain and educate. Who knows, maybe that will be the spark to create a collector out of him or her.

So You Think You Can Dance (or Produce an Auction Catalog)

25 Mar

We’re in the home stretch with our Sedwick Treasure and World Coin Lot cards for TA #17Auction #17 catalog! Let me tell you why it’s a Herculean effort by a few people…and a job best left to the pros.

Auction and catalog production begins many months prior to the auction date as we reach out to consignors to send or bring their consignments to us for evaluation and approval. This is the really fun part of the auction process because we never know what’s going to come through the door, and picking up packages at the post office seems a bit like Christmas. While most consignments consist of coins, there are also great consignments of artifacts and good old-fashioned pirate stuff:  swords, cannons, cannonballs, blunderbusses. Each coin and artifact is weighed and measured.Dan working on TA #17 (2)

Once we’ve decided that enough is enough and the deadline for consignments has drawn to an end, the real work begins. The order of lots is established (see the table of contents of any one of our catalogs for how we concatenate), and lot cards are designed and printed. Now we can shuffle lots from their temporary order to the lot-card order, and Dan can begin to study each auction lot to write up a description for the catalog. At the same time, Augi fires up his photography studio to begin the time-consuming process of photographing each lot. He will finish the process on the computer to arrive at the beautiful images you see in our catalogs.

In between we must find time to go to shows to promote auction items and give buyers a chance to see coins first hand. This is the best opportunity for anyone who has an interest to really be sure that a coin is what we say it is, so if you want to view auction lots for our upcoming auction on April 29-30, 2015, come see us at either the Whitman Baltimore Spring Expo on March 26-29, 2015, at the Baltimore Convention Center or at Chicago International Coin Fair on April 9-12, 2015, at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare.

After our auction catalog is professionally printed, we quickly send catalogs out to many, many potential bidders. Are you one of them? The link to the auction will be available soon on our website, so stay tuned!Last lot TA #17

In Professionals We Trust

16 Feb
Chef David

Chef David

Last weekend, when my husband and I (and Augi and his wife too!) spent a sumptuous Valentine’s dinner at a cooking school with a chef, we learned a great deal about food preparation and cooking. And here I thought I was pretty good in the kitchen! It just goes to show that a professional beats an amateur any day of the week, and if you want to learn a lot, find a pro and become his mentor. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about cooking or coins, the same principle applies. Bon appetit!

Last week, a reader asked what features in a given coin are sufficient enough to affect its value relative to another similar coin? While that’s a very hard question to answer because it’s so general, I can tell you something about judging cobs by way of an article my brother wrote for The Practical Book of Cobs

 How to Judge the Worth of a Cob 

by Daniel Frank Sedwick


Judgment of the relative worth of a gold or silver cob, within the market range of its category at any given time, should reflect a composite evaluation of these factors:

  • 1.   What is the mint?
  • 2.   Is the mintmark visible, and how clearly so?  How many indications of mintmark are visible?  (Up to three are possible on silver cobs of the pillars-and-waves type.)
  • 3.   Is the full date visible?  In the case of a partial date, the final one or two digits are more important than the first one or two digits.  Or is the cob of a period when cobs were not dated, hence the absence of a date is no factor?
  • 4.   If dated, how many dates are visible, and how clearly so?  (Two or three dates are possible on some cobs, only one possible on others.)
  • 5.   Is the assayer’s initial visible, and how clearly so?  How many repetitions of the assayer’s initial are visible?  (Up to three are possible on silver cobs of the pillars-and-waves type.)
  • 6.   Is the legend readable?  Completely so?  Partially so?  Not at all?  (The king’s name and ordinal are the most desirable part of the wording to be visible.)
  • 7.   Is the denomination visible, and how clearly so?  (A second indication of denomination is possible on silver cobs of the pillars-and-waves type.)
  • 8.   How complete and clear are the elements of design and other details?  For example, what percentage of the shield, crown, and cross is visible?  How nice, or poor, are the lions and castles?
  • 9.   Are the design and details well centered, and on both sides or on only one side?  If not well centered, as is usually the case, what is gained and what is lost in the expansion of some peripheral details and the resultant reduction of others?
  • 10.  Is the strike bold, average, or weak?  Neatly struck or double struck?
  • 11.  Is the cut of the metal of a shape typical for its period and mint or in some way more, or less, attractive or interesting?  (Cracks in the edge, while natural, lower a cob’s value, although smaller splits are less detrimental.)
  • 12.  How closely does the weight of the coin approximate its original stipulated weight?  Has the coin lost weight from shaving, slinging, or immersion in the sea?
  • 13.  Has the coin been unnecessarily cleaned or polished?  (Cleaning is necessary for silver cobs from sea salvage or land burial, undesirable otherwise.)
  • 14.  Has the coin been holed?  Plugged?  Removed from jewelry?  Mutilated in any other way?  (Holes in silver cobs are frequent, so not as damaging to their value as in the case of machine-made coins, but a cob without a hole is still much preferable to the holed piece.)
  • 15.  What is the overall condition or grade by normal numismatic standards?  (Very few cobs are seen in Uncirculated grade, or even in About Uncirculated.)
  • 16.  Entirely a subjective judgment, how attractive is the overall appearance of the coin (“eye appeal”)?  Does the coin appeal to you?
  • 17.  How many coins of this type—such as mint, assayer, date, specific shipwreck or sea-salvage—have been on the market lately?  (Sometimes a hoard of similar coins is discovered, and what used to be rare can become less rare.)
  • 18.  Are you sure the coin is genuine?  (Its purchase or trade from a cob specialist—be he dealer or advanced collector—is the best guarantee, until you yourself are sufficiently experienced to make the judgment with confidence.)

The few coins that do not fit into the prevailing price ranges are the particularly awful specimens (greatly underweight, very poor details, badly corroded, or mutilated), which will be lower, and the extraordinarily nice ones (singular detail and beauty), which can be higher.

Like all commodities, the overall foreign or domestic coin market oscillates be­tween strength and weakness at a given time.  This can be affected by general economic conditions (rare coins are purchased with discretionary income), or by fad (silver dollars can be hot one month, commemorative half dollars the next; or British coins are in demand one year, Spanish coins the next), or by a temporary and usually accidental surfeit or shortage of certain types of coins.  For example, in the 1983-85 period a huge hoard of gold cobs of the 1715 fleet appeared on the market and depressed prices.  After the material was absorbed, prices rebounded and today are many times their former levels.  The test of a coin worth holding is the ability of its price to recuperate from any temporary depressant.  Buy the best and the rarest and in the long run you will be safe.

Reproduction of the articles in whole or part is strictly prohibited without written permission of the author/s.

Long Beach Show January 2015

5 Feb

Dan and Augi recently returned from a successful show in Long Beach, California, the Long Beach Expo, brimming with consignments for Treasure Auction #17. While the show was mostly wholesale with sparse attendance by the general public, it didn’t hamper them from transacting business to ensure a successful upcoming auction. Was the low attendance due to the massive winter snowstorm on the east coast that hindered dealers from flying to the west coast? Maybe, maybe not. Still, you see the ripple effects of bad weather everywhere you look.

Long Beach, CA Coin Show

Long Beach, CA Coin Show

Dan at the table at the Long Beach show

Dan at the table at the Long Beach show

Thinking of bad weather, how many shipwrecks would never have happened had those ships sailed at a different time and not Augibecome ensnared in a hurricane? If hurricanes weren’t a part of life in the Caribbean, would we ever know as much as we know about coins and artifacts from colonial Spanish America? Something to think about.

Back to Long Beach: despite a lower public turnout, Dan and Augi made good use of their time there by sampling the great variety and quality of restaurants! Since Augi is Argentinian, he especially enjoyed a place called the Gaucho Grill (what a clever name!) at 200 North Pine Avenue in Long Beach. [Gaucho Grill is the most traditional Argentine restaurant in Long Beach. They serve the best Argentinian favorites in generous dishes balanced with the best Californian cuisine.]

Dan and Augi with some dealer friends at Gaucho Grill

Dan and Augi (taking pic) with Mexican Coin Company Staff (Max, Cory and Eric), at Gaucho Grill

Their fav foods were Lomo Argentino (filet mignon), Asado de Costillas (ribeye), and Bife de Chorizo (NY steak). And who knew that in California you can bring your own wine to dinner with you? What meal isn’t complete without Fernet, a digestif? Google it. Wikipedia says that people describe it as a “black licorice-flavored Listerine.” That’s about right.

And finally, even if you have a bad show, you can go back to your hotel and relax at the end of the day. Sometimes, you even have a world-class view. Sometimes you don’t!

Long Beach Table January 2015

Long Beach “Hotel View” January 2015

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