This week we have a "dollar collectors special" with lots of information provided as a follow-up to last week's contribution by Michael Sullivan...but first, an inquiry by Ralph Muñoz and a request for assistance by the JRCS Board of Directors.
From the JRCS Board of Directors:
The JRCS web site is in need of modernization. If anyone has the skills, time, and willingness to help the JRCS bring its website up to date, we would welcome your assistance. You can send an email to the JR Newsletter if you can help!
Ralph Muñoz wrote:
I have a request for spread sheets of the various bust type coins.
I have one for bust halves that I use; that I plug in the coins in my collection. It is listed by all years, with the known varieties and rarity. I usually carry it with me to determine if I need a certain variety or if I want to upgrade. Regarding the spread sheet for halves that I use; it is the property of Steve Herrman for the Bust Half Nut Club, (which I am a member) and I don't have the ownership.
I want to know if there are similar type spread sheets available for the other bust type coins? Half dimes, dimes and quarters? If so, are they listed in the JRCS journal or is there an excel spread sheet available online? Anyone who can provide a spreadsheet, please send me an email: munoz1951(at)cox.net
Editor's note: I have a spreadsheet that I use for half dimes and I sent a copy to Ralph. If anyone else wants a copy, send me an email and I will send a copy of the spreadsheet to you too.
Recall that last week, Michael Sullivan wrote about a misattributed bust dollar being sold on eBay. When I clicked on the link to check out the auction, I recognized the seller...so I contacted him and shared the information with him. Additionally, I received input from other dollar collectors on the subject. So as a treat to dollar collectors especially, here are a number of responses to Michael Sullivan's contribution of last week:
First, David Perkins wrote:
I just read your posting this morning in JR News regarding the misattributed "1796 BB-64" Silver Dollar. I agree the dollar in the photograph matches the attributes of the 1796 B-4, BB-61 Dollar.
When I first looked at the photo, the holder looked funny to me as it only listed the BB Number (and no Bolender Number). I thought this coin might be in a counterfeit NGC holder. I don't have any of my early dollars that are in NGC holders at home, and as today is Sunday the bank is closed. Thus I can't compare the holder to any of the labels on any of my coins that are in NGC early dollar variety holders. I looked up examples in the Heritage archives and the early dollars in photographed in NGC holders that I viewed all have both the BB and B numbers listed on them. This one does not for some reason, but I can’t state for fact that all early dollars in NGC holders have or should have both BB and B numbers on them.
I had never done this before, but I went to the NGC website and under "NGC Research" clicked on "View Coin Certification" to do a Certification Number Lookup. I had read about this service in NGC advertisements. I entered the number on the NGC holder (#3988818-005) to verify this coin. It verifies this certification number as a “1796 SM DATE LG LETTERS BB-64, B-6” Dollar in NGC XF 40.
This leaves me with at least a couple of questions, “Why is the “B-6” (Bolender) number not listed on this holder?” (as the B-6 number shows up when entering the number into the NGC Website for verification) and “Did NGC simply misattribute this coin as to the correct die marriage?”
I only know of three existing specimens of the 1796 BB-64, B-6 Dollar. Thus it remains a R-8. And I might add that if this were actually a 1796 BB-64, B-6 die marriage in XF 40 it would sell for MULTIPLES of the $9,895.00 “Buy it Now” asking price! Not only is it rare, it would be the only known early die state of this die marriage, missing the heavy vertical die break that bisects the reverse on the 1796 BB-64, B-6 Dollar!
Thank you for publishing this in JR News. I think it is important to publish something on this offering and coin in the next issue of the John Reich Journal. Michael, as you reported this would you like to write up something and include a photo of the coin in the holder? We can add a photo of “a correct” 1796 BB-64, B-6 for comparison.
W. David Perkins
Next, Jim Matthews offered the following:
For what it's worth, both grading services commonly get attributions wrong--we send in 5 to 10 coins per auction to get a corrected label--so this is not unusual at all.
The don't have the numismatic staff and time to worry about all attributions!
Counterfeit holders are a huge problem, especially with PCGS overseas in the Orient.
My initial correspondence to the eBay seller, Greg Hansen, is below:
You may or may not know that I am editor of the John Reich Collectors Society weekly "e-journal" entitled JR Newsletter. We received correspondence this week (I provided Greg with a link to the online version of the JR Newsletter) about a misattributed bust dollar on eBay. When I checked out the coin, I saw a coin being offered by eBay seller greghansen, who I assume is you. The mistake is not yours, it is a mistake made by NGC.
Die marriage collectors are necessarily fussy about their attributions. I think NGC and Dave Lange especially would love the opportunity to correct the mistake.
Greg quickly responded to me:
Thank you for your message.
I do not have the Bowers-Borckardt reference book identified in the JR Newsletter posting.
As you may surmise from the above, I am not a die marriage collector. I bought the coin as a 1796 type coin when I was putting together a Bust Dollar date set from 1795-1803. It has sat in my collection for several years, largely ignored, until I decided to focus more on a 'Box of 20' set. With that decision, I no longer needed every bust dollar in my set and am in the process of selling those coins not needed for my Box of 20. That is how the coin came to be listed on EBAY.
I am somewhat surprised that I have/was not notified through the EBAY system about the attribution error since several of your society members apparently spotted the error right away.
I have mixed feelings about the cost/time off market associated with returning the coin to NGC for reslabbing. I suppose if I still own the coin in early January, I will take it to the FUN show, which is the next show I will be at where NGC will have a presence. In the interim I have corrected the listing, which I invite you to look at and comment if you think it is clear enough for prospective buyers.
I am familiar with the name of David Lange and his position with NGC, but we are not acquaintances. If you have an email or contact information, I would like to speak or correspond with him to understand what would be required of me to get the error corrected.
Thank you again for your message. It does none of us any good to list/sell variety coins which are improperly attributed and it is unfortunate that my lack of special knowledge in this series led to me relying upon the third party attribution when preparing my auction listing.
I then shared with Greg the information that I received from Dave Perkins and Jim Matthews. Additionally, an internet search for Dave Lange's contact information (readily available due to his passion for coin boards and their history!) provided me with additional information I could share with Greg. So in addition to sharing the Perkins and Mattews emails, I sent the following to Greg:
Dave Lange announced at a JRCS meeting a few years ago that he is now the sole attributor at NGC. He said previously there were too many errors, so NGC decided to ensure there would be one person responsible for attribution in an effort to cut down on errors. There's a good chance that your coin was slabbed before Dave had that full time job. I found Dave has a website with his contact information. His website is http://www.coincollectingboards.net
I quickly received another response from Greg:
The information does indeed help. I will copy your most recent message along with a link to my EBAY auction and send it to Mr. Lange to get his thoughts.
Your most recent email caused me to search my records to see if I could identify where/when I acquired this coin. I knew I had purchased some privately (including a 1798 from you) and some via auctions.
By searching back I found that this coin was bought out of a Heritage auction in 2006. Embarrassingly, their auction description did indeed note the incorrect slab attribution. The incorrect attribution meant nothing to me at the time of purchase since I was simply trying to acquire an XF type coin for that date. Having sat in my collection for nearly 7 years I simply forgot about the misattribution when I listed it. Quite frankly 'BB-61' or 'BB-64' would have meant nothing to me since I was blissfully unaware of any rarity factors. I think my BIN price is evidence of my ignorance of any special value for a true BB-64.
Here is the direct link to the Heritage auction where I acquired the coin. I have been the owner of the coin since that auction.
Heritage auction page for 1796 NGC misattributed BB-64 Bust Dollar
Please accept this as my permission/consent for you to share any or all of the information I have shared back to you about this coin with society members or any other interested person(s). All reference to the BB-64 attribution has been removed from the EBAY auction title and I have modified my description to inform all potential purchasers of the incorrect attribution on the slab. If you review the Heritage auction posting, this is how they elected to handle the issue when they sold the coin.
Once I communicate with David, if I can get some assurances that my coin won't be tied up or languish for 6-8 weeks on a resubmission, I will probably just elect to get it reholdered so there is no chance that the coin may be misrepresented in the future. Thanks again for David's contact info. I will email him now.
As many of you who have met Dave Lange would expect, I got a quick follow-up from Greg after he contacted Dave Lange at NGC:
Richard, Just a quick Monday morning update. David responded to my email very promptly. He advised that he has already made the correction in NGC database, but of course that doesn't fix the mislabeled slab issue. He recommended I bring it to FUN where they will reslab free of charge. I intend to follow his advice in that regard.
Upon further reflection, I have also decided to pull the EBAY auction entirely despite the disclosure of the mis-attribution. My concern is that if the coin is successfully sold 'as is' there is the considerable risk of future misrepresentation and/or misidentification either intentionally or inadvertently by others as clueless as I was about the significance of the variety. I think the responsible thing to do is to ensure the misattribution gets corrected and fixed while I have ownership of the coin and have the power to do so. I guess since I've owned it nearly 7 years, a couple more months won't make that much difference and I've got enough other stuff to liquidate that not being able to market this coin for a couple of months isn't going to be that big of a deal.
Thank you and the society for bringing this matter to my attention. It was careless of me not to make a note on the slab of the misattribution at the time of purchase. Lesson learned.
I hope readers have enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.