What is the difference between a commercial uncirculated coin and a slider?
Each of these two terms is in the eye of the beholder, but for practical purposes they are the same thing. A commercial uncirculated coin is a coin a dealer believes he can sell as a Brilliant Uncirculated, but he anticipates a third-party grading service would not grade it as high.
I understand the 1926-D Buffalo nickel is notoriously poorly struck. Can you give me some further information?
Worn, late state dies rather than strike appears to be the culprit. According to one source, some of the Mint State examples have reverse details that for any other date would grade no better than good to very good.
I’ve been offered coins slabbed by a grading service of which I’ve never heard. How should I value these coins?
In a word – cautiously. Buy the coin, not the slab. Not all grading services are considered reliable by major coin dealers. Some were created simply to provide a label for certain mass marketers rather than the collecting public. Even if you are comfortable with the price or the grade assigned to the coin by a lesser known service, you may find dealers will deeply discount what they are willing to pay you for the coin if you resell it. This is due to the slab in which the coin is housed. When in doubt don’t buy it.
I collected a Brilliant Uncirculated set of statehood quarters, but can’t find a dealer interested in buying them. Is there a market for these coins?
I would describe the current market for complete BU sets of statehood quarters as thin. This, of course, may change in time partially due to collector interest and partially due to dealers promoting such sets. Considering the large mintages it is doubtful as individual quarters each will have future appreciation. As sets that could be another story, but this is speculation.
I’ve noticed auction catalogs occasionally giving a pedigree or provenance for quite a few foreign coins, but rarely for anything other than the rarest of U.S. coins. Any reason for the difference?
Part of the reason is marketing. Due to increasing pressure from some foreign governments to have coins and other artifacts seized and returned to them under the excuse these objects are their cultural patrimony both museums and collectors are becoming more diligent in ensuring they can document the whereabouts of coins in the past that they now own. Coins able to be traced to prominent past collections also have an allure to some collectors.
Coin dealers, jewelers, and hotel buyers have been buying and primarily scrapping common silver coins since before the Great Recession. Won’t the supply available from the general public eventually be exhausted?
The number of silver coins struck is enormous, but finite. You have to envision, as an example, what a million coins together in one spot would look like before you can realize the slow impact scrapping has on the many coins hoarded by the public. The day will come when these hoards are exhausted, but its doubtful any of us will live to see it.
What can you tell me about the pistareen?
It was a debased 2 reales Spanish coin that circulated in Spain, the Americas and the West Indies in the 1700s, equal to 1/5th of the Spanish dollar (8 reales). By 1827, it was down to 17 cents’ value in the U.S.
The U.S. Mint produced patterns that contained only small amounts of bullion. Why didn’t they succeed?
The principal purpose was to produce a coin that had an intrinsic value equal or nearly equal to its face value. The problem was that the minuscule amounts of bullion had no visible effect on the appearance of the coin, leaving it subject to ready counterfeiting.
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