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Toned Morgan display at FUN

It is amazing what someone who wrecked his father’s Lincoln cent set by cleaning it can achieve as a collector in his own right.

Hobbyists will be able to enjoy the result as Sunnywood’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” set of toned Morgan silver dollars will be displayed Jan. 8-11 by the Professional Coin Grading Service at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando, Fla.

“The Sunnywood’s collection is a 100 percent complete, basic set of circulation strike Morgan dollars (1878-1921) with spectacular natural toning. The set is ranked number six in the PCGS Set Registry with a weighted grade point average and set rating of 64.611,” said BJ Searls, Set Registry manager.

“The collection was assembled by attorney Douglas Kurz, who will be on hand at FUN to discuss the composition of the set. One of the main attractions is an 1881-S graded PCGS MS-68 with vivid rainbow toning that’s considered by many Morgan dollar enthusiasts to be the ultimate, finest-toned Morgan known.”

Other highlights of the 97-coin set include:

The Eliasberg specimen 1893-S graded PCGS MS-65, a coin that is pictured in the popular book, 100 Greatest U.S. Coins.

The 1882-S dollar, graded PCGS MS-67, is pedigreed to the collection of former National Football League linebacker, Gregg “Ironman” Bingham. It is described as “spectacular” and “an exceptionally beautiful and technically superb example of what would otherwise be a common date San Francisco Morgan dollar.”

• 1880-S, PCGS MS-68, described as having an intensely toned blue, pink and gold obverse and a rainbow toned reverse.
• 1885-CC, PCGS MS-66, 100 percent rainbow toned obverse with the weave pattern of the burlap mint bag in which it was stored for decades.
• 1885-O, PCGS MS-67, superb gem classic with banded rainbow toning.
• 1886, PCGS MS-66, an extraordinary dollar from the famed “Battle Creek” group of original bag-toned silver dollars.

“Sunnywood’s collection generated a great deal of interest as it was reviewed by our graders,” said PCGS President Don Willis. “It was a pleasure for us to examine many of these beautiful coins. Doug Kurz’s accomplishment is the result of a long-term and patient effort, and should generate a great deal of interest at the show.”

Kurz described the goal of the collection as “an alternative to the usual sets of white coins. We wanted to show the collector community that Morgans can be completed with originality and color, and need not be dipped ‘blast white.’… The result is a fascinating and eye-popping collection that was highly challenging to assemble.”

He explained that while assembling the collection he tried to strike a balance between color and technical grade.

“The most attractive pieces in terms of color and eye appeal are not necessarily the highest graded pieces. Registry ranking has sometimes been sacrificed for the sake of overall eye appeal.”

A Harvard Law School graduate, Kurz began collecting stamps at the age of six, but quickly switched to coins with the encouragement of an uncle.

In his youth, Kurz encountered other kinds of “toned” coins. He was intrigued with chemistry and conducted an unfortunate experiment on his father’s Lincoln cent collection. With every good intention, he decided to surprise his father by cleaning the old, brown cents by taking them out of their album and soaking them in vinegar. The copper coins turned an unnatural orange color and then developed a green crust.
“He didn’t speak to me for a week,” Kurz recalled. “And, 37 years later, they’re still hidden away in shame at the back of a cabinet in my parent’s house.”

For additional information, visit online at www.PCGS.com.

To listen to an interview with Kurz about his collection tune in to Coin Chat Radio at coinchatradio.com.

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