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New book, new twist

I had a phone call from Scott Travers late yesterday afternoon. I have known Scott for many years and we have worked together on Numismatic Literary Guild matters together. There was NLG business associated with the call, but the major news was he has written a new book. It is called Scott Travers’ Top 88 Coins to Buy and Sell. It was released yesterday.

It is a clever book. What makes it different from the usual books with lists is that it divides the field equally between good coins to buy and coins that should be avoided.

There are 44 good coins and 44 bad coins.

The usual lists are the top 10 coins to buy now, or the greatest 100 coins ever struck and things of that nature.

Well, Scott has taken a different path.

I have seen a sample of one of the bad coins. It is the 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold $20. Only one is legal to own and that was purchased by an anonymous buyer for $7.59 million.

Since that transaction, 10 more have been confiscated by the U.S. Mint from the family of Israel Switt, a Philadelphia jeweler, who is no longer living.

The government says these coins are illegal to own because they were never officially released. Quite naturally, at least in the eyes of collectors, the family is taking the opposite position and a lawsuit is proceeding to adjudicate the matter.

Neither Scott nor I know what the court will eventually decide, but he quite correctly points out that the mere existence of the 10 seized coins gives great credibility to the hobby rumors that more exist and they could be outside the country beyond the power of the U.S. Secret Service to grab them.

These rumored coins will tend to depress any future price that a buyer would be willing to pay for the only legal 1933 should it ever come up for sale again.

There is sound reasoning there. Would you want to buy something at a great price if you thought a large new supply was just waiting in the wings? I sure wouldn’t.

Scott got my attention. I bet he can get yours, too. I can’t wait to read about the other 87 coins in the book.

The book is a House of Collectibles paperback. It is priced at $13.95.