August 26, 2005
This Week In Coin & Currency News
The William Harmon Collection of Half Dimes
Found Treasures: Morgan Dollars, DMPLs, and a Little Number Crunching
Website tips: Featured Items
Numismatic Glossary
Help Wanted: Internet Sales
Coin Club Outreach Program
Instant Quiz: Test your numismatic knowledge
Is It Time To Sell? 2005 November Palm Beach, Florida Signature Auction
Current Auctions: 2005 September (CAA) Long Beach Signature Auction, 2005 September Long Beach Online Session, Exclusively Internet Auction, Continuous Internet Auction, Internet Currency Auction, Amazing Sports Auction, Internet Movie Poster Auction, Amazing Comics Auction
Weekly Specials: Don't miss out on a great deal

Collector News
The William Harmon Collection of Half Dimes

William Harmon has been a lifelong collector of coins. Since he turned 90 this year, he has the wonderful memories of pulling coins of circulation that today's collectors can only dream of. Mr. Harmon obtained his first Half Dimes in the 1960s, when a small tobacco sack of coins he purchased contained his first thirty pieces. Over the years he picked up additional coins, and he dedicated himself to the pursuit of Half Dime varieties after 1980.

Heritage is privileged to present the over 400 coins that comprise the William Harmon Collection of Half Dimes, the results of his quarter century of collecting effort, in our upcoming Long Beach Signature Auction and Online Session. Half Dime specialists should start their planning now, as the assortment of varieties contained in this collection is astounding. By date, this collection is complete except for the unique 1870-S, and all but a tiny minority of Red Book varieties are represented. Mr. Harmon did not stop at Red Book varieties, however; Valentine varieties are well-represented throughout the series.

Among the highlights of this collection are:

The Long Beach Online Session is already open for bidding, and the Long Beach Signature Auction will open for bidding soon at www.HeritageCoins.com.

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Found Treasures: Morgan Dollars, DMPLs, and a Little Number Crunching
by Stewart Huckaby

About a month ago, one of the coin clubs I attend had a speaker bail out on them at the last minute. When this happens, which fortunately isn't often, they have a TV and VCR handy, and they run one of the many numismatic videotapes in their library, leading me to wonder whether David Lisot is getting royalties any time a speaker doesn't show up.

This particular time the club, after a false start or two, decided to watch a tape about Deep Mirror Prooflike Morgan Dollars. The speaker on the tape (I apologize for forgetting the name; I didn't write it down at the time and Internet research is not helping) was obviously very knowledgeable about these coins, having specialized in them since before they were commonly recognized by the numismatic community, and one of the things that he covered in a little bit of detail was the general availability of the coins. Unfortunately, the tape was at least ten years old, and accordingly the information was a tad out of date, with some of the prices mentioned bringing the occasional snicker from the people watching the tape.

I am both a trained number cruncher and a born one, so when the speaker mentioned that he had studied the population reports and drawn conclusions based on them, that set something off with me. At Heritage, we have ready access to a great deal of information, so I figured I'd share a few results. I'm not entirely sure that every single number I used is accurate, but the general conclusions are sound. I decided to break down the series in the same way as does the Coin Dealer Newsletter: every date and mintmark, plus reverse hub varieties for the 1878, 1879-S, and 1880-CC; and the 1879-CC Capped Die, 1882-O/S, 1887/6, 1887/6-O; and 1900-O/CC. You can certainly break the series down further, but it is so possible to get lost in the myriad of VAMs and 1880/79 overdates that there are some serious diminishing returns.

First, a list of the most common Morgan Dollars in MS-64, MS-65, and MS-66 grades with no PL or DMPL designation, according to the population figures. Keep in mind that there have been many resubmissions and that some common coins like the 1921 may not have been submitted due to lack of interest.

MS64 MS65 MS66
  1. 1881-S
  2. 1880-S
  3. 1887
  4. 1884-O
  5. 1879-S
  6. 1886
  7. 1904-O
  8. 1882-S
  9. 1883-O
  10. 1898-O
  1. 1881-S
  2. 1880-S
  3. 1879-S
  4. 1882-S
  5. 1887
  6. 1886
  7. 1884-O
  8. 1904-O
  9. 1898-O
  10. 1899-O
  1. 1881-S
  2. 1880-S
  3. 1879-S
  4. 1882-S
  5. 1886
  6. 1887
  7. 1898-O
  8. 1883-CC
  9. 1884-O
  10. 1881-CC

These lists represent 59% of the available MS64s, 67% of the available MS65s, and 75% of the available MS66s, with the 1881-S by itself representing over 20% of the Morgan Dollars that have been graded MS66. Most of these coins are no surprise, but CC mint coins start to appear in the lower part of the top ten listing for MS66s, and one of those is considered a better date. Get used to this sort of thing...

What follows is a similar listing covering the coins with the highest populations in MS64PL, MS65PL, and MS66PL grades. PL stands for Prooflike, and represents a reflectivity of 2-4 inches on both surfaces of the coin. About 3.5% of Morgan Dollars in MS64 or higher grades carry a Prooflike designation.

MS64PL MS65PL MS66PL
  1. 1880-S
  2. 1881-S
  3. 1879-S
  4. 1882-S
  5. 1904-O
  6. 1883-CC
  7. 1884-CC
  8. 1882-CC
  9. 1887
  10. 1884-O
  1. 1880-S
  2. 1881-S
  3. 1879-S
  4. 1882-S
  5. 1883-CC
  6. 1904-O
  7. 1884-CC
  8. 1882-CC
  9. 1887
  10. 1885-O
  1. 1880-S
  2. 1881-S
  3. 1879-S
  4. 1882-S
  5. 1883-CC
  6. 1884-CC
  7. 1904-O
  8. 1882-CC
  9. 1887
  10. 1885

Again, these represent 66%, 77%, and 87% of the population of these grades, respectively. Here, the discrepancy between coins is even more pronounced; in fact, almost a third of the available MS66PL coins are 1880-S, while the 1885 represents a shade over 1%.

Deep Mirror Prooflike coins, or DMPLs, represent the dollars with the greatest degree of reflectivity in the fields, and about 1.5% of Morgan Dollars in MS64 or higher have the DMPL designation. The coins with the highest populations:

MS64DM MS65DM MS66DM
  1. 1880-S
  2. 1884-CC
  3. 1885
  4. 1881-S
  5. 1884-O
  6. 1882-CC
  7. 1885-O
  8. 1885-CC
  9. 1883-CC
  10. 1887
  1. 1880-S
  2. 1884-CC
  3. 1881-S
  4. 1885
  5. 1882-CC
  6. 1884-O
  7. 1885-O
  8. 1885-CC
  9. 1879-S
  10. 1881-CC
  1. 1880-S
  2. 1881-S
  3. 1884-CC
  4. 1885
  5. 1879-S
  6. 1885-CC
  7. 1884-O
  8. 1882-CC
  9. 1898-O
  10. 1881-CC

56%, 66%, and 77%, respectively. These lists are not skewed quite as much towards the top coins as the Prooflike lists. Unsurprisingly after seeing these numbers, my one DMPL Morgan Dollar is an 1880-S (or was; I've since bought another from a date that did not make the top ten).

It varies from date to date how likely an uncirculated coin is to show up as a Prooflike or a Deep Mirror Prooflike. These are the coins that in a perfect world would carry the lowest premiums for having such a designation. The uncirculated coins most likely to carry a designation (MS64 and higher):

PL or DM DM only
  1. 1889-CC
  2. 1887/6
  3. 1884-CC
  4. 1897-S
  5. 1885
  6. 1882-CC
  7. 1895-S
  8. 1890-CC
  9. 1879-CC Capped Die
  10. 1879-CC Normal Die
  1. 1889-CC
  2. 1890-CC
  3. 1885
  4. 1884-CC
  5. 1882-CC
  6. 1885-CC
  7. 1896-O
  8. 1895-S
  9. 1881-CC
  10. 1890-O

Over a quarter of 1889-CC coins graded MS64 or higher carry a DMPL designation, and that rises to over a third when one includes the PL designation as well. Of course, the 1889-CC is so rare in uncirculated grades that nobody is likely to care whether it has a prooflike surface, and some of the other coins that make this list are also quite scarce. Interestingly, the manufacturing methods in Carson City seem to have universally created a large number of mirrored finish coins.

Finally, although Prooflikes are more than twice as common as Deep Mirror Prooflike coins on the whole, there are exceptions. Some coins are much more likely to come with the full DM designation than merely PL. These would be coins that in a perfect world would not carry much of a premium for Deep Mirror Prooflike as compared to merely Prooflike coins. Again, this is for MS64 and higher only, and here we're only including those dates with meaningful numbers of coins graded.:

Ratio of DMPL to PL coins
  1. 1890-CC
  2. 1889-CC
  3. 1880-O
  4. 1881-CC
  5. 1885
  6. 1885-CC
  7. 1881-O
  8. 1883
  9. 1880-CC
  10. 1884-CC

Some coins are unknown or virtually unknown with any kind of Prooflike designation. The 1887/6-O, 1901, 1882-O/S, 1894-O, 1884-S, 1893-S, and 1900-O/CC have never had a coin receive a Prooflike or Deep Mirror Prooflike designation in any grade of MS64 or higher, while the 1895-O, 1897-O, 1894, 1886-O, and 1896-O have each had fewer than five coins (MS64+) receive such a designation. If you have such a coin and you can see your reflection in it, think about sending it in for grading. There is an active market for these pieces!

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Website Tips: How to Bid

Some of you may have noticed a new feature appearing on our websites recently. Called Featured Items, this section will show you the very best of the items currently up for auction at HeritageCoins.com or at any of our other fine websites. Each time you come to the Heritage Home page, you will see a different selection of these items to whet your numismatic appetite.

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Numismatic Glossary:

Sovereign: A British gold coin, with the face value of one pound. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, sovereigns were issued in British types from all over the British Empire, including Canada, India, South Africa, and Australia, with multiple mints in some of these locations. The sovereign was for all practical purposes a bullion coin when it was issued, and it remains such to this day, with the vast majority of pieces available for a small premium over their gold content. Unusual date and mintmark combinations will, of course, bring a premium.

Watermark: A shadowy image added in the process of making paper by varying the density of the paper. Most of today's currency is printed on watermarked paper as a protection against counterfeiting.

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Announcements

Help Wanted: Internet Sales

Heritage is looking for someone to help us with Internet coin sales. If you have computer and Internet skills, and know coins, please contact Paul@HeritageCoins.com. This is a Dallas-based position.

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Coin Club Outreach Program

In a move to help strengthen the coin hobby and increase membership in America's coin clubs, Heritage has created the Coin Club Outreach program.

The Coin Club Outreach program features a speaker's bureau to deliver presentations at coin club meetings, promotional items to be offered to clubs to help generate revenue and enlist new members, and access to the Heritage website and mailing list of over 150,000 active coin and currency enthusiasts. Anyone interested in scheduling a speaker for a coin club or other collector group is invited to contact:

David Lisot, Director
Heritage Coin Club Outreach
DavidL@heritagecoins.com
1-800-872-6467 ext. 303

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Heritage Interactive
Instant Quiz

NEW: Instant quizzes and polls twice a week at www.heritagecoins.com!

Answer these quick questions and see how you stack up against your peers.

1. Which Trade Dollar had the highest mintage?
       1875-S
       1876-S
       1877
       1877-S
       1878-S


2. The US did not produce Half Dollars in 1816. What was the next date not to appear on a half dollar?
       1821
       1825
       1922
       1930
       1975



Last week's questions:

1. Which of the following countries produced the Angel gold bullion coins?
Correct Answer: Isle of Man (45%).

2. What was the date of the last coin issued by Newfoundland?
Correct Answer: 1947 (45%).

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Is It Time To Sell?

Join The Morse Collection at Palm Beach!

Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc. is proud to announce the finest collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage to ever be auctioned - the magnificent Phillip H. Morse Collection!

An owner and the vice chairman of the world champion Boston Red Sox, Mr. Morse is also a consummate numismatist, and Heritage will be offering his incredible collection of nearly 600 Saint-Gaudens $10 and $20 gold pieces in Dallas during November 2005.

Mr. Morse's collection of Double Eagles might best be described as staggering. Short of the uncollectible 1933, no coin in the series is as fabled as the 1927-D, a legendary rarity missing from even the tremendous North Shore collection we recently had the privilege to sell. Of the perhaps one dozen or fewer known specimens of this date, only one - this coin - boasts a grade as high as MS67. The 1907 Ultra High Relief, a coin that simply must be seen to be fully appreciated, boasts a grade of Proof-69, just a whisper away from perfection. Many other coins in this collection are unexcelled, with several standing alone at the top of the pack as the finest known specimens of the date.

Heritage will offer these coins at Palm Beach on November 3, along with our Palm Beach Signature Auction scheduled for November 3-5. In order to offer your coins in Palm Beach alongside these treasures, and to take advantage of Heritage's unparalleled worldwide reach among potential buyers, please call our consignment hotline at 1-800-US-COINS, x222. The September 22 consignment deadline for this auction will be here before you know it, so call today!

2005 November Palm Beach, Florida Signature Auction
Sale on November 3 to November 5, 2005
Consignment Deadline: September 22, 2005

Leo Frese
Director of Consignments
Leo@HeritageCoins.com
1-800-US-COINS ext. 222 (24 hour voice mail)

Interested in Selling?
What's My Coin Worth?
Get the Most Money for Your Collection
Consign to a Heritage Auction

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Current Auctions

Internet
Only
Auctions


Rare Coins
Closes Tue. August 30
at 10:00 PM
View Lots
Rare Coins
Closes Sun. August 28
from noon to 10:00 PM
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Rare Currency
Closes Tues. August 30
at 10:00 PM
View Lots

Rare Coins
Location: Long Beach, CA
Auction: 2005 September (CAA) Long Beach Signature Auction #386
Auction Dates: September 21-23, 2005
Note: Internet Absentee Bidding Ends at 10 PM CT the night before the floor session of any particular lot.
Browse Lots by Category

Rare Coins
Location: Long Beach, CA
Auction: 2005 September Long Beach Online Session #385
Auction Dates: September 26, 2005

HeritageSportsCollectibles.com
Sports cards, autographs, collectibles, and more...
Closes Sunday, August 28, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

HeritageMoviePosters.com
Movie posters, lobby cards and more...
Closes Sunday, August 28, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

HeritageComics.com
Comics, comic art and more...
Closes Sunday, September 4, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.


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