April 29, 2005
This Week In Coin & Currency News
The Tom O'Mara Collection of Fractional Currency
The Tim Cook Registry Collection of Seated Dimes
Found Treasures: The Octagonal Commemorative
Website tips: MyWantlist Matches
Numismatic Glossary
Summer Interns Wanted!
Coin Club Outreach Program
Instant Quiz: Test your numismatic knowledge
Is It Time To Sell? 2005 San Francisco, CA (ANA) Signature Auction
Current Auctions: 2005 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Auction, 2005 (CAA) St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Sale, The Tom O'Mara Collection of Fractional Currency, The Jim O'Neal Collection of United States Currency, 2005 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Bullet Auction, 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 Tom O'Mara Collection of Fractional Currency

Our upcoming CSNS Currency Signature Auction, which will take place in St. Louis on May 5-7, features two collections that are so special that we have provided a separate catalog for them. The Tom O'Mara Collection of Fractional Currency is perhaps the finest collection of Fractional Currency, Postage Currency, and related items that it has ever been our privilege to offer.

Tom O'Mara has been a collector since his earliest memory. The first numismatic item Tom purchased was a Civil War Bond, and from there his interest caught fire. Tom collected Confederate Currency, Obsolete Bank Notes, and Fractional and Postage Currency. After this sale, Tom's interest will continue to lie in the Obsolete Bank and Scrip notes from his home state of New Jersey.

As President of the Fractional Currency Collectors Board (FCCB) Benny Bolin writes, "The first time I met Tom was at the Friedberg sale in January 1997. From there, he caught the fever even more, moving to exhibiting, writing, and eventually leading our little slice of the hobby. He won many exhibit awards at Memphis, including Best of Show in 1999. He wrote many articles for the FCCB News and Paper Money and other publications, including The Numismatist, CWTS Journal, etc. He took over as President of the FCCB form Doug Hales at the 1997 Memphis Paper Money Show and held the post until his work requirements forced him to hand over the reins to me at the 2003 Memphis Show."

Tom's collection is heavily made up of notes from the Friedberg Sale and the aftermarket of that sale; in fact, at last tally Tom guesses that he owns about 166 notes from that sale. After the Friedberg sale, he continued buying heavily from sales of noted collections and also directly from prominent dealers. Additionally in October 1999, Tom bought the Doug Hales collection, which consisted of over 600 notes and was probably the finest collection then in existence, in its entirety. This further progressed his collection to near completion and greatly increased the condition of many of the rare notes. Then came a real opportunity for Tom when noted dealer Tom Denly privately arranged the purchase of the Michael Goldman examples of the Fr. 1255a, Fr. 1352, and Fr. 1373a in July of 2000.

Tom's family, his wife Liz and four children Casey, Abby, Meg, and TJ, have always been very supportive of his interest, and many times over the years have been spotted with him at auctions or at various shows and bourses across the country. "I have always wondered what my collecting looks like to them, and have always been happy that they have given me the great support and understanding that such involvement with a passion can take," he says. "And now, after feeling that I have exhausted my collecting interest in Fractionals, it frees up some time to work closely with them on the family's new avocation... horses!"

Highlights from the Tom O'Mara collection include:

This auction is now open for bidding at www.HeritageCoins.com. The O'Mara collection will be the centerpiece of our May 6 auction session, with Internet bidding ending the evening of May 5 at 10 PM Central Time.

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The Tim Cook Registry Collection of Seated Dimes

Heritage is privileged to present the Tim Cook Registry Collection of Seated Dimes at our upcoming CSNS Signature Auction, to take place at the Central States Numismatic Society convention in St. Louis on May 4-7. This magnificent collection of Liberty Seated Dimes is ranked as the #2 All-Time Finest set on the PCGS Registry (Liberty Seated Dimes with Varieties, 1837-1891).

Dr. Cook began collecting coins at the age of eight when his Dad gave him his first Whitman folder, containing a few Wheat Cents. At the age of twelve, his great grandmother gave him an 1861 Seated Dime. From these modest beginnings grew a fascination for coins, which blossomed after medical school and residency. After starting his OB/GYN practice in Warsaw, Indiana, he began to seriously pursue Seated Dimes through his contacts with private collectors and specializing dealers.

"Over the past fifteen-plus years, I have built one of the finest sets of Seated Dimes ever put together," he says. "My set contains many high grade and rare varieties, Condition Census coins, Finest Known for the variety, and plate coins. It has been both a formidable challenge and an enjoyable experience."

Highlights from the Tim Cook Registry Collection of Seated Dimes include:

This collection and the other outstanding coins in this auction are open for bidding now at www.HeritageCoins.com.

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Found Treasures: The Octagonal Commemorative
by Stewart Huckaby

Recently, Bob Korver wrote a short Coin and Currency News article about our adventures at Opening Day for the Texas Rangers, although thankfully he left out the sunburns, which is something I wish I could do. I bring this up because it was the setting for another conversation, this time about (shudder) work.

Bob, although no longer a full-time employee here at Heritage, is still the creative force behind our coin ads, which you've undoubtedly seen if you've ever picked up any numismatic publication over the last 20 years or so. (My personal favorite is the "81% of Heritage Customers use the Permanent Auction Archives in Their Underwear," which typifies Bob's sense of humor as well as anything I can think of beyond our shared love of bad puns.) At the time, he was working on a mailer for our upcoming ANA auction, which will take place in San Francisco on July 27-30, and since I'm from that area, he asked me for a little input on a timeline of events, numismatic and otherwise, that had taken place in Northern California over the years.

So, I rattled off the usual - San Francisco Mint opens 1854, Gold discovered 1848, 1870-S Three Dollar Gold, 1906 Earthquake and the importance of the Granite Lady -- and a couple of more off-beat things - Giants move to San Francisco 1958 (we were at a ballpark in the middle of a game, after all). Bob mentioned a few other things he'd thought of, and I'm sorry to say that I wasn't the one who thought of Emperor Norton or the Summer of Love first.

Then he mentioned the commemorative coins that covered events in the area - the Bay Bridge Half Dollar, one of my personal favorites for reasons totally unrelated to the amount of time I've spent in traffic jams on said bridge, and the Panama-Pacific coins. The Panama-Pacific Exposition was held in San Francisco in 1915 to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal the year before. The series of coins minted at the San Francisco Mint for this occasion was unprecedented - a silver Half Dollar along with a gold Dollar, Quarter Eagle, and two different $50 gold pieces, one round and one octagonal. To this day, only the 1995-96 Atlanta Olympic commemorative series can compete with the Panama-Pacific Exposition for the number of different types of coins minted for a single occasion.

At this point, I came up with something that only a NoCal coin club junkie like me would know: "1915: Farran Zerbe founded Pacific Coast Numismatic Society."

K: "Really?"

H: "Yep. Oldest coin club on the west coast. A few years ago, I went to their 75th anniversary meeting, or 1000th meeting, or some such. They put out octagonal commemorative medals featuring Zerbe."

K: "I might just be able to use that."

H: "I'll bring the medal in tomorrow if I can find it."

Farran Zerbe, of course, was a past president of the ANA and one of the most prominent numismatists of his time. He supervised the US Mint exhibit at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, and was responsible for selling the Panama-Pacific Commemorative coins to the public. Since he founded the PCNS in 1915, it was almost certainly during the Panama Pacific Exposition that the club was founded. One can only imagine the displays of commemoratives that must have graced early club meetings. Later, he became the driving force for the adoption of the Peace Dollar, and his name has been attached to the first issue of proofs of the 1921 Morgan Dollar.

The PCNS meeting I'd attended was, in fact, the 1000th meeting of the club, and my bronze medal with its prominent image of Farran Zerbe appears in our mailer. Although having a coin club stick around long enough to have that many meetings is certainly significant, the major selling point of the club's medals was that they were octagonal, unlike virtually any other club medal I'd ever seen in a Northern California market glutted with club medals, silver rounds and the like. However, from the historical standpoint of an old coin club in San Francisco, never mind the marketing angle, the octagonal shape made sense. The private and semi-official $50 "ingots" which were commonly used for currency during the Gold Rush were octagonal. Many California fractional gold pieces were octagonal. And finally, of course, the octagonal variety of the Panama-Pacific $50 gold had a special connection to the club, the club's founder, and the area.

Even in 1915, the octagonal Pan-Pac $50 issues were considered popular but beyond the budget of nearly all collectors. Although roughly 1,500 of each $50 issue were minted, 645 of the octagonal pieces were sold in comparison to about three quarters as many round $50s. Today, if you want to own an octagonal Pan-Pac $50 in any grade, you can count on paying in excess of $20,000, and for a piece in a more typical MS63/MS64 grade, expect to be shelling out $50,000 or more. To be sure, the round version of the coin is a little more costly, but it does not bear the unique distinction of being the only octagonal coin ever being issued by the US.

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Website tips: MyWantlist Matches

Heritage has a quick and easy way for you to be able to see everything in your wantlist at once! Called MyWantlistMatches, this page will arrange everything in your MyWantList by auction in a way so that you can see it all at once. If you like, you can even batch bid from this page.

There are two ways to get to this page. From any of MyBids, MyTrackedLots, or My Consignments, you can get directly to this page by clicking on the "MyWantlist Matches" link at the top of the page. Alternatively, if you are using the checklist version coin-only MyWantlist, there is a link entitled "View Your MyWantlist Matches and Batch Bid" below where you would ordinarily enter a new coin.

The page that results will contain a listing of everything that matches your MyWantlist, and for those of you who have far-reaching Wantlists, there may be several pages of listings. From this listing, you can see lot numbers, descriptions, current and next bid levels, and the amount of time left to bid on the lot. You even have everything on your MyWantlist in one place so that you can place batch bids on items you want without having to track the item first!

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Numismatic Glossary:

Registry Set: A set of coins or other collectibles entered into a registry where it competes with similar collections to be the finest known of its type.

When the term Registry Set is used to refer to a coin collection, it has to do with coins that are entered on either the PCGS Registry or the NGC Registry. The two registries have different rules and features.

The kinds of collections that can be entered in the registries can vary greatly and sometimes seem to be limited only by the imaginations of the collectors that collect them. NGC lists 10 different types of Morgan Dollar registry sets, for example, including some relatively common sets such as:

  • Morgan Silver Dollars 1878-1921
  • Morgan Silver Dollars 1878-1921, PL and DPL
  • Carson City Morgans 1878-1893

Along with some sets that only a specialist might love, such as:

  • Morgan Dollars 1878 7/8 Tailfeather Varieties

PCGS Registry Sets allow only coins that have been graded by PCGS. Each coin is given a weight, and coins that are more difficult to find have a higher weight than more common pieces. Sets are evaluated on a weighted Grade average, which in practice places an emphasis on set completeness. Coins with desirable designations may receive a grade bonus.

NGC Registry Sets allow coins that have been graded by either NGC or PCGS. Each coin is given a point value where common coins or low grade coins are worth very few points and rare coins may worth a huge number of points. Sets are evaluated based on the total number of points they contain, which in practice places an emphasis on the set containing the key dates. Coins with desirable designations usually receive a point bonus.

As a numerical example of how the sets work, consider the following hypothetical collection, which is assumed to be graded by PCGS. Weights and point values are as of April 2005:

Coin Grade PCGS Weight PCGS Value NGC Value
1878-CC Dollar MS62 4 62*4=248 354
1883-CC Dollar MS63 Deep Mirror Prooflike 2 63*2=126 298
1884-CC Dollar MS63 2 63*2=126 278
1889-CC Dollar XF40 9 40*9=360 1634
1890-CC Dollar VF35 5 35*5=175 3
Total (set of all CC Dollars) 65 1035/65=15.92 2567

Neither of these hypothetical sets is a threat to break the top 40 in either registry, but they do illustrate the priorities according to each system. The 1889-CC is the most valuable coin in each set, but it provides about a third of the value in the PCGS set and about two-thirds of the value in the NGC set. Conversely, the 1890-CC has virtually no value in the NGC set, but it is more valuable in the PCGS set than either of the uncirculated common date coins.

Registry sets are very popular today, and the competition between collectors is a significant force behind today's strong prices on top population coins. For more information about the registries, please contact PCGS at www.pcgs.com and NGC at www.ngccoin.com.

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Summer Interns Wanted!

Heritage Rare Coin Galleries and Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc. are now accepting applications for interns for next summer. Here's your chance to work for the world's largest Rare Coin Dealer. If you are at least 18 years old, attending school and have a good background in numismatics, then join us in Dallas for the summer! Contact Paul@HeritageCoin.com with an informal resume of your experience and any accomplishments in numismatics.

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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 100,000 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
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 of the following types of coins was never minted in San Francisco?
Indian Head Quarter Eagle
Liberty Head Nickel
Liberty Seated Half Dime
Susan B. Anthony Dollar
Three Dollar Gold

2. Which coin is pictured in this Pan and Zoom closeup?

1995-P Civil War Dollar
1999-P Dolley Madison Dollar
1928 Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Half Dollar
1995-W Special Olympics Dollar
Walking Liberty Half Dollar

Last week's questions:

1. What was the first year of the American Eagle Bullion series of coins?
Correct Answer: 1986 (83%).

2. Which coin is pictured in this Pan and Zoom closeup?

Correct Answer: 1936 Elgin Half Dollar (28%). The obverse of the coin actually shows the double date 1673-1936. 1673 is the year in which Joliet and Marquette entered Illinois.

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Is It Time To Sell?

A Second California Gold Rush

The American Numismatic Association, the world's largest numismatic organization, is bringing its annual convention to San Francisco this July! Heritage has once again been selected as the official auctioneer, making this Heritage's 33rd selection as the Official Auctioneer of the ANA.

We expect to see hundreds of records established at the 2005 ANA. In this sizzling market, with the ANA audience competing against our 140,000+ registered Internet bidder-members, only Heritage reaches every part of this hot market. Take advantage of our marketing strengths and Internet leadership by consigning today, and maximize your audience and your proceeds!

Millions of dollars of consignments are already on hand, so you know that the attention of the numismatic world will be focused on Heritage's San Francisco ANA Signature Auction. When the time comes to sell your coins and currency, you want to choose the one firm that attracts the most bidders and the highest prices - Heritage. Why would you want to sell your coins and currency anywhere else?

The June 16th deadline is quickly approaching, so act quickly. Call our consignor hotline at 1-800-872-6467, extension 222, today!

2005 San Francisco, CA (ANA) Signature Auction
Sale on July 27 to July 30, 2005
Consignment Deadline: June 16, 2005

Leo Frese
Director of Consignments
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


Rare Coins
Closes Tue. May 3
at 10:00 PM
View Lots
Rare Coins
Closes Sun. May 1
from noon to 10:00 PM
View Lots
Rare Currency
Closes Sat. Apr. 30
at 10:00 PM
View Lots

Rare Coins
Location: St. Louis , MO
Auction: 2005 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Auction #372
Auction Dates: May 4 - 7, 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: St. Louis , MO
Auction: 2005 (CAA) St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Auction #374
Auction Dates: May 5 - 7, 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: St. Louis , MO
Auction: The Tom O'Mara Collection of Fractional Currency
Auction Dates: May 6, 2005
Note: Internet Absentee Bidding Ends at 10 PM CT the night before the floor session of any particular lot.

Rare Coins
Location: St. Louis , MO
Auction: The Jim O'Neal Collection of United States Currency
Auction Dates: May 7, 2005
Note: Internet Absentee Bidding Ends at 10 PM CT the night before the floor session of any particular lot.

Rare Coins
Location: St. Louis , MO
Auction: 2005 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Bullet Auction
Auction Dates: May 9, 2005
Note: Internet Absentee Bidding Ends between Noon and 10 PM CT.

Sports cards, autographs, collectibles, and more...
Closes Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

Movie posters, lobby cards and more...
Closes Sunday, May 15, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

Comics, comic art and more...
Closes Sunday, May 1, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

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