June 24, 2005
This Week In Coin & Currency News
The Melrose Bay Type Collection
Found Treasures: 1903-O Morgan Dollar
Website tips: Send to a Friend
Numismatic Glossary
Summer Interns Wanted!
Coin Club Outreach Program
Instant Quiz: Test your numismatic knowledge
Is It Time To Sell? 2005 September Long Beach, CA Signature Auctions
Current Auctions: 2005 New York, NY Signature Auction, 2005 New York, NY Bullet Sale, 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 Melrose Bay Type Collection

In our upcoming San Francisco ANA Signature Auction, Heritage is proud to present the magnificent Melrose Bay Type Collection. This collection reflects the passion of a dedicated collector seeking type coins with distinguished originality and eye appeal. These are the kinds of numismatic masterpieces that one expects to find in an exceptional auction like an Official Heritage ANA Signature Auction.

The gentleman who assembled this collection has expended a great deal of effort to ensure that his type set is complete for all denominations and types from Silver Dollar down and contains only the finest quality material. The vast majority of the pieces, even of the most difficult types, are Mint State, with Gems and Superb Gems in abundance. In addition, this collection contains a number of desirable high grade Colonial coins, highlighted by a Pewter Continental Dollar grading MS63.

Highlights from the Melrose Bay Type Collection include:

The San Francisco ANA Signature Auction will open for Internet bidding in early July at HeritageCoins.com, with floor bidding sessions will take place at the San Francisco ANA Convention on July 27-30.

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Found Treasures: 1903-O Morgan Dollar
by Stewart Huckaby

Numismatics is a funny business. (Curmudgeons may wish to exclude the indefinite article in the previous sentence.) As with most economic models, prices vary based upon supply and demand. Here, however, for most collectible coins the supply is fixed, leaving a commodity whose prices rise and fall for the most part based strictly on the collector's demand. Once in a while, however, the supply of a coin changes drastically, and while a coin is unlikely to become rare overnight, every once in a while a coin will become much more common over a short period of time with prices falling dramatically as a consequence.

Such is the case with our chosen piece this week, the 1903-O dollar. For reasons having mainly to do with successful lobbying by silver mine owners, the government had minted immense numbers of silver dollars over the years, despite the fact that silver dollars did not, in fact, circulate very much. When production of the Morgan Dollar ceased in 1904, there were immense supplies of silver dollars left over in vaults, and even an official melting of over 250 million coins did not exhaust the supply.

In the early 1960s, amidst a rise in the price of silver, speculators began to go to the vaults to purchase silver dollars by the bag. Occasionally, some treasures would be found - Liberty Seated dates now considered common such as the 1859-O, for example. But what people did not know was that the majority (in some cases nearly the entirety) of the mintages of some dates still remained in the vaults.

The dikes broke in November 1962 with the release of a number of formerly scarce and rare dates, and what happened might best be illustrated by a look at Red Book prices for 1963 (published in mid-1962) and 1964. Keep in mind that silver dollars still circulated at their face value at the time.

Date 1963 Red Book Value
1964 Red Book Value
One Year Change 2005 Red Book Value
1898-O $300 $5 -98% $45
1899-O $10 $3 -67% $45
1900-O $6 $3.50 -42% $45
1901-O $7.50 $4 -47% $45
1902-O $35 $3 -91% $45
1903-O $1,500 $30 -98% $450
1904-O $350 $3.50 -99% $45
1889-CC $275 $350 +27% $25,000
1893-S $1,200 $1,500 +25% $90,000
Type Coin
$2.50 $2.50 0% $38

The 1903-O had been the absolute key to the Morgan Dollar set, even more than the 1893-S. The 1963 Red Book recognized this with the following note:

270,232,722 silver dollars were melted under the Pittman Act of April, 1918. 259,121,554 for export to India, and 11,111,168 for domestic subsidiary coins, which probably accounts for the scarcity of 1903-O.

Almost overnight, the 1903-O dollar became — well, not exactly just another coin, but hardly a stopper. Realistically, it became the coin it is now - a semi-key date generally available for a price. Other late date O-mint coins which had previously been released sparingly suddenly found themselves on the market as well, and the once-key 1898-O and 1904-O went from ahead of the 1889-CC in stature to common coins.

In fact, Morgan Dollars had become tremendously popular to collect at this time, with many other dates increasing in price similarly to what we see with the 1889-CC and 1893-S above, but the huge change in supply overrode that and drove prices on the late O-Mints into the ground. Those people unfortunate enough to have invested in 1898-O, 1903-O or 1904-O dollars in mid-1962 are still waiting to earn their money back.

As you might expect, the current Red Book value exaggerates the price just a bit for the O-Mint coins above, with current auction results at about 75% of the listed value. (I'll note that this is not the case for the key 1889-CC and 1893-S; in fact, the Red Book value has not kept up with the value of many key coins in this market.) A by-product of the time most 1903-O dollars spent in vaults is that the coin is very difficult to find in worn grades, with most pieces grading between MS63 and MS65.

A local dealer once told me the story of how he had purchased a number of circulated silver dollars that walked in the door during a busy time at his shop, then, once traffic calmed down and he saw the 1903 date on one side of the coin, figured that he'd check the reverse. His jaw almost hit the floor when he saw the O mintmark on the reverse of the nicest problem-free VG-8 dollar you'll ever see. No, I did not buy the coin (although I had the chance during the day or two that it spent in the showcase), but I know where it went...

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Website tips: Send to a Friend

As a collector, chances are that you've made contacts with other collectors in your chosen hobby or perhaps in another. Maybe you have a friend who likes to tell you about his latest purchases whenever possible, and you know almost as well as he does what he needs to complete his set. Assuming this friend hasn't completely driven you batty - and come to think of it, Heritage Comics has plenty of material that might interest you if you have been driven batty - then we have a great new way for you to help your friend further his collection.

Now, on each auction home page, we offer the option for you to send this auction to a friend. On each item's individual page, we offer the option for you to send this lot to a friend.

Clicking on either of these links will open up a new e-mail in your chosen e-mail program, containing a description of the item or auction you've chosen to e-mail. Add your friend's e-mail address in the "To..." field, add any comments you might have, and then send it like any other e-mail.

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Numismatic Glossary:

Drapery: Folds of cloth hanging over Liberty's arm on most Liberty Seated coins. The early versions of the design did not have this, exposing Liberty's left elbow. In order to either (1) improve striking quality (if you believe official accounts) or (2) bow to the gods of respectability (if you believe Walter Breen), the extra drapery was added to the design of the type in 1839 for the half dollar or 1840 for other denominations.

Occasionally, Liberty Seated coinage of later years is found without drapery. This is a result of excessive die polishing, removing low relief areas on the coin, not of a change back to the older hub.

Bimetallic: A coin produced from two distinct metals or alloys, generally taking the form of a ring of one type of metal around a core of another. Today's 1 Euro and 2 Euro coins are common examples of this method of coinage that is used in numerous countries around the world. The $10 Library of Congress commemorative, a bimetallic coin on planchets with a ring of gold around a platinum center, is the United States' only real foray into this type of coinage, although under some definitions the circulating sandwich coinage in use since 1965 may also qualify.

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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 coins bears the motto IN GOD WE TRUST?
       Barber Dime
       Buffalo Nickel
       Liberty Nickel
       Nickel Three Cent Piece
       Shield Nickel

2. What is the denomination of the coin pictured in this Pan and Zoom close-up?

       Half Dime
       Half Dollar

Last week's questions:

1. Which of the following terms does not usually refer to a gold coin?
Correct Answer: Piece of Eight (67%).

2. What is the date of the coin pictured in this Pan and Zoom close-up?

Correct Answer: 1883 (35%). This is the reverse of a Liberty Nickel without CENTS. The variety with CENTS has the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM in this area.

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Is It Time To Sell?

The Beach is Long, and the Time is Right

As official auctioneer of the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo, we've been proud to sell over $30 million in great coins already this year. Rarities such as an uncirculated 1794 Dollar, a 1838-O Half Dollar, and the finest known British 1643 Charles I Triple Unite have made headlines throughout the numismatic world.

Now, once again in September, Heritage is proud to bring more great US coins, World Coins, and Currency to our finest customers through the proven venue of the Long Beach show. We are thrilled to have outstanding collections of Colonial coinage, Half Dimes, Washington Quarters, and Illinois Nationals, as well as numismatic Washingtonia, already consigned to these auctions. If you have material to sell, give us a call and take this opportunity to participate in these auctions. The time is right!

Where else can you reach a base of over 150,000 registered Internet bidders from all over the world, as well as an appreciative audience of collectors and dealers on site at the show - in the midst of one of the hottest numismatic markets we've ever seen? Contact us today, and find out how we can help you get the most from your material.

The consignment deadlines are August 4 for Currency and World Coins, and August 11 for US Coins. Call us today to ensure that you can take full advantage of this opportunity!

2005 September Long Beach Signature Auction
Sale on September 21 to September 24, 2005
Consignment Deadline: August 11, 2005

2005 September (CAA) Long Beach Signature Auction
Sale on September 23 to September 24, 2005
Consignment Deadline: August 4, 2005

2005 (HWCA) Long Beach Signature Auction
Sale on September 21 to September 24, 2005
Consignment Deadline: August 4, 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. June 28
at 10:00 PM
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Rare Coins
Closes Sun. June 26
from noon to 10:00 PM
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Rare Currency
Closes Thur. June 30
at 10:00 PM
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Rare Coins
Location: New York, NY
Auction: 2005 New York, NY Signature Auction #380
Auction Dates: June 29-30, 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: New York, NY
Auction: 2005 New York, NY Bullet Auction #381
Auction Dates: July 4, 2005
Note: Internet Absentee Bidding Ends between 6 PM and 10 PM CT.
See the individual lot page for specific times.
Browse Lots by Category

Sports cards, autographs, collectibles, and more...
Closes Sunday, June 26, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

Movie posters, lobby cards and more...
Closes Sunday, June 26, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

Comics, comic art and more...
Closes Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

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