Wednesday, September 19, 2007

1.5 tons of ancient coins discovered in north China

A cellar containing 1.5 tons of ancient coins, including some 2,000-year-old ones, have been discovered by a villager in Changzi County, north China's Shanxi Province.

The man in Qianwanhu village discovered the cellar with some 10,000 coins, ranging from . . .

Full story at: Link

Coin Dealer Ethics - The Nasty Practice of Cherrypicking Proof Sets (

From Susan Headley at

The practice of dealers cherrypicking coins from the Proof sets is what I refer to here as a "nasty practice." It is becoming increasingly common in recent years, partly because of the ready market of ill-informed novices who buy from online auctions, and partly because of the great premiums attached to coins graded PR-70.

Most people aren't even aware that the Mint doesn't seal the Proof set packages. The plastic cases can simply be pulled apart, and the coins switched out. If the Mint would seal the Proof sets so that the cases must be cracked to access the coins, it would help put a stop to this fraud. Unfortunately, dealer abuse of Proof sets extends even further! . . .

Full story at: Link

eBay to Implement Sweeping New Slabs Policy? (

From Susan Headley at

Long time readers have heard me rant from time to time about various forms of fraud related to the coin grading services business. Whether it's grading services like SGS that grade everything they slab on the 3-point scale (from MS-68 to MS-70,) or dealer abuse of these inflated grades (claiming a coin in a junk slab is worth the same amount as a PCGS graded coin,) these practices are a real pet peeve of mine.

Fortunately, eBay has come to the rescue! eBay is implementing major changes to the listing rules in the Coins categories, effective Oct. 1, essentially forcing dealers to sell slabbed coins as "raw" (ungraded) unless they are from the top 5 grading services (PCGS, NGC, NCS, ANACS, and ICG.) And that's just the beginning!

Full story at: Link

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Presidential Dollar coins make sense

Every time a vending machine won't take your dollar bill, you ought to plunk in a dollar coin. But, more likely than not, you don't have one.

And, more likely than not, you didn't even know they existed - even though the government last month issued 170 million new gold-colored Thomas Jefferson dollars, the third in a series that will feature all deceased ex-presidents.

The new dollar coins are attractive, collectible and convenient - a lot easier to tote than rolls of quarters and accepted by most vending machines without quarrel.

They also represent a potential fiscal boon for the government because they cost 12 cents to make and they sell, of course, for a dollar. They also will remain usable for 30 years, versus 18 months for a dollar bill.

And yet they are not catching on. One reason is . . .

Full story at: link

Gnarled Edges, Out-Of-Round Strikes Found On Adams Presidential Dollars (

Several Numismatic News readers have alerted us of Presidential dollars that are afflicted by what I call gnarled rims. I've had reports on these ever since the George Washington dollar was released on through to the latest Thomas Jefferson dollars. The ones we show here are two of the Philadelphia Mint John Adams dollars sent in by . . .

Full story at: link

Half billion in treasure surfaces from Atlantic (Bradenton Herald, FL)

As summer winds down and hurricane season heats up, it can be both a good and bad thing to be a latecomer to many Atlantic seashore areas. Bad in that getting caught in a hurricane is anything but relaxing. Yet, good because hurricane winds and waves often reveal silver and gold coins uncovered on beaches after being washed ashore from countless old Spanish shipwrecks.

Professional treasure hunters have long searched southeastern coasts in search of major treasure hoards. The sharp coral reefs that extend far out into the sea were a frequent death trap for Spanish galleons filled with riches from Mexico and Peru.

A few decades ago, stories about a man named Mel Fisher filled newspapers and newscasts when it was disclosed he found the ship "Atocha" off Florida. The treasure was estimated at $400 million.

Now, what's being reported to be the "largest treasure ever found" has been announced by the Odyssey Marine Exploration organization. This past May, the company disclosed they had found a shipwreck in the Atlantic containing over half a million silver and countless gold coins. The estimated worth of the find is over $500 million. . . .

Full story at: link

Curse of the $500 million sunken treasure (Fortune)

Greg Stemm's company found the richest trove of sunken treasure ever, writes Fortune's Tim Arango. Now comes the hard part: Keeping it.

(Fortune Magazine) -- On April 10, a Gulfstream G-V took off from the British territory of Gibraltar en route to Tampa with a load of Colonial-era silver and gold coins salvaged from a centuries-old shipwreck.

On May 16 a chartered Boeing 757 made the same journey, its cargo hold jammed with even more coins - this time over half a million of them, weighing about 17 tons.

Today all those coins are locked up at a secret location in Florida. And if those who discovered the loot are to be believed, there's plenty more where that came from - some estimates put the total haul at $500 million, which would make it the richest find of sunken treasure in history.
Where is this treasure, exactly? Odyssey Marine Exploration, the Tampa-based company that found it, won't say. The company won't even reveal the name of the sunken ship; the site is code-named Black Swan, after a book of the same name about unpredictable but consequential events.

All we really know about Black Swan is that it's in international waters 100 miles west of Gibraltar under 3,600 feet of ocean - and that the Spanish believe it all belongs to them. It's a wonderful drama, straight out of a Clive Cussler thriller: precious metals, races against time, undersea robots, and international intrigue. How that intrigue turns out could be a watershed for Odyssey and its shareholders. . . .

Full story at: LINK