Monday, January 25, 2016

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Binion 1878, 7/8TF, VAM-32 and Fitzgerald 1878, 7TF, Reverse of ‘78

As many of you know, when I retired my activity in the pedigree/hoard coin arena has diminished but I do still retain an interest in the hobby.  Two of my favorite collections are the Binion and Fitzgerald hoards because the collector can assemble a diverse and interesting set.  Although, with the popularity of those two hoards, coins other than common coins are becoming increasingly difficult to locate.  However, recently I found two rarities on auction sites Ebay and GreatCollections and they are shown below:
Binion Collection Population - 1 Silver Dollar.

Binion Collection – Extremely Rare (Unique) – This is another rarest of the rare Morgan silver dollars in two ways.  First, this is the only VAM-32 variety graded and authenticated in the Binion Hoard.  You will find no other; this is it.  Second, NGC has only graded 16 Morgan VAM-32 silver dollars in the entire population of 1878.  It is a Top-100 VAM variety silver dollar.  Binion Source: NGC Census Report 2009 and NGC 2014 Binion Census Report.  VAM-32 Source: NGC Census January 25, 2016.

Fitzgerald Collection Population - 4 Silver Dollars.

With a population of only 4 silver dollars of this variety in the Fitzgerald Collection, this coin is highly sought by the Fitzgerald Collector. Interestingly, all 4 coins have been graded as MS64.
Finding rarities for a pedigree or hoard is what makes the hobby so much fun.  I would enjoy hearing of any unique coins that any readers may have found and if you approve, will be glad to add them to this blog.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Fitzgerald 1882-O Morgan Silver Dollar - Bonhams Auctions

Fitzgerald Morgan silver dollars are becoming more difficult to acquire in both common and rare dates.  When I say common dates I am referring to date/mintmarks that are common to the hoard and rare dates relative to the Fitzgerald population for the coin.  Currently, common dates seem to be demanding a premium to acquire and the rare dates are almost impossible to locate.

I have had a little luck in expanding my search for the rare dates from the traditional Ebay source to GreatCollections ( and David Lawrence Rare Coins (   Both have provided me with some more difficult Fitzgerald Morgan’s as well as Binion silver dollars.  As I continue to “beat the bushes” for Fitzgerald surprises, I ventured on Bonhams Auctions (  Bonhams brought collectors the Champagne Lanson Bonnet Vineyard Collection of gold coins that I covered in an earlier article.  At first, I just had a passing interest in the auction because I really did not think they would have anything of Pedigree interest so I quickly scanned the offerings in their September 14, 2015, auction.  Like many auction houses, what is of interest and importance to me (Pedigree coins) does not enter their radar.  They are not alone in this view as Heritage, Stacks and the old Teletrade also often ignore Binion, Fitzgerald, etc., pedigrees.  But then, while looking at a bundled group of “throw-away” coins I noticed a very rare Fitzgerald date/mintmark Morgan.  (“Throw-away” coins: common, low value and/or poor eye appearance coins that are not worth promoting or selling individually).

My find was an 1882-O Fitzgerald Morgan silver dollar “hard” graded as MS63.  It really did not register with me at first how rare this coin was in the hoard.  I glanced at my Fitzgerald inventory and saw I had one – and again almost past the coin by, but I noticed mine was “soft” graded as AU.  Suddenly I had a little more interest and reached for my Fitzgerald bible, “Fitzgerald Silver Dollar Collection – The Purple Gang Set” and referred to the population report.  The Fitzgerald population report showed only 25 coins were hard graded from the hoard.  Since it was late on a Friday and the auction was Monday morning, I had to jump through some hoops to get registered (authorized) to bid.  I won’t mention names, but one lady in Bonhams’ client services went beyond boundaries to get me registered and able to bid.  Thanks to her, I know own one of the 25 known hard graded 1882-O Morgan’s from the Fitzgerald stash. 

(The "hard" graded 1882-O Fitzgerald Collection Morgan silver dollar appearing in Bonhams' September 14, 2015 auction).

(The "soft" graded 1882-O Fitzgerald Morgan silver dollar that appeared in "Fitzgerald Silver Dollar Collection - The Purple Gang Set").

Although I have cut back on my Pedigree coin collecting, one thing that still interest me are coins from the Binion and Fitzgerald hoards that have populations within those respective hoards of less than 50 coins.  As a reminder, when I talk populations I talk of coins that have not only been authenticated as from the hoards but also received “hard” grades.  My population figures do not include “soft” graded coins designated simply as “Brilliant Uncirculated” or some similar designation.  All this “jargon” is covered in detail in my book “Fitzgerald Silver Dollar Collection – The Purple Gang Set”.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Listings on GreatCollections Auctions – Final Listing

GreatCollections Auctions ( has listed the remainder of the  pedigree coins consigned to them that appeared in my book, “Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” in their auction with a starting bid of $1.  The listing includes:

GC Item
 Redfield Silver Dollar
 Battle Creek Collection
 Rive d'Or $10 Liberty Gold
 Golden Gate Collection $5 Indian Gold
 Carson City Collection Morgan Silver Dollar







Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Binion 1880-S Morgan Silver Dollar

Although I have cut back on my Pedigree coin collecting, one thing that still interest me are coins from the Binion and Fitzgerald hoards that have populations of less than 100 coins within those respective hoards .  And I especially like those with populations of less than 50 "hard" graded coins.  As a reminder, when I talk populations I talk of coins that have not only been authenticated as from the hoards but also received “hard” grades.  My population figures do not include “soft” graded coins designated simply as “Brilliant Uncirculated” or some similar designation.
A Binion 1880-S (NGC MS63) that has a population of only 26 pure graded pieces recently appeared in an Ebay auction.  Even though I have one graded MS62, with a population of only 26 coins, I could not pass up trying for the MS63 coin. 



As you can see, neither coin has great (or even good) eye-appeal when compared to general population coins with similar grades but the low population figures for the date/mintmark within the Binion hoard makes the 1880-S a more difficult coin to find and acquire.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Ancient City Coin Club (St. Augustine, Florida)

The Ancient City Coin Club in St. Augustine, Florida, represents the oldest (continuously occupied for purists) city in the United States.  I have had the opportunity to speak at a club meeting and also attend one of their coin shows and completely enjoy their people and the hospitality they extended.  
While attending their show, I noticed that their club also had a medal produced as a fund-raising memento and purchased one for my collection.  How can you pass up the opportunity to have a souvenir like this from the “First City”? 



The coins being sold by the club were offered raw and I purchased mine from a local dealer who had them encased by ANACS.
Anyone interested in more information or purchasing one of the coins can contact David James at:


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Listings on GreatCollections Auctions – Ten Pedigree Coins with a $1 Starting Bid

GreatCollections Auctions ( has listed over 20 of the coins appearing in my book, “Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” in their current auction.  Ten of those pedigrees have a starting bid of $1 with no reserve.  This may be a good chance to pick up a pedigree coin featured in the book at a bargain price.  The following pedigrees are included with the low opening bid price:

Teich Family Collection Morgan Silver Dollar
 Lincoln Highway Hoard Dollar
 Olathe Silver Dollar
 New Orleans Mint Hoard
 Benson Collection Mercury Dime
 Patriot Collection Peace Dollar
 Big Sky Hoard $1 Eisenhower Dollar
 Richmond Collection Buffalo Nickel 
 Richmond Collection $5 Liberty Gold
 McClaren II Morgan Dollar
You can also purchase the pedigree book from GreatCollections.  Quantity discounts are available for collectors that purchased one of the pedigree coins.  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Coin Pedigrees & Retirement

As many of you noticed, I have been selling the Pedigree coins that appeared in my book, “Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” over the past few months.  Some went to friends that I developed through pedigree coin collecting and allowed them to extent their sets.  Others went to fellow pedigree collectors that wanted the opportunity to share in the ownership of a coin featured in the book.  To all I say thank you and wish you the very best.

For the most part, I will be moving on from the pedigree coin collecting field and into retirement.  I am enjoying it (retirement) but finding that even though the US Government took a significant amount of money from me when I was working, they are not all that keen on giving any back.  Maybe I should start a blog about “blood sucking leaches”? 


I am also finding a difference in word terminology.  When I worked, fellow employees liked the “donut holes” that I bought from a local bakery as a treat at the end of a hard week.  Now I am learning that “donut hole” means you pay a lot more for drugs than you did when you were working.  If you are retired, you will understand the pun.

GreatCollections ( has been (and is continuing) to handle the sale of the pedigree coins.  I am not sure where they stand on the sales but think about half are sold.  I am leaving all that up to them.  It is their specialty and they are doing a good job.  I have kept about 6 to 10 coins back because I really like the stories or, for some reason, the coins just interested me.  The rest will be released/listed as GreatCollections determines.  If you are interested in any special coin that appeared in the book, write GreatCollections or me and I can let you know the status of the coin.


I will continue to add a column or two in the blog, but will slow down in the writing/researching efforts.  However, I am not going to cover pedigree coins at the same rate I did in the past and I am not going to give much attention to the fabricated pedigrees that coin dealers, brokers and auction houses are throwing on the market.  When we see the damage these groups are doing to the pedigree hobby, let's be sure to blame the right person.