Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Longmire Collection

The Longmire Collection is a private, personal collection of a numismatic enthusiast.  There are not many coins on the market from this collection so it is a fun one to look for and add to your collection.  What interest me about the Longmire Collection is that the examples I have seen were graded by PCGS and PCGS is much more stringent than competitors at adding Pedigree names to the labels.  (Thanks to Michael G Longmire, San Diego, CA., for information about his collection).

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – The Champagne Lanson Bonnet Vineyard Collection

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “What is your favorite Pedigree coin?”  That is really a tough question because there are so many that I enjoy because of their remarkable stories.  But my favorite is the $20 St. Gaudens from the Champagne Lanson Bonnet Vineyard Collection.  This coin has a remarkable story that is summarized below:

The Champagne Lanson Bonnet Vineyard Collection – In the eastern village of Les Riceys, France, a vineyard worker was busy remolding a former grape-drying facility when he accidentally dislodged a hidden treasure of US gold coins from the attic above his head. While it is unknown how the treasure found its’ way to the attic, the building was once owned by a wine producer who did business with the US and England in the 1930’s. In total, the Lanson Bonnet find consisted of 497 US gold coins minted between 1851-1928 with an estimated value of $1 million.

Bonhams brought the coins to auction in Los Angeles on June 3, 2013. Lanson BCC Group announced that half of the proceeds from the auction will go to the individual who discovered the coins in the house. The vineyard has described him as a modest employee of the Lanson firm, who brought the Collection to the attention of the company not knowing that he would be entitled to half of the proceeds under French law. According to the vineyard, this anonymous individual will now be able to buy or build a house for his family with the auction proceeds. Information source: Bonhams press release, January 25, 2013.

I was fortunate to acquire mine in a Great Collections auction that can be found at:
This is a relatively new coin auction site that has excellent customer support.  It also is very easy to browse and has excellent coin pictures.  If you are not familiar with this site, give it a look and I think you will become a regular. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rick's Pedigree Coins – The Battle Creek Collection

The Battle Creek Morgan silver dollar collection remains very popular with collectors often commanding substantial market premiums.  Population statistics for the hoard are:


1885 PL
1885 DPL
1886 PL
1886 DPL








Source:  NGC press release update:  2/12/2008

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rick's Pedigree Coins - Pedigreed by History

In my last Blog, I wrote about documentation (authentication) for a Pedigree and the importance of labeling on the slab. As I mentioned, it ties the coin/currency to a special heritage or history and provides authentication assurance.  However, a coin/currency can still have a Pedigree heritage without any notation on the label.  Some of my special coins/currency of heritage have no Pedigree labeling but still have undisputed ties to heritages and History with a capital “H”.  Here are a few examples:

  1. Military Payment Certificates – was a form of currency used to pay military personnel in foreign countries starting after WWII and up to 1973.  For me, the Pedigree is the Military Payment Certificate.  It is unique, has a heritage and a history.  Additional information on the MPC program can be found at:

  1. 1943 Steel Penny - U.S. pennies were/are made out of copper but in 1943 pennies were made of steel with a zinc coating because copper was badly needed to support the war effort to make shell casings. This was a one-year effort and each of the active mints at the time (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco) produced the pennies. A few copper coins did “slip” through and are extremely rare and valuable. 

  1. 1942-1945 Silver Nickel - Nickel was also in short supply and needed for armor plating to support the war effort so Congress ordered the removal of the metal from the five-cent piece and the composition was changed to copper, silver and manganese (35% silver, 56% copper, 9% manganese) which lasted through the end of 1945. These specially minted nickels contained a large mintmark on the reverse over the dome of Monticello. This was the first time the “P” mintmark appeared on coins produced at the Philadelphia Mint. All three mints (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco) participated in the special minting and placement of the mintmark.  

  1. Civil War Token – I cannot describe the Civil War token any better than Wikipedia so here are their words:

“Civil War tokens are token coins that were privately minted and distributed in the United States between 1861 and 1864. They were used mainly in the Northeast and Midwest. The widespread use of the tokens was a result of the scarcity of government-issued cents during the Civil War.

Civil War tokens became illegal after the United States Congress passed a law on April 22, 1864 prohibiting the issue of any one or two-cent coins, tokens or devices for use as currency. On June 8, 1864 an additional law was passed that forbade all private coinage.

 Civil War tokens are divided into three types—store cards, patriotic tokens, and sutler tokens. All three types were utilized as currency, and are differentiated by their designs. The collectible value of the tokens is determined chiefly by their rarity.”

These coins/currency have amazing stories and lived through some of the most trying times in our history.  If you do not have any of these coins/currency in your Pedigree collection then you are missing an important part of our heritage.  Buy it, hold it, look at it and reflect on what people were experiencing during those times.   

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What are Pedigree Coins & Currency?

So what is a Pedigree coin or currency?  In my book I wrote:

“A Pedigree is a special designation given to a small percentage of coins and is marked on the label found above the coin.”

However, there are two points I did not cover and would like to expand upon them now.  First, all Pedigrees will carry a story with them.  Something happened in the past that earned them the right to be labeled as a Pedigree.  There are phony labeled Pedigrees in the market and I will talk about them in a future blog.  But the ones that are true Pedigrees always have a story associated with them.

Do coins have to be slabbed by a numismatic grading company like PCGS, NGC, ICG, etc. to be a Pedigree?  No, but it sure adds a lot of protection for you.  Especially as the Pedigreed coin changes hands.  It is a form of “authentication insurance” for you.  Here is an example of a Pedigree that was purchased raw in an auction, but later had the authentication applied.  Gary Burghoff (the loveable company clerk in M*A*S*H) sold his collection that included non-graded coins through auction.  The purchaser of several lots (John Burnett of Americash Jewelry & Coin in Westmont IL) kept the acquisition documentation and following the auction requested PCGS to authenticate and grade the coins.  PCGS was accommodating thus protecting the authenticity and through John’s efforts, I now own a Burgoff 1889-CC Morgan silver dollar that is above dispute.  If John would not have had this authentication protection applied, I would have a very difficult time selling the coin as a Pedigree and the value would be diminished.


In my next blog, I will discuss coins that do not have Pedigree names on the lables; however, still have such significant heritages that their story will live on in history. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rick's Legacy - Pedigree Coins & Currency (Formerly on NGC) is now Rick's Pedigree Coins (on Blogger)

Welcome to my blog about Pedigree Coins & Currency.  For the past 2 years, I displayed a collection of Pedigree coins called “Rick’s Legacy – Examples of Pedigree & Hoard Coins” in NGC’s Registry Set section.  While the site was very popular, I closed it and started investigating other ways to distribute information on pedigreed coins.   

First, I decided to publish a book on Pedigree coins.  That book is now at the publisher and should be completed by the end of 2013.  I am working on several distribution channels and when I have everything in place, I will post the names of outlets where the book can be purchased.  I will talk more about the book later.
Another idea that I received was from the SBA when they suggested a blog about Pedigree coins.  Initially I liked the idea - - and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.  I am a newbie and unfamiliar with the operations of the blog world so have patients with me as I learn – and hopefully you may also learn more about the world of coins with Pedigrees.