NGC Confirms Discovery of Fourth Known 1854-S $5

Discovery of a Lifetime!

A coin that a New England man originally thought was a counterfeit has been authenticated by NGC as only the fourth known 1854-S Liberty Head Half Eagle.

“It’s like finding an original Picasso at a garage sale. It’s the discovery of a lifetime: a previously unknown surviving example of one of America’s greatest coins,” said NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg.

The phrase “Discovery of a Lifetime” was noted on NGC’s certification label when it graded and encapsulated this previously unreported 1854-S $5 as NGC XF 45.

Mint records indicate that only 268 Half Eagles were struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1854. One surviving example is in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., another is owned by the Pogue family of Texas, and a third example has not been seen since it was stolen from industrialist Willis DuPont in Coconut Grove, Florida, in 1967.

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3rd Edition of Whitman’s Guide Book of Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars Expanded With New Research and Market Analysis

(Pelham, Alabama) — Whitman Publishing announces the release of the updated and expanded new third edition of A Guide Book of Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars, by professional numismatist Rick Tomaska. The 320-page book will be available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide on May 8, 2018, for $19.95. Before then it is available for preorder (including online at www.Whitman.com).

Franklin (1948–1963) and Kennedy (1964 to date) half dollars are two of the most popular series in modern U.S. coinage. “Collectors can enjoy challenges and rewards with these coins whether their hobby budget is $50 a month or $50,000,” said author Tomaska, who provides pricing in multiple grades for each coin. In addition to sharing behind-the-scenes knowledge of the retail and auction markets, Tomaska gives the history of their designs, production, and other technical and cultural aspects. He explores transitions in Mint craftsmanship and reveals why Franklin and Kennedy half dollars represent the end of an era. He studies the coins date by date with commentary on exceptional and highly toned specimens, describes how Proof coins are made and graded, and teaches about Cameo and Deep Cameo contrast, Full Bell Lines, certified coin populations, and other factors important to value and rarity. Collectible die varieties, tips for smart buying, and hundreds of full-color photographs round out the contents.

The third edition has been expanded by more than 10 percent, to 320 pages, with no change in its retail price of $19.95. New features in this edition include record auction and retail prices; coverage of the 1964–2014 gold and silver Kennedy half dollars; and new illustrated appendices on “Exceptional Cameo Contrast” and remarkable error and misstruck Franklin and Kennedy halves. In addition, Tomaska has included an illustrated chapter on Proof Liberty Walking half dollars, which he describes as “true classics born during the wonderful Renaissance era in American coin design” and as precursors to the Proofs of the Franklin series.

“Longtime specialists will appreciate the new information in this volume,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker, “while beginning collectors will benefit from an immersion in its two very popular and historically significant coin series.”

Numismatic historian Q. David Bowers, writing in the foreword, said, “By reading this book you can become an expert on these widely collected coins.”

#   #   #
A Guide Book of Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars, 3rd edition
By Rick Tomaska; foreword by Q. David Bowers
ISBN 0794845290
Softcover, 6 x 9 inches, full color
320 pages
Retail $19.95 U.S.
URL: https://www.whitman.com/store/Inventory/Detail/A-Guide-Book-of-Franklin-and-Kennedy-Half-Dollars-3rd-Edition+0794845290

Money Talks Speakers Wanted for Philadelphia World’s Fair of Money

American Numismatic Association (ANA) members are encouraged to share their ideas and research with fellow hobbyists by delivering a Money Talks presentation at the 2018 World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia, Aug. 14-18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Those interested in giving a Money Talks presentation should submit an online proposal at www.money.org/numismatic-events/money-talks. Proposals are due no later than May 16. The informative 30- to 45-minute presentations are presented by some of the hobby’s most noted authorities and allow collectors to share their expertise with the numismatic community. Presentations from previous shows include “The Fugio Cents of 1787,” “Collecting Medals,” and “Curious Currency of the World.”

Money Talks presentations should be accompanied by digital images or slides. Speakers should arrive 15 minutes prior to their presentation to set-up.

Contact Sam Gelberd, the ANA’s numismatic educator, at (719) 482-9846 for additional information.

Proposals can be submitted online, emailed to sgelberd@money.org, or mailed to:

The American Numismatic Association
Attn: Education Department
818 N. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

The World’s Fair of Money is one of the largest, most educational coin shows in the country and features nearly a thousand numismatic dealers with extensive inventories. The show also includes a wide range of technical seminars and educational presentations; an exhibits area; major auctions by Heritage Auctions and Stack’s Bowers Galleries; and the ANA Museum Showcase, exhibiting some of the world’s most rare and valuable coins and paper money. For more information, visit www.worldsfairofmoney.com.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect coins and related items. The ANA helps its 25,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call (719) 632-2646 or go to www.money.org.

Federal grand jury indicts coin dealer for sale of counterfeit coins, mail fraud

A Minnesota federal grand jury has returned a 6-count criminal indictment charging coinCourter Barry Ron Skog with five counts related to the sale of counterfeit coins and one count of mail fraud.

According to the indictment filed April 10 in U.S. District court, the 67-year-old Skog owned and operated a business called Burnsville Coin Company, through which he devised a scheme, from June 2012 through October 2015, to advertise and sell counterfeit coins by fraudulently representing that the coins were genuine and worth hundreds of dollars.

The indictment describes how through his business Skog posted advertisements in Numismatic News, a nationally circulated hobby publication.

“When potential buyers responded to the advertisements, the defendant often mailed them, via the U.S. Postal Service, lists of additional available coins for purchase,” the indictment states. It notes that when Skog communicated with victims he would often represent himself as “Ron Peterson” and claim to be an employee of the Burnsville Coin Company, when in fact there were no owners or employees of the company other than Skog.

In addition to operating the Burnsville Coin Company, the indictment also states that Skog sold numismatic coins at a display operated in an antique store in Stillwater, Minn.

The indictment cites three victims by initials and lists five counterfeit U.S. coins sold by Skog as separate counts in violation of Section 485 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. The coins include:

  • A counterfeit 1844 Seated Liberty dollar
  • A counterfeit 1853 Seated Liberty dollar
  • A counterfeit 1873 Seated Liberty half dollar
  • A counterfeit 1885 Seated Liberty half dollar
  • A counterfeit 1875 Seated Liberty silver 20-cent piece

Violation of Sec. 485 of Title 18 carries a fine or imprisonment of up to 15 years or both.

In total, Skog is believed to have fraudulently obtained more than $80,000 from his victims.

Upon conviction of any of the five counts, the indictment seeks forfeiture of property including “approximately 3,000 numismatic and current U.S. and foreign coinage and tokens, and approximate 78 bills of collectible paper money.”

The grand jury charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and the Burnsville Police Department. Two members of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force assisted with the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Collectors Universe won a default judgment against Skog in April 2011 in which a federal court issued an order permanently enjoining Skog from manufacturing and importing counterfeit Professional Coin Grading Service holders. The order also enjoined him from selling any coin, real or counterfeit, in counterfeit PCGS holders. Collectors Universe is the parent firm of the PCGS.

The civil lawsuit was filed on Dec. 7, 2010, in the United States District Court, Central District of California, accusing Skog and his coin business of selling during the previous four years counterfeit rare coins not marked COPY and housed in counterfeit PCGS holders made to order from Chinese manufacturers.

The lawsuit alleged violations of the Hobby Protection Act, the Lanham Act, violation of RICO, common law fraud, conspiracy and violation of California’s unfair competition law. It cited an example of a North Carolina collector who purchased two Seated Liberty dollars dated 1851 and 1858 from Skog in April 2010 for $12,400. The coins and the PCGS holders in which they were encapsulated were determined to be counterfeit.

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