Magnificent Fenton Collection of New Zealand Coins Headlines New York International Numismatic Convention Auction
(January 18, 2020) – A collection of rare and popular New Zealand coins certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (http://www.PCGS.com) is turning heads at the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) this week, where it will be offered for sale by Stack’s-Bowers Galleries (http://www.StacksBowers.com) on January 18, 2020. The Fenton Collection, named for renowned Australian PCGS Set Registry Member George Fenton, contains a wide variety of rare New Zealand coinage dating back to 1933, when the first official coins struck for the British Commonwealth nation.
This amazing numismatic cabinet of approximately 200 coins represents the reigns of three British monarchs, including King George V, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II. The collection, covering the gamut of British Commonwealth-era New Zealand coinage, includes more than 45 finest-known coins and several elusive specimens that rarely make auction appearances.
Among the highlights is a 1949 Royal Visit Crown graded Proof-66 by PCGS. This coin, just one of three specimens known and housed in a PCGS Gold Shield holder, is tied with only one other example at that grade for finest known. The coins were struck to honor King George VI’s trip to New Zealand, which was cancelled due to health issues. The last time an example of this rarity was known to have appeared at auction was in 2015, when it realized $18,000.
Another outstanding piece is a 1936 King George V Florin, graded PCGS MS66. The single finest-known example of its kind and exhibiting exceptional strike and satiny surfaces, this 1936 Florin is fit to serve as a crown jewel in any top-caliber PCGS Set Registry of coinage from New Zealand.
“The collection was originally assembled in the 1980s by noted Australian collector Chris Meilon and sold in its entirety to another famous Australian collector, Wayne Borg,” Scott Waterman, director of Australia’s Imperial Coins, explains of the set’s provenance. “Wayne is really relevant in the Australian PCGS grading world, as it was his collection sold in 2011 that sparked the rapid growth and acceptance of PCGS and the PCGS Set Registry in Australian coins. Many of the prices realized in that sale still stand as the record price for numerous key-date Australian coins.” He adds, “it was our belief the coins would realize stronger prices at auction in fresh PCGS Gold Shield holders, and it also gave us a chance to have the collection named and photographed with PCGS TrueView®, which has a very cool effect on the complete collection.”
PCGS President Brett Charville says certifying the prestigious Fenton Collection represents the strong commitment his firm has to serving as the globe’s leading third-party numismatic grading firm. “We at PCGS are excited to have had the opportunity to certify the rare and exquisite coins of the Fenton Collection. We look forward to expanding our reach ever further to offer collectors of coins from Australia, New Zealand, and other nations from around the world our full suite of world-class grading services,” he remarks. “We also will continue providing many new and exciting avenues for those in the global numismatic community to build their collections and compete with fellow numismatists on the PCGS Set Registry.”
About Professional Coin Grading Service
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is the premier third-party coin and banknote grading company that was launched in 1986. Over nearly 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified some 42.5 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of more than $36 billion. For more information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, please visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.
Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill discusses her work on the National Park of American Samoa Quarter. This is the first coin of 2020 in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.
Watch it on YouTube → here.
U.S. Mint employee Chris Luberski shows how the Steve Gleason Congressional Gold Medal was made in Philadelphia.
You can watch the video on YouTube → here.
(Pelham, Alabama) — In March 2020 Whitman Publishing will release 100 Greatest Modern World Coins, by numismatists Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker. The 168-page coffee-table hardcover will be available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, and online (including at www.Whitman.com). Here, medallic-art historian Donald Scarinci shares his thoughts on modern world coinage and the new book.
When you pick up a book about “modern” coins, you might expect to see pictures of everyday pocket change. To numismatists, the modern period in coins generally does not include the ones in your pocket, nor does it include the commercially made commemorative and “collector” coins and bullion sold today. Rather, the term modern describes the period of numismatic history that starts from the widespread use of the Janvier reducing machine in the mid- to late 1800s and continues to about the dawn of the space age or the era of computers.
Those 100 or so years were a time of great transition in just about every aspect of life. In numismatics, they were a bridge between the classic designs of the great eighteenth- and nineteenth-century engravers, like Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier and William Wyon, and the contemporary masterpieces of sculptors such as Herbert Wähner and Donald N. Everhart Jr.
Strong Demand for Coins and the Technological Changes to Meet that Demand
Historically, demand for coins and advances in technology may be the two most significant variables that influenced coin design. As demand for coins in commerce increased in the ancient world, their methods of production improved and the number of mints increased.
Demand continued to increase from the seventeenth century forward. Manufacturing methods improved and the demand was met on a widespread scale. Instead of each coin being individually hammered by hand, mechanically operated devices increased the speed and efficiency of production.
As the speed of production increased, the need for artists to design the coins expanded. New technology assisted the designers just as it increased the production of coins. A medieval hammered coin looks very different from a coin produced on a screw press or a steam press. All coins made after the invention and widespread use of the Janvier reducing machine look very different from the coins made before.
In the nineteenth century the Janvier allowed sculptors to participate in what had theretofore been the province of engravers. The sculptors brought a new eye to coin design and saw coins as three-dimensional objects, like bas relief and sculpture. They could sculpt a 12-inch bas relief, put it on the Janvier, and reduce the sculpture to a 40 mm stackable coin.
In the modern era, before credit and debit cards, more people than ever before in the history of the world used coins and paper currency to transact business. Their coins needed to be functional for everyday use. It is no surprise, therefore, that the design trends in the decorative arts—art nouveau, beaux arts, art deco—and not trends such as expressionism, cubism, surrealism, modernism, or post-modernism came to dominate coin and medal design before the 1960s.
It can be argued whether the involvement of sculptors in coin design made coins more aesthetically competitive or whether the marketplace demanded more pleasing coin designs and mints responded to the demand. It is certain, however, that while function has driven the weight, size, and shape of the coins of the modern era, sculptors have driven the excellence of coin designs.
For Modern Coins, the Art is as Important as the Historical Context
Collectors who discover these “bridge” coins that we have labeled “modern” have a unique opportunity to understand the world nation-by-nation. The 1907-S peso from the Philippines makes a statement about that country and its relationship with America, just as the 1938 pattern penny of Ireland teaches something about the sentiment of the Irish people when they changed the inscription from Saorstát Éireann (Irish Free State) to Eire.
When we study the coinage of the modern era, we begin to appreciate the importance of the art as much as the subject matter it conveys and the importance of a coin in its historical context. Increasingly, modern coins are studied and appreciated almost more for their art than for their history. With modern coins, numismatists strive to understand the life and work of artists such as Georges Guiraud, who designed the 1950 50 franc, and Giuseppe Romagnoli, who designed the impressive 1928 20 lire.
The trend is toward understanding the art of coins and the work of the artists who make them. Beginning in 1982, coin designs and artists were singled out with recognitions like the Krause Coin of the Year Award. At many world mints, the designs on coins are reviewed and approved by committees rather than by individuals, thereby creating a written numismatic record.
The advent of computer modeling in the twenty-first century allows artists to translate two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional coins. Today, graphic artists are replacing sculptors in the same way that sculptors replaced engravers in the 1800s when the Janvier reducing machine was introduced. Fortunately, sculptors are still required in the translation process, but this too will likely change.
Assembling Your Own Great Coin Collection
Morgan and Walker’s 100 Greatest Modern World Coins debunks the notion that coins of the modern era are too common to warrant much of a premium for collecting purposes. However, the emphasis on rarity in this latest “100 Greatest” book should not deter collectors who are interested in the coins of this important period.
Coins of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were manufactured in the millions. Accordingly, they are often available quite inexpensively. The challenge with collecting modern coins is not so much the scarcity of the coins, but the scarcity of the condition.
The best uncertified modern coins often sell for just a slight premium over their less-pristine siblings. If you can grade properly and develop an interesting collecting plan, your efforts will be rewarded economically as well as by the knowledge you gain from the collecting experience.
Authors Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker have created a wonderful study of modern world coinage. They cover the period of 1900 to date (extending the “modern” era to include in their rankings a half dozen significant and well-deserving coins from more recent decades), setting each coin in context and bringing each to life. 100 Greatest Modern World Coins will inspire, inform, and entertain you. Enjoy the journey and let it spark ideas for building your own significant collection.
By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker; foreword by Donald Scarinci
ISBN 0794846335; hardcover, coffee-table (10 x 12 inches); 168 pages; full color; retail $29.95 U.S.
About the Authors
Charles Morgan is an award-winning numismatic writer, industry analyst, and editor of one of the hobby’s most visited online publications, CoinWeek.com. At CoinWeek, he has written about and covered the entire gamut of numismatic topics. As the host of the CoinWeek Podcast, Morgan has dug deeper into the history of numismatics with some of the hobby’s leading personalities.
His main areas of collecting interest are numismatic literature and the coins and medals of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. He also collects U.S. coins, classic films, and comic books.
Morgan studied English at Susquehanna University and the University of Virginia and served in the U.S. Army as a Russian linguist. He lives in Virginia with his wife, two children, and a very temperamental Maine Coon cat.
Hubert Walker is the assistant editor of CoinWeek.com and along with Charles has written numerous award-winning articles and columns, both online and in print. He studied English at the University of Virginia, though he is also keen on history, music, and art. Hubert currently resides in Virginia; his cat does not.
WASHINGTON – The United States Mint (Mint) 2020 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set™ (product code 20AP) will be available for purchase on January 14 at noon EST.
Priced at $18.50, the set contains five proof finish America the Beautiful Quarters® Program coins with reverse (tails) designs honoring the National Park of American Samoa (American Samoa), Weir Farm National Historic Site (Connecticut), Salt River Bay National Historical Park & Ecological Preserve (U.S. Virgin Islands), Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (Vermont), and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (Kansas). Each set comes with the Mint’s Certificate of Authenticity.
Coins in this series feature a common obverse (heads) design that depicts the 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, restored to bring out subtle details and the beauty of the original model. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “QUARTER DOLLAR.”
The Mint accepts orders at its online catalog at www.catalog.usmint.gov/ and at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may call 1-888-321-MINT (6468) to place an order. Visit www.catalog.usmint.gov/customer-service/shipping.html for information about shipping options.
The America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set is also available for purchase through the Mint’s Product Enrollment Program. Information about this program is available at >catalog.usmint.gov/shop/product-enrollments/.
The set will also be available at the Mint’s sales centers in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and Denver. Inventory is limited to availability and subject to change.
Note: To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, the United States Mint will not accept and will not honor orders placed prior to the official on-sale date of Jan. 14, 2020, at noon EST.