There’s a good side and a bad side to being a well-known specialist. On the plus side, when a collection of rare gold coins comes on the market, I am usually offered first shot. But I’ve become somewhat pigeon-holed as a guy who seldom strays from the Gold Ghetto when buying and selling. I guess I was expecting some sort of reaction when I listed a group of Carson City silver for sale on my website yesterday. But I was pretty surprised at how many people called or wrote me to ask “Hey, what’s up with the silver coins on your site, Mr. Gold Expert.”
OK, to summarize: No, I’m not giving up my hard-earned position as The Man when it comes to Southern gold. Yes, I am going to start dealing more extensively in non-gold coins, especially the silver issues from Carson City and New Orleans.
I have a long history when it comes to 19th century silver. Back in the 1970’s when I was a young kid collecting coins, I couldn’t begin to think about paying the going rates for a Charlotte or Dahlonega piece. So I became a serious collector of Seated Liberty issues, especially quarter dollars. I assembled a nice partial set of circulated Seated quarters (which I sold in the mid-1980’s and which I wish I had held on to, as there were some pretty nifty coins in it) and to this day I remain fascinated with Seated (and Bust) issues.
A few people asked me yesterday if I am “bored” with Southern gold. Absolutely not—I still love these coins and continue to get excited by pieces as humble as a crusty 1851-C gold dollar or as exotic as an MS62 1839-C half eagle.
What does frustrate me, I’m afraid, is how difficult it has become to find nice gold coins for my inventory. So many pieces have been destroyed in the last few years. As a purist, it makes me sort of sad to see many of the nice Charlotte and Dahlonega coins I remember from the past now ruined forever. And as a pragmatist, I know I have fewer and fewer Winter-esque coins available to sell.
So the obvious solution is for me to diversify. Part of me would like to try a brand new area like World Gold... except for the fact that I know nothing about these coins and at this point of my life I am not eager to start a long and probably expensive learning process.
Thus, the thought of going back to my roots and rekindling my long love affair with Seated and Bust coins. This is an area I’m already pretty knowledgeable in. In fact, I’ve quietly built two of the finest collections of Carson City silver ever assembled as well as a few other world-class sets of Bust and Seated coins, including many very rare Proofs and alot of neat, finest known or Condition Census pieces as well.
My perspective on the silver coin market is just like I view gold coins. I like coins that are rare and I like coins which are original.
So, is DWN about to become The Source for rare silver coinage? Not likely. But I think there’s room in the coin market for a reputable dealer to sell nice $2,000-10,000 PCGS and NGC graded silver coins which are attractive, original and rare. Coins like an 1873-CC Arrows Dime in VF or a nicely toned Uncirculated 1848-O half dollar. Coins, in other words, that offer the collector good value and which I would buy for myself if I were still building a Seated Liberty or Bust silver collection.