The Newbie's Lament: What Should I Collect?

The Newbie's Lament: What Should I Collect?

For new collectors of vintage United States gold coins, one of the most puzzling questions to ask is: what should I collect. The answer, of course, depends on your budget, but it also depends on which sort of collection you are going to build: a set with a focused beginning, middle, and end, or a more random approach.

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How To Collect Type One Double Eagles

Type One double eagles have become the single most popular area of collecting in the rare date United States gold coin market. With the discovery of over 10,000 high grade, formerly rare issues in the S.S. Central America, S.S. Brother Jonathan, and S.S. Republic shipwrecks, Type Ones have received tremendous publicity in both the numismatic and non-numismatic press. This is clearly a design type which is destined to remain popular with a number of future generations of collectors.

The 2002 edition of my book An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type One Double Eagles represented ground-breaking research on the series. I had previously written on New Orleans double eagles in my book New Orleans Gold Coins: 1839-1909 (published in 1992 and revised in 2006). Prior to this, collectors had to rely on the Breen Encyclopedia and David Akers’ trailblazing work on Liberty Head double eagles which was published in 1982. The 2002 edition of this book filled a great, need but it soon became outdated and needed to be revised.

After numerous starts and stops, I decided to revise the book in 2014 but with a twist: instead of publishing it in traditional book form, it will be released as a web-based project, and we will announce its availability (and URL!) later this year. (Here is the new site!) This was done for a number of reasons. The first is flexibility in updating. With a traditional book, updating it is a major chore. With the web-based format, it will be easy for me to continually update things like Condition Census, Auction Price Records, certified population figures, hoards, and important new discoveries. A web-based double eagle book will have a far greater reach than a traditional published book, and this might serve to bring more new collectors into the series. It will also enable me to have interactive features such as a comments section where collectors can add their input to each issue, and expanded potential to include more high-quality color photographs than in a traditional printed book. The possibilities are endless.

Type One double eagles appeal to collectors for a variety of reasons. They are the first type of double eagles produced and the highest denomination struck for circulation. They are large and attractive with a high intrinsic value which appeals to the “gold bug.” They were struck during an extraordinary historic era (1850-1866), and have wonderful back stories. Many issues are available in collector grades and a number of issues can found in presentable grades for less than $3,500 per coin. At the same time, there are a number of rare to very rare dates which appeal to advanced collectors.

There is a host of ways in which to collect this series. I’d like to suggest a few that I have found interesting and add some practical suggestions from years of experience with assisting collectors in this series.

1. Collecting Type One Double Eagles as a Type Coin

Type collectors seek to obtain a representative example of a specific type or design. For Type One double eagles, a type collector would most likely focus on an issue such as an 1856-S or 1857-S from the S.S. Central America, or a non-shipwreck date such as the 1861. A nice SSCA coin can be purchased for $7,500-10,000, while a high-quality circulated 1861 currently is valued in the $4,000-5,000 range.

A type set could be made more interesting by expanding it to two coins: including a common date from the 1850’s and the 1860’s, the two decades in which this design was produced. The most common issues from the 1850’s are the 1851 and the 1852 and, thanks to the shipwrecks mentioned above, the 1856-S and the 1857-S. The two Philadelphia issues can be easily located in all circulated grades and a very presentable example will cost the collector $3,000-5,000. The 1861 is the most affordable Type One from the 1860’s, and the collector can either purchase a pleasing circulated example or an Uncirculated coin in the MS60 to MS62 range.

If you are taking the time to read this article (and are looking forward to the new double eagle website I mentioned above) you are likely to have enough interest in this series that you will be more involved with them than as mere type coins. But if you have decided to participate solely as a type collector, I suggest you spend a bit more money and buy a scarcer date. In my opinion, the issues which offer the biggest “bang for the buck” include the 1854 Small Date, 1855, 1856, 1857, and 1858.

2. Collecting Type One Double Eagles by Mint

Type One double eagles were struck at three mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Some collectors focus on issues from one of these three mints and assemble complete sets of dates and major varieties.

The Philadelphia mint produced 17 collectable double eagles (this figure does not include the 1849 and the 1861 Paquet, but it does include the 1853/2 and the 1854 Large Date). This is not an easy set to complete in circulated grades. The five hardest issues to locate are the 1853/2, 1854 Large Date, 1859, 1862, and 1863. All five of the dates are scarce to very scarce in Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated, and all are rare to very rare in Uncirculated.

In Extremely Fine, this set should run at least in the $55,000-65,000 range, and more if the collector is picky and seeks choice EF45 coins with CAC stickers. An About Uncirculated set (with the five keys in the AU50 to AU53 range and the more common dates in the AU55 to AU58 range) should run in the $110,000-130,000 range, and more if the collector is picky and seeks choice coins with CAC stickers. An Uncirculated set is possible but it would require considerable patience and some of these issues (notably the 1853/2, 1854 Large Date, 1859, and 1862) are very rare and seldom offered for sale in Mint State. A collector can figure on spending at least $300,000 on an average quality set and considerably more if he wants the majority of his coins to grade higher than MS60 to MS61. An Uncirculated set with all the coins having CAC stickers is certainly possible but it might take many years—and a deep wallet—to assemble.

The New Orleans mint produced a dozen Type One double eagles between 1850 and 1861. Two of these (the 1851-O and the 1852-O) are common, two are moderately scarce (1850-O and 1853-O, three are very scarce to rare (1857-O, 1858-O and 1861-O), three are rare (1855-O, 1859-O and 1860-O), and two are extremely rare (1854-O and 1856-O). Many collectors are forced to skip the 1854-O and the 1856-O due to their extreme rarity and prohibitive prices. However, for those fortunate collectors with the means to acquire one or both, history has proven their worthiness as performing assets.

An Extremely Fine set of Type One New Orleans double eagles is the most realistic for most collectors. Excluding the 1854-O and 1856-O, this set costs at least $175,000-200,000. An About Uncirculated set of Type One New Orleans double eagles is extremely difficult to assemble but it can be completed with patience and a deep pocketbook in a three to five year window. To keep costs down, the collector might buy AU55 examples of the moderately scarce to scarce dates and AU50 to AU53 examples of the very scarce to rare issues. Such a set would cost at least $250,000-300,000+. AU50 to AU53 examples of the 1854-O and the 1856-O would add another $750,000-1,000,000. An AU set with all 12 coins having CAC stickers might be possible, but it would require working with a world-class expert as many of these dates have very low CAC populations.

Between 1854 and 1866, the San Francisco mint produced 14 Type One double eagles. This includes the 1861-S and the 1861-S Paquet reverse. With the exception of the 1861-S Paquet and the 1866-S No Motto, all are reasonably easy to locate in circulated grades. Before the discovery of the three shipwrecks cited above, assembling a high grade set of Type One San Francisco double eagles would have been nearly impossible. Today, it is far more realistic. It is still theoretically impossible to finish this set in Uncirculated, as no 1861-S Paquet reverse double eagles have been graded MS60 or higher by the two services as of the middle of 2014.

A complete set of Type One San Francisco double eagles in EF40 to AU50 costs at least $125,000, with around half of this amount dedicated to the 1861-S Paquet and the 1866-S No Motto. An AU55 to AU58 set costs at least $250,000; again with a significant amount of the cost focused on the two rarities. A set with all of the coins grading at least MS60 except for the Paquet (which would grade AU55 to AU58) would cost in excess of $600,000.

If I had to rank the popularity of the three mints as of the middle of 2014, I would list them as follows:

  1. New Orleans
  2. San Francisco
  3. Philadelphia

3. Collecting Type One Double Eagles by Year

A popular way to collect this series is to obtain one example from each year in which the Type One design was produced. In this case, such a set would consist of 17 coins.

In a Type One year set, it is advisable to select the most affordable issue produced during a specific year. For example, three mints struck double eagles in 1861: Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Most year sets include the 1861 Philadelphia as it is easier to obtain than the other issues and it can be found in comparatively high grades for a reasonable sum.

The most difficult (and least flexible) year is 1866. The Philadelphia mint’s production of double eagles in 1866 consisted exclusively of the new Type Two (or “With Motto”) design, while San Francisco produced a limited number of Type One coins before switching to the new design. The 1866-S Type One is exceedingly rare in Uncirculated and very rare in any grade higher than About Uncirculated-50 to About Uncirculated-53.

A complete year set can be assembled in Extremely Fine grades for around $75,000, with at least one-third of the cost going towards an 1866-S No Motto. A set with all of the coins in About Uncirculated can be assembled for $150,000 and up, with around half of the cost going towards the 1866-S. A set with all of the coins in Uncirculated would be very difficult to complete due to the rarity of the 1866-S. It would cost upwards of $425,000-450,000 to complete with, once again, a significant portion of the cost going towards the 1866-S.

4. Assembling a Complete Set of Type One Double Eagles

For some collectors, Type One double eagles become their primary focus and they seek to assemble a complete set. Such a set consists of every issue struck between 1850 and 1866 (not including the excessively rare 1861 Paquet reverse). Including the 1853/2, 1854 Large Date, and the 1861-S Paquet, there are a total of 44 issues.

Depending on a collector’s budget, the grades for a complete set of Type One double eagles will range from Extremely Fine-40 all the way up to Mint State-65. The more common issues are generally represented by coins in comparably higher grades while the rarities are represented by coins in slightly lower grades. The rarest issues in the set include the 1854-O, 1855-O, 1856-O, 1859-O, 1860-O, and 1861-S Paquet. The rarer issues tend to be very difficult to locate and the most available of these six coins are rarely available at prices lower than $40,000-50,000.

There are some practical guidelines which the collector assembling a complete set should follow. A complete set should be as well-matched as possible. The collector should also attempt to obtain coins with as much visual similarity as possible.

A complete set should not be “all over the map” as far as grades are concerned. It makes no sense to assemble a set which has VF30 coins alongside MS62’s

Many Type One collectors are guilty of “overbuying” the common dates and “underbuying” the rarities in order to save money; I feel this is a mistake. Instead of spending $50,000 on a high-grade example of a mundane date such as an 1851, buy a nice coin one grade lower for $15,000, and use the money you’ve saved to put towards a rarity. Conversely, instead of filling the 1854-O and 1856-O holes with “no grades” or problem coins, try to find the best examples of these you can possibly afford. A set of coins is judged on the quality of the rare issues, not by the common ones.

Don’t assemble a set of Type One double eagles with unrealistic expectations. A collector who has previously worked on more common sets may approach Type Ones with the idea that he can race through set in higher grades. Since a number of Type Ones are unknown in Uncirculated and extremely rare in the higher About Uncirculated grades, certain allowances have to be made. The collector must learn what is realistic for each issue. It isn’t realistic to find an 1856-O in Mint State-60. But it is realistic to find an 1856-S in this range or even higher.

In Extremely Fine-40 to About Uncirculated-50, a complete set of 44 Type One Liberty Head double eagles is going to cost a minimum of $1,000,000, and probably quite a bit more once the collector finishes upgrading coins he isn’t satisfied with. If the collector decides to eliminate the 1854-O and 1856-O, at least half of this expenditure will be eliminated. A set which included all the coins in About Uncirculated-50 to About Uncirculated-58 would cost at least $1,500,000. Eliminating the two ultra-rarities would again remove at least half of the cost. A set in which the majority of the coins grade Mint State-60 and above and the rarities grade at least About Uncirculated-55 is going to cost upwards of $2,000,000-2,500,000, and possibly quite a bit more.

5. A Shipwreck "Mini Set"

A number of shipwrecks containing Type One double eagles have been located since the late 1980’s. These are designated by PCGS and NGC, and they are extremely popular with collectors. A shipwreck mini-set most likely would contain just three coins and would be constructed as follows:

  1. S.S. Central America. This is the most famous of the three shipwrecks discussed here as it contains thousands of very high quality coins. Most collectors seek a nice Uncirculated 1857-S, typically grading MS63 to MS65. I have a few buying tips for such a coin. First, only buy a piece in the original gold foil holder. Second, be patient as there are thousands of potential coins for your set. Wait for a coin which appeals to you and look for one with bright, flashy surfaces which lack haze or cloudiness. Third, buy a coin with all the “bells and whistles.” By this, I mean look for a coin that has all its original packaging and which has been approved by CAC as well. Finally, don’t overpay. There are hundreds of auction price comparables for these coins, so you should be able to figure a smart price to pay with relative ease.
  2. S. S. Brother Jonathan. This shipwreck featured Civil War era San Francisco Type One double eagles. The coins tend to be a little less attractive than the S.S. Central America pieces and are harder to locate in the original packaging. The two dates which seem most plentiful from this shipwreck are the 1863-S and 1865-S. The buying tips I mentioned above mostly apply to these coins as well, except original packaging is non-existent.
  3. S. S. Republic. The third shipwreck in the set is the one which is least interesting to me as the quality of the coins tends to be less nice. That said, there are some interesting coins which come to market from time to time with this pedigree.

6. Collecting by Die Variety

For most Type One double eagles, a number of different obverse and reverse dies were used. As one die became worn or damaged, it was replaced by a new die. The different die combinations created various die varieties which range from significant to very minor.

The field of gold coin die variety collecting is fertile. Little has been written about the varieties of United States gold coins, and almost nothing has been written about the die varieties of Type One Liberty Head issues. A number of interesting and potentially rare die varieties exist. Many are discussed in my book(s) on Type One double eagles. Others wait to be discovered by sharp-eyed collectors.

In order to study double eagle die varieties, the collector should pay careful attention to date and mintmark placement and other more subtle die characteristics such as breaks and die scratches.

Collecting varieties of Type One double eagles has become more popular in the last decade, and part of this is attributable to the fact that some of the major varieties are now recognized by PCGS and NGC. In addition to the widely accepted varieties (1853/2 and 1854 Large Date), the following are often collected alongside “regular” coins:

  • 1852 Double Date
  • 1853 Repunched Date
  • 1854 Small Date, Doubled Date
  • 1855-S Small S mintmark
  • 1857-S Large S mintmark
  • 1859-S Double LIBERTY
  • 1865 Blundered date

7. A Civil War "Mini Set"

One of the most popular theme sets in the Type One series is the 11 or 12 coin Civil War set. This includes the following issues, all made during the Civil War years: 1861, 1861-O, 1861-S, 1861-S Paquet, 1862, 1862-S, 1863, 1863-S, 1864, 1864-S, 1865, and 1865-S.

Due to the fact that this set has multiple levels of demand, many of the double eagles from the Civil War have seen considerable increases in price.

There are some difficult issues in the Civil War set. The 1861-O is the only New Orleans double eagle from this period and it is extremely popular. The 1862 is the rarest Philadelphia double eagle from this period, followed by the 1863 and the 1864. The San Francisco issues are more available with the exception of the rare 1861-S Paquet. The price of this variety might cause some collectors to not include it in the set. This makes sense, given that a “normal reverse” 1861-S can be an acceptable substitute.

An 11 piece set in Extremely Fine grades should cost in the area of $80,000. Adding the Paquet reverse would make the set cost over $100,000.

An 11 piece set in About Uncirculated would be challenging but it is completable. It should cost at least $150,000 and could run quite a bit more if the collector seeks choice, original coins with CAC approval. Adding a nice AU55 Paquet will require around a $150,000 commitment.

This set could not be completed in Uncirculated as the Paquet doesn’t exist in this range. However, the rest of the coins do, and here are my suggestions for the best value grade for each date:

  • 1861: MS62 to MS63
  • 1861-O: MS60 (if available)
  • 1861-S: MS61 to MS62
  • 1862: MS60 to MS62
  • 1863: MS61 to MS62
  • 1863-S: MS62 to MS63
  • 1864: MS61 to MS62
  • 1864-S: MS61 to MS62
  • 1865: MS62 to MS63
  • 1865-S: MS62 to MS63

8. Collecting Proof Type One Double Eagles

A tiny number of Proof double eagles were struck prior to 1859. From 1859 to 1865, very small numbers were made. Fewer than 350 proofs were struck for the entire type, and fewer than 75 are known.

The rarity of these coins makes them very appealing to a small segment of wealthy collectors. It might be possible to assemble a complete date run of Proofs from 1859 to 1865. This would require patience, luck, and a very healthy coin budget.

Most of the Proof Type One double eagles which appear on the market are in the Proof-63 to Proof-64 range. Gems are exceedingly rare, and are generally offered for sale at the rate of maybe once per two or three years.

Do you buy rare gold coins?

Do you have coins to sell?

Would you like to have the world’s leading expert help you assemble a set of coins?

Contact me, Doug Winter, directly at (214) 675-9897 or by email at

Compromising When Coin Buying: When You Should and When You Shouldn't

Collectors often ask me about my thought process(es) when I make coin purchases. Why do I buy certain coins and pass on others? Why do I stretch for some coins, and make others based solely on a favorable price? These are great questions and I think they are worthy of a blog.

Most coin purchases involve some sort of compromise. Very few coins are “perfect” from an appearance standpoint. A coin may have been cleaned at one time or it may have some weakness of strike or more marks in prominent locations than you would hope for. When should you compromise your standards, and when should you hold fast and true?

A lot of the answers that I would give to these questions depend on what sort of coins you are buying and whether you collect by type or by date. If you are a type collector, it is much easier to, as an example, wait for the perfect AU55 Capped Bust Right Heraldic Eagle ten dollar gold piece than it is to wait for an 1804 eagle in AU55 which is well struck and which has natural color.

Let’s look at some specifics for compromise vs. non-compromise, and use some real world examples.

1. Very Rare Coins Should Be Held to Lower Standards than Common Coins

Intuitively, you would think that the exact opposite should be true in numismatics, but it’s not.

The rarest Dahlonega half eagle is the 1842-D Large Date. It’s the only issue in the series which is genuinely hard to find in EF and higher grades with really good eye appeal. I haven’t handled a truly nice one in years, and I have numerous want lists for this date in nearly any grade. If someone offered me a marginal quality in a 45 holder tomorrow, I would invariably buy it unless it was grossly overpriced or it had some flaw that I just couldn’t get past.

1842-D Large Date $5.00 NGC AU55

The most common Dahlonega half eagle is the 1854-D. It’s kind of a blah issue, but I seldom buy this date unless it is outstanding for the date for one of the following reasons: it's 100% original, it has great color, or it is exceptional eye appeal. In other words, I’m not going to buy an 1854-D (or any other very common Dahlonega half eagle) unless there is something really exceptional about it.

If I hold the 1842-D Large Date to the same standards that I hold the 1854-D to, I’m never going to buy an example. And this is a trap that many collectors fall into.

There are a number of very rare coins that just don’t come nice. A classic example is the 1870-CC double eagle. I’ve seen or owned probably half of the surviving examples and I can’t recall more than two or three that I would regard as “choice.”  The typical example is not only well-worn but it lacks original color and has numerous abrasions. As a buyer who loves original color and tends not to like abrasions, the 1870-CC is problematical for me. Which is why I hold it to an entirely different set of standards than, say, an issue like the 1890-CC double eagle, which I can easily locate with good eye appeal.

2. If You Don't Lower Your Standards on Certain Coins, You'll Never Buy Any

Around a year ago, I began selling coins to a new collector who decided that he wanted to specialize in rare to very rare Liberty Head eagles. His collecting background was with more modern issues such as Walking Liberty half dollars and he was used to big, bright, shiny coins which were just about perfect. I warned him that he would have to use an entirely different set of standards with a coin like an 1860-S eagle; an issue which is not only extremely rare but is one with which rigorous buying standards have to be thrown out the window.

The first two transactions I had with this gentleman were disasters. He returned one very scarce coin (in a PCGS holder and with CAC approval) for having a tiny “scratch” hidden on the reverse, and another rarer one for not being as “dark and dirty” as he thought the photo and description on my website indicated. I don’t have many coins returned due to quality issues, and two have two returned by the same individual in the space of a few weeks…well, let’s just say this doesn’t happen much at DWN.

We spoke on the phone and this is what I learned: since these coins were expensive (high four figures in one case and low five figures in another) he expected them to be superb. I tried to explain to him that what constitutes “superb” in the realm of rare date eagles is entirely different than what constitutes “superb” when looking at MS66 and MS67 late date Walkers. He was using a set of standards that were totally inapplicable to rare date 19th century gold coins that were both conditionally rare and which had very low survival rates. I think we parted friends, but to this day I have never sold him another coin and don’t think he is likely to buy anything from me.

This blog is not meant to be an apology for compromising your standards. In the field of rare date gold collecting there are many coins that you can take a firm stand and not waver from it.

3. When You Want One of Something, You Can Be Fussy

More dated gold collectors are collecting by a type or by “best available neat coin” strategy and wandering from the previous standards of collecting series by date.

Let’s say you’ve decided that you like Charlotte quarter eagles but you want just two examples: a Classic Head and a Liberty Head. You are more limited with the former as there are just two Classic Head issues; the Liberty Head series offers much more flexibility with 18 different issues to choose from.

You’ve saved up and have $3,500 to spend on a really nice quarter eagle. You are someone who really values good strikes and you hate coins which are made on inferior planchets. This automatically eliminates around half to two-thirds of the possible Liberty Head issues from this mint (due to budget constraints, strike problems, or poor method of manufacture) and you can focus on the issues which make sense. The chances are good that the “right” $3,500 coin will show up in a few months; a coin with excellent striking detail, nice surfaces and the original color and surfaces that collectors now crave. It might be a “common” issue such as an 1847-Cl or it might be a scarcer issue such as an 1840-C.

Or you can just buy assorted neat coins in your price range. Let’s say you love dirty, original coins and your price point is $2,500-5,000. It doesn’t theoretically matter if you buy a PCGS AU58 1857-S gold dollar or an NGC AU50 1846-D/D half eaglel as long as the coin has character and its eye appeal “speaks” to you.

4. Be Picky on the Keys (if you collect by date)

I’ve discussed this more than once but most collectors overbuy the common dates in their chosen set(s) and underbuy the keys.

Let me give you an example of the right way to form a set. A very good client of mine has been working on a Dahlonega quarter eagle set for five or six years now. His motivation to begin this set was when I had just bought a great collection of D mint quarter eagles and was breaking them up. It just so happened that the key 1855-D and 1856-D in this collection were wonderful quality for the date: comparatively high grade, nice and original, and well-pedigreed. He realized that by purchasing both coins, he would be off to a great start and that he might not have a chance to purchase such nice examples again.

1854-D $2.50 PCGS AU58 CAC

After buying these two key issues, this collector decided that the other rarities in the set (1840-D, 1841-D, 1842-D, and 1854-D) had to be special coins. And over the course of the next five years, I was able to purchase beautiful AU55 to AU58 examples of each.

As picky as he was on the keys, he was discriminating on the common dates in the set. He bought nice AU examples but resisted the temptation to spend $15,000 on a common 1843-D when he could own a perfectly presentable example for $4,000 and funnel the savings towards another key date, or two to three more nice commons.

5. Be Picky When You Have Options

Let’s say you are a collector for whom strike is a key factor in determining whether or not you buy a coin. On some issues, you are out of luck as all known examples are found with weakness of strike (an example of this would be the 1859-C and 1860-C half eagles). Other issues are found with varieties which are well struck or poorly struck, depending on the die state (examples of this include the 1844-D and 1848-C quarter eagles).

To be a good collector in the area of rare date gold, you have to learn about each issue’s appearance. This is why the books I have written explain factors such as typical strike in great detail.

You are surfing the web and you happen on a nice, crusty 1844-D quarter eagle in a PCGS AU55 holder. It has your “look” and is priced in your wheelhouse, but the strike is very poor. If you know the intricacies of this issue, you know that around 50% of all 1844-D quarter eagles show central weakness. This means that you still have a good chance to find a well-struck example and that you should probably pass on the coin, even if you need it for your date set.


Knowing when to be picky and when to compromise is an important part of the strategies used by sophisticated collectors of all coins; not just dated gold. Do you have any stories to share about being picky or not being picky when you bought a coin? Please share them in the comments section below.


Do you buy rare gold coins?

Do you have coins to sell?

Would you like to have the world’s leading expert help you assemble a set of coins?

Contact me, Doug Winter, directly at (214) 675-9897 or by email at

How to Collect Dahlonega Gold Coins

One of the real pleasures to collecting Dahlonega gold coins is the variety of ways that the collector can pursue his avocation. Collecting these coins can range in levels of intensity from a mild flirtation to a complete obsession. As someone who has an abiding interest in these coins and who has helped many collectors with their purchases, I would like to present some suggestions on the way to collect Dahlonega gold coins. The Introductory Three Coin Set

The most basic way to collect Dahlonega coins is to purchase a single example of the gold dollar, quarter eagle, and half eagle. This makes sense for the collector who is on a limited budget or who is not certain how deep his interest in these coins lies.

A basic three coin Dahlonega set should consist of nice, problem-free coins. It also makes sense to stick to the more common dates. The grade ranges for these coins will probably fall between Extremely Fine-40 and About Uncirculated-55.

1849-D $1.00

The 1849-D is a logical choice for the gold dollar in this set, since it is the most common and the most affordable date in the series. A nice Extremely Fine coin can be purchased for $2,000-3,000, while About Uncirculated examples range from $3,000-5,000, depending on quality.

The best quarter eagles for this set are the 1843-D, 1844-D, 1846-D, or 1848-D. A nice Extremely Fine example of any these dates swill cost $2,000-3,000, while an About Uncirculated costs $3,000-5,000+ (since no Dahlonega quarter eagle can be considered “common” in the higher About Uncirculated grades, the collector of more modest means should stick with a coin in the Extremely Fine-45 to About Uncirculated-50 grade range).

There are a number of dates in the half eagle series which would fit well in this set. These include the 1843-D, 1852-D, 1853-D, and 1854-D. Any of these dates can be purchased in nice Extremely Fine for $2,500-3,000, while an About Uncirculated will be in the $3,000-5,000 range.

An alternative to this set would be to buy all three denominations with the same date. This is feasible for the issues dated 1849-D, 1850-D, and 1851-D. Sets from 1852-D, 1853-D, 1857-D, and 1859-D could also be assembled, but least one coin in each of these sets is a scarcer, somewhat more expensive issue.

The basic three coin set can be further expanded by adding an 1854-D three dollar gold piece. Only 1,120 examples of this date were struck, and 1854 is the only year in which a coin of this denomination was produced in Dahlonega. An acceptable Very Fine example of this popular and rare issue can be purchased for $15,000-20,000, while an Extremely Fine will cost between $20,000 and $30,000+.

The Basic and Expanded Basic Type Sets

A type set of Dahlonega gold coins includes one example of each major type struck at this mint. Such a set includes the following:

  • Type One gold dollar (1849-1854)
  • Type Two gold dollar (1855 only)
  • Type Three gold dollar (1856-1861)
  • Classic Head quarter eagle (1839 only)
  • Liberty Head quarter eagle (1840-1859)
  • Three dollar gold piece (1854 only)
  • Classic Head half eagle (1838 only)
  • Liberty Head, obverse mintmark half eagle (1839 only)
  • Liberty Head, reverse mintmark (1840-1861)

A set such as this makes for an extremely interesting display. The various designs employed in striking these nine major types provide a graphic illustration of the artistic and historic record of the Dahlonega Mint.

Most collectors who assemble a nine piece Dahlonega type set do so in grades that range from Extremely Fine-40 to About Uncirculated-55. It would be virtually impossible to complete this set in Mint State as two of these types – the Type Two gold dollar and the three dollar gold piece – are extremely rare in Uncirculated.

The specific coins included in a Dahlonega type set are generally the more common dates. Some collectors, however, use better dates in order to make their sets more interesting and potentially more valuable.

A nicely matched set of Extremely Fine-40 to Extremely Fine-45 coins will cost approximately $80,000 and $100,000. The two most expensive coins in this set would be the Type Two gold dollar and the three dollar gold piece. Together, these coins would account for at least half of the total cost.

A set with all of the coins grading About Uncirculated-50 to About Uncirculated-55 could be assembled for approximately $125,000-150,00. The cost of this set could be significantly reduced if the Type Two gold dollar and the three dollar gold piece were nice Extremely Fine coins, as opposed to About Uncirculated-50 or better.

This set can be further expanded if the Liberty Head, reverse mintmark half eagle is represented by an example with Small Letters on the reverse (i.e., a coin struck from 1840-1842) and by an example with Large Letters on the reverse (i.e., a coin struck from 1843-1861). The addition of this one extra coin would increase the cost of an Extremely Fine set by approximately $2,500-3,500, and an About Uncirculated set by $5,000-10,000.

Collecting by Denomination

Some collectors feel a certain affinity for a specific denomination. All three of the primary denominations struck at the Dahlonega Mint have their pros and cons.

The size of the gold dollar is a major turn-off to many collectors. It is hard to justify paying thousands – or even tens of thousands – of dollars for a coin that is about the size of an average adult’s thumbnail.

Another negative about the Dahlonega gold dollar series is the fact that many are among the most crudely struck coins ever produced in this country. They are certainly not pretty enough that they can be shown to admiring friends, and their crudeness puzzles most non-specialists.

The very reasons that cause some people to dislike gold dollars are the same reasons that others like them. Like the runt of the litter, they are so small and can be so ugly that this gives them a certain charm. Their crudeness adds to their allure as well. Just like a classic New England folk art portrait from the 18th or early 19th century, a Dahlonega gold dollar paints an accurate picture of the harshness and uncertainty of life in North Georgia in the decade leading up to the Civil War.

Another factor which attracts people to the gold dollar series are the small original mintage figures which many of these coins have. Only one of the thirteen has a mintage of over 10,000 coins, and five have mintages of 3,000 or less.

The Dahlonega gold dollar series is the most expensive of the three denominations to collect on a coin-by-coin basis. A complete set of thirteen coins in nice Extremely Fine grades will cost approximately $100,000+.

Every Dahlonega gold dollar is reasonably available in About Uncirculated grades, and the obstacles to completing such a set are available funds and the level of fussiness that a specific collector has. A complete set in grades ranging from About Uncirculated-50 to About Uncirculated-58 will cost approximately $150,000-200,000+. A complete set in Mint State is a formidable but not impossible challenge if the collector is patient, and  if he works with a knowledgeable specialized dealer who can assist him in locating such rare issues as the 1855-D, 1856-D, 1860-D, and 1861-D.

1861-D $1.00

The Dahlonega quarter eagles are the most challenging of the three denominations. They can also be the most frustrating. Many collectors seek immediate gratification as they build a set. Assembling a high quality, complete set of Dahlonega quarter eagles requires a great deal of patience. A number of dates in this series (such as the 1840-D, 1841-D, 1842-D, and the 1854-D through 1856-D) are quite rare in any grade, and high quality examples are very challenging to locate. This is further compounded by the fact that many are found with crude strikes and poorly-prepared planchets.

The extreme difficulty of putting together a Dahlonega quarter set is what attracts many collectors. They appreciate the fact that they cannot assemble a set merely by making a few phone calls to dealers or attending an auction or two. They believe, correctly, that the best coins to buy are the ones that do not become available with any degree of frequency.

It is a realistic goal to assemble the complete set of twenty quarter eagles in Extremely Fine-40 to Extremely Fine-45 grades. Such a set should cost approximately $125,000-175,000. In About Uncirculated grades, this set becomes very difficult to assemble. A number of dates (such as the 1840-D, 1841-D, 1842-D, 1845-D, 1855-D, and 1856-D) are rare and costly in the upper ranges of About Uncirculated. The cost of such a set is approximately $200,000-300,000+.

The Dahlonega half eagle set is the most popular of the three denominations. One of the reasons is the relatively large size of these coins. Another is the fact that almost every date is fairly easy to obtain in medium grades. And finally, this is the most affordable of the three sets on a coin-by-coin basis.

A complete set of Dahlonega half eagles includes all twenty-four of the dates struck from 1838 through 1861, as well as the 1842-D Large Date and the 1846-D over D mintmark (for a total of twenty-six coins). A set of nice Extremely Fine coins costs approximately $100,000-150,000.

A complete set of half eagles in About Uncirculated is much more challenging. The 1842-D Large Date and the 1861-D are both  rare in any About Uncirculated grade. Other dates, such as the 1840-D, 1846-D Normal Mintmark, and the 1850-D are very scarce, even in the lower About Uncirculated grades, and years may pass before an especially choice piece may become available. A set of Dahlonega half eagles grading About Uncirculated-50 to About Uncirculated-58 costs approximately $200,000-300,000+.

Assembling a Complete Set of Dahlonega Gold

Once people start collecting Dahlonega gold coins, they often get bitten by the bug and decide to assemble a complete set.

A complete set of Dahlonega gold is generally understood to contain the following:

  • Gold Dollars: A total of thirteen issues struck between 1849-1861.
  • Quarter Eagles: A total of twenty issues struck between 1839-1859.
  • Three Dollar Gold Pieces: A total of one issue struck in 1854.
  • Half Eagles: A total of twenty-six issues struck between 1838-1861.

For half eagles,this includes both major varieties struck in 1842 (Large Date and Small Date), and both major varieties struck in 1846 (Normal Mintmark and D Over D Mintmark).

This is a grand total of sixty different issues, covering four different denominations.

Assembling a complete set of Dahlonega gold coins is challenging but very popular. Unlike many other mints, there is no single unobtainable issue that is either prohibitively rare, or essentially unobtainable.

I would make the following suggestions to any new collector who is considering putting together a complete set of Dahlonega gold coins:

1. Be patient. You can complete a set in a few months, but the changes are good that by rushing you will make a number of mistakes. Wait for the “right coin” to come along.

2. Stretch for outstanding coins. Truly choice, high end, Dahlonega gold coins are very hard to locate – regardless of date or denomination. Don’t miss the chance to own an important coin merely because you think the price is a little too much. In the long run, the decision to buy high quality coins will pay for itself.

3. Buy the best you can afford. If you are unable to spend $20,000+ on an About Uncirculated 1842-D Large Date half eagle, then wait until you have the chance to purchase a nice quality $10,000 example in Extremely Fine-45. Figure out a budget for each coin, and try to use this as a basis in making your collecting decisions.

4. Buy the rarest coins first. For each denomination, there are certain Dahlonega gold issues that are extremely hard to find. As an example, the 1840-D and 1856-D are often the last two pieces collectors add to their Dahlonega quarter eagle sets. If the opportunity presents itself, try to purchase these coins before the more common issues – such as the 1843-D or the 1848-D. You should always assume the following when assembling a complete set: your opportunities to purchase truly rare coins will be infrequent, while your opportunities to purchase the relatively common issues should be more frequent.

5. Buy with eye appeal in mind. The overall value of a set of coins is greatly enhanced when the individual pieces have good overall eye appeal. As an example, the finest known collection of Dahlonega gold coins (the Duke's Creek collection) was sold to an investor in 2003 for a figure in excess of four million dollars. Every coin in this set was extremely choice and had lovely, original coloration. This resulted in the collective value of the set being at least 15-20% greater than if the coins had been valued on an individual basis.

The final cost of assembling a complete set of Dahlonega gold coins is within the reach of many collectors. A set which has coins ranging from Extremely Fine-40 to Extremely Fine-45  costs in the area of $300,000-500,000+. A set which consists of coins grading from About Uncirculated-50 to About Uncirculated-58  costs approximately $600,000-800,000+.

As stated above, it would be extremely difficult (but not impossible!) to assemble a complete set of Dahlonega coins in Uncirculated grade. But a few people have managed to complete certain denominations in Uncirculated grade and the famous Duke's Creek set was complete in MS60 and above.

Collecting by Die Variety

Certain types of United States coins, such as large cents struck from 1793 to 1814, and half dollars produced from 1794 to 1836, are avidly collected by die variety. There are very few die variety collectors who focus on gold coins. This could possibly change in the future as more information about these varieties becomes available.

There are already some significant die varieties from the Dahlonega Mint that have made their way into the mainstream. Two examples of these are the 1842-D Large Date half eagle, and the 1846-D Over D Mintmark half eagle.

There are a number of other Dahlonega varieties that have yet to become regarded as essential components of a set. Some are very important and will probably be accepted in the near future. They are as follows:

1. 1843-D Large Mintmark Quarter Eagle: Of the 36,209 quarter eagles struck at the Dahlonega Mint in 1843, only 3,537 used the Large Mintmark which was to be found on coins dates 1844 and later. This is a significant and easy to recognize variety, which is many times rarer than the 1843-D Small Mintmark. PCGS and NGC both recognize this variety.

2. 1846 D Near D Mintmark Quarter Eagle: A small number of 1846-D quarter eagles were struck from a reverse which clearly shows traces of an errant mintmark to the left of the “regular” mintmark. This variety has is recognized by PCGS and NGC and is already included by most advanced Dahlonega collectors in their sets.

     Are you interested in beginning a collection of Dahlonega gold coins? As the wrold's leading expert, I am well-qualified to assist you. Please contact me directly via email at

3. 1841-D Medium D Mintmark Half Eagle: Of the 29,392 half eagles struck at the Dahlonega Mint in 1841, only 4,105 used the Medium Mintmark which had been employed on coins dated 1840-D. This variety is quite rare and easy to recognize. It should sell for a significant premium over the 1841-D Small Mintmark. It is recognized by PCGS and NGC.

4. 1843-D Small Mintmark Half Eagle: This variety uses the same reverse as on the 1842-D Small Date half eagle. It is much scarcer than the 1843-D Large Mintmark, and may someday be recognized as such. This is another variety that PCGS and NGC both recognize.

5. 1848-D Over Low D Mintmark Half Eagle: This variety is similar in origin to the better known 1846-D Over D Mintmark half eagle, except that it is much rarer. On many examples, it is hard to see the first mintmark punch. Coins which clearly show the errant first punch are rare and desirable. This variety has recently been recognized by PCGS and is already included by most advanced Dahlonega collectors in their sets.




How To Collect Charlotte Gold Coins

There are many ways to collect Charlotte gold. Some people have only a mild interest in these coins and may buy just one or two pieces. Other people are more serious and they have a large number of Charlotte issues in their collection. A small number of Charlotte collectors are obsessives who focus exclusively on these pieces and do not collect anything else. I would like to make some suggestions on how to collect Charlotte gold. In my experience, all of these ideas have merit and none is “better” than the other. It depends on the tastes and budget of an individual collector to determine which one(s) is right for him. I. THE INTRODUCTIORY THREE COIN SET

The most basic way to collect Charlotte gold is to purchase a single example of the gold dollar, quarter eagle and half eagle denominations. This is a very good way to collect for the individual who has a limited budget or who is not certain how deep his interest lies in Charlotte gold.

A basic three coin set of Charlotte gold should consist of nice, problem-free pieces. It would make sense to focus on the more common dates although some collectors might prefer to include some scarcer issues. The grade range for these coins is likely to fall in the Extremely Fine-40 to About Uncirculated-58 range.

The 1851-C is the most logical choice for the gold dollar in this set as it is the most common and affordable date. A pleasing Extremely Fine can be obtained for $1,500 or so. About Uncirculated pieces range from $1,750 to $3,500 depending on quality.

The optimum quarter eagle for this set is the 1847-C as it is the most common date of this denomination from Charlotte by a large margin. A nice Extremely Fine example costs around $2,000 while About Uncirculated coins range from $2,500 to $4,000. It is possible to upgrade to a much scarcer date without paying a substantial premium. As an example, the 1843-C Large Date sells for around the same price in Extremely Fine as does the 1847-C but it is much harder to locate.

In About Uncirculated, the 1847-C used to be much less expensive than all other Charlotte quarter eagles but the price spread has diminished in the last few years. This, in my opinion, makes dates such as the 1843-C Large Date, 1848-C and 1858-C very interesting alternatives, especially in the lower range of the About Uncirculated grades.

There are many dates in the half eagle series that would work well in this type set. These include the 1849-C, 1852-C, 1853-C and 1858-C. Any of these can be purchased in nice Extremely Fine for around $2,500 while About Uncirculated coins are priced in the $3,000-6,000 range.

An alternative to the standard three coin set would be to purchase the same date for all three denominations. This is feasible for issues dated 1849-C, 1850-C, 1851-C and 1852-C. A set from 1855 could also be assembled but the gold dollar and the quarter eagle from this year are quite expensive in higher grades.


A type set of Charlotte gold coins includes one example of each major type struck at this mint. Such a set includes the following:

  • Type One gold dollar (1849-1853)
  • Type Two gold dollar (1855 only)
  • Type Three gold dollar (1857 and 1859)
  • Classic Head quarter eagle (1838-39)
  • Liberty Head quarter eagle (1840-1860)
  • Classic Head half eagle (1838 only)
  • Liberty Head, obverse mintmark half eagle (1839 only)
  • Liberty Head, reverse mintmark half eagle (1840-1861)

A total of eight types were struck at the Charlotte mint. This includes three that were struck only in one year. A complete eight piece type set is an excellent display item. The various designs used in striking these coins provide a graphic illustration of the artistic and historic record of the Charlotte mint.

Most collectors who assemble an eight piece Charlotte type set do so in grades ranging from Extremely Fine-40 to About Uncirculated-58. This set could be completed in Uncirculated but it would be very difficult to do given the rarity of the 1838-C Classic Head half eagle in Mint State.

The coins that are included in a Charlotte type set are generally the more common dates. Some collectors use better dates in order to make their sets more interesting and potentially more valuable. I would strongly recommend that the collector include at least a few better dates.

A nicely matched Extremely Fine set should cost approximately $25,000-30,000. The most expensive coins in the set are the 1838-C half eagle, the 1839-C half eagle and the 1855-C gold dollar.

A set that consists of all eight coins in About Uncirculated-50 to About Uncirculated-58 can be assembled for approximately $50,000-100,000+. The cost could be significantly reduced if the Type Two gold dollar and the 1838-C and 1839-C half eagles were nice Extremely Fine coins as opposed to About Uncirculated-50 or better.


Each of the three denominations struck at the Charlotte mint are popular with collectors. For various reasons, some of which will be discussed below, some collectors feel an affinity towards a specific denomination.

Collectors generally love or hate the gold dollar. The small size of this coin (13 or 15mm. depending on the type) sharply divides the collecting community. Some collectors find it hard to fathom paying thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to pay for a coin that is the size of an average adult’s thumbnail. Another negative factor about Charlotte gold dollars is the crudeness with which they were struck. If you are not a specialist it may be tough to “get” a coin that is this crude.

The reasons that cause some people to dislike gold dollars are the same reasons that other people like them. Their crudeness has an odd allure and their small size gives them a distinct charm.

Collectors also like gold dollars because of their low mintage figures. With the exception of the 1851-C, each issue from Charlotte has an original mintage figure of 14,000 or less. Four of the eight have mintages lower than 10,000.

On a coin by coin basis the Charlotte gold dollar series is relatively affordable. A set of eight coins in Extremely Fine should be completable for approximately $20,000. Every Charlotte gold dollar can be found in About Uncirculated grades without great difficulty. The only obstacles to completing a set in this range are available funds and the level of fussiness that a collector brings to the set. Figure on spending $35,000-40,000+ for a mid-range About Uncirculated set and double this amount for a very high end About Uncirculated set.

A complete set in Uncirculated could be assembled but it would be difficult due to the rarity of the 1855-C and 1857-C. Assuming that these two issues are available, a complete set in Mint State-60 to Mint State-63 could be assembled for $100,000-150,000+.

The Charlotte quarter eagles are the most challenging of the three denominations. Assembling a set of these requires patience and dedication. Many are very rare in higher grades. Others have peculiarities of strike that make it hard to find pieces with good eye appeal. The rarest Charlotte quarter eagles are the 1842-C, 1843-C Small Date, 1846-C and 1855-C. These are hard to find in all grades and rare in properly graded About Uncirculated.

There are a total of twenty issues in the Charlotte quarter eagle set. This includes two varieties from 1843: the Small Date and the Large Date. No quarter eagles were produced at this mint in 1845, 1853, 1857 and 1859.

It is a realistic goal to complete this set in Extremely Fine grades. The cost of such a set would be in the area of $55,000-65,000. In About Uncirculated this set is still realistically completable but assembling an attractive, well-matched set requires time and patience. It is not unrealistic to set aside a budget of as much as $250,000 for a world-class About Uncirculated set for choice, high end coins with original surfaces. Completing a set of Charlotte quarter eagles in Uncirculated is possible but exceptionally difficult. There are a number of issues such as the 1839-C, 1842-C, 1848-C, 1849-C and 1856-C that have extremely few truly Mint State pieces known to exist.

A complete set of Charlotte half eagles consists of twenty-four coins. This includes two varieties struck in 1842 (the Small Date and the Large Date) and none in 1845.

The half eagles are the most popular denomination from this mint. One of the reasons for this has to do with the relatively large size of these coins. Another has to do with the fact that every issue except for one (the rare 1842-C Small Date) is reasonably easy to obtain in the higher circulated grades.

A set of nice Extremely Fine Charlotte half eagles should cost in the neighborhood of $100,000-125,000 with a good chunk of this set aside for the 1842-C Small Date. A complete set in About Uncirculated is challenging but less difficult than for the quarter eagles. A set of well-matched, original Charlotte half eagles in About Uncirculated would require a budget of approximately $200,000-250,000+. Completing a set in Uncirculated is very difficult but not impossible. The stoppers in this set include the 1838-C, 1840-C, 1842-C Small Date, 1846-C and 1854-C.


Some collectors get hooked on Charlotte gold and decide to assemble a complete set. A complete set of Charlotte gold is generally understood to contain the following:

  • Gold Dollars: A total of nine issues struck between 1849 and 1859. One of these, the 1849-C Open Wreath, is excessively rare with just four or five known to exist. Because of its rarity, it is not included in most sets but it is still regarded as an important member of the Charlotte series.
  • Quarter Eagles: A total of twenty issues produced between 1838 and 1860.
  • Half Eagles: A total of twenty-four issues struck between 1838 and 1861.

The final cost of assembling a complete set of Charlotte coinage (minus the excessively rare 1849-C Open Wreath gold dollar) is within the reach of many collectors. A set that focuses on nice Extremely Fine coins would cost approximately $200,000. A set that consists of nice About Uncirculated coins would cost anywhere from $600,000 up to $800,000+.

Due to new discoveries and relaxed grading standards it is now possible for a collector to assemble a complete set of Charlotte coins in Uncirculated grades.

To the best of my knowledge, no collector has assembled a totally complete set of Charlotte gold in Uncirculated. I know of at least two or three collectors who have assembled the complete set (including the extremely rare 1849-C Open Wreath gold dollar) but none of these have contained Uncirculated examples of this variety.

The finest collections ever assembled of Charlotte coins include the Stanley Elrod collection (sold privately in 1994 and now, unfortunately, split into numerous parts), the Paul Dingler collection (which included the only known complete set of Mint State Charlotte quarter eagles and half eagles; it was purchased by Heritage Coin Galleries and myself a few years ago) and the William Miller collection (sold by Heritage at auction in 1999).

A Source List For Supplies

In over twenty years as a professional numismatist, I have discovered some excellent supplies and "peripherals" that make my business easier and more pleasurable. I'd like to share some of these with you. Coin Viewing: I generally use a 5x magnifier when I am viewing coins. In my opinion, anything stronger than this makes even the nicest coin look bad and does not present a realistic view of its appearance. When it comes to magnifiers, nothing compares to German optics. The best magnifiers I have ever seen are made by Zeiss. These are very expensive and given the fact that they can be easily lost, you may not want to spend this much (typically in the $100-200 range). I use Eschenbach magnifiers. They are reasonably priced (around $50 for a compact unit) and last forever.

An equally important component of coin viewing is lighting. When I am grading coins, I like to use a small, intense halogen source. The best halogen lamp I have found is made by Zelco. One model I like is the "Micro," which comes in a variety of colors and sizes. These can be purchased at a good lighting store or over the Internet.

Coin Insurance: If you have a collection that is worth more than a few thousand dollars, you should consider purchasing insurance. The insurance policy should cover your coins while they in storage and in transit. If you bring your coins home from time to time, make certain that your insurance is also applicable to your residence.

Most traditional insurance companies do not understand collectibles so it is wise to look for a specialist. I have used North American Collectibles for a number of years (as do many dealers) and can highly recommend them. Speak with Barbara Wingo at (410) 857-5011 and ask for an application.

Coin Storage: Unless you live in a house with exceptional security, you need to store your coins in a secure area. If you haven't already done so, I would strongly recommend going to your local bank and renting a safe deposit box. Most banks charge $100 per year for a good-sized box.

If you live in an area that has above-average humidity, consider placing a desiccant (moisture remover) in your safe deposit box. There are a few good products available; call one of the supply dealers listed below for suggestions. If you collect mint red copper coins and live in a humid area, it is IMPERATIVE that you use a good desiccant.

Coin Boxes: I use two types of boxes to store my coins. My favorite is the hard plastic model sold by NGC. These fit twenty pieces and unlike the boxes made by PCGS, they comfortably fit coins graded by both major services. They cost around $5.00 each and can be ordered through NGC's customer service department (800-NGC-COIN).

For larger numbers of coins, I like the traditional "big red boxes" that are made from reinforced cardboard. These boxes, which also come in black, can be ordered from any good supply company for just a few dollars each.

Briefcases: If you plan to take a significant amount of merchandise to a coin show to sell, you will need a good case to transport it. I strongly recommend a canvas case that has a telescoping handle and wheels. I have burned my way through numerous expensive cases and found that the best rolling case I have yet to buy is the $50-75 version from Office Depot.

If this is not classy enough for you, look into a leather salesman's sample case or a ballistic nylon case from a manufacturer such as Tumi. I would strongly caution you against purchasing a fancy metal case (such as a Halliburton) as these are very heavy and conspicuous. In fact, they virtually scream at all viewers that "I am carrying something expensive. Please rob me!"

Shipping Supplies: It is a good idea to have some basic shipping supplies on hand. I would highly recommend purchasing safe-t-mailers. These are self-adhesive ribbed cardboard holders that fit inside a number of envelope sizes. They can be purchased from any of the supply dealers below.

You should also make certain you have a supply of padded mailers and tape. These can be found at any good local office supply company.

Coin Books, New: There are a number of good sources for new books. The American Numismatic Association ( has an excellent selection of new books. Both Coin World and Krause Publications feature books that they have published, including a number of must-have titles for the gold coin collector. Any of the book dealers listed below will have a number of titles that are important.

Coin Books, Scarce and Out-of-Print: As you become more serious about coins, it is likely that your thirst for knowledge will increase. For many series, there are few current references and you will have to search for scarcer, out-of-print books, monographs, and auction catalogs. I strongly recommend establishing a good relationship with one or more of the following dealers. Let them know your interests and get on their mailing lists.

Charles Davis:

George Kolbe:

Fred Lake:

Karl Moulton:

Recommended Supply Dealers:

Brooklyn Galleries ( 718-745-5701

J.T. Stanton ( 912-232-8655

TransLine ( 714-258-0963

South Park Coins ( 972-564-6995