Spring is here, and the bourse was filled with dealers and their numismatic displays at the April Greater Atlanta Coin Show.

The morning was busy with lots of people visiting the bourse. As is usual, the afternoon's traffic was not as busy as the morning.

The many visitors walked the bourse looking at the coins, currency and other items. Some people looked for specific items while others browsed for a treasure that piqued their interest. Some people came to sell items and other came just to look.

All of you are welcome and we're glad you came.

As for the weather, it was a gray day. The morning started with just enough raindrops to wet the outdoor surfaces and soon dried. However, by the end of the day, the rain moved back into the area with some strong showers. Hey, it's April Showers season after all.

Some of our dealers traveled to the Baltimore show and were talking about the variety of events there.
One event sparking interest, of course, was the US Mint's sales of the new 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame coin. People formed a line - a long line - to purchase the new coins at the Baltimore show.

Based on that example, perhaps the new baseball coin will be popular. That's good in the supply and demand equation. The higher the demand for a limited supply yields a higher value for the coins.

Some people buy at the Mint's prices and immediately sell for a profit. Others appreciate the artistry and buy the coins for their beauty in addition to their value.

Now, if the coins remain popular, will the Mint increase their production levels? Can they choose to make more of the coins than the law specifies? Or, do they have to go back to Congress for the increase?
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Coin Show

Coin Show - Monthly Notes from April 2014

Well, there were some discussions at the Sunday show about the "Full Steps" on a Jefferson Nickel.

That's what "FS" means - Full Steps.

Since FS can be applied to either five or six full steps, some people add either a 5 or a 6 to the FS to signify how many full steps are on the coin.

Interestingly, PCGS shows their population levels for many of the FS Jefferson nickels from 1938 through 1964.

Back to the ANA Grading Standards book, they give the Jefferson Nickel Full Steps as an example of a Full Details coin. As a result of either striking weakness or die weakness, the steps of Monticello are frequently weak, especially in circulating coins.
Per Public Law 112-152 signed in August 2012, the maximum mintages are 50,000 for the $5 gold, 400,000 for the $1 silver and 750,000 for the $0.50 clad coins.

The law should be the limit, but......

Several (many) of the coins sold in Baltimore were purchased by dealers.

The dealers immediately took the coins to the grading services.

Perhaps as a reflection on the US Mint's improved processes, many of the first baseball coins returned with a grade of MS-69 or MS-70.
The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins has the following definitions:

MS-69 - Has very attractive sharp strike and full original luster for the date and mint, with no more than two small non-detracting contact marks or flaws. No hairlines or scuff marks can be seen. Has exceptional eye appeal. If copper, the coin is bright, with original color and luster.

Contact Marks - one or two miniscule. None in prime focal areas.
Hairlines - none visible.
Luster - very attractive. Fully original.
Eye Appeal - Exceptional

MS-70 - The perfect coin. Has very attractive sharp strike and original luster of the highest quality for the date and mint. No contact marks are visible under magnification. There are no noticeable hairlines, scuff marks or defects. Eye appeal is attractive and outstanding. If copper, the coin is bright, with full original color and luster.

Contact Marks - none show under magnification.
Hairlines - none show under magnification.
Luster - very attractive. Fully original.
Eye Appeal - Outstanding
Now, a question would be, did those dealers have a discerning eye and only submit those coins that would grade that high? Or, did they submit all the coins they purchased?

Either way, there are several of the newly minted baseball coins in new holders with both a high grade and first release listed on the label.

In another grading discussion, are you familiar with the "FS" at the end of a grade, for example, MS-66FS?

As is true of beauty, the number of steps is in the eye of the beholder at least with the earlier Jefferson nickels. The grading rules for later versions are more clearly defined and less dependent on judgement.

Have fun with a magnifying glass, some nickels - the earlier the better - and counting steps!

Make plans to visit the next Greater Atlanta Coin Show on Sunday, May 4, 2014 with its coin dealers and their showcases filled with coins, currency, jewelry and other collectibles.