By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek….

 A CoinWeek field report from Whitman Expo Baltimore….

For one lucky youngster–12-year-old Cole Bank–the opening day of the Spring coin show was one to remember.

Dressed in Orioles orange and black, he was the first person in line to purchase and receive a 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum commemorative coin. CoinWeek shot exclusive footage of Cole immediately after he made his purchase, and then caught up with him at a special one-on-one meeting with Baseball Hall of Famer and Orioles great Brooks Robinson. Having Brooks on hand for the official release of the coin was a pitch perfect move by the Mint, given Robinson’s ties to Baltimore and the fact that, like coin designer Cassie McFarland’s glove motif, Robinson was well known for flashing the leather. So much so that Robinson won a record 16 Gold Gloves.

cole1 Whitman Expo Baltimore Coin Show Report: Part 1Speaking of gold gloves (coins, that is), I overheard at dinner that the gold coin program has already sold out its 50,000 coin mintage. Industry insiders I talked to were surprised that this happened so soon.

But while the baseball commemoratives are the star of the show, the Mint’s other efforts are well worth your time.

From a quality perspective, the gold and silver coins on hand in Baltimore are very nice, with the expected number of PR- and MS-70s. The clad half dollars, which, due to the harder planchet metal, are less likely to come in perfect grades (especially in the uncirculated type)… some of the issues holding many of them back are unstruck out planchet flaws. Still, there’ll be more MS-70 halves this year than last, when the Five Star General half proved incredibly scarce in perfect grades. This information comes to us via PCGS Senior Grader Michael “Miles” Standish.

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Ike Group head Andy Oskam stopped by the CoinWeek booth and told us that the Ike Group was preparing to launch a DIVA (Designated Ike Variety) catalog system and attribution service. As an active member of the Ike Group, I was aware that Andy and fellow member Steve Paladino were undertaking this extensive endeavor. That the new program is almost ready to launch should be welcome news for Ike dollar collectors.

The Group is preparing to certify more than 70 varieties and believes this merely scratches the surface of this enigmatic 20th century series.

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redbook2014sm Whitman Expo Baltimore Coin Show Report: Part 1The 2015 Red Book debuted at the show. Whitman editor and Red Book contributor Dennis Tucker was here sporting a Red Book contributor badge, given out every year to price guide contributors. The 2015 edition is the 68th of this long-running and important series. We have scheduled a video interview with Dennis for Friday to discuss the lasting appeal of the Red Book and its place in numismatic history today. If we’re fortunate, we should also get some footage of Whitman guest presenter, former Mint Director and author Edmond Moy

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In the afternoon, the Smithsonian Institution held a special event concerning the construction and inauguration of a major new display for the National Numismatic Collection.

John Gray, Director of the National Museum of American History, and Jennifer Jones, Smithsonian Chair in charge of the numismatic collection, gave presentations about the ongoing renovations and fund-raising work ahead of the 2015 relaunch of the NNC public display.

smithsonian gallery Whitman Expo Baltimore Coin Show Report: Part 1The exhibit will feature a cladded (read:metallic) exterior and bank vault-door at the entrance, designed to show the valuable nature of the exhibit’s contents. Inside, two-sided viewing of notes and coins will line the walls. There will also be dozens of drawers that museum guests can open. The drawer exhibits will be rotated in and out on a regular basis.

The museum space will highlight important themes like culture, symbolism, and the projection of Liberty, prestige, and national strength. The Smithsonian will also focus on the evolution of money, from “primitive” forms (such as beads, shells, and Yap Stones), to specie and “advanced” forms like credit cards and virtual currency (such as Bitcoin).

The Smithsonian has also begun a massive archival project, the scope of which is unprecedented in numismatic history.Using medium format cameras, the museum is shooting thousands of sheets of proofs from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing at 800 dpi. The images are then cataloged and uploaded online, where volunteers provide item descriptions.

You can check it out for yourself at https://transcription.si.edu/.

We were also told that the museum is close to hiring a new curator to oversee the National Numismatic Collection. The position has sat vacant since the passing of Richard G. Doty in June 2013. A decision between the final two candidates will be announced in April.

CoinWeek will follow this major story as it unfolds.

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Finally, Stack’s was pleased with the results of their March 27 Auction. The headline was the sale of a rarely offered Nobel Peace Prize Medal. The Medal in question was awarded in 1936 to Argentinean Carlos Saavedra Lamas. The historic piece had a circuitous journey to the auction block, having been trading in South America for scrap before being discovered. A private collector from Asia was the winning bidder. The winning bid (with buyer’s premium) was $1,116,000, blowing away presale estimates.

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That’s it for a busy Day One at the Whitman Expo Baltimore. We’ll continue to share our coverage from the show in the days ahead. If you’re in Baltimore, be sure to stop by and see us.

 

charlesmorgan Whitman Expo Baltimore Coin Show Report: Part 1Charles Morgan is a member of the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, the Numismatic Literary Guild, Central States Numismatic Society, and the Richmond Coin Club. Together with his co-author Hubert Walker (ANA, NLG), he has written numerous articles for publication online and in print, including two 2013 NLG award-winning articles for CoinWeek.com.

Want to know what we’re up to? Follow Charles on Twitter.

 

 

 

© March 2014 COINWeek.com, LLC.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Louis Golino says:

    On one of the coin blog sites there are some posts about collectors trying to pay Cole Bank to take his first place in line and other collectors hounding him and his father after the purchase to sell the coin he bought which had a COA signed by the Mint’s marketing director. Some people just have no class. Imagine trying to take advantage of a 12 year old boy dressed in an Orioles uniform.

  2. joe s. says:

    I wonder how long that kid had to wait in line to be first. Hours? Days? lol. Was a signature worth it?

    • Louis Golino says:

      In the video which CoinWeek did he said about an hour and that his father did a lot of the waiting. It appears it was very much worth it for him, but not for monetary reasons.

      The coin will be very valuable as he can document his was the very first one sold anywhere with all the interviews done with him. He says he does not plan to sell it. A true collector.

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