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August 10, 2023
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The Most Exciting Moment of My Career

One does not quickly forget placing a multi-million-dollar winning bid on one of the rarest US coins.

This week's 2023 ANA convention marks the 20th anniversary of the rediscovery of the missing Walton 1913 Liberty Nickel. I was asked to be part of the team that authenticated the coin for the Walton heirs who had come forward with the coin. Ten years later, in 2013, my company purchased the coin at auction. My purchase of the 1913 Liberty Nickel was one of the most exciting experiences of my numismatic career. The following is a detailed account of what happened that night.

Over the years, when asked about the most expensive coin I have ever sold, my mind quickly races with memories of April 25, 2013. Our team was attending the Central States Convention in Rosemont, Illinois, and the show had just concluded for the day. An important auction was being held that night at the convention, with the star lot being one of the legendary 1913 Liberty Nickels. Only five examples are known of this classic rarity, and for decades it has been one of the most coveted United States coins. The example being offered that night had been missing since the 1960s, until its rediscovery in 2003. The Walton family decided to part with the coin, and a room of about 300 people were waiting anxiously for it to cross the auction block.


1913 Liberty Head Nickel once owned by George Walton
Click images to enlarge.


I was on the way to dinner with my son, Ben, when my cell phone rang. One of my closest dealer friends, Larry Lee, was calling back about an inquiry I had made days earlier. Larry had several important retail clients who I thought might be interested in owning a 1913 Liberty Nickel. In actuality, Larry had decided he wanted to own the "holy grail" of numismatics himself. Larry agreed to split the coin with me, with him owning the majority interest.

July 27, 2023
3 view(s) 6 min read


With so many ways to go about collecting coins, Jeff Garrett shares suggestions on how to tackle collecting die varieties.

One of the most highly anticipated numismatic books of the year is the soon-to-be-released Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins, Sixth Edition, Volume II. The book is to be released August 1, 2023. I am sure Whitman Publishing will have copies available for sale at the Pittsburgh ANA World’s Fair of Money. The book is very complex and has been in the works for quite some time. Congratulations to Editor Larry Briggs and the Whitman team on the herculean efforts to bring the book to press.

Collecting coins by die variety is usually for more advanced collectors, but there are many ways to participate in this fascinating segment of numismatics. In the last several months, a client of mine has become quite involved with collecting Morgan Silver Dollars because of the 2021 and 2023 tribute coins. This client is quite studious and has spent considerable time learning the series. Every once in a while, he will ask a question about collecting Morgan Dollars that may seem obvious to seasoned collectors, but clearly is not to someone new to the hobby.

His most recent inquiry was about the subject of Morgan Dollar varieties. The question is a very good one: what are varieties and which coins are part of a complete Morgan Dollar set? This same question could be asked for about every series, and the answer is actually quite complex.


1887/6 Top-100 VAM-2 Morgan Dollar from NGC Coin Explorer
Click images to enlarge.


According to the NGC website, the term variety is defined as follows: A variety is a coin that differs from its basic design type in some distinctive way and is thus differentiated by collectors. This is a good definition of the term, but it does not necessarily give an indication about how to collect them. Collecting by die variety is about as old as the hobby itself in the United States. Many of the most active early collectors of US Colonial coinage and Large Cents collected by die variety. This part of the market is very mature and there are thousands of collectors devoted to owning as many different Large Cent varieties as possible.

July 13, 2023
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America's Greatest Coin Show!

As the ANA World's Fair of Money quickly approaches, Jeff Garrett reminisces about the importance of the major rare coin convention.


In the next few weeks, everyone in my company will be making plans for the upcoming World’s Fair of Money that will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from August 8-12, 2023. The show is put on by the American Numismatic Association (ANA), with the organization holding the annual convention since the early part of the last century.

The ANA World's Fair of Money is by far the most important rare coin convention held each year in the United States. Dealers and Mints from around the world attend to display their wares. Nearly 10,000 collectors are expected to attend the 2023 Pittsburgh edition of this important convention.

This year’s World’s Fair of Money should also see more international players on the bourse floor. When the show is in Rosemont, Illinois, many of the world dealers and Mints meet in downtown Chicago, which somewhat diminishes the show. I look forward to seeing many familiar faces from my travels to coins shows in Europe. Of further interest to the international crowd will be the annual Coin of The Year (COTY) awards ceremony, which will be held at the ANA World’s Fair of Money for the first time. The annual award event usually takes place in Berlin, Germany.

There will also be thousands of rare coins and currency sold at auction in the week following the show. Heritage Auctions and Stack's Bowers will be showing lots during the convention. This year’s sales will likely exceed $75 million. This includes coins from the Harry S. Bass collection that will be sold during the show. Live auctions of major collections are becoming a thing of the past. The Pittsburgh auction will be a unique opportunity if you have not seen one in person.



One activity that is always highly recommended for dealers and collectors attending the World’s Fair of Money is to examine auction lots. The summer ANA convention traditionally is among the largest, rare coin auctions of the year. I have stated many times in my past articles the educational value of examining auction lots. There is no better way for the average collector or dealer to understand the nuances of coin grading than to look at lots of rare coins. Seeing why some coins of the same grade bring different prices is very enlightening. In recent years, auction prices have become one of the major factors when considering coin values.

June 23, 2023
3 view(s) 9 min read

Collecting Twenty Cent Pieces (1875-1878)

Considering a new series to collect? Here is a brief guide to collecting US Twenty Cent pieces, an intriguing "oddball" denomination.

One common theme of the many subjects we have discussed over the last several years has been deciding what to collect. This simple task can actually be difficult for many new collectors. Most are drawn to coins they might be familiar with from an earlier encounter with the hobby. For example, a lot of people collected Lincoln Cents in Whitman folders when they were young. When later rediscovering the hobby of numismatics, they might try assembling a complete collection of high-grade Lincoln Cents. Other collectors seek more challenging segments of the market to collect.

For most, deciding what to collect depends on several common factors most are familiar with:

  • Historically interesting
  • Attractive design
  • Affordability
  • Possible to complete
  • Availability for purchase


The above are just a few of the criteria collectors may consider when exploring new series to collect. Not all series of United States coinage click ALL of the boxes mentioned, and sometimes compromises must be made to delve into a new series. The United States Twenty Cent pieces are one such short but complicated series.

The Twenty Cent piece minted from 1875 to 1878 is one of those well-intentioned coins for which the US Mint will be perpetually regretful. The new denomination was intended to halt chronic short-changing in the Western states but was more likely an appeasement to Western silver miners who lost much of their business when the Mint eliminated some of the silver coins in the Coinage Act of 1873.

June 15, 2023
2 view(s) 5 min read

When Names Matter

Jeff Garrett explains why there is added interest and value in a coin with a respected pedigree.

The recent discovery of more than 800 gold coins in Kentucky is one of the most exciting numismatic stories of the year. NGC graded and certified the group of coins, while recognizing them with a special label with the pedigree of the "Great Kentucky Hoard." This pedigree will now be attached to these coins, and they will forever be more coveted by collectors. The value of coins with a pedigree has only increased in recent years.

Because of repatriation laws that have become more common as of late, ancient coins with decades-old pedigrees can now sell for many times more than those without a solid provenance. A Greek gold coin that was a part of the Hermitage Museum in Russia (and sold by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s) sold last month for over $6 million.


Click images to enlarge.


Through the years, I have been asked several times if I was related to the Garrett family, whose vast numismatic collection was sold by Bowers and Merena around 1980. The collection formed around the turn of the century and sold for tens of millions of dollars. The collection contained some of the greatest numismatic rarities to ever cross the auction block. After a brief laugh, I usually tell people my ancestors lived in the mountains of Kentucky and read the Sears Roebuck catalog in an outhouse.

June 1, 2023
0 view(s) 4 min read

The Case for "Key Date" Coins

When deciding which rare coins to collect, don't automatically write off "Key Date" issues of coins, but you'll need a plan.

Choosing which coin series to collect is one of the first challenges facing those new to the hobby. There are dozens to choose from, and if you include world and ancient coins, the options become nearly endless. Untold numbers of new collectors have started over the years by filling coin boards and albums. Perhaps one of these started you on your numismatic journey. Mine began with a simple Whitman folder of Lincoln Cents from 1941 to date. This was around 1970.

Today, new collectors are inspired by the mass market sales of US Silver Eagles and other modern coins. The vast sums spent marketing these coins to those who might be interested in collecting is a huge driver for growing the hobby. Like those who started with a Whitman folder, modern coin buyers often turn their attention to more advanced numismatic pursuits. This is where it gets tricky for new collectors.


2016 Silver Eagle from NGC Coin Explorer
Click images to enlarge.


For many, the natural progression is to move to earlier series of what they now collect. Some will decide to collect a complete set of Lincoln cents 1909 to date. Many of the Silver Eagle buyers will turn to Morgan and Peace dollars dated 1878-1935. Regardless of what they collect, they will then need to decide which grade range of coins to pursue. This is usually a function of budget. Buying the best grades you can afford is still age-old advice that has withstood the test of time.

May 23, 2023
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When Modern Mintage Figures Matter

The 2023 Morgan and Peace Dollars will be closely watched because they are popular and being produced in limited numbers.

The United States Mint strikes more than 10 billion circulating coins each year. By any measure that is a lot of coins, and most of them are not going to be worth much anytime soon. The staggering mintages for these circulating issues far exceed any collector demand.

On the other hand, many coins that the US Mint produces for collectors are made in far fewer numbers. Some of the First Spouse $10 gold bullion coins, struck from 2007 to 2020, saw mintage figures as low as 2,100 coins, but these issues are not in strong demand from collectors and sell for modest premiums above their melt value.

The six different issues of the extremely popular 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars were produced with mintages of about 175,000 coins. Because of the strong collector demand, the coins sell for well above issue price, some for 10 times the original issue price. The combination of low mintages, coupled with broad collector demand, created one of the most successful new issues that the US Mint has produced in years.


2023 Reverse Proof Morgan and Peace Dollars
Click images to enlarge.


Later this year, the US Mint will resume this popular series with the production of 2023-dated Morgan and Peace Dollars. The mintages are being increased to satisfy demand. The estimated mintages are as follows:

May 18, 2023
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Becoming a Professional Coin Dealer

Interested in a career in numismatics? Jeff Garrett explores how you can transition from a hobbyist to a professional.

Recruiting and training young people in the rare coin business has been a focus within numismatics in recent history. Hobby leaders recognize the need to replenish the now-aging ranks. Many of the most important coin dealers in the country started in the 1970s and are now entering their golden years. Sadly, we have also lost several recently.

Many nonprofit organizations, coin companies and grading companies have started intern programs tailored to identifying the next numismatic stars. The Witter Coin University joined the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Summer Seminar and is offering weeklong classes in everything from grading to dealer ethics. The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) also recently announced a new intern program that will roll out this year.

In addition, Numismatic Guaranty Company® (NGC®) is actively recruiting talent and offers opportunities for those interested in a career in numismatics or one of their other collectibles categories. NGC is looking not only for graders but also other people with talent who would like to make their careers at the Certified Collectibles Group. If you are interested in a career in numismatics, you can explore opportunities at NGC and its affiliates by visiting



There has never been a better time to consider rare coins as a career. The opportunities to get started are nearly endless. Almost daily, one of my fellow rare coin dealers mentions they are looking for someone to work in their operations. This ranges from small local shops to giant multi-national operations.

April 20, 2023
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10 Questions for Incoming PNG President John Feigenbaum

Jeff Garrett speaks to John Feigenbaum about his plans for the dealers group and the future of numismatics.

Starting in July, the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) will be installing a new Executive Director. He will be replacing Robert Brueggeman, who has guided the organization for the past 28-plus years. PNG was formed in 1955 with the guidance of legendary coin dealer Abe Kosoff, who believed the hobby needed a professional organization. Its original motto — "Knowledge, Integrity, Responsibility" — still reflects the core mission of PNG.

I have been a member since the early 1980s and had the pleasure of serving as President from 2007 to 2009. I was recently elected to serve on the board again last year. PNG is an important numismatic organization whose members are thoroughly vetted and subject to binding arbitration. No other numismatic organization offers customers of its membership such strong protection. Like all numismatic nonprofit groups, PNG must change with the times and address issues facing the organization and the hobby.

I believe John is the right person for the right time to help navigate the future of PNG. He has done a masterful job of turning the Greysheet from a small weekly flyer into a pricing juggernaut. Hopefully, he will have similar success when he takes over running PNG.

I have asked John to answer 10 questions about the hobby and PNG:


1. John, you were previously one of the most prominent rare coin dealers in the country. You decided to exit buying and selling rare coins to manage CDN Publishing (home of the Greysheet price guide). Tell us about that decision.

I started young in this business. By some accounts, I was attending coin shows at the age of 5 and became a professional helping my father by 8 years old. I had a very successful career building my company to $30-plus million in annual sales, but I was burned out by my mid-40s, and I felt it was time to change my life. I sold David Lawrence Rare Coins and quickly found a new career, which takes advantage of all I learned buying and selling coins, along with the publishing experience I had learned in college. The CDN Publishing brands are highly regarded in our business, and it's been a privilege to modernize GreysheetGreensheet and our other products for the 21st Century.

February 23, 2023
15 view(s) 6 min read

Consider a Box of Twenty

Of the many ways to go about collecting coins, there are advantages to a "Box of Twenty."

One of the greatest innovations in the history of the hobby was the introduction of coin boards in the 1930s. Coin collecting was a fad during the Great Depression for those seeking a distraction from the world’s maladies. The process of filling holes in a coin board was addictive, and still is. Coin boards eventually became coin albums, and millions of collectors were introduced to the hobby this way, including myself. In 1969, a family friend gave me a Whitman coin folder for Lincoln Cents from 1941 to date. As they say, "the rest is history."

Collecting sets of coins has been the method of choice for generations of collectors. Most collectors choose a series that can be completed for the budget they have allocated to numismatics. This can include everything from finding coins in circulation to spending millions. Ultimately, however, the goal will be to find one of each date and mintmark for the series chosen.



Once an individual decides what to collect, they then need to figure out what condition coins to target for their set or sets. In general, most of the collectors I have encountered buy the "best" they can afford. This has been age-old advice for generations and has usually served collectors well. When it's time to sell, the higher-quality coins will be the ones most in demand.

Collecting coins by set has taken a very dramatic turn in recent years. In years past, coin collecting was generally a solitary pursuit. Collectors would attend coin shows, auctions and dealer shops looking for coins to complete their sets. A few might have been interested in exhibiting their collections at rare coin conventions, but that was definitely a small minority. Basically, coin collecting was a very private affair for most.