MTC’S ON EBAY
A journal of interesting sales - some way too cheap, some way too high, and some just right.
Arizona, Prescott. Set of 5 Frontier Bucks, 1978 - 1982. The complete set of copper Dollars, in original case as sold by the Rotary Club after the final issue. Uncirculated. $40 plus $2.63 shipping. These sets usually sell at about $10 - $15 when they show up on ebay, which is not very often. $40 seems pretty steep for the coins (which is confirmed by there being only one bidder at this starting price) but the shipping cost was a real bargain!
Indiana, Cass County Ironhorse Festival Dollar, 1981. This is the first year of this series, and despite the fact that it has the highest mintage of the set (5,000 - tied with 1982, the second year), it is available much less frequently than the regular issues from any of the later years. This was a lot of four pieces still sealed in their original plastic pouches. It started at $8.00 and there were only 2 bids. Final price - $13.10, a good deal - about $3.25 each. And the shipping? FREE - I like that!
Keep your eye out for this year struck in golden bronze, or goldene. There were only 31 pieces minted, and I need it in my collection. If anyone out there has one, I can promise you a REALLY great trade for it!
New York, New York City Louisiana Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair. 100 Cents. I never had seen one of these coins before 2010 or so - although I had long known of the scarce 50¢ companion piece. Since the first of these appeared, maybe a half dozen others have sold on ebay. Every piece had been very harshly cleaned with wire brush marks over the entire surface. Some seemed to still have traces of a silvery finish, as on the 50¢, but each one now at least appears to be made of copper. All sold for over $10 but under $30 each, and there were usually a fair number of bidders. This one started high, at $19.99, and ended up at $21.51 with only 2 bids. Postage, $2.00.
South Dakota, Sturgis/Fort Meade Centennial 1978, Half Dollar.
Four bids by four different bidders - all of them $7.17 or more - indicates a surprising amount of interest in this token, probably due to its Old West military theme. I think $8.77 is just a little high, especially since this was a circulated piece.
Ohio, Bryan 1940 Centennial 10¢. I was the only bidder on this early municipal. It is not terribly hard to find, but this one was a really choice BU. Quite a bargain at $4.99 - a circulated one is worth more than that. This is also a neat item because it is the first of 3 municipals from Bryan. There was a 25¢ one in 1965 for the 125th anniversary, and a 50¢ in 1990 for the Sesquicentennial. Will there be another in 2015 for their 175th?
South Dakota, Sturgis 1976 Bear Butte State Park/Sturgis Centennial Quarter. A good companion piece to the Sturgis/Fort Meade piece listed above, and considerably easier to find. Just one bid on this uncirculated piece - $4.99. Two varieties of this one...one with a medal orientation (up/up), and the other with coin orientation (up/down). The medal orientation one seems to be harder to find.
Iowa, Blairstown 1962 Centennial 50¢. This issue has a reported mintage of only 500 pieces, but I have picked up at least 15 of them over the last 40 years, so I suspect that while the original issue was 500 pieces, more were likely ordered later. It has the “feel” of a mintage around 1,000. The classic ox-drawn covered wagon design and the full redemption reverse makes this a popular issue. Start was $5.00 and there were two bids, $7.60 and $8.10. A great bargain, especially considering it was an unusually choice uncirculated example.
Missouri, Liberty and Clay County 150th Anniversary Dollar, 1972. Sterling Silver. While most silver municipals are real treasures, this is an exception to the rule. With a mintage of 1,000 numbered pieces, this is the easiest-to-find silver municipal token from the state. Every few months one of these will appear on ebay. The start was $22.00 and there were only two bids - $23.95 and a 50¢ increment above that, $24.45. Not a bad price that may well be below the silver value. And only $2.00 for shipping. Whatta deal!
Hawaii, Molokai Trade Dollar, 1976. Surprisingly scarce! Offered at $29, there were 2 bids: $30 and $31. The Molokai Dollar has always been had to find, I’d love to know the mintage. By far the hardest of the Hawaiian Islands to get a “Dollar” from, partly because it was issued just this one year and in just this one metal variety, while the others were put out for a number of years and in many varieties. There is another Molokai issue that most municipal collectors do not know about (the undated Kalaupapa Dollar issued in 1989) that is actually considerably scarcer, but often sells for less than this because it was not part of the original set of Dollars. This was offered by ebay seller alohadon2000 who often lists some interesting Hawaiian municipals, along with other neat Hawaiiana.
I think I will be “plugging” some of my favorite sellers. Don gets the first one because he often has really good stuff, and this token was offered with FREE SHIPPING. I like that! Click on ADVANCED SEARCH on ebay and select BY SELLER under the ITEMS heading on the left. Type in his SELLER NAME where prompted and check out what he has. I see there is another of these Molokai Dollars coming up in a few days. It is also starting at $29, and while with a lot of searching and a little bit of luck you can probably eventually come up with one for less, sometimes it is worth paying the big bucks to get the scarce issues, and be able to cross another one off your want list.
Hawaii, Maui. Complete set of 20 One and Two Dollars, 1992 - 2011. A set of choice uncirculated municipals in a Dansco Coin Album. Not hard to get, but at $73.00 ($3.65 each), a pretty good price. Postage was $7.99, but the $15.00 album more than makes up for that. Three bids, starting at $69.99.
Arizona, Prescott Brass 1000 Bucks, undated (probably late 40’s to early 50’s). An older piece that has been appearing more frequently lately. This series was used during Frontier Days, and 10 Bucks was equal to 1¢, so 1000 Bucks was equal to $1.00. Some of the lower denominations, especially the aluminum 10 Bucks, are very common, but each succeeding higher denomination becomes scarcer. This one started at 99¢ and sold for $6.50. About right.
Ohio, Hamilton 175th Anniversary Dollar 1966 in SILVER. Coming around again this month is this rare issue, this time offered at a $119.99 starting bid. The seller correctly cites the mintage as 50 pieces. A copy of the regular (1800 minted) nickel-silver Dollar is included in the deal as well. This has been online for around a year now, with monthly price reductions, but so far no one has bid. A year from now, when the catalog is published, you will think it is a bargain - but by then it’ll be gone.
Montana, Red Lodge 1936 New Red Lodge Highway/Rodeo 50¢. A very hard-to-get classic issue, I think just a bit scarcer than its 1935 companion piece. Start was $15, and four bids - three by the same bidder - pushed it up to $28.77. A good deal for the buyer, especially if that big green spot on the reverse can be removed.
Hawaii 1990 Kalakaua "Hawaii" Dala and Lilioukalani "Aloha" Dala. These two in one lot. The pair was offered for $149 and it sold for a single bid at that price. Free shipping. These are absolutely gorgeous silver proofs, but with a mintage of 10,000 pieces each, this price seems pretty steep. Either can usually be found for about $50 each, and for $75 you should be able to buy one of the much scarcer issues in the series. The seller did note the proper mintage in his description, but these Dalas appeal to a much wider collector base than just us Municipal Token collectors. To a collector of municipal issues, a mintage of 10,000 is huge - but if you are used to collecting silver dollars, it seems miniscule.
Hawaii 1991 Kaiulani "Princess" Dala with First Day of Issue Counterstamp. A much scarcer issue from the same seller as the last lot. The mintage is, I think, 1,000. The seller states it is less than 1,000, and his specimen is #830. The start was $85 and with four bids by two bidders, it closed at $97.66. Again, a high bid, and it sold to the same bidder as the last lot. The last one I saw on ebay brought $58 earlier this year.
Alaska, Ft. Wainwright/Eielson A.F.B. 1967 Alaska Purchase. Good For One Haircut.
A surprisingly scarce issue, especially in Uncirculated. This one in the typical Almost Uncirculated grade. Unusual in that it is one of the very few military municipals, and the only one good for a haircut. It is also popular with Alaska and Military Token collectors. Start $9.99 and two bids brought it to $12.40. Just about right, I'd say.
Helena, Montana Official Souvenir Silver Dollar, 1964. Even though it says it on it, there really isn't anything silver about this coin - except its color. Actually an easily obtainable nickel-silver issue worth 5 or 6 bucks, this one started at 99¢ and garnered 6 bids from three collectors, closing at $11.11, a good deal - for the seller!
Arizona, Lake Havasu City 1972 London Bridge Commemorative Dollar. Offered at 9.99 (Buy It Now $49.90) with a free 2010 London Bridge coin thrown into the deal. No Bids. This first year of the Lake Havasu Dollars has been offered on the issuing Rotary Club's website for $126.00 for the last five years or more, second in price only to the scarcer 1973 issue. There were 25,000 pieces originally struck - which puts this into the ranks of very high-mintage municipals, and as they are very easily obtainable today, makes one question why they are offered at such a high price. Part of the answer is that when the issuer ran out of their stock of first issues (decades ago) they ordered additional pieces to supply collector demand. The original dies probably no longer existed - and apparently they had gone on to a new mint - so new dies were produced and a small quantity, probably 1,000 pieces, were made. On at least two occasions after that new supplies were ordered, in even smaller quantities. All these later strikes are very hard to locate, and may well be worth the $126.00 price tag - but the original issues...I don't think so. Examine your 1972 London Bridge Dollars carefully, the later issues are distinctly different from the originals (which themselves come in many minor die varieties). The newer varieties are real prizes for MTC collectors, and will be described in detail when the catalog comes out. Check out the London Bridge Rotary Club's website for a fine illustrated listing of their coins: http://www.londonbridgerotary.com. I think their latest issue (#42) is especially attractive in the colorized version.
Hawaii, Kalakaua $20 Liberty Dollar 2007 Special Gold on Silver issue. Sold for $455.00 after 35 bids starting at 99¢. One of the very few "Liberty Dollars" that are also cataloged as Municipals, mostly because they were "grandfathered" into the municipal field by earlier non-Norfed issues. This particular example with gold plated details is probably a trial piece. A similar $5 denomination sold for $550 earlier this year. To my knowledge, these are record high prices for non-gold municipal issues - their values driven up by those voracious Liberty-Norfed collectors! You might want to view the Liberty Dollar Website at: https://sites.google.com/site/libertydollarencyclopedia/
Montana, Billings 1971 State Fair Charles Russell Dollar. A Franklin Mint issue, just a little bit on the scarce side, although with a relatively high mintage. This one was slightly circulated and started off at 99¢. It sold for $27 with 10 bids - only two above $10. Free shipping. The 1970's Montana State Fairs tokens featuring Will James and Charlie Russell are very popular with collectors of Western Americana, and often surprise me with bids well above what I would expect.
Kansas Territorial Centennial 1954 with ATCHISON inscribed on reverse panel. These Kansas Centennial "Official Centennial Coins" all come with an area on the back where an issuing location could be added. In contrast to the 1961 Statehood issues, these areas are usually blank. I know of only 3 locations that issued coins with their community noted. The basic 1954 issue without a location are very easy to find, but less than 5% of the ones I have come across have a location added. All are very scarce. This one brought $17.48 (+$3.26 shipping) with 5 bids. Just about right - I think it is a $20 coin.
Lawndale, California Pirate Days 10¢. These undated coins were probably issued in the late 1940's or early 1950's. They come in the 5 denominations from 5¢ to $1, and this is the only denomination that turns up with any regularity, with a hoard of about 50 pieces appearing 25 or so years ago. The 5¢ and 25¢ are very scarce and the 50¢ and $1 issues rare. I was pleased to win this choice almost uncirculated one for only $7.49 after a $4.99 start. Shipping 95¢. There was only one other bidder.
Mississippi, Booneville 1961 Centennial 50¢ 1961 MS64 NGC. A somewhat scarce issue with a mintage of 2,500. A very nice specimen encapsulated or "slabbed" by NGC. This was offered at an opening bid of $26.00 plus $3.25 shipping and was sold at that price to a lone bidder. A bargain, especially when you consider that it costs nearly $20 to slab a coin these days. Municipals with a goldene finish, as this one, tend to degrade over time, and slabbing them should ensure that that degrading process stops, or never gets started. There is a wide range of opinions about encapsulation - some collectors love having their coins slabbed, but others have different opinions. As for me, whenever I get a slabbed MTC I need for my collection, it only takes me about two seconds to crack that slab open and free that sucker from its little plastic coffin.
This token was offered for sale by ebay seller whitehead4, and every serious MTC collector should be looking at his offerings. He puts some great material on ebay that you won't have a chance to get elsewhere. Just do an advanced search by seller, put his name in the search field, and see what he has. Don't be surprised if there is nothing there when you search, just try again later, as he often offers stuff in batches – maybe 5 lots a day for a month, and then nothing for a few weeks. This guy has been a good source of material for me, not just MTC's but other types of exonumia as well.
Pennsylvania, Cambridge Springs 1966 Centennial Dollar. This is a scarce issue with a mintage of only 1,000. This specimen, however, was stained and dirty looking, but looked like it could be successfully cleaned. Offered with a $6.95 Buy It Now price and $1.79 shipping, it closed with no one opting to buy. I had picked up a few copies of this one over the years, so I thought I'd leave it there for a collector who needed it. Now I wish I would have bought it to add to my little stash! I know of four varieties of the Cambridge Springs issue, and this is the most easily obtainable. These have always been one of my favorite MTCs because when it came out there was a note in Numismatic News about it and I remember sending off $2.50 cash for a pair of the 50¢ issue and one of the Dollars. When I received their reply, there were just two of the Dollar coins in the envelope along with a note that the 50¢ pieces were all gone. It took me more than 15 years of searching to finally find that missing 50¢ issue – despite the fact that it had the same mintage as the Dollar! At the time there were very few $1 MTCs, with most new issues being 50¢, and I'd guess there was some resistance to those expensive Dollars, leaving plenty for the collectors who wrote in for them. Because they went to the collecting community instead of into circulation, more of them are around today.
Kansas Territorial Centennial Official Coin, 1954, inscribed ATCHISON. Another of the Atchison pieces, as described on 11/17 above. This one brought $19.36 plus $3.26 shipping with 6 bids after a start of $7.64. Same seller – and the same buyer - as the 11/17 piece.
Hawaii, Maui Proof Silver Trade Dollars, 1993 and 1995. Starting at $65 plus $2 shipping each, these two lots went through their week on ebay without bids. Relisted two weeks later at the same price, they again did not sell. Beautiful coins, from a popular series, these were just priced too high above their silver content. Plus, with a reported mintage of 3,000 for the '93 and 2,500 for the '95, it seems it shouldn't be too hard to find another at a better price...however there is more to the story of those officially reported mintages, which I hope to be able to share with you soon.
Kansas Statehood Centennial Official Coin,1961, inscribed REPUBLIC COUNTY. As a contrast to the 1954 Kansas Territory Centennials above, these 1961 Statehood Centennial coins are typically found with a location inscribed on the back. In addition to blank inscription pieces, there are additional issues from each of the 105 counties in the state, plus about 30 different issued for cities, events and individuals. This piece from Republic County is not one of the scarcer locations, so I was surprised when it sold for the opening price of $10 plus $3 shipping. There were two bids, both by the same person, who placed one bid early and then added another at the last minute to make sure he was not outbid. Hey, I thought it was only worth 3 or 4 dollars max. Who knew!
Illinois, Grayville 1955 Centennial Half Dollar. A scarce, old, and very choice uncirculated classic MTC featuring a paddlewheel steamboat. Bidding opened at $17 with a Buy It Now price of $25. A bargain at $17, this one received no bids. I had it on my watch list and was going to bid, but something came up and I forgot. Rats! Another example of the great stuff offered by ebay seller whitehead4. Check him out!
Alaska, Sitka 1963 Historical Capital of Alaska Silver Trade Dollar. Lot of 5 pieces – with original descriptive card. You don't often get a chance to get 5 silver municipals at once, and at less than $25 each, these were priced right. Even though there was about $100 worth of silver in this lot, there were no bidders. Offered by ebay seller alaskatokens, a long-time source for me, who you should check out for your Alaska token needs. He has a tremendous stock of Alaska tokens, medals and related collectibles. You know the drill – Advanced search by seller on ebay.
Illinois, Shawneetown 1960 Sesquicentennial Half Dollar in Silver. Silver municipal tokens are hard to find, especially the kinds, like this, that have the complete redemption information on the reverse. A mintage of 235 makes this one of the most common of the 50¢ silver municipals, but still a rare item. I stumble across one every 5 years or so. I stumbled across this one on a Buy It Now for $24.99 + $2 during the last hour of its listing on ebay. I couldn't believe that no one else had spotted it! Kinda reminds me of that venerable old saying, "You snooze – you loose".
Hawaii, Kona 1973 and Kona Coast 1982 bronze dollars. A pair of easily attainable issues. Sold on a single bid for the opening price of $10.95 + $2 shipping. Seems like a pretty high price to me right now, but at only $6 or $7 each, what does it matter.