Belated NYINC report -- only possible due to friends on this forum!

StorkStork Posts: 4,724 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 3, 2019 11:03PM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

Considering I wasn't even there and I'm on my limited budget mode (hello new car). BUT, there were of course things of interest, not only as expected in an auction, but on the bourse. I really only had my eye on one thing, something I 'shouldn't' buy as it was a dupe, but for a good reason. Being January there were loads of auctions about and I had my eye on some goodies and the budget was fairly well spoken for...until I got blown out on things I thought I had a shot at.

So, I went for this one. The high grade coins in every sale/auction archive I'd looked at showed what appeared to be a die flaw/chip on every coin. There's an old post on Cointalk that alluded to 'most but not all' of the coins having this mark and speculated it's actually a mark created during to production process whereby the coins were being hit by other coins as they were ejected. I've never heard of a consistent mark like that, and until the Stack's auction I'd never seen a picture of a coin without it. Lo and behold, two examples up for auction, an NGC 64, and the PCGS 66+ that I was successful in obtaining.

Here are two versions of coin won, one with more diffuse light:

It's a nice example that is for sure! Someone has dipped out the very commonly seen round tab toning, but it's still visible. Here is a side by side of the coin next to a very similarly graded one, no tab toning and a bit more natural, but you can see the die chip or ejection mark or whatever you want to call it. But that mark at the arrow tip is on every other one of these I've seen until the Stack's auction.


  • StellaStella Posts: 381 ✭✭✭

    Congratulations on your purchase! This is an attractive type.

    Coin collector since childhood and New York Numismatist at Heritage Auctions.
  • StorkStork Posts: 4,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    But wait, there's more! I ended up being blown out on some nice things elsewhere, so my eye wandered into another direction. Kind of funny as there is a post over on the liteside about MS60-62 coins...and are they 'worth grading' or something (I only read part of the thread). Well, this is a classic case of a coin that has a history that makes it Very Unlikely to really find a nice one. I'm sure there's something in a private Italian collection somewhere, as some nice examples of many of the coins in the Zog Albania series that clearly were put away. However, of the big gold coins, any that were in the Albanian Treasury when the Italians came knocking were shoved into chests and transported over rocky mountain roads a Zog and his household made their escape. Much of the gold is baggy to say the least.

    This particular coin is a rarer variant by year and star type. Here at PCGS there are 7 graded, 1 63, 2 62s and 55/58 for the others. At NGC there are 8 graded, one is a details, 2 58s, 3 61s and 2 63s. One thing about the big Albanian gold is the they are pretty much baggy even the 63s.

    Anyway, with a couple of other failed bids and money in my psychological pocket @pruebas said he could maybe take a look. I misunderstood something he said and thought he was not making it to the viewings and then asked @MrEureka too. But both looked and had excellent comments.

    No, it's not some lovely showpiece, more of a 'warts and all consistent with history' and really, there just aren't that many of the no-stars out there. So, what the heck, I put in a bid and got it too. (I may cross this one over to my NGC set though). It's a baggy 62, but no ugly spots, and I've seen a lot worse marks (like semi-filleted horses). So here it is:

  • StorkStork Posts: 4,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is this enough yet? Of course not! What trip, imaginary or otherwise, is complete without a trip to the bourse? So yes, even the bourse conspired to be a budget buster. Again, thanks to @pruebas I have added real treasures to my Zog set, and got to learn something.

    Though there are many provas in the series, there are not many proofs. Basically the provas were specimens made with the collector in mind..either actually produced but a few design trials that never made it to production. However, they were not made with special planchets and were not 'proof'.

    There are however some true proofs. 1931 proofs were made of the 1/2 and full lek from the London mint as well as a couple of the gold coins minted in Rome from 1938 (20 FrA Wedding commem, 100 FrA Anniversary of Reign commem).

    Interestingly, the proofs were made and distributed to other mints for their collections. Karl Stephens had two on his table--called 'proofs of record' at the bourse that Pruebas spotted, photoed, and emailed me about. Unfortunately I was at work and didn't see the information right away, but was able to contact Karl about the coins and arrange a buy right after the show. In any case, these were from the South African Mint originally but their collection was dispersed and Karl had handled them back in the 1990s. Now, the collector who bought them from him is now selling, lucky me!

    These are far and away the best I've seen of the proof coins (I bought an 'MS 64' slabbed 1/2 lek once that was a proof, but not like this one). So gorgeous, so I 'had' to buy these...they will stay in the nice PCGS slabs though.

    The best part is knowing where they came from and why. Proofs to show off to other mint perhaps. Kind of interesting as I have another completely unrelated coin from 1936 made in (I think) the Austrian mint which is an unlisted proof. Perhaps more of a show-off piece made by the mint to send to others? But, it was 1936 Austria...

    I need to learn more about the 'proofs of record' concept!

    In the mean time, my poor bank account is sobbing quietly in the corner. Can't wait until I make it to Baltimore :lol:. Better be selling though.

  • cecropiamothcecropiamoth Posts: 740 ✭✭✭✭✭


    I've got to say that first group of Albanian type (1926-1928 issues)...5 minors, 3 silvers and 3 golds, are just so impressive. They have to rank either at the top or very close to it in terms of beauty and artistic merit among 20th century World coinage. Crazy nice designs.

    And well, your collection certainly has some of the finest examples out there. Love seeing your Albanian never disappoints!!


  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭

    @Stork great report! One minor clarification. The proofs of record were struck at the Royal Mint (UK) and there were 2 of each sent to the South African Mint for their collection (for showing obverse and reverse, I suppose). I’m not sure of all the other mints that received proofs, but I’m sure someone here knows (India, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). So maybe the mintage is 10-ish?

    I was so enamored of the designs that I was going to buy them if you didn’t! But I’m glad you did since you need them more than I.

  • StorkStork Posts: 4,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool! I missed that detail. But now that you said it I think Karl said that on the phone. I was driving and talking (shame on me but I was too impatient to wait until I got home) and wasn't taking notes or anything.

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭

    Looking back at the photos, I think L (for London, where the Royal Mint was until 1967) is the mintmark.

  • ZoharZohar Posts: 6,223 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice write up and pick ups!

  • StorkStork Posts: 4,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:
    Looking back at the photos, I think L (for London, where the Royal Mint was until 1967) is the mintmark.

    Poor King Zog tried to find alternate European nations for support as he modernized his Kingdom. The Italians were exerting a huge influence, but Zog did try to make overtures to other nations. Though the vast majority were minted in Rome and had the 'R' (and the fasces version of the 20FrA was VERY Italian...), there were a few minted in Vienna and in London.

    Sadly Zog was mostly rebuffed. Italy remained very enmeshed in domestic politics, and eventually when negotiating to make Albania a subject state failed, invaded.

    The Vienna and London minted pieces were likely a part of Zog trying to make more European connections (even his wife was partly chosen for her non-Italian ties and the fact she was not Muslim as he was looking to open doors).

  • bidaskbidask Posts: 10,620 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Stork I think you are a true numismatist .

    You have a great eye and I like the coins you bought .

    Share the joy and its multiplied by two.
    Share the grief and its halved by two.
  • cladkingcladking Posts: 26,323 ✭✭✭✭

    I'd have never noticed it but it's on most of the finest '88-D(?) dimes. There's a great big scratch next to the head. It apparently was caused when ejected from the dies.

    Tempus fugit.
  • cladkingcladking Posts: 26,323 ✭✭✭✭

    Albania is tough.

    Those are great coins!

    Tempus fugit.
  • PatARPatAR Posts: 333 ✭✭✭

    Truly stunning coins! And some interesting history to boot. Congrats on these excellent pickups!

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