Ian Fenn's Blog

27 Feb 2016

Encapsulation New Zealand style

Coins-World | Ian Fenn

In 2004, when the coin this blog is focused on was issued, I was regularly buying NCLT from New Zealand( New Zealand post). When I saw this coin and its method of encapsulation I had to have it.The coin is a 40 gram silver dollar sized gold piece of 22 Kt gold. It is in a traditional Maori treasure box called a Wakahuia. When I received the advertisement for the coin I jumped at the chance to own such an unusual type of NCLT. I submitted my order with credit card details and waited and waited. What I and many other weren't aware of was NZ post had underestimated demand for the 300 coins( for an expensive NZ$1500 in 2004) on the official issue date they had had only had 150 struck and the wooden boxes were taking longer than anticipated. It took them nearly 4 further months to fulfill my order. The delay was such that I was almost going to cancel my order for the coin when I received the latest NZ catalog. That catalog had the coin valued at NZ$500.00 more than the issue price. Behind the production was negotiations with the Ngati Whakaue sub tribe to whom Pukaki, the person the carving represents, was a venerated ancestor. There is much more behind the story; but with indigenous peoples rights and the chance of offending through my ignorance I will not venture here to tell the full story as I understand it. What I can report is that 30 of the 300 coins were given to the tribe and a further 75(or so), unlikely to ever come to market again, were also purchased by tribe members. This of course means the coin will remain a rarity. It is certainly one I treasure. I prefer this form of encapsulation but I don't see PCGS or NGC adopting the method.

25 Oct 2015

Commemorative medal: New Zealand

Exonumia | Ian Fenn

As a follow on from my last blog, this week sees part of my collection now residing in a new Safety deposit box. As annoying as the whole episode has been it has held a valuable lesson. In arranging the new safety deposit box I realized that I hadn't screened what was being held in the bank for a good many years. The result being that some major rarities had been stored at home and more easily replaced coins were in the bank. So in preparing to return coins to bank storage I conducted a long overdue review. On Thursday I took the scary step of transporting the coins that needed more secure storage to the new deposit box. I now understand why some dealers in the US carry! I was somewhat nervous transporting coins that were the cream of 15 years of collecting. I was so pleased when I could walk out of the bank with an empty case. The lesson, Regularly check what is stored where and adjust the storage according to replaceability of the items. Of course a day after my second delivery trip to the bank I discover I forgot one item. That item is worth sharing; An 1865 Commemorative medal from New Zealand. I have two examples the copper example is locked away in a vault in New Zealand and this one( a silver example) is here in Austria. In The standard reference on NZ commemorative medals ( covering 1865 to 1940) this medal is cataloged as number 1. The reference is Leon Morels " Medallic commemoratives" of New Zealand. Why post here? Well I know some NZ tokens and coins are popular in the USA especially those with Maori motives. Of all NZ tokens and medals I think this Morel No 1 is the most exotic and has a wide appeal. The medal came in 3 versions, a single gold example that now sits on public display in The Dunedin Museum, The silver with a population of less than 10 and then the copper with maximum mintage of 25. The silver example here is the first that has come up for sale in the last 15 years, I have not seen another example for sale. I have seen a copper example for sale in the USA a few years back. Even if you focus just on US coins, when you see an example of this medal I suspect you would find it tempting.

15 Oct 2015

Once owned by a Prime Minister

Coins | Ian Fenn

This morning the post arrived with an annoying surprise. The local branch of my bank is closing and they were asking that I empty my safety deposit box by mid November. I decided to do it immediately. The letter had only just arrived so the news of the closure was fresh , and the news that people had to empty their safety deposit boxes hopefully hadn't got around. So I head off to the bank after lunch, with an airline carry on bag. In half an hour I am back home with 1/3rd of my coins collection. Before transferring the coins to a new bank I had a sort through them and found some long forgotten treasures. One small box brought a smile to my face: In it were two numismatic items; a New Zealand 1967 2 cent Bahama's Mule and a Token from a Wellington( Capital City of New Zealand) Department store. Neither is particularly rare ( here is a link to the story of the Bahamas mule http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research_and_publications/fact_sheets_and_guides/5914507.pdf) but that's not why I smiled in the case of these two coins the provenance is far more important. In 1967 New Zealand converted from Pounds Shillings and pence to Dollars and cents. I was only seven years old at the time, I can remember the black and white TV programs advertising the change, and recalling the difficulty I anticipated with the new coins. Now I can hardly remember the coins before that date. The Finance minister over seeing this change was the Right Honorable Rob Muldoon, the man who became NZ's most Famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, Prime Minister. He served as Prime Minister from 1975- 1984. He is a contentious figure still, even though he died in1992. People either loved him or hated him there was never any middle ground. For all his faults I recall him as the last real leader New Zealand had. He didn't listen to the press he terrified them and on at least one occasion he brought an ill-prepared Journalist to tears. Right or wrong he led!!! I suspect he would be stunned at today's political world. Back to the coins:In 1967 he was presented with the two coins that are now in my custody. I am still amazed I am the owner, they came up for sale in NZ about 3-4 years ago, there was no apparent interest in them and I made a fair ( but I believe cheap)offer and they became mine. the box they came in is not in great condition but for me its the person behind the box and the two "coins" that is the most important .

20 Jun 2015

Two rare books

Library | Ian Fenn

I assume it's natural that all coin collectors accumulate books relating to their collecting interest. I have a collection of books. Sometimes my small library seems huge to me, and when I can't find information I am looking for it seems barely adequate. As with coins I have a hunt list of books I want. Some references are long out of print; in one case a tatty copy of one book took me 2 years to find. Given that its publication date was 1808 2 years wasn't a surprising length of time.

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