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The US Philippines business strikes are by far the rarest and most challenging 20th Century series of US coins to collect. They're also by far the most undervalued.

If you're trying to put together a collection of Mercury Dimes or Standing Liberty Quarters, you can go to eBay, Teletrade, and Heritage auctions -- and in a few weeks -- put together a complete collection in choice uncirculated and maybe even gem uncirculated condition. Any holes left in your collection can be quickly filled by phone calls to a handful of leading dealers.

But when you're trying to put together a collection of US-Philippine 10 or 20 centavos from the same era, you have an entirely different situation.

You can go to eBay, Teletrade, and Heritage auctions and bid with unlimited funds, and still, at the end of a few weeks, you'll be lucky to have a few coins in choice unc. Heck, even after two years of scouring the eBay and Teletrade auctions, you'll be lucky to have your collection half-completed in uncirculated condition -- to say nothing of choice or gem uncirculated.

Moreover, you'd be missing all the hard dates. I've been following eBay listings for the US-Philippine coins for years, and I'm delighted to see the number of listings grow from maybe 40 a day to more than 200 a day. But in each denomination -- except for the 2-coin half-centavo series -- the hard dates simply don't appear at all for auction in uncirculated condition.

In the centavo series, you won't find the 1914-S large S ... 1915-S ... the 1917/6-S ... the 1918-S large S ... or the 1920-S offered for sale in unc.

In the 5 centavo series, the 1916-S ... 1918-S ... 1918-S Mule ... 1919-S ... 1920 ... or a 1932-M hardly ever appear at auction in unc.

In the 10 centavos, the 1903-S ... 1909-S ... 1911-S ... 1912-S ... 1914-S ... 1915-S ... 1920 ... are all next to impossible to find in unc.

In the 20 centavos, which is the hardest of the denominations to collect, it's easier to list the dates you can find. You'll occasionally see a 1903 ... 1904 ... 1904-S ... 1913-S ... 1918-S ... and the 1929-M. All the rest are almost impossible to find in Unc, to say nothing of gem unc.

The 50 centavo series is almost as hard. The 1905-S ... 1907 ... 1907-S ... 1908-s ... 1909-S ... and 1919-S are never seen at auction in uncirculated condition.

And the pesos are famous for three difficult dates ... the 1905-S (both type 1 and type 2) ... the 1906-S (the most famous coin in the series) ... and the 1912-S.

These are all coins -- in unc -- that are literally a hundred times scarcer than rarest of the US coins. For instance: PCGS graded 1,137 1916-D Mercury dimes MS 65 or better. But they're graded only 1 1915-S 10 centavos in gem.

But the 1916-D 10 Mercury Dime VDB sells for between $30,000 and $40,000 in MS65 while the sole 1915-S sold for a modest $5,020 recently. Do you see why I say the US Philippines are grotesquely undervalued?

Ditto for the 1919-D Walking Liberty Half. There are 83 gems and they sell for $105,000. By contrast, there are just 5 1919-S 50 centavos graded gem, and they sell for as little as $1,200. Which offers the better investment value?

The US Philippine business strikes are beautiful coins, fun to collect, an enormous challenge, and offer you investment potential that dwarfs the investment potential of the comparable US coins. Enjoy yourself!