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Collector Spotlight: Daniel Whyman The Mastermind Behind the Epic Collection of the West

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez - August 9, 2022

1867-A DL As05 Mexican 8 Reales, PCGS AU58. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.
1829-EoMo LF Mexican 8 Reales, PCGS MS63. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

American coin collector Daniel Whyman started his numismatic journeys as a seven-year-old kid after his dad brought home a bank roll of nickels that was filled with Buffaloes and a few Liberty Heads “‘Wow,’ I thought,” recalls Whyman. “Back in those days, on Halloween, there was a kind man who gave us Morgan Dollars instead of candy! That is how my interest in coins started.” He adds, “I recall being very aware when [the U.S. Mint] stopped making silver coins after 1964.”

So how did Whyman go from chasing after Buffalo Nickels and even the occasional free Morgan Dollar to pursuing one of the finest collections of Mexican 8 Reales coins this side of the Rio Grande? “At a Long Beach Expo in the mid-1970s, I stepped into the auction room where they were auctioning foreign coins. I was in wonder with the large-size crowns being offered. I knew diddly squat!” he laughs. “However, that experience rang a bell in my head that there were terrific coins from all over the world that people collect.”

By the mid-1980s, he was diving into the world of foreign coins, with a Gem 1913 Brazil 500 Reis as his first global acquisition. A decade later, Whyman met dealer Andy Lustig, “who has become a mentor in teaching me about world coinage with tips on how to build a great collection.” Before long, Whyman was focused on pursuing crowns.

He soon found his heart leading him toward Mexican Cap and Rays 8 Reales silver coins struck from 1823 through 1897. “They are big and beautiful to behold in high grade.” Prices were strong on 8 Reales for a while, but as the market softened, he took the opportunity to invest more money buying mostly Gem common-date specimens for his collection. “You could buy these all day long for $450 to $550!”

He learned that these coins had circulated heavily in China and that there was a strong demand from Chinese coin collectors. “I read books like Resplandores, written by Mike Dunigan and J.B. Parker. That marks my beginnings as a numismatist.” He now considers Dunigan, the foremost expert on this series, a major mentor and has developed a client relationship with him.

Whyman says he has also purchased many great coins from the well-known dealer of Mexican coins Kent Ponterio and has flown as far as London to pursue the best coins for his Mexican 8 Reales collection. Furthermore, he has found friends on the online PCGS Message Boards who have helped him build his collection.

Whyman’s PCGS Registry Set now houses 342 coins out of a possible 1,104, a staggering number accounting for all dates, strikings by as many as 14 different mints, and numerous varieties. “I was very proud to have scored the 1867 Alamos Mint in PCGS AU58 and the 1829 EoMo (Estado de Mexico Mint) in PCGS MS63. Both are top pops and among my favorites.” Whyman also has several coins from an alternative service he hopes to cross over to PCGS. What’s next for his set? “Too many to mention,” he replies. “I only have about 675 coins to complete the set,” he adds. “As long as I’m healthy, I will keep collecting 8 Reales.”

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