Tuesday, December 26, 2017

US rare coin sales did well in 2017

U.S. rare coins selling for $50,000 or more and those selling for $500 or less generally did well during 2017, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), a nonprofit organization composed of many of the top rare coin and paper money dealers. Four historic, vintage U.S. coins sold for $1 million or more during the year; two at public auctions and two by private transactions.

The PNG estimates the overall U.S. rare coin market in 2017 was between $3.4 and $3.8 billion, not including sales by the United States Mint or bullion coins, such as gold and silver American Eagles.

The aggregate prices realized for U.S. coins sold at major public auctions in 2017 totaled $306,199,305.  Two auction houses accounted for nearly 80 percent of the overall total with Heritage Auctions reporting $169,100,000 sold at auction and Stack's Bowers Galleries at $74,099,305. 

Stack's Bowers sold at auction an 1804-dated U.S. Class I silver dollar for $3,290,000 and a 1794 silver dollar for $2,820,000.

"Some of the investment money that may have gone into numismatic purchases went into the booming stock market and the speculative cybercurrency market," explained PNG President Barry Stuppler. "Despite that, demand for extremely rare investor-collector coins rose in 2017."

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Coinbase support team increased 640 percent to handle digital currency trades

The last few weeks has seen an unprecedented increase in the price of digital currencies with Bitcoin at $17,000, Ethereum at $497 and Litecoin at $166, just to name a few. More and more people are engaging with online platforms than ever and that bodes well for the future of the digital currency. At the same time, it does create extreme volatility and stress on systems handling trades of the online currency. Users of the popular trading platform Coinbase received an email on Saturday where the company shared some important thoughts on the future of digital currency trades.

Over the course of this year we have invested significant resources to increase trading capacity on our platform and maintain availability of our service,” the company said in the email. “We have increased the size of our support team by 640 percent and launched phone support in September. We have also invested heavily in our infrastructure and have increased the number of transactions we are processing during peak hours by over 40x.”

Despite the sizable and ongoing increases in technical infrastructure and engineering staff, Coinbase reminds customers that access to services “may become degraded or unavailable during times of significant volatility or volume. This could result in the inability to buy or sell for periods of time. Despite ongoing increases in our support capacity, our customer support response times may be delayed, especially for requests that do not involve immediate risks to customer account security.”

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Video: Atlas rocket launches satellite for National Reconnaissance Office

An Atlas V rocket lifts off with the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-52 payload. This was the 60th Atlas V to launch from Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex-41 in Florida.





Skyjet flight struck by drone

On Oct. 12, a Skyjet flight was struck by a drone while inbound to Jean Lesage International Airport in Qu├ębec City, Canada. In a statement released Sunday, the Minister of Transport in Canada, Marc Garneau, said, “This is the first time a drone has hit a commercial aircraft in Canada and I am extremely relieved that the aircraft only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely.

"Although the vast majority of drone operators fly responsibly, it was our concern for incidents like this that prompted me to take action and issue interim safety measures restricting where recreational drones could be flown,” Garneau said. “I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and a serious offense. Anyone who violates the regulations could be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and/or prison. This applies to drones of any size, used for any purpose. All airports, helipads and seaplane bases are 'No Drone Zones' if you do not have permission from Transport Canada. For 2017, to date 1,596 drone incidents have been reported to the department. Of these, 131 are deemed to have been of aviation safety concern.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

FAA sets requirement for quieter aircraft

Beginning Jan. 1, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will require newly designed aircraft to be quieter which will help toward lowering noise around airports and surrounding communities. Called “Stage 5 Airplane Noise Standards,” this FAA rule ensures that the latest available noise reduction technology is incorporated into new aircraft designs. As a result, new airplane type designs in the subsonic jet airplanes and subsonic transport category large airplanes will operate at least seven decibels quieter than airplanes in the current fleet.

In 1975, there were about 200 million people flying in the United States, with about seven million people exposed to what is considered significant aircraft noise. Since then, an FAA study conducted in 2015 showed that the number of people flying in the United States had almost quadrupled yet the number of people exposed to aircraft noise had dropped to around 340,000, or a 94 percent reduction in aircraft noise exposure.

The FAA continues to meet its reduction in aircraft noise and other environmental aviation goals through the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program.  CLEEN is the FAA’s principal Next Generation environmental effort to accelerate the development of new aircraft, engine technologies, and advance sustainable alternative jet fuels.

Monday, October 2, 2017

SkyWest orders 20 E-Jets from Embraer

Embraer announced a firm order from SkyWest, Inc. for 20 E-Jets on Monday. The order has a value of $914 million, based on current list prices, and will be included in Embraer's 2017 third-quarter backlog. Combined with last month's announcement for 25 new aircraft, Monday's order results in a cumulative order of 45 new aircraft placed by SkyWest with Embraer in 2017.

Of the 20 aircraft, SkyWest will receive 15 E175 SC (Special Configuration) aircraft, in a 70-seat configuration. The E175 SC aircraft features an E175 airframe, which can be retrofitted to 76 seats in the future. SkyWest will also receive five E175s, in a 76-seat configuration, similar to aircraft SkyWest
has previously ordered.

Including this new contract, Embraer has sold more than 380 E175 jets to airlines in North America since January 2013, earning more than 80 percent of all orders in the 76-seat jet segment. Since entering revenue service, the E-Jets family has received more than 1,700 orders and over 1,300 aircraft have been delivered. Today, E-Jets are flying in the fleets of 70 customers in 50 countries.