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Author Archive for Tim Shuck

Tim Shuck is a life-long Midwestern resident, and started collecting coins after finding an Indian Head cent on the ground at his childhood farm home. Additional encouragement came from looking through a collection of well-worn late 19th and early 20th century coins kept by his grandfather in an old leather coin purse. Current collecting interests include U.S. types from the Civil War era through the early 1930's, and Colonial and Early American coins.

The News at a Glance – August 6, 2010

Ostheimer Collection Rarities Offered
The E-Sylum
NBS members who attended the NBS annual meeting at the 2000 ANA Convention in Philadelphia may recall a presentation by W. David Perkins titled, “The Ostheimers of Philadelphia and their Extraordinary Collection of Silver Dollars.” The Ostheimers assembled one of the largest and most complete collections of early U.S. Silver Dollars 1794-1803 by die marriage (Bolender reference numbers). The Ostheimers purchased from Freeport, Illinois dealer Milferd H. Bolender the early dollar collections of both K. P. Austin and W. G. Baldenhofer (See The Asylum, Volume 25, Number 2, Spring 2007: “Who was Farish Baldenhofer?”), adding rarities along the way including one of the two Lord St. Oswald 1794 silver dollars, Lot 137 in the 1964 Christie, Manson and Woods auction of the Lord St. Oswald Collection.
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Treasures from the Vault: U.S. Patterns
PCGS Blog
U.S. Patterns cover a wide range of coins that were struck (for the most part) to test new designs, new metal  compositions, new denominations, or new minting techniques.  They are an extremely interesting series that include famous coins such as: 1792 Silver-Center Cent; 1879 and 1880 Stellas; the 1866 No Motto Quarter, Half, and Dollar; certain Gobrecht Dollars; and a plethora of other rarities.  Most patterns are extremely rare, many of them unique or with mintages in the low single digits, although there are exceptions (over 1,000 1856 Flying Eagle Cents were made).  Pattern coins appear on the market infrequently and usually end up in strong hands when they sell.  In some cases, it might be years (or even decades) before a particular pattern coin comes on the market.
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PMG Registry Set Showcase: Legal Tender Greenbacks
Paper Money Guaranty
The Small Size Legal Tender Notes Complete Set requires 29 different notes, one from each series and denomination of small size red seals ever issued. These notes are very collectible, evidenced in part by the 56 different sets competing in this Registry category, creating some stiff competition. The top set currently has 27,665 points but is followed closely by two tough competitors with 23,487 and 22,616 points. Registry sets are ranked by score. Scores are assigned to each individual note and a set’s score is simply the sum of the scores of the individual notes that it contains. Scores are based on a proprietary algorithm that considers a note’s value, rarity and desirability. This “raw” measurement is then adjusted by a formula designed to maximize Registry competition and reward Set completeness.
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Methods of Collecting Coins
NumiStories
For years I followed the collecting philosophy of “collect what you like”. What I ended up with was a hodgepodge of random coins from all over the spectrum: moderns, random 19th century type, the odd world coin, etc. It was clear my collection had no focus. So I began “filling holes”. This means concentrating on a specific series and attempting to accumulate each date and mintmark of that series, usually displaying them in a folder or album. These albums consist of individual spaces, or holes, for each coin, thus the term “filling holes”. If you were to poll 100 coin collectors, you would probably find that these two approaches are the most common. However, I was always disappointed with my “random accumulator” collection. There was plenty of variety but it looked amateurish.
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CCAC Chairman Gary Marks Talks Coin Art
Numismatic News
CCAC Chairman Gary Marks was on Capitol Hill to share the message. Of specific concern: The lack of design quality has been evidenced in designs that are cluttered and lack focus; Design devices are used that are so small they cannot be readily discerned by the naked eye; and The use of “storyboard” depictions that attempt to illustrate design themes in literal terms. “Historically, some of this nations most acclaimed coin designs have been achieved through the effective use of allegory and symbolism,” Marks told Congress last month. Sometimes the CCAC is given just one design for a medal and asked to make a recommendation, Marks said, allowing no time for revisions because of tight production schedules.
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Rare Chinese Silver Pattern Dollar Offered
Paul Fraser Collectibles
Baldwin’s summer sale of coins, medals and banknotes in Hong Kong is set to be another major event in numismatic collecting and investment next week. As we’ve already reported, the medals section of the sale is set to be led by two variations of the Order of the Double Dragon – each expected to fetch up to around US$90,000 – impressive enough for a stand-alone medals sale. But they are not the expected top lots in the auction. There are coins and banknotes available from all over the world: China, Japan, Australia, India and a few from the United States and Britain. As you’d expect, however, it’s the Chinese coins which are expected to impress the most.
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The News at a Glance – August 5, 2010

A Review of NGC’s Collection Manager
Coin Update News
The advertisements declare, “You spoke. NGC listened.” My response? Now it should learn to program. I’m writing today as much in my capacity as journalism school director as numismatist. I’ve dealt with software for decades, buying, vending and even designing virtual reality prototypes with others at my science-oriented institution. NGC’s Collection Manager is cumbersome and too detailed for most users with little or no experience with this company. The advertisements state that collectors wanted a Web-based software able to be accessed anywhere 24/7 that organizes collections and allows them to be shared with others. Excuse me, but that’s called a set registry, and because hundreds of them already are registered on the NGC site, Collection Manager has to operate technologically under the registry protocol, format and design.
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2010 $1 James Buchanan Coins Available August 19
U.S. Mint
James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791, near Mercersburg, Pa. The oldest of 11 children, he began a successful law career in 1812. During the War of 1812, he helped defend Baltimore against British attack. In 1845, he became President James K. Polk’s secretary of state. His later service abroad as U.S. minister to Great Britain helped insulate him from the growing domestic controversy over slavery, which was reaching a crescendo by 1856, helping him secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. He served one term in office, 1857-1861. Former President Buchanan died on June 1, 1868, in Lancaster, Pa. … To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, any order placed prior to the official on-sale date and time of August 19, 2010, at 12:00 Noon (ET) shall not be deemed accepted by the United States Mint and will not be honored.
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David Alexander Receives Burnett Anderson Memorial Award
Stack’s News
The Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for Excellence in Numismatic Writing is presented annually to a researcher, author or journalist in recognition of his or her career contributions to numismatics. First conferred posthumously in 1999 to its namesake—a newsman’s journalist—the award is sponsored by F & W Publications, and the winner is selected in a cooperative process by the American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society (ANS) and Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). The recipient of this year’s award is David Thomason Alexander, an accomplished writer, cataloger and numismatist currently employed by Stack’s in New York City. Born in Brooklyn, Alexander and his brother, John, began collecting coins in 1949 after the family moved to Florida.
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2010 U.S. Boy Scout Silver Dollars Sold Out
Mint News Blog
It appears that the proof version of the 2010 Boy Scouts of American Centennial Silver Dollar has finally sold out at the United States Mint. The coin had been lingering on “waiting list status” for an unusually long time. The United States Mint began sales of the Boy Scouts Silver Dollars on March 23, 2010. Because of the large number of current and former Boy Scouts and the relatively low authorized mintage of 350,000 coins, a sell out was widely expected. On April 23, 2010, the US Mint indicated that they had received orders sufficient to meet the “maximum limit” for the uncirculated version of the coin. They continued to accept orders for a waiting list, which would have orders fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis if coins became available due to order cancellations.
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Spreading Knowledge Helps Grow the Hobby
Numismaster
I got a call not long ago from a woman who had a coin she couldn’t identify. “It’s a silver dollar,” she said. “I took it to a local bookstore, and we couldn’t find it in a book they had. The owner of the store said you could tell me what it was.” “What’s the date?” I asked. Of course, I was thinking that she and the bookstore owner had probably tried to find the coin in the Red Book (A Guide Book of United States Coins), and if it wasn’t in the Red Book, what could it be? “1829,” she said. What did she have, I wondered. A fantasy piece? “What’s it made of?” “Oh, it’s silver,” she said. We made arrangements for me to see the coin, and I met her the next day. Can you guess what the coin turned out to be?
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Royal Canadian Mint Adds New Dinosaur Coin
Royal Canadian Mint
Euoplocephalus tutus is the newest addition to this series that sparked the imagination of dinosaur hunters everywhere when it was first introduced in 2007. This large armadillo-like creature lived in Alberta between 76 and 70 million years ago. Its body was covered with bony armour embedded in its skin. Even its eyelids were covered with moving bony plates and its tail had a defensive club that was formed by four bony growths fused together. … A selective aging effect creates a powerful impression of fossilized bones in stone. In fact, this technique ensures no two coins are exactly alike. Each 99.99% pure silver coin is unique and—with a design that was developed in close collaboration with palaeontologists at Alberta’s Royal Tyrell Museum—is an original and compelling keepsake of one of humanity’s great fascinations.
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The News at a Glance – August 4, 2010

The Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Numismatic News
Who doesn’t like the Walking Liberty half dollar design? The Saint-Gaudens design for the gold $20 might win the honor of being called the most beautiful coin of the United States, but the Walking Liberty half dollar surely was the most beautiful coin design accessible to the average person. Only the Buffalo nickel might dispute that title with the Walking Liberty half dollar. If we didn’t all collect Walking Liberty half dollars out of change in the 1950s and early 1960s, it wasn’t for artistic reasons. It was purely financial. A half a buck was just too much money to tie up in one coin. Years of inflation might make that statement hard to believe for youngsters today, but it was true.
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American Medallic Sculpture Association at Boston
ANA
The American Medallic Sculpture Association (AMSA) has created a medal commemorating its meeting and exhibit at the 2010 ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston. The obverse, designed by Daniel Altshuler, honors John B. Hynes, mayor of Boston (1950-1960) and namesake of the show’s Hynes Convention Center; the reverse, designed by Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, features AMSA and the ANA. A first run of 25 medals will be made available to fulfill advance orders and sell.  Should the 25 bronzed medals run out, a second numbered edition of 3″ diameter silver plated copper medals will be struck.
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Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) Banknote Designation
PMG
“Why didn’t I get EPQ?” We get this question often. Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) is an important attribution that can add significant value, so it is important to understand. This month I will review some of the factors that prevent a note from receiving the EPQ attribution. First, let’s review the criteria for the EPQ designation. PMG uses the EPQ designation for notes that have not been physically, chemically or materially processed to lend the appearance of a higher grade. Some visible factors that prevent a note from receiving EPQ are pinholes, stains, stray ink, paper pulls, erasures, tears and splits. These are visible even to the untrained eye.
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“The Medal Maker” Video Online
The E-Sylum
Medallic Art Company has placed “The Medal Maker” on its web site in four parts. The 1997 video features master medallist Laura Gardin Fraser and was filmed by Hollywood film producer Michael Craven. It was narrated by Elizabeth Jones, former U.S. Mint Chief Engraver. The script for the 30-minute video was written by Dick Johnson, a frequent contributor to The E-Sylum. It is a recasting of a 1929 black-and-white film which shows Laura Fraser creating a model for a medal of the National Sculpture Society, their Special Medal of Honor. It takes the viewer through every step from preparing a background plate to the critical review of the finished medal by five of her sculptural peers.
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Understanding the Coin Dealing Business
Susan Headley
Whether you are buying or selling coins, you can increase your advantage when dealing with coin dealers by understanding how things work behind the scenes. One of the biggest problems I see, as an observer of the coin collecting marketplace, is the wide gulf between what the average consumer expects from a coin dealer, and what the average coin dealer believes he should provide to the consumer. The majority of these differences boil down to trust. The average consumer thinks he can trust the coin dealer to give him an honest appraisal and pay a fair price for the coins he is selling. The average dealer feels it is right to pay the lowest price he can for the coins, to maximize his profit, and that it is up to the consumer to do his homework.
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No Coins Needed
Dave Harper
At least since the great coin shortage of the mid 1960s, collectors have been aware of the role the vending machine industry plays in overall demand for U.S. coins. What the vending machine industry wants in terms of coin composition and electronic signatures has carried great weight with the Treasury. Venders don’t want to spend money to refit their coin discrimination mechanisms. That may be about to change. What if the vending industry stops using coins, or greatly reduces their use? Then what? I began thinking about the flip side of yesterday’s blog about growing coin demand because of a timely article in the Wall Street Journal.
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The News at a Glance – August 3, 2010

The Rare Bronze Octagonal 1904 St. Louis Olympics Medal
Stack’s News
The first modern Olympic Games, spearheaded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, were held in Athens in 1896. In the 114 years that followed, a wealth of medals and coins has been created, sought after by an fanatically determined group of specialized collectors. The Athens contest and the 1900 Paris Games followed with increasing success and medals exist from them. Then the decision was made to hold the Games of the III Olympiad (the four-year interval culminating in the next Games) in distant St. Louis, Missouri, in conjunction with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (LPE). This was the kiss of death to the dignity of the Games, which were promptly relegated to an expo back closet called the Physical Culture Department under the Director of Exhibits. Only 554 athletes took part from 11 countries.
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NGC Hosts Exhibits at the ANA World’s Fair of Money
NGC
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) will host two numismatic exhibits at its booth (#704) during the convention. The first is also from the Simpson Collection and includes two incredibly rare coins. One is the finest known proof 1804 $10 grading NGC PF65 Ultra Cameo, among the most desirable and most valuable of all US gold coins. Struck in 1834 for presentation to diplomats, just three exist today. The second is the very seldom seen proof 1804 $10 struck in silver graded NGC PF64. This pattern coin, designated as J-34 in the standard Judd reference, is one of no more than five known. This exhibit marks the first time these two companion coins have been exhibited together.
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The Biggest Show of the Year
PCGS Blog
The annual convention of the American Numismatic Association is always the biggest coin show of the year. Dealers bring out their best coins, most of the major buyers attend (many plan their summer vacations around the ANA show), and there are always huge auctions held in conjunction with the show. This year the ANA summer show is being held in Boston, August 10 to 14, though there is a “pre-show” August 7 and 8. There will be three auctions…Stack’s, Bowers and Merena, and Heritage held before and during the show. The show auction is the Heritage auction and it is huge. Both the B&M and Stack’s auctions have some great coins. I estimate that over $50 million worth of coins will be sold at the three auctions and another $50 million worth of coins will trade hands on the floor of the coin show. It is going to be a monstrous event.
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The Art and Science of Coin Buying and Selling
Scott A. Travers
Coin buyers and sellers are constantly making deals. Some end up doing very well for themselves, while others learn later that the joke was on them. Unlike the contestants on Let’s Make a Deal, however, those who negotiate deals involving coins don’t have to operate strictly by guesswork. They can arm themselves with facts, figures, insights and common sense and emerge from just about any deal with at least fair value – and perhaps a good deal more. Deal-making is second nature for professional numismatists. “Deal,” after all, represents two-thirds of the word “dealer.” You don’t have to be a dealer, though, to grasp and even master the art (and science) of deal-making. At the outset, it’s important to understand some conditions that are peculiar, if not unique, to the rare-coin marketplace.
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New Book on Buffalo Nickel Abraded Die Varieties
NumiStories
Great opportunity awaits the dedicated Buffalo variety collector, and this book is the ultimate guide in that endeavor. One look at the advancing values of the two best known abraded die varieties, the 1937-D 3 leg and the 1936-D 3 1/2 leg Buffalo nickels, and one can see the genuine need for this reference. Taking into account the increasing popularity and Red Book acceptance of these varieties, now is the time to begin your search! What are abraded die varieties? In Part One of this book Ron Pope defines traditional and non-traditional abraded die varieties, explains how these varieties were produced, and devotes a full page to the description of each known date and mintmark for which that variety occurs.
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What’s the Proper Way to Examine a Coin?
Numismatic News
One thing has not changed since the first class I taught in Colorado Springs, Colo., with Charles Hoskins back in 1973. I saw students using all kinds of methods to view coins. A few would lay the coin flat on the table and bend over it with their magnifier blocking most of the light needed to see the coin. Others would hold the coin and magnifier practically at arms length while trying to see the image in the lens almost a foot away from their eye. Unfortunately, many students continued to do this after being shown the “correct” way to view a coin. I believe the best method is to hold the magnifier to your eye and bring the coin up to the lens until it is in focus. Place your head close to the light source so that the light is between your magnifier/eye combination and the coin.?
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The News at a Glance – August 2, 2010

Commission of Fine Arts Reviews 2012 Presidential Dollar Designs, Recommmends Three
Coin Update News
The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) reviewed proposed designs for the 2012 Presidential Dollars during a meeting held July 15, 2010. The United States Mint provided the CFA with four to six obverse candidate designs for each coin. The CFA made recommendations for three out of the four coins to be released. The Presidential Dollar Program, which began in 2007, honors the former Presidents of the United States in the order served. Four different coins are released each year with the obverse design featuring a portrait of the President being honored. The reverse of each coin has featured a rendition of the Statue of Liberty designed by Don Everhart. The coins to be issued for 2012 will feature Chester A. Arhur, Grover Cleveland (first term), Benjamin Harrison, and Grover Cleveland (second term).
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Before You Buy or Sell Coins
PCGS Blog
I just bought a new flat screen TV for my daughter. Before I bought it I spent a couple hours on the Internet researching different models and comparing prices from different Retailers. Good thing I did because I didn’t know that 120 Hz screens have the best performance for video games! It’s the same thing with coins. I only spent $900 on the TV but I know I spent more time learning about my options then some coin buyers do before spending far greater amounts on a coin. So what should you do before you buy a coin? (By the way the exact same information applies when you are selling.) I have always thought there are three basic pieces of information that are essential to know before buying: population; APR (auction prices realized) and pricing. Let’s dig into each a little more.
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John Paul Jones on a Comitia Americana Medal
Stack’s News
The only naval hero honored in the Comitia Americana series (struck by the Paris Mint for the Continental Congress) is Scottish-born John Paul Jones (1747-1792). Jones, commemorated on a 57.3mm piece, is remembered for his exploits on the French-built Bonhomme Richard (Poor Richard, a tribute to Benjamin Franklin) which electrified the world during the American Revolution. The obverse shows a uniformed bust of Jones as Commander of the Fleet. The reverse depicts the sea fight of Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis off the Scottish coast on September 1779. The British ship was captured by Jones and made part of the infant American navy. This Paris Mint medal was the work of Augustin Dupré, though his name does not appear on this example, struck from 19th-century copy dies made at the Philadelphia Mint that deliberately omitted his name.
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The 1938-D Mercury Dime
Numismatic News
Perhaps it is time we take a second or even a first look at some of the lower mintage Mercury dime dates like the 1938-D. Right now the 1938-D seems fairly stable in terms of price, but you have to think that $34 for an MS-65 and $62 for an MS-65 with full split bands is awfully inexpensive considering its mintage and the potential for demand for a coin that is now more than 70 years old. The 1938-D Mercury dime had a mintage of 5,537,000. It seems unlikely that a coin with such a mintage would be overlooked and especially unlikely that it would be overlooked for seven decades. However, in the case of the Mercury dime you have a coin set that traditionally has basically been about one date: the 264,000 mintage 1916-D. If any dates were seen as being in the same class as the 1916-D, they were not regular dates but rather the 1942/41 and 1942/41-D. overdates.
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Numismatist Eric Newman Discovers Audubon’s First Engraved Illustration
The E-Sylum
For more than half a century, scholars and biographers of famed bird artist and ornithologist John James Audubon had been stumped. In an 1824 diary entry, the young French immigrant, who lived for several years at Mill Grove in Montgomery County, mentioned that he had given a drawing of a running grouse to a Philadelphia engraver for use on a New Jersey banknote. It would have been a key moment – the first published illustration for the struggling artist, then 29 years old. But if so, where was it? Nobody could find it. And as time went by, many began to dismiss the story as a typical Audubon exaggeration. But Robert Peck, curator of art and artifacts at the Academy of Natural Sciences, decided to give it one last try. What he and Eric Newman, a numismatic historian from St. Louis, found has rocked the world of Audubon scholars, who are calling their discovery “a eureka moment.”
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Coin Information Adds Value
Coin Values
Information is a key component in determining an object’s value and sometimes a nugget of a coin’s history can substantially increase a coin’s price. For example, one could argue that research, suggesting that a 1794 Flowing Hair dollar graded Specimen 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service was the first silver dollar ever struck by the U.S. Mint, strongly boosted the coin’s importance to justify the reported $7,850,000 that it traded for in a private treaty sale. In other words, the research elevated the coin from being a noteworthy early U.S. coin of great interest to specialists to a landmark rarity with broader appeal.
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The News at a Glance – July 30, 2010

The Willow Tree Coins
NumiStories
John Hull’s second series of silver coins produced at his Boston, Massachusetts mint were the first dated coins in what would become the United States. This “Willow Tree” design is believed to have been produced from 1653 to 1660. It was determined that Hull’s simple “NE” coins were easy to counterfeit and prone to clipping because of the absence of a border to the design. Clipping was the process of cutting slivers of silver off the edges of coins and passing the now underweight coins at full value. On October 19, 1652 legislation was passed paving the way for the new design. The “Willow Tree” name was first noted in W.E. Woodward’s sale of the Joseph Mickley collection in 1867. These coins were very crudely struck, perhaps on a rocker press rather than by hand, the “tree” appearing as a mass of lines and squiggles that really doesn’t resemble any specific tree. The coins were struck in denominations of threepence, sixpence, and shilling with the obverse consisting of the tree in the center surrounded by inner and outer rings of dots.
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“Blue Pack” Ike Dollars Present Storage Challenge
NCS
The 1971 debut of the Eisenhower Dollar was highly anticipated by collectors. The circulating edition wasn’t released until November of that year, but on July 1 collectors could begin sending in their orders for the silver-clad editions made at San Francisco. These included the proofs, packaged in a rigid plastic holder within a brown cardboard box, and sold for a whopping $10. Also offered were uncirculated examples at $3 apiece. As delivered, these were packaged in the same transparent, flexible “pliofilm” (polyester) material used for the Mint’s annual uncirculated sets. The pliofilm sleeve was inserted into a fitted blue envelope properly imprinted for the coin.
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What’s a Fair Price for the Silver 5-Ounce ATB ‘Quarters’?
Dave Harper
With silver at roughly $18 a troy ounce presently, what do you think a fair price would be for the Mint to charge for the upcoming silver versions of the America the Beautiful quarters? Each coin will contain five troy ounces, or $90 worth of bullion. It will be an unusual issue. The U.S. government has never issued five-ounce coins before. The coin will have twice the diameter of a Morgan dollar and will be unusually thin, so thin in fact that a special new press had to be purchased in Germany to strike it. That is new equipment, the cost of which, will have to be amortized during the coining program.
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PCGS CoinFacts Turns One
PCGS Blog
PCGS CoinFacts turned one year old on July 27! PCGS CoinFacts was already a big baby when it was born, having gestated for over ten years.  However, in the last year, thanks to lots of attention from our IT department and our Board of Experts, PCGS CoinFacts has put on a lot of meat and muscle. Enhancements include: Thousands of new images, ranging from high-grade modern coins to classic, ultra-rarities and everything in between. Condition Census – a listing of the top five examples all U.S. coins (top ten for rarities, if there are that many!) Hundreds of new narratives from experts in every area – anecdotes, facts, and figures from people in-the-know. Million Dollar Coin Club – a roster of coins that have sold for over a million dollars (and those that will soon).
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CCAC Pans Coin Designs
Numismaster
Not just any old coin design will do. That’s the message the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee sent loud and clear July 27 as it recommended designs for only one of eight coins presented by the U.S. Mint. “We’re putting more value on our recommendations,” said CCAC Chairman Gary Marks. So after adopting a new voting procedure that calls for a majority rather than plurality of votes before a coin design can be considered “recommended,” the CCAC only gave thumbs up to an obverse and reverse design for the 2011 First Spouse coin honoring Lucretia Garfield. But the CCAC isn’t blaming the Mint artists for the disappointing designs. “The artists are pretty much told what to render,” Marks said. “There isn’t a lot of creativity going on in what the artists are allowed to do.” And that’s where design excellence comes in, Marks said.
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Money of the German Colonies
CoinsWeekly
Already in 1890, a first emission of copper coins was issued in Berlin by order of the German East Africa Company. They were called Pesa and show on the obverse a laurel wreath and the Arabic legend “Company of Germany“. On its reverse the imperial eagle was depicted. An Indian Rupee, the most important coastal currency, equated 64 Pesa. Pesa were issued in high numbers (in 1892 alone, the emission’s last year, 27.541.389 were manufactured). The silver coins, emitted since 1891, were issued in considerably lower numbers. They show on the obverse the German Emperor and on the reverse the coat of arms of the German East Africa Company, a striding lion in front of a palm tree. The fractions were one quarter, one half, one, and a double Rupee thereby matching the local currency situation.
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The News at a Glance – July 29, 2010

Crossover, Cross-under, or Cross-out?
Coin Update News
A legitimate “crossover” involves a coin graded by one company earning the same grade by another company. A “cross-under,” as the name implies, entails a graded coin receiving a lower grade by a different company. A “cross-out” concerns a graded coin being returned as non-gradable due to tampering, damage or questionable authenticity. My local dealer has told me that third-tier companies often grade 20 or more points higher on the 70-scale for mint state and proof coins, when compared to NGC or PCGS. I not only agree; I am embarrassed to submit some of these coins in their holders to PCGS, marking “Genuine” on the submission sheet, because sometimes I really do suspect a slabbed counterfeit. I have one such coin now undergoing analysis at PCGS.
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PCGS’s David Hall – How I Got Started
PCGS Blog
I started collecting coins in 1959 at age 12. My grandmother was a coin collector. She was also a heavy smoker. At the time, cigarettes were found in vending machines all over the place, the cost was 22 cents a pack. You put a quarter in the vending machine and you got a pack of cigarettes. Inside the cellophane wrapped pack was your change…three shinny new pennies. That’s how my grandmother got started. She saved pennies, then nickels, then dimes, then quarters and halves, placing them in her Whitman blue book coin albums. My grandfather was very old country (Poland) old school…very conservative. He would not let my grandmother ever buy a coin she needed for her collection.
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The NE (New England) Coinage of 1652
NUmiStories
On May 27, 1652 an act was passed by the Massachusetts General Court providing for the establishment of a mint. Over the next few weeks the Court hashed out the specifics of the mint’s location and operation. It was determined that John Hull, a silversmith, would become mintmaster, along with Hull’s friend Robert Sanderson assisting. Controversy surrounds the actual reasons for the creation of a mint at this time. Phillip Mossman states in his incredible book “Money of the American Colonies and Confederation” that, “the mint came into existence as a reaction to the lightweight, counterfeit, and debased silver coins which appeared in New England very quickly after the initial settlements.”
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Are Price Increases Hurting Annual U.S. Mint Sales?
MInt News Blog
Sales of the United States Mint’s two most popular annual sets, the 2010 Mint Set and the 2010 Proof Set, debuted with lower sales compared to previous years. The increased price for each set may be one of the factors contributing to the decline. This year’s annual sets included price increases of $4 and $2 for the Mint Set and Proof Set, respectively. Both increases took place despite a reduction in the number of coins included in each set. The 2010 Mint Set went on sale July 15, 2010. In the debut sales period through July 18, the US Mint recorded sales of 200,764 sets. In the most recent sales report covering data through July 25, sales had reached 247,085. This is a far cry from the initial sales for the 2009 Mint Set.
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Famous Americans Printed Money
Numismatic News
Now that everyone has safely acquired their 50-state quarters, it might well be time to consider another collecting option when it comes to the original 13 states of the United States, but this time it might be worth considering items that were actually circulating at the time the Founding Fathers were building a nation. It might be surprising to many, but a collection of the notes of the colonies that became the first 13 states is possible and when discussing historically important American notes it is really a collection without peer as such a collection is not possible with coins. In some respects with all the interest in 50-state quarters and the attention given those first days of the nation, it is hard to understand why the notes of the period have received so little attention.
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Dollar Coins Belong in a Pirate Chest
Boston Herald
The deal is supposed to be simple: If I insert a $10 bill for a $2 item, the machine coughs up eight bucks in return. So why are the MBTA Charlie Card machines dumping out Chuck E. Cheese’s tokens? I usually pay my subway fares with a credit card, so I was stunned when the machine at Alewife went into jackpot mode and dispensed a handful of golden one-dollar coins. My change included some Sacagaweas – the tribute to that gorgeous tour guide of the Lewis and Clark expedition – and some obscure U.S. presidents who usually only get mentioned on “Jeopardy!” My first reaction: Skee-Ball, anyone? I may as well try to give a cashier those foil-wrapped chocolate coins. J.P. Fulciniti, owner of Fulciniti’s Market deli in Waltham, tells me he comes across only a few of these dollar coins a week, but they make a memorable impact.
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The News at a Glance – July 28, 2010

Stars on Banknotes Are Special
Numismaster
Sometimes the Bureau of Engraving and Printing messes up a note as its printed. It can’t be issued. It must be destroyed, but the accounts must be balanced. What to do? Well, since 1910 the BEP has employed a star at the end of the serial number in place of the letter to indicate that it is a replacement note for one that was destroyed. Collectors love star notes because they are scarcer than regular notes and some of them are downright rare. The percentage of spoiled notes is very small; hence the number of star notes is rather limited. In the early series of U.S. small size notes, the spoilage percentage has been accurately estimated at less than 1 percent of toal notes. No attempt is made to replace any defective note with the same serial number star note.
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2010 U.S. Proof Platinum Eagles Available August 12
U.S. Mint
American Eagle Platinum Proof Coins are collector versions of the official United States Mint American Eagle Platinum Bullion Coins and are available in limited mintages in the one ounce size. The obverse features Lady Liberty, symbolizing vigilance and faithfulness to duty. The reverse design is emblematic of the principle To Establish Justice, the second of six principles of American democracy found in the Preamble to the United States Constitution. It features a blindfolded justice, symbolizing impartiality, holding traditional scales and carrying a branch of laurel. Inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1 oz., .9995 PLATINUM, $100, and JUSTICE THE GUARDIAN OF LIBERTY, which is from the East Pediment of the Supreme Court Building.
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How Much Bullion and Rare Coins Should You Own?
Coin Update News
A question I am frequently asked by both new and experienced buyers of precious metals is just how much of one’s portfolio should be devoted to gold, silver, and rare coins? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.  Factors that affect the allocation decision include someone’s current financial position, their amount of liquid assets, their age, the level of potential risk versus reward they can accept, and their commitments that may tie up assets in the future. To help people, I have come up with a range of answers, using the percentage of net worth as the standard.  For some it may be easier to think in terms of percentage of an investment portfolio.
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Fake British £1 coins Increasing
BBC Business News
Nearly two million counterfeit £1 coins were returned to the Royal Mint in the last financial year, figures show. This was more than 23 times higher than the number seized six years earlier, MPs were told. An estimated one in 36 £1 coins in circulation are counterfeit, prompting a campaign by the Royal Mint telling people how to spot fakes. Key signs of counterfeits include a poorly defined ribbed edge or an indistinct design of the Queen.The UK Treasury said that the proportion of counterfeit £1 coins in circulation had only risen slightly in the last year. Attempts to tackle the number of fakes had led to the high number seized and returned to the Royal Mint.
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The U.S. Mint’s Stealth Anti-Counterfeiting Campaign
Dave Harper’s Buzz
In the United States, we have not had a problem with fake $1 coins in circulation, but the Mint, nevertheless, keeps churning out alternative coins. The Ike dollar arrived in 1971, the Anthony in 1978, the Anthony revival in 1999, the Sacagawea dollar in 2000, the Presidential dollars starting in 2007 and the Native American coins starting in 2009. Americans have a choice of five different coin designs to ignore each and every year now. … That’s darn clever of the U.S. Mint. It has successfully defended the U.S. economy from an influx of fake dollar coins and saved its valiant retail merchants from unfortunate losses.
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U.S. Seeking Input for Banknote Modification to Aid the Visually Impaired
SelfServiceWorld
The Federal Register has published for public comment changes to United States Federal Reserve Notes — U.S. paper currency — to make them accessible to the blind and the visually impaired, knowing that the alterations will financially affect some ATM, kiosk and self-checkout owners and operators. “The purpose of this Federal Register notice is to inform the public of the features the Bureau of Engraving and Printing intends to propose to the Secretary of the Treasury to accommodate people who are blind and visually impaired and to solicit public comment on the proposed accommodation,” the Federal Register wrote in the proposal titled, “Meaningful Access To United States Currency for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons.”
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The News at a Glance – July 27, 2010

Lawyer’s Dollar Coin Promotion Bypasses Bureaucracy
Jacksonville
Charlie Smith’s outspoken disdain for folding dollars has reached high places. The U.S. Treasury Department has invited the St. Marys lawyer to a meeting in Washington to talk about it. Smith’s ongoing campaign to encourage people, banks and merchants to circulate dollar coins has attracted the attention of treasury officials. He is scheduled to meet with U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios in September to discuss his ongoing campaign. Smith said the meeting will also include representatives from a coalition supporting dollar coins. “I think they’re interested in the fact that no one with direct interest in the dollar coin is working so hard to make that change happen,” he said. “I’m spreading them all over the country.”
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The Commemorative Wave – 1936
Pinnacle Rarities
Coin collecting in the 1930’s was heated by a willing U.S. Mint, fueled by the interest in the classic commemorative series, and railroaded by a new breed of numismatist – the marketers. These promoters took full advantage of the new urbanization of America. There was an increasing ease, functionality and reliability of the U.S. Postal Service combined with improved printing and advertising mediums. Uncertain times had opened the public’s eyes to alternative investments, and these early dealers took full advantage. Commissions were established and pushed for approval from Congress for the production of commemorative halves. The commission would purchase quantities from the U.S. Mint to resell at a profit, presumably using the proceeds to further the objectives of their respective commission. The scruples of many of these organizations came into question early on.
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Coin Collector and Blogger Interviewed for the Saturday Evening Post
Coin Collector’s Blog
The Saturday Evening Post continues to publish a variety of stories including those of general interest. One of The Post’s regular columns is “Collectible News & Notes.” As part of the column, The Post features a collector and their passion for what they collect. In the July/August 2010 issue (Vol. 283, No. 4), your blog host is the featured collector. I was contacted via email by the writer of the article. After we exchanged a few notes, he called me one afternoon. I happened to have been driving to a local grocery store when he called. I spent most of our one-and-a-half hour conversation while sitting in the parking lot in front of the grocery store. It was a pleasant conversation and I am sure I gave him more information than he asked for.
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Unusual Holey Dollars Head Australian Rare Coin Auction
Paul Fraser Collectibles
Created from mutilated Spanish dollars, these numismatic oddities were Australia’s first currency. The Holey Dollar was a remarkable type of coin – or a way of producing coins – which the British resorted to in order to produce unique currencies for two colonies: Prince Edward Island and New South Wales. In both cases the governors of the colonies responded to shortages in currency by taking Spanish Dollars, first minted at the end of the 15th century, and punching the centre out. The resulting ‘holey dollar’ and ‘dump’ (the outer part and centre respectively) were both used as coins, with additional markings to indicate they were part of a new currency.
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Quantum States, Uncertainty, and the 1907 Gold Ten Dollar Pattern
Heritage Blog
There were two Plain Edge, Wire Rim Saint-Gaudens ten dollar pattern coins made in 1907. Heritage has one of them, the only one known to have survived, in its upcoming Official ANA U.S. Coin auction in Boston. The known history of this particular coin goes back only a few years. Yet recent numismatic research has revealed what happened to the two Plain Edge, Wire Rim tens immediately after they were struck: In mid-July 1907, one was sent to then-Secretary of the Treasury George B. Cortelyou, who forwarded the coin to President Theodore Roosevelt. The other was sent to the coins’ designer, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. One coin, two possible destinations… Roosevelt or Saint-Gaudens, president or artist… a quantum pedigree.
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U.S. Mint Fraud?
GoldSeek
One of the more disingenuous frauds the citizens of the United States are being subjected to these days is coming out of the US Mint. For over 2 years the Mint has been illegally rationing gold and silver American Eagles and now the Director of the U.S. Mint, Edmond Moy, is finally on the hot seat. “A congressional subcommittee has been asked to investigate the growing backlog in and foreign procurement of U.S. bullion and collectors’ precious metals coin blanks manufactured by the U.S. Mint.” … The Law clearly states that “the silver coins must be supplied to the US public in ‘quantities sufficient to meet public demand’ EVEN IF it means the US Mint drives up the price of silver bullion on the open market in order to obtain the silver needed to produce the US Silver Eagles.”
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The News at a Glance – July 26, 2010

The Wild Ride of Numismatic Research
PCGS Blog
Numismatic research is a never-ending journey full of twists, turns, side-roads, dead-ends, and new discoveries.  Much of the fun of numismatic research is that you’re not alone: you can utilize the findings of those who have gone before or bring current experts along to help you navigate.  The following is a quick run-through of steps involved in research of the undated Templeton Reid $10. Reviewed census of the three pieces listed in Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins. Tried to find images off all three examples: the Smithsonian’s best piece is plated in Breen; the other Smithsonian piece is illustrated on PCGS CoinFacts; the third piece was missing.
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Coin Market Heat Wave
Stella
We’re selling a higher dollar volume every month in about half the coins. This has allowed us to concentrate on each customer better and the results are paying off. In 2010, we have steadily averaged over $2 million in sales EACH month. So, why are other dealers saying the market is “red hot” and “we can’t buy enough coins”, etc, etc.? I suppose it’s just good marketing. Of course it’s hard to buy great coins. It’s always hard to buy great coins. Usually if prices are too low (as they are getting these days) sellers hold on to the better coins until the prices go up. When prices go up, up, up (like they did in 2005-7) then sellers unload but uneducated buyers enter the market and overbid for coins.
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Japan’s 2,000-Yen Note Popular in Okinawa
Banknote News
The Bank of Japan began issuing the ¥2000 bill on July 19, 2000 to commemorate the Group of Eight summit in Okinawa, but this bill didn’t catch on with the general public and remains unpopular. There are around 110 million ¥2,000 notes in circulation, about 1% of all Japanese currency. Okinawans have good reasons for loving the bill; the Okinawan symbol ’Shureimon’ is printed on one side of the bill. The Shureimon Gate in Naha was built in the 16th century as the main gate to Shuri Castle. Shureimon Gate is a symbol of peace, and Okinawans say they want “to promote the spirit of peace from Okinawa” with the ¥2,000 note. Local Okinawa businesses have begun a campaign to promote use of the currency, with local banks converting ATM machines to accept them and shopping malls now giving change in ¥2,000 notes.
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Readers Pick Best 2010 U.S. Coin Designs (So Far)
MInt News Blog
A little over a week ago, I created a poll where Mint News Blog readers could vote on what they believe is the best US Mint coin design for the year so far. A total of 725 votes were cast across the eleven different coins issued during 2010, which featured a new design on at least one side of the coin. Two coins received more than 50% of the total votes, signaling two strong favorites. The third highest number of votes were cast for a medal honoring the Women Airforce Service Pilots. In the end, the 2010 Native American Dollar edged out the 2010 Lincoln Cent by a margin of 21 votes.
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All Dressed Up and Ready to Go … To the 20th Century
Numismatic News
The U.S. Mint is all dressed up and ready to go. The problem is it is ready to go to a 20th century destination. A decade into the 21st century we have to ask ourselves where it should be heading to be relevant to our futures. The Mint as it currently exists was organized, and its productive capacity built to meet the astronomical coin demands ushered in by the age of vending machines and the replacement of silver coins with copper-nickel clad coins. After the massive coin shortage of the 1960s, no Mint official ever wanted to be caught short again.
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The World’s First Coin Auction?
PCGS
A number of years ago, I came across into a tiny booklet in a bookstore. Opening the cover, I discovered it was a coin auction catalog… from 1786! I don’t know how long coin auctions have been taking place, but this surely is among the first auctions dedicated only to coins. The auction was the property of the late Sir Charles Frederick, Knight of the Bath, and was sold by Mr. Gerard at his House in Litchfield Street, St. Anne’s Soho. It consisted of Greek, Roman, Saxon, English, Anglo-Gallic and other coins and medals. While it was a four-day sale, held from May 17-20, it consisted only of 365 lots, sold at a pace of roughly 90 per day. As one would expect, the sale was made up almost totally of ancient and British coins.
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Coin News for July 23, 2010

The Carnegie Hero Fund Medal
Stack’s News
Medals awarded by the Carnegie Hero Fund are the aristocrats of life-saving. Established in 1904 and named for Scots-born industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the medals recognize extreme heroism in saving the life of an individual or individuals to whom the rescuer is not related. The recipient cannot be a professional such as a lifeguard, police officer, or fireman, however heroic, as the Carnegie Fund specifies that such rescuers are only doing their jobs. Saving the life of a complete stranger at risk of one’s own does the trick. From 1904 until the early 2000s. these medals were struck by J.E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia. Most seen on the numismatic market are bronze but a silver, 75.8mm, 181.8 grams piece in our upcoming Philadelphia Americana Sale is sure to seize bidder attention.
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Should U.S. Bullion Blanks be Made in the U.S.?
Dave Harper
Blanks for the American Eagle program made in Australia for the U.S. Mint was a topic raised by Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Melvin Watt and Rep. Ron Paul Tuesday at the subcommittee’s hearing. Watt asked U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy if it was efficient to send American gold to Australia to make blanks. Moy’s reply was that “this is the easiest way to get blanks to our specifications.”
Rep. Paul wondered why the Mint can’t make its own planchets. He asked what a businessman would do. Moy explained that it was a matter of capital investment. He noted that an average year’s output was eight million ounces of production. Last year was 28 million and this year it will be 32 million. These totals are for silver blanks as silver American Eagles also entered the discussion.
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Gold Coin Sellers Angered by New Tax Law
ABC News/ Money
Those already outraged by the president’s health care legislation now have a new bone of contention — a scarcely noticed tack-on provision to the law that puts gold coin buyers and sellers under closer government scrutiny. … This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it. The tax code tweak is expected to raise $17 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Taking an early and vociferous role in opposing the measure is the precious metal and coin industry, according to Diane Piret, industry affairs director for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. The ICTA, based in Severna Park, Md., is a trade association representing an estimated 5,000 coin and bullion dealers in the United States.
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American Palladium Eagle Bullion Coin Proposed
MInt News Blog
At the July 20 House of Representatives subcommittee meeting on “The State of U.S. Coins and Currency,” Michael Clark, President of Diamond State Depository, expressed his industry’s belief that the American Eagle Bullion Coin Program should be broadened with the addition of palladium bullion coins. The US Mint’s bullion coin program originally included only gold and silver coins, but was broadened in 1997 with the introduction of the American Platinum Eagle. This might set the precedent for another broadening of the program with the American Palladium Eagle. Statements provided at the hearing cited potential demand for Palladium Eagle bullion coins from both collectors and investors. The coins were presented as an interesting pricing point for precious metals investors at $450 per ounce, compared to higher priced gold and platinum.
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Commission of Fine Arts Promotes Coin Design Simplicity
Numismatic News
Members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts prefer their presidential portraits in profile. In consequence, on July 15 when the CFA reviewed the design proposals for the four 2012 Presidential dollars, they withheld a recommendation on the Benjamin Harrison design. CFA members also prefer simpler designs to more complicated ones and this affected their judgments of the four 2011 First Spouse gold coin design proposals Thomas Luebke, CFA secretary, said he would be conveying the members’ views in an official letter that would go to the Treasury Department. Though the letter’s text was not yet approved, Luebke said Presidential profiles were preferred because they are the most traditional and “time-honored way to depict a person.”
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Proof U.S. Silver Eagles Returning?
Coin Update News
A statement by United States Mint Director Edmund Moy indicates that 2010 Proof Silver Eagles may be minted and issued later this year, following a possible amendment to existing law. The status of the popular collector coin has remained uncertain due to the continued high demand for the bullion version of the coin. The American Silver Eagle has been produced since 1986. Each coin contains one troy ounce of .999 fine silver, with the weight, content, and purity guaranteed by the United States Government. Traditionally, Silver Eagles have been offered as bullion coins, distributed through a network of authorized purchasers, and as collector coins, sold directly to the public. Existing law requires that the United States Mint produce the bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet the public demand, but there is no requirement to produce the collector versions of the coin.
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Coin News for July 22, 2010

Famous Roman Coins You Can Collect
NGC
Roman Republican Denarius, after c. 211 B.C. This coin breaks with our guiding theme since it was struck long before famous individuals began to issue coins of their own, but it is worth taking the opportunity to recognize the approximately 350 years of Roman coinage before the empire. The coinage was quite varied in this period, and included gold, silver and base metal coins in a wide range of denominations. Shown here is a “typical” early denarius, struck starting in about 211 B.C. Many of these denarii bear the names of moneyers, the officials in charge of coinage in any particular year. This happens to be an anonymous piece from about 207 B.C. It shows on its obverse the helmeted head of the goddess Roma, and on its reverse the Dioscuri, riding into battle with lances at the ready.
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The Market Today, The Market Twenty Years Ago
Stack’s News
Market study is always worthwhile. Many years ago financier Bernard Baruch stated that he made his money by purchasing bargains in the stock market when other people were ignoring issues, and when everyone was madly scrambling to pay record prices for stocks, selling out. Buy low, sell high, as the saying goes. In numismatics a lot of people do this. Do a bit of reading, and you can start getting more value for your money than ever before. What a great way to start a new specialty! And, apart from that, you’ll find a large panorama of coins in series that have had evergreen popularity, more or less, with few ups and downs. Copper coins, most early “type” coins in all metals, and other specialties beckon. On balance, most series have appreciated in value since 1990, reinforcing the philosophy that a carefully formed collection can be a great store of value.
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World Paper Money Errors
Banknote News
While there are several catalogs covering United States paper money errors, this book is the first attempt at a systematic approach to describing, documenting, and pricing errors on world banknotes. As such, it’s an important new addition to the world’s numismatics knowledge base, but it suffers from some shortcomings I hope will be addressed in future editions. Author Morland C. Fischer does a very good job of explaining the various types of errors found on banknotes and has distilled them down to an eight-point FEN (Foreign Error Note) ranking system in which higher numbers correspond to more significant errors. Reasonable people might disagree over whether a missing overprint is more dramatic an error than an inverted back (FEN 4 and 7, respectively), but the codification of the taxonomy of errors is a welcome improvement to a subjective field of study.
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U.S. Mint Numismatic Gold Prices to Decline?
MInt News Blog
After spending more than two months at the highest levels on record, the prices for US Mint numismatic gold coins should be reduced this week. The gold numismatic products currently available include the 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo and the First Spouse Gold Coins featuring Sarah Polk, Margaret Taylor, Abigail Fillmore, and Jane Pierce. Under the US Mint’s pricing policy for numismatic gold and platinum coins, the prices of products may be adjusted as frequently as weekly in response to changes in the average price of the metals. Each week, the average of the London Fix prices from the prior Thursday AM to the current Wednesday AM is calculated.
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The Top 5 Worst Coin Investments
Susan Headley
(See Disclaimer) Number One on my list is the TV shopping show dealers and premium “Mints” out there that sell nice looking commemorative coins for premium prices, but that have no value beyond their bullion (if they have any) when you must eventually sell them. Some of these “Mints” sell on the TV and cable-based shopping channels, and the prices they charge when they do sell genuine U.S. Mint coins are nearly always several times higher than the price the coins would cost from a normal coin dealer! These shows rarely sell anything that can’t be acquired elsewhere more cheaply, so don’t impulse buy from these shows! Do a little research and you’ll see the same Silver Eagles at $2 to $4 over spot price from major traditional coin dealers.
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German Micro-Currencies
The E-Sylum
The Havelbluete, the Augusta and the Chiemgauer might sound like the names of locally brewed beers, but they are in fact micro-currencies which, like micro-breweries, are in abundance in Germany. There are more than two dozen local currencies in circulation, and 40 or so initiatives are about to start printing their own banknotes. These notes are not gimmicks. They’re recognized legal tender — at least within each local region. Artisanal pork and organic fruit and vegetables aren’t the only locally made products exchanging hands. The regional currency, the Kingower is as well. Walburger Zanbugler(ph) is a local beef and pork farmer. At the front of her refrigerated stall, prominently displayed near the regional delicacy, Weisswurst, a sign in German reads, Kingower accepted here.
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Coin News for July 21, 2010

Bureau of Engraving and Printing Prepares Public for New $100 Note
U.S. B.E.P.
The U.S. government released the first in a series of educational videos, amplifying public education efforts for the new $100 note, which will begin circulating on February 10, 2011. The public education program kicked off in April with the unveiling of the new design for the $100 note and the launch of a new educational website. “The educational video series we are launching today is but one among a diverse array of educational tools designed to meet the needs of U.S. currency users the world over,” said Dawn Haley, Chief, Office of External Relations at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Globally, there are approximately 6.5 billion $100 notes in circulation, and the Federal Reserve Board estimates that up to two-thirds of those notes circulate outside of the United States.
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H.M.A.V. Bounty Gold Collector’s Set
New Zealand Mint
For the first time, a commemorative coin – the first to be issued from Pitcairn Island, where the descendants of the mutineers continue to live today. This set includes the 1/4oz gold and 1/25oz gold Coins. These will be specially packaged in a handmade wooden collector box, fashioned in the shape of a sea chest. They also come complete with a small working sextant, the instrument used by seafaring navigators of the time. The sextant, together with a chronometer to mark noon, was used to mark the sun’s position in the sky in relation to the horizon, in order to determine the vessel’s latitude. History has it that these were given to Lieutenant Bligh when he was cast adrift, enabling him to find his way back to Timor and safety.
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Battle of Trafalgar Medal to be Offered
Paul Fraser Collectibles
Among the highlights will be 94 Naval General Service medals dated to 1793-1840. Of these, it is one belonging to a “Boy Third Class” that could be especially sought-after by collectors. In 1805, James Folley had been in the Royal Navy for just six months when he was sent to the Battle of Trafalgar. Little did he know then that it would become the last resting place of Lord Horatio Nelson, and that his own involvement in the battle would garner a medal – and not just any medal. This was a special silver Naval General Service decoration dated to 1793-1840. However, Folley would have to wait over 40 years until 1847 to receive his honour due to the scarcity of the metals used in its design.
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When Is Upside Down Presidential Dollar Edge Lettering an Error?
Susan Headley
The U.S. Mint produces two types of coins. Normal coins, called business strike coins by minting experts, are produced in vast quantities with little attention to individual coin detail and quality (although the Mint does strive to produce high quality coins overall.) Proof coins are the other type of coins made by the U.S. Mint, and they are carefully made with a focus on quality over quantity. Whether or not the upside down edge lettering on a Presidential Dollar has been applied in error depends on the type of coin you have.
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Counterfeit Detection: 1924-S Standing Liberty Quarter
NGC
While the origins of this 1924-S Standing Liberty Quarter are not precisely known, it’s believed to be a Depression-era counterfeit, made to circulate at its face value. In other words, it’s an old fake. Many such contemporary fakes are seen in average circulated grades and have fairly obvious flaws that don’t fool collectors, but wouldn’t have caused any hiccup in daily commerce. While 1921 and 1923-S quarters, among other dates, can be worth several hundred dollars in fine condition, the 1924-S is worth only about $40. Usually, it’s just not worth a counterfeiter’s time to focus too much effort on replicating a circulated 1924-S quarter — although uncirculated copies and coins altered to appear full head do exist for this date.
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Collecting Walking Liberty Half Dollars
PCGS Blog
The early set, from 1916-1933, is where it gets really interesting. Supposedly all the dates can be found in gem although the 1919-D is nearly impossible. When I assembled my set in the late 80s – early 90s I could not find a 1919-D or a 1921-S in full gem. Based on my experience, in gem condition the 1919-D and 1921-S are followed in scarcity by the 1918-D, 1917-S Obverse, 1917-D Reverse and 1919-S. Also, many early dates are rarely seen fully struck. It has been speculated that there was a period of time during which the Denver mint deliberately spaced dies slightly farther apart in an effort to prolong their useful life. The 1918-D, 1919-D and 1920-D all are typically very poorly struck. The only nearly fully struck 1919-D that I have ever seen was a PCGS AU58.
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Coin News for July 20, 2010

The World’s Most Beautiful Coins
Telegraph
A copper-plated one Afghani coin. Prior to the US Invasion, the Taliban and tribal warlords often produced their own money of varying values. These coins were only introduced in 2005 as a measure to help standardise the currency and to encourage Afghans to use a national currency rather than US dollars or Pakistani rupees. The Australian one dollar coin, showing five kangaroos. All Australian coins have Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, and show a variety of traditional images on the reverse, ranging from the Superb Lyrebird to the Australian coat of arms and a Gwoya Jungarai Aboriginal elder. The Canadian two dollar coin, affectionately referred to as a “toonie”. There was an urban myth that you could pop the centre out, which was in fact partially true – defective coins struck in 1996 could be separated if struck hard or frozen, since the centre piece shrunk more in the cold than the outside. The defect was however remedied within a few months of detection.
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Pulling the Plug on the Cent … In Canada
The Star
Is Canada facing a penniless future? While Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has openly mused about the end of the one-cent coin, documents reveal that officials from his department have been in discussions with the Royal Canadian Mint to prepare for the day when the penny finally drops. They’ve talked to officials in both Australia and New Zealand — two countries that have axed the one-cent coins — to learn about their experience in a penny-free society. They considered how the end of the penny would affect cash purchases. And they’ve mused about plans to convince Canadians to part with the stock of 30 billion pennies produced since 1908, many of which are rattling around bedroom drawers, piggy banks, kitchen jars — and weighing down pockets and purses.
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Interesting Coins Lead the Market
Coin Values
The continued drought of major rarities in the auction marketplace was evident at the Florida United Numismatists summer show, held July 8 to 10 in Orlando. Yet, despite absence of six-figure coins, the sale realized a healthy $7.39 million, although that number is bound to grow as Heritage counts after-auction sales in the total amount realized for an auction. Eight bidders competed for a 1867 Shield 5-cent coin, graded Proof 65 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. It sold for a healthy $57,500, although a similarly graded example crossed the auction block in January 2009 for $63,250. Among the top lots were the usual pieces: rare early gold coins, 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief double eagles and tough Proof gold. But interesting collector coins did very well, too.
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One of the First Coin Forgers in History
CoinsWeekly
Giovanni da Cavino belonged to that new generation of craftsmen that evolved into artists. He was the son of a goldsmith. Up to the death of his father he was trained by him, after that he became an apprentice of a master called Andrea Riccio. Cavino’s first work, mentioned in contemporary documents, was two silver candlesticks he delivered between 1527 and 1529 for the Padua Cathedral. The young man also devoted himself to the rising art of medal production. In 1554, Cavino made and signed a medal with the portrait of Pope Julius III, in 1565 two medals with the image of Christ. Amongst collectors of Roman coins, however, Cavino is famous for other products. Allegedly, he is one of the first coin forgers in history.
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Numbers Don’t Lie But They Can Be Wrong
Heritage Blog
In the case of certified coin populations, such as the NGC Census Report, there are a couple of ways the numbers can be wrong. Clerical errors are easily corrected, but another source is more insidious: the re-submission. Imagine a coin in an AU55 NGC holder. For whatever reason, the owner thinks it’s undergraded. A relatively common practice (best left to professionals) is to remove the coin from its sealed holder, voiding the service’s guarantee (also known as a “break-out” or a “crack-out”), and then submit the coin to NGC again. Resubmissions can be costly, but when a difference of one grade point can mean tens of thousands of dollars in added value, there is plenty of incentive to try.
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Low Mintages As Far As the Eye Can See
Dave Harper’s Buzz
Just about every collector knows that mintages ran very high during the state quarter program. It was popular with collectors and it was noticed by the general population. But just how high is high? I decided to do a little bit of calculation this morning to come to a conclusion to that question. During the 10 years (1989-1998) that preceded the state quarter program, the U.S. Mint produced 14.8 billion quarters. Now presuming that this 10-year stretch was a representative time and production matched just what the economy demanded, we can compare this number to the next 10-year period in which the state quarter program was conducted (1999-2008). Any guesses as to the number of state quarters struck? It was 34.8 billion.
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Coin News for July 19, 2010

An Overlooked Series: Half Dollars from 1794 Through 1807
Stack’s News
One area of numismatics is greatly overlooked today—the series of early half dollars from 1794 through 1807. While the later Capped Bust half dollars from 1807 to 1836 remain widely collected and have strong numismatic club support, the higher base price of earlier pieces has left them poor older sisters to the later coins. Another factor which has played into this of late is the passing of several advanced collectors in the series; the coin market has been awash in these early coins from estates. Being able to obtain many Condition Census coins in the last six years provides a tremendous opportunity for astute collectors. While the entire span of die varieties from 1794 to 1807 includes some virtually impossible coins to obtain—unique die pairings and formidable rarities too—there remains a broad sweep of coins that encompasses all the follies and foibles of the early Mint that can be had for a song today.
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Cracking Out Coins (With Disclaimer)
Coin Update News
If you’re wondering why such a strong disclaimer is posted with this column, you probably have never cracked open a third party coin grading holder before. So many things can go wrong. Shards of plastic can fly across rooms or in your eyes or at another person or pet in the room. A screwdriver used to pry open holders can scrape and ruin a coin. You can pick up a coin the wrong way without wearing white cotton gloves and/or breathe on it, devaluing your possession. These are but a few outcomes of cracking open a coin from its holder. I’m sure readers will share their bust-out stories in the comment section. To make matters worse, there are myriad ways to do the deed–some more reliable than others.
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Philadelphia Mint Grows With the U.S.
Numismaster
It was 1792 when our Founding Fathers decided it was time for the United States to mint its own coins. With Philadelphia as its home, the first federal minting facility occupied three buildings built between 6th and 7th streets on Independence Mall and on the site of the current mint facility. “Legend has it that Martha Washington donated the family silverware for melting to make the first coins,” said Tim Grant, exhibits and public services manager at the Philadelphia Mint. In fact, the Mint displays an oil painting, “Inspecting the First Coins,” painted in the early 1900s depicting Martha Washington examining the first coins minted, Grant said. Those 1792 half dismes were actually produced in the celler of John Harper, a saw maker. The first Mint didn’t start coinage operations until 1793.
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Morgan Dollars Back in the Day
PCGS Blog
I remember was when I had a friend in 8th grade who’s father was a silver dollar collector. This was in the early 60s when Morgan and Peace dollars were still in circulation and they were in every teller’s tray at the banks. My friend’s father would cash his weekly paycheck at the bank and take the whole thing in silver dollars. He’d take the dollars home and go through them every Friday night, keeping the few he might find that he needed for his collection and then using the rest for what they were at the time…money. About 1966 or so, I was hanging coins on the local coin shop bid boards. I’d buy Morgans by the roll and pick out the cherries for the bid boards. I had to pay $28 a roll ($1.40 a coin) for the P and O Mints, but the S Mints cost $30 ($1.50 a coin) because they came with a lot more Gemmy coins.
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2010 Silver Eagle Proofs at Risk of Cancellation?
Gold and Silver Blog
One of the consequences of the record pace of United States Mint silver bullion coins might be the cancellation of the popular Proof American Silver Eagle for the second year running. The Proof Silver Eagle had been issued each year from 1986 to 2008. During this period, it has sold between 372,168 and 1,092,477 coins per year and had firmly established itself as one of the United States Mint’s most popular products. The offering was abruptly canceled for 2009 to the dismay of many collectors. The US Mint explained that it was legally required to produce the bullion version of the American Silver Eagle in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. They were not under any legal requirement to produce the collectible proof or uncirculated versions of the coins. Because demand for silver bullion coins apparently outweighed production, the US Mint sourced all incoming blank supplies towards the production of bullion coins.
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Prices for 2009-W Julia Tyler First Spouse Gold Move Higher
Mint News Blog
Secondary market prices for 2009-W Julia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coins have moved substantially higher, following the conclusion of US Mint sales on June 2, 2010. Recently completed auctions show prices for uncertified coins ranging from a low of $960 for an unopened proof coin to a high of $1,595 for an unopened uncirculated coin. For certified examples, prices range from a low of $795 for an example graded PCGS PR68DCAM to a high of $1,727 for an example graded PCGS MS70. These prices come from a total of 11 completed eBay auctions from the past 15 days. The date, selling price, and basic details of each auction are shown.
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Coin News for July 16, 2010

French Fashion Designer Named Artistic Director of La Monnaie de Paris
Fashionista
From Karl Lagerfeld playing editor-in-chief, to John Galliano being made a national hero, France gives fashion figures as much respect as it does to those in any other field. So it’s hardly a surprising that Christian Lacroix was just named artistic advisor of La Monnaie de Paris: the state-funded organization in charge of designing and making French Euro coins, as well as national medals of all sorts. Despite Lacroix’s recent, saddening financial troubles, he remains an illustrious ambassador for his field and his country–so who better to ask about matters of classical Frenchness? This weekend, the local press revealed that the designer will be in charge of designing limited editions of coins, as well as the PACS medal (French gay marriage), and the Marriage medal (the trinket given when getting married under French civil law).
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Try Your Hand at Writing About Coins
Numismaster
Did you attend your first major convention, and then wished to share the experience? Are you a seasoned numismatist with a bit of new research? Have you discovered a new collecting interest, or a new approach to building a set, or you just want to describe your appreciation for a particular coin? Write it down. Write an article about your pet topic. Even if you are not a professional writer, keep in mind that many publications use coin articles, perhaps including the newsletter for your local coin club. The editor may be constantly looking for new articles and he will welcome your contribution. And you might even get paid for your efforts. Pick your topic. Maybe you spotted a rarity at a coin show, or found your dream coin, or made a find in circulation. What makes this coin special to you? It helps to make an outline before you begin writing the actual article, to be sure you cover everything you want to mention.
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Oregon Territory Gold Coins
Statesman Journal
When the Oregon Territory was established in 1848, the scarcity of printed money and coinage was a serious problem. Trying to get U.S. currency was extremely difficult. When Joseph Lane, the first territorial governor, arrived in Oregon he found some local settlers using Peruvian money as a form of currency, though it was only worth 50 cents on the dollar at the Hudson’s Bay Company stores. In addition to bartering, other mediums of exchange included wheat, beaver pelts, otter pelts, trade blankets, drafts and orders, and Mexican pesos. This situation made it nearly impossible to do business transactions. Oregonians wanted standardized money that was readily available and inspired trust. In a very inventive way, some Oregonians came up with a solution — make your own money.
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The Itinerant Engraver
The E-Sylum
In the 19th century we observe the existence of hand engravers moving from town to town to ply their craft. Victor Brenner did this in Lithuania before he came to America. In New York City he found ample work in that one city. He only left New York to travel to Paris to study (under Louis Roty), or later, to travel to Maine for a honeymoon or vacations. However in 19th century America there arose the itinerant engraver. The cities of Boston, New York and Philadelphia had full time engravers with full time work. In other cities often the amount of engraving work did not justify an engraver staying put in one local. Thus the hand engraver would pack his bag of burins and chisels and travel around taking what engraving work — any kind of engraving — wherever he could find it. It gives true meaning to the term “journeyman.”
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The Difference Between Coin Price and Coin Value
Susan Headley
There is a big difference between the price of a coin, and the value of a coin. Although you often see these words used interchangeably, it is important that you understand the different concepts represented by each. The “Price” of a coin is how much it would cost you to buy it from a dealer.?This is pretty straightforward. The “price” of a coin is merely the amount that it would sell for on the open market, otherwise known as its “retail price.” Coin prices are set by many different factors, including the type and grade of the coin, its rarity and desirability, and to some extent its availability in the marketplace. The most frequently used price guide to U.S. coins is the Red Book. The value of a coin is how much you can sell it for today. Here’s where it gets a little complicated.
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Using $2 Bills and 50 Cent Pieces in Commerce
Union Leader
Every day, his marketing team, which includes Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy, spreads the word about his business far and wide around northern New Hampshire. “People talk about it,” said Nadig, who owns First Run Home Entertainment on Main Street in Colebrook, a one-stop for movies, deli sandwiches, pizza and ice cream. It’s all about the money. Rather than hand out dollar bills and quarters for change, Nadig hands out $2 bills and 50-cent pieces. It’s been his practice for several years now, long enough for just about everyone in the region to know that if you proffer a $2 bill for a cup of coffee, you’ve been at First Run. Nadig will tell you that he’s not a numismatist, a collector of coins, but he knows the value of cash. Money, he says, is not just, well, money.
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Coin News for July 15, 2010

The Dynamic Coin Market
Stack’s News
The coin market remains dynamic. As these words are being written, gold is down a bit from its recent high—which usually means that numismatists will perk up their ears and jump in to buy dates and mintmarks they are seeking—especially of series with high bullion content, double eagles being the most popular. We’ve been busy with the Johnson-Blue Collection catalog for our Sunday, August 8th, sale in Boston, preceding Professional Numismatists Guild Day (Tuesday) and the ANA World’s Fair of Money, the annual summer convention. Speculation has it that attendance will handily eclipse last year’s event in Los Angeles, which drew about 2,000 to 3,000 dealers and perhaps 3,000 to 4,000 collectors—or whatever the mix was. The total was 7,000 people. While you can attend (well, almost) a convention or auction on the Internet these days, being there in person is a great thing to do.
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Wells Fargo 19th-Century Checks a Part of History
Trading Markets
As a rare currency dealer, Rick Allard has come across some cool cash: a 1950-series $10 federal reserve note with a $1 silver certificate on the flip side, and a $1 silver certificate with Martha Washington printed on it. But the cool factor isn’t limited to cold, hard cash. Allard, owner of Cashman’s Currency in Simi Valley, recently acquired three checks dating to the late 1870s. One check, dated Aug. 9, 1876, was drawn from The Bodie Bank by M.D. Kelly in the amount of $712.95. Bodie is now a California state park and a popular ghost town destination. The second is a $69 Wells, Fargo & Co check dated Jan. 25, 1887, and signed by the Washoe Club in Virginia City, Nev. The club was once an exclusive hangout for silver mine millionaires in the area and has been featured in recent years on several ghost-hunter reality TV shows.
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Vote for the Best U.S. Mint 2010 Coin Designs (So Far)
Mint News Blog
The CCAC voted to form a subcommittee on Coin Design Excellence at their June 28 public meeting. So far the CCAC and subcommittee have adopted a list of 17 characteristics of design excellence and created a visual reference guide. The goal of these efforts will be to help “ignite the renaissance” in coin design. Responses to the subcommittee have ranged from positive to skeptical. As a change of pace, I thought it would be interesting to have a poll allowing readers to vote for the best US Mint coin or medal design so far this year. By my count, there have been 11 different coins or medals released for circulation or issued with a unique design on at least one side of the coin.
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The Reverse of a Capped Bust Half Dollar on a Tennessee Exchange Note
The E-Sylum
At the Whitman Baltimore Expo coin show in November, 2009, Stuart Levine brought out an amazing Tennessee exchange note that depicts the reverse of a capped bust half dollar in full mirror image (Figures 1 and 2). Stu insisted that the image had been taken directly from a genuine bust half dollar, and he asked for some attribution help. Because the note was issued in 1837, it seemed logical to start with the reverses of 1836, the last year of the capped bust half dollar. Out came the Overton book, but there were no matches for 1836. And similarly, no matches for 1835, 1834, or 1833. But just as hope was fading, along came 1832 reverse C, used only (so far as we know) on the Overton 103 variety.
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Ancient Coin Museum in Beijing
Global Times
On a treasure hunt for the old mysteries of Beijing, visitors to the Ancient Coin Museum have hit the jackpot. Located right inside the Desheng gate tower in Xicheng district, the museum has been around for nearly 20 years, but few people even know it’s there. Although it’s only 300 square meters big, it covers ancient Chinese currencies from the Shang Dynasty in 1600 BC to the early 20th century with around 4,000 relevant collections. The currency on display runs the gamut from the earliest examples made of seashells to more recent denominations in gold, pottery and animal bones. In Chinese history, not all currencies were made by central government. For instance, ordinary people were allowed to produce coins in private for market use during the governing period of the emperor Liu Che in Han Dynasty, said Wang Peiwu, a director of the museum.
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India Approves New Symbol for the Currency Rupee
GulfNews
The Indian Cabinet on Thursday approved the new symbol for the Indian rupee – an amalgam of the Devnagiri ‘Ra’ and the Roman capital ‘R’ without the stem. The symbol, designed by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) postgraduate D. Udaya Kumar, was selected from among five shortlisted symbols before the Cabinet, Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said after the cabinet meeting. “It is just a symbol,” she told reporters.
For Indians used to seeing the dollar symbol on the keyboard, this will be a welcome change. It will be just a matter of a few months for India’s new rupee symbol to be a part of the software code to be easily accessible to users across the world. 
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Coin News for July 14, 2010

Hot Research and the Coins It Affects
PCGS Library
At PCGS we are constantly leading numismatic research efforts. The object is to make the numismatic information used by PCGS and indeed the entire numismatic community as accurate as possible. One of the most exciting aspects of numismatic is that it’s an evolving field with new information and even new discoveries always coming forth. Below is a partial list of pending PCGS research questions and the coins involved: 1841 $2.5…the famous “Little Princess.” This important gold rarity is supposed to be a proof-only issue. In his seminal 1975 book on United States Quarter Eagles, David Akers speculated that only a few of the 14 or so survivors were actually true proofs and the others were actually regular strikes. Inspired by David’s thoughtful position on this major gold rarity we have led a big effort to round up actual coins and get a variety of expert opinions.
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Early U.S. Mint Set Release?
Dave Harper
The U.S. Mint releases its United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set July 15. As is often the case with other Mint product releases, I had an e-mail from a reader saying that a TV shopping show was offering the sets days ahead of time. He demanded to know how the show gets coins early. I telephoned the Mint July 12, as I have done from time to time with other offers, and received an official denial that the sets were released early. I relayed this back to the original e-mailer and he does not believe it. So, does anybody out there have actual possession of the official mint set or coins from the mint set that are slabbed as the first day of issue? These must be the actual coins, not images or promises.
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New Orleans Gold $10 Began Slowly
Numismatic News
If you are looking for some true hidden values, the place to look might well be the Coronet Head $10 gold pieces from New Orleans. Gold eagles from anywhere tend to be overlooked, but somehow those from New Orleans seem to have a special place in obscurity. It’s probably a result of gold eagles not getting quite the same attention as some other gold denominations, such as double eagles, but it almost certainly has to do at least in part with New Orleans itself as the facility despite some awfully tough coins like the 1854-O and 1856-O double eagles just does not seem to get mentioned a great deal when gold coins are discussed.
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Col. William Wood Stalks His Foes
Numismaster
President Abraham Lincoln had grave concerns about the security of the Legal Tender Notes and other paper evidences of government debt. As related by Presidential Secretary Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln confided in Secretary Chase: “It strikes me that this thing is all wrong, and dangerous.…[T]here seems to be no protection against a duplicate issue of every bill struck, and I can see no way of detecting duplicity until we come to redeem the currency; and even then, the duplicate cannot be told from the original. t was impractical for the Treasury to record serials of the millions of redeemed currency notes, but U.S. bonds were a different matter. Indeed the proverbial chickens finally did come home to roost, as we have seen, when the government began redeeming $1,000 bonds with duplicate serial numbers.
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Veteran Numismatist Starts Company Focused on Classic U.S. Gold Coins
PR Newswire
Steve Deeds–a 40+ year veteran of all aspects of the rare coin market–is pleased to announce the formation of Morgan Gold. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Morgan Gold will focus on the sale of classic United States gold coinage and will also offer European gold coinage and modern bullion coins. “I am pleased to announce the formation of Morgan Gold,” asserted Founder Steve Deeds. “My team of numismatic professionals–including Vice President of Operations Louis Palafoutas– specializes in the sale of classic, pre-1933 United States gold coinage and other gold coins to collectors, private investors and brokerage firms. Our goal is to help those with an interest in collecting and investing in gold to obtain both coins and bullion in a comfortable and confidential manner.”
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Six Easy Steps To Detect Fake Silver Coins
Susan Headley
Coin fraud is an unfortunate reality in the coin collecting marketplace, but you can avoid buying fake silver coins, and avoid coin fraud in general, by learning how to spot fake coins. We will use a fake Silver Eagle to demonstrate some easy steps to avoid buying fake coins. Avoiding coin fraud boils down to one basic point: knowledge. If you want to avoid buying fake silver coins and becoming a victim of coin fraud, you first need to learn what the genuine coin looks like. Then it’s just a matter of making some comparisons, and employing a little bit of common sense.
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Coin News for July 13, 2010

Type Coins Present a Mixed Picture
Numismatic News
There is a very mixed market in U.S. type coin gold, with many of the small-size coins increasing and the larger coins flat or slightly lower. The proof gold and silver Eagle market has softened slightly at about 95-percent of previous levels. Scarce to rare date U.S. gold is quiet with the exception of the 1911-D quarter eagle, which has been steady in price but active with at least six coins sold in the last two weeks that I know of firsthand. Late date BU Lincoln cent rolls are moving up due to strong promotional demand from continuity programs of the 100-year sets.
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Where Do Red Book Coin Prices Come Form?
The E-Sylum
Whitman Publishing has a sophisticated online system that can be accessed by the Red Book’s pricing contributors. These contributors include more than 140 of the nation’s top coin dealers and researchers-active experts who buy, sell, trade, and study U.S. coins every business day of the year. (And for most of these folks, that includes weekends, too!) Our contributors analyze the retail and auction markets, and draw upon their firsthand knowledge, to come up with current pricing. First they focus on the series they specialize in, and then other series that they actively sell. All of this data goes into Whitman’s master database. A report is generated presenting all of the data-thousands of price points, covering more than 6,000 individual coins and sets.
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Gion Festival Featured on Silver Japan Mint Medallion
Japan Mint
This cloisonné silver medallion features the Gion Festival, which, over its long history and tradition, is renowned as one of Japan’s three major festivals. Yasaka Shrine is in Gion, Higashiyama Ward, in Kyoto City. The Gion Festival begins at Kippuiri on July 1, with many events like Hokodate, Yamadate, Yoiyama, Yamahoko Junko, Shinkousai and Kankousai lasting about one month. Yamahoko Junko, which takes place on July 17, is the highlight of the festival. This is a parade of 32 yamahoko (decorated floats) with naginatahoko in the lead moving from Shijo Karasuma to Shinmachi Oike. There are many highlights along the way, such as Kujiaratame and Tsujimawashi.
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Type 1 1917 Standing Liberty Quarters
Heritage Blog
Plenty of collectors have had similar thoughts about one of my favorite U.S. coinage designs, the “Type One” Standing Liberty quarter, struck in 1916 and earlier in 1917. (A gorgeous 1917-D Type One is part of the Boston auction’s Platinum Night.) Hermon MacNeil might not win any praise from abstract art fanatics, but as an academic and public-art sculptor he was more than capable. MacNeil’s semi-nude concept of Liberty standing with an invincible shield of the Republic was one of the winners of a closed competition. (More on this point later.) A majority of 1917 Standing Liberty quarters are not the Type One, however, but Type Two. The most immediately visible modification on the Type Two coins is a chainmail cover-up on Liberty. Personally, I think it looks rather ridiculous compared to the Type One.
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An Interview with the Mint of Poland’s Director of Foreign Trade
Coin Update News
Warsaw is an amazing city, complete with tall, lean buildings and glass skyscrapers on its bustling avenues. In others, old world charm oozes from every nook and cranny, which is even more amazing since all of its old town was painstakingly restored to the beautiful district that attracts both tourists and locals. Like so much of the country, the Mint of Poland has undergone dramatic change. From a state-owned entity to a wholly privatized company with a listing on the Warsaw stock exchange, the Mint of Poland has gone from strength to strength and continues to embark on ambitious programs and international partnerships.
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Israel Excavation Uncovers Bethsaida Gold Coin
Gateway
A gold coin that lay buried in Bethsaida, Israel, for nearly 2,000 years was unearthed on July 3 by a West Virginia University student. And she’s not even an archaeology major. Alexis Whitley was on the trip to Israel to sate her interest in religious studies, which she described as hobby-like, and to grab some credit hours. At 9 a.m. that day, she and a friend were sent by their teacher, Dr. Aaron Gale, to help with efforts on another side of the excavation site. “We were somewhat disappointed that we were now moving heavy boulders all day in 98-degree heat instead of digging for bones and pottery shards under a cool tarp with the rest of my group,” said Whitley.
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Coin News for July 12, 2010

New Gibraltar Note Family Unveiled
Government of Gibraltar
The Government of Gibraltar is pleased to introduce a new series of Gibraltar banknotes. They reflect the rich history and culture of Gibraltar, from the Moorish era to the present day. Each denomination has a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Gibraltar, on the front, complemented by pattern work representing Gibraltar’s strategic location at the entrance to the Mediterranean, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The reverse of each of the banknotes carries a vignette which shows an aspect of Gibraltar through the ages. There are five banknotes in the series – £5, £10, £20, £50 and for the first time £100. The new banknote designs are shown in this leaflet, along with their Special Features. The notes will be released into circulation in two phases, the £10 and £50 in 2010 and the £5, £20 and £100 in 2011.
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Kennedy Half Dollar Strike-Through Error
Numismatic News
Strike-through errors are among a number of interesting errors that turned up recently. Numismatic News reader, Merle Hyldahl, sent an image of a 2005-P Kennedy half dollar that shows a relatively deep and obvious strike-through error on the obverse. Hyldahl said, “I was recently going through a bank-wrapped roll of 2005 Kennedy half dollars and ran onto one coin that had a large spike running from just north of the ‘In’ of  ‘In God We Trust’ and running north through Kennedy’s nose and into his forehead.” I have no idea of what the offending material was. David L. Kell also found a strike-through on the reverse of a 1974 Kennedy half running through the eagle’s tail feathers and arcing down just above the words HALF DOLLAR. I can only guess that it is a bit of “flashing” from a high-pressure strike that broke off the rim of a previously struck coin.
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Are Coins Really Hard to Buy Now?
PCGS Blog
It’s really hard to buy good coins right now. OK, you’ve heard it before. It is the oldest coin dealer line in the book. However, sometimes it’s true. Right now it is true…and here are some facts that show the situation as it really is. Let’s talk about last week’s Heritage auction. And remember we’re talking Heritage…THE Heritage. I did an auction survey and Heritage’s market share used to be enormous…now it’s even larger. Heritage…I buy coins in every one of their auctions. Heritage…I look at the results of every single lot sold by them at auction and their results have a tremendous impact on the PCGS Price Guide.
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U.S. Mint Coin Production Ramps Up
Dave Harper’s Buzz
Who would have thought that when the special commemorative cent designs for 2009 were authorized in 2005 that the year’s greatest characteristic would be a contraction of coin demand on a scale not see since the Great Depression? Well, that is just the way it turned out, but in the long run that will probably help keep prices of the cents honoring the Bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth higher than they otherwise would have been had they been issued in a more normal year. To be sure, 2.354 billion 2009 cents is not a small number, but when you divide it up among four designs and two mints, that brings things down to much more manageable levels.
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Sleepy Summertime (for the Coin Market)
Coin Values
July is traditionally a sleepy month for the coin market, as dealers enjoy a week or two of summer vacation before the juggernaut that is the American Numismatic Association summer convention, set this year Aug. 10 to 14 in Boston. When counting the pre-show and associated auctions, the ANA World’s Fair of Money provides more than a week of intense activity for the market. The introduction of the summer Florida United Numismatists show – this year July 8 to 11 in Orlando – has cut into the traditional July lull, and the raging bullion market has further cut into dealers’ time for rest and recreation. After the FUN summer show, there are no major shows until the ANA convention, but for a Professional Coin Grading Service “trade and grade” in Las Vegas, which is a pre-pre-ANA show stop for many dealers to acquire inventory to take with them to the ANA convention.
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Striking Gold in Alaska, 2nd Edition
The E-Sylum
Alaska Rare Coins is please to announce the publication of the 2nd edition of Dick Hanscom’s book “Striking Gold in Alaska, Making tokens from placer gold.” This 73 page paper bound book (8¼ by 5 3/8 inches) is fully illustrated in black and white with color covers. It follows the process from purchasing placer gold, preparing the gold for striking, engraving the dies and striking. Formulas are given for fluxes, specific gravity and determining the size of the tokens. Sources of supplies and equipment are listed. Additional information is included for the drop hammer and screw press. New sections include A Little Physics, X-Ray Fluorescence and current mintages.
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Coin News for July 9, 2010

Token and Medal Society Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Numismatic News
The Token and Medal Society’s 50th anniversary officially falls on Nov. 29, 2010, but members will be begin the celebration at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money Aug. 10-14 in Boston and finish in Detroit, where the inaugural meeting was held, at the Michigan State Numismatic Society Show Nov. 26-28. For a keepsake of the society’s 50th general meeting in Boston, TAMS sought the help of The Medallic Art Company and its new owner, Ross Hansen’s Northwest Territorial Mint, to produce a medal. Every summer since 1983, TAMS has issued a member-designed assemblage medal as a souvenir of the society’s general meeting at the ANA World’s Fair of Money. Due to budget concerns, the board decided that the 50th anniversary medal would become the last in the series.
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The Breakout and Crossover Game
Coin Update News
To play the breakout and crossover game, you have to be an experienced coin grader. (If you question whether you qualify, you probably don’t, as keen knowledge of numismatics is required to play this game.) That said, you can test yourself by asking your local dealer or professional numismatist to display a sample of coins that you both grade without discussion, comparing scores later to see how well you did. Or your local coin club can hold regular grading sessions, as do many numismatic organizations. Otherwise, rely on that dealer or numismatist friend to give you a candid assessment of a coin’s grade or potential. Sooner than you think, you’ll begin looking at coins in a different light, literally and figuratively.
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Choosing a Coin to Collect
PCGS Blog
Coin collecting offers a myriad of choices for the collector, but there is one governing rule: You will run out of money before you run out of coins to buy.  Therefore, it is important to choose wisely in the beginning, so that you stay on budget and your interest level remains high. Here are some choices to consider: U.S. coins or world coins?  The U.S. coin market is easily the biggest in the world, with the largest number of collectors, the highest capitalization, and the best liquidity.  Some countries (such as Canada, Germany, and Great Britain) have advanced collector markets, while most others do not.  Liquidity is a problem with most world coins, as are transaction and transportation costs.  However, world coins offer a lot of value because rare, high quality world coins simply haven’t caught up to their U.S. counterparts.
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Providing Paper for the U.S. $100 Notes
Boston.com
Giant, rumbling machines fill the factory, the sound of turning gears echoing off walls as they press, stretch, and spool sheaths of paper into what look like 4-foot-wide rolls of toilet tissue. But this paper will be used for redesigned $100 bills the Federal Reserve plans to issue in February — the next step in its constant quest to thwart counterfeiters. Crane & Co., known better for its pricey stationery, runs the plant in a secluded swatch of the Berkshires. It is the only spot in the United States where the paper that winds up in wallets, purses, and cash registers is made, and Crane has been the sole maker of US currency paper — everything from $1 to $100 notes — for more than 130 years.
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Will the Experience of Youth Be Ignored?
Dave Harper’s Buzz
Generational experiences matter in coin collecting. It helps determine what is being collected today. I was thinking of this and what the future holds as I was taking a hike from a remote parking area to my desk.This happens once each year when it is car show time in Iola. The grounds are set up and ready to go surrounding the Krause Publications building. With tents all over it looks like a circus has come to town. … The popular cars of that hobby reflect the ages of the participants and what they remember when they were young. So now it is the 1960s.Coin collectors do the same thing. They tend to focus on what they remember as well. Once we get by my generation, which began collecting in the 1960s, what will be the focus of future generations of collectors? We are the last, or youngest, depending on how you want to express it, individuals who still remember what silver coins look like in actual use.
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WWI Medal for “Our Colored Heroes”
The E-Sylum
Many years ago before my father died he gave me a medal he said belonged to his father who was a “colored” soldier stationed at camp Lejeune in Mississippi during World War One. The medal is identical to the one referred to in your article of 2007 entitled “Mystery Medal For “Our Colored Heroes”. The medal is stamped “Our Colored Heroes” with an eagle on top, a portrait of a soldier below it with the inscription on a ribbon-like banner on the left side and a rising/setting sun at the bottom. The back of the medal is the same with the words “World War Began August 1, 1914, US Entered April 6, 1917, War Ended Nov 11, 1918″ with two flags crossed and the words “U.S Patent Appl’d For” at the very bottom.
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Coin News for July 8, 2010

Collecting Liberty Walking Half Dollars
PCGS Blog
Walkers have always been one of the most popular United States issues to collect. For starters the design, by Adolph A. Weinman, is acknowledged as one of the most beautiful of any US coin. The entire series runs from 1916 through 1947 with 65 dates and mint marks. The series can be collected in many different ways and is often divided into three sub-series: the short set 1941-1947 (20 coins); the middle set 1934-1940 (19 coins) and the early set 1916-1933 (26 coins). There have been several good reference books written on the series. My favorite was written a couple decades ago by Bruce Fox, who helped me assemble a complete gem set in the early 90s. Finding each date and mint mark in gem condition can be very difficult. The 1919-D is the scarcest date of the entire series in full gem but there are several other dates that are tough to find as well. However you can find all the coins in circulated condition without much difficulty.
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Modern Commemorative Coin Guide Published
Numismaster
In recent years, the state quarter program and rise of Internet coin trading have created increased demand for modern commemorative coins. Author Eric Jordan describes the process by which collectors and investors can find correctly priced coins of this nature in his new book, Modern Commemorative Coins, now available from Krause Publications. “Moderns are the fastest-growing segment of the coin market, and to date there has been a lack of resource materials aimed specifically at serving the interest and needs of this market,” said KP Numismatics editorial director Debbie Bradley, a contributing editor on the book. “Modern Commemorative Coins arms collectors with the tools they need to predict future rarities, identify key dates for each type of modern and price the coins in their collection.”
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Metal Detectorist Finds 52,000+ 3rd Century Roman Coins
BBC
One of the largest ever finds of Roman coins in Britain has been made by a man using a metal detector. The hoard of more than 52,000 coins dating from the 3rd Century AD was found buried in a field near Frome in Somerset. The coins were found in a huge jar just over a foot (30cm) below the surface by Dave Crisp, from Devizes in Wiltshire. “I have made many finds over the years, but this is my first major coin hoard,” he said. After his metal detector gave a “funny signal”, Mr Crisp says he dug down 14in before he found what had caused it. “I put my hand in, pulled out a bit of clay and there was a little Radial, a little bronze Roman coin. Very, very small, about the size of my fingernail.” Mr Crisp reported the find to the authorities, allowing archaeologists to excavate the site.
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Finest Known Early Commemorative Coins in Interactive Online Display
ANA and NGC
Displayed in this case is the finest known NGC graded collection of early United States commemorative coins. These numismatic collectibles have been popular ever since the release of the Columbian Exposition half dollar, the first commemorative coin authorized by Congress, issued in 1892. From that time through 1954, Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to produce coins to strike 157 silver and gold commemoratives for 53 different events, occasions, or individuals. The result was a beautiful series that artfully celebrated American history. These coins ranged in denomination from 25 cents (issued in 1893 for the Columbian Exposition) to $50 (struck in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition). However, the half dollar was by far the most common denomination used.
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Variety Vs. Mint Error
NGC
Are you confused about Varieties and Mint Errors? Are you unsure about what varieties NGC recognizes? We will attempt to shed some light on the subject. A variety is a coin that differs from its basic design type in some distinctive way and is thus differentiated by collectors. The 1960 D/D Sm/Lg Date 1C VP-001 is one such example of a variety. This coin was hubbed first with a large date design, then hubbed again with a small date design. Doubling mostly on the inside of date especially on “960.” … Coins with major mint errors as a result of human or mechanical error during manufacturing. For the most part, mint error coins fall under one of three headings, Planchet, Die or Strike. However, some coins are the product of multiple errors.
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Understanding Coin Pricing
Coin Values
Sometimes, a weekly column focused on details of the market like this one appearing in Coin World needs to take a step back and discuss the basics. It seems that the public dialogue about coins has increased recently, bolstered by high precious metal prices and a ready supply of people eager to exchange assets like coins for quick and easy cash. Unfortunately, as one news story appearing on Page 1 of the July 12 issue of Coin World reveals, many people are choosing to sell their coins to national traveling buyers, often temporarily located at hotels, and some consumers are being ripped off. What is equally frustrating is that a wealth of pricing information on the coin market is available for consumers in periodicals like Coin World’s Coin Values and books such as Coin World’s Guide to U.S. Coins or A Guide Book of United States Coins, best known as the “Red Book” – all of which are widely available at bookstores.
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Great Coin Design, by Committee

The CCAC is on a mission to improve the designs of U.S. coins. As the first bold step to accomplish this goal, they established a subcommittee. Seriously.

Along with the new Subcommittee on Coin Design Excellence, the effort also produced a ‘visual definition of design excellence’, which includes an image reference guide of 25 U.S. coin designs and 39 world coin and medal designs, and a helpful list of 17 characteristics of design excellence. The latter bears repeating in entirety (as quoted in Coin World):

* use of texture and pattern
* meaningful negative space
* thoughtful relationship of negative to positive space
* stylization
* ethnical influences
* allegory and symbolism
* detail yes, crowding no
* use of perspective
* used of forced perspective
* minimal layers
* harmonious, restrained type styles
* clarity
* interwoven images, not busy collages
* contrast of texture and smooth
* fluidity
* subtlety
* relevance of obverse to reverse

Ok, pop quiz. In 25 words or less, describe precisely what any three of these list items mean, as applied to coin design, and discuss whether that item is or is not currently identifiable on any U.S. coin. Points will be deducted for the use of jargon. Bonus: show which items in the list are more or less the same as other items in the list.

The 17 characteristics are intended to be “a benchmark to inspire those who design U.S. coins to be more innovative and creative.” Though “not trying to blame anyone or point fingers”, and noting that “we believe we have some wonderful artists and don’t doubt their talent at all”, it is the work of these same artists with which the CCAC seems to find fault. Were I a current Mint coin designer I would be skeptical of the CCAC’s non-finger-pointing assurance.

This endeavor seems to be an attempt to quantify the answer to the basic question of “What is good design?”. The implication is that good design will happen if all 17 guidelines are met. Oh, and by being inspired by the 39-item reference guide set. Certainly there are principles to which good design adheres, but can excellent creative results be summoned by following a list? It seems obvious to note that design appreciation is subject to the experience and interests of the viewer. Great art for thee is not necessarily great art for me.

The Subcommittee on Coin Design Excellence is a classic bureaucratic response to a perceived problem: create committees, study the issue for awhile, create guidelines, apply guidelines, have a bunch of meetings, and then congratulate yourself for solving the problem. Or, possibly, bemoan the fact that people aren’t listening to you. The reality of such efforts is that the process often becomes more important than results.

It is ironic that contemporary U.S. coins appear in the reference guide set (think about that- good enough to be in a reference set but not creative or innovative?); and that CCAC Chairman Gary Marks likes the 2010 Union Shield cent reverse, while member Donald Scarinci says the design makes him ‘want to vomit’. So, which is it? Do we currently have excellent designs or don’t we? Marks also admitted that, regarding coin design, “It’s art, so it’s subjective to some degree”.

This begs the question: if two prominent members of the CCAC don’t agree on what represents good design, how will a subcommittee, the CCAC, and the CFA all reach agreement on what is good design? And, even if all members agree on what they think to be some really excellent coin designs, what if the public (and artists not part of the CCAC or CFA) don’t like them at all? What if everyone agrees on only 10% of new coins designs? Is that enough to call it a 21st century coin renaissance?

What I see in this are words and phrases of indeterminate definition, a possible clash of egos, and an attempt to put into a box an extremely subjective endeavor. I am reminded of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, wherein “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” The CCAC would have each and every U.S. coin design be ‘above average’.

The desire is of course understandable. It is natural to want all things to be perfect, to have all efforts to achieve success. But it is also necessary to realize that great efforts, lists, committees, and intent do not necessarily produce great results. Sometimes, I’m afraid, just the opposite. I suspect that in spite of the CCAC’s zeal, ‘great’ coin designs will continue to be rare, and subjective. Perhaps that is as it should be.

Coin News for July 7, 2010

New PCGS Series: Tips from the Grading Room
PCGS
Welcome to the first installment of a new series we’re calling “Tips from the Grading Room.” Each issue we’ll take a look at a different aspect of grading a particular series, and share a few insights with you. For our first series, we’ll examine exactly what constitutes a “Full Head” Standing Liberty Quarter. Full Head (FH) is the designation that follows the numerical grade of some Standing Liberty quarters that have full detail in the head and cap of Miss Liberty. For coins that grade AU-50 and higher, this designation is assigned when full head and cap detail is present for the three varieties of the two major design types (Type I: 1916, 1917; Type II: 1917–1930).
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The ‘Faceless’ Monroe Dollar Error
Susan Headley
A “Faceless” Monroe Presidential Dollar has been found by coin collector Garrett Reich of Michigan. This extremely rare error type, of which only one previous specimen has ever been confirmed, is a Presidential Dollar that didn’t get struck by the coin dies, leaving it without any obverse or reverse designs. Reich’s coin is a blank planchet with a very important difference from nearly other blank Presidential Dollar coins: it has Presidential Dollar edge lettering on it! Garrett found the coin in a bank box of 1,000 coins wrapped up into 40 rolls on February 13, 2008, the day before the coins officially went on sale at most banks. (Some banks are known to distribute the coins ahead of the official release date.) 
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The Chase Museum, Stack’s, and Young Numismatists
The E-Sylum
The Chase Money Museum was located on 6th Avenue (now the Avenue of the Americas) and 50th Street. It was developed under the great leadership of Vernon Brown. As with most places of interest it was open 6 days a week and visitors from all over came to this midtown location. One of the nearby attractions was its neighbor, Radio City Music Hall. The displays at the museum changed regularly, and were designed to show the history of Money, mostly of the United States, but it also had interesting displays of foreign, ancient and world currency. It showed the relationship of coins and currency to trade and growth in the world. It even had a great exhibit of Odd and Curious Currency.
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Popular U.S. Mint Sets Available in July
U.S. Mint
Two of the United States Mint’s most popular annual sets will be available for purchase in July.  The 2010 United States Mint Uncirculated Set®, priced at $31.95, will be available on July 15; and the 2010 United States Mint Proof Set®, priced at $31.95, will be available on July 22.  Both sets include the first five commemorative quarter-dollar coins in the America the Beautiful QuartersTM Program, honoring Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas), Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming), Yosemite National Park (California), Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona), and Mount Hood National Forest (Oregon).  The sets also include four Presidential $1 Coins, honoring Presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln; one Native American $1 Coin; one Kennedy half-dollar coin; one Jefferson 5-cetn coin; one Roosevelt dime coin; and one Lincoln one-cent cent.
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Italian Motorists Scramble for 2 Million Euros Scattered in Crash
Mail Online
This was the scene that left bank chiefs short-changed after passing motorists coined it in when a bullion van overturned and spilled its load of 2 million euros (£1.6million). The one and two euro coins were scattered across the busy motorway after the van burst a tyre, hit another car before crashing into a barrier. As they hit the ground, the boxes burst open throwing the coins out and which led to the crazy scene of motorists stopping on the busy motorway to help themselves to at least 10,000 euros. The incident happened near Foggia in southern Italy on the A14 motorway which connects the north of the country with popular holiday hot spots in the south.
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Holographic Technology and Banknote Security
Banknote News
Technology continues to push the boundaries for banknote security holograms. Here, Dr Glenn Wood of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association looks at some of the latest developments. Today, holographic technology remains very much to the fore as part of an array of overt features which make it quick and easy for people to recognise whether or not a banknote is bonafide. But new substrate technology, particularly the introduction of transparent ‘windows’ is being incorporated on banknotes to provide new levels of anti-counterfeiting complexity.
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Coin News for July 6, 2010

New Book: 100 Greatest Error Coins
The E-Sylum
In this richly illustrated coffee-table book, three of America’s best-known error-coin specialists take the reader on a personal guided tour of the remarkable misstrikes and other oddities produced by the U.S. Mint. 100 Greatest U.S. Error Coins is the seventh entry in Whitman Publishing’s 100 Greatest™ library. It follows books that showcase coins, paper money, medals and tokens, comic books, and stamps. “Each of the 100 Greatest error coins was voted into place by leading coin dealers, collectors, researchers, and historians,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. Inside, the reader will find prized and seldom-seen rarities—the unique and high-valued pieces that collectors dream about.
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U.S. Mint, Army and Air Force Exchange Service Promote $1 Coins
U.S. Mint
The United States Mint and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) are teaming up to encourage regular use of $1 coins in everyday cash transactions at military exchanges.  Retailers at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy in Colorado have been selected by AAFES to participate in a $1 coin launch initiative to begin on July 4.  The goal of the initiative is to expand $1 coin usage to all 1,703 AAFES locations throughout the country.  Exchanges are retail stores located on military bases and facilities that serve active duty and retired members of the Armed Forced and their families. 
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CCAC in Search of Coin Design Excellence
Numismatic News
The U.S. Mint has some great artists, so why aren’t we getting great coin designs? The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee wants to know. Three years ago Mint Director Ed Moy called for a “neo-Renaissance for coin design” and “a new level of design excellence.” But that hasn’t happened, said CCAC Chairman Gary Marks when the group met June 28 in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Something must be done to ignite the renaissance,” Marks said. To that end, he appointed a Subcommittee on Coin Design Excellence tasked with developing recommendations addressing design quality regarding all future theme and design proposals. Marks said the goal is not to lay blame or point fingers. The goal is for the U.S. to attain a “level of excellence in coinage design that is simply unmatched in the world.”
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Looking for an Oak Tree, Finding a Willow
Heritage Blog
I had the coin on my desk. Massachusetts silver. The holder said “Oak Tree Shilling, Good Details.” It wasn’t much to look at, or rather, there wasn’t much to look at on it, as worn as it was. Even so, I figured I would be able to match it to a die pair and give it an attribution. I couldn’t attribute it. Nothing matched. It showed parts of designs from at least two strikes, so I was expecting the attribution to be complicated, but still… Two runs through reference books later and about thirty seconds after I went from frustrated to flat-out vexed with the coin, I admitted defeat and showed it to Senior Cataloger Mark Borckardt. He went through the same stages I did, until he had a brain-wave: what if this “Oak Tree Shilling” wasn’t an Oak Tree at all? “Maybe it’s a Willow Tree.”
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The Grand Plan for PCGS CoinFacts
PCGS Blog
Imagine with me for a few minutes… Imagine if you will… Every U.S. coin…all regular Mint issues, all proofs, all varieties of those issues, and include Colonials, Territorials, and Patterns. In other words…imagine the entirety of U.S. numismatics. Now imagine a photo…an image online…a great image…of the finest known example of all of those coins. Imagine a variety guide…a guide which has detailed images, including close-ups, of each variety. A guide on how to distinguish each variety. Imagine all the technical info for every coin: mintage, metal content, size, designer, etc.
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Afghanistan War Medals Auctioned
Paul Fraser Collectibles
Two particularly interesting medals with modern resonance are two Second Afghan War medals awarded to British soldiers for service during 1878-80. Both men were members of the 72nd Highlanders, and both sadly met their deaths in the conflict. The first of these was Colour-Sergeant John Yule. Mentioned in despatches by Lord Roberts for being ‘first man up’ in the assault on the Takht-i-Shah, he captured two enemy standards in a daring attack, but was killed the very next day at Conical Hill. Again leading a charge, he killed the first enemy soldier, but was then killed by a gunshot.
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Coin News for July 5, 2010

Banknote Update Adds to Standard Catalog of World Paper Money
Banknote News
I began publishing The Banknote Update in late 2007 as an independent addendum to Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Since that time, it has been constantly revised, updated, and expanded into a book containing detailed information and hundreds of full-color images of brand new notes and new note varieties from over 140 countries, which are either not included nor illustrated in the latest SCWPM, Volume III, 16th edition. I guarantee it is the most comprehensive, authoritative, and reliable source of information about new notes you can buy anywhere, at any price. The cost of The Banknote Update as a PDF file purchased directly from me via PayPal is US$15. The Banknote Update is also available in printed form via Lulu.com, an online company that creates professional-quality books on demand.
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Examine All the Coins You Can
Dave Harper’s Buzz
I just found another reason to go to the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in August in Boston. It is not as if I need another reason, but it adds to the appeal of the event. The U.S. Mint has set Aug. 12 as the day it will release the new one-ounce platinum proof American Eagle. I would like to take a look at it. It is part of the Preamble series. This year the theme is to “Establish Justice.” Last year’s was to “Form a More Perfect Union.” Am I planning to buy? No, not at all. Platinum is $1,500 an ounce today. The idea of committing to a six-part series at that price level doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t know anybody on staff who is planning to buy one either, so I won’t get a look at the coin in the office. Boston it is.
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Mint Engravers Embrace 21st Century Technology
Numismatic News
It’s the stuff movies are made of. Really. The same technology that brought “Shrek” to life gives design detail to U.S. coins. Forget paper and pencil, plaster and clay. Today’s artist/sculptor/engraver at the United States Mint in Philadelphia works with sophisticated (and expensive) computer software to create coins and medals. Chief Engraver John Mercanti has seen and done it all. From the days of mixing plaster to create molds to sculpting with a computer, Mercanti has been a part of the design evolution, and a strong advocate of  new technology. “In the old days, we would model the image and then I would actually make lines where the type was going to go, and I would go into a negative plaster and cut lettering by hand,” Mercanti said. “It could take longer to do the lettering than the artwork.”
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Alabama Sunrise Collection Offered
Stella
Two weeks ago at the Baltimore Whitman Expo, we at David Lawrence Rare Coins, received a rather exciting collection named the “Alabama Sunrise Collection of Toned Coins”. To be included were many beautifully toned commemorative half dollars, and some extremely attractive type coins. Much to our delight, the collection also included some extremely rare key date coins such as the 1886 Type 2 Indian Cent in NGC MS 65, an 1880 Shield Nickel in NGC MS 65, and several condition rarity pieces such as the 1938-D/S Buffalo Nickel in NGC MS 68. Last (but not least!) there were also some tougher Standing Liberty Quarters and some unusually attractive Franklin Half Dollars.
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Release Date Set for 2010 Proof Platinum Eagle
Coin Update News
A release date for the collectible proof version of the 2010 American Platinum Eagle has recently been established by the United States Mint. This coin will feature the second in a series of six different reverse designs which explore the core concepts of American democracy as found in the Preamble to the Constitution. The projected release date for the coin has been set at August 12, 2010, although it remains subject to potential change. Despite setting a release date, the final design for the 2010 Proof Platinum Eagle has still not been announced. This year’s design will be based on the theme “To Establish Justice,” as inspired by a narrative written by John G. Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States of America.
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History of U.S. Coinage
San Francisco Chronicle
Before the first coinage act in the United States, citizens of the U.S. exchanged goods and services through the barter system. At this time no coins were available except for various foreign coins such as the widely traded and trusted Spanish real dollars. With the signage of the constitution and with a newly formed nation that allowed Congress to coin money, the first coinage act was proposed and passed Congress under the Presidency of George Washington. This article will cover a brief history of coins and events that surrounded changes made beginning in 1792 and ending in 2005.
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Coin News for July 2, 2010

Coin Archives Pro Celebrates One Year
CollectorsWeekly
CoinArchives Pro is a searchable, illustrated database of past coin auctions extending back as far as 1999. With more than 1.1 million sales records from over 40 participating auction firms, the site is by far the largest resource of its kind. Its major benefit is that it aggregates auction records from many sources, giving its subscribers access to high quality numismatic data and market information in a single location. The subscription-based CoinArchives Pro service grew from the success of CoinArchives.com, a free research tool available since 2002. Building on its well established predecessor, CoinArchives Pro focuses on commercial users by including features that are more relevant to their needs.
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The $100,000 Cent
Numismatic News
First there was one, then three and now there are four 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse No. 1 cents that have been found by collectors within just the past three years. Such a find is financially rewarding. One of them sold for $126,500. The valuable variety shows strong hub doubling on the date, LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. In a telephone interview with the finder of the latest specimen, I learned that he had found it in a roll of 1969-S cents that he had put together from tens of thousands of cents that he had pulled from $25 bank boxes of predominantly circulated cents from 1998 through 2005. According to Brian, a 60-year-old disabled American Vietnam Veteran, (who prefers to go by his first name only), he began saving all cents minted prior to 1982 when he learned that the value of the copper contained within them exceeded the face value of the coin.
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2010 U.S. Mint Uncirculated Set Available July 15
U.S. Mint
The 2010 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set contains two folders of 14 coins each, one with coins from the United States Mint at Denver and the other with coins from the United States Mint at Philadelphia, for a total of 28 coins. Each folder includes uncirculated versions of the following 2010-dated coins: (5) America the Beautiful Quarters™ (honoring Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas; Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; Yosemite National Park in California; Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona; and Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon); Presidential $1 Coins (honoring Presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln); (1) Lincoln cent; (1) Jefferson nickel; (1) Roosevelt dime; (1) Kennedy half-dollar; (1) Native American $1 Coin.
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1954-S Dime Has Potential to Move
Numismaster
When you look at today’s MS-65 price of the 1954-S Roosevelt dime, you find that it is $10, just $4 more than the 1964-D, which had a staggering mintage. You have to think that just maybe the 1954-S will see a price increase at some point in the near future. Talking about Roosevelt dime price increases in recent times has been a bit like talking about world peace. It might be a good idea, but the general view is that it is not going to happen any time soon. Actually, Roosevelt dimes have had a few dates move to higher ground recently, so it is not a case where the entire set is absolutely dead in the water. However, you can probably attribute at least some of the interest to the fact that silver has been rising in price since 2001.
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What Is a Collection?
PCGS Blog
There’s a fine difference between an accumulation of coins and a collection of coins.  Perhaps the biggest differences are focus, attention, and intent.  A jar of coins from pocket change is an accumulation.  That same jar of coins, properly sorted and identified, becomes a collection.  The “intent” part follows lines of thinking similar to these: “I’m going to obtain one Proof Set from every year since my birth”; “I’m going to collect as many different 1909-dated world coins as I can”; or, I’m going to put together a collection of Barber Half Dollars”. The meaningfulness of a collection depends on two things: you, and other people.  A collection that is meaningful to you may not be meaningful to others.
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The Making of the New $100 Bill
CNET News
I’m staring at $38.4 million in cash, and it’s hard not to drool. I’m here at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which, as is probably best described by its official Web site, is America’s “money factory.” More specifically, this is where the U.S. Treasury Department prints its paper money, and as part of Road Trip 2010, I’ve come here to see how the bureau makes the brand-new, next-generation $100 bill. The bureau’s mission is emblazoned in red, white, and blue neon on a wall near where I came in: “We make money the old fashioned way, we PRINT it.” But jumping ahead of that process a little bit, I’ll say it again: At the end of my behind-the-scenes tour, I’ve come face to face with two giant piles, or “skids” of perfect, clean, crisp $100s, all packaged up and ready to be shipped out, exactly 384,000 of them, and I can only shake my head and think, “what if.”
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Coin News for July 1, 2010

See America for a Quarter
U.S. Mint
Looking for a great vacation spot?  The United States Mint wants you to consider letting the America the Beautiful Quarters Program be your guide. In its first year, the America the Beautiful Quarters Program is the United States Mint’s new 12-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and other national sites in each state, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.  Each year, the public will see five new quarters bearing reverse (tails side) designs emblematic of each featured national site.  To mark the release into circulation of each new quarter, the United States Mint is holding a special launch ceremony that is open to the public at or near each site. “When we launched the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, we embarked on a journey to reconnect Americans with our beautiful national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other sites,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy.  “We hope families across the country will join us on this journey.”
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Changes to the U.S. Mint’s Direct Ship Program
Mint News Blog
A few weeks ago, the US Mint made some changes to their Direct Ship Program. This program has been tweaked many times as the Mint seemingly tries to preserve the utility of the program, while limiting the potential for abuses. The Direct Ship Program was introduced in June 2008 as a way for businesses and individuals to obtain circulating dollar coins directly from the US Mint. The purpose of the program was to remove barriers and improve circulation of the dollar coin. In the most recent fiscal year, the US Mint reported distributing an astounding $85.2 million worth of coins through the program, representing 18.6% of the total dollar coin shipments.
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The PMG Zoo Online Gallery
PMG
There are an unlimited number of ways to collect currency, enough to suit anyone’s unique interests. Collecting by topic is one such example. Topics range from animals to buildings, sailing ships, trains and famous people. Our newest gallery, the PMG Zoo, is a collection of 26 notes featuring animals, from birds to the King of the Jungle. By collecting notes with animals, you can “visit the zoo” without leaving the comfort of your home.
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‘The’ Caused Problems in National Bank Note Names
Numismaster
Most national bank names begin with the article “the”—the reason being that it was printed on the blank left for titles on the form used for organization certificates. If the bankers did not want to include it, they had to strike it out on the form. Interesting errors made their way to National Bank Note title blocks for a number of banks, either through the inadvertent use of the word when it was not wanted, or the accidental omission of it when it was desired. The recognized cases are listed in Table 1 (see p. 93). Probably most cases where “the” was accidentally included were caused by clerical errors made on the plate orders sent to the bank note companies, or, later, to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
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Why China’s Currency Has Two Names
BBC News
China has indicated that it will allow its currency to appreciate – following months of pressure from the US. Some refer to the currency as the yuan, others call it the renminbi. Who is right? Both names are perfectly good, but in slightly different ways. “Renminbi” is the official name of the currency introduced by the Communist People’s Republic of China at the time of its foundation in 1949. It means “the people’s currency”. “Yuan” is the name of a unit of the renminbi currency. Something may cost one yuan or 10 yuan. It would not be correct to say that it cost 10 renminbi.
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Legal Shootout Depends on Lawyers
Numismatic News
The Gunfight at the OK Corral has begun in a Central District of California United States Courthouse as Collector’s Universe, the parent company of the Professional Coin Grading Service, squares off against six named coin dealer defendants and 10 “John Doe” defendants charging them with violation of the federal “Lanham Act,” resulting from unfair competition and resulting in  unjust enrichment. In the real gunfight, Wyatt Earp and his brothers (as city marshalls in Tombstone, Ariz.,) and Doc Holliday, fought Billy Claiborne, the Clanton brothers, and others on Oct. 26, 1881, at 3 p.m. – probably the most famous or celebrated shoot-out in the history of the Wild West. In the Collector’s Universe case, it’s just lawyers and judges at 10 paces.
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