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Coin News for July 20, 2010

The World’s Most Beautiful Coins
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
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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