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Coin News for June 23, 2010

Coin Collecting Forbidden in Soviet Years
Numismaster
It was illegal to collect coins for many of the Soviet decades. It was considered to be hoarding, an economic crime. Some economic crimes carried the death penalty. You could collect stamps. Coin collecting was theorized to demonstrate an unhealthy interest in money, a bourgeois obsession. Good communists could better spend their time going to meetings or propagandizing. So all the coin collectors hid their coins for maybe 60 years. We should note another instance of continuity with tsarist practice: the mint operation under the early Soviets was substantially the tsarist organization, with mostly the same people. The initial Soviet coinage was issued on the tsarist module, including the silver coins.
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The Unique Conservation Challenge of Post-1982 Cents
NCS
The Mint determined that its most viable option was to go with cents of zinc that were plated with brass for a net copper content of just 2.5%. (The larger message that the cent had been rendered obsolete by such inflation and should be discontinued altogether was somehow missed.) The minting of brass-plated zinc cents began in the latter months of 1982, a year in which both the old and new compositions were struck. While the zinc cents solved the immediate problem of finding a coin that cost less than one cent to produce, the resulting pieces were less than satisfactory when first mass-produced. It took a lot of trial and error to consistently produce coins whose brass plating adhered to the zinc base properly.
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Did Annie Oakley Shoot This Coin?
Susan Headley
Meadow Merrill has an intriguing “either/or” coin-related scenario. She owns an 1853 5 Centimes bronze coin from France that is either a worthless, damaged piece of junk, or a valuable and historically important artifact from the Wild West. The coin, which features a portrait of Napoleon III, is a family heirloom that has been passed down to Merrill with an interesting story. It was purportedly shot up by legendary Wild West sharpshooter Annie Oakley! Is there any way to authenticate such a coin? Like most coins that have legends attached to them, the potential monetary value of the coin is closely tied to the ability to verify the claims made about it.
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Time Capsule Cent Roll
PCGS
Have you ever fantasized about going back in time, and grabbing a random roll of coins and just looking through it to see what it contained? Well, such an opportunity presented itself recently when my brother called me to relate a recent experience. He’s in the vintage automobile business, and while buying a collection in Topeka, Kansas, he ran across a 1928 Model A Ford Hot Rod that had been parked in a barn in 1954 by its owner (who drove it in high school) and has been untouched until now. As they were going through the car, they found a full roll of pennies under the front seat. 
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Numismatic Americana Baltimore Show Report
Numismatic Americana
The second of Whitman’s three Baltimore shows is history. Even though the bourse floor was packed from Thursday through early Saturday, one couldn’t help but notice that the show was smaller than usual. The newer, expanded hall C, was not utilized this past week, as is the tradition for the “summer” show. This doesn’t constitute a turn down in the market, but rather a reflection of the fact that many dealers scale back their show schedule during the summer months. Also, the annual “Paper Money Show” was held the same weekend in Memphis. And as expected, most of the usual “rag pickers” made the pilgrimage to Tennessee. Baltimore has become the show to attend on the east coast. The team Whitman has put together is nothing but spectacular.
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How to Reproduce the Mercator Map Medal
The E-Sylum
Each medal hand engraved remains the strongest possibility. Despite the great detail on a 69mm medal, this is easy engraving by flat engraving in contrast to relief engraving required for preparing a die for die striking. As a map publisher, Michael Mercator, would have had access to one or more such hand engravers. The same craftsman who could engrave his printing plates for printing maps could have easily engraved such a medal. Even at this time, 1589, such skilled craftsmanship was not that costly. And whatever time required to complete such a surface engraving for both sides of the medal, was not that great.
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