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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
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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