Weekly World Numismatic News for June 9, 2019

The delay in the report was because I was traveling home from seeing my nephew graduate from high school. Although high school graduation may seem like something that did not require a long trip, it was necessary for me to see my nephew graduate. Since he is classified as “special needs,” this was a huge event in his life.

Although a stupid rule prevented him from graduating with honors (they moved in the middle of the year and did not spend enough time at the school), he did qualify for an academic award that covers all four years of high school. The award was a medal, which he wore along with an academic honor rope.

Medals are an interesting part of numismatics. They are not a currency but has been used as such. They have no value, but we attach importance to them. Medals come in all shapes and sizes and have their appeal.

Award medals are usually happy. They represent an accomplishment and in many cases worn as a proud sign of that accomplishment. Even medals awarded posthumously that provide reminders of the departed are appreciated because it represents the good within that person.

Medals may be one of the most underappreciated areas of numismatics. Maybe that should change. It might cause more people to become interested in the hobby.

And now the news…

 June 3, 2019

Details of a new collectable coin series was announced today by the Royal Australian Mint to celebrate 50 years since Neil Armstrong took “one giant leap for mankind”.  → Read more at news.com.au


 June 5, 2019

The use of smaller coin denominations is gradually becoming extinct as many…  → Read more at ghanaweb.com


 June 5, 2019

Dear Reader, As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going.  → Read more at jpost.com


 June 6, 2019

The coin sold for five times its estimate. A 30-year-old British man with a metal detector came across a small 24-carat gold coin the size of a penny this past March. Yesterday, it sold at auction for $700,000.  → Read more at news.artnet.com


 June 6, 2019

When it comes to honoring troops who made the ultimate sacrifice as they gained victory during the Normandy landings, it’s not partisan. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is partnering with Rep.  → Read more at ijr.com


 June 7, 2019

THESSALONIKI, Greece – Police in central Greece have arrested a man suspected of dealing in illegally excavated antiquities who had allegedly placed an advert to sell ancient coins on a Greek website for second-hand items.  → Read more at foxnews.com


 June 8, 2019

It started with a hiker who plucked two curious objects from a bit of scattered trash, a discovery that launched months of speculation and investigation. Each wafer-thin bit of metal — one about the size of a quarter, the other a dime — bore strange inscriptions on either side, worn nearly smooth over time.  → Read more at azcentral.com

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 NCIC: Stolen USPS (Jun 7, 2019)

 

Suffrage Centennial Commem passes the Senate

Congress may be filling out the 2020 commemorative coin calendar with the Senate passing the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235). If passed by the House, the bill would require the U.S. Mint to issue a one dollar silver coin to commemorate women suffrage activists in 2020.

S. 1235: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Apr 30, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1235.

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Since there were 48 states in the union, 36 represented the three-quarters necessary to ratify the amendment.

S. 1235 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee.

According to the bill the design of the coin is supposed to “contain motifs that honor Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Harriet Tubman, Mary Church Terrell, Alice Paul, Lide Meriwether, Ida B. Wells, and other suffrage activists of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries.” That is a lot of people to try to fit on a 1½-inch coin.

As with almost every other commemorative coin bill, the silver dollar will have a $10 surcharge. The surcharge will go to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.

This bill does not mention mintage limits. It is possible to become the most produced commemorative coin of the modern era.

Next, the bill is sent to the House of Representatives for their vote.

May 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

The legislative review is back after taking a month hiatus since there was nothing to report for April.

Legislation introduced in May is a bit different than others in that only one bill directly affects the section of the law that governs the U.S. Mint (Subchapter III of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code). Let’s look at each of legislation submitted in May.

S. 1300: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Introduced: May 2, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 2, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1300.

The National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act is a typical three-coin commemorative coin legislation ($5 gold, $1 silver, half-dollar clad) to raise money for a cause. If passed, this law will pay the surcharges to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

H.R. 2559: Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: May 7, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2559.

The Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2019 calls for a complete assay, inventory, and audit of gold reserves held by the federal government. The proposed law requires that the location of all gold is documented “including any gold in ‘deep storage,'” the security of those places, and any transactions of that gold.

If enacted, the Comptroller General of the United States do this audit for the past 15 years and have it completed within 12 months and every five years. The law would require the complete audit to be made public with the only exception of the physical security issues.

COMMENTARY: Given the nature of the economy and a lot of other factors are the gold holds that important? The Federal Reserve reports that the M1 money supply is over $3.7 trillion and the M2 is over $14.5 trillion. Think of the M1 as cash used in commerce. The M2 represents all money, including those in savings, securities, or may have circulating restrictions. Even if the government were to account for every grain of gold as reported an in U.S. Mint’s annual reports, that would represent less than 1-percent of the M1.

Gold holdings are irrelevant to the strength of the United States economy. Maintaining the M1 supply is more critical because it is a measure of activity. Economists fear wild tariffs since it will have a direct effect on the M1 money supply. Changes to the M1 will alter the demand for the products produced by the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

H.R. 2558: To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold.
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: May 7, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2558.

H.R. 2558 would require the Secretary of the Treasury “define the dollar in terms of a fixed weight of gold, based on that day’s closing market price of gold” and allow Federal Reserve Notes to be exchangeable for gold at that statutory rate.

COMMENTARY: This is a backhanded attempt to return the United States to the gold standard without the sufficient backing of gold that will support this effort. With the money supply being over $14 trillion, trying to match the amount of gold at market value to every U.S. dollar would cause a devaluation of the currency that it would not be economically viable to do business in or with the United States.

Further, the market price of gold is set by private banks, metals dealers, mining companies, and other financial companies from all over the world through the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). Given the makeup of their membership, this bill will allow this market that includes people from Bahrain, China, Switzerland, Russia, and other countries where the United States may have disputes to have direct influence over the strength of the U.S. dollar.

The introduction of a bill like this makes for good talking points for a constituency that is ignorant of the ramifications of this law. It is not sound policy given the nature of the markets.

H.R. 2630: Cash Always Should be Honored Act
Sponsor: Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI)
Introduced: May 9, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. — May 9, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2630.

The Cash Always Should be Honored (CASH) Act states that “It shall be unlawful for any physical retail establishment to refuse to accept legal tender as payment for any products or services offered for sale by such physical retail establishment.” The bill allows exemptions for online and telephone-based transactions.

COMMENTARY: Although I believe in the power of spending the products of the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing over using electronic means, it should not be the government’s place to tell anyone how to conduct business.

Another short-sighted bill that does not consider the modern economy because it does not consider changes to the concept of a physical retail establishment. For example, what about mobile-based commerce? Would the rideshare companies be required to take cash? What about the plumber who comes to fix your sink? What about the food truck where you might buy lunch?

For the numismatists, how would this affect dealers at a coin show? Will you be required to carry around a wad of currency to buy coins? Would there be a distinction between the dealer who only sells at shows versus a dealer with a shop who travels to shows?

It is another bill that looks better as part of talking points than its effects on the real economy.

H.R. 2650: Payment Choice Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ)
Introduced: May 9, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 9, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2650.

This Payment Choice Act of 2019 is similar to the CASH Act in that it will prohibit any business from refusing “to accept United States legal tender of cash as payment for goods or services,” post signs saying that the establishment will not accept cash, or charge a higher price for paying in cash. The bill exempts “any goods or services sold to the public by telephone, mail, or internet.”

COMMENTARY: See the commentary for the CASH Act, above.

Weekly World Numismatic News for June 2, 2019

The most interesting news of the week was not printed by a media outlet but by the Government Printing Office. On May 23, 2019, the GPO published an entry in the Federal Register saying that the U.S. Mint has priced the Pride of Two Nations Limited Edition Two-Coin Set at $139.95.

Which two nations? Of course, if this is coming from the U.S. Mint, one of the countries is the United States. However, several reports claim that the second nation is Canada.

According to a source, the set will include a proof one-ounce American Silver Eagle coin and a proof one-ounce silver Canada Maple Leaf with a unique privy mark. There was no further information as to what the privy mark will be.

Production will be limited to 250,000 sets, according to the source.

The coins will be packaged and marketed by the U.S. Mint. The Royal Canadian Mint will also take orders for the set that will be fulfilled by the logistics contractor working for the U.S. Mint.

The source did not have information about the packaging.

The set will go on sale at the beginning of the World’s Fair of Money via Internet and telephone ordering only. Falling under the category that we can no longer have nice things, the U.S. Mint’s reticence to open sales at shows is a result of the fiasco that occurred when they released the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof coin at that year’s World’s Fair of Money.

Of course, no dealer was penalized by the American Numismatic Association for disrupting the World’s Fair of Money or setting the conditions that disrupted the distription outside of the Denver Mint.

And now the news…

 May 28, 2019

ST. GEORGE — Glen Canyon National Recreation Area’s investigation of centuries-old Spanish coins that were turned into the park has provisionally concluded the coins are authentic. However, according to a news release from the National Park Service, the two small coins were probably part of a modern coin collection, perhaps accidentally or intentionally dropped by a visitor to Lake Powell.  → Read more at stgeorgeutah.com


 May 29, 2019

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the newest mock-up of the Harriet Tubman currency from the advocacy group Women on 20s. WASHINGTON – The Trump administration says it needs until 2028 to release a new $20 bill featuring abolitionist hero Harriet Tubman.  → Read more at usatoday.com


 June 1, 2019

The coins and a silver ingot, believed to be worth £500,000, were seized in Durham and Lancashire.  → Read more at bbc.com


 June 1, 2019

Is the current 1p piece the least valuable British coin since the currency was unified in 1707?  → Read more at bbc.com

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POLL: Where are all the W mint quarters?

W is more than the 23rd letter of the Latin-based alphabet. While it is the chemical symbol for tungsten and used as an abbreviation for watt, in numismatics, it is an elusive mintmark found on only by a few dedicated hunters.

With 2 million quarters produced by for each of the five National Parks Quarters issued in 2019, it represents from 0.5 to 1-percent of the total production for each coin. Yet being in the shadows of the nation’s capital and running a business that sees a lot of cash, the only W mint quarters I have found were shown to me by a customer asking about them.

Most of the reports of W mintmark quarter finds have been from roll hunters. They buy rolls from the bank and search. But I have searched the rolls I buy for the shop and not found any W mintmark quarters.

I might offer a bounty for someone bringing one into my shop. I am not sure what I have to trade. I have a roll of 40-percent silver half-dollars I used to give to children when they come in and show an interested in coin collecting. That might be a fair trade!

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Have you found a W mint quarter?





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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 9, 2019

The delay in the report was because I was traveling home from seeing my nephew graduate from high school. Although high school graduation may seem like something that did not require a long trip, it was necessary for me to see my nephew graduate. Since he is...

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