I like the idea of Privy Marks on US Coins

Hey, Coin Collectors Blog fans. I’m back! I have made several changes in my business to do more with less. These changes will give me more time to extend my numismatic writing. I have a backlog of issues and interests I want to talk about and will start to add content. Stay tuned. For now, here is something that I have been discussing with a few people via email.

2020-W Weir Farm Quarter

2020-W Weir Farm Quarter with privy mark
(U.S. Mint image via Coin World)

I have received a lot of emails about the U.S. Mint, who will be adding a privy mark to the 2020-W quarter. Although the reaction is mixed, more people seem to be against the move than being in favor.

Amongst the comments are “it is a gimmick,” “beneath the stature of the mint,” and “it’s ugly.” Some have admitted to not collecting or caring about modern coins. Others are regular critics of the U.S. Mint.

There is also a group of people with a pedantic image of the alleged integrity of the U.S. Mint. The same organization that has allowed the release of many patterns are a source of error coins available to the public, and one that has contradictory policies by attacking those with 1933 double eagles while doing nothing about the 1913 Liberty Head Nickels.

When it comes to the U.S. Mint’s policy history, it is as sketchy as any U.S. government agency. The difference is that its products have fans that will defend it because of the final results and not the process that came before it.

Since the U.S. Mint has legal restrictions as to what they can do when it comes to striking coins, I applaud whoever made this decision. We should be celebrating the end of World War II. Even though I was not alive at that time, we need to honor the sacrifice many Americans gave to ending totalitarianism and preventing an evil takeover of the world.

The U.S. Mint found a way to honor the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II without violating the law. I can’t wait to try to find these quarters in my change—or buy them from a dealer since I have had no luck finding W mint marked quarters in my pocket change.

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 16, 2020

2020 Native American $1 ReverseIn our never-ending quest to convince more people to be interested in coin collecting, this week’s news provided us with another example of “if you do something that people like, they will be interested.”

As the U.S. Mint released the Native American dollar coin with the image of Civil Rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich, Alaskans are clamoring for a wider release of the coin. It is the first time since the early days of the small-dollar programs that there is a broad interest in $1 coins.

Elizabeth Peratrovich was an Alaskan native who was instrumental in having Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Law passed by the territorial government. It was the first anti-discrimination law of any type passed in the United States.

Alaskans are asking that the Federal Reserve release 5 million coins into general circulation. The Seattle Branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank is responsible for banking in Alaska.

The Alaska State Legislature passed a resolution requesting the Federal Reserve make these coins available to Alaskans.

Although the Federal Reserve has not publically responded, they should be talking with the U.S. Mint to strike the 5 million coins necessary to send to Alaska. The coins may not circulate, but it is an excellent promotion for coin collecting.

Over the last few years, we have learned that interesting themes have sold well. Look at the interest in the American Somoa National Park fruit bat design. It is a well-executed design that is very interesting and has people looking for the coin in change. It will likely be in the one America the Beautiful Quarter in the most demand.

Other commemorative coins did very well when there was an exciting topic. With no offense to the American Legion, an outstanding organization, but what was the difference in the interest between their commemorative coin and the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative?

Remember the Girl Scouts’ commemorative coin fiasco?

You do not have to be a rocket scientist or a marketing guru to understand people will buy what they like. It is why the Royal Canadian Mint and the New Zealand Mint sign deals with entertainment companies to sell coins with movies, comics, and other images. These coins sell.

Unfortunately, we have a congress in the way that prevents the U.S. Mint from expanding its product line. Without being able to create collector coins for a new audience, we will continue to try to figure out ways to do the impossible: get more people interested in collecting coins.

And now the news…

 January 23, 2020
Antiques Road Trip is back on our screens this February 2020, with more antiques experts ready to haggle and bag a bargain. Each series follows the same premise, as two experts head out across the country, scouring for the best finds they can then take to auction.  → Read more at realitytitbit.com

 February 11, 2020
A collection of Celtic coins in a Jersey museum has received a Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Iron Age coins discovered in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The total number of coins found in the huge hoard was a staggering 69,347, overtaking the previous record of 54,951 coins held by a collection in Wiltshire.   → Read more at irishcentral.com

 February 11, 2020
OTTAWA — Willie O'Ree's image is on a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame, a likeness of his trademark fedora sits atop an NHL award that bears his name, and two hockey rinks in the United States and Canada are named in his honor.  → Read more at nhl.com

 February 13, 2020
The 2020 Native American $1 Coin depicts Alaska Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich and a formline raven. (U.S. Mint)  → Read more at alaskapublic.org

 February 13, 2020
Before the $20 bill is redesigned, Harriet Tubman could appear on a coin.  → Read more at auburnpub.com

 February 14, 2020
Seven ancient coins were returned to the government of Cyprus Friday at a repatriation ceremony in Washington, D.C. (CBP Photo/Handout) BALTIMORE, MD — More than 10 years after federal agents in Baltimore discovered ancient coins in a search of cargo, they returned them to their rightful owner: the government of Cyprus.  → Read more at patch.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 9, 2020

Carson City Mint Sesquicentennial Mold

Mold used to make the dies for the Carson City Mint Sesquicentennial medal. Image courtesy of the Nevada State Museum.

This past week, the Nevada State Museum celebrated the 150th anniversary of the United States Mint in Carson City. The Carson City Mint opened in 1870 to strike silver coins using silver from the Comstock Lode.

Although named for Henry Comstock, he did no discover the silver mines in the area. Comstock has the distinction of claiming a stake in the lode before selling his stake for thousands of dollars, an unreasonable sum at the time, and settling in Carson City. Comstock started a few businesses. His brashness and presence lent his name to the discovery.

Comstock is not a hero. He was known for being impatient, careless, lazy, and some accused him of being insane. Comstock committed suicide in 1870, leaving several failed businesses, a failed marriage, and sever debt in his wake.

After the discovery, it was expensive to transport the silver to San Francisco for processing. Nevada politicians lobbied congress for the formation of a branch mint to assay and strike coins. Congress authorized a mint in 1868 for nearby Carson City. The building opened for production in 1870. The Carson City branch mint struck silver and gold coins but in lesser amounts than the other mints making their coins highly collectible and more expensive because of their rarity.

Many consider the coins struck at Carson City to be amongst the most beautiful of all the coins. With the lower production totals, mint employees did not have to rush production, allowing them to create proper strikes. Of course, mistakes happen, and varieties of coins struck at the Carson City Mint are some of the most desirable.

A significant distinction of the coins struck in Carson City is that they bear the “CC” mintmark. It is the only two-character mintmark used on U.S. coins.

Production ended in 1893 with the reduced output from nearby silver mines. The building served as an Assay Office beginning in 1895. It closed following the gold recall of 1933. The State of Nevada purchased the building in 1939.

Today, the building houses the Nevada State Museum, where Coin Press No. 1 continues to strike commemorative half-ounce silver medals every month. There are only four known versions of this coin press in existence and the museum has the only working model.

For the sesquicentennial celebration, the museum struck a commemorative medal for the visitors. Visitors were able to purchase half-ounce silver planchets from the museum’s gift shop and bring them to the Coin Press No. 1 for striking. Because this was an on-demand process, you had to be at the museum to purchase one.

The Mint at Carson City is a symbol of U.S. history. It is where the old west meets modern commerce. From the reports, it sounds like the celebration went well. I hope to be able to visit the museum at some point in time.

And now the news…

 February 3, 2020
The huge coin weighs five kilograms (Picture: The Goldsmiths’ Company/SWNS) A £5,000 coin that weighs five kilos and is big enough to eat your dinner off has been produced by the Royal Mint as part of a tradition going back more than 700 years.  → Read more at metro.co.uk

 February 4, 2020
A giant discovery of nearly 70,000 coins from the Iron Age has set a Guinness World Record for being the largest of its kind discovered in the British Isles. Discovered in January 2012, the collection of 69,347 coins was found in Jersey by metal detector enthusiasts Reg Mead and Richard Miles, British news agency SWNS reports.  → Read more at foxnews.com

 February 6, 2020
It was born out of Nevada's silver boom. The Carson City Mint coined our money for decades, until 1893 when it closed…later becoming the Nevada State Museum. But museum curator Robert Nylen told me it’s still famous for the coins: "The coins that came out of Carson City.  → Read more at ktvn.com

 February 6, 2020
(via Kamloops RCMP) Kamloops RCMP has a bit of spare change these days.  → Read more at kamloopsmatters.com

 February 8, 2020
(Kitco News) U.S. Mint gold coin sales saw a strong recovery in January after the weakest year on record in 2019.  → Read more at kitco.com

 February 8, 2020
Persistent archaeological treasure hunters have set a new Guinness World Record for the largest coin hoard ever discovered in the British Isles. This treasure story begun in the early 1980s after Reg Mead and Richard Miles read a report about a farmer on Jersey who many years earlier had discovered silver coins in an earthenware pot while pulling out a tree from a hedgerow.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 February 8, 2020
A PORTLAND resident has discovered another 'love token' at Church Ope Cove, prompting theories about what once took place on the sandy shores. Edward Dahl first found a silver sixpence, dating from 1696 during the reign of William III, back in 2018.  → Read more at dorsetecho.co.uk

 February 9, 2020
It is the second time in history when a coin issued by Latvijas Banka has been recognised the Coin of the Year. The innovative Honey Coin, created by the designer Artūrs Analts, won by a very wide margin, and, quoting the 1 February 2020 press release of the Numismatic News, "the day was sweet as honey" for Latvijas Banka.  → Read more at baltictimes.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 2, 2020

Congratulation to the Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs for winning Super Bowl LIV!

Reverse of the 2020 Brexit coin

Reverse of the 2020 Brexit coin (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint)

The grammar police are snobs.

The grammar police are those people who expect everyone to read and write in proper form. They want everything from signs to notices to be grammatically correct. There is no compromise because compromise leads to illiteracy.

These are the claims by novelist Philip Pullman who as called for a boycott of the Brexit 50p coin because it leaves out the Oxford comma.

For those who are not grammar snobs, the Oxford comma is also known as the serial comma. It is the comma placed after the second-to-last (penultimate) item of a list before the conjunction. Its use first appeared in 1894 in Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford. Hart’s Rules has been the defacto standard for English usage since its publication.

Oxford University Press has updated the rules over the years with the last version published in 2002. Now called The Oxford Style Manual, it does not waiver in its proper use of the Queen’s English. Thus, people like Pullman cling onto it to create an air of superiority.

When there were rumors that the use of the Oxford comma was going to be eliminated from the style guide, reportedly one such snob said, “Are you people insane? The Oxford comma is what separates us from the animals.” The rumors were not true.

Sometimes, the lack of a serial comma can cause problems. In 2014, someone sued a Maine company because the absence of a comma caused an alleged misinterpretation of workplace policies.

But this argument is over a coin.

What is worse is that the phrase used on the coin is being picked apart by grammar snobs everywhere. The phrase on the reverse of the coin, “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations,” was adapted from Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address. As Jefferson was outlining the principles of his administration, Jefferson included, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” With its ties to Jefferson, some suggest its usage will (GASP!) Americanize the Queen’s English!

I thought that the argument over coin designs in the United States is ridiculous. The Brits have surpassed even the most half-witted commentary from the United States.

And now the news…

 January 27, 2020
‘The lack of a comma after “prosperity” is killing me,’ says Stig Abell … the Brexit 50p. Photograph: HM Treasury/PA  → Read more at theguardian.com

 January 27, 2020
The gold coin "Big Maple Leaf" on display at Berlin's Bode Museum. Thieves stole the gold coin with a face value of $1 million and weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) from Berlin's Bode Museum on March 27, 2017.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com

 January 27, 2020
A cache of 232 ancient coins was recovered from the house of a known antiquities thief in Kfar Kana last week by the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Theft Prevention Unit. The trove of coins includes samples from the 5th century BCE Persian period, to the later Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, and to the early Ottoman period in the circa 16th century.  → Read more at timesofisrael.com

 January 28, 2020
PA Media The coins had to be re-produced after Brexit was delayed A commemorative 50p coin marking the UK's departure from the EU has been unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid.  → Read more at bbc.com

 January 29, 2020
Screenshot: HM Treasury  → Read more at jezebel.com

 February 2, 2020
A rare 1,300-year-old coin featuring the face of an obscure Saxon king could sell for £15,000 at auction after its owner spent three years trying to prove its authenticity. Experts and scholars dismissed the silver penny Andy Hall unearthed in a muddy field in Wiltshire, as it featured the head of a virtually-unknown Saxon king.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 February 2, 2020
Jersey Heritage Some of the coins are on display at La Hougue Bie Museum in Jersey Two men who found a huge hoard of pre-Christian coins in a field in Jersey have been recognised as record-setters.  → Read more at bbc.com

 February 2, 2020
The French treasury is considering European plans to phase out one and two-cent coins in the coming years.  → Read more at connexionfrance.com

 February 8, 2020
The former Carson CIty Mint, home to the Nevada State Museum since 1941, will be celebrated for 150 years on Tuesday, Feb. 4.  → Read more at kolotv.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 26, 2020

Queen 2020 UK Half Ounce Silver Proof Coin reverse - UK20QUHS

Queen 2020 UK Half Ounce Silver Proof Coin

Like many of my age, I was introduced to Queen in 1975 when they released their fourth studio album, Night at the Opera. It was the album they premiered the iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

You younguns found out about this song in Wayne’s World. I remember listening to it on FM radio when FM radio was cool. (You can now say collectively: OK, BOOMER!)

Their next album, A Day at the Races, produced several hits, including a song with fantastic harmony “Somebody to Love,” but it was News of the World that gave us the stadium anthems “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” In case you forgot, “We Will Rock You” was on the B-side of “We Are the Champions.” Now they are played as if they are one song.

So why am I waxing poetic about Queen, and what does that have to do with numismatics? This week, the Royal Mint announced that they released a coin with the queen, as in Queen Elizabeth II, and a tribute to Queen on the reverse.

According to the Royal Mint, it is the first of a “Music Legends” collection. Other British musical artists will be featured on coins, but Queen is the first.

Brian May of Queen

Dr. Brian May of Queen holding a 50p coin produced by the Royal Mint celebrating the band.

As someone who owns their first 12 albums on vinyl and their last three on compact disc plus several gigabytes of downloads because it is difficult to rip vinyl, I will be a buyer of some version of this coin.

For the record (pun intended), Queen is the third most requested artist in my shop, after the Beatles and the Grateful Dead.

And now the News of the Numismatic World…

 January 20, 2020
BERLIN — German prosecutors are seeking lengthy prison terms for four men accused of staging the brazen theft of a 100-kilogram (221-pound) Canadian gold coin that disappeared from a Berlin museum almost three years ago.  → Read more at abcnews.go.com

 January 21, 2020
Queen's Brian May with the new £5 coin (Image credit: The Royal Mint)  → Read more at loudersound.com

 January 22, 2020
(Kitco News) – Scientists have discovered a method to create 18-carat gold using a mixture of protein fibers and a polymer latex instead of a conventional recipe of gold and base metals, according to research published earlier this month.  → Read more at kitco.com

 January 25, 2020
A Maryland mail carrier has been charged with theft after police say he admitted to stealing mailed items, including two rare coins worth nearly $3,000. All told, Lorenzo Pugh, 32, of Greenbelt, is suspected of stealing several items from his Silver Spring mail route from March 2019 through this month, according to Montgomery County police.  → Read more at wtop.com
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 Reporting suspected fake coins (Jan 22, 2020)

 

Weekly World Numismatic News for January 19, 2020

Egyptian 9th C Dinar

Abbasid coins of the late ninth century
(via Egypt Today)

A lesson in unintended consequences was filed in an Egyptian court this week. As part of policy disagreements between Egypt and Turkey, the case asks the courts to demand the return of 23 million gold coins taken by the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire was the last of the significant conquering empires of Europe. By the late 19th century, modernization and uprisings forced the Empire to consolidate around the area of modern-day Turkey and the Middle East. Even though the Empire was declining, that did not stop the government from trying to exert influence.

After Great Britain left Egypt in 1914, the Ottomans stepped in and demanded Egypt pay tribute in the form of gold coin to the Empire. After the fall of the Empire and the formation of modern-day Turkey, they continued to demand tribute. Egypt stopped paying the tribute on the establishment of the Republic in 1953.

The lawsuit claims that the Ottomans and Turkey illegally removed the coins from Egypt and demands their return.

In one report, the brief cites the provisions of the UNESCO convention as authority for demanding their return by declaring the coins as cultural property.

If allowed through their courts and if the suit is successful, it becomes precedent for Egypt to claim any item as cultural property and demand their return. Aside from coins, exhibits at museums around the world would have to prepare for similar requests. In the United States, the Brooklyn Museum has one of the most extensive Egyptology collection in North America. Their holding is second to the British Museum, who will also face the same questions.

Ancient Egypt did not have a monetary system as we know it today. Since they did not have silver mines and gold was scarce, they traded goods and services. Taxes were paid by people providing products or working for the government.

There are known bronze coins from early periods, but several references noted that they were used for a limited amount of trade.

The first known coins of Egypt came during the Ptolemaic Empire of ancient Greece. By that time, the Egyptian Empire moved up the Nile River from the area near modern Cairo to modern-day Alexandria. As a weakened Empire, Ptolemy I was able to conquer these areas of the Middle East following the death of Alexander the Great.

It was a time of great fortune that included education, the arts, and modernization of the old Egyptian Empire. Silver and gold were brought as the economy soared. Ptolemaic coins are considered Greek coins for many collectors of ancient coinage.

Those who enjoy collection ancient coins should carefully watch this case as it winds through the Egyptian courts. The wrong outcome will affect collectors and be another attack on the hobby.

And now the news…

 January 13, 2020
…My Proustian moment came when I read Maurer’s comment: “People working on new technologies of money tend to assume that money is just money…  → Read more at frbatlanta.org

 January 15, 2020
14 January 2020 Almost 1,000 coins dating back to the years 1500 – 1600 have been discovered in the locality of Săbieşti, in Dâmboviţa county, some 50 km north of Bucharest.  → Read more at romania-insider.com

 January 15, 2020
It looked, on first examination, like an antique charm bracelet loaded with gold trinkets: a tiny Eiffel Tower and a little bowling pin and iconic images of provincial Italy. The owner thought the family heirloom might fetch $8,000 on the open market.  → Read more at ottawacitizen.com

 January 16, 2020
While first responders in Windsor-Essex save other peoples' lives every day, they're now equipped with a new 'All In Coin' taking aim at their own mental health. Essex-Windsor EMS and Essex Fire are giving out coins to their workers to make it easier for them to talk when needing mental help.  → Read more at cbc.ca

 January 18, 2020
A rare coin featuring Britain's King Edward VIII, who abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, has sold for a record £1 million  → Read more at cnn.com

 January 18, 2020
CAIRO – 18 January 2020: Egypt’s Administrative Court has set February 15, 2020 to consider a lawsuit demanding Turkey to repay Egypt more than 23.1 million gold coins that were taken from Egypt in tribute by Ottoman Empire “illegally.”  → Read more at egypttoday.com

 January 19, 2020
If you’re keen to own a piece of British history, The Royal Mint January sale may have just what you’re looking for.  → Read more at dailyrecord.co.uk
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