Weekly World Numismatic News for June 13, 2021

Before unveiling my father’s grave marker, it was covered with an appropriate towel. After 12 years, he is next to my mother, again.

Even though the United States may be recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many will feel its effects for a long time. Whether from missing events from 2020 to the loss of a family member, survivors will have reminders that will last a lifetime.

Last Friday was my father’s unveiling. For those not familiar with the custom, Jewish descendants celebrate the life of the deceased by dedicating the grave marker where the loved one is buried. The marker is covered then revealed at the end of the service.

As a die-hard and always suffering Mets fan, my father’s marker was covered with a Mets towel until the end of the service. Later that night, the family went to Citi Field to attend a Mets game in his honor. Jacob deGrom pitched a phenomenal six innings and the Mets won.

It was my first time attending a game at Citi Field. The stadium is quite different from Shea Stadium where my father and I saw many games together. In 1972, we attended more games than he expected because I kept winning tickets. That year I was delivering Newsday when it was an afternoon newspaper. To boost the number of subscribers, Newsday would give out prizes to the paperboys who sold the most subscriptions. When Newsday started a Sunday paper, there would be more opportunities to win prizes. I chose the Mets tickets whenever it was an option.

In those days, the paperboys collected directly from the subscriber. On Saturday, we would pay the distributor for the week’s newspapers and hand in orders for the next week. One week I almost did not have enough money to pay the bill because several people paid using silver coins. The silver coins went inserted into the blue folders. My father helped me make up the difference.

By the end of my three years delivering Newsday, I had a nearly complete set of Roosevelt dimes picked from pocket change and from the people who paid for newspapers. Shortly before we moved from New York, my father and I went to a local coin shop and we purchased 12 dimes to almost complete the set. A few days later, he came home from work with the one dime that the local coin shop did not have and a Whitman Deluxe album. Later, I learned he bought the coin and the album from Stack’s in Manhattan.

Although this chapter is over, the memories and the album of Roosevelt dimes remain.

And now the news…

 June 10, 2021
“Treasure of Chianti,” now on view through Sept. 3 at the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, Italy. A treasure trove of ancient Roman silver coins discovered by a team from Florida State University is now on display to the public for the first time in Italy.  → Read more at news.fsu.edu

 June 11, 2021
 → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 June 13, 2021
By Updated  → Read more at smh.com.au
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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 7, 2021

With the country reopening, there is a lot of activity arranged to make up for the lost time. It is going to make June a busy month that will delay the Weekly World Numismatic News posts. Stay tuned because I have a lot of good content coming!

Life in the United States is coming back. Although COVID-19 continues to be a concern, the vaccines seem to be mitigating many of the issues that closed down the country last year. According to many reports, the United States is doing better than other countries with vaccinations. The result is a decrease in the number of infections and deaths.

COVID-19 will change how we live life, at least for the next few years. Aside from the loss of family members, I am no longer shaking hands. I will fist-bump with someone. Maybe we should learn from the Japanese and bow in respect.

Another change is the reduction in handling items. When I go to a store, I continue to wear nitrile gloves. Even though science has proven that COVID-19 cannot live on surfaces for long times, studies have shown that a dollar bill can have more bacteria than a toilet seat.

The next question is what will happen at coin shows. When we go to shows, people will examine coins, currency, and exonumia before they purchase. Collectors will be digging through junk boxes, those long storage boxes, and flipping pages in notebooks. Collectors will handle slabs and flip through pages of the available books. While this is no different from shows in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic scared everyone. A result of the heightened awareness of viruses was a significant reduction in flu cases.

People traveling to long-distance shows will be required to wear masks in the airport and on airplanes. Show venues will continue to require people to wear masks and social distancing that will reduce dealer participation.

COVID-19 restrictions require the ANA to reduce the number of dealers to maintain social distancing. What we do not know are the other restrictions that the ANA will have to follow. Will there be restrictions on the number of people on the bourse floor? What about attendance restrictions on the peripheral sessions like Money Talks and the auctions? How will the exhibits be handled? What other restrictions will the ANA be required to follow?

It is good that life is resuming, but there are more questions than answers. Get vaccinated and stay safe.

And now the news…

 June 1, 2021
How many times have you weighed the little usefulness of the pennies you have in your purse? You may even have accumulated them and that you have them stored in a boat waiting to count them so that they can be exchanged for coins of more value or a banknote, but be careful that there is a special cent coin that could have a value of 50,000 euros So what maybe you have among those pennies that you hardly pay attention to.  → Read more at marketresearchtelecast.com

 June 3, 2021
Written by Oscar Holland, CNN Two of the most coveted items in stamp-collecting and one of the world's rarest coins could fetch a combined $37 million when they go under the hammer in New York next week.  → Read more at cnn.com

 June 4, 2021
Cincinnati, Ohio, June 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cryptozoologists worldwide are scampering to find Cincinnati, Ohio on the map and Osborne Mint on the web to see The Yeti and be able to capture the creature for themselves.   → Read more at globenewswire.com
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What Does $18 Million Buy These Days?

On June 8, 2021, Sotheby’s auctioned the Stuart Weitzman Collection. The auction consisted of three of the rarest items in the world, including the Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle. It is the only 1933 Double Eagle coin that anyone who can afford it can legally own.

The coin sold for $18,872,250!

Although not confirmed by Sotheby’s, the price realized suggests that it includes the buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s has not disclosed the buyer’s name.

Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle was sold by Sotheby’s for $18,872,250 in a June 2021 auction.
(Picture Credit: PCGS)

Arguably, the most famous coin in the world, the price was over the auction estimate of $10-15 million but under what the numismatic industry expected. The price is significantly more than the $7,590,020 paid in 2002 for the coin, including $20 to monetize the coin officially. The auction included the U.S. Mint’s monetization certificate.

U.S. Mint’s Certificate of Monetization for the Farouk-Fenton Double Eagle (Picture Credit: Sotheby’s)

Also included in the auction was The Inverted Jenny Plate Block sold for $4,860,000 (estimated at $5-7 million), and The British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamp that sold for $8,307,000 (estimated at $10-15 million).

Numismatists may want to save the catalog link for the sale of this coin. Sotheby’s catalog listing includes the coin’s history with an updated history of the other 1933 Double Eagle coins. The update includes the ten coins “discovered” by Joan Langbord, daughter of Israel Switt, and her family’s fight to retain ownership. Documentation from court filings adds to the story.

David Tripp wrote the original catalog description for the first Sotheby’s/Stack’s auction. In 2004, Tripp published his research in Illegal Tender. Given the new information, would it be worth updating the book?

May 2021 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressCongress became quiet on the numismatic front in May. After a flurry of vanity bills introduced in March and April, the only bill to be introduced in May was to create a commemorative to raise money for the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The National World War II Memorial opened in 2004 to a lot of acclaim for its design. Surrounding a reflecting pool are 56 granite pillars arranged in a semicircle. Each pillar has the name of the 48 states and eight territories at the time of the war. Two sides represent the two theaters of the war, the Atlantic and Pacific.

One of the “Kilroy was here” engravings on the WWII Memorial. (Source: Wikipedia)

On either side of the pool are victory arches to celebrate the victories in Europe and the Pacific. Hidden within the design are two “Kilroy was here” engravings. The phrase’s origin remains a mystery, but it was prevalent where ever U.S. troops were located.

The memorial is open 24 hours a day, and the National Parks Service does not charge admission fees to enter. The only money the NPS receives to maintain the memorial is from the budget process and donations. Neither is enough to prevent the deterioration caused by Washington weather extremes and the wear of visitors. Unfortunately, there has also been vandalism.

Because of the condition problems, groups are looking for ways to raise money to refurbish and improve the memorial. Ideas included the creation of a commemorative coin to help raise money for the construction. If passed, S. 1596 will create a commemorative coin series to raise construction money for the memorial.

S. 1596: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Introduced: May 12, 2021
Introduced in Senate — May 12, 2021
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 12, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-S1596.
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Weekly World Numismatic News for May 30, 2021

When it comes to identifying the numismatic-related news of the week, you cannot ignore the fiasco caused by the U.S. Mint. It is a repeat of every significant release for the last 15 years: underestimate demand, make purchasing policies that are out of touch with the demand anticipated by the industry, not have the infrastructure in place to meet the demand, apologize and promise to do better later.

Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Collectors are not taking this situation in stride as they previously have. According to congressional staffers who spoke on the promise of anonymity, the calls to their offices bordered on outrage. The stories were amazing.

One staffer said that their district office received a call from an assisted living center in their district. Five people were on the call. Each made a statement and passed around the telephone, so they could all tell their members of congress how upset they were. One of the people told the staffer about buying his first proof set from the U.S. Mint in 1958.

Another staffer said that the House Financial Services Committee redirected calls made to their offices. Someone investigated and decided that something I wrote the day of the sale prompted the calls.

A source with the Treasury Department said that they logged a lot of calls on Wednesday. Although they would not break down the distribution of the calls, sources suggested that calls made to the main Treasury caught Secretary Janet Yellen’s attention.

Although members of the numismatic industry called, everyone I spoke with said it was the public’s outrage that caused the U.S. Mint to take quick action.

Instead of putting up with bad service from the government, the people stood up and asked for answers. The government responding to the people is the best news of the week. Now let’s hope the U.S. Mint does not waste this moment.

And now the news…

 May 27, 2021
Cabinet policy addressing “colonialism, patriarchy, and racism” strikes coin honouring Canadian scientist who discovered insulin  → Read more at torontosun.com

 May 28, 2021
During excavations near Tübingen, archaeologists discovered the tomb of an early Bronze Age woman with an unusual burial gift: a small spiral made of gold wire – possibly a hair ornament – appeared to be the earliest reliable gold discovery in southwestern Germany.  → Read more at thewestonforum.com

 May 28, 2021
While working on the downtown Ellisville street repair project, Heath Pickering made an interesting find while repairing a sewer line.  → Read more at leader-call.com
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U.S. Mint Pauses 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollar Sales

The U.S. Mint posted the following on its Facebook page at 11:30 PM on Thursday, May 27, 2021:

For those who do not access Facebook, the following is the complete text of the announcement:

The United States Mint is committed to providing the best possible online experience to its customers. The global silver shortage has driven demand for many of our bullion and numismatic products to record heights. This level of demand is felt most acutely by the Mint during the initial product release of numismatic items. Most recently in the pre-order window for 2021 Morgan Dollar with Carson City privy mark (21XC) and New Orleans privy mark (21XD), the extraordinary volume of web traffic caused significant numbers of Mint customers to experience website anomalies that resulted in their inability to complete transactions.

In the interest of properly rectifying the situation, the Mint is postponing the pre-order windows for the remaining 2021 Morgan and Peace silver dollars that were originally scheduled for June 1 (Morgan Dollars struck at Denver (21XG) and San Francisco (21XF)) and June 7 (Morgan Dollar struck at Philadelphia (21XE) and the Peace Dollar (21XH)). While inconvenient to many, this deliberate delay will give the Mint the time necessary to obtain web traffic management tools to enhance the user experience. As the demand for silver remains greater than the supply, the reality is such that not everyone will be able to purchase a coin. However, we are confident that during the postponement, we will be able to greatly improve on our ability to deliver the utmost positive U.S. Mint experience that our customers deserve. We will announce revised pre-order launch dates as soon as possible.

Sources reported that unhappy collectors “besieged” the U.S. Mint with email and telephone calls following their latest ordering fiasco. The sources also said that the offices of several members of congress contacted the U.S. Mint after hearing from their constituents.

One source said that collectors contacted the Treasury Office of Inspector General (OIG) and prompted them to question U.S. Mint management on the problems. I have not been able to confirm this story.

In short, it was the action by angry collectors that made the U.S. Mint stop and rethink its sales policies. It was you, the collector, who called Congress, made waves, and forced the U.S. Mint to listen.

Too bad ANA leadership did not take a leadership role on behalf of the hobby.

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