REDBOOK SALE!

Can you open the safe?

Safe CrackingThose who follow my Twitter feed (@coinsblog) will notice that I have been posting links to stories about how the current Libyan government is trying to break into the vault once controlled by Muammar Gaddafi. The vault is supposed to have gold and silver coins estimated at $184 million. Libya is desperate to access this cache that the central bank hired professional safecrackers to open the vault.

We can learn a lesson from this story. Aside from being someone that others want to terminate with extreme prejudice, what will happen with your collection and other protected collectibles should something happen to you?

Do you have a safe deposit box or a safe in your house where you keep your collection? What is your plan should something happen? You don’t have to be of the Baby Boomer generation to worry about what would happen. Even before I was eligible to be a member of AARP, I would ask what their contingency was if I was hit by the proverbial cross-town bus?

Even though the response was a nervous laugh and an exclamation that a lot of institutional knowledge would be lost if I was hit by a bus, the fact remains that even though I am healthy I cannot predict what could happen.

What would happen at home if something would happen to me? When considering both my electronic life and my collection, I had to think about how to tell my survivors what to do with everything. Electronically, I have a contingency plan that would allow my survivors to access files, websites, and other assets. For my collection, I have it documented and instructions as to what to do.

Although you would like to live on or help your survivors, the fact remains that not only do they not have your interests but will not know what to do with that album of Morgan dollars you spent years collecting.

There are so many consideration that you may want to consult one of the books on the market about selling a coin collection. While the books were written to guide those who inherit coin collections, it will give those planning for their estate what your heirs will have to deal with when the time times.

The two books you should read are:

Failure to plan is a plan to fail. Give your heirs a break and come up with a plan that they can follow to take care of your collection when you cannot.


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Time for Virtual Coin Shows

2016 ANA World's Fair of MoneyI received a note in my email from the American Numismatic Association asking for members to propose a Money Talks session at the World’s Fair of Money in August. Although I have several ideas for a Money Talks session, I will not propose a talk because I may not be able to attend the show.

Later in the list of incoming email was a note telling me that I can register online for Summer Seminar. I have wanted to attend the classes in Summer Seminar for some time. In this case, the problem is timing since it always is held at the end of June or the beginning of July, the change of a fiscal quarter.

I know that the ANA has to create a schedule that suits the greater organization and includes the availability of facilities for these events but there are some of us who will be left out because of scheduling conflicts.

There are also the travel issues. Aside the expense of travelling to Anaheim or Colorado Springs, there are people who cannot travel because of time, economics, or physical limitations.

Now is the time for the ANA and any other organizations that provides educational sessions to consider adding online access to their shows.

Anyone who has visited the new money.org has seen that the ANA has revamped the site and the services to be modern, flexible, and has new resources that were not available years ago. It supports a vibrant community and provides new resources.

webinarNow it is time to take the next step: Live coverage of shows, the broadcast of courses and lectures, and virtualize the conventions.

There are technologies that can help support the bringing the lectures, courses, and other activities to an online community. There are a number of web-based conferencing system that requires a minimal amount of technology to broadcast these activities to collectors everywhere.

This can also be employed for other shows. Convention centers, hotel conference rooms, and other venues are almost all connected.

I recognize that there are some courses that cannot be taught in this manner. Classes that require physical access to materials, such as coin grading, will have a difficult time in this environment. However, a grading “light” class using high quality images to show the differences on the screen can be taught.

In other words, instructors would have to rethink their approach to some of these classes.

Virtual shows cannot replace the advantages of being there. I like the ability to see and talk with the people and dealers; looking through some of the more esoteric numismatic items like medals and tokens; or just walking by a table to find something interesting and unexpected you would not find online.

Virtual shows can be recorded, stored, and enjoyed for some time to come. Classes and talks becomes long term references for the community and can be used to help promote future shows.

Although the ANA does have some recording of the Money Talks lectures its available after the fact at the will of the commercial organization that is providing the recording services. Not only should these videos be made available to members but should be broadcast live. If they are broadcast using web-based conferencing software, the online audience can participate.

Numismatics has the problem of being too young to have influence or too old to adapt to the new ways of the world. Moving more to online access will help bring in the that Lost Generation between those being a Young Numismatist and us older collectors

Looking at the demographics of the hobby’s future the first wave of the GenXers are now becoming AARP eligible with their children, the Millennials, 20 years away from being regular participants. Why not meet them where they hangout: online! Not only will virtual shows help those of us with travel and time restrictions but will attract new members.

Growing the hobby is like growing a business; you have to look at what your target market’s demographics are and figure out how to reach them. For hobbies like numismatics, the new target is online where the current generation is moving and where the next few generations will be. Not adapting to those new markets will hurt the numismatic market in a way that it may not recover.

Panorama of the 2013 National Money Show bourse floor at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans

Panorama of the 2013 National Money Show bourse floor at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans

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Eliminating the 500 euro banknote

Euro 7+3 Series €500 Banknote

Euro 7+3 Series €500 Banknote

A week ago, the European Central Bank announced will stop printing the €500 banknote by the end of 2018 “when the €100 and €200 banknotes of the Europa series are planned to be introduced.”

The Europa series is the second designed series of banknotes that will include updated security features and updated designs. ECB has been working on a phase in of the Europa series since 2013 beginning with an education program followed by the issuance of the €5.00 in 2014, €10.00 in 2015, and €20.00 this year.

Although not mentioned in the press release issued by the ECB, it is likely the result of an article by former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers who quoted an academic research paper noting how the United States $100 Federal Reserve Note and the €500 banknote have become favorites of criminal enterprises in order to carry out cash-based transaction. In fact, the report noted that criminals have nicknamed the €500 banknote the “Bin Laden.”

Experts interviewed by The Wall Street Journal expressed their doubt that this will do anything to stop crime. While the experts think it is unlikely, there is
an aspect of the analysis that the academics are not thinking about. These academics appear to be also in favor of eliminating physical currency which does
not consider the nature of a legitimate cash economy.

The ECB will not demonetize their first series of banknotes that will allow the current supply of 500e notes to continue to freely circulate.

New Europa Series Banknotes

Images courtesy of the European Central Bank.

POLL: Should we bring back the Buffalo nickel?

1913 Buffalo Nickel Type 2 RevAfter reporting about the petition to return the Buffalo nickel to circulation, I thought I would ask my readers. Since I have not updated the polls for a while, I thought this was a good topic to begin this week.

While I love the design by James Earle Fraser and have starting hoarding Buffalo nickels during my estate finds, I am not sure that this is a design that would work on today’s nickel. Collectors of Buffalo nickels can tell you that while a great design the elements do not wear well especially on critical high points, such as the buffalo’s horn.

Possibly a better idea is to bring back the design of the 2005 Westward Journey American Bison nickel. Aside from having a better portrait of President Thomas Jefferson than the one currently in use, the bison on the reverse appears to work better on modern coins. Maybe the bison can be given a new look, but it would be a better version for today’s market.

What do you think?

Should we bring back the Buffalo nickel?




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Westward Journey nickel imaged courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

Sacagawea on the new $20 designs

Obverse of the 2009-present Native American Dollar

Obverse of the 2009-present Native American Dollar featuring the portrait of Sacagawea

Last month, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced a series of design changes that will occur on United States currency. These changes will be phased in over 10 years to coincide with the production schedules in place currency redesign.

I will go into the more details of the changes at a later date, but during my travels around the interwebs I came across a television news report from KIFI, the ABC affiliate in Fort Hall, Idaho. Although it is like every other news story it has one feature that no other news outlet was able to add to their story: an interview with Randy’L Teton.

Randy’L Teton is a member of the Shoshone-Cree tribe who was the model for Glenna Goodacre’s design for the Sacagawea dollar coin. Teton was a student at the University of New Mexico majoring in art history and was working for the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe when Goodacre visited looking for Shoshone woman to be her model since no images of Sacagawea exist. Teton was chosen for as the model.

For anyone who has not seen or heard Ms. Teton, here is the video of KIFI’s report:

Current Poll

Should we bring back the Buffalo nickel?




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