Weekly World Numismatic News for December 8, 2019

After a week of being busier than a one-armed paper hanger, I sat down to write a blog post and found that this was marked as a draft and never published. Sorry for the delay!

2019 Wallace & Gromit 50p Reverse

The Brits love collecting these coins that would be called “gimmicks” in the United States
(Royal Mint image)

A study in the United Kingdom has shown that the Brits are collectors. Whether they collect coins, stamps, memorabilia, refrigerator magnets, and toys, over 80-percent of Brittons claim to have collected something.

The study that was commissioned by the Royal Mint sampled 2,000 adults and showed that more than 50-percent of the respondents collected coins or stamps, the most in the survey.

Although age was a factor in the type and size of the collection, the study showed that themed coins were more popular with younger collectors than the traditional set building.

When it comes to advancement in electronic payments, e-commerce, and similar conveniences, the UK is no different than the United States. One Bank of England study showed that younger adults are adapting to credit cards and electronic payment options more than their parents and grandparents. The difference is that the average value of the transactions is higher.

In addition to the 1-, 2-, 5-, 10-, 20-, and 50-pence coins, the Royal Mint produces £1 and £2 circulating coins. Brittons are used to carrying these coins and using them for low-value transactions. While many stores will accept micro-transactions using credit cards, the cost structures are different that using coins is encouraged.

In the United States, the credit card companies have pushed the use of cards to the point of lowering transaction fees to the merchants to encourage microtransactions. While it is common to see someone in the United States pay for a $2 large soda with a credit card, the studies show that this does not happen as much in the United Kingdom.

Aside from the societal norms that continue to promote coins for commerce, the Royal Mint has done an excellent job promoting coin collecting by producing different designs. They produced 20p and 50p circulating coins that have promoted various aspects of British cultural history. It is common to see weekly stories of a limited edition circulating coins to sell for high values in online auctions.

Not only are these coins accepted by the British numismatic community, but they are also used to promote the hobby more than the sovereigns of the higher-priced collectibles. News reports demonstrate that the British collecting public would instead collect coins about Wallace & Gromit or Paddington Bear than a sovereign.

Rather than embrace change in United States coinage, the numismatic Illuminati would rather bemoan the state of “modern coinage.” They forgot how the 50 States Quarters Program brought back interest in collecting coins. But they were happy when people started showing up at their shops and shows while ignoring the hucksters out there who were selling overpriced packages which has lead to giving the hobby a proverbial black eye.

The situation is understandable. Dealers have to make a living, and it is more profitable to sell Morgan Dollars than it is to sell Presidential Dollars. Unfortunately, the way dealers turn their noses up to the lower-end market is turning away future customers. Collectors have to start somewhere and if it means getting someone interested in collecting National Parks Quarters or encouraging a series of quarters based on cultural icons, then embrace the change. Your future may depend on it!

And now the news…

 December 3, 2019
Half of Brits are proud owners of a collection – including everything from coins and fridge magnets to items from hotels. Stamps, candles and pens also made the list of collectable pieces.  → Read more at mirror.co.uk

 December 3, 2019
ÇANAKKALE-Anadolu Agency Turkish archeologists have unearthed a 1,800-year coin thought to feature Paris, an ancient figure some have blamed for starting the legendary Trojan War. More historically, Paris may have also founded the ancient city of Parion in the coastal Canakkale province, in Turkey's northwest, near the unearthed traces of Troy.  → Read more at hurriyetdailynews.com

 December 3, 2019
A drill site at Ascot Resources’ Premier project. Credit: Ascot Resources  → Read more at mining.com

 December 3, 2019
A hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins discovered in a field by an amateur detectorist has fetched £90,000 at auction – three times its original estimate. The collection, made up of 99 "silver pennies" thought to be 1,000 years old, was found buried on farmland in Suffolk in March 2017.  → Read more at bbc.com

 December 6, 2019
Massachusetts regulators have taken legal action against Metals.com for allegedly convincing seniors to invest millions of dollars of retirement savings into overpriced precious metals. A Quartz investigation linked the company with a web of Facebook ads and websites that specifically target conservative retirees.  → Read more at qz.com

 December 6, 2019
In 2012, the federal government—at the time headed by Stephen Harper—began to devise a strategy to take the penny out of circulation in Canada. One of the reasons behind this rationale was simple: the cost of making a new one-cent coin was estimated at 1.6 cents per coin.  → Read more at princegeorgematters.com
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November 2019 Numismatic Legislation

Seal of the United States CongressRather than celebrate the centennial of Women’s Suffrage on a $20 note, congress passed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2423, Public Law No. 116-71).

In 2020, the U.S. Mint will strike no more than 400,000 silver dollars with a design that is “emblematic of the women who played a vital role in rallying support for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Each coin will include a $10 surcharge that will go to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.

H.R. 2423: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Summary: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act(Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 400,000 $1 silver coins that are emblematic of the women who played a vital role in rallying support for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.(Sec. 5) Such coins may be issued during the period beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.(Sec. 7) All surcharges received from the sales of such coins shall be paid to the American Women’s History Initiative of the Smithsonian Institution.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Apr 30, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 2423. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
Received in the Senate, read twice. — Oct 29, 2019
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Oct 31, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Nov 4, 2019
Pursuant to the provisions of H. Con. Res. 72, enrollment corrections on H.R. 2423 have been made. — Nov 14, 2019
Presented to President. — Nov 18, 2019
Signed by President. — Nov 25, 2019
Became Public Law No: 116-71. — Nov 25, 2019
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/116-HR2423.

Currently sitting in limbo is the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865). After the bill passed the House, it was sent to the Senate who made a technical change. By law, the bill is sent to a conference committee that irons out the differences. Once completed, the bill is sent back to both chambers for an up-or-down vote.

The Senate passed the bill by Unanimous Consent. In the House of Representatives, it was a different matter. The passage of this bill was bundled with other legislation that was rejected by the House, mainly on procedural grounds. Because the resolution to pass the bill failed, it was tabled to be considered again at another time. At that time, the House Rules Committee can unbundle the bills and try again.

Now you know why Otto Von Bismark compared the making of laws to that of sausages!

H.R. 1865: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins that are emblematic of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia and the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers throughout the history of the United States.(Sec. 5) Treasury may issue such coins only during a one-year period beginning on January 1, 2021.(Sec. 7) All sales of such coins shall include specified surcharges, which shall be distributed to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Inc., for educational and outreach programs and exhibits.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 25, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1865. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
Received in the Senate, read twice. — Oct 29, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 12, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Nov 12, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Nov 13, 2019
ORDER OF BUSINESS – Mr. McGovern asked unanimous consent that it be in order at any time to take from the Speaker’s table the bill H.R. 1865, with the Senate amendment thereto, and to consider in the House, without intervention of any point of order, a motion offered by the chair of the Committee on Appropriations or her designee that the House concur in the Senate amendment submitted for printing by Representative Lowey of New York in the portion of the Congressional Record designated for that purpose in clause 8 of rule XVIII; that the Senate amendment and the motion be considered as read; that the motion be debatable for one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Appropriations; that the previous question be considered as ordered on the motion to adoption without intervening motion or demand for division of the question; and that House Resolution 708 be laid on the table. Objection was heard. — Nov 19, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

Finally, there was one bill added to the virtual hopper by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

S. 2815: National Purple Heart Honor Mission Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
Introduced: November 7, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Nov 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S2815.

Weekly World Numismatic News for December 1, 2019 (Day Late)

Sorry for being late. It’s the holiday season and those of us in retail are busy!

‘Tis the season… for scams!

Ericsson DBH 1001

Ericsson DBH 1001 (ca. 1931), the first combined telephone made with a Bakelite housing and handset.

Scams are everywhere with people vulnerable and gullible to believe the voice at the end of the telephone. Although email scams continue, the most successful and cunning are happening over the phone.

According to the AARP Fraud Watch Network, the people perpetrating the scams are skilled in the psychological warfare necessary to get the intended victim to believe them. Most target the elderly because they are the ones with psychological issues that come from aging, such as reduced functionalities, loss of loved ones, and a changing culture that they do not understand.

Although gold and silver scams are not new, scammers are using the confusing language of new laws that allows these criminals to hide behind the mumbo-jumbo of words.

Unfortunately, these slick-talking salespeople are good at what they do. The result is separating their mark from their money, leaving the victim broke.

The best suggestion to deal with this type of fraud is not to buy anything over the telephone from someone you do not know. It does not matter how professional they sound or good they make you feel. These people are not looking out for your best interest.

Also, do not fall for the “we will hold your gold or silver in our vaults and give you a receipt” scam. While there are legitimate companies that will offer this service, for a fee, others are not licensed or insured to keep your assets secure. If you fall for this scam, they will run away with your money while you hold onto a worthless piece of paper.

Unless you initiate the call to a verified telephone number, do not give out any personal information to the person on the other end of the line. Even if the person claims to be from a charity, you will not be able to verify whether their story is true or not. Just hang up and go on with your life. You will be happier that you did!

RECOMMENDATION: If you want to learn more about how scams occur and how to protect yourself and your loved ones from them, you will want to listen to The Perfect Scam, a podcast from AARP. Although I have heard about many of these scams, the podcast puts them into a broader context by discussing how widespread it is. If there is a vulnerable person in your life, you should listen to this podcast to learn about the signals that they may be in trouble from a scammer. You can listen to it on your favorite podcast app or visit the podcast’s homepage.

And now the news…

 November 26, 2019
A chest containing 60 coins believed to have been in circulation in the 19th and 20th centuries was discovered in the basement of a dilapidated building, Russia’s state news agency TASS reports. The find is estimated to be worth up to 1 million rubles, or £2,200.  → Read more at express.co.uk

 November 28, 2019
@pixabay.com A record-breaking coin auction was held recently at the Hotel Metropole in Monaco.  → Read more at hellomonaco.com

 November 28, 2019
The Royal Mint has launched its largest coin ever, a creation that measures 175mm in diameter, weighs 5kg and has a denomination of £5,000. The coin has been created as part of The Royal Mint’s new Great Engravers series, which pays homage to artists who have worked on British coinage.  → Read more at independent.co.uk

 November 28, 2019
Lithuania announced it would celebrate Jewish heritage with a special coin, which some critics charge features a symbol associated with far-right admirers of Holocaust perpetrators. The 10-euro coin celebrates 2020’s labeling in Lithuania as the Year of the Gaon of Vilna and Jewish Heritage” and features a menorah atop a local symbol known as the Columns of Gediminas, commemorating that 13th-century ruler.  → Read more at israelnationalnews.com

 November 28, 2019
Photo: Shutterstock  → Read more at twocents.lifehacker.com
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Would You Encase a Lincoln or an Almond

Two weeks ago, my crew and I emptied a 20×10 storage room. The co-owner was a picker and a dealer who had been buying and selling for many years. I met his former partner at the storage facility with a large rental truck to move everything to my warehouse.

Before leaving the storage facility, boxes filled the entire truck about two-thirds of the way high. It is our largest consignment.

In those boxes are political memorabilia, Star Trek collectibles, collectible plates, antique photos, newspapers, other memorabilia, posters, and so much more. We are creating an inventory so that they can be sold at auction.

Amongst the campaign material for many different candidates, both winners and losers, we found medals and other numismatic-related items associated with candidates.

We found a few inaugural medals, which I expected, but I also found many other numismatic-related items that I want to share.

Lincoln for Congress Encased Cent

The item of today is an encased 1965 Lincoln Cent with a chain through a hole to make it into a key ring. On the obverse of the aluminum ring, it reads, “Lincoln for Congress / He Makes Sense.” On the reverse, the ring says, “Lincoln / The Key To Effective Representation.”

I found hundreds of these coins in plastic bags! All were the same, including the uncirculated 1965 Lincoln Cent.

Who was this person and did he or she win their election?

After searching records from congressional elections from 1966-1976, the only Lincoln that ran for congress is Lincoln Almond. Almond, a Republican from Rhode Island, ran for Rhode Island’s First District seat against the incumbent Fernand St. Germain in 1968. St. Germain won the election with 60.4% of the vote.

Almond later was appointed by Nixon and Ford to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island (1969-78) then again by Reagan and Bush (1981-1993). Almond ran for governor of Rhode Island in 1978 but lost in the primaries. He was more successful when he was elected governor in 1994.

As I type this, I began to think that basing a campaign on his first name was a good idea. Otherwise, that would be nuts! (insert rim-shot here)

An Interesting Pocket Change Find

1971 Mexican Peso Pocket Change FindAfter a busy and short week, I finally had a moment to empty my pockets and examine the week’s change. Even after all of these years, I continue to search through my pocket change to try to find something interesting. These days I most look at the quarters trying to find an elusive W mintmark.

As I looked at the pile, I was drawn to something very different. It was larger than a quarter. When I picked it up, I noticed that it was a 1971 Mexican one peso coin.

Thinking back from when I last emptied my pockets on Saturday to yesterday, I cannot remember when I could have received the coin. At the grocery store, I tend to use the self-service checkout lane, especially at night, when I am too tired to attempt a coherent conversation. Coin-op devices will not accept or dispense foreign coins.

I tried playing MegaMillions and Powerball. Most stores now have automated machines that only accept credit cards and paper money.

During my periodic coffee stops, I use the app to make those purchases with no chance to gather more coins.

If I received the peso instead of a quarter, I lost 20-cents in the transaction. At current market rates, the peso is only worth 5-cents. The coin might have a numismatic value of about 20-40 cents.

Regardless of the net results, it is a fun pocket change find.

Collectors are upset with the Mint but there may be a solution

2019 American Silver Eagle Enhance Revers Proof obverseThe result of the sale of the Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle continues to reverberate through the hobby. Industry reporters continue to hear from collectors that they feel like the U.S. Mint is taking them for granted.

The biggest question is, how did all of these dealers get these coins in inventory? How did others find the stock to flip on sites like eBay?

Dealers and speculators are at it again. It is similar to the chaos they caused for the opening of the 2014 JFK 50th Anniversary Gold Proof Coin. They hired people to shand in line for them who caused a near riot. Now, they have taken these manners to cyberspace.

How can the U.S. Mint fix the issue?

The best answer I have heard came from William T. Gibbs at Coin World, who suggested a dedicated sales window for established customers. Gibbs wrote:

For popular limited edition coins like this one, the Mint should open the sales first to established customers — those individuals who qualify in some definable way as being loyal Mint customers. That could be based on such factors as dollars spent on Mint products over a period of time, or total years that a customer has bought items from the Mint. Open a 24-hour window catering to these customers only and then, if any coins remain, open sales to new customers.

What an excellent idea!

The U.S. Mint can create a “Collector’s Club” where non-commercial customers can earn points. The more points, the closer to the front of the line you get to access limited edition items. They can slowly add perqs for better customers, including levels for reduced and free shipping.

There is no reason to prevent the U.S. Mint from making the Collector’s Club a policy. The only question is whether they have the wherewithal to implement something like this. I do not think they do, but I hope they prove me wrong!

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