Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for July 15, 2018

Image of some of the casts donated to the ANA Money Museum by Genna Goodacre
(Image courtesy of the Colorado Springs Independent)

With a lot of the international news focused on the finding of ancient coins buried in old ruins, the story that caught my eye came out of Colorado Springs.

Glenna Goodacre, the designer of the Sacagawea Dollar and a graduate of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, donated several items relating to the design of the dollar coin to the American Numismatic Association Money Museum.

Donations include several plaster and bronze casts of the coin that were used to test the design and show the relief of the coin. There is also a plaster cast with an alternate version without her baby, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, on her back.

News of the donation was published on Friday, July 13, 2018. According to the article, ANA communications coordinator Amanda Miller said that there were no immediate plans to display these items.

Following a significant donation, the ANA will issue a press release. When they do, it would be nice to read that some of these items would be on display at the World’s Fair of Money next month in Philadelphia.

And now the news…

 July 9, 2018

An uninhabited island off the coast of Arnhem Land may be the discovery place of a medieval African coin, which, if confirmed, would be among the oldest foreign artefacts ever found in Australia. → Read more at abc.net.au


 July 12, 2018

The Money Museum, the local, official museum of the American Numismatic Association, recently announced an exciting new donation to its collection. Sculptor and Colorado College graduate Glenna Goodacre has given the museum a selection of items related to the Sacagawea dollar, for which she designed the obverse (the face side). → Read more at csindy.com


 July 13, 2018

The tenacity of amateur archaeologists and historians searching on a remote island off the coast of the Northern Territories in Australia seems to have finally paid off. The team has found a small coin that apparently comes from a medieval African city. → Read more at ancient-origins.net


 July 13, 2018

The banknotes highlight Nelson Mandela’s historical journey, from the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape to the Union Buildings. More than 400 million banknotes and coins bearing the face of South Africa’s first president in the era of democracy, the late Nelson Mandela, are being released to commemorate his centenary. → Read more at citizen.co.za


 July 15, 2018

A Virginia Beach coin dealer recently spent $2.64 million on a rare coin from 1834. He and his business partner are collecting coins from 1792 to present day. → Read more at pilotonline.com


 July 15, 2018

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has named GraceKennedy Payment Services Ltd (GKPS) as an official coin collection agent in the national coin redemption drive.According to the BOJ, following efforts to identify agents to widen its coin redemption drive, it… → Read more at jamaica-gleaner.com

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A LOOK BACK: Evolution of the $20 Bill

Summertime is a busy season for everyone. There is a lot going on. For me, I just opened my new business and have been busy trying to make sure it begins smoothly. So that I have more time to work on the business, once per week I will be looking back at articles I wrote in the past that are still relevant today. I will edit the article but point to the original.

Our first look back returns to April 2006 where I was able to examine the design changes of the $20 Federal Reserve Note following a visit to the ATM.

Money has always been a fascination because the design can reveal something about history. It interesting to look at a series of the same denomination and see the evolution as the times change. I had the chance see the evolution first hand when my bank’s ATM gave me three generations of $20 Federal Reserve Notes (FRN). Although I am not a banknote collector, I find their images and devices interesting.

First, I found is the Series 1990 note with the signature of Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady and Catalina Vasquez Villalpando, the Treasurer of the United States. Both Brady and Villalpando were appointed by President George H. W. Bush and served until the end of his term. Brady also served for six months under President Ronald W. Reagan.

The second is a Series 2001 note with the signatures of Treasury Secretary Paul M. O’Neill and Treasurer Rosario Marin. They were appointed by President George W. Bush during his first term. The third note is from Series 2004 with Marin’s signature along with Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, who succeeded O’Neill.

The $20 FRN was first designed for the Series 1929 small notes as an evolution of earlier designs for large currency. There is a lot of ornate and fine engraving with a green hue. The fine engraving has been a staple of bank notes since their inception as a means to prevent counterfeiting. The “greenback” was used to prevent copying using new photographic technologies which had a difficult time reproducing the green color. Although modern technology does not have the same reproduction issues, the green color remains out of tradition.

The newer notes do not feature a lot of fine engraving. The portrait of President Andrew Jackson appears on all of the notes but was enlarged on the newer notes with the border around the portrait removed on the Series 2004 notes. Another difference is the addition of color with a darker green hue and peach on the front.

The reverse on all of the notes features the White House. The Series 1990 note uses an image taken from the south lawn near the ellipse while the newer notes use an image from the north lawn that could be seen from Pennsylvania Avenue. The engraving of the White House is smaller on the new notes and the borders removed to allow the watermark and security thread to be easily seen.

I like the front of the latest note, but I don’t like the color. I also miss the indication of the Federal Reserve Bank for which the notes were printed. Although the designation of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank is not relevant anymore, it adds to the collecting pursuit for some people.

I like the south lawn portrait better than the one from the north lawn. I am disappointed with the starkness of the reverse. I am not sure that BEP can change this given the nature of the security features.

Finally, the attempt to colorize the notes is not working. It looks cheesy. If BEP colorizes the note, it should be more than just a gradient on the background. Many countries use color in their banknotes as part of the devices, not just to splash some color around to say “look at the color.” I think BEP can do better.

The original article can be read at https://wp.me/p754fH-I

Weekly World Numismatic News for July 8, 2018

2017 Philippines 1-Piso ASEAN Commemorative Coin.
(Image courtesy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)

This past week the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP; the Philippines Central Bank) announced that commemorative coins are legal tender and can be used to purchase good or services.

The problem began as people were using coins that were meant as a commemorative and collectible issue for commerce. Since they were minted with permission of BSP and have a denomination, they are recognized as legal tender coins.

Sometime in the future, BSP will demonetize the coins as they have done with all past issues.

Unlike the United States, not every coin or currency note produced by the world mints and central banks are legal tender. However, it is a story that keeps occurring as the world mints use commemorative and bullion coins to boost sales.

Recently, there was an issue in Canada with the Royal Canadian Mint’s $20 for $20 program. Beginning in 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint began to sell silver coins with the face value of $20 for $20 tax-free. When the price of silver dropped not only did Canadians return the coins but they tried to spend them.

Aside from the falling revenues caused by the return of the coins, Canada does not require merchants to accept all legal tender coins. When some Canadians tried to spend the $20 coins, the Bank of Canada had to issue a statement to stop the practice and threaten to demonetize the coin. Demonetization would have hurt the secondary market on top of the falling price of silver.

Nearly every country in the world, except the United States, demonetizes previous issues of coins and currency. A recent example was this past year when the Bank of England demonetized the old “round pound” when the Royal Mint issued the new 12-sided pound coin.

The only United States coin to ever have its legal tender status revoked was the Trade Dollar. The Trade Dollar was minted to compete with other silver coins for trade with East Asia beginning in 1873. Although not intended for the United States trade market, it began to find use, especially in the west. To control its use, the Trade Dollar was demonetized in 1876. The coin regained its legal tender status as part of the Coinage Act of 1965, the law that introduced clad coinage and ushered in the “modern era” of United States coins.

Every coin produced by the U.S. Mint can be used as legal tender at their face value, although it would be foolish to spend an American Gold Eagle one-ounce coin for its $50 face value since its gold content would be worth more!

And now the news…

 July 3, 2018

Calling all coin collectors — you could have a coin in your stash right now worth thousands of dollars and not even know it. Don't miss out on possible cash. There are three things to look for in your half dollars, quarters, and dimes. → Read more at abc13.com


 July 3, 2018

(ANSAmed) – ROME, JULY 3 – An exceptional discovery was made at the Vulci archaeological site, where a treasure of coins from the 3rd century B.C. was found intact, according to a statement from the site's scientific department. → Read more at ansa.it


 July 4, 2018

Commemorative coins issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) can be used purchase goods or services as these are deemed legal tender, the central bank said on Wednesday. “Together with BSP-issued banknotes and coins, commemorative coins … may be used … unless these coins have been demoneti → Read more at manilatimes.net


 July 7, 2018

Iranian state TV says police have arrested a man who was hoarding two tonnes of gold coins in order to mani… → Read more at finance.nine.com.au


 July 7, 2018

The new series of banknotes and R5 coin designed to celebrate milestones of former president Nelson Mandela’s life will go into circulation next week Friday. → Read more at timeslive.co.za


 July 7, 2018

Police believe a rare 470-year-old coin may prove the key to the Sutton Coldfield murder → Read more at birminghammail.co.uk


 July 8, 2018

Ancient remnants including stamps and currency offer a trip down history lane → Read more at thehindu.com

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HELP NEEDED: Looking for Messages on Coins and Currency

Have you ever received coins or currency in your change with a message?

If you have, please drop me a note because I am interested in these items.

Sometimes, someone will write or stamp a message about something on currency. Messages can range from someone calculating their tip to political messages.

Messages on coins are different because they are smaller. We do not see too many messages on modern coins but I have seen a few coins with stickers and counterstamps. I am interested in those, too.

One of the most common messages on currency is “Where’s George?” Where’s George is an online database that contains the tracking information for over 280 million unique notes. It is one of those sites created for fun that is also educational. You can watch where the dollars you spend are circulated.

But other than Where’s George what other graffiti have you seen on United States currency?

Please tell me what you found. I am interested in obtaining a high-resolution scan or purchasing the item.

Just to keep my sanity, here are some simple rules:

  1. It has to be something found in current circulation and not a collectible from the past. Please do not write a message on your currency and claim you found it.
  2. Stamped messages on currency are preferable but if you find a series of notes with the same message and handwriting, please let me know.
  3. There are no restrictions on the message. It does not matter whether either of us is for or against the message, I am interested in whatever you find.
  4. As with any rule, there are exceptions: I do not want currency stamped for Where’s George and short snorters.
  5. If there is an offer to purchase, it will be for face value plus postage.
  6. If you do not want to sell the item but willing to provide a high-resolution scan (minimum 300 dpi in PNG or JPG format) I will ask you to sign a release so that I can publish the image.

The items I buy or request scans is solely at my discretion.

Using the items in my project is also solely at my discretion.

Credit will be given to all who help whether or not I use the item.

Although the vast majority of my audience is in the United States, I may consider messages on currency from other countries. If you find something, let me know.

“U.K. Average Income,” Occupy Liz, by Ivan Cash and Andy Dao, 2014. (Image courtesy of Slate)

Let’s see what we can find!

Missing an opportunity with changing coin design programs

Since the introduction of the 50 State Quarters Program, there have been several changing design series on circulating coinage. All of the programs have been created to honor and celebrate the nation’s history in some way. It started in 1999 with the issuance of the quarter honoring Delaware, the first state to ratify the Constitution granting it the designation of being the first state to enter the Union.

Since 1999, there has been the following coin series issued by the U.S. Mint:

  • 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program
  • Westward Journey Nickel Series™
  • 50 State Quarters Program
  • 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program
  • America the Beautiful Quarters® Program
  • Native American $1 Coin
  • Presidential $1 Coins

Although none of these series produced rare coins with the exception of errors and varieties, such as the 2004 Wisconsin extra leaf quarter and the 2005 Minnesota quarter with an extra tree, the only excitement was the novelty generated in 1999 with the new series.

Soon, the American Innovation $1 Coin will join this list. When the American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 770) finishes its procedural trek through Congress, it will be sent to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue for the President’s signature. There is no indication that the President will veto this bill.

The 14-year program will honor “American innovation and significant innovation and pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories.” Four one-dollar coins will be issued each year and issued alongside the Native American Dollar.

Although there is a bias in the numismatic industry against modern coinage, there is a fun aspect of the changing coin designs. Aside from breaking up the monotony, there is an educational aspect that people should take advantage of, even if you have college degrees.

2015-W Native American Dollar Enhanced Uncirculated Reverse celebrating the Mohawk Iron Workers

For example, why did the 2015 Native American $1 Coin feature the Mohawk Ironworkers? In short, the Mohawks were literally the backbones for which heavy ironwork relied upon in both Canada and the United States. Amongst their accomplishments are some of the famous landmarks of New York City including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and work above the 80th floor on the World Trade Center twin towers.

Mohawk ironworkers were there following the attacks of September 11, 2001, to help clean up and rebuild the World Trade Center site. This is something I would not have known had they not appeared on the coin and asking why.

Regardless of the historical significance of these coins and the underappreciated beauty of the designs, the numismatic industry has not taken the opportunity to promote coin collecting using these changing programs. There is only one reason for the lack of interest from the community: ECONOMICS!

The American Numismatic Association is largely run by dealers who make their living by buying and selling rare coins and bullion. The trade in modern coinage, many items that anyone could find in pocket change, does not have a high rate of return. Therefore, most dealers are not interested.

Although dealers do have the right to earn a living the way they see fit, as part of the overall hobby, they tend to steer away from the modern coins and even downplay their significance to the hobby. This tends to perpetuate a myth that you cannot be a legitimate collector if you collect modern coins.

This attitude is a wasted opportunity for the industry. Aside from being an opportunity to promote the hobby but give people an outlet to learn something more than what they see on the cable news channels.

One of the problems with this program can also make it a positive is what will each of the states choose to represent innovation in their state or territory? Promoting numismatics as “history in your hand” can also be a lesson in history to help each state decide what to chose to best represent them on a coin. This is the best opportunity to use numismatics to promote the hobby and history by providing a conduit for discussion in each state.

What would constitute a state’s great innovation or innovator? Will New Jersey choose Thomas Edison? Will Alexander Graham Bell be Massachusetts’ choice? And what about Pennsylvania? There could be an interesting discussion about honoring Benjamin Franklin, George Westinghouse, or even Andrew Carnegie especially since neither of these men were born in the United States.

There will be a lot of innovation to chose from because there has been a lot of innovation during the country’s 242 years of existence. If you missed the announcement by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), they issued the 10 millionth patent on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. And that does not count the patents issued before 1836 when the numbering system was reset by the Patent Act of 1836.

However, the most significant problem with the Innovation $1 Coin is that it is a one-dollar coin. As long as Congress continues to not listen to reason and stops issuing the paper dollar, it does not matter what they do with the coin, it is not going to generate enough interest because the coin will not circulate.

Regardless of how many Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports are issued (GAO-13-164T) or the number of experts that endorse the elimination of the paper dollar for the coin, Congress refuses to address the issue. They point to surveys that show that most of the people older than 50 are against removing the paper dollar. Since this population constitutes the majority of the voters and, more significantly, campaign donors, the politicians are not about to make those people upset.

In many cases, the Innovation $1 Coin will be a repeat of history. Its potential popularity will fail as Congress hopes to socially engineer excitement in the way they tried to do for the Presidential dollar coins. That was deemed a failure that forced then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to order the U.S. Mint to reduce the production of these coins. This was after certain members of Congress showed its collective stupidy by introducing a bill to prematurely end the program.

There is so much potential for the Innovation $1 Coin to be a great program and to generate publicity for the hobby. But as long as the coin does not circulate and Congress refuses to deal with the situation appropriately, it will be a coin that only existing collectors will take interest in and become a lost opportunity for everyone.

A LOOK BACK: Evolution of the $20 Bill

Summertime is a busy season for everyone. There is a lot going on. For me, I just opened my new business and have been busy trying to make sure it begins smoothly. So that I have more time to work on the business, once per week I will be looking back at articles I...

read more

Weekly World Numismatic News for July 8, 2018

This past week the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP; the Philippines Central Bank) announced that commemorative coins are legal tender and can be used to purchase good or services. The problem began as people were using coins that were meant as a commemorative and...

read more
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