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.
In 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.
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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.
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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.
The 'Brexit' 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people.
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) January 26, 2020
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.
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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.
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…
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.
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