Weekly World Numismatic News for October 13, 2019

Australian $1 X Coin

X is for Xantippe
(Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint)

George Santayana was a Spanish-American philosopher, writer, and poet who influenced many of the decision-makers in the early 20th Century. In 1905, Santayana wrote The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, where he wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In the chapter, Santayana was emphasizing the need to use every experience as a lesson to improve the future. The rest of the chapter discussed how to apply lessons from things that went well.

What does George Santayana have to do with numismatics? Numismaitcs has not learned from the past and making the same mistakes expecting a better outcome. In other words, the numismatic industry is fulfilling the axiom credited to Albert Einstien: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

What are we doing wrong? Let’s look at it in the context of this week’s news. Following the lead of the Royal Mint, the Royal Australian Mint is producing 26 limited-edition circulating one-dollar coins with the letters A to Z along with a depiction of something Australian that represents that letter. They call it the Great Aussie Coin Hunt.

Some letters are easy, like G for G’Day or V for Vegemite. Others do not have obvious names. When it came to X, the Royal Australian Mint picked Xantippe.

What is Xantippe?

Aussies were perplexed when trying to figure out who, what, or where Xantippe could be. That is when the Royal Australian Mint revealed that Xantippe is a small farming town in Western Australia.

For the Royal Australian Mint, it was the perfect way to get the message out about the new dollar coins. It caused a minor yet fun controversy that had the county talking about the series creating excitement about finding the coins.

In the UK, the Royal Mint had a similar program called The Great British Coin Hunt. In 2018, the Royal Mint issued 10 pence coins struck with British themes. Along with the other limited edition 50 pence themed coins, the Royal Mint keeps Brittons interested in coins by generating excitement about each release.

In the United States, we also saw excitement about looking for coins. We saw an increased awareness of coin collecting during the 50 States Quarters Program. Earlier this year, there was some interest shown over the release of the W mint quarters. The interest was not as strong as the 50 State Quarters, but people heard about the coin.

But that was for National Coin Week. What has happened since then?

Learn from the positive: by advertising, getting the word out, and promoting the coins, the US Mint is capable of getting people interested. By having the numismatic industry join them, people were paying attention.

Since the end of Nation Coin Week, the numismatic industry has been silent to those outside of the hobby. Most of the promotion has been like preaching to the choir. We get it. We got it. But you cannot keep an industry going that outsiders are claiming is dying.

Numismatics is not dying or near death. Like every hobby, it has problems to overcome. The first step to better health is to expand the base. The only way that could happen is if the numismatic industry does something radical: reach out consistently to everyone.

It is time to learn what worked in the past and stop doing the same things over again.

We can learn lessons from other industries. What about the collector car industry? Nearly 20 years ago, the collector car industry existed but was not that strong. The thought was that getting into cars was expensive, time-consuming, and confusing. Then Discovery Networks fell over the answer.

For Discovery, it started as HDNet, a television channel where they experimented with high definition content. They would create something in high definition and air it on HDNet to test the public’s reaction. Interestingly, the shows about cars were their most highly rated content. Then they contracted with Mecum Auctions to broadcast their events, and the ratings for a niche cable channel were higher than expected.

HDNet was renamed to Velocity. Now it is owned by Motor Trend, who rebranded the channel in its name.

Although the car hobby business was doing well, the trade publications point to the rise of HDNet and Velocity as a reason that the hobby is doing better than ever.

What can we learn from putting cars on television? First, there is an interested market out there that may not know where to turn for information. The shows provide both knowledge and entertainment. While there are shows that have a doctrine-like attitude, most are inclusive of all styles and interests.

Just like in numismatics, there is no single way to collect and enjoy cars. And like cars, there is a lot that can be used to teach everyone about history.

There was a multi-part series about the growth of the auto industry that followed many of the early titans, including Henry Ford, William Durant, and Walter Chrysler. One of the segments was their reactions to World War II, while the story was about how the automotive industry also showed how the country participated in the war effort.

What stories can be told about the 1943 steel cent? What about the “Shotgun Shell” cents struck in 1944 by recycling spent shells picked up from the training field?

How about some fun shows? Numismatic Jeopardy, where the questions are based on answers derived from something numismatic-related. For example, “It’s called the Old Line State.” The answer is on the reverse of the 2000 Maryland State Quarter!

Revive the old PBS show History Detectives and do it with numismatics. After all, they did investigate a coin said to be associated with Annie Oakley and a $6 Continental Currency note found in Omaha.

These are a few ideas. I am sure that others can come up with better ones.

Then again, that may mean that the industry will have to break out of its niche comfort zone and embrace something different.

And now the news…

 October 4, 2019

Metal detectorists have made many amazing discoveries down the years in Britain, with a great hoard of 2,600 coins just revealed last month. But there are strict rules regarding archaeological finds made by detectorists.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net


 October 6, 2019

The Royal Australian Mint is producing 26 limited-edition legal tender coins that will be given out as change at post offices over the coming weeks. The A to Z of Australiana could see you pocketing a Neighbours , Weet-Bix or didgeridoo $1 coin in your small change.  → Read more at news.com.au


 October 8, 2019

The UK’s Treasury plans to commemorate Brexit by minting millions of 50 pence ($0.61) coins. But like many of the Conservative government’s recent moves, there is a major flaw: the imprint date will be the Oct.  → Read more at qz.com

Coin Collectors News
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WWWWoW!

I finally did it!

My long nightmare is over!

I now have a “W” mintmark quarter!

And I acquired it the old fashioned way: I bought it!

Since the days that the Federal Reserve started to ship the quarters from the cash rooms, I have been looking for these elusive quarters. Every time I spend cash, I will examine every quarter returned in change. Every time I open a roll in my shop’s cash register, I avoid giving away any coin that looks shiny so that I can check the mintmark later.

I convinced my wife to save the change. She is also looking for W mintmark quarters.

But I could not help myself when I found that a club member added one to our monthly auction. From the opening bid until I won the coin, my hand stayed in the air. I was going to get that coin regardless of what it cost.

Ok, I had a limit to what I would spend, and it was $1 more than my final bid. But the competition stopped bidding, and the coin is now mine!

Just because I purchased a Lowell National Historic Park W mintmark coin does not mean I am stopping. There are four other coins issued in 2019 with W mintmarks.

The hunt continues!

Weekly World Numismatic News for October 6, 2019

The Coin Broker

Rebecca Clay Pippin’s husband Jason Pippin hangs the Coin Broker’s sign on their new storefront at 1604 Laurel St. in San Carlos. (Image courtesy of the San Mateo Daily Journal)

Two stories this week say different things on the state of the hobby. On Wednesday, a report that said The Coin Broker moved from their former Palo Alto home of 40 years to a new location in San Carlos. Rebecca Clay Pippin will now run the shop founded by her father, Jim Beer.

Meanwhile, in Worcester, Massachusetts, the owner of Lincoln Stamp and Coin Company announce the shop will be closing at the end of October. Owner David J. Ephraim cited that he could not continue to pay rent in Worcester, “operating on a slim profit margin, and collectors are an aging group, with few younger customers walking through the door.”

Both situations demonstrate the same problems with different solutions. Commercial rents are too high. Commercial insurance is too high. Security costs are too high. And many of these businesses are trying to survive on thin margins.

The Coin Broker solved its problem by moving to a new location. Although moving is time consuming, costly, and filled with emotion, the story makes it seem like they are ready to turn the page and continue.

For Lincoln Stamp and Coin, Ephriam is not as bullish on the market. His business does not see enough younger collectors, his regulars are either retired or dying, and those collecting are buying on the Internet.

Two stories with the same underlying problems. Two different solutions. But the hobby continues with one less place that collectors can go to buy coins.

And now the news…

 September 28, 2019

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) estimates that at least J$100 million in one- 10- and 25-cent coins, the ‘red’ money, is ‘lost in circulation’ in the Jamaican economy, and has partnered with GraceKennedy (GK) Money Service in a recovery drive.  → Read more at jamaica-gleaner.com


 September 30, 2019

A national treasure hunt has been launched, and Australia is very much at the centre. The coins are marked to celebrate all things iconic to Australia: the meat pie, a boomerang, Vegemite, and a Hills Hoist, just to name a few.  → Read more at katherinetimes.com.au


 October 2, 2019

Most people use banks as a place to either borrow money or store it. But some lucky coin enthusiasts have found a unique way to get money out of the bank: bringing home rolls of coins and searching through them for ones worth more than their face value.  → Read more at cnbc.com


 October 2, 2019

When Jim Beer opened the Coin Broker in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village shopping center some 40 years ago, he was retiring as a civil engineer and looking to  → Read more at smdailyjournal.com


 October 3, 2019

PM Narendra Modi released the commemorative coins of Rs 150 denomination to celebrate Mahatma Gandhiji’s 150 th birthday. The event took place in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on October 2, 2019 when the Prime Minister reached the Sabarmati Riverfront to participate in the proceedings of the Swacch Bharat Divas program.  → Read more at businessinsider.in


 October 4, 2019

A steamship that sank in 1840 after colliding with another ship off the coast of South Carolina contains a trove of rare gold coins, according to the dive team salvaging the wreck.  → Read more at foxnews.com


 October 5, 2019

WORCESTER — The bidding board is still covered with coins and envelopes are full of stamps, but the buzz is gone from Lincoln Stamp and Coin Co. The venerable business that was once the place to go for people looking for a special stamp or unique coin, is selling off its inventory and closing its doors, probably for good.  → Read more at telegram.com


 October 6, 2019

Metal detectorists have made many amazing discoveries down the years in Britain, with a great hoard of 2,600 coins just revealed last month. But there are strict rules regarding archaeological finds made by detectorists.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

Coin Collectors News
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September 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressThe numismatic industry is all a buzz about a pending new commemorative coin. When signed by the president, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act (S. 239) will create the first commemorative coin for 2021.

The bill calls for a maximum of 350,000 silver dollar commemorative coins in memory of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher killed as part of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Congress sent the bill to the White House on September 27, 2019. It is waiting for a signature which should happen soon.

S. 239: Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Introduced: January 28, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue not more than 350,000 $1 silver coins in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher tragically killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.(Sec. 4) The design of the coins shall bear an image and the name of Christa McAuliffe on the obverse side and a design on the reverse side that depicts the legacy of McAuliffe as a teacher.(Sec. 5) Treasury may issue the coins from January 1-December 31, 2021.(Sec. 7) All surcharges received by Treasury from the sale of the coins shall be paid to the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 28, 2019
Passed Senate with amendments by Voice Vote. — Jul 9, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Received in the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Held at the desk. — Jul 10, 2019
Ms. Waters moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Sep 19, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 19, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on S. 239. — Sep 19, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 19, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 19, 2019
Presented to President. — Sep 27, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S239.

This bill and the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S.1235) were being held at the desk in the House because of an objection made by a freshman member. The member was convinced to let the bills pass and to use other bills to make the point.

Just a typical day on Capitol Hill.

H.R. 1830: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Sean P. Maloney (D-NY)
Introduced: March 18, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins, and half-dollar clad coins emblematic of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.The bill limits the issuance of such coins to the one-year period beginning on January 1, 2021.The bill prescribes surcharges for coin sales, which shall be paid to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., to support the mission of such organization, including capital improvements to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor facilities.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 18, 2019
Mr. San Nicolas moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Sep 19, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 19, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1830. — Sep 19, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 19, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 19, 2019
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Sep 23, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1830.

H.R. 4332: Paul Laurence Dunbar Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Eleanor H. Norton (D-DC)
Introduced: September 13, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Sep 13, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4332.

Weekly World Numismatic News for September 29, 2019

While reading the news from around the world, it is easy to understand why numismatics is not well received in the United States. Compared to numismatic-related articles from countries like the United Kingdom, France, and India, U.S. reporting lives down to the reputation that politicians claim.

For example, in The Trentonian, the newspaper of record for Trenton, New Jersey, columnist L.A. Parker wrote an opinion piece that calls for the elimination of the “penny.” Although the article reads like Parker was trying to add a little snarkiness, his premise lies flatter than a coin.

If Parker were a proper journalist, he would recognize that the article contains one significant mistake that ranks high on my pet peeve list. The lowest denomination coin produced by the U.S. Mint is the CENT. While it is colloquially called a “penny,” the penny as the lowest denomination of the British coin system.

The difference is clear. If one looks at the reverse of the two coins, each has their denominations spelled out.

Lately, the U.S. Mint has been adding to the confusion by using the word “penny” instead of “cent.” The significant abuser appears to be U.S. Mint Director David Ryder. While previous directors and acting directors have been careful with the name, it seems to have loosened its language since the appointment of Ryder. Ryder should know better since this is not his first appointment to the U.S. Mint.

Adding to the confusion in Parker’s article, he cites statistics in favor of the cent that was compiled by Americans for Common Cents. Americans for Common Cents is a lobbying organization dedicated to preserving the United States’ lowest denomination coin.

According to Parker, “Pennies no longer matter.” If the one-cent coin no longer matters, then why does the U.S. Mint produce over 13 billion of them each year?

The primary client of the U.S. Mint is the Federal Reserve. Every year, the Federal Reserve places an order for the U.S. Mint to produce coins for circulation. Although the order can be updated during the year, the Federal Reserve rarely requests few coins. It means that the U.S. Mint manufactures coin the Federal Reserve will buy.

The U.S. Mint does produce coins for the collector market. But in comparison to their circulating coin production, the numismatic market is tiny.

Naturally, this leads to wondering if the coins no longer matter, then why is the Federal Reserve asking the U.S. Mint to manufacture and deliver over 13 billion coins?

And now the news…

 September 22, 2019

Two women have designed a commemorative coin to recognize 100 years since the Boll Weevil monument was erected. Enterprise high school Quarterbacks club secretary Judi Stinnett got the design idea from a coin she received at the Diamond Jubilee over 60 years ago.  → Read more at wtvy.com


 September 22, 2019

The South African Mint Company are doing something a little different to celebrate 25 years of democracy in this country. So what better way to commemorate “power to the people” than by handing them control of what should appear on the new R2 coin?  → Read more at thesouthafrican.com


 September 23, 2019

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a coin dealer from Fort Salonga was arraigned for a $330,000 cross-country coin consignment and sale scheme that targeted coin dealers and private collectors from California, Michigan, Ohio and Long Island.  → Read more at longisland.com


 September 24, 2019

A builder is celebrating after finding a huge haul of 1,000-year-old silver coins worth £50,000 – including one from Lincolnshire which experts have never seen before. Don Crawley, 50, was searching for buried treasure in farmland using his metal detector when he discovered the haul.  → Read more at lincolnshirelive.co.uk


 September 24, 2019

(Image: © FIRST/Jack Kamen/NASA via collectSPACE.com) The United States Mint will memorialize the first teacher who launched toward space with a new coin that will help continue her mission of science and technology education.  → Read more at space.com


 September 25, 2019

Have only seven red cents to my name and soon a self-description will employ penniless as identification. Not ready for the poorhouse though as poor mouth expressions mean only that all pennies have been removed from jars, drawers and a car console.  → Read more at trentonian.com


 September 26, 2019

AN EXTREMELY rare copper coin marking King Edward VIII's short reign has sold for a record price of £133,000. The Edward VIII 1937 Pattern Penny was created as a trial coin by the Royal Mint ahead of his coronation in the same year.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 September 26, 2019

Lori Ann Lewis was doing charity work in downtown Orlando when, by chance, she ran into someone who worked in the gold business. It was in the lobby of the Seacoast Bank skyscraper in 2016, just before the presidential election, when she met Susan Kitzmiller, an employee at U.S.  → Read more at orlandosentinel.com


 September 28, 2019

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) estimates that at least J$100 million in one- 10- and 25-cent coins, the ‘red’ money, is ‘lost in circulation’ in the Jamaican economy, and has partnered with GraceKennedy (GK) Money Service in a recovery drive.  → Read more at jamaica-gleaner.com

Coin Collectors News
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WWWWoW!

I finally did it! My long nightmare is over! I now have a “W” mintmark quarter! And I acquired it the old fashioned way: I bought it! Since the days that the Federal Reserve started to ship the quarters from the cash rooms, I have been looking for these...

read more

Weekly World Numismatic News for October 6, 2019

Two stories this week say different things on the state of the hobby. On Wednesday, a report that said The Coin Broker moved from their former Palo Alto home of 40 years to a new location in San Carlos. Rebecca Clay Pippin will now run the shop founded by her father,...

read more
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