The Presidential Dollar program had an interesting history. Passed by congress in December 2005 and later signed by President George W. Bush, the Presidential $1 Coin Act (Pub. L. 108-145) ordered the U.S. Mint to create a $1 coin to commemorate the Nation’s past Presidents and an accompanying $10 gold coin to commemorate the President’s spouse (First Lady). Coins appeared in order that the president served and the president must be deceased for two year prior to the coin’s issue. Since Jimmy Carter is still living, he was bypassed and the last coin was struck in honor of Ronald Reagan.
For the first time in the modern era the date, mintmark, and mottos “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and “IN GOD WE TRUST” struck into (incuse) the edge of the coin. The last time edge lettering was used on circulating U.S. coinage was in the 1830s.
When the Presidential dollar was struck by the U.S. Mint, the coin went through the normal striking process. To add the edge lettering, the coins were sent to a press that would add the edge lettering before sending the coins to be bagged. With the edge lettering being a new process for the U.S. Mint, it was no surprised that coins left the Mint without the mottos stamped in the edge. Dubbed the “godless dollar” the error caused an uproar over some people suggesting that the government was conspiring against religion by leaving the motto off of the coin. This was described as either a willful omission or a way to attack religion. There was no narrative that accepted that the U.S. Mint said this was just a mistake. Reacting to the outrage, congress passed a law to move the motto from the edge to the obverse of the coin. “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” the date and mintmark was left on the edge.
If you are going to buy Presidential dollars with missing edge lettering, it is advisable to buy them encapsulated by a third-party grading service. After the error was discovered, unscrupulous people began to file the edges of the coin in an attempt to fool collectors. The third-party grading services know how distinguish the legitimate error versus the fake.
Dollar Coin Edge Lettering
Other collectible edge errors include the doubling of the lettering. When encapsulated by the grading services, it is called either “DOUBLE EDGE LETTERING” or “OVERLAPPED LETTERING” depending on the service. Doubled lettering is a rarer mistake than missing edge lettering. Similar to the missing edge lettering error, there has been attempts to alter coins to make it look like they have these errors which it is advisable to buy these coins encapsulated by a third-party grading service.
If you are looking for different ways of collecting Presidential Dollars, the U.S. Mint offered First Day Covers for each of the presidents. Each colorful cover includes the stamp of the day postmarked from the capital or city the president was from on the first day that the coins were issued. They also include one uncirculated Presidential dollar struck on the first day of production. These first day covers are the only way to guarantee that you own coins that were struck on the first day of their production. With information about each president, it makes for an attractive set.
2010 Lincoln First Day Cover (before branding)
2011 Andrew Johnson First Day Cover (after branding)
Another option to collecting Presidential Dollars is to collect the coin and medal set. Each specially produced card includes an uncirculated dollar for each president and a 1.5-inch bronze medal of the corresponding first spouse coin. The only difference in design between the medal in this set and the first spouse coin is the medal does not have a denomination. If the president was widowed or not married at the time of his presidency, a special Liberty gold coin was produced. The coin and medal set contains a medal similar to the gold coin. Remember, John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson became widows and then remarried during their term. There are two cards for each president with different first spouse medals.
2012 Grover Cleveland second administration Dollar & Frances Cleveland Medal Set
2015 Dwight D. Eisenhower Dollar & Maine Eisenhower Medal
2016 Gerald Ford Dollar & Betty Ford Medal
George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison
James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield
Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland
William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson
Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan
First Spouse Gold $10 Coins
Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty,† Dolley Madison
Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Adams, Andrew Jackson’s Liberty,† Martin Van Buren’s Liberty†
Anna Harrison, Letitia Tyler,‡ Julia Tyler,†† Sarah Polk, Margaret Taylor
Abigail Fillmore, Jane Pierce, James Buchanan’s Liberty,* Mary Lincoln
Eliza Johnson, Julia Grant, Lucy Hayes, Lucretia Garfield
Ida McKinley, Edith Roosevelt, Helen Taft, Ellen Wilson,‡ Edith Wilson††
Florence Harding, Grace Coolidge, Lou Hoover, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Elizabeth Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson
Patricia Ryan “Pat” Nixon, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan
President was widowed prior to inauguration
First Spouse died during the president’s term
Married the president during the president’s term
James Buchanan was the only bachelor president
President Chester Arthur was widowed prior to inauguration. However, the authorizing law gives the coin honor to Alice Paul, a suffragette who was born during Arthur’s administration
The Presidential Dollar series covered 39 presidents representing 40 terms were issued.
Along side of the presidents, there have been 35 first spouses were honored (Frances Cleveland appeared twice), four different Liberty coins were issued, and one First Spouse coin was issued to honor suffragette Alice Paul.
As part of the law that created the Presidential $1 Coins, congress authorized the creation of the Native American dollars. The law says that the obverse would continue to feature the portrait of Sacagawea and the revers depict “images celebrating the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the development of the United States and the history of the United States.” Selection of the theme is to be made in consulting with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Congressional Native American Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Congress of American Indians, and after public review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
Although the law required Sacagawea to remain on the obverse, the date, mintmark and the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” were relocated to the edge of the coin.
Dollar Coin Edge Lettering
Aside from being thoughtful themes, the designs have been met with critical acclaim by the Native American interest groups, historians, and artists. As part of the program, the U.S. Mint has created lesson plans for teachers to use as supplementary material for their classes that coordinate with the release of the coins. These materials show how the lessons fit within the Common Core education requirements.
The Native American $1 Program is a straight forward series. Each year the reverse changes for the chosen theme. Business strike coins are struck in Philadelphia and Denver while proof coins are struck in San Francisco.
For collectors of special sets, the U.S. Mint includes the Native American $1 coin in the Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set. These sets also include the uncirculated Presidential $1 Coins (through 2016) and an uncirculated American Silver Eagle coin that was minted at West Point. The American Silver Eagle is the collector version, not the bullion coin that is sold through investment channels.
Since 2014, the U.S. Mint has produced a Coin and Currency Set that includes a proof Native American $1 Coin and a $1 Federal Reserve Note in the most recently issued series printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The coin and note are attached to a folder with information about the theme of the coin. In 2015, the Mohawk Ironworkers coin was struck as an enhanced uncirculated coin minted in West Point and included a Federal Reserve Note from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Since the Mohawk Ironworkers were depicted as helping build the New York skyline, it was deemed appropriate to pair the coin with a Federal Reserve Note also from New York.
Obverse of the 2015-W Enhanced Uncirculated Native American Dollar from the 2015 $1 Set
2015-W Native American Dollar Enhanced Uncirculated Reverse celebrating the Mohawk Iron Workers
2009: Spread of Three Sisters Agriculture (1000 A.D.)
2010: Great Tree of Peace (early 1400s)
2011: Diplomacy—Treaties with Tribal Nations
2012: Trade and Economy
2013: Delaware Treaty of 1778
2014: Native Hospitality Ensured the Success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
2015: Mohawk high iron workers, builders of New York City and other skylines
2016: Code Talkers from both World War I and World War II
2017: Sequoyah: George Gist, Cherokee (1776-1843)
Currently, the following reverse themes have been approved for future Native American $1 coins:
With the failure of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, congress produced legislation to change the coin to have a golden color and a smooth edge. After several suggestions, Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark expedition, was eventually chosen. When the deisgns were reviewed, Treasury picked Glenna Goodacre’s design with the profile of Sacagawea in three-quarter view and her infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, carried on her back.
Since there are no known images of Sacagawea, Goodacre searched for someone she could model her design on. Goodacre found Randy’L He-Dow Teton is a member of the Shoshone-Cree tribe to be the model. 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.
The unveiling of the Sacagawea Dollar design at the White House with (L-R) First Lady Hillary Clinton, Sacagawea Model Randy’L He-dow Teton, and Designer Glenna Goodacre.
The reverse was a beautiful flying eagle designed by Thomas D. Rogers. The original Sacagawea dollar was produced from 2000-2008 with the only changes in the treatment of the coin to prevent toning.
The 2000 Cheerios Dollar
There are two significant varieties of Sacagawea dollars from the 2000 first year of issue. As part of a promotion, the U.S. Mint partnered with General Mills to include a 2000-P Sacagawea dollar with a special card in boxes of Cheerios cereal. Others would contain a certificate for a coin or a similarly packaged uncirculated 2000 Lincoln cent. It wasn’t until many years later that it was discovered that the coin from the Cheerios box was different from the circulation strikes. The difference between the Cheerios dollar and the circulation strikes is the Cheerios dollar has an additional tail feather and has a different, bolder shape. Of the 5,500 reported Cheerios dollars struck, only a few hundred have been found.
There have been stories of estate finds where the coin was selling for under $100. Most of the time the coin has been encased in a third-party grading service holder and selling in excess of $4,500. Finding them in the original package as they were part of the Cheerios box would be a great find.
A Goodacre Dollar encapsulated by ICG
When Glenna Goodacre was to be paid $5,000 for her artwork, she asked to be paid with 5,000 Sacagawea dollars. Goodacre had the coins encapsulated by third-party grading services. These dollars were specially burnished and presented to Goodacre by Mint Director Philip Diehl. Goodacre subsequently sold the coins herself and earned more money. These coins are only available encapsulated and average $500-650 per coin. A few at higher grades may cost more.
A special issue was struck in 1999 in 22-karat gold in an attempt to convince congress to authorize their sale. On twelve have survived and they sent into space aboard Columbia on mission STS-93 in July 1999. The U.S. Mint reports that the coins are stored in the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Anyone selling gold Sacagawea dollars is likely selling a gold-pated coin that is not a genuine finish by the U.S. Mint.
By the mid-1970s, the appeal of the large dollar had diminished when the U.S. Mint found that the Eisenhower dollar was not circulating. After conducting the study, it was decided to replace the 38 mm (1.5 inches) coin with something smaller.
The U.S. Mint tried testing several different shapes and composition only to be met with opposition from the vending machine industry and their powerful lobby. Even though the U.S. Mint tried to convince congress to approve a multi-sided coin, congress made the decision to change it to a round coin with an eleven-sided inner border.
As the discussions about the coin continued, Treasury proposed a bust of Liberty with a Phrygian hat on a pole, a modern update to earlier designs designed by Frank Gasparo. However, the League of Women Voters lobbied for the inclusion of a woman on a coin. As the idea gained support in congress, chose suffragette Susan B. Anthony for that honor.
U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro proposed a classic Liberty design for the new small dollar coin
When the coin was released to an excited public, the excitement disappeared when it was mistaken for a quarter. Since the coin, nicknamed the Susie B, was only 2 mm larger than the quarter, it did not help that the coin was made of the same alloy and had a reeded edge. It was even denounced by the seeing impaired community as not being distinctive enough to tell the difference tactically.
There were over 757 million coins struck in 1979, 89 million in 1980, and 9.7 million in 1981 that did not circulate well. By the end of 1981, the U.S. Mint reported that they had 520 million surplus coins. The lack of circulation gives the collector the ability to collect a nice set. Even with the 41 million dollars struck for 1999, there are 12 coins to make a complete set.
To extend the collection besides the usual date and mintmark series, a collector may add proof coins and varieties. For circulated strikes, there was an alteration in the design of the 1979 coin that is noticeable around the date on the coins struck in Philadelphia. The 1979-P Type 1 coin is called the Narrow Rim or Small Date variety where it looks like there room between the date and the rim. When looking for Type 2 Wide Rim or Near Date coin, it looks as if the date is almost touching the rim. The Type 1 coin is more plentiful and is inexpensive. The Type 2 Wide Rim coin is less plentiful but still affordable at less than $40 for a nice example.
1979 Susan B. Anthony Varieties
Comparison of “S” Mintmarks on Susan B. Anthony Proof coins
If you add proof coins to your collection, the 1979-S and 1981-S proof coins also have two varieties based on the condition of the “S” mintmark. The 1979-S Type 1 has an “S” that is filled in, almost looking like a blob. It was later fixed to look clearer later in the year creating a Type 2 coin. The difference between the Type 1 and Type 2 1981-S proof coin is subtler. The Type 1 “S” looks the same as the one used for the 1979-S Type 2 and on 1980-S coin. The 1981-S Type 2 proof coin has a much clearer “S” than the others. When trying to assemble a complete series of Susie B Dollars, the 1981-S Type 2 proof coin is the most expensive with an average of $120 and considered the key to the series.
When putting together a complete 16 coin Susan B. Anthony Dollar set, remember that the 1999 proof coin was struck in Philadelphia. It was produced for the regular proof set and in its own presentation case, both are readily available.
Did you know that someone made a movie about the $2 bill?
I was looking for information about early $2 notes and an Internet search discovered the page for The Two Dollar Bill Documentary.
Basically, it is a 1 hour 43 minute documentary about the $2 bill. Written and directed by John Bennardo, who has one other film to his credits, writes on the website that he wanted to learn more about the stack of $2 bills he kept in his desk draw. A year and several interviews later, Bennardo had a documentary.
It does not appear that the documentary had a wide distribution since I did not find anything about its showing. But for the low sales price of $9.99 you can by a DVD through their online store. It might be worth spending the $10 just to check out the documentary.
The Two Dollar Bill Documentary teaser trailer
All images courtesy of “The Two Dollar Bill Documentary.”
I recently took on a private contract to write short guides to certain coins. I thought that I could tackle anything they could think of until I was told I had to write between 500-2000 words (four pages) about Seated Liberty Dime Varieties.
Most of what I know about Seated Liberty Dimes are from references like the Red Book. Of course, that is not enough information to write for an entire article, so I went searching for a better reference when I came upon the work by Gerry Fortin. Fortin’s site, seateddimevarieties.com, is the result of his work in understanding all of the varieties of Seated Liberty Dime since he began researching these varieties in 1988.
Fortin’s research documents over 100 different die varieties which he cataloged on his website. He reports that there are 200 date and mintmark varieties when including errors, re-punched dates, or other anomalies. Fortin’s catalog numbers are used by the third-party grading services to identify varieties on their holders. This is the definitive reference for Seated Liberty Dime varieties! If you are interested in the detail of Seated Liberty Dime varieties, you should bookmark seateddimevarieties.com. But for the general numismatist, aspects of his work should be merged with the mainstream.
In most of the numismatic references, including what I had included on the U.S. Coins by Type page, there are five major varieties of Seated Liberty Dimes:
Type 1: No Stars on Obverse (1837-1838)
Type 2: Stars on Obverse (1838-1853, 1856-1860)
Type 3: Arrows at Date (1853-1855)
Type 4: Legend on Obverse (1860-1873, 1875-1891)
Type 5: Arrows at Date (1873-1874)
Using Fortin’s research, if you consider changes in the design a new major type, there should be three additional varieties. Fortin documents these as one of the major design groups. One variety not included in the mainstream publications is the addition of drapery by Liberty’s left hand. This would split the old Type 2 varieties into two.
The change in 1860 that moves the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” to the obverse of the coin. On the reverse, the laurel wreath was changed to a wreath composed of cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, corn, wheat and oak leaves enclosing the denomination of “ONE DIME” that was created in a larger font. The wreath is sometimes called “Newlin’s Wreath of Cereal” after Harold P. Newlin, a prominent numismatist of his day, who was said to have suggested the idea of the wreath to then U.S Mint Director James Ross Snowden. The updated design was created by James B. Longacre.
1660 Seated Liberty Dime Legend on Obverse [Type I]
1860 Seated Liberty Dime “Wreath of Cereal” Reverse [Type I]
Further splitting the old Type 4 began in 1861 when the hubs were fixed to improve the striking quality of the coin. Liberty was given a thinner appearance and the number of lines on the shield above “LIBERTY” was increased to six lines. This is known as a Type II Obverse with a Type I reverse.
When the weight of the coin was changed as part of the Crime of ’73, arrowheads were added to either side of the date of the Type 4 design for a two-year period. Since the arrows were punched directly into the dies, their exact position can vary. Once the new design was released, the U.S. Mint began melting down coins dated 1873 that did not have arrows.
There were some dimes that slipped through the melting process. Dimes from the Carson City Mint were missed which today is considered of the most famous of all 19th-century rarities, the 1873-CC No Arrows Seated Liberty Dime.
1874-S Seated Liberty Dime with Legend on Obverse [Type II] and Arrows around the Date
1889 Seated Liberty Dime William Barber “Wreath of Cereal” Reverse [Type II]
Chief Engraver William Barber redesigned the reverse dies in 1876 to improve striking. Although similar to the “Newlin’s Wreath of Cereal” design, there are enough subtle differenced for Fortin to call this a Type II Reverse. Fortin notes that Type I and Type II reverses were used for striking coins from 1876 to 1878 except for 1877 in San Francisco. There have been no reported examples of Type I reverse coins struck in San Francisco during 1877.
After reading Fortin’s reference I decided that Seated Liberty Dimes should note that there are eight varieties instead of the five noted in other publications. This would be for collectors looking to build an interesting typeset of Seated Liberty Dimes. This is why I updated the Seated Liberty Dime entry on my U.S. Coins by Type page as follows:
Type 1: No Stars on Obverse (1837-1838)
Type 2: Stars on Obverse, No Drapery Under Right Elbow (1838-1840)
Type 3: Stars on Obverse, With Drapery Under Right Elbow (1840-1860)
Type 4: Type 3 design with Arrows around Date (1853-1855)
Type 5: Legend on Obverse [Type I], Longacre “Wreath of Cereal” Reverse [Type I] (1860-1861)
Type 6: Legend on Obverse [Type II], “Wreath of Cereal” Reverse [Type I] (1861-1873, 1875-1878)
Type 7: Type 6 design with Arrows around the Date (1873-1874)
Type 8: Legend on Obverse [Type II], W. Barber “Wreath of Cereal” Reverse [Type II] (1876-1891)
This has now inspired me to look into other early varieties and update my online reference accordingly. Although it will not go into the detail of the research, giving the collector more information is better than just glossing over a topic.
All Seated Liberty Dime images courtesy and copyright by Gerry Fortin.
Although I have a few posts in draft form, I had to take some time out for some administrative-type work.
Since I published the Numismatic Dictionary I have received many corrections and requests for additions from readers. Thank you to everyone who send their input. The dictionary now has 678 entries that appear to have been copy edited by a few persistent readers. If anyone finds something that was missed, please feel free to contact me. I have plans that involve publishing the dictionary. Stay tuned for that announcement.
In the last month, I had the requirement to print blog entries. When I tried to print the blog entries, the output was ugly because it included a lot of the extra items on the page. Elements like the sidebar and sharing buttons are useless on a printed page. It has taken a bit of work, but now if you print the page using your browser’s print button, the article will print without the extras. You do not need any extra software or to go through an extra step to print a page. For those who are not programmers, we go through a lot to make life easy for ourselves until we find another problem and work hard to make the next one easy.
Behind the scenes I am trying to convert the blog from using HTTP, to HTTPS (secure). The reason behind this is to promote privacy, such as when you read the blog on a public Wi-Fi network nobody needs to know your interests, and because search engines are lowering the search rank of those sites that do not support HTTPS. Obviously, Google, the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the search space, is the first search engine to lower the rank of sites not supporting HTTPS.
Unfortunately, it is not as easy as one would think—or at least I thought. A test I conducted this past week proved I have a bit more to do. When the site is converted, the only difference you will notice is the lock icon on your browser will appear. Until then, if you try to go to https://coinsblog.ws it will redirect you to the non-encrypted version.
After I finish converting the blog, I will then convert the news micro-site (news.coinsblog.ws).
Finally, I will be spending a few hours at the Whitman Baltimore Expo tomorrow (Sunday, June 18). I do not expect anything to happen but you may want to watch @coinsblog on Twitter for updates.I am so embarrassed… Whitman Expo is NEXT weekend!
As I continue my research into history and technology of counterfeiting, I have been collecting historical statistics as to the problem of counterfeiting. I thought I would share the current statistics I found.
The most common counterfeited denomination is the 20s, be they dollars, pounds, euros, or pesos. For currencies whose values are significantly lower than the dollar, such as the yuan, or whose currencies have no real fractions, like the yen, the most common counterfeited denomination is the 100 unit.
The top note is a counterfeit $100 note, the bottom is a legitimate note
In the past few years, many countries and central banks have released new currency with additional anti-counterfeiting technologies. Canada is currently in the process to transition to the cotton bond currency to a polymer substrate. Since starting the transition, the Bank of Canada is reporting a decrease of 141,502 notes in 2007 ($3.3 million in value) to 17,492 in 2016 ($900,000 in value). For Canada, this is a decrease in 88-percent of the number of notes passed and a decrease of 73-percent in value.
Detecting counterfeit £1 coins, the genuine coin has edge lettering (left), the counterfeit does not.
A few months ago, the Royal Mint began the process of issuing a 12-sided pound coin to replace the round-pound because about 2.5 percent of 1.6 billion of 1 pound coins are counterfeit. Although this has been a painful process, the Brits will continue the transition which calls for demonetizing the round-pound by October 15, 2017.
The Bank of England began issuing currency using the polymer substrate starting with the £5 notes. The paper fiver was withdrawn on May 5, 2017 (withdraw the £5 on 5/5… get it?!). Plans continue to issue the £10 note in September.
The move to polymer notes was prompted because of a spike in counterfeiting in 2012. Spiking at more than 746,000 counterfeiting notes with a value of £13.71 million, the Bank of England reports that 347,000 counterfeit notes valued at £7.47 million were confiscated in 2016.
Eurozone has had more problems with counterfeit €2 coins than currency.
The European Central Bank reports that counterfeiting remains low in the Eurozone and even reduced by 20.7-percent from 2015 to 2016. Of the notes counterfeited, the €20 and €50 notes make up 80.3-percent of the most counterfeited currency. Surprisingly, the €100 (at 9.7-percent) and €500 notes (4.9-percent) are not as widely counterfeited. However, the ECB has other concerns with these high denomination notes since the €500 notes are a favorite amongst the cash-based illegal trade because it takes fewer notes to carry a high-volume of currency. One study noted that the €500 note was referred to as the “Bin-Laden” for its added convenience.
The ECB is in the process of transitioning their currency to the new Europa Series. A new €50 note was issued this past April. Aside from new designs, the Europa series uses some of the advanced technologies to prevent counterfeiting but does so on cotton bond. Currently, there is no plan to use the polymer substrate for the Euro notes.
As opposed to other central banks, the People’s Bank of China (PBC) is not as forthcoming with information. But when they do something, news reporters can obtain some nuggets of information from Chinese officials. When the PBC unveiled new 100 yuan notes with additional counterfeiting features, they reported to the Wall Street Journal that police confiscated 532 million yuan ($85.6 million) in counterfeit bills in 2014. The most commonly counterfeited notes were 50 yuan and 100 yuan bills but there have been increases in lower denominations.
Click on the image to read a nice description (in English) on identifying genuine Mexican currency
Mexico has been undergoing a slow conversion to polymer notes. Currently, the 20- and 50-peso notes are made using polymer and the new generation of 100-peso notes are made of polymer. Higher denominations continue to be printed on cotton bond but incorporate a number of advanced anti-counterfeiting features other countries are using. The Bank of Mexico has not announced plans to convert higher denominations but a representative reported that the plan is to print future special issues on cotton bond, such as the 100-peso banknote commemorating The 100th Anniversary of The Enactment of the Constitution issued last February.
Statistics published by the Bank of Mexico reports a decrease in the number of counterfeit currency from 70.7 per million issued to 61.8 per million notes issued. This represents a decrease of 12.6-percent. When the Bank of Mexico issued the new polymer 20- and 50-peso notes in 2014, they experienced a drop in 36.9-percent in counterfeiting.
It is not a surprise that the world’s most use currency and the currency that most world trade is based is the most counterfeited currency in the world. There is also more United States currency in circulation that any other, including the Euro. According to the Federal Reserve, there is approximately $1.49 trillion in Federal Reserve notes circulation. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco says that 31.1-percent of those notes is the ubiquitous dollar and 26-percent are $100 Federal Reserve Notes mostly held overseas.
Prop Movie Money continues to be a problem because people just do not look!
According to the United States Secret Service in their 2015 Annual Report, the latest available, they prevented the circulation of over $58 million in counterfeit U.S. currency resulting in the arrest of 796 criminals and closing 145 manufacturing operations. Of the $58 million counterfeited, $28 million, about half, of the bogus U.S. currency was seized prior to it being circulated.
The $20 bill is the most commonly counterfeited banknote in the U.S., while overseas counterfeiters are more likely to make fake $100 bills.
In every report downloaded from the various governments and central banks regarding the security of their currency, it is a common theme that the vast majority of counterfeiting would have a minimal impact if people would just look for the anti-counterfeiting measures these entities go through great lengths to add to the currency. Whether it is not looking for the edge lettering on the old round-pound or the recent cut-and-paste of the security features of Canadian currency, there would be few problems if people would just look.
Canada counterfiet currnecy image courtesy of CTV News.
Counterfeit round-pound image courtesy of BBC News
A Wall Street Journal report said that Swiss authorities have been investigating Ali and Hicham Aboutaam, owners of the Phoenix Ancient Art Company with offices in New York and Geneva. It is alleged that items that they have been trading in artifacts looted by ISIS.
In one famous video, ISIS militants were shown destroying artifacts with the voice-over declaring, “These idols and pagans for people in the past centuries were worshiped instead of Allah. When Allah ordered to destroy and remove them, it was an easy matter. We don’t care, even if it costs billions of dollars.”
That may have been a ruse by only showing a few items destroyed since it is estimated that ISIS generates $100-250 million per year selling looted antiquities on the black market.
While art and statues are easy to trace, coins are a different story. Coins can be carried easily in pockets, wrapped in clothes, or just “innocently” thrown into luggage and smuggled anywhere in the world. Detection is difficult and without documentation, they may be difficult to trace.
Reports in the international media note that weak laws and the lure of significant profits have kept the sales of artifacts and looted coins moving through the system. Looted coins have been sold on sites like eBay and Etsy without fear of reprisals because their provenance cannot be proven.
Even though the 1970 UNESCO Convention was agreed upon to stop archaeological pillaging and trafficking of cultural property, the way it is implemented in most countries is to recover the item at its final destination and not in transit. An unsuspecting collector or dealer could be in the position of one of these looted coins but have to face the consequences if they are caught.
The sale of these coins supports ISIS and their terrorist activities. Even after the coins have changed hands several times, they could circulate through the industry and be used by dealers down the like who will continue to trade the coins and using the profits to help fund ISIS.
It would be easy to say to resist buying ancient Syrian or Persian coins, but there are coins that were not stolen and can be legitimately owned. This might be an area that the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild should weigh in on behalf their community.
Until then, try to limit your purchases to reputable dealers and dealers you know.
Since Volume 22 of the “Weekly Numismatic World Newsletter” will not be sent via email, the following would have been the exclusive content included in the newsletter. A service update follows.
Counterfeiting remains a problem for society and the collector’s market. This was highlighted this week with two stories I posted about scammers and opportunists preying on the public too eager to believe.
In the collector’s market, scammers are taking advantage of the Royal Mint’s myriad of errors on the new £1 coin and mocking up their own errors to sell online. The error coins are clearly contrived because most either remove the center copper-nickel section or replace it in reverse, showing the Queen’s portrait on the wrong side. A few have been polishing the side with the Queen’s portrait to resemble the 2016 version that was issued by the Royal Mint to businesses for testing.
Canadian authorities have found that altered $5 notes are being used to forge $100 notes. Currently, the $5 note is made of polymer and scammers have found that by cutting out the features in the clear window and taping over the cutouts and still be used. Scammers print their own $100 notes, which are still printed on cotton bond currency paper, and use the clear window to make the notes look legitimate. The problem is that if people looked at the notes, its alterations and counterfeits are easily detectable.
It is interesting that people are so willing to try to figure out how to counterfeit currency, especially when it can be detected if someone put in the time to look. It says a lot about a society when the number one blog post on my site is “How easy is it to pass counterfeit currency” where I discussed the use of the iodine pen and the number one clicked link is the one to the site where I borrowed the image of the of the iodine pen.
The scary part is that people are not paying attention to the simple measures.
Because of an issue with the provider, the Weekly Numismatic World Newsletter has been suspended.
Unfortunately, the automated system run by MailChimp appeared to have choked on the word “counterfeit.” I am not sure if this is the exact reason for the problem, but their support is so bad that I have not been able to contact a human to explain the issue to me. When I tried to find another provider (SendInBlue based in France), I was accused of being a spammer. Based on what I can find out, MailChimp may have added me to a non-public database blackballing me from finding another service.
If that is the case, then I will likely create a self-hosted newsletter service. Although it is something I am technically capable of doing I was hoping to relieve myself of the management responsibility. Until I can determine my next move, I am suspending the newsletter. Sorry!