Weekly World Numismatic News for November 10, 2019

Northern Ireland Hoard

Hoard of coins found in Northern Ireland (Image of courtesy of Birmingham Live)

Although I am not a metal detectorist, I love reading the stories about someone going out and finding treasures. When the stories come from the United Kingdom, those finds can be exciting.

In Northern Ireland, two men looking for a friend’s lost wedding ring found a small hoard of 84 coins dating back to the 16th century. The oldest coin was dated 1512, which was during the reign of Henry VIII.

According to the story, the men who do this as a hobby, look at old maps and accounts of history to find areas that may be the sites of ancient villages or battles. Although I was surprised to read this, it makes sense, and it brings up an interesting point.

Finding artifacts buried in the ground, including coins, are a window into history. Researching where to search and understanding the history of a coin is like what archeologists do to unearth history.

I wonder if there is a way to welcome metal detectorists into the numismatic family?

And now the news…

 November 4, 2019
A British girl named Kate Harding was out working in the garden with her mother on a normal day. She was 9 years old and had no idea the silver coin she had just found in the dirt was over 700 years old. She put it away and didn’t think much about it. Many years later, she found herself face-to-face with the police at her front door; she had no idea what was happening, but she would soon find out. Her life was about to be drastically affected in a way she couldn’t have predicted. Here’s what happened to Kate Harding 14 years later.   → Read more at finance101.com

 November 4, 2019
£1 million worth of historic silver “thruppences” is to be sold off in an effort to stop coin collecting dying out in the digital age.  → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

 November 4, 2019
Australia’s embrace of a cashless society has seen coin production at the Royal Australian Mint plummet, with revenues from coin sales down more than 30% compared with last year. While the mint had budgeted for circulating coin revenue of $85m in 2018-19, the mint achieved a result of just $58m, selling 111m coins to the banks, 106m of which were for circulation.  → Read more at theguardian.com

 November 5, 2019
As the old saying goes, ‘there’s no Christmas in coin collecting.’ And local coin shop owner Jeff Spielman is warning collectors not to be fooled by scammers in the Lincoln City area. Spielman, owner of the JS Coins LLC shop, has seen a variety of counterfeit coins and jewelry come through his doors during his tenure in Lincoln City.  → Read more at thenewsguard.com

 November 5, 2019
An ultra-rare 1838 half-dollar coin could fetch as much as $500,000 at the Whitman Baltimore Winter Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center on Nov. 14. Known as 1838-O Capped Bust Half Dollar, the coin is one of only nine known to exist, according to numismatic auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.  → Read more at barrons.com

 November 7, 2019
Paul Raynard, 44, screamed “'there's millions – this is the moment we dreamed of!” to best pal Michael Gwynne, 52, when he realised the scale of the find  → Read more at birminghammail.co.uk
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 Why I Wrote In God We Trust (Nov 6, 2019)
 PNG tips to avoid gold scams (Nov 5, 2019)

 

October 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

Challenger Crew

The STS-51L crewmembers are: in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair. (Wikipedia)

The numismatic legislation news of the month is the president signing the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (Public Law No. 116-65) into law. In 2021, the U.S. Mint will issue no more than 350,000 silver dollars in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe.

For those who do not remember or were not born at the time, McAuliffe was selected as the first civilian teacher to fly into space as part of the Space Shuttle program. On January 28, 1986, she boarded the Space Shuttle Challenger along with Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Gregory Jarvis for mission STS-51-L. Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 11:39 AM.

It was an unusually cold morning, even for Florida. The cold and deterioration of the O-Rings that sealed the joints of the solid rocket boosters failed. The firey escape of fuel caused the external fuel tank to explode 73 seconds into the flight. Challenger disintegrated, taking the lives of the seven-member crew.

The surcharge of $10 per coin sold in 2021 will be paid to the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (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.”

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
Signed by President. — Oct 9, 2019
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/116-S239.

The House also passed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2423) for 2020 and the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865) for 2021. Both bills head to the Senate for their consideration.

H.R. 1865: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins that are emblematic of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia and the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers throughout the history of the United States.All sales of such coins shall include specified surcharges, which shall be distributed to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Inc., for educational and outreach programs and exhibits.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 25, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1865. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

H.R. 2423: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 400,000 $1 silver coins that are emblematic of the women who played a vital role in rallying support for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.Such coins may be issued during the period beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.All surcharges received from the sales of such coins shall be paid to the American Women’s History Initiative of the Smithsonian Institution.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Apr 30, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 2423. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
Received in the Senate, read twice. — Oct 29, 2019
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Oct 31, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2423.

Two additional commemorative coin bills were introduced in the House of Representatives. One is so new that the Government Printing Office has yet to release the official text.

H.R. 4681: National World War II Memorial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Introduced: October 15, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 15, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4681.

H.R. 4940: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Nation’s first statewide investigative law enforcement agency, the Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
Introduced: October 31, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 31, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4940.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for November 3, 2019

Virginia Halfpenny

A 1773 Virginia Halfpenny from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection (not my friend’s coin because I forgot to take pictures) (Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg)

The other day an old friend found my shop. He stopped in and as part of our conversation, showed me a handful of old coins he found while running around with his metal detector on the Virginia coast.

He was in an area not far from Jamestown. The metal detector community in the area knows that it is possible to find small items dating back to colonial times. Most of the time, people find bullets and buttons from the Civil War era. They dream of finding something special.

On this day, my friend comes in excited. He finds what he thinks are colonial coins. If he is right, he could have hit the local jackpot. I asked to see the coins.

Upon pulling out the coins wrapped in cheesecloth, the first thing I noticed that the coins were round. But Scott, you say, coins are supposed to be round. I say that you are correct, but at a time when minting coins required striking dies with a hammer, the result is not perfectly round.

While laying the open cloth on my desk, the sound the coins made was suspicious. Anyone who has handled large copper coins knows the sound made by a dropped coin.

Picking up my trusty 16x loupe, I went to examine the coins when I picked them up and felt they were lighter than expected. A quick drop on the hard floor confirmed that they were aluminum.

My friend found souvenir coins from Colonial Williamsburg used as part of the experience of living in the 16th century. A tourist would pay for the coins then use them in the shops or to purchase dinner in the village. Quick online research suggested they were used in the 1980s.

We think some kids buried the coins while playing and forgot about them. Or someone was trying to fool a metal detectorist, like my friend.

Even though he had dreams of being in one of the stories I add to the weekly news digest, we had a good time hanging out and talking. After all, what is the point of collecting if you do not have fun!

And now the news…

 October 29, 2019
SIOUX CITY — Throughout the 19th century and somewhat into the 20th century, before the federal government took full control of printing money, it was common practice for banks to produce their own banknotes.  → Read more at siouxcityjournal.com

 October 31, 2019
words Al Woods With so many of resorting to contactless card payment when we come to pay for those smaller items, it might seem inevitable that coins will, at some point in the near future, become a thing of the past.  → Read more at fluxmagazine.com

 October 31, 2019
A first-time treasure hunter was stunned to hit the discovery of a life-time with his metal detector within the first few hours of using it – an Iron Age coin baring a intricately stamped horse. Ron Silvester, 69, from Buckinghamshire unearthed 2,000-year-old coin just three hours into his first ever attempt at metal detecting after agreeing to go along with a friend.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 November 1, 2019
This is the extremely rare Australian coin worth up to half a million dollars that could be lurking in the bottom of your grandparents' old penny jar. Australians on the hunt for the 1813 'holey dollar' caused an uproar on Facebook earlier this week when one man thought he found one in New South Wales, in a jar full of mixed pennies and foreign coins belonging to some grandparents, who had died.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 November 1, 2019
The majority of American citizens do not know what backs the U.S. Dollar, and a recent study shows there are a lot more surprises were that comes from. A recent study carried out by Genesis Mining revealed some interesting details that would shock you too, except of course you already knew the answers.  → Read more at coinspeaker.com
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My First Numismatic Auction

UPDATE: The auction is online and begins to close at 7:00 PM on Sunday, November 3, 2019!

1878 Liberty $2 1/2 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin

Lot #1: Beautiful classic Liberty Head $2½ quarter eagle gold coin in a Capital Plastics holder.

One of the reasons for my limited posting is that I started a business in collectibles and estate downsizing. Until now, I had not received many numismatic consignments. The few numismatic items that consignors have brought in were not exciting.

A few weeks ago, someone walked into the shop and asked about consigning coins. The coins were something he inherited and did not know what to do with them. Then my consignor removed an 1878 Liberty $2½ quarter eagle gold coin in a Capital Plastics holder. It is a beautiful coin in hand. It looks uncirculated.

Although the 1984 U.S. Olympics Commemorative Set sare not popular, he handed two of the three-coin sets with the gold coin.

He continued to empty the bag, and I found Morgan and Peace dollars, Seated Liberty quarters, and a few other coins.

1 Gram TAYER Gold Ingot

1 Gram TAYER Gold Ingot

While unpacking another consignment, there was a 1 gram gold bar mixed in amongst the papers.

Finally, someone brought in the few Israeli coins and medals his late father owned.

Put it all together, add a few of my surplus coins, and there are 54 total coins in my company’s current auction.

Here is a small sample of some of the coins in this auction:

We do ship!

If you want more than coins, check out the rest of the auction which includes sports autographs (like a Joe Montana autographed football), art (two prints from Yaacov Agam), a Black Forest Cukoo Clock (it works!), and so much more. Feel free to peruse the entire 284 lot auction.

But don’t forget the coins, including this 2005 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf silver bullion coin with a Rooster Privy Mark.

Fight Finished!

The talk around the Washington, DC metropolitan area is not what is happening on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is what will be happening on Constitution Avenue starting at 2:00 PM on November 2. According to the Mayor’s office, the parade for the World Champion Washington Nationals will begin on Constitution Avenue NW at 15th Street NW and end on Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 3rd Street.

A rally will be held at the end of the parade route.

If you are a baseball fan, you hope that every World Series goes six or seven games. Most of the drama comes in those last two games. This series was no different.

Obligatory numismatic content:

Fans of the Nationals can purchase a commemorative plaque from the Danbury Mint that includes a bronze medal. This is an uncompensated message only used so that I had something numismatic to add!

Weekly World Numismatic News for October 27, 2019

2019 UK Peter Rabbit 50p Silver Proof Coin

Reverse of the 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p Silver Proof Coin. Peter Rabbit was created by Beatrix Potter. (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint)

At least once per month, one story that catches my eye and causes a reaction. Many times I let it pass without comment because I know there is more to the story than what the news reports. This time I looked a bit deeper.

Mints around the world do business differently than the U.S. Mint. In many cases, these mints are public corporations or private corporations contracted to strike coins on behalf of the government. Very few are state agencies like the U.S. Mint.

From what I can tell, the United States is the only country where coin design is governed by the whim of 535 people whose design esthetics are eclipsed by their inability to understand the effects of their decisions. In other countries, themes and designs are managed through the mint in cooperation with the central bank and the government.

In the United Kingdom, the committee advising the Royal Mint has a membership of ten men and three women. According to reports, this committee is usually lead by a Cabinet Minister. It is the practice that the minister is selected from the House of the Lords, the least powerful branch of the government.

As it turns out, most of the Lords are male. Since the chair of the committee selects the members, most of the members of the committee are male.

A Controversy is now brewing in the U.K. because a proposal to honor Emily and Charlotte Bronte with commemorative coins were rejected. Even U.S. educated children know about the Bronte sisters having been assigned to read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre in school.

It is not the first time that the committee rejected the selection of a woman author. The committee had decided not to honor Enid Blyton, a children’s author. Blyton wrote over 600 children’s books that echoed her conservative and moral lifestyle. Although she continues to be criticized by more literary critics, her books remain popular.

The committee decided that Blyton was not worthy of the honor.

The British women authors are up in arms over the decision. But could this be a tempest in a teapot?

This year, the Royal Mint issued coins celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Gruffalo and Mouse. The Gruffalo is a children’s book written by Julia Donaldson. The book is about a mouse’s adventures walking through the woods until it meets the mythical Gruffalo.

The award-winning book was translated into 59 languages and made into an animated short film.

Although the Royal Mint did not honor Donaldson on a coin, her characters are so honored.

The Royal Mint has also issued 50p coins honoring Paddington Bear, a character that became popular in the United States through the movie. While Michael Bond wrote Paddington Bear, the books were initially illustrated by Peggy Fortnum.

We learned that whether committees or politicians design coins, they will get it wrong. We also learned that maybe we should stop trying to put humans on coins because regardless of the decision, someone is going to be upset. Sometimes, it is not worth the hassle.

And now the news…

 October 21, 2019
BRYAN, Ohio — Tom Reed of Bryan, Ohio donated more than 50 books to the Williams County Public Library, which mainly center on numismatics, also known as coin collecting. Reed saw a need for books on coin collecting to be available to the public, and decided to offer many books from his personal collection to the Williams County Public Library, said a news release.  → Read more at kpcnews.com

 October 24, 2019
WINNIPEG—The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a new coin featuring a portrait of Louis Riel, an important Métis leader and the founder of Manitoba. The coin was launched on the 175th anniversary of Riel’s birth.  → Read more at thestar.com

 October 24, 2019
OSAKA — While a 500-yen coin may not go as far as it used to, at least it still weighs the same. That's the verdict of the annual weight test of coinage, which was held at the Japan Mint in Osaka's Kita Ward on Oct.  → Read more at asahi.com

 October 24, 2019
Hobo nickel is a term used to describe the 18th century sculptural art form of hand-engraving coins, resulting in miniature bas-relief sculptures that you can hold in the palm of your hand. While the ancient art is rarely practised today, Russian artist Roman Booteen keeps the craft alive with his extraordinary coin carving designs.  → Read more at mymodernmet.com

 October 24, 2019
The original 29 March 2019 design for the Brexit 50p. The date was changed to October 31 and now, presumably, will be altered again  Credit: Treasury A small batch of special Brexit 50p coins minted with October 31 are expected to become collectors' items now that it looks almost certain Britain will not have left the EU by then.  → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

 October 24, 2019
Are you a coin collector who wants to get a job in the coin business? Plenty of numismatic jobs are out there! Today, I’m going to show you how to find a job working with coins.  → Read more at coins.thefuntimesguide.com

 October 24, 2019
The production of thousands of special commemorative Brexit coins has been put on hold amid continuing uncertainty over when the UK will leave the EU. The Royal Mint had been asked to make new 50p pieces featuring the 31 October date on which the UK was due to leave and a message of "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations".  → Read more at bbc.com

 October 24, 2019
An extremely rare 1879 $4 gold coin could sell for $1 million when it is auctioned next month. The 400 cent piece, known as the $4 Gold Stella, is valued at roughly $200,000 but could sell for $1 million, according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.  → Read more at foxnews.com

 October 26, 2019
– Umayyad, a historic Islamic coin which was made around 723AD has sold for £3.7m – Among the inscriptions said to be on the coin is one that reads "Mine of the Commander of the Faithful" – The coin was initially billed to sell £1.6m but increased at the auction because of much interest  → Read more at legit.ng

 October 26, 2019
Royal Mint bosses have been accused of sexism for rejecting plans to honour novelist sisters Emily and Charlotte Bronte with special coins. The Mint’s male-dominated advisory committee on commemorative coins was accused of failing to ‘take women seriously’ after snubbing the authors of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk
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Weekly World Numismatic News for October 20, 2019

2019 American Innovaation $1 - DelawarePerusing the wide world of coins, I noticed that it is only here in the United States that collectors complain about modern coinage. Why?

My Twitter followers (@coinsblog) have seen the articles coming from the United Kingdom. U.K. news outlets have staff that follows the special issues from the Royal Mint that are selling for hundreds of times over their face value in online auctions. These coins have a limited run and are issued as circulating commemorative coins.

Similarly, the Royal Australian Mint recently released an alphabet series, similar to what the Royal Mint did in 2018. As part of the series, they created a stir when they used the letter “X” to highlight a small village in Western Australia. Aussies learned something about their own country.

In the United States, we bemoan new issues by the U.S. Mint. We look at the coins and come up with some reason to dislike them. Many of the reasons range from the parochial to the absurd.

Dealers do not like them because they make more money on selling you what they think are “better” coins. Rather than try to use the opportunity to get people interested and into their shop, they would rather sell a more expensive coin. Note to dealer: selling 100 coins at a $1 profit is the same as selling one coin for a $100 profit except that you now have 100 new customers rather than recycling old ones.

Another reason I hear is that modern coins are not worth the money and, therefore, not worth the time. Really? Are you collecting or investing? Are you enjoying your collection, or is it something to do?

Recently, I sold off my Morgan Dollar collection. I started the collection many years ago and realized that I did not have the eye for coins that I have today. I also lost interest.

2019 Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Quarter - IdahoSomeone asked what am I collecting today. I respond with modern circulating commemoratives. When I get a strange look, I have been responding with, “do you know what the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is?”

Who is Frank Church, and what is the River of No Return? If you paid attention to the American the Beautiful Quarters program, you would learn more about your own country. I did not know about this wilderness area in Idaho until I looked at the quarter.

I also learned that the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, both United States territories, have beautiful memorials to those who gave their lives in World War II.

Now collectors are lamenting the new American Innovation $1 coins. Why? Because they do not circulate? Then go pick up a roll and start spending them! You can show people the series that is beginning with honoring Annie Jump Cannon, who invented a system for classifying the stars still used today. Aside from being a Delaware native, Cannon was a suffragist and hearing impaired.

Stop being so stuck up about modern coins, buy a roll, and give someone a William Henry Harrison dollar. Then ask them why Harrison is so important to U.S. history? Pick a president who is not famous and do the same exercise.

If you have children, why not plan a trip based on the quarter that has been released. If you cannot travel to Guam to see the War in the Pacific National Park, then a trip to San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. You can also Remember the Alamo and visit a fascinating area of the country.

Collecting modern coins may not make the dealers rich or be a great investment. But there is enough material to have fun beyond just accumulating metal discs.

And now the news…

 October 10, 2019
Weet-Bix is given the “W” in an A-to-Z collection depicting “all things Australian.” Weet-Bix, a breakfast cereal manufactured by a Seventh-day Adventist health food company in Australia, is set to cement its icon status.  → Read more at adventistreview.org

 October 11, 2019
Finance minister Tito Mboweni on Friday finalised the designs for the 2020 silver Kruger Rand and the R25 Natura Series collectable coin due next year. He also gazetted an update to a coin design that makes a leopard featured in a Big 5 collectable coin series somewhat less angry.  → Read more at businessinsider.co.za

 October 12, 2019
As many as 96 varieties of coins used during the period of the Western Ganga dynasty, which ruled Karnataka, are among the attractions at the three-day philately and numismatic exhibition here. Among the other exhibits at the 12th State Level Philately Exhibition organised by the Karnataka Postal Circle are commemorative coins, Chinese gold panda coins, stamps on 100 years of Indian cinema.  → Read more at thehindu.com

 October 12, 2019
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A young Alaska Native woman left an impression on Alaska’s territorial Senate in 1945, delivering a speech that led to the passage of the nation’s first anti-discrimination law.  → Read more at seattletimes.com

 October 15, 2019
MURRELLS INLET — The ship owned by the richest man in America is giving up its gold, again. The North Carolina was a side-wheeled steam packet, a coastal transport that carried mail and was owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt.  → Read more at postandcourier.com

 October 16, 2019
One of the rarest coins in the world is set to sell at auction for an incredible £1.6million. The Umayyad gold dinar dates back to 723AD and was made from gold mined at a location owned by the Caliph – one of the successors to the Prophet Muhammad.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 October 16, 2019
A Bunbury businessman has unearthed one of Australia’s rarest coins — worth more than $10,000 in mint condition —while birdwatching in the Goldfields outback. Mick Cross was photographing birds at Malcolm Dam near Leonora when he picked up a small coin sitting in the dirt metres from the popular camp site.  → Read more at thewest.com.au

 October 16, 2019
Calling all Antique Roadshow enthusiasts. Have you ever seen a large metal coin featuring an old lamp with the number 60 on it? After discovering this mysterious-looking coin among her Grandmmother’s collection, a woman from Chilliwack is asking the public if they have any idea what it is.  → Read more at coastmountainnews.com

 October 18, 2019
Nowadays, having savings and investments both have equal weight in importance and necessity as well. In terms of investments, there are a lot of options for you to choose from. These options range from stock investments to mutual funds to cryptocurrency.  → Read more at nuwireinvestor.com

 October 19, 2019
Binyamin Elkin, the six-year-old son of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze'ev Elkin discovered a 2,000-year-old coin from the City of David excavations at the President's Residence on Thursday.  → Read more at israelnationalnews.com
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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

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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

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