Weekly World Numismatic News for September 16, 2018

Before E-ZPass, I used to buy discount rolls of tokens to cross the bridges in New York City.

Even though coins and currency make up most of the transactions in the United State, one area that is being affected by the digital economy is in the area of toll collecting. This week the New Jersey Turnpike Authority announced that they will begin to remove coin machines in mainline toll plazas on the Garden State Parkway.

Rather than the coin machines, the lanes will be converted to “E-ZPass Only” lanes.

Although I am a proponent of cash, E-ZPass has been a blessing when traveling in the northeast. When I started a somewhat regular drive between the D.C. area and northern New Jersey, where my first wife is resting, I applied for the New Jersey E-ZPass. It made driving to the New York area easier by not having to stop for tolls.

Then there were the advances that allowed the New Jersey Turnpike to allow the use of E-ZPass before Maryland finally joined the party. Soon I was able to drive from Maryland to Maine without having to stop and pay a toll.

Long gone were the days where I planned a trip with a pocket full of quarters. Or when I was commuting to New Jersey from New York, buying a $20 roll of ten Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority tokens to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island. The one-way toll on the Verrazano Bridge was $5.00 or two tokens.

For the return home, there was a discount coupon book I bought every two weeks from the Port Authority to pay for crossing either the Goethals Bridge or the Outerbridge Crossing.

Both bridges provide a toll discount for using E-ZPass. Given the nature of traffic, it is easier to get through the toll plaza with the E-ZPass.

I will continue to use cash more than my credit card but I will not give up my E-ZPass.

And now the news…

 September 8, 2018

Hundreds of ancient Roman gold coins have been discovered on the site of an old theatre in Como in northern Italy, the Ministry of Culture said.  → Read more at thelocal.it


 September 10, 2018

Ultimately a judge did not have to decide which mint was in the right. The case was dismissed after they agreed to a ‘collaborative’ cross-licensing agreement  → Read more at nationalpost.com


 September 12, 2018

Plans to sell them as ‘sacred coins’ to non-resident Telugu society  → Read more at thehindubusinessline.com


 September 14, 2018

Mike Alessia chuckled when he thought about the days before E-Z Pass and paying your way down the Garden State Parkway doubled as a skill sport.  → Read more at pressofatlanticcity.com


 September 15, 2018

Madurai: An ancient coin, dating back to the 14th century was discovered near Palani recently.  → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com


 September 15, 2018

A drop in silver prices this year has attracted investors seeking a bargain, prompting a temporary sellout of the 2018 American Silver Eagle bullion coins at the U.S. Mint this month.  → Read more at marketwatch.com


 September 15, 2018

The battle to end taxation of constitutional money has reached the federal level as U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) today introduced sound money legislation to remove all federal income taxation from gold and silver coins and bullion.  → Read more at moneymetals.com

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LOOK BACK: Defence of Fort McHenry

On this day 204 years ago, Francis Scott Key was awakened aboard the HMS Tonnant in Baltimore Harbor to see the tattered, but still present flag flying over Fort McHenry. Today’s LOOK BACK talks about the history of that day and, rather than talking about the legislation, add a little information about the Star Spangled Banner commemorative coin.

Fort McHenry (via Wikipedia)

The War of 1812 had been running for two years when the fighting escalated in Baltimore Harbor around Fort McHenry. American Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner sent by the War Department to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes. Dr. Beanes was allegedly mistakenly arrested with a group of rowdies as he walked to his home.

On Skinner’s way to meet Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross on the HMS Tonnant, he stopped at the home of noted lawyer Francis Scott Key and asked for his assistance.

Col. Skinner and Key were welcomed by the British command on September 13, 1814 and was invited to stay for dinner. After secure the release of Dr. Beanes but were not allowed to return to Baltimore. The British felt that Col. Skinner and Key had learned too much about the British forces. Col. Skinner, Key, and Dr. Beanes were provided guest accommodations on the HMS Tonnant.

The Battle of Baltimore began after dinner and raged overnight through the next morning. On September 14, 1814, when the smoke cleared, Key saw the Stars and Stripes still flying over Fort McHenry. Following the battle. Col. Skinner, Key, and Dr. Beanes were allowed to return to Baltimore on their own boat. During the trip, Key wrote a poem entitled “The Defence of Fort McHenry”

On September 20, 1814, Key had the poem published in the newspaper Patriot. After publication, Key set the poem to the tune of John Stafford Smith’s “The Anacreontic Song,” a popular drinking song written for London’s Anacreontic Society. The combination was renamed “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“The Star Spangled Banner” was first recognized by the Navy in 1889. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order to recognize “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem. Finally, President Herbert Hoover singed a congressional bill officially making the song the United State’s National Anthem (36 U.S.C. §301).

In 2012, the U.S. Mint issued two coins as part of the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Program (authorized by Public Law 111-232). The $5 gold coin “depicts a naval battle scene from the War of 1812, with an American sailing ship in the foreground and a damaged and fleeing British ship in the background” on the obverse and “the first words of the Star-Spangled Banner anthem, O say can you see, in Francis Scott Key’s handwriting against a backdrop of 15 stars and 15 stripes, representing the Star-Spangled Banner flag.”

The obverse of the silver $1 coin “depicts Lady Liberty waving the 15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner flag with Fort McHenry in the background.” The reverse shows the waving of a modern American Flag.

The official launch of the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Program was launched at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. You can read about that launch here.

You can read the original article here.
All coin images are courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

Weekly World Numismatic News for September 9, 2018

The ‘Discovery’ coin, encrusted with rare pink diamonds, was created by the Perth Mint. (Image courtesy of The Business Times)

One of the news items this week is that the Perth Mint created the “Discovery” coin, a 2-kilogram (4.4 pounds) gold coin with rare pink diamonds that depicts the discovery of Austrailia and the mining culture that grew on the island nation.

Modeled after the Holey Dollar, Australia’s first coin, it features four 1.02 karat pink diamonds mined in Western Australia. The center of the holey coin is included as part of the set. For the record, the coin as a reeded edge.

Perth Mint officials said that the coin, worth A$2.48 million (US$1.76 million), was created to “meet growing demand for high-end collectables from the ultra-rich.” It will be sold at auction with expectations that the buyer will be from Asia or the Middle East.

This is not the first time the Perth Mint has made a gimmick coin. In 2011, they created the Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin. The coin was made using one metric tonne (2204.62 pounds) of .9999 fine gold, the coin measured 80 centimeters (31.5 inches) in diameter and 12 cm (4.72 inches) thick. Also with a reeded edge.

What is the point of making a coin like this?

Aside from extracting money from someone whose pocketbook can match his ego, is there a good reason to make these coins?

Of all of the questions as to whether what the U.S. Mint does is good for the hobby, where does this gimmick rank in comparison?

And now the news…

 August 30, 2018

The platinum producers finally appear to be making headway with the SA government on the introduction of a platinum coin judging from recent comments made by Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe Mantashe is currently in Perth, Western Australia where he addressed the Africa Down Under conference on August 29.  → Read more at miningmx.com


 September 2, 2018

Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene has published the official designs and specifications for the 2019 Natura coin series. The series will focus on the Cradle of Humankind and features a number of hominid discoveries which were made in South Africa.  → Read more at businesstech.co.za


 September 3, 2018

From today you will be able to pre-order a limited number of the newly minted Armistice Day coin for delivery in October, right in time for Armistice Day. The new coin is a legal tender, coloured, circulating 50c piece.  → Read more at scoop.co.nz


 September 3, 2018

Everyone knows how the old saying about comic book collectors goes: there’s one born every minute! So there should be no shortage of fans intrigued by the latest offering from the Royal Canadian Mint.  → Read more at bleedingcool.com


 September 5, 2018

Sydney AUSTRALIA has minted a gold coin encrusted with rare pink diamonds worth A$2.48 million (S$2.45 million) to meet growing demand for high-end collectables from the ultra-rich. The 2-kg treasure, which depicts a sailing ship, a gold prospector and boab trees found in Western Australia, is considered legal tender and will be sold to the highest bidder.  → Read more at businesstimes.com.sg


 September 5, 2018

Archaeologists in Sweden have discovered a gold ducat from early medieval Venice in Elleholm, a once thriving port that has now entirely disappeared.  → Read more at thelocal.se


 September 6, 2018

While coins may just be cheap change to some people, others like Jack Zillion and Dennis Witter see them worth much more.  → Read more at centralillinoisproud.com


 September 7, 2018

It’s been a busy summer for construction in Dawson City, Yukon — which means it’s also been busy for the territory’s archeologists.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 September 7, 2018

Despite the advent of credit cards, cryptocurrencies and other forms of online money, coins and paper still remain relevant  → Read more at usatoday.com


 September 7, 2018

It clearly communicates the notion that the private sector does the monetary system beautifully  → Read more at forbes.com

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A token trip to Spain then to Venezuela

Now that I am running a collectibles business, I see a number of interesting items coming into the shop.

Last week, someone came into the shop with items that she wanted to sell in order to downsize prior to moving. One of the items was a small plastic bag of foreign coins. The bag contained a lot of low-value base metal coins that would trade for under one dollar from a dealer’s junk box.

Although I do not keep a large inventory of coins, I have a basket I fill with foreign coins for anyone who wants to look through them. I will sell the coins for 25-cents each even if they are worth more. When parents come into the shop with their children, I will let the kids pick out a coin. I challenge them to go online and learn what they can about the coin.

Sometimes, my assistant and I will look through the basket for something interesting. While my assistant is not a collector, she knows I am and looks for specific items I am looking for (more on that another time) and anything that looks interesting.

After moving furniture in the warehouse, I returned to my desk and found a small pile of coins. Some were part of the coins I was looking for and a token with the date of 1895. What is this coin?

On the obverse and above the date is a tree. The legend around the coin says “EL ALTAR, LA CARIDAD.” On the reverse, it gives the denomination of “1 REAL” and the legend says “RAMON GONZALEZ ESPINOSA” and “SAN SEBASTIAN.” Immediately, I think this is a Spanish coin.

San Sebastián is a coastal city in the Basque region of northern Spain close to the French border. Although there is evidence of human settlement from at least 24,000-22,000 BCE, the earliest recorded evidence dates to 1014 and the monastery of St. Sebastián.

But there was no reference of a 1 real coin being issued in the region in the late 19th century or anyone in the region named Ramón González Espinosa.

Who was Ramón González Espinosa? Trying an Internet search of that name finds people with that name in California, Texas, and elsewhere around the world. Searching for Espinosa and San Sebastián also lead to a lot of irrelevant results.

Next was to figure out what El Altar and La Caridad represent. El Altar is “The Alter” in Spanish and La Caridad translates to “The charity.” Could this have been a token used to try to raise money in Spanish speaking country other than Spain?

Just to see what would happen, rather than using google.com, I went to google.com.mx, the site that serves Mexico and Latin America. I entered the information for all of the legends and searched. When too many items came up and my rudimentary Spanish found that they were irrelevant, adding quotes around each phrase lead found an interesting page.

On a blog that is written by a Venezuelan numismatist, there was an article with an image of the same token. Using translation software, I was able to obtain enough information to learn more about the token.

During the late 19th century, Venezuela was undergoing a financial crisis that caused a severe coin shortage. The situation became so bad that the haciendas, plantations in Venezuela, could not pay their workers. To help solve the problem, hacienda owners would create their own tokens to act as promissory notes. They would pay their workers using these tokens. When coins were available, the hacienda owner would pay the merchants.

These tokens circulated as money throughout the region.

The token we found was from the Hacienda El Altar and La Caridad, both were the properties of Ramón González Espinosa. Espinosa’s properties were located in Aragua State

The haciendas were in San Sebastián de los Reyes (Saint Sebastian of the Kings) in Aragua State. The town is located on the Guárico River that leads to the Caribbean Sea. El Altar and La Caridad were livestock farms.

It is unusual for the names two haciendas to appear on a single token. According to references about other tokens from this era, when the same person owned multiple haciendas they had tokens made for each of their properties to distinguish the accounts from each other. Since there were no other references for tokens with more than on hacienda, it is not known as to why Espinosa created only one token.

Most tokens from this era were made using a copper-nickel alloy that ranged from 40-60 percent nickel. Most were thin discs and had different shapes. Hacienda tokens ranged in value from ½ Real to 5 Reales. Tokens from Hacienda El Altar and La Caridad were issued in ½, 1, 2, and 4 Reales.

The Venezuelan government continued to have a difficult time producing enough coinage. After Cipriano Castro seized the government in Caracas, he contracted with the Mexico City Mint to produce low denomination copper coins. In 1902, Venezuelan government contracted with the U.S. Mint to produce lower denomination silver coins.

Slowly, there was enough of a coin supply that it ended the need for hacienda tokens. But they continued to circulate because hacienda owners used it as a way to control their workers. When Juan Vicente Gómez overthrew Castro, who left Venezuela in 1908 for medical treatment in Germany, he instituted a rule to end the circulation of these tokens by ordering the hacienda owners to buy back the tokens using state currency.

It is estimated that over 10,000 tokens were once in circulation. After the order was given to redeem the tokens most were melted and used for other purposes.

Although it is rare to find one, they are not worth much in the numismatic market. However, finding one allowed me to learn more about its origin, hacienda tokens, and how the United States helped in ending this practice.

In other words, yet another reason why numismatics is a fun hobby!

August 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

John Sidney McCain III (1936-2018)

Although this is a numismatic blog, it is difficult to write about any aspect of Congress without recognizing the service of Senator John Sidney McCain, III. McCain died on August 25, 2018, from complications with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was buried on Sunday, September 2, 2018, next to his friend and mentor in the cemetery at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

McCain’s story of his stay at the infamous Hanoi Hilton has been long discussed and written about in the books he authored. He served as legislative liaison for the Pentagon to Congress before being elected to the House of Representatives from Arizona’s First District in 1982. After two terms in Congress, he ran for the seat that was being vacated by the retiring Barry Goldwater. McCain would go on to win five elections to the Senate before his passing.

John McCain was a true American Hero. What made him a bigger hero was that he was imperfect and stood up when he was wrong and took ownership of his mistakes. Something the colleagues he leaves behind in Congress should learn from.

To add a numismatic theme, military orders and medals are part of exonumia. To honor the late John McCain, here is a list of medals he earned during his service in the U.S. Navy:

  • Silver Star Medal
  • Legion of Merit with Combat “V” device and Star
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Three Bronze Star Medals; all three with Combat “V” device and the second two with stars
  • Two Purple Heart Medals; the second with a star
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Two Navy Air Medals; the first with a bronze star and the second with a Strike/Flight numeral “2” device
  • Two Navy Commendation Medals; both with Combat “V” device
  • Navy Combat Action Ribbon
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Two National Defense Service Medals; the second with a star
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Three Vietnam Service Medals; the second and third with stars
  • Republic of Vietnam National Order of Vietnam—Awarded by the South Vietnamese government, it was the highest honor that can be bestowed on a non-military official by South Vietnam
  • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross—Awarded by the South Vietnamese government for valor in combat
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device—Awarded by the South Vietnamese government for wartime service

A Combat “V” device is an award for Valor. These are given to those who earned the award for their service during battle. Stars are awarded when a medal is awarded more than once. The Strike/Flight numeral “2” device is awarded to service members whose award was earned during aerial combat.

As for the legislative update, August in Washington, D.C. is very hot and humid. Those of us who live in the area dread this month. Aside from the weather, it is the slowest month for everything. On the plus side, it is the month where we see less severe traffic as residents flee the area for their last summer fling. All that ends at the end of the month when it becomes time to get ready for the school year.

Congress usually takes off in August. If they are not campaigning for reelection, they are spending time at home. This year was different. There were a few floor sessions but the committees seemed to have a few hearings. While it is normal for committees to meet when there are no floor sessions, it is unusual for it to happen in August.

Other than having all members of Congress in town for John McCain’s funeral, there was no numismatic legislation to report for this month. With mid-term elections predicted to be contentious, it will be interesting to see if Congress will tackle anything that is not necessary between now and Election Day.

Weekly World Numismatic News for September 2, 2018

There is always something in numismatics that can be used to teach us about history. This past week it was reported that Russian archeologists found a rare “beard kopek.” It was a coin that men had to buy if they wanted to remain unshaven under the rule of Peter the Great.

Peter rose to power at the age of 17 in 1689, but the arcane succession rules of Russia did not allow him to actually rule until his mother died in 1694. Then, he had to be co-ruler with his brother Ivan V until Ivan died in 1696. That is when Peter took over.

Once Peter became the sole czar he implemented sweeping reforms to modernize Russia. He thought that in order to become a power similar to those of Western Europe, Russian society had to evolve. Using western advisors and his command of the military, he forced reforms on the country including violently suppressing uprisings by those who did not agree with him.

To enforce his idea of modernization, he introduced western dress to his court and required all government officials to adopt this more modern style of dress. Robes and beards were no longer accepted under Peter’s rule. In order to enforce his idea, Peter began to levy taxes on people who would not comply. If you wanted to keep your beard you had to pay a tax. Once you paid a tax you would be required to carry around a token saying that you paid the tax.

The copper token found in Russia was one of those beard tax tokens. It has an image of a beard and mustache with the words “Money Paid” (in Russian) surrounded by a beaded border. If you wanted to keep your facial hair, you paid the tax and had to carry around the token as proof.

Reports claim that this is only the second known Beard Tax token to exist with the other one being in The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. However, a silver version of the token was sold by Heritage Auctions in September 2017 as part of the Long Beach Expo World Coins Signature auction. The hammer price for that token was $3,000.

Even if there were two more found, it would still be a rare token!

And now the news…

 August 27, 2018

Aaron Coulson was given the silver coin in a Sutton Coldfield pub – and thinks it's worth at least £100  → Read more at birminghammail.co.uk


 August 27, 2018

In 1698, Tsar Peter the Great of Russia, as he would come to be know, was waging a war on beards. In an attempt to modernize his empire and make it more like the west after spending years exploring Europe in disguise, Peter instituted a tax on facial hair.  → Read more at popularmechanics.com


 August 27, 2018

The United States Mint has issued an open call for artists to design the nation’s coins and medals as part of its its Artistic Infusion Program. The government is particularly interested in artists who will “bring innovative perspectives and utilize symbolism in their work to clearly and evocatively convey subjects and themes,” according to the program’s press release.  → Read more at news.artnet.com


 August 28, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – Attention all Maine artists: The Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services has an important job for you. They're looking for an artist to design a coin for post-Vietnam War and peacetime veterans.  → Read more at wabi.tv


 August 30, 2018

A MAN uncovered a horde of Roman coins buried in farmland. Allan Hughes, of Wrexham, found five silver Denarii coins dating back nearly 2,000 years while out searching with a metal detector on arable land in Cockshutt, near Ellesmere.  → Read more at leaderlive.co.uk


 September 1, 2018

The South African government is considering a range of initiatives to increase the demand for platinum-group metals (PGMs), including the development of a Mandela Platinum Coin. The proposal to develop a Mandela Platinum Coin is based on the international success achieved by the Kruger Rand, South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said at the Africa Downunder conference, in Perth.  → Read more at miningweekly.com


 September 2, 2018

A First Century silver Roman coin uncovered on land in Shropshire has been declared treasure trove at an inquest.  → Read more at shropshirestar.com

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LOOK BACK: A frank discussion about China and counterfeits

A regular reader was upset about the appearance of hypocrisy at the World’s Fair of Money. On one hand there was a lot of talk about counterfeit collectibles from China. On the other hand, there was a lot of hoopla over the Panda with special designs and privy marks honoring the World’s Fair of Money. In this episode of “LOOK BACK,” I update what I wrote in February 2014 about China and counterfeits.

Front of a counterfeit 2012-dated American Eagle $50 denomination one-ounce gold bullion coin. (Photo courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.)

A persistent question that follows stories about counterfeiting is why do most of the counterfeits come from China and how do they get away with doing this? Unfortunately, the answer lies in differences in our laws, politics, and cultures that may not be as easily resolved as people would like.

Every coin minted by the U.S. Mint is legal tender and are legally an instrument of the government. Although the Trade dollar was demonetized in 1876, it was remonetized as part of the Coinage Act of 1965 making it legal tender (31 U.S.C. § 5103) for trade in the United States. This means that it is legal to spend an 1873 Trade Dollar for $1 of goods and services even though the coin is worth more than its face value.

To protect its currency, the United States has anti-counterfeiting laws that makes it illegal to counterfeit the nation’s money and use in commerce. For collectible coins and currency congress passed and has since updated the the Hobby Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 2101 et. seq.). These laws protect the money supply when it is a collectible and not an instrument of commerce.

In the United States, laws are cumulative. Once passed, they remain the law until repealed or declared unconstitutional by the courts. This is not the way in many other countries. In many countries, when a new government takes power they are given the authority to rewrite the laws. It is expected to happen within authoritarian governments but it is common in many parliamentary democracies.

The People’s Republic of China has been run by the Communist Party since 1949. Their rules and laws have changed significantly when the Communist Party came into power. One of their first rules was to demonetize the money produced by the Republic of Chin and issued renminbi, the “people’s currency.”

Since then, it has been the practice of the chairman of the Communist Party to demonetize non-current issues of coins and currency as part of their economic control policies. Based on the current Chinese economic system, all coins struck since 1955, the first issued under the current government, are legal tender. Currency printed since 1999, the fifth series is the only legal tender notes. Any other coin or currency note has been demonetized.

Under Chinese anti-counterfeiting laws, it is illegal to duplicate any legal tender coin or currency note for any reason. However, since coinage from previous regimes is no longer legal tender, it is legal to strike coins with those designs. Chinese laws do not recognize the collection of these coins as a market to protect.

An example of a Morgan Dollar cut in half to match a date with a mintmark to have the coin appear something it is not. Coin was in a counterfeit PCGS slab and caught by one of their graders.

Buying and selling coins as an object is a matter of commerce between individuals and not something that requires protection under Chinese law. While the Chinese buyer can use the obsolete coin as an object of barter, bartering does not hold the same legal status as paying with legal tender currency. Basically, once coins are demonetized, just about anything goes.

Chinese law does not recognize the perpetual legal tender status of every coin issued. Chinese law also recognizes that counterfeiting current issues of other countries is also illegal because someone could try to use the coin in commerce where it is legal to use foreign currency. This means that in China, it would be illegal to reproduce a presidential dollar or Washington quarter, but producing Morgan dollars or a set of 1921 Walking Liberty half-dollars is legal in China because these are coins no longer issued in the United States.

When China is asked to assist the United States to stop the counterfeiting of coins, China does not recognize that its people are doing anything wrong. The coins are no longer being made, they are not in circulation, and their laws allow people to make copies of these coins. The only laws that China has regarding collectibles are laws protecting antiquities and cultural properties. This means that you cannot duplicate a Ming Dynasty vase and try to pass it off as real but it is legal to reproduce a Rembrandt masterpiece since he is not Chinese and his work was not made in China.

A trade attorney that was originally consulted for this article confirmed that when it comes to these issues, Chinese law is very protectionist. The claim is that they follow their laws consistently regardless of outside circumstances and they refuse to make exceptions citing the complication with enforcing their laws in a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion people.

PCGS representatives showed Congressmen counterfeit U.S. coins in counterfeit PCGS holders during their recent meetings in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of PCGS.)

Making the problem more difficult, copying and counterfeiting of grading service holders are also not covered by Chinese law because they are not made by government entities. The grading services would have to fight the counterfeiters using Chinese patent and copyright law. A patent attorney confirmed that not only would this not stop the problem, but foreign challenges to alleged patent and copyright violations are rarely successful in Chinese courts.

The Chinese government has no incentive to help the United States or any other country fight counterfeiting in what is perceived by the Chinese as a small market problem. To put the resources necessary into what looks like a petty crime for selling inexpensive, non-circulating duplicate coins that are within Chinese law to manufacture is considered not worth their resources.

While there is anecdotal evidence that the Chinese government knows about the counterfeit trades and some officials informally support the efforts because they get kickbacks, official Chinese policy denies there is a problem.

A lot has been written about the nature of the relationship between the United States and China since President Richard Nixon’s trip to China in 1972. Neither side trusts each other nor does neither side believe each other. Today, the United States decries the Chinese for buying too much of our debt, allegations of spying, industrial espionage, and cyber crimes. The Chinese say that the United States is trying to bully the world and that these naysayers are making up the stories to scare the world into following them. The United States talks about civil rights violations within the Chinese border and the Chinese government tells the United States to mind its own business.

The greater opening of markets between the country and the increase in popularity of bullion coins has made the Chinese Panda a popular coin amongst collectors and investors. Those of us who buy these coins know that even with the production increases since 2010 new issues continue to command a premium greater than other bullion coins.

While the Chinese are happy to sell coins and be the factory to the United States, there remains an underlying tone of political and commercial hostility between the nations. A trade attorney said that the Chinese would rather keep the relationship to business between the countries that the United States should stay out of China’s domestic policy. It was explained that the Chinese central government was upset over how the United States passed judgment over companies in their high tech electronic manufacturing sector because these companies are doing better and are safer than other Chinese manufacturers. To the Chinese government, it is not a problem if a few workers die for whatever reason. There is an ample supply from the population to keep the plants running.

These are the values of the Chinese government. Whether you agree with them or not, Communist Party officials will resent anyone telling them how to manage their domestic affairs. They want advice about how to treat their citizens as much as the United States wants similar advice from China.

There is no incentive for China to stop the manufacture of counterfeit collectible coins.

It is not against Chinese law for these people to manufacture coins that are no longer in production. Chinese people who are manufacturing these coins are working in China and many employ other people. It means there are fewer people relying on assistance the Chinese government provides. Since they now have incomes, it provides revenues for the tax coffers.

When a United States trade representatives negotiate with their Chinese counterparts, it gives the Chinese a chance to lecture the United States how they resolved the counterfeiting issues which leads to a discussion on currency handling and management, which is a sore subject in the United States since the United States questions Chinese monetary policies.

Counterfeit coins ICTA ACTF display

A portion of the exhibit of confiscated counterfeits on special loan from the Department of Homeland Security displayed at the 2018 World’s Fair of Money® by ICTA/ACTF.

Finally, it gives China a measure of moral superiority against the United States. After all, China figured out a way to prevent the impact of counterfeiting of older currency, why can’t the United States do the same?

China has no incentive to help the United States to solve a problem that they perceive does not exist. It is up to the United States to resolve these issues. This is why the industry promoted the Collectible Coin Protection Act (Public Law No: 113-288) so that law enforcement has an additional tool to use to help prosecute handlers of counterfeit coins in the United States.

You can read the original article here.

Call for Artist

On Monday, the U.S. Mint announced that on September 3, they will begin accepting applications for the Artistic Infusion Program. Judging by the last round of artwork submitted to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee to review for the new American Innovation $1 Coin, they need the help.

For those who did not read the stories, the U.S. Mint submitted a design for the obverse that is supposed to be “a likeness of the Statue of Liberty extending to the rim of the coin and large enough to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty,” similar to the reverse of the Presidential $1 coins. According to reports, the U.S. Mint claimed that they could not work on a better design because of time constraints.

Time constraints are a legitimate issue. The bill was signed into law on July 20, 2018, leaving the U.S. Mint less than six months until the program begins in 2019. However, that does not mean that the program has to begin on January 2. In fact, the law does not specify at what point during the year that the coins are to be produced.

They also could have anticipated their responsibility. Once the bill was passed by the Senate on June 20, it was only a matter of time that the difference between the House and Senate versions were resolved before being signed by the president. It was not a surprise. They had two months to come up with something prior to the CCAC meeting.

Although U.S. Mint Director David Ryder has not been on the job long, he has to take responsibility for not providing the leadership necessary to impress on the artists and whoever directed them not to try to take the easy way out. If they have not learned by now, most of the CCAC members take their jobs much more seriously than previous committees (this is a good thing) and are very outspoken in a very constructive manner.

One person that should respond to this call for artists is current CCAC member Heidi Wastweet. An accomplished medalist and sculptor, her term with the CCAC is about to expire. She is well qualified since her work is phenomenal! You can see for yourself on her website. Imagine what an artist with her talent and knowing what the CCAC is looking for can add to the U.S. Mint.

Having never met Ms. Wastweet, I am not in a position to try to talk her into applying. However, if you are acquainted with her, please let her know that not only would it be of great service to the U.S. Mint but that she has at least one endorsement—for whatever that is worth!

There are so many great medals on Heidi Wastweet’s site it is difficult to select one to highlight. But I always seem to focus on this one called a Zombuck.

Weekly World Numismatic News for August 26, 2018

News out of the United Kingdom was that the Bank of England was thinking about eliminating the copper 1 penny and 2 pence coins. The discussion came from a blog post on the website Bank Underground, an independent blog written by Bank of England staff commenting on the Bank’s policies. The post suggested that there would be “a negligible impact on inflation, with the average impact being negative but not statistically different from zero.”

The economists that wrote the blog post has used the same argument that many others have used: the rising cost of copper and the reduced purchasing power makes the coin not worth minting.

In response, the Bank of England said that it was not considering eliminating the 1p and 2p coins.

Unfortunately, the Bank of England economists’ post will become fodder for those that want to eliminate the one-cent coin in the United States. The argument will repeat the same themes that the blog post outline as proof that this could be done.

The problem is that regardless of the position, using the arguments generated from data that does not consider social and economic information from the United States makes the using this as an example irrelevant or spurious at best.

And now the news…

 August 18, 2018

A block below Central Park in Manhattan, an unassuming shop appears, from the vantage point of sidewalk passersby, old, dusty, and uninteresting. Yet it contains treasures. In billboard-laden New York City, the boutique’s beige awning barely snatches a glance.  → Read more at fortune.com


 August 18, 2018

AGARTALA: A commemorative gold coin to honour Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya has been launched on the occasion of the 110th birth anniversary of 'Tripura's last king'. The coin was released at a special Independence Day function at Ujjayanta Palace – the seat of the Manikya dynasty – by chief minister Biplab Deb, who was accompanied at the event by deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma, who is a member of the royal family, and the Maharaja's granddaughter Maharajkumari Pragya Deb Burman.  → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com


 August 19, 2018

RIGA — The whole mintage of the new silver collector coin dedicated to the Curonian Kings, a cultural group of free Latvian peasants that for many centuries inhabited seven villages in western Latvia, has been sold out at Bank of Latvia Cashier’s Offices, the central bank’s spokesman Janis Silakalns told LETA.  → Read more at baltictimes.com


 August 20, 2018

The Royal Australian Mint is paying homage to a group of iconic Ford and Holden race cars from the likes of Peter Brock, Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson and Craig Lowndes in a new series. Two fresh collections feature seven, uncirculated 50cent coins each from Ford and Holden chronicling the success of the brands in Australian motorsport.  → Read more at supercars.com


 August 22, 2018

Bank of England economists have reignited the debate over the future of 1p and 2p coins, arguing their removal from circulation would not stoke inflation. In a blog post on Wednesday the analysts said their work and the “overwhelming” evidence suggested the withdrawal of coppers would have “no significant impact on prices”.  → Read more at theguardian.com


 August 23, 2018

THE Bank of England is considering plans to scrap the one and two pence coins. It comes after economists claimed that scrapping 1p and 2p coins would not push up inflation. Here’s the latest…  → Read more at thesun.co.uk

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 NLG announces 2018 awards (Aug 20, 2018)

Weekly World Numismatic News for August 19, 2018

The world of numismatic news of the week centers around theAmerican Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money that was held in Philadelphia this past week. Here are the top news items from this past week?

    Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head Nickel (Image courtesy of PCGS

  • The Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $4.56 million at the Stack’s Bowers Auction to an undisclosed buyer. The coin graded PR-66 by PCGS is the finest of the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels. It is the highest price ever paid for a coin not struck from a precious metal.
  • 1792 Washington President Gold Eagle Pattern (Image courtesy of NGC)

  • The Unique 1792 Washington President Gold Eagle pattern coin was sold for $1.74 million by Heritage Auctions. The coin, graded XF-45★ by NGC, is from the Eric P. Newman Educational Society collection. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Society. The coin was acquired by Newman from the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection in 1942. Aside from being one of Newman’s favorite coins, it was also believed to be Washington’s pocket piece.
  • David J. Ryder, Director of the U.S. Mint.

  • Director of the U.S. Mint David Ryder announced that the Mint will introduce a gold coin series promoting the “Virtues of Liberty” starting in 2019. The announcement was given to Coin World who has not published the details of the program. One would think that an agency of the federal government would make this information generally available to the public and not exclusively to one publication.
  • 2019 Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Quarter (Idaho)

  • The U.S. Mint publicly introduced the designs that will appear on the reverse of the 2019 America the Beautiful Quarters. National treasures being featured in 2019 include Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts), American Memorial Park (Northern Mariana Islands), War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Guam), San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Texas), and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho).

My report on my time in Philadelphia is coming soon.

And now the news…

 August 13, 2018

Michael Turrini, a memer of the Fairfield Coin Club, holds different types of currency from Africa, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. The cowry shells and iron cross are both used as money. (Susan Hiland/Daily Republic) FAIRFIELD — Treasure hunters came out Sunday to find the rare coin, and they brought their  → Read more at dailyrepublic.com


 August 13, 2018

Never miss a story or breaking news alert! Listen at work or while you surf.  → Read more at kywnewsradio.radio.com


 August 15, 2018

The World's Fair of Money is "an opportunity for our members and the general public to see a lot of coins they could never see otherwise […] plus, an opportunity to see some of the largest, most successful [coin] dealers in the country," said Douglas Mudd, Curator and Director of the American Numismatic Association Money Museum. The World's Fair will feature millions of dollars worth of rare coins- coins whose values were once less than a dollar.  → Read more at philly.com


 August 15, 2018

A Navy veteran recalls a sacred tradition for warships.  → Read more at navytimes.com


 August 17, 2018

Rs. 1 coins also hit; rumours about their discontinuation have been doing the rounds for over a year now  → Read more at thehindu.com


 August 17, 2018

The one of a kind George Washington gold coin, dating back to the 18th century, was sold for $1.7 million this week with all the proceeds going to charity, according to Heritage Auctions.  → Read more at kitco.com


 August 17, 2018

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/730083/1943_Bronze_Cent.jpg?p=facebook  → Read more at prnewswire.com

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