A LOOK BACK FOLLOW-UP

Hollow Spy Coins
(Image courtesy of ThinkGeek)

While searching for the next story in my “Look Back” series, I came across a post where it was reported that the Defense Security Services (DSS) issued a press release (see the text below) that the summary report claiming that radio frequency transmitters were found in Canadian coins is not true. “This statement was based on a report provided to DSS,” according to the release. “The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter.”

DSS is blaming an editing error with the item appearing in the report.

Although the release said the story was not true, The Associated Press quoted agency spokeswoman Martha Deutscher saying, “What’s in the report is true. This is indeed a sanitized version, which leaves a lot of questions.”

Later in March of 2009, someone had sent a link to an online merchant that was selling hollow spy coins. They were offering hollowed out quarters or half-dollars with enough room for a very small memory card. The coins are advertised to come with an unlocking ring and are “indistinguishable from regular coins when closed.”

These coins are no longer listed on that company’s website. However, if you are interested in owning your own spy coin, you can use any search engine and search for “hollow spy coins.”

I will probably not buy one. I would be afraid to carry the quarter for fear of accidentally spending it. But keeping a hollow half-dollar as a pocket piece with some “secret” information inside of it could be fun.

Sources

Original DSS Press Release

The “Defense Security Service Report Statement on Canadian Coins Incorrect, 01/12/2007” press release is no longer available on the DSS website. The following text was found on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:

A statement in the 2006 Defense Security Service Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry report which claimed radio frequency transmitters were discovered embedded in Canadian coins is not true, according to DSS officials.

This statement was based on a report provided to DSS. The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter.

According to DSS officials, the 2006 annual report should not have contained this information. The acting director of the DSS directed an internal review of the circumstances leading up to the publication of this information to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring.

The 2006 DSS Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry report was published by DSS in June 2006. As part of its oversight responsibilities under the National Industrial Security Program, the DSS receives reports from U.S. cleared defense industry to enhance overall security awareness in cleared industry.

A LOOK BACK: Spying Using Canadian Coins

With the outcry over the tariffs on Canadian goods being called a “National Security” issue, here is something from January, 2007 to consider.

This photo released by the Central Intelligence Agency shows a hollow container, fashioned to look like an Eisenhower silver dollar, which is still used to hide and send messages, or film, without being detected. It is similar to the Canadian coin that was found on some U.S. contractors. Because it resembles ordinary pocket change, it is virtually undetectable as a concealment device.
(Image courtesy of the CIA via the AP)

United State Defense officials are reporting that American contractors were carrying coins planted on them in Canada that contained radio frequency identification (RFID) transmitters. RFID transmitters are small chips that contain a small power source to allow these items to broadcast small bits of information. RFID is used for inventory tracking, security tagging, keyless door locks on cars, and electronic toll systems. Transmission ranges can vary by the type of chip used and the environment.

Reports confirm that an unidentified Canadian coin was hollowed out and its metal replaced with the RFID transmitter. The coins were “planted” on three security cleared contractors between October 2005 and February 2006 as they traveled through Canada.

RFID transmitters can be used to track the movements of those carrying the coins. “You might want to know where the individual is going, what meetings the individual might be having and, above all, with whom,” said David Harris, a former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officer. “The more covert or clandestine the activity in which somebody might be involved, the more significant this kind of information could be.”

Reverse of a 2007 Canada Dollar nicknamed “The Loonie” because of the image of a common loon on its reverse.
(Image courtesy of the Carlyle Observer).

Containers made to look like US dollar coins are a familiar tactic to US intelligence agencies. The CIA displays such a case on their museum website. The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC has similar displays. As for Canadian coins, the most likely coin used is the $1 coin, nicknamed the Loonie because its traditional reverse design features a Common Loon, a dominant bird in Canada. The Loon is 26.5 millimeters in diameter and 1.95 millimeters thick. The $2 coin, nicknamed the Twoonie, is a bi-metallic coin and would be more difficult to modify.

Although the type of RFID chip has not been identified, experts are saying that the transmitter in a coin would have a limited transmission range. It is said that the metal casing could constrain its range. Some of the technologies do have limited transmission ranges, but there are versions of the technology that could be tracked for a few kilometers.

“I’m not aware of any (transmitter) that would fit inside a coin and broadcast for kilometers,’ said Katherine Albrecht, an activist who believes such technology carries serious privacy risks. “Whoever did this obviously has access to some pretty advanced technology.”

The risk of the carrier spending the coin is great. but the ability to track a potential target would be a risk that spies might take. As our Canadian friends search their change, they may want to see if the coins have been hollowed and contain an RFID chip. That would be an interesting find!

The original article can be read here.

In for 14 years of Dollars

On July 20, 2018, the president signed the American Innovation $1 Coin Act to become Public Law No. 115-197.

Beginning in 2019, there will be four dollar coins issued where the obverse will 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.” The reverse will be emblematic of an innovation, innovator, or a group of innovators significant to that state or territory. The dollar coins will use the same Manganese-Brass composition as all dollar coins struck since 2000 with the edge lettering consisting of the year, mintmark, and the national motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.

The American Innovation $1 Coin will be issued in the same order as the 50 State Quarter Program, the order the states entered the union, followed by the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories.

The order will be as follows:

2019
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Georgia
2020
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • South Carolina
2021
  • New Hampshire
  • Virginia
  • New York
  • North Carolina
2022
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
2023
  • Ohio
  • Louisiana
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
2024
  • Illinois
  • Alabama
  • Maine
  • Missouri
2025
  • Arkansas
  • Michigan
  • Florida
  • Texas

2026
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • California
  • Minnesota
2027
  • Oregon
  • Kansas
  • West Virginia
  • Nevada
2028
  • Nebraska
  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
2029
  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
2030
  • Utah
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
2031
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • District of Columbia
  • The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
2032
  • Guam
  • American Samoa
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands
  • The Northern Mariana Islands

Happy collecting!

Weekly World Numismatic News for July 22, 2018

Winning design for the obverse of the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint)

The National Baseball Hall of Fame, who pushed for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program, announced on Wednesday that they have partnered with members of Congress to create a commemorative coin program honoring the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball in 2022.

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson debuted for the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers and on July 5, 1947, Larry Doby integrated the American League with the Cleveland Indians.

This past week, Senators Time Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the bill (S. 3239) in the Senate on behalf of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Next week, Representatives Roger Williams (R-TX) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) will likely introduce a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

S. 3239: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball.
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Introduced: July 18, 2018
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jul 18, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S3239.

To keep with the theme of making something different, such as the 2014 coins being curved, the bill calls of the new commemorative to be square and the common reverse to resemble a baseball diamond. This should be somewhat easy to accomplish since a real baseball diamond is nothing more than a square tilting on its corner.

For the obverse of the coin, the U.S. Mint is supposed to hold an open competition for artists to provide their suggestion for a design “emblematic of the integration of the game of baseball”

There will be the usual three-coin program consisting of no more than 50,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half-dollars. Surcharges received from the sale of the coins will benefit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

And now the news…

 July 15, 2018

The oldest coins in the find were minted during the reign of Hadrian (117-138 AD); the youngest come from the last years of the reign of Septimius Severus (beginning of the 3rd century AD). "All coins were found very close to each other in the Roman fort Apsaros" – told PAP Dr. → Read more at scienceinpoland.pap.pl


 July 18, 2018

In the town of Clayton, no good deed goes unnoticed. → Read more at wral.com


 July 18, 2018

ONE of the “finest known” examples of Australia’s earliest coin is expected to fetch more than $300,000 when it goes up for auction in Sydney next week. → Read more at news.com.au


 July 19, 2018

A wreck involving an armored car left coins strewn across Interstate 40 in Tennessee, police said. → Read more at tennessean.com


 July 19, 2018

The U.S. could issue commemorative coins on the 75th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier with the Dodgers. → Read more at latimes.com


 July 20, 2018

SCRANTON — When churchgoers drop their loose change into collection bins at St. Ann’s Monastery and Basilica, whether during the novena or on regular worship days, items other than U.S. currency sometimes gets mixed in. → Read more at thetimes-tribune.com


 July 20, 2018

Police in Berlin have seized 77 apartments, homes and pieces of land belonging to the Remmo family as they charged 16 members with money laundering over the gold coin heist. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 July 21, 2018

Friday demonstrations of the Nevada State Museum’s historic Coin Press No. 1 have proven so popular this summer that museum officials are extending the program through Labor Day weekend → Read more at nevadaappeal.com

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The United States is not going cashless… oh, look at that butterfly!

With the discovery of every new technology, there are the inevitable predictions that it will make the old ways obsolete. Although the automobile reduced the reliance on horses, the basics of the internal combustion engine have not changed in over 100 years. Take away the electronics around the engine, the technology increasing the air intake, and cleaning up the exhaust, and you still have an engine block with pistons that go up and down in the classic suck-bang-blow rhythm that was used in the Model T.

The latest technology that is being touted as being the doom for physical money, which can also be the end of numismatics, is cryptocurrency.

There are two aspects of cryptocurrency that its fans say are its biggest strength. First, it is not bound by the traditional means of generating wealth. You can think of cryptocurrency as digital gold. It is mined using computers and a lot of complex arithmetic to generate one unit of the currency, sometimes referred to as a bitcoin. Like physical gold, there is some work required to mine for these bitcoins. It lies in the ability to create a computing environment capable of performing these intensive mathematical operations. You may not be panning for gold but you might spend as much on equipment and travel.

For a good basic description of the blockchain technology, see the article on Medium.

The other aspect about cryptocurrency is that the blockchain technology allows for both anonymous and secure transactions. Think of the blockchain as a giant ledger that is copied wherever bitcoin is accepted with regular updates. There is no single source that could control the ledger nor is there a single point of failure.

However, both its strengths are its greatest weaknesses.

While the value of money is regulated by their respective government there are no blockchain regulations. There is no regulation on the number of generated bitcoins but is arbitrarily set by the creator of the cryptocurrency. There is no guarantee of value as a state-sponsored currency. Bitcoin investors are betting on the value of electronics and math, something many of these investors does not fully understand.

The blockchain also provides its own problems. In order to use the cryptocurrency, you have to have your own copy of the ledger and be able to pass the information to the party you want to pay. Think about having a checkbook with everyone’s information. You cannot read the information because it is encrypted but you have to have a copy. Then you need to pay someone. You hand over the checkbook in order to complete the transaction.

Think about the amount of data that would be if the blockchain supported 1,000 people. What would it take to support 1 million people? What if the government decided that everyone would do their business in bitcoin and everyone would have to have a way to deal with the blockchain in order to facilitate payments. How cumbersome will that ledger be if all 325.7 million people in the United States had to carry that around?

Each blockchain is its own entity. While you can trade in bitcoins on the same blockchain, you may have to participate in more than one blockchain if you want to accept bitcoins from several different people. It is like different currencies today. I can go anywhere in the United States and use dollars. But if I wanted to go to Canada, I can either arrange an exchange or find someone who will trade.

Cryptocurrency that has to operate across different blockchains is just like going to Europe and having to change your dollars for euros.

1881 Tracy’s Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note Reporter (Image courtesy of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society)

As with anything that is computer-based and managed, there is always the security issues. Blockchains have been hacked. Although most of the hacks are based on compromised passwords, each hack yields millions of dollars in stolen cryptocurrency to the hackers and everyone who then does business with them on the same blockchain.

Eventually, this will lead to a cryptocurrency version of a Bank Note Reporter and Counterfeit Detector as was popular during the broken banknote period. Then it will be followed by a Cryptocurrency Act similar to the Currency Act that ended the broken banknote period proving George Santayana right as we repeat history.

Cryptocurrency is the darling of the technology industry and those in the financial industry that trade in high-risk investments. Even traditional financial services companies are spending a limited amount of risk capital on cryptocurrency investments. However, by all statistics, the number of consumers using cryptocurrency for transactions is less than 1-percent.

If Not Cryptocurrency The What About Credit Cards

Credit and debit cards remain the primary target that proponents of a cashless society use to promote their agenda. However, when faced with the realities of life in the United States, there are three statistics that work against their arguments:

  1. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the printer of United States currency, reports a year-over-year increase in production of just over 4-percent.
  2. The U.S. Mint, the manufacturer of United States coinage, is reporting a year-over-year increase of 6-percent striking circulating coinage.
  3. According to CreditCards.com, “In 2013, 20 percent of whites did not have access to a credit card compared with 47 percent of African-Americans and 30 percent of Latinos.”

The primary customer for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and U.S. Mint is the Federal Reserve. If the Federal Reserve needs the money for its operations, they buy it from these government bureaus. The Federal Reserve only orders what it needs. If it does not need the money, then it is not produced.

Aside from the over 50-percent of the population without access to credit cards, there continues to be a demand for physical currency. Whether the currency is used in a vending machine or to buy other items, cash is still king and shows no sign of slowing.

While there continues to be a demand for the products from the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, these bureaus will continue to produce coins and currency giving us more opportunity to collect their products.

A LOOK BACK: Of Persians and Hoboes

This week’s LOOK BACK is from June 15, 2006. After a club meeting, I was inspired by two of the presentations.

Local coin clubs are a place you can regularly go to talk about coins and numismatics with like-minded collectors. If you have not attended a meeting you should find time to go. You might find that there is a learning experience that can inspire you in your collecting endeavors. One of the reasons I try to ensure I make it to the monthly meeting of my local coin club is because I seem to leave every meeting with an appreciation for something different about the hobby.

1353 (1974) Iran 20 Rials (KM #1181)
Image courtesy of Numismatic Guarantee Corporation

Our club encourages members to bring in their monthly finds. A numismatic show-and-tell. This week, Jerry Grzenda, a collector of many different types of coins and a serial exhibitor, showed his collection representing the last century of Iran. Jerry’s presentation included a history of Iran as seen through its coinage. It was a great learning experience and the coins were beautiful. There is something about the style of the Persian language that is intriguing and adds to the aesthetic of the coins.

Another highlight of the meeting was the presentation by Ron Brais about Hobo Nickels. While I have heard about Hobo Nickels, all I knew about them was what I learned in passing. In listening to Ron talk, I learned that the original Hobo Nickels were created between 1913 and 1935 using only Buffalo Nickels because the design had large figures on both sides that could be used as the basis of the design. The copper-nickel coins are also softer than others allowing them to be more easily carved. These elements allowed the carver to make just about any design and usually did. Designs were as varied as the artists who carved them. Hoboes would use the carved nickels to trade for food, shelter, or other favors during their travels.

The most famous Hobo Nickel artist was George Washington “Bo” Hughes. Bo ran away from home at a young age and was befriended by a hobo identified as Bert. After a train yard scuffle, Bert took Bo under his wings, protected him from the tramps and bums and taught Bo how to carve realistic images into the Buffalo nickel. For many years, Bo would ride the rails and carve nickels living the life of the hobo as he looked for work to survive. Bo’s work on Hobo Nickels allowed him to eventually get a job as a craftsman. It lasted until 1957 when he cut his left hand while carving a nickel. At that time Hobo Nickels were no longer popular and Bo just faded away. He died in 1982.

The life and history of George Washington “Bo” Hughes has been immortalized in the book Hobo Nickels by Delma K. Romines (out of print).

A self-portrait carved by Bo Hughes. Click on the image to read more about Hughes
Image courtesy of the Original Hobo Nickel Society

Today, the Original Hobo Nickel Society has a number of artist members that are carving images into Buffalo and Jefferson nickels to keep the art alive. Some of the designs are ingenious and beautiful while others are copies of carving on older coins. Modern nickels are made using modern tools that allow the carving to look much cleaner than their older examples. The old methods and tools were not able to make clean lines but it gave them a character that cannot be matched. To see the work of modern Hobo Nickel artists, follow @Hobo_Nickel_Soc on Twitter and try to resist not buying them!

The example of a Bo Hughes carved nickel displayed as part of the presentation beautiful in its design and execution. The care and craftsmanship that went into carving that coin was evident. Hobo Nickels can sell from $200-$1500 depending on condition and the artist. Coins by Bo Hughes are worth more than others.

The original article can be read at https://wp.me/p754fH-U

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for July 15, 2018

Image of some of the casts donated to the ANA Money Museum by Genna Goodacre
(Image courtesy of the Colorado Springs Independent)

With a lot of the international news focused on the finding of ancient coins buried in old ruins, the story that caught my eye came out of Colorado Springs.

Glenna Goodacre, the designer of the Sacagawea Dollar and a graduate of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, donated several items relating to the design of the dollar coin to the American Numismatic Association Money Museum.

Donations include several plaster and bronze casts of the coin that were used to test the design and show the relief of the coin. There is also a plaster cast with an alternate version without her baby, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, on her back.

News of the donation was published on Friday, July 13, 2018. According to the article, ANA communications coordinator Amanda Miller said that there were no immediate plans to display these items.

Following a significant donation, the ANA will issue a press release. When they do, it would be nice to read that some of these items would be on display at the World’s Fair of Money next month in Philadelphia.

And now the news…

 July 9, 2018

An uninhabited island off the coast of Arnhem Land may be the discovery place of a medieval African coin, which, if confirmed, would be among the oldest foreign artefacts ever found in Australia. → Read more at abc.net.au


 July 12, 2018

The Money Museum, the local, official museum of the American Numismatic Association, recently announced an exciting new donation to its collection. Sculptor and Colorado College graduate Glenna Goodacre has given the museum a selection of items related to the Sacagawea dollar, for which she designed the obverse (the face side). → Read more at csindy.com


 July 13, 2018

The tenacity of amateur archaeologists and historians searching on a remote island off the coast of the Northern Territories in Australia seems to have finally paid off. The team has found a small coin that apparently comes from a medieval African city. → Read more at ancient-origins.net


 July 13, 2018

The banknotes highlight Nelson Mandela’s historical journey, from the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape to the Union Buildings. More than 400 million banknotes and coins bearing the face of South Africa’s first president in the era of democracy, the late Nelson Mandela, are being released to commemorate his centenary. → Read more at citizen.co.za


 July 15, 2018

A Virginia Beach coin dealer recently spent $2.64 million on a rare coin from 1834. He and his business partner are collecting coins from 1792 to present day. → Read more at pilotonline.com


 July 15, 2018

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has named GraceKennedy Payment Services Ltd (GKPS) as an official coin collection agent in the national coin redemption drive.According to the BOJ, following efforts to identify agents to widen its coin redemption drive, it… → Read more at jamaica-gleaner.com

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A LOOK BACK: Evolution of the $20 Bill

Summertime is a busy season for everyone. There is a lot going on. For me, I just opened my new business and have been busy trying to make sure it begins smoothly. So that I have more time to work on the business, once per week I will be looking back at articles I wrote in the past that are still relevant today. I will edit the article but point to the original.

Our first look back returns to April 2006 where I was able to examine the design changes of the $20 Federal Reserve Note following a visit to the ATM.

Money has always been a fascination because the design can reveal something about history. It interesting to look at a series of the same denomination and see the evolution as the times change. I had the chance see the evolution first hand when my bank’s ATM gave me three generations of $20 Federal Reserve Notes (FRN). Although I am not a banknote collector, I find their images and devices interesting.

First, I found is the Series 1990 note with the signature of Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady and Catalina Vasquez Villalpando, the Treasurer of the United States. Both Brady and Villalpando were appointed by President George H. W. Bush and served until the end of his term. Brady also served for six months under President Ronald W. Reagan.

The second is a Series 2001 note with the signatures of Treasury Secretary Paul M. O’Neill and Treasurer Rosario Marin. They were appointed by President George W. Bush during his first term. The third note is from Series 2004 with Marin’s signature along with Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, who succeeded O’Neill.

The $20 FRN was first designed for the Series 1929 small notes as an evolution of earlier designs for large currency. There is a lot of ornate and fine engraving with a green hue. The fine engraving has been a staple of bank notes since their inception as a means to prevent counterfeiting. The “greenback” was used to prevent copying using new photographic technologies which had a difficult time reproducing the green color. Although modern technology does not have the same reproduction issues, the green color remains out of tradition.

The newer notes do not feature a lot of fine engraving. The portrait of President Andrew Jackson appears on all of the notes but was enlarged on the newer notes with the border around the portrait removed on the Series 2004 notes. Another difference is the addition of color with a darker green hue and peach on the front.

The reverse on all of the notes features the White House. The Series 1990 note uses an image taken from the south lawn near the ellipse while the newer notes use an image from the north lawn that could be seen from Pennsylvania Avenue. The engraving of the White House is smaller on the new notes and the borders removed to allow the watermark and security thread to be easily seen.

I like the front of the latest note, but I don’t like the color. I also miss the indication of the Federal Reserve Bank for which the notes were printed. Although the designation of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank is not relevant anymore, it adds to the collecting pursuit for some people.

I like the south lawn portrait better than the one from the north lawn. I am disappointed with the starkness of the reverse. I am not sure that BEP can change this given the nature of the security features.

Finally, the attempt to colorize the notes is not working. It looks cheesy. If BEP colorizes the note, it should be more than just a gradient on the background. Many countries use color in their banknotes as part of the devices, not just to splash some color around to say “look at the color.” I think BEP can do better.

The original article can be read at https://wp.me/p754fH-I

Weekly World Numismatic News for July 8, 2018

2017 Philippines 1-Piso ASEAN Commemorative Coin.
(Image courtesy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)

This past week the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP; the Philippines Central Bank) announced that commemorative coins are legal tender and can be used to purchase good or services.

The problem began as people were using coins that were meant as a commemorative and collectible issue for commerce. Since they were minted with permission of BSP and have a denomination, they are recognized as legal tender coins.

Sometime in the future, BSP will demonetize the coins as they have done with all past issues.

Unlike the United States, not every coin or currency note produced by the world mints and central banks are legal tender. However, it is a story that keeps occurring as the world mints use commemorative and bullion coins to boost sales.

Recently, there was an issue in Canada with the Royal Canadian Mint’s $20 for $20 program. Beginning in 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint began to sell silver coins with the face value of $20 for $20 tax-free. When the price of silver dropped not only did Canadians return the coins but they tried to spend them.

Aside from the falling revenues caused by the return of the coins, Canada does not require merchants to accept all legal tender coins. When some Canadians tried to spend the $20 coins, the Bank of Canada had to issue a statement to stop the practice and threaten to demonetize the coin. Demonetization would have hurt the secondary market on top of the falling price of silver.

Nearly every country in the world, except the United States, demonetizes previous issues of coins and currency. A recent example was this past year when the Bank of England demonetized the old “round pound” when the Royal Mint issued the new 12-sided pound coin.

The only United States coin to ever have its legal tender status revoked was the Trade Dollar. The Trade Dollar was minted to compete with other silver coins for trade with East Asia beginning in 1873. Although not intended for the United States trade market, it began to find use, especially in the west. To control its use, the Trade Dollar was demonetized in 1876. The coin regained its legal tender status as part of the Coinage Act of 1965, the law that introduced clad coinage and ushered in the “modern era” of United States coins.

Every coin produced by the U.S. Mint can be used as legal tender at their face value, although it would be foolish to spend an American Gold Eagle one-ounce coin for its $50 face value since its gold content would be worth more!

And now the news…

 July 3, 2018

Calling all coin collectors — you could have a coin in your stash right now worth thousands of dollars and not even know it. Don't miss out on possible cash. There are three things to look for in your half dollars, quarters, and dimes. → Read more at abc13.com


 July 3, 2018

(ANSAmed) – ROME, JULY 3 – An exceptional discovery was made at the Vulci archaeological site, where a treasure of coins from the 3rd century B.C. was found intact, according to a statement from the site's scientific department. → Read more at ansa.it


 July 4, 2018

Commemorative coins issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) can be used purchase goods or services as these are deemed legal tender, the central bank said on Wednesday. “Together with BSP-issued banknotes and coins, commemorative coins … may be used … unless these coins have been demoneti → Read more at manilatimes.net


 July 7, 2018

Iranian state TV says police have arrested a man who was hoarding two tonnes of gold coins in order to mani… → Read more at finance.nine.com.au


 July 7, 2018

The new series of banknotes and R5 coin designed to celebrate milestones of former president Nelson Mandela’s life will go into circulation next week Friday. → Read more at timeslive.co.za


 July 7, 2018

Police believe a rare 470-year-old coin may prove the key to the Sutton Coldfield murder → Read more at birminghammail.co.uk


 July 8, 2018

Ancient remnants including stamps and currency offer a trip down history lane → Read more at thehindu.com

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HELP NEEDED: Looking for Messages on Coins and Currency

Have you ever received coins or currency in your change with a message?

If you have, please drop me a note because I am interested in these items.

Sometimes, someone will write or stamp a message about something on currency. Messages can range from someone calculating their tip to political messages.

Messages on coins are different because they are smaller. We do not see too many messages on modern coins but I have seen a few coins with stickers and counterstamps. I am interested in those, too.

One of the most common messages on currency is “Where’s George?” Where’s George is an online database that contains the tracking information for over 280 million unique notes. It is one of those sites created for fun that is also educational. You can watch where the dollars you spend are circulated.

But other than Where’s George what other graffiti have you seen on United States currency?

Please tell me what you found. I am interested in obtaining a high-resolution scan or purchasing the item.

Just to keep my sanity, here are some simple rules:

  1. It has to be something found in current circulation and not a collectible from the past. Please do not write a message on your currency and claim you found it.
  2. Stamped messages on currency are preferable but if you find a series of notes with the same message and handwriting, please let me know.
  3. There are no restrictions on the message. It does not matter whether either of us is for or against the message, I am interested in whatever you find.
  4. As with any rule, there are exceptions: I do not want currency stamped for Where’s George and short snorters.
  5. If there is an offer to purchase, it will be for face value plus postage.
  6. If you do not want to sell the item but willing to provide a high-resolution scan (minimum 300 dpi in PNG or JPG format) I will ask you to sign a release so that I can publish the image.

The items I buy or request scans is solely at my discretion.

Using the items in my project is also solely at my discretion.

Credit will be given to all who help whether or not I use the item.

Although the vast majority of my audience is in the United States, I may consider messages on currency from other countries. If you find something, let me know.

“U.K. Average Income,” Occupy Liz, by Ivan Cash and Andy Dao, 2014. (Image courtesy of Slate)

Let’s see what we can find!

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