Quick catch up…

Last I reported, I had travelled to Philadelphia to see the students at Juaniata Park Academy that we raised money to visit the U.S. Mint and Federal Reserve. I did make it to the school despite the flat tire and other problems my Chevy Avalanche experienced along the way. We did have a one-hour visit to talk about coins, currency, and the history they reveal. I had a lot of fun. Rather than talk about it in this update, I will write a longer post soon.

Counterfeiting is on the rise. The number of reported arrests for counterfeiters has increased. Some of it may be attributed to the largest seizure of counterfeit currency in Peru. Although not confirmed, there is speculation that the arrests in Peru provided leads into the distribution network. The Peru notes are amongst the best counterfeits produced outside of the United States. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to determine if you have one of these notes. The U.S. Secret Service has been advising cash-related businesses to be wary of people making unusual large cash purchases.

The U.S. Mint is preparing for an increase in sale of bullion American Eagle coins. Gold is down over $230 since its high in July or $151 since the election. Even with the strong dollar, the lower price of gold and the trust in the American Eagle coin is driving buyers to authorized dealers. One dealer said that 2017 pre-orders are their highest in a while.

The market for silver is facing a similar downward slide. From the $20.17 close in the beginning of August, the price as this is being written is $15.90. A 21-percent drop in silver spot prices is quite large over this period and greater than the 17-percent drop in the gold spot price.

Lower spot prices may be driving speculators to the market. Since the Federal Reserve Board increased the discount rate, the rate they charge for overnight loans to their large customers that are required to have a certain amount of liquidity at market close, by 250 basis points (.25 percent), there are some that believe that the markets are getting ready for a shift. Precious metals are always used as a hedge against inflation investments and may be a sign that some are expecting an economic crash.

A future post will discuss the coin-op industry’s reaction (albeit late reaction) to the GAO Report U.S. Coins: Implications of Changing Medal Compositions (GAO-16-177, Dec. 10, 2015). It appears to be an attempt for the coin-op industry to fight composition changes in U.S. coinage. Although most of their argument reads like a complaint that they do not want to undergo the cost of converting machines, they do make a point in that some of the alternatives has the potential to create a market for counterfeiting coins that would hurt the economy. One example they site is that it may be easier to counterfeit plated steel coins because the technology that checks for electromagnetic signatures of the coins would not be able to detect a real coin from a slug.

Following my post about the scrap industry not being able to return mutilated coins to the U.S. Mint I was contacted by someone in the industry who thanked me for the story. I was asked to emphasize that although the current court case involves companies based in China, the problems affect scrap dealers throughout the United States. Following this conversation, I was able to speak with a broker who has been buying scrap coins from smaller companies who said that the U.S. Mint has been discussing a way forward but in a way that makes it sound like they are not happy with having to deal with this situation. The U.S. Mint will not comment as long as there is an active case in federal courts.

The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act is now Public Law 114-282. Although I am not a collector of commemorative coins other than for topics that interest me, I am interested in this topic. Although I am a fan of silver coins, I am going to try to buy the gold Apollo 11 commemorative coin. I have two years to save my pennies!

Finally, I am working on creating a weekly newsletter opt-in containing numismatic-related stories from non-numismatic media sources from around the world. I will curate the news that appears in the newsletter but want to automate some of the processes. Automation of the workflow is in progress. Watch for the signup process to appear here soon!

POLL: Are you interested in a numismatic newsletter?

NewsletterThose who follow me on Twitter or watch the widget in the sidebar on these pages can watch the coin, currency, and bullion-related stories I find on the Internet. Rather than find the stories from the regular numismatic sources, I try to find things reported in the non-numismatic media.

Some of you may not use Twitter, find it difficult to watch the timeline, and do not see some of the stories I find even if you are peering into my timeline using the widget. You might think that you are missing something interesting that you would not think about otherwise. Some of the recent stories I found include:

If there is an interest, I will create a weekly newsletter with a short introduction to the stories and links to where to find more information. For example, I would write a blurb about the Battle of Hastings 50p coins, maybe add a picture, and send links to the 2-to-3 sites I found stories about the coin.

Most of these stories will be new content probably not appearing on the blog or in the numismatic press—with the exception of the coin recyclers’ issues since I have more information than what is published. It also provides insights into what the press says about coins and currency.

Would you be interested in receiving a weekly newsletter with a summary of world wide numismatic news?

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NOTE: If the poll does not appear please click here.

What I like about you

Coin Collectors BlogAlthough this post is not about the the 1980 hit by the Romantics or the sitcom that ran on The WB over 10 years ago, it is about you.

Earlier this year I changed the way I keep statistics for this blog. I had to make this change because the old way of keeping statistics did not tell me what you were reading and because I felt some of those third-parties services did not have a privacy policy or a track record of privacy I was comfortable with. While they could tell me that my posts were being read, unless I turned on some of the more obtrusive tracking option, I could not keep track of older posts that were being discovered, bookmarked, or re-read.

Websites keep these records for various reasons, especially if they are monetizing the views. Since I am not doing this to make money, I want to know what people are interested in reading or searching for. The statistics allow me to see how many people read the blog when I post or come from another link, like the results of a search. These statistics are not perfect because I refuse to add the extra taking items that would tell me if you were reading these posts from an online news aggregator or were sent the information via email. But they are better than other services while not exposing you to potential privacy issues.

Looking at the statistics kept by the new software has been interesting. Let me tell you what I have learned:

  • You do read! And I really THANK YOU for being a reader. Based on the statistics 85-percent of the regular readers will read a new post within 3-days of its posting or by Monday if posted on a weekend. I am going to keep posting when I can and not try to target a date or time.
  • The most popular day is Wednesday. For some reason, more people read on Wednesday than any other day.
  • Although the vast majority of you are from the United States, the Top Five other countries (in descending order) are Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, India, and Spain. Readers have been identified from being from all over the world in many places. There are too many to mention but I find the list fascinating.
  • After the Home Page the most popular page is U.S. Coins by Type, a page that provides a list of every legal tender coin produced by the U.S. Mint including planned future issues.
  • The most popular post is “No, it wasn’t a double-strike” when quickly looking at my pocket change, I thought the 2013 Mount Rushmore quarter was a double strike. Since I have not beeb paying attention to the striking process, I was not aware of the coins’s design. I thought it was funny but one commenter did not see it that way!
  • The second most popular post and the most popular over the last six weeks is “How easy is it to pass counterfeit currency.” The post is about a lesson in using iodine pens versus the security features that Bureau of Engraving and Printing adds to every note it produces. Embedded in the post is a story from the television show Dateline showing the basics but leaving out some critical details.
  • Readers come here from Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches. However, after Google, the most people come from Twitter to read the posts. Although it is difficult to identify the search terms that has lead readers to the blog, the top three terms are “us mint news,” “coin blog,” and “2013 mount rushmore quarter error.” The most interesting search term identified had to be “the “a” was key to identifying the mint city. in principle coins of the greeks (1932), h.” I am not sure what it means! If you know, add it as a comment below.
  • Finally, you seem to like my pictures as opposed to pictures I embed from other websites. Most of these pictures are the images that I have taken of coins, events, or anything else that may come up. I will try to see if I can find more unique images to write about.

After nearly 11 years and over 1,300 posts, not only am I happy to have you as a reader, but I want to keep going. I appreciate the support over the years and welcome new readers. If there is a topic you would like to see covered, please add it as a comment or send a note.

Thank you!

Just for fun, here are the Romantics and “What I like about you:”

Even more dictionary updates

DictionaryBehind the scenes I am working on a few projects including the ability for collectors to have access to my dictionary wordlist where ever they are. I will have an announcement in a few weeks but in the mean time I am collecting reference information and finding words missing from my Numismatic Dictionary. After a while, I will reformat my list and add them.

Here is today’s list of new words:

My word of the day is exergue. An exergue is the area below the main design that is separated by a line and often bears the date. An example of an exergue would be on the reverse of the Buffalo nickel or the obverse of the Standing Liberty quarter. I forgot what I was reading when I came across the word discussing the differences in the Type 1 and Type 2 Buffalo nickels.

Reverse of a 1913 Type 2 Buffalo nickel showing the "FIVE CENTS" in the exergue.

Reverse of a 1913 Type 2 Buffalo nickel showing the “FIVE CENTS” in the exergue.

Obverse of a 1917-S Type 1 Standing Liberty Quarter with the date in the exergue.

Obverse of a 1917-S Type 1 Standing Liberty Quarter with the date in the exergue.

It is always good to learn something new!

If you think there is a mistake or a word has been left out please contact me and let me know. Thank you!

Coin images courtesy of Wikipedia.

More dictionary updates

DictionaryThanks to a few readers and some additional research, I edited a few of the Numismatic Dictionary entries and added a few words. The new words added are:

The one I did not know but found the most interesting is fishscale. Fishscale was a nickname for the trime, the U.S. silver three-cent coin that was struck 1851-1873. In Canada, it was used as a nickname for their silver five-cent coin struck from 1870 through 1921. I could not find an origin of the nickname.

I am very happy that the Numismatic Dictionary has proven to be a useful resource!

As always, if you think there is a mistake or a word has been left out please contact me and let me know. Thank you!

Off to Baltimore

Just some small change at Bureau of Engraving and Printing Booth (Whitman Spring 2015)

Just some small change at Bureau of Engraving and Printing Booth (Whitman Spring 2015)

At some point, after running some early errands, I will drive to Baltimore for the Whitman Baltimore Expo. If you want to follow along, I will be on Twitter using the hashtag #WBSE16 from my @CoinsBlog account. If you are just interested in the images and not my commentary, you can follow the board I set up under my Pinterest account I named “Whitman Baltimore Expo 2016-04-02” (for its originality, of course).

If you are not into trying to watch the live updates or social media, here are widgets to both accounts and you can follow along here:


There should be two images on the Pinterest board from testing my workflow.

GEEKY BACKGROUND for those who wants to know what I did, otherwise, you can skip this: I created an ifttt recipe that searches for my tweets with hashtag #WBSE16 then posts the image to my specified board on Pinterest.

I will post a more comprehensive report after the show.

A little spring cleaning

Spring CleaningSpring has sprung and it is time to use the weekends to begin the outdoor tasks. Unfortunately, here in the D.C. area the weather was cool even had a persistent mist on Sunday. But that didn’t stop one spring cleaning chore I had.

Although my writing has slowed a bit since starting my company, I have been trying to keep up. But as it happens, the blog needs a little maintenance, too. The new look and feel is fine. This time, it was time to look at some of the content and clean things up a bit. The changes I made updated the static information that you can find from the menu bar, above.

Here are the updates: [THIS LIST WAS UPDATED]

  • All pages, except for the Numismatic Dictionary, now have a “Last Update” entry. This way if something is wrong someone can prod me!
  • When you write something, you get very attached to it and the ability to properly proofread cannot get past your mind’s eye. This is the case with the Numismatic Dictionary. Not only did I correct spelling and grammar but also I was able to find a few entries whose wording would have tortured many English teachers.
  • I also added a few terms to the dictionary. I forgot to note the words that I added but it was only 3-4 new entries.
  • U.S. Coins by Type page has been updated to include:
    • All modern commemorative coin programs passed by congress are now listed
    • Added Ronald Reagan to the Presidential dollars and Nancy Reagan to the First Spouse gold coins
    • Updated the American Eagle Platinum Proof program
    • [ADDED] Added a section for the America the Beautiful Silver 5-ounce Bullion coins
    • Added a section at the end for 24-karat gold coin special issues
  • U.S. Coin and Currency Production has been updated to include:
    • Change in directors at both the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing
    • Added the U.S. Secret Service
    • A list of agencies has been placed at the top as links into the page to help someone searching for specific information
  • Significant Legislation Effecting Numismatic now includes:
    • Added the American 5-Cent Coin Design Continuity Act of 2003 because it is the law that created the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee
    • Added the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 because it added 24-Karat bullion program
    • Added an entry for Public Law 84-851 that added “IN GOD WE TRUST” as a national motto
  • Under Join A Club a few of the web addresses have been updated.

As always, if you find an error contact me and let me know.

Sharing is Caring!

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Image courtesy of OpenDNS.com.

More words

Dictionary_IconSince having the Numismatic Dictionary active for over a month, the reception has been more than my expectations!

According to the server statistics, there have been over 500 unique visitors to that page with more 20-percent returning for another look. Since I put a bit of work into that database, it is nice to see it is being used.

I also received feedback with corrections and requests for additions. Corrections are wonderful and encouraged. If you see something wrong, send me a note and I will make the correction.

As for the additions, I received a request for 12 additional terms. As I was researching some of the terms to ensure I entered the right information, I found a few more to add. I had to stop at adding 51 additional terms. Some of the new additions include banknote, bit, branch mint, coin orientation, crown, encased postage stamps, euro, farthing, intaglio, legal tender, manganese, medal orientation, pet crime, pound, real, shilling, small dollar, and third-party grading service.

I really appreciate all of the input and hope it helps the numismatic community!

Keys and Mints Reference

referenceRecently, I was notified that the company whose notebook-like program decided to close its virtual doors. Its concept was simple: act like a notebook that you can stuff anything into. Although other programs passed it in some features, it was still a solid way of keeping a digital notebook. Now that they are out of business, I do not want to rely on what we call “abandonware.”

As I was reviewing a few of the notebooks I created, I found now with a lot of numismatic notes. This notebook contains lists, ideas, and other items of numismatic information. Rather than keep them hidden from the public on my disk, I will start to publish what I find as part of my Collector’s Reference section.

Today begins with two additions:

  1. Key Date Coins is a list of coins that may be considered key dates for their series. Determining key date coins sometimes is a matter of opinion, especially on older series. My notes had several lists which I used a basic polling system, mintage statistics, and third-party grading company’s population reports to determine what to add. This list only does this for non-gold coins. I will try to find similar references for gold coins and add them in the future.
  2. Mints and Mintmarks documents every branch mint operated by the U.S. Mint and provides a little information paragraph about them including the branch mint in Manila while the Philippines was a colony of the United States.

I hope you find this helpful. As always, you can always send me additions or corrections. Other comments are welcome below.

Welcome to the NEW Coin Collectors Blog

Under ConstructionWhen the Coin Collectors Blog reached its 10th Anniversary I decided it was time for a little sprucing up. It was time to paint the wall and update the furniture to make it comfortable while keeping the original charm.

Redesigns take time whether it is in your home or a website. As I have done for during the last 10 years I have been writing this blog, I did the work myself. Although my background is more technical than design—think of me as someone who would rather work on an engine than body or interior work of a car—I can enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone and do a little body work, too.

Without further ado, here are some of the things that this change offers:

  • With the growth of mobile devices I had to do something that would allow the blog to better appear on those smaller screens. In the vernacular of the web, this is called “responsive design,” which is design that responds to its environment. What you see should work better on your mobile devices.
  • All advertising has been removed. I added the advertising because I was being asked and thought it would help cover the hosting fees. Unfortunately, my hosting fees were more then I collected and I do not have time to manage this properly. Thank you to all my past advertisers but it is time we move on.
  • I changed the way to contact me to use a form. This will help those who use web-based mail services.
  • The social media sharing has changed. You can still share my posts on social media, and you are encouraged to do so. Rather than use a third-party to do the sharing the links will send you directly to those social media sites. As someone concerned with privacy I thought this was a better option!

Although I decided to keep the same color scheme, I made the layout simpler. Aside from helping with the responsive design, it is fashionable to have simpler and cleaner designs. It is difficult to update a live website without having a few stumbles. If you see something that is not right send me an email note or comment below with the information.

Happy Collecting!

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