Weekly World Numismatic News for August 16, 2020

Whitman canceled the November show in Baltimore because the city continues to use the convention center as a staging area for COVID-19 emergencies. Although the number of cases in the Baltimore area has decreased, city and state health officials warn of a spike that will require the use of the convention center.

Nearly every health expert, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) located in Atlanta, has issued warnings of a second wave combined with the seasonal flu will cause a significant public health risk. Rather than cancel the show, Whitman Expo manager Lori Kraft said that they are “working on an alternate show venue.”

This past week, the Virginia Numismatic Association (VNA) canceled its annual show scheduled for September. They hold their show in Fredericksburg, Virginia, about 50 miles south of Washington, D.C.

The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) hopes that the Monroeville Convention Center (outside of Pittsburgh) will be able to hold their Fall Show at the end of October. Currently, the venue is restricting events to those with 25 attendees or fewer.

States in the northeast continue to have restrictions similar to those in Pennsylvania. Going east to Illinois has similar issues.

If Whitman keeps the show on the east coast, the only place left for them is in Georgia, where they are located. As much as it pains this University of Georgia alumnus to admit, the fellow alum that sits in the state governor’s office has made Georgians’ health and safety a source of political tension.

The year is more than half-over, and the infection is getting worse. Virus hot spots have moved out of the northeast into states where health and safety have been politicized, including Georgia. Leaders are not listening to the medical community, and people are paying with their health and lives.

It is time to admit that 2020 is a lost year. It is time for everyone to adapt to what we have today and plan for the future. It is time for Whitman to cancel the Expo for 2020.

Plan now for a better future when it is (hopefully) safer.

Everyone please stay safe and healthy!

And now the news…

 August 10, 2020
Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores turned off a 30-foot waterfall and collected all the coins visitors had thrown into the water to make wishes. After cleaning the money, they'll put it toward the aquarium's expenses.  → Read more at npr.org

 August 10, 2020
Gold Last Tuesday somebody told Gold buyers that it’s normally hot in the month of August. Then the Gold price broke above the key $2,000 resistance level and it kept on going.  → Read more at kitco.com

 August 11, 2020
The Museum of West Bohemia in Plzeň has announced the discovery of hundreds of silver and gold coins from the 14th century. The treasure, unearthed in a forest near the Kladruby Monastery in the region of Tachov, is believed to be one of the biggest troves of gold coins unearthed on the territory of the Czech Republic.  → Read more at english.radio.cz

 August 12, 2020
Gold is hot. Record-breaking prices and demand for gold bullion have thrust the yellow metal back into the media spotlight.  → Read more at energyandcapital.com

 August 12, 2020
Anti-National Socialism political activist and student Sophie Scholl will be commemorated on a special coin, said the German Finance Ministry on Wednesday. The €20 ($23) sterling silver collectors coin will be issued in April 2021, timed to coincide with Scholl's birthday.  → Read more at dw.com

 August 13, 2020
I heard about the coin shortage on the news. Maybe it's from people wishing 2020 will be over. OK, all jokes aside, it turns out to be just a disruption in coin circulation.  → Read more at marshfieldmail.com
Coin Collectors News


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.

Why I will not attend Whitman Expo this weekend

Usually, I would have a bit of excitement as the Whitman Baltimore Expo is to be held this weekend. After my previous experiences, not only am I not excited, I am not going.

When Whitman bought the Baltimore Coin and Currency Expo, they did a good job making a destination show on the east coast. It looked like they added some resources and injected new ideas that make a good show better.

But it seems to have plateaued.

For the last few years, if you did not go to this show on Thursday or Friday, the number of dealers staying around has diminished to the point of not being worth attending over the weekend.

If you work or have other conflicts then you might want to consider not wasting your time.

In my case, I have a lot of work to do in setting up a new business. I will be in the shop all morning and will be waiting for someone to deliver some display items in the afternoon. I have to finish setting up by Monday so that the final occupancy inspection can take place—the county wants to ensure that the place is accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I cannot open the shop without this inspection completed.

I could take the time to go up on Sunday, but the last time I did that I counted less than 25 dealers. It is not worth the 42-mile one-way trip with the cost of gas going up and the tolls.

And it does not seem that Whitman is trying to improve the situation.

Sure, they added “**Limited Dealers**” to their schedule but that does not warn the visitor that in two or three convention center halls there will be less than 25 dealers.

If I wait until next Saturday I can go to a local show and see more than 25 dealers. It will be a shorter drive, no tolls, and the dealers are closer together so that I will not waste my time crossing empty aisles.

This is really sad because I have always considered this “my show.” My show is dying and I do not know if Whitman really cares!

Whitman Baltimore Expo is dying!

In the more than 12 years of writing this blog, I never thought I would be writing about the pending death of one the great east coast shows. However, given the what I saw this past weekend and having discussions with what few dealers I could have, it is now time for Whitman to either fix the Baltimore Expo or get out of the coin show business.

First and foremost, if you are going to have a three-day show and open to the public on Sunday, then you should have more than 22 dealers across three convention center halls. After being stunned by the number of empty tables when I arrived at 12:30pm on Sunday, I counted the number of dealers that were still selling. There were 22 tables with dealers still selling while another six were packing, including one across from the entrance.

The view standing between Halls B and C at 12:30pm in the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo

These numbers do not count the Whitman and U.S. Mint booths.

A dealer near the entrance is someone I know and have bought from in the past. When I complained about the lack of dealers he said, unapologetically, that I should have been there earlier. While this dealer is not known for having a warm-and-fuzzy personality, he does carry an interesting inventory and can be an interesting person to talk with on occasion. However, how dare he question my ability to attend? According to Whitman, the show is open 10am until 3pm on Sunday. At 12:30pm I expected more than 22 dealers!

But wait, you might exclaim. Whitman has “**Limited Dealers**” on their website.

There is a difference between “limited” and 22 dealers!

The view standing in the middle of Hall A at about 1:15pm in the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo.

That is only part of the story. According to one dealer and one attendee who was there on Saturday, the number of empty tables exceeded the number of dealers before most of the dealers started to pack on Saturday afternoon. When I asked the attendee why he showed up on Sunday knowing it would be empty, he said he was looking for bargains but was disappointed with the number of dealers left.

Usually, I look forward to attending the show in Baltimore. I can always find something interesting and talk with a lot of interesting people. It makes the hour-long shlep worth the trouble. But when there was nothing available that I wanted and I spent more on parking and gas than I did at the show, then it was a waste of my time.

When Whitman bought the show it looked like they would work to build it up and keep it a first-class show. Unfortunately, it seems as if Whitman has abandoned their mission and may be on the verge of dying because of its neglect. It is clear that the competence they had before is not there now.

Unless Whitman can fix the problems and make it something that even a late attendee can get something out of, they may have lost this proponent and customer.

I did buy something

I cannot leave a show without buying something. There was one dealer with tokens who was really eager to sell. Since I cannot pass up a chance to search for tokens related to New York, here are the more interesting items I purchase:

I did find one item that I bought because it was intriguing and I want to learn more about the backstory. The next image is a button with the portrait of the late Theodore Roosevelt and the legend that says “Women’s Roosevelt Memorial Association.” As a fan of our 26th President (and fellow New Yorker), I did not know this group existed or what they do. When I find out more I will post what I learn. In the meantime, it is an interesting button!

Thoughts on this weekend’s Whitman Expo

Whitman Expo came to Baltimore this weekend to fill up three large halls in the Baltimore Convention Center. Like every Whitman Expo, dealers come from all over making it a must-attend east coast destination.

I was able to attend on Friday afternoon. It was not for long because I had to work half of the day. But it is always worth the trip.

Travelling to Baltimore on Friday is different than going on Saturday. First, the traffic between the Washington metro area and Baltimore is heavier. The traffic in Baltimore is also heavier especially on I-95 going through the city. And parking is a little more expensive because you compete with the business parking of downtown Baltimore. Someday, I will take the light rail that stops between the Convention Center and Camden Yards.

During a short visit to a show like Baltimore you either have to have a concise strategy or whatever objectives there are will not be fulfilled. This time I had no objectives and spent a lot of time talking with people.

Over the years I have met a lot of dealers and others while walking around I wanted to visit with some of these people. I also got to meet with one of the long-time readers of the blog. Bob is a frequent correspondent who came down from New Jersey on Amtrak to also visit the show. It was good to meet Bob and put a face on the real person behind the emails.

During the short time I spent on the bourse floor I learned a few things about the market:

  1. Sales are moderate but steady. Dealers are selling more online than in shows but see the shows as a valuable marketing tool. None of the dealers I spoke with are seeing the end of coin shows but can envision a reduction in the number of shows.
  2. Some dealers are diversifying their inventory from their core interests to other areas. One dealer noted that he was seeing more junk box searching than in the past. Although he thought that his sales were below average, he thought that the low-end sales would pick up on Saturday when younger people will attend.
  3. I thought there was a lot more silver than gold. One dealer that sells modern bullion coin such as American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and Chinese Pandas said that silver bullion was selling better than their gold counterparts. With silver trading under $17 per troy ounce, those interested in bullion are buying silver. He also attributed the interest in silver with some of the better silver issues like the Pandas and other non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins.
  4. Speaking of NCLT coins, I did not see a big selection. A dealer whose case included a few older issues said that the current NCLT issues may be too expensive for the market. It is one thing to issue themed coins that may be of interest but selling them has been a problem. Some people find it difficult to justify the selling of a one-ounce silver coin for more than four-times bullion value. This dealer thought that the licensing fees being paid for these images were probably driving up the price and driving their potential market away.

Another interesting aspect of the show is the number of non-numismatic items for sale. There were two dealers whose cases contained only jewelry. Most of the jewelry were quality items and estate pieces but I was surprised there were two dealers whose inventory was exclusively jewelry. A few dealers I have seen in the past also had cases of jewelry. One said that the rings he was selling were an accumulation of many years and found that the market was more receptive to the jewelry.

In addition to the jewelry, a dealer was selling used music compact discs (CD) and another had African artifacts including a beautiful silver necklace. Some of the currency dealers also had historical papers, letters, ledgers, and other ephemera that only has a tangential tie to numismatics.

Last week I asked how dealers would respond to the market. It looks like some dealers have turned to inventory diversity and including non-numismatic collectibles. If it helps bring in more collectors, it might be a good move.

BNote sings new praises for Baltimore

Last April, the Baltimore Green Currency Association, sponsor of the BNote, initiated an Indiegogo campaign to fund their next issue that would feature significant women in Baltimore history. Although the campaign fell a little short, an anonymous donor funded more than $10,000 of the balance to print the currency.

Notes are a local currency that can be used at participating businesses in and around Baltimore. Currently, there are over 230 businesses accepting the BNote for goods and services. Consumers can receive BNotes as change for a transaction or may visit one of the official cambios (money exchange locations) to exchange dollars for BNotes. For every $10 that is exchanged for BNotes, you will receive a 10-percent bonus, which means if you exchange $10 you will receive BN11. You can also exchange BNotes for dollars at a reverse rate (receive $10 for every BN11 in BNotes).

The first BNotes were issued in April 2011 featuring the designs of Fredrick Douglas on the BN1 note and Edgar Allan Poe on the BN5 note. The reverse of the notes features a Baltimore oriole (the bird, not a ball player) on the $1 BNote and a raven on the reverse of the $5 BNote. For this new issue, Douglass and Poe remain on the note but the design changed to incorporate the vertical bars of the Calvert coat of arms that is incorporated in the Maryland flag.

The new BN10 and BN20 notes are similar in design with new colors on the background. Bea Gaddy is featured on the front of the BN10 and the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly, the official Maryland State Insect, on the reverse. Lillie May Carroll Jackson appears on the front of the BN20 note and a Blue Crab, the official Maryland State Crustacean, on the reverse.

Bea Gaddy was known as the Mother Teresa of Baltimore. A single mother of five who ended up in baltimore in 1964, she was discovered by a Baltimore attorney who encouraged her to go to college. Gaddy earned her bachelor’s degree in human services from Antioch University in 1977.

Gaddy saw the need to help others and joined the East Baltimore Children’s fund where she used her own home as a distribution point for clothing and food for the poor. She founded a homeless shelter which eventually became the Bea Gaddy Family Center, which is still in operation today.

In 1981, using the $290 she won on a 50-cents lottery ticket, she bought enough food to feed 39 neighbors and eventually opened a community kitchen for the needy. From Thanksgiving dinners to opening furniture bank refurbishing used furniture and rehabbing abandoned row houses, Gaddy was a catalyst to help the poor in Baltimore. Eventually, she became an ordained minister to perform marriages and hold funerals at no cost to the families.

Gaddy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. With the cancer in remission, Gaddy ran for Baltimore City Council in 1999 and won. Unfortunately, the cancer returned and she died in October 2001 at the age of 68. Even though Bea Gaddy is gone, her family and friends continue to help the poor in Baltimore using the same love and compassion Bea showed throughout her life.

Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson was born in Baltimore in 1889 and is consider the mother of the civil rights movement. From 1935 through 1970, Jackson was the president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP and at the forefront of nearly every fight to end Maryland’s Jim Crow laws. Through her leadership, the Baltimore NAACP sued to remove the color barrier from admissions to the University of Maryland Law School, won cases to force Baltimore public schools to grant equal pay to white and black teachers, and was fundamental to having Baltimore to be the first school system south of the Mason-Dixon line to integrate their schools following the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Jackson fought for equal pay and fair employment practices even though Maryland Governor Theodore McKeldin (R) was once quoted as saying, “I’d rather have the devil after me than Mrs. Jackson. Give her what she wants.” In the end, Jackson won most of the fights.

She is also credited with playing critical roles in the passage of federal civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

Jackson died from a heard attack in 1975. After she died, her will called for her Baltimore home to be turned into a civil rights museum. The museum opened in 1978 with memorabilia from Jackson’s life and documents chronicling her life’s work. It was the only museum named after a woman and the only civil rights museum in Maryland. The museum closed in the 1990s because it was too difficult to maintain as a private facility. The museum was transferred to Morgan University who refurbished the building and reopened it on June 11, 2016.

As part of the Indigogo campaign, I selected the option to receive the a full set of the second series BNotes with matching serial numbers. The notes I received, which feels like they were printed on heavy stock paper, a type of paper my wife said was “resumé” paper. All four notes feature serial number BN00055. For all you liar’s poker players, I call a full house.

What do you mean I can’t call a full house?!

My trip to Balmer, Hon

Whitman Spring 2016 Expo looking into Hall C

Whitman Spring 2016 Expo looking into Hall C

It has been over a week since I attended the Whitman Baltimore Expo Spring show at the Baltimore Convention Center and finally found time to write about my visit.

Those who followed me on Twitter knows that I had a late start. We working stiffs do have weekend responsibilities that have to be taken care of before we can go out to play. Once I was able to complete my errands, I was able to travel north to Baltimore.

I may be one of the few people who are not from Baltimore who likes Baltimore. But going to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area can be a lot of fun, even if it is frustrating trying to find parking. Then again, show me any city that does not have a parking problem and I will show you a city that is not as fun.

Once I was able to find parking I walked to the convention center. After entering in the early afternoon on Saturday I was struck by the number of empty tables that could be seen from the entry door. In all areas of the three convention center halls, the number of empty tables was surprising. I was also surprised to see a number of shared tables being half used.

As I walked around the convention center floor I was struck by the number of tables that were either never occupied or the dealer did not show up at all on Saturday. You can tell these tables from the others by the number of fliers left on the table. Some tables had rental cases with the keys in them showing that these tables were either unused or the dealer left early.

Dealer attendance inside Hall B

Dealer attendance inside Hall B

Another view of the dealer attendance on Saturday

Another view of the dealer attendance on Saturday

I recently learned that a table for the Baltimore show costs $750. Add the cost of travel, food, lodging, and the inventory, does the costs justify leaving and not trying to make money? When I discussed this with a regular dealer, I was told that some that are not having a good show will leave early to cut their losses.

Of the dealers that were left, there was a nice mix of items. For once, I did not get the impression that one type of coin was more popular than the other. In fact, I think this is the first show where bullion and bullion-related coins were not the focus. I was able to find American Silver Eagles without problem but finding some of the foreign bullion coins was a little more challenging.

Obverse of the to be released 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial Tribute

Obverse of the to be released 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial Tribute

Reverse of the to be released 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial Tribute

Reverse of the to be released 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial Tribute

Medals on display at the U.S. Mint booth

Medals on display at the U.S. Mint booth

Shawnee National Forest 5 ounce silver coin

Shawnee National Forest 5 ounce silver coin

Whitman, the sponsor of the show, had their own booth and was actually selling discounted items. In prior years, Whitman would sell their own products at full price but this time offered some discount. And they had a clearance table. I did not buy from the clearance table because they did not have anything I wanted but there were some nice and current items that were worth the value.

Sale at the Whitman Booth!

Sale at the Whitman Booth!

There were good collectors guide books on the sale table

There were good collectors guide books on the sale table

One thing Whitman did was to give away hardcover copies of the 70th Edition of the Red Book autographed by Ken Bressett and Jeff Garrett. All I had to do was fill out a ticket at the Whitman booth, return to the booth at the time of the drawing, and wait for them to give away the eight books being offered on Saturday. I think I was the fourth book given away.

Drawing for the autographed Red Book

Drawing for the autographed Red Book

I WON! It looks like I received lucky #7.

I WON! It looks like I received lucky #7.

Previously, I noted that the choices of numismatic literature has diminished. While the death of numismatic book dealer John Burns is a tragic story in and of itself, what has not happened is that someone has not stepped into that market. Aside from being intelligent and a character with a sharp wit, his inventory was so varied that I was always able to find something a little off-beat or out of the ordinary that was intriguing. If someone wants to move into numismatics but wants to occupy a different space, this might be something for you to get into.

Swimming in the pools of inexpensive slabs.

Swimming in the pools of inexpensive slabs.

The most fun thing I found was the dealer that used kiddie pools as their junk box. Rather than going through boxes or bins, they set up three kiddie pools and threw in a lot of low value slabs and some other items. They had a lot of slabs and it was interesting diving into the pools looking for something fun. Although I did not buy anything from the pools, I did buy some other coins and a non-numismatic related book from their discount table.

Every show I try to find one neat item that is out of the ordinary. As I approached one table I noticed there were a few large brass medals on the table. I am intrigued by brass medals both for their size and a lot of the artwork. I have seen many brass medals with art that rival anything produced on canvas for their beauty. But this one was different in that it bore the local of Carnegie Mellon University, where I went to graduate school.

Carnegie Mellon was formed in 1967 when the Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Tech, founded in 1900) merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research (founded in 1913). I earned a masters degree in one calendar year 1999-2000. Although I was an older student, it was a great experience for me and my (late) first wife.

The reverse of the medal is an image of Hamerschlag Hall, the first permanent building of Carnegie Tech and the home of the current College of Engineering. Around the rim celebrates the 50 Year Reunion with a space for the college which is having the reunion and the year being celebrated. Since the date engraved on the reverse is 1938, it was given to its previous owner in 1988. But that does not bother me. The front has the Carnegie Mellon logo and a great reminder of my good year in Pittsburgh.

Obverse of the Carnegie Mellon University medal features the school's logo

Obverse of the Carnegie Mellon University medal features the school’s logo

Reverse of the Carnegie Mellon University medal features Hamerschlag Hall and proclaims the 50th Anniversary reunion.

Reverse of the Carnegie Mellon University medal features Hamerschlag Hall and proclaims the 50th Anniversary reunion Class of 1938.

The next Whitman Expo will be July 14-17. I hope the dealers that show up will be there if I have to spend the morning running errands.

Gallery of images

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All images are property of the author and subject to Creative Commons 4.0 license.

Crowd funding a local currency

In the Spring of 2010 during the recent recession, a group representing business interests in Baltimore formed the Baltimore Green Currency Association. As part of their efforts to support local business, the BCGA created BNotes, a local currency that can be used at participating businesses in and around Baltimore. Currently, there are over 230 businesses accepting the BNote for goods and services.

Legally, the BNote is coupon representing the amount of money on its face and are redeemable at participating merchants. Consumers can receive BNotes as change for a transaction or may visit one of the official cambios (money exchange) locations to exchange dollars for BNotes. For every $10 that is exchanged for BNotes, you will receive a 10-percent bonus, which means if you exchange $10 you will receive BN11. You can also exchange BNotes for dollars at a reverse rate (receive $10 for every BN11 in BNotes).

The first BNotes were issued in April 2011 featuring the designs of Fredrick Douglas on the BN1 note and Edgar Allan Poe on the BN5 note. The reverse of the notes features a Baltimore oriole (the bird, not a ball player) on the $1 BNote and a raven on the reverse of the $5 BNote.

One Dollar Baltimore B-Note featuring Frederick Douglas and a Baltimore oriole.

One Dollar Baltimore B-Note featuring Frederick Douglas and a Baltimore oriole.

Five Dollar Baltimore B-Note featuring Edgar Allan Poe and a raven.

Five Dollar Baltimore B-Note featuring Edgar Allan Poe and a raven.

After five years, BCGA wants to create a new series of BNotes adding BN10 and BN20 notes to feature images of two notable Baltimore women. Douglas and Poe will remain on the current two notes. It is being advertised as the first time that women will appear on currency in the United States. Currency collectors know that Martha Washington on the front of the Series 1886 and 1891 $1 silver certificates. She also appeared on the back of the Series 1896 $1 silver certificate.

In order to raise the $15,000 needed to print a new series of BNotes, BGCA has started an Indiegogo campaign. To receive the new notes, you have to give $30 to receive a new BN1, BN5, and BN10 with the same serial numbers. For $50 you can get all four notes with the same serial number. There are other perks like a special tote, invitation to a cocktail party, framed notes, etc.

Although BGCA will announce the women to be featured on the notes later this month, it may be a good bet that Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Senator Barb, 79, is a Baltimore native who will retire after this session. Before serving five terms as senator, she served 5 terms representing Maryland’s Third District in the House of Representatives. Mikulski started her political career in 1971 as a member of the Baltimore City Council.

There have been previous attempts to create tokens using a crowd funding campaign, but this appears to be the first attempt to create a community currency in this manner. If this is a success, it could inspire other business communities to do something similar. For collectors, it is a unique, inexpensive collectible.

Images courtesy of the Baltimore Green Currency Association.

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.

Spring for the Baltimore Expo

Bourse floor from Whitman Spring 2015 Show

Bourse floor from Whitman Spring 2015 Show

No matter how busy I get, I have to take some time for myself. This is why I will be planning the business I need to do this Saturday so that I can go to Baltimore for the Whitman Baltimore Expo!

It has been a while since I have been to the Whitman Show. I am sure that some of the dealers have changed—I know a few have unfortunately passed on—but I think it is time for me to have some hobby time.

Since starting my business, there has not been a lot of time to work on a new collection even though I did start a Vickie Cent collection (Canadian Large Cents from the Queen Victoria era) a few months ago. Aside from the collectable bullion (Maple Leafs, Pandas, and Britannia), I think this would be a good opportunity to add to my Vickie Cent collection.

Of course it will give me a chance to look for something for my New York City collection. I am not sure what I have or need, but it is all about the hunt.

I will likely be Tweeting from the convention center so follow me on Twitter @coinsblog. I invite others to contribute by using the hashtag #WBSE16 (Whitman Baltimore Spring Expo ’16). More info on the social media following will be published here on Saturday morning. Stay tuned!

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