Canada Day, or Fête du Canada in the French-speaking areas, is Canada’s version of Independence Day. It celebrates the enactment of their Constitution on July 1, 1867. The Constitution Act of 1867 brought together Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick to create the Dominion of Canada. As a Dominion then an independent member of the Commonwealth Realm, Canadian history is a bit different from that of the United States but as interesting.
This year, Canada celebrates its 150th Anniversary. Joining in the celebration, the Royal Canadian Mint has been issuing many collector coins with various themes for collectors to celebrate. One of the most talked about coins is the circulating $2 coin called “Dance of the Spirits” that features the Northern Lights that glow in the dark.
Collectors can purchase a 5-coin set of uncirculated Canada 150 circulation strike coins in a special folder from the Royal Canadian Mint for $19.95 CAD (currently $15.39 USD). For those who want the full set of uncirculated coins, the complete 12-coin set is available for $34.95 CAD ($26.95 USD).
If you can wait, the Royal Canadian Mint is scheduled to attend the World’s Fair of Money. Sometimes they offer discounts to those attending the show and they could be sold out of these sets! But if you are not going to make it to Denver, the Royal Canadian Mint is very good with shipping to the United States.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the second son of Joe and Rose Kennedy. Born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts, Jack, as he was known to family and friends, was born of privilege and lead that life being able to travel the world in his younger days. It also helped that his father was named Ambassador to the Court of St. James (London).
He used his experience to better understand the plight of people and majored in government at Harvard College. For his honors thesis, Kennedy toured the Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East to research different political philosophies. He later was in Germany when the German Army invaded Poland marking the beginning of World War II. With his father still in London, they attended the House of Commons supporting the declaration of war on Germany.
On his return to the United States, Kennedy tried to enter the Army’s Officer Candidate School but was medically ineligible because of chronic lower back problems. He used his family’s connections to join the U.S. Naval Reserves. During World War II, he famously commanded PT-109.
Following the death of his elder brother in 1944, Kennedy was tapped by his father to run for office. Kennedy won his first election in 1946 to serve two terms in the House. In 1952, Kennedy ran for the Senate against three-term incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. The popularity of Dwight Eisenhower running for the president did not help Lodge as Kennedy was able to win by 70,000 votes.On January 2, 1960, Kennedy announced that he was seeking the Democrat’s nomination for President of the United States. Although very young by presidential standards at 43 years old, Kennedy’s greatest obstacle was his religion. This was the first time a Roman Catholic politician was running for president. He was able to win the nomination by using a well-organized campaign that also took advantage of his good looks and the popularity of his wife, Jacqueline.
While trying to overcome the “Catholic question,” Kennedy his opponent, Richard Nixon, held three debates. Although not much is said about the last two debates, the first one was historic. Kennedy used makeup and appeared cool and presidential. Nixon looked nervous, sweaty, and his five o’clock shadow did not help. When the debate was over, those watching on television thought Kennedy won while those listening on radio thought Nixon won. It was a fascinating use of new media and set the tone for presidential races to come.
Kennedy won the 1960 election by two-tenths of the popular vote and exceeded the Electoral College by a 303-219 margin even though 14 electors from Alabama and Mississippi refused to support him because of his stance on civil rights. Kennedy became the youngest person ever elected president.
There were a lot of accomplishments and difficulties during the term of the 35th president that there are too many to highlight here. But one that is significant in the current numismatic world was the speech he made at Rice University in support of the space program. At the time Kennedy was pushing for the funding to enter the space race, Congress was skeptical over spending the money. His impassioned speech to the students at Rice as well as several others around the nation helped gain public support. Congress eventually funded the space program.
In 2019, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of making it to the moon by the end of that decade with the Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin program. Phase One of the competition ends on June 29, 2017, or until 1,000 entries are received. Visit the U.S. Mint’s competition page for more information.
Would the United States have made it to the moon by the end of the 1960s and beaten the Russians there without Kennedy? We may not be able to answer that question but we do know he set the policies that will allow for the celebration in two years.
Happy 100th Birthday to President John F. Kennedy.
- 2017 Kennedy Half Dollar and 2015 Kennedy Dollar images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.
- All other images are property of the author.
Southern states began their own commemoration to honor their soldiers who died during the war. No specific date was used but occurred in late April through June. By 1880, there was a more organized Confederate Memorial Day. These celebrations honored specific soldiers to commemorate the Confederate “Lost Cause.” By 1913, a sense of nationalism saw a commemoration of all soldiers that have died in battle.Memorial Day took on national significance following World War I when the nation began to recognize all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during all conflicts. By the end of World War II, most of the celebrations were renamed to Memorial Day. Memorial Day did not become an official holiday until 1967 with the passage of the Uniform Holidays Act in 1968. Under the law, Memorial Day was set to the last Monday in May, changing it from the traditional May 30th.
Memorial Day is the national remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Please take a moment and honor the memories of those who have died for without them who knows where we would be today.
Patrick was not welcomed when he arrived but worked with the society to convert them to Christianity. Although most of his writings portrayed that he was probably more successful than he was, but after working with the people, first in the northern regions of Ireland, he did find success. He once wrote that he baptized thousands of people and some have written that he baptized hundreds on a single day. Using the native three-leaf shamrock to describe the Holy Trinity, Patrick was promoted bishop and apostle of Ireland. He died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he founded his first church.
For thousands of years, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick’s death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was celebrated in 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
With Saint Patrick’s Day, talk about “the luck of the Irish” and associate the shamrock of four-leaf clover as a lucky symbol. I was thinking if there are coins or currency that would bring you luck. After searching around online for lucky coins there was a common theme: something that is special to you. Here is a composite of the types of lucky coins:
- Coins from the year of your birth: I have helped several people buy proof and mint sets of coins from the year they were born. On one of my father’s milestone birthdays, I bought uncirculated coins from the year of his birth and had them slabbed in an NGC multi-coin holder when they were still being offered.
- Coins from a country special to you: On one of my wife’s milestone birthdays, I purchased a Canadian proof set from the year of her birth. Although she was born in the United States, her parents were from Canada and it has become a special collectible.
- Coins that have a special meaning: A friend keeps a Morgan Dollar in his top desk drawer. The desk used to belong to his grandfather who kept that coin as his “emergency dollar” during the Great Depression.
- Coins found during a happy or coincidental time: A client once showed me a 1958 Cuban peso that he found on the street in Miami that he keeps as a pocket piece. He decided that since it was the same year his family fled Cuba, it was a fortuitous find.
- Coins of a specific design: Sometimes the design may be added to the coin. I once met someone who had several Love Tokens from his relatives he says it is his family’s way of watching over him.
A silver sixpence in her shoeA more specific coin that is supposed to bring luck is the British sixpence. According to the Victorian poem, to bring luck to the marriage, the bride is supposed to wear “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” The lucky sixpence would be placed in her left shoe by her father to wish his daughter good health and great wealth for the couple. Although the sixpence was discontinued in 1971 when the United Kingdom converted from the old system to decimalization. The tradition remains popular in the UK and to a certain degree in the U.S. except a silver quarter is used.
Feng ShuiThen there are Feng Shui Coins. These are Chinese lucky coins that are supposed to attract wealth and success. Feng Shui coins are round and have a square hole in the middle. The round shape represents the heavens. The square is a symbol of the four corners of the earth. For luck, Feng Shui coins should be tied together using a red ribbon or thread. The red ribbon is said to activate the power of the coins to protect your existing income and attracting more money.
The number of coins tied together is important. One coin is believed to promote loneliness and will leave you empty. Two is better but does not have the power of rebirth that three does. Three coins tied together represents the heavens, earth, and mankind. Four represents death and not something that would promote Feng Shui. The Chinese do not know why five is not lucky but this is accepted. While three is considered proper Feng Shui, making it more powerful would be three-times-three, or nine, coins.
For luck, you can hang Feng Shui coins on the on the inside of your front door, not the outside. You want the luck inside. Do not hang your Feng Shui coins on your back door because it will luck to leave your house.
You can place three Feng Shui coins on top of items to bring them luck. When you do this, it is important to place the Yang side facing up to invite the luck to protect your item. The Yang side is the side with the four characters.
When giving a gift, attach three Feng Shui coins to the package to bring double happiness. It tells the recipient that with the gift you are also wishing them wealth, prosperity, and happiness. Doing this will add to your Feng Shui for giving generous and unselfish wishes.
Numerology and currency
Numerology is the belief in the divine or mystical relationship between numbers and the physical world. Many people practice a mild form of numerology called a “lucky number.” For those who believe in some type of numerology can turn to the serial number of currency to add to their collection.
One of the more expensive aspects of notaphily is the collection of patterns numbers. Typical patterns are as follows:
- Solid: every digit the same
- Ladder: numbers that count up, like 12345678, or down, like 98765432
- Low or High numbers
- Radar numbers: when the serial number repeats forward and backward, like 12344321
- Repeater numbers: when the serial number is repeated, like 12341234
- Super Repeater: pairs of numbers that repeat four times, like 36363636
- Double Quad: two pairs of four numbers, like 88889999
- Seven of a kind: both in a row or seven of the same number
Notes that represent dates can bring luck such as one that has your birthdate. For someone born on March 17, 1977, finding a note with the serial number 03171977 or even 19770317 could be very lucky. Since the numbers reset for every series and there are 12 Federal Reserve branches used as a prefix, you have quite a few chances of finding these.Of course, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will help. If you go to their website at moneyfactorystore.gov and look under Premium Products, they sell special sets with serial numbers from the current year.
The BEP also sells lucky money that includes the Lucky 7 set. These notes have a serial number that begins with three 7s. You can also buy notes in special Chinese holders with serial numbers that begin with “8888” and “168.” In Chinese, the “eight” sounds similar to the word for “prosper” or “wealth.” Selling the Lucky 8888 note is to help promote prosperity and wealth.
The “168 Prosperity Forever” note plays on the Mandarin pronunciation of the number that sounds similar to “prosperity forever.” If the BEP used the Cantonese pronunciation, they would have the use the serial numbers beginning “768.”
Go find your lucky coin and may you have health and prosperity.
All in a Word
As we do every month, we look back at the previous month’s activity in congress that will affect us numismatically. July started with congress on their 4th of July break coming back for a one week session before leaving to attend their respective conventions.
Prior to leaving, congressed passed the United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act (Public Law 114-196). The law authorizes the formation of a commission to organize the national celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States on July 4, 2026. It was signed by President Obama on July 22, 2016. Section 5, Paragraph (c)(2)(F) of the new law recommends that the commission encourages “Federal agencies to integrate the celebration of the Semiquincentennial into the regular activities and execution of the purpose of the agencies through such activities as the issuance of coins, medals, certificates of recognition, stamps, and the naming of vessels.”
Those of us who are old enough to remember, this was the first time in the modern era that circulating commemoratives were issued. The quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins all had special reverse designs that were issued in 1975 and 1976. These coins remain popular amongst collectors and an interesting curiosity when non-collectors find the quarter with the drummer boy reverse in their pocket change. Although circulating commemoratives are not a new concept since the advent of the 50 State Quarters series, there is an opportunity to consider something interesting to celebrate on all U.S. coinage rather than just certain denominations.
The only other piece of legislation legislation of concern was that the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2017 passed the House on July 7, 2016. The bill authorizes the U.S. Mint to withdraw up to $30 million from the Public Enterprise Fund for its operations. This is an increase of $10 million from when the bill was originally submitted in June.
If you missed my previous explanation on the funding of the U.S. Mint, you can read “No Taxpayer Money Is Used by the US Mint” at your leisure.
It was July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “ Buzz” Aldrin, made history by being the first humans to land on Earth’s only natural satellite. A mere 238,900 mile trip began with the launch of the Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969, with Michael Collins who orbited over the moon in the command module, the trip fulfilled the promise of President John F. Kennedy who said to congress on May 25, 1961, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
Kennedy would have been pleased with the events of 47 years ago, today.
Michael Collins design the mission insignia. Collins said that he wanted a symbol to represent a “peaceful lunar landing by the United States.” He also left the names of the astronauts off of the insignia so that it would represent everyone who worked on the mission. It is one of the few mission insignias that does not include the name of the astronauts.The first numismatic-related item that used the Apollo 11 mission insignia were the medals made by the Robbins Company of Attleboro, Massachusetts. Although there were many space-flown numismatics that have surfaced over the years, the most famous from Apollo 11 was the sterling silver Robbins Medal that was presented to Wally Schirra by Neil Armstrong. Armstrong and Schirra were good friends. He gave the medal to honor his friend, the first three-time astronaut who retired just before the Apollo 11 flight.
This medal was sold for $33,460.00 on April 18, 2013 by Heritage Auctions.
In March, before the Apollo 11 launch, President Dwight Eisenhower died of congestive heart failure at the age of 78. To honor the late president, congress passed the bill to produce what ended up to be the last large dollar coin with the portrait of Eisenhower. It was Rep. Bob Casey (D-TX) who remembered that Eisenhower created NASA and proposed that the reverse of the coin use the Apollo 11 mission insignia rather than just a heraldic eagle.
The Eisenhower dollar was released in 1971 and struck until 1978. Other than relief and varieties, the only design change was made in honor of the nation’s bicentennial in 1975-76.
Beginning in 1976, the U.S. Mint was looking to reduce the costs of coin production and was testing different shapes and compositions for a new dollar coin. In order to appease the powerful vending machine industry, the result was a coin that was too similar in size and composition to the quarter dollar. Congress made the decision to honor Susan B. Anthony and leave the Apollo 11 mission insignia on the reverse.
Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro designed the reverse for both the Eisenhower and SBA dollars using the Apollo 11 mission insignia. An iconic design even though the coins were less than successful.
After nearly a year of war and attempted negotiation with King George III and the British parliament, it became clear that the colonies in the New World would continue to be under harsh rule without representation. In January 1776, the Continental Congress met to discuss the matter.
Public support for independence from the British Empire was growing amongst the colonies. Only the “middle colonies” of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland who were benefiting financially being part of the British Empire were against independence. When these colonies sent delegations to the Continental Congress, each of their conventions did not allow them to vote for independence.
As the war with Great Britain dragged on and the attempt at tightening their reigns on the colonies persisted, the populous cry for independence grew. Delegates were set back to their governments and representatives sent to the middle colonies to convince them that the colonies had to declare independence for their own survival. As colonies began to line up with the independence movement, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and South Carolina remained reticent on the subject.
Of the four hold outs, Pennsylvania and Maryland had governments with strong ties to the colonial governors who still had influence. John Adams wrote a draft preamble to explain the independence resolution. Part of the way the resolution was written was, in effect, to overthrow the colonial governments of Pennsylvania and Maryland so that it would be replaced by a popular government. On May 15, 1776, that preamble was passed. The colonies had taken their first step toward independence.
Delegates left the congress and returned to their own colonial conventions. Maryland, whose delegates walked out of the congress in protest, continued to reject the notion of independence. Samuel Chase returned to Maryland and convinced them to allow their delegates to approve the motion of independence. Pennsylvania, New York, and South Carolina remained against the declaration while the Delaware delegates were split.
On June 11, 1776, the “Committee of Five” was appointed to draft a declaration. Committee members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. Although no minutes were kept from the committee meetings, it was accepted that the resulting document was largely Jefferson’s work. The Committee of Five completed the draft on June 28, 1776.
Debate on the draft declaration began on July 1. After a long day of speeches a vote was taken. Maryland voted yes but Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted no. The New York delegation abstained with out authority from their government to vote. Delaware could not vote because its delegate was split on the question. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina moved to postpone the vote until the next day.
Although there is no written history on what happened that evening, there had to have been lobbying by supporters of independence because on July 2, South Carolina voted yes followed by a turnaround by the Pennsylvania delegation that also voted yes. New York with no authority from their government continued to abstain. With the Delaware delegation deadlocked, this set up the historical ride of Caesar Rodney. Rodney was one of Delaware’s representative to the Continental Congress. He was in Dover attending to other business when he learned that Thomas McKean and George Read were deadlocked on the vote of independence. Rodney rode 80 miles from Dover to Philadelphia to vote with McKean to allow Delaware join eleven other colonies voting in favor of independence.
With 12 votes for independence and one abstention, the Continental Congress approved the declaration. Jefferson then set forth to make the agreed upon corrections to the document. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence. The document was sent to the printer for publication and distribution to the public.
Although historians debate exactly when the final document was signed, it is accepted that the final signatures were added on August 2, 1776. Since New York approved the resolution of independence on July 10, the New York delegation is included amongst the signatures.
- “Declaration of Independence” by John Trumbull hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda and was used as the model for the reverse of the $2 Federal Reserve Note. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
- Bicentennial half-dollar reverse and Franklin half-dollar images courtesy of the author.
- All other coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint
- All other images courtesy of Wikipedia.