It’s Boxing Day!

No, not this kind of boxing!

No, not this kind of boxing!

Boxing Day is a secular holiday that is particular to the Commonwealth Realm. It appears that it is celebrated in the United Kingdom, all British colonies, and the commonwealth nations. Boxing Day is celebrated in countries that were former British colonies except for the United States. For those not familiar with Boxing Day:

Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen.

In honor of Boxing Day, I ask:

Did you receive a numismatic-related gift for the holidays?

No, not this year. (54%, 7 Votes)
No, I bought my own gift. (23%, 3 Votes)
Yes, I receive collectible coins. (8%, 1 Votes)
Yes, I received some other numismatic item. (8%, 1 Votes)
Bah Humbug! (8%, 1 Votes)
Yes, I received collectible currency. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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Image courtesy of the Sports Memorabilia Museum.

A wish for you

Whether you celebrated Chanukah
1974 Israel 10 Lirot Silver Chanukah coin

1974 Israel 10 Lirot Silver Chanukah coin

Observed Festivus, for the rest of us
FDR dime struck on a nail (stand in for Festivus Pole)

FDR dime struck on a nail (stand in for Festivus Pole)

Having a Merry Christmas
2015 Canada 3D Toy Box 50-cents

2015 Canada 3D Toy Box 50-cents

Or will begin celebrating Kwanzaa
1999 Angola 1 kwanza as a stand-in to help celebrate Kwanzaa

1999 Angola 1 kwanza as a stand-in to help celebrate Kwanzaa

I hope you are having a joyous holiday season!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

2009 Native American Dollar — Spread of Three Sisters

2009 Native American Dollar — Spread of Three Sisters

2011 Native American Dollar — Supreme Sachem Ousamequin, Massasoit of the Great Wampanoag Nation Creates Alliance with Settlers at Plymouth Bay (1621)

2011 Native American Dollar — Supreme Sachem Ousamequin, Massasoit of the Great Wampanoag Nation Creates Alliance with Settlers at Plymouth Bay (1621)

Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621 by the Dutch settlers at Plymouth, Massachusetts to celebrate a successful harvest. It was a tradition that the Pilgrims brought with them from Europe. The three-day event was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans that lasted three days. The tradition of giving thanks for successes was a tradition that the Pilgrims brought with them from England. This three-day celebration in 1621 is considered the first Thanksgiving.

After the birth of the United States, President George Washington issued a proclamation honoring the Thanksgiving harvest during his presidency. The only other president to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation was President James Madison. From then, it was up to the individual states to declare a Thanksgiving holiday.

Writer and editor Sarah Josepha Hale found a diary from the time of the Pilgrims and was moved to write editorials to bring back the Thanksgiving celebration. As part of her efforts, Hale developed recipes for roasted turkey, pumpkin pie, and stuffing that are part of the inspiration for today’s Thanksgiving feast. President Abraham Lincoln was so moved by Hale’s efforts that he decided that it was a good idea to maintain the union he issued a proclamation that made Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863.

After Lincoln’s proclamation, it was traditional to celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. In a move to increase the holiday shopping period to promote more spending, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed to have congress pass a law to move Thanksgiving earlier in the month. In December 1941, Roosevelt signed a bill that set Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November.

Be thankful for your life.
Be thankful for your family.
Be thankful for our hobby.
Be thankful for us all.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

On the 11th day of the 11th month…

Veterans Day 2015

Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just world. They have been tested in ways the rest of us may never fully understand, and it is our duty to fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans and their families. On Veterans Day, and every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve, and let us recommit to pledging our full support for them in all they do.
Presidential Proclamation – Veterans Day, 2015
signed by President Barack Obama, Nov. 5, 2015
2015 American Fighter Aces Bronze Medal

2015 American Fighter Aces Bronze Medal

2015 Monuments Men Bronze Medal

2015 Monuments Men Bronze Medal

Veterans Day banner courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Medal images courtesy of the U.S. Mint

Celebrating Independence

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

Thirteen sterling silver "Official Bicentennial Medals of the Thirteen Original States."

Thirteen sterling silver “Official Bicentennial Medals of the Thirteen Original States.”

It was a hot day in Philadelphia when the First Continental Congress met on July 4, 1776 to finalize a resolution that would permanently separate the American colonies from the British Crown. According to the leaders of the day, it was the only way to rid themselves of the unfairness of British rule. In order to ensure that everyone was heard, the Congress adjourned and met as a Committee of the Whole to debate and adopt the resolution.

After each state cast one vote in favor of the Declaration before the Committee of the Whole, the committee was adjourned. The measure was brought before the full First Continental Congress with the majority voting in favor of the Declaration. Although independence was declared from England it would not be fully realized until 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

US Declaration Independence Signatures

John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. It was used as the model for the reverse of the $2 Federal Reserve Note.

John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. It was used as the model for the reverse of the $2 Federal Reserve Note.

Memorial Day 2015

Decoration DayThe first recorded organized public recognition of the war dead occurred on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. On that day, Freedmen (freed southern slaves) celebrated the service of the 257 Union soldiers buried at the Washington Race Course (now Hampton Park). They labeled the gravesite “Martyrs of the Race Course.” African Americans continued that tradition and named the celebration Decoration Day.

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.

American Fighter Aces Bronze Medal

American Fighter Aces Bronze Medal

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 (Public Law 90-363, 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a)) in 1968. Under the law, Memorial Day was set to the last Monday in May, changing it from the traditional May 30th.

The modern Memorial Day is a holiday celebrating the lives of those sacrificed in defense of the United States and its ideals at home and abroad. Today, we honor the memories of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that I can write this blog and you can read it.

Members of The Old Guard place American flags at headstones at Arlington National Cemetery during Flags-In on May 21, 2015.

Members of The Old Guard place American flags at headstones at Arlington National Cemetery during Flags-In on May 21, 2015.

Medal images courtesy of the U.S. Mint
Decoration Day poster courtesy of usmemorialday.org
Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery courtesy of Stars and Stripes

2015

Happy New Year!
As we begin a new year, we should look forward to better times for our hobby, our nation, and our world. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2015 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!
2015 U.S. Marshals Service 225th Anniversary $5 Gold Commemorative

2015 U.S. Marshals Service 225th Anniversary $5 Gold Commemorative

Reverse of the 2015 March of Dimes Commemorative Silver Dollar

Reverse of the 2015 March of Dimes Commemorative Silver Dollar

Images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

1920 Pilgrim Tercentenary Half Dollar Commemorative
This coin commemorates the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower. The image is of a pilgrim carrying a Bible.

This coin commemorates the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower. The image is of a pilgrim carrying a Bible.

The image is of the Mayflower, the ship that brought the pilgrims to Massachusetts.

The image is of the Mayflower, the ship that brought the pilgrims to Massachusetts.

Thanksgiving in the United States is usually traced back to the Pilgrims celebration of their first successful harvest in 1621. The three-day event was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans that lasted three days. The tradition of giving thanks for successes was a tradition that the Pilgrims brought with them from England. This three-day celebration in 1621 is considered the first Thanksgiving.

Although there is no record of the menu, it is likely that the meal consisted of food from the harvest, venison, and Indian corn. The local natives killed five deer as gifts for the celebration. Given the abundance of seafood nearby, it is likely some made it to the celebration as well.

Thanksgiving was celebrated during many different times within the colonies, mainly to give thanks for something that was honorable to the colony or the locality that observed the celebration. The first national recognition of a Thanksgiving celebration came when General George Washington declared December 1777 as Thanksgiving honoring the defeat of the British at Saratoga. As President, George Washington declared the first national Thanksgiving celebration on November 26, 1789. The only other president to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation was President James Madison. From then, it was up to the individual states to declare a Thanksgiving holiday.

After reading a diary from the time of the Pilgrims, writer and editor Sarah Josepha Hale wrote editorials campaigning to bring back the Thanksgiving celebration. As part of her efforts Hale developed recipes for roasted turkey, pumpkin pie, and stuffing that are part of the inspiration for today’s Thanksgiving feast.

Hale’s message made it to the White House where it was embraced by President Abraham Lincoln. As part of his attempt to maintain the union, President Lincoln issued a proclamation that made Thanksgiving Day a national annual event on the last Thursday in November beginning in 1863.

You might not have heard of Hale but you might know one of her most famous poems. In 1830, Hale published Poems for our Children that included one originally titled “Mary’s Lamb.” Today, it is more commonly known as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Thanksgiving remained the last Thursday of November until 1939 when he declared Thanksgiving to be on the fourth Thursday of the month to give merchants more time to sell good during the Christmas shopping season. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1942 fixing Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November.

In 1947, the National Turkey Federation has provided the President of the United State with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys. President Harry Truman is credited with pardoning the first turkey in 1947 but it did not become a tradition until President Ronald Reagan started in 1987 and continued by President George H.W. Bush in 1989. Since 1989, the pardoned turkeys have lived the rest of their lives at Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

D-Day + 70 years

Operation Overlord was the largest amphibious invasion in history.

Originally scheduled on May 1, it was rescheduled to June 5 and then June 6 because of weather.

Commanded by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the invading force consisted of 156,000 Allied troops using 5,000 ships and landing craft bringing on shore 50,000 vehicles with overhead support from 11,000 planes and 13,000 paratroopers.

Across 50 miles of Normandy coast line, the United States forces were assigned Utah and Omaha beaches, the British Army was assigned to Gold and Sword beaches, and the Canadian Army invaded Juno beach.

Operation Bodyguard created six decoy invasions as a distraction to the Germans so as to divert their attention from the intended invasion at Normandy. Gen. George S. Patton, considered the most skillful tank commander in U.S. military history, commanded a fake mission to invade Pas-De-Calais.

Omaha Beach was the focus of the attack because it was the most heavily defended beach.

On the first day, 4,414 Allied soldiers were confirmed dead.

Victory was declared on July 21, 1944 when the Allied forces captured Caen, one of the major objectives of the invasion.

The Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer is the final resting place for 9,387 Americans. Across its 172.5 acres sits 9,238 crosses and 149 Stars of David where 41 sets of brothers and 3 Medal of Honor recipients rest. The Walls of the Missing is engraved with the names of 1,557 soldiers missing in action.

On this, the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the day Operation Overlord began, there is one more statistic that should not exist:

The number of commemorative coins issued by the United States to honor those that served and gave their lives to help begin the liberation of Europe from the worst criminal of all time: ZERO!

Although the U.S. Mint did issue a World War II 50th Anniversary commemorative coin in 1995, this country should honor those who participated in the largest amphibious invasion in history and set the world on a safer course.

With the number of veterans of that day dwindling as they are all nonagenarians, I would like to thank them for their service and the families of the fallen for their service. I only wish that congress would realize that their bickering over nonsense with flags on their lapels pales in comparison to the sacrifices made on that day in France. They just do not get it.

Canadian $10 Commemorative of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day featuring the obverse portrait of King George VI, the reigning monarch at the time of the invasion.

Canadian $10 Commemorative of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day featuring the obverse portrait of King George VI, the reigning monarch at the time of the invasion.

70th Anniversary of D-Day 2014 Alderney £5 BU Coin from the Royal Mint.

70th Anniversary of D-Day 2014 Alderney £5 BU Coin from the Royal Mint.

Bimetallic 2 € commemorative issue from the Monnaie de Paris (Paris  Mint)

Bimetallic 2 € commemorative issue from the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint)

Reference: D-Day by the Numbers from the History Channel
Coin images courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint, Royal Mint, and Monnaie de Paris.

Memorial Day of 2014

Cherokee Nation Code Talkers Medal

Cherokee Nation Code Talkers Medal

Decoration Day was first celebrated by Freedmen, freed southern slaves, May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina to honor the service of the 257 Union soldiers buried at the Washington Race Course. Today, Washington Race Course is known as Hampton Park.

The next year, southern states began their own Memorial Days 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.

In the north, the fraternal organization of Civil War veterans The Grand Army of the Republic began organizing “Decoration Day” in 1868. Decoration Day was to honor the fallen by decorating the graves of Union soldiers with flowers and flags. Ceremonies included speeches that were a mix of religion, nationalism, and a rehash of history in vitriolic terms against the Southern soldiers. The acrimony against the South began to subside by the end of the 1870s.

Memorial Day did not take on national significances until after World War I. Rather than being a holiday to remember those of died in service during the Civil War, 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 from Decoration Day to Memorial Day. Memorial Day did not become an official holiday until 1967 and its date changed from the traditional May 30 to the last Monday of the month by the Uniform Holidays Act (Public Law 90-363, 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a)) in 1968.

Regardless of how you view the current world conflicts, the men and women who serve in our military deserve the honor and respect for their service. Pray for their ability to safely return home.

We will resume numismatic writings shortly.

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