This is the space where I try to comment on something in the news that I found interesting. Like my update on December 3, 2017, my mind is elsewhere.
If you are a college football fan or happened to watch the Rose Bowl last Monday, my undergraduate alma mater, the Georgia Bulldogs played a thrilling game to beat the Oklahoma Sooners 54-48 in double overtime for the right to play in the National Championship game tomorrow. The last time Georgia played in the Rose Bowl, they were crowned the 1942 National Champions.
Seventy-five years later and 37 years after Georgia’s last National Championship (in the 1981 sUGAr Bowl where I was a member of the Redcoat Marching Band), it will be a battle of Southeastern Conference Titans: Alabama v. Georgia. Also known as the Teacher v. the Student since Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart was once the Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach under Alabama’s Nick Saban. Saban’s former assistants are 0-11 against their former boss. At some point, that streak has to end. Why not on Monday?!
Of course, my mood has been affected by Monday’s game. Even while working an antique’s show this weekend, which is why I am not in Tampa for the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show, it has been a wild week—and sales have been very good. But I am waiting for the game. Monday night at 8:00 PM on ESPN.
For the coin toss (I have to include some sort of numismatic content), the referees used a silver coin with the logos of the schools on both sides. The coin looked like it was silver dollar size (at least 38mm) and in an AirTite or similar holder. There was no calling “heads or tails.” The logo that showed face up won the toss. For the pre-game and overtime coin tosses, Oklahoma won the toss. But that does not matter. I want one of those coins!
Video of 2018 Rose Bowl Coin Toss
Both the Rose Bowl site and the Highland Mint has what they call “dueling helmets” coins (yes, I know they are really medals). I want one of those silver coins like that was used for the coin toss. I sent a note to the people who run the Rose Bowl to ask how I can purchase one.
If you want to know what kind of mood I will be in on Tuesday, it will correspond to the outcome of the game!
The story of Dr Frankenstein and his cursed monster is celebrated in a new set of coins. A £2 issue will mark the 200-year anniversary of the novel by Mary Shelley which launched the modern horror genre. → Read more at mirror.co.uk
Editor's Note: View Kitco News' full 2018 outlook coverage (Kitco News) – It was a tale of two markets for gold in 2017, as prices made their biggest gains since 2010, but U.S. Mint coin sales were the weakest in a decade. → Read more at kitco.com
Norway minted its own coins during much of the Middle Ages. But the coins didn’t always impress outsiders or even the Norwegians themselves. NTNU Associate Professor Jon Anders Risvaag specializes in medieval coins. → Read more at sciencenordic.com
Challenge coins mean different things to different troops. Senior enlisted and officers tend to place them on a desk to gloat to peers and the more junior troops slam them on the bar to see who’s buying the next round. → Read more at wearethemighty.com
The Royal Mint has unveiled the designs of four new commemorative coins to be launched this year. Based on the sales values of previous issues, these could be attractive investments. Three of the coins commemorate the centenaries of major events and organisations that have helped shape Britain, including a £2 coin that marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice — the agreement that ended fighting between the Allies and Germany. → Read more at telegraph.co.uk
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 2018 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!
Utah sculptor LeRoy Transfield, right, poses in his sculpting studio in Orem.
In a rare Monday holiday appearance by government workers, the U.S. Mint announced that they selected a design for the World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin.
The winning design was submitted by LeRoy Transfield, a sculptor from Orem, Utah.
In an interview that appeared in the Desert News, Transfield said that he had two uncles that served as members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Native Contingent during World War I. This lead to his interest in learning about the history of the war.
2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar Obverse — “Soldier’s Charge” by LeRoy Transfield
2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar Reverse — “Poppies in the Wire” by LeRoy Transfield
For the obverse, Transfield titled it “Soldier’s Charge.” In the interview, Transfield said that he “didn’t want him to look like some model in an artist’s studio. I made his nose like it might’ve been broken. I wanted to give him a rugged looking face. … I wanted that feeling of combat”
Transfield said that the reverse was more difficult to for him to design. After several tried he came up with the “Poppies in the Wire”
In 2012, I wrote about the poem “In Flanders Fields” and suggested that it be adopted on a U.S. commemorative coin. It only took five years for my suggestion to become a reality! You can read about the poem and my recommendation → here.
Poppies are a fitting tribute since their use was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, a Canadian physician following the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier who died in battle. It was published in 1915 and first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate the American Soldiers killed in the war. It was later adopted by veterans groups within the British Empire including Canada.
Transfield is originally from New Zealand but moved to the United States to attend BYU-Hawaii. After graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, he moved with his wife to Orem where he operates a sculpting studio in his garage.
The World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin will be issued in 2018. According to the law (Public Law 113-212) , the U.S. Mint is limited to selling no more than 350,000 silver dollars. Each coin will have a $10 surcharge (a maximum of $3.5 million) will be paid to the U.S. Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I.
Given the texture in the both the soldier on the front and the poppies on the reverse, it will be interesting to see if the U.S. Mint comes up with an enhanced uncirculated version. It could be extraordinary!
Image of LeRoy Transfield in his studio courtesy of the Desert News.
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.
Reverse design of the 2017 Canada $2 “Dance of the Spirits” circulating coin
What the 2017 Canada $2 “Dance of the Spirits” reverse would look like 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).
2017 Canada 150 5-Coin Collection
2017 Canada 150 Circulation 12-Coin Collection
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.
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
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).
The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.
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.
My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
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.
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
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.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
2014-W Reverse proof in the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Silver Set
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.
I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party candidate for president who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.
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.
If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
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.
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
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.
The last surviving member of Doolittle’s Raiders is Lt. Col. Richard Cole, Doolittle’s co-pilot. Cole is now 101 years old. Click here to read about Cole and Doolittle’s Raid on Japan that helped the U.S. launch the War in the Pacific.
The 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.
1995-S Civil War Battlefields Commemorative Silver Dollar
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.
Visitors are reflected in the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, May 27, 2016. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo via ABC News)
2016 Canada Lucky Four-Leaf Clover 1 oz Silver Coin
When Patrick was 16, he was captured by Irish pirates and was taken to Ireland as a slave to look after the animals. After six years, he escaped his enslavement to return to his family in Great Britain. After becoming a cleric, he returned to Ireland follow his vision that he was called to help the people.
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 shoe
1962 British Sixpence
A 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 Shui Coins
Then 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.
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.
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 2017 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!
Design for the 2017 Boys Town Commemorative $5 Gold Coin Obverse
2017 Lions Clubs Commemorative Silver Dollar Proof Obverse