Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 24, 2019

2019 Celebrating The Life of Stephen Hawking 50P Coin Reverse
(Image Courtesy of the Royal Mint)

As I peruse the non-numismatic news sources looking for coins and collecting-related information, I am surprised how much is published by the media in other countries about their coins. Interestingly, most of the stories are either from the Commonwealth Realm or those countries formerly a member of the Commonwealth Realm.

A Commonwealth Realm is a sovereign country in which the Monarch of Great Britain, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the reigning constitutional monarch and head of state. The role of the queen is largely symbolic as the government of each country manage its domestic affairs.

As part of this management, each country produces its own coinage. Within the Commonwealth Realm, the largest state-run mints are the Royal Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, Royal Australian Mint, and Perth Mint. There are other private mints that produce legal tender coins, but these are the only government-owned mints in the commonwealth.

Every time one of these mints issues a new coin for circulation, the information is all over their country’s media. For example, in the run-up to the issue of the Peter Rabbit circulating 50p commemorative as part of the Royal Mint’s Beatrix Potter series, nearly every news outlet in the U.K. has been covering the anticipation.

This phenomenon is not restricted to the Commonwealth Realm. Former Commonwealth members also heavily promote their coins. We know that India is issuing a 12-sided 20 rupee coin along with other new designs. South Africa Reserve Bank is issuing circulating coins to celebrate the country’s 25 years as a Constitutional Democracy.

Yet the United States press has been largely silent. Sure, there are blurbs when a congressperson drops a bill into the virtual hopper but the press has been silent after that.

While there were other things going on in December, there was very little reported about the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Act for 2020.

There was hardly a peep out of the press for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative coins. Even with the political turmoil, this country should be commemorating one of its greatest feats of the 20th century that did not involve bombs or bullets.

There has been more coverage in the science and tech-related press about the release of the Black Hole coin honoring Stephen Hawking by the Royal Mint.

To its credit, the American Legion has been promoting the 100th Anniversary commemorative coins to their members. However, was there any general media outlets covering the program’s release?

The hobby is perceived to be dying because it is not attracting new members. How can the hobby attract new members when it does not promote itself outside of its insular bubble?

I am sure that I will hear from the bullion sellers because they have been crowing about the steady rise of gold prices. Aside from being an investment and not a hobby issue, the rise of gold prices is alarming. Investing in gold and other precious metals is seen as a safe-harbor move when investors predict that markets will be less lucrative. If investors are pulling money out of other investments to invest in gold that means they do not trust the markets and we may be in for problems.

If we stop worrying about what is good or bad for the hobby and figure out how it could survive, maybe we can attract new collectors. First, we have to do is to let everyone know the hobby still exists.

And now the news…

 March 12, 2019

This new series comprising denominations of ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, and ₹20, designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, will aid the visually-impaired through its thoughtful design. As per the notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, apart from the ₹20 coin, which will be a 12-sided polygon (a dodecagon), the rest of the coins will be circular in shape.  → Read more at architecturaldigest.in


 March 18, 2019

A 14th-century French gold coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a bureau inherited by a woman who lives in Derbyshire, England. The mother of three, Amy Clapp, 37, told reporters she had no idea the 650-year-old coin — or the secret drawers — existed after being left a 20th-century bureau by her distant cousin.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com


 March 19, 2019

The brand new commemorative Peter Rabbit coin that was announced last week has been released to the public. The new coin features an original illustration of Peter Rabbit taken from the book, The Tales of Benjamin Bunny.  → Read more at inews.co.uk


 March 19, 2019

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – An East Texas woman found a unique coin on the side of the road by the Caldwell Zoo more than six months ago, and she wants to find its rightful owner. Jan Hommel, the director of the American Freedom Museum, knew exactly where the coin came from.  → Read more at kltv.com


 March 19, 2019

A $1 million penny, a $3 million nickel and more than $100 million more in rare coins are coming to Pittsburgh from March 28 through 30 when the National Coin & Money Show stops at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  → Read more at triblive.com


 March 20, 2019

A "rare" 650-year-old coin found in a secret drawer in a desk has been sold for £850 at auction. The 14th Century coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a 1970s bureau, left to a woman by a long-lost relative.  → Read more at bbc.com


 March 21, 2019

A number of new coins have been approved by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and celebrate the country’s 25 years as a Constitutional Democracy. A few of the coins will be collector’s items, and the R500 and R50 coins are specifically made for commemorative purposes only.  → Read more at capetownetc.com


 March 23, 2019

LITTLETON, N.H. — After playing a key role in the success of Littleton Coin Company for nearly 30 years, the firm’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Morelli has announced his retirement at the end of 2019.  → Read more at caledonianrecord.com

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Numismatic Purists Heads are Exploding

Last week, the U.S. Mint reported that the sales of the Rocket Ship Set is close to being a sellout. With an announced limit of 50,000 sets, they said that 46,762 were sold.

The Rocket Ship Set is a coin product produced for kids to tie in with the space theme generated by the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin program. The set contains two coins: an uncirculated 2019 Kennedy Half Dollar an a proof Native American $1 Coin honoring American Indians in the Space Program. The coins are mounted on a card shaped like a rocket ship that glows in the dark and can be set up to stand up on a desk, shelf, or anywhere else.

The text an the card explains the significance of the coins in honoring the space program written for children.

When the set was announced, there was a lot of commentary how the U.S. Mint was wrong for doing this. I read and received emails saying that this is the wrong way to reach children that many thought this set would barely reach 15,000 units sold.

While the numismatic snobs were throwing around adjectives like “dumb” and “stupid” claiming it is “bad for the hobby” and wondering out too loud what the U.S. Mint was thinking, customers bought up 93½-percent of the available inventory in two-weeks!

Although we do not know how many of the sales are to dealers or other institutional buyers, the fact that there is that level of interest suggests the U.S. Mint might have a better idea as to what’s good for the hobby than the snobs.

Weekly World Numismatic News for March 17, 2019

Counterfeit American Gold Eagle found in Iowa
(Image courtesy of the Des Moines Register)

One of the most popular stories on this blog that people find via a search is “How easy is it to pass counterfeit currency.” I wrote it in response to watching a cashier use a pen with iodine-based ink used to determine whether the paper used is counterfeit and how it can be defeated.

A lesson learned is that people do not pay attention or care, which is why the iodine pen is popular. This is why the story of the week is about a person in suburban Des Moine, Iowa is wanted for passing a counterfeit American Gold Eagle coin.

According to the story, the suspect, who has been identified, used the alleged gold coin to purchase $25 worth of merchandise from a gas station. The next day, the clerk who took the coin found it was fake after taking it to a local coin shop.

Although the story does not say why the employee accepted the coin as payment, I speculate there was a greed motive involved. The suspect probably convinced the clerk it was real and that worth more than the $50 face value but was low on cash and needed the merchandise. The clerk thought that the coin is worth more took it hoping to make a profit.

If the coin was worth more than face value, then why did the clerk not ask why the suspect did not take it to a coin shop himself?

Even if you do not know the price of gold, why would someone try to use a valuable coin in a gas station?

I have commented in the past about the perpetual hunt for “rare” 50 pence and £2 circulating commemorative coins in the United Kingdom. At least by publicizing the coins, Britons learn a little about the coins issued by the Royal Mint. In fact, if you are watching my Twitter feed (@coinsblog), I post stories about other countries that produce stories about coins put out by their country’s mints.

Unfortunately, the best we get in the United States outside of the numismatic media is an infrequent blurb in a local news source. The Washington Post’s new motto is “Democracy Dies in the Darkness.” It also dies with ignorance especially when movie money is mistaken for real.

And now the news…

 October 14, 2016

Worried about buying a fake when you shop online? Here's how you can keep counterfeits out of your shopping cart. David P.  → Read more at desmoinesregister.com


 March 10, 2019

Richard Masters’ work for the U.S. Mint is a marriage of his interest in art and his boyhood hobby of coin collecting. A former professor of art at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Masters has designed 21 coins and five medals, including the 2009 Bicentennial Lincoln Cent (Log Cabin), the 2011 Sacajawea gold dollar reverse and the 2017 America the Beautiful Effigy Mounds (Iowa) quarter reverse.  → Read more at legion.org


 March 11, 2019

Finance ministry had issued a notification on March 6 announcing the launch of 5 new coins in the country namely new One Rupee, Two Rupees, Five Rupees, Ten Rupees and Twenty Rupees. The new series of coins are visually impaired friendly and have enhanced design.  → Read more at zeebiz.com


 March 13, 2019

Urbandale police are looking for a man who used a counterfeit $50 coin to make a purchase at an Casey’s General Store in February.  → Read more at desmoinesregister.com


 March 13, 2019

Warwickshire County Council wants to raise £62,000 towards buying a hoard of Roman coins.  → Read more at bbc.com


 March 13, 2019

More A lucky penny which deflected an enemy bullet during the First World War One – saving a soldier’s life – is set to be sold at auction. Private John Trickett would have been shot in the heart if the bullet – which still left him deaf – had not struck the coin in the breast pocket of his uniform.  → Read more at uk.news.yahoo.com

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Finally, a Cash Register Find

It has been eight months since I opened my shop of treasures. While I have had fun most of the time one thing that has not happened is a good cash draw find. That is until recently.

1979-P Susan B Anthony Dollar and 2000-P Sacagawea Dollar found in the cash draw

This past week, a customer bought a small item and paid for the under $3 purchase with three coins, a 1979-P Susan B Anthony Dollar, two 2000-P Sacagawea dollars. Of course, given the past problems with confusing a Susie B for a quarter, I took an extra glance at the coin to make sure.

I think the patron was surprised I took the coins without question. I threw the coins in the far left slot and counted out his change. With a quick tear of the receipt and a nod, I thanked the customer for his business and he left.

Later, I was telling someone about the transaction and was told the customer was testing me. Apparently, some people use dollar coins, half dollars and two dollars bills to test the store to see if the store knows enough to take the coins. I was told that the “pass rate” for this test is under 20-percent. I guess I passed!

Earlier today, I passed one of the Sacagawea dollars out for change.

2013 British 10p coin. It looks better in hand!

After hours, when it is time to close the books on the day, I was counting the change in the quarter bin and saw something odd. It was the size of a quarter but shinier. The U.S. Mint does not strike circulation coins this shiny. A closer look revealed that it is a 2013 British ten pence coin.

It’s a cool find and worth 13-cents, but what is it doing in my cash drawer?

I cannot blame anyone because my assistant was not in and I was the only one operating the cash register. I didn’t open a roll taking the blame off the bank. No, this is my fault and I lost 12-cents on the transaction!

I thought I would find a loose Canadian cent or a Jamaican penny mixed in with the copper. Nope! Apparently, I didn’t pay enough attention and was handed 10 pence.

After counting the coins, I replaced the British coin with a U.S. quarter that was in my pocket. My drawer balances but now I have my own lesson to pay attention!

Weekly World Numismatic News for March 10, 2019

2018 Peter Rabbit 50p Uncirculated Coin
(Image courtesy of the Royal Mint)

One of the most disturbing stories relating to numismatics is the conviction of a man for killing someone for his coin collection. In Colchester, England, Gordin McGhee, 52, was stabbed in his flat by Danny Bostock, 33, who broke in to steal a set of Beatrix Potter 50 pence coins.

Both men were familiar with each other from local coin club meetings.

Over the last few years, the English tabloids have been publishing stories about how low-mintage, modern circulating 50p commemorative coins were being sold for hundreds or thousands of pounds on eBay. This has awakened the public about the potential for collecting these coins.

The Royal Mint has been producing 50p coins commemorating the animals featured in Beatrix Potter’s stories since 2016 including Peter Rabbit. By the time the country caught on to their value, the limited edition 2016 and 2017 coins were being hoarded and becoming more difficult to find. People who wanted a complete collection turned to the secondary market.

Of course, where there is a demand the person who can provide a supply can make money.

According to news reports, Bostock snuck into McGhee’s flat to steal his collection of Beatrix Potter coins while McGhee was not home. Unfortunately, McGhee returned home and found Bostock in the act. Bostock stabbed McGhee 17 times and tried to set the place on fire to cover up the crime.

Police were able to track the trail of blood Bostock made with his shoes to Bostock’s home. Bostock was convicted after using the defense that someone else wore his shoes after a drinking party even though the police found the shoes, coins, and the murder weapon in his possession.

Although this type of situation may not happen over the National Parks quarters, we did see the greed of dealers put the public in danger for the release of the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof Coin. Dealers handed out cash to needy people who did not conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the ANA Code of Ethics so they could buy the coins first without having to worry about U.S. Mint purchasing limits.

In this case, nothing happened to the dealers who should have been dealt with by the ANA. They could have lost money since the release was not a sellout and the price of gold dropped, but we will never know.

And now the news…

 February 27, 2019

The demand for U.S. cash is skyrocketing — an indicator that’s leaving some economists sounding the alarm.  → Read more at cnbc.com


 March 2, 2019

Charlotte is known for its banks but in some circles, it's known for its actual money. The gold coins that Charlotte's mint produced in the mid-19th century are desirable. "When you're a coin collector, you don't worry sometimes the value.  → Read more at wfae.org


 March 7, 2019

Before immigrating to the United States in 2001, Paul Balan worked as a painter and sculptor in his native Philippines. Now he is pushing his artistic talents in new directions, doing coin and medal designs for the U.S.  → Read more at legion.org


 March 7, 2019

Last August, 90-year-old pensioner Miroslav Jurníček harvested onions from his garden, when he noticed a small golden coin lying on the ground. He started rummaging around and eventually unearthed a vessel full of gold and silver coins.  → Read more at radio.cz


 March 8, 2019

A coin enthusiast has been convicted of murder after stabbing a fellow collector 17 times while trying to steal a rare set of Beatrix Potter 50ps. Danny Bostock, 33, attacked 52-year-old Gordon McGhee in his bedroom before turning on the gas cooker and lighting a dishcloth, seemingly to cause an explosion and destroy evidence of the killing.  → Read more at telegraph.co.uk


 March 8, 2019

From Kew Gardens to Paddington bear, there are a number of rare and collectible 50p coins and the Royal Mint will be releasing a Stephen Hawking coin later this month. The late Cambridge University physics professor died in March last year and the coin will feature a black hole and the scientist himself.  → Read more at manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for March 3, 2019

Royal Mint’s 26 Alphabet 10p Coins
Image courtesy of the Royal Mint

While searching the interwebs for numismatic-related stories there are pointers that lead to the British tabloids. Most of the stories are about the hundreds or thousands of pounds paid for a former circulating coin on eBay. Sometimes, their pages lead to different stories on their site that are very entertaining. Those who have read the New York Post would understand the format.

This is not to say these publications are wrong, but they are prone to hyperbole and exaggeration. Take for example the story “Two million RARE 10p coins enter circulation – get one here” that was posted to the Daily Star’s website this past week.

The title refers to the release of Royal Mint’s “The Great British Coin Hunt of 2019.” Using the same designs as last year, the Royal Mint will place into circulation 10 pence coins with 26 designs representing the letters of the alphabet.

The Great British Coin Hunt started last October with the weekly release of several coins at a time until 2.4 million were placed into circulation. As part of the program, collectors can purchase a special folder from the Royal Mint (£9.90 or about $13.10) or other items to help people collect the coins. The Royal Mint also sells uncirculated 10p coins for £2 each.

If you think that the U.S. Mint overcharges for their products, 10p is worth about 13-cents at the current exchange rate and £2 is about $2.65. Does packaging and other expenses cost $2.52 per coin?

But to call 2.4 million coins rare may a bit of an exaggeration.

Or is it?

If each coin has the same circulation, that means there will be about 92,000 coins per letter. Since the United Kingdom’s population is around 66 million people, that means only one-tenth of one percent of the people can collect these coins.

Maybe the tabloids are not wrong calling 2 million coins “rare!”

And now the news…

 February 25, 2019

From dark designs mourning the dead, to figures celebrating military accomplishments and well-known buildings, Roman coins held by the Otago Museum…  → Read more at odt.co.nz


 February 26, 2019

Originally posted on http://www.1007sandiego.com/story/40029522/a-story-of-honor-the-curious-history-of-military-challenge-coins   If you’re a member of the United States military,…  → Read more at kxxv.com


 February 26, 2019

FRESHLY minted collectable 10p coins are being released this month — and they have a “quintessentially British” theme including tea and fish and chips.  → Read more at dailystar.co.uk


 February 27, 2019

THE ROYAL MINT have announced that they are set to release 26 new designs of 10 pence coins, for its 2019 Great British Coin Hunt collection.  → Read more at express.co.uk


 February 28, 2019

If you lost a coin in Montreal’s west end, there’s a good chance it was picked up by Young S. New. But he didn’t slip that coin in his pocket with the intent of spending it on himself — he picked it up so he could give it away.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 February 28, 2019

The nine British bullion coins were discovered by chance after being hidden near Allington Castle in Kent. Detectives have launched an appeal to return the hoard to its rightful owner.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

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February 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

While the mainstream media has mostly been distracted by other activities in Congress, those of us who watch numismatic-related legislation have had our own action.

First, the House of Representatives passed Route 66 Centennial Commission Act (H.R. 66) to create a commission to celebrate the centennial of the famous Route 66 in 2026. Although this is not a numismatic-related bill per se, if passed, the bill says that the centennial commission will recommend commemorative coins for this event. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee waiting further action.

The other legislation of note is the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019 (H.R. 1089) that removes all tax considerations for the sale of “gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Secretary at any time.” It also exempts “refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.” This means that no capital gains on the sale of these items will be taxed and no losses can be written off by the taxpayer.

An interesting side effect of this bill would be that the gains realized when rare coins auctioned for millions of dollars will not be taxed. This means if an 1804 Silver Dollar sells for more than the $3.8 million it sold for in 2013, the seller will not pay capital gains tax on the sale. However, if it sells for less, the seller will not be able to write-off the loss.

For those keeping score at home, this law will not help the sale of a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel since its composition is copper and nickel.

Of course, this will only be an issue if H.R. 1089 passes and the president signs it into law.

H.R. 66: Route 66 Centennial Commission Act
Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Introduced: January 3, 2019
Summary: This bill establishes the Route 66 Centennial Commission to honor Route 66 on the occasion of its centennial anniversary.The Department of Transportation shall prepare a plan on the preservation needs of Route 66.
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. — Feb 7, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Feb 6, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 399 – 22 (Roll no. 67). — Feb 6, 2019
Considered as unfinished business. — Feb 6, 2019
At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed. — Feb 6, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 66. — Feb 6, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Feb 6, 2019
Ms. Norton moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Feb 6, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. — Jan 3, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR66.

H.R. 1089: Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: February 7, 2019
Summary: Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019This bill exempts gains or losses from the sale or exchange of certain coins or bullion from recognition for income tax purposes. The exemption applies to gains or losses from the sale or exchange of (1) gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Department of the Treasury; or (2) refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.
Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. — Feb 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1089.

S. 457: President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Introduced: February 12, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 12, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S457.

H.R. 1173: President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Dollar Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)
Introduced: February 13, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 13, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1173.

H.R. 1257: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Introduced: February 14, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1257.

S. 509: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Introduced: February 14, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S509.

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 24, 2019

The delay in reporting the weekly world numismatic news was because I worked at my first Comic Convention or Comic-Con. It was a small Comic-Con with between 60 and 80 vendors around a large hotel ballroom. Of course, each table had comics but others had different items related to the comics, science fiction, horror, pulp fiction, and similar works.

As with any of the shows that I have worked, there were the serious collectors with want lists who were laser-focused on finding that gem for their collection. There were the collectors and those with a general interest who were there for the experience. They were looking at different items for something unusual. Finally, there were those who were there for the cosplay. Cosplay is a portmanteau (combination) of the words costume play.

Aside from a visit by the likes of Darth Vader, Wonder Woman, and the Joker in the crowd, the best costume was the guy dressed as Iron Man. Ironically, the solid pieces of his costume were made from wood. It looked good but the wood seems odd given the character.

What does my experience at the Comic-Con have to do with numismatics? It is a type of show that demonstrates how other hobbies adapt with their audience to lure new collectors. Rather than concentrating on making sure that every collector has the latest special edition of the No. 1 copy of the current story with their favorite character, it promotes fun, interaction, and does not judge each other because someone does not collect the four special covers of the No. 1 copy just issued by the comic book designer.

Numismatics claims to be all inclusive but if you ask most dealers what to collect, they will gravitate to most of the same answers. If they are not pushing gold the number of Morgan dollars in their cases is an indication of their preference.

There are too many people with set ideas of what makes a good collection. And the problem is that the dealers are the wrong people to ask. They have an agenda over the perpetuation of the hobby. There is nothing wrong with that agenda because it contributes to their livelihood and the well being of their employees. Unfortunately, too many dealers pay lip service to the notion of collect what you like while pushing the latest set of VAMs on you.

While thinking about the show as I was driving away with half-empty bins of inventory was that if the hobby was more inclusive to people who do not collect high-end merchandise. People have different tastes and there should be more dealers who not only cater to those tastes but should be given better access.

Speaking of the dealers, if they want to be more inclusive and show consideration for the collectors they should stay until the close of a show on Sunday. When I participate in the many antique shows, flea markets, toy shows, sports shows, and now this Comic-Con, dealers are warned that if they pack up and leave early they may not be allowed to set up at a future show. Numismatic shows say this, including those sponsored by the ANA, but nobody follows through. Then we get a situation like in Baltimore where it is not worth attending on Sunday, my only day off this week.

Finally, something should be done to make the shows fun. While I am not suggesting that people get dressed up like at the Comic-Con, there has to be something to make it fun. For example, the last time I attend the F.U.N. show, there were tables set up where Hobo Nickel artists were carving coins and making jewelry on the show floor. That was fun!

Although there are dealers who give out low-value coins to young collectors, can we do something to make the show more fun for the casual collector? Does everything have to be about buying the next piece of stickered plastic that happens to have a coin inside?

There have been some successful promotions including a chance to win an autographed Red Book but what about a drawing for a gift certificate? Hire a magician to do some coin magic to intrigue people. What about a walking exhibit where an expert in a non-mainstream area walks around and starts with, “Hey, let me tell you a story…” which involves taking a coin and talking about it beyond its grade. I am sure that someone can take a handful of tokens representing the area of the country where the show is and tie it with local history.

Numismatics is not dying, but it is not adapting. Maybe if the shows can be made into a real event then more people would be willing to collect. Remember, the Comic-Con had aisles full of people on a Sunday, more than will attend the Whitman Show in Baltimore next week!

The view standing In the middle of Hall A at the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo.
Is this the fate of numismatics?

And now the news…

 February 19, 2019

A TEAM of metal detectorists in a field near Malvern had a 'lottery winning' moment as they found a hoard of rare 17th Century coins.  → Read more at worcesternews.co.uk


 February 19, 2019

Coins were buried in a ceramic pot under the floor of a building, Warwickshire County Council said.  → Read more at bbc.com


 February 20, 2019

The 14th Century coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a wooden bureau.  → Read more at bbc.com


 February 20, 2019

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Tuesday warned the public against improper handling of peso bills and coins.   Current trending headlines in business, money, banking, finance, companies, corporations, agriculture, mining, foreign currency rates, Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Index, inflation, interest, market prices and economic analysis.  → Read more at gmanetwork.com


 February 21, 2019

Danny Bostock is accused of killing rival Gordon McGhee during bungled burglary  → Read more at theweek.co.uk


 February 21, 2019

The 14th Century coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a wooden bureau.  → Read more at bbc.com


 February 21, 2019

A Burnsville man and former coin dealer has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in federal court. Barry R. Skog, 68, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of mail fraud and one count of selling counterf…  → Read more at twincities.com

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BOOK REVIEW: A Necessary Reference for your Library

Over the last few months, I have been on another book buying binge. Most of the books I have been buying are references. Many of these references help fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge. One of those gaps is how to date some foreign coins especially those of the eastern world whose language is not Latin-based.

Although the Standard Catalog of World Coins has a basic reference to help figure out the date of a coin, it is not detailed enough. While there are websites on the Internet to help, there is not a single good resource. I wanted a good resource to help me grade these coins. Then I stumbled across the Illustrated Coin Dating Guide of the Eastern World by Albert Galloway.

Published by Krause Publications, it features the tables and descriptions that are in the Standard Catalogs on steroids plus much more information. The absolute best part of this book are the images with the guides pointing to each element to help identify the date coin.

Some coins are not dated but contain the number of years of the current ruler or dynasty. Coins from Israel use the date on the Hebrew Calendar while many Islamic countries include the date of the Islamic or Hijri Calendar.

Sample Pages

And it helps in more ways than figuring out the dates. If you are not familiar with the pictograph-style writing of some East Asian countries, having in the information in front of you can help identify the difference between a Korean coin from a Japanese coin, something that recently helped me.

Also, the book points out how to identify elements like mintmarks, privy marks, coiners marks, and other identifying varieties on these coins. As we know, a mintmark or other distinguishing mark can make a difference in a coin’s value.

The book was first published in 1984 and republished in 2012. Both versions appear to be the same with a color variation of the cover—the 1984 publication has a predominantly red cover.

The only complaint about the book is that it should be spiral bound so that the book could lay flat on the table. I have not had the book long and I have already bent the spine. At this rate, the book may not last long. For that reason, I give the book a grade of MS-69. If you are searching through lots of foreign coins, this book is a must-have for your numismatic library.


Illustrated Coin Dating Guide for the Eastern World
By Albert Galloway
ISBN 10: 0873410467
ISBN 13: 9781440230882
144 pp, 6×9 Paperback with 250 Black & White Illustrations

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 17, 2019

(Image courtesy of Bellingham Coin Shop)

R.B. Wick is the owner of Bellingham Coin Shop & Iron Gate Estates in Bellingham, Washington. He likes to create treasure hunts around Bellingham using social media to give clues as to where he hid the treasures. Wick held a treasure hunt this past week where he hid approximately $2,500 in prized in 20 spots.

Prizes range from cash to coins to estate finds. It piques the interest of those around the Bellingham area.

For those not familiar with Bellingham, it is the last city in the United States as you travel north on Interstate 5 toward the Canadian border. I made that drive in June 1998 and stopped in Bellingham before crossing the border. It was a nice place for the few hours we spent there. After a nice lunch as a short walk, we continued our trip saying we should return.

Even though Bellingham is a small city, it can serve as a lesson to a lot of other numismatists and dealers. What better way to promote yourself and the hobby than a treasure hunt. Sure, there have been reports of coin drops, but with those, you run the risk of the coin not being found and continuing its journey through the banking system.

A treasure hunt, like geocaching, can be fun. Instead of relying on the special equipment that most geocaching hunts require, you make it like a scavenger hunt with clues posted on social media. It is a way to cultivate followers and potential clients.

It can also be a tool to have people learn more about coin collecting. Rather than hide a coin that someone may throw into a draw, how about a certificate to let them come into your shop to get them started on collecting. Dealers can start new clients with an affordable collection that can be used to promote an interest in collecting.

This is such a good idea that I am thinking about using it for my business. Except I will wait until the weather is a little warmer!

And now the news…

 February 11, 2019

An Israeli tour guide and her friend last week stumbled across a rare 1,900-year-old coin from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt unearthed by recent rains in the Lachish region, southwest of Jerusalem, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said Monday.  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 February 13, 2019

FOLLOWING on from a recent warning that went viral in Spain police have warned of more foreign coins in circulation that look similar to one and two euro  → Read more at euroweeklynews.com


 February 15, 2019

John Herrington is looking forward to his new pocket change. A former NASA astronaut who was the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly into space, Herrington is among those celebrated by the U.S. Mint's 2019 Native American $1 coin.  → Read more at collectspace.com


 February 15, 2019

Nature and Parks Authority tour guide stumbles on 1,885-year-old find while on training hike in Lachish region  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 February 15, 2019

An amateur metal detectorist has compared finding a 6th century Anglo-Saxon pendant in a muddy field to 'winning the lottery'. The shiny piece of gold was originally mistaken to be a 'chocolate coin' due to its immaculate preservation but experts proved it is a gold pendant from 1,500 years ago.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 February 15, 2019

Three straight days of snow have been a pain in the neck, but if you haven’t taken the chance to go out and play in it, you might want to consider this. R.B. Wick, the owner of Bellingham Coin Shop & Iron Gate Estates who is known for his love of creating treasure hunts around Bellingham and posting clues on his various social media accounts, has another treasure hunt going in honor of Valentine’s Day.  → Read more at bellinghamherald.com

Coin Collectors News
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 Lost/Stolen Coins USPS (Feb 17, 2019)

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