One of my favorite quotes is from philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist George Santayana who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I was reminded about this quote while reading the news and stumbling over a story “Stamp Out the Sexist Legacy of the Dollar Coin” by Addison Nugent.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin was introduced in 1979 with much fanfare for being the first coin to honor a woman. The coin was a failure because it was confused with a quarter
Ms. Nugent, who revealed that she is distantly related to suffragette Susan B. Anthony, laments the lack of women on United States coins and currency. She rightly points out that Susan B. Anthony was “the first nonfictional woman to grace the face of the dollar coin” only to complain later that the coin was removed later.
Nugent complains that the design of the coins and the fact that they use the visage of a female as the reason these dollar coins have not been successful. What Nugent failed to do is learn from history and the facts.
The failure of the Susan B. Anthony dollar was not because the coin depicted a woman or was called the “Agony Dollars” (I had never heard this term before reading the article). The coin failed because of the decision to make it too close to the size to the Washington quarter, had reeded edges like the Washington quarter, and on a simple glance was consistently confused with the Washington quarter. The confusion made the coin very unpopular in the United States but continues to find usage in other countries whose currency is based on the U.S. dollar.
The unveiling of the Sacagawea Dollar design at the White House with (L-R) First Lady Hillary Clinton, Sacagawea Model Randy’L He-dow Teton, and Designer Glenna Goodacre.
When it came time for Congress to recognize the failure of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, Congress approved a new design and went out of their way to select another historic woman to feature on the coin. After several suggestions, Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark expedition, was eventually chosen to appear on a coin that was to be golden in color and a smooth edge. When the designs were reviewed, Treasury picked Glenna Goodacre’s design with the profile of Sacagawea in three-quarter view and her infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, carried on her back. It is considered one of the best circulating coin designs of the modern era.
Nugent then wrongly notes that “Sacagawea coins were pulled from circulation from 2002-2008 and from 2012 onward.” I do not know where she gets her facts from, but the reality is that the U.S. Mint, Department of the Treasury, and Federal Reserve does not recall paper currency or coins from circulation. What happens is that when there is no demand for a coin the Federal Reserve stops ordering them from the U.S. Mint.
The reason that the dollar coin does not circulate is not that it depicts a woman. The dollar coin does not circulate because the public has chosen paper over a coin. Even though studies have shown that the public can adopt and that there would be a savings to the government if the paper dollar was no longer printed (see the Government Accountability report GAO-13-164T), Congress does not have the intestinal fortitude to eliminate the paper dollar.
To add insult to the facts, Nugent does not take into consideration that the Sacagawea dollar was changed starting in 2009 to the Native American $1 Coin Program. While Sacagawea continues to appear on the obverse, the reverse honors Native American history. The last I looked the Native American population has undergone a significant negative history in the United States.
Another fact that Nugent does not acknowledge is that even though the U.S. Mint does not produce these coins for circulation they are produced for the collector market. In addition to being included in mint and proof sets, there have been special sets created with Native American coin honoring their accomplishments. Aside from being able to purchase these coins at face value in any U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility open to the public, you can also go to any bank and request they obtain a roll for you from the Federal Reserve.
Series 1886 $1 Silver Certificate featuring Martha Washington (Fr #217)
Nugent’s complaints also do not consider the appearance of women and minorities on commemorative coins or that the first woman to appear on circulating currency was Martha Washington. Our first First Lady’s portrait appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate between 1891 and 1896.
Although I agree with Nugent that United States coins and currency should be more diverse and I am in favor of removing Andrew Jackson, who was responsible for the Trail of Tears, from the $20 note, it is difficult to side with any argument whose purpose is based on factual errors.
Popular online magazine Atlas Obscura recently became the latest to probe the question of how an 11th century Viking penny came to rest on the coast of Maine. In the decades since the 1957 discovery by amateur archaeologists, it’s been denounced as a hoax, validated by scholars, denounced as a hoax again and — as recently as this past November — validated by scholars again. → Read more at thinkmaine.bangordailynews.com
When Eric Lawes set off for a field in Hoxne village, Suffolk on November 16, 1992, it wasn’t on a treasure hunt. The metal detector he’d received as a retirement gift was meant to find a hammer lost on the farmland. → Read more at smithsonianmag.com
JAMES Grear started selling coins with his best mate Henry when they were just 18. The pair were fed up with working as labourers on a building site in Bristol earning up to £9 per hour and decided… → Read more at thesun.co.uk
Colonial Williamsburg has acquired a rare and iconic Danish abolitionist medal that commemorates a royal edict to end the slave trade. The bronze medal was struck in 1792 and is one of only a handful known to exist, according to a Colonial Williamsburg Foundation press release. → Read more at wydaily.com
By Baek Byung-yeul Organizers for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics unveiled a new limited coin set for the Winter Games, Wednesday. At the building of Poongsan Corporation in Seoul, the maker of the PyeongChang Olympics commemorative bill, the organizing committee made public the new package. → Read more at m.koreatimes.co.kr
Of course, the U.S. Mint will sell an uncirculated and proof silver dollar that will come in their usual display cases with a Certificate of Authenticity. These are the coins that are required under the authorizing law (World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 113-212) that were designed by LeRoy Transfield.
The U.S. Mint will also be selling five silver medals that will be issued in conjunction with the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. Each medal, composed of 90 percent silver, pays homage to branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were active in World War I: Army, Marine Corps, Air Service, Navy, and Coast Guard. Medal designs were announced last October. However, the U.S. Mint will only be selling the medals as part of a set with the silver dollar.
World War I Centennial 2018 Silver Dollar and Army Medal Set
By not selling the silver medals individually or as a set, if a collector wants to add all five to a collection, it will cost $99.95 per set ($499.75 total) and will require the purchase of five commemorative silver dollars.
Since there are no more surviving veterans of World War I, one can only assume that the commemorative coin and medal sets are being marketed to those that want to remember the service of those veterans. Creating these sets in this context makes sense. It does not make sense for the collector or for someone whose family did not serve in World War I or wants to just collect the medals.
This short-sightedness by the U.S. Mint may hinder potential sales of the commemorative coin whose proceeds are to benefit the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars, an organization responsible for making sure we do not forget those who served.
With the decline in silver prices and the market interest in investing in silver at its lowest since before the Great Recession, a short-sighted decision like this will limit the sale of silver medals. This will lower the income and seigniorage the U.S. Mint will collect after seeing a decline in the sales of bullion-related products.
If the U.S. Mint cannot get this right, then maybe they should have a more broad community discussion so they can better understand the potential collector market because on this, they bombed!
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!
News cycles seem to be quiet lately. I wonder what is going on in the world?! 😉
All kidding aside, this past week appears that people are rushing to complete whatever tasks are at hand before the holiday weekend and the end of the year. With everyone celebrating, I am not anticipating anything earth shattering from any news sector.
The Boys Town Centennial Commemorative coin features Fr. Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town
2017 Lions Clubs Commemorative Silver Dollar Proof Obverse
One thing I will remind those who buy collectibles from the U.S. Mint will stop selling the 2017 Boys Town and Lions Club commemorative coins on December 28. All other coins and medals that will be ending this year, such as anything dated 2016, can be ordered up until December 31.
Remember, the U.S. Mint only accepts orders via their website or by calling 800-USA-MINT (800-872-6468).
The Treasury Department will propose the production of coins bearing the face of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun to the cabinet on Tuesday. Pachara Anantasin, the director-general of the Treasury Department, said Sunday the proposal will be tabled at the day's cabinet meeting. → Read more at bangkokpost.com
Justice League star Henry Cavill's tradition of giving out "challenge coins" continues and this time it's not just the crew of films he's working on receiving the thoughtful token. Comic book writer and artist Tony Daniel took to Instagram today to share a photo of special token that the Superman actor had sent him. → Read more at comicbook.com
The Alaska Mint released its 2018 state coin design this month. Designed by a local university student, Megan Warren found influence for her design from growing up in Alaska and her Native Alaskan Tlingit heritage. → Read more at anchoragepress.com
One of the cans found as part of the Saddle Ridge Gold Coin Hoard
Although I have been on the road this past week, I have noted a number of topics that I want to write about. There should be a little more time in the weeks to come. But for today, I want to talk about found money.
When I say found money, I am not talking about that $20 bill you left in your pants pocket or the roll of quarters you left in the center console of your car from a time before electronic toll collection. I am talking about the hoards, metal detector finds, and surprising estate sales that keep popping up in the news.
Over the last few months, there have been a number of stories about someone finding a treasure trove of coins, whether it be gold in California, Roman coins in the United Kingdom, or other ancient coins in Israel, the stories continue to fascinate.
Other than Israel, which is the epicenter of three major religions with a treasure buried beneath her soil, Great Britain appears to be the second most popular area for treasure finds.
According to The Telgraph, the number of discovered treasures rose from 1,005 in 2015 to 1,121 in 2016. It is believed that this number will rise again when 2017 is over.
They attribute the new found interest to a popular BBC sitcom called Detectorists. According to IMDB, it is about the “lives of two eccentric metal detectorists, who spend their days plodding along ploughed tracks and open fields, hoping to disturb the tedium by unearthing the fortune of a lifetime.”
I have not seen this show on U.S. television but it is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Given the popularity of this show, I wonder if there may be a way to leverage that idea to do a show centered around numismatics to the public. Maybe it could help expand the hobby.
As an aside, if you are going to try your own search using a metal detector, you might want to read this article from The Mirror. Even though it talks about the hobby in terms for a U.K. readership, the information is transferable to the United States. The article provides good tips.
GovMint.com and ModernCoinMart, in cooperation with S&A Partners – The Official Coca-Cola Licensee for Collectible Coins – has teamed up with Coca-Cola® to bring collectors something they've never seen: legal-tender silver dollars that look like Coca-Cola bottle caps. → Read more at prnewswire.com
MUMBAI, India — Vishal Kumar Jain slid his fingertips along the edges of a crisp 500 rupee ($8) note, a pale grey 150 by 66mm piece of paper. He then ran his hands around a 20-rupee note (0.31 US cents), a 147mm by 63mm orange bill. → Read more at trtworld.com
THE Greek word for money, chrema, carries a significance its English translation cannot fully convey. “It means ‘to need’ and ‘to use’ together,” explains Nicholas Stampolidis, director of the Museum of Cycladic Art (MoCA) during a recent visit to the museum’s latest exhibition, “Money: Tangible Symbols in Ancient Greece.” → Read more at economist.com
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Bank Indonesia never issue a permit to use candy as a means of transaction replacing rupiah. The use of candies instead of cash for a small exchange mostly found at modern retailers or groceries. → Read more at en.tempo.co
The hoard of dollar coins in the Baltimore Coin Storage
This was an interesting week. Aside from trying to understand the impact of the new tax bill (H.R. 1) on the numismatic industry, I was hired by a widow to help liquidate an accumulation of coins her late husband collected.
I took the job thinking that it could not be that difficult. She said that her late husband was a lifelong collector and had an affinity for half-dollars. It did not sound like a daunting task, so I agreed to meet with her and look at his collection.
Nowadays, when someone calls me for assistance, I usually ask that they take a few pictures with their smartphone and email them so that I can be prepared. In this case that was not possible since my new client did not own a smartphone and expressed displeasure with her “old-fashioned” flip-phone. I was taking a chance.
Rose (not her real name) reminded me of the grandmother-next-door type. Her house was well manicured and the entry reminded me more of the 1950s than any other time. She was neatly dressed as if she was meeting someone of stature. Thankfully, I thought to wear something nicer than my normal jeans and a polo shirt.
We spoke and then she brought me to her late husband’s office. It was quite a contrast from the rest of the house. This was clearly a man’s room whose interest were cars, horses, and coins. Rose said he owned three cars including a 1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 (muscle car fans will understand the significance of this car) and had invested in a few racehorses. The cars and the shares in the racehorses were sold but nobody could help her with the coins. Then I found out why.
I was expecting albums, folders, and rolls. When she opened the cabinet, there were five shelves with old cigar boxes, coffee cans, and other containers with loose coins. And while I thought he was a half-dollar collector, he had coins of all types including foreign coins. There were a lot of half-dollars, mostly Walking Liberty halves from the later years and Franklin halves. There was an old metal 35mm film canister with 1964 Kennedy half dollars.
There were several envelopes of foreign currency and Military Payment Certificates he kept from when he was an Army medic in the Korean War.
I have been working with a dealer who specializes in purchasing bulk estates. To help her get the best price, I have been doing a lot of sorting, searching, and ordering of the coins in a manner that would take some of the burdens away from the dealer so he could pay more.
As a bonus, some of the vessels used for storage are also collectibles. The old wooden cigar boxes from Cuba that can be traced to a time before the rise of the Castro regime are highly collectible. So are a few of the coffee cans from brands that have not been heard from in over 50 years including regional brands I had never seen before. That does not include the metal 35mm film canisters. When I asked a dealer, who specializes in old photographic equipment, she made an offer that Rose will probably not refuse.
Considering the size of the accumulation, it will take at least two more days to finish, pack everything, and ship it to the dealer. Although this work is preventing me from writing, I am having a good time. Rose is a nice person and a diehard University of Virginia Cavaliers fan since that was her late husband’s alma mater. Since she decided she likes me, Rose is going to cheer for my Georgia Bulldogs in the upcoming Rose Bowl—which is why I am calling her Rose!
PARIS — Over his 40-year career, the fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier has had his share of odd requests but until last year, he had never been asked to dress a coin. His imagination has produced outrageous concepts like fitting Madonna into a pointy conical bra, slipping the bearded transgender Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst into a couture dress and sending models down a runway lined with menorahs for his fall 1993 Chic Rabbis collection. → Read more at nytimes.com
Washington – At the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt participated in the ceremonial strike of the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar honoring the 100th anniversary → Read more at dailystarjournal.com
Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold and silver coins fell sharply year-over-year in November, keeping their tally for the first 11 months of 2017 on track for the weakest year since 2007, the latest data showed on Thursday. → Read more at reuters.com
Cape Town – The South African Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), has created a commemorative silver coin in honour of the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant 50 years ago. → Read more at fin24.com
These introductions to the weekly news are supposed to be my thoughts and opinions on some of the things I have read while looking for numismatic-related news. For this week, I cannot think of a thing to say.
That is not exactly true. I have a lot to say but it is not numismatic-related!
Honestly, my mind is elsewhere. It is about 600 miles to the southwest from suburban Washington, D.C. in Athens, Georgia. Not only is Athens where I attended college as an undergraduate but it is the home of the 2017 Southeastern Conference Champion University of Georgia Bulldogs!
After beating Auburn last night to win the SEC Championship and learning today that Georgia will be playing Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl for the College Football Playoff Semi-Finals, I have been just euphoric!
So that I can include some numismatic-related content, I know that the Highland Mint strikes most of the medals that are used for the coin toss around college and professional football. In 2015, the Franklin Mint was commissioned to strike the medals for the CFP games. Regardless of who gets the contract, a copy of that medal will likely end up in my collection.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Rare coins that can be potentially worth thousands of dollars may end up being worthless if a buyer doesn't do the proper vetting. Billy Ward told First Coast News he learned that lesson the hard way. → Read more at firstcoastnews.com
MANILA, Philippines — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Wednesday revealed the new design for P5 coin which would be released in December. The P5 New Generation Currency Coin Series features Gat Andres Bonifacio on the obverse. → Read more at philstar.com
MANILA, Nov. 30 — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced that of the New Generation Currency (NGC) Coin Series, it will release in advance of the other denominations, the 5-piso NGC legal tender coin for circulation, starting December 2017. → Read more at pia.gov.ph
Once, in a busy market, at a time when government policies had made change scarce and thus very precious, a shopkeeper refused to give a customer change in lieu of a high denomination currency note. In those days tempers were high, inconveniences great. → Read more at dailyo.in
Precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are used by several countries like the United States to mint coins that would satisfy investor demand who want to buy these metals in a more recognizable weight and form. → Read more at born2invest.com
Dubai: You have them in your pockets and take them wherever you go. But do you know what they’re worth apart from their face value? The dirhams in your wallet tell more than how much purchasing power you have now. → Read more at gulfnews.com
The Re 1 note has officially completed a century in its existence. The last hundred years – the first note was introduced on November 30, 1917, with the photo of King George V – have been all but tumultuous. → Read more at moneycontrol.com
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold and silver coins fell sharply year-over-year in November, keeping their tally for the first 11 months of 2017 on track for the weakest year since 2007, the latest data showed on Thursday. → Read more at reuters.com
Today is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is a modern invention created back when most people only had access to the Internet through a dial-up modem and would use their company’s faster connection to do online shopping following Black Friday.
In the modern world, Black Friday does not have the same meaning. It used to be when retailers would become profitable with the beginning of the holiday season sales. The name was derived from written ledgers when negative numbers were written in red and positive numbers were written in black. After Black Friday, the numbers would be written in black! But that is not how modern economics works. Company profits are measured on a quarterly basis and should be in the black all year. But why destroy a tradition!
With the proliferation of broadband access from the home, Cyber Monday has also lost its meaning. In fact, there are reports that suggest that there will be more online shopping than shopping in brick-and-mortar outlets. But that is not going to stop Cyber Monday sales!
It is the holiday season and regardless of your beliefs there will be presents exchanged. Or you may purchase your own present. Do you have numismatic presents on your wish list? What about for others? Do tell!
What are your gift giving plans for 2017?
I have coins on my wish list. (40%, 6 Votes)
I am not planning on giving a numismatic gift. (20%, 3 Votes)
I plan to give someone a numismatic gift. (13%, 2 Votes)
I have exonumia or other numismatics on my wish list. (13%, 2 Votes)
I do not have any numismatics on my wish list. (7%, 1 Votes)
The reason why I search for news about topics related to numismatics from outside the industry allows me to get an understanding of how others see numismatics. I find even the most innocuous story about a country considering redesigning their currency, a find of a coin thousands of years old, and how pocket change finds can lead to high bids on online auctions to be interesting.
I share these with you to inspire your collection and help promote the hobby.
But as I shared a few weeks ago, searching the news also comes with its distractions. The latest happens this time every year when the stories about a gold coin being dropped in those ubiquitous red kettles become prominent.
I am not against giving to charity. On the contrary, I think more people should be charitable with whatever they could give. If time is money then give your time. In fact, I am one of those people who believe that when someone reaches 18 years old they should be required to do two-years of public service. It does not have to be in the military but something to serve the public good.
However, dropping a gold coin into a red kettle may look good as news headlines but can really be more problems than they are worth.
As we know, selling a coin is not the easiest thing to do and when you do, you do not receive its full value. A dealer may raise the bid price of a coin from a charity to provide some charitable assistance, but most dealers are not going to buy the coin at full value—unless they are charitable. And this does not take into consideration the fluctuating price of the metals. Maybe, by the time the charity sells the coin, the market price drops and the coin is not worth as much as the day it was dropped into the kettle.
Rare coins may be more problematic. For the best value, those have to go to auction and as anyone who has sold merchandise in an auction, you never know what the hammer price will be. Selling anything at an auction is risky. While a quality rare coin may bring in more than the coin is worth, it can also do far worse.
Since gold is currently $1288 per ounce and considering that modern bullion coins have about a 15-percent numismatic premium, rather than buy a bullion coin and drop it into a kettle, take the $1481 in cash and drop that instead. You can do what an acquaintance does and wrap a few $100 notes around a $1 note so it looks like you are giving a few dollars. When they open the kettle and see hundreds of dollars in cash, they will be happy and will be able to use it for their work immediately without having to worry about selling the coin.
If you want to donate the proceeds from the sale of a coin to charity, that is wonderful. But sell the coin yourself. You are more qualified than these charities in obtaining value from the sale. Then donate the cash. It should not be about the ego boost from being written about in the newspapers. It should be about helping the charity. Which is more important?
JAKARTA – Coin rubbing is a form of folk medication practised in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian and East Asian countries, such as Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and southern China. → Read more at enca.com
Russian artist Roman Booteen is a modern master in the art of the hobo nickel—a term used to describe the 18th century sculptural art form of hand-engraving coins. His latest extraordinary piece—titled Gold Bug—was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Gold Bug. → Read more at mymodernmet.com
(1) View gallery The Queen and Prince Phillip’s platinum wedding anniversary is being commemorated with a new coin, minted in Banstead. The coin is 130mm in diameter, weighs nearly 2kg and is encrusted with 70 diamonds, and the limited run of 70 coins will be hand-finished by the master craftsman at Pobjoy Mint. → Read more at epsomguardian.co.uk
One of my favourite things is my Dad’s old horseshoe wallet where he kept his spare change and a rolled pipe cleaner or two. I used it for years after he died, packing it with British bronze 12-sided threepenny bits and shillings until I arrived in Australia and stuffed it with dollar coins and 50¢ dustbin lids. → Read more at sheppnews.com.au
A treasure hunter has unearthed a haul of ancient gold coins, thought to have been buried with an Anglo-Saxon King nearly 1,500 years ago. Chris Kutler, 54, stumbled upon the coins after spending four days searching a 1,600 sq metre field in Chelmsford, Essex. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk
The Apiary Fund Commemorative coin is a tribute to the traders who put in time, energy, and faith in their efforts to become funded traders. OREM, Utah November 24, 2017 In the spirit of those Amer… → Read more at nbherard.com
What would it take to put together a modern type set?
How would you define a modern type set?
This is the summary of the email conversation I have been having with someone looking for an interesting challenge to work on with his children.
For new readers and those new to numismatics, a type set is one coin of every type regardless of date or mintmark. Although some coins have one-year types, like the 50 State Quarters, there are others where one coin will represent an entire series, like the Roosevelt Dime.
While there are a lot of interesting coins types we focused on modern coins. Modern coins are those struck since 1965 when coins went from silver to copper-nickel except for the Kennedy half-dollar that was made of 40-percent silver through 1970. To budding young numismatists, modern coins are all they know.
In fact, all they know is that the quarter has a constantly changing reverse and they have seen differences in the Lincoln cent and the Jefferson nickel. They did not go through the fiasco of the Susan B. Anthony dollar or marvel at the first circulating commemoratives of the modern era: the dual-dated bicentennial coins. They were not around to search boxes of Cheerios for the new Sacagawea dollar coin or the millennial cent.
Obverse of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar
The 2000 Cheerios Dollar
Modern coins do not get the same love as some of the classics. Aside from not containing silver, there have been controversies over designs (see the “spaghetti hair” that George Washington was sporting on the 50 State Quarters) and how the relief on coins has been lowered by the U.S. Mint in an attempt to extend die life.
Some not-so-great designs
Obverse of the 50 State Quarters with Washington’s spaghetti hair
2002 Ohio Quarter with the hanging astronaut
2004 Florida Quarter with a jumble of stuff
Although people love the classic designs two of my favorite designs of the modern era is the Drummer Boy reverse on the Bicentennial quarter and the Thomas Jefferson portrait on the obverse of the 2005 Westward Journey nickels. And even though I have not written much about them, there are some fantastic designs in the America the Beautiful Quarters series. A few that you may want to take a second look at include 2017 Ellis Island, 2017 George Rogers Clark National Historic Park, 2016 Shawnee National Forest, and the 2015 Blue Ridge Parkway quarters just to name a few.
A few of the great America the Beautiful Quaters designs
2015 Blue Ridge Parkway – North Carolina
2016 Shawnee National Forest – Illinois
2017 Ellis Island – New Jersey
2017 George Rogers Clark National Park – Indiana
Sitting with a Red Book, I started to list the coin types that would make up a modern type set. If we limited the set to circulating coins (e.g., not including half-dollars and one-dollar coins) that can be found in pocket change, there would be 128 coins with a face value of $28.97.
No. in Series
Lincoln Memorial Cents
Lincoln Bicentennial Cents
Lincoln Shield Censt
pre-2004 Jefferson Nickels
Westward Journey Nickels
Return to Monticello Nickels
50 State Quarters
D.C. and U.S. Territories Quarters
America the Beautiful Quarters
The above table does take into consideration the entire 56 Amercia the Beautiful Quarters series including future issues. The kids have to understand the concept of future issues and maintain space for these coins in their album.
Starting the set with pocket change allows the kids to get used to the concept of looking at the coins to understand what they are looking for. To help with their search each child was given a Red Book and two apps on their iPads: PCGS CoinFacts and PCGS Photograde. They can use the Red Book as a handy off-line reference but use PCGS CoinFacts to learn more when they have access. Photograde is very useful to help them assess the condition of the coins.
While collectors have a basic understanding of coin grading, getting it right can be difficult. These kids were given a basic lesson on things to look for when trying to assess the condition of the coins they find. It will be interesting to see how they interpret this information.
Once we covered coins that can readily be found in circulation, we then discussed the other business strikes that are usually not found in ordinary pocket change.
After an interesting discussion, it was decided to make those a separate collection.
As a separate collection, this will give the kids an opportunity to go to dealers and coin shows to allow the kids to learn about buying coins in this environment. They will learn how to talk with a dealer, gain experience negotiating, and do some comparison shopping. It will let them get the experience and see different coins but maintain a collection discipline that will allow them to learn to collect on a budget.
What are the modern type coins that do not see a lot of circulation? Once again, I sat with the Red Book and came up with the following list:
No. in Series
Kennedy Half Dollars
Bicentennial Kennedy Half Dollar
Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars
Susan B. Anthony Dollars
Native American Dollars
To complete the task, I came up with a checklist for all of the modern coins in two formats. One is a printed version that they could keep in their pocket as they go about their day. The other is a spreadsheet that can act as an official record. The paper version is a very basic PDF file that can be used to write notes. The spreadsheet offers more information. It also allows them to come up with their own catalogue.