Weekly World Numismatic News for June 13, 2021

Before unveiling my father’s grave marker, it was covered with an appropriate towel. After 12 years, he is next to my mother, again.

Even though the United States may be recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many will feel its effects for a long time. Whether from missing events from 2020 to the loss of a family member, survivors will have reminders that will last a lifetime.

Last Friday was my father’s unveiling. For those not familiar with the custom, Jewish descendants celebrate the life of the deceased by dedicating the grave marker where the loved one is buried. The marker is covered then revealed at the end of the service.

As a die-hard and always suffering Mets fan, my father’s marker was covered with a Mets towel until the end of the service. Later that night, the family went to Citi Field to attend a Mets game in his honor. Jacob deGrom pitched a phenomenal six innings and the Mets won.

It was my first time attending a game at Citi Field. The stadium is quite different from Shea Stadium where my father and I saw many games together. In 1972, we attended more games than he expected because I kept winning tickets. That year I was delivering Newsday when it was an afternoon newspaper. To boost the number of subscribers, Newsday would give out prizes to the paperboys who sold the most subscriptions. When Newsday started a Sunday paper, there would be more opportunities to win prizes. I chose the Mets tickets whenever it was an option.

In those days, the paperboys collected directly from the subscriber. On Saturday, we would pay the distributor for the week’s newspapers and hand in orders for the next week. One week I almost did not have enough money to pay the bill because several people paid using silver coins. The silver coins went inserted into the blue folders. My father helped me make up the difference.

By the end of my three years delivering Newsday, I had a nearly complete set of Roosevelt dimes picked from pocket change and from the people who paid for newspapers. Shortly before we moved from New York, my father and I went to a local coin shop and we purchased 12 dimes to almost complete the set. A few days later, he came home from work with the one dime that the local coin shop did not have and a Whitman Deluxe album. Later, I learned he bought the coin and the album from Stack’s in Manhattan.

Although this chapter is over, the memories and the album of Roosevelt dimes remain.

And now the news…

 June 10, 2021
“Treasure of Chianti,” now on view through Sept. 3 at the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, Italy. A treasure trove of ancient Roman silver coins discovered by a team from Florida State University is now on display to the public for the first time in Italy.  → Read more at news.fsu.edu

 June 11, 2021
 → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 June 13, 2021
By Updated  → Read more at smh.com.au
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What Does $18 Million Buy These Days?

On June 8, 2021, Sotheby’s auctioned the Stuart Weitzman Collection. The auction consisted of three of the rarest items in the world, including the Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle. It is the only 1933 Double Eagle coin that anyone who can afford it can legally own.

The coin sold for $18,872,250!

Although not confirmed by Sotheby’s, the price realized suggests that it includes the buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s has not disclosed the buyer’s name.

Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle was sold by Sotheby’s for $18,872,250 in a June 2021 auction.
(Picture Credit: PCGS)

Arguably, the most famous coin in the world, the price was over the auction estimate of $10-15 million but under what the numismatic industry expected. The price is significantly more than the $7,590,020 paid in 2002 for the coin, including $20 to monetize the coin officially. The auction included the U.S. Mint’s monetization certificate.

U.S. Mint’s Certificate of Monetization for the Farouk-Fenton Double Eagle (Picture Credit: Sotheby’s)

Also included in the auction was The Inverted Jenny Plate Block sold for $4,860,000 (estimated at $5-7 million), and The British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamp that sold for $8,307,000 (estimated at $10-15 million).

Numismatists may want to save the catalog link for the sale of this coin. Sotheby’s catalog listing includes the coin’s history with an updated history of the other 1933 Double Eagle coins. The update includes the ten coins “discovered” by Joan Langbord, daughter of Israel Switt, and her family’s fight to retain ownership. Documentation from court filings adds to the story.

David Tripp wrote the original catalog description for the first Sotheby’s/Stack’s auction. In 2004, Tripp published his research in Illegal Tender. Given the new information, would it be worth updating the book?

Let’s Have a CoinCon

The evolution of coin collecting is here. It is all around you, and if you are collecting using blue and brown folders or plastic holders, you are not part of the evolution or at the periphery of the evolution.

New collectors are collecting based on a coin’s theme. They are not interested in date or mintmark series of coins but want a connection to their collectible. The coins must have a meaning.

A midwest club of sports collectors invited me to speak about coins with sports themes. They had heard of the Basketball Hall of Fame coin but wanted to know more. I gathered my information and joined them via Zoom.

For this talk, I made a list of commemorative coins celebrating sports. This list includes the Baseball Hall of Fame coins, the many Olympic commemorative coins, and the Jackie Robinson commemorative coins.

As part of the discussion, they asked why collectors did not like the colorized Basketball Hall of Fame coins. One club member tried to buy the colorized clad proof from a local coin shop and was shamed by the shop’s owner for wanting this coin. The shop owner said that it was a damaged coin and that it will not be worth much in the future. Rather than selling the collector the colorized coin, he tried to sell a regular proof.

Unfortunately, the “traditional” numismatic feeling is that a coin is a legal tender flat metal disc with a denomination with a date, and some have mintmarks. Within the collection of the flat discs, there may be variation in how the coin was struck, changes in dies, and other unintended alterations the hobby calls errors. But that is not what interests today’s collectors.

One of the club members has been collecting the Super Bowl coins from the Highland Mint. He loves football, and the Highland Mint produces the coins for the Super Bowl coin toss. They sell replicas to collectors. The Highland Mint also sells commemorative replica sets for all of the Super Bowls’ coins. For the years before the Highland Mint’s involvement, they created a coin that may have been appropriate for the game.

After listening to the story and the information about the coins, I called him a numismatist. I told him that he did not have to collect legal tender coins to be a numismatist. By having a niche collection of numismatic-related items and learning everything about them, I said that is what numismatics is all about.

In the process, club members told me about coins that Topps made as a promotion in 2020. Inside special packs, there was a thicker card with a coin inserted honoring the player. Following a quick search, I purchased the two versions of the coin card with New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom and slugger Pete Alonso.

I also found a few 1964 and 1971 aluminum coins, sometimes referred to as pogs, for a few previous members of the Mets, including “The Franchise,” the late Tom Seaver. I think I just started a new collection!

Ron Hunt and Tom Seaver

1964 Topps Ron Hunt (left) and 1971 Topps Tom Seaver (right)

Towards the end of the meeting, someone asked if I knew anything about the new Rolling Stones Coin. The Crown Mint produces a silver 10 gram, 1-ounce silver, and 12-gram gold coin using the tongue and lips logo for Gibraltar. The silver coins feature colorized highlights.

As we talked about the coins, I picked up my philatelic numismatic cover (PNC) with the Queen coin from the Royal Mint and put it in front of the camera. I also mentioned that the Royal Mint produced a commemorative for Elton John. Although the coin covers are sold out at the Royal Mint, I went to the Royal Mail website and found Elton John and other commemoratives, including coin covers for James Bond.

Queen Coin Cover

Queen Coin Cover is created in cooperation with the Royal Mint and Royal Mail (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint).

After the meeting, I was thinking about themed coins and wondered if the numismatic community can partner with other collectibles to create a more dynamic show.

For example, why not partner with the New Zealand Mint, Perth Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, and others that produce licensed comic-related coins and the publishers to create a Coin and ComicCon. The coins will be the centerpiece of the event but invite the fans to add a different flair.

There are so many themed coins that the hobby can set up CoinCons that bring in different themes with the coins as the centerpiece. A Sports CoinCon would feature sports on coins, and the grading services can sponsor autograph signings of the labels. Coin dealers could set up next to sports dealers to sell coins. And the coins do not have to be limited to a sports theme. If the dealer can sell investor coins or other themed coins, they can gain from the experience.

Outside of numismatic circles, silver and mixed metal non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins are popular. The mixed metals are not limited to ringed coins. Using metals like gold and niobium to highlight features is as popular as colorized coins.

Other possible CoinCon themes include advertising, art, nature, history, science, and almost anything else. An International CoinCon could set up conference rooms with different themes connected by a single hall to allow collectors to go between rooms to experience other collectibles. The CoinCon can invite auctioneers of each theme to hold auctions during the show, especially if their lots have coins to feature. How much fun could it be to have a science and technology theme in a CoinCon and hold an auction with space-related coins and souvenirs?

A CoinCon is not collecting as we knew it yesterday. Today’s collectors want a connection to what they collect. All hobby businesses must understand that this is the present and future of collecting.

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 16, 2021

It has been a long 16-months. During that time, a virus caused a worldwide pandemic still being felt in much of the world. Thanks to science and the government removing barriers that slow the development process, the pharmaceutical industry found vaccines to reduce infection rates.

The increase in vaccinations and the reduction of infections has government easing restrictions that shut down the country for three months in 2020. As the restrictions ease, coin shows are appearing. Small shows have been running for a few months, but last week, the ANA announced the World’s Fair of Money would go on.

Over the last six months, hobby and other spending have dramatically increased. The demand for goods has outpaced the supply. Big-ticket items like housing and vehicles are experiencing low inventories as people leave their homes and spend money. I regularly pass a few used car lots on my way to work, and their inventory is the lowest I have seen.

Numismatics is also seeing a surge. Even though analysts note that lower sales of bullion coins from last year, the demand for collector coins has caused prices to skyrocket. Services that monitor online markets say that the 2021-W American Silver Eagle Proof coin price is averaging $140-160 or 100-percent over their issue price.

Because silver is in high demand, dealers are charging high premiums over the spot price and sellout out of their inventory. When I recently looked at buying circulated coins whose value is tied to the silver spot price, the premiums were the highest that I have seen.

It has been a long time since silver coins were this popular. There is no telling how high this market will go with the expanding market for non-circulated legal tender (NCLT) and bullion coins drawing people into collecting.

And now the news…

 May 10, 2021
What do ancient coins tell us about the Omer period and the time of the Bar-Kochba revolt, when the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot became associated with death and mourning? According to the Bible, the seven weeks between the two holidays referred to as ‘omer’ – a unit of measure which was used to quantify the amount of produce to offer as a sacrifice to God – was not meant to carry any specific connotation other than its agricultural meaning.  → Read more at jpost.com

 May 11, 2021
An early pandemic problem that plagued businesses is back: not enough change to go around. Why it matters: The pandemic broke America's coin flow. It has repercussions for millions that rely on it for daily transactions.  → Read more at axios.com

 May 13, 2021
Nov.  → Read more at theglowup.theroot.com
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A Good Step For the Future of the NLG

Dr. Ursula KampmannLast week, the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) announced the appointment of Dr. Ursula Kampmann of Lörrach, Germany, to their Board of Governors. It is an announcement that has more significance to the numismatic community than captured in a press release.

Dr. Kampmann is an accomplished numismatist with a significant international following. I “met” her through CoinsWeekly (coinsweekly.com), an English language website that reports numismatic news from all over the world. She contacted me about a post I made, and it led me to become a regular reader.

CoinsWeekly looks at the entire world of numismatics, not from a single country. There have been articles that cover special issues, the appeal of coins minted outside of the United States, and even criticizes U.S.-based numismatic news for their myopic view of collecting.

The appeal of having Dr. Kampmann working with the NLG is to inject her experience outside of the United States into the hobby. The hobby needs new ideas and to break out of its old ways to grow; having a view outside of the United States border will have a significant impact.

Dr. Kampmann is not so much of an outsider as one might think. Readers of CoinsWeekly will recognize that the stories understand the U.S.-based hobby but have constructive criticism based on what is happening in the rest of the world.

She can help influence the authors and writers of numismatic content to understand the hobby more broadly than the myopic U.S. view. There is a big world outside of the U.S. borders producing coins that have great appeal to many. Those of us who write about numismatics must learn to think beyond collections of discs that all look the same.

Dr. Kampmann’s appointment appears to be the first move by new Executive Director Charles Morgan, editor of CoinWeek. Morgan, who is also known for wanting the hobby to break away from the mindset of the blue and brown albums, appears to be off to a good start. There is a lot we can learn from our European counterparts. I hope the U.S.-based writers will take this opportunity to grow.

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 2, 2021

One bit of news that did not make the numismatic press is that the Coin Collectors Blog sponsored 36 news memberships to the American Numismatic Association. All 36 new members will begin to have access to the ANA, the Numismatist, submit coins to NGC, check out books from the library (oops… I have a few books I have to return), and attend the World’s Fair of Money without having to pay an entrance fee.

I thought it was important to sponsor new memberships to the ANA to bring in new members, especially those with diverse backgrounds and ideas. All the new members should let us know how they collect.

The ANA must evolve to the new environment. The ANA was caught flat-footed when the pandemic changed the environment. Even though the headquarters staff did their best with the resources provided, it was clear that the leadership lacked the imagination to do better.

New members can help. You can tell the ANA what they can do to help make your collecting experience more valuable. You can contact the Board of Governors directly or tell me. I will publish the ideas on this blog. Together, we can make the ANA a better organization.

To the 36 new members: WELCOME!

And now the news…

 April 26, 2021
DALLAS, TEXAS – The first dollar coin struck at the fledgling US Mint in 1794, an experiment in copper that would become the pattern for more valuable silver versions minted later, sold for $840,000 at Heritage Auctions Friday, April 23.  → Read more at antiquesandthearts.com

 April 28, 2021
It may have been the greatest heist of all time, and it took place on the high seas. The royal ship Ganj-iSawai, property of Indian emperor Aurangzeb, had set sail from the port of Mocha on the Red Sea bound for Surat, India.  → Read more at theday.com

 April 28, 2021
Jersey Heritage Hundreds of coins and 35 pieces of jewellery are among the Le Câtillon I hoard which have been bought  → Read more at bbc.com

 April 28, 2021
It may have been the greatest heist of all time, and it took place on the high seas. The royal ship Ganj-iSawai, property of Indian emperor Aurangzeb, had set sail from the port of Mocha on the Red Sea bound for Surat, India.  → Read more at theday.com

 April 29, 2021
A picture made available on 29 April 2016 shows one of 19 Roman amphoras discovered in the town of Tomares, near Seville (EPA Photo)  → Read more at dailysabah.com
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Why is the U.S. Mint Limiting the Morgan and Peace Dollars?

Without announcement or other fanfare, the U.S. Mint added 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars to the Product Schedule on the catalog website. The entries linked to their product pages where they buried critical details about the releases.

The pages noted a household limit of 25 coins. When collectors found out and complained, the U.S. Mint lowered the limit to 10 while claiming they are listening to their customers. The household limit is a controversy because of the low product limits placed by the U.S. Mint. Each of the 2021 Morgan Dollar options is limited to 175,000 coins, and the only Peace Dollar option is limited to 200,000 coins.

Why are the product limits so low?

It does not take a degree in marketing to read the numismatic media to understand that there will be a demand for these coins. The ANA pursued passage of this legislation beginning in 2019. Collectors in numismatic forums have discussed the coins. Yet, the U.S. Mint claiming that they are listening to their customers is tone-deaf when it comes to production to satisfy the market.

When a government agency has to do something not exactly the way the public expects, the agency will go about its business trying to generate as little publicity as possible. The U.S. Mint has tried to hide the low product limits and its callous disregard to the collecting community they claim to hear by ignoring the extreme demand these coins will have.

A government agency is supposed to serve the public. If the U.S. Mint is really listening, they will increase the product limits. Otherwise, this is David Ryder playing games at the collector’s expense and should resign as Director of the U.S. Mint.

2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars Specifications
Denomination: $1
Finish: Uncirculated
Composition: .999 Silver
Silver Weight: 0.858 troy oz.
Diameter: 1.500 inches (38.10 mm)
Edge: Reeded
2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars Program Information
Coin Privy Mark Release Date Production Limit Price
2021 Morgan Dollar “CC” May 24, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021 Morgan Dollar “O” May 24, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021-D Morgan Dollar   June 1, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021-S Morgan Dollar   June 1, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021 Morgan Dollar   June 7, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021 Peace Dollar   June 7, 2021 200,000 $85.00
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Weekly World Numismatic News for April 25, 2021

U.S. Mint Announces 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars Availability
U.S. Mint Backs Off of Higher Household Limits

There continues to be a disconnect between the U.S. Mint and the collecting community. First, they announce the availability of the 2021 Morgan and Peace dollar coins with a household limit of 25 coins. Then, claiming they heard collectors, they lower the household limit to 10 coins.

What everyone missed in the announcement is the obnoxiously low mintage limits for these coins. Since the legislation does not specify mintage limits, why is the U.S. Mint limiting the number of coins they are selling? It does not take a professional market analyst to note that the limits will drive profiteering against the collector community. If they need a recent example, look at the 2021-W American Silver Eagle Proof Original Reverse coins.

National Coin Weeks Ends

News watchers may have noticed mainstream news outlets wrote a few more stories about National Coin Week than in the past. The stories included something about the 2021 dollar coins, whether it was the Morgan and Peace tributes or the innovation dollar.

The free offer for Gold Membership to the ANA also ended on Saturday. The ANA will let me know next week how many took advantage of my offer. Although the advertising said that I would sponsor 25, I provided enough money to sponsor 50 new members. I hoped 50 people became ANA members this past week!

And now the news…

 April 25, 2021
CHICAGO– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Chicago’s International Mail Facility (IMF) recently seized 281 shipments containing various counterfeit coins and $100 bills with 95% of the shipments arriving from China.  → Read more at cbp.gov

 April 25, 2021
— Astronaut Sally Ride will be depicted on a U.S. coin looking out a spacecraft window at Earth, if the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury agrees with the recommendations made by two advisory panels for the design of quarter dollar to be issued in 2022.
  → Read more at collectspace.com
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A General, President, and the last Large Dollar Coin

REMINDER: If you are not a member of the ANA, I will pay your 2021 Gold Membership dues for the first 25 readers of the Coin Collectors Blog who join during National Coin Week. All you have to do is click this link and use the Promotion Code NCW21SB when you check out.
For National Coin Week, all blog posts this will be about large dollar coins. Today, we give some love to the last large dollar coin struck for circulation.

The 1935 Peace Dollar was the last silver dollar struck for circulation. The dollar coin was not very popular because of its size and weight compared with the paper dollar. After silver prices rose and silver dollars were disappearing from circulation, there was a need to mint more coins.

By 1969, the primary customer using the dollar coin was Las Vegas casinos. To satisfy the demand, Mint Director Mary Brooks proposed to issue new dollar coins. Congress rejected Brooks’ proposal to issue silver-clad dollars. Eventually, Congress passed the law to use the same copper-nickel clad composition as other coins.

The selection of World War II general and President Dwight D. Eisenhower was easier to justify following his death on March 28, 1969. To honor Eisenhower, the reverse of the coin would celebrate the formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), founded in 1958 during his administration. Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro used the Apollo 11 mission insignia for the reverse design.

In 1975 and 1976, the reverse of the quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins were redesigned for the United States Bicentennial. The U.S. Mint and the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission held a design competition for the redesign. Dennis R. Williams, a 22-year-old art student, submitted the winning design.

When engraving the dies, Gasparo simplified some of the design so that it would strike adequately. Initial tests did not show any problems. However, when the coins were struck in production, the letters on the copper-nickel circulating coins did not strike well. Gasparo changed the letters by making them thinner and sharper, giving collectors two types of Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars. The Type 1 dollars were struck in 1975. The Type 2 dollars in 1976.

The original reverse with the Apollo 11 mission insignia returned on the 1977 and 1978 coins.

With the cost of copper and nickel rising and the desire to have more dollar coins in circulation, the Eisenhower Dollar was replaced by the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The Susie B. was smaller and used the Apollo 11 mission insignia on the reverse, but it was confused with the quarter and rejected by the public.

A complete collection of business strike Eisenhower Dollars consists of 16 coins. Uncirculated silver coins struck using a 40% silver-clad alloy was for four years. These are called “Blue Ikes” describing the Blue Packs similar to those used by the GSA for circulating silver dollars. An uncirculated silver-clad coin was available in the three-coin Bicentennial Silver Set. There are five silver-clad uncirculated coins.

From 1971-1974, the U.S. Mint issued silver-clad proof Eisenhower Dollars using the similar plastic lens that the GSA used for the Carson City Morgan silver dollars. The lenses were packed in brown boxes giving their nickname “Brown Ikes.” Copper-nickel clad proof coins were available in annual proof sets. An additional silver-clad proof coin was available in the three-coin Bicentennial Silver Proof Set. There are five silver-clad proof coins of the 11 proof coins struck by the U.S. Mint.

An advanced collector may consider expanding their collection to include the varieties of the 1972 dollars. Because of the difficulties in striking the silver-clad coins, the image of the Earth did not strike well. During the year, Gasparo tried twice to fix the problem giving the coin three distinct types.

A complete collection of Eisenhower Dollars consists of 32 coins. Because the coin was challenging to strike, finding coins in the highest grades is expensive. But collectors can assemble an attractive set for a reasonable amount of money. If you wanted to add the three varieties in 1972, the Type II version is scarcer and might be more expensive than the rest of the set and maybe a nice challenge.
 

From my collection: 1976-S Silver Proof Bicentennial Autograph Set

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How the GSA Changed Dollar Collecting

REMINDER: If you are not a member of the ANA, I will pay your 2021 Gold Membership dues for the first 25 readers of the Coin Collectors Blog who join during National Coin Week. All you have to do is click this link and use the Promotion Code NCW21SB when you check out.
For National Coin Week, all blog posts this will be about large dollar coins. The following is a about the GSA Morgans and the few in my collection.

GSA Dollar Sale #3

GSA Sale #3 stepped up its advertising (Image from u/GucciMamba666 on Reddit)

The early 1960s were a time of upheaval. At the urging of President Kennedy, the United States stepped up its efforts to beat the Soviets to the moon. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

By 1964, the price of silver skyrocketed, making U.S. coins worth less than the metals used to make them. The economics led to a fiscal crisis that had the government rethinking the monetary system.

Silver coins were no longer required to back the U.S. dollar. Along with a law passed by Congress that ordered the General Services Administration to consolidate the government’s real estate usage came the discovery of the largest hoard in history.

Before the GSA started to clean out government-owned buildings, the government knew that they had stored silver coins in a few places. They did not know how many there were and the number of places they were stored.

Congress passed laws that caused over-production and hoarding. The Coinage Act of 1873, also called “The Crime of ’73,” caused a withdrawal of silver from the market. The Bland-Allison Act overturned it in 1878 that required the Treasury to purchase silver from U.S. mines to strike dollars for circulation. Since most silver mining was in Nevada, the Carson City Mint was striking more coins than needed.

The Sherman Silver Purchase Act became law in 1890. It raised the monthly amount of silver the Treasury purchased to 4.5 million ounces per month. The goal was to boost the economy to stem inflation. The law caused more dollars produced in Carson City with no place to distributed them.

To help Great Britain fund their war efforts, the Pittman Act authorized the melting of 350 million silver dollars to be sold at $1.00 per ounce. By the end of the war, over 270 million coins were melted for bullion. It was not enough to deplete the storage. The Act required the Mint to strike new coins with the silver repaid by Britain by 1933.

After several years of cleaning out vaults in different government-owned buildings, the GSA found 2,825,219 Morgan Dollars with the CC mintmark. They also found 112,145 coins from other branch mints. Within those additional coins, the GSA found 84,165 circulated Seated Liberty, Morgan, and Peace Dollars.

The government did not know what to do with the coins. Since they were in Treasury’s vaults, it was up to the Treasury to decide what to do with them. The Treasury’s role changed with the passage of the Federal Reserve Bank Act of 1913 and said that the best they could do was melt the coins. The U.S. Mint did not want the coins back since their job is to produce the coins. The Federal Reserve claimed it had no jurisdiction over the coins since the production and storage occurred before the formation of the Fed.

The GSA was the only agency that had experience liquidating government surplus. But these coins were not ordinary. Many collectors predicted that the sale of these coins would significantly change the numismatic market.

1884-O GSA Morgan Dollar

An 1884-O uncirculated Morgan Dollar from the GSA Sale

After the sale was over, the once rare 1882-1884 Carson City Dollars became more available. For example, the GSA found 962,638 of the 1,360,000 minted 1884-CC dollars in storage. It changed the rarity of the coins and the prices of previous purchases plunged.

To sell these coins, the GSA created a special hardpack to hold the circulated coins. The hard-pack would be placed into a box with a certificate of authenticity, and the coins were made available through a mail-bid auction sale.

Coins struck in Carson City would be housed in a plastic case called a lens that said “Carson City” across the top. Other uncirculated coins were placed in a generic case. These coins are called GSA Morgans or GSA Non-CC Morgans.

For circulated coins, the GSA created the Soft Pack. The coins were sealed in mylar with a plastic token and placed in a blue envelope. Collectors refer to these coins as GSA Blue Packs. The GSA did not keep records of the number of Blue Packs sold. However, some have estimated that the GSA created about 100,000 Blue Packs.

From 1972 through 1980, the GSA held a series of eight sales. Most were mail-bid type auctions. The last two in 1980 were call-in bidding sales.

My father was cleaning his house, preparing to move into a condo before the pandemic shutdowns and found his GSA Morgan Dollars. He mailed the coins to me for my collection. Three are Carson City dollars, and one struck in New Orleans. My father purchased the coins during the first two GSA sales. He said that he tried to purchase more during the 1980 sales but was outbid.

GSA CC Morgans

L-to-R: 1882-CC, 1883-CC, and 1884-CC Morgan Dollars in GSA holders

I will eventually send the coins to NGC to have them graded in their original holder. For now, I found an online seller with four empty GSA boxes. Since I have the original Certificates of Authenticity, I will have complete packages.

GSA Preview Movie

Preview from the 1971 GSA movie about the hoard of silver dollars. As you watch the video, think about what it might have taken for the GSA workers to sort through 3 million coins.
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