Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 18, 2018

When news comes out of the United Kingdom it is fun to read how the British tabloids write about them. They have a way with their words that make no doubt about where they stand.

Philip Hammond has branded a ‘penny-pincher’ after revealing shock plans to scrap 1p and 2p coins (Courtesy of The Sun)

This past week, the tabloids had their fun poking at Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who suggested that the country no longer produce 1p and 2p coins. He also questioned whether it was to the country’s advantage to eliminate the £50 note.

Chancellor of the Exchequer is to the United Kingdom as the Secretary of the Treasury is to the United States.

During Hammond’s review of the treasury, he said that since 500 million 1p and 2p coins fall out of circulation every year that it might be a good idea to eliminate them.

Hammond is a member of the Conservative Party. Following his statements on the State of the Treasury, MP (Member of Parliament) Wes Streeting, a member of the Labour Party, referred to Hammond as “this penny pincher Chancellor.”

That opened the tabloids and other opposition parties to attack Hammond and the Tories. Much like the argument against eliminating the one-cent coin in the United States, those against removing those coins worry about squeezing the poor a few pennies at a time (allegedly) making their situation worse.

For the £50 note, Hammond cites studies about its use in organized crime for physical payments. However, studies show that the criminals are more apt to use the 500€ note, while it is still in circulation, the 100&euro note, and the $100 Federal Reserve Note. Even with the strong exchange rate being strong on the pound sterling, it is more advantageous for criminals to use higher denomination banknotes.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who has the final say, gave the British press a non-committal statement following the opposition attack. Of course, that opened her up to being called whishy-washy by the tabloids.

The British tabloids do make the news entertaining!

And not the news…

 March 11, 2018

Whether a modern quarter displaying a U.S. national park or a rare, hand-hammered Greek denarius dating back to 250 A.D., history is woven throughout the process and story of all coins, tokens and currencies, according to Monte Mensing, president of the Springfield Coin Club. → Read more at registerguard.com

 March 12, 2018

GAYLORD — When Kandus Schalter received a “challenge coin” from Matt Barresi, director of the Gaylord Regional Airport, she thought she might just keep it in her wallet. But Frank Jasinski thought Schalter, a World War II veteran and local businesswoman with strong ties to the community, should be able to wear it proudly, so he offered to take it to Hogan’s Jewelers, to put a hole and catch in it. → Read more at petoskeynews.com

 March 12, 2018

On Monday, March 12, the National Bank of Ukraine introduces a commemorative coin "The Day of the Ukrainian Volunteer". This was reported by the press service of the bank. The nominal value of the coin is 10 UAH, metal is a zinc-based alloy, the circulation is 1 million pieces. → Read more at 112.international

 March 12, 2018

The Treasury could be paving the way for the end of 1p and 2p coins as it seeks views on the future of cash. It is inviting comments on the mix of coins in circulation as consumers move to non-cash payments such as contactless and digital spending. → Read more at bbc.com

 March 13, 2018

PHILIP Hammond was branded a “penny-pincher” after revealing shock plans to scrap 1p and 2p coins. Unveiling his Spring Statement, the Chancellor resurrected proposals to abolish the “obsolete” copper change. → Read more at thesun.co.uk

 March 15, 2018

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has decided to stop striking coins of low denominations — 1 kopiyka, 2 kopiykas, 5 kopiykas, 25 kopiykas coins, acting NBU Governor Yakiv Smolii has said. “The National Bank stops striking 1 kopiyka, 2 kopiykas, 5 kopiykas, 25 kopiykas coins. All these denominations of coins will be in circulation, but in the … → Read more at kyivpost.com

 March 16, 2018

A pot of 500 gold and silver coins dating to the 15th century was discovered in the Netherlands. → Read more at livescience.com

 March 16, 2018

The five dollar gold coin is the first time the Mint has ever issued currency in a pink hue. → Read more at usatoday.com

 March 16, 2018

Utility workers in the Netherlands struck gold while laying drain pipe at a construction site earlier this month. The employees of Oasen, a water supply company, unearthed a collection of nearly 500 coins in a glazed cooking pot dating back to the 15th century, the NL Times reported — 12 of them gold and the remaining silver. → Read more at nydailynews.com

Coin Collectors News

Yet another quarter series?

Nineteenth Amendment

With so little happening in Congress regarding numismatic-related legislation, it should not be a surprise that I would become excited I am alerted that there was something to see.

The excitement wore off when I saw the bill that was introduced.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 5308 with the initial title of To amend title 31, United States Code, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue quarter dollars in commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment, and for other purposes.

The text of the bill is not available, yet.

The Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote. It was the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. To amend the constitution, it passed the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, the Senate on June 4, 1919, then by 36 of the 48 states on August 18, 1920.

How do you create a design to commemorate the Nineteenth Amendment? Will there be one quarter per state? If so, what would be on Maryland’s quarter? Maryland rejected the amendment in 1920, the legislature ratified it in 1941, but the vote was not certified until 1958.

Then there is Mississippi that rejected the amendment in 1920 but passed it in 1984 becoming the 48th and last state to ratify the amendment (Alaska and Hawaii were not admitted to the union at the time and are ineligible to vote on the amendment).

While it is appropriate to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, maybe it should be a commemorative coin with the proceeds going to an organization like the League of Women Voters.

H.R. 5308: To amend title 31, United States Code, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue quarter dollars in commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Introduced: March 15, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 15, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR5308.

An Estate Auction tip

Not long ago I wrote about alternative places to find coins and other numismatic collectibles that included some of my secrets. As an addendum, I am going to provide another secret to an estate auction from a company I have done business with in the past.

If you are in the central Virginia area or willing to pay for shipping, you can bid on the Coin and Postcard Auction from JLR Auctions of Culpeper, Virginia.

The auction has 144 lots of coins along with eight lots of supplies. If you are into old postcards, there are a few nice lots in this auction. A little something for everyone.

I have bought items through JLR Auctions and have consigned surplus items. They are a good company to work with. I have no stake in this auction but passing along a tip to my readers.

Happy bidding!

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 11, 2018

It was announced that the Royal Canadian Mint was issuing a silver Canadian dollar commemorating the 180th Anniversary of Baseball in Canada. Being a baseball fan, I went to the Royal Canadian Mint’s website to see if the coin was worth adding to my collection. The came sticker shock!

The coin is convex, similar to the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins issued by the U.S. Mint. But that is where the similarities end. The reverse of the Canadian coin features a vintage baseball scene reminiscent of the 19th century inside a baseball-looking design. The obverse has the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It has a face value of $25 CDN.

Then there are the specifications. When I visited the Royal Canadian Mint’s website, I was floored when I noticed the issue price of 159.95 CAD or about $124.82 at the current exchange rate. Here is a comparison of the coins:

Royal Canadian Mint
180th Anniversary of Canadian Baseball
U.S. Mint
2014 Hall of Fame Commemorative Silver Dollar
Mintage 5,000 (limit) 400,000 (actual)
Proof: 268,076
Unc: 131,924
Face Value 25.00 CAD 1.00 USD
Composition 99.99% pure silver 90% silver
10% copper
Weight 30.75 g
(0.9886 troy ounce)
29.73 g
(0.9558 troy ounce)
Diameter 36.07 mm 38.1 mm
Silver Value
(16.57 USD spot)
16.38 USD 14.25 USD
Issue Price
(1 CAD = 0.78 USD)
159.95 CAD
(124.82 USD)
Proof: $56.95 (preorder: $51.95)
Unc: $52.95 (preorder: $47.95)

If you want a baseball commemorative coin and do not want to break the bank, you can still find the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Silver Dollar within 20-percent of the issue price in original government packaging (OGP). Even though the artwork is very good, the price of the Canadian coin is too high. At a premium of over 970-percent over spot, it is difficult to justify.

And now the news…

 March 5, 2018

The Central Bank of Lithuania is calling on tech companies and blockchain experts from across the globe to help in the design and production of a digital collector coin. The Central Bank is organising a hackathon in May for third parties to help in the design and development of the one-off virtual currency. → Read more at finextra.com

 March 6, 2018

A new commemorative coin was unveiled Oct. 9 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and honor those Americans who served. The silver dollar coin, authorized by Congress in 2014, features a service member holding a rifle to honor those who fought in the war from 1914 to 1918. → Read more at wadenapj.com

 March 6, 2018

Major League Baseball came to Canada in the 20th century with the debut of the Montreal Expos in 1969 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, but that was far from the beginning of the country's history with the game. → Read more at mlb.com

 March 6, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – A design is needed for the Bicentennial Coin to commemorate the Illinois Bicentennial. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced the Bicentennial Coin Contest on Tuesday. → Read more at wandtv.com

 March 7, 2018

Reverse of new penny design, showing Abraham Lincoln and the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (U.S. Mint photo) → Read more at chicagotribune.com

 March 7, 2018

The Royal Mint is encouraging coin lovers to celebrate the UK “one coin at a time”. The new series of 10p coins were released into circulation on March 1 and features an A to Z of British landmarks, icons and traditions. → Read more at dailystar.co.uk

 March 8, 2018

A museum has started a bid to buy part of a gold sovereign hoard discovered hidden inside a piano. The find was made in 2016 in Shropshire when the piano's new owners had it retuned and repaired. It has since been declared as treasure. → Read more at bbc.com

Coin Collectors News

When is it permissible to clean your coins

Numismatists and serious collectors will tell you to never clean your coins.

At one time it was common practice to clean coins and even use shellac on copper coins to keep their color. Dealers would dip coins in harsh chemicals to remove dirt and grime in order to make the coins more attractive to buyers. But that was in the past. Today, we are more sophisticated collectors and like our coins with as natural of a surface as possible. Because of this, the value of a cleaned coin will drop since it will not be as desirable as a coin with an original surface, regardless of the coin’s overall condition.

In fact, cleaning a coin or altering it to make the coin look better is not only unethical, but it can also be a crime since you would be representing a coin as original and it is not. It is called coin doctoring. This is such a touchy subject for the numismatic community that the Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG), an association of top dealers, spent two years trying to define what coin doctoring really means. In 2012, PNG came out with the following three conditions that indicates coin doctoring (emphasis added):

  1. Movement, addition to, or otherwise altering of metal, so that a coin appears to be in a better state of preservation, or more valuable than it otherwise would be. A few examples are plugging, whizzing, polishing, engraving, “lasering” and adding or removing mintmarks.
  2. Addition of any substance to a coin so that it appears to be in a better state of preservation or more valuable than it otherwise would be. The use of solvents and/or commercially available dilute acids, such as Jeweluster, by qualified professionals is not considered coin doctoring.
  3. Intentional exposure of a coin to any chemicals, substances, or processes which impart toning, such that the coin appears to be in a better state of preservation or more valuable than it otherwise would be. Naturally occurring toning imparted during long-term storage using established/traditional methods, such as coin albums, rolls, flips, or envelopes, does not constitute coin doctoring.

But there may be good reasons to clean collectible coins that may not be considered coin doctoring. Some may have collectibles that could be saved if we could just get the dirt or grime off. Some may have some PVC damage that may not have attacked the surface of the coin and could also be saved.

Another reason to clean coins is if you found the coins with a metal detector buried in the ground. Years of being buried in the dirt probably stored in non-archival materials can take its toll on a coin. These coins can be cleaned to remove the dirt.

The purpose is to remove the foreign substances from the surfaces and not to change the physical properties of the coin.


If you want to try to clean your coin, consider using neutral and non-abrasive means, such as soaking your coins in extra-virginolive oil or acetone. Yes, I did say extra-virgin olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is as neutral as you can get with a product that has been used to make soaps and other cleaners. In order for olive oil to be branded as “extra-virgin,” it must be made by the natural pressing of olives with no chemical additives and be no more than 0.8 percent acidic. Not only does the purity make for oil that is good for consumption, the natural fats can react with dirt on the coin and naturally loosen it to be easily rinsed away.

When trying to remove PVC or other stubborn dirt, try using acetone. Acetone is a natural solvent, chemically known as an organic compound, that has many uses. Acetone is slightly acidic, no more than two percent by volume, which is not enough to cause damage to coining metals.

If you use acetone you need to use 100-percent pure acetone and not nail polish remover. Although nail polish remover does contain acetone, it also contains perfumes and is diluted to the point that it will not work on your coins. The additives will damage the coin’s surface. Acetone can be purchased at your local hardware store and is sold either by the quart or gallon. While shopping, you should also purchase protective gloves (made from powder-free latex or nitrile), a protective mask for your nose and mouth, and something for your eyes if you do not wear glasses. Always remember your safety when using any chemical!

You should never use vinegar or soap. Vinegar is acidic and could affect the surface of the coin. Using vinegar can cause the small scratches and imperfections from the minting or bagging process to become more pronounced. These small etches can also become rough and allow new dirt to adhere to the coin.

Soap is a salt of a fatty acid. Chemically, a salt is a compound that neutralizes the reaction between the alkaline and acid properties of the chemicals. When fats are combined with other ingredients to reduce its acidity, it creates a soap that can be used for cleaning or lubrication. The problem is that the fatty acids on their own will not damage coins, you never know what the alkaline components are that have been added to balance the pH (potential of Hydrogen) of the acid.

Unfortunately, there is no standard definition of pure soap. Its common use is to define a product whose pH is as close to neutral (pH 7) as chemically possible. Unless the company discloses its formula, it would be impossible to tell if the makeup of the soap will negatively interact with the metals.

One final item you should have is distilled water. Distilled water has all the natural impurities removed and reduced the risk of the rinse damaging your coins. Using a squeeze bottle filled with distilled water is the most effective way to rinse away the olive oil or acetone.

When using either olive oil or acetone, the procedure is similar:

  1. Start with a clean work area. Wash your hands and work on a clean surface. Cleaning your workspace with anti-bacterial wipes will also help. Make sure your work area is safe and well ventilated, especially if you are using acetone.
  2. Consider covering your work surface with a lint-free towel folded over several times. If you drop the coin, you will drop it on the padding provided by the towel.
  3. If you are using acetone, don your safety gear. I cannot stress enough that while using acetone is an effective cleaner, you need to work with it in a well-ventilated area and away from any ignition sources, like your kitchen. If you smoke, you may want to leave your matches and lighter outside your work area.
  4. Pour your acetone or olive oil into a glass that would cover the coin. The depth should be about one-quarter to one-half inch of your liquid. It is also important to use glass for this. Acetone will react with plastic and olive oil may loosen anything that would be stuck to the plastic. A clean glass jar, drinking glass, or dessert bowl works best.
  5. If you are using acetone, place the coin in the glass and swirl it around for about 30 seconds. After a few swirls, you should start to see dirt in the acetone. If there is PVC on the coin, hopefully, you can see it begin to loosen. Do not do this for much longer than 30 seconds since the dirt in the acetone could scratch the coin.
  6. If you are using olive oil, place the coin in the glass with the dirtiest side up. Swirl it a few times to ensure the coin is coated and let it sit. Olive oil is not as strong as acetone and needs time to loosen the dirt. Depending on how dirty the coin is, let it sit for 30 minutes to three hours. Do not touch or swirl the coin. Just let it sit.
  7. Remove the coin from its bath with tongs or your gloved hand. Then using your squeeze bottle filled with distilled water, rinse the coin. Rinse it well to remove the acetone or olive oil. Olive oil is harder to rinse, so patience is required.

After the rinse, place the coin on a lint-free cloth and let it air dry. DO NOT RUB THE COIN! Even though you are using a lint-free cloth, it will scratch the surface. Wait for the coin to dry naturally before storing it away.

If your cleaning attempt did not work, try again. If you used olive oil and want to try again, let the coin sit longer. You may also try using acetone instead. If you used acetone to try to remove PVC damage and it did not work, there is one more thing you can try using a cotton swab:

  1. After swirling the coin in the acetone, remove the coin from the liquid and place it on a clean surface. Make sure you are using all of your safety precautions.
  2. Using a cotton swab with a cardboard handle (do not use once with plastic handles since the acetone will react with the plastic), dip the cotton in the acetone and roll the cotton tip across the problem area of the coin. You can gently nudge at PVC particles that may still be attached to your coin. DO NOT RUB THE COIN! You are trying to remove the PVC without causing any further damage and rubbing it or using any other abrasive motion will damage the coin.
  3. Keep rolling the cotton tip over the area, changing tips after a few rolls. You may also want to have a little clean acetone nearby to dip the cotton swab.

Most importantly, be patient. It may take a few swabs to see results. If it is not working or you feel anxious doing this, then stop. The last thing you want to do is add damage to your collectible. At this point, if the coin is not “clean” then it may not be cleanable. You can try to contact a professional conservation service for additional help.

When you are done, make sure you clean your work area and dispose of your used materials properly. Acetone is considered hazardous so NEVER POUR ACETONE DOWN THE DRAIN. Do not let it sit out because allowing it to evaporate will add toxic vapors in the air. Many cities and towns have hazardous waste processing rules. Find out what they do in your area to allow for disposal of acetone. You can also ask the sales clerk at the store where you bought the acetone for your area’s acceptable disposal options.

While olive oil is not hazardous, it is not a good idea to pour it down the drain. The natural fat in the olive oil will congeal and may stick to your pipes. After a while, the fat builds up and will cause a clog. In my neighborhood, the water company once had to remove a 25-pound congealed ball of grease that caused a backup in everyone’s drain. It was not a pretty sight. You can dispose of olive oil with the trash since it is a natural product and will not pollute the environment.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 4, 2018

I apologize for being a day late.

10p “B” reverse for “Bond… James Bond!” issued by the Royal Mint (Royal Mint Image)

Interesting numismatic-related news out of the week is coming out of the United Kingdom. The Royal Mint has introduced 26 special 10 pence coins, with each reverse having a letter of the alphabet and an image representing that letter. For example, the 10p coin with “A” honors the Angel of the North landmark in Gateshead and “B” for “Bond… James Bond.”

All 26 coins have been added to circulation and the Royal Mint is promoting the coins with the hashtag #coinhunt on social media.

For those collecting the coins, the Royal Mint is offering a special album and an app that can be used in the hunt. For those of us outside of the United Kingdom, you can purchase the coins online on the Royal Mint’s website.

It is an interesting idea that could translate to the United States. Let’s see what happens before making that proposal.

And now the news…

 February 23, 2018

A new exhibition at the National Hellenic Museum which will open March 4, will feature the story of coins from early use in ancient Greece to today. Titled “Change: The Story of Coins”, the exhibition will include an interactive display which will highlight how coins are important financial, cultural and political tools. → Read more at usa.greekreporter.com

 February 25, 2018

The National Bank of Poland has issued a special coin commemorating a hero of the Polish struggle for independence. General August Emil Fieldorf (nom de guerre “Nil”), a hero of the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920 and of World War II, was arrested by the communist authorities in 1950. → Read more at thenews.pl

 February 26, 2018

The Capital City Coin Club will be hosting its 98th Annual Trade Show on Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25, at the Bismarck Eagles Club, 313 North 26th St. Saturday hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday hours will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. → Read more at jamestownsun.com

 February 27, 2018

Sixty two year-old amateur metal detector Richard Patterson found a rare coin from the third century in a field in Winchester, Hampshire. It has now sold at auction for £10,000 ($14,000). → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 March 1, 2018

The Royal Mint is celebrating Britishness with 26 new, collectors edition, 10p coins – and they've just hit the streets → Read more at mirror.co.uk

 March 2, 2018

February sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coins fell 80 percent from the same month a year earlier, the slowest February sales in 11 years, while February silver coin sales fell to the lowest since 2008, government data showed on Wednesday. → Read more at reuters.com

 March 2, 2018

Recently, at the monthly Veterans Coffee held at the Gaylord Regional Airport, I presented a World War II veteran with our airport Challenge Coin. A guest at the event approached → Read more at petoskeynews.com

 March 2, 2018

Queuing, cricket and tea represent what it means to be British, according to the Royal Mint, which has launched a new collection of 10 pence coins to showcase the "A to Z of what makes Britain great". → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

Coin Collectors News

February 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

I really want to say something pithy in this month’s legislative update, but nothing comes to mind. It is a situation where there is both a lot and a little going on. There is a lot of talk coming from Capitol Hill but there is little else. The number of bills and resolutions have reduced.

To judge the activity of Congress, I use a few sites to send alerts when one of my senators of the representative of my congressional district does something that registers legislatively. Most of the alerts are for votes with the occasional introduction of a bill or being added as a co-sponsor to other bills. In my unscientific view of what these people have been doing since the opening of the second session of the 115th Congress, the answer appears to be “not much.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) did cause a little numismatic stir when he introduced the American Innovation $1 Coin Act. Murphy wants to add a $1 coin for each state, territory, and the District of Columbia to honor a significant innovation, an innovator, or a group of innovators. For example, Tennessee could consider honoring the work in Oak Ridge; Florida could consider honoring Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson; while New Jersey would likely honor Thomas Edison.

Even if it is a good idea, the program will be a failure as long as Congress does nothing to ensure dollar coins are circulated. The only way to ensure dollar coins circulate is to stop issuing the one-dollar note. Given that Congress has a hard time passing budget and spending bills, I doubt they would do anything to change the monetary system, regardless of the savings that have been projected.

On a lighter note, David Ryder’s nomination to become the next director of the U.S. Mint is still on hold while Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pouts from his Senate office.

S. 2399: American Innovation $1 Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Introduced: February 7, 2018
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 7, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S2399.

Really? A real tribute proof? Give me a break!

Image of the alleged 1964 Morgan Dollar from the cover of A Guide Book to Morgan Silver Dollars 5th Ed. by Q. David Bowers

While watching television, a new advertisement sent off the usual bells and whistles that the numismatic industry needs to watch out for.

Our “friends” at the National Collectors Mint has seized on the story of the dies and drawings of a potential 1964 Morgan Dollar that was first published in the fifth edition of A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars. They came up with a tribute proof.

As with all of their tribute proofs, it is clad in 71 milligrams of pure silver. To give you an idea of how much 71 milligrams is, it is 0.002504 ounce or just a little more than two one-thousandths of an ounce. If troy ounces are more your style, it is 0.0022827 troy ounces. This item has 4-cents worth of silver using the current silver price of $16.33 per troy ounce.

With mouth agape as I was trying not to throw something at the television, not only are they selling these at $9.95 each ($19.95 on their website) but they may have figured out a way not to have to embed the word COPY somewhere. They must have made a “deal” with someone in the Cook Islands to put their name on the coin so as to represent it as a coin issued by or for the Cook Islands.

On the back of the coin, rather than the regular legend, it says “TRIBUTE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is on the left side of the eagle and “COOK ISLANDS” is on the right. They are claiming that these are legal tender coins of the Cook Islands. The commercial does not identify these as non-circulating legal tender coins even though they do make that distinction on their website.

In all other ways, it looks like it could be a 1964 Morgan Dollar.

I was told that commercials for this coin first appeared last August, likely not on cable stations I watch. Apparently, they are stepping up their advertising because I saw it twice on Tuesday night.

Like most of their stuff, collectibility is in the eye of the beholder. However, if someone asks whether you think it is a good buy I would recommend you tell them to save their money. I have seen these “tribute coins” in the junk bins at shows for prices ranging from $1.00-$2.50. The fact that they are in dealer junk bins should be enough of a warning!

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for February 25, 2018

Here we go again. Another story about how one country is starting to go cashless and the pundits crawl out of the woodwork saying that the United States should do the same.

There are a lot of reasons why this will not happen in the United States. One of the biggest reason is the overall economic impact that can affect the actual strength of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

The strength of the U.S. dollar is based on the (relative) security of our government and that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the measure of all goods and services produced within a country. According to The World Bank 2016 data (the latest available), the United States has the largest economy with a GDP of over $18.6 trillion. Sweden, the world’s 22nd largest economy, has a GDP of over $514 billion. Their economy is 2.76-percent the size of the United States’s economy.

It is the difference between dumping a bucket of water versus draining an Olympic-sized pool.

But wait, you exclaim, the United States already has an economy that is already electronic and should be able to follow suit. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, based on 2016 data, 31-percent of all transactions are made in cash. Most of the cash usage, 60-percent, are for transactions of $10 or less with lower income people preferring cash over middle and higher income consumers.

“Since 2009, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the number of notes in circulation has been 5.6 percent, with the value of currency in circulation growing at a 7.4 percent annual growth rate,” reports the San Francisco Fed.

When we are not using cash, we are using cash equivalences such as debit cards and pre-paid debit and credit cards. Credit-related purchases account for approximately 20-percent of all transaction.

Cash is not going away anytime in the near future which means that the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing will continue to produce collectible numismatics for quite some time.

And now the news…

 February 18, 2018

At a public toilet in a shopping centre in Gothenburg, a struggle is taking place between old and new Sweden. Last year, the the shopping centre installed cash-free toilets, forcing customers to pay with their mobile phones – a process new to most. → Read more at theguardian.com

 February 18, 2018

South African Reserve Bank subsidiary, the South African Mint, has announced new collectables product ranges that will appear in the global coin market this year, including the ‘Celebrating South Africa’ series, which will commemorate the life of former President, distinguished Statesman and global icon Nelson Mandela. → Read more at m.engineeringnews.co.za

 February 19, 2018

The coin, dubbed the Jewelled Phoenix, was crafted from 99.9 per cent pure gold and inset with 1.22 carats of rare, natural fancy pink diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia. → Read more at jewellermagazine.com

 February 21, 2018

FOR 60 years, generations of children have grown up with the lovable, marmalade-eating bear, created by the late Michael Bond. But now, it has been announced the Queen has ordered a batch of specia… → Read more at thesun.co.uk

 February 23, 2018

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Franklin County (Pa.) Veterans and 9/11 Memorial Park now has a commemorative coin for guest speakers, dignitaries and donors. → Read more at heraldmailmedia.com

 February 23, 2018

Japan’s government has unveiled designs for 5 commemorative coins for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. → Read more at www3.nhk.or.jp

 February 23, 2018

CHANDIGARH: When the collection of original Sikh coins is available at half the price in the open market, the Punjab Government has paid lakhs of rupees to a private firm just for minting duplicate coins. → Read more at tribuneindia.com

 February 23, 2018

JIM THORPE — Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank on Broadway was very busy with customers looking to get the latest Native American $1 coin. Take a closer look and you’ll see why. The coin has the face of the borough’s namesake etched into it —  Jim Thorpe. "We actually heard about it at another store that they were getting coins issued for Jim Thorpe. It was very enjoyable to find out so we decided to walk down and come over here to the bank," said David Knarr, Hellertown. → Read more at wnep.com

 February 23, 2018

Kitco News' Weekly Gold Outlook recaps how the week's events affected the gold market, and where expert analysts think the metal is headed next. Every Friday, get an in-depth look into the metals space and see how experts see the fundamentals set up gold in the week ahead. → Read more at kitco.com

 February 24, 2018

THERE’s a new 50p coin causing a stir with collectors. → Read more at dailystar.co.uk

Coin Collectors News

You know there are more ways to bid than eBay

There are many ways to collect numismatics and there are many places that a collector can find items to add to a collection.

Collecting can be an expensive hobby regardless of what is collected. Whether it is numismatics or comic books, one piece is never enough and there is always a desire to collect an entire set regardless of the parts that make up the set.

When collecting numismatics, we know about the coin dealer, coin shows, and online auctions from the major auction houses and eBay. But did you know there were other online auctions that you can tap into to find collectibles with better prices?

There is an entire community of resellers working with estates, relocations, downsizing, and liquidation that offers a way to find bargains.

Estates are an easy concept to understand. Someone dies and the family, executor, or personal representative of the estate has the responsibility to clean out the home, apartment, or condominium of the decedent so that everyone else can move on. Regardless of how gentle we try to be, everyone dies and something has to be done with the stuff left behind.

This is where estate sale companies are a help. These companies are contracted to whoever is trying to sell off the estate and hold a sale of the goods. Some estate sales are held over one or two weekends. Buyers go to the house to see what is for sale and buy what they want.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing number of online estate auctions. Rather than holding a sale, the items are either staged in the home or in a warehouse and people bid online. Estate auctions have been extended to relocations, downsizing, and liquidation of seized properties and even commercial assets.

Online estate auctions work like any other online auction. You bid for the item you want and hope you win. When the auction is over, you pay for the item plus a buyer’s premium, similar to what you would pay if you were buying from an auction house. In most cases, the buyer’s premium ranges from 10-15 percent of the selling (hammer) price. In most cases, local sales tax is charged.

Although you can find bargains at these auctions, it is not always an easy process.

First, not every company works the same. Unlike eBay where there are consistent rules sellers have to abide by, estate auction terms and conditions can be very different than what you are used to. Before you bid, read the terms and conditions. If you cannot abide by them, do not agree to bid on the auction.

How do you agree to the terms and condition? Register on the auction site and click the button for that auction. Registration requires you to identify yourself including entering a valid credit card. When you agree to the terms and conditions of the auction, most companies will put a hold on your credit card for a set value to determine that the credit card is valid. These holds can range from $1-100. Remember this if you use a debit card. In most cases, your credit card will be charged for the purchases immediately up the close of the auction.

The auction platforms may be very different than what you are used to. These auction platforms take their cues from services offered by major auction houses and not eBay. Their catalog is a list of lots for sale that includes pictures an additional information. Not every item includes good pictures or descriptions and not every auction service uses their software to its best capabilities.

Some companies offer a live preview. If the auction is being staged onsite, then you can go to that site during the designated time and examine the items up for bid. Auctions held from warehouses usually hold multi-day previews. If you cannot attend a preview or if there is no preview offered, you have to rely on the pictures. If the picture does not give you the confidence you need to bid, pass on that item.

These auctions allow you to enter a maximum bid and will raise your bid price until someone outbids your maximum, similar to what you may be used to on eBay. One big difference is that most of these auctions use a soft close system. A soft close happens when a bid is received at the last minute of the auction. When a bid is received the end of the auction is extended. Most auctions will extend the end time 3-5 minutes to prevent sniping.

Most of these estate and liquidation auction services set their lots up with a low starting price. Usually, the opening price is $1.00 and sell with no reserve. Some have other practices that they use to protect the seller of higher-priced items. But this scenario can be a recipe for finding bargains. In one auction, I was able to purchase three Carson City Morgan Dollars in GSA holders for about 75-percent of than their Greysheet value even after sales taxes and buyer’s fee were added. I was then able to sell the coins to a client who paid their Greysheet value giving me a nice profit for the day.

Another issue you will have to work around is that many of these auctions do not provide shipping. If you read their terms it will say that if you win you will have to pick up your items at a specific place during the designated pickup time. If you want your items shipped you will have to work with a third-party shipping service such as the local Parcels Plus or UPS Store.

There have been mixed reports using third-party shipping services. Some are very good, contientious, and will take care of you but at a cost. There are others that are not very good and have been known not to pack the items well and pilfer from your winnings. There is no way to know the rating of the auction service’s recommended shipper. You may want to try to find online reviews of that shipper.

A few of these estate auction companies will provide shipping services. If you require shipping, you may have to do this as part of the registration or contact the company immediately following the close of the auction. Those companies that provide shipping will charge a service fee in addition to the postage.

Remember, the larger and more expensive the item, the more will be required for it to be shipped.

When purchasing anything from an estate auction, it is important that you read and understand their terms and conditions before you bid and buy. Each service has different terms and conditions that could turn your purchase into a nightmare. If you are careful, you can find bargains.

Where can you find these bargains?

This is where I give up the secrets that have allowed me to build a collectibles business. I have used these resources to travel the region to find cool items that have made a lot of people smile.

My first go-to resource is EstateSales.net. I have found no other resource with the most complete listing of every estate sale and auctions for whatever region of the country I am located. It is a free service for buyers. Either select your state or enter your zip code to find all of the sales in your area. Even if you are visiting your relatives out of town, enter their zip code and see if you can find some bargains.

Listings on EstateSales.net include the address and hours of the sale. If it is an online auction, it will provide a link to the auction site. Each sale page can include photos of the items for sale. While photos are not required, most listings include them. You can get a preview of the items for sale to help you decide whether it is worth the trip or the effort to bid.

They also have a mailing list you can sign up for that will send you sales in your selected region.

Using the listing on EstateSales.net, you will learn who some of the local auction companies are. You can either watch for their sales on EstateSales.net or go to their website and sign up for their mailing list. Some of these auction companies continue to have live, in-person auctions and it may be something you will consider attending.

Another place to find estate auctions is on the site that provides the auction services to the various companies. One of the largest services is HiBid.com.

HiBid is a great site for finding a lot of auctions in a lot of places and supports a few different auction formats including online only, live webcast auctions, absentee bidding, or just catalogs for auctions that will be live or even on another platform. They will allow you to search across auction companies and regions.

As I am writing this, there are 1,134 open auctions with 794 being internet online-only. Of those online-only auctions, there are 3,607 lots in the Coins & Paper Money category.

AuctionZip.com is another auction hosting service that is very auction company-centric. While you can search across auctions its model is to try to protect the propriety of the companies that use its site. Once you see the difference in the interface between HiBid.com and AuctionZip.com, you will understand why the former is more popular.

One nice feature about AuctionZip.com is that when you do a search it lets you look at the auctions open for a particular day. If you have time restrictions, it will allow you to better tailor your bidding times. This is good if you are traveling so that you do not have a conflict with the end of the auction.

LiveAuctioneers.com is a similar service but serves a more upscale audience. Their service has stricter requirements as to who can list auctions on their platform. What this does is provide better assurances for the buyer that they are dealing with a more established company. Currently, there are 7,780 items listed for auction in the Coins, Currency & Stamps category.

A feature of LiveAuctioneers.com, aside from its clean interface, is that they have a consignment service that helps connect you with an auctioneer that will help sell your items. If you have something that you want to sell at auction but do not know who to speak with, this is a good service to help get you started.

One of the oldest services is icollector.com. They are a strictly collectible market auction service. Although their catalog is smaller than the others listed, their listings are comparable in the collecting categories. iCollector.com may not be as elegant as other services, but they do have the inventory for you to look at. There are just under 15,000 lots of various numismatics. Their strength is that the numismatic categories are divided by country and type. Where other auctions make have a general category, iCollector.com has categories to allow you to narrow your search down to what your interest.

Last, but definitely not least, is Invaluable. Auction companies that use Invaluable are what could be classified as mid-to-upper range companies. These companies are more concentrated around art and furniture but have added collectibles and other categories likely to facilitate sales from companies that buy higher-end estates in order to keep them as clients. Most of the auctions on Invaluable are absentee bid auctions with some items available for immediate sale. As I write there, there are 20,485 lots available in the Coins, Money & Stamps category. In fact, over the last few weeks, gold and silver bars dominate the listings on the first page of the category.

Invaluable is also a site with a very clean interface that is very welcoming. They also divide their larger sections into individual categories so whether you are interested in US Coins or Ancient Coins, you can browse that section without clutter.

Since I started writing this article, I won several silver Chinese Panda coins from an online estate auction. Most of the coins were purchased at or below the spot price of silver even when adding the buyer’s premium. One of those coins that were purchased a little over the spot price is the very popular 2000 Panda that can sell for a lot of money. There are other coins that I purchased at less than market value.

Even though I am not a fan of third-party grading services, especially for modern coins, I will send these coins to one. Although I think all but one is genuine, and it is possible it was a pocket piece, as long as the 2000 and amake up of the pre-2000 silver Panda coins are genuine, I will more than makeup for the cost of the entire purchase plus the grading fees.

Now go out and find your own bargains!

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