A Kilwa Coin similar to those found on the beach in Australia (Source: news.com.au)
Five coins were found by a soldier while fishing in 1944. He put the coins away and forgot about them only to rediscover them again in 1979. When he sent them to a museum for identification, they turned out to be over 1,000 years old. A find like this show the coins predate the story of the island’s discovery by James Cook in 1770.
In recent years, the coins have sparked interest in understanding how they ended up in Australia. Even though they are from a time after the arrival of the Aboriginal people, it presents questions as to whether there were other European settlers before James Cook.
Coins are not only a holder of value; they are also a representation of art, history, and commerce. Coins tell us more about our lives than history, which is written by the victors and not the ordinary people who may have done more to guide history than those whose writings may be less than accurate for their glory or the glory of their sponsors. Nowadays, we call that spin.
If finding five coins on a beach in a remote fishing spot in Australia can rewrite history, what will the coins in our pockets tell future generations about us? What stories do any of the coins we collect tell? While it may be nice to hold a mint state 19th-century dollar in our hands, what impact did that worn large cent have on history? Or the history of those who used it?
The term “history in your hand” could never be more impactful than the story of those five coins found while fishing in Australia.
The Japanese government has announced a new design for the ¥500 coin. The updated version, slated to hit pockets in fiscal 2021, retains the familiar paulownia design but adds a two-tone look and features like microlettering to thwart counterfeiters. → Read more at nippon.com
QUEEN ELIZABETH II has her portrait printed on every UK coin in circulation, as well as on the coinage of many Commonwealth countries. Now, a Royal Mint designer has shed some light on a coin which is a particular favourite. → Read more at express.co.uk
The Midwest Collection of Coin Boards (Image courtesy of David Lange)
There are very few people who can amass a collection of everything dealing with one topic. Even the most famous collections limited their scope to something specific. The National Numismatic Collection has its limits. It is why when someone like David Lange makes a significant purchase of coin boards, it is exciting news for the hobby.
Coin boards came before folders and albums. They provided a way for collectors to organize their coin collection. Some dealers used them as an incentive to have people pick coins out of pocket change to sell back to the dealer. The dealer would give the board away with the offer of a reward for bringing it back once it is full of coins.
David Lange is the hobby’s leading expert on coin boards. This past week, Lange announced that he purchased a lot of more than 400 coin boards from a midwest collector dubbed the “Midwest Collection.” The hoard includes several rare coin boards.
Lange’s fascination with coin boards is evident in the three books he has published about them. The most popular is his first book, Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930s & 1940s. It is a recommended book for anyone who wants to know more about numismatic history. He is now selling the book for $19.95 ($14.95 plus $5 for shipping). See his website for more details.
Even if you do not collect coin boards, it is good that there is someone like David Lange to preserve this aspect of the hobby. Otherwise, this aspect of numismatic history would get lost and forgotten. That would be a tragedy.
The Royal Mint has unveiled a series of special £2 coins to mark 75 years since the D-Day landings. The coins pay tribute to those involved in the events on June 6, 1944, which are widely seen as a key turning point in the Second World War. → Read more at sports.yahoo.com
After I closed up shop, I did my usual after Saturday chores then sat down to count the change in my cash register. As I counted all of those brown and red Lincolns, I noticed the 1859 Copper-Nickel Indian Head cent was gone.
I am not sure who received it or if my assistant was the one to make sure it found a new home, but it left without any further discussion.
Unfortunately, I found an 1899 Barber dime in the change along with several 1957-D Lincoln cents. On Monday, I will try to give away the Barber dime.
With the pre-sale of the Royal Australian Mint’s 2019 two-coin set honoring the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 beginning, a customer service representative from the Mint clarified their shipping policy.
After purchasing the set for AU$177.27 on their website (US$123.96, up 32-cents from yesterday), they charge a flat rate of AU$35.00 (US$22.37) for shipping. Packages are shipped using Auspost eParcel which provides tracking numbers that will be available to users of the U.S. Postal Service’s tracking system.
If there are import fees and taxes, the USPS will collect those from you before delivery.
According to the Royal Australian Mint representative, the 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing two Coin Set will not be offered for direct sale in the United States because of licensing agreements. However, that does not affect sales on the secondary market.
Purchasing one set and having it shipped to the United States will cost AU$212.27 (US$148.43) plus surcharges added onto your credit card for the currency exchange.
After the fiasco earlier this week when I tried to give away an 1859 Indian Head cent, someone else just rejected the coin.
It was a busy day, and there were a large number of cash transactions. Since I was not paying attention to the coins I was pulling out of the drawer, I scooped 2-cents to give to someone in change. As I dropped the coins into his hand, I noticed that one was the 1859 Indian Head Cent.
Rather than putting the coins in his pocket, he dropped the two coins into a tray I keep by the cash register.
Since this happened earlier in the afternoon, I left the coin there to see if anyone would notice. Following several more cash transactions, I took the coin out of the tray and dropped it back into the drawer.
It might not be the prettiest Indian Head cent I have seen, but it is still worth about $15-20. And I cannot give it away!
If I cannot give it away on Saturday, it is coming home with me. At least I appreciate its significance in numismatic history.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the Royal Australian Mint and the United States Mint proudly present this special two-coin set, honoring the scientific collaboration between Australia and the United States of America. https://t.co/eybNIGNQVrpic.twitter.com/ixYOMdlTUi
The set features a 2019-S Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Proof Clad Half Dollar and an Australian Silver Proof $5 coin. The two-coin set can be ordered for AU$195.00 in Australia, where the price includes the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Outside of Australia, the price is 177.27 ($123.64 as of May 9, 2019).
The Australian coin has an interesting design. On the obverse, the Royal Australian Mint reduced the size of Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy on the obverse and filled the side with an image of the moon, a radio telescope representing the CSIRO Parkes Observatory, and a part of the transcript of the Apollo 11 mission. The CSIRO Parkes Observatory was one of the ground tracking stations that helped NASA communicate with the Apollo 11 crew.
The reverse features a stylized scene from the moon landing with a color image of the earth positioned in a way to make Australia facing the virtual camera.
The Australian $5 silver coin can only be purchased in this set and has a mintage limit of 10,000 coins. Thus, it is safe to assume that there will be a limit of 10,000 of these sets.
The Royal Australian Mint is selling a version of the silver coin that is plated in nickel and domed like the U.S. coin. The images on the Royal Australian Mint website shows a dark-colored coin that makes the colored image of the earth stand out. This coin also has a limited production of 10,000 coins.
There is also a gold coin and a six-coin uncirculated set that features copper-nickel base coins and aluminum-bromide one- and two-dollar coins. These coins feature different reverse designs than their precious metals counterparts. The obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Bodley.
Coins ordered now will be shipped starting on June 5, 2019.
The Royal Australian Mint has not (yet) provided information if there will be a special program for shipping to the United States or if they will partner with the U.S. Mint to sell the set.
If you are thinking about ordering you might want to watch the currency markets. There has been a decline in the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD) versus the U.S. Dollar since the beginning of April. Although markets are difficult to time, a fluctuation of 5-percent in the prices is not going to make a big difference.
Aside from waiting for answers to my questions from the Royal Australian Mint, I will watch the markets for the next two weeks to see if I can save money if the AUD dips below 60-cents to the USD.
Coin images courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint.
With most of the roll of 1957-D very red Lincoln cents still in my cash register’s draw and the quarter bin even half-full of uncirculated bicentennial quarters, I thought that most of the more expensive and interesting coins made it into circulation. That was not the case.
A new customer came into the shop and found a few items she wanted to purchase. After selecting a few things, she left to find an ATM because, she said, that she does not like using credit or debit cards. As a reseller of estate and other used items, this is a common practice for many purchases under $100. It is a typical scenario.
After paying for her purchase, she saw that I had given her two very shiny Lincoln cent and one with a beautiful brown color. Except it was not a Lincoln cent. It was an 1859 Indian Head cent that was left over from National Coin Week.
I had included two 1859 Indian Head cents in the draw. This coin was the second that survived National Coin Week. Depending on how you look at the coin, it could grade VG-F making it worth about $15-20.
When she looked at the coin what was different in her hand, she asked what it was. After I explained what it was, she accused me of giving her a counterfeit coin. She insisted it was not real and that I was trying to cheat her.
I walked over to the shelf and grabbed a new copy of the Red Book to show her that it is a real coin and that it has value. But she was not impressed insisting that was scamming her with stuff I did not know. Even after pointing to my name in the list of contributors she would not back down.
Finally, I agreed to change the coin.
As I put the coin back into the cash register drawer and replaced it with one of the 1957-D cents, she stopped me and said that I told her the coin is worth $15-20 and she wanted $20. I reminded her that she thought the coin was bogus, so why should I pay for a fake coin?
After handing her another coin, she looked at it and noticed the wheat ears reverse. While accusing me of trying to cheat her, she asked why am I giving away “phony money?”
I explained that the coin was a bit more modern even though it is a little older than me. Its value is about $5-6. She looked at the coin and compared it to the coins in her purse, ignoring the fact that I had given her two of them earlier.
“The back is funny. Why is the back funny?” she asked.
While explaining about the design and the changes made to the coin, I search the change draw then my pocket for a more modern coin. She gave the 1957-D back, and I replaced it with a brown Memorial-back cent I found in my pocket.
Happy that she has recognizable money, she walked out threatening to call the police. As I held the door for her, I said that she should contact the U.S. Secret Service because they are responsible for dealing with counterfeiters.
I wished her a good afternoon.
My new and former customer left without saying another word.
In midst of the growing sentiment to rid society of low denomination coins, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced that that the country will continue to produce 1 penny and 2 pence coins.
A study by the British Treasure estimates that 2.2 million people in the U.K. continue to rely on cash for daily commerce. An independent report in the U.K. estimated that more than 8 million people rely mostly on cash. That review concluded, “Poverty is the biggest indicator of cash dependency, not age.”
It is the same argument that is presented in the United States when discussing cash versus electronic payments. Those that would be hurt the most by moving to a cashless society would be the poor, elderly, anyone of modest means, and rural communities. Areas that are not as well served by technology, even in eastern states, will be hurt by the move to a cashless payment model.
Another difference between the United Kingdom and every other country versus the United States is that every other country is not afraid to make changes to protect its change. Countries around the world make a change to their coinage without everyone going into a panic. Although the British went through a row when converting from the round pound to the new 12-sided coin, they forged through the process. Even the mention of a potential change in the composition of U.S. coinage leads to predictions of economic doom and gloom for many sectors of the economy.
The last I looked, the U.K., Canada, and the entire European Union made significant changes in their circulating coinage in the previous 20 years that has not caused a disaster. Change seems to scare many Americans who will do anything to hold on to the past no matter how much it hurts to maintain the status quo. You can look no further than the fuzzy math produced by the Government Accountability Office whose report on the coin versus paper money is an exercise in proving “Figures will not lie, but liars figure.”
Just a few of the coins that I gave away from the cash register
National Coin Week has come and gone, and I did not find anything in my change. Even though I purposely carried one and five dollar bills to create change, there was nothing to be found.
In my shop, I advertised that I would trade a 40-percent silver half-dollar for a W mint quarter. Most of the people who came by did not know about the quarter.
While the lack of interest seems disheartening, there appears to be a growing problem with the coverage of these stories. Aside from a few local accounts, there were few reports from the national news media. Even with Congress being out of town this week, all of the national press seems to be buried in their respective corners looking for red meat to chew.
No wonder the public does not trust the media.
And where was the numismatic community? Last week, I was busy posting a lot of news releases from the numismatic industry (news.coinsblog.ws). This week, the only post was a found video from a few years ago. Where were the national or regional organizations?
If nobody knows the numismatic industry is here and cares then why should anyone care?
It might be time for the numismatic industry to have a lesson in public relations because if they think what they are doing now is working, the foot traffic into my shop where collectors of all type visit tell me it is not!
Archaeologists have been researching interesting findings in the Liptov region. A married couple during a hike to the Choč mountain near Likavka made a great discovery of silver and two golden coins from the turn of 15th and 16th century, My Liptov wrote. → Read more at spectator.sme.sk
A man bought a box of Milk Duds in Tiburon this week with a handful of Indian Head cents. “We’re trying to do something here,” said Don Kagin, just before using an 1876 quarter to help pay for a pound of butter. → Read more at sfchronicle.com
CLAREMORE, OK. – An Oklahoma man is offering $10,000 in exchange for one penny. Richard McPheeters is a coin dealer and collector in Claremore, and he is looking for a rare penny to complete a set. This isn’t your average penny. The particular penny he is searching for is a certified 1982 Small Date Denver mint penny made of copper. 1982 was the last year pennies were made from copper. McPheeters has 7 of these pennies out of 8 from the Denver mint and he is looking for the 8th one. → Read more at whnt.com
Challenge coins are handed out to commemorate American military campaigns. But the trinkets carry different weight when displayed beside tokens from earlier wars that failed. → Read more at nytimes.com
A Fort Mill, South Carolina man got a call from Tennessee about an unusual penny with his father’s information on it. Sgt. Clifford Wilford served the Army in Europe from D-Day to liberation during WWII. → Read more at heraldonline.com
NUR-SULTAN — Kazakhstan’s National Bank has issued freshly minted coins with engraved texts in the country's new Latin-based alphabet. The new tenge coins were issued on April 26 in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 tenges, the bank said in a statement. → Read more at rferl.org
Since Sunday was a holiday, today is really the first full day of National Coin Week and the Great American Coin Hunt. As you go to work and buy your morning coffee, breakfast, lunch, or anything else during the day, check the change you receive. There could be a surprise.