The U.S. Mint is not doing its job going after more 1933 Double Eagles

The ten 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles confiscated by the government from Joan Lanbord, daughter of Israel Switt.

Coin World reported that the U.S. Mint knows about more 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle gold coins in private hands.

For those who have not read Illegal Tender by David Tripp or Double Eagle by Allison Frankel, aside from both being worth reading, they claim that 25 of these coins were illegally removed from the Philadelphia Mint. Of those 25 coins, nine were confiscated during the 1940s and 1950s by the Secret Service, ten are from the Langbord Hoard stored at the Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, and one is the Farouk-Fenton example which is the subject of the books.

That leaves five left.

During the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatics (PAN) spring show, U.S. Mint Senior Legal Counsel Greg Weinman said that he knows where one is located in the United States, one is in Europe, and a third is somewhere else. The location of the last two is not known.

It can be speculated that the “somewhere else” may be in Egypt. On February 8, 2008, the Moscow News Weekly reported that a version of the coin was found in Egypt in an old box that was owned by the discoverer’s father (web archive link). Although there had been a lot of speculation that coin might not be genuine, there has been no further reports as to the disposition of this coin.

Weinman said that there are no plans to go after the three coins where the U.S. Mint knows their location.

Why?

Following the trial in 2011 with a jury verdict against the Langbords. After the ruling, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero, the government’s lead attorney in the case, came out with a courthouse statement, “People of the United States of America have been vindicated.”

If the country is to be vindicated and the government has consistency in its argument that the coins are “chattel,” according to Weinman, then it is their legal obligation to have the U.S. Secret Service pursue the three known examples.

Otherwise, it could be said that the government has undergone selective prosecution and has given up its right to the ten in its possession or the five that are still in public hands.

It is these inconsistencies of policies with regard to these coins that could drive collectors away. While most people may never find or own one of these rare coins, what happens to those who might get lucky.

While the 1913 Liberty Head Nickels were not considered chattel because they were never struck for circulation, the government fought the finding of the 1974-D Aluminum cent forcing its return. The circumstances for the striking of both coins are similar but the government has treated each issue differently.

This is not a matter of integrity of the hobby. It is the integrity of the U.S. Mint and their bogus argument of what is or is not something they produced for whatever the reason. The integrity of the U.S. Mint can be questioned when they applied 21st century operating standards to the U.S. Mint of the 1930s in order to convince a “jury of peers,” none of which probably had a numismatic background questioning their ability to be peers, that these coins belonged to the government for it to hold like some almighty savior of us from the depths of fraudulence.

Do you still feel vindicated?

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 20, 2018

A Rascals and Ratbacs Souvenir card with attached coin (Image Courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint)

Here is a way to acknowledge your history and have some fun with it as well.

After the British discovery of Australia in 1770, they initially settled the colony of New South Whales by exiling criminals to the area. Although there were free colonies in Australia, it became known as Britain’s penal colony. Rather than bemoan their sketchy past, especially since they have moved on to become a successful nation, the Royal Australian Mint seems to have embraced their history to have a little fun and promote coins.

Using its yearly roadshow, the Royal Australian Mint kicked off its Rascals and Ratbags Roadshow Reveal at the Mint in the capital city of Canberra to introduced the Rascals and Ratbags coins. These coins celebrate the 230th Anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet on the island nation and the 150th anniversary of the Hougoumont, the last ship to carry convicts to Australia.

The coin is available in Australia as a four-coin uncirculated mintmark and privy mark set, a $1 (AUD) silver proof with the “C” (Canberra) mintmark, and a one-tenth ounce $10 (AUD) gold proof coin also with the “C” mintmark.

(Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint)

Since these are not colored coins they will not be a subject of their lawsuit with the Royal Canadian Mint.

As part of the celebration, the Royal Australian Mint is traveling with a portable press to allow visitors to strike a special Australia counterstamp in their coins.

It goes to show that rather than dwell on your past problems, fix them and move on. Have a little fun at your own expense. It is certainly better than the arguing that pervades the United States.

And now the news…

 May 9, 2018

That Makes Cents It’s a U.S. Mint. → Read more at kqed.org


 May 12, 2018

Canberra’s coin enthusiasts head to Royal Australian Mint for special roadshow reveal. → Read more at canberratimes.com.au


 May 15, 2018

On March 6, Ghana’s Independence Day, artist Yaw Owusu was crouched on his living room floor, putting the finishing touches on a new piece. Stretching over most of the floor, the work sparked silver and copper as the sun bounced off the carpet of pesewa coins — the country’s least valuable currency and Owusu’s preferred medium. → Read more at ozy.com


 May 16, 2018

Break out those piggy banks – if you can get your hands on some old Irish punt, you've basically won the lotto. According to The Central Bank's annual report, $270.4 million (€226m) worth of old Irish punts remains unaccounted for. → Read more at irishcentral.com


 May 16, 2018

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has arrested a man on suspicion of selling counterfeit 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic commemorative coins. Yasuhiro Kotani, 43, was arrested for allegedly violating the trademark law by possessing the imitations in order to sell them. → Read more at japantimes.co.jp


 May 18, 2018

Venkatesh Kandula believes in tracing history through coins. The numismatist from Tuni has around 1,800 coins in his kitty, some that are historical rarities. On World Museum Day, Kandula displayed his treasure trove of rare coin collections at Visakha Museum on Friday. → Read more at thehindu.com


 May 19, 2018

OUT OF CIRCULATION SOON These are some of the “Flora and Fauna” and “Pilipino” coin series to be demonitized. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced on Friday the start of the demonetization process → Read more at newsinfo.inquirer.net

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About negotiating for your collectibles

If you are a collector of anything you know that the price of your collectible is based on both a market valuation and what you are willing to pay. There are a lot of market valuation tools for the numismatic collector. One of the more popular ones is The Coin Dealer Newsletter and associated publications that track market trends.

In 2012, I wrote a two-part series about how coins are priced (see Part I and Part II) where I discussed not only how the coins are priced by the different markets for purchasing coins. Last year I wrote about other venues to buy your coins and then earlier this year I added information about estate auctions. All have their audiences, which expands the buying options.

One important factor I discussed is how to negotiate. In “How Are Coins Priced (Part II),” I wrote about negotiating from the perspective of the collector. At the time, I had just started my collectibles business and did not have the experience from the other side of the negotiation table to understand from their perspective.

I thought about this when I stumbled upon an article in Sports Collectors Digest about negotiating. The author spoke to collectors and dealers about their negotiating styles and conditions for negotiating. While the information about negotiating from the collector’s perspective is not that different than what I originally wrote, the impression from the dealer’s perspective is what I have witnessed.

My experience and the article provides two aspects of negotiating from the dealer’s perspective that I want to highlight here.

First, I want to emphasize the concept of BE POLITE! While most people are polite, there have been times I have wanted to punch a customer in the mouth. While I do not mind a little aggressive negotiating being rude will not make me want to work with you on the price.

Second, understand that you are not only buying an item but selling each collectible comes with a cost. Aside from the cost of the inventory, the dealer has overhead. At a show, the dealer has travel expenses. In a shop, there are expenses with maintaining the store.

Even auctions have expenses. Seller fees can be from 25 to 50-percent of the sale price in many professional auctions. Even eBay charges a final value fee for selling on their site and sometimes there are listing fees. While you might complain about paying more than the postage for the shipping costs, there are labor and material costs for packaging your winning item in addition to the postage.

To highlight the issue, the author spoke with a baseball card dealer who said:

This dealer also wanted another “fact of doing business” relayed to others here. He wasn’t saying the mark-up on his items always came to 100 percent of his original purchase price for those items. Rather, if he buys a card for, say, $50, he has to sell that same card for roughly $100 because within that price would be his other costs (lodging, food, transportation, and so forth). Therefore, when the other expenses are factored in, in reality he may be making just 10 percent profit on that card.

The same thing could be said for numismatics as well.

An interesting Peace

While browsing on eBay, I noticed a few auctions of what I thought were philatelic (stamp collecting) cachets with Morgan and Peace dollars honoring different aspects of history. Not knowing much about them, I placed some bids based on the estimated values of the coins.

The difference between a First Day Cover (FDC) and a cachet is that the FDC is stamped on the first day of issue usually with a special commemorative postmark. A cache is a souvenir cover that is not postmarked as the first day of issue.

Another interesting collectible that combines philately and numismatics is called a Philatelic Numismatic Cover (PNC) or sometimes just coin cover. The U.S. Mint has produced coin covers for the 50 State Quarters, Westward Journey, and Presidential Dollars series as well as the first Sacagawea dollar. These are fun collectibles and something I will talk about in the future.

When the auctions were over, I won one with the 1926-S Peace dollar. Although the description seemed in order, I did not know what to expect. When it arrived I think it is more interesting than advertised.

First, the item is not an envelope by a heavy stock card that is 9-inches long by 4.875-inches wide. It is to honor the anniversary of the United States agreeing to join the World Court on January 27, 1926. The card includes a 5-cents stamp commemorating International Cooperation Year that was issued on June 26, 1965, and a 33-stamp that was in use when this was created in 2001. It is postmarked on January 27, 2001 in Washington, D.C., the 75th anniversary of the event.

The Peace dollar is definitely circulated and would probably grade in the Very Fine range if sent to a third-party grading service. It is encased in plastic which is sandwiched between two panels of cardboard to make up the card. The back of the card has a longer narrative of the history.

Originally, I was only interested in it for the coin since I am a fan of the Peace dollar. But seeing the card makes me wish I would have bid higher for more of them. The other problem is that I do not know who made them. This card looks similar to ones described as being from the Postal Commemorative Society. However, I have seen several different descriptions to make me unsure.

If anyone can provide more information, please post it as a comment below. I would like to learn more!

Weekly World Numismatic News for Mother’s Day

Chocolate coins in honor of the 150th anniversary of the historic Coin Press No. 1 are on sale at the Nevada State Museum’s store. (Courtesy of Jeanette McGregor via the Nevada Appeal)

There is nothing that says Mother’s Day more the chocolate.

Chocolate is one of the most complicated flavors, evident by the inability to produce artificial versions.

Scientists have discovered that The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation. And dark chocolate has been found to have health values including containing antioxidants, widens the arteries to increase the flow of blood and prevent the buildup of plaque, has anti-inflammatory powers, and when eaten daily can reduce the risk of heart disease by one-third.

Every second, Americans collectively eat one hundred pounds of chocolate. But Americans are only ninth when considering the per capita pounds of chocolate consumed by country. The top honor goes to the Swiss people who consume an average of 19.8 pounds of chocolate each. Americans only consume an average of 9.5 pounds.

(Courtesy of Forbes)

Why this obsession with chocolate on the Coin Collectors Blog?

Aside from being Mother’s Day, the Friends of the Nevada State Museum has created a chocolate coin in tribute to the 150th anniversary of Coin Press No. 1. The Museum, located in Carson City in the old CC Mint building, continues to use Coin Press No. 1 to strike medals for visitors as part of demonstrations.

On your next visit to Carson City or the area, stop by the Museum, strike your own silver medal, and buy one of their commemorative chocolate coins. I have heard they were described as “wicked good!”

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL OF OUR MOMS!

And now the news…

 May 4, 2018

Rare collectible coins can be worth far more than their face value – and the rarest 50p design regularly sells for 160 times what it’s worth. But which coins should you look out for in your change? Which? → Read more at which.co.uk


 May 5, 2018

Recycling flows defy price rise because jewelry holdings 'already depleted'… GOLD COIN and small-bar investors in the West have begun selling metal while household sales of 'scrap' jewelry have fallen to 10-year lows according to new data. → Read more at bullionvault.com


 May 6, 2018

Philip Foreman, 51, started his collection a year ago → Read more at kentlive.news


 May 9, 2018

While Joel Kimmel may not be attending the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, the Ottawa-born illustrator’s connection to the soon-to-be royal couple will be forever etched … → Read more at ottawacitizen.com


 May 10, 2018

" /> <meta property= → Read more at globenewswire.com


 May 10, 2018

The Friends of the Nevada State Museum, in tribute to the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Museum’s historic Coin Press No. 1, have “minted” chocolate coins for sale at → Read more at nevadaappeal.com


 May 10, 2018

Archaeologists digging in an historic part of central Moscow have found all sorts of objects in recent months, but perhaps nothing as interesting as the oldest example of a pickpocket's coin to come to light in the city. → Read more at bbc.com

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 PNG Day 2018 Plans Announced (May 9, 2018)

Small Cash and a Pill

Sometimes it can be fun to search through junk boxes or bags of foreign coins. While you can see a lot of the same coins accumulate in these bags there are others that look interesting.

During our local coin club meeting, members bring in coins to sell to other members. One member, a very prolific collector, had a large plastic bag of circulated foreign coins. I was first drawn to the back by some of the shapes I found. I grabbed a handful and one coin fell on the table that really caught my eye.

It was a small coin. A very small coin. Nobody had a caliper but it was really small. Even though I was looking at the different shapes, I found this very small round coins intriguing. What was it?

Although I should become better at recognizing languages that are not based on the Latin alphabet, I asked my fellow club member if they could help identify the coin. He said that he could not identify the coin but recognized the lettering as being from India.

With that knowledge, I did not have to search the entire Standard Catalog of World Coins to figure it out. Start at the beginning of the Indian coins and see what we could find.

After a few minutes of looking, I found the listing. Then I found a second one that was very similar. Which coin did I have and where did it come from?

Travancore One Cash coin (KM #40). Undated but was struck from 1901 through 1910.

The coin is from the Princely State of Travancore. It was located in the southwest of the Indian subcontinent. Travancore became its own state in 1729 when it passed under Muslim control. Its economy was driven by making an alliance with the East India Company to freely use its ports for trade. Because of this arrangement, Travancore was never a part of the British Empire and continued to remain independent until 1949 when India was united as one country.

Only two rulers issued coins in the State. Rama Varma VI lead from 1885 through 1924 and Bala Rama Varma II ruled from 1924 through the end of the kingdom in 1949. Coins were issued by the kingdom to make up for lost revenues when the British became distracted by other world events.

Regardless of which version of the coin, it is a “ONE CASH” coin made of copper. The obverse is a sankha (conch shell) in an 8-pointed star with the reverse reading “Onu Kasu’ (one cash).

One version, under the rule of Rama Varma VI, was .65 grams of copper (KM #40) and the other, under the rule of Bala Rama Varma II, is .48 grams of copper (KM #57). Since my scale is not that sensitive, I had to find another way to diagnose this coin.

According to the SCWC, KM #57 was struck on a thin planchet that measures .8 mm. After making sure that my digital caliper can measure 1 mm, using a piece of metal that is 1 mm thick, I would be reasonably certain I could determine which coin I have.

Measuring both coins, the caliper read 1.02 mm giving evidence that this is the early version of the coin (KM #40)

Given the difference of only .22 mm, the only way to tell the difference would be either to weight the coins or use a caliper.

Since I had the caliper out, I measured the diameter and found it to be 10.72 mm.

For fun, I had to determine whether it was smaller than the 1904 Panama 2½ Centesimos coin, better known as the Panama Pill. Previously, I wrote that the Panama Pill was 10 mm in diameter. After finding the coin and measuring it, it was 10.12 mm in diameter making it than a little more than a ½ of a millimeter smaller than the Travancore One Cash coin.

Travancore One Cash coin from the early 20th century versus the 1904 2½ Centesimos coin, better known as the Panama Pill.

On a quick look, it appears that the most common “small” coin size is 15 mm. Some are slightly larger but not many smaller. The only other coin I found is a British 1½ pence coin that was struck for Ceylon, British Guiana, British West Indies and Mauritius that is 12 mm in diameter, I cannot find any smaller.

Surrounding the United States Dime is a 1904 Panama 2½ Centesimos coin (Panama Pill) and a 1901-1910 Travancore One Cash coin.

If anyone knows of smaller coins, please let me know.

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 6, 2018

As taxpayers, we like to see some efficiency in our government even though the government is not designed for efficiency. We expect government organizations that have an income to maximize their profits when they can. This is one of the reasons why people have complained to near apoplectic proportions about how the U.S. Mint loses money on every one-cent coin it produces.

Last week, the Royal Canadian Mint issued its financial reports for 2017. The headline of the report said that the Royal Canadian Mint paid $93.2 million ($72.553 million USD) in dividends to the government of Canada in 2017. To compare this with the U.S. Mint, whose fiscal years end on September 30th, paid a total of $265 million back to the government.

Numismatic sales are an important part of the Royal Canadian Mint’s sales. This is evident by visiting their website to see the number of programs they have for sale. With all of the options, the Royal Canadian Mint revenue for those numismatic items was $25.7 million ($20 million USD). Even with the complaints about how horrible the U.S. Mint is and its programs are not priced according to someone’s perception of the market, they sold $1.755 billion in numismatics. This number includes about $2.4 million in numismatic sales of circulating coins, such as bags and rolls.

Finally, even though bullion sales have decreased as the economy strengthened and both mints saw a reduction in sales. The Royal Canadian Mint had a net revenue of $1.35 billion ($1.05 billion USD), representing a 40.7-percent decrease in sales from 2016. The U.S. Mint had revenues of $1.378 million representing a decrease of 33.8-percent from 2016.

There may be some who like to complain about the U.S. Mint, this government bureau continues to be the world’s largest manufacturer of circulating and collectible coinage. Although bullion sales have decreased and the Royal Canadian Mint has performed well in the bullion markets in recent years, when it comes to whom the market turns to, the U.S. Mint continues to outperform other world mints.

And now the news…

 April 29, 2018

A new 50 cent coin featuring a red poppy will be issued by the Reserve Bank in October to commemorate Armistice Day. Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr said the coin would have significance for those whose relatives served in the First World War. → Read more at stuff.co.nz


 April 29, 2018

The CBM has been selling gold coins in weights of one tical, half-tical and quarter-tical since 1991. One tical is equivalent to around 16 grams. Currently, one-tical coins bear a single star, while the half and quarter-tical coins have a ploughing farmer and logging elephant engraved, respectively. → Read more at mmtimes.com


 April 30, 2018

Cebu City — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will launch the New Generation Currency (NGC) series during its anniversary in July. Leonides Sumbi, regional director of BSP in Central Visayas, said the release of the new coins is not meant to create confusion as BSP will soon demonetize the old coins. → Read more at news.mb.com.ph


 May 1, 2018

Ian Vogler/Mirrorpix/Newscom With less than three weeks before the royal wedding, Britain’s Royal Mint today released a special commemorative coin to mark the occasion. A new British five-pound coin (about $6.88) celebrates Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s upcoming wedding May 19. → Read more at abcnews.go.com


 May 2, 2018

LISBON, May 2 (Xinhua) — The Bank of Portugal bought 272 million 1 and 2 cent coins from the Bank of Ireland in 2017, the Publico newspaper reported on Wednesday. Specifically, the Bank of Portugal purchased 148.8 million 2 cent coins and 123.2 million 1 cent coins. → Read more at xinhuanet.com


 May 3, 2018

Getty Images Overall global gold demand fell to its lowest first-quarter level since 2008, driven by a slump in demand for gold bars and exchange-traded funds backed by the precious metal, according to a report from the World Gold Council released Thursday. → Read more at marketwatch.com


 May 3, 2018

OTTAWA, May 3, 2018 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mint (the "Mint" or the "Company") is pleased to release its 2017 financial results, which provide insight into our activities, the markets influencing our businesses and our expectations for the year ahead. → Read more at markets.businessinsider.com


 May 3, 2018

While credit cards were once reserved for large purchases across Australia, more people than ever are using plastic for items as cheap as a morning coffee. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 May 5, 2018

A late revolt bronze coin discovered where rebels sought refuge in a cave near Modiin indicates geographically widespread Jewish backing of the ultimately bloody Jerusalem uprising → Read more at timesofisrael.com

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April 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

The first of the month is when I usually report about the introduction or progress of numismatic-related legislation in congress for the previous month. For April 2018, there is nothing to report.

Thus far, the 115th Congress passed The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Pub. L. 115-68) which allows for a gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar coins to commemorate the American Legion in 2019.

There have been no authorizing laws passed for commemoratives after 2019.

Two bills have passed the House of Representatives and are waiting in committees in the Senate for action:

  • The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1235) would allow the minting of q gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar coins in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • The American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 770) would be a 14-year $1 coin program that would issue coins commemorating innovation and innovators representing each state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

Just because these bills passed in the House does not mean the Senate will do anything about them. Both can die in committee without any consideration.

So that the record is complete, here are the numismatic-related bills introduced in the House of Representatives waiting in committee:

  • Muhammad Ali Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 579)
  • Duty First Act (H.R. 1582)
  • National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1683)
  • Cents and Sensibility Act (H.R. 2067)
  • Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 2256)
  • Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (H.R. 2299)
  • United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 2317)
  • President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 3274)
  • 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 4044)
  • Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 4539)
  • National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 4732)
  • Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act (H.R. 5308)
  • To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold. (H.R. 5404)

Not to be outdone, here is the list for the Senate:

  • Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act (S. 312)
  • Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (S. 759)
  • Duty First Act (S. 921)
  • United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (S. 1021)
  • American Innovation $1 Coin Act (S. 1326)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1503)
  • President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1568)
  • Muhammad Ali Commemorative Coin Act (S. 166)
  • 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1718)
  • Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (S. 2189)
  • American Innovation $1 Coin Act (S. 2399)

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for April 29, 2018

“Find of the Century,” a rare 1854-S $5 Half Eagle authenticated and graded by NGC

The story of the week is the discovery of a rare 1854-S Half Eagle ($5 gold coin) that everyone thought was fake but turns out to be real.

The coin was discovered by a New England man who wishes to remain anonymous, asked several dealers about the coin before sending it to Numismatic Guarantee Corporation for authentication. NGC investigated the coin, found it to be authentic with a grade of XF-45

It is one of only four coins known to exist. One is in the Smithsonian, another is in the Pogue collection, and there is one that was stolen in 1967 that has never been found.

All of the stories covering this find have been about the coin and little is known of the current owner. Borris Tavrovsky, a co-owner of Oxbridge Coins in San Francisco, said that the coin could be worth $3-4 million based on the sale of other coins from the Gold Rush-era. Of course, if it goes to auction and if you have two people who desperately want the coin, it could sell for more.

“I think he’s going to be quite rich,” Tavrovsky was quoted as saying. “I can see why he wants to remain a mystery man. Some people who win the lottery don’t want to reveal their identity for fear those cousins start badgering you.”

What would you do if you found a rare coin?

And now the news…

 April 24, 2018

It's only one of four known to exist — and one of those went missing after it was stolen by masked gun-wielding robbers in 1967. A small gold coin originally thought to be a fake was authenticated in April by experts as an 1854 California Gold Rush coin, one of 268 struck at the San Francisco Mint that year. → Read more at sfgate.com


 April 25, 2018

The South African Mint has officially launched two new coins which pay tribute to president Nelson Mandela. → Read more at businesstech.co.za


 April 25, 2018

Share the love → Read more at lovemoney.com


 April 25, 2018

What: Historic Coins and Medals, Featuring Morgan Silver Dollars from the Collection of Ralph and Lois Stone Where: Sotheby&#039;s, 1334 York Ave, New York, NY 10021, USA When: 21 May → Read more at blouinartinfo.com


 April 25, 2018

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. retail investors are losing their appetite for physical gold as buoyant stock markets offer tempting alternatives, sending sales of newly minted coins to their lowest in a decade. → Read more at reuters.com


 April 28, 2018

Hint: You’ve definitely spotted it on Instagram. → Read more at glamour.com


 April 28, 2018

BRITONS can keep spending their pennies for years to come. → Read more at dailystar.co.uk

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Numismatic Showtime

Passing the time after 10:00 PM on Monday night, the television found its way to the History Channel for the return of Pawn Stars, the reality show about a pawn shop in Las Vegas. While the first show of the hour was just interesting it was the second show that started at 10:33 PM that was more intriguing.

Although the show was marked as “NEW” on the visual guide, it first aired last January. To make sure I was able to study the coins more, I found the episode on the History Channel website. It is also available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/yTKbcAKbQtU. (embedded below)

Opening the show, a seller name Walter walked in with two rare coins. The first coin was a 1792 Half Disme and the other a silver Libertas Americana. Two coins dating back to the earliest days of the country’s history.

If you recognize Walter his full name is Walter Husak. In 2008, Husak sold his extraordinary collection of large cents at an auction held during that year’s Long Beach Expo. For this show, he was selling the two coins.

The 1792 Half Disme was graded MS-65 by Numismatic Guarantee Corporation who lists the coin as a TOP POP, meaning no coin has graded higher. There are only two half dismes graded MS-65 by NGC and one appeared on Pawn Stars.

The Libertas Americana is one of the rare silver versions and was graded MS-61 by Professional Coin Grading Service

As with a lot of these purchases, Rick calls in an expert for assistance. This time, the expert is Jeff Garrett, the founder of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Kentucky and immediate past president of the American Numismatic Association.

Jeff Garrett stands next to Walter Husak as they examine the Half Disme and Libertas Americana on Pawn Stars (screen grab)

I noted that Garrett’s firm is in Lexington since the location of the television show is in Las Vegas. While doing a little online investigation into the prices and to see if there was more information, there was a note on the Collectors Universe forums suggesting that the segment was not a reality, but it had been staged.

According to user “cardinal,” he wrote:

Jeff Garrett is one of the experts that gets brought in to evaluate numismatic items for the show. For this specific episode, Jeff was looking for both a half disme and a Libertas medal, and Jeff was able to locate them and had the respective owners’ permission to have them appear on the show. The half disme is pedigreed to the Garrett Collection, and the silver Libertas medal was one that Jeff Garrett had sold some years back. (This particular Libertas medal has been in the Cardinal Collection for the past 6 years.)

I believe Ccardinal is the anonymous person behind the Cardinal Collection who has collected some of the finest coins in the PCGS registry.

Following a discussion on the actual Libertas Americana used for the show, he ends with:

During the show, the half disme was a no-sale. The Libertas medal was shown as sold at $150K on camera. That being said, the piece was not actually sold, even though Rick actually did want to buy it for $150K.

I have heard stories as to how some segments are real and some are staged. When I spoke with Charmy Harker about her appearance in 2012, I was under the impression that her attempt at selling a World War II-era aerial bomber camera was not overly staged. That does not seem to be the case in this episode.

My one complaint is that these two esteemed numismatists mispronounced the name of the coin. Everyone kept pronouncing disme as “DIZ-ME.” In reality, disme is pronounced as if the “s” was not included in the word. Disme is derived from the French term for tenth but pronounced dime—which is why the “s” was dropped after the first issues of 1792 coins.

Oh well… it was a fun segment to watch.

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