Weekly World Numismatic News for November 18, 2018

Vahid Mazloumin is seen appearing in court for the first time on charges of manipulating the currency market. He was later sentenced to death, in Tehran, Iran. September 8, 2018.Tasnim News Agency /Handout via REUTERS (via ChannelNews Asia)

Coin collecting, whether it would be enjoyment or profit, received a black eye this week as Iran executed Vhid Mazloumin, the man nicknamed the “Sultan of Coins.” Mazloumin and his accomplice, Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi, were hanged in Tehran on the charge of manipulating the coin and currency market in charges that included smuggling.

The charges stem from a new round of sanction by the United States that has Iranians hoarding gold and looking for other safe investments. To serve that market, Mazloumin and his associates began to trade in gold coins and bullion.

Up until the sanctions, Iran did not have many restrictions on the trading of gold and other bullion but found itself in another financial crisis. The Iranian central bank is reporting a reduction of reserves and those with the means to purchase gold have been doing so at a rate higher than in the past.

According to many reports, Mazloumin was caught with non-Iranian coins and bullion including bars made by Swiss and German companies. Amongst the charges included trading in gold American Eagle coins and Krugerrands. As part of this defense, Mazloumin claimed that the coins were imported before the ban.

What is troublesome is that the collecting and investing communities have been silent on the execution of someone whose actions were made retroactively illegal by a panicking government. It is a more extreme version of blaming the collector for the financial crisis, such as the United States did in 1964 over silver coinage.

Although someone will inevitably ask if condemnation will do anything, just remember how an industry condemned the actions in Turkey and the United States over actions against journalists. Communities that do not stand up for itself run the risk of allowing governments to run roughshod over them at their convenience.

Therefore, I CONDEMN IN THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS THE STATE-SPONSORED MURDER OF A COIN DEALER IN IRAN!

I urge the rest of the numismatic and investment industries to join me before someone comes for you!

And now the news…

 November 12, 2018

Coins from 1930s donated during "Fill the Boot" fundraiser.  → Read more at spectrumlocalnews.com


 November 12, 2018

DHAKA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Shelves and cases in the money museum in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, are filled to the brim with coins and currencies from the barter era to modern times, with the displays attracting many visitors.  → Read more at xinhuanet.com


 November 12, 2018

A local fire department wants the public's help in making the Holidays special for members of The Armed Forces.  → Read more at fourstateshomepage.com


 November 14, 2018

These coins both endangered and saved Optatius Buyssens's life, as he fought as a soldier during World War One  → Read more at bbc.com


 November 14, 2018

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – BOCES Career & Technical Education culinary students hosted a recent Kiwanis Club luncheon where prominent numismatist Anthony Swiatek discussed old coins and currency, which might be worth a great deal more than their owners realize.  → Read more at saratogian.com


 November 14, 2018

Iran has executed two men convicted of manipulating coin and currency markets. Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi were hanged on Wednesday after they were found guilty of manipulating coin and hard currency markets through illegal and unauthorized deals, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported.  → Read more at newsweek.com


 November 14, 2018

On November 14 the national Bank put into circulation four commemorative coins of irregular shape. This reports the press service of the regulator on the official page in Facebook, writes the Chronicle.info with reference to epravda.com.ua.  → Read more at bobrtimes.com

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Defining a successful collector

There are times when good people with good intentions do or say something that perpetuates narratives that are more harmful than they think.

Does owning this short snorter autographed by John Glenn and his family make me a successful or unsuccessful collector?

On Friday, November 9, I received the regular mail from Numismatic News with the usual section for questions that editor Dave Harper uses for community input. This week’s question was “Is collecting Standing Liberty quarters mandatory for successful hobbyists?”

The question appears to have been inspired by the article, “Dateless quarter inspired collector” by Ginger Raspus. The article was about how she was inspired to collect Standing Liberty Quarters after finding a dateless version pulled from change. The article then goes on about to describe the series. There was nothing in Ginger’s story that suggested anyone else collect these coins. She was reporting on her experience.

The problem with Dave’s question is a problem with the people who appear to have significant say in this industry. Their problem is that they say, suggest, or infer that if you don’t collect coins or their particular favorite, you are not a “real collector.”

Or in this case, a successful collector.

What defines a successful collector?

Is a successful collector one that fills up a particular folder or album of coins in a series designed by the publisher?

Is a successful collector one that creates a top-ranked registry set?

Is a successful collector defined by whether their collection meets artificial criteria set by an arcane definition of industry norms?

The problem is that these criteria that create these definitions of industry norms are those some consider the elders of the industry, many of who started collecting before most collectors were born. Other definitions of norms are created by the dealers whose input are more self-serving than encouraging.

There is nothing wrong with dealers earning a living. In recent years I have turned away from the convenience of online auctions except if the auction is sponsored by a dealer. I want the dealers to succeed, but not at the expense of chasing away potential collectors.

Although worn almost smooth, does owning this 1789 Draped Bust Large Cent count for anything?

A successful collector is someone who creates a collecting goal based on a personal interest and works to achieve that goal. That goal does not have to include buying published folders or albums and filling holes—but if that gives you pleasure, by all means, go for it!

Someone came into my shop to search the basket of foreign coins I keep on the counter. After a few moments I provided her with a box to place the coins she looked at while digging through the basket. I asked her why she was looking so carefully at the coins and she said that she was looking for coins from the countries her parents and grandparents were from and the years they were born.

After a while, she finshed looking and wanted to pay for the coins she picked. I looked at the coins and found a 1938 Spanish 25-centimos and 1961 Columbian 5-centavos coins. With a smile, she explained that her father was born in Columbia and his father, her grandfather, was from Spain.

When she said that she did not know what coins where minted and when I showed her en.mumista.com, my favorite website for looking up foreign coins. We searched for the countries and years of her family to show her what was available.

The next time she returned to my shop she carried a list of coins with check marks next to some of them. We then talked about how to store the coins and what to use as albums so that she can keep the coins nicely.

I do not know if she will be able to find all of the coins on her list but I know that she found examples of all the coins that she identified as being in circulation in 1961 Columbia because she brought in the album she created to show me.

I would call my new friend a successful collector.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for October 28, 2018

An old bridge (left) and coins from the 18th century (right) were discovered in the low waters of the Danube River near Budapest (Image courtesy of euronews)

One of the articles found in this week’s search for numismatic-related news is both tragic and interesting. The tragedy is that the changing climate that has brought about worldwide weather swings has caused a drought so bad that the Danube River is at its lowest levels in recorded history.

The Danube River is Europe’s second longest river. It runs from southern Donaueschingen, Germany, stretches across Europe to the Black Sea in Sulina, Romania. In ancient times, it was the border of the Roman Empire. Later, the border and the source of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austrian Habsburgs.

Today, the Danube supplies water to millions of Europeans who work together on its preservation. It is also a source for ships commercial and passenger ships traveling through Europe. Levels are so low that shipping companies have cut back on their trips and travel advisories have been issued for tourists.

The Danube River Basin (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Outside of Budapest, over 2,000 silver and gold coins were found in 38 centimeters (almost 15-inches) of water. Archeologists who were called to recover the coins also found weapons, cannonballs, and other items that were said to be from a ship that sunk on the river in the 18th century.

During the 18th century, most of the area we know as Hungary today was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Early in the 18th century, the empire instituted educational and technical reforms to strengthen their hold on their empire. In 1768, when Russian-back Ukrainian tribes entered Ottoman territory looking for confederates, the incursion provoked the Russo-Turkish War.

Over the last week, scientists have been working around the cycle of the tides to excavate the site to learn more about the ship that sank, including trying to determine why it sank. One working theory was that it was carrying supplies during the Russo-Turkish War.

Dating the wreckage using the coins may not be easy. At the time the Empire existed, coins were dated when the dies were made. Usually, dies were used until they wore out even if the coin represents the previous emperor. It could be several years before dies were made honoring the current ruler.

Beginning in the 16th century, the Ottoman mints were using screw-presses to create consistent-looking coinage. The empire of that period was always looking for the best technology to upgrade their lives and to set them apart from others. Screw presses were used for everything from minting coins to creating military medals. For the Ottoman’s, the mass production of military medals was important for the morale of the army that they put to ample use.

Although no timeline has been announced as to when scientists think they will complete their study of the artifacts, it will be an interesting view into a time at the height of the Ottoman Empire.

And now the news…

 October 22, 2018

Kitco News talks with some of the most influential gold market analysts, economists, investors and mining CEOS to get their take on the industry and financial markets and the global economy  → Read more at kitco.com


 October 22, 2018

Roving exhibitions have been organized in a number of primary and intermediate boys’ and girls’ schools in various regions of the Kingdom to raise awareness among students about coins and urge them to use coins in their daily dealings. The caravan started its journey this month from Riyadh.  → Read more at saudigazette.com.sa


 October 24, 2018

Nevada Day revelers can own a piece of the state’s history — and also watch it be made — as part of a special run of the coin press at he Nevada State Museum in Carson City.  → Read more at carsonnow.org


 October 24, 2018

Two Swedish schoolchildren unearthed a 17th century coin while playing in a sandpit – and they have now been told they can keep the find.  → Read more at thelocal.se


 October 25, 2018

Aa Aa Record low water levels in the Danube have uncovered parts of an old Budapest bridge blown up by the Nazis in the final months of World War II. Pictures have emerged of the structure — which linked the districts of Buda and Pest in the Hungarian capital — just under the surface of the water.  → Read more at euronews.com


 October 26, 2018

Just in time for Halloween, the Central Bank has launched a commemorative €15 Bram Stoker Dracula collector coin. The silver proof coin commemorates the life of the Dublin-born author and his famous novel Dracula, which was published in 1897 and became world-renowned after an American film adaptation starring Bela Lugosi opened in 1931.  → Read more at irishtimes.com


 October 27, 2018

ART ON COINS — INDIA AND THE WORLD Mauryan axes, faces of Satavahana kings, a lion from Alexander’s army — at an exhibition of ancient coins found on the subcontinent , money talks. It tells stories of war, peace, power and disappointment.  → Read more at hindustantimes.com


 October 28, 2018

“On ANZAC Day this year I got to wear both of my medals in civilian dress and someone came up and said ”oh, you’ve got your medals on the wrong side love’, or ”whose medals are they’ — and you just have to say ”they’re mine — why wouldn’t they be?  → Read more at news.com.au

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Weekly World Numismatic News for October 14, 2018

Craig Cline of Fargo speaks with WDAY (screen grab from WDAY)

There are people with more time an patience who are able to go into the fields and forests with a metal detector to find relics of the past. Here, in the original 13 colonies, it is common for detectorists ton find Civil War-era bullets or Revolutionary-era uniform buttons. Some find coins. Usually, it is easier to find copper coins, especially the U.S. large cents that were heavily used on the east coast.

This week’s story takes us to the Red River Valley outside of Fargo, North Dakota where a hobbyist finds an 18th century silver Spanish Real under a tree.

The Red River is a north-flowing river that begins at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers, on the border of Wahpeton, North Dakota and Breckenridge, Minnesota. At its northernmost point, it empties into the Lake Winnipeg in Canada.

Finding anything buried in the ground that is pre-Revolutionary War period would be a fantastic fine. But the finder of this Spanish Real coin believes it was either pocket change or money used to bargain with the Native Americans.

The land where my house stands was once farmland prior to homes being built. There are records of soldiers being quartered in this area. I wonder if there are relics waiting for be found.

And now the news…

 October 11, 2018

The US Mint unveils a coin designed to mark the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 mission in 2019.  → Read more at cnet.com


 October 12, 2018

FARGO—Craig Cline of Fargo has done his share of treasure hunting. The carpenter-handyman and his metal detector have searched Fargo-Moorhead parks and fields looking for that one rare part of our past. Well, he found it.  → Read more at inforum.com


 October 14, 2018

Farmers in northwest Poland have unearthed silver coins, including rare Arabic dirhams, along with a slew of other artifacts, Britain’s The Daily Mail reported. Farmers in the region have been ploughing along a sloped field for decades. More than 300  → Read more at aawsat.com


 October 14, 2018

The U.S. Mint has taken "one small step" towards the striking of new coins to mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with the reveal of the design for its 2019 commemoratives. The gold, silver and clad coins will feature an astronaut’s boot p  → Read more at space.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for October 7, 2018

Couple’s two-year-old shreds over $1,000 in cash! (Photo courtesy of KSL-TV by Tanner Siegworth)

The story of the week has to have come from Hollady, Utah where a couple’s two-year-old son shredded more than $1,000 in cash.

In a case where real-life intersects with “oh my gosh,” the toddler took an envelope of cash and passed it through the shredder. All the child knew is that mommy was passing paper through the shredder, it made a cool noise, and created small pieces. What the child did not understand was that mommy was shredding junk mail (a good idea) and he did not know the difference between junk mail and paper money.

The money was to be used to pay the husband’s parents back for season tickets to the Univerity of Utah football games. The Utah Utes are currently 3-2, 1-2 in Pac-12 play after defeating Stanford 40-21 in Palo Alto.

All is not lost for the family. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has a Mutilated Currency Redemption program. It is a free service that the family can use to recover from this incident.

According to the BEP, the programs handles approximately 30,000 claims each year and recovers over $30 million in cash. But the process can take time. With the limited resources that the BEP has to work with and the time it would take for the BEP’s team to reconstruct the shredded notes, the family may have to wait at least two years.

They do not call it the “terrible twos” for nothing. Next time the family may either want to hide the cash in safer location or write a check. A check can be rewritten more quickly than sending the money to the Mutilated Currency Redemption program.

And now the news…

 October 2, 2018

The Australian Royal Mint has issued AC/DC 50 cents, $1 and $5 coins to celebrate the band’s 45th anniversary. The band was formed in November 1973 by Malcolm and Angus Young in Sydney. The original lineup included bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and one-time Masters Apprentices member Colin Burgess on drums.  → Read more at themusicnetwork.com


 October 2, 2018

If you have a social media account like Instagram, chances are you would have been offered up to US$10,000 (RM41,400) for old notes and coins by collectors. Does it sound too good to be true? The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) says it is and warns that you may end up losing your money as it could be another scam.  → Read more at thestar.com.my


 October 2, 2018

The story of Armistice Day. Credits: Images courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library, Wairarapa Archive, Palmerston North Libraries, Archives New Zealand and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. From this month you may find a colourful new coin in your change.  → Read more at newshub.co.nz


 October 3, 2018

The owner of a Vancouver coin shop allegedly defrauded customers out of $1.3 million, according to a federal indictment announced Wednesday. Blue Moon Coins owner Aaron Michael Scott, 40, of Portland was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of wire fraud and five counts of mail fraud, according to a statement released by U.S.  → Read more at columbian.com


 October 3, 2018

"The products in our R+D Lab Collection are tried, tested and true examples of forward-thinking technology that could re-define the future of domestic and foreign coins," said Dr. Xianyao Li, Chief Technology Officer at the Royal Canadian Mint.  → Read more at prnewswire.com


 October 4, 2018

The Japanese love their cash. Cash as in physical notes and coins. Not the electronic variety that floats around in cyberspace instead of bouncing about in purses and pockets. Surveys show that we are totally behind the times in our attachment to the ¥10,000 and ¥1,000 notes and the way…  → Read more at japantoday.com


 October 5, 2018

A Holladay family is figuring out how to replace more than $1,000 in cash that their 2-year-old son sent through the shredder.  → Read more at ksl.com

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September 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

This is a surprise. This past month Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) introduced a bill that would make the gains made on the sale of bullion coins issued by the U.S. Mint tax exempt. This would be for any precious metal coin. The bill says “No gain or loss shall be recognized on the sale or exchange of gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Secretary at any time…”

The bill also includes “refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.”

It is called the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2018 (H.R. 6790) and was introduced on September 12, 2018.

While this may be good for the numismatic community, with the mid-term elections just over a month away and congress mired in many fights, it is difficult to see that this bill passes. Even if it passes in a lame duck session, the possibility of the Senate acting on it is very low. Of course that depends on the outcome of the election and I have been wrong about prognosticating some bills!

H.R. 6790: Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2018
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: September 12, 2018
Summary: This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to exempt gains or losses from the sale or exchange of certain coins or bullion from recognition for income tax purposes. The exemption applies to gains or losses from the sale or exchange of: (1) gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Department of the Treasury; or (2) refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.
Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. — Sep 12, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR6790.

Weekly World Numismatic News for September 30, 2018

2014 £2 coin commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War I is one of the coins the British tabloids watch.

Since the Bank of England transitioned from the old round pound to the new 12-sided pound coin, the British tabloids have been watching the online auctions, primarily eBay, to sensationalize the price of coins being bought-and-sold by collectors.

Most of the coins were circulating commemorative 50 pence, one and two-pound coins ranging from the coin commemorating the end of slavery in England to Peter Rabbit commemorating the work of Beatrix Potter.

While searching the internet for numismatic-related news, there is at least one tabloid writing about yet another find and how someone sold it for thousands of pounds on eBay. After tweeting one of those stories, a British collector responded and we had an email conversation about the stories.

According to my correspondent, it seems that the tabloids are making more out of the story than necessary. Using the information from my correspondent, I began to watch the eBay UK auction results.

Although it is true that some of these coins are selling for hundreds and even thousands of pounds, most of the buyers are not from the UK. According to one eBay seller, most of his buyers were from the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Another seller said that finding one in pocket change, as suggested by the tabloid, is not going to make anyone rich. The coins that are selling at high multiples are uncirculated coins pulled from rolls they purchased from the Royal Mint.

Not all of the coins are selling at high prices. One seller said that he sold most of a roll to people from the European Union for a few euros plus shipping. While they are making money, they are not getting rich as suggested by the tabloids.

The tabloids have been helpful in raising awareness for some of these coins. In the past, one person said she would buy three or four rolls of the 50 pence coins and would sell them over time. She had rolls at least five years old before it became a topic in the tabloids.

Coin roll hunting became instantly popular throughout the UK. Some banks report that there is a higher demand for rolls of 50p coins than usual. The demands coincide with the report of another coin being sold for thousands of pounds on eBay.

If there is good news in this, the UK error collectors are finding fresh material. With so many people looking closely at the coins they receive in change and from the bank, more errors are appearing in the collector market. But the increased supply without a similar increase in demand has kept the prices down. Error collectors are afraid that once people realize that this is not a credible get-rich-quick scheme, the number of people looking for errors will diminish.

And now the news…

 September 23, 2018

Bangladesh Bank established the museum, the first of its kind in the country, beside the Bangladesh Bank Training Academy with a collection of over three thousand coins and currency notes  → Read more at dhakatribune.com


 September 24, 2018

Sofia, Bulgaria –  → Read more at euscoop.com


 September 27, 2018

It’s a hobby for Garrison Garrow, and his efforts are renowned.Garrow, of Akwesasne, designed the new Royal Canadian Mint collector coin ($30), which was unveiled recently at McGill Universit…  → Read more at standard-freeholder.com


 September 28, 2018

The Bulgarian National Bank has issued (17th September) the fifth entry in a series of coins entitled “Medieval Bulgarian Rulers,” which has been issued intermittently since 2011. The latest coin features the Bulgarian ruler Ivan Asen II (circa.  → Read more at novinite.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 23, 2018

David Hall
(PCGS Image downloaded from the Internet Archive)

Although this weekly posting tries to cover the news that does not appear in the numismatic media, this week there has to be something said about a bombshell reported by Coin World.

In a surprise announcement, Collector’s Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT) announced the termination of David Hall as president and CEO as of September 18. No reason was given for his termination.

Hall remains on the Collector’s Universe board of directors.

Hall was one of seven co-founders of Professional Coin Grading Service in 1985. In 1999, PCGS expanded to Collector’s Universe to provide grading and authentication services to other collectibles. Professional Sports Authentication and PSA/DNA are considered the gold standard in the sports collectible industry. He has held several leadership roles in PCGS and Collector’s Universe over the years.

When contacted by Coin World, Hall did not provide additional details.

In the article, it said that Hall plans to remain prominent in the industry and will be more active with David Hall Rare Coins, a firm he founded in the 1970s.

We here at the Coin Collectors Blog wish Hall well as he begins the next phase of his professional life.

And now the news…

 September 17, 2018

Rock musician Rory Gallagher represented the “very best aspirations of our republic”, President Michael D Higgins has said. Mr Higgins was presented with a €15 commemorative coin featuring an image of the late guitarist who died in 1995, aged just 47.  → Read more at irishtimes.com


 September 17, 2018

THE Royal Mint is selling a GOLD Kew Gardens 50p coin which could be worth up to £800. Only 1,000 of these rare coins were made and only 629 of them were actually bought by the public, making them even more valuable to collectors.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 September 17, 2018

Law enforcement officers are urging the public to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to sell fake coins in the Cameron, Missouri, area. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office issued an alert showing plastic sleeves of old coins that were passed off as valuable silver to one business.  → Read more at newspressnow.com


 September 22, 2018

The Royal Mint has increased its production of collectible coins in an attempt to appeal to a wider market as the use of cash declines across the country.  → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

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A Look at the American Eagles: The New American Palladium Eagles

Collecting American Palladium Eagles

This is last article of a 4 part series:
  1. American Silver Eagles
  2. American Gold Eagles
  3. American Platinum Eagles
  4. American Palladium Eaglesyou are here

The American Palladium Eagle coin is the newest addition to the American Eagle program. The bill to create the program was introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), the representative-at-large from Montana. Montana is home of the Stillwater Mining Company, the only producer of palladium in the United States. Stillwater also owns platinum mines that supply the U.S. Mint with platinum for American Eagle Bullion coins.

In the world of metal investing, palladium is behind gold, silver, and platinum in demand. Palladium is not as popular in the United States as it is in other countries. Palladium sells better than silver in Canada and Europe. It is rarer than gold, but a little more abundant than platinum but has the silky look of platinum while being almost as ductile as silver. Artists in Europe and Asia are beginning to use palladium instead of platinum for their higher-end designs.

The American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act (Public Law 111-303) originally requested that the secretary study the feasibility of striking palladium coins and mint them if the study shows a market demand. Although the study showed that there is a market, it was not overwhelming. Based on the wording of the law, the U.S. Mint opted not to strike palladium coins.

In December 2015, Rehberg added an amendment to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or the FAST Act (Public Law 114-94, 129 STAT. 1875, see Title LXXXIII, Sect. 73001) that took away the U.S. Mint’s option. The first American Palladium Eagle bullion coins were struck in 2017.

Source of Metals

The law requires that the U.S. Mint purchase palladium from United States sources at market values. It allows the U.S. Mint to purchase palladium from other sources to meet market demands.

A difference between the authorizing law for the American Palladium Eagle and other coins in the American Eagle program is that there is no requirement for the U.S. Mint to produce proof coins. It will be up to the U.S. Mint to determine whether there is a collector demand and strike proof coins accordingly. How this differs from the rest of the American Eagle program will be tested the next time metals experience high investor demand.

The American Palladium Eagle Design

By law, the obverse of the American Palladium Eagle coin features a high-relief likeness of the “Winged Liberty” design used on the obverse of Mercury Dime. It is an acclaimed classical design as created by Adolph A. Weinman.

The law requires that the reverse used to bear a high-relief version of the reverse design of the 1907 American Institute of Architects medal. The AIA medal was also designed by Weinman. It is the first time that this design is featured on a legal tender coin.

American Palladium Eagle coins are made from one troy ounce of .9995 palladium. The balance is copper. These coins are produced so that each coin states its weight and fineness and has a denomination of $25.

Bullion American Palladium Eagle Coins

The American Palladium Eagle program produces bullion and collectible coins. The bullion coins can be stuck at any branch mint but do not have a mintmark. Bullion coins are sold in bulk to special dealers who then sell it to retailers. They are struck for the investment market.

Although some people do collect bullion coins there are not produced for the collector market. As with other investments, American Palladium Eagle bullion coins are subject to taxes when sold and may be held in Individual Retirement accounts. Please consult your financial advisor or tax professional for the tax implications for your situation.

Collector American Palladium Eagle Coins

Collector coins are produced and sold by the U.S. Mint in specialty packaging directly to the public. Collectors can purchase new coins directly from the U.S. Mint and find these coins online. Collector American Palladium Eagle coins are produced only as proof coins.

The U.S. Mint began selling American Palladium Eagle Proof coins in 2018 with a limited production of 15,000 coins. The coins sold by the U.S. Mint are stored in a specially made capsule and that capsule is placed in a package similar to that used for other coins in the American Eagle program.

Since this program is new, there have been no special issues or the discovery of errors. As time passes, that will likely change.

Images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

A Look at the American Eagles: The American Platinum Eagles

This is third article of a 4 part series:
  1. American Silver Eagles
  2. American Gold Eagles
  3. American Platinum Eaglesyou are here
  4. American Palladium Eagles

The Platinum American Eagle coins were an addition to the American Eagle bullion program to satisfy the needs of the domestic platinum mining industry. Work to create the program began in 1995 with Platinum Guild International Executive Director Jacques Luben working with Director of the United States Mint Philip N. Diehl and American Numismatic Association President David L. Ganz to pursue the appropriate legislation.

As with a lot of legislation, it was added to an omnibus appropriations bill (Public Law 104-208 in Title V) passed on September 30, 1996. Since the bill was necessary to keep the government functioning, it was signed by President Bill Clinton that same day.

The first platinum coins were issued in 1997.

Platinum American Eagle coins are the only bullion coins struck by the U.S. Mint that use a different reverse design for the proof coins than the uncirculated bullion coins. The reverse of the proof coins featured different themes that have largely gone unnoticed by collectors. Beginning in 2018, the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence series will introduce all new designs for both the obverse and reverse of the proof coin.

American Platinum Eagle Design

The obverse design of the American Platinum Eagle features a front-facing view of the Statue of Liberty from the shoulders designed by John Mercanti. Mercanti also designed the obverse of the 1986 Statue of Liberty Commemorative Silver Dollar.

The reverse features a bald eagle soaring above the earth with a rising sun in the background. It was designed by Thomas D. Rodgers Sr. The reverse also includes the weight of the coin and its denomination.

The reverse designs of the proof coins were by different artists and discussed below.

American Platinum Eagle Coins are offered in four different sizes with each size being of different legal tender face value. The different coins are as follows:

  • One-ounce American Platinum Eagle: $100 face value, is 32.7 mm in diameter, contains one troy ounce of platinum and weighs 1.0005 troy ounces,
  • One-half ounce American Platinum Eagle: $50 face value, is 27 mm in diameter, contains 0.5000 troy ounce of platinum and weighs 0.5003 troy ounce,
  • One-quarter ounce American Platinum Eagle: $25 face value, is 22 mm in diameter, contains 0.2500 troy ounce of platinum and weighs 0.2501 troy ounce,
  • One-tenth ounce American Platinum Eagle: $10 face value, is 16.5 mm in diameter, contains 0.1000 troy ounce of platinum and weighs 0.1001 troy ounce.

All coins are struck with reeded edges.

Each coin is made from .9995 platinum. The composition is comprised of 99.95% platinum and 0.05% of an unspecified metal, likely copper. American Platinum Eagle coins are produced so that each size contains its stated weight in pure platinum. This means that the coins are heavier than their pure platinum weight to account for the other metals in the alloy.

Bullion American Platinum Eagle Coins

The American Platinum Eagle program produces bullion and collectible coins. The bullion coins can be stuck at any branch mint but does not have a mintmark. Bullion coins are sold in bulk to special dealers who then sell it to retailers. They are struck for the investment market.

Although some people do collect bullion coins there are not produced for the collector market. As with other investments, American Platinum Eagle bullion coins are subject to taxes when sold and may be held in Individual Retirement accounts. Please consult your financial advisor or tax professional for the tax implications for your situation.

Bullion coins of all four weights were struck from 1997-2008. Beginning in 2014, the U.S. Mint has only struck the one-ounce $100 American Platinum Eagle for the bullion market.

Collector American Platinum Eagle Coins

Collector coins are produced and sold by the U.S. Mint in specialty packaging directly to the public. Collectors can purchase new coins directly from the U.S. Mint and find these coins online. Collector American Platinum Eagle are different from other coins in the American Eagle series in that every year they are produced the U.S. Mint struck them in different designs and are only available as proof strikes.

In addition to the changing designs, the U.S. Mint sold uncirculated coins with a burnished (satin) finish using the design of the business (bullion) coins were struck 2006-2008 at West Point in all four weights.

The collector American Platinum Eagle may be one of the most under-appreciated series of coins produced by the U.S. Mint. Since its introduction in 1997, the U.S. Mint has produced four series of proof coins with the reverse honoring different aspects of the nation with plans for two more beginning in 2018 and 2021.

What distinguishes these coins are the well-executed reverse designs that few get to see or pay attention. It may be difficult for the average collector to consider collecting these coins because of the price of platinum has been either on par or higher than the price of gold. Also, platinum is not as well regarded as gold or silver as a precious metal causing it to be overlooked.

Following the proof coins issued in 1997 with the design used on the bullion coin, the reverse design has featured the following themes:

  • Vistas of Liberty Reverse Designs (1998-2003):
    • 1998 Eagle Over New England
    • 1999 Eagle Above Southeastern Wetlands
    • 2000 Eagle Above America’s Heartland
    • 2001 Eagle Above America’s Southwest
    • 2002 Eagle Fishing in America’s Northwest
    • 2003 Eagle Perched on Rocky Mountain Pine Branch
  • 2004 Proof reverse design: Daniel Chester French’s “America” that sits before the U.S. Customs House in New York City.
  • 2005 Proof reverse Design: Heraldic Eagle
  • Branches of Government Series:
    • 2006 “Legislative Muse” representing Legislative Branch
    • 2007 “American Bald Eagle” representing Executive Branch
    • 2008 “Lady Justice” representing Judicial Branch
  • Preamble Series (2009–2014):
    • 2009 “To Form a More Perfect Union”
    • 2010 “To Establish Justice”
    • 2011 “To Insure Domestic Tranquility”
    • 2012 “To Provide for the Common Defence”
    • 2013 “To Promote the General Welfare”
    • 2014 “To Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity”
  • Nations Core Values (2015-2016):
    • 2015 “Liberty Nurtures Freedom”
    • 2016 “Liberty and Freedom”
  • 2017 depicted the original reverse designed by Thomas D. Rodgers Sr.

Beginning in 2018, the U.S. Mint will introduce two themes that will feature new obverse designs with a new common reverse with the following themes:

  • 2018-2020 Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Series
    • 2018 “Life”
    • 2019 “Liberty”
    • 2020 “Pursuit of Happiness”
  • 2021-2025 Five Freedoms Guaranteed Under the First Amendment Series
    • 2021 “Freedom of Religion,”
    • 2022 “Freedom of Speech,”
    • 2023 “Freedom of the Press,”
    • 2024 “Freedom to assemble peaceably,”
    • 2025 “Freedom to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.”

Tenth Anniversary American Platinum Eagle Set

As part of the Tenth Anniversary of the American Platinum Eagle, the U.S. Mint issued a special set to celebrate this milestone. The set featured two one-half ounce platinum proof coins using the American Bald Eagle design representing Executive Branch by Thomas Cleveland and was struck at the West Point Mint. One was struck as a standard proof with mirrored fields and frosted designs. The other was struck as a reverse proof with mirrored designs and frosted fields.

The set was announced November 2007 and scheduled to go on sale in mid-December. and remain on sale until December 31, 2008, with several interruptions.

During the sale, the price of platinum greatly fluctuated. At one point the price of platinum was greater than the price of the set. The U.S. Mint had suspended the sale of the coins in February 2008. They were priced higher when they were offered for sale again a month later. Sales were suspended again when the price of platinum fell dramatically. When the coins were brought back for sale, their final price was less than the set’s initial offer price.

Although the U.S. Mint set a maximum mintage of 30,000 sets, the final sales figure showed they sold 19,583 sets.

2007 “Frosted Freedom” Variety

For a very low production series that is handled differently than other coins, it is unusual for there to be a variety or error. In 2011, the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation announced that they certified a variety that was given the name “Frosted Freedom.”

On the proof strike of the 2007 American Platinum Eagle coin with the bald eagle design to celebrate the executive branch of the government, there is a shield in front of the eagle’s breast. Draped across the shield is a ribbon with the word “FREEDOM”. On the coins issued in 2007, the incuse word “FREEDOM” has the same mirrored finish as found on the coin’s fields. On the variety found by NGC, the word appears frosted with the same finish found on the coin’s raised devices.

In a statement by the U.S. Mint, these coins were pre-production strikes that had been inadvertently released into the production stream. They were struck to verify the look of the coin.

According to the U.S, Mint, the total number of “Frosted Freedom” coins potentially distributed to collectors includes 12 one-ounce coins, 21 half-ounce coins, and 21 quarter-ounce coins. As this is being written, only two one-ounce, one half-ounce, and one quarter-ounce coin have been certified by the major grading services.

In our next installment, we look at the American Palladium Eagles.

All images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

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