Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for December 24, 2017

News cycles seem to be quiet lately. I wonder what is going on in the world?! 😉

All kidding aside, this past week appears that people are rushing to complete whatever tasks are at hand before the holiday weekend and the end of the year. With everyone celebrating, I am not anticipating anything earth shattering from any news sector.

The Boys Town Centennial Commemorative coin features Fr. Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town

2017 Lions Clubs Commemorative Silver Dollar Proof Obverse

One thing I will remind those who buy collectibles from the U.S. Mint will stop selling the 2017 Boys Town and Lions Club commemorative coins on December 28. All other coins and medals that will be ending this year, such as anything dated 2016, can be ordered up until December 31.

Remember, the U.S. Mint only accepts orders via their website or by calling 800-USA-MINT (800-872-6468).

And now the news…

 December 18, 2017

The Treasury Department will propose the production of coins bearing the face of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun to the cabinet on Tuesday. Pachara Anantasin, the director-general of the Treasury Department, said Sunday the proposal will be tabled at the day's cabinet meeting. → Read more at bangkokpost.com


 December 18, 2017

Justice League star Henry Cavill's tradition of giving out "challenge coins" continues and this time it's not just the crew of films he's working on receiving the thoughtful token. Comic book writer and artist Tony Daniel took to Instagram today to share a photo of special token that the Superman actor had sent him. → Read more at comicbook.com


 December 18, 2017

The Alaska Mint released its 2018 state coin design this month. Designed by a local university student, Megan Warren found influence for her design from growing up in Alaska and her Native Alaskan Tlingit heritage. → Read more at anchoragepress.com


 December 21, 2017

Rezwan Razack is building a museum to showcase his collection of Indian paper money dating back to 1812. → Read more at qz.com


 December 22, 2017

The news was celebrated by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and has been a priority for Covanta. → Read more at wastedive.com


 December 23, 2017

The “challenge coin” no longer features the presidential seal or national motto. But it does have “Make America Great Again” — twice. → Read more at washingtonpost.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for December 17, 2017

One of the cans found as part of the Saddle Ridge Gold Coin Hoard

Although I have been on the road this past week, I have noted a number of topics that I want to write about. There should be a little more time in the weeks to come. But for today, I want to talk about found money.

When I say found money, I am not talking about that $20 bill you left in your pants pocket or the roll of quarters you left in the center console of your car from a time before electronic toll collection. I am talking about the hoards, metal detector finds, and surprising estate sales that keep popping up in the news.

Over the last few months, there have been a number of stories about someone finding a treasure trove of coins, whether it be gold in California, Roman coins in the United Kingdom, or other ancient coins in Israel, the stories continue to fascinate.

Other than Israel, which is the epicenter of three major religions with a treasure buried beneath her soil, Great Britain appears to be the second most popular area for treasure finds.

According to The Telgraph, the number of discovered treasures rose from 1,005 in 2015 to 1,121 in 2016. It is believed that this number will rise again when 2017 is over.

They attribute the new found interest to a popular BBC sitcom called Detectorists. According to IMDB, it is about the “lives of two eccentric metal detectorists, who spend their days plodding along ploughed tracks and open fields, hoping to disturb the tedium by unearthing the fortune of a lifetime.”

I have not seen this show on U.S. television but it is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Given the popularity of this show, I wonder if there may be a way to leverage that idea to do a show centered around numismatics to the public. Maybe it could help expand the hobby.

As an aside, if you are going to try your own search using a metal detector, you might want to read this article from The Mirror. Even though it talks about the hobby in terms for a U.K. readership, the information is transferable to the United States. The article provides good tips.

And now the news….

 December 10, 2017

GovMint.com and ModernCoinMart, in cooperation with S&A Partners – The Official Coca-Cola Licensee for Collectible Coins – has teamed up with Coca-Cola® to bring collectors something they've never seen: legal-tender silver dollars that look like Coca-Cola bottle caps. → Read more at prnewswire.com


 December 12, 2017

MUMBAI, India — Vishal Kumar Jain slid his fingertips along the edges of a crisp 500 rupee ($8) note, a pale grey 150 by 66mm piece of paper. He then ran his hands around a 20-rupee note (0.31 US cents), a 147mm by 63mm orange bill. → Read more at trtworld.com


 December 12, 2017

THE Greek word for money, chrema, carries a significance its English translation cannot fully convey. “It means ‘to need’ and ‘to use’ together,” explains Nicholas Stampolidis, director of the Museum of Cycladic Art (MoCA) during a recent visit to the museum’s latest exhibition, “Money: Tangible Symbols in Ancient Greece.” → Read more at economist.com


 December 12, 2017

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Bank Indonesia never issue a permit to use candy as a means of transaction replacing rupiah. The use of candies instead of cash for a small exchange mostly found at modern retailers or groceries. → Read more at en.tempo.co


 December 15, 2017

After suffering a serious knee injury that ended her volleyball career at K-State, senior Bryna Vogel was surprised by a presidential token. → Read more at themercury.com


 December 15, 2017

Friday 15 December 2017 → Read more at churchtimes.co.uk


 December 15, 2017

Suspicions are growing that North Korea has resumed forging $100 dollar bills that are so realistic that they are virtually indistinguishable from genuine currency. → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for December 10, 2017

The hoard of dollar coins in the Baltimore Coin Storage

This was an interesting week. Aside from trying to understand the impact of the new tax bill (H.R. 1) on the numismatic industry, I was hired by a widow to help liquidate an accumulation of coins her late husband collected.

I took the job thinking that it could not be that difficult. She said that her late husband was a lifelong collector and had an affinity for half-dollars. It did not sound like a daunting task, so I agreed to meet with her and look at his collection.

Nowadays, when someone calls me for assistance, I usually ask that they take a few pictures with their smartphone and email them so that I can be prepared. In this case that was not possible since my new client did not own a smartphone and expressed displeasure with her “old-fashioned” flip-phone. I was taking a chance.

Rose (not her real name) reminded me of the grandmother-next-door type. Her house was well manicured and the entry reminded me more of the 1950s than any other time. She was neatly dressed as if she was meeting someone of stature. Thankfully, I thought to wear something nicer than my normal jeans and a polo shirt.

We spoke and then she brought me to her late husband’s office. It was quite a contrast from the rest of the house. This was clearly a man’s room whose interest were cars, horses, and coins. Rose said he owned three cars including a 1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 (muscle car fans will understand the significance of this car) and had invested in a few racehorses. The cars and the shares in the racehorses were sold but nobody could help her with the coins. Then I found out why.

I was expecting albums, folders, and rolls. When she opened the cabinet, there were five shelves with old cigar boxes, coffee cans, and other containers with loose coins. And while I thought he was a half-dollar collector, he had coins of all types including foreign coins. There were a lot of half-dollars, mostly Walking Liberty halves from the later years and Franklin halves. There was an old metal 35mm film canister with 1964 Kennedy half dollars.

There were several envelopes of foreign currency and Military Payment Certificates he kept from when he was an Army medic in the Korean War.

I have been working with a dealer who specializes in purchasing bulk estates. To help her get the best price, I have been doing a lot of sorting, searching, and ordering of the coins in a manner that would take some of the burdens away from the dealer so he could pay more.

As a bonus, some of the vessels used for storage are also collectibles. The old wooden cigar boxes from Cuba that can be traced to a time before the rise of the Castro regime are highly collectible. So are a few of the coffee cans from brands that have not been heard from in over 50 years including regional brands I had never seen before. That does not include the metal 35mm film canisters. When I asked a dealer, who specializes in old photographic equipment, she made an offer that Rose will probably not refuse.

Considering the size of the accumulation, it will take at least two more days to finish, pack everything, and ship it to the dealer. Although this work is preventing me from writing, I am having a good time. Rose is a nice person and a diehard University of Virginia Cavaliers fan since that was her late husband’s alma mater. Since she decided she likes me, Rose is going to cheer for my Georgia Bulldogs in the upcoming Rose Bowl—which is why I am calling her Rose!

And now the news…

 December 4, 2017

PARIS — Over his 40-year career, the fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier has had his share of odd requests but until last year, he had never been asked to dress a coin. His imagination has produced outrageous concepts like fitting Madonna into a pointy conical bra, slipping the bearded transgender Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst into a couture dress and sending models down a runway lined with menorahs for his fall 1993 Chic Rabbis collection. → Read more at nytimes.com


 December 6, 2017

The staff at Unity's Lincoln Highway Experience have know for some time that future U.S. President William Henry Harrison visited their museum in the mid-1800s, … → Read more at triblive.com


 December 7, 2017

Washington – At the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt participated in the ceremonial strike of the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar honoring the 100th anniversary → Read more at dailystarjournal.com


 December 7, 2017

Evidence of Jewish-Muslim influences in early days of Islam may prove interfaith dialogue. → Read more at jpost.com


 December 7, 2017

This is something, which has been overlooked, the court said. → Read more at outlookindia.com


 December 7, 2017

Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold and silver coins fell sharply year-over-year in November, keeping their tally for the first 11 months of 2017 on track for the weakest year since 2007, the latest data showed on Thursday. → Read more at reuters.com


 December 8, 2017

Cape Town – The South African Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), has created a commemorative silver coin in honour of the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant 50 years ago. → Read more at fin24.com


 December 8, 2017

Nearly 150 coin denominations and fables containing 17 years of the 11th-12th centuries have been found in the country’s southern region Lankaran recently. → Read more at azernews.az


 December 10, 2017

The Widow’s Mites – In Chapter 12 of the Gospel of Mark is a story, a parable, about giving. In summary, the story goes that Jesus and His Disciples were → Read more at jacksonvilleprogress.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for December 3, 2017

These introductions to the weekly news are supposed to be my thoughts and opinions on some of the things I have read while looking for numismatic-related news. For this week, I cannot think of a thing to say.

That is not exactly true. I have a lot to say but it is not numismatic-related!

Honestly, my mind is elsewhere. It is about 600 miles to the southwest from suburban Washington, D.C. in Athens, Georgia. Not only is Athens where I attended college as an undergraduate but it is the home of the 2017 Southeastern Conference Champion University of Georgia Bulldogs!

After beating Auburn last night to win the SEC Championship and learning today that Georgia will be playing Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl for the College Football Playoff Semi-Finals, I have been just euphoric!

So that I can include some numismatic-related content, I know that the Highland Mint strikes most of the medals that are used for the coin toss around college and professional football. In 2015, the Franklin Mint was commissioned to strike the medals for the CFP games. Regardless of who gets the contract, a copy of that medal will likely end up in my collection.

HOW BOUT THEM DAWGS!

And now the news…

 November 28, 2017

The manager of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon has thanked people for their support after raid, as police investigate several lines of enquiry. → Read more at northdevongazette.co.uk


 November 28, 2017

AIM-listed Hummingbird Resources announced that in line with the imminent commencement of production from its Yanfolila gold mine in Mali (Yanfolila), the compa → Read more at miningreview.com


 November 28, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Rare coins that can be potentially worth thousands of dollars may end up being worthless if a buyer doesn't do the proper vetting. Billy Ward told First Coast News he learned that lesson the hard way. → Read more at firstcoastnews.com


 November 29, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Wednesday revealed the new design for P5 coin which would be released in December. The P5 New Generation Currency Coin Series features Gat Andres Bonifacio on the obverse. → Read more at philstar.com


 November 29, 2017

MANILA, Nov. 30 — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced that of the New Generation Currency (NGC) Coin Series, it will release in advance of the other denominations, the 5-piso NGC legal tender coin for circulation, starting December 2017. → Read more at pia.gov.ph


 November 29, 2017

Once, in a busy market, at a time when government policies had made change scarce and thus very precious, a shopkeeper refused to give a customer change in lieu of a high denomination currency note. In those days tempers were high, inconveniences great. → Read more at dailyo.in


 November 30, 2017

Precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are used by several countries like the United States to mint coins that would satisfy investor demand who want to buy these metals in a more recognizable weight and form. → Read more at born2invest.com


 November 30, 2017

Dubai: You have them in your pockets and take them wherever you go. But do you know what they’re worth apart from their face value? The dirhams in your wallet tell more than how much purchasing power you have now. → Read more at gulfnews.com


 November 30, 2017

The Re 1 note has officially completed a century in its existence. The last hundred years – the first note was introduced on November 30, 1917, with the photo of King George V – have been all but tumultuous. → Read more at moneycontrol.com


 November 30, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold and silver coins fell sharply year-over-year in November, keeping their tally for the first 11 months of 2017 on track for the weakest year since 2007, the latest data showed on Thursday. → Read more at reuters.com

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Yes, I “borrowed” the graphic from the UGA Athletic Department website. Let them tell me to take it down! 😉

POLL: What are your numismatic gift plans for this holiday season?

Welcome back from your Thanksgiving Break!

Today is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is a modern invention created back when most people only had access to the Internet through a dial-up modem and would use their company’s faster connection to do online shopping following Black Friday.

In the modern world, Black Friday does not have the same meaning. It used to be when retailers would become profitable with the beginning of the holiday season sales. The name was derived from written ledgers when negative numbers were written in red and positive numbers were written in black. After Black Friday, the numbers would be written in black! But that is not how modern economics works. Company profits are measured on a quarterly basis and should be in the black all year. But why destroy a tradition!

With the proliferation of broadband access from the home, Cyber Monday has also lost its meaning. In fact, there are reports that suggest that there will be more online shopping than shopping in brick-and-mortar outlets. But that is not going to stop Cyber Monday sales!

It is the holiday season and regardless of your beliefs there will be presents exchanged. Or you may purchase your own present. Do you have numismatic presents on your wish list? What about for others? Do tell!

What are your gift giving plans for 2017?

I have coins on my wish list. (40%, 6 Votes)
I am not planning on giving a numismatic gift. (20%, 3 Votes)
I plan to give someone a numismatic gift. (13%, 2 Votes)
I have exonumia or other numismatics on my wish list. (13%, 2 Votes)
I do not have any numismatics on my wish list. (7%, 1 Votes)
Bah Humbug! (7%, 1 Votes)
I have currency on my wish list. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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Weekly World Numismatic News for November 26, 2017

The reason why I search for news about topics related to numismatics from outside the industry allows me to get an understanding of how others see numismatics. I find even the most innocuous story about a country considering redesigning their currency, a find of a coin thousands of years old, and how pocket change finds can lead to high bids on online auctions to be interesting.

I share these with you to inspire your collection and help promote the hobby.

But as I shared a few weeks ago, searching the news also comes with its distractions. The latest happens this time every year when the stories about a gold coin being dropped in those ubiquitous red kettles become prominent.

I am not against giving to charity. On the contrary, I think more people should be charitable with whatever they could give. If time is money then give your time. In fact, I am one of those people who believe that when someone reaches 18 years old they should be required to do two-years of public service. It does not have to be in the military but something to serve the public good.

However, dropping a gold coin into a red kettle may look good as news headlines but can really be more problems than they are worth.

As we know, selling a coin is not the easiest thing to do and when you do, you do not receive its full value. A dealer may raise the bid price of a coin from a charity to provide some charitable assistance, but most dealers are not going to buy the coin at full value—unless they are charitable. And this does not take into consideration the fluctuating price of the metals. Maybe, by the time the charity sells the coin, the market price drops and the coin is not worth as much as the day it was dropped into the kettle.

Rare coins may be more problematic. For the best value, those have to go to auction and as anyone who has sold merchandise in an auction, you never know what the hammer price will be. Selling anything at an auction is risky. While a quality rare coin may bring in more than the coin is worth, it can also do far worse.

Since gold is currently $1288 per ounce and considering that modern bullion coins have about a 15-percent numismatic premium, rather than buy a bullion coin and drop it into a kettle, take the $1481 in cash and drop that instead. You can do what an acquaintance does and wrap a few $100 notes around a $1 note so it looks like you are giving a few dollars. When they open the kettle and see hundreds of dollars in cash, they will be happy and will be able to use it for their work immediately without having to worry about selling the coin.

If you want to donate the proceeds from the sale of a coin to charity, that is wonderful. But sell the coin yourself. You are more qualified than these charities in obtaining value from the sale. Then donate the cash. It should not be about the ego boost from being written about in the newspapers. It should be about helping the charity. Which is more important?

And now the news…

 November 19, 2017

JAKARTA – Coin rubbing is a form of folk medication practised in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian and East Asian countries, such as Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and southern China. → Read more at enca.com


 November 19, 2017

Russian artist Roman Booteen is a modern master in the art of the hobo nickel—a term used to describe the 18th century sculptural art form of hand-engraving coins. His latest extraordinary piece—titled Gold Bug—was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Gold Bug. → Read more at mymodernmet.com


 November 20, 2017

(1) View gallery The Queen and Prince Phillip’s platinum wedding anniversary is being commemorated with a new coin, minted in Banstead. The coin is 130mm in diameter, weighs nearly 2kg and is encrusted with 70 diamonds, and the limited run of 70 coins will be hand-finished by the master craftsman at Pobjoy Mint. → Read more at epsomguardian.co.uk


 November 22, 2017

New coin to be put in circulation from Wednesday November 22 → Read more at gulfnews.com


 November 23, 2017

One of my favourite things is my Dad’s old horseshoe wallet where he kept his spare change and a rolled pipe cleaner or two. I used it for years after he died, packing it with British bronze 12-sided threepenny bits and shillings until I arrived in Australia and stuffed it with dollar coins and 50¢ dustbin lids. → Read more at sheppnews.com.au


 November 23, 2017

A treasure hunter has unearthed a haul of ancient gold coins, thought to have been buried with an Anglo-Saxon King nearly 1,500 years ago. Chris Kutler, 54, stumbled upon the coins after spending four days searching a 1,600 sq metre field in Chelmsford, Essex. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 November 24, 2017

After gold coin’s continued rally in the past month, which pushed…. → Read more at financialtribune.com


 November 24, 2017

The Apiary Fund Commemorative coin is a tribute to the traders who put in time, energy, and faith in their efforts to become funded traders. OREM, Utah November 24, 2017 In the spirit of those Amer… → Read more at nbherard.com


 November 25, 2017

One hundred years ago there was a shortage of pennies during WWI. → Read more at qconline.com

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Image courtesy of iSpot.tv, a still frame from a Salvation Army video ad.

Creating a modern typeset

What would it take to put together a modern type set?

How would you define a modern type set?

This is the summary of the email conversation I have been having with someone looking for an interesting challenge to work on with his children.

For new readers and those new to numismatics, a type set is one coin of every type regardless of date or mintmark. Although some coins have one-year types, like the 50 State Quarters, there are others where one coin will represent an entire series, like the Roosevelt Dime.

While there are a lot of interesting coins types we focused on modern coins. Modern coins are those struck since 1965 when coins went from silver to copper-nickel except for the Kennedy half-dollar that was made of 40-percent silver through 1970. To budding young numismatists, modern coins are all they know.

In fact, all they know is that the quarter has a constantly changing reverse and they have seen differences in the Lincoln cent and the Jefferson nickel. They did not go through the fiasco of the Susan B. Anthony dollar or marvel at the first circulating commemoratives of the modern era: the dual-dated bicentennial coins. They were not around to search boxes of Cheerios for the new Sacagawea dollar coin or the millennial cent.

Modern coins do not get the same love as some of the classics. Aside from not containing silver, there have been controversies over designs (see the “spaghetti hair” that George Washington was sporting on the 50 State Quarters) and how the relief on coins has been lowered by the U.S. Mint in an attempt to extend die life.

Some not-so-great designs

Although people love the classic designs two of my favorite designs of the modern era is the Drummer Boy reverse on the Bicentennial quarter and the Thomas Jefferson portrait on the obverse of the 2005 Westward Journey nickels. And even though I have not written much about them, there are some fantastic designs in the America the Beautiful Quarters series. A few that you may want to take a second look at include 2017 Ellis Island, 2017 George Rogers Clark National Historic Park, 2016 Shawnee National Forest, and the 2015 Blue Ridge Parkway quarters just to name a few.

A few of the great America the Beautiful Quaters designs

Sitting with a Red Book, I started to list the coin types that would make up a modern type set. If we limited the set to circulating coins (e.g., not including half-dollars and one-dollar coins) that can be found in pocket change, there would be 128 coins with a face value of $28.97.

Type No. in Series Face Value Series Value
Lincoln Memorial Cents 2 0.01 0.02
Lincoln Bicentennial Cents 4 0.01 0.04
Lincoln Shield Censt 1 0.01 0.01
pre-2004 Jefferson Nickels 1 0.05 0.05
Westward Journey Nickels 4 0.05 0.20
Return to Monticello Nickels 1 0.05 0.05
Roosevelt Dimes 1 0.10 0.10
Washington Quarters 1 0.25 0.25
Bicentennial Quarters 1 0.25 0.25
50 State Quarters 50 0.25 12.50
D.C. and U.S. Territories Quarters 6 0.25 1.50
America the Beautiful Quarters 56 0.25 14.00
Total 128 1.53 28.97

The above table does take into consideration the entire 56 Amercia the Beautiful Quarters series including future issues. The kids have to understand the concept of future issues and maintain space for these coins in their album.

Starting the set with pocket change allows the kids to get used to the concept of looking at the coins to understand what they are looking for. To help with their search each child was given a Red Book and two apps on their iPads: PCGS CoinFacts and PCGS Photograde. They can use the Red Book as a handy off-line reference but use PCGS CoinFacts to learn more when they have access. Photograde is very useful to help them assess the condition of the coins.

While collectors have a basic understanding of coin grading, getting it right can be difficult. These kids were given a basic lesson on things to look for when trying to assess the condition of the coins they find. It will be interesting to see how they interpret this information.

Once we covered coins that can readily be found in circulation, we then discussed the other business strikes that are usually not found in ordinary pocket change.

After an interesting discussion, it was decided to make those a separate collection.

As a separate collection, this will give the kids an opportunity to go to dealers and coin shows to allow the kids to learn about buying coins in this environment. They will learn how to talk with a dealer, gain experience negotiating, and do some comparison shopping. It will let them get the experience and see different coins but maintain a collection discipline that will allow them to learn to collect on a budget.

What are the modern type coins that do not see a lot of circulation? Once again, I sat with the Red Book and came up with the following list:

Type No. in Series Face Value Series Value
Kennedy Half Dollars 1 0.50 0.50
Bicentennial Kennedy Half Dollar 1 0.50 0.50
Eisenhower Dollars 1 1.00 1.00
Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars 2 1.00 2.00
Susan B. Anthony Dollars 1 1.00 1.00
Sacagawea Dollars 1 1.00 1.00
Native American Dollars 11 1.00 11.00
Presidential Dollars 39 1.00 39.00

To complete the task, I came up with a checklist for all of the modern coins in two formats. One is a printed version that they could keep in their pocket as they go about their day. The other is a spreadsheet that can act as an official record. The paper version is a very basic PDF file that can be used to write notes. The spreadsheet offers more information. It also allows them to come up with their own catalogue.

Both files are attached for you to use (see the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License for text of the permissions granted with this release).

It will be interesting to see what these kids do!

Checklists
 
Modern Coinage Type Set Checklist
Modern Coin Type Set Detailed Checklist

 

Weekly Numismatic World News for November 19, 2017

Sometimes, I find it difficult to keep an open mind with some of the non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins that are on the market.

Some of the themes have started as interesting ideas have turned into blatant commercialism that I am not sure how to interpret its benefits to the hobby.

From superheroes to movie tie-ins to the cartoons, the themes are as varied as the grocery store shelves.

The latest NCLT that has me wondering about the future of the hobby is the 2018 Fiji Coca-Cola Bottle Cap-Shaped Dollar.

Yes, a Coca-Cola bottle cap-shaped coin with a face value of one Fijian dollar. The reverse of the coin is colored the famous Coca-Cola red with the script logo that is familiar to anyone who has passed by a Coca-Cola product. The obverse has the Fijian coat of arms, the date, and the specifications of the coin: 6 grams of .999 fine silver.

After looking at the specifications, the coin is 32.6 mm (1.283 inches) in diameter and I thought that the coins were going to be very thin.

Comparing the specification of this coin to pre-1965 United States coins that were made of .900 silver, the Washington quarter was made of 6.25 grams of silver and copper but was 24.3 mm (.957 inches) in diameter. The quarter is .25 grams heavier but 8.3 mm smaller. My caliper measured a 1960 uncirculated Washington quarter with a thickness of 1.75 mm.

Something closer is the size of the Kennedy half-dollar with a diameter of 30.6 mm (1.204) or 2 mm smaller than the Coco-Cola bottle cap coin. But the Kennedy half-dollar weighs 12.5 grams, more than double the Fijian coin.

To satisfy my curiosity, the caliper said that the uncirculated 1964 Kennedy half-dollar in my collection was 2.15 mm thick.

Not counting for the flare of the edges to resemble a bottle cap, the coin is probably 1 mm thick, less than the 1.35 mm of a 1955 Roosevelt dime I measured.

The coin is available for pre-order only from one company on eBay for $29.95 with free shipping. Expected shipping is on December 8, 2017.

The last time I checked, the listing reported that 1,481 of these coins were sold.

For the record, 6 grams of silver weighs .1929 troy ounces. With the price of silver currently at $17.31 per troy ounce, the coin contains $3.34 worth of silver.

If someone buys one of these coins, feel free to write a review. I will publish it here on the blog!

And now the news…

 November 13, 2017

BRENTWOOD — When milestones are reached in the armed forces, servicemen and women often receive a challenge coin, creating solidarity with others who share the same accomplishment. → Read more at fosters.com


 November 14, 2017

A hoard of 21 Islamic gold dinars, 2,200 silver coins, and gold artifacts dating to the 12th century CE has been unearthed by archaeologists digging at the Abbey of Cluny, a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. → Read more at sci-news.com


 November 14, 2017

IF you've got one of these most sought-after 50p coins then you could be sitting on a tidy profit. The Sir Isaac Newton 50p coin was introduced into circulation in September and Brits are slowly starting to find it in their spare change. → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 November 15, 2017

An "exceptional and rare" medieval treasure trove including more than 2,200 gold and silver coins has been found in France in what has been called a "remarkable" discovery by archaeologists. It's the kind of discovery archaeologists dream of. → Read more at thelocal.fr


 November 15, 2017

It was just a strange old penny, a copper-nickel Indian Head minted in 1859, when the government was trying out different metals for one-cent pieces. A grandfather gave it to Eric Pfeiffer Newman in 1918, when he was 7, a little bonus for his nickel-a-week allowance. → Read more at nytimes.com


 November 16, 2017

A metal detectorist has tracked down a rare gold coin from Richard III's reign near to the site of the Battle of Bosworth. The Half Angel is one of just a handful of such coins that have survived from the king's two-year reign. → Read more at leicestermercury.co.uk


 November 17, 2017

Archaeologists with the National Center for Scientific Research and other institutions in France revealed today that they have unearthed 2,200 silver deniers and oboles, 21 Islamic gold dinars, a very expensive gold signet ring and other objects made of gold from the Abbey of Cluny, located in the department of Saône-et-Loire. → Read more at mining.com

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Images courtesy of Modern Coin Mart on eBay.

Weekly Numismatic World News for November 12, 2017

As I peruse the Interwebs for numismatic-related stories from non-numismatic sources, my searches are inundated with stories about Bitcoin, crypto-currencies, and blockchains. Most of the time, the stories are just noise given my objective to find information relevant to collectors including the issuance of circulating currencies and the impact of precious metals on the market.

While there is some use of the technologies as an indicator of a store of something resembling wealth or as a new method of providing electronic transactions, the concept of inventing a currency out of thin air—or electronic bits—is something that may be more dangerous than the stock market.

Bitcoin, which is a type of crypto-currency, is traded using a blockchain, a technology that provides a mechanism for secured transactions between parties. Like the Federal Reserve Note, it is an invented currency whose value is in the eye of the beholder. The only difference between the Federal Reserve Note and crypto-currency is that the worth of the paper currency is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Bitcoin has no backing, very little regulation, and could become as worthless as Enron stock as fast as it became worthless.

Although you may have issues with the way the federal government and the politicians have been conducting themselves, the government provides the backing to make sure that the currency you use has some representative value by law. It is called fiat money.

Crypto-currency not only has no intrinsic value, but it is not backed or supported by the government. It has no regulation and is worth what someone will provide in trade. The assignment of value to crypto-currency may be market driven but those who have seen the silver market of 1980, unregulated markets can cause significant problems.

The blockchains that protect the transactions are software creations. Software is what is used to provide the logic to the computer to do its job—or not do its job in the cases of Equifax, Target, Home Depot, the Office of Personnel Management, and any of the other servers you have heard attacked in the last few years.

Of course the most important thing to numismatists, crypto-currency has no presence in the physical world. You cannot create a collection of bitcoin since it really does not exist. And maybe that should be the question: if it does not have a physical form or a physical representation, is it really money?

And now the news…

 November 6, 2017

The Stellarton Legion is now the proud recipient of a Nova Scotia Highlanders ceremonial unit coin. And Stellarton Legion president Jack Chaisson was on hand to take personal delivery of the coin from Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Todd at Pictou Legion, after attending the county Remembrance Day ceremony in town Sunday. → Read more at ngnews.ca


 November 6, 2017

The Royal Mint has released its official Remembrance Day coin ahead of commemorations on Saturday. Stephen Taylor, a graphic designer at the Royal Mint, said his artwork was inspired by the world-famous war poem 'In Flanders Fields' by John McCrae. → Read more at standard.co.uk


 November 6, 2017

The Perth Mint has released a world-first silver coin in the shape of a figure eight. Likely to be a hit with Chinese coin collectors and buyers, only 8888 of the 2oz, 99.99 per cent silver coins will be released at a recommended retail price of $218. → Read more at thewest.com.au


 November 7, 2017

Bruderer UK, which has nearly 50 years’ experience creating world renown precision high speed presses, has installed a state-of-the-art machine into the Royal Mint’s Llantrisant facility, giving the world famous institution additional speed, capacity and flexibility. → Read more at expressandstar.com


 November 8, 2017

Gold isn’t so shiny anymore. Globally, demand for the precious metal has fallen to its lowest level since late 2009, according to the World Gold Council. In the third quarter of 2017, demand for the haven asset was 915 metric tons, 9% lower than a year earlier. → Read more at qz.com


 November 9, 2017

In January, 1999 Cassinelli Construction Co. was employed by Nevada State Public Works Department to remove a portion of Carolyn Street at the Nevada State Museum to construct a parking lot and build a small park facing Carson Street. → Read more at elkodaily.com


 November 9, 2017

Gold was once a common form of payment around the developed world, but after World War II the precious metal's influence began to wane. In 1971, when the United States finally put an end to the gold standard, the role of the yellow metal changed for good. → Read more at fool.com


 November 10, 2017

The Thank-A-Vet cenotaph memorial coin set, created for local veterans and their families as a keepsake, has been completed with the minting of the final two coins and creation of a pine display box. – Sean Allen/Metroland → Read more at brantnews.com


 November 11, 2017

The thing about money — we all need it. “Money bewitches people. They fret for it, and they sweat for it. → Read more at royalgazette.com

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Thoughts on this weekend’s Whitman Expo

Whitman Expo came to Baltimore this weekend to fill up three large halls in the Baltimore Convention Center. Like every Whitman Expo, dealers come from all over making it a must-attend east coast destination.

I was able to attend on Friday afternoon. It was not for long because I had to work half of the day. But it is always worth the trip.

Travelling to Baltimore on Friday is different than going on Saturday. First, the traffic between the Washington metro area and Baltimore is heavier. The traffic in Baltimore is also heavier especially on I-95 going through the city. And parking is a little more expensive because you compete with the business parking of downtown Baltimore. Someday, I will take the light rail that stops between the Convention Center and Camden Yards.

During a short visit to a show like Baltimore you either have to have a concise strategy or whatever objectives there are will not be fulfilled. This time I had no objectives and spent a lot of time talking with people.

Over the years I have met a lot of dealers and others while walking around I wanted to visit with some of these people. I also got to meet with one of the long-time readers of the blog. Bob is a frequent correspondent who came down from New Jersey on Amtrak to also visit the show. It was good to meet Bob and put a face on the real person behind the emails.

During the short time I spent on the bourse floor I learned a few things about the market:

  1. Sales are moderate but steady. Dealers are selling more online than in shows but see the shows as a valuable marketing tool. None of the dealers I spoke with are seeing the end of coin shows but can envision a reduction in the number of shows.
  2. Some dealers are diversifying their inventory from their core interests to other areas. One dealer noted that he was seeing more junk box searching than in the past. Although he thought that his sales were below average, he thought that the low-end sales would pick up on Saturday when younger people will attend.
  3. I thought there was a lot more silver than gold. One dealer that sells modern bullion coin such as American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and Chinese Pandas said that silver bullion was selling better than their gold counterparts. With silver trading under $17 per troy ounce, those interested in bullion are buying silver. He also attributed the interest in silver with some of the better silver issues like the Pandas and other non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins.
  4. Speaking of NCLT coins, I did not see a big selection. A dealer whose case included a few older issues said that the current NCLT issues may be too expensive for the market. It is one thing to issue themed coins that may be of interest but selling them has been a problem. Some people find it difficult to justify the selling of a one-ounce silver coin for more than four-times bullion value. This dealer thought that the licensing fees being paid for these images were probably driving up the price and driving their potential market away.

Another interesting aspect of the show is the number of non-numismatic items for sale. There were two dealers whose cases contained only jewelry. Most of the jewelry were quality items and estate pieces but I was surprised there were two dealers whose inventory was exclusively jewelry. A few dealers I have seen in the past also had cases of jewelry. One said that the rings he was selling were an accumulation of many years and found that the market was more receptive to the jewelry.

In addition to the jewelry, a dealer was selling used music compact discs (CD) and another had African artifacts including a beautiful silver necklace. Some of the currency dealers also had historical papers, letters, ledgers, and other ephemera that only has a tangential tie to numismatics.

Last week I asked how dealers would respond to the market. It looks like some dealers have turned to inventory diversity and including non-numismatic collectibles. If it helps bring in more collectors, it might be a good move.

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