Ancient Romans used to measure time by the position of the stars. One of the stars they observed was Sirius because it was the brightest star in the sky. During their observations, they found that starting about 20 days prior to its apex and 20 days that follow, the temperatures would be its hottest. This coincidence suggested to that Sirius was the cause of the heat and humidity.
Sirius is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (big dog). Because ancient Romans thought Sirius contributed to the heat and humidity, this period would be called the Dog Days.
Astrologically, the Dog Days begins on July 3 and runs through August 11.
Today’s society has attached many meanings to the Dog Days of Summer. Usually, it is associated with the time following July 4 through whenever school starts. In baseball, it is the jockeying for position to get ready for the pennant races. Football begins training camps, politicians warm up to run for office (sometimes a year early), and the temperatures are rising with the east getting too wet and the west not getting wet enough.
On the numismatic calendar, the Dog Days begin after the World’s Fair of Money and leads up to the start of school. Although this period is changing as some school districts are now starting earlier in an attempt to hedge against the potential for weather-related closings during the winter months.
With Congress on vacation, it also means that any numismatic-related legislation will remain in committee until they return.
Leading into the fall season, some mints will release some new coins, but these will be non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins. Very few significant releases will be made in the next few weeks leaving some of us to clean off the top of our desks and organize the collection (guilty as charged).
But your intrepid numismatic blogger is here ready to comment on whatever comes to mind… or a topic you suggest. I do take requests!
Time for some mindless levity. While looking for numismatic-related stories around the interwebs, I came across this video. With 200 coins that appears to be the size of a quarter, the presenter builds a bridge of coins that loops off the edge of the table.
I guess things went well at the American Numismatic AssociationWorld’s Fair of Money. There seems to have been a little reaction on social media and some input from the regular numismatic media, but for the most part, I am going to have to wait until my coin club meeting on Tuesday to speak with those who attended.
A recent purchase of six Canadian Tokens
My week has not been without the ability to acquire numismatic items. While rummaging through an estate sale I found some Canadian tokens. Since I own a copy of the Breton book, Illustrated History of Coins and Tokens Relating to Canada, this will give me a chance to look into the few token I was able to buy at a very inexpensive price. Who knows, maybe this will spark another collection interest!
Finally, I want to wish my brother Joel a Happy Birthday. I cannot believe the old man is 53!
As far back as he can remember, he has collected coins. As a young boy, he tagged along with his father to coin club meetings and exhibitions, gaining an interest in Canadian pennies and U.S. cents. "I don't remember not collecting," said Hallenbeck, who owns Hallenbeck Coin Gallery at 711 N. → Read more at gazette.com
OSKALOOSA — Jerry Jenkins, a former Oskaloosa resident who now lives in Texas, recently mailed two old coins to the Oskaloosa Herald. Jenkins said he wanted the coins to be donated to Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum as part of Mahaska County history. → Read more at oskaloosa.com
BENGALURU: Investors and history lovers made a beeline this weekend for Nanyadarshini 2017. This was the first edition of the annual numismatics exhibition post-demonetisation by the Karnataka Numismatic Society at Shikshakara Bhawan on Kempegowda Road in the city. → Read more at economictimes.indiatimes.com
In 2013, David McCarthy spotted a rare coin in an auction catalog and immediately had a hunch it was the first coin minted by the fledgling United States of America in 1783. Not the first run of coins, mind you, but the very first one. → Read more at npr.org
WASHINGTON (AP) — Old inns along the Revolutionary War trails boast of George Washington sleeping there. But coin experts say they have found the first silver piece minted by the United States — one likely held by the most en vogue of Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. → Read more at seattletimes.com
A picturesque stretch of land in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is set to grace a special quarter the United States Mint unveils for 2018. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is among the places featuring on the reverse side for the America the Beautiful Quarters program, officials announced Wednesday at the American Numismatics Association’s World’s Fair of Money. → Read more at detroitnews.com
The design for a coin representing Voyageurs National Park was unveiled this week along with the designs for four other national sites to be included in the United States Mint multi-year "America the Beautiful Quarters" program. → Read more at ifallsjournal.com
The Royal Mint is celebrating Prince Philip‘s retirement the same way they celebrate, well, all big royal milestones: with a new coin. The Queen‘s 96-year-old husband retired from official duties on Wednesday, after 64 years of service on behalf of the royal family. → Read more at people.com
ULAN BATOR, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) — The Central Bank of Mongolia has issued a commemorative coin dedicated to the Gobi brown bear which is on the verge of extinction. The coin made of pure silver has the shape of a circle with a diameter of 38.61 mm and a price of 300,000 togrog (122 U.S. dollars). → Read more at news.xinhuanet.com
Recently in The Hill, we heard former Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) and Tim Penny (D-Minn.) promote currency reforms as a way to save taxpayers money. Unfortunately, their proposed solution, The Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (COINS) Act of 2017, misses the mark completely and would move the country in exactly the wrong direction. → Read more at thehill.com
As part of the lame duck session following the 2010 midterm elections, Congress passed the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-303) telling the U.S. Mint strike one-ounce .9995 fine palladium bullion coins as part of the American Eagle Bullion Program. The coin will have a $25 face value and require that “the obverse shall bear a high-relief likeness of the ‘Winged Liberty’ design used on the obverse of the so-called ‘Mercury dime’” making it yet another bullion coin that will feature a design from the early 20th century. For the reverse, the law says that the coin “shall bear a high-relief version of the reverse design of the 1907 American Institute of Architects medal.” Both the Mercury Dime and 1907 AIA medal designed by Adolph A. Weinman, whose Walking Liberty design is used on the American Silver Eagle coins.
The catch to the law was that the U.S. Mint was to perform a feasibility study to determine if there will be market demand. Although the study showed that there is a market for palladium coins, it was not overwhelming. Based on the wording of the law, the U.S. Mint opted not to strike palladium coins.
This did not sit well with Rep. Dennis “Denny” Rehberg (R), Montana’s only member of the House of Representatives since the primary source of palladium in the United States is the Stillwater Mine in Montana. The mines, which also provides the U.S. supply of platinum group metals (PGM), is owned and operated by the Stillwater Mining Company. 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 and added the word “shall.”
The FAST Act was also the law where the law was changed to allow the U.S. Mint to use better than 90-percent gold and silver in commemorative coins by changing the wording to say “not less than 90 percent….”
Palladium Eagle coins may have roughly the same impact on the market as the Platinum eagles since palladium is about $100 less expensive than platinum, 69-percent of the price of gold, but 53-times the price of silver. Based on the way the U.S. Mint prices precious metal products, the Palladium Eagle should cost within $100 of the platinum coins.
Precious Metals Price Snapshot as of August 4, 2017 (This is a static chart—it does not update)
Although palladium is only the fourth metal to have an official ISO currency code (XPD), it is not readily thought of as a precious metal that is used to hedge against financial disaster. Gold (XAU) and silver (XAG) are usually thought of first. Sometimes, platinum (XPT) is part of the discussion, but not as frequently as gold or silver.
Palladium does have industrial uses. Because of its ability to absorb hydrogen and compounds with hydrogen, like hydrocarbon, its major use is in catalytic converters used in every gasoline powered vehicle. It is also seen as a key element in the potential of cold fusion because of its ability to absorb hydrogen.
It is likely the American Palladium Eagle will be as popular as the Platinum Eagle. Maybe the U.S. Mint will sell more of these coins because they will be slightly cheaper and have a design more appealing to collectors, but neither of these coins will approach the sales totals of the gold or silver version of the American Eagle coins.
It is not a coin I am likely to collect. However, I will probably purchase the 2017 coin to have one from the first year of issue just as I did with the 2007 American Buffalo 24-karat Gold Proof coin.
Palladium Eagle images courtesy of the U.S. Mint via Coin World.
As part of my bill tracking, I am including the status of the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act even though it does not have numismatic content. Given the impact of Agustus Saint-Gaudens to the numismatic world, it seems fitting to watch the status of this bill. Converting it from a National Historic Site to a National Park is being done for funding reasons. Although it will continue to be operated by the National Park Service, as a National Park there will be more money available for its operations.
H.R. 965: Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH)
Introduced: February 7, 2017
This bill redesignates the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in New Hampshire, as the "Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park."
Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands. — Feb 23, 2017
Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Unanimous Consent. — Jul 26, 2017
A while ago, I received the following question from a reader:
Why do coins that were made NOT for circulation, like Silver Eagles, Commemoratives Productions, etc have any value other than their face value? I do not see the value of collecting something that was never meant for circulation.
2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set with reverse proof and enhanced uncirculated coins.
Starting with the first question, the face value of any coin is assigned by the legal authority that produces the coin. In the United States, the face value of any coin is determined by Congress. In other countries, the central bank or the treasury ministry makes the determination.
The American Silver Eagle Program was the result of the Reagan Administration wanting to sell the silver that was part of the Defense National Stockpile to balance the budget. Originally, the plan was to auction the bullion. After intense lobbying by the mining industry warning that such an auction would damage their industry, the concept was changed to selling the silver as coinage.
Changing the sales to coinage allowed for market diversification. Rather than a few people attempting to corner the market at an auction, selling coins on the open market allows more people to have access to the silver as an investment vehicle.
As codified in Title II of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 99-61, 99 Stat. 113), the “Liberty Coin Act” defines the program as we know it today including the phrase “The coins issued under this title shall be legal tender as provided in section 5103 of title 31, United States Code.”
As a legal tender item, the coin’s basic value has the backing of the full faith and credit of the United States government. Regardless of what happens in politics and world events, the coin will be worth at least its face value. Being minted by the U.S. Mint is a guarantee of quality that is recognized around the world making worth its weight in silver plus a numismatic premium.
Coins are perceived by the market as being more desirable than medals. Medals have no monetary value except as an art object. When it comes to investments, they do not hold a value similar to that of a legal tender coin. This is because medals are not guaranteed by the United States government, a key factor in determining its aftermarket value.
Once the coin has been sold by the U.S. Mint, its value is determined by various market forces. For more on how coins are priced, see my two-part explanation: Part I and Part II.
Why do American Silver Eagles have a One Dollar face value? Because the law (31 U.S.C. Sect. 5112(e)(4)) sets this as a requirement.
Why are the coins worth more than their face value? Because the law (31 U.S.C. Sect. 5112(f)(1)) says that “The Secretary shall sell the coins minted under subsection (e) to the public at a price equal to the market value of the bullion at the time of sale, plus the cost of minting, marketing, and distributing such coins (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and promotional and overhead expenses).”
Can you spend the American Silver Eagle as any other legal tender coin? In the United States, you can use any legal tender coin in commerce at its face value. This means that if you can find someone to accept an American Silver Eagle, it is worth one dollar in commerce. However, it would be foolish to trade one-ounce of silver for one dollar of goods and services.
Commemorative programs are different in that the authorizing laws add a surcharge to the price of the coin to raise money for some organization. Using the 2017 Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Program (Public Law 114-30) as an example, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduced a bill (H.R. 893 in the 114th Congress) to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Boys Town. As with all other commemorative bills, the bill specified the number, type, composition, and denomination of each coin.
The Boys Town Centennial Commemorative coin features Fr. Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town
For example, the law says that the U.S. Mint will issue no more than 50,000 $5 gold coins that weighs 8.359 grams, have a diameter of 0.850 inches, and contains 90-percent gold. The law also has design requirements including being “emblematic of the 100 years of Boys Town.” The sale price of the coin will have “a price equal to the sum of” “the face value of the coins; and, the cost of designing and issuing the coins (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, overhead expenses, marketing, and shipping).”
As with other commemorative, the coins will include a surcharge. Each gold coin will include a $35 surcharge, $10 for a silver dollar, and $5 for each clad half-dollar coin. When the program is over, the surcharges “shall be paid to Boys Town to carry out Boys Town’s cause of caring for and assisting children and families in underserved communities across America.”
The 2017 Boys Town Centennial Uncirculated $5 Gold Commemorative Coin is selling for $400.45 and the proof coin is selling for $405.45 suggesting that the process of producing a proof coin costs the U.S. Mint $5 more than the uncirculated coin.
What goes into the price of the coin? After the face value of $5, there is a $35 surcharge added that will be paid to Boys Town, there is the cost of the metals used. Here is a workup of the cost of the gold planchet using current melt values:
Metals Base Rate
Total metal value
Even though the melt value of the coin is $304.79, there is a service charge the U.S. Mint has to pay the company that creates the planchets. Thus, before the labor, dies, use of machinery, overhead expenses, and marketing is calculated into the price, the coin will cost $344.79 even though the legal tender face value of the coin is $5.
Taking it a step further, the average profit the U.S. Mint makes from gold commemorative coins is 8-percent (based on the 2015 Annual Report). If they are charging $400.45 for the uncirculated gold coin, the coin costs $368.41 to manufacture, $373.41 for the proof version.
Why collect these coins?
American Silver Eagle bullion coins were created for the investment market even though the authorizing law saw the benefit of allowing the U.S. Mint to sell a collector version. All of the Eagle coins are sold for investment or because people want to collect them for their own reasons. Some collect the collector version as an investment.
Commemorative coins are collected for their design or the buyer’s affinity for the subject and to support the cause which is being sponsored by the sale of the coin. Some collect commemorative coins like others collect series of coins.
Even though modern commemorative coins are sold for more than their face value, that does not mean they are not worth collecting. After all, can you buy a Morgan Dollar, Peace Dollar, Walking Liberty Half-Dollar, or a Buffalo Nickel for its face value?
Collecting bullion, commemorative, and other non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins is a matter of choice. If you choose to collect these coins, know that they will be worth more than their face value. And while they are legal tender coins, they are not meant for circulation. They are collectibles.
If you like these collectibles, enjoy your collection. Along with coins produced for circulation, I own American Silver Eagle coins, commemoratives, and other NCLT because I like them.
Some of the NCLT coins in my collection
2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set with reverse proof and enhanced uncirculated coins.
2015 March of Dimes Commemorative Proof set
2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative proof dollar graded by PCGS PR70
2012 Star-Spangled Banner Silver Commemorative Obverse depicts Lady Liberty waving the 15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner flag with Fort McHenry in the background. Designed by Joel Iskowitz and engraved by Phebe Hemphill.
1936 Long Island Tercentenary Half Dollar
Reverse of the 2016 Chinese Silver Panda coin
2006 Canada silver $5 Breast Cancer Commemorative Coin
2007 Somalia Motorcycle Coins
2010 Somalia Sports Cars
Boys Town commemorative coin image courtesy of the U.S. Mint.
I do not believe there should be a problem with this.
Previously, I wrote about something I called “numismentos,” mementos created from numismatic items. It was prompted when NGC announced they struck a deal with Edmund C. Moy, the 38th Director of the U.S. Mint and currently the last full-time director, to autograph labels. I also noted that NGC also had autograph deals with Elizabeth Jones and John Mercanti, the 11th and 12th Cheif Engravers of the U.S. Mint, respectively.
You can see the list of available NGC Signature Labels here.
But NGC is not the only one in this game. Professional Coin Grading Service has had similar promotions including Philip Diehl, another former Director of the U.S. Mint and a long list of Baseball Hall of Fame inductees who signed labels used in the encapsulation of the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.
A Goodacre Dollar encapsulated by ICG
Famously, Glenna Goodacre, who was paid $5,000 for her design of the Sacagawea dollar, asked to be paid in the new dollar coin. She sent the coins to Independent Coin Graders to be encapsulated with special labels. Goodacre then sold the coins at a premium. She did not sell out of these coins. Later, about 2,000 coins were acquired by Jeff Garrett who submitted them to PCGS. The coins were encapsulated with a special attribution on the PCGS label and included an insert with an autographed by Philip Diehl.
ICG also had some of the designers of the State Quarters autograph labels.
Does anyone else remember when the original PCI was still in business and they hired J.T. Stanton as company president and they had him autograph labels of coins he graded?
Although all of the grading services include special attribution for coins, NGC and PCGS have special labels that they use for certain coins.
In all cases, these grading services are creating these numismentos for customers interested in having the label be significant to their collection.
The only problem I have with the label designation is the “First Strike” or “First Strike” labels. There are questions as to the validity of these designations that causes an unnecessary premium to be added to these coins.
Besides, If I took any other stance, I could be accused of hypocrisy. In a few cases, I have purchased numismentos. My collection includes a pair of ICG holders with 2001-P and 2001-D New York State quarters autographed by designer David Carr that is part of my New York collection.
2000-P New York quarter with Daniel Carr’s autograph on ICG label
2000-D New York quarter with Daniel Carr’s autograph on ICG label
As part of my Bicentennial Collections, I own a Bicentennial PCGS Signature set. The set consists of the three proof coins with the special bicentennial reverse in PCGS slabs with the autographs of Jack L. Ahr, Seth Huntington, and Dennis R. Williams, the designer of the coins. There is a business strike version of this set but I find the proof coins more appealing.
1976-S Silver Proof Bicentennial Autograph Set
The only reason that there appears to be some umbrage taken with the autograph by Rick Harrison is that he is a relentless self-promoter whose style is not welcome by everyone. Harrison is not the first non-numismatic-related celebrity to autograph inserts but may be the most controversial to some people.
As I have previously suggested, we can call these types of numismatic-related collectibles numismentos. Numismento is a portmanteau of numismatic + memento.
I suggest the name to distinguish collecting the coins from collecting the slabs, show-related ephemera, buttons, or anything else that is not numismatics.
If collecting numismentos makes you happy? Enjoy yourself!
FDR dime struck on a nail (stand in for Festivus Pole)
Over the years, I have been asked what are the differences between errors and varieties. While some errors are distinctive, some wonder why some errors are not varieties and some varieties are not classified as errors.
A basic rule of thumb is that even though errors and varieties represent changes to the basic design of the coin, they differ in how they occur and the resulting appearance of the coin.
A Mint Error is the result of an issue with the manufacturing processes causing the coin to be damaged in some way. Errors can be the result in malfunction of the equipment, imperfect coining materials, or created by human error.
Even though modern equipment is supposed the make the striking process more consistent, when the manufacturing process involves striking billions of coins, there are bound to be a few errors. Coining machines have so many moving parts and everything has to work in concern, one variation in speed, force, vibration, or tilt can make the coins look very different than intended.
Then there is the human factor. Humans are imperfect beings subject to making mistakes. Even though the machines are supposed to help guide the humans to reduce mistakes, something can go wrong, especially in an operation that involves making billions of the product.
To help understand where some of the mint errors come from, they can be categorized as three different types: Planchet Errors, Die Errors, and Strike Errors.
1943 Lincoln cent struck on a copper planchet (Courtesy of CoinTrackers)
Planchet Errors are defects of a coin that was caused by the planchet, the coin blank, being imperfect prior to the coin being struck. Planchet Errors occur prior to striking the coin but in ways that could sometimes not be detected. Types of Planchet Errors include:
clipped planchet: Term used to describe a planchet that may have been cut incorrectly from the metal sheet. The clipped area may be curved if cut into the area where another planchet was cut out or straight if cut beyond the edge of the metal strip.
delamination: A form of planchet flaw caused by imperfections in the metal whereby a thin strip of the metal separates itself from the coin.
lamination or planchet flaw: Lamination is a type of error in the planchet that occurs when a thin layer of the metal splits or peals away from the surface of the coin.
off metal or wrong planchet: A type of error that occurs when a coin is struck on a planchet that it is not normally struck, such as striking of a quarter on a planchet that was supposed to be for a nickel.
A Die Error describes a defect caused by a flaw in the dies used to strike the coin. Types of Die Errors include:
cud: The area of a coin struck by a die that has a broken area across part of its surface. The result appears as a blob of metal on the surface of the coin.
die break or die crack: Fine raised lines can appear across the coin when something causes the die to break or crack. A cracked die opens a fine line in the design allowing the flow of metal to fill in the space when struck.
filled die: A type of error that appears on a coin when a foreign substance, such as grease, fills the elements of a die used to strike coins. A filled die error can also occur when the dies are polished to remove debris during the striking process. Modern minting processes have eliminated the polishing of dies but the problems with filled dies continue.
hub doubling: Refers to the doubling of the elements on a coin that was caused by the hub being pressed more than once into a die in different angles. Hub doubling occurs prior to the striking process when the dies are created. Master hubs are pressed into the dies to create working dies for the coining process. Mistakes in this process can result in the production of many coins with the error struck into them.
mule: A mule is a type of mint error that occurs when a coin is struck with two dies that were not intended to be used together.
1955 DDO Lincoln Cent
1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo Nickel
Two of the most famous dies errors are the 1955 Double Die Obverse (DDO) Lincoln cent and the 1937-D Three-Legged Buffalo nickel. The 1955 DDO Lincoln cent and is known as the King of Errors. It is the result of hub doubling that created the double-looking lettering on the coin. It is the coin that really started the error collecting segment of the hobby.
The 1937-D Three-Legged Buffalo nickel occurred when a mint worker polished the reverse die of the Buffalo nickel too aggressively without checking his work. The result was the front-right leg of the buffalo being eliminated from the die. A few thousand were created before the Mint officials figured out they had a problem.
Off-center 50 States quarter struck in Denver
The strike occurs when the top die, usually the obverse, is pushed with such forced on a planchet sitting in a position on the anvil dies, usually the reverse, that will make the impression on the coin. Strike errors are the result of a mechanical problem that occurs during this process.
broad strike: A coin that is struck in a way that expands beyond the boundaries of the collar. A broad strike can give the coin n flat or elongated look.
brockage: A type of striking error when the coin is not ejected properly from the press and causes the mirror image of the exposed design to be struck on the next coin.
capped die: An error in which a coin gets stuck on a die and remains stuck for successive strikes. Eventually, the coin forms a “cap” on the die and imparts its image on coins it strikes. When the cap falls off, it usually resembles a small bowl.
clashed die: One of the more interesting errors occurs when during the striking process, a malfunction prevents a planchet from being in place when the dies are forced together causing them to crash into each other. This leaves the design from either side on the other. Subsequent coins are then struck with the latent image of the other side pressed into the coin.
cracked die: An error that occurs when during the stress of striking coins, the die cracks across its face. When a cracked die strikes a coin, the metal flows into the crack that impresses a raised area in the coin that is not part of the design.
filled die: A type of error that appears on a coin when a foreign substance, such as grease, fills the elements of a die used to strike coins.
incomplete strike: A coin that is missing design detail because of a problem during the striking process.
misaligned dies: A striking error caused by one or both dies not set properly in the coining machine or worked loose during striking.
multiple-struck: A type of mint error when the coin was struck more than once. A multiple-struck coin can show the design as it is struck in multiple places.
off-center strike: During the striking process, the coin is not seated in the right place in the area over the anvil (lower) die causing the coin’s design to not be properly centered on the coin.
overstrike: A type of minting error when a coin, token or medal is struck on a previously struck coin, token or medal.
partial collar strike: A type of striking error where a planchet does not enter completely into coining position and is struck partly within the collar and partly outside.
rotated dies: A type of mint error caused by the dies not being aligned when striking the coin, token or medal.
1999-P Georgia state quarter double struck and off center.
strike doubling or doubled strike: A coin that is struck more than once while in the coining machine resulting in doubling of design elements. Double strikes are different from hub doubling in that this type of error is a mechanical failure within the coining machine whereas hub doubling happens before striking. Double strike errors are rarer than hub doubling.
weak strike: refers to a coin that does not show its intended detail because of low striking pressure or improperly aligned dies.
When going to coin shows you can see some of the most fantastic errors. Some boggle the mind how they were done and how they escaped the U.S. Mint. Dealers whose concentration are errors do not reveal their secrets but I have been told that some have contacts with some of the security companies that haul money on behalf of the banks.
This topic is not complete until we talk about varieties. That will be the next post.
If you have not heard, the U.S. Mint announced that they will produce a set of enhanced uncirculated coin featuring all of the coin releases for this year in a package similar to that used for their proof sets. Enhanced Uncirculated coins are struck using dies that have been specially laser etched to use levels of frosting to give the designs a more in-depth look.
An advantage of the enhanced uncirculated process is the ability to selectively apply the frosting to the die. One of the coins where this had a real dramatic effect was the 2013-W American Silver Eagle. The enhanced uncirculated American Silver Eagle was only sold as part of the 25th Anniversary set.
2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set with reverse proof and enhanced uncirculated coins.
2013-W American Silver Eagle enhanced uncirculated coin
2015-W Native American Dollar Enhanced Uncirculated Reverse celebrating the Mohawk Iron Workers
Reverse of the 2015-W Enhanced Uncirculated Native American Dollar
Obverse of the 2015-W Enhanced Uncirculated Native American Dollar from the 2015 $1 Set
Previous Enhanced Uncirculated issues
According to information currently available, the coins will be struck on the same planchets as what is used for business strikes.
Every so often I will read something and even though I agree with the premise and possibly the hypothesis, I disagree with the method. This is what happened when I read “How do late ANACS slabs stack up with modern PCGS?” This article by Michael Bugeja at Coin Update is not the first of its type on that site but is the latest of what I consider using faulty data to prove a hypothesis.
I submitted comments about my problems to the article. Since whoever is moderating comments has chosen not to publish them, I am using my own platform to call them out on this.
In Bugeja’s showdown of old ANACS versus new PCGS, he found six coins, which is where I begin to have problems. With a potential sample size of thousands or even millions of coins, six coins is a rounding error. And not only did he use six coins but from different dates, mints (Philadelphia and San Francisco), and grades. Anyone who has any knowledge of the scientific method knows that he has just introduced too many variables that will allow anyone to argue about the differences in the metals, machinery, and environmental factors.
The next problem with the experiment is that he uses damaged coins. Every coin Bugjea used was toned. Toning of the coin is a chemical reaction with the metals that cause a change in the original metal that makes it different from the original minted coin. While some consider toning acceptable, it represents a chemical change to the surface making it damaged.
How does one compare one damage to another? Do we know how these coins were damaged? Did the conditions that caused the toning of coin change the surface differently than the other? Did the damage caused by the environmental factors change? How do we know that the old ANACS holders were not sealed well enough to prevent changes in the toning from when they were originally graded?
I will not argue whether something happened to the coin that could have caused damage when it was cracked out of the original ANACS holder. Since there are so many questions about the coins, we can leave this argument off the table. I do hope Bugeja reported the serial number to ANACS so that their population reports can be appropriately adjusted.
Even if the test was to be limited because of the potential cost. A proper test would be to find six coins from the same year and the same mint that were not toned (or damaged). All six coins should be around the same grade or even a grade lower that it would be possible to pass for the higher grade. Once you have taken the variables away then you can test and determine the probability of proving or disproving the hypothesis.
Bugjea concludes that the early ANACS graders were more generous based on information that is so flawed that if that article was sent to a peer-reviewed journal it would be rejected.
He then goes on to warn, “Bid cautiously on early ANACS coins.” How about you bid cautiously on any coin you are not sure about. There are problems with coins in every holder and there are gems found with coins in every holder. Just because a coin is graded does not make it worth the plastic it is encased on.
The ONLY statement in the article I agree with is “Rely on your grading acumen rather than the age of the holder.” In fact, I would rephrase it to “Rely on your grading acumen rather than the holder.”
Translated: BUY THE COIN, NOT THE HOLDER!
Now tell me, does it really matter what holder these coins are in? These coins are so cool that a holder might detract from their beauty!
1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo Nickel
1942/1 Mercury Dime
1955 DDO Lincoln Cent
NOTE: I did not include images from the original article because I do not have permission.
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