I am sure I am not the only one whose desk looks like it could be declared a disaster. My desk is so bad that during a recent recon mission, I found books about information security. It has been over three years since I retired from that industry.
A side effect of the mess is while digging under the piles, I can find coins and collectibles I forgot I had. It’s a make-my-own treasure hunt.
The picture to the right is a recent find. It was a giveaway from the Dime Savings Bank from a branch in Huntington Station, Long Island. It is a 1972 Roosevelt Dime encased in clear plastic attached to a keyring. The encased dime is attached to a card and wrapped in the original plastic.
I found this coin in the 1990s during a trip to Long Island. It was likely purchased from an estate sale not too far from the branch. It must have fallen out of a nearby box that holds my New York numismatic collection. It’s the box that I have been thinking about organizing for years.
Finding it brings back memories.
As a right of passage for Baby Boomers born in Brooklyn, our parents helped us open passbook savings account at the Dime Savings Bank. Founded in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the Dime was as part of life as stickball. Even after moving to Long Island, we kept our accounts with Dime.
If you are too young to know about passbook savings, it was a savings account where your account activity was recorded in a passbook that resembled a passport. When you deposited or withdrew money, you handed the teller your passbook. The teller would put the book in a machine that would print the transaction on the pages. Every three months, an extra entry would be added for the interest payment. Before I understood the concept of savings account interest, I thought the bank was giving me free money.
I would deposit parts of my allowance and the payment for odd jobs around the neighborhood. When I was old enough, I started to deliver Newsday after school when it was an afternoon newspaper. When the deposits passed $100 in savings, I thought that I was rich.
Every week, I would knock on the doors where I delivered the paper to collect money for the newspaper. One day, someone paid for their delivery by including ten copper coins that I did not recognize. I showed them to my father, who told me they were Indian Head cents.
I did not know these coins existed. So I dumped the coins in my pocket on the floor and started to sort through them. I started to separate the coins by type and date, laying them across the floor. My mother did not like my collecting style, so my father bought my first Lincoln cent folder and a Red Book. I still own my first blue folders.
The deposits began to change. I no longer deposited the coins. I was too fascinated with them to let them go. Slowly I began to build a collection out of pocket change while the currency was deposited in the bank. I also accumulated more blue folders.
Then my father did something that changed everything. He took me to a coin store. Suddenly, the Roosevelt dime collection was nearing completion. The blue folder for the dimes was replaced by a blue deluxe album. I was addicted!
The deposits also began to reduce. Somewhat similar to today but on a different scale!
Passbook savings programs are a relic of the past. The Dime Savings Bank is now called the Dime Community Bank. And I got to relive this memory because I found a one-time giveaway buried under a pile on my desk.
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There is a coin shortage.
There is also a currency shortage, but it is not as severe as the coin shortage.
The shortage is not because the government has stopped the manufacturing process. There was a production slowdown in April and May, but that does not account for the lack of circulating coins. The West Point Mint briefly closed because the circumstances were different. West Point does not strike circulating coinage.
Although the Bureau of Engraving and Printing slowed down production in Washington, D.C., Fort Worth did not miss a beat.
The Federal Reserve, an independent organization, did not stop the circulation of money. There is money in the various cash rooms around the country. While some of the supply is lower than usual, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified to Congress that their supplies are adequate to meet the demand.
If the government is not causing the coin shortage, then where are the coins?
For nearly eight weeks beginning in mid-March, the amount of money circulating diminished to its lowest levels since the Great Depression. You have not been spending cash. The result is that the stores and banks were not circulating coins forcing the logistics companies to store what they can and deposit the rest with the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve believes there are enough coins to satisfy commerce. The problem is that the supply chain has to restart. There is a limit to how fast the supply chain can move the coins around.
The warehouses where the coins are stored is like a gallon jug or your favorite beverage. To server your guests, you need to pour that gallon jug into glasses. But the only way to pour the jug is into a funnel to guide the liquid into each glass. How much is pouring slowed down by the bottleneck of the smaller opening at the bottom of the funnel?
In the case of coins, the smaller opening is the armored cars that deliver the money from the warehouses to the banks and other large institutions. The limited capacity of the opening will slow down the pouring of the beverage and the pouring of the coins back into the economy.
One Federal Reserve research group suggested that it could take 3-6 weeks for the supply chain to get back to normal. Compared to the lack of Clorox and Lysol cleaners in the supermarkets, that is lightning fast!
And now the news…
July 14, 2020
A recent social media post falsely said a coin shortage in the U.S. was a sign of an impending one-world government. The false claim included a photo of a sign in a grocery store asking customers to use exact change or noncash payments due to a "national coin shortage," according to PolitiFact.com.
→ Read more at dailyherald.com
July 14, 2020
Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.
→ Read more at npr.org
July 15, 2020
People have been collecting coins since they became useful for bartering around 700BC. The hobby of collecting currency today is now one of the best activities that kids of all ages can become involved with. There isn’t a video game in existence that packs the same reward as collecting coins.
→ Read more at williamsondailynews.com
July 15, 2020
Interest in gold is rising across the globe as confidence in paper currencies declines. Image: Chris Ratcliffe, Bloomberg Demand for Kruggerands, the top-selling gold coin in the world, is surging as buyers across the globe scramble for one of the few safe havens in times of economic distress.
→ Read more at moneyweb.co.za
July 16, 2020
Maybe you’ve seen signs in retail stores about a coin shortage, which led to a widely shared conspiracy theory on Facebook. "National Coin Shortage Just Beginning. The national coin shortage was done intentionally, the mint is no longer releasing coins into circulation aka this is the beginning of the end of paper money," the July 2 post says in part, arguing it’s part of a decades-old plan toward enabling a "soon coming one world government" to track every private transaction.
→ Read more at politifact.com
There is a meme going around the Interwebs that shows Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) getting out of his modified DeLorean with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) standing there with Brown telling Marty not to set the time machine to 2020. If you do not understand the meme, I recommend you stream Back to the Future on your favorite streaming platform. It is a classic movie!
We are 13 days into July, and I realized that June was over, and the Legislative Update was due. Then again, we discussed the only legislation that Congres introduced in June. Otherwise, there is nothing to report on the legislation front.
S. 4006: Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act of 2020
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 18, 2020
Introduced in Senate — Jun 18, 2020
This past week, the Royal Mint announced the next coin release in their Music Legends series to honor Sir Elton John. He is an international legend coming out of the British music scene who made his mark with talent and flamboyance. His long-time partnership with Bernie Taupin has entertained us since the 1960s.
Reverse of the 2020 Elton John Uncirculated Coin (Courtesy of the Royal Mint)
Coins are available from the Royal Mint in gold, silver, and uncirculated. Uncirculated coins come in a special folder honoring Elton John.
There will be those that will complain that these coins hurt the hobby. To borrow a term from our British friends: RUBBISH! If these coins bring people into the hobby, then they are great.
What is bad for the hobby is buying surplus coins from the U.S. Mint and calling it a hoard! For years, the U.S. Mint has been selling off its excess inventory or melting precious metals. This time, someone bought them, sent them to be slabbed, and would jack up the prices under the guise of something special. When the buyer goes to sell them and finds out that they are not worth what they paid, that will have people running away from the hobby. It is similar to the overpriced crap sold on television during the 50 State Quarters program.
Even GovMint.com is getting into the junk selling hype. They have been on satellite radio hawking the emergency production bullion coins struck at Philadelphia after COVID-19 temporarily closed the West Point Mint. Their ad for “P-Mint designated” coins touts them as something special. They are not unique or rare, as the commercial insinuates. Bullion coins are struck at Philadelphia. The difference is that there was a way to determine which mint struck these coins.
What is more damaging to the hobby, selling over-priced bullion or common leftover coins or non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins with themes that some old-timers do not seem to like?
Here, let me make some of you upset. I visited the website for the Royal Mint and found something that I will add to my collection:
Queen Coin Cover is created in cooperation with the Royal Mint and Royal Mail (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint).
If that makes you upset, then you need to rethink your attitude on the hobby!
And now the news…
July 2, 2020
A flag flies in front of the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
→ Read more at deseret.com
July 6, 2020
Connor Shumate holding his metal detector and treasure. Photo: Malcolm Andrews. Rising Brownsville second grader Connor Shumate may have found pirate treasure right in his own yard!
→ Read more at crozetgazette.com
July 7, 2020
Treasure hunters hit the jackpot as they discover Roman coins at racecourse
→ Read more at gazette-news.co.uk
July 8, 2020
Royal Mint The coin depicts Sir Elton John's trademark glasses as musical notes Rock legend Elton John is to be commemorated on a £1,000 gold coin celebrating his musical legacy.
→ Read more at bbc.com
July 8, 2020
The design for the new gold $1 Elizabeth Peratrovich coin was on display during the Elizabeth Peratrovich Day celebration at the Tlingit and Haida Community Council on Feb. 16, 2020.
→ Read more at juneauempire.com
July 10, 2020
CRANSTON — Just weeks after being granted compassionate release from federal prison, the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest counterfeiter,” Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, died Monday at age 78. He was in hospice care after struggling with dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension and other ailments.
→ Read more at providencejournal.com
July 10, 2020
In the summer of 2020, we received multiple inquiries from readers about the accuracy of news reports and social media posts that referred to an ongoing shortage of coins across the United States.
→ Read more at snopes.com
Once again, the State Department is about to do something that negatively affects a part of numismatics. Even if you are not an ancient coin collector, the ability to collect and study ancient coins helps give all of us clarity into history.
If the State Department permits the Memorandum of Understanding with Italy to pass, it will signal an end to ancient collectors’ ability to participate in the hobby. First, it will be the restriction of ancient Roman coins, then others will follow. Soon, every coin will become cultural property and locked in a museum, never to be seen again.
I heard it explained that coins were never meant to be static items. The rulers of ancient lands intended for the coins to circulate with their image. It was supposed to tie people to the empire. It was so important to pay the soldiers and circulate the money that coiners accompanied many armies. They would strike coins using the looted material and move on to the next conquest.
Most of these coins are not rare or even scarce. They are common, often seeing hoards of hundreds and accumulation of thousands across Europe. Some of the scarce coins can be readily found on the market and in museums.
However, if we listened to the archeologist, every crumb they find from the ancient past belongs in a museum. The necessity to save every widow’s mite is like wanting to save the Cross of Coronado.
From Wayne Sayles, Executive Director of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild:
ACCG needs your help in defending collector rights under the law – Please comment now! It’s fast and easier than ever. No need for elaborate arguments or research, others have already taken care of that. What we need now is to demonstrate that import restrictions on ancient coins affect a lot of caring people and law-abiding people from all walks of life and all political persuasions.
The deadline to send a comment to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) has been extended to July 14, 2020. Comments can be left at:
If you want more detailed information and a sample letter to the CPAC, read:
In fact, read it anyway. It contains a lot of useful information.
We should stand up for the hobby, whether you collect ancient coins or not!
Want more information about American Eagle Coins? The Coin Collectors Handbook: American Eagle Coins
has more information and is fully illustrated. Read more → here
Last month I posted an article about a potential scam by a company named LIACOO selling American Silver Eagle coins from China. I ordered two coins to confirm my suspicion.
Two counterfeit American Silver Eagles purchased from LIACOO, a company based in China.
THE COINS ARE COUNTERFEIT! FAKES!
I ordered the coins on June 4, the day I posted the article. The coins were shipped from China to California to New Jersey to my office. LIACOO used the services of Newgistics, which is now a subsidiary of Pitney-Bowes. By using a logistics company in this manner, they can hide behind the anonymity of the service.
Contacting Pitney-Bowes is nearly impossible. I left a very public message on Twitter. Let’s see if they respond.
When the coins arrived, I opened the package and started to examine the contents. The coins are in a slab-like holder similar to the Coin World holders but without the Coin World logo. At first glance, they look fine, and then a closer look revealed problems.
My first impression was that there are almost no rims on the coin. A closer look at the obverse, and the font is too thin for the LIBERTY around the coin. Then I turned the coin over to focus on the U in United. It is missing the tail on the right side of the U. I did not need to see any more to be convinced this was a fake coin.
The font for LIBERTY is too thin. Also, the stars in her flag draped over the shoulder are too small.
Aside from the rims being to thin, look at the U in United and the dash between SILVER and ONE. These are not correct for the 2020 ASE.
Finally, I removed the coin to weigh it. An American Silver Eagle is supposed to weigh just slightly more than one troy ounce because it is only .999 silver. Since my scale only measures grams to the tenths of ounces, it should have weighed 31.1 grams. It weighed 25 grams.
The coin is not magnetic.
I will investigate further, but I wanted to report my initial findings.
DO NOT BUY CHEAP EAGLES FROM RANDOM WEBSITES!
I bought these coins to prove my point. I knew I was potentially buying fakes. I spent less than $30 for education aids.
Unfortunately, two correspondents wrote to tell me they each bought ten coins from different dealers. They spent $19.95 per coin. Both lost over $200 with the shipping costs.
IF YOU CANNOT IDENTIFY THE DEALER, THEIR EXACT LOCATION, AND THEIR BUSINESS STATUS, THEN DO NOT BUY THEIR COINS!
LIACOO is a scam. It is a company based in China. DO NOT BUT FROM THEM!
Somewhere along the line, logic and reality have not reconciled the meme that cash is dead because everyone uses credit cards. Although there has been an increase in credit card usage because of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine orders, banks and retail outlets have been reporting a shortage of cash.
For the most part, the U.S. Mint coin manufacturing processes have been fully operational during the pandemic except closing West Point briefly. The coin factory is mostly automated and does not require many workers. The U.S. Mint reports that the offices that include in the engravers are working from home, but the manufacturing continues.
But reports from the St. Louis Federal Reserve noted that even with the reduction in foot traffic, the rate of people paying with cash remained steady. The San Francisco Federal Reserve noted that the rise in credit card use coincides with the increase in online shopping.
The U.S. Mint is not the cause of supply chain problems. The problems are within the Federal Reserve and how they operate their coin storage. When Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell discussed the coin shortage, he also said that the problems magnified when the quarantine impacted the logistics companies that move the coins from place to place.
Like many things, congress took the wrong message from Powell and prompted what may be a necessary action but for the wrong reasons. Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act (S. 4006) to allow the U.S. Mint to change the metal used in your change.
While the senators are patting themselves on the back for looking like they are doing something, changing coning metals will not help. Although the U.S. Mint has studied alternative metals, several steps will take many years to complete. Canada and the United Kingdom have to change coins and coining metals in recent years. Both countries made the transition in four years and continued to have problems.
Another lesson learned is that to help Canada and the U.K. to make the transition, their respective central banks demonetized the old coins. The United States does not demonetize its coinage. Even with significant media coverage, the Bank of England reports over £1 million of demonetized coins in the public’s hands.
When the United States transitioned from silver to base metals, a six-year transition did not go as planned. We learned later that the U.S. Mint continued to produce silver coins in 1965 and 1966 with 1964 dates to ease market pressures.
Changes to coining metals may be necessary. Over the last ten years, the U.S. Mint has seen seignorage reduced as the price of copper and nickel rise. But to tie the change in metals to the pandemic is a very congressional thing to do.
And now the news…
June 22, 2020
This year, a new coin act might be the making to bring back the Peace and Morgan Silver Dollars in 2021. This will honor the centennial of the transition from the Morgan to the Peace Silver Dollar. However, in the United States, only two commemorative coin programs can be active per year – and Congress has already passed the Law Enforcement Commemorative Coin Act and the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act.
→ Read more at valuewalk.com
June 24, 2020
Wayne Fournier was sitting in a town meeting when he had his big idea. As the mayor of Tenino, Washington (population: 1,884), he’d watched the pandemic rake local businesses.
→ Read more at thehustle.co
June 26, 2020
Gold insider Edmund Moy is all in on gold coins as an investment with prices for the yellow metal on a strong upswing. And he shared with Yahoo Finance how he is protecting his investment. “So I keep a little bit.
→ Read more at finance.yahoo.com
June 26, 2020
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., have introduced bipartisan legislation to allow the U.S. Mint to adjust the metal content of circulating coins in an effort to save taxpayer dollars.
→ Read more at highlandcountypress.com
June 26, 2020
Dive Brief: • The National Grocers Association (NGA) along with five other retail industry groups have called on the federal government to take "rapid action" to address a national coin shortage, according to a press release.
→ Read more at grocerydive.com
What is likely the first coin show to scheduled since the shutdowns for the COVID-19 pandemic was approved this week. The Vegas Pop Up Coin Show will be held on July 2-5 at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino.
According to the announcement, the show will have only 15 dealers and no more than 25 people staffing dealer tables. The dealers will occupy 24-foot booths to ensure that there is a six-foot distance between people.
Organizers will control the entry to ensure that no more than 50 people are in the room at the same time. All of these measures comply with Nevada’s social distancing regulations.
The organizer appears to have gone to great lengths to organize a coin show and meet the health requirements of the time. If there are any Coin Collectors Blog readers attend this show, I would be happy to post your report. Just contact me with your information.
And now the news…
June 16, 2020
Kazan Federal University Kazan Federal University, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, Russia), and Khalikov Institute of Archeology (Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, Kazan, Russia) are working together to study the physical properties of the coins found on the territory of former Volga Bulgaria.
→ Read more at phys.org
June 16, 2020
The cashier at WHSmith clears his throat to make sure Diane von Kesmark, 72, can hear him. 'It's hygiene, madam,' he tells her, emphatically. But he is not referring to the transparent plastic shield separating customers from the till, nor the latex gloves he is wearing to handle goods.
→ Read more at thisismoney.co.uk
June 19, 2020
Palace Station is bringing in the Vegas Pop Up Coin Show — an in-person convention that will set up 15 dealers in an area that usually has 80 exhibitors.
→ Read more at 8newsnow.com
June 20, 2020
VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuania began minting a collector's coin, dubbed a "coin of hope", on Wednesday to mark the year of the new coronavirus and pay tribute to doctors, nurses and others who helped the country weather the pandemic.
→ Read more at news.yahoo.com
June 20, 2020
“The flow of coins through the economy has gotten all — it’s kind of stopped," Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said Wednesday. (Mike Blake/Reuters)
→ Read more at washingtonpost.com
June 20, 2020
Gold has been a highly sought after asset in 2020, with the yellow metal rising by more than 15% in the first five months of the year. Now trading at just below AUD 2,500 per ounce, gold has strongly outperformed most traditional assets including shares, property and term deposits, with this outperformance dating back to early 2000s.
→ Read more at themarketherald.com.au
The most interesting news for this week did not come from online sources but an email newsletter for resellers. According to the readers of the newsletter, the best selling items are coins and currency.
We sold this 1984 Mexico Libertad at auction for a nice premium above spot!
According to their survey, most of their readers report that collector coins are outselling all other categories and bringing in the best premiums. The best-sellers are modern bullion coins and Morgan dollars.
Modern bullion coins are not limited to American Eagles. Auction bidders are driving up the prices of Maple Leafs, Britannias, and Libertads. Collector bullion coins, like the American Eagle proofs and Pandas, have realized premiums beyond typical liquidation auctions.
Other categories that are experiencing a spike in sales are mixed lots. Mixed lots of silver U.S. coins are doing the best followed by lots with foreign coins. One dealer sold a lot of 20 holed English pennies for $2.50 per coin. These were coins from the reign of George V and early into Elizabeth II.
Since the readers of the newsletter I receive are dealers in the second-hand and liquidation markets, this is excellent news. The bad news is that it is becoming challenging to find inventory to resell.
And now the news…
June 5, 2020
A RARE Roman coin discovered in Colchester more than 40 years ago has sold for £4,000 after going under the hammer. Kevin Scillitoe found the coin, minted by the Emperor Carausius, when he was ten-years-old.
→ Read more at harwichandmanningtreestandard.co.uk
June 7, 2020
Arizona history is rife with tales of hidden mines and buried treasure. Even today, those hoping to strike it rich head out with maps and shovels, despite tremendous odds against them. Scott Craven/The Republic
→ Read more at lcsun-news.com
June 7, 2020
As shoppers and retailers do away with cash transactions, we may be witnessing the end of a major source of social and historical information – the coin. In the modern age, coinage is increasingly seen as cumbersome, a vector for disease and costly to manufacture.
→ Read more at theconversation.com
June 8, 2020
Multiculturalism (tolerance) and the ability to unify large different ethnic groups living within the state’s boundaries are those distinct features which serve as the fundamentum for economic, military and cultural achievements of the Western civilization.
→ Read more at georgiatoday.ge
Days keep blending together as we try to survive major crises in this country. With the justified outrage over the killing of George Floyd, reports are coming out that coronavirus deaths are beginning to rise. Since the protests are largely attended by young people, it will change the narrative that the virus is particularly deadly to those older and to those with pre-existing conditions. Then again, many people do not know they have a pre-existing condition until it is triggered by something else.
Frontline health care professionals and others are fighting the disease and, in some cases, injuries that occurred during the protests. To celebrate these essential workers Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced a commemorative coin program in their honor. Although the bill was introduced, the text has yet to be published. All we know is the title as submitted. It might be nice to honor the frontline workers, the likelihood of this type of bill passing is not good given the current political climate.
Unless the current circumstances change, it is unlikely any numismatic-related legislation will be acted on before the end-of-session cleanup votes in December.
H.R. 6923: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the health care professionals, first responders, scientists, researchers, all essential workers, and individuals who provided care and services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 19, 2020
Introduced in House — May 19, 2020