It should come as no surprise to anyone that the 115th Congress left unfinished business. As we start the new year, 25-percent of the executive branch does not have the legal funding to operate. Those with leftover funds operated as long as they could but are now closed pending congressional action.
As with previous shutdowns, the U.S. Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are not affected. Both agencies are self-funded from their profits (seigniorage) which is held in their respective Public Enterprise Funds.
The 115th Congress is constitutionally scheduled to end at 12:00 noon on January 3, 2019, when the 116th Congress will begin. Congress will take up the new funding bills as part of the opening session.
When the new Congress gavels into session, any bill pending from the 115th Congress will be removed from the docket. It will be said that these bills will die in committee.
In reviewing December’s legslation update, there was the passage of one bill:
H.R. 1235: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue not more than 50,000 $5 coins, 400,000 $1 coins, and 750,000 half-dollar coins in recognition and celebration of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.The coins shall be in the shape of a dome, and the design on the common reverse of the coins shall depict a basketball. Treasury shall hold a competition to determine the design of the common obverse of the coins, which shall be emblematic of the game of basketball.(Sec. 7) The bill requires all sales of such coins to include specified surcharges, which shall be paid by Treasury to the Hall to fund an endowment for increased operations and educational programming.
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 19, 2018
Presented to President. — Dec 19, 2018
Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote. — Dec 18, 2018
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 18, 2018
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Sep 26, 2017
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 25, 2017
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 25, 2017
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1235. — Sep 25, 2017
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 25, 2017
Mr. Barr moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Sep 25, 2017
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 27, 2017
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act was sent to the White House for presidential signature on December 19, 2018. The president has ten days to act on the bill. He can sign the bill, which there is no indication that he has, and it becomes law. He could veto the bill to prevent it from becoming law.
But what if he does not sign the bill? If Congress was still in session then the bill automatically becomes law. If Congress adjourned then the bill does not become law. That is called a pocket veto.
Because of the shutdown, Congress did not adjourn while trying to resolve the issue. There were pro forma sessions, meaning that a representative gaveled in the House and Senate only to adjourn for the day. If the president did not sign or veto the bill, it has become public law. However, since the Government Printing Office (GPO), the official publisher of the U.S. government, is closed because of the shutdown, they cannot publish the results of legislation passed or vetoed. Therefore, we do not know whether this bill is now the law.
Previous administrations would announce bill signings in their regular news streams. This White House has chosen to discontinue that practice leaving us at the mercy of the currently closed GPO.
In December, the Senate passed the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act by a voice vote. Although the bill was sent to the House for consideration it never left the committee and will die in committee when the 116th Congress is gaveled into session.
S. 2863: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Held at the desk. — Dec 19, 2018
Received in the House. — Dec 19, 2018
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 17, 2018
Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote. — Dec 13, 2018
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 13, 2018
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 16, 2018
Finally, Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), whose district includes Kennebunkport, introduced the President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush Dollar Coin Act. Essentially, this would have extended the Presidential $1 Coin program to include President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. This bill, like many others, died in committee.
H.R. 7257: President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush Dollar Coin Act
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Dec 11, 2018
A full review of the 115th Congress will be published shortly after the government reopens and the GPO resumes its publishing operations.
While considering the news of the past week, the one thing that sticks out is the press release from the Professional Numismatic Guild. The release touts the strength of the high-end, rare coin market with a throwaway line that notes there may trouble for the general collector.
While prices declined during the year for some U.S. coins in easily available lower grades, hundreds of noteworthy coins from early American to modern that are among the finest known of their kind set auction price records….
Prices for collector coins are driven by two principles: the spot price of silver and other metals that were used to strike the coins; the ability for the supply to meet the demand.
Primary spot price that drives the general collector coin market is silver. Silver opened on January 2, 2018, at $17.06 per troy ounce. On Friday, December 28, the price of silver was $15.29. This is a decline of $1.80 for the year or 10.55-percent decrease. This is not something that has occurred in the last month as the stock market had problems. Silver reached its highest price on January 15 when it reached $17.325. The spot price of silver dropped below $17.00 on February 5 and has been on a steady decline all year.
There has been a steady decrease in the spot prices of silver in 2018
(chart courtesy of Kitco; this is a static chart and will not update)
But the price of silver alone is not enough to drive collector coin prices down to get PNG’s attention. The problem is the other part of the equation: supply and demand.
The supply of collector coins is not changing. The coin market is relatively stagnant since the U.S. Mint is no longer making Mercury dimes, Walking Liberty half dollars, or Morgan dollars. There may be an increase in those coins coming to the market as collectors liquidate or the families of deceased collectors liquidate, but is this more than usual?
The number of people collecting may not be enough to drive the market simply because numismatics is not as popular a hobby as it once was.
PNG notes that the success of their high-end business may be coming from investors, not collectors:
“With the stock market dropping during the fourth quarter of 2018 we saw an increase in interest in the rare coin market with some people taking profits from stocks and buying coins that have proven to show sizeable and consistent increases in value over the years, as well as buying precious metals,” said Professional Numismatists Guild President Barry Stuppler.
While it is good that the PNG touts the work of their members in the Top 10% of the market, the general public is not buying. PNG can pat themselves on the back all they want but if they are not helping the entire industry, they are losing the opportunity to turn a general collector into one of their customers.
Further, the American Numismatic Association, which is dominated by the same dealers who are members of the PNG, seem to have a blind spot that prevents them from seeing the general collector as a viable business model to cultivate.
There are only so many times that the industry can claim successes by selling the same 1913 Liberty Head Nickel before everyone, including investors, consider this a market with stale inventory.
This is not to say that the PNG dealers are bad people or have bad intentions. This is saying that the PNG needs to look beyond the top 10-percent of the market to ensure the other 90-percent is just as healthy. Without a market balance and without market diversity, the hobby will be in trouble. Even in the equity markets, low volume low capitalized stocks can cause harm to the market.
And now the news…
December 24, 2018
JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s fiscal trajectory in many ways mirrors the tribulations it endured before emerging as one of the world’s foremost trade and financial hubs. Before the Kingdom was unified by its late founder, King Abdul Aziz, the Arabian Peninsula had suffered its fair share of economic woes thanks to war and political strife within tribal factions. → Read more at arabnews.com
December 25, 2018
Coinages issued in Maharashtra dating back to 2600 BCE on display → Read more at thehindu.com
December 25, 2018
Gold prices advanced for a second straight day on Tuesday and rose Rs 125 on higher demand from local jewellers → Read more at livemint.com
December 27, 2018
In a sign of precious metals demand, sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold and … → Read more at reuters.com
December 27, 2018
Earlier this month, my friend Hugo Salinas Price emailed an interesting story about a single gold coin that that he still holds dearly. As I was shuffling papers in some old files, I came across a slip of paper on which I had written down the price I had paid for a Mexican $50 gold peso coin: 717 Mexican pesos. → Read more at moneymaven.io
December 27, 2018
Israel Antiquities Authority, JNF and Border Police stopped a band of thieves from stealing ancient coins from the Hukuk Synagogue archeological site in northern Israel on Thursday. "A quick response prevented damage to the magnificent and important treasures of the site," Nir Distelfeld, the antiquities theft inspector, said. → Read more at jpost.com
December 28, 2018
Operators of the historic Coin Press No. 1 inside Carson City's Nevada State Museum began striking silver medallions Friday with a commemorative Abraham Curry design created just for the occasion. On the last Friday of each month, the Nevada State Museum runs the coin press, which now mints unique collectible medallions. → Read more at carsonnow.org
Earlier this month, the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation announced that they will certify and encapsulate canceled dies. Dies will not receive a grade but the label will identify the coin the die struck, note that it is an “Official US Mint Coin Die,” and note the type of cancellation.
1996 Olympic Tennis Commemorative silver dollar “X” cancelled die encapsulated by NGC (Image courtesy of NGC)
Fees for this service range from $20 for a defaced die to $50 for a die that was canceled with an “X” to $100 for a die that was not canceled.
The holder appears to be similar to those used to encapsulate rolled coins. It will hold a die up to 40.6mm wide and 59.6mm tall, likely the largest die that the U.S. Mint would use to strike coins. The holder will be too small for the dies that would have struck 3-inch medals.
NGC does not say how the holders would keep smaller dies in place.
NGC will accept coin dies from any country.
Since I found coin dies interesting, I bought a few. Two Lincoln cent dies were ground down except still have a small part of the design visible. The other is a 1994 half-dollar obverse die. The one cent dies are on my desk at home and the half-dollar dollar dies is in my office.
Lincoln Cent Dies from the Denver Mint
Canceled obverse die from a 1994-D Kennedy Half Dollar
Having the die sitting on my desk is a great conversation starter. Visitors will ask what it is and when I explain they have the same reaction that I had when I bought it at the 2018 World’s Fair of Money: “ooo, neat!”
I am not sure how I feel about this news for the industry but I will not be submitting my dies for encapsulation. I do not think the die’s industrial look would look good entombed in plastic.
Since U.S. Mint announced the launch of the American Innovation $1 Coin Program there has been nothing but complaints from the community about the coin.
According to the law (Public Law No: 115-97), “The common design on the obverse of each coin issued under this subsection shall contain a likeness of the Statue of Liberty extending to the rim of the coin and large enough to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty.” With the U.S. Mint under a short deadline because of when the bill became law (July 20, 2018), there were a number of disagreements with the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee regarding the obverse design of the coin. The U.S. Mint tried to modify an old design but the CCAC did not like that. Eventually, the design from Miss Liberty’s left side was used.
It has turned out to be an elegant design that does not duplicate any previous one. She stands on the coin as stately as she stands in New York Harbor, extending from rim to rim as required by law. For once, the CCAC and I agree on a good design.
But that is not enough for some people. The design is too plain.
The reason why the coin appears plain is that two elements that could have been on the obverse, the date and motto “E Pluribus Unum,” are on the edge of the coin.
Edge lettering for the $1 coins began in 2007 with the introduction of the Presidential $1 Program. It was decided to move these elements, along with “In God We Trust” to the edge because the obverse was to include the years of the president’s term. Aside from providing more space for the design, relocating the date would prevent potential confusion as to the date of the coin.
“In God We Trust” was restored to the obverse of the coin in 2009 after striking errors caused the edge of the coin to be blank. This caused overzealous conspiracy theorists and the gullible believing that this was done purposely against the religious communities.
Some argue that since the conditions have changed, the coin should not have edge lettering.
Aesthetically, the obverse design was well executed. It would be how the statue would look if you were standing in Battery Park located at the southern tip of Manhattan, and looked across the water on a clear day. There should be no reason to change the design.
However, there is a problem with the edge lettering in that it makes it difficult to see. As someone who has reached the age where an annual eye exam is a requirement and “corrective lenses” is now a permanent fixture on my driver’s license, having the mintmark on the edge requires me to use magnification to find the mintmark.
As a member of the Baby Boomer generation whose glasses seem to get stronger every year, I would be in favor of moving the date and mintmark to the obverse of the coin. But if the problem is only aesthetics, then I have no problems with having to use a 16x loupe to help identify where the coin was struck.
This week, the U.S. Mint made the most impact in the world of numismatics. first, the U.S. Mint released the first coin in the American Innovation $1 Coin Program. It features a new design of the Statue of Liberty on the obverse, which has not been favorably received. The reverse recognized the first U.S. patent signed by President George Washington.
Patent X1 issued to Samuel Hopkins and signed by President George Washington on July 31, 1790 (USPTO Image)
On July 31, 1790, Samuel Hopkins was granted patent number X00001 for this method “in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process.” In June of this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued Patent #10,000,000 based on the current numbering system that began in 1836. According to the USPTO, there were 9,433 patents issued from 1790 through 1835.
The other news from the U.S. Mint was the first strike ceremony for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coins at the Philadelphia Mint. Children of the three astronauts who flew on Apollo 11 represented their fathers at the ceremony: Mark Armstrong, Andrew Aldrin, and Ann (Collins) Starr.
Coins will be offered for sale to the public on January 24, 2019. The money raised from this commemorative coin program will benefit the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” gallery.
A pair of 5-ounce silver proof $1 coins struck during the First Strike Ceremony at the U.S. Mint (photo courtesy of collectSPACE.com)
And now the news…
December 10, 2018
Cash use has plummeted in Australia over the last few years but Eric Eigner isn't worried. "People will want to collect something that appears to be more scarce," he says. "I think it's a good thing to a certain extent." → Read more at smh.com.au
December 10, 2018
The patterns on Guangxi commemorative coins reveal special cultural elements and how the region has developed in the past 60 years. → Read more at news.cgtn.com
December 10, 2018
Museum intern Roo Weed ’18.5, a physics major, is using digital solutions to make the College’s rare coin collection more accessible to the public. → Read more at middlebury.edu
December 11, 2018
"> <META PROPERTY= → Read more at miningnewsnorth.com
December 14, 2018
From Alexander the Great to the Byzantium and the Middle Ages until the modern era all periods are covered in an exhibition featuring a rare collection of gold coins. This collection contains coins that are considered to have paved the way for the use of coins in world history and is being staged by the … → Read more at cyprus-mail.com
December 14, 2018
The United States Mint reveals a new coin collection to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Item includes great video of striking coins in the mint → Read more at myhighplains.com
December 15, 2018
The U.S. Mint has struck its initial coins commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. You could say it was one small strike for the Mint, one not-so-giant press for Apollo history. The coins were stamped as part of a "first strike" ceremony. → Read more at collectspace.com
December 15, 2018
The finds are "of great benefit" in helping understand Wales' "unique history", National Museum Wales says. → Read more at bbc.com
Later today, the U.S. Mint will have a ceremony to begin the American Innovation $1 Coin Program. The ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 am at the U.S. Mint’s headquarters at 801 9th Street NW in Washington, D.C.
The American Innovation $1 Coin Program will issue four dollar coins a year in recognition of the significant innovation and pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories. Coins will be issued in the order that the states entered the union followed by the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
As allowed by law (Public Law 115-197), the U.S. Mint is producing an introductory coin for the program that will be presented as part of the launch.
The obverse of the coin, which will be featured throughout the series, is a view of the Statue of Liberty in profile. The view of the upper third of her body with the torch extended to the edge of the coin with a plain background gives the image a quiet elegance that is not usual for a U.S. Mint design. It was designed by Justin Kunz of the Artistic Infusion Program with credit to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for pushing the U.S. Mint to come up with something different.
The reverse design of this introductory coin provides hope that the future of this program will not be mired in trite designs. It honors American Innovation by recognizing the first U.S. patent signed by President George Washington that was issued to Samuel Hopkins on July 31, 1790, for developing a process for making potash. The gears representing innovation appears next to Washington’s autograph.
The year, mint mark, and E PLURIBUS UNUM (Out of many, one) will appear on the edge of the coin as it does with all $1 coins since 2007.
Although it is a fantastic design worthy of a collection that includes the Native American Dollar designs, it will have the same impact as all dollar coins issued in the 21st century. It is a coin that will barely circulate and will not grab the attention of the U.S. public without its circulation.
Even though Congress creates these programs and has been told that this program will be a failure because the coins will not circulate alongside the paper dollar, they continue as if nothing is wrong. Even the Government Accounting Office, their own agency that helps with investigations and oversight of the federal government, has recommended eliminating the one-dollar note.
I will collect these coins as I have done for all of the special series introduced in the 21st century. But I will not be as enthusiastic about this series as I should be until something is done to make these coins circulate.
Each week I look at the news from the week in order to highlight something interesting. With the holiday season upon us, I was hoping to find something nice to write about. Instead, Kitco’s story about the increasing sales of silver and a marketplace that is now moving is more concerning than positive.
Precious metals are the investment of last resort. While some portfolios will diversify into metals for a safe haven, metals become active when there is uncertainty in the market. The trade wars between the United States and China have caused market players to reduce their risk by investing in silver.
Although most prefer gold, silver has been the metal of choice for the Chinese for hundreds of years. It has been the benchmark of their trade and the basis for their monetary system prior to all countries moving off precious metals standards. It was the basis of trade that the United States thought would be resolved by creating the Trade Dollar coin in 1873.
The rise in silver sales from the U.S. Mint is good in that it will increase seigniorage. It is not so good in that it indicates there is the potential for the markets to change course. Markets hate uncertainty and this could be their answer to the uncertainty brewing in trade between China and the United States.
And now the news…
November 28, 2018
Currencies / Fiat Currency The first gold coins appeared around 560 B.C. Over time it became a practice to store larger amounts of gold in warehouses. → Read more at marketoracle.co.uk
November 29, 2018
These days, you can't buy much with 5¢ – including the cost of making one. That's right, the cost of producing a 5¢ piece is about 5.059¢, and this is about the cheapest it's been in recent years. In 2015, the cost of producing a 5¢ piece hit a high of 7¢ due to the fluctuating cost of nickel and copper. → Read more at smh.com.au
November 29, 2018
Inmates in a Bulgarian prison were in for a shock when they stumbled across an enormous hoard of silver coins from the Ottoman Empire. The incredible haul was discovered alongside two broken treasure pots in a prison in the Bulgarian city of Pleven. → Read more at mirror.co.uk
December 2, 2018
The National Bank of Romania (BNR) has put into circulation, for numismatic purposes, a commemorative collector banknote with face value of lei 100 dedicated to the anniversary of 100 years since the Great Union on December 1, 1918. → Read more at romania-insider.com
December 3, 2018
Correcton:The U.S. Mint provided incorrect information on its website Monday morning, misstating the number of ounces sold in December. In an update of its sales data the U.S. → Read more at kitco.com
December 4, 2018
Rare gold coins and a golden earring have been discovered in the ancient Mediterranean port of Caesarea in northern Israel—possibly left and never recovered as Crusaders conquered the area 900 years ago. → Read more at phys.org
December 6, 2018
It was 150 years ago this month when one of Nevada's most treasured artifacts first arrived in Carson City. → Read more at carsonnow.org
December 6, 2018
Lianna Spurrier has the tooth fairy to thank for a hobby that transformed into sudden job opportunities. → Read more at thetrailblazeronline.net
December 8, 2018
This article first appeared in the Nevada Appeal on July 20, 2014. Abe Curry received papers on July 16, 1866, approving the start of construction on the Carson Mint.On → Read more at nevadaappeal.com
Every two years, the United States elects a new Congress to carry on the people’s legislative business. The election last month will have the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives and the Republicans with an additional two seats in the Senate. While this has some profound implications for the political environment of the country, what does it mean for future numismatic-related legislation?
First, we have to conclude the business of the 115th Congress. When it comes to numismatic-related accomplishments, this congressional session yielded only two laws:
- The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law No: 115-65)
- American Innovation $1 Coin Act (Public Law No: 115-97)
The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program will be issued in 2019 along with the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Program. The American Innovation $1 Coin Program will also begin in 2019 that will likely be as successful as the Presidential $1 Coin Program. Someday, Congress will learn that to see any success with the $1 coin that they have to eliminate the $1 paper note.
Through November, Congress has not acted on any numismatic-related legislation. There have been updates on various bills as the current Congress shuffles papers and as others try to attract additional co-sponsors in order to gain notice by the majority leaders.
Given the current state of chaos in Congress, it is difficult to predict what will be passed in December.
The 116th Congress will convene at noon on January 3, 2019, as required by the Constitution. Most of the first day is set aside for procedural issues including the formal election of leadership. Both chambers will then introduce their respective first bills which formalize the budget. This has been a tradition in Congress dating back to the Reagan Administration. It has also been a tradition for these bills be the biggest source of contention between the parties.
For the last three congressional sessions, the Republican-controlled House Financial Services Committee created a rule that required two-thirds of the members to co-sponsor any commemorative coin legislation to be considered. In reality, this has not helped or hurt any potential legislation since many of the bills that have passed have barely been debated in committee and have been passed by unanimous consent.
It is not known if incoming Financial Services Committee Chairperson, Maxine Waters (D-CA), will keep the same rules. Given the recent history of contentious relations between the parties, it would not be surprising for Waters to dust off the rules from the previous Democratically-controlled House for this session.
Congress has not passed a commemorative coin bill for 2020 and later. It could happen in the lame-duck session. Then again, anything is possible!
While watching the numismatic news that appears in non-numismatic sources, I noticed that regardless of the predictions of cashless societies taking over, there are a few countries with interest in coins for both commerce and collecting.
By far, the one country that seems to have an affinity for coins is India. The news consistently highlights collectors who have coin collections of all sizes and varieties. Whether it is someone who has collected old Indian coins dating back to the Britsh control of the country to someone that collects foreign coins from visitors, there seems to be a story about coin collectors in one of the many Indian news publications.
The other country I can count on for consistent numismatic-related stories is China. Aside from stories about coin shortages and how the poorer areas of the country are hoarding coins, Chinese collectors seem to gravitate toward precious metal coins. Interestingly, Chinese collectors seem to like silver coins even though investors are chasing gold. This is understandable since silver coins can be bigger and cost less.
Recently, it was reported that Chinese collectors are chasing platinum as an investment option. Reports are being circulated that Chinese markets are investing heavily in South African platinum mines allowing the production to increase. With the spot price of platinum ($802.00) lower than the spot prices of gold ($1,222.10) and palladium ($1,170.00), the growth of platinum investment options has grown. The Hang Seng ETF (exchange-traded funds) Index has noted a significant increase in the trading of platinum futures.
Several publications have asked if this means that China is attempting to corner the platinum market. Since I am not a financial analyst, I am not sure. As a numismatist, it is interesting to see that platinum has a growing interest in China.
And now the news…
November 15, 2018
Grab your metal detectors! We are seeking some of the most valuable treasures ever discovered. From buried treasures to sunken treasures, lying beneath villages, towns, cities, farms, riverbeds, and in… → Read more at invest.usgoldbureau.com
November 25, 2018
The National Bank of Romania (BNR) has issued several coins to mark the 100-year anniversary of Romania’s 1918 Union. They are a gold coin, a silver coin, and a brass collector coin for numismatic purposes, along with a brass commemorative circulation coin. → Read more at romania-insider.com
November 26, 2018
Limited edition gold and silver coins commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first issuance of the renminbi (RMB) currency and establishment of China's central bank went on sale in China last Friday. → Read more at gbtimes.com
November 26, 2018
The World Platinum Investment Council is pushing for new platinum products to lure Chinese investors into the metal, providing another source of demand for SA’s second-largest mineral export. Weibin Deng, China’s head at the council, which is financially backed by SA’s platinum producers to stimulate investment, outlined plans for coins, metal-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other products, targeting the country’s burgeoning middle class. → Read more at businesslive.co.za
November 26, 2018
The Celtic coins discovered in Slovakia were tetradrachms, which were the most precious coins available at the time. In the heart of Slovakia in Mošovce, archaeologists have unearthed 40 … → Read more at inquisitr.com
November 27, 2018
Welcome back for Part II of our Most Valuable Treasure Discoveries series. Below is a continuation of some of the most remarkable treasures unearthed in recent history. The Staffordshire Hoard… → Read more at invest.usgoldbureau.com
November 28, 2018
THE CENTRAL Bank of Ireland has unveiled a special commemorative coin created to mark 100 years since Irish women won the right to vote. → Read more at irishpost.com
I said that if we do not act that we would become victims!
A man came into my shop the other day. Like all new visitors, my assistant greeted him with her usual charm while he looked at the eclectic inventory in the showroom.
The man was different than others. On a slow morning, he lingered around the set of auction catalogs I have for sale while saying little to my assistant who felt uncomfortable with this man in the shop. Another customer came into the shop and my assistant took care of them while I watched this gentleman.
After a while, he came to me and, in a heavy accent I could not identify, asked if I was the store’s owner. He pulled out a few folded pieces of paper and showed me a sheet with the article “Coin jewelry is not legal everywhere” I wrote on this blog in April 2016.
He pointed to one of the pictures and asked if I knew anything about the coin. I asked why and he said he was interested in purchasing one. For some reason, I had a feeling that he might have had other interests in mind.
Resin ear rings made by InspiringFlowers using Roosevelt dimes
Hummingbird cut from a Trinidad and Tobago penny by SawArtist
1996 Half Dollar Ring by LuckyLiberty
Examples of the coin jewelry from the orignal post
I explained to that I do not carry a lot of jewelry since it is not a specialty of my business. When I do have jewelry in stock it does not sell well. He opened the paper and asked if I knew anything about the jewelry on the page.
I explained that the article he is holding is from a blog post I made explaining how some countries have restrictions regarding the usage of their coins for jewelry. When he pressed for more information I said that it was noted in the posting that the images came from Etsy and I do not know any of the sellers. Their goods were used as an example for the posting.
It felt like I was being interrogated. I asked if he was a member of law enforcement or any other government investigative agency, he mumbled something I did not like. I asked him to leave. My assistant had called the police.
The police arrived and escorted the man out of the shop and questioned him before letting him drive away in his own vehicle. I noted the license plate. The officer came inside and said that this will be handled elsewhere and that I was not to report it any further.
About a week later, I was visited by someone representing a federal agency and a member of federal law enforcement who wanted to question me about the incident. After they produced proper identification, we went into my office to discuss the matter.
I was told that the man who came into my shop was an agent for an unnamed foreign government. This government has been visiting collectible stores and shows to intimidate people into “returning cultural items” from that country. The country that this person represents considers this legal even though it violates my Fifth Amendment right of due process.
Apparently, the person that visited my shop is responsible for the “confiscation” of items from more than a dozen antiques and collectibles shops in the mid-Atlantic region.
It is not the first time we have heard the foreign governments have tried to go around the United States’ right of due process by trying to confiscate coins under the guise that they are “national treasures.” In 2013, I wrote “Why you should care about restrictions on collecting ancient coins” sounding an alarm for people to act.
People did not act or act strongly enough. It has allowed a foreign government to pervert the 1970 UNESCO Convention’s intent to steal legally obtained inventory from United States businesses they claim are national treasures.
In the next few weeks, I will be writing a short position paper to present to the American Numismatic Association in order to get them to work to protect collectors. It is time that the ANA and other numismatic organizations work together to protect the hobby and stop kowtowing to every country who wants to retroactively make a claim against United States business because a foreign government said so.