Weekly World Numismatic News for July 17, 2018

Thomas Rawlins Oxford Crown coin that minted in 1644. Only 100 of these coins were produced under the reign of Charles I.
(Image courtesy of The Sun.)

This past week’s news had two stories about coin finds that makes me a little jealous.

Workers cleaning out the cellar in an abandoned home in Brittany, a northwest region in France, discovered a shell-shaped container that rattled when shaken. Inside the container were 600 Belgian gold coins dated 1870. The obverse of the coins had the portrait of Leopold II, then the reigning monarch of Belgium.

Local media reported that the coins could be worth 100,000 euros or about $116,000 at the current exchange rate.

As reigning monarch in Belgium, as democratic reforms were sweeping through Europe, Leopold II had little power except to expand his empire. He did so by using explorer Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo. Leopold was a harsh ruler in the Congo as he depleted the country of its two major resources: ivory and rubber. After, gaining a fortune Leopold basically went on a spending spree.

By 1908, Leopold was forced to give up control of the Congo to be managed as a legitimate Belgium colony. Belguim Congo gained independence in 1960 and became the Republic of the Congo.

There have been several hoards of Belgium gold coins from the Leopold II era that has been driving down the price of all coins. Add that European history does not portray him well makes his reign very unpopular.

The other find was by a woman in Hull, or more properly, Kingston upon Hull in the United Kingdom. She was cleaning out her loft and found a coin collection she inherited from her grandfather. She offered the coins to her children but they declined, believing the coins were junk.

Wanting to know more, she went to get the coins appraised and found that she had a Thomas Rawlins Oxford Crown coin that minted in 1644. Only 100 of these coins were produced under the reign of Charles I. It has an estimated value of £100,00 ($132,729 at the current exchange rate).

The lesson we should learn is to find those old boxes, containers, tins, or anything else that was given to you by a relative and do not assume it is junk. Have them appraised because you never know what you might find!

And now the news…

 June 10, 2018

©Belga Demolition workers in the French town of Pont-Aven in Brittany have uncovered a fortune in Belgian gold coins worth €100,000. The coins date back to 1870, and show the notorious king Leopold II on the reverse. → Read more at brusselstimes.com


 June 11, 2018

French gendarmes say workers paid to demolish an uninhabited house in Brittany made an unexpected discovery in the cellar — 600 gold coins. The Pont-Aven gendarmerie said the workers discovered the coins after rattling a mysterious, shell-shaped container. → Read more at abc.net.au


 June 12, 2018

Liza Minnelli famously sang about the role of money in the award-winning Broadway play Cabaret, saying “Money makes the world go round.” Oscar Wilde cleverly wrote about it, as well, stating “When I was young, I used to think that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know it is.” → Read more at jasper52.com


 June 13, 2018

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A one of a kind 18th century gold coin bearing the likeness of the first U.S. President, George Washington, is expected to fetch more than $1 million when it goes up for auction in August, auctioneers said on Wednesday. → Read more at in.reuters.com


 June 13, 2018

A GRANDMOTHER found a rare 17th century coin worth £100,000 in a box of junk she was about to dump. The 69-year-old from Hull was clearing out her loft when she discovered the Thomas Rawlins Oxford Crown coin, minted in 1644. → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 June 13, 2018

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has released the designs of its commemorative banknotes and coins for Nelson Mandela’s birth centenary, ahead of the launch on July 13. The central bank on Wednesday issued a statement indicating that test packs of the commemorative notes were made available to the cash industry to make preparations for cash processing, cash dispensing machines and ticket machines, among other things. → Read more at fin24.com


 June 16, 2018

Family Fortunes: A sniper shot and seriously wounded him in east Belfast in 1922 → Read more at irishtimes.com


 June 16, 2018

A one of a kind 18th century gold coin bearing the likeness of the first U.S. President, George Washington, is expected to fetch more than $1 million when it goes up for auction in August, auctioneers said on Wednesday. → Read more at reuters.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for May 27, 2018

Saudi Arabia to replace the one-riyal note with coins (Image courtesy of Asharq Al-Awsat)

Another country has decided to stop printing its unit currency and will strike coins instead. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority announced that they will be replacing the one-riyal (SR1) notes with coins.

SAMA made the announcement as part of their introduction of new coin designs using modern techniques in coin manufacturing.

Under their transition plan, SAMA will allow the SR1 paper note to circulate alongside the new coin as the notes will be withdrawn from circulation. When the coins become available, the banks will be ordered to replace the SR1 note with a coin based on an availability formula that will be provided when the coins are ready for circulation.

According to Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the company that runs the network that enables the world’s financial institutions to security send financial transactions to each other, the United States dollar makes up 40.86-percent of every transaction in the world (as of February 2017). The United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the measure of an economy’s output, is over $19 trillion (in 2017 according to the International Monetary Fund) more than any country or trading cooperative (such as the European Union). But the United States is the only country ranked in the Top 10 of either of these lists to continue to produce its unit currency in paper form.

For a country that is supposed to be a leader, it looks like the United States has fallen behind the rest of the world. It is time to eliminate the one-dollar Federal Reserve Note.

And now the news…

 May 20, 2018

A new £1 coin could actually end up earning you hundreds thanks to a Royal Mint 'error'. Three examples of the error have already been seen by ChangeChecker – and they are selling for more than £200. → Read more at bristolpost.co.uk


 May 22, 2018

Prosecutors won’t pursue charges against a drummer accused of stealing rare coins and a passport from famed New Orleans musician Fats Domino. → Read more at pagesix.com


 May 22, 2018

The sifting project, which has operated since 2004 in the Emek Tzurim National Park, aims to salvage religious and historical artifacts from the rubble, as well as to educate the public about the veracity of Jewish history on the Mount. → Read more at jns.org


 May 22, 2018

Aaron Judge and Michael Conforto are two of the young stars that New York baseball fans have been buzzing about the past two years. Now fans of the Yankees and Mets outfielders can now get the star… → Read more at nysportsday.com


 May 24, 2018

2018 Baseball Treasure MLB Coins checklist, release date, silver and gold coin info and all you need to know about the officially licensed set of baseball coins. → Read more at beckett.com


 May 25, 2018

The much-ballyhooed summit between the United States and North Korea met its end Thursday. The cancellation, for now, stamps out the prospects for peace, yet does nothing to stop the snazzy coins featuring Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in front of patriotic backdrops surrounded by olive branches → Read more at cnn.com


 May 25, 2018

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) will start withdrawing SR1 banknotes from the market from Thursday, SAMA has said. In a statement, SAMA announced issuing its sixth edition, which was developed during the reign of the Custodian of the Two → Read more at aawsat.com

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Small Cash and a Pill

Sometimes it can be fun to search through junk boxes or bags of foreign coins. While you can see a lot of the same coins accumulate in these bags there are others that look interesting.

During our local coin club meeting, members bring in coins to sell to other members. One member, a very prolific collector, had a large plastic bag of circulated foreign coins. I was first drawn to the back by some of the shapes I found. I grabbed a handful and one coin fell on the table that really caught my eye.

It was a small coin. A very small coin. Nobody had a caliper but it was really small. Even though I was looking at the different shapes, I found this very small round coins intriguing. What was it?

Although I should become better at recognizing languages that are not based on the Latin alphabet, I asked my fellow club member if they could help identify the coin. He said that he could not identify the coin but recognized the lettering as being from India.

With that knowledge, I did not have to search the entire Standard Catalog of World Coins to figure it out. Start at the beginning of the Indian coins and see what we could find.

After a few minutes of looking, I found the listing. Then I found a second one that was very similar. Which coin did I have and where did it come from?

Travancore One Cash coin (KM #40). Undated but was struck from 1901 through 1910.

The coin is from the Princely State of Travancore. It was located in the southwest of the Indian subcontinent. Travancore became its own state in 1729 when it passed under Muslim control. Its economy was driven by making an alliance with the East India Company to freely use its ports for trade. Because of this arrangement, Travancore was never a part of the British Empire and continued to remain independent until 1949 when India was united as one country.

Only two rulers issued coins in the State. Rama Varma VI lead from 1885 through 1924 and Bala Rama Varma II ruled from 1924 through the end of the kingdom in 1949. Coins were issued by the kingdom to make up for lost revenues when the British became distracted by other world events.

Regardless of which version of the coin, it is a “ONE CASH” coin made of copper. The obverse is a sankha (conch shell) in an 8-pointed star with the reverse reading “Onu Kasu’ (one cash).

One version, under the rule of Rama Varma VI, was .65 grams of copper (KM #40) and the other, under the rule of Bala Rama Varma II, is .48 grams of copper (KM #57). Since my scale is not that sensitive, I had to find another way to diagnose this coin.

According to the SCWC, KM #57 was struck on a thin planchet that measures .8 mm. After making sure that my digital caliper can measure 1 mm, using a piece of metal that is 1 mm thick, I would be reasonably certain I could determine which coin I have.

Measuring both coins, the caliper read 1.02 mm giving evidence that this is the early version of the coin (KM #40)

Given the difference of only .22 mm, the only way to tell the difference would be either to weight the coins or use a caliper.

Since I had the caliper out, I measured the diameter and found it to be 10.72 mm.

For fun, I had to determine whether it was smaller than the 1904 Panama 2½ Centesimos coin, better known as the Panama Pill. Previously, I wrote that the Panama Pill was 10 mm in diameter. After finding the coin and measuring it, it was 10.12 mm in diameter making it than a little more than a ½ of a millimeter smaller than the Travancore One Cash coin.

Travancore One Cash coin from the early 20th century versus the 1904 2½ Centesimos coin, better known as the Panama Pill.

On a quick look, it appears that the most common “small” coin size is 15 mm. Some are slightly larger but not many smaller. The only other coin I found is a British 1½ pence coin that was struck for Ceylon, British Guiana, British West Indies and Mauritius that is 12 mm in diameter, I cannot find any smaller.

Surrounding the United States Dime is a 1904 Panama 2½ Centesimos coin (Panama Pill) and a 1901-1910 Travancore One Cash coin.

If anyone knows of smaller coins, please let me know.

When going picking, check the bookcase

When I go picking I look for the unusual. Whenever I walk into an estate sale or any other picking opportunity, I will find the most remote area and work from there. In most homes, I head for the basement and the garage. These are the places that people store things they did not want to throw out, It is where I find the most unusual items.

Lately, I have been finding that buying old books can be just as interesting. Aside from cultivating a small clientele of interested customers, I have found that people hide things in books, especially old books.

Not long ago I visited a difficult to find estate sale hoping to find something interesting. I did not find much but there were some books that had possibilities. At $2 each, I felt I could find a few gems.

Based on the type of books I found, the owner had a passion for European history. In addition to travel books and books about European influence on United States society, there was a two-volume set written in French.

My French is good enough to figure out that the books were published in 1899 Paris and were from the first printing of the first edition. For book collectors, once the book meets the condition test, these are the books they like. Since they were in good condition with nice covers I added them to my pile.

This past week I was going looking through the box of books. As I was cataloging them I will either scan the pages or fan them to see if I find something. Within these two volumes of French language books on European history, I found money.

I was a little surprised to see notes from the Central Bank of Egypt. Seven different Egyptian notes, mostly from the late 1980s. The face value of the notes totals 13 pounds.

Aside from being mostly in horrible condition, I do not recall any indication of books, magazines, or catalogs referencing Egypt of the Middle East or North Africa.

The best-looking note is a 25 piastre note (Pick #57a) but it looks water damaged. It was probably water damaged before being stored between the pages of the book since the book shows no effects from the storage.

Although the notes can be worth $5 for the 25 piastre note to $25 for the 5-pound note, that would be if they were in better condition. I am not sure the entire lot is worth $5!

The moral of this story is that if you go picking at estate sales, check the bookcase. You never know what might fall out when you fan the pages.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 1, 2018 (No Fooling!)

Philippines Rep. Jericho Nograles holds newly release BSP coins noting they “are misleading the public and are causing a lot of confusion.” (Miguel de Guzman of the Philippines Star.)

A story that might sound a bit familiar to anyone who was around to experience the launch of the Susan B. Anthony dollars is the story how a design decision made by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines or BSP) causes confusion about the denomination of two coins.

For those who did not have the pleasure of accidentally spending the dollar coin as a quarter, the Susie B. was too close to the size to the Washington quarter, had reeded edges like the Washington quarter, and on a simple glance was consistently confused with the Washington quarter. The confusion made the coin very unpopular in the United States even though it continues to find usage in other countries whose currency is based on the U.S. dollar.

In the Philippines, the BSP made the mistake of making the one-peso and five-peso coins very similar in size, look, and feel. It is so bad that a member of the Philippines Congress is urging the BSP to recall the coins.

“Basic design principles for coinage demand that the denominations are easy to distinguish not just visually, but also through touch or tactile differences,” said Rep. Jericho Nograles. “Our new coins fail in these principles.”

The story almost reads like discussions others have had with coin design issues when Nograles asks, “Did the BSP consider jeepney, pedicab, tricycle and taxi drivers? Did they consider the visually impaired, and senior citizens, at all?”

They likely did not and will have to be dragged into reality kicking and screaming like the Bureau of Engraving and Printing had to be over the same issues.

And now the news…

 March 25, 2018

You may want to check your pockets to look for one of the most elusive Korean coins there is — the 1998 500 won coin. Though the odds of you finding one of these coins is almost nil, you never know when you might just hit the jackpot — stranger things have happened. → Read more at korea.stripes.com


 March 26, 2018

A hoard of rare bronze Jewish Revolt coins has been discovered at the recently renewed Ophel excavations. The trove of dozens of bronze coins minted during the last years of the ill-fated four-year rebellion of the Jews against Roman rule was uncovered in a cave just south of the Temple Mount by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 March 27, 2018

KUMAGAYA, Saitama Prefecture — One of the biggest hauls of medieval coins ever discovered in Japan has been unearthed in Saitama Prefecture. Tens of thousands of bronze coins were found in a buried ceramic jar believed to date back to the first half of the 15th century. → Read more at asahi.com


 March 28, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Jericho Nograles of party-list group Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta yesterday urged the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to immediately recall all its newly released coins due to “serious design flaws.” → Read more at philstar.com


 March 28, 2018

The first coins to be issued marking the reign of King Rama X will be put into circulation on April 6, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said on Wednesday. The new coins would replace existing coins, which were exiting the economy. → Read more at bangkokpost.com


 March 28, 2018

The decision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to introduce a new series of coins was meant to deter foreign entities from stealing large quantities of the local specie to extract their nickel content. → Read more at business.inquirer.net


 March 29, 2018

The Queen carries out the Royal Maundy service at Windsor Castle without the Duke of Edinburgh. → Read more at bbc.com


 March 30, 2018

Three new glow-in-the-dark starship coins are coming soon, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint. → Read more at trektoday.com

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Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 25, 2018

2015 1 Dirham coin from the UAE celebrating the Accession Day of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai (Image courtesy of Numista)

Earlier this month, The National, a site that carries news for the United Arab Emirates, published a story about a 17-year-old numismatist collecting UAE 1 Dirham (Dh1) coins.

In the original article, Nihad Hassan, an Indian living in the Abu Dhabi, liked the design of the Dh1 coins and started collecting them. One coin that was difficult to find was the 2015 Dh1 coin issued to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed as Crown Prince of Dubai. As part of the article, he asked if someone could help him find a coin.

This past week, The National reported that an Indian working in a local grocery store found the coin and gave it to Hassan.

The original report was seen around the country and helped gain attention. Hassan reported that he received many emails offering to sell the coin to others who wanted to just give the young numismatist the coin in order to encourage him and his hobby.

Could this be a lesson to encourage more people to look at their coins, especially here in the United States? What if more media outlets wrote about young collectors and allowed members of the public to donate the coins to help these budding collectors complete their collection? Could hobby shops of all types that buy from the public use their space to create collections of state or national park quarters that will be given to younger children to learn about collecting? What if the store created a credit system whereby you bring the coins and you get a store credit?

It would be a form of community collecting. Maybe the collections could be auctioned for charity. Something for those in business to think about.

And now the news….

 March 16, 2018

A young numismatist in search of a rare coin has had the elusive bit donated to his collection after members of the community heard his story and rallied around to help. Nihad Hassan had been searching for the Dh1 coin that was issued in 2015 on the seventh anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed as Crown Prince of Dubai. → Read more at thenational.ae


 March 17, 2018

Prince Charles is getting a special £5 coin made to celebrate his 70th birthday. The Queen has also ordered a £25 platinum coin to commemorate the special occasion. The prince has already had special currency made for his first wedding and 50th and 60th birthdays so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise he’s getting more. → Read more at metro.co.uk


 March 17, 2018

The government has ruled out scrapping 1p and 2p coins, despite launching a consultation into the use of cash. And if you’re among the 60% of people who immediately save, lose or even throw out pennies you receive, think again – these small coins can be worth more than you think. → Read more at which.co.uk


 March 19, 2018

In 2007 Alexander Shapovalov suggested an unusual coin-weighing problem for the sixth international Kolmogorov math tournament [5]. A judge is presented with 80 coins that all look the same, knowing that there are either two or three fake coins among them. → Read more at scientificamerican.com


 March 19, 2018

Mickey Mouse money became, from Tuesday, legal tender in France, after the national mint, Monnaie de Paris, released a series of commemorative coins bearing the image of Disney's iconic cartoon creation. → Read more at connexionfrance.com


 March 20, 2018

A contest is now underway honoring one of the Capital Region’s greatest war heroes. Ferris Coin Company in Albany announced they’re handing out two $1,000 prizes for whoever can design the best commemorative coin for the late Sergeant Henry Johnson, who served in World War I. → Read more at cbs6albany.com


 March 20, 2018

Much of the information in this article is from "The Mint on Carson Street," by Rusty Goe. Whenever I take people on tours through the Nevada State Museum, one of my favorite exhibits is the original coin press and the nearly complete collection of gold and silver Carson City coins minted there. → Read more at nevadaappeal.com


 March 22, 2018

The United States Mint recently released a new limited edition coin under its Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Program to increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for research, according to a press release. → Read more at breastcancer-news.com


 March 22, 2018

Video It could be a story line straight out of the hit television series Detectorists. But instead of Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones in the leading roles, the stars of this show are Norwich residents Damon Pye and his wife Denise. → Read more at edp24.co.uk


 March 25, 2018

A 1787 New York Brasher Doubloon, one of the first gold coins to be struck in the United States, has been sold for more than $5 million (£3. → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

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These Chihuahuas are not dogs

This past week, I was looking into a box I purchased from an estate and I found a plastic bag of old foreign currency. When I removed the notes, I found common notes that can usually be purchased from estate especially since he was a career military officer. There was everything from German Notgeld to several European and Asian countries.

During my search, I found three notes that were intriguing. All three notes were from El Estado de Chihuahua, the State of Chihuahua. They were beautifully preserved (albeit with a fold down the center) one-, five-, and ten-peso notes with the same design but in different colors.

Under the printed denomination are the words “Conforme al Decreto Militar de Fecha Io de Febrero de 1914” (Pursuant to the Military Decree dated February 1914). I vaguely remember that was the era of Pancho Villa and his romp through the southwest United States. Time to refresh my history.

After the 35-yearlong regime of Porfirio Diaz, he was challenged in the presidential election by Francisco I Madero in 1910. Madero was in favor of reform and social justice. But Diaz fixed the election declaring he won by a landslide.

Before the election Diaz had Madero jailed and when it became obvious the election was fixed, Madero supporter Toribio Ortega formed a militia in Chihuahua to oust Diaz.

While in jail, Madero issued a “letter from jail” that declared the Diaz presidency illegal and called for a revolt against Diaz. The revolt began in November 1910. Diaz was ousted and a new election was held in October 1911 that elected Madero the 33rd President of Mexico.

Mexico was divided into districts managed by different governments and protected by rebel leaders including Pascual Orozco, Pancho Villa, and Emiliano Zapata. Eventually, they turned on Madero and assassinated him on February 13, 1913.

The United States first played a role in 1914 when Pancho Villa plundered parts of New Mexico. In 1916, Gen John J. Pershing was sent to Mexico to capture Villa but could not do so since Villa was hiding in the mountains of northern Mexico. Pershing was able to get some of the fighting to stop and, along with the Catholic Church and several affiliated political parties, forced the negotiation of the Constitution of 1917.

Although the notes were authorized in February 1914, the Chihuahua government did not have the ability to print notes. Eventually, they contracted with the American Banknote Company to produce the notes. They were issued in 1915.

To expedite production, all notes feature the same design engraved with different denominations and printed using different colored inks. Many of the elements used were standard to American Banknote’s catalog, for these notes, the portrait on the left is of Francisco I. Madero and the portrait on the right is Governor Abraham Gonzalez. Each features three signatures of the Tesorero General (General Treasury), Gobernator (Governor), and Interventor (Controller). As with many signatures, it is difficult to interpret their names from the handwriting. Please contact me if you have more information.

Reverse if these notes feature a framed picture of the Palacio de Gobierno do Chihuahua (Government Palace of Chihuahua) held by two griffins. When the notes were issued from the banks in Chihuahua, they received a red stamp from Tesorero General del Estado Chihuahua (General Treasury of the State of Chihuahua) along with the stamped initials of the issuing teller. When the notes were issued, the teller was supposed to stamp the date on the reverse but that was not universally practiced.

In addition to the one-, five-, and ten-peso notes, the Chihuahua government issued 20- and 50-peso notes as well as a 50-centavos fractional note. Both the 20- and 50-peso notes featured the same design except the 20-peso note was printed using brown ink and the 50-peso was printed with a bright green on the front and a golden yellow on the reverse.

The 50-centavo fractional note used a different design and was smaller than the pesos. It was also printed by the American Banknote Company.

These notes were demonetized in 1917 with the signing of the new constitution.

An Educational Opportunity

Money is history in your hands. Look at what can be learned from finding three banknotes and exploring their past and how they fit into history.

Here is an idea for history teachers: you can go to any coin show and find a dealer with a junk box of foreign currency—find more than one if you can to increase the variety. Pick through the box and try to find as many different pieces of currency you can. Try to find a mix of countries, regions, and dates. You can also consider the same country but from different eras of rulers, who always wanted to see their portrait on their country’s money.

Before going to class, place each note in an envelope and place the envelope in a bag. Either pass the bag around the room or have each student come up and pick one envelope. After they pick their currency note, have them write an essay about the note and what the note represents. Have the students look up the history and put it in context of when the note was issued.

Rather than picking a topic, it is a fun way to have the students select a topic and make history come to life. The decisions as to whether the students get to keep the currency are up to you. Maybe you can talk to a local shop or club to see if they would be willing to donate the currency and come in to talk about currency collecting.

Weekly Numismatic World News for October 15, 2017

The old Round Pound and the new 12-sided £1 coin

As you read this, the old round £1 coins have ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

British news outlets are reporting that millions of the old round pounds are still in circulation but that might not be bad news for many Britons. There are reports that many coin-operated systems have not been converted to take the new 12-sided £1 coin including supermarkets, where a £1 pound coin is necessary to “rent” a trolley, what the British call their shopping cart.

Two of the U.K.’s largest grocery store chains have announced they will continue to accept the round pound through the end of October because their trolley systems are not ready.

Charities are getting into the act by accepting the old round pound as donations. Many charities will continue to accept the coin through the final redemption period in March 2018 as donations. The charities are working with banks to deposit the coins.

It has been fascinating to read the news of how the U.K. has tried to adapt to the new coin. The biggest issue has been with the use of coin-operated equipment like trolley rentals and parking meters. It is a lesson to any active economy, such as her in the United States, as to what could happen should the composition of U.S. coins change.

Although there have been discussions as to whether to change the composition of United States coinage, it is not likely to happen for many reasons. What may be gaining support is dropping the $1 Federal Reserve Note in favor of a dollar coin. This would not require changes in coin-operated systems but a change in attitudes. Given how resilient Americans can be, it would be possible to end production of the $1 FRN and just endure the kvetching that will ensue. That will end when people get used the coin.

And now the news…

 October 9, 2017

LeRoy Transfield A photo of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Native Contingent. Utah sculptor LeRoy Transfield had two uncles who served in the unit during World War I. → Read more at deseretnews.com


 October 11, 2017

The discovery of gold rings and coins on a Swedish island sheds new light on the history of the area, and could give insight into the motives for a massacre which took place in the fifth century, archaeologists told The Local on Wednesday. → Read more at thelocal.se


 October 12, 2017

Share → Read more at adweek.com


 October 12, 2017

People buy gold in various forms like jewellery, coins etc. Here are 7 things to know if you are buying gold coins this Diwali. → Read more at economictimes.indiatimes.com


 October 13, 2017

The Carl Brashear Foundation wants to bring its namesake’s legacy home to the veterans center that soon will bear his name. → Read more at thenewsenterprise.com


 October 14, 2017

By Katie Lange Defense Media Activity → Read more at dodlive.mil


 October 15, 2017

Shoppers have one day left to spend their old round £1 coins before they cease to become legal tender at midnight. Hundreds of millions of round pounds are yet to be handed in, as only hours remain before the coin drops out of general circulation.  However, major banks and building societies have said they will continue to accept the old coins after the deadline on Sunday.  They can also be deposited into any of the usual high street banks or through the Post Office. → Read more at independent.co.uk


 October 15, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017 → Read more at jamaicaobserver.com


 October 15, 2017

Currency modernization will help secure our financial futures and save billions of dollars for taxpayers. → Read more at cnbc.com

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Image courtesy of the Royal Mint.

As round pound winds down the number of fake errors are rising

As the British are winding down the use of the Round Pound, stories are once again popping up about errors of the new 12-sided pound coin being sold for high prices on eBay.

Although the Royal Mint has admitted to manufacturing issues in trying to produce enough new pound coins to satisfy circulation requirements, their claim that the number of errors where the center are missing of the bi-metallic coins is likely post-minting errors.

A weak strike can prevent the two metals from fusing properly allowing them to separate

In other words, they are suggesting that people are removing the centers of the coin to claim they are errors.

To better understand why it is being claimed these are post-mint errors, I contacted a European-based dealer who has relationships with many of the continent’s mints. What follows is a summary of his explanation.

The Royal Mint coins money in a process similar to any other mint. Planchets are prepared, sent the coining press, stamped, dumped into a hopper, and sent down a conveyor where they are bagged. The bags are weight to a precise weight before the bags are accepted. Along the way, there are cameras and other sensors to detect errors.

All of the checks and sensors, including the weight of the coin, would be caught long before reaching the bagging section. Aside from the dimensions not being correct, the weight of the ring or center by themselves would not be up to the standard.

It is possible that the coins could separate in the bags during transport. However, these coins are transported to government authorized handlers. Some of them are similar to the companies that drive armored trucks here in the United States. They take the coins and prepare them for delivery to the banks.

The preparation process requires coins to be counted, rolled, and bagged. As part of the process, the coins are loaded into a system that transfers them to an automated line that brings the coins by conveyor to a machine that will either roll them or dump them in a bag. In both cases, the contents are limited by the amount they hold.

As part of the automated system, the coins are counted and check for size and weight so that if there are any coins that do not meet the Royal Mint’s standards are removed. The automated system would catch the ring and the center if they separated before the process.

Coins that are to be rolled are sent to a machine to roll them where they are counted and placed in rolls of £25 each. Those rolls are for bank and retail use and handled accordingly.

Bagged coins are used by bulk handlers such as the coin-op industry. Bags with £100 of coins are counted before being placed in the bag. If the coin cannot be verified before it is placed in the bag then the coin is rejected.

Is it possible for the coin to separate in the £100 pound bag prior to circulation? Of course, it is. However, there is one more check before the coins reach the consumer, and that is the coin-op machine itself.

Coin-op machines have mechanisms to try to prevent accepting counterfeit money and to ensure it is giving the proper change. Machines just do not eject any coin in its hopper. These checks include the weight, dimensions, and magnetic signature. The magnetic signature measures what happens after magnetic energy is flashed on the coin. Think about it as measuring how the coin would reflect light but use magnetism instead.

A pound coin that had separated would not pass the magnetic signature test and be rejected.

Although there are a number of points along the process that could fail, the number of checks between the Royal Mint and the consumer, it is highly unlikely that all of these separated pound coins exist.

It is possible that the coins being sold are from the reject bins of coin-op machines. However, the dealer I spoke with is suspicious of the number of coins being sold.

Trial strikes found without the effigy of Queen Elizabeth, II

This dealer told me that he will not buy 12-sided pound coins dated 2016 without their centers. Technically, they are not coins because they originally did not have the portrait of Queen Elizabeth on the front. Under British law, all legal tender coins must have the image of the monarch on the front. In 2016, the Royal Mint created about 2000 of these 12-sided test slugs for businesses to test coin-op systems ahead of the conversion. The dealer community has serious doubts that the test slugs had these errors and believes that people separated the centers from the rings.

My dealer contact said that nobody should pay more than “three-and-a-half quid” (£3.50 or $4.64 at the current exchange rate) for just a 12-sided pound outer ring. Even if it is not a legitimate Royal Mint error it is a nice conversation piece.

Examples of legitimate 12-sided £1 coin errors
Credits

Polymer notes in UK will continue to have tallow

Victoria Cleland, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, presenting the Churchill War Rooms with their New Fiver

Last year, vegan activists in the United Kingdom became apoplectic when they discovered that the manufacture of the pellets used to make the substrate for the polymer banknotes contained trace amounts of tallow.

Tallow is made from suet, the fatty deposits around the organs of cows and sheep. It is a byproduct of the process of butchering a cow for its meat and hides. In its natural form, suet is only used for cooking and some preservation. When it is rendered (by boiling) into tallow, it is used to manufacture soap, candles, and lubricants. The use of tallow in even the most synthetic lubricant is ubiquitous. Machines used to harvest crops or grease moving parts in automobiles have tallow in them.

Since the uproar from vegan activists, the Bank of England spent a lot of time and a lot of money to research the environmental and social impact of tallow in the notes.

The amount of paperwork that was generated for this issue is astounding. They looked at everything from the use of alternative lubricants, like palm oil, to the religious and social impacts to Her Majesty’s loyal subjects. In the final report, the Bank of England even summarized the response when they reached out to “representative groups,” both religious and activists organizations.

All that time and money led to the decision to “ not change the composition of the polymer used for future notes.” Why? Because the costs and environmental impact to using alternatives like palm oil would be more expensive, the notes have such low amounts of tallow, typically less than 0.05-percent (five-one-hundredths of a percent) of derived animal products, and the rest of the community just does not see this as a problem!

It is like I said in my original post, they are probably breathing more dander in a single day than they are touching tallow in all of the polymer banknotes that cross their paths. Tallow is used in all sorts of lubrication products, especially those used in transportation. It is everywhere.

I hope the vegans can either learn to live within society’s decisions or find another way to pay for goods and services, like using credit cards.

Image courtesy of Innovia Security.

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