Meme Monday!

During a quick diversion on Facebook after posting a job for my new business, I found this post. I think it is appropriate for everyone!

I hope your Monday was as exciting as finding an Indian Head cent in your coin roll!

If not, have another cup of coffee and try again on Tuesday! 😉

Ice Hockey and Lord Stanley’s Cup highlighted with numismatics

Hockey is to Canada as baseball and basketball is to the United States.

125th Anniversary of the Stanley Cup® — 3 oz. Pure Silver Coin (2017)

Although all sports are represented throughout North America, ice hockey is purely a Canadian invention. Although there are records of hockey being played as far back as ancient Egypt, the first appearance of hockey played on the ice dates to the early 19th century in Nova Scotia.

The early game was derived from the North American Natives game of shinney but played on the ice. From Nova Scotia, the game spread to the people living along the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal and Quebec. It quickly spread west to Ontario.

Montreal is to hockey as Springfield, Massachusetts is to basketball. The first organized games were played in Montreal where the first organized rules were formed. The first ice hockey club was the McGill University Hockey Club founded in 1877. This was followed by the Quebec Hockey Club in 1878 and the Montreal Victorias in 1881.

2017 25-cent 125th Anniversary of The Stanley Cup® Special Wrap Coin Roll

Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada, attended his first game in 1888 with his children who were hockey fans. Lord Stanley became a fan and noticed that there was no championship trophy awarded to the best team in Canada. He purchased a silver bowl to use as a trophy and created The Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. It was first awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club.

While ice hockey was dominating in Canada, universities in the United States had their own version of ice polo played with a ball rather than a puck. The first game between collegiate hockey clubs was played in 1893 in Baltimore when Yale beat Johns Hopkins 2-1.

Lord Stanley’s sons were so enthusiastic about hockey that they traveled the world to introduce the sport to others. By 1903 they organized a five-team European league.

The Western Pennsylvania Hockey League was formed in Pittsburgh in 1898 which primarily operated in areas within a four-hour train ride from Pittsburgh. Most of the professional players were from Canada. In 1904, a rival International Professional Hockey League was formed to include Canadian cities.

With all of the competing leagues, the National Hockey Association was formed in 1908 to organize professional hockey in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. With western Canada feeling left out, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) was formed to stretch professional hockey across Canada. The two leagues negotiated a championship between them that the winner of the series would will what was then being called the Stanley Cup first awarded by Lord Stanley.

1.5 oz. Pure Silver Coin – 100th Anniversary of the NHL® (2017)

World War I and a dispute between the owners and Toronto Blueshirts owner Eddie Livingstone saw the fall of the NHA in 1917. As part of their attempt to reorganize, owners formed the National Hockey League. The NHL was supposed to be a temporary measure until disputes were worked out but its success continues.

The original NHL included the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and the newly created Toronto Arenas. The Wanderers disbanded in 1918 after the Montreal Arena burned down. In 1919, the NHA’s Quebec Bulldogs joined the league bringing the number of teams back to four.

The Toronto Arenas won the first NHL championship in 1918 and then defeated the Vancouver Millionaires of the PCHA for the Stanley Cup.

The NHL expanded but found itself hurt by the Great Depression and the onset of World War II. By the 1942-43 season, the league was reduced to what has been referred to as The Original Six, the six teams that were the NHL from 1942 until the first expansion in 1967. The original six are the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

1/2 oz. Pure Silver Coloured Coin – Passion to Play: Montreal Canadiens® (2017)

Today there are 31 teams with 24 operating in the United States and seven in Canada. The oldest team is the Montreal Canadiens whose history dates back to the NHA. The Toronto Maple Leafs can trace their history to the Toronto Blue Shirts of the NHA but does not acknowledge a direct lineage.

Since its first presentation by Lord Stanley of Preston in 1893, the Stanley Cup has been awarded 101 times. It is the oldest team championship trophy in existence. The Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup 24 times, the most by any team. The Detroit Red Wings hold the United States record for 11 Stanley Cup victories.

Currently, the Washington Capitals are winning in the Stanley Cup Finals 3-1 against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Capitals played their first season in 1974-75 and appeared in the Stanley Cup finals once, in the 1997-1998 season. This is the Vegas Golden Knights first season as an NHL Team.

Pure Silver Coin – The Toronto Maple Leafs®: Anniversary Logo (2017)

Since the Eastern Conference Finals, fans have been gathering around Capital One Arena to watch the games whether the Caps are at home or on the road. All of the games have been projected on the side of the National Portrait Gallery on G Street NW. For road games, fans have been allowed into the Capital One Arena to watch the game on the big screen.

To say that the area has gone Caps crazy would be an understatement. The neighborhood around Capital One Arena, known as Chinatown, will be flooded with fans on Thursday to watch the game outside projected on the side of the National Portrait Gallery and from the bars around the area.

In the area is the headquarters of the U.S. Mint on 9th Street NW. Although its sales counter may be open during the day, the crowds are expected to gather in the area beginning around noon. Plan accordingly.

If you are going to be in Washington and want to experience the fans Rock the Red (the Caps wear red sweaters at home leading to the moniker), you are welcome to join the crowd. If you want to avoid the crowd, find something else to do on Thursday that might be away from the area. This might be a good day to visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. It is located in Chantilly, Virginia near Dulles Airport about 25 miles east of the Capital One Arena and far away from the crowd.

As for me, I will be watching from home. Since my team has not won the Stanley Cup since 1983, I am cheering for the Caps.

NOTE: Click on any image to go to the Royal Canadian Mint’s website if you are interested in purchasing the coins shown in this post. All of the images are courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.

I’ll take On Big Money for $200

A few weeks ago while watching Jeopardy!, I noticed they had a category “On Big Money.” The premise was to name the person whose portrait is on high denomination currency—notes with a face value of $500 and greater.

I wrote down the questions and decided to create my own version of Jeopardy! How many can you answer, or ask correctly? Remember, in Jeopardy! you have to answer in the form of a question.

It’s Saturday… let’s have a little fun!

Click on the image to see the question.

$200

Click to Flip
Reference: Marbury v. Madison

$400

Click to Flip
John Marshall, Fourth Chief Justice, 1801-1835

$600

Click to Flip
McKinley was assassinated on September 14, 1901 in Buffalo, NY

$800

Click to Flip
Cleveland is the only president to serve non-consecutive terms.

$1000

Click to Flip
Chase was Treasury Secretary when he was appointed by Lincoln in 1864

How well did you do?

For those unsure of the questions that coincide with the answers, click on the value of the question in the tab to see the explanation.

The $200 Answer

William Marbury

The answer is a reference to the case Marbury v. Madison resulting from a petition to the Supreme Court by William Marbury, who had been appointed Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia by President John Adams but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force the new Secretary of State, James Madison, to deliver the documents. The Court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, found firstly that Madison’s refusal to deliver the commission was both illegal and correctable. The Court stopped short of ordering Madison (by writ of mandamus) to hand over Marbury’s commission, instead holding that the provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that enabled Marbury to bring his claim to the Supreme Court was itself unconstitutional, since it purported to extend the Court’s original jurisdiction beyond that which Article III established. The petition was therefore denied. (Wikipedia)

The $400 Answer

Chief Justice John Marshall

John Marshall (1755-1835) was nominated for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President John Adams. Marshall became the fourth Chief Justice on January 31, 1801. He served on the court for 34 years until his death on July 6, 1835. Marshall was Cheif Justice for the landmark cases of Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland.

The $600 Answer

2013 William McKinley Dollar

William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, was shot on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York on September 6, 1901. He was shaking hands with the public when Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, shot him twice in the abdomen. McKinley died eight days later on September 14 of gangrene caused by the gunshot wounds. (Wikipedia)

Later that day, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President at the Ansley Wilcox House in Buffalo. This made Roosevelt the youngest person (42 years, 322 days) to be inaugurated as President.

The $800 Answer

2012 Grover Cleveland First Term Dollar

Grover Cleveland was the only person to serve two non-consecutive terms as President of the United States. Cleveland was the 22nd President from 1885 through 1889. In a very contentious campaign where tariffs were the main issue, Benjamin Harrison won by a slim margin. There were accusations of voter fraud and fixed election, particularly in Indiana. Cleveland did not challenge the result and served his full term.

2012 Grover Cleveland Second Term Dollar

Cleveland won back the Presidency in the 1892 election in what was a very calm election for the time period. Cleveland became very vocal during the Harrison administration over monetary policy including opposing the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. He was nominated by the Democrats to run again. Harrison did not campaign opting to be with his wife Caroline who was dying of tuberculosis. Following her death on October 25, 1888, two weeks prior to the election, all candidates suspended campaigning. Cleveland was the 24th President of the United States from 1893 through 1897.

The $1000 Answer

Salmon P. Chase, 6th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Salmon P. Chase (1808 – 1873) was the sixth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Chase was nominated by President Abraham Lincoln while serving as the 25th Secretary of the Treasury. A significant case during his tenure was when he presided at the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868. With 27 states and 54 senators, it required 36 (two-thirds) guilty votes to remove Johnson from office. Johnson was acquitted with 35 guilty votes and 19 not-guilty votes. Chase served on the Supreme Court from December 6, 1864, until he died on May 7, 1873.

What do you think? Is this something you would like to see more of? Let me know!

Credits

  • Coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.
  • All other images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Numismatic Showtime

Passing the time after 10:00 PM on Monday night, the television found its way to the History Channel for the return of Pawn Stars, the reality show about a pawn shop in Las Vegas. While the first show of the hour was just interesting it was the second show that started at 10:33 PM that was more intriguing.

Although the show was marked as “NEW” on the visual guide, it first aired last January. To make sure I was able to study the coins more, I found the episode on the History Channel website. It is also available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/yTKbcAKbQtU. (embedded below)

Opening the show, a seller name Walter walked in with two rare coins. The first coin was a 1792 Half Disme and the other a silver Libertas Americana. Two coins dating back to the earliest days of the country’s history.

If you recognize Walter his full name is Walter Husak. In 2008, Husak sold his extraordinary collection of large cents at an auction held during that year’s Long Beach Expo. For this show, he was selling the two coins.

The 1792 Half Disme was graded MS-65 by Numismatic Guarantee Corporation who lists the coin as a TOP POP, meaning no coin has graded higher. There are only two half dismes graded MS-65 by NGC and one appeared on Pawn Stars.

The Libertas Americana is one of the rare silver versions and was graded MS-61 by Professional Coin Grading Service

As with a lot of these purchases, Rick calls in an expert for assistance. This time, the expert is Jeff Garrett, the founder of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Kentucky and immediate past president of the American Numismatic Association.

Jeff Garrett stands next to Walter Husak as they examine the Half Disme and Libertas Americana on Pawn Stars (screen grab)

I noted that Garrett’s firm is in Lexington since the location of the television show is in Las Vegas. While doing a little online investigation into the prices and to see if there was more information, there was a note on the Collectors Universe forums suggesting that the segment was not a reality, but it had been staged.

According to user “cardinal,” he wrote:

Jeff Garrett is one of the experts that gets brought in to evaluate numismatic items for the show. For this specific episode, Jeff was looking for both a half disme and a Libertas medal, and Jeff was able to locate them and had the respective owners’ permission to have them appear on the show. The half disme is pedigreed to the Garrett Collection, and the silver Libertas medal was one that Jeff Garrett had sold some years back. (This particular Libertas medal has been in the Cardinal Collection for the past 6 years.)

I believe Ccardinal is the anonymous person behind the Cardinal Collection who has collected some of the finest coins in the PCGS registry.

Following a discussion on the actual Libertas Americana used for the show, he ends with:

During the show, the half disme was a no-sale. The Libertas medal was shown as sold at $150K on camera. That being said, the piece was not actually sold, even though Rick actually did want to buy it for $150K.

I have heard stories as to how some segments are real and some are staged. When I spoke with Charmy Harker about her appearance in 2012, I was under the impression that her attempt at selling a World War II-era aerial bomber camera was not overly staged. That does not seem to be the case in this episode.

My one complaint is that these two esteemed numismatists mispronounced the name of the coin. Everyone kept pronouncing disme as “DIZ-ME.” In reality, disme is pronounced as if the “s” was not included in the word. Disme is derived from the French term for tenth but pronounced dime—which is why the “s” was dropped after the first issues of 1792 coins.

Oh well… it was a fun segment to watch.

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.

Creating a modern typeset

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

How would you define a modern type set?

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

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

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

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

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

Some not-so-great designs

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

A few of the great America the Beautiful Quaters designs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It will be interesting to see what these kids do!

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

 

Unlucky at the ATM

You need a quick amount of cash. After all, not every transaction can be made with a credit card. You hop in the car and drive to the bank to use the ATM. Within seconds, the machine spits out money and you drive away.

Early the next morning you look at the bills and notice that not only are they crisp new $20 Federal Reserve Notes but they are in sequence. A closer look and you think that you might have a good Liar’s Poker hand.

An ATM find: A Sequence of $20 Federal Reserve Notes

Then you take a closer look at the serial number and think you might have stumbled on something. That is when you realize that you might need to take that prescription from the ophthalmologist to a store and get your glasses changed!

Eight notes sooner and I would have picked up a $20 Federal Reserve Note with a cool serial Number!

Although a decent Liar’s Poker hand (a full-house), I almost had a repeater. Had I made to the ATM sooner, I could have found the note with a 4-digit serial repeater. Then, if the rest of the notes were in sequence, I would have sacrificed to go back for more money. After all, there would be someone who would be interested in buying serial number “92009200” and maybe the succeeding notes!

Now I am stuck hoping to win the $535 million after spending number “92009212” on Powerball tickets.

A Free Coke

Token for a free bottle of Coca-Cola in 1915-16

In my quest to find different and fun items for my business inventory, I seem to be tripping over some interesting numismatic samples. Recently, I purchased a collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia. Basically, if they can print, paint, mold, or stamp “Coca-Cola” on something, it is in this collection. It has everything from the mundane foreign-labeled bottle, including one from Bosnia, up to a 1950s-round metal advertising sign.

As I was sorting through the collection, I found a frame with an octagonal token “Good for one free bottle” of Coca-Cola dated 1915-1916. The token is in pretty decent shape although has been well handled. The problem is that it appears to be glued to the backing. The back of the frame also has writing indicating that it was a gift to the former owner.

I have seen similar tokens before, such as the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet token I previously wrote about, but never on for Coca-Cola. I am sure that these are relatively common for advertising tokens.

For a Coca-Cola collector, it is a nice gift. For a numismatist interested in the token, I am worried that such a piece may be damaged. Before I decide whether to free the token from its frame, I have to decide whether it would be better sold as a framed item or with the token. I also have to decide whether I want to keep this token!

I better be careful because if I keep finding all of these fascinating advertising tokens I might end up keeping them and starting a collection.
 

Full framed image of the Coca-Cola advertising toen

Flea market coin hunting

A glance into my booth at DC Big Flea

Welcome to my first 100-percent blog post by iPhone. I am sitting in my booth at DC Big Flea on Sunday waiting for the afternoon crowd and decided to share pictures of some of the coins I found during my Saturday afternoon walk around the show floor. Considering how long it takes to type on the iPhone, and taking care of business, it might take most of the day to finish this post!

One thing I like about this business is the variety of items that you can find. Aside from the various antiques and collectibles, there are a lot of interesting numismatic items that you may not find at a coin dealer’s table at almost any show. Most of these are not high priced items but are very interesting. For example, while Love Tokens can bring a nice premium, only a few specialized dealers would carry them. Since most of the dealers are also pickers. They will buy all of this stuff and bring it to a show like this.

A couple of smamples that I missed taking pictures of includes someone who had a coffee cup full of buffalo nickels for 25-cents a coin. After searching through most of the coins, all of them had at least a partial date. Not a dateless coin to be found. Another dealer was selling circulated Morgan dollars in VG-to-XF condition for $20 a coin, which is pretty good since the catalog value of most of these coins are $25-45 each. Current melt value of Morgan dollars is a little more than $14.

Although I do not have coins in my inventory at this show, you could have come by and bought a Red Book from one of the contributors, cheap!

Here are the pictures uploaded directly from my iPhone:

I’ll take Government Agency for 600, Alex

As seen on the Friday, February 17, 2017 edition of Jeopardy!

(contestant) Government agency for 600.

Alex: It says it’s “connecting America through coins.”

(contestant buzzes in) “What is the Treasury?”

Alex: No, sorry. Anyone else?

(silence) BEEP-BEEP!

Alex: What is the U.S. Mint.

This was the last of the quarter-finals of the Jeopardy! College tournament. One would think that even if you were not in tune with the working of the U.S. Mint like we collectors that the word “coins” would be a big enough clue. At least one person had the right department!

It’s the weekend and the weather is warming here. I won’t get into a “get off my lawn”-like rant!

Jeopardy! hero graphics courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Pin It on Pinterest