Weekly World Numismatic News for September 26, 2021

David J. Ryder, Director of the U.S. Mint.

The news of the week came on a Friday night news dump by the Treasury Department, announcing that David J. Ryder will resign as U.S. Mint Director as of September 30, 2021. Alison Doone will become the U.S. Mint’s Acting Director.

Ryder served as the 34th and 39th Director after being appointed by two different administrations. Ryder came into this term touting his work with physical money security. During his confirmation hearing, Ryder said he worked for Secure Products, a company focused on developing anti-counterfeiting solutions for currency and branded products. Ryder also testified that he was involved in developing the Royal Mint’s new 12-sided one-pound coin.

The U.S. Mint claims security measures built into the new American Silver and Gold Eagle coins. However, there do not seem to be breakthroughs similar to those used by the Royal Mint and Canadian Royal Mint on their bullion products.

Ryder may want his legacy to be introducing new products, but the public will remember the colossal failure of the U.S. Mint’s e-commerce system. As Director, he was supposed to oversee the entire operation and not just one aspect. Those failures will weigh on his legacy.

Alison Doone is a career civil servant who entered the Senior Executive Service (SES) in 2004. After working at several other agencies, Doone served as the Mint’s Chief Administrative Officer since March 2021.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 requires the president to send a nomination to the Senate within 90 days to fill a vacant position. During that time, an acting director can serve in that role for only 180 days. As we saw in the 2,629 days (7 years, 2 months, and 13 days) between the resignation of Edmund Moy and the confirmation of David Ryder, the government has ways to get around the law to maintain operational consistency.

And now the news…

 September 17, 2021
If artifacts could talk, we’d love to hear this one’s tale.  This pierced German coin from the 17th century was recovered during a systematic excavation at the Jacob Jackson Home Site, part of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park (HATU).   → Read more at nmscarcheologylab.wordpress.com

 September 17, 2021
Readers of a certain age will remember the florin, or flóirín as it was in Irish. Those of an uncertain age will even recall when it was Ireland’s two-shilling coin, complete with the leaping salmon of Percy Metcalfe’s classic 1928 design.   → Read more at irishtimes.com

 September 22, 2021
The coin, known as the Triple Unite, was minted in Oxford in 1643 during the English Civil War and had the value of 60 shillings, or three pounds.  → Read more at bbc.com

 September 23, 2021
LAKE MARY, Fla. – A Florida teenager recently made a spectacular find while on an ocean dive: a rare gold coin believed to be from the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet.  → Read more at fox35orlando.com

 September 24, 2021
(CNN) — Two amateur free divers have found one of the largest collections of Roman coins in Europe off the east coast of Spain. Luis Lens and César Gimeno were diving off the island of Portitxol in Xàbia on August 24 when they found eight coins, before further dives by archaeologists returned another 45 coins, according to a press release from the University of Alicante on Tuesday.  → Read more at edition.cnn.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 20, 2021

Yes, I’m a day late. At least I’m not a dollar short!

It is not a surprise to economic and market watchers that there is a perceived coin shortage. The problem is not just in the United States, but worldwide central banks are trying to fix their circulation issues.

Over the last three months, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been trying different tactics to get money to circulate. In addition to striking more coins, they promote new designs and a program for citizens to redeem old coins for the newly issued coins. It has a moderating effect on the COVID crisis at high levels in the country.

India has also been dealing with rumors one type of circulating coin has been counterfeited or been withdrawn and not legal tender. However, the RBI has insisted that the coins are legal tender but continue to promote them with the redesign.

The Royal Mint has stepped up the production of 1 penny coin for circulation. Physical money is used more in the UK than electronic transactions, especially outside of the cities. Although some feel the penny has been overproduced and would rather see the 2 pence coin used, the increase in the number of transactions since the lifting of COVID restrictions created the demand.

The United States continues to see shortages. Most of the reports are coming from outside of the major metropolitan areas. Most are looking for one-cent coins. Experts are blaming accelerated consumer spending in areas where cash payments are more prevalent. More populated urban regions are seeing more electronic transactions than cash.

Let’s keep the economy moving. Spend those coins! (not the ones you collect)

And now the news…

 September 14, 2021
Bankers thought the nationwide coin shortage was over, as the U.S. economy reopened and previously housebound consumers were able to unload more of their change. But a combination of factors — including government stimulus payments, accelerated consumer spending and the threat of the COVID-19 delta variant — has stymied progress and forced retailers to resort again to asking shoppers for exact change.  → Read more at americanbanker.com

 September 14, 2021
Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić said on Monday after meeting with European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis that a test production of euro coins with Croatian national motifs should begin by the end of this year, with possibly about two million coins being minted.  → Read more at croatiaweek.com

 September 15, 2021
LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces Police Department received two reports of movie prop money that was passed as legal tender over the weekend, a news release on Monday stated. In the news release police stated movie prop money can look like actual currency but, in most instances, does not have the same texture.  → Read more at lcsun-news.com

 September 15, 2021
A very rare large gold coin from the reign of Charles I is expected to fetch £50,000 when it is sold at auction.  → Read more at newschainonline.com

 September 15, 2021
A huge hoard of Iron Age gold artifacts has been uncovered by an amateur metal detectorist in Denmark. The "enormous" find consists of almost one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of gold buried 1,500 years ago, according to a press release from the Vejlemuseerne museum, which will exhibit the hoard.  → Read more at cnn.com

 September 16, 2021
One penny coins were back in production last year after none were minted for general circulation in the previous two years, Royal Mint figures show.  → Read more at bbc.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 12, 2021

CC Privy Mark for the 2021 Morgan Dollar

Coin World reports that scammers are selling counterfeit 2021-CC Morgan Dollars on eBay.

According to Coin World, the coins have several issues, but the primary problem is that the U.S. Mint has not shipped any coins. How can you buy a coin that the manufacturer has not shipped?

Another scam you can find on eBay is that some sellers are offering MS-70 coins for “pre-sale.” How can a seller sell a coin graded MS-70 that has not been released or graded by the grading service? How will these sellers guarantee that the coins they receive from the U.S. Mint will grade MS-70 unless they pay off the grading service?

I know many collectors want to add these coins to their collection. You may want to wait until the coins are issued, the grading services see the coins in hand, and the suckers get out of the market. If you want to see what I mean, look at the 25th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set. After they were released, the prices climbed to $500-700 with limited availability. Although the price numbers have not changed, the value of $500 is less than in 2011 and is generally available.

And now the news…

 September 10, 2021
Renovators discovered a hidden box and pouch stuffed with rare gold coins, minted during the reigns of French Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 September 12, 2021
Telangana’s Rachakonda police seized fake Indian currency notes with a face value of over Rs 1 crore and genuine currency worth Rs 1.3 lakh after busting a gang involved in cheating people on the pretext of exchanging black money.  → Read more at indianexpress.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 6, 2021

Welcome to the Labor Day Edition of the Weekly World Numismatic News!

The story that caught my eye is that the members of Accredited Precious Metals Dealers (APMD) of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PMG) predicted their end-of-year prices for precious metals.

According to the APMD members, the year-end predictions are as follows:

  • Gold: $1,897
  • Silver: $28
  • Platinum: $1,153

Their estimates are the “mean averages of price predictions made by 25 accredited dealers” of the APMD. Members of the APMD “based their forecasts on years of being on the front lines of the bullion markets.” In other words, their predictions are as reliable as those that predict the pro football and basketball drafts.

With all due respect to the APMD and their members, every forecast I have heard while carefully watching the markets as a buyer has been bullish. It is very rare to hear anyone that is involved with this market make a bearish prediction.

Let’s have some fun with this. In the next few days, I will make my predictions along with the logic behind my prediction. Then I will create a graph to monitor the markets compared to our predictions. Let’s see how we do after the market closes on December 31!

Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

And now the news…

 August 26, 2021
While excavating the ancient city of Phangoria, located north of the Black Sea, in the Taman peninsula of southern Russia, archaeologists made an odd discovery: A single copper coin, minted in the year 1570, far far away in the Cypriot city of Famagusta.  → Read more at haaretz.com

 August 27, 2021
Dealing with a recently passed away parent’s belongings is always a tough subject. It’s never just about the stuff – it’s about the memories and the emotions it all brings up, not to mention disagreements with siblings and partners about what to do with it all.  → Read more at goodmenproject.com

 September 2, 2021
Money, money, money, money, ah so not just the song. But, the real thing. During the height of the pandemic, remember the shortages of toilet paper, paper products, disinfectant, hand sanitizer and yes, money, coins to be exact.  → Read more at poconorecord.com

 September 3, 2021
By K Rajan Chennai: A finely made thin silver punch-marked coin weighing 2.2g unearthed at Keeladi in the seventh season of excavation this year holds key to the history of trading routes spanning the subcontinent and beyond — till Sri Lanka in the south and Afghanistan in the northwest  → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com

 September 4, 2021
Cree artist Sheila Orr designed a collectors coin for the Royal Canadian Mint, depicting the fur trade from a Cree perspective. It was released earlier this summer.  → Read more at cbc.ca
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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 29, 2021

The U.S. Mint attempts to fix their online ordering system, but to what effect?

This past week, the U.S. Mint held a press availability for the numismatic media. I highlighted the meeting after the discussion, which includes corrections. While the U.S. Mint appears to be working to rectify its e-commerce issues, there continue to be unaddressed problems.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that it was my impression “that the lawyers had more say over policy than the appointed director or the career executives.” It is not clear that the U.S. Mint has separated its policy decision from the advice of counsel.

Missing from the discussion is how the lawyers forced the U.S. Mint to violate the law. Even though they identified the Internet Robots (BOTs), the lawyers not allowing the U.S. Mint to resolve the problem puts the e-commerce system in violation of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). FISMA was passed in 2002 to require the government to protect computing resources.

Although it sounds like a technical issue, FISMA’s purpose is to allow bureaus like the U.S. Mint to protect public access to government resources. It also allows the government to do what is necessary to serve the public.

While the dealer community is part of the public, they are not the majority of the interested public. The U.S. Mint reported that only 18 authorized purchasers could access 10% of production at a 5% premium as part of its early access program.

The U.S. Mint deserves commendation for its ability to exceed production during the pandemic. Questions remain on the decisions on collector coin programs.

And now the news…

 August 24, 2021
OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 20, 2021 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mint (the "Mint") is pleased to announce its financial results for the second quarter of 2021 that provide insight into our activities, the markets influencing our businesses and our expectations for the next 12 months.  → Read more at newswire.ca

 August 27, 2021
Hundreds of ancient coins looted from archaeological sites were found in a house in Bnei Brak, the Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Monday. The artifacts were uncovered during an operation by the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit.  → Read more at jpost.com

 August 27, 2021
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — It was a slow day Aug. 1 when Nick Amelio was treasure salvaging near Corrigan's shipwreck, just south of Turtle Trail Beach.  → Read more at tcpalm.com

 August 27, 2021
Generally speaking, gold is the antithesis of fiat currencies and is viewed as a hedge against inflation.  → Read more at swfinstitute.org

 August 27, 2021
There are few things more alluring than buried treasure — preferably ancient and preferably gold. Historically, people tended to bury their coinage in times of trouble, intending to come back for it.  → Read more at independent.ie
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U.S. Mint Talks About Their Website and Ordering System

The U.S. Mint held a press availability for members of the numismatic media this morning. There will be more to say about the information presented, but the following are some highlights that will interest the numismatic community.

Mint management noted that the U.S. Mint is the only sovereign mint with continuing bullion production during the pandemic. In addition to the bullion coin production, the U.S. Mint has produced more circulating coins than any other time.

The U.S. Mint continues operating at the highest level while maintaining safety and controls to protect the employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although it is easy to criticize the U.S. Mint, it is commendable that the bureau continued production but manufacturing more products than ever in the last 18 months.

U.S. MINT DIRECTOR DAVID RYDER noted that sales at the U.S. Mint had been declining prior to his arrival. Part of the reason is that there was not a permanent director in almost nine years. Ryder saw his job as trying to expand the product line to increase interest in the numismatic process.

U.S. MINT ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING MATTHEW HOLBEN said that the U.S. Mint had faced unprecedented demand for its products during the “black swan event.” According to Holben, the U.S. Mint sold more proof American Silver Eagle Proof coins in under a half-hour than they sold in 2019.

The U.S. Mint has 18 dealers that are registered authorized purchasers of numismatic products. These 18 dealers can purchase up to 10-percent of the numismatic products before the public sale. They credit the reduction in attempts to use automated methods to order (BOTs) now that the dealers can determine their inventory.

U.S. MINT DEPUTY CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER KIRK GILLIS said that since the first 2021 Morgan Dollar release, the catalog website could process 217 peak orders per second, up from 96 peak orders per second.

Gillis reported that “up to 60% of the activity on the sites were BOTs” based on the drop in traffic demand since the May 24 launch of the 2021 Morgan Dollar products. He said that the U.S. Mint had implemented technology to reduce the impact of scripts and BOTs used to order products.

The U.S. Mint will explore pre-ordering and waiting room software similar to the processes used by the ticket purchasing systems. They are also looking into other rate-limiting technology.

Beyond the highlights, there are other issues to explore. Stay tuned!

CORRECTIONS
  • The website can process “217 peak orders per second, up from 96 peak orders per second.” It was originally reported as “270 orders per second, up from 90.”
  • Clarified the 60% reduction in BOT activity as being since the May 24 launch of the initial Morgan Dollar products.
Sorry for the confusion.

Inspector General to Investigate the U.S. Mint

According to Coin World, the Treasury Office of Inspector General (OIG) “may” investigate how the U.S. Mint has handled the sales of limited-edition numismatic collectibles. Coin World may have confirmed information provided to me on background.

Although the web-based ordering has sort-of worked, I reported on the systemic issues facing the U.S. Mint in moving forward. In summary, my investigation found:

  1. The alleged silver shortage was not a shortage of silver but a failure of the U.S. Mint to manage its supply chain properly.
  2. The U.S Mint’s insistence that Internet robots (BOTs) were the cause of their web-based issues was the symptom of a more significant problem that they have not learned from their past mistakes.
  3. The U.S. Mint’s management managing like they were afraid of repercussions because the lawyers said so. The way it sounded, the U.S. Mint management was not managing but taking instructions. If they cannot manage, should they be replaced by lawyers?

An investigation by the Treasury OIG is an excellent first step. But experience has shown that an OIG report does not guarantee that U.S. Mint will fix the problems. I have seen government managers and appointees say all of the right things and do little to nothing.

It might require an act of Congress to fix the U.S. Mint. If it requires an act of Congress, don’t hold your breath waiting for changes.

Weekly World Numismatic News for August 15, 2021

Although this past week was the World’s Fair of Money, there was not much news surrounding the event. According to individual reports, people said that it was a good show even with the COVID precautions. It was similar to reports from The National, which was held in the Stephens Convention Center the week before.

The week’s biggest news was the U.S. Mint publishing the lot numbers used to label the boxes with the American Eagle bullion coins.

Until last year, the U.S. Mint has not identified where they strike the American Eagle bullion coins. Spokespeople emphasize that since their production is for the investment market, the mint location is not relevant. Of course, collectors view the market differently. Dealers and third-party grading services have tried to determine where the coins were struck based on shipping labels and other factors. Although they are reasonably sure, there are mistakes in their assumptions.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the West Point Mint to close temporarily. To keep up with production, the U.S. Mint struck 240,000 bullion coins in Philadelphia. The third-party grading services asked the U.S. Mint about the production of these coins. Rather than leave the industry guessing, the U.S. Mint identified which boxes contained American Silver Eagle bullion coins struck in Philadelphia. As a result, the third-party grading services accurately noted the origin of the bullion coin on the label of their slab.

U.S. Mint Error Label on American Silver Eagle bullion boxes

The U.S. Mint reports that some of the boxes marked with “BF” should not have the “F” since they were not part of the first production run.

Without the industry asking, the U.S. Mint released the lot information about the American Eagle bullion coins this year. Making this remarkable is the U.S. Mint broke published the lot numbers for the Type 1 and Type 2 reverses for both the silver and gold bullion coins. In fact, they noted that a few boxes had labeling errors incorrectly marking some of the coins as part of the first production.

Although the U.S. Mint has claimed it was always considerate to the collector community, it is the first time they voluntarily provided this information without prompting. Could the U.S. Mint finally be learning from past mistakes? Time will only tell.

American Eagle Bullion Lot Information

And now the news…

 August 9, 2021
The 2,600-year-old site produced highly standardized “spade money,” possibly on government orders  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 August 9, 2021
'Remarkable' collection of 52 Tudor, Stuart and Commonwealth coins is set to sell for £500,000 at auction — including a Henry VIII coin struck in tribute to his first wife Catherine of Aragon  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 August 11, 2021
A scavenger hunt at a Talmud-era village in northern Israel took a surprising turn on Tuesday when an Israeli girl found a 1,500-year-old bronze coin.  → Read more at israelhayom.com

 August 11, 2021
While out camping with family on the beach, Yotam Dahan discovers 13-pound lump of coins from about 1,700 years ago which archeologists speculate belonged to a merchant ship that wrecked ashore  → Read more at ynetnews.com

 August 11, 2021
TEHRAN – Iranian authorities have seized some ancient coins from an illegal digger in the western province of Ilam, the provincial tourism chief announced on Wednesday.  → Read more at tehrantimes.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 8, 2021

Greetings from Athens, Georgia!

New Change Find: a 2021 Roosevelt Dime

Athens is my first stop in a week-long commitment that I could not avoid. It will keep me from Chicago, but sometimes obligations take precedence. I am concerned about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, and it is adding stress to the trip. But I will miss being at the World’s Fair of Money.

As of today, it looks like my next show will be the Whitman Expo in Baltimore next November.

Please don’t think that the trip is all work. When I come to Athens, I am reminded of my youthful days as a student at Georgia. It is always interesting to see how the area has changed, but it is fascinating as to what remains the same. Tonight’s dinner came from The Taco Stand on Milledge Avenue. The sign inside said it has been open since 1977, and I was a freshman in 1978. My Baja Burrito was a taste down memory lane.

When I received my change, one of the dimes is dated 2021. It marks the first time that I found a 2021 coin in my pocket change. It has only taken 219 days and a trip to Athens to find my first 2021 coin. I was hoping to find the new Washington Crossing the Delaware quarter first, but a dime is a good find with the year more than half-over.

Last week, The National Sports Card and Collectors Convention (The National) held its annual show in Rosemont. According to the reports from many collector publications, the show was a rousing success. Although there were a few complaints about Cook County’s mask mandate, the reports said it did not take away from the show and called it a success. Sports cards have made a big comeback that even some of the over-produced cards of the 1980s and 1990s are selling. It has helped players find ways to be accessible to fans and willing to sell their wares to anyone who will pay.

Finding new avenues to attract new collectors and existing collectors to spend more is always a challenge. Sports memorabilia collectors are beginning to see what can happen with the new market in college sports’ Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules. The NIL rules allow college players to sell their name, image, and likeness and remain eligible for college sports.

There was always a potential for better college players to earn money for NIL, but the NCAA rules prevented this. The NCAA suspended Georgia’s Todd Gurley for four games for selling his jersey to a collector in 2014. He used the money to take his girlfriend to dinner. And I won’t talk about Reggie Bush who’s situation is a travesty given the new rules.

Numismatics has to consider what it will take to expand the base. The base is not going to be expanded by recycling the Morgan and Peace dollars. You expand the base by embracing everything new and welcoming everyone that does not care about the old. There is so much fun to have with modern coinage that I think I will explore more over the next few months.

In the meantime, if you can make it to Rosemont for the ANA World’s Fair of Money, have fun. If you are like me and have Real World commitments that prevent you from going, stay tuned. There is a lot more to come!

And new the news…

 August 8, 2021
Archaeologists have uncovered 2,640- to 2,550-year-old clay moulds for casting spade coins as well as fragments of finished spade coins at Guanzhuang in Xingyang, Henan province, China. The technical characteristics of the moulds demonstrate that the site — which was part of the Eastern Zhou period (770-220 BCE) bronze foundry — functioned as a mint for producing standardized coins.  → Read more at sci-news.com

 August 8, 2021
CARSON CITY — See historic Coin Press No. 1 in action Saturdays in August at the Nevada State Museum, Carson City, before it goes on hiatus in September for maintenance.  → Read more at carsonnow.org

 August 8, 2021
A punch-marked silver coin that was dug out during the seventh phase of excavation at Keeladi last week has sent a wave of excitement among archaeologists, as they are further able to collate and establish trading activity of the civilisation believed to have flourished on the banks of Vaigai river more than 2,500 years ago.  → Read more at thehindu.com

 August 8, 2021
A Roman coin of the last pagan emperor which might have been deliberately damaged as an "act of erasure" was found by two metal detectorists.  → Read more at bbc.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 1, 2021

2021-W ASE Type 1

2021-W American Silver Eagle Type 1 Proof

Last week I spoke to a dealer who attended the Summer FUN show in Orlando. When asked how the show was, the answer was “HOT!”

The answer was not a response to the weather but the market. According to his partner, they had a difficult time stocking inventory. The number of buyers is outpacing the sellers a lot. The limited inventory is also impacting dealer-to-dealer transactions. The low supply and high demand are causing prices to rise.

Aside from the typical demand for collector coins, modern silver is in high demand. Anything made of silver is in high demand, that many dealers cannot find enough inventory.

One observation was that after silver, collectors are looking for something different. International coins are seeing increased interest. New collectors are discovering their past and are looking for coins that their grandparents may have used. One dealer said there is an increase in people looking for 20th-century coins from Eastern Europe.

Another area that is becoming popular is hometown collecting. A currency dealer said that collectors are asking about obsolete and national banknotes based on their location. After suggesting to speak with an exonumia dealer, I learned that new collectors are discovering transportation and other tokens from their hometowns or the hometown of their parents. The dealer told me that two young collectors almost cleaned out their inventory of Iowa tokens.

The lesson is that the market is hot, prices are rising, and new collectors are entering the market looking to have fun. It makes for a healthy

And now the news…

 July 26, 2021
A collection of 80 copper staters discoverd by archeologists at the site of the ancient city of Phanagoria. Courtesy of the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Archaeology.  → Read more at news.artnet.com

 July 27, 2021
Nikola Tesla, pioneer of alternating current electricity, might have been shocked to know how his legacy would cause a row between European states.  → Read more at bbc.com

 July 28, 2021
Loose change was scarce last year. Retail and restaurant industries collected less cash from customers, so had fewer coins to deposit with their banks, while limited hours and new safety protocols at mints around the country slowed coin production.  → Read more at newyorker.com

 July 29, 2021
SALT LAKE CITY — In February 1848, Isaac Chase stalled the vigorous swing of his pick at the sound of something metallic in a hole by a creek in what is now Liberty Park.  → Read more at ksl.com

 July 30, 2021
The claim: Microwaving a penny for one minute will shrink the coin Most everyone knows some things are not meant to be microwaved, like metal for example. But some social media users are contradicting that, claiming microwaving a coin will shrink it.  → Read more at usatoday.com

 July 31, 2021
Numismatics – more commonly known as coin collecting – is a time-honoured pastime that has grown in popularity over the years.    Often dubbed ‘the hobby of kings’ due to only the very wealthy being able to enjoy the activity – the good news is coin collecting is now something that pretty much anyone can take a shine to, regardless of status.    → Read more at eadt.co.uk
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