Weekly World Numismatic News for September 8, 2019

Chew Valley Hoard

Post Norman Conquest coins found in Sommerset, England (Pippa Pearce/© The Trustees of the British Museum via Smithsonian Magazine)

While talking about the hoard of coins that dates back to the time of William the Conqueror in England, someone said that they wished they could find treasures like that in the United States. That prompted me to talk with metal detector enthusiasts to hear their stories.

One of the people I spoke with regularly uses a metal detector around the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Delaware. Although most of the coins found are from the 20th century, many of the finds include artifacts leftover from earlier settlers. They have found some older copper coins, buttons and bullets from the Civil War, and utensils dating to the colonial period.

The leader of a small group of enthusiasts travels the midwest along know migration trails. Some are now roads and highways, while others have returned to nature. They regularly find artifacts of life on the move. Although they rarely find money, the items they find have made their way into museums and university research centers that study the lives of the western migrants.

Finally, someone who has explored eastern Washington, Idaho, western Montana and Canada discovered artifacts that confirmed and expanded the stories of border disputes in that area. In that era, the disputes were not about security but about who claimed the profit from the resources.

Although metal detector finds in the United States may not find anything more valuable than a few coins, bullets, and buttons, they do find the evidence of history. Unless you stumble over another Saddle Ridge Hoard, finding history can be as gratifying.

And now the news…

 August 29, 2019

Shortly after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, a wealthy local buried a trove of 2,528 coins in what is now Somerset, England. Featuring the likenesses of both Harold II—the country’s last crowned Anglo-Saxon king—and his successor, William the Conqueror, the hoard is the largest collection of post-Norman Conquest coins found to date.  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com


 August 30, 2019

Manitoba lottery officials modify their machines to close a loophole exploited by gamblers. 1:32 When was the last time you saw a 50-cent piece?  → Read more at cbc.ca


 September 1, 2019

In mid-September, Macquarie Mint will release 500 Red-Back Spider $1 coins as part of its aptly named 'Deadly & Dangerous' collection. There are six more in the series, ranging from the dingo to the great white shark.  → Read more at lifehacker.com.au


 September 2, 2019

Better known for lagging, sagging, floundering and falling, Canadian currency now boasts a distinction both impressive and unique: It pulsates. Well, one $10 silver collector’s coin appears to do so thanks to a “numismatic breakthrough” that the Royal Canadian Mint heralds as a world-first.  → Read more at resourceclips.com


 September 2, 2019

OTTAWA , Sept. 3, 2019 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to launch a numismatic breakthrough from its ambitious and creative Research and Development team. Working with the University of Ottawa's Centre for Research in Photonics, the R+D team has created the 2020 $10 Fine Silver Coin – Pulsating Maple Leaf, engraved with an array of sub-millimeter-scale mirrors in the shape of a maple leaf on the reverse of this 99.99% pure silver coin.  → Read more at finance.yahoo.com


 September 3, 2019

As the 150th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. Branch Mint in Carson City draws closer, the Nevada State Museum is expanding the days it showcases one of the Mint’s most enduring artifacts. For much of the summer, the museum has been giving history lessons and minting medallions every Friday on Historic Coin Press 1 — the original coin press used when the Mint opened in February 1870.  → Read more at carsonnow.org


 September 4, 2019

TORONTO, Sept. 4, 2019 /CNW/ – For the first time in three decades, Canada's rarest coin – the 1911 silver dollar – will be on public display in its home country. This weekend, on Sept. 7-8, the 108-year-old silver dollar will be displayed at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, to be held at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale.  → Read more at newswire.ca


 September 5, 2019

Rare currency expert Alfredo Cimino has never seen the 1911 silver dollar, but he’s heard of it. Everyone in the business has. Nicknamed the Emperor or Holy Grail of Canadian coins, it’s held many heavyweight titles in the world of numismatics, or professional coin collection and study, including the world’s most valuable coin, in 1965, and Canada’s rarest coin, which it retains to this day.  → Read more at theglobeandmail.com


 September 5, 2019

A rare example of Bermuda “Hogge Money” — a coin which was produced in the early 1600s — sold for $96,000 when it was auctioned last night, with the coin one of only eight examples known to exist. “The Sommer Islands coinage was produced in England circa 1616 for use in the British colony now known as Bermuda,” the auction house noted, with the “Hogge Money” coins issued in four denominations: shilling, sixpence, threepence, and twopence.  → Read more at bernews.com


 September 6, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — As special as it is for those involved, a class of new members gets enshrined annually in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. That makes it somewhat less exclusive than the minting of a coin – which is part of this year’s ceremony as well.  → Read more at nba.com

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Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for September 1, 2019

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

While perusing the news for numismatic-related stories, some of the searches tend to find letters to the editors from people who tell a part of their collecting stories. This week, I came across a letter from a collector in the outer suburbs of the Chicago area.

Gregory Martin wrote to the editor for KendallCountyNOW.com that he would ” like to bring to mind the concept of starting your young ones on starting a coin collection.”

In three of the four paragraphs, Martin shows his passion for both collecting and how it relates to history. He mentions the 3-cent nickel and the 1943 steel cents as gateways into understanding what was happening in our country’s history.

Martin may have touched on something that today’s teachers can use to explain history. For example, the story of westward expansion was more about economics than exploration. People left the east for better opportunities, to find gold, discover silver, or for 40 acres and a mule. These stories can be taught using the money of the times.

As collectors, we know about fractional currency, postage stamp money, and why arrows periodically appear on minor coinage of the time. However, using these tangible items as props, a teacher can explain the history and show the results by using the money of the time.

Every coin, currency, and token is a reflection of the times when and where produced. A teacher can use the history of the San Francisco Mint to teach about the Gold Rush and the Great Earthquake of 1906.

The New Orleans Mint had its place in the Civil War.

The Carson City Mint is as much a story about the old west as it is about the economic battles, including the Crime of ’73.

One Dollar Baltimore B-Note featuring Frederick Douglas and a Baltimore oriole.

Trade and sales tax tokens can show how stores, states, and municipalities tried to work through the Great Depression. Transportation tokens show how transportation had grown in the 20th century. And how some cities, like Baltimore, issue its own “currency” to help promote local business.

Using numismatics to learn about history goes beyond the United States’ borders. After becoming interested in Canadian coins, I learned more about the British monarchy and the decline of the monarch’s power by studying the transitions from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.

After finding three banknotes from the State of Chihuahua, I learned more about the Mexican Revolution after trying to understand why currency for a three-year state existed.

Maybe it is time to take the saying “history in your hand” and turn it into something tangible. After all, a handful of trade and sales tax tokens may have more of an impact than just reading about the Great Depression.

And now the news…

 August 18, 2019

A Utah businessman paid $1.32 million for a dime last week at a Chicago coin auction. It wasn't just any 10-cent piece; the 1894-S Barber Dime is one of only 24 that were ever made, according to Stack's Bowers Galleries, which held the auction Thursday night.  → Read more at cnn.com


 August 24, 2019

TREASURE-hunters have dug up a hoard of ancient silver coins dating back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 – worth an impressive £5million. A metal-detecting couple made the lucky find while searching an unploughed field on a farm in north-east Somerset.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 August 24, 2019

Such a hobby does not take a lot to start and can be rewarding in so many ways. To start with you learn about money and in it's many denominations, including the Civil War 3 cent nickel! In American collecting you can observe the way our country grew and developed, gaining a perspective on people and actions of this great nation.  → Read more at kendallcountynow.com


 August 24, 2019

For the first time in almost half a century the Treasury has ordered the Royal Mint to stop producing any 1p or 2p coins. The crackdown on coppers comes at a time when all our cash is under threat – with banks preferring that we pay for goods online or with cards because it saves them money.  → Read more at thisismoney.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 25, 2019

Glenn B Smedley Medal

2019 Glenn B Smedley Medal

Since the numismatic news has been light this week, I would like to answer some of the criticism received for last week’s post about my not attending the World’s Fair of Money.

The allegedly offending paragraph began, “One of the reasons I could not be at the World’s Fair of Money was because I was attending two seminars from another show.” (emphasis added)

First, every critic missed the first four words: ONE OF THE REASONS. It was not the only reason. I disclose a lot about myself and my life outside of collecting on this blog. I do not reveal everything. Attending the seminars was only one of the reasons. The other is I have a business to run.

Regular readers know that I started a business last year that is not numismatic-related. While my company does handle some numismatic items, these are not my focus. To maintain a new business, I have to make decisions that I may not like today but will help me in the future. I decided it was not in my business’s best interest for me to leave to attend the World’s Fair of Money.

Critics suggested that I could have attended the virtual seminar from my hotel room in Rosemont. While it sounds logical, let’s look at reality. Hotel Wi-Fi is not conducive to attending an interactive workshop for three hours. Hotel Wi-Fi services are not designed for that type of service. It may support downloading your latest streaming movie, but it does so with the support that you do not see. Since this is not a technical blog, I will tell you as a retired computer person that what you see and what is reality are very different.

Then there’s the question of being cost-effective. I run a startup business. While I have early success, it takes a lot of resources to build a business. I asked about the cost-effectiveness of sitting in a hotel room for a six-hour seminar. The answered varied but did not answer the question about whether the cost adds up.

Nearly every one of the naysayers in email and those who commented was established, dealers. All are over the age of 50. None would answer the question as to whether they would have attended a show that was not related to their business in their first few years of business.

I suspect that many of them have suppressed their early struggles as they have become successful.

I applaud each of their successes. But each has forgotten that the success came at a cost. Even though I might be around their age, I am running a new business and am enduring the struggles they faced at a younger age. It is more difficult for me now than it was for them in the past.

Some who have engaged in a conversation, I asked whether they understood my point? They did not get it!

Where is the outreach beyond the four walls of the convention center? Why is the entire show confined to the convention center? Why is there no attempt to get other people interested who did not attend or could not attend?

The bottom line is why is the ANA not broadcasting the World’s Fair of Money online to a broader audience?

It is possible to contribute the ANA without attending a convention. How do I know this? I have the Glenn Smedley Award to prove it can be done! I did not set out to win awards. I set out to improve the ANA and make it accessible to more people. I set out to move the ANA into the 21st century with technology. I see technology as the force that will promote the ANA.

I also see the Luddite attitude of some as the force that will be the ANA’s demise.

There are many issues the ANA faces, and I am concerned about how the organization’s use of technology will affect its future. I have three concerns that the ANA should address:

  • Broadcasting from the National Money Show and World’s Fair of Money. With all due respect to the older members, sometimes it is not possible to show up. With the technology available, the ANA must start broadcasting from the show floors, meeting rooms, and even the auctions. News, interviews, activities, and just plain showing off to an Internet audience will keep current members engaged and spark new interest.
  • Online education must be expanded to include courses for the experienced collector and non-collector. The ANA must go beyond was previously discussed. It did not go far enough. The effort was like trying to smell a rose at arms-length because there is a thorn on the side. The ANA must commit to bringing robust education services online or stop trying to dabble.
  • Aside from expanding technology in these areas, another enhancement would be to add technology to the exhibits. With all due respect to the exhibit committee and those who have created great exhibits, static displays are in yesterday’s museums. Museum and other exhibits are not becoming interactive. Even the Manley Library exhibits have rotating displays the allow visitors to view both sides of the object. Under current rules, it is challenging to add electronic aids to exhibits. Having access to electricity for each of the cases must be an option for exhibitors. Having access to the Internet must be an option for exhibitors. Add this capability and watch the exhibits really pop!

As of now, I believe I am still Chair of the money.org Committee, the former Technology Committee. If ANA President Steve Ellsworth chooses to allow me to continue in this position, I will work to help the ANA move forward with these goals.

And now the news…

 August 19, 2019

A Utah businessman paid $1.32 million for a dime last week at a Chicago coin auction. It wasn’t just any 10-cent piece; the 1894-S Barber Dime is one of only 24 that were ever made, according to Stack’s Bowers Galleries, which held the auction Thursday night. Only nine of the coins are confirmed to still exist.  → Read more at ktla.com


 August 20, 2019

The oldest coins minted for colonial Australia have gone on show at the Royal Australian Mint, allowing visitors to lay eyes…  → Read more at the-riotact.com


 August 21, 2019

(MENAFN – Newsroom Panama)  The 50 cent coins  that were minted to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of Panama City, 500  → Read more at menafn.com


 August 21, 2019

The prosecutor said that Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio "is effectively unable to enjoy life without conceiving new criminal ventures."  → Read more at providencejournal.com


 August 22, 2019

Gold prices have been hitting a fresh high everyday since Tuesday.  → Read more at indiatoday.in


 August 23, 2019

The penny will go on show for the first time at Saffron Walden Museum on Saturday August 24  → Read more at bishopsstortfordindependent.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 4, 2019

Congress is nothing if not full of shallow people who would pander to their own mothers if it meant winning a vote or two. Their shallowness is on display just before they go on an extended break when members drop bills into the virtual hopper for consideration.

In the old days, members of Congress would write have the bills printed on paper and dropped into a physical hopper. The Clerk of the House would empty the hopper and enter new bills into the Congressional Record and add it to the calendar. The bills are sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) for publications. Nowadays, the hopper is virtual. The submittal process is all by the press of the button — however, the still prints the bills and the Congressional Record causing delays in reporting.

Members of Congress know this and can milk a story for days while they travel back to their districts for their summer break.

It is excellent public relations for these people whose approval rating is lower than drain cleaner. So in between the bills to rename Post Offices, federal buildings, and sections of highway are bills to create commemorative coins. Congress gets a nice writeup about these bills that they hope their constituents will remember knowing most people have short attention spans.

The numismatic media is no different than any other press sectors. Every numismatic-related bill that is introduced gets banner headline coverage even though very few will receive a hearing. The only difference in their reporting is that the numismatic media will bury the term “if it passes” somewhere in its reporting.

Then, when a bill passes one chamber and sent across to the other, someone is breaking out the champagne. Except someone forgot that we are talking about Congress where nothing is easy. Sure, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) and the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (S. 239) passed the Senate, but the House has not accepted these bills. Members of the House will not let these bills in the front door because they are revenue-generating bills, which constitutionally must be introduced in the House.

It was particularly interesting when a Tennessee newspaper lauded Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for S. 1235 without noting that the bill introduced by this one-time member of the House is blocked for violating the constitution.

I find this stuff fascinating. Then again, I used to work for the federal government!

And now the news…

 July 28, 2019

We’ve had a whole host of new currency introduced recently, but what should you do if you still have old coins or notes knocking about? The answer depends on what kind of currency you have, and how long ago it went out of date – while you can still exchange the recently changed notes and coins, you may be out of luck if you find any half-pence or farthings.  → Read more at simplybusiness.co.uk


 July 30, 2019

A Vancouver Island man has spent the last 10 years uncovering thousands of items using his metal detector — many of which are historic and valuable, he says.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 July 30, 2019

Nearly two years after they stopped being legal tender, 145 million old-style £1 coins are still missing.  → Read more at bbc.com


 July 30, 2019

Collectors are only too happy to share the history of their collections with visitors  → Read more at gulfnews.com


 July 30, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From Satchel Paige to Jackie Robinson and Buck O’ Neil, several of baseball’s iconic players began their professional careers with the Negro Leagues in Kansas City. Now those legends, along with countless others, could be honored with a special, commemorative coin.  → Read more at fox4kc.com


 August 1, 2019

Twin Cities coin dealer Barry R. Skog has been sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright for perpetrating a counterfeit coin fraud scheme.  → Read more at startribune.com


 August 2, 2019

The PIL filed by the National Association for the Blind (NAB) sought directions to the RBI to include distinctive features in coins and in currency notes, so visually-challenged persons can easily identify the same.  → Read more at hindustantimes.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 28, 2019

One of the indicators as to how the markets view the economy is the price of precious metals. When there is uncertainty in the markets, investors leave the equity markets and buy precious metals. When that happens, it will have an impact on most pre-1965 coins.

Marketwatch reported that silver hit a 13-month high about the same time Iran captured a Britsh tanker. Since then, the silver market leveled out with few signs of dropping. Silver is not selling for at the same level as seen during the economic crisis in as it approached 2011, there continues to be upward pressure on its price.

Silver investing is sometimes called the “poor man’s gold.” When the average investor is uncertain and looks for a safer investment, they will buy silver while the wealthier investors will buy gold. Palladium has emerged as the new investment vehicle for investors with means.

Gold has been more erratic with wild swings in both directions depending on the news of the day. A precious metals fund manager who manages several diverse portfolios called the divergence of the markets curious. There is not a clear explanation for the current rise of silver. If someone were trying to manipulate the market, the prices would climb faster. All she could tell was there were a lot of low-end investors buying into silver.

30-day Gold Chart (will not update—Courtesy of Kitco)

For numismatics, the rising price of silver can be problematics. As the price of silver rises, the value of your coins will increase. However, adding to your collection will cost more, especially on those collectible coins whose value is tied to the price of silver.

Those responsible for investing in these markets are beginning to worry. If investors are buying silver as a safe haven, there could be a feeling of a pending economic crisis. Only time will tell if they are right.

And now the news…

 July 24, 2019

Present-day tenants of home owned by Jewish family before the Holocaust find jars containing 2,800 coins from as far back as the Roman Empire and as far away as India  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 July 24, 2019

A hoard of Roman coins dating from the time of Queen Boudicca have been found by a metal detectorist in a field. What makes this find especially fascinating is that they may have been hidden there during one of the most interesting periods in Britain’s early history, the revolt against Rome led by the Celtic Queen Boudicca.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com


 July 24, 2019

Silver futures settle at a 13-month high on Monday, outpacing strength in gold, which saw prices eke out only a modest gain despite rising tensions between…  → Read more at marketwatch.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 21, 2019

While there was plenty of news this week, I want to take this opportunity to use myself as an example. Some may have noticed that the blog was taken down for a little more than a day earlier this week. The downtime was necessary to clean up after my account was attacked.

The attack occurred after I had given the person who is maintaining my company’s website the administrative passwords. Although that person did not attack my account, the use of compromised services on the Internet allowed the attack to happen.

Being attacked by malware on the Internet is nothing new. I am sure that most of you experienced an attack either of a website, your email, or social media account. The clean up is not fun. The embarrassment after spending a career as an information security profession is enormous.

I do pay attention to my version of the world to make sure that what I am involved with does not cause problems. Even so, something got passed my watch and infected my entire account, including this blog and the news site.

I have written about security issues in the past. As my experience has shown, letting down your guard can lead to an unintentional disaster.

I know that Internet security is both problematic and annoying. Having to watch over your virtual shoulders can make the time you spend online unpleasant. But it has to be done. You have to stay aware because the threats adapt as you do.

Fans of Hill Street Blues will remember that after the morning briefing, Sergeant Phil Esterhaus would say, “Let’s be careful out there.” Sound advice for the Internet age.

And now the news…

 July 14, 2019

London (CNN Business)Alan Turing, a crack code-breaker and visionary mathematician who was convicted under Victorian-era homophobic laws, will be the face of Britain's new £50 note. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced Monday that Turing, who killed himself in 1954 after he was subjected to chemical castration, will appear on the new polymer note by the end of 2021.  → Read more at cnn.com


 July 17, 2019

Nick Vorsin wasn’t sure what he’d find when he stopped in at the Calgary Coin Gallery, but he ended up buying a couple of nice surprises: two 1967 Canadian Centennial coins. One was a 50 cent piece, featuring an image of a howling wolf, along with a silver dollar featuring a Canada goose.  → Read more at globalnews.ca


 July 17, 2019

(UPDATED) A study finds that Filipinos frequently use P20 bills, leading to the banknote's wear and tear. A coin version will extend its life span. MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The orange P20 bill will soon get a coin counterpart, an official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Wednesday, July 17.  → Read more at rappler.com


 July 18, 2019

Before you say, "Keep the change," make sure you don’t have one of these. You never know, one of your pennies could be worth the price of a nice dinner out — or maybe a whole lot more.  → Read more at cnbc.com


 July 21, 2019

Richard Hayes left a $45 million coin on the streets of Manhattan all day Tuesday, but he wasn’t particularly worried about a thief carting it off.  → Read more at marketwatch.com


 July 21, 2019

Rusty Goe has spent much of his professional life on a deep dive into the history of the U.S. Mint in Carson City. He’s written multiple books on the subject and spent thousands of hours in research, getting to know the people who worked there 150 years ago.  → Read more at carsonnow.org


 July 21, 2019

There was an increase in hoarding coins during the "tumultuous" reign of the queen, an expert says.  → Read more at bbc.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 14, 2019

Counterfeit 1803-dated dollar found in Hong Kong for $3. It is not part of the story but makes for a good accompanying image.

According to news reports, Barry Ron Skog, a coin dealer in the suburbs of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit coins. He was last week to 30 months in jail.

Skog, 68, advertised in Numismatic News sending lists of available coins to interested collectors. Reports say that Skog, who used the alias Ron Peterson, sold $57,000 worth of counterfeit coins. On his arrest, his list contained 275 counterfeit coins which would have sold for over $200,000.

A source said that Numismatic News cooperated with investigators when a reader alerted them about the problem.

I am reporting this in very stark terms so that if anyone is searching the Internet for information about coin collecting, I want you to know that this situation is not typical of the hobby.

Like any industry, there are a lot of outstanding people and a few that ruin the reputation for others. Skog is not typical of the vast majority of the dealers I have met. Although there are dealers I disagree with on many different issues when it comes to numismatics, the state of the hobby, or their approach, I do not think they are bad people.

Not all mail order dealers are bad people either. For some, it is a hobby. They use the proceeds from buying and selling through ads placed in the numismatic media to enhance their collections. The same is true of some of the people who sell on eBay. Sure, there may be issues with some eBay sellers that give the rest a bad name, but there are more honorable people than those trying to scam you.

Finally, Numismatic News is an outstanding publication and an excellent source for stories about the hobby. While its future is uncertain, while it is still publishing, I have no problems recommending it as a reliable source. A scammer like this could have done this using any other publication. There is nothing about Numismatic News to place them at fault.

Unfortunately, stuff happens. When it does, it was nice to hear that the community banded together to stop someone from hurting other members.

And now the news…

 July 8, 2019

HISTORIANS are baffled after a mysterious African coin that could date as far back as the 8th century was found in Australia. The copper coin could mean Captain Cook – famous as the first Eur…  → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 July 8, 2019

Scientists are perplexed at the origins and provenance of two very ancient and unusual Roman coins that turned up like a bad penny in the 20th century. A Quincussis – the correct scientific name of this strange find — has thus far only been mentioned in texts dedicated to the coinage of ancient times and at most only a drawing was reported, but no one has ever seen one, until one was presented to Dr Roberto Volterri of the Rome University for analyses and then its twin surfaced.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net


 July 9, 2019

A Burnsville coin dealer who admitted selling counterfeit coins was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison. Barry Ron Skog, 68, pleaded guilty to the counterfeit coin scheme Feb. 21.  → Read more at twincities.com


 July 9, 2019

Greek customs officers caught a Turkish citizen attempting to smuggle 1,055 ancient coins across the border from Turkey on Tuesday, the Greek Reporter news site reported. The coins were hidden in seven water bottles concealed at the bottom of a bag containing food, it said.  → Read more at ahvalnews.com


 July 9, 2019

A federal judge in St. Paul sentenced a former Burnsville coin dealer Tuesday to 2½ years in prison for fraud in the sale of bogus collectible coins. Barry Ron Skog, 68, owned the Burnsville Coin Co., which advertised the sale of collectible “numismatic” coins.  → Read more at startribune.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 7, 2019

Steven Kenny

Newly named Artistic Infusion Program artist Steven Kenny (photo courtesy of www.stevenkenny.com)

Usually, news about a new artist selected for the Artistic Infusion Program is not big news in the numismatic community. The program currently has 13 artists including a few who were once employees of the U.S. Mint. But the recent announcement that Steven Kenny of St. Petersburg, Florida seemed a little unusual because of his artistic style.

Kenny’s primary work is surrealism, a style described as “irrational juxtaposition of images.” There are many different styles of surrealism that many artists have explored. One of the most famous surrealist artists was Salvador Dali.

The Beach by Steven Kenny

“The Beach” by Steven Kenny. Available as a print on his website.

While exploring Kenny’s website, you can see he has an interesting take on surrealism. Most of his works appear to be his take on portraits of different types of people adapting to their environment in unique ways. But these works go beyond that simple description, which is usually the case with artists who specialize in surrealism. His work has a simplicity that the more you look at them, the more that you can see complex themes formed by the image.

The way Kenny approaches a subject makes his selection to the AIP a fascinating choice. The U.S. Mint has always had a problem figuring out how to create designs for complex subjects. It is one thing to design a coin with an organization’s logo or the bust of a person, but what about design a coin for a national park, a forest, or an event?

Although seeing a surrealistic design on a coin would be interesting, someone with a background in surrealism has a different view that has the potential to improve on coin designs.

Kenny’s selection to the AIP is a very interesting move for the U.S. Mint. Whoever made the selection should be praised for not only selecting a talented artist but one with a different perspective.

I encourage everyone to explore Steven Kenny’s website to see more about his art.

And now the news…

 June 30, 2019

Using powerful infrared light, researchers have found a way to tint metal without dyes or pigments – with scientific implications far beyond coin-collecting  → Read more at theglobeandmail.com


 July 2, 2019

The U.S. Mint selected St. Petersburg surrealist painter Steven Kenny to create designs for coins.  → Read more at abcactionnews.com


 July 3, 2019

PHOTO: “MIR”  → Read more at galpost.com


 July 3, 2019

To continue, please click the box below to let us know you're not a robot.  → Read more at bloomberg.com


 July 3, 2019

 → Read more at kitco.com


 July 4, 2019

A rare gold solidus dating back 1,600 years has been found by a group of Israeli students in the Galilee region.  → Read more at sci-news.com


 July 4, 2019

A treasure trove of Arab coins dating back some 1,000 years has been discovered in an old German cemetery near the Baltic coast.  → Read more at thefirstnews.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 30, 2019

Price of Gold for the 2nd Quarter of 2019
(Chart courtesy of GoldSeek.com)

News of the week is not happening on the pages of the non-numismatic media but in the precious metals market. Specifically, the rise in the price of gold. While this news makes the gold bugs happy, it is a bad indicator for the rest of us.

With the price of gold opening at $1,279.00 on January 2, 2019, it saw some bumps in its price but has largely averaged a modest gain until the price closed at $1,271.15 on May 21. Then it started to climb and climb rapidly by market standards. On Friday, June 28, the end of the second fiscal quarter, gold closed at $1,409.00. The rise is a 10.8-percent gain since May 21.

Gold is considered a safe bet for investors. It is a way of investing in cash or cash equivalence. Investors buying gold will purchase bullion, gold bullion coins like the American Eagle, or shares in a fund that maintains large stores of gold. There are many types of funds and ways to purchase shares in these funds, but it is not the same as owning the physical gold. Most reports are claiming that investors are interested in purchasing physical gold with bullion coins being the preference.

Investors make money by investing with what they consider a manageable amount of risk. If the risk pays off, they can make a lot of money. The risks that fail must be made up elsewhere. Investors diversify their portfolios to mitigate these risks. However, if the institutional and large investors are moving their monies to safe harbors, like gold, they sense a problem.

This relatively sharp jump in the price of gold is being driven by the major investors who are worried about the future of the U.S. economy. They see the various trade wars being detrimental to the economy. One economist said that the recent hike in soybean tariffs to China is going to have long term effects long after this president leaves office.

Although the United States is no longer an agrarian economy, agriculture plays a significant role in the country’s economic health. Upsetting that role that agriculture plays will cause long-term damage to the economy. The soybean tariffs are believed to be the driver that is scaring investors.

You may ask how are soybeans causing gold to rise?

As part of foreign policy in Africa, the government has been supplying countries with the proper climate the means to grow soybeans. It was a way to make the countries self-sufficient by helping create an economy. In many cases, the United States did not follow through on commitments to help with the infrastructure that is needed to create access to the markets. Countries needed irrigation and road improvements. Rather than helping with the upgrades, the United States government concentrated on the military aspects of these country’s problems. A policy of one-problem-at-a-time.

For at least 15 years, China has ignored the military issues and began to supply the money, supplies, and labor to fix the infrastructure. The Chinese government helped build irrigation systems, roads, and provided transportation to build these economies with the promise that China would buy their products.

Although there was significant Chinese investment in Africa, it was still cheaper to buy soybeans from the United States. That situation changed with the 25-percent tariffs placed on soybean exports. The tariffs raised the price of U.S. soybeans beyond what the Chinese would pay to the African exporters. Now China is importing soybeans from Africa while U.S. farmers are provided allegedly short-term subsidies from the federal government.

Now that the infrastructure is in place for China to import soybeans from Africa, the costs have reduced and is projected to have the long-term effect of lowering the U.S. market for soybeans in China. One economist said privately that even if the tariffs were reduced to pre-trade war levels, it might not make it economically viable for China to buy as much from the United States as it did in the past.

Institutional investors see the loss in revenue from China, the increased deficit in providing welfare to soybean farmers, and the danger of the business not returning to the United States. They also see the reduction of tariffs to Russia for wheat and that Russia is also looking to African and South American countries for wheat sources. The competition is making trade prices drop and is making it look like agriculture trade is in trouble.

If exports of United States agriculture are in trouble, then it will hurt the economy. With the uncertainty added to the risk profile investors and fund managers have to manage, they have turned to gold as the natural, safe harbor.

The rise in gold prices always helps numismatics. It helps boost the prices of gold and, by association, other rare coins. However, if the gold prices go up because of economic stress, it will not matter what happens to numismatic prices. Fewer people will be in the market to buy coins.

And now the news…

 June 26, 2019

Gold is a hedge against financial risk, and coins offer convenience.  → Read more at marketwatch.com


 June 26, 2019

COIN collectors can now get their hands on a Toy Story 4 50p piece – but you can’t use it in shops. The commemorative coin features popular character Woody in colour with the cowboyR…  → Read more at thesun.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 23, 2019

1883 Liberty Head Nickel (Type 1)

1883 Liberty Head Nickel — Type 1, No “CENTS” on reverse (Credit: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History)

A story that appeared in the Desert Sun seems to defy what some in the numismatics industry wants you to believe is successful collecting. The problem is that it is narrow in focus.

The article talks about the dealer’s held belief that successful coin collecting is about the hunt for the perfect coin. It is finding the right coin for your collection then making it better. Unfortunately, the more this industry holds on to these notions, they are scaring off potential collectors.

What the article and dealers do not want to tell you that it is perfectly acceptable to pick a set, topic, or series and find examples that are good or consistent with the rest of the collection. They tell you that you have to buy the coin in the latest piece of plastic with the highest number and graffitied with stickers. But what they do not tell you is that you can find better-looking coins at lower grades and many times without stickers or entomb in plastic.

One of the best looking collection I saw was a Liberty Head “V” Nickel set with all of the coins in extra fine (XF) condition. It is a more difficult collection to assemble than one might think. These coins were the workhorse of the economy. Their copper-nickel alloy was softer than the silver coins and wore quickly. It is challenging to find 19th-century coins in XF condition.

The set will not bring its assembler a lot of profit since the Liberty Head nickel is not in high demand. Instead, it is an accomplishment by a dedicated collector whose goal was to have fun.

Maybe that is the key to promoting the hobby. Let’s have some fun and stop worrying about what is the right or wrong way to collect!

And now the news…

 June 18, 2019

A gold coin that dates back to ancient Rome and was discovered in a field by a man with a metal detector has sold at auction for nearly $700,000.  → Read more at jckonline.com


 June 20, 2019

Why not get the kids off the computer and into something of lasting value?  → Read more at desertsun.com


 June 20, 2019

The archaeological excavations in Parion, a well-protected ancient city in Çanakkale, aim to shed light on the defense system of the city  → Read more at hurriyetdailynews.com


 June 20, 2019

Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron were among the impressive collection.  → Read more at silive.com


 June 21, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — While attending the International Paper Money Show in Kansas City, Missouri late last week, the staff of Liberty Coin Service purchased an exceedingly rare 1736 mortgage document for land in Mooreland, Pennsylvania Province that was printed by Benjamin Franklin.  → Read more at fox47news.com

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