Weekly World Numismatic News for April 5, 2020

I know it is difficult to turn away from the news. It is like watching an automobile accident in slow motion. Every day it seems like there is something else. Unfortunately, this is true about the precious metals market.

Europe, which appears to be taking the closings and stay-at-home orders better than the United States, is trying to figure out what will happen to the economy after everything reopens. That is wreaking havoc with the market.

In one story, Germany is beginning to buy gold in preparation for future spending while institutions in Italy are selling gold to stay afloat. While African mines continue to bring metals to the market, investors are buying gold as a hedge for an uncertain future.

In the last 30-days, the price of gold has bounced back almost to pre-market shaking announcements about COVID-19 in the United States. Other metals have not been as active. According to a source, the only thing keeping the price of silver somewhat stable is its industrial use.

Coins and other collectibles that are sensitive to the precious metals market will begin to see a disparity in prices. Common gold coins whose price is tied to the metals market will rise. Silver coins will likely not move on the metals market.

During a conversation with a professional metals trader, I asked what is next for the market. A person who usually has an answer said that he did not know. He said that most traders are not trying to predict the market but react to whatever happens. One of the problems is that the computer models are wrong. In many cases, firms have halted automated metals trading. He said that the situation is so fluid that some of the computer models were buying from themselves.

If you watch the business news on cable television, you will hear a different opinion from every guest. I plan to use the advice given to me: prepare for the worst and turn off the television.

And now the news…

 April 1, 2020
On that day, men shall fling away, To the flying foxes and the bats, The idols of silver And the idols of gold Which they made for worshiping. Isaiah 2:20  → Read more at breakingisraelnews.com

 April 2, 2020
When people are worried about the future they turn to gold to protect their savings. That’s rarely been more true than today.  → Read more at finance.yahoo.com

 April 2, 2020
I estimate that the Germans own 9000 tonnes in private gold-nearly as much gold as the French and Italians have combined. The World Gold Council (WGC) states there are roughly 198,000 tonnes of gold above ground, of which 35,000 tonnes is held by central banks.  → Read more at seekingalpha.com

 April 3, 2020
Polish archaeologists have uncovered a treasure trove of Roman denarii coins. They date from the first and the second century BC, and they probably belonged to a member of a Germanic people who lived in the area at the time.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 April 3, 2020
While removing the floor of the church in Obišovce near Košice, the foundations of the old church were uncovered. After this discovery, the archaeological company Triglav conducted research that took place at the beginning of February 2020, the Regional Monuments Board Košice reported.  → Read more at spectator.sme.sk
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March 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressAs part of an action-filled month, there was one numismatic-related bill introduced in congress. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced the 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act (H.R. 6192) to allow the U.S. Mint to strike tributes to the 1921 Morgan and Peace Dollars.

H.R. 6192 is a replacement for the 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 3757). That bill will die in committee because two commemorative coin bills are already the law. The Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (Public Law No. 116-65) and the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (as part of Public Law No. 116-94) will appear in 2021.

The new bill is different in that it is not a commemorative coin bill. It was introduced is a bullion bill, which means that the government will keep all of the seigniorage. It would have been nice to have a commemorative bill that would raise money for the ANA.

The bill also does not have an end date. If passed, the U.S. Mint can strike bullion Morgan and Peace silver dollars starting in 2021 and into eternity. Although reports claim that the U.S. Mint “does not currently have any intention of creating an ongoing program and issuing coins after 2021,” does not mean they will not change their mind.

The only change I would recommend is to amend the bill to be like the 24-karat gold bullion bill. Allow the U.S. Mint to use the Morgan and Peace dollar designs the first year but allow the U.S. Mint to come up with new designs every year. Consider how much more successful the 2017 Centennial Coins would have been if they were struck in silver.

H.R. 6192: 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act
Sponsor: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
Introduced: March 11, 2020
Introduced in House — Mar 11, 2020
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 11, 2020
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR6192.

Weekly World Numismatic News for March 29, 2020

In 2013, Heritage Auctions asked the public to suggest names and and designs for the mythical $1 trillion coin. This was one of the proposals.

Stop me if you heard this before. A naive member of Congress wants to the Secretary of the Treasury to use his authority under Title 31, Section 5112, paragraph “k” of the United States Code (31 U.S.C. § 5112(k)) to mint a special platinum bullion coin. That coin would have a face value of $1 trillion. After minting two coins, the U.S. Mint would sell them to the Federal Reserve, who would deposit $2 trillion in the general treasury.

This time, the scheme was cooked up by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a freshman member of Congress. Apparently, Tlaib read that the Federal Reserve has more than a $2 trillion surplus. Rather than allow the Fed to use it to sure up financial systems in a crisis, she wants to transfer the money out of the semi-autonomous agency and put it in the general treasury to fund her version of a stimulus.

It is not the first time in the last ten years this idea came up. Back in late 2012, conservative pundits pushed Congress to do the same thing. The drumbeat for this idea became so loud that cooler heads finally prevailed, and the jokes about how to design such a coin quickly faded into history.

Tlaib is trying to learn from history by proposing that not only should the coins be struck but transferred to the Federal Reserve. By removing the $2 trillion liability from the Treasury Department’s books, it places the debt on the Federal Reserve.

If we were to ignore the law (31 U.S.C. §5136) will require the U.S. Mint to deposit the money int into the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund, the costs of striking these coins including the design and administration is required to be deducted from the $2 trillion. It is a small percentage of the total, but it counts.

Then there is the question of operating capital. What will the Federal Reserve do if it needs the money to keep banks open during this crisis? By taking its operating capital, the Federal Reserve will have to raise money on a market that will become more restrictive when the United States central bank cannot perform. One analyst said it would be like tying the Fed’s arms and throwing them into the deep end of the pool. Everyone will panic, jump in to save them, and will drown.

To make the ensuing chaos even worse, to prevent the bank failures and to prop up the bank-related insurance programs, like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Treasury will have to get very creative to fund the insurance program. Like they did in the late 1980s during the Savings and Loan fiasco, the Treasury had to sell bonds and bills to make the depositors whole. Back then, the economy was better, and there were willing buyers. Today, if the coronavirus crisis continues and worldwide investors become spooked because the Fed failed to help, the costs of that paper (interest rate) will skyrocket.

When the government borrows money on the open market at high interest rates, the payment for just the interest (servicing the debt) becomes part of the national debt.

Take two platinum coins and give them a face value of $1 trillion each. Make the Federal Reserve buy these coins. The result will be a ripple of actions disrupting everything, like when a stone is thrown in the middle of a calm lake.

There was a time when freshman members of Congress were pushed to the background and told to shut up and learn. It was to allow them to learn from more senior members and to prevent them from saying and doing stupid things. Maybe Congress should go back to that practice.

And now the news…

 March 23, 2020
Two styles of silver coins at the Perth Mint. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg  → Read more at bloomberg.com

 March 24, 2020
The fifth auction of coins from the legendary D. Brent Pogue Collection skyrocketed to a total of more than $15 million at Stack’s Bowers Galleries in Santa Ana last week.  → Read more at news.justcollecting.com

 March 25, 2020
Stock market crash safety sought by concerned investors is coming in the form of shiny precious metals that include gleaming gold and silver coins. Even though stock market drops usually coincide with a price hike in gold and silver, both equities and precious metals soared on March 24 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 11.37%, or 2,112.98 points, to reach 20,685.04 for its biggest percentage gain since March 1933 and its largest point rise ever.  → Read more at stockinvestor.com

 March 27, 2020
— A proposal to land the Apollo lunar module on the reverse side of a new $1 coin has been waved off by the committees reviewing the design.

The historic moon lander was among the three subjects considered for New York's dollar in the U.S.  → Read more at collectspace.com

 March 27, 2020
Sales of retail gold coins are revealing just how desperate investors are to find a safe haven. People have always been willing to shell out more for retail coins than gold sold in the spot market. But that premium has more than doubled — and at times quadrupled — over the past two weeks as investors seek a safe place to park their cash in the face of global market turmoil.  → Read more at bloomberg.com

 March 28, 2020
The frenzy to buy physical gold is driving demand for well-known coins like the Krugerrand, Maple Leaf, or American Eagle. A Swiss-issued coin is one of the few still to be had.  The market for physical gold has dried up after four Swiss refineries were forced to shut due to the coronavirus, as finews.com reported on Tuesday.   → Read more at finews.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for March 22, 2020

Cash is KingAs the COVID-19 crisis expands, news outlets have been asking how life will change once we medical science can catchup and conquer this disease. Numismatically, there is a question as to whether the currency will survive.

There has been concern about spreading the virus on our currency. According to the Associated Press, “Experts say cash does carry a risk of transmitting the virus, but the risk from cash so far is small compared with other transmission routes.”

Is it possible that a virus-contaminated banknote could transmit the virus? Scientists are not sure. Even considering the studies that show currency could be as dirty as your smartphone, there is no definitive answer.

“It’s not impossible that there might be traces of virus on dollar bills but if you wash your hands it should provide adequate protections, you shouldn’t need anything else,” said Julie Fischer, a professor at the Center for Global Health Science and Society at Georgetown University, on C-SPAN according to the AP.

While countries like South Korea and Poland have withdrawn paper money and has gone as far as burning it, banks in the United States are reporting the opposite effect. Fear has led some customers to make substantial cash withdrawals at banks and ATMs. Some banks are raising withdrawal limits.

The run on the bank is similar to the experiences in 2001 following the attacks of 9/11. Banks reported that customers were withdrawing cash at a higher rate than before the alleged Y2K crisis. Although reports have not reached that level, it is possible to exceed the 2001-2002 withdrawals if the COVID-19 crisis continues for very long.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing publishes its production numbers monthly. It will be interesting to see if they had to increase production in March to meet increased demand. It proves that cash is still king, and the thoughts of a cashless society can be put away for a while.

And now the news…

 March 15, 2020
Precious metals sellers never let a good crisis go to waste, using people’s fears of market turmoil to convince them to invest in an asset like gold or silver coins. These investments may seem safe, but some sellers price their coins at double their actual value, and that can leave the investor poorer.  → Read more at qz.com

 March 19, 2020
NEW YORK (AP) — In a world suffering a pandemic, cash is no longer king. A growing number of businesses and individuals worldwide have stopped using banknotes in fear that physical currency,…  → Read more at apnews.com

 March 21, 2020
Why You Should Invest in the $5 Gold Coin Commodities / Gold & Silver 2020 Mar 20, 2020 – 03:34 PM GMT  → Read more at marketoracle.co.uk

 March 21, 2020
Roman relic: The coin is one of a record number of treasures ( )  → Read more at standard.co.uk
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Weekly World Numismatic News for March 15, 2020

Following Saturday’s article, an article appeared in my newsfeed with tips on how to start building a collection of Buffalo Nickels.

CNN interviewed noted numismatist Charles Morgan. The article is a good synopsis of collecting Buffalo Nickels.

Buffalo nickels are a favorite of a lot of people. Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo Nickel was struck by the U.S. Mint from 1913 to 1987. The obverse of the coin features a Native American that Fraser said was a composite design of three chiefs, and the reverse is a buffalo that Fraser said was modeled after Black Diamond, an American bison he found at the Bronx Zoo. Both claims by Fraser have been controversial since several American Indian Chiefs claimed to have been Fraser’s model, and Black Diamond lived at the Central Park Zoo. In either case, it is a beautiful coin and an excellent entry to collecting.

Buffalo nickels are very available coins with a few exceptions. Beautiful examples with full dates and at least three-quarters of the buffalo’s horn still visible are available at reasonable prices.

For someone starting a Buffalo nickel collection, you might want to consider starting with a date and type set. Going this route would spare the beginning collector from trying to find the Type 2 1913-D and 1913-S coins, which can be expensive.

If you complete the goal of the date and type set, then try to fill in the rest of the coins to create the full date and mintmark set.

Another idea is to use the Buffalo nickel as the basis to collect other coins with buffaloes as part of the design. In 2011, I presented a Herd of Buffaloes type collection. Maybe it can be something to do while riding out the current situation.

Maybe, if we can attract new collectors using an article from CNN, we can encourage them to write more.

And now the news…

 March 6, 2020
The five extremely rare Islamic coins dating from the 7th century AD Image Credit: Dubai: As a UAE exhibition – Coins of Islam: History Revealed – with a display of 300 coins is proving to be a big draw at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in Abu Dhabi, five rare coins are making big news globally because they offer a historic narrative of Islamic coinage, dating back to the 7th century or the dawn of Hijri (Islamic calendar).  → Read more at gulfnews.com

 March 10, 2020
Some of the coins and pins made by Brad Brown, owner of B2 Promotions.  HERMITAGE – When people ask Brad Brown what he does for a living, he isn’t sure what to tell them.  → Read more at meadvilletribune.com

 March 11, 2020

A rare 1,300- year-old coin featuring the face of an unknown Saxon King sells for ₤48,000 after the proprietor invested 3 years attempting to verify its historic relevance.
  → Read more at theunionjournal.com

 March 14, 2020
Written by Forrest Brown, CNN Whether an entry point for budding neophytes or the domain of studied numismatists, buffalo nickels hold a fascinating place in the world of coin collecting. For the uninitiated, buffalo nickels are copper-nickel 5-cent pieces produced by the US Mint in the first half of the 20th century.  → Read more at cnn.com
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The Coronavirus and Numismatics in the short term

Now that the rollercoaster ride of this past week has pulled into the station, let us off, and is preparing for next week’s run, we can step back and assess our next move.

With the announcement of canceling of sports tournaments to the restriction on large gatherings and the declaration of states of emergency has caused everyone to rethink their short-term schedule. In numismatics, the canceling of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, dubbed March Madness, forced PCGS to cancel a launch they had scheduled with the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. PCGS was going to offer specially slabbed Hall of Fame commemorative coins as part of the coin’s launch.

Shortly after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Maryland, Whitman canceled the March expo scheduled for the Baltimore Convention Center. Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the official auctioneer of the Whitman Expo, will move their auction to their California offices and hold the auction online.

A few of the small local shows have sent notices that their shows will go on as scheduled. These are shows that are held in local meeting halls, hotel ballrooms, or other smaller facilities. Many times, the dealers outnumber the patrons. These shows will likely not exceed the 250 person limit expressed by the state of emergency.

Although the COVID-19 virus pandemic is something to worry about, we can get past the fears by following the common sense approach promoted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC and the National Institute of Health (NIH), the only way the virus spreads is person-to-person through respiratory droplets. The virus does not live on surfaces that long. If everyone maintains the proper precautions, there should be no problem handling numismatic items. Dealers should take care in how they present their wares and their interaction with the public.

Collectors going to shows must also take precautions. If you are not feeling well, do not attend the show. Do not rub your face and then touch the merchandise. Wear gloves if you do not feel comfortable.

And please wash your hands!

Because of the way we do things, handwashing is one of the most effective measures to control the spread of many of our health issues, including COVID-19.

To put the importance of handwashing into perspective, the concept of basic sterilization did not exist during the Civil War. This lead to the rampant death of soldiers to infectious diseases, many of epidemic proportions. About two-thirds of the 660,000 deaths were because of infections. That number could have been much less if the doctors just washed their hands.

When you go to the smaller coin show, wash your hands before entering. Clean your hands frequently with a sanitizer that contains at least 60-percent alcohol. If you have alcohol preps, you can use those to wipe your hands then apply hand lotion to prevent your hands from drying out.

If you touch a lot of items, you should wash your hands in between. Wash them before diving into that junk box and after you are finished.

And do not touch your face!

We all have these habits that involve touching our face, hair, or other parts of our head. I know these habits are tough to change. As a member of the Society of Bearded Numismatists, I am regularly rubbing or scratching the area under my chin. I have been forcing myself to stop.

If you do not feel well or are uncomforatble, stay home.

The situation may cause temporary changes, but that does not mean cowering in the corner. Use the time to your advantage. Catch up reading those numismatic books on your show. Update your collection’s catalog. Organize new purchases.

You can organize family time around numismatics. Talking about coins and their history is better than watching everyone else panic on social media.

Weekly World Numismatic News for March 8, 2020

Much of the news this week was by media outlets announcing local coin shows.

While the big shows are delightful, local coin shows can be more fun. Smaller shows do not attract the type of crowd that you will see in a larger venue, like a convention center. Fewer people go to these local shows making it a more relaxed atmosphere.

Behind the tables at these shows are local dealers, some who may not be able to afford to set up at national shows. These are your neighbors. They are the ones you can go to for information and help you find that hard to find or intriguing coin.

The relaxed atmosphere of the small show makes it an excellent time to talk with everyone about collecting.

I will try to visit the Whitman Baltimore Expo in two weeks and the World’s Fair of Money in August. Between now and then, you might find me a few local shows in Maryland and Northern Virginia. Go check out a local show. You’ll be glad you did!

And now the news…

 March 3, 2020
Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable sits down with Andy Schectman, president of Miles Franklin Precious Metals Investments, to talk about ways to invest in precious metals. Maurice Jackson: Today we will discuss the merits of owning government minted coins versus private minted coins.  → Read more at streetwisereports.com

 March 6, 2020
A hoard of coins has been uncovered at a famous temple in southern India. Hundreds of gold coins were unearthed in a pot that could date back over a millennium, to when this area was part of the mighty Chola dynasty .   → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 March 6, 2020
POMEROY — The Meigs County Library in Pomeroy was the venue for a coin show presented by the OH-Kan Coin Club on Saturday which featured Bob Graham’s coin collection and some of his recent photo acquisitions.  → Read more at mydailytribune.com
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 The Health of the Hobby, 2020 (Mar 5, 2020)

 

Weekly World Numismatic News for March 1, 2020

Show of hands: how many of you have found an old coin only to think it was a reproduction?

As an avid junk box diver at flea markets, antique shows, and other venues, I regularly come across reproductions of old coins made of various materials. The most common are brass and pewter.

In 2018, someone found a pewter coin that resembles a Continental Currency dollar in the same design as the Fugio Cent. After consulting a dealer, the coin was sent to Professional Coin Grading Service for authentication.

PCGS determined that it was a period created coin. They graded it MS-62.

1776 Pewter Continental Dollar

1776 Pewter Continental Dollar, PCGS MS-62
(Image courtesy of PCGS)

It is not clear where the coin was made. Some experts say that it was a pattern made in Philadelphia. Others speculate that it was made in England as a satire piece to mock the newly formed country.

The problem is that PCGS does not describe the criteria that they used to determine the coin is authentic. Neither their public news article or the PCGS Coin Fact entry does not provide details of what makes this a genuine coin. With all due respect to PCGS, I have learned the hardway: trust but verify!
https://www.pcgs.com/news/pcgs-paris-office-certifies-1776-continental-dollar?gid=47
https://www.pcgs.com/coinfacts/coin/1776-1-curency-pewter/794

Someday, I hope to find something similar in one of my junk box dives. But I hope PCGS would help the community by publishing what to look for when junk box diving. I would not mind sending a proper find for authentication, but I do not want to pay for a service if it is not necessary.

And now the news…

 February 24, 2020
The Carson City Mint operated from 1870 until it stopped producing coins in 1893, and was finally closed entirely in 1933. The historic building remained unoccupied until 1941, when it was selected to be the site for the Nevada State Museum.  → Read more at mesquitelocalnews.com

 February 25, 2020
PHILADELPHIA — Julius Erving and fellow basketball hall-of-famer Sheryl Swoopes struck fear in the opposition on the court. On Tuesday, they struck coins at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, unveiling a special commemorative coin expected to raise as much as $10 million for Springfield’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  → Read more at masslive.com

 February 25, 2020
A Pennsylvania appeals court has overturned a judge order that required a convicted thief to pay nearly $87,000 for stealing a collection of rare coins. Should a convicted thief who stole a batch of rare collectible coins from his former employer have to pay nearly $87,000 in restitution for the crime?  → Read more at pennlive.com

 February 27, 2020
NewsRegionBaltimore City Actions Posted: 6:19 PM, Feb 24, 2020  → Read more at wmar2news.com

 February 29, 2020
WABASSO, Fla. (WPTV/CNN) – A group of friends in Florida loves to look for buried treasure and last week they found a trove of silver coins that are 300-years old. The skies are overcast and rain's moving closer to the beaches along Hutchinson Island while people seek cover, but it's the perfect time to dig for treasure in the sand.  → Read more at mysuncoast.com

 February 29, 2020
A RARE 1776 continental dollar bought at a French flea market for 56 cents is now worth a stunning $100,000. The anonymous buyer picked up the rare coin in June 2018, thinking it was just a piece of junk, but it turned out the coin was a rare treasure printed in the year of American independence.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk

 February 29, 2020
"The large coin had letters similar to the Arabic language on it while the smaller coins had Hindu gods on them," a source who was present at the site tells TNM. It was close to 10 am on Wednesday morning and workers at the Jambukeswar Akilandeshwari in temple were clearing a space behind the Prasanna Pulaiyar sannidhi.  → Read more at thenewsminute.com

 February 29, 2020
Treasure hunter Jonah Martinez, 43, of Port St. Lucie, found 22 Spanish coins from a 1715 shipwreck at Turtle Trail beach access on Friday, Feb.  → Read more at tcpalm.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 23, 2020

Aussie coin collectors are scouring through their change, looking for a Mule Dollar.

A woman from Melbourne found an Australian dollar coin where the obverse was different from the others. The lettering and portrait were smaller and had a doubled rim. The story went viral on social media.

Australia 2000 1 Dollar Mule Comparison

Comparing the $1 mule on the left to a regular $1 coin on the right
(Image courtesy of the Australian Coin Blog)

The mule was first discovered in 2003, according to the Australian Coin Blog. Known as the “2000 $1 / 10 cent Mules,” the coins were sent to Perth for use in the casinos. At the time, the collectors and other interested people withdrew thousands of dollar coins from casinos and banks looking for the coin.

Australian coin experts suspect that the error occurred when someone accidentally installed the wrong obverse die into the coin press. Rather than using the die to strike the 25 mm dollar coin, the die that should strike the 23.6 10 cents coin was used. The 1.4 mm difference gives the impression of a doubled edge on the coin.

There are no statistics as to how many of these coins are in circulation. Considering they keep appearing every few years, the discovery causes a frenzy, especially amongst casual observers. It would be like someone finding an “extra leaf” Wisconsin quarter.

And now the news…

 February 17, 2020
Presidents on money Since Presidents Day is Monday, we thought we would see how presidents stack up against each other in money.  → Read more at eastbaytimes.com

 February 18, 2020
A ceremony has been held in American Samoa to mark the launch of a coin honouring the territory's national park. The new US coin with an image of a Samoan fruit bat. Photo: U.S.  → Read more at rnz.co.nz

 February 21, 2020
A Berlin court sentenced three men on Thursday over the 2017 theft of a gigantic gold coin from a city museum.  The coin, dubbed the "Big Maple Leaf," weighed roughly 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and had an estimated value of €3.75 million ($4.05 million).  → Read more at dw.com

 February 21, 2020
An ultra-rare U.S $5 coin minted during the California Gold Rush is set to sell for millions when it goes up for auction in Baltimore next month. The legendary 1854-S Liberty Head ‘Half Eagle’ is one of only three examples known to exist, and has been described as “one of the most famous rarities in the world of American coins”.  → Read more at news.justcollecting.com

 February 21, 2020
A rare $1 coin could be worth thousands of dollars thanks to one minor mistake. The Royal Australian Mint made an error when making 'Mule Dollar' coins – a small number of $1 coins from the year 2000 that were made using the wrong print.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 February 21, 2020
Lifestyle Archaeologists. A Houston neighborhood called ‘The Scorpion.’  → Read more at houstonchronicle.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 9, 2020

Carson City Mint Sesquicentennial Mold

Mold used to make the dies for the Carson City Mint Sesquicentennial medal. Image courtesy of the Nevada State Museum.

This past week, the Nevada State Museum celebrated the 150th anniversary of the United States Mint in Carson City. The Carson City Mint opened in 1870 to strike silver coins using silver from the Comstock Lode.

Although named for Henry Comstock, he did no discover the silver mines in the area. Comstock has the distinction of claiming a stake in the lode before selling his stake for thousands of dollars, an unreasonable sum at the time, and settling in Carson City. Comstock started a few businesses. His brashness and presence lent his name to the discovery.

Comstock is not a hero. He was known for being impatient, careless, lazy, and some accused him of being insane. Comstock committed suicide in 1870, leaving several failed businesses, a failed marriage, and sever debt in his wake.

After the discovery, it was expensive to transport the silver to San Francisco for processing. Nevada politicians lobbied congress for the formation of a branch mint to assay and strike coins. Congress authorized a mint in 1868 for nearby Carson City. The building opened for production in 1870. The Carson City branch mint struck silver and gold coins but in lesser amounts than the other mints making their coins highly collectible and more expensive because of their rarity.

Many consider the coins struck at Carson City to be amongst the most beautiful of all the coins. With the lower production totals, mint employees did not have to rush production, allowing them to create proper strikes. Of course, mistakes happen, and varieties of coins struck at the Carson City Mint are some of the most desirable.

A significant distinction of the coins struck in Carson City is that they bear the “CC” mintmark. It is the only two-character mintmark used on U.S. coins.

Production ended in 1893 with the reduced output from nearby silver mines. The building served as an Assay Office beginning in 1895. It closed following the gold recall of 1933. The State of Nevada purchased the building in 1939.

Today, the building houses the Nevada State Museum, where Coin Press No. 1 continues to strike commemorative half-ounce silver medals every month. There are only four known versions of this coin press in existence and the museum has the only working model.

For the sesquicentennial celebration, the museum struck a commemorative medal for the visitors. Visitors were able to purchase half-ounce silver planchets from the museum’s gift shop and bring them to the Coin Press No. 1 for striking. Because this was an on-demand process, you had to be at the museum to purchase one.

The Mint at Carson City is a symbol of U.S. history. It is where the old west meets modern commerce. From the reports, it sounds like the celebration went well. I hope to be able to visit the museum at some point in time.

And now the news…

 February 3, 2020
The huge coin weighs five kilograms (Picture: The Goldsmiths’ Company/SWNS) A £5,000 coin that weighs five kilos and is big enough to eat your dinner off has been produced by the Royal Mint as part of a tradition going back more than 700 years.  → Read more at metro.co.uk

 February 4, 2020
A giant discovery of nearly 70,000 coins from the Iron Age has set a Guinness World Record for being the largest of its kind discovered in the British Isles. Discovered in January 2012, the collection of 69,347 coins was found in Jersey by metal detector enthusiasts Reg Mead and Richard Miles, British news agency SWNS reports.  → Read more at foxnews.com

 February 6, 2020
It was born out of Nevada's silver boom. The Carson City Mint coined our money for decades, until 1893 when it closed…later becoming the Nevada State Museum. But museum curator Robert Nylen told me it’s still famous for the coins: "The coins that came out of Carson City.  → Read more at ktvn.com

 February 6, 2020
(via Kamloops RCMP) Kamloops RCMP has a bit of spare change these days.  → Read more at kamloopsmatters.com

 February 8, 2020
(Kitco News) U.S. Mint gold coin sales saw a strong recovery in January after the weakest year on record in 2019.  → Read more at kitco.com

 February 8, 2020
Persistent archaeological treasure hunters have set a new Guinness World Record for the largest coin hoard ever discovered in the British Isles. This treasure story begun in the early 1980s after Reg Mead and Richard Miles read a report about a farmer on Jersey who many years earlier had discovered silver coins in an earthenware pot while pulling out a tree from a hedgerow.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 February 8, 2020
A PORTLAND resident has discovered another 'love token' at Church Ope Cove, prompting theories about what once took place on the sandy shores. Edward Dahl first found a silver sixpence, dating from 1696 during the reign of William III, back in 2018.  → Read more at dorsetecho.co.uk

 February 9, 2020
It is the second time in history when a coin issued by Latvijas Banka has been recognised the Coin of the Year. The innovative Honey Coin, created by the designer Artūrs Analts, won by a very wide margin, and, quoting the 1 February 2020 press release of the Numismatic News, "the day was sweet as honey" for Latvijas Banka.  → Read more at baltictimes.com
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