August 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

John Sidney McCain III (1936-2018)

Although this is a numismatic blog, it is difficult to write about any aspect of Congress without recognizing the service of Senator John Sidney McCain, III. McCain died on August 25, 2018, from complications with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was buried on Sunday, September 2, 2018, next to his friend and mentor in the cemetery at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

McCain’s story of his stay at the infamous Hanoi Hilton has been long discussed and written about in the books he authored. He served as legislative liaison for the Pentagon to Congress before being elected to the House of Representatives from Arizona’s First District in 1982. After two terms in Congress, he ran for the seat that was being vacated by the retiring Barry Goldwater. McCain would go on to win five elections to the Senate before his passing.

John McCain was a true American Hero. What made him a bigger hero was that he was imperfect and stood up when he was wrong and took ownership of his mistakes. Something the colleagues he leaves behind in Congress should learn from.

To add a numismatic theme, military orders and medals are part of exonumia. To honor the late John McCain, here is a list of medals he earned during his service in the U.S. Navy:

  • Silver Star Medal
  • Legion of Merit with Combat “V” device and Star
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Three Bronze Star Medals; all three with Combat “V” device and the second two with stars
  • Two Purple Heart Medals; the second with a star
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Two Navy Air Medals; the first with a bronze star and the second with a Strike/Flight numeral “2” device
  • Two Navy Commendation Medals; both with Combat “V” device
  • Navy Combat Action Ribbon
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Two National Defense Service Medals; the second with a star
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Three Vietnam Service Medals; the second and third with stars
  • Republic of Vietnam National Order of Vietnam—Awarded by the South Vietnamese government, it was the highest honor that can be bestowed on a non-military official by South Vietnam
  • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross—Awarded by the South Vietnamese government for valor in combat
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device—Awarded by the South Vietnamese government for wartime service

A Combat “V” device is an award for Valor. These are given to those who earned the award for their service during battle. Stars are awarded when a medal is awarded more than once. The Strike/Flight numeral “2” device is awarded to service members whose award was earned during aerial combat.

As for the legislative update, August in Washington, D.C. is very hot and humid. Those of us who live in the area dread this month. Aside from the weather, it is the slowest month for everything. On the plus side, it is the month where we see less severe traffic as residents flee the area for their last summer fling. All that ends at the end of the month when it becomes time to get ready for the school year.

Congress usually takes off in August. If they are not campaigning for reelection, they are spending time at home. This year was different. There were a few floor sessions but the committees seemed to have a few hearings. While it is normal for committees to meet when there are no floor sessions, it is unusual for it to happen in August.

Other than having all members of Congress in town for John McCain’s funeral, there was no numismatic legislation to report for this month. With mid-term elections predicted to be contentious, it will be interesting to see if Congress will tackle anything that is not necessary between now and Election Day.

Weekly World Numismatic News for September 2, 2018

There is always something in numismatics that can be used to teach us about history. This past week it was reported that Russian archeologists found a rare “beard kopek.” It was a coin that men had to buy if they wanted to remain unshaven under the rule of Peter the Great.

Peter rose to power at the age of 17 in 1689, but the arcane succession rules of Russia did not allow him to actually rule until his mother died in 1694. Then, he had to be co-ruler with his brother Ivan V until Ivan died in 1696. That is when Peter took over.

Once Peter became the sole czar he implemented sweeping reforms to modernize Russia. He thought that in order to become a power similar to those of Western Europe, Russian society had to evolve. Using western advisors and his command of the military, he forced reforms on the country including violently suppressing uprisings by those who did not agree with him.

To enforce his idea of modernization, he introduced western dress to his court and required all government officials to adopt this more modern style of dress. Robes and beards were no longer accepted under Peter’s rule. In order to enforce his idea, Peter began to levy taxes on people who would not comply. If you wanted to keep your beard you had to pay a tax. Once you paid a tax you would be required to carry around a token saying that you paid the tax.

The copper token found in Russia was one of those beard tax tokens. It has an image of a beard and mustache with the words “Money Paid” (in Russian) surrounded by a beaded border. If you wanted to keep your facial hair, you paid the tax and had to carry around the token as proof.

Reports claim that this is only the second known Beard Tax token to exist with the other one being in The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. However, a silver version of the token was sold by Heritage Auctions in September 2017 as part of the Long Beach Expo World Coins Signature auction. The hammer price for that token was $3,000.

Even if there were two more found, it would still be a rare token!

And now the news…

 August 27, 2018

Aaron Coulson was given the silver coin in a Sutton Coldfield pub – and thinks it's worth at least £100  → Read more at birminghammail.co.uk


 August 27, 2018

In 1698, Tsar Peter the Great of Russia, as he would come to be know, was waging a war on beards. In an attempt to modernize his empire and make it more like the west after spending years exploring Europe in disguise, Peter instituted a tax on facial hair.  → Read more at popularmechanics.com


 August 27, 2018

The United States Mint has issued an open call for artists to design the nation’s coins and medals as part of its its Artistic Infusion Program. The government is particularly interested in artists who will “bring innovative perspectives and utilize symbolism in their work to clearly and evocatively convey subjects and themes,” according to the program’s press release.  → Read more at news.artnet.com


 August 28, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – Attention all Maine artists: The Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services has an important job for you. They're looking for an artist to design a coin for post-Vietnam War and peacetime veterans.  → Read more at wabi.tv


 August 30, 2018

A MAN uncovered a horde of Roman coins buried in farmland. Allan Hughes, of Wrexham, found five silver Denarii coins dating back nearly 2,000 years while out searching with a metal detector on arable land in Cockshutt, near Ellesmere.  → Read more at leaderlive.co.uk


 September 1, 2018

The South African government is considering a range of initiatives to increase the demand for platinum-group metals (PGMs), including the development of a Mandela Platinum Coin. The proposal to develop a Mandela Platinum Coin is based on the international success achieved by the Kruger Rand, South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said at the Africa Downunder conference, in Perth.  → Read more at miningweekly.com


 September 2, 2018

A First Century silver Roman coin uncovered on land in Shropshire has been declared treasure trove at an inquest.  → Read more at shropshirestar.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 26, 2018

News out of the United Kingdom was that the Bank of England was thinking about eliminating the copper 1 penny and 2 pence coins. The discussion came from a blog post on the website Bank Underground, an independent blog written by Bank of England staff commenting on the Bank’s policies. The post suggested that there would be “a negligible impact on inflation, with the average impact being negative but not statistically different from zero.”

The economists that wrote the blog post has used the same argument that many others have used: the rising cost of copper and the reduced purchasing power makes the coin not worth minting.

In response, the Bank of England said that it was not considering eliminating the 1p and 2p coins.

Unfortunately, the Bank of England economists’ post will become fodder for those that want to eliminate the one-cent coin in the United States. The argument will repeat the same themes that the blog post outline as proof that this could be done.

The problem is that regardless of the position, using the arguments generated from data that does not consider social and economic information from the United States makes the using this as an example irrelevant or spurious at best.

And now the news…

 August 18, 2018

A block below Central Park in Manhattan, an unassuming shop appears, from the vantage point of sidewalk passersby, old, dusty, and uninteresting. Yet it contains treasures. In billboard-laden New York City, the boutique’s beige awning barely snatches a glance.  → Read more at fortune.com


 August 18, 2018

AGARTALA: A commemorative gold coin to honour Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya has been launched on the occasion of the 110th birth anniversary of 'Tripura's last king'. The coin was released at a special Independence Day function at Ujjayanta Palace – the seat of the Manikya dynasty – by chief minister Biplab Deb, who was accompanied at the event by deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma, who is a member of the royal family, and the Maharaja's granddaughter Maharajkumari Pragya Deb Burman.  → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com


 August 19, 2018

RIGA — The whole mintage of the new silver collector coin dedicated to the Curonian Kings, a cultural group of free Latvian peasants that for many centuries inhabited seven villages in western Latvia, has been sold out at Bank of Latvia Cashier’s Offices, the central bank’s spokesman Janis Silakalns told LETA.  → Read more at baltictimes.com


 August 20, 2018

The Royal Australian Mint is paying homage to a group of iconic Ford and Holden race cars from the likes of Peter Brock, Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson and Craig Lowndes in a new series. Two fresh collections feature seven, uncirculated 50cent coins each from Ford and Holden chronicling the success of the brands in Australian motorsport.  → Read more at supercars.com


 August 22, 2018

Bank of England economists have reignited the debate over the future of 1p and 2p coins, arguing their removal from circulation would not stoke inflation. In a blog post on Wednesday the analysts said their work and the “overwhelming” evidence suggested the withdrawal of coppers would have “no significant impact on prices”.  → Read more at theguardian.com


 August 23, 2018

THE Bank of England is considering plans to scrap the one and two pence coins. It comes after economists claimed that scrapping 1p and 2p coins would not push up inflation. Here’s the latest…  → Read more at thesun.co.uk

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 NLG announces 2018 awards (Aug 20, 2018)

Weekly World Numismatic News for August 19, 2018

The world of numismatic news of the week centers around theAmerican Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money that was held in Philadelphia this past week. Here are the top news items from this past week?

    Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head Nickel (Image courtesy of PCGS

  • The Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $4.56 million at the Stack’s Bowers Auction to an undisclosed buyer. The coin graded PR-66 by PCGS is the finest of the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels. It is the highest price ever paid for a coin not struck from a precious metal.
  • 1792 Washington President Gold Eagle Pattern (Image courtesy of NGC)

  • The Unique 1792 Washington President Gold Eagle pattern coin was sold for $1.74 million by Heritage Auctions. The coin, graded XF-45★ by NGC, is from the Eric P. Newman Educational Society collection. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Society. The coin was acquired by Newman from the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection in 1942. Aside from being one of Newman’s favorite coins, it was also believed to be Washington’s pocket piece.
  • David J. Ryder, Director of the U.S. Mint.

  • Director of the U.S. Mint David Ryder announced that the Mint will introduce a gold coin series promoting the “Virtues of Liberty” starting in 2019. The announcement was given to Coin World who has not published the details of the program. One would think that an agency of the federal government would make this information generally available to the public and not exclusively to one publication.
  • 2019 Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Quarter (Idaho)

  • The U.S. Mint publicly introduced the designs that will appear on the reverse of the 2019 America the Beautiful Quarters. National treasures being featured in 2019 include Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts), American Memorial Park (Northern Mariana Islands), War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Guam), San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Texas), and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho).

My report on my time in Philadelphia is coming soon.

And now the news…

 August 13, 2018

Michael Turrini, a memer of the Fairfield Coin Club, holds different types of currency from Africa, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. The cowry shells and iron cross are both used as money. (Susan Hiland/Daily Republic) FAIRFIELD — Treasure hunters came out Sunday to find the rare coin, and they brought their  → Read more at dailyrepublic.com


 August 13, 2018

Never miss a story or breaking news alert! Listen at work or while you surf.  → Read more at kywnewsradio.radio.com


 August 15, 2018

The World's Fair of Money is "an opportunity for our members and the general public to see a lot of coins they could never see otherwise […] plus, an opportunity to see some of the largest, most successful [coin] dealers in the country," said Douglas Mudd, Curator and Director of the American Numismatic Association Money Museum. The World's Fair will feature millions of dollars worth of rare coins- coins whose values were once less than a dollar.  → Read more at philly.com


 August 15, 2018

A Navy veteran recalls a sacred tradition for warships.  → Read more at navytimes.com


 August 17, 2018

Rs. 1 coins also hit; rumours about their discontinuation have been doing the rounds for over a year now  → Read more at thehindu.com


 August 17, 2018

The one of a kind George Washington gold coin, dating back to the 18th century, was sold for $1.7 million this week with all the proceeds going to charity, according to Heritage Auctions.  → Read more at kitco.com


 August 17, 2018

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/730083/1943_Bronze_Cent.jpg?p=facebook  → Read more at prnewswire.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 12, 2018

All the news that fits, we print!

Trying to keep up with the news in the numismatic community has been like trying to keep up with the news in Washington. This week it was coming in fast. The bottom line is that next week is the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia.

Based on some of the press releases, here are some of the highlights for those who will be in attendance:

  • The ANA Museum Showcase will feature the finest known 1792 Half Disme, formerly owned by the first United States Mint Director David Rittenhouse and other rarities.
  • PCGS will display the “The J&L 144 Complete Set,” the All-Time Finest set of classic commemorative coins in the PCGS Set Registry
  • The Numismatic Crime Information Center will offer a one-day training class on “Numismatic Crime Investigations” for local, state and federal law enforcement officers.
  • PCGS will also display one of the 1787 gold Brasher Doubloons and seven of the finest known 1780s New York colonial era copper coins in an educational exhibit.
  • The U.S. Mint will display three 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle gold coins including a previously undisclosed specimen that was voluntarily and unconditionally given over to the government by a private citizen who requested to remain anonymous.
  • The finest known 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar, graded PCGS MS63+ CAC, will be displayed at the Tangible Investments booth.
  • ICTA’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force will exhibit a five-case display of counterfeit coins, precious metals bars, and grading holders on special loan from the Cherry Hill, N.J., office of Department of Homeland Security. These items were confiscated during their investigation of Jonathan A. Kirschner, who pleaded guilty impersonating a federal agent while selling counterfeit coins and bars and unlawfully importing counterfeit coins and bars into the United States.
  • The ANA, Numismatic Literary Guild, and others will be presenting their annual awards during the week.

In other words, it will be a jam-packed week for the numismatic junkie.

Too bad the show cannot be live-streamed for those of us who either cannot attend or will only be able to attend for a short period of time.

I will attend the World’s Fair of Money on Thursday and will leave after the ANA Board Meeting on Friday morning. More on this later.

And now the news…

 August 1, 2018

A gold coin from the time of Andronicus II and Andronicus III Paleologus (14th century) has been discovered during archaeological excavations at the Rusokastro Fortress site on Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea coast, the Regional Historical Museum in Bourgas said. → Read more at sofiaglobe.com


 August 3, 2018

Tiny hands fly up, waving pastel green play money in the air as children offer up bids with high-pitched, eager squeals. “I have $6!” → Read more at houstonchronicle.com


 August 5, 2018

Gold nugget discovery deemed museum quality DALLAS – An enormous, 40-ounce gold nugget, nicknamed “Lightning Bolt” for its jolting, bright yellow glow and rarity beyond any diamond found on Earth, could take top lot honors in in Heritage Auctions’ Nature & Science Auction Aug. → Read more at antiquetrader.com


 August 6, 2018

It has been revealed that Lord Ian Stewartby, who resided near Biggar and died in March at the age of 82, left £1.8m worth of his nationally-renowned collection of ancient coins to Glasgow University’s Hunterian Museum. → Read more at carlukegazette.co.uk


 August 7, 2018

It was originally worth five shillings but Australia’s rarest coin, believed to be discovered in a bushranger’s hoard, is on the market and expected to fetch more than $500,000. For the third time in its history, the “Hannibal Head” holey dollar, discovered in Tasmania in 1881, and presented to the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, Sir John Henry Lefroy, is being sold by Melbourne coin house Coinworks. → Read more at thenewdaily.com.au


 August 9, 2018

More than nine months after they stopped being legal tender, about 169m round £1 coins are outstanding. → Read more at bbc.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 5, 2018

Promotional Image from McDonald’s

“To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac, McDonald’s unveiled the MacCoin, a limited edition global currency* backed by the internationally iconic Big Mac,” reads a press release issued by McDonald’s.

Although they note that the MacCoin has no cash value but can be redeemed for a Big Mac at participating restaurants, McDonald’s has entered the world of numismatics by issuing a five-coin set highlighting the 50-year history of the iconic Big Mac sandwich. Although each of the five coins has similar designs, with the 50th-anniversary logo on one side, the reverse has an image of the Big Mac in a setting highlighting a theme from each of its decades of existence:

  • The ‘70s, showcasing the decade’s flower power
  • The ‘80s alluding to pop art
  • The ‘90s defined with bold, abstract shapes
  • The early ‘00s specifically focusing on the technology that was at the forefront of the turn of the century
  • The ‘10s MacCoin calling attention to the evolution of communication
Images courtesy of cleveland.com

According to cleveland.com, the coins were minted by Osborne Coinage Co. located in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In order to obtain a MacCoin you have to go to your local participating McDonald’s and purchase a Big Mac. You get one for each purchase while supplies last. More than 6.2 million MacCoins are available from McDonald’s restaurants in 50 countries including more than 14,000 participating restaurants in the United States.

It is not known whether you can ask for a specific coin or it is done by random selection. But here is a new opportunity for trade token collectors to include something new in your collection.

You can see a video of the commercial on YouTube.

And now the news…

 July 28, 2018

COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich has asked the state Parole Board to hold a hearing on a clemency request for a former Toledo-area coin dealer who raised money for Ohio Republicans before being convicted in a state investment scandal that also ensnared a former governor. → Read more at mariettatimes.com


 July 29, 2018

Rabat – On Throne Day, Morocco’s Bank Al Maghrib announced it will issue a new commemorative coin with a value of MAD 250. The announcement came on the 19th anniversary of King Mohammed VI’s ascension to the throne. → Read more at moroccoworldnews.com


 July 30, 2018

Maritime archaeologists have made an astonishing discovery off the Kent coast in England. While investigating an almost three-hundred-year-old shipwreck they found some coins that had been sewn into clothing. → Read more at ancient-origins.net


 July 30, 2018

"The legendary taste of the Big Mac has helped it achieve universal recognition and a lasting legacy," Susie Stames, a Cleveland-area McDonald's owner-operator, said in a statement. "Over my family's [55-year] tenure with McDonald's, Big Mac fans have enjoyed two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun with a flavor that's just as craveable and delicious today as it was back then." → Read more at cleveland.com


 August 2, 2018

A California firearms instructor's search for a lucky coin missing at Anchorage's airport has left him grieving the loss. Gary Peters carried the Eisenhower dollar in his pocket every day for 34 years — ever since his daughter gave it to him when she was 5. → Read more at adn.com


 August 3, 2018

An IT contractor has been jailed for stealing tens of thousands of dollars in gold bars and coins and smuggling them out of the Perth Mint, in order to fund his lavish lifestyle and "shower his partner with gifts". → Read more at mobile.abc.net.au

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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 29, 2018

This week’s featured story is about the Maine Troop Greeters beginning the process of identifying every challenge coin in their museum and trying to piece together their stories.

The Maine Troop Greeters are citizen volunteers at Bangor International Airport who took it upon themselves to welcome home planeloads of troops returning from Operation Desert Storm. They have been greeting troops ever since.

As part of greeting the troops, the men and women returning from overseas have given the greeters gifts of challenge coins. Challenge coins have become very popular since Operation Desert Storm and a lot of units have been producing their own coins. To show their appreciation, troops have been placing challenge coins in the palm of their hands and transferring them to the Maine Troop Greeters during their handshake.

The Maine Troop Greeters have 6011 challenge coins in cases on the wall of their museum located in Bangor International Airport. Volunteers will be researching the coins and posting their findings on Facebook. They want to share what they have and hopefully find out more information from the public.

The first challenge coin they are featuring is from the Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 332 (VMFA(AW)-332):

If you are a Facebook user, it might be fun to follow the Maine Troop Greeters to see the Challenge Coins they have collected.

And now the news…

 July 21, 2018

The Royal Mint avoided producing a commemorative coin to mark the Battle of Bannockburn for fear of whipping up support for Scottish independence. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 July 23, 2018

France could soon abolish its one and two centime coins in a first step towards creating a zero-cash economy. → Read more at thelocal.fr


 July 25, 2018

The Maine Troop Greeters are on a mission to research and share the history behind each of these coins. → Read more at wabi.tv


 July 25, 2018

A 33-year-old private firm employee alleged he had placed an order with Flipkart for a 20gm gold coin, but received an empty box from PVC Logistics. → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com


 July 29, 2018

The centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will be saluted with a commemorative coin from the U.S. Mint, if U.S. Rep. Don Beyer can convince colleagues of the → Read more at insidenova.com

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A LOOK BACK FOLLOW-UP

Hollow Spy Coins
(Image courtesy of ThinkGeek)

While searching for the next story in my “Look Back” series, I came across a post where it was reported that the Defense Security Services (DSS) issued a press release (see the text below) that the summary report claiming that radio frequency transmitters were found in Canadian coins is not true. “This statement was based on a report provided to DSS,” according to the release. “The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter.”

DSS is blaming an editing error with the item appearing in the report.

Although the release said the story was not true, The Associated Press quoted agency spokeswoman Martha Deutscher saying, “What’s in the report is true. This is indeed a sanitized version, which leaves a lot of questions.”

Later in March of 2009, someone had sent a link to an online merchant that was selling hollow spy coins. They were offering hollowed out quarters or half-dollars with enough room for a very small memory card. The coins are advertised to come with an unlocking ring and are “indistinguishable from regular coins when closed.”

These coins are no longer listed on that company’s website. However, if you are interested in owning your own spy coin, you can use any search engine and search for “hollow spy coins.”

I will probably not buy one. I would be afraid to carry the quarter for fear of accidentally spending it. But keeping a hollow half-dollar as a pocket piece with some “secret” information inside of it could be fun.

Sources

Original DSS Press Release

The “Defense Security Service Report Statement on Canadian Coins Incorrect, 01/12/2007” press release is no longer available on the DSS website. The following text was found on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:

A statement in the 2006 Defense Security Service Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry report which claimed radio frequency transmitters were discovered embedded in Canadian coins is not true, according to DSS officials.

This statement was based on a report provided to DSS. The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter.

According to DSS officials, the 2006 annual report should not have contained this information. The acting director of the DSS directed an internal review of the circumstances leading up to the publication of this information to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring.

The 2006 DSS Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry report was published by DSS in June 2006. As part of its oversight responsibilities under the National Industrial Security Program, the DSS receives reports from U.S. cleared defense industry to enhance overall security awareness in cleared industry.

A LOOK BACK: Spying Using Canadian Coins

With the outcry over the tariffs on Canadian goods being called a “National Security” issue, here is something from January, 2007 to consider.

This photo released by the Central Intelligence Agency shows a hollow container, fashioned to look like an Eisenhower silver dollar, which is still used to hide and send messages, or film, without being detected. It is similar to the Canadian coin that was found on some U.S. contractors. Because it resembles ordinary pocket change, it is virtually undetectable as a concealment device.
(Image courtesy of the CIA via the AP)

United State Defense officials are reporting that American contractors were carrying coins planted on them in Canada that contained radio frequency identification (RFID) transmitters. RFID transmitters are small chips that contain a small power source to allow these items to broadcast small bits of information. RFID is used for inventory tracking, security tagging, keyless door locks on cars, and electronic toll systems. Transmission ranges can vary by the type of chip used and the environment.

Reports confirm that an unidentified Canadian coin was hollowed out and its metal replaced with the RFID transmitter. The coins were “planted” on three security cleared contractors between October 2005 and February 2006 as they traveled through Canada.

RFID transmitters can be used to track the movements of those carrying the coins. “You might want to know where the individual is going, what meetings the individual might be having and, above all, with whom,” said David Harris, a former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officer. “The more covert or clandestine the activity in which somebody might be involved, the more significant this kind of information could be.”

Reverse of a 2007 Canada Dollar nicknamed “The Loonie” because of the image of a common loon on its reverse.
(Image courtesy of the Carlyle Observer).

Containers made to look like US dollar coins are a familiar tactic to US intelligence agencies. The CIA displays such a case on their museum website. The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC has similar displays. As for Canadian coins, the most likely coin used is the $1 coin, nicknamed the Loonie because its traditional reverse design features a Common Loon, a dominant bird in Canada. The Loon is 26.5 millimeters in diameter and 1.95 millimeters thick. The $2 coin, nicknamed the Twoonie, is a bi-metallic coin and would be more difficult to modify.

Although the type of RFID chip has not been identified, experts are saying that the transmitter in a coin would have a limited transmission range. It is said that the metal casing could constrain its range. Some of the technologies do have limited transmission ranges, but there are versions of the technology that could be tracked for a few kilometers.

“I’m not aware of any (transmitter) that would fit inside a coin and broadcast for kilometers,’ said Katherine Albrecht, an activist who believes such technology carries serious privacy risks. “Whoever did this obviously has access to some pretty advanced technology.”

The risk of the carrier spending the coin is great. but the ability to track a potential target would be a risk that spies might take. As our Canadian friends search their change, they may want to see if the coins have been hollowed and contain an RFID chip. That would be an interesting find!

The original article can be read here.

Weekly World Numismatic News for July 22, 2018

Winning design for the obverse of the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint)

The National Baseball Hall of Fame, who pushed for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program, announced on Wednesday that they have partnered with members of Congress to create a commemorative coin program honoring the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball in 2022.

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson debuted for the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers and on July 5, 1947, Larry Doby integrated the American League with the Cleveland Indians.

This past week, Senators Time Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the bill (S. 3239) in the Senate on behalf of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Next week, Representatives Roger Williams (R-TX) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) will likely introduce a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

S. 3239: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball.
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Introduced: July 18, 2018
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jul 18, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S3239.

To keep with the theme of making something different, such as the 2014 coins being curved, the bill calls of the new commemorative to be square and the common reverse to resemble a baseball diamond. This should be somewhat easy to accomplish since a real baseball diamond is nothing more than a square tilting on its corner.

For the obverse of the coin, the U.S. Mint is supposed to hold an open competition for artists to provide their suggestion for a design “emblematic of the integration of the game of baseball”

There will be the usual three-coin program consisting of no more than 50,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half-dollars. Surcharges received from the sale of the coins will benefit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

And now the news…

 July 15, 2018

The oldest coins in the find were minted during the reign of Hadrian (117-138 AD); the youngest come from the last years of the reign of Septimius Severus (beginning of the 3rd century AD). "All coins were found very close to each other in the Roman fort Apsaros" – told PAP Dr. → Read more at scienceinpoland.pap.pl


 July 18, 2018

In the town of Clayton, no good deed goes unnoticed. → Read more at wral.com


 July 18, 2018

ONE of the “finest known” examples of Australia’s earliest coin is expected to fetch more than $300,000 when it goes up for auction in Sydney next week. → Read more at news.com.au


 July 19, 2018

A wreck involving an armored car left coins strewn across Interstate 40 in Tennessee, police said. → Read more at tennessean.com


 July 19, 2018

The U.S. could issue commemorative coins on the 75th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier with the Dodgers. → Read more at latimes.com


 July 20, 2018

SCRANTON — When churchgoers drop their loose change into collection bins at St. Ann’s Monastery and Basilica, whether during the novena or on regular worship days, items other than U.S. currency sometimes gets mixed in. → Read more at thetimes-tribune.com


 July 20, 2018

Police in Berlin have seized 77 apartments, homes and pieces of land belonging to the Remmo family as they charged 16 members with money laundering over the gold coin heist. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 July 21, 2018

Friday demonstrations of the Nevada State Museum’s historic Coin Press No. 1 have proven so popular this summer that museum officials are extending the program through Labor Day weekend → Read more at nevadaappeal.com

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