Weekly World Numismatic News for April 14, 2019

Fifty cents = $5,000: The two Quarter Quest-winning PCGS First Discovery 2019-W Lowell quarter dollars side-by-side. (Photo credit: Professional Coin Grading Service www.PCGS.com.)

This week, the Professional Coin Grading Service announced that they would provide a $5,000 for the first collector to send in a new 2019-W Lowell National Historical Park quarter. By Friday, PCGS announced that two people won the prize. Each will receive $2,500.

During the week, I had two occasions to go to the bank and purchase rolls of quarters. Even though I asked for new rolls, most of the quarters I received were either from 2018 or non-W mint quarters from 2019. In the shop, I checked every quarter received for payment and when I received quarters in change.

The competitive side of me wanted to be the first, or amongst the first to find one of these quarters. Even after running errands earlier today, I did not find any coin struck in 2019.

PCGS is still rewarding those who find the W mint quarters with special labels and cash prizes. Even though the top prize was claimed, I want to find one in change!

And now the news…

 April 8, 2019

When you rifle around in your purse for some change soon, you might be lucky enough to pull out a new 50 cent coin, launched today by the Royal Australian Mint to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages.  → Read more at theconversation.com


 April 9, 2019

Country continues tradition of honoring icons of art and science over politicians on its currency.  → Read more at soranews24.com


 April 9, 2019

Australia has issued a new coin celebrating some of the country’s indigenous languages, many of which are at risk of extinction.  → Read more at cnn.com


 April 10, 2019

Why is gold valuable? For thousands of years, gold has functioned as a store of wealth that sees its value climb in times of economic or societal unrest. Gold jewelry has been a sought-after luxury good since before the dawn of the first civilizations.  → Read more at gainesvillecoins.com


 April 10, 2019

SARANAC LAKE — Stephen Krupka’s metal detector beeped and wailed as he passed it over the soft ground Tuesday afternoon. “Looks like we’ve got a nickel signal here,” he said. Kneeling down, he took out a serrated hand trowel and cut a plug of grass from Denny Park on the corner of Pine Street and Bloomingdale Avenue.  → Read more at adirondackdailyenterprise.com


 April 11, 2019

A treasure hunter has struck it rich after digging up a 500-year-old gold coin that could be worth more than £4,000 ($5,200), but refuses to part with his rare find. Gareth Millward unearthed the coin in a field near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and says it is the highlight of his four-year hobby.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 April 12, 2019

(Kitco News) – Wall Street is split on the near-term direction of gold prices, while Main Street remains bullish, according to the weekly Kitco News gold survey.  → Read more at kitco.com

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 The Hunt Is On! (Apr 11, 2019)

 

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 7, 2019

A few weeks ago, I wrote that when the U.S. Mint issues new coins into circulation, the U.S. media does not say much. Again, other than the American Legion promoting their commemorative coin, finding news in the non-numismatic press is rare.

Imagine my surprise when perusing my search of numismatic-related news in the media comes up with an article about the upcoming “W” mint quarters! The story appears on al.com, the website of The Birmingham News dedicated to cover the news for Alabama.

For those who did not see the news, last week, the U.S. Mint announced that for the first time, they would be adding the current War in the Pacific (Northern Mariana Islands) quarter America the Beautiful Quarter Series to bags of coins in Philadelphia and Denver. It will take a few weeks before these quarters will appear in circulation.

The article was a summary of the U.S. Mint press release with additional information about the America the Beautiful Quarters.

Kudos to the reporter, Leada Gore, and al.com for publishing this story!

And now the news…

 March 27, 2019

SPRINGFIELD — Heads up, artists. The United States Mint is hosting a design competition looking for artists capable of creating the obverse, or heads, side of new commemorative U.S. Coins celebrating the game of basketball and benefitting the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  → Read more at masslive.com


 April 2, 2019

Often it isn’t until a recession or times of economic/financial panic occur that middle-class Americans and conservative investors truly consider the impact of gold on their portfolio. While diversifying into precious metals shouldn’t be a decision you make without research, there are opportunities to invest lightly so you can begin to understand the potential that certain metals might have for your financial future when the dollar dips, but gold and silver stay stable, perhaps even growing.  → Read more at topnewsgazette.com


 April 3, 2019

The U.S Mint is releasing new limited edition quarters.  → Read more at al.com


 April 4, 2019

Two metal detectorists who discovered an unprecedented treasure trove of coins after searching for 30 years may be wishing that finders were indeed keepers. Richard Miles, 56, and Reg Mead, 77, are at odds with officials over the valuation of their discovery in Jersey that is recognised as the world’s largest hoard of Celtic coins.  → Read more at thetimes.co.uk


 April 5, 2019

An amateur metal detectorist scouring the grounds of a field in Kent has discovered a perfectly preserved gold coin dating back almost 2,000 years. It is emblazoned with the face of Emperor Allectu who is being touted as the first Brexiteer after he took Britain out of the Roman Empire during his reign around 293AD.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 April 5, 2019

The owner of a Vancouver coin shop who defrauded customers out of $1.4 million was sentenced in federal court Friday to four years in prison.  → Read more at columbian.com

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Brace yourself, the U.S. Mint is about to release another product for the kids

Although the U.S. Mint has not formally announced it, on March 28, 2019, they will make the 2019 Explore and Discover Coin Set (Product Code 19XGB) available to the general public. It is the second of three sets to be issued this year designed to get kids interested in coins.

This set features new characters they call the Mighty Minters.™ According to the U.S. Mint, the Might Minters are “fun, diverse, and relatable ambassadors to children, parents, and gift-givers. Each character projects its own style while introducing a variety of new Mint products to kids.” Although the concept may seem cheesy to us alleged adults, those who deal with the diverse population daily understands that in order to get the younger people interested they have to be engaged on their level.

I know. I know. It was different when we grew up. Back then you could still find silver coins in pocket change. Wheatback cents were about as common as Memorial cents are today. People even tried to use Susan B. Anthony dollars in their daily lives before confusing it with a quarter.

But that was the past.

Today’s children have a much different view on things. For one, if they are 18 years old or younger, they were born after 9/11 or were an infant and do not remember what happened. They grew up with the Internet, smartphones, and computers everywhere doing nearly everything. You can get access to everything at almost any time while their parents always bought things online.

Not only is money still important but the United States government owns the world’s largest money manufacturing business. No other mint manufactures, sells, or is more profitable than the United State Mint. It is an agency that does not get enough credit for producing billions of dollars of goods that our economy thrives on.

The U.S. Mint’s products are useful and collectible. And while there have been a few design issues, it is able to produce millions of versions of the art that people carry around daily and with an error rate that should make any company envious.

Errors are a fun aspect of the hobby because the rate of the errors is low. This is likely why the U.S. Mint is including a blank one cent planchet in the set. Not only does it show what a coin looks like before it is struck, but it also introduces kids to error collecting.

The Explore and Discover Coin Set introduce kids to the full range of circulating products produced by the U.S. Mint including the longest running design in the Mint’s history: Victor D. Brenner’s Lincon cent design.

In addition to a 2019 Jefferson Nickel and Roosevelt Dime, they are introduced to the Kennedy Half-Dollar. One of the quickest coin designs ever produced, the Kennedy half-dollar is not circulated as half-dollars once were. Although there are a lot of theories as to why half-dollars stopped circulating, one was that the 1964 half-dollar, which was made using an alloy that was 90-percent silver, was saved by many in honor of the slain president coupled with the coin shortage that followed effectively ended the coin’s circulation.

Also in the set is the first 2019-issued Lowell National Historical Park Quarter and 2019 Native American $1 Coin featuring American Indians in the Space Program honoring the achievement of Native Americans dating back to Mary Golda Ross (Cherokee Nation), the first Native American engineer at NASA.

These are two coins that should help kids not only learn about the coins but also about the subjects they depict. This should not discount the dollar coin’s obverse of Sacagawea carrying her baby, Jean Paul Baptiste.

It is another opportunity for the hobby purists to weigh in on how the U.S. Mint is getting it wrong before it sells out!

Numismatic Purists Heads are Exploding

Last week, the U.S. Mint reported that the sales of the Rocket Ship Set is close to being a sellout. With an announced limit of 50,000 sets, they said that 46,762 were sold.

The Rocket Ship Set is a coin product produced for kids to tie in with the space theme generated by the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin program. The set contains two coins: an uncirculated 2019 Kennedy Half Dollar an a proof Native American $1 Coin honoring American Indians in the Space Program. The coins are mounted on a card shaped like a rocket ship that glows in the dark and can be set up to stand up on a desk, shelf, or anywhere else.

The text an the card explains the significance of the coins in honoring the space program written for children.

When the set was announced, there was a lot of commentary how the U.S. Mint was wrong for doing this. I read and received emails saying that this is the wrong way to reach children that many thought this set would barely reach 15,000 units sold.

While the numismatic snobs were throwing around adjectives like “dumb” and “stupid” claiming it is “bad for the hobby” and wondering out too loud what the U.S. Mint was thinking, customers bought up 93½-percent of the available inventory in two-weeks!

Although we do not know how many of the sales are to dealers or other institutional buyers, the fact that there is that level of interest suggests the U.S. Mint might have a better idea as to what’s good for the hobby than the snobs.

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 10, 2019

The numismatic news of the week of the week is the appointment of Joseph Menna as the 13th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint.

Although the position of Chief Engraver was abolished in 1996 as an appointed position, Mint Director Edmund Moy resumed the position and appointed John Mercanti as the 12th Chief Engraver. The position was vacant since Mercanti’s resignation in 2010.

Many references cite Public Law 104-208 as the law that eliminated the Chief Engraver position. That bill is the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997. As with a lot of these omnibus acts, there is a lot of “stuff” packed into this law, but there does not appear to be a reference to the Chief Engraver.

In fact, a search the term “chief engraver” at govinfo.gov, the site for the Government Printing Office shows no public or private law with those words. The GPO has nearly every bill and public law for the past 100 years available for full-text search.

This is something to look into.

In the mean time, congratulations Joe Menna!

And now the news…

 January 30, 2019

A 300-year-old British coin has sold at auction for a world-record price of £845,000. The five guinea 'Vigo' coin dates to 1703 and was made using gold seized by the British from a Spanish treasure ship at the Battle of Vigo Bay.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 February 3, 2019

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Hundreds of students took part Saturday in a robotics competition at Southern New Hampshire University. And the event came with an assignment from inventor Dean Kamen: He wants every student to get involved with an effort to honor a New Hampshire hero.  → Read more at wmur.com


 February 5, 2019

More than a decade ago Aries Cheung, a Toronto-based artist, graphic designer and filmmaker, was approached by a representative from the Royal Canadian Mint. Would he like to enter a competition for a new series of coins to celebrate the Lunar New Year?  → Read more at scmp.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 13, 2019

Pairing U.S. coins with a foreign coin for sale has been done in the past by the U.S. Mint. In 2002, the U.S. Mint offered the “Legacies of Freedom” This week, the U.S. Mint announced a collaborative project with the Royal Australian Mint to produce a commemorative coin set in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The set will feature a U.S. Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Half Dollar paired with an Australian 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing 1 oz. $5 Silver Coin.

The announcement noted that the set will be produced and sold by the Royal Australian Mint with marketing help from the U.S. Mint who will put a link on their website.

set. A limited edition of 50,000 sets that included an uncirculated American Silver Eagle $1 coin and a £2 Silver Britannia from the Royal Mint. These sets were created and marketed by the U.S. Mint with a price of $49.88 per set, noting that the spot price of silver was $6.39 per troy ounce.

Prior to that, the U.S. Mint produced the 2000 Leif Ericson Millennium Commemorative Set that included a 2000 Leif Ericson Proof Silver Dollar and a 1000 Kronur proof silver coin produced by the U.S. Mint for Iceland. It was the last coin the U.S. Mint produced for a foreign government. The U.S. Mint sold 86,136 sets at a price of $63 per set.

Since the set will be produced by the Royal Australia Mint, there are questions regarding the opportunities that may be missed by the U.S. Mint to do the same. For example:

  • The press release says that it will be a “limited production set” but does not specify how many sets will be produced.
  • Other than the legal requirements that the U.S. Mint shall not lose money on a commemorative coin program and that the half-dollar includes a $5 surcharge, what are the financial arrangements between the two government mints?
  • Who will handle the fulfillment of orders from the United States? Those who have purchased items from Australia and New Zealand know that the because of shipping and customs restrictions, items can take 6-8 weeks to enter the United States before it can be given to the Postal Service for delivery.

These questions will be addressed to the U.S. Mint as soon as Tuesday. Even though the U.S. Mint continues to operate during the shutdown, offices in Washington, D.C. will be closed on Monday because of 8-12 inches of snow that covers the region.

And now the news…

 January 5, 2019

Coins expected to bring increased security to economies of British territories and dependencies  → Read more at theguardian.com


 January 9, 2019

A penny that a Massachusetts teenager found in his change from lunch money could be worth as much as $1.65 million (£1.3 million) when it is auctioned off.  → Read more at foxnews.com


 January 9, 2019

My grandfather was a numismatist. William Evans Mullan II died over the weekend. The coin collection lives on.  → Read more at djournal.com


 January 10, 2019

Don Lutes Jr. kept the 1943 copper penny he stumbled upon in his high school cafeteria seven decades ago in a safe behind a wall in his Massachusetts home.  → Read more at cnn.com


 January 11, 2019

Jim Cramer shares his favorite ways to add gold to a portfolio and encourages investing in the precious metal if you’re nervous about 2019.  → Read more at cnbc.com


 January 11, 2019

BERLIN — Four young men have gone on trial over the brazen theft of a 100−kilogram Canadian gold coin from a Berlin museum.  → Read more at manitobapost.com

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Can we just get along

Since U.S. Mint announced the launch of the American Innovation $1 Coin Program there has been nothing but complaints from the community about the coin.

According to the law (Public Law No: 115-97), “The common design on the obverse of each coin issued under this subsection shall contain a likeness of the Statue of Liberty extending to the rim of the coin and large enough to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty.” With the U.S. Mint under a short deadline because of when the bill became law (July 20, 2018), there were a number of disagreements with the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee regarding the obverse design of the coin. The U.S. Mint tried to modify an old design but the CCAC did not like that. Eventually, the design from Miss Liberty’s left side was used.

It has turned out to be an elegant design that does not duplicate any previous one. She stands on the coin as stately as she stands in New York Harbor, extending from rim to rim as required by law. For once, the CCAC and I agree on a good design.

But that is not enough for some people. The design is too plain.

The reason why the coin appears plain is that two elements that could have been on the obverse, the date and motto “E Pluribus Unum,” are on the edge of the coin.

Edge lettering for the $1 coins began in 2007 with the introduction of the Presidential $1 Program. It was decided to move these elements, along with “In God We Trust” to the edge because the obverse was to include the years of the president’s term. Aside from providing more space for the design, relocating the date would prevent potential confusion as to the date of the coin.

“In God We Trust” was restored to the obverse of the coin in 2009 after striking errors caused the edge of the coin to be blank. This caused overzealous conspiracy theorists and the gullible believing that this was done purposely against the religious communities.

Some argue that since the conditions have changed, the coin should not have edge lettering.

Aesthetically, the obverse design was well executed. It would be how the statue would look if you were standing in Battery Park located at the southern tip of Manhattan, and looked across the water on a clear day. There should be no reason to change the design.

However, there is a problem with the edge lettering in that it makes it difficult to see. As someone who has reached the age where an annual eye exam is a requirement and “corrective lenses” is now a permanent fixture on my driver’s license, having the mintmark on the edge requires me to use magnification to find the mintmark.

As a member of the Baby Boomer generation whose glasses seem to get stronger every year, I would be in favor of moving the date and mintmark to the obverse of the coin. But if the problem is only aesthetics, then I have no problems with having to use a 16x loupe to help identify where the coin was struck.

Weekly World Numismatic News for December 16, 2018

Patent X1 issued to Samuel Hopkins and signed by President George Washington on July 31, 1790 (USPTO Image)

This week, the U.S. Mint made the most impact in the world of numismatics. first, the U.S. Mint released the first coin in the American Innovation $1 Coin Program. It features a new design of the Statue of Liberty on the obverse, which has not been favorably received. The reverse recognized the first U.S. patent signed by President George Washington.

On July 31, 1790, Samuel Hopkins was granted patent number X00001 for this method “in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process.” In June of this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued Patent #10,000,000 based on the current numbering system that began in 1836. According to the USPTO, there were 9,433 patents issued from 1790 through 1835.

The other news from the U.S. Mint was the first strike ceremony for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coins at the Philadelphia Mint. Children of the three astronauts who flew on Apollo 11 represented their fathers at the ceremony: Mark Armstrong, Andrew Aldrin, and Ann (Collins) Starr.

Coins will be offered for sale to the public on January 24, 2019. The money raised from this commemorative coin program will benefit the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” gallery.

A pair of 5-ounce silver proof $1 coins struck during the First Strike Ceremony at the U.S. Mint (photo courtesy of collectSPACE.com)

And now the news…

 December 10, 2018

Cash use has plummeted in Australia over the last few years but Eric Eigner isn't worried. "People will want to collect something that appears to be more scarce," he says. "I think it's a good thing to a certain extent."  → Read more at smh.com.au


 December 10, 2018

The patterns on Guangxi commemorative coins reveal special cultural elements and how the region has developed in the past 60 years.  → Read more at news.cgtn.com


 December 10, 2018

Museum intern Roo Weed ’18.5, a physics major, is using digital solutions to make the College’s rare coin collection more accessible to the public.  → Read more at middlebury.edu


 December 11, 2018

"> <META PROPERTY=  → Read more at miningnewsnorth.com


 December 14, 2018

From Alexander the Great to the Byzantium and the Middle Ages until the modern era all periods are covered in an exhibition featuring a rare collection of gold coins. This collection contains coins that are considered to have paved the way for the use of coins in world history and is being staged by the &hellip;  → Read more at cyprus-mail.com


 December 14, 2018

The United States Mint reveals a new coin collection to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Item includes great video of striking coins in the mint  → Read more at myhighplains.com


 December 15, 2018

The U.S. Mint has struck its initial coins commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. You could say it was one small strike for the Mint, one not-so-giant press for Apollo history. The coins were stamped as part of a "first strike" ceremony.  → Read more at collectspace.com


 December 15, 2018

The finds are "of great benefit" in helping understand Wales' "unique history", National Museum Wales says.  → Read more at bbc.com

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An Innovative Start

Later today, the U.S. Mint will have a ceremony to begin the American Innovation $1 Coin Program. The ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 am at the U.S. Mint’s headquarters at 801 9th Street NW in Washington, D.C.

The American Innovation $1 Coin Program will issue four dollar coins a year in recognition of the significant innovation and pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories. Coins will be issued in the order that the states entered the union followed by the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

As allowed by law (Public Law 115-197), the U.S. Mint is producing an introductory coin for the program that will be presented as part of the launch.

The obverse of the coin, which will be featured throughout the series, is a view of the Statue of Liberty in profile. The view of the upper third of her body with the torch extended to the edge of the coin with a plain background gives the image a quiet elegance that is not usual for a U.S. Mint design. It was designed by Justin Kunz of the Artistic Infusion Program with credit to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for pushing the U.S. Mint to come up with something different.

The reverse design of this introductory coin provides hope that the future of this program will not be mired in trite designs. It honors American Innovation by recognizing the first U.S. patent signed by President George Washington that was issued to Samuel Hopkins on July 31, 1790, for developing a process for making potash. The gears representing innovation appears next to Washington’s autograph.

The year, mint mark, and E PLURIBUS UNUM (Out of many, one) will appear on the edge of the coin as it does with all $1 coins since 2007.

Although it is a fantastic design worthy of a collection that includes the Native American Dollar designs, it will have the same impact as all dollar coins issued in the 21st century. It is a coin that will barely circulate and will not grab the attention of the U.S. public without its circulation.

Even though Congress creates these programs and has been told that this program will be a failure because the coins will not circulate alongside the paper dollar, they continue as if nothing is wrong. Even the Government Accounting Office, their own agency that helps with investigations and oversight of the federal government, has recommended eliminating the one-dollar note.

I will collect these coins as I have done for all of the special series introduced in the 21st century. But I will not be as enthusiastic about this series as I should be until something is done to make these coins circulate.

From manufacturing to circulation: Why does the most season numismatists get it wrong

It never ceases to amaze me that even the most seasoned and esteemed numismatists do not understand how United States coinage goes from manufacturing to circulation.

Recently, Harvey Stack wrote a column that appeared as a Viewpoint in Numismatic News (November 18, 2018). In the column, he blamed the U.S. Mint for problems with the distribution of the 50 State Quarters program. In the article Stack wrote that “the distribution of the new designs did not get full nationwide distribution. The Mint sent to most banks nationwide whatever they had available, with some districts getting large quantities of the new issue and other districts getting relatively few, if any.”

The U.S. Mint does not distribute circulating coins to any United States bank except the Federal Reserve. At the end of every production line is a two-ton bag made of ballistic materials that collect every coin produced on the line. When the bag is full it is sealed and later transported to a processing center designated by the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. Mint is a manufacturer. When they complete making the product, it is packaged in bulk and the customer, the Federal Reserve, picks up the product. Once the product is delivered to the client, that product’s distribution is no longer in the U.S. Mint’s control.

During the time of the 50 States Quarters program, the U.S. Mint had an agreement with the Federal Reserve to distribute the new coins first in order to get them into circulation. When the new coins were transferred to the various Federal Reserve cash rooms in the 12 districts, the Federal Reserve did circulate the new coins first.

What gets left out of the discussion is the logistics of transferring the coins from the cash rooms to the banks. The Federal Reserve does not deliver. Like many government agencies, the Federal Reserve relies on contractors to carry out that job. The Federal Reserve “sells” the coins to the logistics companies that bag and roll the coins and eventually deliver the coins to in armored vehicles to the banks.

In order to save money, these logistics companies keep their own supply of coins. This supply comes from the Federal Reserve cash room operations or excess they are given by the banks. Sine the logistics companies were not part of the deal that the U.S. Mint made with the Federal Reserve, a bank that asked for a delivery of quarters may have received quarters from the logistic company’s stock rather than new issues from the Federal Reserve.

Logistics is the coordination of complex operations and it is the job of these logistics companies to fulfill the inventory needs of the bank in the most efficient manner possible. It was more efficient to supply the banks in less densely populated areas with coins from current stock than transporting large amounts of coins from one of the Federal Reserve cash room operations that may be hundreds of miles away.

The U.S. Mint may do many things that collectors might take exception to, but the distribution of circulating coins is not their responsibility.

Coin image courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

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