I got my pin!

Although the 72nd edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins has been out since April, it seems like Whitman is doing a bit of behind the scenes reorganizing for the future. With Ken Bresett taking on the title of Editor Emeritus and Jeff Garrett taking over as Senior Editor, they seem to be a bit behind in some minor, but for some of us, important recognition. 😉 I finally received an Official Contributor’s pin for being a contributor to the Red Book.

First, this is my public THANK YOU to Whitman for the pin and allowing me to participate!

As I did with last year’s edition, I participated in updating modern coin prices. Modern coins are those classified as being struck after 1964 when silver was removed from most U.S. coins. These are the coins that some dealers do not show a lot of love for because they are not perceived as worth the effort to sell. Although some of that has changed since the State Quarters were first introduced in 1999, the hobby should show more respect to these coins especially since we are 54 years into the modern era.

Although many feel that the Red Book’s pricing is obsolete when it comes out, it is still a good guide to understanding the foundation of pricing even if there is are market fluctuations. Thus, it would not hurt to get these prices closer to being correct, especially for new collectors. After all, this is a “guide,” not a price list.

This past year was a little different. Aside from not giving us a lot of time to enter prices (more on that later), my new business venture allows me to see the market from a dealer’s perspective. Even though I deal in general collectables and not just coins, I can now view the market from both sides of the counter.

Because of time constraints, I concentrated more on proofs and special issues than the business strike versions.

One of the reasons why the period for submitting our prices was delayed was that when Jeff Garrett took over as Senior Editor, a source said that he wanted to change a few things about how this was done. No details were provided.

I am speculating that the delay in sending out the contributor pins, which also comes with a copy of the Red Book and a Mega Red, is likely because Whitman is working diligently behind the scenes to make it easier for contributors to continue to help while giving Jeff and others a better platform for which to edit the prices.

Even though the Red Book is a good resource there are always ways to make it better. I am sure that Jeff will do a great job and hope that I can continue to contribute to the effort.

A LOOK BACK: When is a Variation Not a Variety

This week’s LOOK BACK is my take at the stir made over the positioning of the edge letters on the newly struck George Washington Dollar coins in 2007.

If you search the online auction sites, you will find less than honest sellers trying to sell variations in the positioning of edge lettering of the new George Washington Dollars errors or varieties. Letters that are pointed up, or the top of the letters towards the obverse, are considered “normal” by these sellers. Letters that are pointed downward, or the top of the letters closer to the reverse of the coin, have been called errors or varieties. They are neither.

Exasperating the issue is that one third-party grading service added a designation to their labels with the orientation of the edge lettering.

Images are courtesy of Ken Potter.

An accepted definition of a variety “is any variation in the normal design of a given coin, usually caused by errors in the preparation or maintenance of the coin dies.” They are also errors caused in the striking process. But these definitions do not account for the differences in the orientation. The problem is that after the planchets are struck into coins by the high-speed coining machines, they are mechanically collected and fed into a machine that will press the lettering into the edge of the coins.

The machine that adds the edge lettering uses a three-part collar to impress the incuse lettering does this without regard to position. not only could the edge lettering face any direction, but the lettering can appear at any position along the edge. The U.S. Mint confirms this by saying that because of “the minting process used on the circulating coins, the edge-incused inscription positions will vary with each coin.

Since the Mint is saying that the process can vary, these variations are normal for the design. Since these are normal variations, they are not numismatic varieties or errors. Thus, the coins with variations of orientation edge lettering are not worth the premiums being sought online. They are worth their face value of $1.

There have been errors found with the edge lettering. The most infamous has been called the “Godless Dollars” for coins missing their edge lettering and the motto “In God We Trust.” Most of these coins were minted in Philadelphia and discovered in Florida. Others have found doubling of edge letters and what looks like breaks in the three-part collars where letters have moved out of place. These are legitimate errors and worth a premium above face value. Orientation variations of the edge lettering are not errors.

If you want to consider these varieties, please save your money and visit your local bank. You can purchase these coins for face value without shipping and handling fees. If you purchase a 25-coin roll, you can spend the coins you do not want since they are legal tender.

The original article can be read here.

July 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
(Image courtesy of the National Parks Service)

July has been a big month for numismatic-related legislation for the 115th Congress. Aside from passing the American Innovation $1 Coin Act (Public Law 115-197), the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act (H.R. 965) and a technical change to the American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Section 3. in S. 1182) moves closer to passage.

The Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act does not add a commemorative coin program but it changes the designation for the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire to be the “Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.” The change is significant in that it changes the funding for the staffing and maintenance of the site. It also will keep the site accessible for tourism.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens is known as the artist who co-conspired with President Theodore Roosevelt in his “pet crime” to redesign United States coinage. Before his death in 1907, Saint-Gaudens provided the design for the $20 Double Eagle and $10 Eagle gold coinage.

Saint-Gaudens’ legacy continued after his death by his students Adolph A. Weinman, designer of the Walking Liberty half-dollar and Mercury dime, and James Earle Fraser, designer of the Buffalo Nickel.

As for the American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act, the commemorative program was passed in September 2017 and signed by the president in October 2018 (Public Law No: 115-65). This bill has a few minor technical changes that will not change the program as originally passed.

For once, it was a busy month for numismatic-related legislation watchers. maybe congress is trying to show their constituents that they have a record of doing something.

H.R. 770: American Innovation $1 Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. James A. Himes (D-CT)
Introduced: January 31, 2017
Summary: (Sec. 2) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury, over a 14-year period beginning in 2019, to mint and issue “American Innovation” $1 coins commemorating innovation and innovators from each state, each U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia. Treasury shall issue four coins per year, in alphabetical order by jurisdiction, until a coin has been issued for each jurisdiction. Treasury may mint and issue a $1 coin in 2018 to introduce the series. Neither the bust of any person nor the portrait of any living person may be included in the design of the coins.The bill instructs Interior to continue to mint and issue $1 coins honoring Native Americans and their contributions.
Became Public Law No: 115-197. — Jul 20, 2018
Signed by President. — Jul 20, 2018
Presented to President. — Jul 10, 2018
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Jun 27, 2018
On motion that the House agree to the Senate amendment Agreed to without objection. (text as House agreed to Senate amendment: CR H5786-5787) — Jun 27, 2018
Mr. Hensarling asked unanimous consent to take from the Speaker’s table and agree to the Senate amendment. — Jun 27, 2018
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jun 21, 2018
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote. — Jun 20, 2018
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jun 20, 2018
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 20, 2018
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 17, 2018
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Jan 16, 2018
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Jan 16, 2018
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 770. — Jan 16, 2018
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Jan 16, 2018
Mr. Duffy moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Jan 16, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jan 31, 2017
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/115-HR770.

H.R. 965: Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH)
Introduced: February 7, 2017
Summary: (Sec. 2) This bill redesignates the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in New Hampshire, as the "Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park."
Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 512. — Jul 12, 2018
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Reported by Senator Murkowski without amendment. With written report No. 115-299. — Jul 12, 2018
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Ordered to be reported without amendment favorably. — May 17, 2018
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. — Oct 3, 2017
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 2, 2017
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 401 – 0 (Roll no. 545). — Oct 2, 2017
Considered as unfinished business. — Oct 2, 2017
At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed. — Oct 2, 2017
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 965. — Oct 2, 2017
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 2, 2017
Mr. Thompson (PA) moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 2, 2017
Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 197. — Aug 25, 2017
Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Natural Resources. H. Rept. 115-277. — Aug 25, 2017
Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. — Feb 7, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR956.

S. 3239: Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act
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.

H.R. 6469: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball.
Sponsor: Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)
Introduced: July 23, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jul 23, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR6469.

S. 1182: National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2018
Sponsor: Sen. Todd C. Young (R-IN)
Introduced: May 18, 2017
Summary: (Sec. 2) This bill amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program through November 30, 2018.
Motion by Senator McConnell to refer to Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs the House message to accompany S. 1182 with instructions to report back forthwith with the following amendment (SA 3630) made in Senate. — Jul 26, 2018
Motion by Senator McConnell to concur in the House amendment to the text of S. 1182 with an amendment (SA 3628) made in Senate. — Jul 26, 2018
Cloture motion on the motion to concur in the House amendments to S. 1182 presented in Senate. — Jul 26, 2018
Motion by Senator McConnell to concur in the House amendments to S. 1182 made in Senate. — Jul 26, 2018
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jul 26, 2018
The title of the measure was amended. Agreed to without objection. — Jul 25, 2018
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Jul 25, 2018
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 366 – 52 (Roll no. 373). — Jul 25, 2018
Considered as unfinished business. — Jul 25, 2018
Message on House action received in Senate and at desk: House amendments to Senate bill. — Jul 25, 2018
At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed. — Jul 24, 2018
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on S. 1182. — Jul 24, 2018
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Jul 24, 2018
Mr. Hensarling moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Jul 24, 2018
Held at the desk. — Aug 4, 2017
Received in the House. — Aug 4, 2017
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Aug 4, 2017
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote. — Aug 3, 2017
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Aug 3, 2017
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Aug 3, 2017
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 18, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S1182.

H.R. 6635: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the centennial of the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Sponsor: Rep. Brad R. Wenstrup (R-OH)
Introduced: July 26, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jul 26, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR6635.

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

Coin Collectors News
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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.

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...

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