Weekly World Numismatic News for February 14, 2021

One of the nice aspects of a new year is all of the new coins that become available. Every major mint starts the year with new bullion products, commemorative coins, and other non-circulated legal tender coinage to keep collectors interested.

For collectors, it is a lot of fun.

2021 Canada Bluenose Gold-Plated Silver Dollar

Bluenose gold-plated silver dollar is part of the Royal Canadian Mint Silver Proof Set (Image courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint)

In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bluenose schooner. The Bluenose was a fishing and racing schooner that was revolutionary in its design and became the symbol of Nova Scotia before being a symbol of Canadian heritage.

Although the Bluenose launched in 1921, it did not appear on the Canada 10-cent coin until 1937. Since then, the Bluenose appeared on every 10-cent coin except for 1967 when Canadian coins were redesigned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.

The Royal Mint has started the year by issuing commemorative sovereigns, Britannia bullion coins, and the yearly Trial of the Pyx. Although modern technology makes the Trial of the Pyx unnecessary, it is an exciting part of Royal Mint history that deserves celebration.

Down under in Australia, the Royal Australian Mint has issued silver coins of the Outback Majesty series that celebrates the Australian Outback animals. Since Australia has done better than the rest of the world with keeping the pandemic under control, the Royal Australian Mint has resumed tours and has operations closer to normal.

Over in New Zealand, it looks like they are having more fun with coins. New this year are the Chibi Collection of the Lord of the Rings characters, DC Comics superheroes, and more. Although the New Zealand Mint designs and strikes these coins, they are issued under the Niue government’s authority. The New Zealand Mint also strikes coins for the Cook Islands. Both are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand.

The U.S. Mint, whose output is the most restrictive of the world mints, has issued the American Silver Eagle Proof coin and the new American Platinum Eagle Proof. The American Platinum Eagle Proof series celebrates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, starting with the Freedom of Religion. Also available is the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar. Later, the U.S. Mint will issue the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum commemorative coins.

Finally, the U.S. Mint has issued the last of the America the Beautiful Quarters honoring the Tuskegee Airman Historical Site. The U.S. Mint will produce a redesigned quarter for the balance of the year. The Prominent American Women Quarters will begin in 2022.

It is a fun time to be a coin collector!

And now the news…

 February 2, 2021
The Reddit-fueled run-up in silver prices might be stalling, but the U.S. Mint said it is still rationing its sales of silver coins because of “continued exceptional market demand,” as well as limited supplies and manufacturing capacity.  → Read more at bloomberg.com

 February 9, 2021
An Israel Defense Forces soldier discovered a rare 1,800-year-old coin during a training exercise, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday. The coin features an image of the head of the Roman emperor Antonius Pius and was dated to 158–159 CE.  → Read more at timesofisrael.com

 February 11, 2021
Details of a "very special" haul of 651 Roman coins found in the ancient city of Aizanoi in Turkey have been released by researchers behind the discovery. The silver coins were found in a jug during archeological excavations led by researchers from Pamukkale University, according to a press release from the university.  → Read more at cnn.com

 February 12, 2021
You might have a coin worth literally thousands in your pocket right now. No, not like that Simpsons episode where Mr Burns tries to steal a trillion dollars: an actual, real coin that you could buy something with that is secretly also worth plenty more than face value to a collector.  → Read more at ladbible.com

 February 12, 2021
CHICAGO: The US Mint announced this week that it will issue a Silver Dollar coin to commemorate Christa McAuliffe, a teacher and a civilian astronaut of Lebanese heritage who died on the Challenger Space Shuttle when it exploded minutes after taking off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Jan.  → Read more at arabnews.com

 February 13, 2021
The discovery of nine Roman coins found in Norfolk has been declared as treasure.  Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, opened the treasure inquest into the find at Norfolk Coroner's Court earlier this month.    → Read more at edp24.co.uk
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 Silver Rush Creates Silver Scams (Feb 11, 2021)

 

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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 31, 2021

This past week’s numismatic-related news is a lesson about how the industry has not adapted to the new environment.

First, Whitman issues a statement with a headline saying, “Baltimore Expo Prohibited Due to Mandated COVID-19 Restrictions.” Their release rightly mentions that Maryland is using the Convention Center to help fight the pandemic in Baltimore. As the largest indoor location in the city, it would be right to assume that the Baltimore Convention Center might be busy for some time.

Whitman then announces a “MEGA Bourse” for the June Expo. Unfortunately, the Atlanta-based Whitman does not consider the factual data of the progress and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also located in Atlanta, says about the pandemic’s future. The pandemic will be a significant issue in June, just as it will be in August outside of Chicago. It would have been better for Whitman to say that they will monitor the situation and make an announcement when appropriate.

Collectors who have attended several smaller shows report that the dealers or the participants are not following COVID-19 protections. One person in Texas reported that “about half” of the dealers were not wearing masks. Although the infection and death levels have plateaued, the United States reached 26 million reported cases, and U.S deaths from COVID-19 topped 441,000, including my father. The number of cases and deaths tops every other country in the world.

I understand that there is pandemic fatigue. We want to go back to some semblance of a life. We collectors want to go to shows, have club meetings, and do more collecting. I know because I want that! But the more we screw around and do not take this seriously. More people will get sick and die.

Even with considering the administration’s goal of 100 million vaccines in 100 days, it will take another 180 days to get enough people vaccinated to reach herd immunity levels. Assuming that nothing goes wrong, it is a total of NINE months.

Based on the information provided, it means we can start to return to normalcy by September or October. It also assumes everyone cooperates.

COOPERATE! Damn it! I want to go to a coin show!

And now the news…

 January 23, 2021
An "extremely fine and rare" Oliver Cromwell gold coin belonging to a Scarborough-based collector has sold at auction for a world record £471,200. The 50 shilling piece dates back to 1656 and was made by Thomas Simon, Cromwell's chief engraver.  → Read more at examinerlive.co.uk

 January 28, 2021
— A new U.S. coin honoring Christa McAuliffe, NASA's first "Teacher in Space," will help continue her educational mission 35 years after she and her six astronaut crewmates were tragically lost in flight.
  → Read more at collectspace.com

 January 30, 2021
New York Daily News | Jan 30, 2021 at 7:51 PM So much for finders, keepers.  → Read more at nydailynews.com
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Remembering the Challenger

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
— President Ronald W. Reagan, Address to the Nation, January 28, 1986

The U.S. Mint announced the launch of a “pre-order system and begin accepting pre-orders for its 2021 commemorative coin programs.” Sales begin today. In addition to the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum Commemorative Coins, the U.S. Mint will begin selling the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar.

NASA selected Christa McAuliffe to be the first member of the Teacher in Space Program. The space agency would train teachers to travel to space and hold lessons from the space shuttle. Unfortunately, 73 seconds into the flight, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated, killing all seven members aboard.

The crew members of the Challenger for Mission STS-51L were Commander Dick Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnik, and Ronald E. McNair, and Payload Specialists Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe.

The pre-order price of the silver dollar is $69.00. The price includes a $10 surcharge paid to the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to promote leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Challenger Crew

The STS-51L crewmembers are: in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair.

Currency Changes Coming Soon

Tubman $20 FRNDuring a White House press briefing, the press secretary announced the “Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes.”

Creating the new $20 Federal Reserve Notes with a portrait of the abolitionist began in 2016 to have Tubman appear on the $20 note by 2020, the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Although the Bureau of Engraving and Printing continued to work on the project, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin eventually announced that a future administration would decide if having her portrait was appropriate. Mnuchin targeted 2030 as the earliest a new $20 note would appear.

Sources report that Mnuchin delayed the stoppage of the process as long as possible. He knew that the president did not support this change. After the announcement, sources report that the work continued without permission.

Although the source did not know the engraving status, it is speculated that the intaglio printing plates for the new $20 notes may be ready before the end of the year.

Janet YellenWhen the plates are ready, they will include the signature of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The Senate approved Yellen’s appointment on an 84-15 vote. She will be the 78th Treasury Secretary and the first woman in that role in the department’s 232-year history.

Previously, Yellen was the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under Clinton, President of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, and served on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors before being appointed the Board’s chair 2014.

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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 24, 2021

On Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr. became the 46th President of the United States. It was the 46th time since 1789 that a new President took the oath of office. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to the inauguration, this was the 59th ceremonial inauguration. There were eight other inaugurations following the death of presidents and Gerald Ford’s inauguration following Richard M. Nixon’s resignation.

For numismatics, the new administration means there will be leadership changes at the Department of the Treasury. The president nominated Janet Yellen as the Secretary of the Treasury. When confirmed, Yellen will become the 78th Treasury Secretary. The Series 2021 Federal Reserve Notes will feature Yellen’s signature on the right side.

Janet Yellen signature

Janet Yellen’s signature when she was Chair of the Federal Reserve Board

The president has not nominated a Treasurer of the United States. Currently, the office has been vacant since the resignation of Jovita Carranza in January 2020. When the Senate approves a nominee, that person’s signature will appear on the Federal Reserve Notes’ left side.

Officially, the Director of the U.S. Mint is an appointment of five years. David J. Ryder, the current director, was confirmed in April 2018. Ryder can serve until 2023. Although Ryder could have resigned at the end of the previous administration, he chose not to. It is unclear if Ryder, a Republican, will continue to serve as Director. The U.S. Mint’s press office responded to a question about Ryder’s plans:

Information about Director Ryder’s tenure is not available at this time. We hope to have an update in the coming weeks.

Finally, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is not an appointed position. BEP’s Directors are members of the government’s Senior Executive Service as career government employees. Len Olijar is the current and 25th Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

And now the news…

 January 15, 2021
Archaeologists have uncovered buried treasure on a farm in Hungary. A two-day expedition, led by the Ferenczy Museum's Balázs Nagy, has yielded the discovery of 7000 silver coins and four gold coins.  → Read more at 9news.com.au

 January 15, 2021
(CNN) — How can a $20 bill be worth over $57,000? Because of a printing mishap.  → Read more at cnn.com

 January 19, 2021
Do you save quarters, pennies, silver dollars or other coins? Connect with our expert, Tim Heroux from The Boston Coin in Quincy at our next Ask The Expert event. Bring him your questions and learn more at this free event on how you, too, can improve your coin collecting knowledge.  → Read more at wgbh.org

 January 19, 2021
If you’ve been attempting to invest in Rhodium but don’t want to jump through the various hoops that come with it, try investing digitally. Rhodium Coin is a cryptocurrency built on the Ethereum blockchain.  → Read more at qrius.com

 January 21, 2021
Paestum, originally a Greek colony that was later conquered by the Romans, boasts three of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world [File: AFP]  → Read more at aljazeera.com

 January 25, 2021
VCoins is an online old coin marketplace where you can purchase ancient coins for $2-$3 each in a lot of 20 or so. In the latest issue of Recomendo, my friend Kevin Kelly suggests that giving someone an inexpensive 2,000-year-old Roman, Greek, or Arabian coin is a great way to spark curiosity about the history and culture of those civilizations.  → Read more at boingboing.net
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 ANA 2021 Summer Seminar Cancelled (Jan 21, 2021)

 

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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 17, 2021

1994-P Washington QuarterThe president has signed the last numismatic-related bill this past week. On January 13, 2021, the president signed the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law No. 116-330). It was the last possible day to sign the bill. If he did not sign it, the bill would be subjected to a pocket veto.

  • H.R. 1923: Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020
    Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
    LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-330. — Jan 13, 2021

The law will require the U.S. Mint to redesign the quarters’ reverse through 2030, starting in 2022.

Prominent American Women Quarters

For the quarters issued between 2022 and 2025, “The design on the reverse side of each quarter dollar issued under this subsection shall be emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of one prominent woman of the United States.” The U.S. Mint will issue “up to” five quarters per year and confer with several groups to determine who receives the honor.

United States Semiquincentennial Coins

The United States will celebrate its seniquincentennial (250th Anniversary) on July 4, 2026. In celebration of the event, the law states that the U.S. Mint will issue the following coins:

  • QUARTERS: 2026 quarters “with up to five different designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” One quarter must be design to be emblematic of the contribution of a woman or women.
  • DOLLARS: orders the Mint to issue “$1 dollar coins with designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” These dollar coins will be issued in addition to the Native American and Innovation dollars.

Youth Sports Program

The law requires the U.S. Mint to celebrate youth sports with changes to the quarter and half-dollars to correspond to the Summer Olympic games of 2028 and the Winter games of 2030. This program will run from 2027 through 2030.

  • QUARTERS: Up to five coins issued each year “shall be emblematic of one sport played by American youth.”
  • HALF-DOLLARS: Up to five coins issued each year “emblematic of one Paralympic sport.”
  • MEDALS: The law authorizes the U.S. Mint to create “medals with designs emblematic of the sport honored with the issuance of the coin.”

Medals for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles

The law authorizes the U.S. Mint “to design and manufacture medals for awarding at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.” The law makes it the first time in the modern Olympics history that the U.S. Mint will create the games’ medals. Previously, the Olympic committees had a private vendor create the medals. According to the International Olympic Committee website, medals for the games played in the United States were created by the following:

Year Games Location Minter of the Medals
1904 Summer St. Louis Diege & Clust
1932 Summer Los Angeles The Whitehead & Hoag Co.
1932 Winter Lake Placid Robbins Company
1960 Winter Squaw Valley Herff Jones
1980 Winter Lake Placid Medallic Art Co.
1984 Summer Los Angeles Jostens, Inc
1996 Summer Atlanta Reed and Barton
2002 Winter Salt Lake City O.C. Tanner

Silver Bullion Coins

The new law allows the U.S. Mint to continue to make the five-ounce silver bullion coins that correspond to each of the quarter and half-dollar programs. Interestingly, the silver hockey-puck-sized coins appear to be popular and will continue to be available to collectors and investors.

Also added to the law is the ability to strike factional silver bullion coins with the same designs. It is uncertain if a half-ounce or quarter-ounce silver coin will sell, but we will find out.

Obverse of the Coins

George Washington will continue to appear on the obverse but “be designed in a manner, such as with incused inscriptions, so as to distinguish it from the obverse design used during the previous quarters program.”

The bill includes similar language for the image of John F. Kennedy on the 2026 Semiquincentennial half-dollar.

And now the news…

 January 8, 2021
Coin collecting is viewed by many enthusiasts to be a form of modern day treasure hunting, as shops in South Beloit and Beloit continue to do well as collectors come seeking rare finds, or simply to make an investment in precious metals.  → Read more at beloitdailynews.com

 January 11, 2021
The world’s finest Brasher Doubloon, the most legendary U.S gold coin ever produced, is heading for auction at Heritage this month. The 18th century coin is described as “arguably the world’s most famous numismatic rarity”, and is one of only seven examples known to exist.  → Read more at news.justcollecting.com

 January 13, 2021
Ongoing excavations at a rural spot near the village of Újlengyel in central Hungary recently struck gold, both figuratively and literally. Archaeologists armed with powerful metal detectors found a buried treasure of approximately seven thousand silver and four medieval  gold coins  in Hungary, hidden centuries ago by unknown individuals.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 January 14, 2021
Egypt: Archaeologists find coins with Cleopatra’s face on Thousands of objects including ancient coins, pottery and sculpture thousands of years old have been secured, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has confirmed.  → Read more at express.co.uk
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