Weekly World Numismatic News for March 17, 2019

Counterfeit American Gold Eagle found in Iowa
(Image courtesy of the Des Moines Register)

One of the most popular stories on this blog that people find via a search is “How easy is it to pass counterfeit currency.” I wrote it in response to watching a cashier use a pen with iodine-based ink used to determine whether the paper used is counterfeit and how it can be defeated.

A lesson learned is that people do not pay attention or care, which is why the iodine pen is popular. This is why the story of the week is about a person in suburban Des Moine, Iowa is wanted for passing a counterfeit American Gold Eagle coin.

According to the story, the suspect, who has been identified, used the alleged gold coin to purchase $25 worth of merchandise from a gas station. The next day, the clerk who took the coin found it was fake after taking it to a local coin shop.

Although the story does not say why the employee accepted the coin as payment, I speculate there was a greed motive involved. The suspect probably convinced the clerk it was real and that worth more than the $50 face value but was low on cash and needed the merchandise. The clerk thought that the coin is worth more took it hoping to make a profit.

If the coin was worth more than face value, then why did the clerk not ask why the suspect did not take it to a coin shop himself?

Even if you do not know the price of gold, why would someone try to use a valuable coin in a gas station?

I have commented in the past about the perpetual hunt for “rare” 50 pence and £2 circulating commemorative coins in the United Kingdom. At least by publicizing the coins, Britons learn a little about the coins issued by the Royal Mint. In fact, if you are watching my Twitter feed (@coinsblog), I post stories about other countries that produce stories about coins put out by their country’s mints.

Unfortunately, the best we get in the United States outside of the numismatic media is an infrequent blurb in a local news source. The Washington Post’s new motto is “Democracy Dies in the Darkness.” It also dies with ignorance especially when movie money is mistaken for real.

And now the news…

 October 14, 2016

Worried about buying a fake when you shop online? Here's how you can keep counterfeits out of your shopping cart. David P.  → Read more at desmoinesregister.com


 March 10, 2019

Richard Masters’ work for the U.S. Mint is a marriage of his interest in art and his boyhood hobby of coin collecting. A former professor of art at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Masters has designed 21 coins and five medals, including the 2009 Bicentennial Lincoln Cent (Log Cabin), the 2011 Sacajawea gold dollar reverse and the 2017 America the Beautiful Effigy Mounds (Iowa) quarter reverse.  → Read more at legion.org


 March 11, 2019

Finance ministry had issued a notification on March 6 announcing the launch of 5 new coins in the country namely new One Rupee, Two Rupees, Five Rupees, Ten Rupees and Twenty Rupees. The new series of coins are visually impaired friendly and have enhanced design.  → Read more at zeebiz.com


 March 13, 2019

Urbandale police are looking for a man who used a counterfeit $50 coin to make a purchase at an Casey’s General Store in February.  → Read more at desmoinesregister.com


 March 13, 2019

Warwickshire County Council wants to raise £62,000 towards buying a hoard of Roman coins.  → Read more at bbc.com


 March 13, 2019

More A lucky penny which deflected an enemy bullet during the First World War One – saving a soldier’s life – is set to be sold at auction. Private John Trickett would have been shot in the heart if the bullet – which still left him deaf – had not struck the coin in the breast pocket of his uniform.  → Read more at uk.news.yahoo.com

Coin Collectors News
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Thank you Dave Harper, and good luck!

After having time to catch up on my reading, I was perusing the news from the numismatic press when I came upon a blog post by Dave Harper announcing his retirement from Numismatic News.

Shortly after I started this blog in October 2005, I found I liked writing about coins and all about numismatics. Aside from giving me an outlet to express my opinions, it also gave me the ability to learn more about everything surrounding numismatics. Writing provides me with the ability to learn more about history and politics, my undergraduate minor and the concentration when I earned my masters.

When I reached out to the numismatic publication, I was able to talk Dave to publishing a few articles. I originally wanted to write for a little money, knowing I would not get rich. But I was satisfied with just having the byline!

My greatest thrill was my front-page story in Numismatic News about the launch of the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin. It was an easy task since the drive to Fort McHenry is a little more than an hour from home.

A few months later, Barry Stuppler, a past ANA president and founder of the Gold & Silver Political Action Committee, was looking for someone to help write a newsletter. Dave recommended that Barry contact me. After helping cover an event for the PAC on Capital Hill, Barry offered me the job of Political Coordinator.

From July 2012 until February 2018, I wrote the PAC’s monthly email newsletter. It was a way to combine my Masters in public policy with numismatics. It was a great experience and I have Dave Harper to thank for recommending me for the job.

Thank you, Dave, for helping me when I was looking for a writing outlet.

Thank you for your nearly 41-year service to the numismatic community.

And much naches to you and your family as you embark on your next adventure!

Image courtesy of Numismatic News.

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 17, 2019

(Image courtesy of Bellingham Coin Shop)

R.B. Wick is the owner of Bellingham Coin Shop & Iron Gate Estates in Bellingham, Washington. He likes to create treasure hunts around Bellingham using social media to give clues as to where he hid the treasures. Wick held a treasure hunt this past week where he hid approximately $2,500 in prized in 20 spots.

Prizes range from cash to coins to estate finds. It piques the interest of those around the Bellingham area.

For those not familiar with Bellingham, it is the last city in the United States as you travel north on Interstate 5 toward the Canadian border. I made that drive in June 1998 and stopped in Bellingham before crossing the border. It was a nice place for the few hours we spent there. After a nice lunch as a short walk, we continued our trip saying we should return.

Even though Bellingham is a small city, it can serve as a lesson to a lot of other numismatists and dealers. What better way to promote yourself and the hobby than a treasure hunt. Sure, there have been reports of coin drops, but with those, you run the risk of the coin not being found and continuing its journey through the banking system.

A treasure hunt, like geocaching, can be fun. Instead of relying on the special equipment that most geocaching hunts require, you make it like a scavenger hunt with clues posted on social media. It is a way to cultivate followers and potential clients.

It can also be a tool to have people learn more about coin collecting. Rather than hide a coin that someone may throw into a draw, how about a certificate to let them come into your shop to get them started on collecting. Dealers can start new clients with an affordable collection that can be used to promote an interest in collecting.

This is such a good idea that I am thinking about using it for my business. Except I will wait until the weather is a little warmer!

And now the news…

 February 11, 2019

An Israeli tour guide and her friend last week stumbled across a rare 1,900-year-old coin from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt unearthed by recent rains in the Lachish region, southwest of Jerusalem, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said Monday.  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 February 13, 2019

FOLLOWING on from a recent warning that went viral in Spain police have warned of more foreign coins in circulation that look similar to one and two euro  → Read more at euroweeklynews.com


 February 15, 2019

John Herrington is looking forward to his new pocket change. A former NASA astronaut who was the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly into space, Herrington is among those celebrated by the U.S. Mint's 2019 Native American $1 coin.  → Read more at collectspace.com


 February 15, 2019

Nature and Parks Authority tour guide stumbles on 1,885-year-old find while on training hike in Lachish region  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 February 15, 2019

An amateur metal detectorist has compared finding a 6th century Anglo-Saxon pendant in a muddy field to 'winning the lottery'. The shiny piece of gold was originally mistaken to be a 'chocolate coin' due to its immaculate preservation but experts proved it is a gold pendant from 1,500 years ago.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 February 15, 2019

Three straight days of snow have been a pain in the neck, but if you haven’t taken the chance to go out and play in it, you might want to consider this. R.B. Wick, the owner of Bellingham Coin Shop & Iron Gate Estates who is known for his love of creating treasure hunts around Bellingham and posting clues on his various social media accounts, has another treasure hunt going in honor of Valentine’s Day.  → Read more at bellinghamherald.com

Coin Collectors News
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 Lost/Stolen Coins USPS (Feb 17, 2019)

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

Coin Collectors News
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 3, 2019

Sorry for being late, but there was this boring football game on. And the commercials stunk, too!

A story that resonated with me was from the American Physical Society that discussed research being done in Germany that could digitally examine coins.

Currently, the research is using ancient coins stored by their local heritage society. The purpose is to aid in the identification of the coins and to maintain an accurate description of these coins.

Although there have been similar attempts including smaller programs, this appears the first attempt to use computer imaging on a large scale to analyze the characteristics of coins. If it is successful, the imaging can also be used to determine the grade of coins.

Images borrowed from the original article.

Yes, I am saying that computers can do the grading of coins and probably do a better job than humans.

Computer imaging has come such a long way that it is an enhancement to almost everything that requires visual work. Nothing is more impressive than the system that uses medical imaging to virtually recreate a surgery scene so that a doctor and team can practice the most delicate surgery before cutting open the patient. Imaging can see beyond blood, organs, and even ordinary body fat to guide instruments through the body allowing for minimally invasive surgery.

Those of us with a smart telephone in our pocket that was purchased within the last three years has a device with the imaging capabilities and computing power that is equivalent to those used in those medical situations.

We can perform medical miracles, detect people from satellites thousands of miles in space, and even capture clear images of someone committing a crime with a phone from your pocket but the numismatic industry pedantically resists the use of computer imaging to grade coins.

The problem is that computer imaging will disrupt the status quo and make the grading services nearly obsolete if it was an acceptable way of analyzing coins. Dealers would lose their advantage of being the experienced eye looking at coins.

The result will be a consistency in coin grading that is not available today.

Think about it. There would be no need for crossovers, crack-outs, or a fourth-party sticker service that is nothing more than an arbitrage system to drive prices up. Collectors would be in control. Take out your phone and scan the coin. It will tell you the grade. And it will be the same grade whether I do the scan or if you do.

Computers do not like. Computers do not have emotions. Computers do not have an agenda. Take the picture, analyze, and provide a result. It puts the power in the hands of the collectors.

Of course, putting the power in the hands of the collectors is not what the dealers want. It is not what the grading services want. Computer imaging will disrupt their business.

And now the news…

 January 29, 2019

During school field trip, student finds coin bearing the inscription "King Agrippa."  → Read more at israelnationalnews.com


 January 30, 2019

At the same time, the number of fake banknotes has dropped.  → Read more at spectator.sme.sk


 January 30, 2019

The County  → Read more at thecounty.me


 January 31, 2019

The massive medallion, made of the purest gold bullion ever refined and worth $5.8 million, was stolen from the Bode Museum in Berlin—and has never been found  → Read more at macleans.ca


 February 1, 2019

A new exhibit at a landmark Vermont museum showcases the work of a renowned artist who calls New England Home. In his Windham County workspace, Johnny Swing transforms quarters, half dollars, and other…  → Read more at nbcboston.com


 February 1, 2019

Countless historical coins that differ from each other only in details are in storage at German state museums. Unlike paintings, these archaeological artifacts may not be labeled, marked or barcoded. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF developed a scanner and analysis software in collaboration with the Saxony-Anhalt State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology, which digitally capture the visual features of coins and describe them exactly in a matter of seconds. The scanning system can be used to identify and recognize coin finds.  → Read more at phys.org

Coin Collectors News
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Thank you Dave Harper, and good luck!

After having time to catch up on my reading, I was perusing the news from the numismatic press when I came upon a blog post by Dave Harper announcing his retirement from Numismatic News. Shortly after I started this blog in October 2005, I found I liked writing about...

read more

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 17, 2019

R.B. Wick is the owner of Bellingham Coin Shop & Iron Gate Estates in Bellingham, Washington. He likes to create treasure hunts around Bellingham using social media to give clues as to where he hid the treasures. Wick held a treasure hunt this past week where he...

read more
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