Weekly World Numismatic News for September 8, 2019

Chew Valley Hoard

Post Norman Conquest coins found in Sommerset, England (Pippa Pearce/© The Trustees of the British Museum via Smithsonian Magazine)

While talking about the hoard of coins that dates back to the time of William the Conqueror in England, someone said that they wished they could find treasures like that in the United States. That prompted me to talk with metal detector enthusiasts to hear their stories.

One of the people I spoke with regularly uses a metal detector around the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Delaware. Although most of the coins found are from the 20th century, many of the finds include artifacts leftover from earlier settlers. They have found some older copper coins, buttons and bullets from the Civil War, and utensils dating to the colonial period.

The leader of a small group of enthusiasts travels the midwest along know migration trails. Some are now roads and highways, while others have returned to nature. They regularly find artifacts of life on the move. Although they rarely find money, the items they find have made their way into museums and university research centers that study the lives of the western migrants.

Finally, someone who has explored eastern Washington, Idaho, western Montana and Canada discovered artifacts that confirmed and expanded the stories of border disputes in that area. In that era, the disputes were not about security but about who claimed the profit from the resources.

Although metal detector finds in the United States may not find anything more valuable than a few coins, bullets, and buttons, they do find the evidence of history. Unless you stumble over another Saddle Ridge Hoard, finding history can be as gratifying.

And now the news…

 August 29, 2019

Shortly after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, a wealthy local buried a trove of 2,528 coins in what is now Somerset, England. Featuring the likenesses of both Harold II—the country’s last crowned Anglo-Saxon king—and his successor, William the Conqueror, the hoard is the largest collection of post-Norman Conquest coins found to date.  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com


 August 30, 2019

Manitoba lottery officials modify their machines to close a loophole exploited by gamblers. 1:32 When was the last time you saw a 50-cent piece?  → Read more at cbc.ca


 September 1, 2019

In mid-September, Macquarie Mint will release 500 Red-Back Spider $1 coins as part of its aptly named 'Deadly & Dangerous' collection. There are six more in the series, ranging from the dingo to the great white shark.  → Read more at lifehacker.com.au


 September 2, 2019

Better known for lagging, sagging, floundering and falling, Canadian currency now boasts a distinction both impressive and unique: It pulsates. Well, one $10 silver collector’s coin appears to do so thanks to a “numismatic breakthrough” that the Royal Canadian Mint heralds as a world-first.  → Read more at resourceclips.com


 September 2, 2019

OTTAWA , Sept. 3, 2019 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to launch a numismatic breakthrough from its ambitious and creative Research and Development team. Working with the University of Ottawa's Centre for Research in Photonics, the R+D team has created the 2020 $10 Fine Silver Coin – Pulsating Maple Leaf, engraved with an array of sub-millimeter-scale mirrors in the shape of a maple leaf on the reverse of this 99.99% pure silver coin.  → Read more at finance.yahoo.com


 September 3, 2019

As the 150th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. Branch Mint in Carson City draws closer, the Nevada State Museum is expanding the days it showcases one of the Mint’s most enduring artifacts. For much of the summer, the museum has been giving history lessons and minting medallions every Friday on Historic Coin Press 1 — the original coin press used when the Mint opened in February 1870.  → Read more at carsonnow.org


 September 4, 2019

TORONTO, Sept. 4, 2019 /CNW/ – For the first time in three decades, Canada's rarest coin – the 1911 silver dollar – will be on public display in its home country. This weekend, on Sept. 7-8, the 108-year-old silver dollar will be displayed at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, to be held at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale.  → Read more at newswire.ca


 September 5, 2019

Rare currency expert Alfredo Cimino has never seen the 1911 silver dollar, but he’s heard of it. Everyone in the business has. Nicknamed the Emperor or Holy Grail of Canadian coins, it’s held many heavyweight titles in the world of numismatics, or professional coin collection and study, including the world’s most valuable coin, in 1965, and Canada’s rarest coin, which it retains to this day.  → Read more at theglobeandmail.com


 September 5, 2019

A rare example of Bermuda “Hogge Money” — a coin which was produced in the early 1600s — sold for $96,000 when it was auctioned last night, with the coin one of only eight examples known to exist. “The Sommer Islands coinage was produced in England circa 1616 for use in the British colony now known as Bermuda,” the auction house noted, with the “Hogge Money” coins issued in four denominations: shilling, sixpence, threepence, and twopence.  → Read more at bernews.com


 September 6, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — As special as it is for those involved, a class of new members gets enshrined annually in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. That makes it somewhat less exclusive than the minting of a coin – which is part of this year’s ceremony as well.  → Read more at nba.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 4, 2019

Congress is nothing if not full of shallow people who would pander to their own mothers if it meant winning a vote or two. Their shallowness is on display just before they go on an extended break when members drop bills into the virtual hopper for consideration.

In the old days, members of Congress would write have the bills printed on paper and dropped into a physical hopper. The Clerk of the House would empty the hopper and enter new bills into the Congressional Record and add it to the calendar. The bills are sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) for publications. Nowadays, the hopper is virtual. The submittal process is all by the press of the button — however, the still prints the bills and the Congressional Record causing delays in reporting.

Members of Congress know this and can milk a story for days while they travel back to their districts for their summer break.

It is excellent public relations for these people whose approval rating is lower than drain cleaner. So in between the bills to rename Post Offices, federal buildings, and sections of highway are bills to create commemorative coins. Congress gets a nice writeup about these bills that they hope their constituents will remember knowing most people have short attention spans.

The numismatic media is no different than any other press sectors. Every numismatic-related bill that is introduced gets banner headline coverage even though very few will receive a hearing. The only difference in their reporting is that the numismatic media will bury the term “if it passes” somewhere in its reporting.

Then, when a bill passes one chamber and sent across to the other, someone is breaking out the champagne. Except someone forgot that we are talking about Congress where nothing is easy. Sure, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) and the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (S. 239) passed the Senate, but the House has not accepted these bills. Members of the House will not let these bills in the front door because they are revenue-generating bills, which constitutionally must be introduced in the House.

It was particularly interesting when a Tennessee newspaper lauded Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for S. 1235 without noting that the bill introduced by this one-time member of the House is blocked for violating the constitution.

I find this stuff fascinating. Then again, I used to work for the federal government!

And now the news…

 July 28, 2019

We’ve had a whole host of new currency introduced recently, but what should you do if you still have old coins or notes knocking about? The answer depends on what kind of currency you have, and how long ago it went out of date – while you can still exchange the recently changed notes and coins, you may be out of luck if you find any half-pence or farthings.  → Read more at simplybusiness.co.uk


 July 30, 2019

A Vancouver Island man has spent the last 10 years uncovering thousands of items using his metal detector — many of which are historic and valuable, he says.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 July 30, 2019

Nearly two years after they stopped being legal tender, 145 million old-style £1 coins are still missing.  → Read more at bbc.com


 July 30, 2019

Collectors are only too happy to share the history of their collections with visitors  → Read more at gulfnews.com


 July 30, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From Satchel Paige to Jackie Robinson and Buck O’ Neil, several of baseball’s iconic players began their professional careers with the Negro Leagues in Kansas City. Now those legends, along with countless others, could be honored with a special, commemorative coin.  → Read more at fox4kc.com


 August 1, 2019

Twin Cities coin dealer Barry R. Skog has been sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright for perpetrating a counterfeit coin fraud scheme.  → Read more at startribune.com


 August 2, 2019

The PIL filed by the National Association for the Blind (NAB) sought directions to the RBI to include distinctive features in coins and in currency notes, so visually-challenged persons can easily identify the same.  → Read more at hindustantimes.com

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July 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

1921-D Peace Dollar

Of course, the July legislative review has to discuss the introduction of the 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 3735). Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) introduced this bill with Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) as a co-sponsor. As soon as the Congressional Record published the bill’s submittal, the American Numismatic Association issued a press release asking members to ask their member of Congress to support the bill.

The bill calls for the issue of no more than 500,000 $1 silver coins commemorating the Morgan dollar and the Peace dollar in 2021. If passed, 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Morgan Dollar and the beginning of the Peace Dollar.

Aside from being excited about the issue of the coin, the one line that has caught the interest of collectors is that “it is the sense of Congress that if the Secretary determines it to be feasible and cost effective, the Secretary may mint some of the coins minted under this Act at the Nevada State Museum (formerly a United States Mint facility) located in Carson City, Nevada.”

Although it seems like a good idea, there are a lot of questions whether striking coins in Carson City would be feasible. Since the facility is an active museum, would Nevada be willing to give up a piece of their operations to the federal government? How disruptive would be to the museum’s activities before and after striking the coins?

How would the U.S. Mint strike coins at the museum? While the facility has old coining presses used for demonstrations, they may not be capable of manufacturing modern coinage. Then there is the other equipment involved including an upsetting mill to put an edge on the coin.

The Carson City Mint was built in 1863 to building codes and security standards of the mid-19th century. After the Mint stopped striking circulating coins in 1893, the building became as Assay Office. In 1933, the Great Depression ended its service as an Assay Office. The federal government sold the building to Nevada in 1939. While the Nevada State Museum has updated the building’s security, it is doubtful that it would meet modern U.S. Mint requirements.

Striking coins with the CC mintmark may have an appeal to the collecting community, it might not be feasible and cost-effective.

S. 239: Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Introduced: January 28, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue not more than 350,000 $1 silver coins in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher tragically killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.(Sec. 4) The design of the coins shall bear an image and the name of Christa McAuliffe on the obverse side and a design on the reverse side that depicts the legacy of McAuliffe as a teacher.(Sec. 5) Treasury may issue the coins from January 1-December 31, 2021.(Sec. 7) All surcharges received by Treasury from the sale of the coins shall be paid to the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Held at the desk. — Jul 10, 2019
Received in the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Passed Senate with amendments by Voice Vote. — Jul 9, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 28, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S239.

The Senate passed the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 in July. Like the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) passed in June, the bill is being held at the desk in the House of Representative because of an objection by one of its members.

A source claims that a freshman member of the House has objected to these bills being first passed by the Senate. This member cites Article I Section 7 of the United States Constitution where it says that “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” A spokesperson in the House ’Clerk’s office would not confirm or deny the ’source’s claim.

H.R. 3757: 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Introduced: July 15, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jul 15, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR3757.

Weekly World Numismatic News for July 28, 2019

One of the indicators as to how the markets view the economy is the price of precious metals. When there is uncertainty in the markets, investors leave the equity markets and buy precious metals. When that happens, it will have an impact on most pre-1965 coins.

Marketwatch reported that silver hit a 13-month high about the same time Iran captured a Britsh tanker. Since then, the silver market leveled out with few signs of dropping. Silver is not selling for at the same level as seen during the economic crisis in as it approached 2011, there continues to be upward pressure on its price.

Silver investing is sometimes called the “poor man’s gold.” When the average investor is uncertain and looks for a safer investment, they will buy silver while the wealthier investors will buy gold. Palladium has emerged as the new investment vehicle for investors with means.

Gold has been more erratic with wild swings in both directions depending on the news of the day. A precious metals fund manager who manages several diverse portfolios called the divergence of the markets curious. There is not a clear explanation for the current rise of silver. If someone were trying to manipulate the market, the prices would climb faster. All she could tell was there were a lot of low-end investors buying into silver.

30-day Gold Chart (will not update—Courtesy of Kitco)

For numismatics, the rising price of silver can be problematics. As the price of silver rises, the value of your coins will increase. However, adding to your collection will cost more, especially on those collectible coins whose value is tied to the price of silver.

Those responsible for investing in these markets are beginning to worry. If investors are buying silver as a safe haven, there could be a feeling of a pending economic crisis. Only time will tell if they are right.

And now the news…

 July 24, 2019

Present-day tenants of home owned by Jewish family before the Holocaust find jars containing 2,800 coins from as far back as the Roman Empire and as far away as India  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 July 24, 2019

A hoard of Roman coins dating from the time of Queen Boudicca have been found by a metal detectorist in a field. What makes this find especially fascinating is that they may have been hidden there during one of the most interesting periods in Britain’s early history, the revolt against Rome led by the Celtic Queen Boudicca.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com


 July 24, 2019

Silver futures settle at a 13-month high on Monday, outpacing strength in gold, which saw prices eke out only a modest gain despite rising tensions between…  → Read more at marketwatch.com

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Happy Anniversary to Modern Coinage

The dual-dated Bicentennial reverse designs are still very popular amontst collectors

On July 23, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Coinage Act of 1965. Congress passed the bill in response to the coin shortages caused by the rising silver prices. When it was signed, the act eliminated silver from circulating dimes, and quarters while reducing the amount of silver used to strike half-dollars from 90-percent to 40-percent for five years. After five years, the half-dollar would be struck using the same copper-nickel clad composition as the lower denominations.

The act forbade the striking of silver dollars for five years ending an experiment with the striking of Peace Dollars in 1964. There are rumors that at least one 1964-D Peace exists despite the U.S. Mint’s insistence that all of the coins were melted.

Finally, the act made all coins and currency produced in the United States and specific bank issues as legal tender, which reversed the demonetization of the Trade Dollar in 1867.

The Coinage Act of 1965 marks the dividing line between “classic” and “modern” coinage.

After fifty-four years of modern coinage, there continues to be collectors and dealers who turn up their noses at modern coins.

Although the stories behind many of the classic issues are interesting, modern coins provide a diversity that is meaningful and affordable for the average collector.

The first coin of the modern era that had a public impact was the dual-dated coins with the reverses honoring the nation’s bicentennial. The bicentennial was a two-year celebration preceded by three years of hype and prep. When the coins were released, many people searched their change, looking for the coins. It was the first time in many years that half-dollar and large dollar coins circulated in significant numbers since finding them in change was exciting.

The Susan B. Anthony dollar was less than successful because it was confused with a quarter

The modern era also saw a big flop when the Susan B. Anthony small dollar coin entered circulation. Even though the U.S. Mint tried to simulate the 12-sides on the coin’s design, the size and the reeded edge was confused with the quarter. People stopped using the Susie B. thus ending whatever momentum dollar coins had.

The most successful program of the modern era was the 50 State Quarters program. The program started strong with a lot of interest. Unfortunately, a downturn in the economy and the television hucksters overselling the potential value of the series turned away a lot of potential collectors.

As the success of the 50 State Quarters program grew, Congress passed laws to create several other circulating commemoratives. The programs include the Westward Journey Nickels, Abraham Lincon Bicentennial cents, and the Native American $1 coin program using the golden-colored planchets of the Sacagawea dollar.

The modern era saw the return of the commemorative coin programs. Some were very popular, like the 2001 American Buffalo Commemorative Coin and 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin programs. There were less popular coins, but none had flopped as bad as the 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Centennial Silver Dollar.

Unlike previous commemorative coin laws, modern laws help the U.S. Mint limit the time these coins can remain on sale. It also limits their production to one year.

Finally, the modern era has given us the bullion coin series. It started with the American Silver Eagle program that was created to provide a way for the United States government to sell off silver saved in the Defense National Stockpile. As a result, the U.S. Mint has used the program to experiment with different finishes, including burnished and reverse proof.

Congress passed the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985 a few months later after being lobbied by the gold mining interests. This law created the American Eagle Gold Bullion Program.

2013-W American Buffalo gold reverse proof obverse

Even more significant was Title II of the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. Title II established the American Buffalo 24-Karat Bullion Gold Coins program. The law required the coins struck from .9999 put gold using the design of the 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel as designed by James Earle Fraser. After the first year of issue, the U.S. Mint could change the design after vetting the design with the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. This law allowed the U.S. Mint to produce coins like the 2009 High Relief gold coin and the 100th-anniversary tributes to the Mercury dime in 2016.

After 54 years there are a lot of exciting choices for the modern collector. And this does not consider the collection of errors or varieties, like the three types of 1972 Eisenhower dollars or the wide versus narrow lettering on the reverse of the 1999 Lincoln cent.

It is past the time for the numismatic community to embrace the collection of modern coins more than it has. There may be few modern coins that are worth thousands of dollars, but they are available to capture the interest of potential collectors. After all, how many of us started collecting by searching pocket change.

Weekly World Numismatic News for August 11, 2019

This past week, two men entered the Mexico Mint (Casa de Moneda de México) and stole 1,567 gold coins worth an estimated $2.5 million. News reports say that these coins have a 50 peso value. Since the only gold coins available from the Mexico Mint of that type are...

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