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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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 7, 2019

Sorry for the one day delay, it was a busy weekend!

The important news is not being reported in the numismatic press nor by those who are supposed to watch over the industry. The important news is the government shutdown and its potential effects on the economy as a whole.

Market performance is like a disease. When one part gets infected the rest of the organism will follow. The part the economic organism that is getting infected is the Washington, DC area. Home to 15 companies in the Fortune 500 including government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The Washington Post is reporting that 174,800 people have been furloughed in the Washington, DC-area because of the shutdown.

When that many people are not getting paid they are not spending money and the economy gets stagnant. When a region as significant in size becomes stagnant, it is only a matter of time before it spreads to other areas including those where the federal government has the most impact including Alaska, Montana, and New Mexico. Farming states could also feel the impact since the U.S. Department of Agriculture is closed and cannot process subsidy (welfare) checks for farmers hurt by the trade war with China, potentially affecting the price of food.

Since the markets do not like uncertainty, investors tend to seek refuge in precious metals, primarily gold and silver. The problem is that there is so much news that timing the markets has given the market watchers whiplash as the uncertainty seems to force the professional investors (gamblers) to treat the market like they are playing the hokie-pokey: a little bit in, a little bit out, panic a little and shake all about the next news cycle.

The dollar is strong but that is because the Federal Reserve did not raise rates in December. While that averted a panic, the Fed may not be able to hold back if the shutdown continues and puts inflationary pressure on the economy.

With news cycles that could change at the drop of a Tweet, it does not make sense to try to time the market. However, if the price of gold climbing as a result of those in the equity markets looking for a safer haven, you may want to tell your representatives in Congress to work to end this shutdown. Although some would love to see $2,000 per ounce gold prices, it could negatively impact the economy and your ability to collect.

And now the news…

 December 31, 2018

Have you ever wondered what happened to all the old, round £1 coins after they were removed from circulation? We just found out  → Read more at mirror.co.uk


 December 31, 2018

Chain restaurants Sweetgreen and Dig Inn in the US have already stopped accepting cash. Starbucks and UK pubs are also moving towards card and contactless.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 January 1, 2019

U.S. Mint sales of American Eagle gold and silver coins dropped to their lowest …  → Read more at reuters.com


 January 2, 2019

Editor's Note: Kitco News has officially launched Outlook 2019 – Rush To Safety – the definitive reference for precious metals investors for the new year. We chose this year's theme as financial markets face growing uncertainty.  → Read more at kitco.com


 January 3, 2019

PolicÃa Nacional has issued a warning after a rise in reported cases of members of the public receiving the wrong currency in their change. Instead of being handed back euros, unsuspecting holidaymakers and expats are being short-changed with coins of much lower value compared to the euro.  → Read more at express.co.uk


 January 5, 2019

KIND-hearted shopkeepers are helping an Inverness youngster with her coin collecting hobby by setting aside specially-minted versions of 50p and £2 coins produced to commemorate historic occasions. A Girl Guides centenary 50p sparked the interest of Cradlehall Primary’s Isla Macdonald, who now has 40 special 50p coins and 30 differently designed £2 coins.  → Read more at inverness-courier.co.uk

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December 2018 Numismatic Legislative Review — End of the 115th Congress

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the 115th Congress left unfinished business. As we start the new year, 25-percent of the executive branch does not have the legal funding to operate. Those with leftover funds operated as long as they could but are now closed pending congressional action.

As with previous shutdowns, the U.S. Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are not affected. Both agencies are self-funded from their profits (seigniorage) which is held in their respective Public Enterprise Funds.

The 115th Congress is constitutionally scheduled to end at 12:00 noon on January 3, 2019, when the 116th Congress will begin. Congress will take up the new funding bills as part of the opening session.

When the new Congress gavels into session, any bill pending from the 115th Congress will be removed from the docket. It will be said that these bills will die in committee.

In reviewing December’s legslation update, there was the passage of one bill:

H.R. 1235: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-MA)
Introduced: February 27, 2017
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue not more than 50,000 $5 coins, 400,000 $1 coins, and 750,000 half-dollar coins in recognition and celebration of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.The coins shall be in the shape of a dome, and the design on the common reverse of the coins shall depict a basketball. Treasury shall hold a competition to determine the design of the common obverse of the coins, which shall be emblematic of the game of basketball.(Sec. 7) The bill requires all sales of such coins to include specified surcharges, which shall be paid by Treasury to the Hall to fund an endowment for increased operations and educational programming.
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 19, 2018
Presented to President. — Dec 19, 2018
Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote. — Dec 18, 2018
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 18, 2018
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Sep 26, 2017
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 25, 2017
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 25, 2017
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1235. — Sep 25, 2017
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 25, 2017
Mr. Barr moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Sep 25, 2017
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 27, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR1235.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act was sent to the White House for presidential signature on December 19, 2018. The president has ten days to act on the bill. He can sign the bill, which there is no indication that he has, and it becomes law. He could veto the bill to prevent it from becoming law.

But what if he does not sign the bill? If Congress was still in session then the bill automatically becomes law. If Congress adjourned then the bill does not become law. That is called a pocket veto.

Because of the shutdown, Congress did not adjourn while trying to resolve the issue. There were pro forma sessions, meaning that a representative gaveled in the House and Senate only to adjourn for the day. If the president did not sign or veto the bill, it has become public law. However, since the Government Printing Office (GPO), the official publisher of the U.S. government, is closed because of the shutdown, they cannot publish the results of legislation passed or vetoed. Therefore, we do not know whether this bill is now the law.

Previous administrations would announce bill signings in their regular news streams. This White House has chosen to discontinue that practice leaving us at the mercy of the currently closed GPO.

In December, the Senate passed the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act by a voice vote. Although the bill was sent to the House for consideration it never left the committee and will die in committee when the 116th Congress is gaveled into session.

S. 2863: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Introduced: May 16, 2018
Held at the desk. — Dec 19, 2018
Received in the House. — Dec 19, 2018
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 17, 2018
Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote. — Dec 13, 2018
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 13, 2018
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 16, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S2863.

Finally, Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), whose district includes Kennebunkport, introduced the President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush Dollar Coin Act. Essentially, this would have extended the Presidential $1 Coin program to include President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. This bill, like many others, died in committee.

H.R. 7257: President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush Dollar Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
Introduced: December 11, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Dec 11, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR7257.

A full review of the 115th Congress will be published shortly after the government reopens and the GPO resumes its publishing operations.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

As we begin a new year, we should look forward to better times for our hobby, our nation, and our world. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2019 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!

Weekly World Numismatic News for December 30, 2018

While considering the news of the past week, the one thing that sticks out is the press release from the Professional Numismatic Guild. The release touts the strength of the high-end, rare coin market with a throwaway line that notes there may trouble for the general collector.

While prices declined during the year for some U.S. coins in easily available lower grades, hundreds of noteworthy coins from early American to modern that are among the finest known of their kind set auction price records….

Prices for collector coins are driven by two principles: the spot price of silver and other metals that were used to strike the coins; the ability for the supply to meet the demand.

Primary spot price that drives the general collector coin market is silver. Silver opened on January 2, 2018, at $17.06 per troy ounce. On Friday, December 28, the price of silver was $15.29. This is a decline of $1.80 for the year or 10.55-percent decrease. This is not something that has occurred in the last month as the stock market had problems. Silver reached its highest price on January 15 when it reached $17.325. The spot price of silver dropped below $17.00 on February 5 and has been on a steady decline all year.

There has been a steady decrease in the spot prices of silver in 2018
(chart courtesy of Kitco; this is a static chart and will not update)

But the price of silver alone is not enough to drive collector coin prices down to get PNG’s attention. The problem is the other part of the equation: supply and demand.

The supply of collector coins is not changing. The coin market is relatively stagnant since the U.S. Mint is no longer making Mercury dimes, Walking Liberty half dollars, or Morgan dollars. There may be an increase in those coins coming to the market as collectors liquidate or the families of deceased collectors liquidate, but is this more than usual?

The number of people collecting may not be enough to drive the market simply because numismatics is not as popular a hobby as it once was.

PNG notes that the success of their high-end business may be coming from investors, not collectors:

“With the stock market dropping during the fourth quarter of 2018 we saw an increase in interest in the rare coin market with some people taking profits from stocks and buying coins that have proven to show sizeable and consistent increases in value over the years, as well as buying precious metals,” said Professional Numismatists Guild President Barry Stuppler.

While it is good that the PNG touts the work of their members in the Top 10% of the market, the general public is not buying. PNG can pat themselves on the back all they want but if they are not helping the entire industry, they are losing the opportunity to turn a general collector into one of their customers.

Further, the American Numismatic Association, which is dominated by the same dealers who are members of the PNG, seem to have a blind spot that prevents them from seeing the general collector as a viable business model to cultivate.

There are only so many times that the industry can claim successes by selling the same 1913 Liberty Head Nickel before everyone, including investors, consider this a market with stale inventory.

This is not to say that the PNG dealers are bad people or have bad intentions. This is saying that the PNG needs to look beyond the top 10-percent of the market to ensure the other 90-percent is just as healthy. Without a market balance and without market diversity, the hobby will be in trouble. Even in the equity markets, low volume low capitalized stocks can cause harm to the market.

And now the news…

 December 24, 2018

JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s fiscal trajectory in many ways mirrors the tribulations it endured before emerging as one of the world’s foremost trade and financial hubs. Before the Kingdom was unified by its late founder, King Abdul Aziz, the Arabian Peninsula had suffered its fair share of economic woes thanks to war and political strife within tribal factions.  → Read more at arabnews.com


 December 25, 2018

Coinages issued in Maharashtra dating back to 2600 BCE on display  → Read more at thehindu.com


 December 25, 2018

Gold prices advanced for a second straight day on Tuesday and rose Rs 125 on higher demand from local jewellers  → Read more at livemint.com


 December 27, 2018

In a sign of precious metals demand, sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold and …  → Read more at reuters.com


 December 27, 2018

Earlier this month, my friend Hugo Salinas Price emailed an interesting story about a single gold coin that that he still holds dearly. As I was shuffling papers in some old files, I came across a slip of paper on which I had written down the price I had paid for a Mexican $50 gold peso coin: 717 Mexican pesos.  → Read more at moneymaven.io


 December 27, 2018

Israel Antiquities Authority, JNF and Border Police stopped a band of thieves from stealing ancient coins from the Hukuk Synagogue archeological site in northern Israel on Thursday. "A quick response prevented damage to the magnificent and important treasures of the site," Nir Distelfeld, the antiquities theft inspector, said.  → Read more at jpost.com


 December 28, 2018

Operators of the historic Coin Press No. 1 inside Carson City's Nevada State Museum began striking silver medallions Friday with a commemorative Abraham Curry design created just for the occasion. On the last Friday of each month, the Nevada State Museum runs the coin press, which now mints unique collectible medallions.  → Read more at carsonnow.org

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!

As we begin a new year, we should look forward to better times for our hobby, our nation, and our world. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2019 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!

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