Weekly World Numismatic News for November 10, 2019

Northern Ireland Hoard

Hoard of coins found in Northern Ireland (Image of courtesy of Birmingham Live)

Although I am not a metal detectorist, I love reading the stories about someone going out and finding treasures. When the stories come from the United Kingdom, those finds can be exciting.

In Northern Ireland, two men looking for a friend’s lost wedding ring found a small hoard of 84 coins dating back to the 16th century. The oldest coin was dated 1512, which was during the reign of Henry VIII.

According to the story, the men who do this as a hobby, look at old maps and accounts of history to find areas that may be the sites of ancient villages or battles. Although I was surprised to read this, it makes sense, and it brings up an interesting point.

Finding artifacts buried in the ground, including coins, are a window into history. Researching where to search and understanding the history of a coin is like what archeologists do to unearth history.

I wonder if there is a way to welcome metal detectorists into the numismatic family?

And now the news…

 November 4, 2019
A British girl named Kate Harding was out working in the garden with her mother on a normal day. She was 9 years old and had no idea the silver coin she had just found in the dirt was over 700 years old. She put it away and didn’t think much about it. Many years later, she found herself face-to-face with the police at her front door; she had no idea what was happening, but she would soon find out. Her life was about to be drastically affected in a way she couldn’t have predicted. Here’s what happened to Kate Harding 14 years later.   → Read more at finance101.com

 November 4, 2019
£1 million worth of historic silver “thruppences” is to be sold off in an effort to stop coin collecting dying out in the digital age.  → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

 November 4, 2019
Australia’s embrace of a cashless society has seen coin production at the Royal Australian Mint plummet, with revenues from coin sales down more than 30% compared with last year. While the mint had budgeted for circulating coin revenue of $85m in 2018-19, the mint achieved a result of just $58m, selling 111m coins to the banks, 106m of which were for circulation.  → Read more at theguardian.com

 November 5, 2019
As the old saying goes, ‘there’s no Christmas in coin collecting.’ And local coin shop owner Jeff Spielman is warning collectors not to be fooled by scammers in the Lincoln City area. Spielman, owner of the JS Coins LLC shop, has seen a variety of counterfeit coins and jewelry come through his doors during his tenure in Lincoln City.  → Read more at thenewsguard.com

 November 5, 2019
An ultra-rare 1838 half-dollar coin could fetch as much as $500,000 at the Whitman Baltimore Winter Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center on Nov. 14. Known as 1838-O Capped Bust Half Dollar, the coin is one of only nine known to exist, according to numismatic auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.  → Read more at barrons.com

 November 7, 2019
Paul Raynard, 44, screamed “'there's millions – this is the moment we dreamed of!” to best pal Michael Gwynne, 52, when he realised the scale of the find  → Read more at birminghammail.co.uk
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 Why I Wrote In God We Trust (Nov 6, 2019)
 PNG tips to avoid gold scams (Nov 5, 2019)

 

October 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

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. (Wikipedia)

The numismatic legislation news of the month is the president signing the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (Public Law No. 116-65) into law. In 2021, the U.S. Mint will issue no more than 350,000 silver dollars in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe.

For those who do not remember or were not born at the time, McAuliffe was selected as the first civilian teacher to fly into space as part of the Space Shuttle program. On January 28, 1986, she boarded the Space Shuttle Challenger along with Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Gregory Jarvis for mission STS-51-L. Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 11:39 AM.

It was an unusually cold morning, even for Florida. The cold and deterioration of the O-Rings that sealed the joints of the solid rocket boosters failed. The firey escape of fuel caused the external fuel tank to explode 73 seconds into the flight. Challenger disintegrated, taking the lives of the seven-member crew.

The surcharge of $10 per coin sold in 2021 will be paid to the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (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.”

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.
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 28, 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
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Received in the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Held at the desk. — Jul 10, 2019
Ms. Waters moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Sep 19, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 19, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on S. 239. — Sep 19, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 19, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 19, 2019
Presented to President. — Sep 27, 2019
Signed by President. — Oct 9, 2019
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/116-S239.

The House also passed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2423) for 2020 and the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865) for 2021. Both bills head to the Senate for their consideration.

H.R. 1865: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins that are emblematic of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia and the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers throughout the history of the United States.All sales of such coins shall include specified surcharges, which shall be distributed to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Inc., for educational and outreach programs and exhibits.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 25, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1865. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

H.R. 2423: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 400,000 $1 silver coins that are emblematic of the women who played a vital role in rallying support for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.Such coins may be issued during the period beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.All surcharges received from the sales of such coins shall be paid to the American Women’s History Initiative of the Smithsonian Institution.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Apr 30, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 2423. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
Received in the Senate, read twice. — Oct 29, 2019
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Oct 31, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2423.

Two additional commemorative coin bills were introduced in the House of Representatives. One is so new that the Government Printing Office has yet to release the official text.

H.R. 4681: National World War II Memorial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Introduced: October 15, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 15, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4681.

H.R. 4940: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Nation’s first statewide investigative law enforcement agency, the Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
Introduced: October 31, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 31, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4940.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for November 3, 2019

Virginia Halfpenny

A 1773 Virginia Halfpenny from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection (not my friend’s coin because I forgot to take pictures) (Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg)

The other day an old friend found my shop. He stopped in and as part of our conversation, showed me a handful of old coins he found while running around with his metal detector on the Virginia coast.

He was in an area not far from Jamestown. The metal detector community in the area knows that it is possible to find small items dating back to colonial times. Most of the time, people find bullets and buttons from the Civil War era. They dream of finding something special.

On this day, my friend comes in excited. He finds what he thinks are colonial coins. If he is right, he could have hit the local jackpot. I asked to see the coins.

Upon pulling out the coins wrapped in cheesecloth, the first thing I noticed that the coins were round. But Scott, you say, coins are supposed to be round. I say that you are correct, but at a time when minting coins required striking dies with a hammer, the result is not perfectly round.

While laying the open cloth on my desk, the sound the coins made was suspicious. Anyone who has handled large copper coins knows the sound made by a dropped coin.

Picking up my trusty 16x loupe, I went to examine the coins when I picked them up and felt they were lighter than expected. A quick drop on the hard floor confirmed that they were aluminum.

My friend found souvenir coins from Colonial Williamsburg used as part of the experience of living in the 16th century. A tourist would pay for the coins then use them in the shops or to purchase dinner in the village. Quick online research suggested they were used in the 1980s.

We think some kids buried the coins while playing and forgot about them. Or someone was trying to fool a metal detectorist, like my friend.

Even though he had dreams of being in one of the stories I add to the weekly news digest, we had a good time hanging out and talking. After all, what is the point of collecting if you do not have fun!

And now the news…

 October 29, 2019
SIOUX CITY — Throughout the 19th century and somewhat into the 20th century, before the federal government took full control of printing money, it was common practice for banks to produce their own banknotes.  → Read more at siouxcityjournal.com

 October 31, 2019
words Al Woods With so many of resorting to contactless card payment when we come to pay for those smaller items, it might seem inevitable that coins will, at some point in the near future, become a thing of the past.  → Read more at fluxmagazine.com

 October 31, 2019
A first-time treasure hunter was stunned to hit the discovery of a life-time with his metal detector within the first few hours of using it – an Iron Age coin baring a intricately stamped horse. Ron Silvester, 69, from Buckinghamshire unearthed 2,000-year-old coin just three hours into his first ever attempt at metal detecting after agreeing to go along with a friend.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 November 1, 2019
This is the extremely rare Australian coin worth up to half a million dollars that could be lurking in the bottom of your grandparents' old penny jar. Australians on the hunt for the 1813 'holey dollar' caused an uproar on Facebook earlier this week when one man thought he found one in New South Wales, in a jar full of mixed pennies and foreign coins belonging to some grandparents, who had died.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 November 1, 2019
The majority of American citizens do not know what backs the U.S. Dollar, and a recent study shows there are a lot more surprises were that comes from. A recent study carried out by Genesis Mining revealed some interesting details that would shock you too, except of course you already knew the answers.  → Read more at coinspeaker.com
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My First Numismatic Auction

UPDATE: The auction is online and begins to close at 7:00 PM on Sunday, November 3, 2019!

1878 Liberty $2 1/2 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin

Lot #1: Beautiful classic Liberty Head $2½ quarter eagle gold coin in a Capital Plastics holder.

One of the reasons for my limited posting is that I started a business in collectibles and estate downsizing. Until now, I had not received many numismatic consignments. The few numismatic items that consignors have brought in were not exciting.

A few weeks ago, someone walked into the shop and asked about consigning coins. The coins were something he inherited and did not know what to do with them. Then my consignor removed an 1878 Liberty $2½ quarter eagle gold coin in a Capital Plastics holder. It is a beautiful coin in hand. It looks uncirculated.

Although the 1984 U.S. Olympics Commemorative Set sare not popular, he handed two of the three-coin sets with the gold coin.

He continued to empty the bag, and I found Morgan and Peace dollars, Seated Liberty quarters, and a few other coins.

1 Gram TAYER Gold Ingot

1 Gram TAYER Gold Ingot

While unpacking another consignment, there was a 1 gram gold bar mixed in amongst the papers.

Finally, someone brought in the few Israeli coins and medals his late father owned.

Put it all together, add a few of my surplus coins, and there are 54 total coins in my company’s current auction.

Here is a small sample of some of the coins in this auction:

We do ship!

If you want more than coins, check out the rest of the auction which includes sports autographs (like a Joe Montana autographed football), art (two prints from Yaacov Agam), a Black Forest Cukoo Clock (it works!), and so much more. Feel free to peruse the entire 284 lot auction.

But don’t forget the coins, including this 2005 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf silver bullion coin with a Rooster Privy Mark.

Fight Finished!

The talk around the Washington, DC metropolitan area is not what is happening on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is what will be happening on Constitution Avenue starting at 2:00 PM on November 2. According to the Mayor’s office, the parade for the World Champion Washington Nationals will begin on Constitution Avenue NW at 15th Street NW and end on Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 3rd Street.

A rally will be held at the end of the parade route.

If you are a baseball fan, you hope that every World Series goes six or seven games. Most of the drama comes in those last two games. This series was no different.

Obligatory numismatic content:

Fans of the Nationals can purchase a commemorative plaque from the Danbury Mint that includes a bronze medal. This is an uncompensated message only used so that I had something numismatic to add!

Weekly World Numismatic News for October 27, 2019

2019 UK Peter Rabbit 50p Silver Proof Coin

Reverse of the 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p Silver Proof Coin. Peter Rabbit was created by Beatrix Potter. (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint)

At least once per month, one story that catches my eye and causes a reaction. Many times I let it pass without comment because I know there is more to the story than what the news reports. This time I looked a bit deeper.

Mints around the world do business differently than the U.S. Mint. In many cases, these mints are public corporations or private corporations contracted to strike coins on behalf of the government. Very few are state agencies like the U.S. Mint.

From what I can tell, the United States is the only country where coin design is governed by the whim of 535 people whose design esthetics are eclipsed by their inability to understand the effects of their decisions. In other countries, themes and designs are managed through the mint in cooperation with the central bank and the government.

In the United Kingdom, the committee advising the Royal Mint has a membership of ten men and three women. According to reports, this committee is usually lead by a Cabinet Minister. It is the practice that the minister is selected from the House of the Lords, the least powerful branch of the government.

As it turns out, most of the Lords are male. Since the chair of the committee selects the members, most of the members of the committee are male.

A Controversy is now brewing in the U.K. because a proposal to honor Emily and Charlotte Bronte with commemorative coins were rejected. Even U.S. educated children know about the Bronte sisters having been assigned to read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre in school.

It is not the first time that the committee rejected the selection of a woman author. The committee had decided not to honor Enid Blyton, a children’s author. Blyton wrote over 600 children’s books that echoed her conservative and moral lifestyle. Although she continues to be criticized by more literary critics, her books remain popular.

The committee decided that Blyton was not worthy of the honor.

The British women authors are up in arms over the decision. But could this be a tempest in a teapot?

This year, the Royal Mint issued coins celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Gruffalo and Mouse. The Gruffalo is a children’s book written by Julia Donaldson. The book is about a mouse’s adventures walking through the woods until it meets the mythical Gruffalo.

The award-winning book was translated into 59 languages and made into an animated short film.

Although the Royal Mint did not honor Donaldson on a coin, her characters are so honored.

The Royal Mint has also issued 50p coins honoring Paddington Bear, a character that became popular in the United States through the movie. While Michael Bond wrote Paddington Bear, the books were initially illustrated by Peggy Fortnum.

We learned that whether committees or politicians design coins, they will get it wrong. We also learned that maybe we should stop trying to put humans on coins because regardless of the decision, someone is going to be upset. Sometimes, it is not worth the hassle.

And now the news…

 October 21, 2019
BRYAN, Ohio — Tom Reed of Bryan, Ohio donated more than 50 books to the Williams County Public Library, which mainly center on numismatics, also known as coin collecting. Reed saw a need for books on coin collecting to be available to the public, and decided to offer many books from his personal collection to the Williams County Public Library, said a news release.  → Read more at kpcnews.com

 October 24, 2019
WINNIPEG—The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a new coin featuring a portrait of Louis Riel, an important Métis leader and the founder of Manitoba. The coin was launched on the 175th anniversary of Riel’s birth.  → Read more at thestar.com

 October 24, 2019
OSAKA — While a 500-yen coin may not go as far as it used to, at least it still weighs the same. That's the verdict of the annual weight test of coinage, which was held at the Japan Mint in Osaka's Kita Ward on Oct.  → Read more at asahi.com

 October 24, 2019
Hobo nickel is a term used to describe the 18th century sculptural art form of hand-engraving coins, resulting in miniature bas-relief sculptures that you can hold in the palm of your hand. While the ancient art is rarely practised today, Russian artist Roman Booteen keeps the craft alive with his extraordinary coin carving designs.  → Read more at mymodernmet.com

 October 24, 2019
The original 29 March 2019 design for the Brexit 50p. The date was changed to October 31 and now, presumably, will be altered again  Credit: Treasury A small batch of special Brexit 50p coins minted with October 31 are expected to become collectors' items now that it looks almost certain Britain will not have left the EU by then.  → Read more at telegraph.co.uk

 October 24, 2019
Are you a coin collector who wants to get a job in the coin business? Plenty of numismatic jobs are out there! Today, I’m going to show you how to find a job working with coins.  → Read more at coins.thefuntimesguide.com

 October 24, 2019
The production of thousands of special commemorative Brexit coins has been put on hold amid continuing uncertainty over when the UK will leave the EU. The Royal Mint had been asked to make new 50p pieces featuring the 31 October date on which the UK was due to leave and a message of "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations".  → Read more at bbc.com

 October 24, 2019
An extremely rare 1879 $4 gold coin could sell for $1 million when it is auctioned next month. The 400 cent piece, known as the $4 Gold Stella, is valued at roughly $200,000 but could sell for $1 million, according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.  → Read more at foxnews.com

 October 26, 2019
– Umayyad, a historic Islamic coin which was made around 723AD has sold for £3.7m – Among the inscriptions said to be on the coin is one that reads "Mine of the Commander of the Faithful" – The coin was initially billed to sell £1.6m but increased at the auction because of much interest  → Read more at legit.ng

 October 26, 2019
Royal Mint bosses have been accused of sexism for rejecting plans to honour novelist sisters Emily and Charlotte Bronte with special coins. The Mint’s male-dominated advisory committee on commemorative coins was accused of failing to ‘take women seriously’ after snubbing the authors of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk
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