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

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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

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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

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January 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review – Welcome to the 116th Congress

At noon on January 3, 2018, the 116th Congress gaveled into session. The first day of a new congressional session is mostly ceremonial and procedural. Leaders are chosen. Rules are established. Committees are formed. And the House of Representatives gets to work on a new budget.

Usually, the budget the House starts with is for the next fiscal year. This year, the 115th Congress did not finish their work and left the government unfunded. It does not matter whose side you are on or what animal you worship, the bottom line is that 800,000 federal employees, many more contractors, and the businesses that rely on their patronage were hurt. Sure, the federal employees will earn back pay but the contractors who were furloughed will not. The businesses that serve these people will also not be made whole.

But that did not stop members of Congress from submitting bills for consideration. As I write this, there have been 842 bills submitted in the House of Representatives and 268 in the Senate. Of those bills, only four have numismatic significance. All four bills were also submitted in the 115th Congress but had died in committee when that Congress adjourned for the final time.

As of now, the Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), has not posted the rules as to what it will take for numismatic-relation legislation to move forward. Since the 112th Congress, the committee required a numismatic bill to have 250 co-sponsors. But since the control of the committee has changed parties, we will have to wait until the committee publishes their rules.

Here are the first four numismatic-related bills submitted in the 116th Congress:

H.R. 61: Carson City Mint 150th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R-NV)
Introduced: January 3, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue $5 gold coins and $1 silver coins in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Carson City Mint in Carson City, Nevada.All surcharges from sales of such coins shall be paid to the Nevada State Museum Dedicated Trust Fund.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jan 3, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR61.

H.R. 500: Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Introduced: January 11, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jan 11, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR500.

H.R. 636: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of Muhammad Ali.
Sponsor: Rep. John A. Yarmuth (D-KY)
Introduced: January 17, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jan 17, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR636.

S. 239: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition of Christa McAuliffe.
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Introduced: January 28, 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.

It was wurst than I thought

After my last post about the Staatliche Münze Berlin, the Berlin State Mint, a few German readers provided a lesson in the political structure of Germany to understand the institution’s role in the country’s coin production.

Unlike what I wrote previously, the Berlin State Mint is a government mint but for the government of the Federal State of Berlin.

Berlin is one of two cities that is also designated as a state. The other is Hamburg. The divisions trace back to the many small states that existed in the region during the days Holy Roman Empire. In short, it was an attempt to bring unification to the region by attempting to allow each smaller states, kingdoms, principalities, cities, etc. to provide their own rule for the common good. Some reference suggests that there were over 300 individual governments with their own governing rules at the height of the Empire.

Arguments, wars, and Napolean brought about many changes where many of the smaller states merged into larger ones and others changed by conflict. Following the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, Germany was forced to give up territories that left the current state boundaries were mostly set as they are today.

Although the Third Reich tried to unify the country around a federal government, there were a number of administrative functions left to the states including the minting of coins and printing of currency. Even Adolph Hitler learned that to keep his version of an orderly government, he had to work with each of the states.

Following World War II, the concept of the confederation of states continued with the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Although the federal government has evolved with more central power, the states continue to have a degree of independence in their operations that a person with a background in United States history would consider a confederation.

As the country evolved and times mandated change, many of the mints were closed. Production consolidated with the changes in the political structure of Germany. Following the unification of Germany in 1990, only five state mints remained:

  • A: Staatliche Münzen Berlin, the Berlin State Mint (www.muenze-berlin.de)
  • D: Staatlichen Münzen Baden-Württemberg, State Mint of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Munich (www.mintbw.de)
  • F: Bayerisches Hauptmünzamt, Barvarian Main Mint, Stuggart (hauptmuenzamt.bayern)
  • G: Staatlichen Münzen Baden-Württemberg, State Coins Baden-Wuerttemberg, Karlsruhe (www.mintbw.de)
  • J: Hamburgische Münze, Hamburg Mint (muenze.hamburg.de)

NOTE: First letter on the line is the mintmark associated with the mint.

When the euro was introduced, German law mandated that the minting of the euro coins would be distributed evenly among the five mints. Any production beyond the federally mandated requirement to produce the euro is between the mint and the Finance Minister of the state.

As for the currywurst coin, although it is produced by the Berlin State Mint, it is a product of that mint and not a product endorsed by the German federal government.

If you are confused you are in good company. Even after spending parts of three days looking into the history, I am not sure I am right. It is more confusing than the structure behind the U.S. Mint!

Images of the Germany state mints are courtesy of the mints via their websites.

Weekly World Numismatic News for January 27, 2019

Archaeologists found fragments of ceramic coin moulds at the site when they were carrying out repairs after heavy rain in late 2017.
(Photo: South China Morning Post)

Some of the best finds are accidental. In China, archeologists were working in an area when the rain uncovered an ancient mint in 2017. The area of discovery was not where they were searching but a staging location.

With only a portion of the facility excavated, the archeologists found nine areas that could have been used as part of coin production. There was one kiln site that was likely used to create porcelain coin molds and eight ash pits. They also found copper coins, coin mold fragments, and other items that were used as part of the coining process.

The China Numismatic Society told news sources that the inscriptions on the molds date the facility to 9-23 AD and corresponds to the reign of Wang Mang of the Han Dynasty.

Finds like this shows how the use of money and numismatics can lead to better understanding of societies what may have been lost.

And now the news…

 January 18, 2019

It’s been dubbed one of the loveliest coins ever minted and, almost two centuries after it was struck, it’s making headlines again. A rare gold five pound coin, featuring an idealised image of Queen Victoria in the early years of her reign, has sold for a six-figure sum at a private auction.  → Read more at royalcentral.co.uk


 January 21, 2019

Archaeologists discover fragments of ceramic moulds, copper coins and a kiln site where an ancient government office once stood  → Read more at scmp.com


 January 22, 2019

“There used to be this thing called money,” people will say in the future. And children will laugh. “You’re joking,” they’ll say.  → Read more at bostonglobe.com


 January 23, 2019

Secret Service members are reportedly exchanging challenge coins that take a jab at the ongoing partial government shutdown.  → Read more at thehill.com


 January 23, 2019

The best-known U.S. Mint building in San Francisco is at Fifth and Mission streets, right across the street from the Chronicle building. The Old Mint is an imposing classical structure, but it’s been retired as a money-making plant for more than 80 years. By the early 1930s, the building was too antiquated to meet the increased demand for coins. So the U.S. Treasury found a second location, at Duboce and Buchanan streets, where a natural rock promontory could function as another layer of security. A search through The Chronicle’s archive uncovered photos of the construction of the New Mint in 1936, as well as the coin production work happening inside.  → Read more at sfchronicle.com


 January 25, 2019

The Royal Canadian Mint has uncovered the identity of the soldier who inspired its new silver dollar coin, which commemorates the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers on D-Day.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 January 25, 2019

A 10-year-old Indian boy who lives in Oman has collected more than 500 coins from across 120 countries.  → Read more at timesofoman.com

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 NGC Introduces Two Coin Holder (Jan 22, 2019)

It was for the wurst

Staatliche Münze Berlin
(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

It seems that in my attempt to highlight numismatic-related news from somewhere other than the United States I may have done my wurst!

While the story about the currywurst commemorative coin seemed like something to poke fun at, I was reminded that Staatliche Münze Berlin, the Berlin State Mint (www.muenze-berlin.de), is not an official government mint. It is a private mint that has been contracted by the German government to assist in producing coins. Their website reports that they produce one-fifth (20-percent) of all German coins.

Reports suggest that the Staatliche Münze Berlin has been under contract to Latvia to produce legal tender coins since 2014.

It appears that Staatliche Münze Berlin would be to Germany as the Pobjoy Mint is to the United Kingdom. Both a private mints that are contracted to strict legal tender coins that create their own commemorative.

This might mean we are safe from coins commemorating poutine and haggis. However, the idea of mixing curry with ketchup may be worth a try!

Weekly World Numismatic News for January 20, 2019

The 2019 coin commemorating currywurst has been called everything from ugly to the wurst (Image courtesy of Staatliche Munze Berlin)

It is interesting to see what some countries choose to commemorate on coins. For Staatliche Munze Berlin, the Berlin State Mint, they chose to commemorate the 70th anniversary of currywurst.

Currywurst is considered the national fast food delicacy of Germany. It is a pork sausage that has been sliced part of the way through, boiled then grilled, and served smothered with ketchup mixed with curry powder. Curry powder is sprinkled on top.

According to a friend who spent time working in Germany, currywurst stands are as ubiquitous in Berlin and many other cities as hot dog stands are in New York. Depending on the stand, they can be served on buns, with sauerkraut, or fries. Since returning to the United States several years ago, he says that his family enjoys the German dish frequently.

Coins have been used to commemorate many things. Commemorating food on coins is nothing new. Coins have been used to commemorate agricultural products like wheat and corn. But aside from the (in)famous bottlecap-shaped coin, I cannot remember when a coin was used to commemorate a prepared food.

Now that the Berlin State Mint has broken this barrier, who’s next? Will the Royal Canadian Mint produce a coin honoring poutine? Or will the Royal Australian Mnt grace a coin with Vegemite? I don’t even want to think about a coin commemorating haggis!

And now the news…

 January 7, 2019

Click image to enlarge MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – A coin collector from Lewiston, Maine, with no prior connection to Middlebury, has donated more than 1,000 ancient coins to the Middlebury College Museum of Art.  → Read more at middlebury.edu


 January 13, 2019

A German coin manufacturer has commemorated the country’s love of currywurst with a speciality coin to mark 70 years since the savoury snack was first sold in Berlin. The silver alloy coin, made by Staatliche Munze Berlin, or the Berlin State Mint, features an image of the delicacy’s inventor alongside two giant sausages drowning in curry sauce and pierced with a wooden fork, as is tradition.  → Read more at expressandstar.com


 January 13, 2019

A silver medal-thaler, issued by Romanian ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu in 1713, sold for USD 16,000 at a numismatic auction in New York, Profit.ro reported. Brâncoveanu, who was a prince of Wallachia between 1688 and 1714, was deposed from his throne by Sultan Ahmed III.  → Read more at romania-insider.com


 January 13, 2019

New Delhi: A new book traces India's numismatic history through 133 rare coins which are illustrative of the country's antiquity, ethos and traditions. In Suvarna Mohur: India's Glorious History Illustrated through Rare Coins by Arun Ramamurthy, Indian history has been divided into 20 epochs.  → Read more at firstpost.com


 January 14, 2019

The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services (MBVS) is pleased to announce the final design selection for the new State of Maine Honorable Service coin and plaque, which will honor all Maine veterans, past and present, regardless of their branch or era of service.  → Read more at boothbayregister.com


 January 14, 2019

SINGAPORE: The number of coins that a buyer can use in a single transaction will be streamlined and standardised to 20 coins per denomination after Parliament passed the Currency (Amendment) Bill on Monday (Jan 14).  → Read more at channelnewsasia.com


 January 14, 2019

Mobile coin exchange units are hitting the roads to encourage people to swap the loose change they have collected for easier to handle banknotes, so the coins can be recycled. The modified trucks, which are green and clearly marked with the Treasury Department logo, have a window along the side where the coins can be exchanged for notes of equal value.  → Read more at bangkokpost.com


 January 14, 2019

In Berlin, the participants of the most unusual robbery of recent years went on trial. Three young Arab migrants stole a considerable gold coin from the museum using only an ax handle, ropes, stairs, and carts.  → Read more at en.crimerussia.com


 January 16, 2019

Greater Houston Coin Club members have been on a mission to get kids involved in the hobby.  → Read more at abc13.com

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Is this backward “D” an error?

One of the more popular collector series is the Indian Head or Buffalo Nickels. Designed by James Earl Fraser, a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, this design was a continuation of President Theodore Roosevelt’s “pet crime” to change the look of the nation’s coinage.

Introduced in 1913, the coin features a right-facing Indian head (now called a Native American head). Although there have been claims by several tribal chiefs that they were the model, Fraser’s notes suggest the image was created using the features of several men.

The reverse features the image of a buffalo, which in reality is a North American bison. The 38 different types of buffaloes live in Africa and feature larger horns similar to a longhorn steer. Most are domesticated and are raised like cattle is in the United States. Bison are largely wild animals native to the western hemisphere. Aside from their shorter horns, they have beards hanging from their chin and heavier coats that allow them to survive in colder climates.

But that has not stopped people from referring to the coin as a Buffalo nickel. It is a design so popular that when it has been used in coinage, the available supply usually sells out.

Like every five-cents coin made since the introduction of the 1883 Liberty Head or “V” nickel, the planchet is made from an alloy of 75-percent copper and 25-percent nickel. Most vending machines will not be able to tell the difference between a Buffalo nickel and a Jefferson nickel.

The coin’s ability to be used in vending machines and how a worn coin could pass the unwatchful eye of a cashier, it is possible to find a Buffalo nickel in change. Although there are very few of these coins remain in circulation, avid change hunters say they can find one every 12-16 months.

This was the case when a reader found what was thought to be a 1914-D Buffalo nickel. Although not a rare or key date, a 1914-D coin could be worth upwards of $70-80 in good (G-4) condition. Finding a Denver mint coin from that year would be better than finding a Philadelphia mint coin since a coin in good (G-4) condition would be worth $16-18.

But this coin was different. Rather than having a “D” mintmark on the reverse, the “D” was backward!

Prior to the U.S. Mint creating dies with mintmarks in Philadelphia, they would send dies to the branch mints without mintmarks. The coiners at the branch mint would use a punch to imprint the mintmark into the die before striking coins. Of course, this manual process was not perfect and there are cases of mispunched, repunched, overpunched, and other such errors.

There have been cases of a mintmark that was punched horizontally into the die. Those mintmarks were repunched correctly. Coins from the San Francisco mint has had errors where the “S” is punched upside down known as an inverted mintmark. This is a fun error to find because noticing this error requires a careful eye and patience along with understanding the shape of the “S” in the font used.

A closer look at the “inverted” D mintmark

However, there is no reference that mentions a backward punched mintmark.

Adding or removing mintmarks is a common method to artificially change the value of a coin. Remove the “S” from a 1921 Walking Liberty half-dollar and watch its value raise by 300-percent. Or practice adding a “D” to a 1914 Buffalo nickel to make a 400-percent profit.

After checking several references and speaking with two dealers, I sat with a box of Buffalo nickels I have to compare the mintmarks to the one on the coin. Additionally, I consulted with the images at PCGS Photograde. After all, it could be a real, undiscovered error.

The first thing I noticed on the image and with the coins I have on hand is that the mintmark on this coin is too defined for the grade. When comparing the coin to the images on Photograde, if the coin was sent in for grading it would probably be assigned a grade of G-6 of VG-8. Because of the worn rims, this coin would not grade higher than VG-8 and could be assigned a G-4.

As I was looking at the coins, those that would grade VG-8 or lower with worn rims also had mintmarks that were almost worn into the rim. In more than a dozen examples from my box, the mintmarks on all of the low-grade coins showed the rims and mintmark worn together.

Another aspect of the mintmark that bothered me was that the “D” seemed smaller than those on the coins I was looking at. For comparison, I pulled out my album with higher grade Buffalo nickels and found that the mintmark was similar in size to those in higher grades.

Then there is the coloring around the mintmark. Comparing it to the examples in my box, the dirt patterns around the “D” seems off. While the coloring around all of the letters appears to be uneven, there appears to be a consistent line around the “D.” In fact, the coloring at the bottom of the “D” is inconsistent with that of the other letters around it.

If I had the coin in hand, I would be able to examine it closer with a 15x loupe. I would even attempt to pick at it with a toothpick to see if the “D” would fall off. However, given all of the issues with the coin based on the images alone, I am reasonably certain that the “D” was added by someone outside of the U.S. Mint.

Of course, if you have your own theories then please post them as a comment, below.

PCGS Photograde images courtesy of PCGS and can be found here.

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

Coin Collectors News
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