June 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review (a little late)

Don't set the DeLorean to 2020There is a meme going around the Interwebs that shows Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) getting out of his modified DeLorean with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) standing there with Brown telling Marty not to set the time machine to 2020. If you do not understand the meme, I recommend you stream Back to the Future on your favorite streaming platform. It is a classic movie!

We are 13 days into July, and I realized that June was over, and the Legislative Update was due. Then again, we discussed the only legislation that Congres introduced in June. Otherwise, there is nothing to report on the legislation front.

S. 4006: Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act of 2020
Sponsor: Sen. Margaret W. Hassan (D-NH)
Introduced: June 18, 2020
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 18, 2020
Introduced in Senate — Jun 18, 2020
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S4006.

Weekly World Numismatic News for July 12, 2020

2020 Elton John Uncirculated Coin

Reverse of the 2020 Elton John Uncirculated Coin (Courtesy of the Royal Mint)

This past week, the Royal Mint announced the next coin release in their Music Legends series to honor Sir Elton John. He is an international legend coming out of the British music scene who made his mark with talent and flamboyance. His long-time partnership with Bernie Taupin has entertained us since the 1960s.

Coins are available from the Royal Mint in gold, silver, and uncirculated. Uncirculated coins come in a special folder honoring Elton John.

There will be those that will complain that these coins hurt the hobby. To borrow a term from our British friends: RUBBISH! If these coins bring people into the hobby, then they are great.

What is bad for the hobby is buying surplus coins from the U.S. Mint and calling it a hoard! For years, the U.S. Mint has been selling off its excess inventory or melting precious metals. This time, someone bought them, sent them to be slabbed, and would jack up the prices under the guise of something special. When the buyer goes to sell them and finds out that they are not worth what they paid, that will have people running away from the hobby. It is similar to the overpriced crap sold on television during the 50 State Quarters program.

Even GovMint.com is getting into the junk selling hype. They have been on satellite radio hawking the emergency production bullion coins struck at Philadelphia after COVID-19 temporarily closed the West Point Mint. Their ad for “P-Mint designated” coins touts them as something special. They are not unique or rare, as the commercial insinuates. Bullion coins are struck at Philadelphia. The difference is that there was a way to determine which mint struck these coins.

What is more damaging to the hobby, selling over-priced bullion or common leftover coins or non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins with themes that some old-timers do not seem to like?

Here, let me make some of you upset. I visited the website for the Royal Mint and found something that I will add to my collection:

Queen Coin Cover

Queen Coin Cover is created in cooperation with the Royal Mint and Royal Mail (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint).

If that makes you upset, then you need to rethink your attitude on the hobby!

And now the news…

 July 2, 2020
A flag flies in front of the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News  → Read more at deseret.com

 July 6, 2020
Connor Shumate holding his metal detector and treasure. Photo: Malcolm Andrews. Rising Brownsville second grader Connor Shumate may have found pirate treasure right in his own yard!  → Read more at crozetgazette.com

 July 7, 2020
Treasure hunters hit the jackpot as they discover Roman coins at racecourse  → Read more at gazette-news.co.uk

 July 8, 2020
Royal Mint The coin depicts Sir Elton John's trademark glasses as musical notes Rock legend Elton John is to be commemorated on a £1,000 gold coin celebrating his musical legacy.  → Read more at bbc.com

 July 8, 2020
The design for the new gold $1 Elizabeth Peratrovich coin was on display during the Elizabeth Peratrovich Day celebration at the Tlingit and Haida Community Council on Feb. 16, 2020.  → Read more at juneauempire.com

 July 10, 2020
CRANSTON — Just weeks after being granted compassionate release from federal prison, the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest counterfeiter,” Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, died Monday at age 78. He was in hospice care after struggling with dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension and other ailments.  → Read more at providencejournal.com

 July 10, 2020
In the summer of 2020, we received multiple inquiries from readers about the accuracy of news reports and social media posts that referred to an ongoing shortage of coins across the United States.  → Read more at snopes.com
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The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild Needs Your Help

Once again, the State Department is about to do something that negatively affects a part of numismatics. Even if you are not an ancient coin collector, the ability to collect and study ancient coins helps give all of us clarity into history.

If the State Department permits the Memorandum of Understanding with Italy to pass, it will signal an end to ancient collectors’ ability to participate in the hobby. First, it will be the restriction of ancient Roman coins, then others will follow. Soon, every coin will become cultural property and locked in a museum, never to be seen again.

I heard it explained that coins were never meant to be static items. The rulers of ancient lands intended for the coins to circulate with their image. It was supposed to tie people to the empire. It was so important to pay the soldiers and circulate the money that coiners accompanied many armies. They would strike coins using the looted material and move on to the next conquest.

Most of these coins are not rare or even scarce. They are common, often seeing hoards of hundreds and accumulation of thousands across Europe. Some of the scarce coins can be readily found on the market and in museums.

However, if we listened to the archeologist, every crumb they find from the ancient past belongs in a museum. The necessity to save every widow’s mite is like wanting to save the Cross of Coronado.

From Wayne Sayles, Executive Director of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild:

ACCG needs your help in defending collector rights under the law – Please comment now! It’s fast and easier than ever. No need for elaborate arguments or research, others have already taken care of that. What we need now is to demonstrate that import restrictions on ancient coins affect a lot of caring people and law-abiding people from all walks of life and all political persuasions.

The deadline to send a comment to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) has been extended to July 14, 2020. Comments can be left at:

If you want more detailed information and a sample letter to the CPAC, read:

In fact, read it anyway. It contains a lot of useful information.

We should stand up for the hobby, whether you collect ancient coins or not!

SCAM ALERT: LIACOO IS SELLING FAKE SILVER EAGLES!

Fake Silver Eagles

Two counterfeit American Silver Eagles purchased from LIACOO, a company based in China.

Last month I posted an article about a potential scam by a company named LIACOO selling American Silver Eagle coins from China. I ordered two coins to confirm my suspicion.

THE COINS ARE COUNTERFEIT! FAKES!

I ordered the coins on June 4, the day I posted the article. The coins were shipped from China to California to New Jersey to my office. LIACOO used the services of Newgistics, which is now a subsidiary of Pitney-Bowes. By using a logistics company in this manner, they can hide behind the anonymity of the service.

Contacting Pitney-Bowes is nearly impossible. I left a very public message on Twitter. Let’s see if they respond.

When the coins arrived, I opened the package and started to examine the contents. The coins are in a slab-like holder similar to the Coin World holders but without the Coin World logo. At first glance, they look fine, and then a closer look revealed problems.

My first impression was that there are almost no rims on the coin. A closer look at the obverse, and the font is too thin for the LIBERTY around the coin. Then I turned the coin over to focus on the U in United. It is missing the tail on the right side of the U. I did not need to see any more to be convinced this was a fake coin.

Finally, I removed the coin to weigh it. An American Silver Eagle is supposed to weigh just slightly more than one troy ounce because it is only .999 silver. Since my scale only measures grams to the tenths of ounces, it should have weighed 31.1 grams. It weighed 25 grams.

The coin is not magnetic.

I will investigate further, but I wanted to report my initial findings.

DO NOT BUY CHEAP EAGLES FROM RANDOM WEBSITES!

I bought these coins to prove my point. I knew I was potentially buying fakes. I spent less than $30 for education aids.

Unfortunately, two correspondents wrote to tell me they each bought ten coins from different dealers. They spent $19.95 per coin. Both lost over $200 with the shipping costs.

IF YOU CANNOT IDENTIFY THE DEALER, THEIR EXACT LOCATION, AND THEIR BUSINESS STATUS, THEN DO NOT BUY THEIR COINS!

LIACOO is a scam. It is a company based in China. DO NOT BUT FROM THEM!

Weekly World Numismatic News for June 28, 2020

2018 Lincoln CentSomewhere along the line, logic and reality have not reconciled the meme that cash is dead because everyone uses credit cards. Although there has been an increase in credit card usage because of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine orders, banks and retail outlets have been reporting a shortage of cash.

For the most part, the U.S. Mint coin manufacturing processes have been fully operational during the pandemic except closing West Point briefly. The coin factory is mostly automated and does not require many workers. The U.S. Mint reports that the offices that include in the engravers are working from home, but the manufacturing continues.

But reports from the St. Louis Federal Reserve noted that even with the reduction in foot traffic, the rate of people paying with cash remained steady. The San Francisco Federal Reserve noted that the rise in credit card use coincides with the increase in online shopping.

The U.S. Mint is not the cause of supply chain problems. The problems are within the Federal Reserve and how they operate their coin storage. When Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell discussed the coin shortage, he also said that the problems magnified when the quarantine impacted the logistics companies that move the coins from place to place.

Like many things, congress took the wrong message from Powell and prompted what may be a necessary action but for the wrong reasons. Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act (S. 4006) to allow the U.S. Mint to change the metal used in your change.

While the senators are patting themselves on the back for looking like they are doing something, changing coning metals will not help. Although the U.S. Mint has studied alternative metals, several steps will take many years to complete. Canada and the United Kingdom have to change coins and coining metals in recent years. Both countries made the transition in four years and continued to have problems.

Another lesson learned is that to help Canada and the U.K. to make the transition, their respective central banks demonetized the old coins. The United States does not demonetize its coinage. Even with significant media coverage, the Bank of England reports over Ā£1 million of demonetized coins in the public’s hands.

When the United States transitioned from silver to base metals, a six-year transition did not go as planned. We learned later that the U.S. Mint continued to produce silver coins in 1965 and 1966 with 1964 dates to ease market pressures.

Changes to coining metals may be necessary. Over the last ten years, the U.S. Mint has seen seignorage reduced as the price of copper and nickel rise. But to tie the change in metals to the pandemic is a very congressional thing to do.

And now the news…

 June 22, 2020
This year, a new coin act might be the making to bring back the Peace and Morgan Silver Dollars in 2021. This will honor the centennial of the transition from the Morgan to the Peace Silver Dollar. However, in the United States, only two commemorative coin programs can be active per year – and Congress has already passed the Law Enforcement Commemorative Coin Act and the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act.  → Read more at valuewalk.com

 June 24, 2020
Wayne Fournier was sitting in a town meeting when he had his big idea.  As the mayor of Tenino, Washington (population: 1,884), he’d watched the pandemic rake local businesses.  → Read more at thehustle.co

 June 26, 2020
Gold insider Edmund Moy is all in on gold coins as an investment with prices for the yellow metal on a strong upswing. And he shared with Yahoo Finance how he is protecting his investment. “So I keep a little bit.  → Read more at finance.yahoo.com

 June 26, 2020
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., have introduced bipartisan legislation to allow the U.S. Mint to adjust the metal content of circulating coins in an effort to save taxpayer dollars.  → Read more at highlandcountypress.com

 June 26, 2020
Dive Brief: • The National Grocers Association (NGA) along with five other retail industry groups have called on the federal government to take "rapid action" to address a national coin shortage, according to a press release.  → Read more at grocerydive.com
Coin Collectors News
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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 21, 2020

Welcome to Fabulous Las VegasWhat is likely the first coin show to scheduled since the shutdowns for the COVID-19 pandemic was approved this week. The Vegas Pop Up Coin Show will be held on July 2-5 at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino.

According to the announcement, the show will have only 15 dealers and no more than 25 people staffing dealer tables. The dealers will occupy 24-foot booths to ensure that there is a six-foot distance between people.

Organizers will control the entry to ensure that no more than 50 people are in the room at the same time. All of these measures comply with Nevada’s social distancing regulations.

The organizer appears to have gone to great lengths to organize a coin show and meet the health requirements of the time. If there are any Coin Collectors Blog readers attend this show, I would be happy to post your report. Just contact me with your information.

And now the news…

 June 16, 2020
Kazan Federal University Kazan Federal University, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, Russia), and Khalikov Institute of Archeology (Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, Kazan, Russia) are working together to study the physical properties of the coins found on the territory of former Volga Bulgaria.  → Read more at phys.org

 June 16, 2020
The cashier at WHSmith clears his throat to make sure Diane von Kesmark, 72, can hear him. 'It's hygiene, madam,' he tells her, emphatically. But he is not referring to the transparent plastic shield separating customers from the till, nor the latex gloves he is wearing to handle goods.  → Read more at thisismoney.co.uk

 June 19, 2020
Palace Station is bringing in the Vegas Pop Up Coin Show — an in-person convention that will set up 15 dealers in an area that usually has 80 exhibitors.  → Read more at 8newsnow.com

 June 20, 2020
VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuania began minting a collector's coin, dubbed a "coin of hope", on Wednesday to mark the year of the new coronavirus and pay tribute to doctors, nurses and others who helped the country weather the pandemic.  → Read more at news.yahoo.com

 June 20, 2020
“The flow of coins through the economy has gotten all — it’s kind of stopped," Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said Wednesday. (Mike Blake/Reuters)  → Read more at washingtonpost.com

 June 20, 2020
Gold has been a highly sought after asset in 2020, with the yellow metal rising by more than 15% in the first five months of the year. Now trading at just below AUD 2,500 per ounce, gold has strongly outperformed most traditional assets including shares, property and term deposits, with this outperformance dating back to early 2000s.  → Read more at themarketherald.com.au
Coin Collectors News
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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 14, 2020

1984 Mexico Libertad

We sold this 1984 Mexico Libertad at auction for a nice premium above spot!

The most interesting news for this week did not come from online sources but an email newsletter for resellers. According to the readers of the newsletter, the best selling items are coins and currency.

According to their survey, most of their readers report that collector coins are outselling all other categories and bringing in the best premiums. The best-sellers are modern bullion coins and Morgan dollars.

Modern bullion coins are not limited to American Eagles. Auction bidders are driving up the prices of Maple Leafs, Britannias, and Libertads. Collector bullion coins, like the American Eagle proofs and Pandas, have realized premiums beyond typical liquidation auctions.

Other categories that are experiencing a spike in sales are mixed lots. Mixed lots of silver U.S. coins are doing the best followed by lots with foreign coins. One dealer sold a lot of 20 holed English pennies for $2.50 per coin. These were coins from the reign of George V and early into Elizabeth II.

Since the readers of the newsletter I receive are dealers in the second-hand and liquidation markets, this is excellent news. The bad news is that it is becoming challenging to find inventory to resell.

And now the news…

 June 5, 2020
A RARE Roman coin discovered in Colchester more than 40 years ago has sold for £4,000 after going under the hammer. Kevin Scillitoe found the coin, minted by the Emperor Carausius, when he was ten-years-old.  → Read more at harwichandmanningtreestandard.co.uk

 June 7, 2020
Arizona history is rife with tales of hidden mines and buried treasure. Even today, those hoping to strike it rich head out with maps and shovels, despite tremendous odds against them. Scott Craven/The Republic  → Read more at lcsun-news.com

 June 7, 2020
As shoppers and retailers do away with cash transactions, we may be witnessing the end of a major source of social and historical information – the coin. In the modern age, coinage is increasingly seen as cumbersome, a vector for disease and costly to manufacture.  → Read more at theconversation.com

 June 8, 2020
Multiculturalism (tolerance) and the ability to unify large different ethnic groups living within the state’s boundaries are those distinct features which serve as the fundamentum for economic, military and cultural achievements of the Western civilization.  → Read more at georgiatoday.ge

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May 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressDays keep blending together as we try to survive major crises in this country. With the justified outrage over the killing of George Floyd, reports are coming out that coronavirus deaths are beginning to rise. Since the protests are largely attended by young people, it will change the narrative that the virus is particularly deadly to those older and to those with pre-existing conditions. Then again, many people do not know they have a pre-existing condition until it is triggered by something else.

Frontline health care professionals and others are fighting the disease and, in some cases, injuries that occurred during the protests. To celebrate these essential workers Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced a commemorative coin program in their honor. Although the bill was introduced, the text has yet to be published. All we know is the title as submitted. It might be nice to honor the frontline workers, the likelihood of this type of bill passing is not good given the current political climate.

Unless the current circumstances change, it is unlikely any numismatic-related legislation will be acted on before the end-of-session cleanup votes in December.

H.R. 6923: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the health care professionals, first responders, scientists, researchers, all essential workers, and individuals who provided care and services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sponsor: Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI)
Introduced: May 19, 2020
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 19, 2020
Introduced in House — May 19, 2020
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR6923.

SCAM ALERT: Beware of Cheap Silver Eagles

UPDATE: I BOUGHT TWO COINS FROM THIS COMPANY. THEY ARE FAKE, AS SUSPECTED. Read more → here!

If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

Device that could metallic analysis of a coin below the surface

Facebook users might have seen an advertisement trying to sell American Silver Eagle bullion coins for $9.99. DO NOT BUY FROM THAT ADVERTISEMENT. IT IS A SCAM!

The company is named LIACOO. Please note the two “ohs” because there is a legitimate company spelled with a single “oh.” LIACOO appears to be selling knock-off products made in China and representing them as genuine for less than market value.

A reader purchased five of these coins. After they arrived, this person said that something looked wrong and asked for help. The images that were sent makes the coins appear to be cast copies of American Silver Eagle coins. COUNTERFEITS!

First, you will NEVER find a legitimate seller sell American Silver Eagle for less than the wholesale price. You may be able to find someone who will round down your cost to the nearest dollar as a loss leader, but the price will never be more than 1-2% less than the spot price. The current spot price of silver is $17.84. If you find someone selling legitimate American Silver Eagle for $17.00-17.50, they will probably sell the coins to convince you to do further business with them. Otherwise, you may want to check the company further.

In this case, an examination of their website has no information about who they are.

  • There was no physical address.
  • There was no telephone number listed.
  • The site did not have a privacy policy required to do business with most of the world.
  • The site did not have any policies for shipping, returns, or customer service.
  • The pictures of legitimate monster boxes and roll containers were “borrowed” from another site.

There are two places where they provide contact information. On their FAQ page is an email address that uses a different domain. Contact information for the company’s domain name appears on one page that listed an email address, and that customer service was available between 9a and 5p HKT. HKT is the time zone abbreviation for Hong Kong Time.

If that was not enough to convince you that this deal is too good to be true, further research went into their Internet presence.

Their domain name registration shows that the name was purchased from a company in Guangdong, China, that appears to service small businesses. This service provider is reselling the services offered by Baidu. Baidu is a Chinese state-controlled search engine, sometimes called the Google of China. The Chinese government heavily regulates Baidu.

The website is hosted on servers owned by Alibaba. Alibaba is a China-based e-commerce conglomerate whose ties with the Chinese government is uncertain. Although founder Jack Ma has claimed to have no government ties, it is essential to remember that the Chinese government regulates everything and censor Internet traffic inside its borders.

Everything regarding their Internet presence confirms that they are a China-based company. Remember, many of the worst counterfeit coins have origins in China.

I provided the details of the clues I was looking for to help you understand how to spot a scammer. I went further by looking into their Internet presence since I have the background to understand the under-the-hood workings of the Internet. However, my examination of the website was enough to convince me not to buy the coins.

If anything about the offer makes you uneasy, then do not buy the coins. If you want me to look at the site, leave a message in the comment section below, or send me a note. “Let’s be careful out there.”

Ancient Coin Online Exhibit

Marcus Claudius Marcellus

Marcus Claudius Marcellus from the D’Argenio Collection at Seton Hall University

Continuing the Museum Week celebration, there was an announcement from another numismatic exhibit added to the online world. The Walsh Library of Seton Hall University announced the addition the D’Argenio Collection. The collection consists of 427 rare coins from ancient Greece, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and Byzantium.

Donated to the university by Ronald D’Argenio (MS’76/JD’79), the collection allows scholars “to trace the relationship of the earliest Roman coins of the Republican period to its immediate Greek predecessors. It includes coins with images of Julius Caesar, the first Roman leader to have his portrait represented on a piece of currency.”

The library added the collections to the Google Arts and Culture online collection. “Google Arts and Culture is a rapidly growing site that displays highlights from over 2,000 museums and private collections. Its app, which can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple Store, allows the visitor to interact with the artwork through AI features like virtual tours and exhibits.”

The online exhibit is in two parts:

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