POLL: What do you use to find information?

I am getting ready to open the next chapter of my life, and I was thinking about how I can leverage my knowledge and experience to enhance the collecting community. As an experienced collector of all types and a dealer in areas other than numismatics, I learned a lot about collectors and their habits that could benefit a general audience.

As I was thinking about sharing my experiences, I wondered where most people learned about their collectibles. But the resources I had are different than those available today. Even the way we take in and understand knowledge is different. I thought it would be interesting to ask the numismatic community how they learn about collecting.

So let’s ask the question:

What resources do you use for numismatic information?









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Weekly World Numismatic News for May 8, 2022

Reverse of the Royal Canadian Mint 2015 Superman $20 for $20 coin featuring “The Man of Steel”

One of my readers is a comics dealer who has a collection of comic-themed coins. This dealer discovered coins with comics themes when I posted about my purchase of the Canada $20 for $20 Superman coin. This dealer is on the mailing list for the mints that produce these coins.

After reading yesterday’s blog post, the comics dealer asked me how to become a coin dealer to sell comics-themed coins.

My reader knows that the comics industry is exploding and that the publishers are dabbling in non-fungible tokens (NFT) to see if they can extend the market. Those skeptical of the NFT market are looking for alternatives. A comics dealer that expanded to other publications, toys, and other collectibles understands that extending his market with coins will be profitable.

Walk into any hobby shop and see how every hobby has evolved. Comics, sports, and antiques have seen a rise in collecting, and all have seen the benefit of cross-collecting. A sports dealer is also selling comics and other collectibles with sports themes. Comics dealers are collectible cards and souvenirs from the ComicCons, the same as the sports dealers are selling game tickets.

Coin dealers extend their business into metals and jewelry, and their stores look the same as they did 10 years ago. The dealers may be making a living, but it is not expanding the hobby. But is it their job to expand the hobby or make a living? Unfortunately, this attitude is typical with the dealers trying to set ANA policy and is not helping the hobby’s growth.

And now the news…

 May 4, 2022
The most successful artistic design of the Croatian national side of the €1 coin has been selected, the Croatian National Bank (HNB) said in a press release.  → Read more at croatiaweek.com

 May 5, 2022
Found in Switzerland, some of the buried Roman coins were minted during a time of relative political stability, between 332 and 335 C.E.  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com
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It’s Free Comic Book Day!

Cover with the 2015 $20 Canada Superman coin

The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. It is the day that comic book stores give away free comic books. Although some will give away low-volume books, most will give away free comic books specially printed by the publishers for the day.

Free Comic Book Day is more than an effort to get people into the stores to buy comics. The publisher will take the opportunity to tweak a story, start a new story arc, or introduce new characters. They spend a few pages in the free comic book to enhance their stories or introduce new characters. The free comic book may also have an existing story that can summarize the story to convince readers to start reading the series.

Free Comic Book Day is more than a giveaway day. It is a marketing tool for the story writers to interact with the readers and get them attracted to the stories. The publishers and store owners use the giveaway to keep current customers interested and lure in new customers.

Although the publishers will introduce many new stories and characters, almost 90-percent will not last more than a few issues. The publishers know this and are willing to try whatever it takes to ensure that the readers come back for more. Once the readers are hooked, the publishers extend the brand into movies and other collectibles where collectors can purchase the merchandise anywhere.

The comic book industry accomplishes more in one day than the numismatic industry accomplishes in one week. Considering how ubiquitous money is in society, It is any wonder that we can raise new collectors.

2016 Canada Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice $20 silver coin

Giving away coins may be seen as a good thing, but what does it mean to the collector? Why should the collector care about that Indian Head Cent or Buffalo Nickel? Dealers may think that the Women on Quarters, Innovation Dollars, or Native American Dollars are not as sexy as a Top-50 VAM. Still, I guarantee that the kid off the street would find the 2022 Vermont dollar more interesting than a 1921 Morgan Dollar.

There is nothing wrong with comics and the comics culture. Comics readers love their characters, especially the superheroes, that they extend their buying beyond the comic book. Why not invite them into your shop to add comic book character coins to their collection.

You may not find coins with Superman, Batman, Captain America, or Spider-man exciting coins, but they are legal tender coins made of silver or gold that excite this crowd. Contact the publishers and see if you can source material to supplement the coins. It could create a partnership that could benefit both collectibles.

It might not be selling rare proof-like Morgans, but it will get people in your shop to look at your other inventory. Maybe they will see the Buffalo nickels and think those Type 1 coins are so cool that they might start a collection.

I have an idea… on Free Comic Book Day, the numismatic community can work with Marvel and DC to create a brass token that would be available to the collecting public. Some to the coin store, get the token for free. Let the publishers work on tokens and medals associated with their comics and sell them through coin stores. Then the coin stores can contact the New Zealand Mint or the Royal Canadian Mint to purchase a supply of comic book character coins and join the fun.

Sally Ride Has Landed

Sally Ride QuarterThe current quarter in the American Women Quarters Program honors Dr. Sally Ride. These coins are showing up in change in an increasing number, with several landing in my pocket this week.

Dr. Ride was a physicist, astronaut, educator, and the first American woman to rocket into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. At 32, Ride was also the youngest American in space.

On STS-41G in 1984, also on the Challenger, Ride was joined by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, a geologist, making it the first space mission with two female crew members.

Following her retirement from NASA, Ride and Tam O’Shaughnessy teamed up to write science books for young people. They also started an educational company to inspire young people, especially girls, in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Ride received many honors during her life, including induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, National Women’s Hall of Fame, and Aviation Hall of Fame.

The reserve depicts Dr. Sally Ride next to a window on the space shuttle. It was designed by Elana Hagler of the Artistic Infusion Program and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 24, 2022

I am sponsoring GOLD memberships for new and renewing memebers of the American Numismatic Association. This is a limited-time offer to celebrate National Coin Week and the 131st anniversary of the American Numismatic Association. The offer expires on April 25, 2022. Call (800) 514-2646 or visit info.money.org/ncw-2022-barman to take advantage of this offer. Be sure to apply code NCW22SB at checkout!

National Coin Week wraps up this weekend, celebrating coin designs. One thing that has been constant throughout the 21st century is changing coin designs. It started with the 50 State Quarters program and has affected every circulating coin except the half-dollar and the dime.

Although the design has lasted more than 25 years, it is not likely that the Treasury Department will change the design. The story of the JFK assassination continues to resonate with a significant sector of the population, and Kennedy’s popularity remains.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s appearance on the dime is different. Roosevelt helped create the March of Dimes, and following his death, Congress decided that adding his portrait to the dime was the best way to honor the late president. Since its release in 1946, the dime’s design has not changed.

The Roosevelt Dime is the smallest coin produced by the U.S. Mint. Changes to the design may not display as well. When John Sinnock designed the coin’s reverse, the similarity with the Mercury dime was not a coincidence. Aside from the symbolism, the U.S. Mint knows the design will strike well on a small planchet.

While the ability to strike the designs continues to be a concern, modern technology could help produce a suitable design. The problem is, what would make an appropriate design?

Until someone in Congress proposes a bill to change the dime’s design, it will remain the longest-running design on U.S. coins.

And now the news…

 April 17, 2022
“The Romans had been used to extremely fine silver coinage, so they may well have lost confidence in the denarius when it ceased to be pure,” Matthew Ponting, one of the archaeologists involved in the research, said in a media statement.  → Read more at mining.com

 April 17, 2022
An approximate amount of $1 has been received. The U.S. economy is estimated to grow by $5 trillion over the next five years. Coins with physical characteristics. The 11th quarter accounts for about 80% of this value. A billion-dollar note is $100 worth 5 billion. 70 percent of new bills are written to replace older notes as they go out of circulation each year.  → Read more at malaysiandigest.com

 April 18, 2022
Nearly 1,300 priceless 4th-century AD Roman coins, all in a pot, were found in September 2021 near Bubendorf, Basel County, Switzerland by amateur archaeologist volunteer, Daniel Ludin.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 April 20, 2022
A family's new truffle-hunting puppy is already worth its weight in gold after digging up 15 sovereign coins worth £6,000 on its first walk.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 April 22, 2022
Out on his daily constitutional, a dog in Poland unexpectedly struck gold, or rather, silver.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net
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Other Country’s Coin Designs

I am sponsoring GOLD memberships for new and renewing memebers of the American Numismatic Association. This is a limited-time offer to celebrate National Coin Week and the 131st anniversary of the American Numismatic Association. The offer expires on April 25, 2022. Call (800) 514-2646 or visit info.money.org/ncw-2022-barman to take advantage of this offer. Be sure to apply code NCW22SB at checkout!

2006 Canada 25-cents Pink Ribbon coin

It is important to see what other countries are doing when looking at coin designs. We do not have to look further than Canada to find fascinating designs.

The Royal Canadian Mint issued the 2004 Remembrance Day poppy 25-cents coin, the world’s first colorized circulating coin. The RCM produced 30 million coins featuring a red poppy on the reverse. The RCM expanded the program in 2008 for the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I with other collectibles.

In 2006, the RCM partnered with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to create a pink ribbon colorized coin. The pink ribbon is the symbol of hope and awareness for breast cancer. Talking about breast cancer also brings awareness to all cancers.

According to the National Cancer Institute, one-in-three people have been diagnosed with cancer or a direct relative diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and my family was reduced by someone who died of cancer, including my first wife.

2006 Breast Cancer Silver Coin with colored pink ribbon.

Although I have a collection of Canadian coins, I have an uncirculated pink ribbon 25-cents coin as part of a personal remembrance collection. It is a collection that represents places and people in my past. The Canada Pink Ribbon 25-cents coin and silver commemorative are part of that collection in memoriam to Elisa and my other relatives who lost their battles with cancer.

My story is also a reminder that you do not have to collect in the way others recommend. You do not have to fill blue, brown, or green books with coins or the lists produced by someone else, and you can collect based on the topics that mean something to you. Go out and enjoy your collection!

All images are original and property of the author used under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

My First Coin Design Change and Celebration

I am sponsoring GOLD memberships for new and renewing memebers of the American Numismatic Association. This is a limited-time offer to celebrate National Coin Week and the 131st anniversary of the American Numismatic Association. The offer expires on April 25, 2022. Call (800) 514-2646 or visit info.money.org/ncw-2022-barman to take advantage of this offer. Be sure to apply code NCW22SB at checkout!

1976 Washington Quarter with my favorite, the Drummer Boy reverse

Although I began collecting coins in 1970, I became interested in coins a few years earlier. My paternal grandfather used to pick coins out of change and save them. He owned a magnifying glass to look at the coins. When we visited his Brooklyn apartment, I would grab the magnifying glass and explore.

After the introduction of the Eisenhower Dollar, the first design change came in 1975 for the bicentennial. In the 1970s, celebrating the bicentennial was a significant event. The planning began in the last 1960s and picked up in 1972. The entire nation planned for a celebration that spread across every community.

The American Revolution Bicentennial Administration logo was everywhere, including the official medals the U.S. Mint produced. But that is not all the U.S. Mint produced as part of the bicentennial celebration.

In 1973, Congress passed the law allowing the U.S. Mint to change the reverse design of the quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins to honor the bicentennial in 1975 and 1976. The coins will be dated 1776-1976 before they revert to their original designs.

My first introduction to a design change was the Drummer Boy reverse on the Washington Quarter. I liked the design more than the original eagle design on the reverse, and it continues to be one of my favorite designs.

As a collector and a newly minted driver, I saved money from my after-school jobs to purchase uncirculated coins and the sets with the bicentennial coins.

In 2001, there was a reunion of the artists who created the designs. Jack Ahr (quarter), Seth Huntington (half-dollar), and Dennis Williams (dollar) attended the celebration. PCGS had the three artists sign labels inserted into slabs with proof versions of the coins they designed. I was able to pick up a set on the aftermarket.

1976-S Silver Proof Bicentennial Autograph Set

Because of the hype, and the potential to increase seigniorage, the U.S. Mint overproduced these coins. They also made proof and silver proof sets so plentiful that they remained on sale through 1986. The U.S. Mint ended up melting over 600,000 sets.

Suggested Reading: To learn more about the legislation that created the Bicentennial coinage program, read “14 Bits: The Story of America’s Bicentennial Coinage” by David Ganz (ISBN 978-0914478638).

The Bicentennial celebration was a national event to remember. Nearly every community issued medals. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing joined in and changed the reverse of the $2 Federal Reserve Note to an interpretation of John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence. The BEP issued the notes on April 13, 1976, and it is possible to find uncirculated notes postmarked on that date. July 4, 1976, is another popular postmark for bicentennial collectibles, especially postmarks from Philadelphia.

Reverse of the Series 1976 $2 Federal Reserve Note features an engraved modified reproduction of the painting The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull.

Even though the circulating commemorative was generally successful, the concept would not return until the beginning of the 50 State Quarters program in 1999.

All images are original and property of the author used under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 10, 2022

Over the last few weeks, I received emails from people finding quarters celebrating Maya Angelou on the reverse in their change. When I reply by explaining the Women on Quarters program, the writers are surprised that this program exists.

A woman wrote and asked if I would confirm that Sally Ride would appear for a quarter. When I confirmed that the quarter was next in the series, she wanted to know where to find the quarters so she could give them to her daughter, who wants to be a rocket scientist.

I have never seen this type of reaction to a coin program. Students are talking about the coins as they relate to history. Parents are talking about using the coins to influence their daughters.

The unsung design element that numismatists appreciate is the adaptation of Laura Gardin Frasier’s portrait of George Washington. Frasier, the wife of James Earle Frasier, created an acclaimed design that the Committee on Fine Arts picked twice in a competition of artists. Unfortunately, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, a known misogynist, rejected the design and selected the art of John Flannigan instead. Laura Gardin Frasier’s design has taken its rightful place on the coin’s obverse.

A coin that makes everyone excited. That’s a winning combination!

And now the news…

 April 10, 2022
The 'heads' of a contemporary coin, with a head of the god Bacchus, that was sampled as part of the project. Credit: University of Warwick  → Read more at phys.org
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Change hunting at the local grocery store

2022 Maya Angelou Quarter

I made a late evening run to the grocery store earlier this week. After picking up a few necessities, I went to the cash register, and three people were huddled around the open draw looking at the coins.

After putting my items on the belt, I asked why there were looking at the coins. One looked up and said they were looking for the Maya Angelou quarter, and another said that they were reading about Angelou in high school when their teacher talked about the quarter.

One looked at me and asked if I knew that the next quarter would honor Sally Ride and started to tell me about Dr. Ride. After I told them that I watched the shuttle launch on television, they thought it was neat that these quarters were in circulation.

They showed no interest in the national parks quarters as they looked at the quarters when one found an Ohio quarter. Although it has the hanging astronaut, I asked if they found the Florida quarter with the Space Shuttle on the reverse.

They realized I understood the quarters and asked if there was a reference to the themes on the quarters. After pointing them to the U.S. Mint website, I told them about the Red Book. I showed them some of the quarter designs on my smartphone and then the Native American dollars.

Aside from not knowing that the U.S. Mint struck dollar coins, I showed them the 2015 Mohawk Iron Workers dollar, a personal favorite. One showed interest and asked if they had created a design for the Code Talkers, and I responded “💯percent” and showed them the 2016 dollar.

Three high school students were now working at a local grocery store, looking at the coins in the cash register for designs representing history. They may not be looking for silver coins like I did in the early 1970s, but it’s change hunting looking for something neat.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

No Morgan and Peace Dollars in 2022

The U.S. Mint announced that they would not produce the 2022 Morgan and Peace Dollars calling it a “calculated pause.”

According to their press release, the pandemic impacts their suppliers’ availability to deliver silver blanks. Although many areas are returning to pre-COVID operating standards, suppliers require additional time to increase production to meet the higher demands.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine should not affect the worldwide supply of silver and gold since their mines are depleted. However, higher energy prices will impact the mining, refining, and transport of these metals.

The law requires the U.S. Mint to strike American Silver Eagle bullion coins. The law authorizing the 2021 Morgan and Peace dollars does not require the U.S. Mint to produce those coins in other years. If there is a supply problem, the U.S. Mint will strike the required American Silver Eagle Coins and suspend the Morgan and Peace Dollars.

Although popular designs, does it matter if the U.S. Mint strikes the coins again? Would it be better for the hobby if the coins were a one-year tribute and faded into numismatic history?

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