Weekly World Numismatic News for March 15, 2020

Following Saturday’s article, an article appeared in my newsfeed with tips on how to start building a collection of Buffalo Nickels.

CNN interviewed noted numismatist Charles Morgan. The article is a good synopsis of collecting Buffalo Nickels.

Buffalo nickels are a favorite of a lot of people. Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo Nickel was struck by the U.S. Mint from 1913 to 1987. The obverse of the coin features a Native American that Fraser said was a composite design of three chiefs, and the reverse is a buffalo that Fraser said was modeled after Black Diamond, an American bison he found at the Bronx Zoo. Both claims by Fraser have been controversial since several American Indian Chiefs claimed to have been Fraser’s model, and Black Diamond lived at the Central Park Zoo. In either case, it is a beautiful coin and an excellent entry to collecting.

Buffalo nickels are very available coins with a few exceptions. Beautiful examples with full dates and at least three-quarters of the buffalo’s horn still visible are available at reasonable prices.

For someone starting a Buffalo nickel collection, you might want to consider starting with a date and type set. Going this route would spare the beginning collector from trying to find the Type 2 1913-D and 1913-S coins, which can be expensive.

If you complete the goal of the date and type set, then try to fill in the rest of the coins to create the full date and mintmark set.

Another idea is to use the Buffalo nickel as the basis to collect other coins with buffaloes as part of the design. In 2011, I presented a Herd of Buffaloes type collection. Maybe it can be something to do while riding out the current situation.

Maybe, if we can attract new collectors using an article from CNN, we can encourage them to write more.

And now the news…

 March 6, 2020
The five extremely rare Islamic coins dating from the 7th century AD Image Credit: Dubai: As a UAE exhibition – Coins of Islam: History Revealed – with a display of 300 coins is proving to be a big draw at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in Abu Dhabi, five rare coins are making big news globally because they offer a historic narrative of Islamic coinage, dating back to the 7th century or the dawn of Hijri (Islamic calendar).  → Read more at gulfnews.com

 March 10, 2020
Some of the coins and pins made by Brad Brown, owner of B2 Promotions.  HERMITAGE – When people ask Brad Brown what he does for a living, he isn’t sure what to tell them.  → Read more at meadvilletribune.com

 March 11, 2020

A rare 1,300- year-old coin featuring the face of an unknown Saxon King sells for ₤48,000 after the proprietor invested 3 years attempting to verify its historic relevance.
  → Read more at theunionjournal.com

 March 14, 2020
Written by Forrest Brown, CNN Whether an entry point for budding neophytes or the domain of studied numismatists, buffalo nickels hold a fascinating place in the world of coin collecting. For the uninitiated, buffalo nickels are copper-nickel 5-cent pieces produced by the US Mint in the first half of the 20th century.  → Read more at cnn.com
Coin Collectors News
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No 2021 Silver Dollars For You!

The 2021 commemorative coin calendar is full and it does not include a commemorative Morgan or Peace silver dollar.

Last October, Congress passed the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (Public Law No. 116-65) to be issued in 2021. In December, they passed the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (as part of Public Law No. 116-94). With two commemorative coin programs in 2021, there is no room for the 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act.

The odds of Congress creating a third commemorative program for 2021 is less than 1-percent.

When H.R. 3757 was introduced, the American Numismatic Association sent out a press release and asked the members to write their member of Congress. The numismatic press also carried that mantle at the beginning. Some suggested that a commemorative Morgan Dollar could be struck at the former mint in Carson City.

But that was in July, 2019, prior to the World’s Fair of Money.

During the World’s Fair of Money, a new Board of Governors was installed to allegedly lead the ANA. Since then, there has been little said by the ANA about H.R. 3757. This is the opposite of the response lead by Farran Zerbe.

Zerbe’s proposal for what became the Peace Dollar led to the appointment of a committee that lobbied Congress for the coin’s creation. It was not an easy road for the proposal, but Zerbe persisted, and a bill was passed.

Zerbe, who was ANA President from 1908 t0 1910, showed extraordinary leadership in getting this bill passed.

Many others have stepped up to represent the community with the support of the ANA and the hobby. Amongst the community’s achievements are the Bicentennial coins and the 50 State Quarters program.

Where is that support today?

Where has the ANA been since August 2019?

Like the 1921 Peace Dollar, a 2021 commemorative coin would not only highlight history but make sure the public knows about the ANA’s place in that history. It would introduce new collectors to one of the 20th century’s best designs and the ANA at the same time.

Aside from the public relations boost, 40-percent of the program’s surcharge would be paid to the ANA. With a mintage limit of 500,000 coins with a surcharge of $10 per coin, a potential $2 million could have been added to the ANA’s treasury.

A one-time payment of $2 million would provide a cushion of 35-percent, based on the ANA’s published 2019 budget. It would furnish a down payment on new education initiatives and outreach to promote the ANA’s growth.

The ANA has been business-as-usual with little said from the current Board.

It is difficult to understand why the ANA Board of Governors would let this opportunity pass. Is this a sign of leadership we are to expect during its two-year term?

Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressI did not realize that it has been a few months since I did a Numismatic Legislation Review. It is time to look back at the past months of Congress meddling with coin designs.

December 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

The first piece of legislation is a lesson in why watching Congress is not for the faint of heart!

H.R 1865, sponsored by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), started as the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act. Its original purpose was to create a three-coin commemorative coin program for the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia in 2021. From the time it was submitted until passage by the Senate on November 12, 2019, it was just another commemorative coin bill.

Then the sausage-making process began.

It starts with the necessity to fund the government. With time running out, the House of Representatives sends a message to the Senate that they have a resolution to start the funding process. The Senate objects to the House’s actions and looks around for something so they can add funding amendments.

Although H.R. 1865 passed in the Senate, the bill did not go to a conference committee to resolve differences. It became a convenient vehicle for the two chambers to negotiate a budget.

By the time the bill passed Congress, it was renamed to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, and the provisions for the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act became “Division K” of the signed law.

The following is the unedited status of what is now Public Law No. 116-94 (there is more below this section):

H.R. 1865: Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Summary: This bill provides FY2020 appropriations for several federal departments and agencies.It includes 8 of the 12 regular FY2020 appropriations bills:

  • the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020;
  • the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020;
  • the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020;
  • the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020;
  • the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2020;
  • the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020;
  • the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020; and
  • the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020.

In addition to providing appropriations, the bill includes legislation that extends several expiring programs and addresses a wide range of policy issues throughout the federal government.

Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 25, 2019
Introduced in House — 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
Passed/agreed to in House: 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 with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 12, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Nov 12, 2019
Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 12, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Nov 13, 2019
ORDER OF BUSINESS – Mr. McGovern asked unanimous consent that it be in order at any time to take from the Speaker’s table the bill H.R. 1865, with the Senate amendment thereto, and to consider in the House, without intervention of any point of order, a motion offered by the chair of the Committee on Appropriations or her designee that the House concur in the Senate amendment submitted for printing by Representative Lowey of New York in the portion of the Congressional Record designated for that purpose in clause 8 of rule XVIII; that the Senate amendment and the motion be considered as read; that the motion be debatable for one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Appropriations; that the previous question be considered as ordered on the motion to adoption without intervening motion or demand for division of the question; and that House Resolution 708 be laid on the table. Objection was heard. — Nov 19, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to refer to Senate Committee on Appropriations the House message to accompany H.R. 1865 with instructions to report back forthwith with the following amendment (SA 1260) made in Senate. — Dec 17, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 with an amendment (SA 1258) made in Senate. — Dec 17, 2019
Cloture motion on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 presented in Senate. — Dec 17, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 made in Senate. — Dec 17, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Dec 17, 2019
Message on House action received in Senate and at desk: House amendment to Senate amendment. — Dec 17, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to refer to Senate Committee on Appropriations the House message to accompany H.R. 1865 with instructions to report back forthwith with the following amendment (SA 1260) made in Senate. (CR S7088) — Dec 17, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 with an amendment (SA 1258) made in Senate. (CR S7087) — Dec 17, 2019
Cloture motion on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 presented in Senate. (CR S7087) — Dec 17, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 made in Senate. (CR S7087) — Dec 17, 2019
Resolving differences — House actions: On motion that the House agree with an amendment to the Senate amendment Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 297 – 120 (Roll No. 689). — Dec 17, 2019
Pursuant to the provisions of H. Res. 765, Mrs. Lowey moved to agree in the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 with an amendment consisting of the text of Rules Committee Print 116-44. — Dec 17, 2019
Mrs. Lowey moved that the House agree with an amendment to the Senate amendment. — Dec 17, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on the motion that the House agree to the Senate amendment, with an amendment to the bill H.R. 1865. — Dec 17, 2019
The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule. — Dec 17, 2019
POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS – At the conclusion of debate on the motion to agree to the Senate amendment with an amendment, the Chair put the question on the motion and by voice vote, announced that the ayes had prevailed. Mrs. Granger demanded the yeas and nays and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the motion until a time to be announced. — Dec 17, 2019
On motion that the House agree with an amendment to the Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 297 – 120 (Roll no. 689). — Dec 17, 2019
On motion that the House agree with an amendment to the Senate amendment Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 297 – 120 (Roll No. 689). — Dec 17, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Dec 17, 2019
Pursuant to the provisions of H. Con. Res. 82, enrollment corrections on H.R. 1865 have been made. — Dec 17, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 19, 2019
Senate agreed to the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 by Yea-Nay Vote. 71 – 23. Record Vote Number: 415. — Dec 19, 2019
Motion to waive all applicable budgetary discipline with respect to the measure (the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865) agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 64 – 30. Record Vote Number: 414. — Dec 19, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 with an amendment (SA 1258) withdrawn in Senate by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 19, 2019
Point of order that the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 violates section 3101(b) of S.Con.Res. 11, 114th Congress, raised in Senate. — Dec 19, 2019
Motion by Senator McConnell to refer to Senate Committee on Appropriations the House message to accompany H.R. 1865 with instructions to report back forthwith with the following amendment (SA 1260) fell when cloture invoked on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 in Senate. — Dec 19, 2019
Cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.1865 invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 71 – 21. Record Vote Number: 413. — Dec 19, 2019
Considered by Senate. — Dec 19, 2019
Motion to waive all applicable budgetary discipline with respect to the measure (the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865) agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 64 – 30. Record Vote Number: 414. (CR S7186) — Dec 19, 2019
Cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.1865 invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 71 – 21. Record Vote Number: 413. (CR S7175) — Dec 19, 2019
Resolving differences — Senate actions: Senate agreed to the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1865 by Yea-Nay Vote. 71 – 23. Record Vote Number: 415. — Dec 19, 2019
Presented to President. — Dec 20, 2019
Signed by President. — Dec 20, 2019
Became Public Law No: 116-94. — Dec 20, 2019
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

For good measure, Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) introduced the Conan Commemorative Coin Act to honor Conan, a Belgian Malinois who has worked with the United States Special Operations Forces in the Middle East. If passed, the money will be given to the Department of Veterans Affairs to support vetinary care for service animals.

H.R. 5537: Conan Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS)
Introduced: December 23, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Dec 23, 2019
Introduced in House — Dec 23, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR5537.

January 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review

In January, Congress passed the President George H.W. Bush and First Spouse Barbara Bush Coin Act to extend the Presidential Dollar and First Spouse Gold coin programs to include the late President and First Lady. The law requires the coin to be issued in 2020.

S. 457: President George H.W. Bush and First Spouse Barbara Bush Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Introduced: February 12, 2019
Summary: President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush Coin Act
This bill requires the issuance of

  • $1 coins bearing the image of President George H.W. Bush for a one-year period beginning on January 1, 2019, and
  • bullion coins bearing the image of Barbara Bush during that same period.
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 12, 2019
Introduced in Senate — Feb 12, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 16, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Dec 16, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 16, 2019
Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Dec 16, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 17, 2019
Received in the House. — Dec 17, 2019
Held at the desk. — Dec 17, 2019
Ms. Waters moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Jan 13, 2020
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Jan 13, 2020
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on S. 457. — Jan 13, 2020
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote. — Jan 13, 2020
Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote. — Jan 13, 2020
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Jan 13, 2020
Presented to President. — Jan 16, 2020
Signed by President. — Jan 27, 2020
Became Public Law No: 116-112. — Jan 27, 2020
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/116-S457.

February 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review

Finally, in February, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) introduced the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act. Even though Tubman was born in 1820, the bill calls for a three-coin commemorative program in 2022 to celebrate 200 years since her birth. If passed, the money raised from this program will be paid to the Project Legacy of Brooklyn, NY, to advance its mission.

H.R. 5873: Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY)
Introduced: February 12, 2020
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 12, 2020
Introduced in House — Feb 12, 2020
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR5873.

And with that, we are all caught up!

Weekly World Numismatic News for March 1, 2020

Show of hands: how many of you have found an old coin only to think it was a reproduction?

As an avid junk box diver at flea markets, antique shows, and other venues, I regularly come across reproductions of old coins made of various materials. The most common are brass and pewter.

In 2018, someone found a pewter coin that resembles a Continental Currency dollar in the same design as the Fugio Cent. After consulting a dealer, the coin was sent to Professional Coin Grading Service for authentication.

PCGS determined that it was a period created coin. They graded it MS-62.

1776 Pewter Continental Dollar

1776 Pewter Continental Dollar, PCGS MS-62
(Image courtesy of PCGS)

It is not clear where the coin was made. Some experts say that it was a pattern made in Philadelphia. Others speculate that it was made in England as a satire piece to mock the newly formed country.

The problem is that PCGS does not describe the criteria that they used to determine the coin is authentic. Neither their public news article or the PCGS Coin Fact entry does not provide details of what makes this a genuine coin. With all due respect to PCGS, I have learned the hardway: trust but verify!
https://www.pcgs.com/news/pcgs-paris-office-certifies-1776-continental-dollar?gid=47
https://www.pcgs.com/coinfacts/coin/1776-1-curency-pewter/794

Someday, I hope to find something similar in one of my junk box dives. But I hope PCGS would help the community by publishing what to look for when junk box diving. I would not mind sending a proper find for authentication, but I do not want to pay for a service if it is not necessary.

And now the news…

 February 24, 2020
The Carson City Mint operated from 1870 until it stopped producing coins in 1893, and was finally closed entirely in 1933. The historic building remained unoccupied until 1941, when it was selected to be the site for the Nevada State Museum.  → Read more at mesquitelocalnews.com

 February 25, 2020
PHILADELPHIA — Julius Erving and fellow basketball hall-of-famer Sheryl Swoopes struck fear in the opposition on the court. On Tuesday, they struck coins at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, unveiling a special commemorative coin expected to raise as much as $10 million for Springfield’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  → Read more at masslive.com

 February 25, 2020
A Pennsylvania appeals court has overturned a judge order that required a convicted thief to pay nearly $87,000 for stealing a collection of rare coins. Should a convicted thief who stole a batch of rare collectible coins from his former employer have to pay nearly $87,000 in restitution for the crime?  → Read more at pennlive.com

 February 27, 2020
NewsRegionBaltimore City Actions Posted: 6:19 PM, Feb 24, 2020  → Read more at wmar2news.com

 February 29, 2020
WABASSO, Fla. (WPTV/CNN) – A group of friends in Florida loves to look for buried treasure and last week they found a trove of silver coins that are 300-years old. The skies are overcast and rain's moving closer to the beaches along Hutchinson Island while people seek cover, but it's the perfect time to dig for treasure in the sand.  → Read more at mysuncoast.com

 February 29, 2020
A RARE 1776 continental dollar bought at a French flea market for 56 cents is now worth a stunning $100,000. The anonymous buyer picked up the rare coin in June 2018, thinking it was just a piece of junk, but it turned out the coin was a rare treasure printed in the year of American independence.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk

 February 29, 2020
"The large coin had letters similar to the Arabic language on it while the smaller coins had Hindu gods on them," a source who was present at the site tells TNM. It was close to 10 am on Wednesday morning and workers at the Jambukeswar Akilandeshwari in temple were clearing a space behind the Prasanna Pulaiyar sannidhi.  → Read more at thenewsminute.com

 February 29, 2020
Treasure hunter Jonah Martinez, 43, of Port St. Lucie, found 22 Spanish coins from a 1715 shipwreck at Turtle Trail beach access on Friday, Feb.  → Read more at tcpalm.com
Coin Collectors News
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Opening my eyes about growing the hobby

While thinking about how to grow the hobby, I was reading the numismatic-related news from around the world. What do other people consider when they are collecting coins?

Stories about buried coins or hoards of ancient coins generate a lot of interest. Whether it is builders and archeologists digging in the Middle East or metal detectorists hunting the British countryside, the stories about these finds make for exciting reading.

Lincolnshire Hoard of Roman Coins

Largest hoard of Roman coins found in Lincolnshire
(Image courtesy of the BBC)

Unfortunately, the United States is a young nation compared to Europe and the Middle East. While it is possible to unearth coins in the United States, most metal detectorists report finding other artifacts and common coins. On the east coast, it is common to find bullets, buttons, and other metal objects from the colonial period to the Civil War. Although these finds are fascinating, it is not like finding a hoard of fused copper Roman coins.

Modern error coins seem to be of interest. News outlets in Great Britain and Australia regularly publish stories about an error someone found or sold online. Although these stories cause people to become treasure hunters, there have been reports that some have turned into collectors.

First new £1 coin error found with missing detail on the thistle

Interestingly, the United States experienced something similar with the discovery of the “extra leaf” error on the Wisconsin state quarter. People were already looking at the quarters in their pocket change. The possibility of finding the error increased interest.

Finally, when a mint issues a coin with a different, the interest grows. Both Royal Mint and the Royal Australian Mint issued coins with letters of the alphabet and an image of something that begins with that letter. The news created a buzz and new collectors in both countries.

2018 British Paddington Bear 50p coin

2018 Paddington Bear 50p reverse.

The Royal Mint continues to use the 50 pence coin to create circulating commemoratives for significant milestones of British culture. Whether it is a coin celebrating the anniversary of Paddington Bear or the new dinosaur collection, British collectors appear to grow.

Recently, the U.S. Mint issued the quarter honoring the National Park of American Samoa with the reverse image of a fruit bat mother hanging in a tree with her pup. It is such an unusual design for a United States coin that it made the news.

It also has people talking about the coin. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I quickly looked at my change to see if anything was unusual. The cashier, whose accent suggested she was not a native of the area, asked if I was looking for “coins with the bat?” She was looking for one for her young son after a neighbor showed him the coin.

Through 2019, there were 50 coins released as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters program. Before the American Samoa quarter, these quarters only generated local interest, as the Fort McHenry quarter did in Maryland.

The only other coin that I can recall generating national interest was the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin. Aside from baseball’s popularity, the curved coin was something different.

2020 National Park of American Samoa

I love the image of the fruit bats!

Coins with bats. Paddington Bear. The alphabet. A curved baseball coin. What do these have in common? Each coin has a different theme and design that is appealing to the general public.

The purist will argue that these are gimmicks. I will counter that if you want to grow the hobby, you need to give the people something that will interest them.

It is not enough to push the collecting of every Morgan Dollar varieties in the VAM catalog. Some people do not have that kind of patience. And you cannot blame that on younger collectors since I am one of those people. I find the study of VAM fascinating but not something I want to do.

However, if you release coins honoring the rock band Queen, I will order as soon as possible. I will watch with interest to see who else the Royal Mint honors. I am looking forward to coins honoring bands like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones. I own their vinyl, why not own their coins!

Unfortunately, the U.S. Mint is bound by the whims of congress. They cannot create programs that could generate interest in the general public without permission. Someday, if congress could get its act together, maybe they will allow the U.S. Mint to create a yearly program around a theme.

Think about the possibilities. One year the U.S. Mint can have a five-quarter series of dinosaurs. Another year would be for great discoveries. Whatever themes are selected, make it something that will generate enthusiasm, and allow the U.S. Mint the freedom to produce coins that would generate interest. Even if it means introducing colored coins into circulation, it has not hurt Canadian coins!

If we are to grow the hobby, congress has to be encouraged to let the U.S. Mint pursue new markets. Hopefully, those who think that their way is the only way to collect will either accept new ideas to increase the hobby or step away and let the rest of us enjoy what we collect, even if it is not Barber coins.

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 23, 2020

Aussie coin collectors are scouring through their change, looking for a Mule Dollar.

A woman from Melbourne found an Australian dollar coin where the obverse was different from the others. The lettering and portrait were smaller and had a doubled rim. The story went viral on social media.

Australia 2000 1 Dollar Mule Comparison

Comparing the $1 mule on the left to a regular $1 coin on the right
(Image courtesy of the Australian Coin Blog)

The mule was first discovered in 2003, according to the Australian Coin Blog. Known as the “2000 $1 / 10 cent Mules,” the coins were sent to Perth for use in the casinos. At the time, the collectors and other interested people withdrew thousands of dollar coins from casinos and banks looking for the coin.

Australian coin experts suspect that the error occurred when someone accidentally installed the wrong obverse die into the coin press. Rather than using the die to strike the 25 mm dollar coin, the die that should strike the 23.6 10 cents coin was used. The 1.4 mm difference gives the impression of a doubled edge on the coin.

There are no statistics as to how many of these coins are in circulation. Considering they keep appearing every few years, the discovery causes a frenzy, especially amongst casual observers. It would be like someone finding an “extra leaf” Wisconsin quarter.

And now the news…

 February 17, 2020
Presidents on money Since Presidents Day is Monday, we thought we would see how presidents stack up against each other in money.  → Read more at eastbaytimes.com

 February 18, 2020
A ceremony has been held in American Samoa to mark the launch of a coin honouring the territory's national park. The new US coin with an image of a Samoan fruit bat. Photo: U.S.  → Read more at rnz.co.nz

 February 21, 2020
A Berlin court sentenced three men on Thursday over the 2017 theft of a gigantic gold coin from a city museum.  The coin, dubbed the "Big Maple Leaf," weighed roughly 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and had an estimated value of €3.75 million ($4.05 million).  → Read more at dw.com

 February 21, 2020
An ultra-rare U.S $5 coin minted during the California Gold Rush is set to sell for millions when it goes up for auction in Baltimore next month. The legendary 1854-S Liberty Head ‘Half Eagle’ is one of only three examples known to exist, and has been described as “one of the most famous rarities in the world of American coins”.  → Read more at news.justcollecting.com

 February 21, 2020
A rare $1 coin could be worth thousands of dollars thanks to one minor mistake. The Royal Australian Mint made an error when making 'Mule Dollar' coins – a small number of $1 coins from the year 2000 that were made using the wrong print.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 February 21, 2020
Lifestyle Archaeologists. A Houston neighborhood called ‘The Scorpion.’  → Read more at houstonchronicle.com
Coin Collectors News
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I like the idea of Privy Marks on US Coins

Hey, Coin Collectors Blog fans. I’m back! I have made several changes in my business to do more with less. These changes will give me more time to extend my numismatic writing. I have a backlog of issues and interests I want to talk about and will start to add content. Stay tuned. For now, here is something that I have been discussing with a few people via email.

2020-W Weir Farm Quarter

2020-W Weir Farm Quarter with privy mark
(U.S. Mint image via Coin World)

I have received a lot of emails about the U.S. Mint, who will be adding a privy mark to the 2020-W quarter. Although the reaction is mixed, more people seem to be against the move than being in favor.

Amongst the comments are “it is a gimmick,” “beneath the stature of the mint,” and “it’s ugly.” Some have admitted to not collecting or caring about modern coins. Others are regular critics of the U.S. Mint.

There is also a group of people with a pedantic image of the alleged integrity of the U.S. Mint. The same organization that has allowed the release of many patterns are a source of error coins available to the public, and one that has contradictory policies by attacking those with 1933 double eagles while doing nothing about the 1913 Liberty Head Nickels.

When it comes to the U.S. Mint’s policy history, it is as sketchy as any U.S. government agency. The difference is that its products have fans that will defend it because of the final results and not the process that came before it.

Since the U.S. Mint has legal restrictions as to what they can do when it comes to striking coins, I applaud whoever made this decision. We should be celebrating the end of World War II. Even though I was not alive at that time, we need to honor the sacrifice many Americans gave to ending totalitarianism and preventing an evil takeover of the world.

The U.S. Mint found a way to honor the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II without violating the law. I can’t wait to try to find these quarters in my change—or buy them from a dealer since I have had no luck finding W mint marked quarters in my pocket change.

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 16, 2020

2020 Native American $1 ReverseIn our never-ending quest to convince more people to be interested in coin collecting, this week’s news provided us with another example of “if you do something that people like, they will be interested.”

As the U.S. Mint released the Native American dollar coin with the image of Civil Rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich, Alaskans are clamoring for a wider release of the coin. It is the first time since the early days of the small-dollar programs that there is a broad interest in $1 coins.

Elizabeth Peratrovich was an Alaskan native who was instrumental in having Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Law passed by the territorial government. It was the first anti-discrimination law of any type passed in the United States.

Alaskans are asking that the Federal Reserve release 5 million coins into general circulation. The Seattle Branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank is responsible for banking in Alaska.

The Alaska State Legislature passed a resolution requesting the Federal Reserve make these coins available to Alaskans.

Although the Federal Reserve has not publically responded, they should be talking with the U.S. Mint to strike the 5 million coins necessary to send to Alaska. The coins may not circulate, but it is an excellent promotion for coin collecting.

Over the last few years, we have learned that interesting themes have sold well. Look at the interest in the American Somoa National Park fruit bat design. It is a well-executed design that is very interesting and has people looking for the coin in change. It will likely be in the one America the Beautiful Quarter in the most demand.

Other commemorative coins did very well when there was an exciting topic. With no offense to the American Legion, an outstanding organization, but what was the difference in the interest between their commemorative coin and the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative?

Remember the Girl Scouts’ commemorative coin fiasco?

You do not have to be a rocket scientist or a marketing guru to understand people will buy what they like. It is why the Royal Canadian Mint and the New Zealand Mint sign deals with entertainment companies to sell coins with movies, comics, and other images. These coins sell.

Unfortunately, we have a congress in the way that prevents the U.S. Mint from expanding its product line. Without being able to create collector coins for a new audience, we will continue to try to figure out ways to do the impossible: get more people interested in collecting coins.

And now the news…

 January 23, 2020
Antiques Road Trip is back on our screens this February 2020, with more antiques experts ready to haggle and bag a bargain. Each series follows the same premise, as two experts head out across the country, scouring for the best finds they can then take to auction.  → Read more at realitytitbit.com

 February 11, 2020
A collection of Celtic coins in a Jersey museum has received a Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Iron Age coins discovered in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The total number of coins found in the huge hoard was a staggering 69,347, overtaking the previous record of 54,951 coins held by a collection in Wiltshire.   → Read more at irishcentral.com

 February 11, 2020
OTTAWA — Willie O'Ree's image is on a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame, a likeness of his trademark fedora sits atop an NHL award that bears his name, and two hockey rinks in the United States and Canada are named in his honor.  → Read more at nhl.com

 February 13, 2020
The 2020 Native American $1 Coin depicts Alaska Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich and a formline raven. (U.S. Mint)  → Read more at alaskapublic.org

 February 13, 2020
Before the $20 bill is redesigned, Harriet Tubman could appear on a coin.  → Read more at auburnpub.com

 February 14, 2020
Seven ancient coins were returned to the government of Cyprus Friday at a repatriation ceremony in Washington, D.C. (CBP Photo/Handout) BALTIMORE, MD — More than 10 years after federal agents in Baltimore discovered ancient coins in a search of cargo, they returned them to their rightful owner: the government of Cyprus.  → Read more at patch.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 2, 2020

Congratulation to the Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs for winning Super Bowl LIV!

Reverse of the 2020 Brexit coin

Reverse of the 2020 Brexit coin (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint)

The grammar police are snobs.

The grammar police are those people who expect everyone to read and write in proper form. They want everything from signs to notices to be grammatically correct. There is no compromise because compromise leads to illiteracy.

These are the claims by novelist Philip Pullman who as called for a boycott of the Brexit 50p coin because it leaves out the Oxford comma.

For those who are not grammar snobs, the Oxford comma is also known as the serial comma. It is the comma placed after the second-to-last (penultimate) item of a list before the conjunction. Its use first appeared in 1894 in Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford. Hart’s Rules has been the defacto standard for English usage since its publication.

Oxford University Press has updated the rules over the years with the last version published in 2002. Now called The Oxford Style Manual, it does not waiver in its proper use of the Queen’s English. Thus, people like Pullman cling onto it to create an air of superiority.

When there were rumors that the use of the Oxford comma was going to be eliminated from the style guide, reportedly one such snob said, “Are you people insane? The Oxford comma is what separates us from the animals.” The rumors were not true.

Sometimes, the lack of a serial comma can cause problems. In 2014, someone sued a Maine company because the absence of a comma caused an alleged misinterpretation of workplace policies.

But this argument is over a coin.

What is worse is that the phrase used on the coin is being picked apart by grammar snobs everywhere. The phrase on the reverse of the coin, “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations,” was adapted from Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address. As Jefferson was outlining the principles of his administration, Jefferson included, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” With its ties to Jefferson, some suggest its usage will (GASP!) Americanize the Queen’s English!

I thought that the argument over coin designs in the United States is ridiculous. The Brits have surpassed even the most half-witted commentary from the United States.

And now the news…

 January 27, 2020
‘The lack of a comma after “prosperity” is killing me,’ says Stig Abell … the Brexit 50p. Photograph: HM Treasury/PA  → Read more at theguardian.com

 January 27, 2020
The gold coin "Big Maple Leaf" on display at Berlin's Bode Museum. Thieves stole the gold coin with a face value of $1 million and weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) from Berlin's Bode Museum on March 27, 2017.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com

 January 27, 2020
A cache of 232 ancient coins was recovered from the house of a known antiquities thief in Kfar Kana last week by the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Theft Prevention Unit. The trove of coins includes samples from the 5th century BCE Persian period, to the later Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, and to the early Ottoman period in the circa 16th century.  → Read more at timesofisrael.com

 January 28, 2020
PA Media The coins had to be re-produced after Brexit was delayed A commemorative 50p coin marking the UK's departure from the EU has been unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid.  → Read more at bbc.com

 January 29, 2020
Screenshot: HM Treasury  → Read more at jezebel.com

 February 2, 2020
A rare 1,300-year-old coin featuring the face of an obscure Saxon king could sell for £15,000 at auction after its owner spent three years trying to prove its authenticity. Experts and scholars dismissed the silver penny Andy Hall unearthed in a muddy field in Wiltshire, as it featured the head of a virtually-unknown Saxon king.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 February 2, 2020
Jersey Heritage Some of the coins are on display at La Hougue Bie Museum in Jersey Two men who found a huge hoard of pre-Christian coins in a field in Jersey have been recognised as record-setters.  → Read more at bbc.com

 February 2, 2020
The French treasury is considering European plans to phase out one and two-cent coins in the coming years.  → Read more at connexionfrance.com

 February 8, 2020
The former Carson CIty Mint, home to the Nevada State Museum since 1941, will be celebrated for 150 years on Tuesday, Feb. 4.  → Read more at kolotv.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 26, 2020

Queen 2020 UK Half Ounce Silver Proof Coin reverse - UK20QUHS

Queen 2020 UK Half Ounce Silver Proof Coin

Like many of my age, I was introduced to Queen in 1975 when they released their fourth studio album, Night at the Opera. It was the album they premiered the iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

You younguns found out about this song in Wayne’s World. I remember listening to it on FM radio when FM radio was cool. (You can now say collectively: OK, BOOMER!)

Their next album, A Day at the Races, produced several hits, including a song with fantastic harmony “Somebody to Love,” but it was News of the World that gave us the stadium anthems “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” In case you forgot, “We Will Rock You” was on the B-side of “We Are the Champions.” Now they are played as if they are one song.

So why am I waxing poetic about Queen, and what does that have to do with numismatics? This week, the Royal Mint announced that they released a coin with the queen, as in Queen Elizabeth II, and a tribute to Queen on the reverse.

According to the Royal Mint, it is the first of a “Music Legends” collection. Other British musical artists will be featured on coins, but Queen is the first.

Brian May of Queen

Dr. Brian May of Queen holding a 50p coin produced by the Royal Mint celebrating the band.

As someone who owns their first 12 albums on vinyl and their last three on compact disc plus several gigabytes of downloads because it is difficult to rip vinyl, I will be a buyer of some version of this coin.

For the record (pun intended), Queen is the third most requested artist in my shop, after the Beatles and the Grateful Dead.

And now the News of the Numismatic World…

 January 20, 2020
BERLIN — German prosecutors are seeking lengthy prison terms for four men accused of staging the brazen theft of a 100-kilogram (221-pound) Canadian gold coin that disappeared from a Berlin museum almost three years ago.  → Read more at abcnews.go.com

 January 21, 2020
Queen's Brian May with the new £5 coin (Image credit: The Royal Mint)  → Read more at loudersound.com

 January 22, 2020
(Kitco News) – Scientists have discovered a method to create 18-carat gold using a mixture of protein fibers and a polymer latex instead of a conventional recipe of gold and base metals, according to research published earlier this month.  → Read more at kitco.com

 January 25, 2020
A Maryland mail carrier has been charged with theft after police say he admitted to stealing mailed items, including two rare coins worth nearly $3,000. All told, Lorenzo Pugh, 32, of Greenbelt, is suspected of stealing several items from his Silver Spring mail route from March 2019 through this month, according to Montgomery County police.  → Read more at wtop.com
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 Reporting suspected fake coins (Jan 22, 2020)

 

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