Numismatic Showtime

Passing the time after 10:00 PM on Monday night, the television found its way to the History Channel for the return of Pawn Stars, the reality show about a pawn shop in Las Vegas. While the first show of the hour was just interesting it was the second show that started at 10:33 PM that was more intriguing.

Although the show was marked as “NEW” on the visual guide, it first aired last January. To make sure I was able to study the coins more, I found the episode on the History Channel website. It is also available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/yTKbcAKbQtU. (embedded below)

Opening the show, a seller name Walter walked in with two rare coins. The first coin was a 1792 Half Disme and the other a silver Libertas Americana. Two coins dating back to the earliest days of the country’s history.

If you recognize Walter his full name is Walter Husak. In 2008, Husak sold his extraordinary collection of large cents at an auction held during that year’s Long Beach Expo. For this show, he was selling the two coins.

The 1792 Half Disme was graded MS-65 by Numismatic Guarantee Corporation who lists the coin as a TOP POP, meaning no coin has graded higher. There are only two half dismes graded MS-65 by NGC and one appeared on Pawn Stars.

The Libertas Americana is one of the rare silver versions and was graded MS-61 by Professional Coin Grading Service

As with a lot of these purchases, Rick calls in an expert for assistance. This time, the expert is Jeff Garrett, the founder of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Kentucky and immediate past president of the American Numismatic Association.

Jeff Garrett stands next to Walter Husak as they examine the Half Disme and Libertas Americana on Pawn Stars (screen grab)

I noted that Garrett’s firm is in Lexington since the location of the television show is in Las Vegas. While doing a little online investigation into the prices and to see if there was more information, there was a note on the Collectors Universe forums suggesting that the segment was not a reality, but it had been staged.

According to user “cardinal,” he wrote:

Jeff Garrett is one of the experts that gets brought in to evaluate numismatic items for the show. For this specific episode, Jeff was looking for both a half disme and a Libertas medal, and Jeff was able to locate them and had the respective owners’ permission to have them appear on the show. The half disme is pedigreed to the Garrett Collection, and the silver Libertas medal was one that Jeff Garrett had sold some years back. (This particular Libertas medal has been in the Cardinal Collection for the past 6 years.)

I believe Ccardinal is the anonymous person behind the Cardinal Collection who has collected some of the finest coins in the PCGS registry.

Following a discussion on the actual Libertas Americana used for the show, he ends with:

During the show, the half disme was a no-sale. The Libertas medal was shown as sold at $150K on camera. That being said, the piece was not actually sold, even though Rick actually did want to buy it for $150K.

I have heard stories as to how some segments are real and some are staged. When I spoke with Charmy Harker about her appearance in 2012, I was under the impression that her attempt at selling a World War II-era aerial bomber camera was not overly staged. That does not seem to be the case in this episode.

My one complaint is that these two esteemed numismatists mispronounced the name of the coin. Everyone kept pronouncing disme as “DIZ-ME.” In reality, disme is pronounced as if the “s” was not included in the word. Disme is derived from the French term for tenth but pronounced dime—which is why the “s” was dropped after the first issues of 1792 coins.

Oh well… it was a fun segment to watch.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 22, 2018

The royal mints in the Commonwealth Realm are have returned to court with the Royal Canadian Mint accusing the Royal Australian Mint of stealing the technology it uses to print coins.

In January, it was reported that the Royal Canadian Mint file a patent infringement lawsuit against the Royal Australian Mint when the Aussies issued 2012 Remembrance Day coins that the Canucks claim uses the same or similar technologies.

It is being reported that in March, the Royal Canadian Mint filed additional documents in the Federal Court of Australia claiming that the printing method on the coin that commemorates the Australian children’s book Possum Magic also infringes on their patents.

Reverse of the 2017 Australian Possum Magic Coins: Blue Invisible Hush; Purple Vegemite Hush; Orange Happy Hush
(RA Mint image via The Australian Coin Collecting Blog)

The original claim included the 500,000 coin run from 2012. With this updated filing to include other Remembrance Day coins, Olympic-themed coins, and other commemorative, the total is now 15 million Australian $2 coins. The Royal Canadian Mint wants all of the coins in the Royal Australian Mint’s possession to be turned over or “destroy(ed) under supervision.”

As part of their defense, the Royal Australian Mint is asking the courts to invalidate the patents claiming there is not enough novelty over previous methods. Those who watch technology patent fights here in the United States have heard this argument before.

A hearing is scheduled for June. More claims and counter-claims can be added to this lawsuit between now and then. Stay tune!

And now the news…

 April 16, 2018

What can you give your country for its 70th anniversary? For thousands of school pupils and volunteers, the answer is the sweat of their brows as they worked to prepare a new public 70-kilometer (43-mile) walking path called the Sanhedrin Trail. → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 April 16, 2018

An amateur archaeologist and a 13-year-old student have uncovered a stash of thousand-year-old coins, rings and pearls on an island in the Baltic Sea in northern Germany, including items that might be tied to Harald Bluetooth, the famous king who united Denmark. → Read more at npr.org


 April 16, 2018

OTTAWA — A legal battle between the Royal Canadian Mint and its counterpart in Australia is heating up as Canada cries foul over “Possum Magic” coins. The Canadian Crown corporation is alleging the Royal Australian Mint stole its method for printing colour onto metal, and has expanded a December lawsuit over red poppies on a run of 2012 Remembrance Day coins. → Read more at nationalpost.com


 April 18, 2018

Maloney, author of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act, commended Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc. after it announced its “Campaign for 290,” which aims to attract at least 290 cosponsors to Rep. Maloney’s legislation by Memorial Day. → Read more at hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com


 April 19, 2018

The "Half Eagle" is 164 years old and one of only four known → Read more at heraldtribune.com


 April 19, 2018

The Royal Canadian Mint claims an Australian Possum Magic-themed coin infringes on their patent. → Read more at bbc.com


 April 19, 2018

The Ernst Badian Collection gives insight to Roman history, as well as the evolution of currency. → Read more at njtvonline.org


 April 19, 2018

Silver is, like gold, a commodity store of value and is free of counterparty risk, with energy-intensive replacement costs setting the lower boundary for prices (the same energy proof of value that underlies gold prices). → Read more at goldmoney.com


 April 19, 2018

The Royal Canadian Mint, which is the official maker of the country’s money, has said the commemorative Australian series, which celebrates the classic Mem Fox children’s book Possum Magic, ripped off its unique process of painting colour onto metal. → Read more at news.com.au


 April 20, 2018

A former Bank of Japan employee was arrested Friday for allegedly stealing gold coins worth a total of ¥200,000 ($1,850) from the central bank’s Tokyo head office, police said. Koichi Yakushiji, 54, is suspected of stealing the two gold coins on April 2, the police said. → Read more at japantimes.co.jp

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Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for April 15, 2018

David J. Ryder, 39th Director of the U.S. Mint

Finally, after 2,649 days (or 7 years, 3 months, 2 days), the U.S. Mint now has a permanent appointed Director when Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin swore in David J. Ryder as the bureau’s 39th Director on April 12, 2018.

The U.S. Mint has been without an appointed director since Edmund C. Moy resigned as the director effective on January 9, 2011, although he had vacated his office earlier. Moy’s term was to expire on September 5, 2011. He was one of the few officials from the George W. Bush administration to work under Barack Obama.

Moy will be remembered for the problems with the U.S. Mint’s website ablity to meet collector demand and the debacle over not having enough bullion planchets to meet demands of investors and collectors.

Ryder comes to the U.S. Mint after holding the position of Global Business Development Manager and Managing Director of Currency for Honeywell Authentication Technologies. As part of his work, Ryder worked with the Royal Mint during their development of the security technology that they are currently being used for the new one-pound coin.

During his confirmation, Ryder was asked about counterfeit technologies and how it could help in the United States. Although counterfeiting is a concern, current circulating coins are not the counterfeiter’s targets. For coins, the targets are the older collectible coins with an overwhelming target being Morgan and Trade dollars.

This is a return for Ryder who served as the 34th Director from September 1992 to November 1993 during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. His experience with running the U.S. Mint in the past and his work with Honeywell should help him be successful.

Welcome, Mr. Ryder and good luck!

And now the news…

 April 11, 2018

Football fans were shocked to learn that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a coin collector. On Wednesday night ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell tweeted a new detail about Gronkowski's $1million home being burglarized on February 5, the night the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 April 11, 2018

To mark the 20th anniversary of Astana and the 25th anniversary of the national currency, the National Bank of Kazakhstan will issue a new series of commemorative coins. This is great news for numismatists of many countries. → Read more at kazakh-tv.kz


 April 12, 2018

Bank tellers beware! A coin con man may be on a roll, warn North Vancouver RCMP – literally. The inventive fraudster recently bilked a bank in North Vancouver by cashing in what the teller believed were more than 45 toonies and leaving significantly lighter, pocketing $2,600 in bills. → Read more at nsnews.com


 April 13, 2018

A junk dealer in Turkey returned 100 gold coins he found hidden away in an old stove, state run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday. Asir Ozturk, 36, has been making a living by collecting and selling junk materials in Burdur for the last 20 years, according to the report. → Read more at thenews.com.pk


 April 14, 2018

In 1974, Reno stock investor and real estate man, Lavere Redfield, passed away at the age of 77 years. Lavere was born in Utah and his father died when Lavere → Read more at elkodaily.com

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Add Scott Pruitt to the Challenge Coin ego list

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

There are politicians so full of themselves that they even have to show it off with challenge coins.

Scott Pruitt, the 14th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has decided that rather than saving taxpayer money, he will spend additional money to have the EPA redesign the challenge coin that he uses on behalf of the EPA.

According to the New York Times, Pruitt wants to make the challenge coin bigger and to delete the EPA logo. According to a retired career EPA employee, it appears that Pruitt wants the coin to be all about him and not the agency.

The reverse side of the E.P.A. challenge coin conceived under Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, left, and the face of the coin issued when Gina McCarthy led the agency. (Photo Credit: Ron Slotkin/The New York Times)

“These coins represent the agency,” said Ronald Slotkin, who served as the director of the E.P.A.’s multimedia office. “But Pruitt wanted his coin to be bigger than everyone else’s and he wanted it in a way that represented him.”

It is reported that Pruitt does not like the agency seal because (brace yourself) he felt it looks like a marijuana leaf!

Pruitt is not the first agency head to extend his ego to challenge coins. Last fall, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke commissioned his own challenge coin. At the time, it was thought to be the only Cabinet-level official to have his own challenge coin.

In order to create a new challenge coin, the manufacturer must create new dies. Making new dies does have a cost, as opposed to either using an existing die or having an existing design reworked. According to the website of Challenge Coins Plus, the company The New York Times story said was involved with making other challenge coins for the EPA, if Pruitt wants a 2.5-inch coin, the mold fees are $100 per side ($200 for both sides). Once the molds are made, 2-sided colored coins are $5.57 each for 2,000 coins ($11,140) without customizations such as custom edges and capsules.

However, Pruitt is not stopping with challenge coins. He has ordered pens, notebooks, and leather binders to exclude the logo and replaced with his name in a larger font. All at an additional charge to taxpayers.

At least when the U.S. Mint fails, it does not cost the taxpayers any money since the U.S. Mint’s operations are paid by the seignorage and not from the general treasury.

I guess Pruitt will not be collecting this 2010 Republic of Benin Marijuana Scented Coin!

Who is hurting the hobby?

I write this blog from the perspective of a collector. I champion the collector. I think that collectors are the most qualified to determine the direction of the hobby. The collector is the consumer and the consumer is almost always right.

When it comes to helping with the direction of the hobby dealers should also have a say. Their input is important. But they should be there to support the collector because without collectors the dealers have no business. Dealers should not be dictating the direction of the hobby.

Are these sets hurting the hobby? Should the U.S. Mint stop producing them? (U.S. Mint image)

Recently, I was listening to The Coin Show podcast hosted by Matt Dinger, a dealer in Indianapolis, and Mike Noodle, a collector that says he works in a coin shop (I think he said it was a part-time gig), and became very concerned when Matt said that the U.S. Mint was hurting the hobby.

Regular listeners to The Coin Show knows that Matt is not a fan of modern coins and the products of the U.S. Mint. In fact, during the last show, he admitted to not carrying American Eagle coins because he does not want to support the U.S. Mint in damaging the hobby.

During the podcast, Mike came to the defense of U.S. Mint collectors but that defense was tempered when he said that collecting U.S. Mint products was for beginner collectors and that it was a way to start before the collector “graduate” to other collectibles.

I have questioned Matt and Mike in the past on Facebook but this time I felt their statements crossed a line. My regular readers know I can get hyperbolic but I try to remain respectful. As it happens on Facebook and anywhere else on the Internet, people cannot take the words at face value and have to read something into them.

This time I emphasized that not only do I collect U.S. Mint items but have not “graduated” to the type of collectibles Mike and Matt proclaim to be real collectibles. New readers can go through this blog and see how my collection can be classified as normal to eclectic.

After a lot of angry discussions (you will see a sample below) and some churlish responses from others (not Matt or Mike), I finally coaxed out the reasons for Matt’s hatred of modern U.S. Mint products. Unfortunately, it seems his reasons have more to do with the industry than the U.S. Mint.

According to Matt, the U.S. Mint is harming numismatics by selling annual sets like proof and mint sets at the prices they set. During the Facebook discussion, Matt and Sam Shafer, another Indianapolis-area dealer, said that they believe the U.S. Mint’s prices are too high.

From their perspective as dealers, they claim it is the U.S. Mint’s fault for the differences between the manufacturer’s suggested retail price the secondary market.

Using that logic, can I blame Chevrolet for the secondary market price of the 2014 Silverado I just purchased? If I tried, General Motors would laugh me under the tonneau cover of the truck! Yet, coin dealers are applauded for applying the same logic. This does not make sense.

How can you blame the manufacturer for the secondary market’s reaction?

Matt wrote, “I feel like the depreciation seen in modern sets is much more harmful to potential collectors or beginning collectors.”

I guess if General Motors followed that logic, they would stop making trucks!

But we are talking about collectibles. In that case, Topps, Fleer, and Upper Deck should stop producing baseball cards.

This is only an argument by dealers who would rather sell what they like and not take a broader view of the collecting market. In my new life, I am a collectibles and antiques dealer. The items I buy are either from the secondary market or I buy new items from manufacturers such as comic book and baseball card publishers.

This 1901 $10 Dollar Lewis and Clark Bison note (Fr# 122) was sold by a dealer at an antiques show by a dealer not complaining about the collecting market.

I have been in antiques and collectibles market as a part-time dealer for 10 years. During that time I have been selling at antique shows, flea markets, and online. I have met and spoken with dealers about the market and its volatility. Everyone I speak with survived the Great Recession of 2008. What I learned in these discussions is that ONLY the numismatic industry demands that its collectibles rise in value. If the coin does not increase in value it is not because the market has spoken. It has to be someone else’s fault. After all, these dealers have to be right so it must be the U.S. Mint’s fault.

The vast majority of dealers are very good and very reasonable. Many do understand the view of the collector and work with them. However, there is a subset of dealers that can be some of the most stubborn business people I know. They refuse to change with the market. Even if the market is not looking for their niche, they will not adapt to the market. Their mind is made up do not confuse them with facts.

They are also the most vocal in their opposition to market forces. Their usual retort is “you don’t understand, you’re not a dealer!”

With all due respect, I do not need to be a dealer to know that not changing with the times is doing more to hurt the hobby than the U.S. Mint is by doing its job.

Did you know that the Pobjoy Mint struck this coin under the authority of the British Virgin Islands. Is this good for the hobby? (Pobjoy Mint image)

Another argument is that the U.S. Mint has too many programs. Are they kidding me? Have they looked at the offering by the Royal Canadian, New Zealand, and Royal Mints? When was the last time they looked at the websites of the Perth Mint or the Pobjoy Mint? Comparatively, the U.S. Mint’s catalog looks bare!

The U.S. Mint does not offer dozens of non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins. U.S. Mint coins are struck and not painted. The U.S. Mint does not offer piedfort version of circulating coins or even coins guilt in gold or palladium. The U.S. Mint does not make deals with movie production companies, comic book publishers, or soft drink manufacturers to issue branded coins.

Every coin that the U.S. Mint offers for sale has an authorizing law limiting what they could produce. According to those laws, the U.S. Mint has to recover costs and is allowed to make a “reasonable” profit.

But what is reasonable? This is a question that has a lot of valid arguments on both sides. However, the U.S. Mint is subject to oversight by the Treasury Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and, occasionally, review by Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO). Neither oversight agency has produced a report saying that the U.S. Mint’s prices are unreasonable.

The U.S. Mint is selling what they manufacture at a price that the competent oversight agencies have not complained about. The only one complaining is by the dealers in the secondary market.

Why are these dealers complaining?

We get to the crux of the problem when Sam Shafer responds, “I would rather sell a customer a Morgan dollar than a set of glorified shiny pocket change.”

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand why a dealer would write that. A dealer makes more money selling Morgan dollars than modern coins. It is about business, not about what the U.S. Mint is doing. It is also a very reasonable response if the dealer would own up to the fact that it is about the impact to their business. Blaming the U.S. Mint is like crashing into a wall and blaming the wall for being there!

But Sam must have had some bad experiences: “How about you come down from your pedestal, put your loudspeaker up your rectum and work in a shop for a few years where you can witness the devastation of families first hand for a few years.”

This is a strong statement, even if you discount the placement of inanimate objects into bodily orifices they do not belong. What has the U.S. Mint done to cause “devastation?” The U.S. Mint sells products to those who want to buy them. You are not forced to buy from the U.S. Mint.

Sam continues, “While your [sic] at it maybe you can take up your glorious cause of finding homes for the 50 billon [sic] sets the government produced and bulk sold over the years to the collectors who assumed that 5 sets would better than 1.”

By Sam’s logic, it is the U.S. Mint’s fault that someone speculated and the investment did not pan out? Whose fault is that? Who told someone that buying these sets would be a good investment? Not the U.S. Mint! Where does the U.S. Mint say in any of its publications or website that coins make a solid investment? How could these speculators have come to this conclusion?

2018 Fiji Coca-Cola Bottle Cap-shaped coin is not a U.S. Mint product. It contains 6 grams of silver (about $3.20) and costs $29.95. Is this good for the hobby? (Modern Coin Mart image)

The U.S. Mint goes out of its way to avoid participating in the investment market. They do not represent any of their products as investment grade instruments. This is why the U.S. Mint does not sell investment bullion directly to the public. The government sells these products to distributors who will then sell to the dealers that will sell them to the public. The government is not involved in the price speculation of numismatic items.

The U.S. Mint does not even acknowledge historical and aftermarket pricing for the items they manufacture.

The U.S. Mint sells collectible coins. They do not sell investments.

Over the years, I have received more complaints about dealers than allegedly worthless State Quarters or the U.S. Mint’s annual sets. But why are coins allegedly worthless?

Did the U.S Mint make claims that these one-time-only coins are really special and that they would be the greatest thing since sliced bread?

This is not a U.S. Mint Product! (Danbury Mint image)

Did the U.S. Mint create rolls in sonically sealed plastic holders and tout them as the next great collectible?

Did the U.S Mint create books, boards, folders, albums, maps, touting this as a once-in-a-lifetime way to collect?

All this came from the secondary market. Who runs the secondary market? DEALERS!

DEALERS set the values for the coins based on what they sell them for.

DEALERS take coins and entomb them in sonically sealed plastic holders saying that this is how you should be collecting. They tell you one encapsulating service is better than another and then make you pay different prices if you use a service they do not like even if the number assigned as a grade is the same on both pieces of plastic.

DEALERS have convinced an entire class of collectors that if they do not have a plastic holder with this new, whiz-bang label that their collection is not complete.

Tragedy grips the industry when a Pawn Star is featured on a plastic holder’s label! (NGC image)

DEALERS have also complained about whose name and image have appeared on some of those labels.

DEALERS genuflect when someone puts a shiny green sticker on a plastic holder as if it was blessed by some deity. They prostrate themselves if the plastic holder is granted that divine gold sticker! After preaching this gospel to their flock, you are considered a heretic if you question the validity of the sticker and the motives of the sticker maker.

While the U.S. Mint is not perfect, the problems with the numismatic market have not been created by a tightly regulated government bureau. The problems come from the secondary market whether they are overstating the values of these items or demeaning collectibles that they cannot make a hefty profit on.

Maybe it is time for dealers to look in the mirror and ask whether the U.S. Mint is hurting the hobby or maybe they are refusing to recognize the problem is right in front of them.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 8, 2018

The Royal Canadian Mint has officially Jumped the Shark!

2018 Canada $20 coin commemorates the 1967 Falcon Lake alleged UFO incident. (Source: Royal Canadian Mint)

According to the Urban Dictionary, jump the shark is “a term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity.” The origin came from the premiere of the fifth season (1977) of the sitcom Happy Days in which The Fonz, the stereotypical 1950s greaser, jumps over a shark on water-skis. It was out of character for The Fonz and seen as a ploy to boost sagging ratings.

Popular usage has been those times when a show, company, or anyone does something so outlandish to attract attention that was once lost.

One might say that the Royal Canadian Mint might have jumped the shark in the past, but they have really outdone themselves this time. They issued a one-ounce silver, $20 face-value non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coin to commemorate an alleged UFO sighting.

When it goes on sale, the will cost $129.95 ($101.69 USD).

Aside from being 6.22-times the spot price of silver, the design is printed on the egg-shaped planchet. There appears to be nothing about the coin that is struck.

I have heard some say that things the U.S. Mint is doing is bad for the hobby. Some have targeted the American Liberty 22th Anniversary Gold Coin as being over the top. Although I have a problem with the coins having a high premium over spot prices, the coin pales in comparison to the UFO and other lenticular coins being offered by the Royal Canadian Mint.

And now the news…

 April 2, 2018

Sales in March of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold fell to their lowest for the month, and silver coins dropped to their lowest in 11 years, government data showed. → Read more at cnbc.com


 April 2, 2018

Scientists are left wondering how the coins remained hidden for so long. → Read more at newsweek.com


 April 2, 2018

A Long Island businessman who built a textile empire by peddling irregular sweaters at local flea markets thought he had a fool-proof way to boost his assets — invest in a pal’s coin business. Bad … → Read more at nypost.com


 April 3, 2018

The oval-shaped coin immortalizes Stefan Michalak’s experience in Whiteshell Provincial Park, more than 50 years ago in what became known as the Falcon Lake incident. → Read more at thestar.com


 April 3, 2018

The Royal Canadian Mint has released a new $20 coin to commemorate one of Canada's closest encounters with a UFO. → Read more at ctvnews.ca


 April 5, 2018

Now that the nation has a $1.3 trillion budget, lawmakers can resume debate about whether to pinch pennies. The threat to do away with pennies and nickels → Read more at newsherald.com


 April 5, 2018

A trove of bronze coins, the last remnants of an ancient Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, have been discovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. → Read more at foxnews.com


 April 5, 2018

Medieval coins dating back 800 years have been unearthed in north Shropshire. → Read more at shropshirestar.com

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Susie B still fools people today

A 1979-D Susan B Anthony dollar found in change that was mistaken for a quarter.

In last Sunday’s Weekly World Numismatic News I commented on a story that members of the Philippines legislature were upset that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines or BSP) issued coins that were similar look and feel but of different denominations. I related the story to the plight of the Susan B. Anthony dollar.

This week, I was involved in a real-life example of this confusion.

While getting ready to retire for the evening, I empty my pockets on my dresser and look to see if there is anything interesting. Since my only trip of the day was a local grocery store, I did not expect anything. As I looked at what I thought was 78-cents something did not look right. As it turned out, one of the quarters was not a quarter.

Mixed in with the change from my single transaction of the day was a 1979-D Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. Not only did the cashier make the mistake, but when I accepted the change I did not catch the difference.

A real-life example as to the reason why the Susie B. was not a successful coin!

March 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

While Congress delves into the abyss of their usual folly, the numismatic industry went almost hysterical at the bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to create yet another quarters series to begin in 2021.

Not considering the topic, there is a fatigue over changing quarter designs. The 50 State Quarter Series was a success while economic times were good and the states were taking their responsibility for designing the quarters serious. Some states really missed out on good design and good choices that there are some quarters that should be melted and spared from our change.

And while there have been wonderful designs for the America the Beautiful quarters, the response has been anywhere from underwhelming to non-existent. Few people know the series exists and when it is pointed out to them there is a collective shrug of acknowledgment.

The other problem goes to the mouth-breathing aspect of the coverage in that the bill was just introduced into the House of Representatives, it is not the law. It is a long way from a bill being a law. If you forgot the process you can always rewatch the old Schoolhouse Rock video I’m Just a Bill.

For the record, I have no problem with honoring the Nineteenth Amendment and the women who made it possible. I would also have no problem with a coin program honoring the Fourteenth Amendment and the people involved in Civil Rights. This country can use a dose of education and if it can be done using coinage, then maybe I might reconsider my stance on the ever-changing coin designs.

At least David Ryder’s nomination was confirmed!

PN1355: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 8, 2018
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Jan 17, 2018
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Jan 17, 2018
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 596. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Jan 17, 2018
Considered by Senate. — Mar 21, 2018
Confirmed by the Senate by Voice Vote. — Mar 21, 2018
Nomination tracking information can be found at http://bit.ly/115-PN1355.

H.R. 5308: Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Introduced: March 15, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 15, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR5308.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 1, 2018 (No Fooling!)

Philippines Rep. Jericho Nograles holds newly release BSP coins noting they “are misleading the public and are causing a lot of confusion.” (Miguel de Guzman of the Philippines Star.)

A story that might sound a bit familiar to anyone who was around to experience the launch of the Susan B. Anthony dollars is the story how a design decision made by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines or BSP) causes confusion about the denomination of two coins.

For those who did not have the pleasure of accidentally spending the dollar coin as a quarter, the Susie B. was too close to the size to the Washington quarter, had reeded edges like the Washington quarter, and on a simple glance was consistently confused with the Washington quarter. The confusion made the coin very unpopular in the United States even though it continues to find usage in other countries whose currency is based on the U.S. dollar.

In the Philippines, the BSP made the mistake of making the one-peso and five-peso coins very similar in size, look, and feel. It is so bad that a member of the Philippines Congress is urging the BSP to recall the coins.

“Basic design principles for coinage demand that the denominations are easy to distinguish not just visually, but also through touch or tactile differences,” said Rep. Jericho Nograles. “Our new coins fail in these principles.”

The story almost reads like discussions others have had with coin design issues when Nograles asks, “Did the BSP consider jeepney, pedicab, tricycle and taxi drivers? Did they consider the visually impaired, and senior citizens, at all?”

They likely did not and will have to be dragged into reality kicking and screaming like the Bureau of Engraving and Printing had to be over the same issues.

And now the news…

 March 25, 2018

You may want to check your pockets to look for one of the most elusive Korean coins there is — the 1998 500 won coin. Though the odds of you finding one of these coins is almost nil, you never know when you might just hit the jackpot — stranger things have happened. → Read more at korea.stripes.com


 March 26, 2018

A hoard of rare bronze Jewish Revolt coins has been discovered at the recently renewed Ophel excavations. The trove of dozens of bronze coins minted during the last years of the ill-fated four-year rebellion of the Jews against Roman rule was uncovered in a cave just south of the Temple Mount by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 March 27, 2018

KUMAGAYA, Saitama Prefecture — One of the biggest hauls of medieval coins ever discovered in Japan has been unearthed in Saitama Prefecture. Tens of thousands of bronze coins were found in a buried ceramic jar believed to date back to the first half of the 15th century. → Read more at asahi.com


 March 28, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Jericho Nograles of party-list group Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta yesterday urged the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to immediately recall all its newly released coins due to “serious design flaws.” → Read more at philstar.com


 March 28, 2018

The first coins to be issued marking the reign of King Rama X will be put into circulation on April 6, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said on Wednesday. The new coins would replace existing coins, which were exiting the economy. → Read more at bangkokpost.com


 March 28, 2018

The decision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to introduce a new series of coins was meant to deter foreign entities from stealing large quantities of the local specie to extract their nickel content. → Read more at business.inquirer.net


 March 29, 2018

The Queen carries out the Royal Maundy service at Windsor Castle without the Duke of Edinburgh. → Read more at bbc.com


 March 30, 2018

Three new glow-in-the-dark starship coins are coming soon, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint. → Read more at trektoday.com

Coin Collectors News
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Finally, after 87 days…

While looking through my change at the end of the day I finally found one… a coin dated in 2018!

During the day I had business in the Jessup, Maryland area where stops included one for gas and a beverage. I suspect that the bright red 2018 Lincoln Cent I found in my pocket was given in change during the purchase.

Now that I have found a 2018-dated coin, let’s see how long it takes to find a 2018 America the Beautiful quarter. Thus far, only the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (MI) Quarter has been released but I have not seen one in circulation, yet.

Stay tuned!

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