Weekly World Numismatic News for July 11, 2021

Bleached Counterfeit Currency

From 2019: An example of a $100 Federal Reserve Note printed on a bleached $5 note (Image courtesy of Prescott Police Department via AOL.com)

Headlines drive readers to the news. Whether they famously reported the wrong story (“Dewey Defeats Truman” by the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1948) or to put extra emphasis on a story (“Ford to City: Drop Dead” by the New York Daily News in 1975), nothing screams READ ME like a good headline.

Stories that do not appear on the front page of the printed edition or the top of a website rarely receive the attention of the headline writers. Unless there is a murder or other major crime, most local crime stories do not earn over-the-top headlines. This week’s news has three examples of mundane headlines that display a concerning pattern about counterfeit coins and currency.

Counterfeit money has been a problem since its invention. Governments try to stop criminals from counterfeiting, but their efforts almost seem inevitable. The new trend appears to be the small-time criminals caught trying to make money from selling fake money to survive.

Recent stories about the arrest of counterfeiters report that the people are not career criminals trying to get rich. Those who are getting arrested are using the counterfeits for survival. The world economy has deteriorated to the point that buying and selling counterfeit money was worth the risk to buy a scooter to use as primary transportation.

The people caught passing counterfeit money admit it is not a mistake. In the statements to the police, they admit to using counterfeits to fill to earn a survivable living. Authorities continue to look for the distributors of the counterfeits.

And now the news…

 July 4, 2021
An extremely rare 22-carat gold coin from the reign of Henry VIII, considered the origin of the pound, is set to go under the hammer this month for £50,000.  → Read more at dailymail.co.uk

 July 7, 2021
In a major crackdown against the illegal counterfeit currency trade going on in the city, the district police arrested six persons and seized Rs1.47 lakh fake notes in denominations of Rs2,000 and Rs500.  → Read more at tribuneindia.com

 July 7, 2021
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Have you ever gone to the zoo or a museum and received a stretched coin as a souvenir? Well, the “The King of Elongated Coins” from the 1904 World’s Fair is up for auction and the lot including two other coins could be worth up to $4,000.  → Read more at fox2now.com

 July 8, 2021
A team of French, Australian, and Israeli scientists has collected evidence proving there was an active and thriving silver trade network in the eastern Mediterranean region in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age (approximately 1200 BC to 400 BC).  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 July 8, 2021
The Niger State Police Command has arrested a Catholic Church Catechist and two others for engaging in the sale of counterfeit currency of about N15,800,000. The trio of Emmanuel Akazuwa, 42, Catechist Sabastine Dabu, 48 and Umar Mohammed, 50, were arrested in a hotel in the Kontagora area of the state while trying to get a buyer for the N15.8million in their possession.  → Read more at saharareporters.com

 July 9, 2021
Officers seized approximately $1,700 in counterfeit currency during an arrest on Thursday, July 8, 2021.  → Read more at sootoday.com

 July 9, 2021
Byzantine coins were discovered last month at the port of Caesarea, a town in Northern Israel between Tel Aviv and Haifa.  → Read more at greekreporter.com
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U.S. Mint Promotes Circulation of Circulating Coins

As more people come out of their pandemic bubble, some areas continue to report a coin shortage. Although it appears to be a shortage in circulating coinage, there is a reduction of coin available for merchants to give change. Although the situation has improved, the problem is that coins are still not circulating.

In a video by U.S. Mint Director David Ryder, he reports that the Mint has increased production during the last year. Typically, the U.S. Mint supplies less than 20-percent of the coin in circulation. Last year, the U.S. Mint increased production to add 30-percent of the coins in circulation.

Given the situation with the pandemic that caused the West Point Mint to shut down and pause Philadelphia, the fact that the U.S. Mint was able to produce more coins than ever is a significant accomplishment. Regardless of your opinion as to how the U.S. Mint has handled the sale of collector coins, no other mint in the world could accomplish this feat.

In 2020, the U.S. Mint struck 14.774 BILLION coins. But in 2019, a year where the economy was doing very well, the U.S. Mint produced 11.942 BILLION coins. They produced 23.7 more coins while taking precautions during a pandemic.

Nearly every industry reported a reduction in demand and the ability to produce products. And the supply chain continues to affect production in some industries, including tech, where there is a shortage of computer chips. But the U.S. Mint was able to add over 14 BILLION coins to the economy. Amazing!

Weekly World Numismatic News for June 20, 2021

Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle was sold by Sotheby’s for $18,872,250 in a June 2021 auction. (Picture Credit: PCGS)

Did you know that because the Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle sold for a world record price of over $18 million that the gold coin market is hot?

The gold market is very active, and the prices are rising, but not because of the sale of the Double Eagle. The demand for physical metals caused by economic uncertainty has driven up the prices for gold and silver coins.

While discussing the demands for precious metals with dealers, they say that the demand is for coins. Their customers are buying American Eagle coins causing the supply of coins to decrease. When customers cannot buy American Eagles, they look to purchase silver coins from other state mints. Canada’s Maple Leaf and Mexico’s Libertad are popular alternatives to the American Eagle.

Investors are looking to purchase physical assets that have some backing. They are not buying bullion or contracts. As a result, the price of bars and other bullion products is reasonable compared to higher-priced coins. Contracts are paper-based trading of bullion. Many smaller investors traditionally do not like to trade based on paper. They are looking for something physical, like coins.

Bullion investing increases when investors perceive there are uncertainties in the markets. The current market run started last year during the beginning of the pandemic and has not stopped.

The markets are not responding to the sale of the 1933 Double Eagle. It is the only 1933 Double Eagle coin that is legal to own and has a story that inspired two books. Using this coin as an example of a reason to invest in gold coins is not representative of the reality of the bullion coin market. Beware of those who will try to sell you bullion based on the sale of this coin.

And now the news…

 June 14, 2021
BOSTON — The wife and brother-in-law of a Cranston coin dealer convicted of laundering millions for a Mexican drug cartel struck out again in challenging $136-million forfeiture rulings against them.   → Read more at providencejournal.com

 June 15, 2021
Beginning tomorrow, the Federal Reserve will begin its FOMC meeting for June, which will conclude on Wednesday. Following the conclusion, the Federal Reserve will release a statement, which a press conference will follow by Chairman Jerome Powell.  → Read more at kitco.com

 June 17, 2021
Ultra rare stamps and a unique coin have sold at auction for a total of $32 million. Sotheby’s in New York played host to the record-breaking event. What were the lots?  → Read more at thevintagenews.com

 June 18, 2021
In the article “Watermarked Paper First Series”, published in Pattaya Mail on Friday February 12, 2021, I wrote about problems with the watermarked paper.  → Read more at pattayamail.com

 June 19, 2021
The 2021 platinum bullion American Eagle 1 oz coin has achieved the second highest sales on record, with sales of 75 000 oz for the five months to May 31, industry organisation the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) reports.  → Read more at miningweekly.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 13, 2021

Before unveiling my father’s grave marker, it was covered with an appropriate towel. After 12 years, he is next to my mother, again.

Even though the United States may be recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many will feel its effects for a long time. Whether from missing events from 2020 to the loss of a family member, survivors will have reminders that will last a lifetime.

Last Friday was my father’s unveiling. For those not familiar with the custom, Jewish descendants celebrate the life of the deceased by dedicating the grave marker where the loved one is buried. The marker is covered then revealed at the end of the service.

As a die-hard and always suffering Mets fan, my father’s marker was covered with a Mets towel until the end of the service. Later that night, the family went to Citi Field to attend a Mets game in his honor. Jacob deGrom pitched a phenomenal six innings and the Mets won.

It was my first time attending a game at Citi Field. The stadium is quite different from Shea Stadium where my father and I saw many games together. In 1972, we attended more games than he expected because I kept winning tickets. That year I was delivering Newsday when it was an afternoon newspaper. To boost the number of subscribers, Newsday would give out prizes to the paperboys who sold the most subscriptions. When Newsday started a Sunday paper, there would be more opportunities to win prizes. I chose the Mets tickets whenever it was an option.

In those days, the paperboys collected directly from the subscriber. On Saturday, we would pay the distributor for the week’s newspapers and hand in orders for the next week. One week I almost did not have enough money to pay the bill because several people paid using silver coins. The silver coins went inserted into the blue folders. My father helped me make up the difference.

By the end of my three years delivering Newsday, I had a nearly complete set of Roosevelt dimes picked from pocket change and from the people who paid for newspapers. Shortly before we moved from New York, my father and I went to a local coin shop and we purchased 12 dimes to almost complete the set. A few days later, he came home from work with the one dime that the local coin shop did not have and a Whitman Deluxe album. Later, I learned he bought the coin and the album from Stack’s in Manhattan.

Although this chapter is over, the memories and the album of Roosevelt dimes remain.

And now the news…

 June 10, 2021
“Treasure of Chianti,” now on view through Sept. 3 at the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, Italy. A treasure trove of ancient Roman silver coins discovered by a team from Florida State University is now on display to the public for the first time in Italy.  → Read more at news.fsu.edu

 June 11, 2021
 → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 June 13, 2021
By Updated  → Read more at smh.com.au
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What Does $18 Million Buy These Days?

On June 8, 2021, Sotheby’s auctioned the Stuart Weitzman Collection. The auction consisted of three of the rarest items in the world, including the Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle. It is the only 1933 Double Eagle coin that anyone who can afford it can legally own.

The coin sold for $18,872,250!

Although not confirmed by Sotheby’s, the price realized suggests that it includes the buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s has not disclosed the buyer’s name.

Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle was sold by Sotheby’s for $18,872,250 in a June 2021 auction.
(Picture Credit: PCGS)

Arguably, the most famous coin in the world, the price was over the auction estimate of $10-15 million but under what the numismatic industry expected. The price is significantly more than the $7,590,020 paid in 2002 for the coin, including $20 to monetize the coin officially. The auction included the U.S. Mint’s monetization certificate.

U.S. Mint’s Certificate of Monetization for the Farouk-Fenton Double Eagle (Picture Credit: Sotheby’s)

Also included in the auction was The Inverted Jenny Plate Block sold for $4,860,000 (estimated at $5-7 million), and The British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamp that sold for $8,307,000 (estimated at $10-15 million).

Numismatists may want to save the catalog link for the sale of this coin. Sotheby’s catalog listing includes the coin’s history with an updated history of the other 1933 Double Eagle coins. The update includes the ten coins “discovered” by Joan Langbord, daughter of Israel Switt, and her family’s fight to retain ownership. Documentation from court filings adds to the story.

David Tripp wrote the original catalog description for the first Sotheby’s/Stack’s auction. In 2004, Tripp published his research in Illegal Tender. Given the new information, would it be worth updating the book?

Let’s Have a CoinCon

The evolution of coin collecting is here. It is all around you, and if you are collecting using blue and brown folders or plastic holders, you are not part of the evolution or at the periphery of the evolution.

New collectors are collecting based on a coin’s theme. They are not interested in date or mintmark series of coins but want a connection to their collectible. The coins must have a meaning.

A midwest club of sports collectors invited me to speak about coins with sports themes. They had heard of the Basketball Hall of Fame coin but wanted to know more. I gathered my information and joined them via Zoom.

For this talk, I made a list of commemorative coins celebrating sports. This list includes the Baseball Hall of Fame coins, the many Olympic commemorative coins, and the Jackie Robinson commemorative coins.

As part of the discussion, they asked why collectors did not like the colorized Basketball Hall of Fame coins. One club member tried to buy the colorized clad proof from a local coin shop and was shamed by the shop’s owner for wanting this coin. The shop owner said that it was a damaged coin and that it will not be worth much in the future. Rather than selling the collector the colorized coin, he tried to sell a regular proof.

Unfortunately, the “traditional” numismatic feeling is that a coin is a legal tender flat metal disc with a denomination with a date, and some have mintmarks. Within the collection of the flat discs, there may be variation in how the coin was struck, changes in dies, and other unintended alterations the hobby calls errors. But that is not what interests today’s collectors.

One of the club members has been collecting the Super Bowl coins from the Highland Mint. He loves football, and the Highland Mint produces the coins for the Super Bowl coin toss. They sell replicas to collectors. The Highland Mint also sells commemorative replica sets for all of the Super Bowls’ coins. For the years before the Highland Mint’s involvement, they created a coin that may have been appropriate for the game.

After listening to the story and the information about the coins, I called him a numismatist. I told him that he did not have to collect legal tender coins to be a numismatist. By having a niche collection of numismatic-related items and learning everything about them, I said that is what numismatics is all about.

In the process, club members told me about coins that Topps made as a promotion in 2020. Inside special packs, there was a thicker card with a coin inserted honoring the player. Following a quick search, I purchased the two versions of the coin card with New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom and slugger Pete Alonso.

I also found a few 1964 and 1971 aluminum coins, sometimes referred to as pogs, for a few previous members of the Mets, including “The Franchise,” the late Tom Seaver. I think I just started a new collection!

Ron Hunt and Tom Seaver

1964 Topps Ron Hunt (left) and 1971 Topps Tom Seaver (right)

Towards the end of the meeting, someone asked if I knew anything about the new Rolling Stones Coin. The Crown Mint produces a silver 10 gram, 1-ounce silver, and 12-gram gold coin using the tongue and lips logo for Gibraltar. The silver coins feature colorized highlights.

As we talked about the coins, I picked up my philatelic numismatic cover (PNC) with the Queen coin from the Royal Mint and put it in front of the camera. I also mentioned that the Royal Mint produced a commemorative for Elton John. Although the coin covers are sold out at the Royal Mint, I went to the Royal Mail website and found Elton John and other commemoratives, including coin covers for James Bond.

Queen Coin Cover

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

After the meeting, I was thinking about themed coins and wondered if the numismatic community can partner with other collectibles to create a more dynamic show.

For example, why not partner with the New Zealand Mint, Perth Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, and others that produce licensed comic-related coins and the publishers to create a Coin and ComicCon. The coins will be the centerpiece of the event but invite the fans to add a different flair.

There are so many themed coins that the hobby can set up CoinCons that bring in different themes with the coins as the centerpiece. A Sports CoinCon would feature sports on coins, and the grading services can sponsor autograph signings of the labels. Coin dealers could set up next to sports dealers to sell coins. And the coins do not have to be limited to a sports theme. If the dealer can sell investor coins or other themed coins, they can gain from the experience.

Outside of numismatic circles, silver and mixed metal non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins are popular. The mixed metals are not limited to ringed coins. Using metals like gold and niobium to highlight features is as popular as colorized coins.

Other possible CoinCon themes include advertising, art, nature, history, science, and almost anything else. An International CoinCon could set up conference rooms with different themes connected by a single hall to allow collectors to go between rooms to experience other collectibles. The CoinCon can invite auctioneers of each theme to hold auctions during the show, especially if their lots have coins to feature. How much fun could it be to have a science and technology theme in a CoinCon and hold an auction with space-related coins and souvenirs?

A CoinCon is not collecting as we knew it yesterday. Today’s collectors want a connection to what they collect. All hobby businesses must understand that this is the present and future of collecting.

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 16, 2021

It has been a long 16-months. During that time, a virus caused a worldwide pandemic still being felt in much of the world. Thanks to science and the government removing barriers that slow the development process, the pharmaceutical industry found vaccines to reduce infection rates.

The increase in vaccinations and the reduction of infections has government easing restrictions that shut down the country for three months in 2020. As the restrictions ease, coin shows are appearing. Small shows have been running for a few months, but last week, the ANA announced the World’s Fair of Money would go on.

Over the last six months, hobby and other spending have dramatically increased. The demand for goods has outpaced the supply. Big-ticket items like housing and vehicles are experiencing low inventories as people leave their homes and spend money. I regularly pass a few used car lots on my way to work, and their inventory is the lowest I have seen.

Numismatics is also seeing a surge. Even though analysts note that lower sales of bullion coins from last year, the demand for collector coins has caused prices to skyrocket. Services that monitor online markets say that the 2021-W American Silver Eagle Proof coin price is averaging $140-160 or 100-percent over their issue price.

Because silver is in high demand, dealers are charging high premiums over the spot price and sellout out of their inventory. When I recently looked at buying circulated coins whose value is tied to the silver spot price, the premiums were the highest that I have seen.

It has been a long time since silver coins were this popular. There is no telling how high this market will go with the expanding market for non-circulated legal tender (NCLT) and bullion coins drawing people into collecting.

And now the news…

 May 10, 2021
What do ancient coins tell us about the Omer period and the time of the Bar-Kochba revolt, when the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot became associated with death and mourning? According to the Bible, the seven weeks between the two holidays referred to as ‘omer’ – a unit of measure which was used to quantify the amount of produce to offer as a sacrifice to God – was not meant to carry any specific connotation other than its agricultural meaning.  → Read more at jpost.com

 May 11, 2021
An early pandemic problem that plagued businesses is back: not enough change to go around. Why it matters: The pandemic broke America's coin flow. It has repercussions for millions that rely on it for daily transactions.  → Read more at axios.com

 May 13, 2021
Nov.  → Read more at theglowup.theroot.com
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A Good Step For the Future of the NLG

Dr. Ursula KampmannLast week, the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) announced the appointment of Dr. Ursula Kampmann of Lörrach, Germany, to their Board of Governors. It is an announcement that has more significance to the numismatic community than captured in a press release.

Dr. Kampmann is an accomplished numismatist with a significant international following. I “met” her through CoinsWeekly (coinsweekly.com), an English language website that reports numismatic news from all over the world. She contacted me about a post I made, and it led me to become a regular reader.

CoinsWeekly looks at the entire world of numismatics, not from a single country. There have been articles that cover special issues, the appeal of coins minted outside of the United States, and even criticizes U.S.-based numismatic news for their myopic view of collecting.

The appeal of having Dr. Kampmann working with the NLG is to inject her experience outside of the United States into the hobby. The hobby needs new ideas and to break out of its old ways to grow; having a view outside of the United States border will have a significant impact.

Dr. Kampmann is not so much of an outsider as one might think. Readers of CoinsWeekly will recognize that the stories understand the U.S.-based hobby but have constructive criticism based on what is happening in the rest of the world.

She can help influence the authors and writers of numismatic content to understand the hobby more broadly than the myopic U.S. view. There is a big world outside of the U.S. borders producing coins that have great appeal to many. Those of us who write about numismatics must learn to think beyond collections of discs that all look the same.

Dr. Kampmann’s appointment appears to be the first move by new Executive Director Charles Morgan, editor of CoinWeek. Morgan, who is also known for wanting the hobby to break away from the mindset of the blue and brown albums, appears to be off to a good start. There is a lot we can learn from our European counterparts. I hope the U.S.-based writers will take this opportunity to grow.

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 2, 2021

One bit of news that did not make the numismatic press is that the Coin Collectors Blog sponsored 36 news memberships to the American Numismatic Association. All 36 new members will begin to have access to the ANA, the Numismatist, submit coins to NGC, check out books from the library (oops… I have a few books I have to return), and attend the World’s Fair of Money without having to pay an entrance fee.

I thought it was important to sponsor new memberships to the ANA to bring in new members, especially those with diverse backgrounds and ideas. All the new members should let us know how they collect.

The ANA must evolve to the new environment. The ANA was caught flat-footed when the pandemic changed the environment. Even though the headquarters staff did their best with the resources provided, it was clear that the leadership lacked the imagination to do better.

New members can help. You can tell the ANA what they can do to help make your collecting experience more valuable. You can contact the Board of Governors directly or tell me. I will publish the ideas on this blog. Together, we can make the ANA a better organization.

To the 36 new members: WELCOME!

And now the news…

 April 26, 2021
DALLAS, TEXAS – The first dollar coin struck at the fledgling US Mint in 1794, an experiment in copper that would become the pattern for more valuable silver versions minted later, sold for $840,000 at Heritage Auctions Friday, April 23.  → Read more at antiquesandthearts.com

 April 28, 2021
It may have been the greatest heist of all time, and it took place on the high seas. The royal ship Ganj-iSawai, property of Indian emperor Aurangzeb, had set sail from the port of Mocha on the Red Sea bound for Surat, India.  → Read more at theday.com

 April 28, 2021
Jersey Heritage Hundreds of coins and 35 pieces of jewellery are among the Le Câtillon I hoard which have been bought  → Read more at bbc.com

 April 28, 2021
It may have been the greatest heist of all time, and it took place on the high seas. The royal ship Ganj-iSawai, property of Indian emperor Aurangzeb, had set sail from the port of Mocha on the Red Sea bound for Surat, India.  → Read more at theday.com

 April 29, 2021
A picture made available on 29 April 2016 shows one of 19 Roman amphoras discovered in the town of Tomares, near Seville (EPA Photo)  → Read more at dailysabah.com
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Why is the U.S. Mint Limiting the Morgan and Peace Dollars?

EDITOR’s NOTE: The release schedule has changed. Please no not use this as a guide as to when to buy. Please visit the U.S. Mint’s Product Schedule page for precise information.

Without announcement or other fanfare, the U.S. Mint added 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars to the Product Schedule on the catalog website. The entries linked to their product pages where they buried critical details about the releases.

The pages noted a household limit of 25 coins. When collectors found out and complained, the U.S. Mint lowered the limit to 10 while claiming they are listening to their customers. The household limit is a controversy because of the low product limits placed by the U.S. Mint. Each of the 2021 Morgan Dollar options is limited to 175,000 coins, and the only Peace Dollar option is limited to 200,000 coins.

Why are the product limits so low?

It does not take a degree in marketing to read the numismatic media to understand that there will be a demand for these coins. The ANA pursued passage of this legislation beginning in 2019. Collectors in numismatic forums have discussed the coins. Yet, the U.S. Mint claiming that they are listening to their customers is tone-deaf when it comes to production to satisfy the market.

When a government agency has to do something not exactly the way the public expects, the agency will go about its business trying to generate as little publicity as possible. The U.S. Mint has tried to hide the low product limits and its callous disregard to the collecting community they claim to hear by ignoring the extreme demand these coins will have.

A government agency is supposed to serve the public. If the U.S. Mint is really listening, they will increase the product limits. Otherwise, this is David Ryder playing games at the collector’s expense and should resign as Director of the U.S. Mint.

2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars Specifications
Denomination: $1
Finish: Uncirculated
Composition: .999 Silver
Silver Weight: 0.858 troy oz.
Diameter: 1.500 inches (38.10 mm)
Edge: Reeded
2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars Program Information
Coin Privy Mark Release Date Production Limit Price
2021 Morgan Dollar “CC” May 24, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021 Morgan Dollar “O” May 24, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021-D Morgan Dollar   June 1, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021-S Morgan Dollar   June 1, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021 Morgan Dollar   June 7, 2021 175,000 $85.00
2021 Peace Dollar   June 7, 2021 200,000 $85.00
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