Collecting Apollo 11

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
— President John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University on September 12, 1962

Eisenhower Dollar Reverse featuring the Apollo 11 mission insignia

President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University was not the official policy announcement. He made that announcement on May 25, 1961. This speech was to convince the American people and Congress that it was necessary to fund this idea. Given the technology of the time, the space race was a longshot with people bound and determined to beat the Soviets to the moon.

Kennedy’s vision was accomplished by the Apollo 11 crew of Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin along with the thousands of support people on Earth. A little more than eight years after Kennedy made it the nation’s policy, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969.

From within the capsule attached to the top of the Saturn V launch vehicle, a rocket once described as a giant Roman candle, the rocket roared to life to lift the three pioneers into the final frontier. Even though the liftoff occurred at 9:32 AM in Florida, it was watched worldwide regardless of the local time.

Four days later, on Sunday, July 20, 1969, the world held its collective breath as the Lunar Module (LM), call-sign Eagle, was guided to the moon’s Sea of Tranquility and landed at 4:18 PM Central Time. Relief came when Neil Armstrong transmitted a message to Mission Control in Houston:

“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) Charles Duke’s response summed up the feel of those of us on Earth as he stumbled a bit at the beginning:

“Roger, Twan– Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

According to the official schedule, Armstrong and Aldrin were supposed to get five hours of sleep. Realizing that it was unlikely they would be able to sleep, the crew prepared for the first walk on the moon’s surface.

Six and a half hours after landing, after Walter Cronkite and the CBS News team showed models as to how Armstrong will descend from the LM, pull the D-Ring to activate the camera, Armstrong left the LM and went down the latter. He pulled the D-Ring, and the world watched his progress. Just before reaching the surface of the moon, Armstrong uncovered a plaque mounted on the LM that read:

Replica of the plaque on Eagle, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute)

Armstrong looked at the surface and described the moon’s dust as “very fine-grained” and “almost like a powder.” Then with a short jump, he left the bottom rung of the ladder and was standing on the surface of the moon.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Over the years, there has been a debate about whether Armstrong included the word“a” in the statement. That is not what was heard at the time, and modern examinations of the audio tapes neither confirm or deny the claim. Regardless of what he said, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the surface of the moon, a little more than eight years since President Kennedy said it was his goal.

Apollo 11 Flown MS66 NGC Sterling Silver Robbins Medallion, Serial Number 241, from The Armstrong Family Collection (Courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

Ironically, with the concerns about weight and preserving fuel, there appears to have been a lot of souvenirs carried to space with the crew. The most famous of these souvenirs are the Robbins Medals.

The practice of carrying Fliteline medals started in 1965 with the flight of Gemini 3, NASA’s first manned mission in the Gemini program. In 1968, the Robbins Company of Attleboro, Mass. was contracted to produce the Fliteline medals starting with Apollo 7.

It is reported that 480 of these 28mm medals were carried aboard Apollo 11.

According to Heritage Auctions, the most paid for a mission flown Robbins Medal was medal #241, a silver medal graded MS66 by NGC, that sold for $112,500 (including buyer’s premium) on November 1, 2018. It was sold with a Statement of Provenance signed by Armstrong’s sons as being once owned by Neil Armstrong. The provenance likely accounts for its high price.

June 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressEven while other things were going on, Congress found time to introduce and vote on numismatic-related legislation during the mother of June. The most significant development was the passing of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) by unanimous consent.

If passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President, the bill would create a commemorative silver dollar in 2020 with a surcharge of $10 per coin that will go to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.

When this bill was sent out of committee to the floor for a vote, the media was all in a twitter (pun intended) about the bipartisan nature of the bill’s support. The bill was introduced on April 30, 2019, by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and cosponsored by every female senator. Subsequently, male senators added their support to where the bill had 82 cosponsors. While we live in very partisan times, those of us who watch numismatic-related legislation understands that these bills are not controversial and tend to gain bipartisan support.

The bill is being held at the desk in the House of Representatives and not assigned to a committee. Although a call to the House did not provide answers, a source says that it is being held for procedural reasons.

According to the source, an objection was made by a member because the member believes that the bill violates the constitution. According to Article I Section 7 of the United States Constitution, it says that “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” Since commemorative coin bills raise revenue for private and public (seigniorage) sources, someone believes that the Senate overstepped its bounds.

There was no report as to who filed the objection.

S. 1235: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Held at the desk. — Jun 5, 2019
Received in the House. — Jun 5, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jun 5, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Apr 30, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1235.

H.R. 3155: 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Introduced: June 6, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 50,000 $5 coins, 500,000 $1 coins, and 750,000 half-dollar coins in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.The coins shall be emblematic of the sacrifices made by millions of people of the United States 75 years ago in bringing an end to World War II. The design on each coin shall represent the World War II Victory Medal, which was awarded to all 16 million U.S. military personnel who served from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946.The bill requires all sales of such coins include specified surcharges, which shall be paid by Treasury to the congressionally designated National WWII Museum to fund its educational mission of telling the story of the U.S. experience in World War II.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jun 6, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR3155.

S. 1794: CENTS Act
Sponsor: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Introduced: June 12, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 12, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1794.

H.R. 3483: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball.
Sponsor: Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA)
Introduced: June 25, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jun 25, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR3483.

S. 1954: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball.
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Introduced: June 25, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 25, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1954.

S. 2042: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Sponsor: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
Introduced: June 27, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 27, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S2042.

Suffrage Centennial Commem passes the Senate

Congress may be filling out the 2020 commemorative coin calendar with the Senate passing the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235). If passed by the House, the bill would require the U.S. Mint to issue a one dollar silver coin to commemorate women suffrage activists in 2020.

S. 1235: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Apr 30, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1235.

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Since there were 48 states in the union, 36 represented the three-quarters necessary to ratify the amendment.

S. 1235 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee.

According to the bill the design of the coin is supposed to “contain motifs that honor Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Harriet Tubman, Mary Church Terrell, Alice Paul, Lide Meriwether, Ida B. Wells, and other suffrage activists of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries.” That is a lot of people to try to fit on a 1½-inch coin.

As with almost every other commemorative coin bill, the silver dollar will have a $10 surcharge. The surcharge will go to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.

This bill does not mention mintage limits. It is possible to become the most produced commemorative coin of the modern era.

Next, the bill is sent to the House of Representatives for their vote.

May 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

The legislative review is back after taking a month hiatus since there was nothing to report for April.

Legislation introduced in May is a bit different than others in that only one bill directly affects the section of the law that governs the U.S. Mint (Subchapter III of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code). Let’s look at each of legislation submitted in May.

S. 1300: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Introduced: May 2, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 2, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1300.

The National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act is a typical three-coin commemorative coin legislation ($5 gold, $1 silver, half-dollar clad) to raise money for a cause. If passed, this law will pay the surcharges to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

H.R. 2559: Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: May 7, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2559.

The Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2019 calls for a complete assay, inventory, and audit of gold reserves held by the federal government. The proposed law requires that the location of all gold is documented “including any gold in ‘deep storage,'” the security of those places, and any transactions of that gold.

If enacted, the Comptroller General of the United States do this audit for the past 15 years and have it completed within 12 months and every five years. The law would require the complete audit to be made public with the only exception of the physical security issues.

COMMENTARY: Given the nature of the economy and a lot of other factors are the gold holds that important? The Federal Reserve reports that the M1 money supply is over $3.7 trillion and the M2 is over $14.5 trillion. Think of the M1 as cash used in commerce. The M2 represents all money, including those in savings, securities, or may have circulating restrictions. Even if the government were to account for every grain of gold as reported an in U.S. Mint’s annual reports, that would represent less than 1-percent of the M1.

Gold holdings are irrelevant to the strength of the United States economy. Maintaining the M1 supply is more critical because it is a measure of activity. Economists fear wild tariffs since it will have a direct effect on the M1 money supply. Changes to the M1 will alter the demand for the products produced by the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

H.R. 2558: To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold.
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: May 7, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2558.

H.R. 2558 would require the Secretary of the Treasury “define the dollar in terms of a fixed weight of gold, based on that day’s closing market price of gold” and allow Federal Reserve Notes to be exchangeable for gold at that statutory rate.

COMMENTARY: This is a backhanded attempt to return the United States to the gold standard without the sufficient backing of gold that will support this effort. With the money supply being over $14 trillion, trying to match the amount of gold at market value to every U.S. dollar would cause a devaluation of the currency that it would not be economically viable to do business in or with the United States.

Further, the market price of gold is set by private banks, metals dealers, mining companies, and other financial companies from all over the world through the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). Given the makeup of their membership, this bill will allow this market that includes people from Bahrain, China, Switzerland, Russia, and other countries where the United States may have disputes to have direct influence over the strength of the U.S. dollar.

The introduction of a bill like this makes for good talking points for a constituency that is ignorant of the ramifications of this law. It is not sound policy given the nature of the markets.

H.R. 2630: Cash Always Should be Honored Act
Sponsor: Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI)
Introduced: May 9, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. — May 9, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2630.

The Cash Always Should be Honored (CASH) Act states that “It shall be unlawful for any physical retail establishment to refuse to accept legal tender as payment for any products or services offered for sale by such physical retail establishment.” The bill allows exemptions for online and telephone-based transactions.

COMMENTARY: Although I believe in the power of spending the products of the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing over using electronic means, it should not be the government’s place to tell anyone how to conduct business.

Another short-sighted bill that does not consider the modern economy because it does not consider changes to the concept of a physical retail establishment. For example, what about mobile-based commerce? Would the rideshare companies be required to take cash? What about the plumber who comes to fix your sink? What about the food truck where you might buy lunch?

For the numismatists, how would this affect dealers at a coin show? Will you be required to carry around a wad of currency to buy coins? Would there be a distinction between the dealer who only sells at shows versus a dealer with a shop who travels to shows?

It is another bill that looks better as part of talking points than its effects on the real economy.

H.R. 2650: Payment Choice Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ)
Introduced: May 9, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 9, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2650.

This Payment Choice Act of 2019 is similar to the CASH Act in that it will prohibit any business from refusing “to accept United States legal tender of cash as payment for goods or services,” post signs saying that the establishment will not accept cash, or charge a higher price for paying in cash. The bill exempts “any goods or services sold to the public by telephone, mail, or internet.”

COMMENTARY: See the commentary for the CASH Act, above.

Update on Royal Australian Mint Apollo 11 Commemorative Set

With the pre-sale of the Royal Australian Mint’s 2019 two-coin set honoring the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 beginning, a customer service representative from the Mint clarified their shipping policy.

After purchasing the set for AU$177.27 on their website (US$123.96, up 32-cents from yesterday), they charge a flat rate of AU$35.00 (US$22.37) for shipping. Packages are shipped using Auspost eParcel which provides tracking numbers that will be available to users of the U.S. Postal Service’s tracking system.

If there are import fees and taxes, the USPS will collect those from you before delivery.

According to the Royal Australian Mint representative, the 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing two Coin Set will not be offered for direct sale in the United States because of licensing agreements. However, that does not affect sales on the secondary market.

Purchasing one set and having it shipped to the United States will cost AU$212.27 (US$148.43) plus surcharges added onto your credit card for the currency exchange.

Aussies to Release Apollo 11 Commemorative with US Half

While perusing my Twitter feed, I found the announcement from the Royal Australian Mint is beginning the presale of the two-coin set honoring the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11.

The set features a 2019-S Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Proof Clad Half Dollar and an Australian Silver Proof $5 coin. The two-coin set can be ordered for AU$195.00 in Australia, where the price includes the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Outside of Australia, the price is 177.27 ($123.64 as of May 9, 2019).

The Australian coin has an interesting design. On the obverse, the Royal Australian Mint reduced the size of Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy on the obverse and filled the side with an image of the moon, a radio telescope representing the CSIRO Parkes Observatory, and a part of the transcript of the Apollo 11 mission. The CSIRO Parkes Observatory was one of the ground tracking stations that helped NASA communicate with the Apollo 11 crew.

The reverse features a stylized scene from the moon landing with a color image of the earth positioned in a way to make Australia facing the virtual camera.

The Australian $5 silver coin can only be purchased in this set and has a mintage limit of 10,000 coins. Thus, it is safe to assume that there will be a limit of 10,000 of these sets.

The Royal Australian Mint is selling a version of the silver coin that is plated in nickel and domed like the U.S. coin. The images on the Royal Australian Mint website shows a dark-colored coin that makes the colored image of the earth stand out. This coin also has a limited production of 10,000 coins.

There is also a gold coin and a six-coin uncirculated set that features copper-nickel base coins and aluminum-bromide one- and two-dollar coins. These coins feature different reverse designs than their precious metals counterparts. The obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Bodley.

Coins ordered now will be shipped starting on June 5, 2019.

The Royal Australian Mint has not (yet) provided information if there will be a special program for shipping to the United States or if they will partner with the U.S. Mint to sell the set.


If you are thinking about ordering you might want to watch the currency markets. There has been a decline in the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD) versus the U.S. Dollar since the beginning of April. Although markets are difficult to time, a fluctuation of 5-percent in the prices is not going to make a big difference.

Aside from waiting for answers to my questions from the Royal Australian Mint, I will watch the markets for the next two weeks to see if I can save money if the AUD dips below 60-cents to the USD.

Coin images courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint.

March 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

When it comes to numismatic-related legislation, proposing commemorative coin programs can look like a pastime to the members of Congress. At the prompting of constituent groups, members will submit bills that have everyone excited but does not deliver on its promise.

For now, the only commemorative coin program that has become law is the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

In March, members of Congress have introduced bills to create five more commemorative coin programs. All have merit but the reality is that most of these bills will not pass Congress.

For the 116th Congress, there have been 16 numismatic-related bills submitted covering 13 different commemoratives (some are introduced in both the House and Senate to increase its chance of passage). One bill, Route 66 Centennial Commission Act (H.R. 66), was added to the watch list because the bill recommends a possible commemorative coin for the celebration.

Maybe there will be something more exciting to report next month.

S. 639: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Introduced: March 4, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Mar 4, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S639.

H.R. 1805: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the centennial of the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Sponsor: Rep. Brad R. Wenstrup (R-OH)
Introduced: March 14, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1805.

H.R. 1830: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Sponsor: Rep. Sean P. Maloney (D-NY)
Introduced: March 18, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 18, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1830.

H.R. 1865: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a coin in commemoration of the opening of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 25, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

H.R. 1923: To amend title 31, United States Code, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue quarter dollars in commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Introduced: March 27, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 27, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1923.

H.R. 1982: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Sponsor: Rep. Joseph D. Morelle (D-NY)
Introduced: March 28, 2019
Referred to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committee on the Budget, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. — Mar 28, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1982.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 24, 2019

2019 Celebrating The Life of Stephen Hawking 50P Coin Reverse
(Image Courtesy of the Royal Mint)

As I peruse the non-numismatic news sources looking for coins and collecting-related information, I am surprised how much is published by the media in other countries about their coins. Interestingly, most of the stories are either from the Commonwealth Realm or those countries formerly a member of the Commonwealth Realm.

A Commonwealth Realm is a sovereign country in which the Monarch of Great Britain, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the reigning constitutional monarch and head of state. The role of the queen is largely symbolic as the government of each country manage its domestic affairs.

As part of this management, each country produces its own coinage. Within the Commonwealth Realm, the largest state-run mints are the Royal Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, Royal Australian Mint, and Perth Mint. There are other private mints that produce legal tender coins, but these are the only government-owned mints in the commonwealth.

Every time one of these mints issues a new coin for circulation, the information is all over their country’s media. For example, in the run-up to the issue of the Peter Rabbit circulating 50p commemorative as part of the Royal Mint’s Beatrix Potter series, nearly every news outlet in the U.K. has been covering the anticipation.

This phenomenon is not restricted to the Commonwealth Realm. Former Commonwealth members also heavily promote their coins. We know that India is issuing a 12-sided 20 rupee coin along with other new designs. South Africa Reserve Bank is issuing circulating coins to celebrate the country’s 25 years as a Constitutional Democracy.

Yet the United States press has been largely silent. Sure, there are blurbs when a congressperson drops a bill into the virtual hopper but the press has been silent after that.

While there were other things going on in December, there was very little reported about the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Act for 2020.

There was hardly a peep out of the press for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative coins. Even with the political turmoil, this country should be commemorating one of its greatest feats of the 20th century that did not involve bombs or bullets.

There has been more coverage in the science and tech-related press about the release of the Black Hole coin honoring Stephen Hawking by the Royal Mint.

To its credit, the American Legion has been promoting the 100th Anniversary commemorative coins to their members. However, was there any general media outlets covering the program’s release?

The hobby is perceived to be dying because it is not attracting new members. How can the hobby attract new members when it does not promote itself outside of its insular bubble?

I am sure that I will hear from the bullion sellers because they have been crowing about the steady rise of gold prices. Aside from being an investment and not a hobby issue, the rise of gold prices is alarming. Investing in gold and other precious metals is seen as a safe-harbor move when investors predict that markets will be less lucrative. If investors are pulling money out of other investments to invest in gold that means they do not trust the markets and we may be in for problems.

If we stop worrying about what is good or bad for the hobby and figure out how it could survive, maybe we can attract new collectors. First, we have to do is to let everyone know the hobby still exists.

And now the news…

 March 12, 2019

This new series comprising denominations of ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, and ₹20, designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, will aid the visually-impaired through its thoughtful design. As per the notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, apart from the ₹20 coin, which will be a 12-sided polygon (a dodecagon), the rest of the coins will be circular in shape.  → Read more at architecturaldigest.in


 March 18, 2019

A 14th-century French gold coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a bureau inherited by a woman who lives in Derbyshire, England. The mother of three, Amy Clapp, 37, told reporters she had no idea the 650-year-old coin — or the secret drawers — existed after being left a 20th-century bureau by her distant cousin.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com


 March 19, 2019

The brand new commemorative Peter Rabbit coin that was announced last week has been released to the public. The new coin features an original illustration of Peter Rabbit taken from the book, The Tales of Benjamin Bunny.  → Read more at inews.co.uk


 March 19, 2019

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – An East Texas woman found a unique coin on the side of the road by the Caldwell Zoo more than six months ago, and she wants to find its rightful owner. Jan Hommel, the director of the American Freedom Museum, knew exactly where the coin came from.  → Read more at kltv.com


 March 19, 2019

A $1 million penny, a $3 million nickel and more than $100 million more in rare coins are coming to Pittsburgh from March 28 through 30 when the National Coin & Money Show stops at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  → Read more at triblive.com


 March 20, 2019

A "rare" 650-year-old coin found in a secret drawer in a desk has been sold for £850 at auction. The 14th Century coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a 1970s bureau, left to a woman by a long-lost relative.  → Read more at bbc.com


 March 21, 2019

A number of new coins have been approved by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and celebrate the country’s 25 years as a Constitutional Democracy. A few of the coins will be collector’s items, and the R500 and R50 coins are specifically made for commemorative purposes only.  → Read more at capetownetc.com


 March 23, 2019

LITTLETON, N.H. — After playing a key role in the success of Littleton Coin Company for nearly 30 years, the firm’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Morelli has announced his retirement at the end of 2019.  → Read more at caledonianrecord.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for March 10, 2019

2018 Peter Rabbit 50p Uncirculated Coin
(Image courtesy of the Royal Mint)

One of the most disturbing stories relating to numismatics is the conviction of a man for killing someone for his coin collection. In Colchester, England, Gordin McGhee, 52, was stabbed in his flat by Danny Bostock, 33, who broke in to steal a set of Beatrix Potter 50 pence coins.

Both men were familiar with each other from local coin club meetings.

Over the last few years, the English tabloids have been publishing stories about how low-mintage, modern circulating 50p commemorative coins were being sold for hundreds or thousands of pounds on eBay. This has awakened the public about the potential for collecting these coins.

The Royal Mint has been producing 50p coins commemorating the animals featured in Beatrix Potter’s stories since 2016 including Peter Rabbit. By the time the country caught on to their value, the limited edition 2016 and 2017 coins were being hoarded and becoming more difficult to find. People who wanted a complete collection turned to the secondary market.

Of course, where there is a demand the person who can provide a supply can make money.

According to news reports, Bostock snuck into McGhee’s flat to steal his collection of Beatrix Potter coins while McGhee was not home. Unfortunately, McGhee returned home and found Bostock in the act. Bostock stabbed McGhee 17 times and tried to set the place on fire to cover up the crime.

Police were able to track the trail of blood Bostock made with his shoes to Bostock’s home. Bostock was convicted after using the defense that someone else wore his shoes after a drinking party even though the police found the shoes, coins, and the murder weapon in his possession.

Although this type of situation may not happen over the National Parks quarters, we did see the greed of dealers put the public in danger for the release of the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof Coin. Dealers handed out cash to needy people who did not conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the ANA Code of Ethics so they could buy the coins first without having to worry about U.S. Mint purchasing limits.

In this case, nothing happened to the dealers who should have been dealt with by the ANA. They could have lost money since the release was not a sellout and the price of gold dropped, but we will never know.

And now the news…

 February 27, 2019

The demand for U.S. cash is skyrocketing — an indicator that’s leaving some economists sounding the alarm.  → Read more at cnbc.com


 March 2, 2019

Charlotte is known for its banks but in some circles, it's known for its actual money. The gold coins that Charlotte's mint produced in the mid-19th century are desirable. "When you're a coin collector, you don't worry sometimes the value.  → Read more at wfae.org


 March 7, 2019

Before immigrating to the United States in 2001, Paul Balan worked as a painter and sculptor in his native Philippines. Now he is pushing his artistic talents in new directions, doing coin and medal designs for the U.S.  → Read more at legion.org


 March 7, 2019

Last August, 90-year-old pensioner Miroslav Jurníček harvested onions from his garden, when he noticed a small golden coin lying on the ground. He started rummaging around and eventually unearthed a vessel full of gold and silver coins.  → Read more at radio.cz


 March 8, 2019

A coin enthusiast has been convicted of murder after stabbing a fellow collector 17 times while trying to steal a rare set of Beatrix Potter 50ps. Danny Bostock, 33, attacked 52-year-old Gordon McGhee in his bedroom before turning on the gas cooker and lighting a dishcloth, seemingly to cause an explosion and destroy evidence of the killing.  → Read more at telegraph.co.uk


 March 8, 2019

From Kew Gardens to Paddington bear, there are a number of rare and collectible 50p coins and the Royal Mint will be releasing a Stephen Hawking coin later this month. The late Cambridge University physics professor died in March last year and the coin will feature a black hole and the scientist himself.  → Read more at manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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February 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

While the mainstream media has mostly been distracted by other activities in Congress, those of us who watch numismatic-related legislation have had our own action.

First, the House of Representatives passed Route 66 Centennial Commission Act (H.R. 66) to create a commission to celebrate the centennial of the famous Route 66 in 2026. Although this is not a numismatic-related bill per se, if passed, the bill says that the centennial commission will recommend commemorative coins for this event. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee waiting further action.

The other legislation of note is the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019 (H.R. 1089) that removes all tax considerations for the sale of “gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Secretary at any time.” It also exempts “refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.” This means that no capital gains on the sale of these items will be taxed and no losses can be written off by the taxpayer.

An interesting side effect of this bill would be that the gains realized when rare coins auctioned for millions of dollars will not be taxed. This means if an 1804 Silver Dollar sells for more than the $3.8 million it sold for in 2013, the seller will not pay capital gains tax on the sale. However, if it sells for less, the seller will not be able to write-off the loss.

For those keeping score at home, this law will not help the sale of a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel since its composition is copper and nickel.

Of course, this will only be an issue if H.R. 1089 passes and the president signs it into law.

H.R. 66: Route 66 Centennial Commission Act
Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Introduced: January 3, 2019
Summary: This bill establishes the Route 66 Centennial Commission to honor Route 66 on the occasion of its centennial anniversary.The Department of Transportation shall prepare a plan on the preservation needs of Route 66.
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. — Feb 7, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Feb 6, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 399 – 22 (Roll no. 67). — Feb 6, 2019
Considered as unfinished business. — Feb 6, 2019
At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed. — Feb 6, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 66. — Feb 6, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Feb 6, 2019
Ms. Norton moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Feb 6, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. — Jan 3, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR66.

H.R. 1089: Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: February 7, 2019
Summary: Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019This bill exempts gains or losses from the sale or exchange of certain coins or bullion from recognition for income tax purposes. The exemption applies to gains or losses from the sale or exchange of (1) gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Department of the Treasury; or (2) refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.
Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. — Feb 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1089.

S. 457: President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Introduced: February 12, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 12, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S457.

H.R. 1173: President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Dollar Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)
Introduced: February 13, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 13, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1173.

H.R. 1257: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Introduced: February 14, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1257.

S. 509: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Introduced: February 14, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S509.

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