Weekly World Numismatic News for February 21, 2021

Change is dominating numismatic-related news.

The news about the revival of the effort to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 note with Harriet Tubman has received a lot of press. Change is always difficult, but when that change involves removing one political figure from currency and replacing it with another, the debates can be fascinating and frustrating.

Ellen Feingold, the curator of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian, wrote an article for Politico explaining the history of currency changes. As part of her discussion, Feingold suggests that the $20 bill should only be the beginning and that history is behind this type of change.

Within the numismatic media, writers are noting how collectors are weary of the changing quarter designs. If you read the online forums and blog comments, there might be a dominant view that there have been too many changing designs. More than a few posted that a commemorative coin may be a better option than the Prominent Women on Quarters program.

Taking the cues from numismatic forums and blog posts may not be the right venues to gauge public opinion. It is like asking the season ticket holder why baseball attendance was on a downward projection (pre-pandemic). In other words, you are preaching to the choir.

Why not they ask the kids, the future of the hobby? Young people grew up with constantly changing designs. Think about it, an 8-year old that started collecting state quarters in 1999 will be 30 this year. Change is all they know.

Charles Morgan might be right. It may be time to change all of our change. Maybe it is time for a modern renaissance.

And now the news…

 February 14, 2021
Business Insider SA  Feb 14, 2021, 04:33 PM  → Read more at businessinsider.co.za

 February 15, 2021
Still, the history of American currency suggests that this might be only a start. We can and should go further in rethinking U.S. currency, resuming the national practice of using banknotes as a canvas for the breadth of American life and democratic values.  → Read more at politico.com

 February 15, 2021
On the day of the official change to decimalized currency on Feb. 15, 1971, Lord Fiske, chairman of the Decimal Currency Board, makes a purchase at a Woolworths store in London.  → Read more at npr.org

 February 16, 2021
Aizanoi: An ancient jug containing hundreds of Roman coins has surprised archaeologists in Turkey. The vessel with its silver payload was found buried next to a stream in Kütahya province. Here lie the ruins of Aizanoi, a historic city.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com

 February 19, 2021
By The Associated Press BELLINGHAM, Wash.  → Read more at seattletimes.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 14, 2021

One of the nice aspects of a new year is all of the new coins that become available. Every major mint starts the year with new bullion products, commemorative coins, and other non-circulated legal tender coinage to keep collectors interested.

For collectors, it is a lot of fun.

2021 Canada Bluenose Gold-Plated Silver Dollar

Bluenose gold-plated silver dollar is part of the Royal Canadian Mint Silver Proof Set (Image courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint)

In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bluenose schooner. The Bluenose was a fishing and racing schooner that was revolutionary in its design and became the symbol of Nova Scotia before being a symbol of Canadian heritage.

Although the Bluenose launched in 1921, it did not appear on the Canada 10-cent coin until 1937. Since then, the Bluenose appeared on every 10-cent coin except for 1967 when Canadian coins were redesigned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.

The Royal Mint has started the year by issuing commemorative sovereigns, Britannia bullion coins, and the yearly Trial of the Pyx. Although modern technology makes the Trial of the Pyx unnecessary, it is an exciting part of Royal Mint history that deserves celebration.

Down under in Australia, the Royal Australian Mint has issued silver coins of the Outback Majesty series that celebrates the Australian Outback animals. Since Australia has done better than the rest of the world with keeping the pandemic under control, the Royal Australian Mint has resumed tours and has operations closer to normal.

Over in New Zealand, it looks like they are having more fun with coins. New this year are the Chibi Collection of the Lord of the Rings characters, DC Comics superheroes, and more. Although the New Zealand Mint designs and strikes these coins, they are issued under the Niue government’s authority. The New Zealand Mint also strikes coins for the Cook Islands. Both are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand.

The U.S. Mint, whose output is the most restrictive of the world mints, has issued the American Silver Eagle Proof coin and the new American Platinum Eagle Proof. The American Platinum Eagle Proof series celebrates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, starting with the Freedom of Religion. Also available is the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar. Later, the U.S. Mint will issue the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum commemorative coins.

Finally, the U.S. Mint has issued the last of the America the Beautiful Quarters honoring the Tuskegee Airman Historical Site. The U.S. Mint will produce a redesigned quarter for the balance of the year. The Prominent American Women Quarters will begin in 2022.

It is a fun time to be a coin collector!

And now the news…

 February 2, 2021
The Reddit-fueled run-up in silver prices might be stalling, but the U.S. Mint said it is still rationing its sales of silver coins because of “continued exceptional market demand,” as well as limited supplies and manufacturing capacity.  → Read more at bloomberg.com

 February 9, 2021
An Israel Defense Forces soldier discovered a rare 1,800-year-old coin during a training exercise, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday. The coin features an image of the head of the Roman emperor Antonius Pius and was dated to 158–159 CE.  → Read more at timesofisrael.com

 February 11, 2021
Details of a "very special" haul of 651 Roman coins found in the ancient city of Aizanoi in Turkey have been released by researchers behind the discovery. The silver coins were found in a jug during archeological excavations led by researchers from Pamukkale University, according to a press release from the university.  → Read more at cnn.com

 February 12, 2021
You might have a coin worth literally thousands in your pocket right now. No, not like that Simpsons episode where Mr Burns tries to steal a trillion dollars: an actual, real coin that you could buy something with that is secretly also worth plenty more than face value to a collector.  → Read more at ladbible.com

 February 12, 2021
CHICAGO: The US Mint announced this week that it will issue a Silver Dollar coin to commemorate Christa McAuliffe, a teacher and a civilian astronaut of Lebanese heritage who died on the Challenger Space Shuttle when it exploded minutes after taking off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Jan.  → Read more at arabnews.com

 February 13, 2021
The discovery of nine Roman coins found in Norfolk has been declared as treasure.  Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, opened the treasure inquest into the find at Norfolk Coroner's Court earlier this month.    → Read more at edp24.co.uk
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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 31, 2021

This past week’s numismatic-related news is a lesson about how the industry has not adapted to the new environment.

First, Whitman issues a statement with a headline saying, “Baltimore Expo Prohibited Due to Mandated COVID-19 Restrictions.” Their release rightly mentions that Maryland is using the Convention Center to help fight the pandemic in Baltimore. As the largest indoor location in the city, it would be right to assume that the Baltimore Convention Center might be busy for some time.

Whitman then announces a “MEGA Bourse” for the June Expo. Unfortunately, the Atlanta-based Whitman does not consider the factual data of the progress and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also located in Atlanta, says about the pandemic’s future. The pandemic will be a significant issue in June, just as it will be in August outside of Chicago. It would have been better for Whitman to say that they will monitor the situation and make an announcement when appropriate.

Collectors who have attended several smaller shows report that the dealers or the participants are not following COVID-19 protections. One person in Texas reported that “about half” of the dealers were not wearing masks. Although the infection and death levels have plateaued, the United States reached 26 million reported cases, and U.S deaths from COVID-19 topped 441,000, including my father. The number of cases and deaths tops every other country in the world.

I understand that there is pandemic fatigue. We want to go back to some semblance of a life. We collectors want to go to shows, have club meetings, and do more collecting. I know because I want that! But the more we screw around and do not take this seriously. More people will get sick and die.

Even with considering the administration’s goal of 100 million vaccines in 100 days, it will take another 180 days to get enough people vaccinated to reach herd immunity levels. Assuming that nothing goes wrong, it is a total of NINE months.

Based on the information provided, it means we can start to return to normalcy by September or October. It also assumes everyone cooperates.

COOPERATE! Damn it! I want to go to a coin show!

And now the news…

 January 23, 2021
An "extremely fine and rare" Oliver Cromwell gold coin belonging to a Scarborough-based collector has sold at auction for a world record £471,200. The 50 shilling piece dates back to 1656 and was made by Thomas Simon, Cromwell's chief engraver.  → Read more at examinerlive.co.uk

 January 28, 2021
— A new U.S. coin honoring Christa McAuliffe, NASA's first "Teacher in Space," will help continue her educational mission 35 years after she and her six astronaut crewmates were tragically lost in flight.
  → Read more at collectspace.com

 January 30, 2021
New York Daily News | Jan 30, 2021 at 7:51 PM So much for finders, keepers.  → Read more at nydailynews.com
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Remembering the Challenger

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
— President Ronald W. Reagan, Address to the Nation, January 28, 1986

The U.S. Mint announced the launch of a “pre-order system and begin accepting pre-orders for its 2021 commemorative coin programs.” Sales begin today. In addition to the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum Commemorative Coins, the U.S. Mint will begin selling the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar.

NASA selected Christa McAuliffe to be the first member of the Teacher in Space Program. The space agency would train teachers to travel to space and hold lessons from the space shuttle. Unfortunately, 73 seconds into the flight, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated, killing all seven members aboard.

The crew members of the Challenger for Mission STS-51L were Commander Dick Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnik, and Ronald E. McNair, and Payload Specialists Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe.

The pre-order price of the silver dollar is $69.00. The price includes a $10 surcharge paid to the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to promote leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Challenger Crew

The STS-51L crewmembers are: in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair.

Currency Changes Coming Soon

Tubman $20 FRNDuring a White House press briefing, the press secretary announced the “Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes.”

Creating the new $20 Federal Reserve Notes with a portrait of the abolitionist began in 2016 to have Tubman appear on the $20 note by 2020, the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Although the Bureau of Engraving and Printing continued to work on the project, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin eventually announced that a future administration would decide if having her portrait was appropriate. Mnuchin targeted 2030 as the earliest a new $20 note would appear.

Sources report that Mnuchin delayed the stoppage of the process as long as possible. He knew that the president did not support this change. After the announcement, sources report that the work continued without permission.

Although the source did not know the engraving status, it is speculated that the intaglio printing plates for the new $20 notes may be ready before the end of the year.

Janet YellenWhen the plates are ready, they will include the signature of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The Senate approved Yellen’s appointment on an 84-15 vote. She will be the 78th Treasury Secretary and the first woman in that role in the department’s 232-year history.

Previously, Yellen was the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under Clinton, President of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, and served on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors before being appointed the Board’s chair 2014.

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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 24, 2021

On Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr. became the 46th President of the United States. It was the 46th time since 1789 that a new President took the oath of office. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to the inauguration, this was the 59th ceremonial inauguration. There were eight other inaugurations following the death of presidents and Gerald Ford’s inauguration following Richard M. Nixon’s resignation.

For numismatics, the new administration means there will be leadership changes at the Department of the Treasury. The president nominated Janet Yellen as the Secretary of the Treasury. When confirmed, Yellen will become the 78th Treasury Secretary. The Series 2021 Federal Reserve Notes will feature Yellen’s signature on the right side.

Janet Yellen signature

Janet Yellen’s signature when she was Chair of the Federal Reserve Board

The president has not nominated a Treasurer of the United States. Currently, the office has been vacant since the resignation of Jovita Carranza in January 2020. When the Senate approves a nominee, that person’s signature will appear on the Federal Reserve Notes’ left side.

Officially, the Director of the U.S. Mint is an appointment of five years. David J. Ryder, the current director, was confirmed in April 2018. Ryder can serve until 2023. Although Ryder could have resigned at the end of the previous administration, he chose not to. It is unclear if Ryder, a Republican, will continue to serve as Director. The U.S. Mint’s press office responded to a question about Ryder’s plans:

Information about Director Ryder’s tenure is not available at this time. We hope to have an update in the coming weeks.

Finally, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is not an appointed position. BEP’s Directors are members of the government’s Senior Executive Service as career government employees. Len Olijar is the current and 25th Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

And now the news…

 January 15, 2021
Archaeologists have uncovered buried treasure on a farm in Hungary. A two-day expedition, led by the Ferenczy Museum's Balázs Nagy, has yielded the discovery of 7000 silver coins and four gold coins.  → Read more at 9news.com.au

 January 15, 2021
(CNN) — How can a $20 bill be worth over $57,000? Because of a printing mishap.  → Read more at cnn.com

 January 19, 2021
Do you save quarters, pennies, silver dollars or other coins? Connect with our expert, Tim Heroux from The Boston Coin in Quincy at our next Ask The Expert event. Bring him your questions and learn more at this free event on how you, too, can improve your coin collecting knowledge.  → Read more at wgbh.org

 January 19, 2021
If you’ve been attempting to invest in Rhodium but don’t want to jump through the various hoops that come with it, try investing digitally. Rhodium Coin is a cryptocurrency built on the Ethereum blockchain.  → Read more at qrius.com

 January 21, 2021
Paestum, originally a Greek colony that was later conquered by the Romans, boasts three of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world [File: AFP]  → Read more at aljazeera.com

 January 25, 2021
VCoins is an online old coin marketplace where you can purchase ancient coins for $2-$3 each in a lot of 20 or so. In the latest issue of Recomendo, my friend Kevin Kelly suggests that giving someone an inexpensive 2,000-year-old Roman, Greek, or Arabian coin is a great way to spark curiosity about the history and culture of those civilizations.  → Read more at boingboing.net
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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 10, 2021

2020 American Gold EagleThe Weekly World Numismatic News return finds that although 2020 was a stressful year and 2021 has not started with a promise for improvement, the rare coin and paper money market appears healthy.

Based on a survey of auction houses conducted by the Professional Numismatists Guild, they reported the total sales at auction to be over $419 million. With COVID-19 causing the cancellation of every major show, the auction moved online with success.

A consistent comment is that the auctions provided a means for collectors to liquidate all or parts of their collections to raise money during the pandemic. But for this type of sale to be effective, there have to be bidders to buy the coins. The buyers came.

HiBid, an online auction platform that supports many auction houses, has consistently reported weekly sales on the tens-of-millions of dollars. This year, HiBid reports that traffic to coins.hibid.com was their fastest growing platform.

Finally, with the stock markets soaring with the economic uncertainty growing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Mint saw the sale of American Eagle gold and silver coins increase dramatically. In 2020, the U.S. Mint sold 884,000 ounces of American Gold Eagle coins, increasing 455% from the 152,000 ounces sold in 2019.

The sale of American Silver Eagle coins doubled from last year by selling 30.01 million ounces of silver.

Since the U.S. Mint reports bullion coins more regularly than collector coin sales, those coins’ impact is not reflected in these numbers.

There are collectors out there. Unfortunately, they are not members of the American Numismatic Association or other numismatic organizations. Maybe the numismatic community should use this as a lesson to try to grow the hobby.

And now the news…

 December 29, 2020
One face of the coin features a typical Cyberpunk 2077 scene with towering skyscrapers and hulking mega-structures looming over a souped-up motor vehicle. The coin’s flip side depicts a bust of Queen Elizabeth II, Press materials  → Read more at thefirstnews.com

 January 4, 2021
Queen Elizabeth is just months away from a milestone birthday — and the U.K.'s Royal Mint is already celebrating. The Royal Mint unveiled five new commemorative coins for 2021, including a £5 coin to mark the monarch's 95th birthday in April.  → Read more at people.com

 January 4, 2021
Kitco News has launched its 2021 Outlook, which offers the most comprehensive coverage of precious metals markets in the new year. Trillions of dollars were pumped into financial markets in 2020 and that won't come without consequences.  → Read more at kitco.com

 January 4, 2021
A coin collection in a backroom of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum could one day reveal Outer Banks history  → Read more at pilotonline.com

 January 8, 2021
With an alarming level of uncertainties across-the-board courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a return to high market volatility and unprecedented global economic stimulus, investors are increasingly seeking alternative investment strategies.  → Read more at thearmchairtrader.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for December 20, 2020

As 2020 rages to a close, the damage on the numismatic world will carry over in 2021. This week, the American Numismatic Association announced the National Money Show’s cancellation scheduled for March in Phoenix. Earlier in the week, the February Long Beach Expo was canceled.

Previously, the January Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show and the New York International Numismatic Convention. The Berlin Money Fair has canceled in-person events and will offer a virtual convention.

The U.S. Mint canceled coin launch ceremonies for the 2020 and 2021 America the Beautiful Quarters and American Innovation Dollars. Most are now virtual events.

The numismatic market appears strong based on the prices realized by the auction companies. With every auction company moving their auction online, many report better than expected returns from their auctions. Online auction services like eBay and HiBid report strong sales of numismatics across their platforms. Finally, the U.S. Mint is also boasting of enthusiastic demand, even with its online ordering system’s failures.

Other areas that are showing significant interest are where numismatics are including as part of other hobbies. The most significant growth is with the mints that are producing coins supporting the comic book industry. Some overseas observers report that sales of comic-themed coins produced by the New Zealand and Royal Australian Mints have shown increased sales as part of the holiday shopping season.

The numismatic industry appears to be doing very well. Too bad the numismatic organizations have not figured out a way to reinvent themselves to adapt to the current environment.

And now the news…

 December 11, 2020
 → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 December 11, 2020
A design by student Ymen Riahi, who attends St Nicholas Middle School in Rabat, was chosen for the last of a series of five €2 coins from the ‘From Children in Solidarity’ programme. The €2 commemorative coin will be issued on 14 December 2020 by the Central Bank of Malta.  → Read more at newsbook.com.mt

 December 14, 2020
Life as we know it may have ground to a halt in 2020, but treasure hunters appear to be going about business as usual. Witness the UK, where amateur archeologists have turned up thousands of gold coins and other antiquities since the start of the pandemic.  → Read more at robbreport.com

 December 14, 2020
Half of all consumers believe that cash should be withdrawn from circulation in the next 10 years.  → Read more at irishexaminer.com

 December 15, 2020
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former deep-sea treasure hunter is about to mark his fifth year in jail for refusing to disclose the whereabouts of 500 missing coins made from gold found in an historic shipwreck.  → Read more at timesleaderonline.com

 December 16, 2020
Berlin police raided homes and jewelry shops Wednesday on suspicion they could be connected to efforts to fence a massive 100-kilogram Canadian gold coin — piece by piece — that was stolen from a museum in the German capital.  → Read more at ctvnews.ca
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BREAKING NEWS (Corrected): ANA VOTES TO CANCEL NATIONAL MONEY SHOW

In a meeting this afternoon, the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors voted to cancel the National Money Show that was to be held in Phoenix, Arizona.

The vote was 7-2 with President Steve Ellsworth and Governor Mary Lynn Garrett voting against the measure.

The ANA has not made an official announcement pending discussions with the Phoenix Convention Center. The Board discussed the potential to schedule a future show in Phoenix.

This is breaking news. More to come…

Weekly World Numismatic News for December 13, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Treasurer Jovita Carranza signatures on the current Series 2017 Federal Reserve Notes

Paper money collectors will have something to add to their collections. President-elect Joe Biden announced that Janet Yellen is his nominee for Treasury Secretary. Yellen, who served as the 15th Chair of the Federal Reserve, has served as a Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will be the first woman to be appointed Treasury Secretary. It will also be the first time a woman’s signature appears on the Federal Reserve notes’ right side. For the left side where the Treasurer’s signature appears, women have held that office in every administration since Harry Truman appointed Georgia Neese Clark in 1949.

The transition team has not announced who will be the next Treasurer of the United States. Currently, the position has been vacant since January 2020. Jovita Carranza, the previous Treasurer, was appointed as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Just think, if Biden appoints a woman as Treasurer, there will be two women’s signatures on the Federal Reserve Notes.

Although there is no rule as to when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing changes the series of U.S. currency, recent history suggests that Yellen’s signature will first appear on Series 2021 notes. Even though the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will print billions of dollars in Federal Reserve Notes, it might be worth finding crisp notes with fancy serial numbers to put away for a while.

And now the news…

 December 8, 2020
Recovering from a stroke, a businessman rekindles his childhood passion for coins and stamps and builds up a multi-million-dollar collection now on display in a tiny museum in Dubai  → Read more at thehindubusinessline.com

 December 8, 2020
A hoard of 47 silver Roman coins and British Iron Age gold coins have been donated to a museum after being declared treasure.  → Read more at bbc.com

 December 9, 2020
News LAPEL, Ind. — A man who lost his decades-old coin collection after shipping it to his son wants to warn other people to be careful mailing valuables this holiday season.  → Read more at cbs4indy.com
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