Weekly World Numismatic News for October 13, 2019

Australian $1 X Coin

X is for Xantippe
(Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint)

George Santayana was a Spanish-American philosopher, writer, and poet who influenced many of the decision-makers in the early 20th Century. In 1905, Santayana wrote The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, where he wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In the chapter, Santayana was emphasizing the need to use every experience as a lesson to improve the future. The rest of the chapter discussed how to apply lessons from things that went well.

What does George Santayana have to do with numismatics? Numismaitcs has not learned from the past and making the same mistakes expecting a better outcome. In other words, the numismatic industry is fulfilling the axiom credited to Albert Einstien: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

What are we doing wrong? Let’s look at it in the context of this week’s news. Following the lead of the Royal Mint, the Royal Australian Mint is producing 26 limited-edition circulating one-dollar coins with the letters A to Z along with a depiction of something Australian that represents that letter. They call it the Great Aussie Coin Hunt.

Some letters are easy, like G for G’Day or V for Vegemite. Others do not have obvious names. When it came to X, the Royal Australian Mint picked Xantippe.

What is Xantippe?

Aussies were perplexed when trying to figure out who, what, or where Xantippe could be. That is when the Royal Australian Mint revealed that Xantippe is a small farming town in Western Australia.

For the Royal Australian Mint, it was the perfect way to get the message out about the new dollar coins. It caused a minor yet fun controversy that had the county talking about the series creating excitement about finding the coins.

In the UK, the Royal Mint had a similar program called The Great British Coin Hunt. In 2018, the Royal Mint issued 10 pence coins struck with British themes. Along with the other limited edition 50 pence themed coins, the Royal Mint keeps Brittons interested in coins by generating excitement about each release.

In the United States, we also saw excitement about looking for coins. We saw an increased awareness of coin collecting during the 50 States Quarters Program. Earlier this year, there was some interest shown over the release of the W mint quarters. The interest was not as strong as the 50 State Quarters, but people heard about the coin.

But that was for National Coin Week. What has happened since then?

Learn from the positive: by advertising, getting the word out, and promoting the coins, the US Mint is capable of getting people interested. By having the numismatic industry join them, people were paying attention.

Since the end of Nation Coin Week, the numismatic industry has been silent to those outside of the hobby. Most of the promotion has been like preaching to the choir. We get it. We got it. But you cannot keep an industry going that outsiders are claiming is dying.

Numismatics is not dying or near death. Like every hobby, it has problems to overcome. The first step to better health is to expand the base. The only way that could happen is if the numismatic industry does something radical: reach out consistently to everyone.

It is time to learn what worked in the past and stop doing the same things over again.

We can learn lessons from other industries. What about the collector car industry? Nearly 20 years ago, the collector car industry existed but was not that strong. The thought was that getting into cars was expensive, time-consuming, and confusing. Then Discovery Networks fell over the answer.

For Discovery, it started as HDNet, a television channel where they experimented with high definition content. They would create something in high definition and air it on HDNet to test the public’s reaction. Interestingly, the shows about cars were their most highly rated content. Then they contracted with Mecum Auctions to broadcast their events, and the ratings for a niche cable channel were higher than expected.

HDNet was renamed to Velocity. Now it is owned by Motor Trend, who rebranded the channel in its name.

Although the car hobby business was doing well, the trade publications point to the rise of HDNet and Velocity as a reason that the hobby is doing better than ever.

What can we learn from putting cars on television? First, there is an interested market out there that may not know where to turn for information. The shows provide both knowledge and entertainment. While there are shows that have a doctrine-like attitude, most are inclusive of all styles and interests.

Just like in numismatics, there is no single way to collect and enjoy cars. And like cars, there is a lot that can be used to teach everyone about history.

There was a multi-part series about the growth of the auto industry that followed many of the early titans, including Henry Ford, William Durant, and Walter Chrysler. One of the segments was their reactions to World War II, while the story was about how the automotive industry also showed how the country participated in the war effort.

What stories can be told about the 1943 steel cent? What about the “Shotgun Shell” cents struck in 1944 by recycling spent shells picked up from the training field?

How about some fun shows? Numismatic Jeopardy, where the questions are based on answers derived from something numismatic-related. For example, “It’s called the Old Line State.” The answer is on the reverse of the 2000 Maryland State Quarter!

Revive the old PBS show History Detectives and do it with numismatics. After all, they did investigate a coin said to be associated with Annie Oakley and a $6 Continental Currency note found in Omaha.

These are a few ideas. I am sure that others can come up with better ones.

Then again, that may mean that the industry will have to break out of its niche comfort zone and embrace something different.

And now the news…

 October 4, 2019

Metal detectorists have made many amazing discoveries down the years in Britain, with a great hoard of 2,600 coins just revealed last month. But there are strict rules regarding archaeological finds made by detectorists.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net


 October 6, 2019

The Royal Australian Mint is producing 26 limited-edition legal tender coins that will be given out as change at post offices over the coming weeks. The A to Z of Australiana could see you pocketing a Neighbours , Weet-Bix or didgeridoo $1 coin in your small change.  → Read more at news.com.au


 October 8, 2019

The UK’s Treasury plans to commemorate Brexit by minting millions of 50 pence ($0.61) coins. But like many of the Conservative government’s recent moves, there is a major flaw: the imprint date will be the Oct.  → Read more at qz.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for October 6, 2019

The Coin Broker

Rebecca Clay Pippin’s husband Jason Pippin hangs the Coin Broker’s sign on their new storefront at 1604 Laurel St. in San Carlos. (Image courtesy of the San Mateo Daily Journal)

Two stories this week say different things on the state of the hobby. On Wednesday, a report that said The Coin Broker moved from their former Palo Alto home of 40 years to a new location in San Carlos. Rebecca Clay Pippin will now run the shop founded by her father, Jim Beer.

Meanwhile, in Worcester, Massachusetts, the owner of Lincoln Stamp and Coin Company announce the shop will be closing at the end of October. Owner David J. Ephraim cited that he could not continue to pay rent in Worcester, “operating on a slim profit margin, and collectors are an aging group, with few younger customers walking through the door.”

Both situations demonstrate the same problems with different solutions. Commercial rents are too high. Commercial insurance is too high. Security costs are too high. And many of these businesses are trying to survive on thin margins.

The Coin Broker solved its problem by moving to a new location. Although moving is time consuming, costly, and filled with emotion, the story makes it seem like they are ready to turn the page and continue.

For Lincoln Stamp and Coin, Ephriam is not as bullish on the market. His business does not see enough younger collectors, his regulars are either retired or dying, and those collecting are buying on the Internet.

Two stories with the same underlying problems. Two different solutions. But the hobby continues with one less place that collectors can go to buy coins.

And now the news…

 September 28, 2019

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) estimates that at least J$100 million in one- 10- and 25-cent coins, the ‘red’ money, is ‘lost in circulation’ in the Jamaican economy, and has partnered with GraceKennedy (GK) Money Service in a recovery drive.  → Read more at jamaica-gleaner.com


 September 30, 2019

A national treasure hunt has been launched, and Australia is very much at the centre. The coins are marked to celebrate all things iconic to Australia: the meat pie, a boomerang, Vegemite, and a Hills Hoist, just to name a few.  → Read more at katherinetimes.com.au


 October 2, 2019

Most people use banks as a place to either borrow money or store it. But some lucky coin enthusiasts have found a unique way to get money out of the bank: bringing home rolls of coins and searching through them for ones worth more than their face value.  → Read more at cnbc.com


 October 2, 2019

When Jim Beer opened the Coin Broker in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village shopping center some 40 years ago, he was retiring as a civil engineer and looking to  → Read more at smdailyjournal.com


 October 3, 2019

PM Narendra Modi released the commemorative coins of Rs 150 denomination to celebrate Mahatma Gandhiji’s 150 th birthday. The event took place in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on October 2, 2019 when the Prime Minister reached the Sabarmati Riverfront to participate in the proceedings of the Swacch Bharat Divas program.  → Read more at businessinsider.in


 October 4, 2019

A steamship that sank in 1840 after colliding with another ship off the coast of South Carolina contains a trove of rare gold coins, according to the dive team salvaging the wreck.  → Read more at foxnews.com


 October 5, 2019

WORCESTER — The bidding board is still covered with coins and envelopes are full of stamps, but the buzz is gone from Lincoln Stamp and Coin Co. The venerable business that was once the place to go for people looking for a special stamp or unique coin, is selling off its inventory and closing its doors, probably for good.  → Read more at telegram.com


 October 6, 2019

Metal detectorists have made many amazing discoveries down the years in Britain, with a great hoard of 2,600 coins just revealed last month. But there are strict rules regarding archaeological finds made by detectorists.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 29, 2019

While reading the news from around the world, it is easy to understand why numismatics is not well received in the United States. Compared to numismatic-related articles from countries like the United Kingdom, France, and India, U.S. reporting lives down to the reputation that politicians claim.

For example, in The Trentonian, the newspaper of record for Trenton, New Jersey, columnist L.A. Parker wrote an opinion piece that calls for the elimination of the “penny.” Although the article reads like Parker was trying to add a little snarkiness, his premise lies flatter than a coin.

If Parker were a proper journalist, he would recognize that the article contains one significant mistake that ranks high on my pet peeve list. The lowest denomination coin produced by the U.S. Mint is the CENT. While it is colloquially called a “penny,” the penny as the lowest denomination of the British coin system.

The difference is clear. If one looks at the reverse of the two coins, each has their denominations spelled out.

Lately, the U.S. Mint has been adding to the confusion by using the word “penny” instead of “cent.” The significant abuser appears to be U.S. Mint Director David Ryder. While previous directors and acting directors have been careful with the name, it seems to have loosened its language since the appointment of Ryder. Ryder should know better since this is not his first appointment to the U.S. Mint.

Adding to the confusion in Parker’s article, he cites statistics in favor of the cent that was compiled by Americans for Common Cents. Americans for Common Cents is a lobbying organization dedicated to preserving the United States’ lowest denomination coin.

According to Parker, “Pennies no longer matter.” If the one-cent coin no longer matters, then why does the U.S. Mint produce over 13 billion of them each year?

The primary client of the U.S. Mint is the Federal Reserve. Every year, the Federal Reserve places an order for the U.S. Mint to produce coins for circulation. Although the order can be updated during the year, the Federal Reserve rarely requests few coins. It means that the U.S. Mint manufactures coin the Federal Reserve will buy.

The U.S. Mint does produce coins for the collector market. But in comparison to their circulating coin production, the numismatic market is tiny.

Naturally, this leads to wondering if the coins no longer matter, then why is the Federal Reserve asking the U.S. Mint to manufacture and deliver over 13 billion coins?

And now the news…

 September 22, 2019

Two women have designed a commemorative coin to recognize 100 years since the Boll Weevil monument was erected. Enterprise high school Quarterbacks club secretary Judi Stinnett got the design idea from a coin she received at the Diamond Jubilee over 60 years ago.  → Read more at wtvy.com


 September 22, 2019

The South African Mint Company are doing something a little different to celebrate 25 years of democracy in this country. So what better way to commemorate “power to the people” than by handing them control of what should appear on the new R2 coin?  → Read more at thesouthafrican.com


 September 23, 2019

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a coin dealer from Fort Salonga was arraigned for a $330,000 cross-country coin consignment and sale scheme that targeted coin dealers and private collectors from California, Michigan, Ohio and Long Island.  → Read more at longisland.com


 September 24, 2019

A builder is celebrating after finding a huge haul of 1,000-year-old silver coins worth £50,000 – including one from Lincolnshire which experts have never seen before. Don Crawley, 50, was searching for buried treasure in farmland using his metal detector when he discovered the haul.  → Read more at lincolnshirelive.co.uk


 September 24, 2019

(Image: © FIRST/Jack Kamen/NASA via collectSPACE.com) The United States Mint will memorialize the first teacher who launched toward space with a new coin that will help continue her mission of science and technology education.  → Read more at space.com


 September 25, 2019

Have only seven red cents to my name and soon a self-description will employ penniless as identification. Not ready for the poorhouse though as poor mouth expressions mean only that all pennies have been removed from jars, drawers and a car console.  → Read more at trentonian.com


 September 26, 2019

AN EXTREMELY rare copper coin marking King Edward VIII's short reign has sold for a record price of £133,000. The Edward VIII 1937 Pattern Penny was created as a trial coin by the Royal Mint ahead of his coronation in the same year.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 September 26, 2019

Lori Ann Lewis was doing charity work in downtown Orlando when, by chance, she ran into someone who worked in the gold business. It was in the lobby of the Seacoast Bank skyscraper in 2016, just before the presidential election, when she met Susan Kitzmiller, an employee at U.S.  → Read more at orlandosentinel.com


 September 28, 2019

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) estimates that at least J$100 million in one- 10- and 25-cent coins, the ‘red’ money, is ‘lost in circulation’ in the Jamaican economy, and has partnered with GraceKennedy (GK) Money Service in a recovery drive.  → Read more at jamaica-gleaner.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 22, 2019

While perusing the news sources looking for numismatic-related news in the general media, I am noticing that there is an increase in crimes involving coin dealers. Between robberies or scams against dealers, the escalation of crime is noticeable and concerning.

Any business that handles money is a potential target for criminals. Even with the policies of dropping excess cash into time-locked safes, criminals will rob any store where they can easily take a few dollars.

What makes robberies from coin dealers concerning is that these types of crimes increase when the criminals are looking for a more significant take when their economic situation appears to be getting worse.

Although the markets may be up and the unemployment numbers are low, the indications are that the economy has some soft spots that should be concerning to everyone. The number of people taking contingent and alternative employment arrangement, sometimes called the gig economy, has risen in the last year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that much of the rise in the gig economy is being used to supplement regular income.

In the last month, silver has been a rise of nearly $2 since the beginning of August. Even though silver has dropped to $17.88 from a $19.30 high in September, economic indicators suggest that global affairs will prevent the price from falling. These investors will be affected by a potential oil crisis following the bombing of Saudia Arabian oil fields and the trade war caused by tariffs.

Gold has been relatively flat over the last few months although up for the year. As an investment instrument, gold is favored by large and institutional investors. What is preventing their rise is that on a larger scale, they are not as worried by global affairs. The investments they are involved with are not as affected by a potential oil crisis and a Chinese trade war. Many have isolated themselves from these issues.

The concern is that the split in the economic effect will cause those at the lower ends to try to find some relief by turning to crime. A stolen American Gold Eagle coin has the potential to yield a better return than robbing a convenience store.

As some dealers are pushing the sales of gold, think about what they are saying about the economy.

And now the news…

 September 12, 2019

OYSTER BAY, NY — A Fort Salonga coin dealer has been accused in a $330,000 coin consignment and sales scheme in which he bilked several coin dealers and private collectors out of money, gold and collectible coins under the guise of legitimate coin deals, prosecutors said.  → Read more at patch.com


 September 13, 2019

Photographer: Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images Congestion and constant flooding in the Philippine capital are prompting the central bank to move its mint away from the city. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas signed a deal Friday to relocate its production facility for coins and bank notes to New Clark City, a former U.S. air base where the government is building a back-up capital.  → Read more at bloomberg.com


 September 16, 2019

Julien Perrotte stood in front of the representative at his local bank last week, unsure he properly understood what she was telling him. He was carrying about $800 worth of coins, sorted and rolled, that he had collected over the past year.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 September 17, 2019

September 18, 2019 – Sibenik was the first city in Croatia to mint its own money during the Venetian period. Today, the city has released a new sweet souvenir in its honor. HRTurizam writes that back in 1485, the Venice Council of Nine approved the minting and use of Sibenik's coins – known as the bagatin, which was a means of payment in the city for more than two centuries.  → Read more at total-croatia-news.com


 September 17, 2019

Break-in happened Aug. 30 in Silver Spring Montgomery County police released surveillance video Tuesday of a man stealing what they estimate to be $6,500 in property from a downtown Silver Spring rare-coin store on Aug.  → Read more at bethesdamagazine.com


 September 17, 2019

More and more people are swapping cash for contactless payments – which means fewer coins are being made. That means the Royal Mint, the company which produces coins for the UK, don't make as many anymore.  → Read more at bbc.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 8, 2019

Chew Valley Hoard

Post Norman Conquest coins found in Sommerset, England (Pippa Pearce/© The Trustees of the British Museum via Smithsonian Magazine)

While talking about the hoard of coins that dates back to the time of William the Conqueror in England, someone said that they wished they could find treasures like that in the United States. That prompted me to talk with metal detector enthusiasts to hear their stories.

One of the people I spoke with regularly uses a metal detector around the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Delaware. Although most of the coins found are from the 20th century, many of the finds include artifacts leftover from earlier settlers. They have found some older copper coins, buttons and bullets from the Civil War, and utensils dating to the colonial period.

The leader of a small group of enthusiasts travels the midwest along know migration trails. Some are now roads and highways, while others have returned to nature. They regularly find artifacts of life on the move. Although they rarely find money, the items they find have made their way into museums and university research centers that study the lives of the western migrants.

Finally, someone who has explored eastern Washington, Idaho, western Montana and Canada discovered artifacts that confirmed and expanded the stories of border disputes in that area. In that era, the disputes were not about security but about who claimed the profit from the resources.

Although metal detector finds in the United States may not find anything more valuable than a few coins, bullets, and buttons, they do find the evidence of history. Unless you stumble over another Saddle Ridge Hoard, finding history can be as gratifying.

And now the news…

 August 29, 2019

Shortly after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, a wealthy local buried a trove of 2,528 coins in what is now Somerset, England. Featuring the likenesses of both Harold II—the country’s last crowned Anglo-Saxon king—and his successor, William the Conqueror, the hoard is the largest collection of post-Norman Conquest coins found to date.  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com


 August 30, 2019

Manitoba lottery officials modify their machines to close a loophole exploited by gamblers. 1:32 When was the last time you saw a 50-cent piece?  → Read more at cbc.ca


 September 1, 2019

In mid-September, Macquarie Mint will release 500 Red-Back Spider $1 coins as part of its aptly named 'Deadly & Dangerous' collection. There are six more in the series, ranging from the dingo to the great white shark.  → Read more at lifehacker.com.au


 September 2, 2019

Better known for lagging, sagging, floundering and falling, Canadian currency now boasts a distinction both impressive and unique: It pulsates. Well, one $10 silver collector’s coin appears to do so thanks to a “numismatic breakthrough” that the Royal Canadian Mint heralds as a world-first.  → Read more at resourceclips.com


 September 2, 2019

OTTAWA , Sept. 3, 2019 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to launch a numismatic breakthrough from its ambitious and creative Research and Development team. Working with the University of Ottawa's Centre for Research in Photonics, the R+D team has created the 2020 $10 Fine Silver Coin – Pulsating Maple Leaf, engraved with an array of sub-millimeter-scale mirrors in the shape of a maple leaf on the reverse of this 99.99% pure silver coin.  → Read more at finance.yahoo.com


 September 3, 2019

As the 150th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. Branch Mint in Carson City draws closer, the Nevada State Museum is expanding the days it showcases one of the Mint’s most enduring artifacts. For much of the summer, the museum has been giving history lessons and minting medallions every Friday on Historic Coin Press 1 — the original coin press used when the Mint opened in February 1870.  → Read more at carsonnow.org


 September 4, 2019

TORONTO, Sept. 4, 2019 /CNW/ – For the first time in three decades, Canada's rarest coin – the 1911 silver dollar – will be on public display in its home country. This weekend, on Sept. 7-8, the 108-year-old silver dollar will be displayed at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, to be held at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale.  → Read more at newswire.ca


 September 5, 2019

Rare currency expert Alfredo Cimino has never seen the 1911 silver dollar, but he’s heard of it. Everyone in the business has. Nicknamed the Emperor or Holy Grail of Canadian coins, it’s held many heavyweight titles in the world of numismatics, or professional coin collection and study, including the world’s most valuable coin, in 1965, and Canada’s rarest coin, which it retains to this day.  → Read more at theglobeandmail.com


 September 5, 2019

A rare example of Bermuda “Hogge Money” — a coin which was produced in the early 1600s — sold for $96,000 when it was auctioned last night, with the coin one of only eight examples known to exist. “The Sommer Islands coinage was produced in England circa 1616 for use in the British colony now known as Bermuda,” the auction house noted, with the “Hogge Money” coins issued in four denominations: shilling, sixpence, threepence, and twopence.  → Read more at bernews.com


 September 6, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — As special as it is for those involved, a class of new members gets enshrined annually in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. That makes it somewhat less exclusive than the minting of a coin – which is part of this year’s ceremony as well.  → Read more at nba.com

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Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for September 1, 2019

Token for a free bottle of Coca-Cola in 1915-16

While perusing the news for numismatic-related stories, some of the searches tend to find letters to the editors from people who tell a part of their collecting stories. This week, I came across a letter from a collector in the outer suburbs of the Chicago area.

Gregory Martin wrote to the editor for KendallCountyNOW.com that he would ” like to bring to mind the concept of starting your young ones on starting a coin collection.”

In three of the four paragraphs, Martin shows his passion for both collecting and how it relates to history. He mentions the 3-cent nickel and the 1943 steel cents as gateways into understanding what was happening in our country’s history.

Martin may have touched on something that today’s teachers can use to explain history. For example, the story of westward expansion was more about economics than exploration. People left the east for better opportunities, to find gold, discover silver, or for 40 acres and a mule. These stories can be taught using the money of the times.

As collectors, we know about fractional currency, postage stamp money, and why arrows periodically appear on minor coinage of the time. However, using these tangible items as props, a teacher can explain the history and show the results by using the money of the time.

Every coin, currency, and token is a reflection of the times when and where produced. A teacher can use the history of the San Francisco Mint to teach about the Gold Rush and the Great Earthquake of 1906.

The New Orleans Mint had its place in the Civil War.

The Carson City Mint is as much a story about the old west as it is about the economic battles, including the Crime of ’73.

One Dollar Baltimore B-Note featuring Frederick Douglas and a Baltimore oriole.

Trade and sales tax tokens can show how stores, states, and municipalities tried to work through the Great Depression. Transportation tokens show how transportation had grown in the 20th century. And how some cities, like Baltimore, issue its own “currency” to help promote local business.

Using numismatics to learn about history goes beyond the United States’ borders. After becoming interested in Canadian coins, I learned more about the British monarchy and the decline of the monarch’s power by studying the transitions from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.

After finding three banknotes from the State of Chihuahua, I learned more about the Mexican Revolution after trying to understand why currency for a three-year state existed.

Maybe it is time to take the saying “history in your hand” and turn it into something tangible. After all, a handful of trade and sales tax tokens may have more of an impact than just reading about the Great Depression.

And now the news…

 August 18, 2019

A Utah businessman paid $1.32 million for a dime last week at a Chicago coin auction. It wasn't just any 10-cent piece; the 1894-S Barber Dime is one of only 24 that were ever made, according to Stack's Bowers Galleries, which held the auction Thursday night.  → Read more at cnn.com


 August 24, 2019

TREASURE-hunters have dug up a hoard of ancient silver coins dating back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 – worth an impressive £5million. A metal-detecting couple made the lucky find while searching an unploughed field on a farm in north-east Somerset.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 August 24, 2019

Such a hobby does not take a lot to start and can be rewarding in so many ways. To start with you learn about money and in it's many denominations, including the Civil War 3 cent nickel! In American collecting you can observe the way our country grew and developed, gaining a perspective on people and actions of this great nation.  → Read more at kendallcountynow.com


 August 24, 2019

For the first time in almost half a century the Treasury has ordered the Royal Mint to stop producing any 1p or 2p coins. The crackdown on coppers comes at a time when all our cash is under threat – with banks preferring that we pay for goods online or with cards because it saves them money.  → Read more at thisismoney.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 25, 2019

Glenn B Smedley Medal

2019 Glenn B Smedley Medal

Since the numismatic news has been light this week, I would like to answer some of the criticism received for last week’s post about my not attending the World’s Fair of Money.

The allegedly offending paragraph began, “One of the reasons I could not be at the World’s Fair of Money was because I was attending two seminars from another show.” (emphasis added)

First, every critic missed the first four words: ONE OF THE REASONS. It was not the only reason. I disclose a lot about myself and my life outside of collecting on this blog. I do not reveal everything. Attending the seminars was only one of the reasons. The other is I have a business to run.

Regular readers know that I started a business last year that is not numismatic-related. While my company does handle some numismatic items, these are not my focus. To maintain a new business, I have to make decisions that I may not like today but will help me in the future. I decided it was not in my business’s best interest for me to leave to attend the World’s Fair of Money.

Critics suggested that I could have attended the virtual seminar from my hotel room in Rosemont. While it sounds logical, let’s look at reality. Hotel Wi-Fi is not conducive to attending an interactive workshop for three hours. Hotel Wi-Fi services are not designed for that type of service. It may support downloading your latest streaming movie, but it does so with the support that you do not see. Since this is not a technical blog, I will tell you as a retired computer person that what you see and what is reality are very different.

Then there’s the question of being cost-effective. I run a startup business. While I have early success, it takes a lot of resources to build a business. I asked about the cost-effectiveness of sitting in a hotel room for a six-hour seminar. The answered varied but did not answer the question about whether the cost adds up.

Nearly every one of the naysayers in email and those who commented was established, dealers. All are over the age of 50. None would answer the question as to whether they would have attended a show that was not related to their business in their first few years of business.

I suspect that many of them have suppressed their early struggles as they have become successful.

I applaud each of their successes. But each has forgotten that the success came at a cost. Even though I might be around their age, I am running a new business and am enduring the struggles they faced at a younger age. It is more difficult for me now than it was for them in the past.

Some who have engaged in a conversation, I asked whether they understood my point? They did not get it!

Where is the outreach beyond the four walls of the convention center? Why is the entire show confined to the convention center? Why is there no attempt to get other people interested who did not attend or could not attend?

The bottom line is why is the ANA not broadcasting the World’s Fair of Money online to a broader audience?

It is possible to contribute the ANA without attending a convention. How do I know this? I have the Glenn Smedley Award to prove it can be done! I did not set out to win awards. I set out to improve the ANA and make it accessible to more people. I set out to move the ANA into the 21st century with technology. I see technology as the force that will promote the ANA.

I also see the Luddite attitude of some as the force that will be the ANA’s demise.

There are many issues the ANA faces, and I am concerned about how the organization’s use of technology will affect its future. I have three concerns that the ANA should address:

  • Broadcasting from the National Money Show and World’s Fair of Money. With all due respect to the older members, sometimes it is not possible to show up. With the technology available, the ANA must start broadcasting from the show floors, meeting rooms, and even the auctions. News, interviews, activities, and just plain showing off to an Internet audience will keep current members engaged and spark new interest.
  • Online education must be expanded to include courses for the experienced collector and non-collector. The ANA must go beyond was previously discussed. It did not go far enough. The effort was like trying to smell a rose at arms-length because there is a thorn on the side. The ANA must commit to bringing robust education services online or stop trying to dabble.
  • Aside from expanding technology in these areas, another enhancement would be to add technology to the exhibits. With all due respect to the exhibit committee and those who have created great exhibits, static displays are in yesterday’s museums. Museum and other exhibits are not becoming interactive. Even the Manley Library exhibits have rotating displays the allow visitors to view both sides of the object. Under current rules, it is challenging to add electronic aids to exhibits. Having access to electricity for each of the cases must be an option for exhibitors. Having access to the Internet must be an option for exhibitors. Add this capability and watch the exhibits really pop!

As of now, I believe I am still Chair of the money.org Committee, the former Technology Committee. If ANA President Steve Ellsworth chooses to allow me to continue in this position, I will work to help the ANA move forward with these goals.

And now the news…

 August 19, 2019

A Utah businessman paid $1.32 million for a dime last week at a Chicago coin auction. It wasn’t just any 10-cent piece; the 1894-S Barber Dime is one of only 24 that were ever made, according to Stack’s Bowers Galleries, which held the auction Thursday night. Only nine of the coins are confirmed to still exist.  → Read more at ktla.com


 August 20, 2019

The oldest coins minted for colonial Australia have gone on show at the Royal Australian Mint, allowing visitors to lay eyes…  → Read more at the-riotact.com


 August 21, 2019

(MENAFN – Newsroom Panama)  The 50 cent coins  that were minted to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of Panama City, 500  → Read more at menafn.com


 August 21, 2019

The prosecutor said that Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio "is effectively unable to enjoy life without conceiving new criminal ventures."  → Read more at providencejournal.com


 August 22, 2019

Gold prices have been hitting a fresh high everyday since Tuesday.  → Read more at indiatoday.in


 August 23, 2019

The penny will go on show for the first time at Saffron Walden Museum on Saturday August 24  → Read more at bishopsstortfordindependent.co.uk

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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 4, 2019

Congress is nothing if not full of shallow people who would pander to their own mothers if it meant winning a vote or two. Their shallowness is on display just before they go on an extended break when members drop bills into the virtual hopper for consideration.

In the old days, members of Congress would write have the bills printed on paper and dropped into a physical hopper. The Clerk of the House would empty the hopper and enter new bills into the Congressional Record and add it to the calendar. The bills are sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) for publications. Nowadays, the hopper is virtual. The submittal process is all by the press of the button — however, the still prints the bills and the Congressional Record causing delays in reporting.

Members of Congress know this and can milk a story for days while they travel back to their districts for their summer break.

It is excellent public relations for these people whose approval rating is lower than drain cleaner. So in between the bills to rename Post Offices, federal buildings, and sections of highway are bills to create commemorative coins. Congress gets a nice writeup about these bills that they hope their constituents will remember knowing most people have short attention spans.

The numismatic media is no different than any other press sectors. Every numismatic-related bill that is introduced gets banner headline coverage even though very few will receive a hearing. The only difference in their reporting is that the numismatic media will bury the term “if it passes” somewhere in its reporting.

Then, when a bill passes one chamber and sent across to the other, someone is breaking out the champagne. Except someone forgot that we are talking about Congress where nothing is easy. Sure, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) and the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (S. 239) passed the Senate, but the House has not accepted these bills. Members of the House will not let these bills in the front door because they are revenue-generating bills, which constitutionally must be introduced in the House.

It was particularly interesting when a Tennessee newspaper lauded Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for S. 1235 without noting that the bill introduced by this one-time member of the House is blocked for violating the constitution.

I find this stuff fascinating. Then again, I used to work for the federal government!

And now the news…

 July 28, 2019

We’ve had a whole host of new currency introduced recently, but what should you do if you still have old coins or notes knocking about? The answer depends on what kind of currency you have, and how long ago it went out of date – while you can still exchange the recently changed notes and coins, you may be out of luck if you find any half-pence or farthings.  → Read more at simplybusiness.co.uk


 July 30, 2019

A Vancouver Island man has spent the last 10 years uncovering thousands of items using his metal detector — many of which are historic and valuable, he says.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 July 30, 2019

Nearly two years after they stopped being legal tender, 145 million old-style £1 coins are still missing.  → Read more at bbc.com


 July 30, 2019

Collectors are only too happy to share the history of their collections with visitors  → Read more at gulfnews.com


 July 30, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From Satchel Paige to Jackie Robinson and Buck O’ Neil, several of baseball’s iconic players began their professional careers with the Negro Leagues in Kansas City. Now those legends, along with countless others, could be honored with a special, commemorative coin.  → Read more at fox4kc.com


 August 1, 2019

Twin Cities coin dealer Barry R. Skog has been sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright for perpetrating a counterfeit coin fraud scheme.  → Read more at startribune.com


 August 2, 2019

The PIL filed by the National Association for the Blind (NAB) sought directions to the RBI to include distinctive features in coins and in currency notes, so visually-challenged persons can easily identify the same.  → Read more at hindustantimes.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 28, 2019

One of the indicators as to how the markets view the economy is the price of precious metals. When there is uncertainty in the markets, investors leave the equity markets and buy precious metals. When that happens, it will have an impact on most pre-1965 coins.

Marketwatch reported that silver hit a 13-month high about the same time Iran captured a Britsh tanker. Since then, the silver market leveled out with few signs of dropping. Silver is not selling for at the same level as seen during the economic crisis in as it approached 2011, there continues to be upward pressure on its price.

Silver investing is sometimes called the “poor man’s gold.” When the average investor is uncertain and looks for a safer investment, they will buy silver while the wealthier investors will buy gold. Palladium has emerged as the new investment vehicle for investors with means.

Gold has been more erratic with wild swings in both directions depending on the news of the day. A precious metals fund manager who manages several diverse portfolios called the divergence of the markets curious. There is not a clear explanation for the current rise of silver. If someone were trying to manipulate the market, the prices would climb faster. All she could tell was there were a lot of low-end investors buying into silver.

30-day Gold Chart (will not update—Courtesy of Kitco)

For numismatics, the rising price of silver can be problematics. As the price of silver rises, the value of your coins will increase. However, adding to your collection will cost more, especially on those collectible coins whose value is tied to the price of silver.

Those responsible for investing in these markets are beginning to worry. If investors are buying silver as a safe haven, there could be a feeling of a pending economic crisis. Only time will tell if they are right.

And now the news…

 July 24, 2019

Present-day tenants of home owned by Jewish family before the Holocaust find jars containing 2,800 coins from as far back as the Roman Empire and as far away as India  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 July 24, 2019

A hoard of Roman coins dating from the time of Queen Boudicca have been found by a metal detectorist in a field. What makes this find especially fascinating is that they may have been hidden there during one of the most interesting periods in Britain’s early history, the revolt against Rome led by the Celtic Queen Boudicca.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com


 July 24, 2019

Silver futures settle at a 13-month high on Monday, outpacing strength in gold, which saw prices eke out only a modest gain despite rising tensions between…  → Read more at marketwatch.com

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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 21, 2019

While there was plenty of news this week, I want to take this opportunity to use myself as an example. Some may have noticed that the blog was taken down for a little more than a day earlier this week. The downtime was necessary to clean up after my account was attacked.

The attack occurred after I had given the person who is maintaining my company’s website the administrative passwords. Although that person did not attack my account, the use of compromised services on the Internet allowed the attack to happen.

Being attacked by malware on the Internet is nothing new. I am sure that most of you experienced an attack either of a website, your email, or social media account. The clean up is not fun. The embarrassment after spending a career as an information security profession is enormous.

I do pay attention to my version of the world to make sure that what I am involved with does not cause problems. Even so, something got passed my watch and infected my entire account, including this blog and the news site.

I have written about security issues in the past. As my experience has shown, letting down your guard can lead to an unintentional disaster.

I know that Internet security is both problematic and annoying. Having to watch over your virtual shoulders can make the time you spend online unpleasant. But it has to be done. You have to stay aware because the threats adapt as you do.

Fans of Hill Street Blues will remember that after the morning briefing, Sergeant Phil Esterhaus would say, “Let’s be careful out there.” Sound advice for the Internet age.

And now the news…

 July 14, 2019

London (CNN Business)Alan Turing, a crack code-breaker and visionary mathematician who was convicted under Victorian-era homophobic laws, will be the face of Britain's new £50 note. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced Monday that Turing, who killed himself in 1954 after he was subjected to chemical castration, will appear on the new polymer note by the end of 2021.  → Read more at cnn.com


 July 17, 2019

Nick Vorsin wasn’t sure what he’d find when he stopped in at the Calgary Coin Gallery, but he ended up buying a couple of nice surprises: two 1967 Canadian Centennial coins. One was a 50 cent piece, featuring an image of a howling wolf, along with a silver dollar featuring a Canada goose.  → Read more at globalnews.ca


 July 17, 2019

(UPDATED) A study finds that Filipinos frequently use P20 bills, leading to the banknote's wear and tear. A coin version will extend its life span. MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The orange P20 bill will soon get a coin counterpart, an official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Wednesday, July 17.  → Read more at rappler.com


 July 18, 2019

Before you say, "Keep the change," make sure you don’t have one of these. You never know, one of your pennies could be worth the price of a nice dinner out — or maybe a whole lot more.  → Read more at cnbc.com


 July 21, 2019

Richard Hayes left a $45 million coin on the streets of Manhattan all day Tuesday, but he wasn’t particularly worried about a thief carting it off.  → Read more at marketwatch.com


 July 21, 2019

Rusty Goe has spent much of his professional life on a deep dive into the history of the U.S. Mint in Carson City. He’s written multiple books on the subject and spent thousands of hours in research, getting to know the people who worked there 150 years ago.  → Read more at carsonnow.org


 July 21, 2019

There was an increase in hoarding coins during the "tumultuous" reign of the queen, an expert says.  → Read more at bbc.com

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