Weekly World Numismatic News for October 17, 2021

One of the reasons for the delay with the Weekly World Numismatic News is that I have been looking into a report of worldwide e-commerce issues under the radar.

After ordering a box of flips and other storage products from a small company, a representative called to say that the transaction did not go through. According to the representative, overseas attackers are trying to hack shopping cart sites to steal merchandise and credit card information. Rather than attacking the entire site, the hackers are targeting individual shops. They are looking for sites that are not configured correctly.

During the telephone call, the representative said they turned off credit card verification and the system “throws the credit card away.” I know this vendor, but I am still not comfortable.

E-commerce is supposed to make purchasing goods and services more accessible. But when hackers are driving vendors to verify credit cards by telephone, it is not making e-commerce easy. Thankfully, I received an announcement for local shows. Maybe it’s time to spend money there.

By the way, a source told me that the Baltimore Convention Centre would be open when the Whitman Expo is scheduled in November.

And now the news…

 October 8, 2021
Subscribe now! EUREKA — Walker Hilbert sat on the ground one recent Saturday, next to a small mound of dirt. He waved a wand above the soil, and the device chirped encouragingly.  → Read more at stltoday.com

 October 14, 2021
King County sheriff warns of counterfeit bills FALL CITY, Wash. — A Fall City grocery store fell victim to a man using a counterfeit $100 bill Tuesday, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.  → Read more at kiro7.com
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 ANA College Scholarship Renamed (Oct 14, 2021)

 

Weekly World Numismatic News for October 10, 2021

The weekly numismatic news report is late for the same reason the U.S. Mint cannot run an ordering system. It seems that the dangers to online systems are growing.

Every week, I am receiving reports from collectors being scammed by Chinese counterfeiters. People are providing pointers to websites and other sellers that are pushing counterfeit coins. The most common coin is the American Silver Eagle.

Last week, the parent company of HiBid, one of the largest online auction platform after eBay, was struck with a ransomeware attack. HiBid was taken down Thursday, September 30 through Monday, October 4. To add insult to injury, HiBid crashed again on Sunday, October 10 because bidders overloaded their systems.

As I am looking for new business opportunities, several eBay sellers are also looking for alternate selling venues. They are complaining about how eBay has handled the conversion to charging sales tax collection. New programs do not include the small sellers. Although eBay has always preferred high-volume sellers, now they are adding programs to benefit those that sell high-value items. And some sellers are reporting driven crazy by eBay’s new payment system.

With all this happening, then how does one buy online? I have been buying from eBay. It has been a convenient way to find interesting out-of-print numismatic books and tokens from New York. My other buying venues have been the U.S. Mint, the Royal Mint, and Apmex.

Maybe it’s time to look for other purchase venues.

 October 5, 2021
Two men have denied charges relating to a Viking hoard of historically important coins and silver worth almost £1m. Roger Pilling, 73, and Craig Best, 44, appeared before Durham Crown Court to plead not guilty to all charges.  → Read more at news.sky.com

 October 5, 2021
Over 600 coins unearthed in a field in western Zealand will initially go on display at Sorø Museum before moving to the capital It has emerged that a significant silver coin treasure from the late Viking Age has been discovered in Denmark.   → Read more at cphpost.dk

 October 6, 2021
A pensioner's secret stash of rare coins has sold for a staggering £185,000 at auction – well over double the estimate. John Cross, 72, from Canterbury, died with few knowing of his extraordinary collection, which has been described by experts as among the most important of its kind outside any UK museum.  → Read more at kentonline.co.uk
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Weekly World Numismatic News for October 3, 2021

The Sun is searching eBay for interesting coins and hyping the prices as part of their U.S. Edition (Image courtesy of The U.S. Sun)

While perusing the news across the Internet, I noticed that The Sun, the British tabloid with a mix of interesting news and other cultural stories, has launched a version for the United States. The Sun also has an assignment editor responsible for hyping sales U.S. coins on eBay.

In the U.K. version of The Sun, someone watches eBay auctions and writes about whatever sells for more than face value. There are many stories about the extraordinary prices for the sale of 50 pence circulating commemoratives, error coins, and some demonetized the Royal Mint issues.

Now that The Sun is publishing for the United States market, an editor is watching eBay for the sale of U.S. coins. Although most of the stories have been about error coins, they have picked up on higher prices of classic coins. Almost all of their stories have been about what appears to be well-preserved ungraded coins. These are the type of coins that someone might find in a relative’s draw.

These columns have a lot of fans in the United Kingdom. It will be interesting to see if they catch on in the United States.

And now the news…

 September 27, 2021
Freedivers in Spain notified the authorities after finding a handful of gold coins dating to the fall of the Western Roman Empire (Image credit: Xàbia City Council; University of Alicante )  → Read more at livescience.com

 September 28, 2021
Research commissioned by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) shows that there is an economic case for introducing a R10 coin in South Africa – however, there are concerns about uptake from the public, says Pradeep Maharaj, the central bank’s chief operating officer.  → Read more at businesstech.co.za

 September 29, 2021
FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintFriendly A commemorative $1 coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint marks the 125th anniversary of the discovery of gold in the Klondike region of Yukon.  → Read more at rcinet.ca

 October 2, 2021
The story of how a poor Irish migrant from Donegal became the face of American’s ten-dollar gold coin has been made into a documentary. Mary Cunningham, a native of Carrick, was working in a restaurant in New Hampshire when she caught the eye of the famous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  → Read more at irishcentral.com

 October 3, 2021
MANILA – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Sunday called for a law against hoarding of extremely large volume of coins after some P50 million worth of loose change were found in Quezon City last week.  → Read more at news.abs-cbn.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 26, 2021

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

The news of the week came on a Friday night news dump by the Treasury Department, announcing that David J. Ryder will resign as U.S. Mint Director as of September 30, 2021. Alison Doone will become the U.S. Mint’s Acting Director.

Ryder served as the 34th and 39th Director after being appointed by two different administrations. Ryder came into this term touting his work with physical money security. During his confirmation hearing, Ryder said he worked for Secure Products, a company focused on developing anti-counterfeiting solutions for currency and branded products. Ryder also testified that he was involved in developing the Royal Mint’s new 12-sided one-pound coin.

The U.S. Mint claims security measures built into the new American Silver and Gold Eagle coins. However, there do not seem to be breakthroughs similar to those used by the Royal Mint and Canadian Royal Mint on their bullion products.

Ryder may want his legacy to be introducing new products, but the public will remember the colossal failure of the U.S. Mint’s e-commerce system. As Director, he was supposed to oversee the entire operation and not just one aspect. Those failures will weigh on his legacy.

Alison Doone is a career civil servant who entered the Senior Executive Service (SES) in 2004. After working at several other agencies, Doone served as the Mint’s Chief Administrative Officer since March 2021.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 requires the president to send a nomination to the Senate within 90 days to fill a vacant position. During that time, an acting director can serve in that role for only 180 days. As we saw in the 2,629 days (7 years, 2 months, and 13 days) between the resignation of Edmund Moy and the confirmation of David Ryder, the government has ways to get around the law to maintain operational consistency.

And now the news…

 September 17, 2021
If artifacts could talk, we’d love to hear this one’s tale.  This pierced German coin from the 17th century was recovered during a systematic excavation at the Jacob Jackson Home Site, part of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park (HATU).   → Read more at nmscarcheologylab.wordpress.com

 September 17, 2021
Readers of a certain age will remember the florin, or flóirín as it was in Irish. Those of an uncertain age will even recall when it was Ireland’s two-shilling coin, complete with the leaping salmon of Percy Metcalfe’s classic 1928 design.   → Read more at irishtimes.com

 September 22, 2021
The coin, known as the Triple Unite, was minted in Oxford in 1643 during the English Civil War and had the value of 60 shillings, or three pounds.  → Read more at bbc.com

 September 23, 2021
LAKE MARY, Fla. – A Florida teenager recently made a spectacular find while on an ocean dive: a rare gold coin believed to be from the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet.  → Read more at fox35orlando.com

 September 24, 2021
(CNN) — Two amateur free divers have found one of the largest collections of Roman coins in Europe off the east coast of Spain. Luis Lens and César Gimeno were diving off the island of Portitxol in Xàbia on August 24 when they found eight coins, before further dives by archaeologists returned another 45 coins, according to a press release from the University of Alicante on Tuesday.  → Read more at edition.cnn.com
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 New Name for ANA Accolade (Sep 21, 2021)

 

Weekly World Numismatic News for September 20, 2021

Yes, I’m a day late. At least I’m not a dollar short!

It is not a surprise to economic and market watchers that there is a perceived coin shortage. The problem is not just in the United States, but worldwide central banks are trying to fix their circulation issues.

Over the last three months, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been trying different tactics to get money to circulate. In addition to striking more coins, they promote new designs and a program for citizens to redeem old coins for the newly issued coins. It has a moderating effect on the COVID crisis at high levels in the country.

India has also been dealing with rumors one type of circulating coin has been counterfeited or been withdrawn and not legal tender. However, the RBI has insisted that the coins are legal tender but continue to promote them with the redesign.

The Royal Mint has stepped up the production of 1 penny coin for circulation. Physical money is used more in the UK than electronic transactions, especially outside of the cities. Although some feel the penny has been overproduced and would rather see the 2 pence coin used, the increase in the number of transactions since the lifting of COVID restrictions created the demand.

The United States continues to see shortages. Most of the reports are coming from outside of the major metropolitan areas. Most are looking for one-cent coins. Experts are blaming accelerated consumer spending in areas where cash payments are more prevalent. More populated urban regions are seeing more electronic transactions than cash.

Let’s keep the economy moving. Spend those coins! (not the ones you collect)

And now the news…

 September 14, 2021
Bankers thought the nationwide coin shortage was over, as the U.S. economy reopened and previously housebound consumers were able to unload more of their change. But a combination of factors — including government stimulus payments, accelerated consumer spending and the threat of the COVID-19 delta variant — has stymied progress and forced retailers to resort again to asking shoppers for exact change.  → Read more at americanbanker.com

 September 14, 2021
Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić said on Monday after meeting with European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis that a test production of euro coins with Croatian national motifs should begin by the end of this year, with possibly about two million coins being minted.  → Read more at croatiaweek.com

 September 15, 2021
LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces Police Department received two reports of movie prop money that was passed as legal tender over the weekend, a news release on Monday stated. In the news release police stated movie prop money can look like actual currency but, in most instances, does not have the same texture.  → Read more at lcsun-news.com

 September 15, 2021
A very rare large gold coin from the reign of Charles I is expected to fetch £50,000 when it is sold at auction.  → Read more at newschainonline.com

 September 15, 2021
A huge hoard of Iron Age gold artifacts has been uncovered by an amateur metal detectorist in Denmark. The "enormous" find consists of almost one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of gold buried 1,500 years ago, according to a press release from the Vejlemuseerne museum, which will exhibit the hoard.  → Read more at cnn.com

 September 16, 2021
One penny coins were back in production last year after none were minted for general circulation in the previous two years, Royal Mint figures show.  → Read more at bbc.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 12, 2021

CC Privy Mark for the 2021 Morgan Dollar

Coin World reports that scammers are selling counterfeit 2021-CC Morgan Dollars on eBay.

According to Coin World, the coins have several issues, but the primary problem is that the U.S. Mint has not shipped any coins. How can you buy a coin that the manufacturer has not shipped?

Another scam you can find on eBay is that some sellers are offering MS-70 coins for “pre-sale.” How can a seller sell a coin graded MS-70 that has not been released or graded by the grading service? How will these sellers guarantee that the coins they receive from the U.S. Mint will grade MS-70 unless they pay off the grading service?

I know many collectors want to add these coins to their collection. You may want to wait until the coins are issued, the grading services see the coins in hand, and the suckers get out of the market. If you want to see what I mean, look at the 25th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set. After they were released, the prices climbed to $500-700 with limited availability. Although the price numbers have not changed, the value of $500 is less than in 2011 and is generally available.

And now the news…

 September 10, 2021
Renovators discovered a hidden box and pouch stuffed with rare gold coins, minted during the reigns of French Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 September 12, 2021
Telangana’s Rachakonda police seized fake Indian currency notes with a face value of over Rs 1 crore and genuine currency worth Rs 1.3 lakh after busting a gang involved in cheating people on the pretext of exchanging black money.  → Read more at indianexpress.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for September 6, 2021

Welcome to the Labor Day Edition of the Weekly World Numismatic News!

The story that caught my eye is that the members of Accredited Precious Metals Dealers (APMD) of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PMG) predicted their end-of-year prices for precious metals.

According to the APMD members, the year-end predictions are as follows:

  • Gold: $1,897
  • Silver: $28
  • Platinum: $1,153

Their estimates are the “mean averages of price predictions made by 25 accredited dealers” of the APMD. Members of the APMD “based their forecasts on years of being on the front lines of the bullion markets.” In other words, their predictions are as reliable as those that predict the pro football and basketball drafts.

With all due respect to the APMD and their members, every forecast I have heard while carefully watching the markets as a buyer has been bullish. It is very rare to hear anyone that is involved with this market make a bearish prediction.

Let’s have some fun with this. In the next few days, I will make my predictions along with the logic behind my prediction. Then I will create a graph to monitor the markets compared to our predictions. Let’s see how we do after the market closes on December 31!

Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

And now the news…

 August 26, 2021
While excavating the ancient city of Phangoria, located north of the Black Sea, in the Taman peninsula of southern Russia, archaeologists made an odd discovery: A single copper coin, minted in the year 1570, far far away in the Cypriot city of Famagusta.  → Read more at haaretz.com

 August 27, 2021
Dealing with a recently passed away parent’s belongings is always a tough subject. It’s never just about the stuff – it’s about the memories and the emotions it all brings up, not to mention disagreements with siblings and partners about what to do with it all.  → Read more at goodmenproject.com

 September 2, 2021
Money, money, money, money, ah so not just the song. But, the real thing. During the height of the pandemic, remember the shortages of toilet paper, paper products, disinfectant, hand sanitizer and yes, money, coins to be exact.  → Read more at poconorecord.com

 September 3, 2021
By K Rajan Chennai: A finely made thin silver punch-marked coin weighing 2.2g unearthed at Keeladi in the seventh season of excavation this year holds key to the history of trading routes spanning the subcontinent and beyond — till Sri Lanka in the south and Afghanistan in the northwest  → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com

 September 4, 2021
Cree artist Sheila Orr designed a collectors coin for the Royal Canadian Mint, depicting the fur trade from a Cree perspective. It was released earlier this summer.  → Read more at cbc.ca
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Weekly World Numismatic News for August 29, 2021

The U.S. Mint attempts to fix their online ordering system, but to what effect?

This past week, the U.S. Mint held a press availability for the numismatic media. I highlighted the meeting after the discussion, which includes corrections. While the U.S. Mint appears to be working to rectify its e-commerce issues, there continue to be unaddressed problems.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that it was my impression “that the lawyers had more say over policy than the appointed director or the career executives.” It is not clear that the U.S. Mint has separated its policy decision from the advice of counsel.

Missing from the discussion is how the lawyers forced the U.S. Mint to violate the law. Even though they identified the Internet Robots (BOTs), the lawyers not allowing the U.S. Mint to resolve the problem puts the e-commerce system in violation of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). FISMA was passed in 2002 to require the government to protect computing resources.

Although it sounds like a technical issue, FISMA’s purpose is to allow bureaus like the U.S. Mint to protect public access to government resources. It also allows the government to do what is necessary to serve the public.

While the dealer community is part of the public, they are not the majority of the interested public. The U.S. Mint reported that only 18 authorized purchasers could access 10% of production at a 5% premium as part of its early access program.

The U.S. Mint deserves commendation for its ability to exceed production during the pandemic. Questions remain on the decisions on collector coin programs.

And now the news…

 August 24, 2021
OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 20, 2021 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mint (the "Mint") is pleased to announce its financial results for the second quarter of 2021 that provide insight into our activities, the markets influencing our businesses and our expectations for the next 12 months.  → Read more at newswire.ca

 August 27, 2021
Hundreds of ancient coins looted from archaeological sites were found in a house in Bnei Brak, the Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Monday. The artifacts were uncovered during an operation by the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit.  → Read more at jpost.com

 August 27, 2021
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — It was a slow day Aug. 1 when Nick Amelio was treasure salvaging near Corrigan's shipwreck, just south of Turtle Trail Beach.  → Read more at tcpalm.com

 August 27, 2021
Generally speaking, gold is the antithesis of fiat currencies and is viewed as a hedge against inflation.  → Read more at swfinstitute.org

 August 27, 2021
There are few things more alluring than buried treasure — preferably ancient and preferably gold. Historically, people tended to bury their coinage in times of trouble, intending to come back for it.  → Read more at independent.ie
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U.S. Mint Talks About Their Website and Ordering System

The U.S. Mint held a press availability for members of the numismatic media this morning. There will be more to say about the information presented, but the following are some highlights that will interest the numismatic community.

Mint management noted that the U.S. Mint is the only sovereign mint with continuing bullion production during the pandemic. In addition to the bullion coin production, the U.S. Mint has produced more circulating coins than any other time.

The U.S. Mint continues operating at the highest level while maintaining safety and controls to protect the employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although it is easy to criticize the U.S. Mint, it is commendable that the bureau continued production but manufacturing more products than ever in the last 18 months.

U.S. MINT DIRECTOR DAVID RYDER noted that sales at the U.S. Mint had been declining prior to his arrival. Part of the reason is that there was not a permanent director in almost nine years. Ryder saw his job as trying to expand the product line to increase interest in the numismatic process.

U.S. MINT ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING MATTHEW HOLBEN said that the U.S. Mint had faced unprecedented demand for its products during the “black swan event.” According to Holben, the U.S. Mint sold more proof American Silver Eagle Proof coins in under a half-hour than they sold in 2019.

The U.S. Mint has 18 dealers that are registered authorized purchasers of numismatic products. These 18 dealers can purchase up to 10-percent of the numismatic products before the public sale. They credit the reduction in attempts to use automated methods to order (BOTs) now that the dealers can determine their inventory.

U.S. MINT DEPUTY CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER KIRK GILLIS said that since the first 2021 Morgan Dollar release, the catalog website could process 217 peak orders per second, up from 96 peak orders per second.

Gillis reported that “up to 60% of the activity on the sites were BOTs” based on the drop in traffic demand since the May 24 launch of the 2021 Morgan Dollar products. He said that the U.S. Mint had implemented technology to reduce the impact of scripts and BOTs used to order products.

The U.S. Mint will explore pre-ordering and waiting room software similar to the processes used by the ticket purchasing systems. They are also looking into other rate-limiting technology.

Beyond the highlights, there are other issues to explore. Stay tuned!

CORRECTIONS
  • The website can process “217 peak orders per second, up from 96 peak orders per second.” It was originally reported as “270 orders per second, up from 90.”
  • Clarified the 60% reduction in BOT activity as being since the May 24 launch of the initial Morgan Dollar products.
Sorry for the confusion.

Inspector General to Investigate the U.S. Mint

According to Coin World, the Treasury Office of Inspector General (OIG) “may” investigate how the U.S. Mint has handled the sales of limited-edition numismatic collectibles. Coin World may have confirmed information provided to me on background.

Although the web-based ordering has sort-of worked, I reported on the systemic issues facing the U.S. Mint in moving forward. In summary, my investigation found:

  1. The alleged silver shortage was not a shortage of silver but a failure of the U.S. Mint to manage its supply chain properly.
  2. The U.S Mint’s insistence that Internet robots (BOTs) were the cause of their web-based issues was the symptom of a more significant problem that they have not learned from their past mistakes.
  3. The U.S. Mint’s management managing like they were afraid of repercussions because the lawyers said so. The way it sounded, the U.S. Mint management was not managing but taking instructions. If they cannot manage, should they be replaced by lawyers?

An investigation by the Treasury OIG is an excellent first step. But experience has shown that an OIG report does not guarantee that U.S. Mint will fix the problems. I have seen government managers and appointees say all of the right things and do little to nothing.

It might require an act of Congress to fix the U.S. Mint. If it requires an act of Congress, don’t hold your breath waiting for changes.

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