Did You Get Anything Numismatic Related?

As I am looking to pare down my collection to concentrate on a few select areas, I did not have anything on my numismatic wish list. Over the last few months, I have bought books that I will use for research. Otherwise, I have been just keeping up with the latest releases and not worrying about the holes in the parts of the collection I will be keeping.

00-QingDynastyBut that does not mean I did not receive a numismatic gift. Although it was not a holiday gift, a friend went to China and found a set called Qing Dynasty 12 emperors. The set contains 12 medals representing the Qing (pronounced as Ching) Dynasty that ruled China from 1616 through 1911. The set covers six pages with two medals per page. Each depicts a different emperor with their clan’s name around the top edge, their name to the right of their image, and the years of their reign below the image. All of the lettering is in Traditional Chinese. The reverse on all of the medals features the dynasty emblem that was used on the flag during the time the dynasty was in power.

Each of the medals are on a sealed plastic page with a paper insert that has an image of the emperor, his name, clan name, when he ruled, and a brief paragraph about him. On the front, the information is in Traditional Chinese, the reverse is in English. All of emperor images are drawings except for the last one, Xuantong Emperor, who abdicated in February 1912.

If you want to know more about the Qing Dynasty, you can read this page that is not pretty but uses the medal images as part of its explanation.

Based on the information I can find, the medals are 38 millimeters in diameter (1½ inches). I found a few references that they are made from silver, but I am not sure. From what I can tell by looking at the color and the weight of the medals, without cutting into the sealed pages, they may be made from a copper-nickel alloy. I do not think they are made from silver or silver-plated. But it is a very cool set and it was nice of my friend to think of me while she vacationed so far from home!

Which brings me to this week’s poll: Did you get anything numismatic-related for whatever holiday you celebrated?

Did you receive a numismatic-related gift this holiday season?

Yes I did and it was something I really wanted. (42%, 11 Votes)
I did not but I bought myself my own numismatic gift. (38%, 10 Votes)
Yes I did but it wasn't something on my want list. (8%, 2 Votes)
I did not but I did not have a numismatic gift on my list. (8%, 2 Votes)
I did not... maybe next year or for my birthday. (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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In the mean time, here are images of my Qing Dynasty 12 Emperors set.

What Do You Think?

Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.
— Democritus

The power of the opinion. Opinions drive us to do things based on what we hear, how we feel, and process the information around us. Opinions make us different and even binds us together as a species. Opinions can have a significant effect on society, like and election. Other times, opinions can be like screaming into the wind, like complaining about the U.S. Mint.

Sometimes, expressing our opinion can be fun. I have taken the fun part of expressing our opinions in collecting and numismatics and added the ability to express your opinion privately, without anyone knowing what you think. If you look in the right column of this page, there is Poll section where I will post a weekly poll asking for your opinion on something. Anything. All related to numismatics.

The first poll is asking which is your favorite dollar coin design of the six choices listed. Pick one, click on the “Vote” button, and your opinion will be recorded.

Polls will change every week on Monday. Some polls may be about something serious or I may ask less than serious questions. Regardless of the question, it is all in fun.

You can vote once per poll. Yes, I know there is a way to “beat the system.” But if you are that passionate about a question, go ahead!

The system will keep an archive of polls which you can find on the Collectors Poll Archives page.

It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.
— Mark Twain in The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson
The Poll

What is your favorite dollar coin design?

Morgan Dollar (33%, 8 Votes)
Peace Dollar (25%, 6 Votes)
Sacagawea "Golden" Dollar (21%, 5 Votes)
Liberty Seated Dollar (13%, 3 Votes)
Eisenhower Dollar (4%, 1 Votes)
Susan B. Anthony Dollar (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Numismatics at an Auto Show

My dream car… in model form!

You never know when a hobby would intersect with an interest. Of course the hobby is numismatics. The interest is cars. Not just any cars, but classic cars. I have a weak spot for the muscle cars of the early 1970s and just about any car built before 1960. In fact, my dream car is a red 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible. I cannot think of any car that screams American over-the-top solid engineering and styling of Harley Earle than of that 5,000 pound beast. General Motors sold the car for $7,400 in 1959 which would be $58,845.77 in 2012 dollars. Even though the Series 62 may be a little less expensive on the current classic car market, when you are looking at cars out of your price range why not go for the top of the line!

Saturday was the 2012 Rockville Antique and Classic Car Show, a yearly show supported by 25 local and regional car clubs. When I arrived around 1 o’clock I saw a field with more than 500 antique and classic cars. Although I was not interested in some cars, there were others that were absolutely stunning. While I did not find a 1959 Cadillac, there were a few cars that I would love to own. You can see some of the cars I found and a quick video of the inside of a Volkswagen Bus visit on my page at Photobucket.†

While the 1959 Cadillac is my dream car, my nostalgic car is a 1973 Plymouth Gold Duster. While it was not my first car, it ranks one of my favorites from my early days. This Gold Duster was “sunshine yellow” with the brown snake-skin three-quarter covered vinyl top. The 225 Hemi Slant 6 engine output 145 horsepower but was more than enough for this car especially since it did not have air conditioning! My father bought it as a new car in 1973 and I “inherited” it in 1980 while in college. Unfortunately, it met its demise on a rainy road while trying to avoid hitting a dog.

To satisfy my nostalgia, I was looking at the wares of the flea market dealers in the adjacent lot when I came across a brochure for the 1973 Gold Duster. “Get Ready to Stake Your Claim” screams the headline on the front cover. Open the brochure and it tells you that “You’ve Discovered Gold Duster.” While admiring the picture that reminded me of my youth, I noticed the coin image at the bottom right corner that said:

If you cannot read the image, it says:

This gold coin is a replica of the fame Twenty Dollar California Gold Piece, struck in about 1855, that bought sustenance during the days of the great Gold Rush.
This is a replica of only two known specimens. The originals are so rare no value has been established.
Notice the very fine detail and workmanship. The press embossed on the coin is a good representation of what a coin press looked like in the 1800’s. The milling around the edge of the coin was done to prevent shaving the coin—thereby decreasing its value. The original coins were .900 pure gold.
You can make a complete collection of famous United States coins by consulting the back page of this booklet.

Interested in what this collection can be, I turned over the brochure see a 1973 advertisement for 12 “authentic replicas” of the Chrysler-Plymouth “Old West” Coin Collection. The collection appears to be replicas of various assay tokens from the famous gold assayers of the time. For $7.75 per set (or $40.39 today), you could have ordered a full set along with a vinyl/velour folder.

Chrysler-Plymouth “Old West” Coin Collection Order Form from 1973 Plymouth Gold Duster Brochure

At the intersection of cars and numismatics I found fascinating piece of automotive advertising history with a numismatic slant. I do not know if a version of this set has survived—an Internet search yielded more copies of the brochure—but it would be interesting to find a set.

† At the time this is posted, I have not labeled the images on Photobucket. I hope to finish that sometime this week.

Happy 2011!

Happy New Year!

As we begin 2011, we should look forward to better times for our hobby, our nation, and our world. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2010 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!

The Saturday Evening Post

Very few publications can trace its roots back to colonial times. One of those publications is The Saturday Evening Post. The Post was founded as The Universal Instructor of Arts and Sciences by a Samuel Keimer. Keimer moved to Philadelphia from New York after failing to secure work. He rented space from Hugh Meredith who printed the paper. The paper was not exactly successful and was ridiculed by Benjamin Franklin in The Mercury using the pseudonym “Busy Body.” After nine months, Keimer sold the paper to Franklin and Meredith on October 2, 1729.

The new partnership changed the title of paper to The Pennsylvania Gazette and Franklin began to edit the paper into a more readable half-sheet (half of a broadsheet) that was published twice per week. After a few weeks the work load forced Franklin change it to a weekly publication.

Franklin and Meredith dissolved their partnership on July 14, 1730. Franklin continued to publish The Pennsylvania Gazette as the paper’s sole publisher until he made David Hall a partner in 1748. Hall had been working for Franklin and writing for The Pennsylvania Gazette for five years prior to becoming a partner.

By 1765, Franklin and Hall dissolved their partnership. By May 1766, Hall partnered with William Sellers to continue publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette. Following Hall’s death in 1772, his sons William Hall and David Hall, Jr., continued in their father’s place.

The partnership of the Hall brothers and Sellers continued in William Sellers died in 1804. Shortly after Seller’s death, William transferred his partnership to David, Jr. who continued publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette. In 1810, David Hall, Jr. partnered with George W. Pierie until the partnership dissolved in 1815. Hall partnered with Samuel C. Atkinson until Hall died on May 27, 1821.

Following Hall’s death, Atkinson partnered with Charles Alexander. Alexander was a business partner of Atkinson in other ventures. Atkinson and Alexander decided that the paper needed a new character to keep readers interested and capture new readers. They revamped the paper and on August 4, 1821, debuted the first edition of The Saturday Evening Post. The new paper included weekly news stories but included poetry and short stories from contributors like Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, James Fenimore Cooper, and many other famous authors.

Through the 19th century, The Saturday Evening Post changed hands several time until it was purchased by Curtis Publishing in 1897. Curtis Publishing brought the paper to a new level especially when it hired a 22-year old artist named Norman Rockwell in 1916. During the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s Rockwell was joined by N.C. Wyeth, J. C. Leyendecker, John Clymer, and John E. Sheridan to create some of the most memorable cover illustrations in history.

Curtis Publishing stopped publishing The Post in 1969 after losing a defamation case (Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967)) and ordered to pay $3 million in damages.

The Saturday Evening Post was revived in 1971 as a quarterly publication with an additional focus on the coverage of heath issues and disease prevention. In 1978, ownership was transferred to the non-profit Saturday Evening Post Society who continues to publish The Post as a bi-monthly publication.

Through this long history, The Saturday Evening Post continues to publish a variety of stories including those of general interest. One of The Post’s regular columns is “Collectible News & Notes.” As part of the column, The Post features a collector and their passion for what they collect. In the July/August 2010 issue (Vol. 283, No. 4), your blog host is the featured collector.

I was contacted via email by the writer of the article. After we exchanged a few notes, he called me one afternoon. I happened to have been driving to a local grocery store when he called. I spent most of our one-and-a-half hour conversation while sitting in the parking lot in front of the grocery store. It was a pleasant conversation and I am sure I gave him more information than he asked for. He distilled the conversation into a nice article that appears on one page—even though there is a minor mistake (in the caption under the picture, it should say that I am still looking for a 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent in change).

Two weeks after our discussion, a local freelance photographer visited my home to photograph me and my coins. The photographer was a pleasant woman who also took pictures of my dogs. My wife liked the pictures that appear in the magazine.

It might be difficult to find a copy of The Post on newsstands. The magazine has a higher subscription circulation than from newsstands. You might find a copy in a bookstore that has a large magazine section. Otherwise, it should appear on their website in a few months.

The Saturday Evening Post dates back to Benjamin Franklin. It has featured great authors, artists, and other Americans. Now, I am part of that history. How cool is that!

Cover image courtesy of The Saturday Evening Post.

It’s 2010!

Happy New Year!

As 2009 turns into 2010, we should look forward to better times for the hobby, our nation, and the world. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2010 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!

Happy! Happy!

Happy Holidays!

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you good cheer, good health, peace, and hope you find a key coin in your pocket change!

US Mint Subleases Part of their HQ

In a sign of the times, the US Mint announced that they have sublet a part of their headquarters at 801 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC for retail space. The least is for ten years with two five-year options.

The southwest corner of the building is the corner of 9th Street and H Street, NW. It is the near Washington’s Chinatown section and two blocks from the Verizon Center, home of the Washington Wizards professional basketball team and Washington Capitals professional hockey club. The area around the Verizon Center is a popular, revitalized section of Washington.

This space is being leased to Cuba Libre, a Cuban restaurant and rum bar based in Philadelphia that has restaurants in Atlantic City and Orlando. Cuba Libre’s great reputation will only add to the overall neighborhood that includes restaurants representing the cuisines from many areas of the world. As a fan of Cuban food, I am looking forward to their opening.

Own Your Own Spy Coin

In January, 2007, there was a story about Department of Defense contractors inadvertently carrying a hollowed out Canadian dollar that contained Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) transmitters that could be used to track their movement. Allegedly, the coin was given to them in change by a third party. Later, Defense Security Services (DSS) issued a press release stating that the story was not true.

I thought it would be fun to find a spy coin and see what could be done with it.

Earlier on Monday, a friend sent a link to Think Geek, an online merchant that sells technology-related items specifically to the technologist market. While looking through the items I found a listing for Hollow Spy Coins. The coins are hollowed out quarters or half-dollars with enough room for a very small memory card. The coins are advertised to come with an unlocking ring and are “indistinguishable from regular coins when closed.”

Think Geek is selling the spy quarter for $20.99 and the half-dollar for $24.99.

If these coin are indistinguishable from regular coins, I would be afraid to carry the quarter for fear of accidentally spending it. But keeping the half-dollar as a pocket piece with some “secret” inside could be fun. I might buy one!

Image courtesy of ThinkGeek.com.

Welcome to 2009

Happy New Year!

Some say that 2008 could not have ended fast enough. Others look at 2008 as a fascinating year where both positive and negative history was made. Regardless of your view, I hope you have a Happy and Healthy 2009 with the key coin of your dreams!

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