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1976 Washington Quarter with my favorite, the Drummer Boy reverse
Although I began collecting coins in 1970, I became interested in coins a few years earlier. My paternal grandfather used to pick coins out of change and save them. He owned a magnifying glass to look at the coins. When we visited his Brooklyn apartment, I would grab the magnifying glass and explore.
After the introduction of the Eisenhower Dollar, the first design change came in 1975 for the bicentennial. In the 1970s, celebrating the bicentennial was a significant event. The planning began in the last 1960s and picked up in 1972. The entire nation planned for a celebration that spread across every community.
The American Revolution Bicentennial Administration logo was everywhere, including the official medals the U.S. Mint produced. But that is not all the U.S. Mint produced as part of the bicentennial celebration.
In 1973, Congress passed the law allowing the U.S. Mint to change the reverse design of the quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins to honor the bicentennial in 1975 and 1976. The coins will be dated 1776-1976 before they revert to their original designs.
My first introduction to a design change was the Drummer Boy reverse on the Washington Quarter. I liked the design more than the original eagle design on the reverse, and it continues to be one of my favorite designs.
As a collector and a newly minted driver, I saved money from my after-school jobs to purchase uncirculated coins and the sets with the bicentennial coins.
In 2001, there was a reunion of the artists who created the designs. Jack Ahr (quarter), Seth Huntington (half-dollar), and Dennis Williams (dollar) attended the celebration. PCGS had the three artists sign labels inserted into slabs with proof versions of the coins they designed. I was able to pick up a set on the aftermarket.
1976-S Silver Proof Bicentennial Autograph Set
Because of the hype, and the potential to increase seigniorage, the U.S. Mint overproduced these coins. They also made proof and silver proof sets so plentiful that they remained on sale through 1986. The U.S. Mint ended up melting over 600,000 sets.
Suggested Reading: To learn more about the legislation that created the Bicentennial coinage program, read “14 Bits: The Story of America’s Bicentennial Coinage” by David Ganz (ISBN 978-0914478638).
The Bicentennial celebration was a national event to remember. Nearly every community issued medals. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing joined in and changed the reverse of the $2 Federal Reserve Note to an interpretation of John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence. The BEP issued the notes on April 13, 1976, and it is possible to find uncirculated notes postmarked on that date. July 4, 1976, is another popular postmark for bicentennial collectibles, especially postmarks from Philadelphia.
Reverse of the Series 1976 $2 Federal Reserve Note features an engraved modified reproduction of the painting The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull.
Even though the circulating commemorative was generally successful, the concept would not return until the beginning of the 50 State Quarters program in 1999.
All images are original and property of the author used under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
There was a lot of numismatic-related news this week that collectors should note.
Negro Leagues Baseball Proof Silver Dollar Coin and Jackie Robinson Silver Medal Set \ (Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint)
The U.S. Mint announced that the end of the pre-sale of the Negro Baseball Leagues Commemorative Coins is on Monday. As part of the reminder, they announced that the proof silver dollar with the 100th Anniversary Privy Mark has sold out, and other options are reaching their sales limit.
At the same time, the U.S. Mint announced the pre-sale for the Negro Leagues Baseball 2022 Proof Silver Dollar Coin and Jackie Robinson Silver Medal Set. The Jackie Robinson 1 ounce silver medal is currently only available as part of this set.
In a separate announcement, the U.S. Mint also declared that they reached the limit on the number of pre-sale coins for the proof and uncirculated American Silver Eagle collector coins. The announcement shows that the American Silver Eagle continues to be the U.S. Mint’s most popular collector coin.
On February 6, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 70th anniversary of her ascension to the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Relm. While the country celebrates the Platinum Jubilee, it is a solemn day for the Queen because it marks the 70th anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI.
While Queen Elizabeth took private time to remember her father, the Royal Mint released a good deal of coins to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. The current lineup includes gold and silver coins ranging from one-ounce to 10-kilo gold coins.
The Royal Mint and Royal Canadian Mint announced a two-coin silver set with coins designed to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee earlier today. The Royal Canadian Mint will sell the set.
At some point, the U.S. Mint will release the 2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor that will include a colorized silver dollar. That will be exciting.
What happened to money if a European country went broke in the 17th century? And how did a bizarre coin lead to the introduction of paper bills, as well as central banking systems? → Read more at scandinavianarchaeology.com
The Underground Railroad, the famous network of safe houses and secret routes that helped enslaved people of African descent escape to freedom in Canada, is the subject of the Royal Canadian Mint's latest issue in its ongoing Commemorating Black History coin series. → Read more at prnewswire.com
The year 1776 was obviously a big year for the United States. But before the Declaration of Independence was signed, another sign of freedom was created by Continental Congress. → Read more at wearethemighty.com
In the past two weeks, the U.S. Mint announced the presale of the Negro Leagues Baseball Commemorative Coin program. The program is a belated celebration of the centennial of the Negro Leagues, with the proceeds paid to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.
They also announced that they began to ship the first coins in the American Women Quarters Program. The first quarter honors Maya Angelou. Angelou was a writer, performer, and social activist who rose to prominence by the publishing of her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969.
These releases are only the beginning. The U.S. Mint will be releasing four additional quarters, American Innovation Dollars, American Eagle coins, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coins, and others. Do not forget about the continuing of the Morgan and Peace Dollar programs.
With all of the new releases available, I ask…
What 2022 US Mint coins are you going to add to your collection?
Morgan and/or Peace Dollars (23%, 23 Votes)
American Eagle Coins (21%, 21 Votes)
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin (12%, 12 Votes)
The year will start with the U.S. Mint shipping 2022 American Silver Eagle bullion coins to authorized resellers. The first bullion coins will likely hit the streets within a week, and graded coins will take about a month to be processed by the grading services. Bullion dealers are selling these coins in advance of receiving inventory.
2021 American Gold Eagle Type II Reverse
2022 American Silver Eagle Type II reverse
In 2022, the American Silver Eagles and American Gold Eagles will feature Type II reverses introduced in 2021.
2022 American Platinum Eagle Proof reverse celebrating the First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech
The first American Eagle coins will be the Platinum proof coins. American Platinum Eagle proof coins will continue the First Amendment to the United States Constitution Platinum Proof Coin Series with Freedom of Speech.
During some press briefings, the U.S. Mint has suggested that American Eagle coins will be released with different finishes. There has been no formal announcement for these options.
The U.S. Mint will release two commemorative coin sets starting at the beginning of January. Both sets will consist of a $5 gold coin, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Commemorative Coin Program celebrates the Negro Baseball League. Money raised from the sale of the coins will be paid to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.
The other commemorative three-coin set will be the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Program. The museum honors the recipients of the oldest medal in the United States. General George Washington created the medal to honor the service of those injured in battle. Money raised by the sale of the coins will benefit the Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York. As part of the museum’s mission, they are trying to reconstruct records destroyed in a fire several years ago.
2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative $5 gold coin obverse
2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative $5 gold coin reverse
2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Silver Dollar obverse
2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative $5 old coin obverse
2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative clad half-dollar obverse
2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative clad half-dollar reverse
American Women Quarters Program
The American Women Quarters Program starts in 2022 and will run for four years. Each year will feature the accomplishments and contributions made by women to the nation’s development. In 2022, the five women that will be honored are as follows:
Maya Angelou – celebrated writer, performer, and social activist
Dr. Sally Ride – physicist, astronaut, educator, and the first American woman in space
Wilma Mankiller – first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
Nina Otero-Warren – a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood
2022 Maya Angelou Quarter
2022 Dr. Sally Ride Quarter
2022 Wilma Mankiller Quarter
2022 Nina Otero-Warren Quarter
2022 Anna May Wong Quarter
2022 Quarter Obverse design by Laura Gardin Fraser
George Washington will continue to be featured on the obverse but with a new design. The U.S. Mint will use the original design recommended by the Committee for Fine Arts created by Laura Gardin Frasier. LGF, the wife of James Earle Frasier, created an acclaimed design that the CFA picked twice in a competition of artists. Unfortunately, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, a known misogynist, rejected the design and selected the art of John Flannigan instead. Gardin’s design will take its rightful place on the coin’s obverse.
The authorizing law (Public Law 116-330) allows the U.S. Mint to produce the quarters as five-ounce bullion coins, nicknamed the “hockey puck.” The law also allows the U.S. Mint to issue fractional bullion coins. Although some media outlets announced the possibility of a smaller 2.5-ounce puck, the U.S. Mint has not announced new products.
The law allows the U.S. Mint to create five-ounce bullion coins of half-dollars that feature new designs in future programs.
Morgan and Peace Dollars
The U.S. Mint announced that they plan to continue the Morgan and Peace dollar programs in 2022 and beyond. Although the products have not been finalized, there may be different finishes and the production of the coins at other mint facilities.
2022 Native American Dollar featuring Ely Samuel Parker
The two underrated dollar programs will continue into 2022. The Native American Dollar will feature Ely Samuel Parker, a U.S. Army officer, engineer, and tribal diplomat who served as military secretary to Ulysses S. Grant during the U.S. Civil War.
Also continuing is the American Innovation $1 Coin Program that features the contributions from the following states:
Rhode Island – Reliance yacht naval innovation
Vermont – Snowboarding
Kentucky – Bluegrass music
Tennessee – Tennessee Valley Authority and rural electrification
2022 Rhode Island Dollar
2022 Vermont Dollar
2022 Kentucky Dollar
2022 Tennessee Dollar
New U.S. Mint Director?
U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder resigned as of September 30, 2021. After being appointed by two different administrations, Ryder served as the 34th and 39th Director. His confirmation came the position was vacant for over seven years following the resignation of Edmund Moy.
In October, Ventris Gibson was appointed as Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint. Gibson will also serve as Acting Director. By law, Gibson can serve as Acting Director for 180 days. It will be up to the president to appoint a new director for senate confirmation. Given the state of politics, it is fair to question whether the president will make an appointment and if he does, will it be confirmed by the Senate.
Hopefully, the U.S. Mint will have a little better 2022!
The last two years have been a wild ride. Anyone who predicted what would have happened should be picking lottery numbers. For the rest of us, the predictable (i.e., the U.S. Mint) became unpredictable. The positives had a lot of negatives and what used to be extraordinary is now ordinary.
Without further ado, here are the top five numismatic stories for 2021.
5. Return of the coins shows
It isn’t easy to have any retrospective of 2021 without acknowledging how COVID-19 has affected the industry. At the beginning of 2021, there were cancelations of shows and other events. As the vaccines became more available and the infection rates declined, the shows returned.
Smaller shows found hotels willing to lease larger rooms to allow the setup of a socially distance bourse. Like the World’s Fair of Money, Larger shows changed to provide for social distancing and limiting contact. Collectors that attended these shows called them a success. Still, the reports may be more emotional satisfaction after a year off.
Coins shows are adapting to an alleged new normal, and collectors are happy to get what they can. While it makes collectors happy, the looming threat of new variants may slow down the shows at the start of 2022.
4. The Positives and Negatives of the U.S. Mint
Ventris Gibson, Acting Director of the U.S. Mint (LinkedIn photograph)
The U.S. Mint is the source of the items we collect and the biggest frustration experienced by the community. On the one hand, the manufacturing business of the U.S. Mint made it the biggest success story of 2021. Compared to the rest of the manufacturing sector, the U.S. Mint has been running in overdrive since mid-2020. The only manufacturer of United States coinage has produced more money than any three mints in the world combined.
Even with the COVID issues, the U.S. Mint could produce the coins required by law, including the 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars. Unfortunately, selling these coins revealed collectors’ frustrations with the U.S. Mint.
The U.S. Mint’s online order processing system may work without product release. Still, a major product release causes the system to fail. The product release was a perfect storm of a limited supply and a high collector demand. The result exposed how PFSWeb, the U.S. Mint’s contractor, created a system that could not handle the rush.
The U.S. Mint became more communicative with the numismatic press. During this communication, it was clear that Director David Ryder wanted to talk more about the successes. Unfortunately, the failures of the ordering system overshadowed any success. Ryder resigned as Director effective October 1, 2021.
The e-commerce system at the U.S. Mint is broken and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, the open communications from the U.S. Mint indicate that they are planning to install a bandaid to cover up the system’s problems. Unless the U.S. Mint and PFSWeb make major changes to their online order system, the issues will continue into 2022.
3. 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars
Numismatists know that 2021 marked the end of the Morgan Dollar series and the introduction of the Peace Dollar. Morgan Dollars may be the most collected coin in U.S. numismatics. The Peace Dollar was the coin promoted by former ANA President Faran Zerbe with support from the ANA. In 1921, the U.S. Mint produced both coins. What better way to celebrate the centennial is by creating tributes to both coins.
The tribute idea was popular by collectors suggesting that it would be a high-demand product. But the U.S. Mint found a way to destroy the movement. In a series of missteps, the U.S. Mint allowed its lawyers to restrict their ability to do its job. As a result, the U.S. Mint could not purchase enough planchets to satisfy collector demand.
It is difficult to call the program a success given its problems. But the coins were a sellout, and they continue to do well on the secondary market. The U.S. Mint announced that the program will continue in 2022, and hopefully, it will go better than the 2021 releases.
2. Million Dollar Coins No Longer a Surprise
1804 Class I Original Draped Bust dollar, PCGS Proof-68 and the finest known of its kind, acquired for a client by GreatCollections for $7.68 million. (Photo credit: Professional Coin Grading Service.)
It used to be that very few coins would sell for more than $1 million. The sale would be broadcast on the traditional news media when they did. In 2021, ten coins sold for more than $1 million. Except for one coin, other sales were barely noticed by the mainstream media. Unfortunately, the numismatic market is not educating the
The numismatic market is very active, and the price increase of significant rarities results from the active market. Although the market favors United States coins, the collectors extend their collections to coins made elsewhere. Of the ten-million-dollar coins sold in 2021, four were not U.S. coins.
Here are the coins that sold for more than $1 million in 2021:
1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing (ex: Stickney-Ellsworth-Garrett-Partrick)
January 21, 2021
1822 Half Eagle (ex: Pogue)
March 25, 2021
1804 Bust Dollar – Class I (one of 15 known)
August 18, 2021
1804 $10 Proof Eagle (Finest of Three known)
January 20, 2021
1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief Double Eagle
April 6, 2021
1825 Russia Ruble Pattern with would-be Emperor Constantine
April 6, 2021
1928 China Pattern Dollar featuring the warlord Zhang Zuolin
April 6, 2021
1937 Edward VIII 5 Pounds Pattern (one of six known)
March 26, 2021
1928 China Pattern “Mukden Tiger” Dollar (one of ten known)
December 11, 2021
1. The Double Eagle That Flies Higher
Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle was sold by Sotheby’s for $18,872,250 in a June 2021 auction. (Picture Credit: PCGS)
As part of a May 2021 auction announcement, Sotheby’s revealed that Stuart Weitzman owned the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, the only legal coin of the mintage to own. Before the auction announcement, Weitzman was the anonymous buyer of the historic coin when it was an auction in 2002. He purchased the coin for $6.6 million-plus a 15-percent buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s famously paid the $20 face value to the U.S. Mint to monetize the coin. The final sale price was $7,590,020. At the time, it was almost twice the previous record paid for a coin.
Since that sale, several coins sold for more.
On June 8, 2021, Sotheby’s auctioned the Stuart Weitzman Collection, including rare Inverted Jenny Plate Block and the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamps. The coin sold for a record $18,872,250.
It answers the question, “What is a coin worth?” What are you willing to pay for it?
When I created the poll asking whether the U.S. Mint should continue the Morgan and Peace dollar program, I expected most people would favor the program, but I did not realize how positive some people would be.
The email responses have ranged from people reconnecting with their parents collecting coins to the few who thought it was the biggest disaster since clad coinage.
One teacher said that she uses the quarters programs as a teaching tool. The coins allow her to talk about history using the depictions on the reverse. She has sets of Presidential and Native American dollars that are props to talk about those subjects. “They are great to introduce the kids to the 19th century presidents people don’t normally talk about,” she wrote.
Several people wrote how they plan to visit every national park or forest featured on the America the Beautiful Quarters Program reverse. Some have started their journey with the closest parks. One New England-based family has a quarters map and will insert a coin into every state after visiting a park.
One mom of Native American descent uses the Native American Dollar Coins to teach her children about their cultural history. “These coins have some of the best designs,” she wrote.
Comments about the Morgan and Peace dollar coins thought that using classic designs on modern coins gives new collectors access to those designs. “Given the rising cost of everything these days,” he wrote, “the U.S. Mint would allow more people to afford nice examples of popular gold coin designs.”
Currently, 69 of 95 voters said “Yes, I love them” to the poll. As we begin the season of giving thanks, let’s see whom else wants to weigh in.
Should the U.S. Mint Continue to Strike Morgan and Peace Dollars
Yes, I love them. (69%, 86 Votes)
NO! (insert your reason here) (14%, 18 Votes)
Ok, but I probably won't buy them (9%, 11 Votes)
I don't know... maybe. I mean if people really want to buy them... (8%, 10 Votes)
The U.S. Mint and the Negro League Baseball Museum held an unveiling event for the 2022 NLBM Commemorative Coin Program. The ceremony was held at the museum in Kansas City, Missouri. NLBM Director Bob Kendrick hosted the event. Also attending was Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Esther George, and Kansas City Mayor Quentin Lucas (D).
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) recorded a message for the event because he was traveling overseas. Cleaver was a council member and was an early supporter of the museum. Cleaver continued to support the museum as mayor of Kansas City and was one of the Members of Congress who ushered the bill to authorize the commemorative program to passage.
As part of the ceremony, Sen. Blunt presented a copy of the signed law to the museum. Blount and Cleaver autographed the copy.
Acting Director of the U.S. Mint Ventris Gibson recorded the design unveiling ceremony they played at the museum. Before announcing the designs, Gibson revealed that her father played for a Negro League team in Virginia from 1949 through 1960.
Later in the day, the U.S. Mint published a press release with the design information.
The U.S. Mint is currently holding a numismatic press availability via conference call. During the call, the U.S. Mint announced that they plan to continue the Morgan and Peace dollar programs in 2022 and beyond.
Although the products have not been finalized, it is possible that there may be different finishes, such as reverse proof, and additional products options including the production of the coins at other mint facilities.
Stay tuned for more from the U.S. Mint’s press availability.
Today marks the 16th Anniversary of the Coin Collectors Blog. When I started this blog, I did not know if I had enough to write about. But numismatics has had many twists and turns over the years to keep the hobby interesting. As long as there is something to write about and you are willing to read it, I will keep going. Here’s to the last 16 years and more fun in the future. Thank you for being a loyal reader!
Collectors are reporting that they received their orders of 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars. Deliveries have come in waves where some have received multiple packages over two weeks.
A few collectors have noticed differences in the finish between different coins. A local collector showed me the difference between a Morgan Dollar with the CC privy mark and a 2021-S coin. The coin struck in San Francisco had a cloudier look. The Philadelphia Mint struck the Morgan Dollars with the privy marks.
A Canadian friend reported receiving colored Bluenose 10-cent coins in change. There is a general consensus that Canadians love the coins. One story included a cashier who was excited to open a roll of the new coins and took joy in giving them out.
Someone I know who is a member of the U.S. military had his post changed to the Pacific. As part of his tour, he went to Australia, where he discovered the alphabet coins. The Royal Australian Mint created 26 new designs with reverses featuring something Australian for each letter of the alphabet. The program, dubbed The Great Australian Coin Hunt 2, follows the 2019 program.
He was so impressed with the coins that He mailed a set of the 2019 and 2021 coins home for his children. When I told him that the Royal Mint released a similar set in the U.K., he said he might try for a tour in the North Atlantic to pick up a set.
There are a lot of interesting world coins to explore. Collectors may want to branch outside the U.S. and start a new collection.
A family in Michigan found an old ammunition round in there house that was filled with coins and bills decades ago. MSP First District A Michigan family made a bombshell discovery this weekend when they discovered a non-live WWI-era ammunition round was filled with treasure. → Read more at nypost.com
Prisoners at historic Port Arthur were not allowed to carry money. So how did a pile of silver shillings worth about a week's salary for one of the penal colony's overseers end up buried beneath the convicts' workshop? → Read more at abc.net.au
More than 6,000 silver coins from the late Middle Ages were discovered during a renovation project on a farm in the village of Rainbach, Upper Austria. The silver coins, which were handed over to the OÖ Lande-Kultur GmbH museum in Upper Austria, also known as Linz Schlossmuseum, “were wrapped in fabric and kept in a clay lidded pot,” the museum said. → Read more at klewtv.com
The U.S. Mint took to social media to let everyone know that they struck 24 million coins since January 2020.
After COVID-19 shut down the world, the supply chain was interrupted and not moving as expected. As businesses began to open, regulators ordered the U.S. Mint to increase circulating coin production so the Federal Reserve could push coins through the economy.
In 2020, the U.S. Mint struck 14.774 billion coins, 23.7-percent more than they struck in 2019. The announcement means that in the first ten months of 2021, the U.S. Mint struck 10 billion additional coins. It appears that the U.S. Mint will match the production rate of 2020.
Although collectors have a lot to say about how they have been treated, the U.S. Mint exceeds its primary mission as the nation’s coin manufacturer.