Weekly World Numismatic News for May 8, 2022

Reverse of the Royal Canadian Mint 2015 Superman $20 for $20 coin featuring “The Man of Steel”

One of my readers is a comics dealer who has a collection of comic-themed coins. This dealer discovered coins with comics themes when I posted about my purchase of the Canada $20 for $20 Superman coin. This dealer is on the mailing list for the mints that produce these coins.

After reading yesterday’s blog post, the comics dealer asked me how to become a coin dealer to sell comics-themed coins.

My reader knows that the comics industry is exploding and that the publishers are dabbling in non-fungible tokens (NFT) to see if they can extend the market. Those skeptical of the NFT market are looking for alternatives. A comics dealer that expanded to other publications, toys, and other collectibles understands that extending his market with coins will be profitable.

Walk into any hobby shop and see how every hobby has evolved. Comics, sports, and antiques have seen a rise in collecting, and all have seen the benefit of cross-collecting. A sports dealer is also selling comics and other collectibles with sports themes. Comics dealers are collectible cards and souvenirs from the ComicCons, the same as the sports dealers are selling game tickets.

Coin dealers extend their business into metals and jewelry, and their stores look the same as they did 10 years ago. The dealers may be making a living, but it is not expanding the hobby. But is it their job to expand the hobby or make a living? Unfortunately, this attitude is typical with the dealers trying to set ANA policy and is not helping the hobby’s growth.

And now the news…

 May 4, 2022
The most successful artistic design of the Croatian national side of the €1 coin has been selected, the Croatian National Bank (HNB) said in a press release.  → Read more at croatiaweek.com

 May 5, 2022
Found in Switzerland, some of the buried Roman coins were minted during a time of relative political stability, between 332 and 335 C.E.  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com
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My First Coin Design Change and Celebration

I am sponsoring GOLD memberships for new and renewing memebers of the American Numismatic Association. This is a limited-time offer to celebrate National Coin Week and the 131st anniversary of the American Numismatic Association. The offer expires on April 25, 2022. Call (800) 514-2646 or visit info.money.org/ncw-2022-barman to take advantage of this offer. Be sure to apply code NCW22SB at checkout!

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.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 17, 2022

Welcome to National Coin Week 2022!

I am sponsoring GOLD memberships for new and renewing memebers of the American Numismatic Association. This is a limited-time offer to celebrate National Coin Week and the 131st anniversary of the American Numismatic Association. The offer expires on April 25, 2022. Call (800) 514-2646 or visit info.money.org/ncw-2022-barman to take advantage of this offer. Be sure to apply code NCW22SB at checkout!

For the next week, the theme of National Coin Week is Dynamic Designs, Artistic Masterpieces celebrating the designs on coins. I cannot think of any numismatic topic that will lead to a more heated discussion than coin designs. Whether it is about the design selected for a quarter, commemorative coin, or classic versus modern designs, coin designs can be a polarizing topic. Even the topic of colorization has caused some to have a visceral reaction.

This week, I will be celebrating coin designs. During the week, I will celebrate coin designs from my collection, and they will be designs that I find appealing and the reason why I like them.

Today I start with the newest design that has piqued the interest of collectors and potential new collectors, the Maya Angelou Quarter. Angelou appears on the first issue of the American Woman Quarters program, a four-year program celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women in United States History.

Maya Angelou’s appearance on the quarter also marks the first time an African-American woman has appeared on a U.S. coin. Her first famous book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” inspired the design. It is the first time the general public has talked about a U.S. coin since the beginning of the 50 State Quarters program.

The obverse features a portrait of George Washington designed by Laura Gardin Fraser in 1932. When the U.S. Mint moved to change the quarter’s design to honor the bicentennial of George Washington’s birthday. A competition was held for the design. Fraser’s design was selected by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) as the best representation of Washington for the coin. Unfortunately, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, a known misogynist, rejected Fraser’s design and selected the art of John Flannigan instead.

The 1999 George Washington $5 gold commemorative coin featured Laura Gardin Fraser’s design. The American Women on Quarters program will feature her design. To sum up the impact of the design, the following is from the 1932 letter from the CFA to Secretary Mellon:

This bust is regarded by artists who have studied it as the most authentic likeness of Washington. Such was the skill of the artist in making this life-mask that it embodies those high qualities of the man’s character which have given him a place among the great of the world…Simplicity, directness, and nobility characterize it. The design has style and elegance…The Commission believes that this design would present to the people of this country the Washington whom they revere.

And now the news…

 April 11, 2022
The research, conducted by researchers at the University of Warwick and the University of Liverpool in England, revealed a debasement of the currency far greater than historians had thought.  → Read more at news.abplive.com

 April 13, 2022
FINDING valuable coins may not be too difficult – and an expert has revealed a way to do this. Should a coin be in a high grade or have a low reported mintage, the piece could be quite valuable.  → Read more at the-sun.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for April 10, 2022

Over the last few weeks, I received emails from people finding quarters celebrating Maya Angelou on the reverse in their change. When I reply by explaining the Women on Quarters program, the writers are surprised that this program exists.

A woman wrote and asked if I would confirm that Sally Ride would appear for a quarter. When I confirmed that the quarter was next in the series, she wanted to know where to find the quarters so she could give them to her daughter, who wants to be a rocket scientist.

I have never seen this type of reaction to a coin program. Students are talking about the coins as they relate to history. Parents are talking about using the coins to influence their daughters.

The unsung design element that numismatists appreciate is the adaptation of Laura Gardin Frasier’s portrait of George Washington. Frasier, the wife of James Earle Frasier, created an acclaimed design that the Committee on Fine Arts 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. Laura Gardin Frasier’s design has taken its rightful place on the coin’s obverse.

A coin that makes everyone excited. That’s a winning combination!

And now the news…

 April 10, 2022
The 'heads' of a contemporary coin, with a head of the god Bacchus, that was sampled as part of the project. Credit: University of Warwick  → Read more at phys.org
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Weekly World Numismatic News for April 3, 2022

The text of this week’s post does not contain any numismatic content. The numismatic content is below the story.

The love of a dog can never be measured. When you bring one into your home and heart, the bond is instantaneous and enduring. Bring in two, and it is a house full of barking, messes, love, and affection. My wife and I raised two puppies, a brother, and a sister, from different litters.

When the youngest has been with you for 13 years and 7 months, it may be a long time, but it feels like yesterday. We raised Tessa from a puppy from the day we picked her up in November 2008.

We used to say that if Tessa was human, she’d be a party girl. Tessa was a fun-loving dog who was very intelligent but would rather play. She did not have a short attention span, but it was short when she was not playing.

Aside from annoying her (late) brother, Boomer, Tessa’s favorite pastime was eviscerating toys. Any stuffed toy would not last more than a few moments, and she would attack, and the stuffing would be all over the house. If the toy had a squeaker, Tessa would chew it until it stopped squeaking.

Tessa slowed down a lot over the last two years, and age was catching up with her. Amongst her ailments, Tessa had arthritis in her hips. We bought a doggie stroller to bring her around the neighborhood. Since I had some time off on Monday, Tessa and I went for a long walk. The image on this post is from that walk. It was the last time we had quality time together.

On Saturday, Tessa went into respiratory failure, and we rushed her to the veterinary hospital. For a while, it seemed that she was stable and could get better, but she took a turn for the worse. We had no choice but to help her end this journey and lead her on to her next journey across the Rainbow Bridge.

I hope Tessa finds her brother Boomer, and they are running around like they did so many years ago. Sweet dreams, my baby-baby sweetheart. You will be missed.

And now the news…

 March 29, 2022
Who wants dead presidents and royalty on their money when Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are an option?  → Read more at gizmodo.com

 April 1, 2022
There’s a new reason to break open your piggy bank. Pocket change is in short supply – again. While some will call it the great coin shortage of 2022, America is facing a coin circulation problem.  → Read more at usatoday.com

 April 1, 2022
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Amid war in Ukraine and market chaos, nickels are now worth more in melted metal than their face value. But before you empty the piggy bank and fire up a smelter in the yard, there are a few things you should know.  → Read more at nbc4i.com

 April 2, 2022
EVERYONE likely has a circulated coin somewhere around them – and it might shock you to learn that it could be valuable.  A circulated coin could mean a few things, but generally, it is a type of condition that collectors refer to.   → Read more at the-sun.com

 April 2, 2022
This rare silver coin shows a portrait of Charlemagne that was made during his lifetime.  → Read more at livescience.com
Coin Collectors News
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 What’s in Your Pocket Change? (Mar 28, 2022)

 

Change hunting at the local grocery store

2022 Maya Angelou Quarter

I made a late evening run to the grocery store earlier this week. After picking up a few necessities, I went to the cash register, and three people were huddled around the open draw looking at the coins.

After putting my items on the belt, I asked why there were looking at the coins. One looked up and said they were looking for the Maya Angelou quarter, and another said that they were reading about Angelou in high school when their teacher talked about the quarter.

One looked at me and asked if I knew that the next quarter would honor Sally Ride and started to tell me about Dr. Ride. After I told them that I watched the shuttle launch on television, they thought it was neat that these quarters were in circulation.

They showed no interest in the national parks quarters as they looked at the quarters when one found an Ohio quarter. Although it has the hanging astronaut, I asked if they found the Florida quarter with the Space Shuttle on the reverse.

They realized I understood the quarters and asked if there was a reference to the themes on the quarters. After pointing them to the U.S. Mint website, I told them about the Red Book. I showed them some of the quarter designs on my smartphone and then the Native American dollars.

Aside from not knowing that the U.S. Mint struck dollar coins, I showed them the 2015 Mohawk Iron Workers dollar, a personal favorite. One showed interest and asked if they had created a design for the Code Talkers, and I responded “💯percent” and showed them the 2016 dollar.

Three high school students were now working at a local grocery store, looking at the coins in the cash register for designs representing history. They may not be looking for silver coins like I did in the early 1970s, but it’s change hunting looking for something neat.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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