Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Advice on Organizing Your Collection

By: Tim Stroud

Coin collections can be meticulously organized,or resemble a hoard, as is the case with half of my collection, which are simply stored in various types of containers all mixed together. A true collection however is organized in such a way that one can preserve and admire the coins from time to time, as well as show them off to fellow collectors.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Numismatists can Embrace Technology Without Sacrificing the Old-time Feel of the Hobby

Technology can benefit collectors in ways we haven't thought of yet.

About a month ago I read a short article about former ANA President Walter Ostromecki saying, “We have to start thinking differently and doing things in new ways. We shouldn’t misuse technology, but we can embrace it and take advantage of its strengths."

The article went on to mention the internet, but little else about technology. When I saw the headline I had such high hopes for an informative article, something that went beyond, "Hey, this important guy said such and such, but we didn't bother to think too hard about it," and was disappointed. Simply mentioning an old piece of technology (the internet as we know it is about 20 years old - that's ancient in tech years) and sprinkling with a few quotes doesn't make for inspiring reading.

So, with that in mind, let's talk Numismatic Tech.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Story Behind the Coin: Buffalo Nickel: Part 2

Release and Production

The first coins to be distributed were given out on February 22, 1913, when Taft presided at groundbreaking ceremonies for the National American Indian Memorial at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, New York. The memorial, a project of department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker, was never built, and today the site is occupied by an abutment for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Forty nickels were sent by the Mint for the ceremony; most were distributed to the Native American chiefs who participated. Payment for Fraser's work was approved on March 3, 1913, the final full day of the Taft administration. In addition to the $2,500 agreed upon, Fraser received $666.15 (US$15,900 with inflation) for extra work and expenses through February 14.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Story Behind the Coin: Buffalo Nickel: Part 1

No one knew while it was being conceived that the Buffalo Nickel would become an American numismatic icon.

Buffalo Nickel


In 1883, the Liberty Head nickel was issued, featuring designs by Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber. After the coin was released, it was modified to add the word "CENTS" to the reverse. Because of the new nickel's similarity in size with the gold half eagle, criminals gilded the new nickels and passed them off as five dollar coins. An Act of Congress, passed into law on September 26, 1890 required that coinage designs not be changed until they had been in use 25 years, unless Congress authorized the change. The act made the current five-cent piece and silver dollar exceptions to the twenty-five year rule; they were made eligible for immediate redesign. However, the Mint continued to strike the Liberty Head nickel in large numbers through the first decade of the 20th century.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Coins You Can Find: The Lincoln Cent: Modern Issues

The Lincoln Memorial design receives mixed reviews.

Lincoln Memorial Cent

Lincoln Memorial design (1959–2008)

On Sunday morning, December 21, 1958, President Eisenhower's press secretary, James Hagerty, issued a press release announcing that a new reverse design for the cent would begin production on January 2, 1959. The new design, by Frank Gasparro, had been developed by the Treasury in consultation with the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission. Approved by the President and by Secretary of the Treasury Robert B. Anderson, the new design featured the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The redesign came as a complete surprise, as word of the proposal had not been leaked. The coin was officially released on February 12, 1959, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, although some pieces entered circulation early.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Coins You Can Find: The Lincoln Cent: Release and Production

Steel Penny

The Lincoln cent sees the light of day.


The Philadelphia Mint struck 20,000,000 of the new coin even before its design was made official by Secretary MacVeagh. Dies for the San Francisco Mint, prepared at Philadelphia, were ready for shipment to San Francisco on June 22.

There was intense public interest in the new cents, especially since the Mint had not permitted images of the new coin to be printed in the newspapers. The Lincoln craze sparked by the centennial had not yet subsided, and there was widespread speculation about the coin's design. The Mint decided to plan for a simultaneous release of the coin across the United States on August 2, and Treasury Department branches were sent what were thought to be adequate supplies.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Coins You Can Find: The Lincoln Cent: Inception and Design

Wheat Penny

The first president to appear on a regularly circulating coin.


In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to his Secretary of the Treasury, Leslie Mortier Shaw, complaining that U.S. coinage lacked artistic merit, and enquiring if it would be possible to engage a private artist, such as sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to prepare new coin designs. At Roosevelt's instructions, the Mint hired Saint-Gaudens to redesign the cent and the four gold pieces: the double eagle ($20), eagle ($10), half eagle ($5), and quarter eagle ($2.50). As the designs of those pieces had remained the same for 25 years, they could be changed without an act of Congress. The Indian Head cent, which the Lincoln cent replaced, had been introduced in 1859.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Drama Behind the Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle

Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle

President Roosevelt tries to spruce up American coinage.

Late in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt, one of the most numismatic friendly presidents, decided U.S. coinage needed a facelift. He was on a mission to bolster America's image worldwide, a la the Great White Fleet which circumnavigated the globe between 1907-1909. Roosevelt was an admirer of ancient Greek coins, especially those of high-relief designs (where the features of the coin project far outward from the field) and saw an opportunity to further his cause. He wrote to Leslie Mortier Shaw, Secretary of the Treasury:

"I think the state of our coinage is artistically of atrocious hideousness. Would it be possible, without asking permission of Congress, to employ a man like (Augustus) Saint-Gaudens to give us a coinage which would have some beauty?"

Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Piece of eight! Pieces of eight!" The Spanish 8 Reales

Spanish 8-Reales

The Spanish 8-Reales silver coin set the tone for future international trade coins.

The real (meaning: "royal", plural: reales) was a unit of currency in Spain for several centuries after the mid-14th century, but changed in value relative to other units introduced. In 1864, the real was replaced by a new escudo, then by the peseta in 1868, when a real came to mean a quarter of a peseta.