Friday, December 21, 2007

How Much Is That Ron Paul Silver Dollar Worth?

Simon Constable hits the pavement again to see if anyone will take the new solid silver coins stamped with the image Ron Paul, a Texas congressman and Republican Party presidential candidate. . . .

Watch the video: Link

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cyprus to coin collectors: "It may be your hobby, but it's our heritage."

Battle over Cypriot coins heads to U.S. courts

WASHINGTON — Wayne Sayles, a conservative Republican from Missouri who twice voted for President Bush, is none too pleased with the Bush administration these days. In fact, he says it's trying to put him out of business.

Sayles has been collecting and selling ancient coins since 1967, and on Nov. 15, a group he heads sued the State Department, charging that its decision to restrict imports of ancient coins from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is "a major offensive" against coin collectors that threatens his hobby.

"In a world where globalism is not just a trend but an irreversible fact of life, how can anyone justify turning America into an island of prohibition for something as innocuous as a common coin?" Sayles, the executive director of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild in Gainesville, Mo., asked on his blog. . . .

Full story at: Link

Coins cast passion

Some are laid out grandly on red velvet cloths. Others are locked securely in glass cases. A few are just tossed in old boxes. Collectively, the merchandise at the Weyers Cave Community Center is worth close to a million dollars.

But when they were new, the pieces were worth a few cents. Some just a penny.

The musty scent of old coins is almost palpable at the Shenandoah Valley Coin Club's annual show. Dealers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina and all over Virginia display their collection of coins. Some have been collecting all their lives. Others, like George Cash of Richmond, are relatively new dealers.

"There are a lot of people here who do it for a living," Cash says. "I do it because I love it."

Coin collecting is a hobby that can pay off big time. Cash began buying old coins at auctions five years ago and has already made a pretty penny. He just sold a coin from 1793 — the first year America began manufacturing them — for . . .

Full story at: Link

Rare Indian Head Gold Coin Found Second Year in a Row

Salvation Army finds gold coin donation second year in a row

BARRE — The Salvation Army's annual red kettle drive has once again struck gold in central Vermont.

For the second straight year an anonymous donor dropped a rare gold coin into one of the red kettles at the Berlin Mall, according to Capt. Louis Patrick of the Barre-based Salvation Army.

No one was more surprised than Patrick, who viewed last year's welcome deposit of a gold coin, which eventually sold for almost $3,000, as a unique occurrence.

"I was absolutely totally shocked," Patrick said of Tuesday's unexpected discovery. "I considered it a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing."

Turns out he was wrong, and he's got another century-old Indian head gold coin to prove it.

The date on this year's coin, which was discovered in the red kettle outside the local Wal-Mart, is 1909, according to Patrick, who noted a nearly identical coin was found in a kettle just down the mall corridor in front of Jo-Ann's Fabrics last year. Although it was worth only $2.50 when it was made, that 1908 coin was sold to a local collector for $2,750 last Dec. 31. . . .

Full story at: Link Photo of coin at: Link

Monday, December 03, 2007

Shipwreck Treasure: Life of underwater adventure

IT IS a tale of American treasure hunters, an unidentified shipwreck with coins worth an estimated $500 million, and a court battle with the Spanish government—and it involves an archaeologist who lives in St Andrews.

Neil Dobson is principal marine archaeologist for Odyssey Marine Explorer, the Florida-based underwater salvage company which is in dispute with Spain over ownership of a shipwreck which has yielded 500,000 silver coins.

The discovery of the wreck, code-named Black Swan, was announced in May. . . .

Full story at: Link

Botched Olympic coins are gold for collectors

VANCOUVER - The Royal Canadian Mint's new line of 2010 Olympic coins has proven very popular. But a couple of mistakes - known as "mules" to coin collectors - have sent the value of some coins soaring.

A 2007 quarter for Paralympic curling is supposed to come with the Paralympic logo on the other side of the coin, beside a portrait of the Queen. But in some Olympic coin sets, the Paralympic curling coin has the Olympic logo on the obverse. A subtle mistake, but one that's fetching big bucks.

"It's worth about $400 right now for a set including the Paralympic mule," said Brian Grant Duff of The Bay Coins and Stamps in downtown Vancouver. "Normally it would retail in the $25 range." . . .

Full story at: Link

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rare coin investors positioned to make huge gains?

Daily Wealth - “After lagging behind gold for the past few years, I'm convinced it's only a matter of time before rare gold coins run much higher...

“Why? The current state of affairs is so similar to those that launched the huge rare coin bull markets of the past. The supply of high-quality coins is thinning out. But prices don't reflect this scarcity and are just beginning to react to the rising gold price. And, if this bull market is anything like the last three, investors who position themselves now will pocket thousands of percent gains.”
. . .

Full story at: Link

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

United States Mint Rolls Out the 2008 50 State Quarters® Coin Designs (

Designs Signal Conclusion of Popular Program

WASHINGTON - The United States Mint is announcing today the designs for the five new 2008 commemorative quarter-dollars in the 50 State Quarters® Program. The new quarters-honoring Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii-signal the end of the most popular coin program in the history of U.S. coinage.

The first commemorative quarter of 2008 honors Oklahoma. . . .

The second commemorative quarter of 2008 honors New Mexico. . . .

The third commemorative quarter of 2008 honors Arizona. . . .

The fourth commemorative quarter of 2008 honors Alaska. . . .

The fifth and final commemorative quarter in the 50 State Quarters Program honors Hawaii. . . .

Full story at: Link

How to Collect and Store Coins (

Numismatics, the hobby of kings, began to catch on in the United States in the mid-1800s. In 1858, the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia and the American Numismatic Society in New York City were organized. A decade or so earlier, there had been perhaps no more than a dozen serious collectors of coins this side of the Atlantic.

Coin-collecting interest expanded rapidly in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, as America's frontiers became settled and Americans became more interested in the arts. The first truly national hobby organization, the American Numismatic Association, was established in 1891, and . . .

Full story at: Link

Minted 'First Spouses' gold: A Bill Clinton perhaps?

Could the U.S. Mint be thinking ahead with its roll-out of the First Spouses Gold Coin series? . . . Now, all the first spouses have been first ladies. So, either the U.S. Mint is seeking a certain gender neutrality in its series -- or preparing for the Bill Clinton gold coin in 2009? . . .

. . . The gold coins are minted in denominations of $10 but are worth more -- they're a half-ounce of gold. . . .
Full story at: Link

Million dollar penny

A RARE Australian pre-decimal coin has cracked the $1 million mark for the first time.

The owner of the 1930 penny, once described as the most famous copper coin of the 20th century, has knocked back an offer to sell for $1 million.

Only four years ago coin dealers were valuing some examples of the penny at between $100,000 and $200,000.

It has become the holy grail of the coin collecting world.

In 1930 only six proof pennies were made.

Proof pennies are the first pennies run slowly off the minting presses to get a perfect finish. They are kept out of circulation.

But with the Great Depression hitting hard, there were no orders for the Royal Australian Mint to produce any pennies for circulation that year and the proof pennies were shelved. Today, three are held in museums and three in private hands.

On Tuesday, for the first time, one of the privately owned million-dollar pennies will go on display at the historic ANZ Gothic Bank building in Melbourne.

"The owner of this penny has already knocked back an offer of $1million," said Belinda Downie, managing director of rare coin dealer . . .

Full story at: Link

Shipwreck treasure's secrets are hard to pry out

The Spanish government moved another step closer Monday to getting long-awaited details of the estimated $500 million in sunken treasure salvaged by Florida-based deep-sea explorers earlier this year.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Pizzo, during a hearing in federal court in Tampa, Fla., urged attorneys for both sides to work out a confidentiality agreement that would allow Odyssey Marine Exploration to disclose details about the shipwreck and the treasure to Spanish officials while keeping the information out of the public eye.

Spain has filed claims in federal court in Tampa, contending it is entitled to the treasure if it or the sunken ship belonged to Spain, or if the treasure was removed from Spain's waters.

Tampa-based Odyssey flew the 17 tons of Colonial-era silver coins and other artifacts to . . .

Full story at: Link

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Liberty Dollar Seller Looking Forward To Big Ebay Payday

A Ron Paul Gold Dollar being auctioned on Ebay has so far been bid up to $1800 and may fetch as much as $3000 by the time the auction closes on Wednesday evening.

John Dean of Austin, TX is a Liberty Dollar owner who is preparing to reap the rewards of having invested in hard money. As of Nov. 15th, no more Silver Liberties will be produced by Liberty Services, formerly known as NORFED, Inc., who were raided by the US Government. All their dies, metals, money, computers and records were confiscated by the FBI with a total combined value in the tens of millions of dollars. Dean realized that his latest, paid order for some copper Ron Paul coins was also confiscated and would likely have to be written off as a total loss. Said Dean:

"I had a very large order for the Ron Paul copper dollars, and I already have a large quantity of silver and gold coins, and even one platinum, so I wanted the whole set. Besides thinking that I'm not going to ever see those copper Liberties again, I wanted to take advantage of the obvious hyper-inflated value of [my coins]. So I was willing to try my luck on the market by auctioning those."

Dean is off to a good start. He placed some of his coins up for auction on Ebay. So far, he has two gold Liberty coins listed that have been bid up to $1,800 each with two-and-a-half days remaining in the auctions. He says he's already seen someone else who put up a Liberty Dollar gold coin in a one-day auction. He says, "I didn't check it this morning, but as of last night it was selling for $3,000."

When he originally bought the gold coins, the price was . . .

Full story at: Link

Treasure found in field with metal detector

A PIECE of gold treasure found by a man with a metal detector dates back to the 17th century and is a unique find for Wales.

The gold touch-piece of James II is almost certainly the only one of its kind to be found in Wales after being discovered by Philip Richard Jones on his land at Overton.

Yesterday the item was declared treasure by North East Wales coroner John Hughes at an inquest at Flint magistrates court.

The inquest heard how the coin-like piece dating from between 1685 to 1688 was unearthed in July and transferred to the National Museum in August.

The touch-piece has a sailing ship on one side and St Michael and the dragon on the other, is punctured by a small hole and is made of gold "of a high fineness".

Touch pieces form part of the ceremony of touching for "the King's evil", a complaint called scrofula. Dating back to the time of Edward IV in 1465, there was a belief that the King's touch cured the condition and patients were touched by the King by a coin called the angel or angel-noble.

Angel-nobles were coins of the realm and the last one was minted by Charles I who reigned between 1625 and 1649.

Angels were coins of the realm but after King Charles was executed and . . .

Full story at: Link

$10,000 Sacagawea Dollar With Edge Lettering Found! (

A lucky person in Colorado has found the first authenticated Sacagawea Dollar with edge lettering on it, collecting the $10,000 reward offered by PCGS for the first specimen to be submitted to them. The finder says he got the coin in circulation and had it for as long as two weeks before realizing what it was. But wait, there are no Sacagawea Dollars being issued for circulation this year! So what's up with this guy, who lives a mere 8 miles from the Denver Mint? . . .

Full story at: Link

Monday, November 19, 2007

First Lady Laura Bush Displays 2008 First Spouse Gold Coin Designs at the White House - Latest Dolley Madison Coin Celebrated

United States Mint Director Presents Mrs. Bush with Inaugural 2007 Coins

Washington, D.C. - Director of the United States Mint Ed Moy joined Mrs. Laura Bush in the White House East Room today for a ceremony celebrating the First Spouse Gold Coin Program. The collectible First Spouse Gold Coins, inaugurated this year, mark the first U.S. coin series consecutively honoring women.
The designs for the 2008 First Spouse Gold Coins were on display for the first time during today's ceremony. The new 2008 coins will feature images of Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Adams, Andrew Jackson's Liberty and Martin Van Buren's Liberty.

"This is the first time in American history that women are featured on a consecutive series of coins," noted Director Moy. "And, it is the first time our First Ladies are gracing coins made of 24-karat gold."

Much of today's ceremony focused on the final coin . . .

Full story at: Link

Values on Rise for Rare Collectibles

In the fall of 2005, Charles Hack, a New Yorker who has made a fortune in real estate and spent a lot of it on old master paintings and Renaissance sculpture, noticed a newspaper advertisement for an auction of a rare stamp.

The 24-cent airmail stamp issued in 1918, popularly known to collectors as the Inverted Jenny, became famous — and valuable — because of an error: the airplane in the center of the design, a Curtiss JN-4, is printed upside-down. Only 100 of the misprints are known to exist. Mr. Hack attended that auction and bought the stamp for $297,000, including commission.

Last Wednesday, Mr. Hack attended another stamp auction, at Siegel Auction Galleries in New York City, and went home with a second Inverted Jenny after bidding $850,000. The final price, with the commission, came to $977,500, a record for an American stamp sold at auction and a confirmation of a trend that is transforming the world of high-end collectibles.

His second Inverted Jenny cost more because it is one of the finest, but auction prices for many rare and high-quality collectibles, including coins and memorabilia, have gone up significantly in recent months.

Just in the past week, a collection of American pattern coins — rare samples made to show off proposed designs, like tests for the first United States pennies in 1792 — was traded for $30 million between an anonymous buyer and seller. The deal, brokered by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, N.J., doubled the previous record for a coin collection. And a rare and pristine poster for the 1935 movie “Bride of Frankenstein,” starring Boris Karloff, was sold Wednesday by Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas for $334,600, which included commission. . . .

Full story at: Link

Last days to vote for American Numismatic Association's (ANA's) Numismatist magazine humor column

(Attention ANA Members: Voting to end soon! Cast your vote for your top three picks at with your top pick as #1. Make sure your email contains three names or the ANA will consider your vote invalid.)

Finding good humor is very difficult, since we all have different senses of humor and ways of finding different things funny. However, I'm pretty sure that everyone will find something to laugh out loud about in the offerings below. The American Numismatic Association's (ANA) official magazine, Numismatist, is looking for a new writer to take over their monthly humor column. To find just the right person, they ran a year-long contest, where each month one of twelve aspiring coin humorists had their turn trying to entertain us (and earn the right to try to do so for the next year under contract to the Numismatist.) . . .

Full story at: Link

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Coin Collection Sells for $30 Million

TRENTON, N.J. — An anonymous buyer has paid more than $30 million for a collection of rare U.S. prototype coins, some from the 1700s, that never went into circulation, according to the dealer that brokered the deal.

The collection consists of about 1,000 coins that collectors refer to as pattern coins _ trial designs that never went into production because the U.S. Mint chose other designs.

"This collection is an incredible collection. ... These were some of the first coins ever, ever struck by the United States government . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, November 16, 2007

First coins were more than just currency

Metal money provided social mobility to those who didn't have it

More than 100 million $1 coins featuring the likeness of Thomas Jefferson were put into circulation in September, but few people plan to use them, or even know they exist.

Only a quarter of U.S. residents have actually seen a Jefferson coin, or either of the other two Presidential $1 coins that are part of a series the United States Mint started to released earlier this year, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll. . . .

Full story at: Link

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild Files Lawsuit Against U.S. State Department

FOIA suit filed against DOS

The ACCG is joined by IAPN and PNG in a complaint filed against the U.S. State Department

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), an advocacy group for private collectors and independent scholars, has announced the filing on November 15, 2007 of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U. S. State Department. According to Wayne G. Sayles, executive director of the guild, this action became unavoidable due to “persistent refusal of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide the guild and others with information relating to requests for import restrictions.” The State Department recently imposed unprecedented import restrictions on ancient coins from Cyprus—requiring importers of even a single common coin of “Cypriot type” to provide unfair, unworkable and unnecessary documentation. . . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Raids Issuer of Ron Paul Coins (The NY Sun)

Federal agents, in a move that could have an impact on the presidential race, raided the Indiana office of the issuer of a private currency known as the Liberty Dollar — and seized tens of thousands of coins bearing the likeness of a presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul.

Overall, agents on Wednesday hauled away more than 2 tons of copper coins and 500 pounds of silver coins, as well as . . .

Full story at: Link

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to Acquire Coins (

Circulation Finds

Pulling coins out of circulation is a time-proven method of getting started. There is a wide variety of coinage in circulation, and the quickest way to become acquainted with it is to go through your change coin by coin.

When you plunk a pocketful of coins on a table, you often see a wide variety of conditions. Cents range from the deep chocolate color of older pieces to a bright coppery red of newly struck coins. Various shades of color can also be detected as the modern nickel, dime and quarter wear.

Studying these coins may . . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Mint Fears Losses From Penny Meltdown (Bloomberg)

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- In Washington, a city known for multi-billion-dollar budget deficits, some members of Congress and the Bush administration are near a meltdown over a much more modest figure: the old copper penny.

The government fears that citizens will melt U.S. pennies minted before 1982 to extract the copper, which, even with recent dips, has shot up in price over the past five years. In December the U.S. Mint banned any melting of pennies and nickels (nickel prices are up too), sidetracking one Ohio metals expert's plan to cash in.

The government explained that it could cost more than $1 million a day . . .

Full story at: Link

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New James Madison $1 Coin Rolls into Circulation November 15

Washington, DC - The Nation may exchange dollar bills next Thursday, November 15 at banks and financial institutions for shiny new Presidential $1 Coins honoring James Madison. President Madison was the fourth U.S. President, and this will be the Nation's fourth Presidential $1 Coin.

Known as the Father of the Constitution, Madison was renowned for his acumen, and he was the Constitution's leading advocate for 50 years. Madison wrote in 1829, "The happy union of these States is a wonder: their Constitution a miracle: their example the hope of Liberty throughout the World."

"James Madison was a brilliant President, and his contributions to our young country should not be underestimated," said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. "As Americans spend these new James Madison $1 Coins, I hope they'll think about the man who fought so hard for the document that is the foundation of our law and democracy."

The design of the James Madison $1 Coin, like all of the Presidential $1 Coins, was created to be . . .

Full story at: Link

1776 coin turns up in Nashville cemetery (

Famously known as the "piece of eight" and later the "peso," a 1776 Spanish coin called the "8 reales" was found as workers were doing restoration recently on the old Nashville City Cemetery.

The coin was found in the northeastern quadrant of the cemetery by Pat Cummins, staff archaeologist for the Murfreesboro-based Cumberland Research Group, which specializes in mortuary archaeology.

It was found as workers were raising a footstone that had sunk into the ground at the foot of a grave dating to the mid-to-late 19th century.

The coin features a bust of Charles III on one side and a pair of pillars separated by a crowned shield with lions, castles, a pomegranate and the centralized three fleurs-de-lis on the other side. This particular type of "8 reales" is known as the "Milled Bust," and it was the fifth and final type of Spanish colonial silver coin design in the New World.

Fred Zahn, who is on the historic preservation staff for the Metro Historical Commission, said the coin was legal tender in the U.S. until the late 1850s. . . .

Full story at: Link

Maynard Sundman, Littleton Coin Co. co-founder dies at 92

Littleton legend started out small (UnionLeader)

LITTLETON – Fascinated by postage stamps as a young boy and resolved to turn his passion into his life's work, Maynard Sundman parlayed his earnings from magazine subscription sales and raising rabbits into two of the world's largest stamp and coin companies.

Sundman, founder of the Littleton Stamp Co. and the Littleton Coin Co., died Wednesday at the age of 92 in the hometown he adopted more than 60 years ago.

"Here was a man who took a hobby and turned it into a huge international business,'' said Littleton Selectman Brien Ward. "He could have made his living anywhere, but he wanted to live in the North Country.''

Sundman was born in Connecticut and began his first stamp business in 1935 in his parents' kitchen, but it was while serving in North Africa in the Fifth Army that he was introduced to New Hampshire.

In Morocco, Sundman met . . .

Full story at: Link

A $5 million price has been paid for one of four known proof 1804 $10 gold pieces . . . (

Two Rarities Bought by Unnamed Buyer

A $5 million price has been paid for one of four known proof 1804 $10 gold pieces, announced Albanese Rare Coins, Inc., of Albion N.Y.

The anonymous buyer also purchased a proof 1838 $10 gold piece for $1.7 million that pedigrees to Egypt's King Farouk and later John Jay Pittman. "The buyer and seller want to remain anonymous. Both are northeastern United States entrepreneurs who have been collecting coins since they were young boys," said David C. Albanese, president of Albanese Rare Coins.

The 1804 proof $10 is graded NGC Proof-65 Ultra Cameo (with star designation). Albanese points out that although dated 1804, the coin was actually struck in 1834 to be included in presentation sets given as trade mission diplomatic gifts overseas on behalf of President Andrew Jackson.

Two of the four known specimens are in . . .

Full story at: Link

Vacant house yields trove of rare coins (The Seattle Times)

WINDBER, Pa. — Talk about throwing away money. Piles of old coins worth as much as $200,000 were found in a long-abandoned home, including scores that the owner had apparently thrown down a hole in the wall.

Jeff Bidelman, owner of Rare Collectibles near Johnstown, said he was helping the family clean out the house after the death of the owners, who had not lived there for two decades.

He was dragging a bag of old coins down the steps when he noticed the hole in an upstairs wall. . . .

Full story at: Link

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Coin Collecting Humor (

Finding good humor is very difficult, since we all have different senses of humor and ways of finding different things funny. However, I'm pretty sure that everyone will find something to laugh out loud about in the offerings below. The American Numismatic Association's (ANA) official magazine, Numismatist, is looking for a new writer to take over their monthly humor column. To find just the right person, they ran a year-long contest, where each month one of twelve aspiring coin humorists had their turn trying to entertain us (and earn the right to try to do so for the next year under contract to the Numismatist.) . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, October 19, 2007

Treasure Hunters Face Spanish Armada (NY Times)

Back in May, Odyssey Marine Exploration counted the reasons why its latest treasure — an estimated $500 million in silver in a shipwreck — was theirs for the keeping, since the coins recovered “beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country.”

This week, we learned that Spain strongly disagrees. An incensed senior official summed it up to Agence France-Presse:

Spanish Culture Minister Antonio Molina said Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration was made up of “modern pirates” and he warned that “against pirates, there have always been navies, laws and the state of law.”

“We will pursue them wherever they are. It is a question of national pride and patriotism,” he told reporters, adding the Nasdaq-listed firm “will not escape unharmed for what it has done”.

And those words were preceded with military muscle. On its way out of the Straits of Gibraltar, Odyssey’s Explorer found itself eye-to-eye with a Spanish warship backed by other vessels. The standoff lasted 4 hours before Captain Sterling Vorus agreed to head to port under the “threat of deadly force,” he told Britain’s Telegraph. He was briefly detained.

The episode has left Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s chief executive, expressing confusion with Spain’s intentions. “We’re not sure what the inspection of the Explorer is meant to accomplish,” he said, according to The Tampa Tribune. “We had again invited Spanish officials to inspect the Explorer in advance of our departure and they chose not to take us up on it.”

The coins themselves were brought to . . .

Full story at: Link

Ancient Roman Coins Found in Portugal

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Archaeologists excavating a site in northeastern Portugal discovered 4,500 ancient Roman coins tucked away inside a wall.

The bundle of 4,526 copper and bronze coins was hidden inside the wall of a 4th century blacksmith's home, said Antonio Sa Coixao, who is leading excavation in Coriscada.

The sack holding the coins appeared to have disintegrated, he said.

"It looks like someone was trying to hide them but they never went back to get them," Sa Coixao said Wednesday.

Full story at: Link

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rare 173-year-old gold coin sells for $5 million

ALBION, New York: A rare $10 gold coin made for former U.S. President Andrew Jackson to give as a diplomatic gift during trade missions to Asia was purchased Thursday by a private collector for $5 million.

The 1804-dated Eagle coin — which was actually struck in 1834 at the Philadelphia Mint — is one of only four surviving examples of the special coin.

"The buyer and seller want to remain anonymous. Both are northeastern United States entrepreneurs who have been collecting coins since they were young boys," said David Albanese, president of Albanese Rare Coins, which handled the sale.

The same coin sold for $1 million in 2003 and again in 2005 for $2.47 million, said Dean Albanese, the company's chief executive officer.

Full story at: Link

Out-of-this-world sales for Sputnik coin

Fifty years after the Russian satellite Sputnik launched the international space race, the New Zealand Mint is facing astronomical demand for its commemorative coin to mark the anniversary.

Russian ambassador Mikhail Lysenko, who checked out the coin yesterday, said of Sputnik's venture into space on October 4, 1957: "It was not just the launch of a piece of metal, but the launch of a new era of space technology."

Full story at: Link

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

1.5 tons of ancient coins discovered in north China

A cellar containing 1.5 tons of ancient coins, including some 2,000-year-old ones, have been discovered by a villager in Changzi County, north China's Shanxi Province.

The man in Qianwanhu village discovered the cellar with some 10,000 coins, ranging from . . .

Full story at: Link

Coin Dealer Ethics - The Nasty Practice of Cherrypicking Proof Sets (

From Susan Headley at

The practice of dealers cherrypicking coins from the Proof sets is what I refer to here as a "nasty practice." It is becoming increasingly common in recent years, partly because of the ready market of ill-informed novices who buy from online auctions, and partly because of the great premiums attached to coins graded PR-70.

Most people aren't even aware that the Mint doesn't seal the Proof set packages. The plastic cases can simply be pulled apart, and the coins switched out. If the Mint would seal the Proof sets so that the cases must be cracked to access the coins, it would help put a stop to this fraud. Unfortunately, dealer abuse of Proof sets extends even further! . . .

Full story at: Link

eBay to Implement Sweeping New Slabs Policy? (

From Susan Headley at

Long time readers have heard me rant from time to time about various forms of fraud related to the coin grading services business. Whether it's grading services like SGS that grade everything they slab on the 3-point scale (from MS-68 to MS-70,) or dealer abuse of these inflated grades (claiming a coin in a junk slab is worth the same amount as a PCGS graded coin,) these practices are a real pet peeve of mine.

Fortunately, eBay has come to the rescue! eBay is implementing major changes to the listing rules in the Coins categories, effective Oct. 1, essentially forcing dealers to sell slabbed coins as "raw" (ungraded) unless they are from the top 5 grading services (PCGS, NGC, NCS, ANACS, and ICG.) And that's just the beginning!

Full story at: Link

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Presidential Dollar coins make sense

Every time a vending machine won't take your dollar bill, you ought to plunk in a dollar coin. But, more likely than not, you don't have one.

And, more likely than not, you didn't even know they existed - even though the government last month issued 170 million new gold-colored Thomas Jefferson dollars, the third in a series that will feature all deceased ex-presidents.

The new dollar coins are attractive, collectible and convenient - a lot easier to tote than rolls of quarters and accepted by most vending machines without quarrel.

They also represent a potential fiscal boon for the government because they cost 12 cents to make and they sell, of course, for a dollar. They also will remain usable for 30 years, versus 18 months for a dollar bill.

And yet they are not catching on. One reason is . . .

Full story at: link

Gnarled Edges, Out-Of-Round Strikes Found On Adams Presidential Dollars (

Several Numismatic News readers have alerted us of Presidential dollars that are afflicted by what I call gnarled rims. I've had reports on these ever since the George Washington dollar was released on through to the latest Thomas Jefferson dollars. The ones we show here are two of the Philadelphia Mint John Adams dollars sent in by . . .

Full story at: link

Half billion in treasure surfaces from Atlantic (Bradenton Herald, FL)

As summer winds down and hurricane season heats up, it can be both a good and bad thing to be a latecomer to many Atlantic seashore areas. Bad in that getting caught in a hurricane is anything but relaxing. Yet, good because hurricane winds and waves often reveal silver and gold coins uncovered on beaches after being washed ashore from countless old Spanish shipwrecks.

Professional treasure hunters have long searched southeastern coasts in search of major treasure hoards. The sharp coral reefs that extend far out into the sea were a frequent death trap for Spanish galleons filled with riches from Mexico and Peru.

A few decades ago, stories about a man named Mel Fisher filled newspapers and newscasts when it was disclosed he found the ship "Atocha" off Florida. The treasure was estimated at $400 million.

Now, what's being reported to be the "largest treasure ever found" has been announced by the Odyssey Marine Exploration organization. This past May, the company disclosed they had found a shipwreck in the Atlantic containing over half a million silver and countless gold coins. The estimated worth of the find is over $500 million. . . .

Full story at: link

Curse of the $500 million sunken treasure (Fortune)

Greg Stemm's company found the richest trove of sunken treasure ever, writes Fortune's Tim Arango. Now comes the hard part: Keeping it.

(Fortune Magazine) -- On April 10, a Gulfstream G-V took off from the British territory of Gibraltar en route to Tampa with a load of Colonial-era silver and gold coins salvaged from a centuries-old shipwreck.

On May 16 a chartered Boeing 757 made the same journey, its cargo hold jammed with even more coins - this time over half a million of them, weighing about 17 tons.

Today all those coins are locked up at a secret location in Florida. And if those who discovered the loot are to be believed, there's plenty more where that came from - some estimates put the total haul at $500 million, which would make it the richest find of sunken treasure in history.
Where is this treasure, exactly? Odyssey Marine Exploration, the Tampa-based company that found it, won't say. The company won't even reveal the name of the sunken ship; the site is code-named Black Swan, after a book of the same name about unpredictable but consequential events.

All we really know about Black Swan is that it's in international waters 100 miles west of Gibraltar under 3,600 feet of ocean - and that the Spanish believe it all belongs to them. It's a wonderful drama, straight out of a Clive Cussler thriller: precious metals, races against time, undersea robots, and international intrigue. How that intrigue turns out could be a watershed for Odyssey and its shareholders. . . .

Full story at: LINK

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Good Old Days: Abe Kosoff

The dean of 20th-century American numismatics was Abe Kosoff. Not only was he a wonderful gentleman, an impeccable dresser and a quality public speaker; he was also at the forefront of numismatics in the middle of the century as it turned from a hobby of a few (usually) moneyed collectors to a wide-open race for investment-quality coins and rolls or even bags of mint coins.

Abe made his mark, and when almost every rare coin and major collection came to light, he was in the midst of it.

In an interview with Ed Reiter of COINage magazine in . . .

Full story at:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thomas Jefferson's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin Available August 30

WASHINGTON - The United States Mint announced today the opening of sales for Thomas Jefferson's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin on August 30 at 12:00 noon (ET). Orders for both the ½-ounce proof and uncirculated versions of the 24-karat gold coin will be limited to one per option, per household for the first week of sales. The United States Mint will reevaluate this limit after the first week, and either extend, adjust, or remove it. Mintage of Thomas Jefferson's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coins is limited to 20,000 for each product option.

"This beautiful coin captures a classic image of Liberty from Jefferson's time, connecting us to the history of our coinage and . . .

Full story at:

US Mint to Release Thomas Jefferson Presidential Dollar Coin

WASHINGTON - Most folks can correctly name George Washington as the nation's first president. After that, things get tricky.

The U.S. Mint is hoping its new dollar coin series will help refresh some hazy memories of Adams, Jefferson and all the rest.

That could be a tall order, however, given the results of a poll the Mint commissioned to find out just how much knowledge Americans have about their presidents.

According to the telephone poll, conducted by the Gallup Organization last month, nearly all those questioned knew that Washington was the first president. However, only 30 percent could name Thomas Jefferson as the nation's third president, and memories of the other presidents and where they fit in was even more limited.

Mint Director Edmund Moy believes the new dollar coin . . .

Full story at:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Carson City gold deserves appreciation (NumismaticNews)

(A.C. Dwyer - "Has anyone else noticed that most of the articles each week in Numismatic News are written by Paul Green? Usually two articles are authored by him each week, including the Item of the Week column. What bothers me is that Mr. Green died over a year ago. How timely can these articles be? I admit that I enjoy Mr. Green's writing but I think it's time for Numismatic News to find someone to write some newer pieces. If the top columnist at The New York Times were to die, I doubt they'd still be publishing his writing a year later.")

Gold has been in the headlines a lot since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Almost every day you see someone offering an opinion that puts gold at some incredible high price sometime in the future.

These headlines, though, are for generic gold. For collectors, that kind of gold has no soul. If we could have gold with a soul, what would it be? I nominate . . .

House approves NASA anniversary coins (

The "NASA 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act" calls for the Mint to produce 50,000 $50 gold coins and 300,000 $1 silver coins that "shall be emblematic of the 50 years of exemplary and unparalleled achievements of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration." The $50 coin, as specified by the bill, would bear an image of the Sun and a design honoring the astronauts who lost their lives in duty, while the nine $1 coins will depict the planets of the solar system along with designs on their reverse symbolizing the contributions of NASA's research and its space centers. . . .

Investing in gold coins (

With the oil price once again lingering near all-time highs, the idea of investing in gold is gaining momentum. Of late I have been receiving many enquiries about the merits of investing in gold coins as a possible hedge... but is this a good idea? Here’s what the experts say. . . .

Nickeled, Dimed and Screwed (Dallas Observer, TX)

Hard-sell coin dealers make chump change

The 2004 magazine ad for Silver American Eagles that caught Maureen O'Neill's eye included a thumbnail history and some mumbo jumbo about the coins being "certified gem brilliant uncirculated" and "sonically sealed in a tamper-evident holder." But the 74-year-old widow and retired nurse didn't understand or care about any of that.
O'Neill just figured that filling out the coupon would save a trip to the mall: "I thought they would make nice Christmas presents for my son and son-in-law."

Two weeks later, O'Neill received a phone call from the Beaumont-based company that sold her the silver. The salesman was extremely personable, eager to hear all about her newly adopted grandson. The salesman also learned that she lived alone in Connecticut and her family resided out of state. It seemed he had all day just to chitchat. She enjoyed the attention.

So, what the heck, she bought some more coins. "I spent a couple thousand here, a few thousand there." And her phone kept ringing. . . .

Woman Gardening Finds Rare Penny (WPVI-TV, Philadelphia)

BURNHAM, Pa. (AP) - August 1, 2007 - A penny saved is a penny earned, but a 1793 cent found in the garden is probably worth a lot more to a Mifflin County woman.

Cheryl Corbin first thought she had picked up a quarter while planting flowers in June, then saw the date and thought it was a bicentennial coin. At work the next day, Corbin said, "I had the office in an uproar."

Co-workers searched the Internet and identified the coin as a 1793 copper "chain" cent. The front featured Lady Liberty and the back had a circle of 15 chain links representing the 15 states in the union at that time. . . .

There's money in coins, but not for everyone (The Sydney Morning Herald, AU)

THERE'S money in rare coins and notes all right, but which ones?

The question is prompted by the imminent launch of the Australian Rare Coin and Banknote Fund, which hopes to raise $25 million or more from investors.

A booklet on the fund says turnover . . .

Do I have to Buy the Best Quality Coins if I Want to Make Money? (

Buy quality! Buy quality! Buy quality! That's all you hears these days when you are considering rare coins as an investment. First, are you really buying coins as an investment, or merely for the pleasure of owning a piece of history? That is sometimes the real dilemma for many collectors, or is it investors? Everybody wants to make sure that their investment is protected, but there are no guarantees, especially in rare coins. In fact, some rare coins . . .

Friday, June 22, 2007

Arrg! Real-Life Pirate Adventure Delays Volvo Treasure Retrieval (

Video: Volvo's Pirate Adventure Promotion

Full story of real-life treasure controversy at:

Treasure hunter scoops loot from the Santa Margarita (Scripps)

A.C. Dwyer - "Watch out, after losing this treasure they stole from the New World, the Spanish will probably try to steal it back again as they are doing with Odyssey Marine Exploration's recent find."

Michael Perna's first treasure finds turned out to be a joke on him.

Several years ago, the Vero Beach native began discovering what appeared to be 300-year-old treasure coins on the Treasure Coast beaches. What he didn't know was that a friend was ahead of him in the dark, tossing fake coins in the sand to set off Perna's metal detector.

"I thought I was a millionaire," he said.

Even in the years since then Perna hasn't found much, but he didn't give up.

On June 10, his patience paid off. The 27-year-old professional scuba diver helped find what treasure hunters dream of: a small multimillion-dollar lode of gleaming gold, pearls and artifacts on the ocean floor off the Florida Keys.

They're from the Santa Margarita, companion ship of the famed Spanish treasure galleon the Atocha, loaded with tons of silver, gold bars and jewelry that sank during a hurricane in 1622. . . .

Full story at:

No going back to paper, plastic money is in currency

It’s one of those vast social upheavals that everyone understands but that hardly anyone notices because it seems too ordinary: The long-predicted “cashless society” has quietly arrived, or nearly so; currency, coins and cheques are receding as ways of doing everyday business; the US has become Plastic Nation. In the tangled history of American money — from tobacco receipts to gold and silver coins to paper money and cheques — this is a seismic shift. Time to pay attention.

If you visit the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing (one operation in Washington, the other in Fort Worth, Texas), you can still see greenbacks being made. They come off the presses in sheets of 32. In fiscal 2007, the government will print about 9.1 billion individual bills. But 95% is to replace worn currency, not to . . .

Full story at:

The Coins Jesse James Never Got (

They were called "The Coins Jesse James Never Got!" And it was true, he didn't get them, but in fairness, neither did Frank James, Cole Younger, Bob Younger, John Younger, Jim Younger or any other bank-, train- or stage-robbing Western outlaw. Why? Because the coins in question were part of the General Services Administrations' June 1, 1973 to July 31, 1973 sale of excess silver dollars still in government vaults -- most having languished there since their minting in the 19th century.

The sale was the second in a series of GSA disposals of nearly 3 million silver dollars, largely from the Carson City Mint, that remained in Treasury's hands. The first sale, "The Great Silver Sale," was held from . . .

Full story at:

First Spouse Coins Sell Out on First Day (NumismaticNews)

The first two First Spouse gold coins honoring Martha Washington and Abigail Adams sold out June 19, the first day they were offered to collectors.

With a maximum mintage of 40,000 pieces for each design, the coins were priced at $429.95 for the proofs and $410.95 for the uncirculateds.

There was an order limitation of five coins per household per sales option. . . .

Full story at:

$500 Million Treasure hunters accused by Spain victims of a misunderstanding

"It has been a terrible misunderstanding that has inconvenienced a lot of people and cost a lot of money and it's been exacerbated by irresponsible media reports," Stemm, Odyssey co-founder, said.

Treasure hunters accused by Spain of taking a valuable hoard from its waters said on Friday they were victims of a bizarre misunderstanding.

News last month that Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration had found one of the world's biggest treasure troves raised suspicions in Madrid after it was seen apparently trawling the seas near the Spanish coast.

The company's ships are now stranded in Gibraltar because Spain has threatened to intercept them if they enter Spanish waters that surround the British colony.

Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm said the company's secretive movements near Spain were in fact part of a job for car maker Volvo, which had asked it to plant treasure that one lucky prize winner would later be taken out to 'find'.

In an interview with Reuters, Stemm said Odyssey had always made clear its bonanza discovery of gold and 17 tonnes of silver had been in the Atlantic Ocean, far outside Spanish waters. . . .

Full story at:

1850 Lake Erie Shipwreck Found - Millions in gold coins aboard according to legend

A 177-year-old shipwreck that has eluded divers for decades has been found in Lake Erie.
“We have found the General Anthony Wayne,” Christopher Gillcrist, executive director of the Great Lakes Historical Society, said this afternoon.
Gillcrist and divers involved in the search made the . . .

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch

2008 Beijing Olympics: China unveils more Olympic coins (

China's central bank unveiled on Wednesday a second set of gold and silver coins to commemorate the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The second set consists of eight commemorative coins, two made with a third ounce of gold, one with five ounces of gold, four with an ounce of silver, and one with a full kilogram of silver. . . .

Full story at:

U.S. Mint apparently goofs again with more 'godless' dollar coins (AP)

PHILADELPHIA - It looks like the U.S. Mint has struck again , or actually, not struck again.

Some of the new dollar coins featuring John Adams are missing edge inscriptions including "In God We Trust," according to the Professional Coin Grading Service, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based rare coin authentication company.

The company said hundreds of Adams dollar coins have been found without the edge lettering, repeating a mistake the U.S. Mint had aimed to fix after it marred an earlier batch of presidential dollars. . . .

Full story at:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Treasure ship's half-billion-dollar question: Who owns the past? (St Petersburg Times, FL)

Scrutiny of the Bounty

Treasure ship's half-billion-dollar question: Who owns the past?

Pounded by a storm on the last leg of a five-week journey, the Merchant Royal limped through the sea on Sept. 23, 1641, weighed down by tons of gold, silver and jewels.

Its 80-man crew feverishly worked two pumps to keep out the ocean that was leaking through the groaning and gapping planks of the Royal.

Though the ship was privately owned by Britons, it carried a load of treasure fresh from Spain's American mines. The doubloons' original courier, a Spanish treasure ship, had arrived at the Azores islands aflame. Spanish authorities put out the fires and hired the 700-ton Royal to complete the trip, not unusual when the lines of public and private, nationality and allegiance, crossed in far different ways than today. . . .

Full story at:

$500 Million Shipwreck Treasure Debate: Spain's own tracking system confirms presence of Odyssey Marine Exploration Vessels in Atlantic

As Spanish reports continue today to claim that Odyssey vessels have not been operating in the Atlantic, further counter claims have today emerged in which Spanish maritime officials are aware that this was not the case.

Maritime sources in Spain have today confirmed that official details have already been released in public during the past weeks in which Spain's own coastal tracking system has placed the vessels beyond the 30 mile limits of their surveillance equipment in Atlantic waters. . . .

Full story at:

Plain Edge Adams Presidential Dollar is Found! (

A very lucky collector in Greenville, South Carolina, has been the first to report finding an elusive, genuine plain edge Adams Presidential Dollar! Elizabeth of BlizzardBayCoins eBay auctions listed her coin for sale on Friday evening, June 1. Although I became aware of the coin on Saturday, I wanted to make sure I was reporting a genuine specimen rather than a so-called Buffy Dollar. . . .

Full story at:

John Adams Presidential Dollar Errors (

It should come as no surprise to coin collectors that some mint errors are being found among the John Adams Presidential Dollars, which were officially placed on sale this past Thursday, May 17. I've had a scattering of reports, most of them minor, and some of them recurring on the reverse in the same fashion as they are known for the Washington Presidential Dollars. However, I have one report of a major error on the Adams Dollar . . .

Full story at:

From coin collecting to Britain's largest coin dealer (UK)

The Real Business: Coining it in by turning a childhood passion into a business

How many people are fortunate enough to translate their childhood passion into a multi-million pound business? Ian Goldbart, the managing director of Noble Investments, Britain’s largest coin dealer, began collecting coins in 1976 when he spent £40 of his 13th birthday money on a 1795 guinea.

Today he runs a £30m company that has the potential to more than treble in size over the coming 18 months. Goldbart says: “I sold the 1795 guinea for £120 to a jeweller in Burlington Arcade a week after buying it and started to think that there might be something in this coin collecting.” . . .

Full story at:

Presidential Dollars: Still cold to hard cash (Washington Post, DC)

Paper money can cause problems for vending machine owners -- more service calls to fix the machines, more hassle in dealing with crumpled bills and a loss on sales from unaccepted bills.

So the vending machine industry welcomed the $1 coins when the U.S. Mint started its presidential series Feb. 15, said Brian Allen, director of government affairs and counsel for the National Automatic Merchandising Association.

But the presidential dollars haven't been nearly as popular as the successful state quarter series, and vending machine officials have seen few of the coins.

The Mint released the John Adams $1 coin into circulation . . .

Full story at:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

$500 Million Shipwreck Treasure's Fate a Toss-Up, Experts Say (

In what could be the richest deep-sea treasure ever found, explorers last week pulled up hundreds of thousands of colonial-era coins from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean.

The silver and cold coins could fetch as much as 500 million U.S. dollars, some experts predict.

But now, Odyssey Marine Expeditions, the Florida-based company that discovered the coins, . . .

Full story at: 2007/05/070524-ship-treasure.html

How to Make Money With John Adams Presidential Dollar Coins (

While there is no guarantee that this will work, you also don’t have a lot of risk involved if it doesn’t since you’re buying the coins at face value - plus a big upside if there are error coins that happen to be in your rolls.

Whenever the US Mint comes up with a new concept for circulating coins, it inspires a new bunch of collectors and investors. That has certainly happened with the Presidential Dollar Series, which began earlier this year.

First impressions of the George Washington $1 coins were luke warm, but then collectors started discovering errors. In some coins mostly originating from northern Florida, the lettering on the edge was missing. Whether intentional or not, the Mint’s lack of quality control helped fuel a frenzy on eBay, in which people were selling error coins for well over face value. In the latest auction to close while writing this post, a certified error coin sold for over $164. Uncertified error coins are fetching over $50 a piece. . . .

Even rolls in which there only might be error coins are selling for a slight premium, usually around $30 a roll when the face value is $25. . . .

Full story at: 2007/05/23/how-to-make-money-with-john- adams-presidential-dollar-coins/


Coins provide sense of pride, accomplishment, while generating exposure and financial gain for the Tribe.

Torrance, CA/May 26, 2007/FPSnewswire/-- The United States has issued many coins featuring American Indians. Now the Indians have turned the tables...and have issued their own coins! Panda America Corp., based in Torrance, California and located just 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles, is the leading commemorative coin company in the United States. They are currently working with Native American Indian Tribes on a series of officially minted coins depicting specific tribes that helps to build bridges of understanding between Indian Tribes and American citizens.

The coin series began in 2002; with two tribes that they currently work with: the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and the Shawnee Tribe. The coins attracted considerable amount of attention not just in the coin industry, where collectors are consistently searching for American History items, but also among . . .

Full story at:

Silver Surfer Coins Illegal, Says U.S. Mint (

Promotion for new Fantastic Four movie stirs legal trouble.

The folks behind Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer have come up with a new promotion for the flick. They’ve put the Surfer on quarters. Twentieth Century Fox and The Franklin Mint collaborated to alter 40,000 U.S. quarters. The problem with this is that the U.S. Mint was not aware of the plan. They issued a news release on Friday to inform both the studio and the mint that it is against the law to alter these coins. The law prohibits the use of coins as advertising vehicles, and fines are applicable to violators.

The coins altered were California state quarters from 2005. They are set for release at the end of Memorial Day weekend . . .

Full story at:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Adams Presidential Dollar - Double Edge Lettering Error Photos (

I don't know why this particular Presidential Dollar error makes my heart skip a beat, but I find it utterly fascinating. Perhaps it's the irony; while everyone else was so focused on finding coins that had missing edge lettering, these coins got that lettering twice. Maybe it's the awesome rarity...most experts agree now that the number of Washington MELs (Missing Edge Lettering dollars) easily exceeds 100,000 specimens, but fewer than ten Presidential dollars are known with double edge lettering. . . .

Full story at:

Major 2006 Doubled Die Penny . . . (

Major 2006 Doubled Die Penny Featured in Die Variety News #7

Variety coin guru Billy Crawford has published the 7th issue of his outstanding (and free) Die Variety News magazine. The lead article is about a remarkable find that should excite all of those who love to hunt for valuable coins in their pocket change. Collector Robert Tingle has discovered a major 2006 doubled die Lincoln Memorial Cent! . . .

Full story at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2007 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coins Available Beginning May 23 (Southwest Nebraska News, NE)

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint today announced that the 2007 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin will be available May 23, 2007, beginning at noon (ET).

Bearing the “W” mint mark of the United States Mint at West Point, the 2007 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin contains one ounce of 24-karat pure gold (.9999). This exquisite coin is carefully produced with dies that have been polished to a mirror finish and frosted design. The American Buffalo has a $50 denomination, but its gold content is worth considerably more.

The American Buffalo was the first 24-karat pure gold coin issued by the United States for sale to the public last year. More than 251,000 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coins have been sold since their debut in June 2006. . . .

Full story at: articles/

Square coins go on display (Border Mail, Au)

THE Australian square penny was an idea born at a time of renewed national spirit, but which died amid public apathy.

But the concept’s quick death has ensured square pennies and halfpennies are among the nation’s rarest and most valuable coins. . . .

Full story at: bm/national/792474.html

Monday, May 21, 2007

Odyssey Marine Exploration Provides "Black Swan" Shipwreck Treasure Information Update (Press Release)

Tampa, FL - May 21, 2007- Since the announcement by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (AMEX:OMR) of the recovery of over 500,000 coins from the shipwreck code-named "Black Swan", intense international media coverage has led to many questions that the Company would like to address.

In addition to the following questions and answers, additional information on the shipwreck can be accessed in the "Black Swan Question and Answer" section of Odyssey's website at, or a copy may be obtained by contacting the Company.

1. It has been widely reported that this shipwreck could be worth up to $500 million. What is the Company's position on this? . . .

Full story at:

Shipwreck Treasure Brings Claims, Rumors (AP)

TAMPA, Fla. - Deep-sea explorers who found what could be the richest-ever shipwreck treasure said Monday that the reaction to their discovery has overwhelmed them. Meanwhile, claims on the loot started coming in even as they were exploring new waters _ television and movie deals.

Odyssey Marine Exploration on Friday announced the recovery of more than 500,000 Colonial-era silver and gold coins possibly worth $500 million. . . .

Full story at: 669184.html&cvqh=itn_treasure

Sunday, May 20, 2007

John Adams Presidential Dollar Errors (

It should come as no surprise to coin collectors that some mint errors are being found among the John Adams Presidential Dollars, which were officially placed on sale this past Thursday, May 17. I've had a scattering of reports, most of them minor, and some of them recurring on the reverse in the same fashion as they are known for the Washington Presidential Dollars. However, I have one report of a major error on the Adams Dollar: A double set of edge lettering! Judging by the photos I have seen, (which I hope to have permission to post here later today,) the coin went through the edge lettering machine twice, with the lettering oriented in the same direction each time.

At least five specimens are known of the double edge lettering on the Washington Dollar, which makes this error exceedingly rare considering that the mintage was around 300,000,000 coins. . . .

Full story at:

Coin Collectors: Potential Exists for Lower Grades (

For years many numismatists have proclaimed, “Buy the best coin for the grade your money will allow.” What this means is the collector should select the highest graded coin for the particular series that their budget will withstand. Many collectors, like dealers, try to have a fixed amount of cash in reserves just in case that special coin comes along and they are the lucky recipient of the opportunity. For example, the advanced West Coast collector who just spent $5 million for the finest known Proof66 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. This was the Eliasberg coin and was most recently owned by Legend Numismatics. However, not every collector can afford to spend this much money on just one coin. What about the other 1913 Nickels? Just because they are not the finest, does that mean they are not desirable?...Hardly. Granted, this is a unique specimen, but it lays the philosophical groundwork for all other collector coins. If we all collected the same way every collection would contain the finest known coins and all the rest of the lower grades would be virtually worthless. Fortunately, we don’t and they aren’t. . . .

Full story at: news/viewarticle.asp?IDArticle=455

Secrets, Mistakes on Money & Gold Rush Exhibits at Long Beach Expo (

The May-June 2007 Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo continues the show's long-running tradition of presenting exhibits of rare, unusual, historic and valuable collectibles.

(Long Beach, California) -- A special "funny money" display entitled, "Looking for Secrets and Mistakes on Currency," and a multi-million dollar exhibit of Gold Rush era coins will be featured at the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo in the Long Beach, California Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Ave., May 31 - June 2, 2007. The three-day show is open to the public.

"The display will showcase examples of paper money from Colonial times to the present with mistakes or hidden features," said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman.

"One of the exhibit's fascinating items is a five-cent denomination fractional currency note issued during the Civil War in 1864 with the wrong portrait. It was supposed to honor William Clark of the famous Lewis & Clark Expedition, but instead Spencer Clark, a Treasury Department official, put his own portrait on the note! That led to a federal law prohibiting the appearance of any living person on our paper money," Gillio explained.

The exhibit will be displayed courtesy of Stack's of New York City and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

As part of a Gold Rush era exhibit, Monaco Rare Coin of Newport Beach, California will display . . .

Full story at: keys=coins-stamps-collectibles

Spanish Government concerned at Odyssey treasure find (

(A.C. Dwyer - The drama just keeps getting better)

17 tons of silver and gold has been found, but the Odyssey company has not said where

The Spanish Guardia Civil are now keeping a close watch on the United States exploration vessel ‘Odyssey Explorer’ following the announcement that they have found the largest ever amount of treasure on the sea bed.

The increased control comes at the request of the Spanish Ministry of Culture in the face of a possible crime of the theft of Spanish heritage by the United States company.

500,000 silver and gold coins now look like being at the centre of a battle between Odyssey Marine Exploration and the Spanish state. . . .

Full story at: article_10544.shtml

£250m pirate treasure 'stolen' by Americans (Daily Mail, UK)

(A.C. Dwyer - Best overall article on the topic yet. If it was the Merchant Royal discovered, then I'm guessing the coins are possibly Mexican in origin.)

The treasure hunters who recovered gold and silver worth an estimated £250million from a shipwreck off Cornwall spirited their haul to the United States in an apparent attempt to stop Britain staking a claim.

In a highly secretive operation, American firm Odyssey Marine Exploration worked on the wreck of an English ship, believed to be the 17th Century Merchant Royal, less than 40 miles from the British coast.

But Odyssey carefully avoided landing their treasure on UK soil.

If the 17 tons of coins, gold ornaments and tableware had been brought ashore, Odyssey would have been obliged to inform the Government's Receiver of Wreck, which would probably have impounded the haul, triggering a potentially lengthy legal row about ownership rights. . .

Full story: news/news.html?in_article_id=456350&in_page_id=1770

Saturday, May 19, 2007

$500 Million shipwreck treasure found off Cornwall (BBC News)

Record wreck 'found off Cornwall'

A record haul of half a million silver and gold coins from a 17th Century shipwreck may have been found just 40 miles from Land's End, an expert said.

US treasure hunters said the coins, worth an estimated $500m (£253m), were recovered in the Atlantic Ocean.

But Odyssey Marine Exploration, who described it as the largest find of its kind, refused to pinpoint the location.

US coin expert Dr Lane Brunner said there was evidence the shipwreck was lying off the Cornish coast. . . .

Full story at:

The Franklin Mint Expresses Interest in Acquiring Recently Shipwrecked Coins from 'Black Swan'

The Franklin Mint, which recently offered treasure from the El Cazador shipwreck in one of the most successful sales of authentic coins in history, today announced its interest in pursuing discussions with Odyssey Marine Exploration (AMEX:OMR) to acquire all or part of the immense treasure trove of silver and gold coins recently discovered along with the “Black Swan“ shipwreck.

The Franklin Mint is no stranger to multi-million dollar “buried treasure“ finds. This March, the company announced that it had acquired hundreds of thousands of coins from the famous El Cazador, “the shipwreck that changed the world“ by sparking a series of events that led to the Louisiana Purchase and the doubling in size of the United States over 200 years ago. This was the most historically impactful find of its kind in U.S. history.

“Coins recovered from shipwrecks are truly one-of-a-kind pieces of treasure . . .

Full story at:

John Adams Presidential dollar coins now on sale

Nation's Second President on Dollar Coin

WASHINGTON (AP) - The second dollar coin in the new presidential series goes into circulation around the country on Thursday with the U.S. Mint hoping it can turn 18th century statesman John Adams into a 21st century marketing phenomenon.

After two famous flops in Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea, the U.S. Mint believes it now has the right strategy for success. But there are still plenty of naysayers around who believe a dollar coin will never gain wide acceptance unless the government gets rid of the dollar bill.

The Mint's new formula has borrowed from the 50-state quarter program, the most popular coin program in history, which has lured millions of Americans into becoming coin collectors. . . .

Full story at:,,-6639221,00.html

Friday, May 18, 2007

Shipwreck Yields Estimated $500 Million Haul

TAMPA, Fla. - Deep-sea explorers said Friday they have mined what could be the richest shipwreck treasure in history, bringing home 17 tons of colonial-era silver and gold coins from an undisclosed site in the Atlantic Ocean. Estimated value: $500 million.

A jet chartered by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration landed in the United States recently with hundreds of plastic containers brimming with coins raised from the ocean floor, Odyssey co-chairman Greg Stemm said. The more than 500,000 pieces are expected to fetch an average of $1,000 each from collectors and investors. . . .

Full story at: Shipwreck Article

More photos here: Miami Herald Photos

Want info on how to acquire some of the coins? Go here:

Checkout other shipwreck coins recovered by Odyssey in The Arlington Collection.

Checkout my blog entry here:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

China points to Canadian ‘poppy spy coin' case to deny charges (Globe and Mail, UK)

BEIJING — In a new effort to discredit Canadian spying charges, China has seized on the infamous case of the “poppy coin,” the Canadian coin that triggered a false espionage warning in the United States.

In a lengthy article this week, a state-owned newspaper used the poppy-coin incident to ridicule Canada's allegation that as many as half of all foreign spies in Canada are working for China.

The 25-cent piece . . .

Full story at: servlet/story/RTGAM.20070512.china-spy12/BNStory/ International/home
Additional spy coin story can be found here.

President John Adams would like ‘his’ Presidential dollar coin - In finances he was prudent . . . (The Patriot Ledger, MA)

Adams would like ‘his’ coin - In finances he was prudent, author says

As a frugal Yankee, John Adams didn’t consider the deal he struck in 1782 an entirely happy one.

Seven years into the American colonies’ battle for independence from Great Britain, the future president and then-ambassador to the Netherlands had secured a crucial first loan from the Dutch.

But Adams’ diplomatic success came at a stiff price - 5 percent interest, at a time when other nations got rates of less than 4 percent and the fledgling nation hardly had a treasury to pay back the millions they had borrowed.

For a man who shunned debt of any kind, ‘‘he must have done the deal holding his nose,’’ said New York finance writer and Adams biographer James Grant. ‘‘He knew it was a necessary evil.’’

Grant and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough say Adams would likely think much better of the good, solid $1 coin that the U.S. Mint and Adams National Historical Park are preparing to release in Quincy on May 22.

The Adams dollar will get its public debut that day with a ceremony outside City Hall and exchanges of the coin for paper dollars at local banks and retail businesses.

The second in the Mint’s new series of presidential coins, after George Washington’s, the new coin marks the first time Adams’ image has ever been on regular metal or paper currency. . . .

Full story at:

United States Mint Offers First Spouse Coins Pure Gold Coin Series Is First to Feature Women (Press Release)

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint announced today that it will begin taking orders for the Martha Washington and Abigail Adams First Spouse Coins at 12:00 noon (ET) on June 19, 2007. The First Spouse Coins mark the first time the United States Mint has featured women on a consecutive series of coins.

Each First Spouse Coin will be a half-ounce of pure gold in proof or uncirculated versions. The coins will have a denomination of $10, but the 24-karat gold content will be worth considerably more than that. Bronze duplicate medals may also be ordered.

The first four coins in this multiple-year series will honor . . .

Full story at: pressroom/index.cfm?action=press_release&ID=777

Ancient Roman coins snapped up by museums (Hampshire News, UK)

ROMAN treasures unearthed near Winchester have been saved for the community with the help of a council grant.

The council's museums service has given more than £1,000 for three separate hoards of coins, found by a local metal detector enthusiast.

The hoards comprise seven silver siliquae, one gold aureus, 23 silver denarii and three late Iron Age gold staters found with six silver denarii.

The coins range in date from 113BC to AD37, some inscribed with the name Julius Caesar.

The 40 coins, valued at . . .

Full story at: hampshirenews/display.var.1390762.0.roman_coins_ snapped_up_by_museums.php

Lawmakers push for coin commemorating civil rights movement (Springfield News Sun, OH)

WASHINGTON — Images of a beaten and bloodied young black man from Troy, Ala., named John Lewis helped push President Lyndon Johnson and Congress to respond to the civil rights movement. Now a congressman from Georgia, Lewis wants to commemorate the movement with a limited-edition silver dollar marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

"I'd be one of the first people in line to buy one," the Atlanta Democrat said.

Lewis has joined with Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio to introduce legislation calling for the U.S. Mint to produce 350,000 $1 coins marking the golden anniversary of the landmark law's signing in 1964. Among other things, the law barred restaurants, hotels and other public places from denying service to blacks and outlawed employment discrimination against women and minorities.

The 2014 coin would be sold . . .

Full story at: oh/story/news/local/2007/05/11/ sns051107civilrightscoin.html

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spy coin? Nope. Just an odd-looking Canadian quarter (

The only real danger of this thing is that it will keep you from getting a Coke out of the vending machine.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.

The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as . . .

Full story at:

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Odyssey's SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure To Open At The Museum Of Science & Industry In Tampa, FL (Press Release)

TAMPA, Fla.-(Business Wire)-April 24, 2007 - Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (AMEX:OMR), a leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, announced that its subsidiary, Odyssey Marine Entertainment, Inc., will open SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure, an interactive shipwreck and treasure exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, Florida. The exhibit is scheduled to run from June 22, 2007 through January 31, 2008. . . .

. . . While the exhibit displays authentic artifacts from many different shipwrecks, the spotlight is on treasures and artifacts of the SS Republic. This Civil War-era ship sank during a hurricane off the coast of Georgia in 1865. Odyssey discovered the wreck of the Republic nearly 1,700 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 2003 - nearly 138 years after the ship went down. More than 51,000 gold and silver coins, and approximately 14,000 additional artifacts, were recovered in the world's most extensive deep-ocean archaeological excavation. . . .

Full story at: odysseys-shipwreck-pirates-treasure-to-open-at- the-museum-of-science-industry.html

PCGS Opens German Coin Set Registry (Press Release)

Newport Beach, CA - The rapid growth of the popular PCGS Set Registry program continues with the opening on Friday, May 4, of a new registry section for German coins.

"We now have three new general categories encompassing about 40 set composites of dates and basic types for PCGS-certified German coins: German Empire 1873 - 1918; Weimar Germany 1919 - 1933; and West Germany 1948 - 2001," said Ron Guth, PCGS President. . . .

Full story at: article_view.chtml?artid=4953&universeid=313

PCGS to Recognize Orientation of Edge Lettering on Presidential Dollar Coins (Press Release)

Effective immediately, PCGS will begin recognizing the up or down orientation of the edge lettering on Presidential Dollars, as follows:

POSITION A - Edge lettering reads upside-down when the President's portrait faces up

POSITION B - Edge lettering reads normally when the President's portrait faces up

The Mint applies edge lettering to the Presidential Dollars in a separate process after the coins are struck by the obverse and reverse dies. Although the orientation of the lettering is expected to be random, the relative rarity of Positions A and B has not been determined. However, neither position is expected to be rare because of the large numbers of Presidential Dollars that have been (and will be) produced. . . .

Full story at: article_view.chtml?artid=4946&universeid=313

Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Nickel, PCGS PR-66, Sold for $5 Million (Press Release)

(Santa Barbara, California) - An unnamed California collector has paid $5 million for the Eliasberg specimen 1913 Liberty Head nickel, a record price for the coin and the second highest price ever paid for any rare coin.

It is graded Proof-66 by Professional Coin Grading Service, and is the finest of the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels.

"The new owner is a long-time Southern California resident and a dedicated collector of historic United States rare coins," said Santa Barbara coin and jewelry merchant, Ronald J. Gillio, who negotiated the sale between the collector and the sellers, Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey and Washington state business executive, Bruce Morelan.

Legend and Morelan jointly purchased the coin from New Hampshire dealer, Ed Lee, in May 2005 for a then-record price of $4,150,000.

Gillio said he talked with the collector about the coin for over three months.

"We spoke many times in recent months about the coin's legendary numismatic status, and he agreed to purchase it for $5 million," . . .

Full story at: article_view.chtml?artid=4950&universeid=313

Liberty Head Type 1 Holds Place in History (U.S. Rare Coin Article)

What do shipwrecks, the California Gold Rush, and the Civil War all have in common? The answer is $20 Liberty Head Type 1 double eagles. I'll never forget that first double eagle that I added to my collection. It was an 1855-P Liberty Head Type 1. It was big. It was heavy. And it was gold.

But what really drew me to the Type 1 double eagle was its place in history. Sure the series is full of great rarities, such as the 1854-O and 1856-O, or famous varieties, such as the 1857-S or 1861-S Paquet Reverse. They are each worthy of an article on their own, but its their place in history that makes you want to hold one. It is hard to hold a Type 1 double eagle and not think of shipwrecks, the California Gold Rush, or the Civil War. . . .

Full story at: coin_articles/liberty_head_type_1_in_history.htm

Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin: Little Rock Central High School Desegregation 50th Anniversary (Press Release)

Commemorative Silver Dollar Available May 15

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint announced today that it will begin taking orders for the Little Rock Central High School Desegregation 50th Anniversary Silver Dollar at 12:00 noon (ET) on May 15, 2007.

Public Law 109-146, dated December 22, 2005, authorizes the United States Mint to mint and issue 500,000 silver dollar coins to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School.

A surcharge of $10 per coin . . .

Full story at: pressroom/index.cfm?action=press_release&ID=775

Facts About Currency & Coins: Brought to you by the Chicago Federal Reserve, WMBD-TV &

1. Where to exchange foreign currency
2. Where to buy or sell precious metals, bullion, or coins
3. Where to purchase specific coins or currency
4. Where to assess the value of rare coins or large-denomination notes
5. Where to redeem gold or silver certificates
6. Facts about the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's currency processing
7. Details about Federal Reserve notes
8. About counterfeit notes
9. Our changing currency design
10. Using currency in an advertisement
11. Exchanging damaged or burned currency
12. Getting sheets of uncut currency
13. Currency composition and production

Answers at: cid=2194

Some Washington Dollar Coins Are Valuable (American Coin-op)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 3, 2007) — There seem to be plenty of skeptical coin laundry owners when it comes to the value of the recently introduced George Washington $1 coin. However, no one’s debating the value of some of the new coins.

Check those dollar coins. No one knows for sure how many of the coins went out without the inscriptions. Operators may be able to sell these coins for about $50, one coin company says.

An unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins were mistakenly struck without their edge inscriptions, reading “In God We Trust,” and made it past inspectors and into circulation, the U.S. Mint reported. . . .

Full story at:

Mystery over treasure trove coins (BBC News, UK)

More than 600 silver coins found on an Anglesey beach by a metal detectorist have been declared treasure trove by a coroner.

The haul, dating from around 1272 will be valued before the finders are paid, and the items offered to the National Museum of Wales.

The coins were collected over a six-year period at an undisclosed area of Llanddona beach. . . .

Full story at: 6620795.stm