Tuesday, November 27, 2007

United States Mint Rolls Out the 2008 50 State Quarters® Coin Designs (usmint.gov)

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 (Numismaster.com)

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! (coins.about.com)

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 humor@money.org 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 (Numismaster.com)

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 (Tennessean.com)

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 . . . (Numismaster.com)

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 (coins.about.com)

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