Monday, December 08, 2008

Mexico wants to shrink coins to save a few cents

MEXICO CITY – Does it feel like your money is shrinking nowadays? In some countries around the world, it really is getting smaller.

Mexico, following the lead of several countries around the world, has proposed making coins smaller and using cheaper metals to keep cost low amid the financial crisis and volatile metal costs.

The Mexican Senate on Thursday approved President Felipe Calderon's bill to modify the country's coinage. The plan awaits approval from the lower house of Congress, which will vote in February.

"We're being hit hard economically, so we're looking to spend more efficiently," said Enrique Lobato, director of cash programming for Mexico's central bank.

The Mexican economy is running a 1.8 percent budget deficit, the country's first in years, and next year's 3 trillion peso ($224 billion) budget will be tight.

Lobato said under Calderon's proposal, the bank could save around 200 million pesos (US$14.7 million) per year in production costs.

Total production costs on coins this year reached nearly 1 billion pesos (US$73.5 million,) he said. Costs include the price of metals and minting the coins. The bank produces around 1.5 billion coins each year.

Mexico has eight kinds of coins in the following amounts: . . .

Full story at: Link

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin Designs Unveiled on 145th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - United States Mint Deputy Director Andrew Brunhart today unveiled designs for the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar during the annual Dedication Day Ceremony at Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The unveiling took place on the 145th anniversary of the dedication of Soldiers' National Cemetery, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address in 1863. Renowned historical documentary director Ken Burns, Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania Vice President Ronald L. Hankey and Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC) Co-Chairman Harold Holzer also participated in the ceremony.

"It is my great honor to represent the United States Mint on the 145th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address," Deputy Director Brunhart said. "It is also my great privilege to introduce the designs for the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar to the American people."

The obverse (heads side) of the Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar was created by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Justin Kunz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart. The image, symbolic of Lincoln's strength and resolve, was inspired by Daniel Chester French's famous sculpture of the President that sits inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Inscriptions on the obverse are LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and 2009.

The coin's reverse (tails side) was designed and executed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. The design features the following inscription . . .

Full story at: Link

New Lincoln Cents Spur Impossible Dream

You know you are getting old when you remember the last time the Lincoln cent had a design change. It's almost like reaching an age where you get your first AARP solicitation in the mail as every 50 years we seem to have a Lincoln design change and that looks like it will happen again.

Of course, the legislation involving the Lincoln cent that was part of the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 does leave the door open to keeping the current design in 2010 after the commemorative designs in 2009, but in fact if you read that legislation, a change seems more likely.

Regarding the Lincoln cent reverse the law states, "The design on the reverse of the 1-cent coins issued after Dec. 31, 2009, shall bear an image emblematic of President Lincoln's preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country."

Obviously that wording leaves the issue wide open, but many would be hard-pressed to see how the Lincoln Memorial in Washington fits into the spirit of the new law.

In fact, there are other elements to the new law that are interesting and potentially a great deal of fun if officials truly get into the spirit of the anniversary. Already we are sure that there will be four reverses on the Lincoln cents of 2009, with one featuring his birth and early childhood in Kentucky. Another has his formative years in Indiana. A third features his professional career in Illinois and the final one will depict his presidency in Washington, D.C. with all lasting just one year for 2009.

Certainly supplies produced will be sufficient to make them a . . .

Full story at: Link

One-of-a-kind rare coin returns to New Orleans

The airport is often about a clutching goodbye, but one day in September it was about a homecoming.

That was the day New Orleans coin collector and dealer Paul Hollis walked through Armstrong International Airport in Kenner, flanked by an armed security guard and a State Police escort. Hollis walked through the airport, carrying in his hand a one-of-a-kind coin, sold at auction two years ago for a price that reached into seven figures.

“Well, traveling with a coin worth millions of dollars is, I mean it’s fun, but at the same time, you’ve got to be a little guarded,” Hollis said.

He arranged to have the coin shown here in New Orleans on loan, and flew to Florida to pick it up from an anonymous collector, then held it tightly in his hands for the next five hours.

“I'm not putting it in my sock,” he joked. “I'm not putting it in my briefcase. I'm going to carry this coin the entire way back to New Orleans.”

A short drive later, from the airport to the French Quarter and the Old U.S. Mint, meant the coin was . . .

Full story at: Link

You may be sitting on more money than you think

You might consider taking a closer look at all that loose change in your pockets, purses, wallets and sofa cushions. You see, there may be more cash in those coins than you think.

At bustling Renton Coin Shop, owner Steve Campau and his staff are literally being nickeled-and-dimed, and quartered and dollared!

Forget face value. Some of the silver coins they see are worth $7.50!

"Dimes, quarters or half dollars that were minted in 1964 or before have 90 percent silver in them," Campau said.

If you come across silver coins minted in 1964 or earlier, don't spend them. They're worth more than seven times their face value. People who've been stashing silver coins are cashing in.

But you don't have to be a collector to make a profit. Collect old foreign coins? Most have little collector's value at $2.35 per pound.

Everyday change can hold a hidden windfall. Look for coins with . . .

Full story at: Link

Mystery of the Lesher dollars

It's no secret that Victor and Cripple Creek produced millions in gold from mines dug on the back side of Pikes Peak.

Starting with Bob Womack's discovery in Poverty Gulch in 1890, the Cripple Creek district exploded into a world-famous mining camp. Even today, mining goes on in Victor - using a cyanide drip to extract gold. But some say there is another fortune to be had.

Not buried raw metal awaiting prospectors with picks and shovels.

Silver, as in hundreds of coins minted in 1900-01, distributed mostly in Victor and said by some to be missing ever since. Coins, known as Lesher dollars, which could be worth hundreds of thousands to the lucky person who discovers the stash. And it may be as easy to find as looking in . . .

Full story at: Link

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last Chance for Gold & Silver U.S. Mint Commemorative Bald Eagle Coins

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The non-profit American Eagle Foundation announced today that the United States Mint's 2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins continue to be a popular seller, but will only be available for 25 more days.

The gold five-dollar, silver dollar and clad half-dollar coin collection will no longer be sold again by the Mint after December 12, 2008.

The special commemoratives officially celebrate the upcoming 35th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act on Dec. 28th and the bald eagle’s comeback to America’s skies.

"This is the last chance for collectors and investors to order these . . .

Full story at: Link

Treasure hunters boost gold finds

An increase in the the popularity of metal detectors helped boost the number of treasure finds last year.

A total of 749 objects were reported found in 2007, according to the Treasure Annual Report.

The report also includes all finds which have passed through the Treasure Process in 2005 and 2006.

They include a gold Iron Age choker, valued at £360,000, which was found by a man searching for remains of crashed WWII aircraft in Nottinghamshire.

The choker - the so-called Newark Torc - is the most expensive single piece of treasure found by a member of the public in over a decade.

Roman hoard

Made of a combination of gold and silver, it was was found by Maurice Richardson, a tree surgeon and metal detecting enthusiast, in 2005.

Although torcs have been found in the UK, most particularly in Norfolk, it is the first one to be discovered in the Nottinghamshire area.

Other valuable objects unearthed by the public include a Roman hoard of more than 3,500 coins . . .

Full story at: Link

Odyssey Marine Exploration Asserts Position in $500 Million Shipwreck Treasure from Black Swan Site

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX - News), the world leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, yesterday filed its Response to Spain’s Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment in the “Black Swan” admiralty case pending in U.S. Federal Court in Tampa, Florida. In its pleadings, accompanied by over 1,000 pages of supportive documentation and imagery, Odyssey asserts that the “Black Swan” site and the cargo recovered do not represent an entity to which sovereign immunity would apply. Spain had argued in September that the U.S. Federal Court did not have jurisdiction over the case and that the case should therefore be dismissed.

Based on Odyssey’s exhaustive research and evaluation of all data gathered, Odyssey’s filing concludes that even if the site discovered is eventually proven to be associated with the Nuestra SeƱora de las Mercedes, which is unclear from the available evidence, the ship should not be accorded sovereign immunity. Furthermore, the vast majority of the cargo aboard was commercial cargo that was privately owned and was recovered without disturbing any ship remains.

“I am really pleased that through our filings, the public now can finally see the facts in this case for themselves. The historical, legal, numismatic and archaeological experts have . . .

Full story at: Link

Collecting pieces of history: Man completes state quarters coin collection

Last month at the Merced Mall Ed Miranda completed a task he has worked on for the past three years.

“I said, ‘It finally came.’ I was jumping up and down and I almost forgot my bag of clothes that I had bought,” Miranda, a Los Banos resident, said.

A startled saleswoman asked him what had come. He replied that the change she just gave him included quarters from Hawaii and Alaska. The 79-year-old now had the final two coins he needed to finish his collection of quarters from all 50 states.

In about 2005 Miranda decided to start his coin collection. He didn’t order them through the mail, and only once did he give into the temptation to visit a coin shop. Miranda obtained the coins the hard way, by adding to his collection through everyday transactions. He also . . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Mint "Last Chance" Sale!

The U.S. Mint is having a "last chance" sale! When they were cleaning out the Order Fulfillment Center in preparation for a move to a new facility, they found loads of forgotten old coins and sets and trinkets and, well...

Full story at: Link

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Most Important New Orleans Gold Coin

After a probable absence of over a century, perhaps the most important New Orleans gold coin in existence is coming back to its ancestral home. My friend Paul Hollis, a coin dealer from Metairie (a suburb of New Orleans), has arranged for the unique Proof 1844-O eagle to be placed on exhibit at the New Orleans mint. This coin, with an estimated value of $2.5 million, goes on public display November 1 and will also be taken around Louisiana on tour by Hollis.

The New Orleans Mint began producing coins in 1838. The very first issue struck by this mint was a group of 20 half dollars to inaugurate coinage and a small group of Proof half dollars were made in 1839 (plus at least one Dime dated 1839-O is known that has been designated a “Specimen” by NGC). So, we know that the New Orleans mint had experience with making Proof coins and that the quality of these was comparable to that seen at the Philadelphia mint.

In 1844, the New Orleans mint produced at least one example of a Proof half eagle and eagle. Remarkably, both still exist and, even more remarkably, both are superbly preserved. Why were they produced and who were they struck for?

Unfortunately, contemporary documentation does not exist that gives the definitive answer to these questions, so we have to make some assumptions. I think it’s safe to say that the Proof 1844-O gold set was struck in commemoration of either a special event or, more likely, a visit to the Mint by some special VIP or dignitary. My guess would be that they were made for personal presentation to President John Tyler.

What is interesting about these . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, November 14, 2008

Investing in coins, stamps, timber and land...

When equity markets yo-yo, the housing market grinds to a halt, banks buckle and commodities crash, it is tempting simply to bail out of everything and hold your cash in a bag under the floorboards. But if you are looking for less extreme responses to the economic crisis, there's a strong argument for diversifying a chunk of your portfolio into assets with low correlation to other beleaguered sectors.

We have rounded up six options at different entry levels. Some are designed specifically to take advantage of weak markets, others play on enduring trends, such as global food demand or the international shift to sustainable wood sources, while others are simply less widely recognised as investment vehicles.

Of course, many alternative investments are relatively high risk, and they are not necessarily protected by Financial Services Authority regulations, so it is important to understand exactly what you are taking on before you part with your money. . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Mint releases latest Presidential Coin: Martin Van Buren (8th President)

Martin Van Buren, the nation's eighth president, is honored today with the issuance of a $1 coin bearing his image.

The Van Buren dollar is the fourth in the presidential series released this year by the U.S. Mint. The first four were released last year.

Van Buren, who served one term starting in 1837, was the first president born a U.S. citizen.

On the coin's edge are . . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Mint's Presidential Dollar Campaign in Four Cities a Failure?

Little Deli in North Austin sees a lot of customers, but it doesn't see many of the new one dollar coins.

"You know, if we get one or two every couple of days, that's about all we're seeing right now," said owner Tony Villani.

The U.S. Mint has been pushing the coins in four cities -- Austin, Grand Rapids, Portland and Charlotte. Commercials are running on local television, and in Austin, more than 185,500 new coins have been put into circulation. Add to that the posters, fliers and stickers sent to local businesses that promote the coin as a way to be green.

"They're more resilient so they're not going to wear out as fast. And I thought that was interesting to me," said Jon Ingle.

"It would be neat if it did take off. Just because dollar bills are, you know, they don't last very long,” said Cassidy Ingle.

But not everyone is buying into it. Many say it's been done too many times before and hasn't worked yet. The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin has been in circulation since 1979, but now it just sits . . .

Full story at: Link

700-year-old coins found in field

Three 700-year-old coins which were found in a field have been declared treasure by a coroner at Flint.

The silver pennies date back to between 1307 and 1314, to the reigns of both Edward I and his son Edward II.

Archaeology enthusiast Peter Jones, from Holywell, found a coin in 2006, then returned to the same spot a year later, when the other two were found.

The coins were analysed by experts at Cardiff's National Museum of Wales who discovered they were 90% silver.

Mr Jones regularly scours a field owned by his friend Ron Davies, for pre-historic items.

He said he has found hundreds of old tools, made from flint, some of which dated back thousands of years before Christ.

He told the inquest he did not usually use a metal detector and found the first coin in 2006 just "lying on the surface".

The following year he took a metal detector to the same spot, and again found two similar coins on the surface.

He said: "I just rubbed them with my hand and they came clean."

John Gittins, Deputy Coroner for North East Wales, declared the coins treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

He said the coins were now the property of . . .

Full story at: Link

Odyssey Marine Exploration sees calm seas ahead after 2 more shipwreck finds

TAMPA - Odyssey Marine Exploration, the company that recovered a sunken treasure worth an estimated $500 million from the Atlantic Ocean last year, said late Monday it lost $6.5 million, or 13 cents a share, in the third quarter.

The treasure won't be reflected in Odyssey's financial results until ownership of the loot — 17 tons of colonial-era coins — is determined by a federal court in Tampa. Odyssey could be ordered to return the coins to Spain, which has claimed ownership of the entire haul.

Executives attributed the loss to fewer coin sales and $6.1 million in operating and research expenses related to the search and development of several sunken shipwrecks.

Last week, Odyssey said it found two more shipwrecks near the English Channel and that both are "beyond the territorial waters" of any nation.

"All in all, we are in great shape as we move into the final quarter of 2008," said Odyssey CEO Greg Stemm.

Despite the quarterly loss, revenue rose 69 percent to $2.2 million compared with the same quarter last year.

The increase in revenue stems from a $1.4 million payment from the Discovery Channel, which plans to broadcast 11 episodes about Odyssey's deep-sea adventures beginning early next year.

For more than a year, Odyssey has been tangling with . . .

Full story at: Link

Coin shop owner has seen the best and worst of times

When Gordon Lowery was 15 years old he went to a coin show in Aurora.

"This gentleman had some sovereigns," Lowery said. "At the time they were $15 each. I said I wanted to buy the whole bag. I walked to the other end of the show and sold the coins for $17 each. That just got me started."

Lowery, who owns High Grade Coins in Elmwood Park, started collecting coins at age nine. By 16, he had part ownership in a coin store.

In 1966 Lowery was drafted.

"I sold everything when I went into the service because I was afraid I wasn't coming back," Lowery said.

He was shipped first to Viet Nam, then to Korea, where he worked as a medical specialist in the 44th mobile hospital. For 13 months he did EKGs, catheter work and some stitching.

He returned to the U.S. and finished his tour at Fort Fitzsimmons hospital in Denver, Col.

"I got stationed near a coin shop," Lowery said. "I bought three rolls of gold pieces and paid $48 each. I sold them three years later and tripled my money."

Out of . . .

Full story at: Link

Metal detector discovers rare Celtic coin treasure in Netherlands from 1st century B.C.

Ancient Celtic coin cache found in Netherlands

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – A hobbyist with a metal detector struck both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht.

"It's exciting, like a little boy's dream," Paul Curfs, 47, said Thursday after the spectacular find was made public.

Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area.

Curfs said he was walking with his detector this spring and was about to go home when he suddenly got a strong signal on his earphones and uncovered the first coin.

"It was golden and had a little horse on it — I had no idea what I had found," he said.

After posting a photo of the coin on a Web forum, he was told it was a rare find. The following day he went back and found . . .

Full story at: Link

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Presidential Dollar Coin Honoring Martin Van Buren “The Red Fox of Kinderhook” Available November 13

WASHINGTON - Presidential $1 Coins struck in honor of Martin Van Buren will go on sale November 13, 2008, at noon Eastern Time. Dubbed "The Red Fox of Kinderhook" for his red hair, political acumen and birthplace in New York, Martin Van Buren is the eighth President honored in the multi-year program. Produced at the United States Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia, the Presidential $1 Coins are intended for use in routine financial transactions.

The Martin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coin will be available in 25-coin rolls for $35.95 and in 250-coin bags for $319.95. Packaging for the bags and rolls displays the mint of origin, the monetary value of the contents, and the official United States Mint logo.

The United States Mint will inaugurate this latest release in the Presidential $1 Coin Program at the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook, New York, on Friday, December 5, which is Van Buren's birthday. Following the ceremony, children under 18 years old in attendance will receive a free Martin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coin.

The obverse of the Martin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coin was . . .

Full story at: Link

Finding Treasure in Ohio House's Walls, and Reaping Grief

(Just last month I wrote about a discovery my brother found in his house. (Click here) With the economy the way it is, wouldn't it be nice if we could all find hidden treasure. What's hidden in your house? - A.C. Dwyer)

CLEVELAND (AP) - In the end, a contractor who found $182,000 in Depression-era currency hidden in bathroom walls got just a few thousand dollars and, he feels, some vindication.

The discovery amounted to little more than grief for Bob Kitts, who couldn't agree on how to split the money with homeowner Amanda Reece.

It didn't help Reece's financial situation either. She testified in a deposition that she was considering bankruptcy and a bank recently foreclosed on one of her properties.

As for the 21 descendants of Patrick Dunne - a wealthy businessman who stashed money that was minted in a time of bank collapses and joblessness, only to have it divvied up decades later in a similar economic climate - they'll each get a fraction of the find.

"I called it the greed case," said attorney Gid Marcinkevicius, who represents the Dunne estate.

"If these two individuals had sat down and resolved their disputes and divided the money, the heirs would have had no knowledge of it. Because they were not able to sit down and divide it in a rational way they both lost."

Kitts would later call his discovery "the ultimate contractor fantasy."

He was tearing out the bathroom walls of an 83-year-old home near Lake Erie on spring day in 2006 when he discovered two green metal lockboxes suspended by a wire below the medicine chest. Inside were white envelopes with the return address for "P. Dunne News Agency."

"I ripped the corner off of one," Kitts said during a deposition in a lawsuit filed by Dunne's estate. "I saw . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, November 07, 2008

How do you calculate the value of the gold or silver in a coin or jewelry?

(One of the most common questions I'm asked is how you can determine the gold or silver value in a coin. Two years ago I tackled this question in my other blog when I wrote the following article. Originally posted in September 2006, here it is again. - A.C. Dwyer)

With the recent anniversary of September 11th, I like many others found myself reliving in my mind where I was on that day. The old anger quickly bubbling back to the surface as I thought about the horror of that day and all those people whose lives were cut short. So you can probably imagine the uncomfortable feeling I got when the ad came on for National Collector’s Mint’s new “2001-2006 World Trade Center Gold and Silver Clad Commemorative” medallion. This medallion has the WTC buildings that can pop up from the medallion and . . . I’m sure that they didn’t think about this . . . the buildings also can be knocked down. But, regardless of how distasteful I find this medallion to be (that’s a whole topic in itself), it got me to wondering about a part of their advertising.

According to their advertising, the medallion is clad in “24 KT gold” and “.999 Pure Silver!” The advertising leads one to believe that the gold and silver make this item more desirable. So how much is the gold and silver in the medallion worth? Or for that matter, how much is the gold and silver in any of our coins worth?

So I thought I would do a write-up to help everyone understand just how to determine the answers to these questions. There are two things that you need to determine this: weight and fineness.

If you just want to know the answer to how much the gold and silver is worth in the National Collector's Mint medallion, jump straight to the last paragraph. If you really want to know how to calculate the value yourself, read on.

Let’s start with fineness. Fineness is the measurement of the purity of the metal. One method of describing the fineness of gold is the karat (kt). This is the measurement of the proportion of gold in an alloy equal to 1/24 part of pure gold. For example, 12kt gold is 12/24 part of pure gold or 50% pure gold, 22kt gold is 11/12 part of pure gold or 91.7% pure gold, and 24kt is 100% pure gold (as in the new gold Buffalo bullion coin).

But fineness can also be stated as parts per thousand or 1/1000. For example, you can see $20 double eagles in the 2007 Redbook listed as “.900 fine” which is equal to 90% pure gold. In the case of territorial or private gold, you will sometimes see “887 thous.” or “900 thous.” on the coin itself.

So, to bring the two methods together, 22kt gold is the same as being .917 fine or 91.7% pure gold. This is step one to determining the value.

Step 2 is to determine the weight of the metal in the coin. This is a little trickier to understand. There are two different methods of weights used depending on whether it’s a precious metal or a base metal. Precious metals (i.e. gold, silver, platinum) use Troy Weights where base metals (i.e. copper, nickel, etc) use Avoirdupois Weights, abbreviated avdp. Nickel can be a little trickier because in the early days of the mint, it was considered a precious metal and used the Troy system. Today nickel is considered a base metal and uses the Avoirdupois system.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of which method of weights is being used, the one measurement that is equal in both systems is the grain, abbreviated gr. (i.e. 1 troy grain = 1 avdp. grain) When looking at the daily spot prices of metals, you will find the precious metals quoted in troy ounces and the base metals per avdp. pound. So what you need to know is how many grains make up each of those units.

For troy weights, 1 pound (lb) = 12 ounces (oz) = 240 pennyweight (dwt) = 5760 grains (gr)

For avdp weights, 1 pound (lb) = 16 ounces (oz) = 256 drams (dr) = 7000 grains (gr)

So, now lets go through an example using a $1 Morgan which is listed in the 2007 Redbook as 412.5 grains, .900 silver, and .100 copper (copper being added to increase the hardness of the coin). Basically, this coin is 90% silver and 10% copper. Using these proportions on the grains, the coin is 371.25 grains of silver and 41.25 grains of copper. Using the troy weight system on the silver, this is equal to 0.773 oz. of pure silver. Using the avdp weight system on the copper, this is equal to 0.006 lb. of copper. Using spot prices from 9/8/2006 of $12.16 per oz. of silver and $3.56 per lb. of copper, the metal values of the morgan silver dollar would come to $9.40 of silver and $0.02 of copper in each mint state coin.

So how about a $20 double eagle? Again using the 9/8/2006 spot prices where gold is $609.60 per troy oz., the 2007 Redbook lists the double eagle as 516 grains, .900 gold, and .100 copper. But this is actually inaccurate because legislation allowed for up to 5% of the alloy to be silver, not just copper. So for this example, I will use .900 gold, .050 silver, and .050 copper.

After doing the appropriate conversions, the gold content comes to 0.9675 troy oz. of gold or $589.79 of gold. The silver content comes to 0.05375 troy oz. of silver or $0.65 of silver. The copper content comes to 0.0037 pounds or about $0.01 of copper.

Here are the equations I used for the $20 double eagle:
Gold equation: (516 x 0.9) / (5760/12) = 0.9675 troy oz.
Silver equation: (516 x 0.05) / (5760/12) = 0.05375 troy oz.
Copper equation: (516 x 0.05) / 7000 = .0037 lb

Now, just because you know how to calculate the value of the metals in your coins, don’t go running out to sell your 90% silver and expect to get these values. Selling these for melt is a whole different story. One dealer that I know of that buys 90% silver for melting told me that they basically just add up the face value of all the coins, and then multiply it by .715 which, in general, covers the wear on coins along with the dealer’s cut of the proceeds. When they sell it to the refiner, they actually get anywhere from 95% to 98% of the spot price depending on the quantity of the metal. But don’t think you can skip the middle man and go straight to the refiner. The minimums required to sell directly to them are pretty high.

So, how much is the gold and silver worth in that World Trade Center Commemorative “clad in 24 KT gold and .999 Pure Silver” being marketed by National Collector’s Mint for $29.95? Since both the gold and silver are basically pure with no alloy added, all we need is the weight of each metal. According to their website, both are 15 milligrams (mg) each of gold and silver. Oops, this needs a new conversion I didn’t cover above. How many mg per troy oz? Well, 1 mg is equal to approximately 0.0154 grains. So, multiply 0.0154 x 15 = 0.231 grains (yes, that’s less than ¼ of a single grain each of silver and gold!). Divide the grains by 480 (grains per troy ounce) = 0.00048 troy oz. each of silver and gold!!! That means there is 29 cents worth of gold and approximately ½ cent of silver!!! So, each medallion has less than 30 cents worth of precious metals in it!!! This is not a joke, do the math!!! The 15 mg of gold and silver came from their website, I did not make it up!!!


Someone who read my original post sent me a real cool way to simplify weight conversions without having to do all the math. If you recall my WTC medallion example, it is clad in 15mg of 24k gold and 15mg of .999 fine silver. Since both metals are basically pure, all I had to do to calculate the weight of each metal was go to Google and type the following into the search box:

15 mg in troy oz

and out came the answer:

15 milligrams = 0.000482261199 troy oz

Multiply that by the price of gold and silver, add the two results together and guess what? It's still only about 30 cents worth of precious metal in the WTC thing!

Just keep in mind that if you do use this Google calculator, you still have to multiply any answer by the finess of the metal whose value you are calculating.

So consider my original post as an academic exercise in how to do the calculations yourself. I plan to use the Google calculator going forward.

Popular state quarter program ends with Hawaii

With a big aloha to Hawaii, a new generation of coin collectors are shutting their books on the U.S. Mint's popular 10-year state quarter program full of fond family memories and a fun dose of history.

While not terribly rare, considering about 34 billion were produced, the commemorative quarters have captured the frenzied fancy of kids and their parents as they've drawn extended family, tip-collecting waitresses and friendly bank tellers into the hunt.

Coveted by about 147 million collectors in the U.S., the coins have also been lucrative for the Mint, bringing in $3.5 billion in pure profit by the end of last year, excluding special-issue sets.

The Mint knew the program would be successful, said spokesman Michael White, "but it turned out to be even more popular than expected. This is the most popular coin program in history."

The program ends this month with Hawaii as the last state honored, having fulfilled one of the government's goals — to . . .

Full story at: Link

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Making money whole again - When dollars get damaged, all is not lost

There's no magic cure for money lost in the stock market, but if the cash you buried in the backyard or stashed under your mattress gets damaged, there's help at hand.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing operates a Mutilated Currency Division where workers meticulously piece together millions of dollars of U.S. banknotes that are partially destroyed in floods, fires or other calamities.

"Any currency that is mutilated, it's been damaged in some way, it's been burned, buried, we've got specialists on board who undergo a six-year training period" to put the money back together, said Len Olijar, chief financial officer at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The department receives between $50 million and $70 million worth of mutilated money every year. Of that, technicians are able to reconstruct and redeem more than $30 million.

It's usually money people have put away for safekeeping. Often, it's been sitting untouched for years. That's part of the problem: People stash their cash in all the wrong ways.

Olijar and his technicians have seen . . .

Full story at: Link

Roman Age coins hoard declared a 'treasure trove'

One of the largest deposits of Roman coins ever found in Wales, UK, which consists of nearly 6,000 copper alloy coins, has been declared a treasure trove.

According to a report by BBC, the Roman coins hoard was found buried in two pots in a field at Sully, Vale of Glamorgan, by a local metal detector enthusiast in April.

Two separate hoards were found by the metal detectorist on successive days, one involving 2,366 coins and the other 3,547 coins, 3m away.

The 1,700-year-old coins dated from the reigns of numerous emperors, notably Constantine I (the Great, AD 307-37), during whose time Christianity was first recognised as a state religion.

Derek Eveleigh, from Penarth, who came across the hoards in a field of sheep, has kept his find a secret until the outcome of an inquest into the findings.

An independent committee will now value the coins.

Edward Besly, the National Museum Wales' coin specialist, has called the discovery . . .

Full story at: Link

Peace Dollar Last but Not Least

In the United States, true silver dollars, large coins with 90 percent silver content, ceased being manufactured with the Peace dollars of 1935. To be sure, there have been short-lived series of dollar coins since that time. Some of the dollars have been large (Eisenhower dollars), some have even had a modicum of silver content (Eisenhower dollars again), but the last Peace dollar effectively ended more than a century of the large silver coins we think of as silver dollars.

Of all the "real" silver dollars, the most easily collectible series, hands down, is the Peace dollar series. For one thing, there are only 24 different date-mintmark combinations for a basic set. In addition, there's only one date, the 1928, with a relatively low mintage (360,649). This means that the cost of a complete set, in less than outstanding condition, should not be prohibitive for most collectors.

Before we take a date-by-date look at Peace dollars, let's examine their background. I think you'll find the circumstances that led to the series unusual, to say the least.

Writing in Q. David Bowers' Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia, R. W. Julian informs us that . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mint designs released for 2009 Presidential Dollars

The United States Mint on Wednesday unveiled new designs for the 2009 Presidential $1 Coins featuring former Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor.

In 2009, more than new Presidential portraits will grace the face of each dollar coin. Design enhancements include modified edge lettering and the moving of "In God We Trust" to directly below each Presidential image.

The relocation of the motto from the edge to the heads side of each $1 coin was sought after by many who felt "In God We Trust" was too hidden. Political support resulted in a mandated update from Congress. A new law was passed in late 2007 that empowered the U.S. Mint to place the motto in a more prominent position.

The edge modifications include . . .

Full story at: Link

Can Barack Obama overcome the magic of John McCain's lucky coin?

(This is a story that I missed back during the primaries. So even though it is dated, I'm sure McCain is still carrying that lucky coin. As a person who never leaves home without my lucky coin in my pocket - a Canadian Looney, I can relate to "carrying it ever since." - A.C. Dwyer)

ABC News' Ron Claiborne Reports: By tradition, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., usually goes to a movie on election day.

At a polling station in St. Petersburg, Florida, he was asked if he's going today and, if so, to what movie. He said: "I don't know yet. But certainly will not be "This Is No Country For Old Men." The actual title lacks the words "This is."

McCain was also asked if he had his lucky coin with him -- a penny he found with the head up in Portsmouth, N.H. the night before his victory in . . .

Full story at: Link

Barack Obama Coin and Medallions

Hercules Backs Barack

No one understood the power of the coin for getting a political message across like the Ancient Greeks. Their coinage was circulated throughout the ancient world to honor everything from victories, events, and patron deities, to nature. Also, it was the perfect way to let it be known "who did what and where".

In keeping with this tradition an American expat from Chicago, who now lives in Greece, prepared a fitting tribute to Barack Obama, immortalizing his nomination for U. S. President in the form of a unique commemorative coin. It is lovingly called the "Baracko" and can be purchased in gold, silver or copper.

The Baracko coin . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hawaii coin ends popular state commemorative quarter program

With a big aloha to Hawaii, a new generation of coin collectors will soon shut their books on the U.S. Mint's popular 10-year state quarter program full of fond family memories and a fun dose of history.

While not terribly rare, considering about 34 billion were produced, the commemorative quarters have captured the frenzied fancy of kids and their parents as they've drawn extended family, tip-collecting waitresses and friendly bank tellers into the hunt.

Coveted by roughly 147 million collectors in the United States, the coins also have been lucrative for the mint, bringing in $3.5 billion in pure profit by the end of last year, excluding special-issue sets. Most popular program

The mint knew the program would be successful, said spokesman Michael White, "but it turned out to be even more popular than expected. This is the most popular coin program in history."

Come November, it will end with . . .

Full story at: Link

Last Chance to Order Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins

Dec. 12 Set as Deadline to Order Coins Honoring Recovery of Our National Emblem

WASHINGTON - Time is running out to order Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins. The United States Mint announced today that it will stop sales of the coins struck to celebrate the recovery of our national emblem, the American Bald Eagle, on Dec. 12, 2008, at 5 p.m. (ET). Surcharges collected from the sale of these coins are authorized to be paid to the American Eagle Foundation of Tennessee to further its work.

Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin options still available include proof and uncirculated versions of a gold coin with a denomination of $5, a silver dollar coin and a half-dollar clad coin. A Coin and Medal Set, featuring an uncirculated Bald Eagle Silver Dollar and a bronze Bald Eagle Medal from the National Wildlife Refuge System Centennial Medal Series, also is available. Individual coin options include a Certificate of Authenticity.

The Bald Eagle Proof Silver Dollar Coin also will be available in . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, October 16, 2008

U.S. Mint says no more quarter-ounce and half-ounce American Eagle gold bullion coins in 2008

No more quarter-ounce and half-ounce American Eagle gold bullion coins will be struck in 2008. The Mint has thrown in the towel in trying to keep up with demand for these.

Instead, it will focus on the two U.S. bullion coins most in demand, the one-ounce American Eagle gold coin and its one-ounce silver Eagle brother.

The changing Mint approach to supplying what it can to the overwhelming demand for bullion coins in the investment market was revealed in an Oct. 6 letter to authorized purchasers.

This new approach will . . .

Full story at: Link

Will Gold Explode Higher in Next Few Days?

In the past three weeks, central banks and governments around the world have wreaked havoc on financial markets with daily changes in policies and actions. Yet we are told that this extreme financial instability is being done in the name of creating financial stability!

" On Monday this week the governments of Germany, France, Austria and Spain announced that they were setting up a $1.5 trillion fund to guarantee newly created European Union debt. This action was taken to supplant steps of individual nations to guarantee deposits in their banks, which had the potential to draw accounts away from banks in other European Union member nations that do not offer this guarantee.

" Also on Monday, the British government announced that it was taking majority ownership of Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland), two of the four largest United Kingdom banks.

" In a side note, safe manufacturer Sentry reported that recent sales had increased by 20 percent over year earlier levels. However, in the last week volume has jumped to 50 percent above previous levels. One retailer of safes said that in normal markets his company was able to deliver safes within one week. Currently, demand is so strong that delivery times are now 2-4 weeks after purchase. Obviously, there is demand to store valuables by people who no longer feel secure depositing or storing in banks.

" Morgan Stanley Chief Economist David Greenlaw has just forecast a $2 trillion U.S. federal government deficit for the current fiscal year.

" Depending on definitions, at least 20 national governments are on the brink of bankruptcy, including Iceland, Hungary and Pakistan.

While this turbulence has been building, there are two huge developments in the world gold markets plus a surprising prediction on global television: . . .

Full story at: Link

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Truth About Littleton Coin Company

Littleton Coin Company is perhaps the best-known coin dealer in America. Their advertising can be found across a broad spectrum of magazines and media. They employ more than 350 people at their 85,000 sq. ft. facility. Compare that to your local coin shop! The truth, however, is that all those salaries, that expensive advertising, and the gigantic facility is all paid for by coin collectors! Littleton's prices aren't just high; they're stratospheric! But is Littleton worth it?

Since I was aware that Littleton's primary business model was the coins on approval system, I signed up for their service more than a year ago, so I could give them a fair, long term trial when I wrote my review of Littleton's services. (They actually kicked me off their approval program because I wasn't buying enough coins, but they did it nicely and I knew they were right.) Although they earned an excellent rating overall, as soon as my review was published I began getting emails from readers. One even sent a formal letter on business-type letterhead, as a "letter to the editor" type of thing. I was surprised at how strongly people felt about this common complaint they expressed, but I should have foreseen it because these very same practices are . . .

Full story at: Link

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Jackson, Tennessee Hoard of Gold Coins at Recent Auction?

By Doug Winter

With little fanfare, an important group of half eagles and eagles were sold at the recent Heritage Long Beach auction. I was intrigued by the source of this group of coins and since the Heritage catalog had nothing about their origin, I decided to do a little digging. What I found out is extremely interesting for any collector of No Motto Liberty Head gold.

The coins that initially got me intrigued were a small group of eagles produced between 1844 and 1847. The two coins that I thought were especially interesting were an 1846 eagle graded MS62 by NGC (Lot 3852) and an 1846-O eagle graded MS62 by NGC (lot 3858). I am pretty aware of all the high grade examples of these two dates and the two coins in the Heritage sale were unknown to me.

But what really got my interest were some of the secondary coins surrounding these two eagles. Lot 3851 in the Heritage sale was another 1846 eagle. This would also have graded MS62 except for the fact that it had hairlines from a cleaning and also a slight “environmental damage” sort of appearance which, in my opinion, looked liked the result of having been buried at one time. Another odd coin appeared as Lot 3857. This was an 1846-O eagle that had the sharpness and details of an MS62 but which had a dull and very grainy reverse with a very “ED” appearance.

My first reaction was that these coins might have been from shipwreck; specifically from the S.S. New York which contained some high quality gold from this era. But why, I asked myself, would coins from this wreck not be packaged in the special NGC holder that designated these coins as being from the shipwreck? After all, the recent Stack’s 7/08 sale of these coins had conclusively proven that the S.S. New York pedigree added considerable value.

The answer to the mystery was solved when I looked at Lot 3851 in the Heritage sale. This was an 1846 eagle with Uncirculated details but which had reverse rim damage at 2:00. When I saw this damage I thought “backhoe.” And when I thought “backhoe damage” I thought “Jackson, Tennessee hoard.”

Let me explain. Back around . . .

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What Type of Coin Should You Collect?

Coin collecting is a fun hobby to start and the thrill of hunting for old coins is enough for many people to continue doing it. Other people consider coin collecting an investment, something they can receive a profit from. If you are one of those people, then you can find several types of coins in this article that will help you determine what others are looking for.

Most coin collectors will look for only a specific kind of coin that will make their collection more valuable and interesting to buyers. Others are collecting for sentimentality and are looking more at the coin’s uniqueness.

Series collectors are those looking for a series of coins that mark every year and every design change made in that coin.

Type collectors are those people who are looking to get one of each coin where there were/are changes made.

Ancient coin collectors are those people looking for coins spanning the years 650 BC – 450 AD. This is the time when coins were invented and there were silver, gold and bronze versions made. It also marks the time when Roman emperors were the rulers and most of them feature famous Roman emperors, Roman towns, or gods.

Token collectors are those who are looking for different kinds of tokens that were used in exchange for real money when there was a lack of coins. These tokens were used as local currency even if the government had not given permission . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, October 03, 2008

$500 Million Treasure, Interrupted for Odyssey Marine

The country's largest publicly traded shipwreck exploration company has three promising finds but faces hurdles in opening the treasure chests.

In October 1804, four Spanish frigates approached the port of Cadiz in southwestern Spain, laden with South American treasure. The loot was meant to bankroll Spain, nominally neutral but tacitly allied with Napoleon against Britain. Four British frigates met the treasure fleet.

In the ensuing Battle of Cape St. Mary, the British captured three of the Spanish ships. The fourth, the Mercedes, exploded. Historical novelist Patrick O’Brian integrated the conflict into one of his novels, with fictional hero Capt. John “Lucky Jack” Aubrey awed as the Mercedes’ powder magazine destroyed the ship in “a blast so huge it wiped out thought and almost consciousness: the Mercedes blew up in a fountain of brilliant orange light that pierced the sky.”

The outcome of the battle created a potential windfall for the British seamen. Under a law designed to encourage naval zeal, the officers and men could share the spoils of the three captured ships. The event also marked a historical turning point: Spain entered the long war against England.

Some 204 years later, investors in Odyssey Marine Exploration (Nasdaq-OMEX) are hoping for both a windfall and a turning point — in large part from treasure that may have gone to the bottom with the Mercedes. The Tampa-based shipwreck search and treasure recovery company has found what may be the treasure from that ship, along with three other wrecks near England.
But the company has reason aplenty to heed Lucky Jack’s recurring admonition to his crew that there’s not a moment to be lost. The company has . . .

Full story at: Link

Wealthy investors drain supplies of gold by hoarding bullion bars

Investors in gold are demanding "unprecedented" physical levels of bullion bars and coins and moving them into their own vaults as fears about the health of the global financial system deepen.

Industry executives and bankers at the London Bullion Market Association annual meeting said the extent of the move into physical gold was unseen and driven by the very rich.

"There is an enormous pick-up in investment demand. I have never seen a market like this in my 33-year career," said Jeremy Charles, chairman of the LBMA. "The gold refineries cannot produce enough bars."

The move comes as fears grow among investors over the losses at investment vehicles previously considered almost risk-free, such as money funds.

Philip Clewes-Garner, associate director of precious metals at HSBC, added that investors were not flying into gold simply because . . .

Full story at: Link

Question of Gold Seizure Hits Radar Screen

(With all the parallels of the current economic crisis to that of the 1930's, the following article poses an interesting question, "could the government make it illegal to own gold once again and seize what you've got?" - A.C. Dwyer)

With a $700 billion mortgage bailout package on the table, Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers in bankruptcy, brokerage giant Merrill Lynch sold and the appearance of economic chaos on at least three continents - North America, Europe and Asia - gold has moved to the forefront and with it issues that parallel 1933-1934, the time of the Great Depression.

The question fairly rises as to whether or not the U.S. government is moving to consolidate its economic power by an outright gold seizure or whether they are prepared to allow the free gold market to speak about the dollar bill and a gaggle of other foreign currencies. Some wonder if they are willing to let the dollar's purchasing power slip away entirely.

Cause of the initial crisis . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Coins from Jesus' era among $23 million in unclaimed property

LITTLE ROCK - Two coins believed to date back to the time of Jesus are almost certainly the oldest items of unclaimed property in this year's Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt.

Announcing the 2008 edition, Auditor Jim Wood said Tuesday his office received about $23 million in unclaimed property in the past fiscal year, including two coins believed to have been issued while Pontius Pilate was prefect of Judea, two Civil War-era musket balls, a Purple Heart, several silver bars and a $1,000 bill.

"I like the $1,000 bill," Wood said. "That's my favorite item up there. I could use a pocketful of those today."

Each year the auditor's office attempts to locate the rightful owners of uncashed checks and abandoned bank accounts, stock certificates, mineral royalties, safe-deposit boxes and cash.

Typically, the items have gone unclaimed because their owners died and banks have been unable to locate living relatives, Wood said.

Perhaps the most unusual items to turn up to date are . . .

Full story at: Link

Time running out to salvage $100M treasure from Portuguese shipwreck

All gold from Portuguese shipwreck to be recovered by deadline: ministry

LISBON (AFP) - All the contents of a 500-year-old Portuguese shipwreck discovered by chance off Namibia will be salvaged by the end of next week, the ministry of culture in Lisbon said Wednesday.

Archaeologists from Portugal, Namibia, the United States and Zimbabwe are working to raise the cargo, which included hundreds of gold coins, before October 10, which Namibian officials said was a deadline imposed by the huge costs involved.

However the Portuguese culture ministry said the deadline had been October 2, because weather conditions were expected to put a stop to work by that date.

Now new forecasts of good weather had enabled the date to be put back to October 10, it said.

Last week, the Namibian culture ministry said the rescue operation was costing some 100,000 Namibian dollars (12,500 dollars, 8,500 euros) per day.

All that is keeping the wreck intact is an artificial sand wall created by mine workers with bulldozers to push back the sea for diamond dredging.

The Portuguese government said that its "fundamental interest" is "to guarantee the complete protection" of the ship and the adjacent sea-bed's remaining cargo.

The ship was found in April during the diamond dredging operation.

It contained over 2,300 gold coins weighing some 21 kilograms (46 pounds), six bronze cannons, silver, several tonnes of copper, huge elephant tusks and a variety of weapons.

"The relics will be rescued by . . .

Full story at: Link

Perth Mint Unveils 2009 Australian Kangaroo, Kookaburra, Koala, and Lunar Bullion Coins

Australian kangaroo, kookaburra, koala and lunar coins will make up the Perth Mint's 2009 Australian Bullion Coin Program. The coins will be available Oct. 1.

The 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/10 and 1/20 ounce gold coin reverse design depicts a kangaroo with a joey in its pouch with a representation of the Southern Cross constellation and the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star in the background. The reverse design of the larger 1 kilo, 10 ounce and 2 ounce coins portrays a classic kangaroo design by Dr. Stuart Devlin, jeweller and goldsmith to the queen.

Mintages are 350,000 for the 1 ounce, 100,000 for the 1/2 ounce, 150,000 for the 1/4 ounce, 200,000 for the 1/10 ounce and 200,000 for the 1/20 ounce. The 1 kilo, 10 ounce and 2 ounce coins have unlimited mintages.

This year's releases in the Australian Lunar series of gold coins mark the . . .

Full story at: Link

10 Great Dream Coins

In my personal experience, money has always been an object. I've been known, for example, to bypass a type of fish at the grocery story because I thought the price was a dollar a pound too high. My wife thinks I'm foolish to act this way, but I can't help it: It's just become part of my nature.

Having said that, for this article I'm going to fight my normal tendencies and go for broke. I'm going to choose coins that have always appealed to me at least in part because they really are so far out of my league.

In fact, some of the coins I've chosen are out of almost everyone's league. I will start by telling you that my 10 dream coins are not the usual suspects. I haven't chosen, for example, coins such as the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, the 1804 dollar, or the 1894-S dime. For some reason, those coins have never particularly appealed to me. Don't get me wrong: If you want to offer me one, I'll be more than willing to take it off your hands.

For my first dream coin, I'm going to start with one of America's early coin issues. As you would expect, for each of the coins . . .

Full story at: Link

He was the king of coins — bank on it

Halden Birt Jr. never outgrew his childhood hobby.

He began collecting coins when he was a boy growing up on an Illinois farm, and turned his interest into a career.

Birt was an acclaimed numismatist who was tapped by the FBI to testify in court cases involving valuable coins, and he developed a method still in use today for determining the authenticity of rare coins.

In Tucson, he operated Glass Shoppe Coins at 4325 E. Broadway for 45 years, until his death Aug. 30 from congestive heart failure. He was 78.

Birt's younger sister, Beverly Knox, remembers young Halden and their father going to the bank every Friday for a new batch of coins through which to sort. Birt started out collecting Indian head pennies and buffalo nickels. Sometimes he let his little sister help him look for those he needed for his collection.

While the Birt . . .

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Rare silver Viking coin found in British village

A rare silver Viking coin, that was discovered by treasure hunters in the north Bedfordshire village in the UK last year, has been put on display at the British Museum in London.

According to a report in Luton Today, the ingot is 45mms long, weighs 20 grams, about the same as 18 pennies, and was enough to buy two cows, a significant purchase at the time.

The Vikings first came to Bedfordshire in the ninth century, and archaeologists believe this ingot may have been lost before AD 915, when the area around Bedford was recaptured by the Saxon kingdom based in Wessex.

“This is the only one to be found in Bedfordshire, and in terms of looking for Viking material in Bedford, which used to be a Viking town, it is very, very rare,” said Jim Inglis, keeper of archaeology at Bedford Museum.

“We do not get Viking material very often and definitely not in precious metal. It was the raw material for making Viking . . .

Full story at: Link

Mayor presented with rare penny that was important piece of trading history

AN HISTORIC penny used for trading in Pwllheli in the 17th century has been given to the town council.

Ceiniog Pwllheli (Pwllheli Penny), was presented to mayor, Cllr Evan John Hughes, by Mr Owen Cowell in memory of the late Alderman T R Cowell.

Thanking him, Coun Hughes said: “This is indeed a very special penny, and there cannot be many more of these lying round by now, but thanks to safekeeping by the Cowell family I feel we are now in possession of a very special coin, which is clearly marked 1666.

The coin, dated 1666, has been . . .

Full story at: Link

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

US Mint suspends sale of 24-karat American Buffalo gold coins

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Mint is temporarily halting sales of its popular American Buffalo 24-karat gold coins because it can't keep up with soaring demand as investors seek the safety of gold amid economic turbulence.

Mint spokesman Michael White said Friday that the sales were being suspended because demand for the coins, which were first introduced in 2006, has exceeded supply and the Mint's inventory of the coins has been depleted.

The Mint had to temporarily suspend sales of its American Eagle one-ounce gold coins on Aug. 15 and then later that month announced sales of the American Eagle coins would resume under an allocation program to designated dealers.

White said the Mint expected to soon start distributing available Buffalo gold coins through a similar allocation program.

Through Thursday, the day the Mint suspended sales of the American Buffalo, the Mint had sold 164,000 of the coins this year, up 54 percent from the same period a year ago.

"People are scared. Gold has become a safe haven," said . . .

Full story at: Link

Baltimore Hoard: Gold comes out of the cellar and into the lore

My column several weeks ago chronicling the Depression-era story of two Baltimore youths, Theodore Jones, 16, and Henry Grob, 15, who turned up 3,558 gold coins in the dirt cellar of an Eden Street tenement, brought some interesting responses.

A full-length account of the find and subsequent legal wrangling over who owned the stash of coins that today would be worth more than $10 million is the subject of Leonard Augsburger's Treasure in the Cellar: A Tale of Gold in Depression-Era Baltimore, which was recently published by the Maryland Historical Society.

Former Baltimore Circuit Judge Peter D. Ward, now in private practice in Towson, wrote to say that the column "brought back a flood of memories from my last year of law school - the spring of 1962, to be exact - when I was assigned with a fellow student in my moot court class to represent Jones and Grob. (Although they may have been assigned other names - I can't now recall.)"

Ward said the only . . .

Full story at: Link

China to issue commemorative coins for maiden spacewalk success

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The People's Bank of China, the central bank, said on Monday that it would issue a set of gold and silver coins on Oct. 8 to commemorate the success of the country's maiden spacewalk.

The issuance comprises 30,000 gold coins, with a face value of 150 yuan (22 U.S. dollars) each, and 60,000 silver coins, with a face value of 10 yuan each.

The head of each coin will have the solar system design while the tail will bear a color portrait of a taikonaut conducting a spacewalk and the Chinese words "To commemorate the success of China's first spacewalk", the central bank said.

The coins are . . .

Full story at: Link

Another coin company sues former employee over trade secrets

The suits filed by or against rare coin dealers in recent years could fill up even the largest of penny jars.

The newest suit, The American Eagle Reserve LLC vs. Justin A. O'Neal, was filed Sept. 4 in Jefferson County District Court. Dozens of suits involving coin companies have been filed in the county the last year alone.

In its suit, TAER alleges one of its former employees stole company trade secrets in hopes of making a pretty penny. TAER is petitioning the court for an injunction to restrain O'Neal from contacting its customers.

Court documents show that TAER and O'Neal entered into a confidential services, trade secrets and employment agreement on March 24, 2008.

"In part consideration for . . .

Full story at: Link

Rare Coin Portfolio Outpaces Stock Performance

For some 30 years, this is the season to look back on a market basket that gave important, symbolic meaning to the rare coin market and set coin investment aside as a growth industry. In the process, it attracted Wall Street to rare coins as an alternative investment vehicle.

Newsflash that a market basket had been established by the white shoe investment banking firm of Salomon Brothers came in 1978. The tip-off came when the economic review publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston published an academic article calling attention to an annual study being prepared under the aegis of R.S. Solomon, a managing director of the firm looking for new investment vehicles.

Salomon was looking at stock and bond prices - the Dow Jones industrial average had gone from 831 in 1977 to 816 in 1978, then up to 839 the following year - and sensing that there had to be investment vehicles that made better rates of return than a then-stagnant market.

Rare coins were coming into their own as an investment vehicle; there were . . .

Full story at: Link

Rare coins give all Australians a reason to cash in for big profits

Millions of Australians have rare coins in their possession and are sitting on a hidden source of income without knowing it .These people could be cashing in and earning a regular income.

Steven Temby, of, says most people pay no attention to the coins that pass through their hands each day, but many coins in general circulation are worth significantly more than their face value.

"If I was to tell you that a $1 coin you just spent down the street was worth $200 you'd probably be quite shocked." Mr Temby says.

"There are coins in circulation right now that are worth up to 250 times their face value. A $1 coin worth $200, a 50 cent coin worth $100 or a 20 cent coin worth $50, and there's a whole list of other coins that are worth big money as well."

Mr Temby has developed . . .

Full story at: Link

Gold coin dealers in Canada and the U.S. are seeing an uptick in demand for coins

Ordinary folks' demand for sovereign gold coins is creating a chain-supply demand for mintable gold strip and large ingots, making it possible that gold exploration companies' fortunes are on the verge of turning positive.

Gold coin dealers in Canada and the U.S. say they are seeing an uptick in demand for the coins, which many governments mint and sell to the public as legal currency. So are folks such as . . .

Full story at: Link

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gold Coins, Bullion Sales Go Gangbusters as AIG, Lehman Fall

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- While TV camera crews staked out American International Group Inc.'s Wall Street headquarters following its takeover by the U.S. government, Jules Karp was quietly trading gold coins in ``unbelievable'' numbers from his basement dealership across the street.

Karp, 61, has traded physical gold, including one-ounce Canadian Maple Leafs, American Eagles and South African Krugerrands, since 1974. Demand has ``hit a crescendo,'' he said yesterday while an assistant prepared the special packages used to send gold coins to a growing list of mail-order customers.

Investors are being driven to the relative safety of gold as global equities plummet following the federal takeover of AIG, the largest U.S. insurer by assets, and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., once the fourth-largest U.S. securities firm. Amid the fallout yesterday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, the biggest U.S. securities firms, plunged the most ever in New York trading.

``People are panicking right now,'' said Karp, who also sources coins for the clients of Wall Street's largest banks. ``They're afraid for their money.''

The interest in bullion appears widespread. Gold sales to new clients at Blanchard & Co., the largest U.S. precious-metal retailer, have jumped more than sixfold in the past three days as investors . . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Representative's legislation would cut costs of coining nickels

WASHINGTON — Rep. Frank Lucas says the U.S. Mint could save millions of dollars a year if it just shrank the nickel.

Lucas, R-Cheyenne, has proposed legislation that would replace the nickel with a half-dime, a coin that would be slightly smaller and half the weight of the current dime. Since less metal would be required to make it, taxpayers would no longer have to pay more than nine cents to produce a coin that's only worth five cents.

"At a cost of 9.5 cents to produce and ship, there is a $58.5 million loss passed on to taxpayers each year,” Lucas said. "This is one more example of irresponsible spending by the federal government and one more reason why our national deficit has . . .

Full story at: Link

Former S.S. Central America treasure-hunting ship now rusting in obscurity

The Artic Discoverer didn't just find $100 million in gold, but one of the greatest historical treasures.

She's a lady with a past, a glorious, glittering, golden past, languishing inconspicuously on the St. Johns River, tethered to a pier at Green Cove Springs' Clay County Port in the Reynolds Industrial Park.

Originally, she was christened the Arctic Ranger and was nearing the end of her worthy and perilous workhorse career as a Canadian fishing vessel in 1987 when her future took a dramatic change.

She was purchased by a group of marine treasure hunters led by the charismatic adventurer Tommy Thompson and became part of American history stretching back over 130 years to the mid-1800s and the thrilling, rip-snorting days of the California gold rush.

It seems that in September 1857, the S.S. Central America, a sidewheel steamer, hauling California passengers and cargo on the nine-day trip from Panama to New York, met up with a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas.

Capt. William Lewis Herndon, his crew and passengers put up a valiant fight, but by the second day of 105-mph winds the ship's sails were shredded. The boiler failed when heavy seas wrenched the seals open on the paddlewheels and the desperate bailing they kept up for days proved fruitless.

Herndon went down with his ship. Some passengers and crew members were rescued, but most sank into the depths of the Atlantic along with 38,000 pieces of mail and between 13 and 15 tons of gold destined to . . .

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Treasure-filled wreck is from 16th century Portugual

A MYSTERY shipwreck laden with gold discovered by geologists off the coast of Namibia in April was a 16th century Portuguese vessel that had been bound for Asia, the country’s information ministry announced yesterday.

The ship’s rich bounty includes 2000 gold coins and 1.4kg in silver coins, the ministry said in a statement.

Researchers also found navigational instruments among the remains of the ship, which was discovered by geologists prospecting for diamonds.

The shipwreck is believed to be the oldest ever discovered . . .

Full story at: Link

Design changes unveiled by the U.S. Mint for the Lincoln penny

WASHINGTON - Next year, the penny will be getting not just one new look but four of them, the first changes to the 1-cent coin in 50 years.

The U.S. Mint unveiled the new designs during a ceremony Monday at the Lincoln Memorial. The coin changes are part of the government's commemoration next year of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.

Lincoln's profile will reman on one side of the coin but the Lincoln Memorial will be replaced on the other side by the new images, with a different one being introduced every three months.

The first new design will depict a . . .

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

treasure hunter shares joy of metal detecting with students

"The most important thing is to listen to the weak sounds, the weaker the sound, the deeper the coins. Deeper coins are older coins."

BERNARDSVILLE —Looking back, Bernardsville resident Nelson Jecas remembers spending time as a child digging through dirt, looking for sea glass or anything else he could call treasure.

But then, looking back is what Jecas does best.

"I enjoy history and the mystique of finding something old,'" he says.

Jecas will be teaching metal detecting and fossil hunting this fall through The Jointure, a Somerset County-based community education program. The class will be held at Bernards High School in Bernardsville. In addition to learning how to use a metal detector, the course focuses on how fossils are created and where they can be found.

Jecas got his start in metal detecting after seeing an advertisement in a newspaper for some equipment for sale. He bought one and began going to parks, playgrounds and old houses around Central Jersey. His next step was to go to the library to research where old houses once stood. He said that often, old houses are being renovated and trash is thrown out.

"Old trash is treasure today," he said. "Bottles, old toys, clay pipes, for example.'"

Jecas, who has unearthed objects during dives off the New Jersey coast as well as overseas, says research plays an important part. Knowing the local history of an area can be the key to unlocking its hidden treasures.

"It's a good hobby to learn history because you research what you find,'" he said.

Many people who own metal detectors get . . .

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Treasure laden mystery shipwreck with thousands of gold and silver coins discovered

Windhoek - A mystery shipwreck laden with gold discovered by geologists off the coast of Namibia in April is a 16th century Portuguese vessel that was bound for Asia, the country's information ministry announced on Tuesday. The ship's rich bounty includes 2,000 gold coins and 1.4 kilogrammes in silver coins, the ministry said in a statement.

Researchers also found navigational instruments among the remains of the ship, which was discovered by geologists prospecting for diamonds.

The shipwreck is believed to be the oldest ever discovered off the coasts of sub-Saharan Africa.

The vessel has been linked to Portuguese explorer Bartholomez Diaz, who was the first European to round the Cape of Good Hope on . . .

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Royal cover-up? No sign of a bald patch on Prince Charles's 60th birthday coin

There's a tradition that royal portraits should flatter their subject.

Which is why, presumably, a gold coin to mark Prince Charles's 60th birthday shows him with a full and flowing head of hair.

The Prince has, of course, had to put up with thinning hair since his youth.

But there is little evidence of this on the £5 coin which marks his birthday in November and gives him a Boris Johnson-style head of hair.

The otherwise realistic likeness was created by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley who was granted two private sittings with the Prince at Highgrove, his country home, where he took sketches to create a plaster model.

He described it as an 'exciting' brief and said it was a 'privilege' to work on.

The coin is particularly unusual in that . . .

Full story at: Link

Interesting U.S. Coins Punctuate Denver Mint Output

Of the major mints, Denver is the new kid on the block having produced its first coin at 10:59 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1, 1906. The natural assumption is that now having been in operation for more than a century, the Denver Mint would have produced relatively few great coins.

After all, starting in 1906 the mintages were naturally larger than in 1806 and there were more collectors to save the coins which were produced. To a degree, this is true, but the Denver Mint over 102 years of production has produced some extremely interesting and sometimes valuable coins that make the best coins from Denver every bit as interesting as those of any other facility.

The political process that produced the Denver Mint was perhaps the longest and most involved of any branch mint in the history of the United States. You could easily suggest that it dated back to the late 1850s when thousands made their way to the area in search of their fortunes as gold had been discovered. They might not have known precisely where it was, but they had "Pikes Peak or Bust" signs on the sides of their wagons and that was close enough.

It was seemingly the last chance for the individual to strike it rich as by then the California mining operations had been taken over by corporations. The amount of gold in Colorado might not have been equal to that in California, but it was the one place at the time where an individual had a chance to realize their dreams.

In fact, Colorado almost had a mint in the 1860s as $25,000 was authorized to purchase the Clark, Gruber facility. Another $75,000 was authorized for operations in 1863 and while listed as a mint in official reports, not a single coin was struck and it stayed that way.

As the years passed . . .

Full story at: Link

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Ten Rarest $2.50 Gold Liberty Head Quarter Eagles by Doug Winter

The response to the article that I wrote last month on the ten rarest Liberty Head eagles was so overwhelmingly positive that I’ve decided to extend this format to other denominations of Liberty Head gold. This month’s topic: quarter eagles.

The Liberty Head quarter eagle series was produced from 1840 through 1907. Unlike the larger denomination issues of this type, quarter eagles were never produced at the Carson City or Denver mints. Thus, these coins were produced at five facilities: Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Charlotte and Dahlonega.

There are numerous ways in which to collect Liberty Head quarter eagles. Most specialists focus on the issues from a specific mint. The most popular individual mint is Dahlonega, followed by Charlotte and New Orleans.

A small but dedicated cadre of collectors attempts to put together a complete set of Liberty Head quarter eagles. Such a set can be completed although at least two or three issues are very rare and quite expensive. This set is impossible to complete in Uncirculated due to the unavailability of at least one issue (the 1854-S) in Mint State. Every other issue, however, is known in Uncirculated although a number of these are extremely rare.

Some of the collectors who are attempting to assemble a complete set of Liberty Head quarter eagles also include significant varieties. These are generally limited to the ones that are recognized by PCGS and/or NGC.

One interesting way to collect this series would be to focus on the major rarities or key issues. But in the case of the Liberty Head quarter eagles, the most famous coins are not necessarily the rarest. Most readers of this article will be surprised that I have not included the famous 1848 CAL in the list of the ten rarest issues of this type. Even though this is clearly one of the ten most popular (and most desirable) issues, it is less scarce than generally acknowledged and it does not make the Top Ten list.

Without further ado, here are the ten rarest Liberty Head quarter eagles along with pertinent information about each issue:

Full story and list at:

Many Prices Reasonable for S-Mint $2.50 Gold Quarter Eagles

(Although I'm the first to admit that I like Paul Green's articles, the fact that he died well over a year ago and yet his articles still appear in each week's Numismatic News makes me wonder why people continue to subscribe. Can't NN find other decent writers to supply them with some fresh new articles? - A.C. Dwyer)

There are a lot of elements to the story of the San Francisco Mint. The quarter eagle gold coins it began producing in the 1850s are certainly one of those elements. The Gold Rush and the coinage it spawned make interesting hobby topics.

The history of the San Francisco Coronet Head quarter eagles gives us a fascinating view of the early days and eventual growth of the San Francisco Mint. They are also a fascinating collection and a much tougher collection than most realize.

The story of the San Francisco Coronet Head quarter eagle started long before there was a San Francisco facility. Authorized back in 1792, the quarter eagle had been a denomination with what might well be called a spotty record. It was the smallest authorized gold denomination when it was born. The $1 denomination arrived in 1849 during the Gold Rush just before the San Francisco Mint was authorized In the early days of coin production in 1790s Philadelphia, the quarter eagle was really a denomination that saw very little use. The $2.50 face value apparently failed to . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, September 12, 2008

Peru Demands Return of Odyssey Marine Exploration's $500 Million Shipwreck Treasure

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc.'s 17 ton-haul (15,400 kilograms) of sunken treasure from the Atlantic Ocean originated in Peru and must be returned, the Andean country's Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde said today.

The 500,000 gold coins on Spanish warship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes were minted in Peru, at the time a Spanish colony, Garcia Belaunde said. The ship was sunk by the British navy in 1804.

``This gives us ownership, as this was and continues to be . . .

Full story at: Link

Gold coin treasure in the cellar brought more trouble than riches

The story of two Baltimore teenagers and their random discovery of a cache of gold coins in a copper jug while digging in the dirt cellar floor of a three-story rowhouse at 132 S. Eden St. became a national story during the height of the Depression.

Theodore Jones, 16, and Henry Grob, 15, both from fatherless families who were on relief, had formed a club, the "Rinky-Dinky-Doos," and were busy digging a hole on the warm afternoon of Aug. 31, 1934, in the floor of the Eden Street tenement where Jones and his mother resided.

Newspaper accounts from the time described the booty the boys were probably burying as "secret club papers" or "cards, dice and chips."

Suddenly, while digging, Jones' shovel struck something. He reached into the hole and pulled out a round medal coin.

"Look!" he exclaimed to Grob, "here's a medal," The Sun reported at the time.

Grob replied, "You're crazy. That's a $20 gold piece."

The boys began to furiously excavate the corner of the cellar.

"I was digging in that hole - hands, elbows, knees and everything," Jones told a Sun reporter.

"After more than half the hoard had been scratched out, they found the container it had been in - a gallon can - now more than half-rotted away. With the coins, glittering through their gold mold, scattered around them, they sat on the dirt floor and dreamed dreams of what they would do with their wealth," the newspaper reported.

What the boys had unearthed in two separate pots were 3,558 gold coins that dated from the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s, worth a face value of $11,200. Today, their discovery would be worth more than $10 million.

After . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Ten Rarest $10 Gold Liberty Head Eagles by Doug Winter

This article is about the ten rarest Liberty Head eagles. Notice that I didn’t say “the ten most popular” or “the ten most expensive.” Readers may be surprised that this top ten list does not include any Carson City issues (although I was tempted to include the 1870-CC) and just one from New Orleans.

In looking over the list you will note that six of the ten coins are from Philadelphia and at least one or two are probably not all that familiar to even the most advanced collector of Liberty Head gold. Most of these dates have very low original mintage figures (one, the 1875, has a mintage of just 100 business strikes!) and nearly all have remarkably low survival rates. To qualify for this list, an issue requires a total population of under 50-60 coins.

In order of their rarity, here is my list of the ten rarest Liberty Head eagles. After this list, I am going to devote a paragraph or two to each issue, covering topics such as . . .

Full story and list at:

Free Choice Makes Coin Collecting What It Is

Is there only one way to correctly collect coins?

I ask the question again because I had an e-mail that got me to thinking along these lines. We are going through a period of explosive growth in the numismatic field. Newcomers are doing what they want to do and are bumping into the hobby veterans.

Most veterans are a good-natured bunch who want to share what they know and help newbies avoid the traps that they themselves fell into years ago.

On the whole, their advice to newcomers is sound, especially if the newcomers' ultimate goal is to put together nice sets with their names on the coins' pedigrees and auction them off with a big-name firm in the distant future.

But what of those people who don't or won't do that for whatever reason?

I received an e-mail from . . .

Full story at: Link

Buyer beware: The dark side of coin collecting

HOUSTON—Stocks are down, savings accounts are paying piddling interest and houses are losing value.

In times like these, where can you make money?

Many Houstonians have turned to an unlikely source: coin collecting.

“You know, I think people are looking for different places to put their money besides the bank,” John Duncan of U.S. Coins & Jewelry said.

Coin expert Garth Clark examines thousands of coins every year. Every so often, he finds an old dime worth $700.

“The best way to tell is just by the ‘ting,’” Clark said. “It’s like a treasure hunt.”

John Heckler of Pearland decided to cash in his old coins he’s been collecting for years.

He got $659.41 for his collection.

But when it comes to buying and selling coins, all that glitters may not always be a good deal. In fact, one Houston attorney said sometimes, it can be downright fraudulent.

Jason Gibson said that’s partly because the price of gold and platinum has gone through the roof.

Gold is worth triple what it was a decade ago.

But with other investments, like stocks, doing so badly, telemarketers are peddling gold coins as a great alternative.

The Texas Attorney General said those high-pressure salespeople are targeting senior citizens.

Gibson has sued dealers in both Beaumont and Austin.

“The problem is not that these coins are . . .

Full story at: Link

Mona Lisa Graces Andorra Coin

Leonardo da Vinci is honored on the latest release in the Great Painters of the World series from the Mint of Poland and Talisman Coins. The colorized rectangular 10 diners coin is issued for the Principality of Andorra.

The coin's design replicates three of . . .

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Paranoia Over Counterfeit Dollars Brings Call for Recall

The money supply in the United States following the Civil War was a mess. Specie payments were still suspended, and the federal greenbacks, which had "won the war," were not only depreciated, they were also counterfeited at every turn. Improved printing methods, a federal police force, massive appropriations, more stringent penalties, and paid informants were not winning the battle with the fakers.

Somewhat lax sentencing and presidential pardons made the felony door revolve, putting koniackers back on the streets to ply their illicit trade with scarcely an interruption. As before, $10 fakes led the way.

Newspaper editor Henry Raymond wasn't the only voice calling for . . .

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U.S. Has Storied History With Gold

Gold's price history probably should be divided into three parts. First is the period prior to 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt effectively nationalized gold and prohibited private gold ownership. Second is the period from 1934 to Dec. 31, 1974, when U.S citizens lost the right to own gold, except for "rare and unusual" gold coins - numismatic items.

Third period in this is from Jan. 1, 1975, to the present when Americans fully participated in the gold market. A fourth period may be in the future when Chinese are able to fully participate in a developed gold market, opening up 300 million middle-class purchasers to this exciting field.

Gold's price history has been remarkably stable over the past century and a half. The accompanying chart shows this stability from 1837 until 1933, with various spikes characteristic of a free market, but aware nonetheless of a giant overhang of bullion held by the world's central banks. The U.S. stockpile is at Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve Bank vaults in lower Manhattan, not far from the former World Trade Center site.

The U.S. gold reserve is . . .

Full story at: Link

Rare error in some Wyoming state quarters

Check out:
State and Territorial Quarter Photo Gallery

Some of the Wyoming state quarters have a rare flaw called a doubled die. The mistake is caused when the die that stamps the quarter design is tilted and wobbles during the stamping process. The incident causes a second impression to be made at the center of the coin. The Wyoming quarter's flaw can be found around the bucking horse's saddlehorn -- where there's a tip of a 'ghost' saddlehorn.

The error is difficult to see without magnification and therefore might be too small to create much of a premium for it. However, an error in the Minnesota state quarter has sold for over $100, and at one time flawed Wisconsin state quarters sold for over $1000. Only time can tell how much this error might eventually be worth to collectors.

Read more about the Wyoming state quarter error at: Caspar Star-Tribune

Rare Carson City Dollar (1873-CC) Saves Home from Foreclosure (Video)

(If the store owner paid the couple top dollar as the sign says, how come the owner won't say how much he paid for it? Dealers that I buy aren't shy about saying how much they paid for a coin. - A.C. Dwyer)

PARMA -- A Parma couple on the verge of losing their home to foreclosure made a rare discovery that saved their house.

The couple, who did not want to be identified, brought an old silver dollar to the Cash-4-Gold store on the corner of Ridge and Pearl in Parma.

Jim Matiach, owner of the business and president of Coin and Jewelry Buyers of America, examined the 1873-CC silver dollar and gave the homeowner the good news.

"We sat down and we were able to negotiate a price and he walked away with enough money to pay off some of his bills and hopefully be able to keep his house," says Matiach.

Depending on its precise condition, the 1873-CC Seated Liberty dollar can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. Only 2,300 were minted but only 40 to 60 are believed to still exist, with the others having been melted down.

Matiach says it is not unusual . . .

Full story at: Link