Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ancient Islamic coin found near Oslo, Norway

An Islamic coin from 805 AD, found on the Hurum peninsula just west of Oslo, is causing a stir among Norwegian archaeologists.

The silver dirhem, minted in Iran, is one of the earliest examples of coins to turn up in the Nordic countries.

Several other hordes in the area have contained similar coins, but none date back as far as this. The previous finds have been 100-150 years younger.

According to . . .

Full story at: Link

New Zealand issues coins to commemorate Mt. Qomolangma conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary

WELLINGTON, May 29 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Post Thursday issued gold and silver coins commemorating the 55th anniversary of EdmundHillary's conquest of Mt. Qomolangma.

Hillary, who died in January at the age of 88, and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay were the first climbers to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain on May 29, 1953.

The 24 carat gold and pure silver coins, bearing the legend . . .

Full story at: Link

High flying U.S. Silver Eagle Bullion coin sales grounded by U.S. Mint

Silver’s growing popularity as an investment vehicle has stymied the U.S. Mint, which stopped taking orders for its American Eagle Silver Bullion coin, and rationed sales for the remainder of this year.

The 2008 Silver Eagle dollar coins have become so wildly popular, the U.S Mint stopped taking orders for the bullion coins in March, and late last month began limiting how many coins the exclusive group of 13 authorized buyers globally can purchase.

On Thursday, Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director of the Silver Institute, asked Edmund Moy, Director of the United States Mint, to meet with institute members to discuss immediate remedies to the shortage.

The American Eagle Silver Bullion coin is the country's only official investment-grade silver bullion coin with weight, content and purity guaranteed by the U.S. Government. With their unique government backing, the Silver Eagle dollar coin can be sold for cash at most coin and precious metals dealers globally. They are also considered legal tender and sell at silver's prevailing marketing price, plus a small premium to cover coinage and distribution costs.

The U.S. Mint advertised the coin as a . . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Senator Ben Nelson introduces legislation to mint Boy Scouts commemorative coin

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Senator Ben Nelson has introduced legislation to create a $1 silver coin to recognize the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

Under the legislation, the U.S. Mint would produce 350,000 commemorative coins in honor of the anniversary.

A share of the . . .

Full story at: Link

Canada is bored, creates 100 kg $1 million gold coin

The Royal Canadian Mint has produced the world's first 100-kilogram gold coin with a face value of $1 million. And they're for sale.

Why did it do this? "Because we can!" the mint said on its website.

The coin is the size of a "very thick pizza" — 50 centimetres wide and three centimetres thick — and is .99999 pure.

It was originally meant to be . . .

Full story at: Link

US marine in hot water over Christian coins in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) — The US military said on Friday it was probing complaints that marines handed out coins inscribed with a verse from the Bible to a group of Sunni Muslims in Iraq, sparking outrage among local residents.

It said a marine involved in the incident in the former flashpoint city of Fallujah west of Baghdad was removed from his duties on Thursday.

"US forces initiated an investigation into reports that a coin with a Bible verse written in Arabic was distributed to Iraqi citizens as they passed through a Fallujah entry control point," a statement said.

"A coalition force service member was . . .

Full story at: Link

Fraction of a cent "mill" U.S. coins?

It can be a manufacturing plant, a spice grinder or a place where rumors get started. But did you know a "mill" can also be one-tenth of a cent — a unit of currency that showed up on state-issued tokens in the 1930s?

A reader's recollection that he once saw a 10-mill coin inspired one of three questions in this edition of "Ask AP," a weekly Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers' questions about the news. . . .

Full story at: Link

Coin hobby thrives in hard times

Tough economic times are no drag on coin collecting, judging by the turnout and enthusiasm at the annual convention of the Garden State Numismatic Association.

"We're totally sold out," outgoing GSNA president Spencer Peck said of the exhibit space at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Somerset. "It's been a good show -- everybody's happy."

And everyone did appear happy on May 16, the middle day of the three-day show, as rain fell outside. The crowd moved among table after table of U.S. and foreign coins, paper currency, books and supplies, and what collectors call "exonumia," meaning coinlike items and other things used as currency, such as medals, tokens, wooden nickels and even casino chips.

As for the economy's effect on the hobby, the experts see it as beneficial, if anything. . . .

Full story at: Link

Odyssey Marine Exploration claims 2 new shipwreck discoveries

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. is telling the world it has found two more shipwrecks. But, as is typical in the top-secret world of treasure hunters, the Tampa company isn't saying much more.

Odyssey filed papers Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tampa saying it has discovered a pair of shipwreck sites in the region of the English Channel.

While the exact locations of the sites were not disclosed, Odyssey said they are "outside the territorial waters or contiguous zone of any sovereign nation." . . .

Full story at: Link

Shipwreck coin hunter Odyssey Marine Exploration gets $2 million for Discovery Channel series

Promising deep-sea adventure and battles with the weather and political red tape, Tampa shipwreck exploration company Odyssey Marine has struck a deal for an 11-episode series with the Discovery Channel.

JWM Productions, the producer of the Discovery Channel show, has agreed to pay Odyssey $2-million for exclusive filming rights for one year, according to filings Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The documentary-style show will follow Odyssey explorers not only to the sea floor, but potentially into its courtroom battles with the Spanish government over an estimated $500-million in disputed shipwreck treasure. . . .

Full story at: Link

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Coin dealers examining hundreds of gold coins from SS New York shipwreck find off La. coast

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A steamship that sank off the Louisiana coast during an 1846 storm has produced a trove of rare gold coins, including some produced at two largely forgotten U.S. Mints in the South, coin experts say.

Last year, four Louisiana residents salvaged hundreds of gold coins and thousands of silver coins from the wreckage of the SS New York in about 60 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, said David Bowers, co-chairman of New York-based Stack's Rare Coins.

"Some of these are in uncirculated or mint condition," Bowers said, predicting the best could bring $50,000 to $100,000 apiece at auction.

Of particular interest to coin experts are gold pieces known as quarter eagles and half eagles, which carried face values of $2.50 and $5 in the days before the United States printed paper currency.

Those coins were struck at Mints in New Orleans; Charlotte, N.C.; and Dahlonega, Ga. The Charlotte and Dahlonega Mints operated from 1838, when the first significant U.S. gold deposits were found in those areas, until the start of the Civil War in 1861, said Douglas Mudd, curator of the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum in Denver. Neither reopened.

The Dahlonega Mint produced 1.38 million gold coins, while 1.2 million were minted in Charlotte. Tens of millions of gold coins were . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, May 09, 2008

Odyssey Marine Exploration Responds To Recent Media Reports Following Spain's Black Swan Shipwreck Press Conference

Tampa, FL - May 8, 2008 - Following a significant amount of international media coverage based on a press conference held by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in Madrid on May 8, 2008, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX) wishes to publicly address the most frequently asked questions by media and the public.

To clarify, Odyssey was not in attendance at the press conference, which was presided over by representatives of the Spanish government as well as Spain's legal counsel. Our statements are therefore based on media reports of the actual event and Spain's Responses to the Court's Interrogatories that Spain filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on May 8, 2008.

What is Odyssey's point of view regarding Spain's definitive statement that the site code-named "Black Swan" is that of the "Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes y las Animas"?

Full story at: Link

Friday, May 02, 2008

Stamp machines licked by too-high cost, too few users

(I can't tell you how sad that the story below makes me. Just a month or so ago the vending machine at my post office was removed. Now my main source of $1 coins is gone. The last time I used the machine in January, I was still getting 1979 Susan B. Anthony, 2000 Sacagawea, and the 2007 George Washington dollars in change. Now the vending machines are gone! . . . I went to the bank next door to try and get the new James Monroe dollar and they stopped getting the coins after James Madison. They had bags and bags of James Madison left if I wanted them, but I can forget any Presidents after him. - A.C. Dwyer)

The postage stamps are still around. But the vending machines that dispense them are going the way of the singing telegram and the Pony Express.

You will still be able to buy stamps at the counter or by using a credit or debit card at full-service Automated Postal Centers in some locations. But by May 12, all but a few of the Postal Service's coin-fed stamp machines will have vanished from area post offices, another victim of rising costs and falling patronage.

"There are two reasons why the Postal Service is removing its vending equipment," says Gary Sawtelle, a spokesman for the Central Florida district, which includes Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. "The equipment is . . .

Full story at: Link

Spanish Government confirms its interest in the Odyssey treasure find

A legal battle over the ownership of some 500,000 silver coins is now underway in earnest.
The Spanish Government has confirmed its aspirations over the treasure found and recovered by the United States company, Odyssey Marine Exploration.

‘It’s all ours’, said the General Director of Fine Arts, José Jiménez, who said that the silver coins and other items found in May 2007 can be claimed ‘with guarantees’ for the Spanish Government.

Jiménez said that after Spanish experts inspected some of the 500,000 silver coins, now thought to have come from the Spanish galleon ‘Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes’, off the Algarve coast in 1804, it was clear the treasure was from a boat of the Spanish Armada and Spain will recover it all. . . .

Full story at: Link

Tampa's Odyssey Marine identifies two wrecks in court

Nearly a year after Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered roughly $500-million in coins from a shipwreck it code-named "Black Swan," the Tampa treasure-hunting company has finally gone public with the ship's suspected identity.

Odyssey said Thursday that evidence may point to the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes y las Animas, a Spanish ship that sank near Gibraltar in 1804. The disclosure — filed under seal in Tampa federal court this week but subsequently unsealed by Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo — should have little impact on the protracted legal battle between Odyssey and the government of Spain as to who owns the vessel's treasure. . . .

Full story at: Link

Presidential $1 Error Coins: James Monroe

There is no doubting that a great number of collectors continue to search through rolls of Presidential Dollars looking for error coins. Take, for example, this evidence: the coins were released on February 14, 2008, and NGC has already received a handful of submissions of error coins. While the earliest issues of the series were found without edge lettering, the more recent issues do not exhibit this error in abundance (if at all).

Instead, NGC is seeing different sorts of errors, which are as a general rule much more scarce. For example, . . .

Full story at: Link

United States Mint Moves Forward to Create a Modern Ultra-High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin

WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson has authorized the United States Mint to issue a one-ounce ultra-high relief 24-karat gold coin, creating a 2009 version of what many have called the most beautiful gold piece ever made: the 1907 Augustus Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle. The mintage of the new coin will be unlimited for one year. Among the production specifications approved by Secretary Paulson are the new coin's business-strike finish and a diameter of 27 millimeters.

Only 2009-dated coins will be minted. The coins will go on sale in early 2009, although sales may continue into 2010 if inventory exists. . . .

Full story at: Link

How to Detect Fake Silver Eagles (

Q. How Can I Avoid Silver Eagle Coin Fraud and Other Fake Silver Coins?

Coin fraud is an unfortunate reality in the coin collecting marketplace, but you can avoid buying fake silver coins, and avoid coin fraud in general, by learning how to spot fake coins. We will use a fake Silver Eagle to demonstrate some easy steps to avoid buying fake coins.

A. Avoiding coin fraud boils down to one basic point: knowledge. If you want to avoid buying fake silver coins and becoming a victim of coin fraud, you first need to learn what the genuine coin looks like. Then it's just a matter of making some comparisons, and employing a little bit of common sense. To give an example, we'll use a fake silver coin type that is being produced in large numbers in China: the fake American Silver Eagle Bullion coin.

Coin Fraud - Fake Silver Coins

Follow these 6 easy steps for detecting fake silver coins in general:

Full story at: Link

PCGS Displays Unique "Hot Lips" Morgan Dollar Set at Long Beach

The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) will display the only complete grading set of "Hot Lips" dollars, one of the most interesting of all the different varieties in the popular Morgan dollar series (1878 – 1921), at the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, May 29 - 31, 2008.

“Some Morgan dollars were struck at the New Orleans Mint in 1888 with a doubled die obverse that produced significant doubling of Miss Liberty’s lips, nose and chin. A faint second eyelid is also visible,” explained Ron Guth, PCGS President.

1888-0 VAM-4 photo by Rob Joyce The unusual variety is listed as 1888-O VAM-4 (for the “VAM” reference book created by Morgan dollar researchers, Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis), but many collectors refer to it simply as "Hot Lips." . . .

Full story at: Link

Barack Obama Featured on Medallion

A 2008 Barack Obama 1 ounce pure silver medallion is being offered by Vision Trading Partners of Las Vegas, Nev.

The obverse depicts the bust of Obama encircled by legends "United States Of America" along the upper rim and "Obama 2008 along the lower rim." Eight stars flank Obama, symbolizing the year. An American Eagle is featured on the reverse.

Numismatic News contributor Ken Potter of Michigan designed the obverse. . . .

Full story at: Barack Obama Medallion Link

De Beers discovers treasure ship off Namibian cost

While we usually associate the diamond business with mines, there are companies who hunt for gems in the open sea. A popular hunting ground is the coast of Namibia, where ships comb the sandy sea bottom in hopes of sucking up diamonds that were washed offshore in ages gone past.

De Beers is one such company and it announced a significant find on Wednesday — though not of diamonds. The company believes it has located a treasure ship that could date back to the 15th century. The ship was laden with thousands of gold coins and a hoard of more than 50 elephant tusks. . . .

Full story at: Link

Stupid Investment of the Week: Special state quarters add up to chump change

BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- On a recent trip to help my ailing in-laws in upstate New York, I came across a full-page ad in the Finger Lakes Times saying that "the last restricted rolls" of Empire State quarters would be sold in the next 48 hours. The ad was built to look and read like a newspaper story, and I tore it out of the newspaper, figuring it might be fodder for Stupid Investment of the Week. . . .

Full story at: Link

Rare coin found in garden

A GAME of garden football ended with an historic find by North Devon grandmother Sylvia Nutton.

While moving a plant out of harm's way when her three young grandsons started their game at her home in Knowle, Sylvia uncovered a small silver coin. Investigations with the help of Barnstaple library and the Museum of North Devon have revealed that it could be more than 450 years old. The coin is believed to be a Queen Mary I groat dating from 1553-54. . . .

Full story at: Link