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 http://www.profitexchange.com.au/, 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 . . .

Full story at: Link

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 . . .

Full story at: Link

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 . . .

Full story at: Link

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 . . .

Full story at: Link

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: Raregoldcoins.com

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: Raregoldcoins.com

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 . . .

Full story at: Link

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 . . .

Full story at: Link

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

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hispanic Society to sell historic $40 million coin collection on loan to the American Numismatic Society (ANS)?

NEW YORK. The Hispanic Society of America has recalled 38,000 coins from the American Numismatic Society (ANS) which have been on loan for more than half a century—and appears to be preparing to sell them.

The valuable collection consists of coins minted in Spain, its dependencies, and the powers that controlled Spain from the 5th century BC until the 20th century. They were deposited at ANS by the organisation’s president and patron Archer Huntington (1870-1955), who was also founder of the Hispanic Society. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, executive director of ANS, estimates that the collection may be worth $30m-$40m, with the Roman gold and silver and a rare 50 excelentes of Ferdinand V and Isabella—the world’s largest struck-gold coin—alone worth perhaps $15m—$20m. Sotheby’s and the London-based coin firm Morton & Eden began creating an inventory and appraising the Roman, Visigoth and Islamic gold coins last month. . . .

Full story at: Link

Monday, September 01, 2008

An ancient coin that tells a brutal story of the death of Julius Caesar

People enjoy the designs on the 50 state quarters and other coins commemorating events and places. But in ancient times, the importance of what was depicted on coins spoke volumes.

When it comes to holding history in your hands, nothing compares with coins from former empires. Everyone from benevolent rulers to dictators memorialized themselves or key exploits on coins of the realm.

Struck from copper, bronze, silver, gold or electrum (an alloy of gold and silver), the peoples of the ancient civilizations revered them for their value and the information they relayed.

Take a silver denarius coin, shown here, issued in 42 B.C. On the front is the portrait of a Roman ruler. On the reverse is a helmet bordered by two daggers above the words "Eid-Mar."

A little investigation reveals the ruler is Brutus – one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. After he assumed power, he had the coin struck replete with the daggers to show how he had brought liberty to his country via the death of Julius. "Eid-Mar" refers to the "Ides of March," when the assassination . . .

Full story at: Link

Coins House offers glimpses into the history of ancient coins

Dubai Municipality will soon open to public the Coins House, a dedicated museum for nearly 500 ancient coins that were in circulation in the region since time of the Islamic caliphates.

The museum has been set in an ancient historic building that dates back to 1918 and which was restored to its former glory by the . . .

Full story at: Link

Spain thinks $500 million shipwreck treasure is hidden in Gibraltar

The Spanish Government thinks that part of the treasure discovered by the Odyssey company is hidden in Gibraltar, possibly in a warehouse in the port area.

It will be recalled that last year, gold and silver coins were found by Odyssey at sea and flown from Gibraltar to the USA. The Spanish have lodged a claim, while Peru have now also done the same. Part of that haul is said to still be in Gibraltar, hidden away somewhere.

The Spanish think that the gold was . . .

Full story at: Link