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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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