Expert Articles

  1. U.S. Paper Money Redesign: Security, Aesthetics and Political Factors

    U.S. Paper Money Redesign: Security, Aesthetics and Political Factors
    On May 22, before a hearing of the House Financial Services committee, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed during questioning from members of the House of Representatives that a $20 note with Harriet Tubman on the front and Andrew Jackson on the back is unlikely to be issued before 2028 – well after a possible second Trump presidential term. In 2016, then-presidential candidate Trump said that putting Tubman on the $20 would be “pure political correctness” and instead suggested she should appear on the $2 bill, which is rarely seen in circulation. In addition to an abolitionist and political activist, Tubman (who was born a Maryland slave and lived from 1822 to 1913) is best known for her work for the Underground Railroad, which safely led hundreds of slaves to freedom in numerous risky clandestine raids. After the Civil War, she worked with Susan B. Anthony to promote enfranchising women, making her a key figure in both the anti-slavery and women’s suffrage m ...
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  2. A Spotlight on the Royal Mint: Sovereigns, Britannias, and Beyond

    A Spotlight on the Royal Mint: Sovereigns, Britannias, and Beyond
    The Royal Mint of the United Kingdom is one of the world’s oldest and most important mints with over 1,100 years of experience. It produces all the nation’s circulating coins, as well as bullion and commemorative coinage and medals. It has also minted circulating coins for over 100 issuing authorities around the world.  Historical overview Coinage in Great Britain dates to the second century BC when Celtic tribes first introduced coins to the region. During the Roman rule of Britain, the Romans established mints all over the area, including in London, but that ended with the end of Roman rule.  N ...
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  3. A Brief History of the American Cent

    A Brief History of the American Cent
    As the lowest denomination circulating coin issued, the cent, which is the proper numismatic term for coins that many call pennies, was the first coin (along with half cents) struck by the U.S. Mint beginning in 1793. Made using hand-engraved dies, those first cents, as well as all the other types issued until 1857, are known as large cents and have a diameter similar to that of half dollars. The low face value of the first cents meant that they circulated widely, which helped to reinforce for the general population the idea that the American republic had arrived. Large Cents ...
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  4. The West Point Mint: A Giant of American Coinage

    The West Point Mint: A Giant of American Coinage
    The West Point Mint was built during the Great Depression in 1937 and opened its doors as the West Point Bullion Depository the following year. It was nicknamed “The Fort Knox of Silver” because it was built to store silver. The mint has a fascinating history, including half a century prior to its designation as an official US Mint. Today, it produces some of America’s most important bullion and collectable coinage as it continues to add to its rich numismatic tradition. Humble Origins and Beyond One of the most important chapters in the mint’s history was written during World War II. The Lend-Lease Act, which passed in 1941, permitted the President of the United States to provide military aid during World War II, including prior to the nation’s formal entry into the war. The West Point Mint ended up loaning silver not only to foreign nations but also to American industry and the Atomic Energy Commission in 1942. This proved vital to the Allied war efforts ...
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  5. Numismatic Legislation in the 116th Congress

    Numismatic Legislation in the 116th Congress
    Most collectors are aware that U.S. Mint commemorative coin programs, which have been limited to two per year since 1998, are created through legislation that originates with members of the U.S. Congress and attempts to make its way through the legislative process. However, the U.S. Congress also periodically enacts various legislative proposals – some of which become law, and many which do not – that impact numismatics in other ways such as the provision that eventually was used to end the use of 90% "coin" silver in numismatic coins. During the 116th congress, which began on January 4, 2019, and continues until the end of 2020, several bills have been introduced that either call for the issuance of new coins or impact the numismatic industry. Bush coins ...
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  6. U.S. Presidents and Numismatics

    U.S. Presidents and Numismatics
    Under the U.S. system of government, the president, who has extensive powers in areas such as national security, does not usually play a major role in shaping our coinage. The most prominent exceptions, include presidents who had an interest in, and who took the initiative to get involved in, numismatics, especially President Theodore Roosevelt, whose influence over early 20th century coinage is legendary. The main numismatic role of a president is signing coinage legislation into law after it has been passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. The powers of the executive in this area are mostly delegated to officials the President appoints, and others who serve in their administration. Chief among them is the U.S. Treasury Secretary, who oversees the U.S. Mint and makes the ...
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  7. Everything You Need to Know About Platinum

    Everything You Need to Know About Platinum
    Platinum is one of the rarest, purist and most precious metals. It is part of what is known as the platinum group, referring to elements arranged together on the periodic table, which includes indium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhodium, and ruthenium.  Its key properties are that it has the same sheen as silver, but does not tarnish, plus it is much harder and stronger than gold, making it useful for metallic bonding, and has an extremely high melting point. Platinum was discovered in the 16th century by the Spanish, who found it mixed with gold and called it “platina,” or little silver. Most of the world’s platinum today comes from two countries – Russia and South Africa.   In the early 1700s metallurgists in Europe began exploring its use in industry, but they were stymied by the great difficulty of melting the metal. Then, in 1782 new ways to melt the ...
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  8. War and Currency: Driving and Marking American History

    War and Currency: Driving and Marking American History
    Money and military have driven history since ancient times. Currency changes to finance war. Wars are fought to gain more money. Currency changes to adapt to the new conditions created by war, and once wars are over, they celebrate both peace and victory as well as commemorating those who gave everything to fight for their countries. This inextricable link between money and military, evident throughout human history, has been every bit a part of American history as in any previous civilization, especially in the twentieth century. The Civil War: the War between States   Not surprisingly, the biggest impact on American currency came with the war that divided the nation. North and South both had to adapt to find ways to fight their fathers, sons, and brothers. The North’s curren ...
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  9. Finding the Value in U.S Commemorative Coins

    U.S. Mint Commemorative Coins The United States Mint has issued official commemorative coins over the last 125 years, to celebrate and honor important people, places, events, institutions and causes, struck in precious metal as monetary art. Authorized by Congress, commemorative coins are legal tender, but they are not intended for general circulation, they are struck only in a limited quantity and are only available for a limited time, making them very desirable.  Most commemorative coins have some socially-popular and historical significance behind them, creating interest among many people who would otherwise have little to no interest in collecting coins. Commemorative coins are very popular and a great way to get started in the hobby of coin coll ...
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  10. Discovered Buried Treasure

    Discovered Buried Treasure
    Treasure Hoards Discovered People have always been fascinated with "treasure" whether buried or sunken. Over time many great hoards of coins have been discovered and many rare coins have been found in pristine condition because they were stored away and forgotten about for generations, until they were discovered. Many existing hoards have already been found and dispersed through sales and auctions over the years, to the delight of many rare coin collectors.  Certainly there are still many great coin hoards still hidden away, just waiting to be discovered. The following are just some of the many great coin hoards discovered in America. Castine Hoard (1840s) ...
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