Expert Articles

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. The New York Bank Hoard Story

    The New York Bank Hoard Story
    The New York Bank Hoard Story It is the dream of most coin collectors, to discover a hidden hoard of rare coins.  Now, imagine finding 16 sealed original U.S. Treasury bags containing 16,000 vintage Morgan Dollars! That dream came true recently with the discovery of a large hoard of Morgan Silver Dollars that were hidden away for over 50 years in Wall Street Bank Vault. Recently, the heirs of their father’s secret silver stash, revealed the insistence of this hidden hoard that was untouched for over 50 years, ever since the 16 bags of Morgan Silver Dollars, were placed in a New York bank large safe-deposit box back in 1964. This remarkably well-preserved hoard was virtually untouched for over half a century and boasts a number of high-grade pieces, including 118 that graded NGC MS 67. Tha ...
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  8. Coins of the Civil War

    Coins of the Civil War
    Coins of the Civil War Most people are aware of Civil War paper money, and federal issue coinage, minted between 1861 through 1865. However, it’s a little known fact that the Confederacy minted coins at the three Southern Branch Mints located at Charlotte North Carolina, Dahlonega, Georgia, and New Orleans, Louisiana. After secession in 1861, this valuable Federal property was now located in the new Confederate States of America. The Branch Mints were seized, at first by their State Governments, and then turned over to the Confederacy. At first, small numbers of gold coins were produced from U.S. dies at all three branches, and a larger quantity of half dollars were also coined at the New Orleans Mint. When existing supplies of bullion ran dry, the three branch mints stopped producing U.S. coinage and close ...
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  9. Low Mintage Anomalies: Windows Into Coin History

    Low Mintage Anomalies: Windows Into Coin History
    Mintages of popular coins vary widely based on a variety of factors, such as demand and the availability of metals. Depending on the coin, some mintages can range from hundreds of thousands to several million pieces. Occasionally, though, mintages of otherwise popular coins are at levels substantially below the usual swings. Here are a few examples of issues of coins that are notable for especially low mintages and the circumstances surrounding those issues. Arguably the most popular coin in the history of American numismatics, the Morgan Silver Dollar reigned supreme from 1878-1904. Although commonly used in daily commerce during their run, Morgans remain popular among avid and casual collectors alike, with many being passed on as heirlooms for generations. With a smattering of exceptions of releases from individual Mints, most Morgan issues went well into the millions. That is except for the period from 1893-1895. ...
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  10. Coins in Culture: Rich Traditions, Powerful Symbols

    Coins in Culture: Rich Traditions, Powerful Symbols
    Coins in Culture: Rich Traditions, Powerful Symbols Coin collecting tends to appeal to a rather narrow audience, much like any other hobby, but that does not mean that coins are forgotten by the rest of society. Aside from serving as media of exchange, coins are also central in cultural traditions throughout the world. In fact, finding cultures that do not have some sort of traditions involving coins is rather difficult. Coins are incorporated into wedding rituals throughout the world. One of the most basic and clearest examples of this is the Irish tradition of a wedding day coin presentation. The groom gives his bride a coin while saying, “I give you this as a token of all that I possess.” This beautiful gesture encapsulates marriage perfectly, indicating that the groom is giving himself to his wife entirely; two become one. Across the Irish sea in Britain, there are two more popular wedding-related traditions. One of them comes from a tr ...
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