Expert Articles

  1. History of Dates on Coins

    History of Dates on Coins
    Symbols and Rulers on Ancient Coins It is probably hard to imagine, but coins without dates pretty much dominated the ancient world. Symbols and rulers, including deities, took precedence over dates on coins. It seems that coin years or dates on coins were not important to the ancients. They were more interested to know who ruled than in which year a coin was issued. It is in many cases nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact year of issue when it comes to ancient coins without dates. In such instances, one can at best make educated guesses. This can be done by considering any symbols, including Mint marks, and rulers who might feature on a coin. The idea is then to try and match it to any historical records of the time that might exist today. This matchmaking can help to roughly determine the period a coin was issued, especially when a specific coiner’s Mint mark is present. Mint marks were introduced to be able to pinpoint the source when issues aro ...
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  2. The Future of Generic Gold Coins

    The Future of Generic Gold Coins
    Although owing physical gold appeals to many looking for the ultimate protection against financial calamity, others are quite interested in the pure investment potential for gold. Taking delivery of actual gold coins can be expensive when considering shipping, insurance and storage. There are also security risks to be considered when h ...
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  3. The 100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins

    The 100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins
    Renowned coin expert and best-selling author, Jeff Garrett, sat down with us recently to discuss the new second edition of his popular book, 100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins. During our interview, we couldn't help but also ask Jeff about his most recent headline-grabbing purchase: the famous 1913 Liberty Head Nickel which he bought at auction for over $3.1 million dollars! Q: Jeff, you're well known as the co-author of the best-selling book 100 Greatest U.S. Coins. Many of the coins featured in that previous book date from 1700 and 1800's. Can you tell us why you chose to focus on modern U.S. coins for your new book? A: My book, 100 Greatest United States Coins, has been very popular. The book is now into its third edition. I believe the reason for that popularity is th ...
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  4. The Lost Saint-Gaudens Masterpiece: The Winged Liberty

    The Lost Saint-Gaudens Masterpiece: The Winged Liberty
    The Walking Liberty design of Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the first design created in response to a commission by President Theodore Roosevelt for new, more artistic U.S. coins. Today, millions will instantly recognize this classic design. Relatively few, however, are aware of the “lost” Winged Liberty design which Saint-Gaudens originally envisioned. The two men met in 1905, when Teddy Roosevelt chose Saint-Gaudens to design an inaugural medal for his second term as president. The Irish-born Saint-Gaudens was America’s foremost sculptor at the time – although his best-known works were massive bronze sculptures such as the statue of Admiral David Farragut, a Civil War naval hero which still stands in New York City’s Madison Square. Roosevelt was delighted with the medal design Saint-Gaudens created for him and the men began to share how much they both admired the high-relief coins of ancient Greece. Both men felt that the current U ...
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  5. Understanding the Value in Collecting Coins

    Understanding the Value in Collecting Coins
    The concept of collecting coins was developed way back when coins were first minted. Archeological studies have shown that even in ancient Rome and Mesopotamia, citizens were likely collecting coins as a form of portable and affordable artwork. Alexander the Great himself gave the gold staters struck under his reign as gifts to his friends, and centuries later, Augustus Caesar followed suit with old coins and coins struck by foreign countries. During the early Renaissance, European nobility and even royalty grew fond of collecting the ancient coins of the Romans or the Greeks, earning coin collecting the nickname, the "Hobby of Kings." Today, there are more reasons than ever to become a coin collector, and an important aspect of the hobby is understanding the value of coins. This can be found through the coin’s condition, history, supply and demand and even your personal preference. Let’s take a look at these key elements of a coins value, to see if you would lik ...
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  6. A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Coin

    A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Coin
    Everyone has heard the popular saying: "you have to start somewhere," and many times, that's exactly how the process works when you begin your coin collecting journey. Maybe your uncle has always collected coins, but you never really got into it, or perhaps your friends like to share their collections with each other and you're tired of feeling left out. Whatever the case, there's really no specific path to take when you initially decide to become a coin collector. Since it can be difficult to figure out where to begin, here’s some helpful numismatic information. 1. Background knowledge.  First and foremost, do enough research to at least be aware of the different coin collecting possibilities. For example, most people are aware that collecting state quarters is a popular hobby. However, many people aren't aware that collecting American Silver Eagles has also been a popular hobby f ...
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  7. What's the Difference Between Precious Metal Coins, Bars, and Rounds?

    What's the Difference Between Precious Metal Coins, Bars, and Rounds?
    Purchasing precious metals can be a smart investment, but it's important to understand exactly what you're buying. Most minted gold and silver comes in three different formats: coins, bars, or rounds. There is something unique about each one, so it’s important to know the difference and find a solid stacking strategy that makes sense for you. Gold and Silver Coins  While most currency in the world is made from common metals such as nickel and copper, sovereign governments also create currency made from precious metals. While each piece is assigned a low face value, its intrinsic value is much higher. As you can guess, these types of coins aren't used in daily circulation, but are instead stacked by investors or acquired by collectors. The intrinsic value of this type of bullion coin is based on the coin's precious metal content. Take the ...
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  8. How Big is the Counterfeiting Problem?

    How Big is the Counterfeiting Problem?
    The issue of counterfeit coins has been around for a very long time. For years, the numismatic industry has dealt effectively with the problem of counterfeit rare coins. Just to be clear, the issue of counterfeit coins has been around for a very long time. You can read numismatic journals from the 19th century and realize that collectors were dealing with the problem even then. One interesting case involved the extremely rare 1822 Half Eagle. An example was offered in the 1873 sale of the famous Parmelee Collection. The coin was sold and later returned after it was determined that the date had been altered. Several examples of the rare 1804 Bust Dollar that turned up in the late 1800s were also determined to be counterfeits. As long as collectors have been willing to pay a premium for rare coins, there have been unscrupulous individuals trying to take advantage of the unknowing. ...
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  9. How Do We Grow the Hobby?

    How Do We Grow the Hobby?
    The average age of the ANA membership is 59 years old and rising. This is not a terribly attractive demographic for growth. One only needs to look at what has happened to the interest in stamp collecting to become alarmed for the future of numismatics.  Age is Only a Number Many are concerned about the lack of collecting interest in young people these days. Most are consumed by some sort of electronic media and getting their attention has become much more difficult.  There is no doubt that social media is impacting the behavior of young people in very significant ways. The numismatic community cannot beat social media, so it will have to join them. In the future, any strategy to attract young people will need to include all forms of electronic media. The internet is an obvious channel, but no stone should be left unturned in our battle for the attention of young people who may, one day, become coin collectors. The ANA has committed considerable resources ...
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  10. The Denver Mint

    The Denver Mint
    Golden Dreams in the “Great American Desert” The territory of Colorado in the mid-1800s was a wild, untamed land where trappers, traders and Indians freely roamed the plains and mountains. Most Americans believed this territory to be part of the “Great American Desert.” But when gold was discovered near present-day Denver, miners by the thousands poured into the territory despite Indian claims that the land was theirs. Newspapers from border towns on the edges of the territory fanned the flames of gold fever. When news of a find reached the border towns, enterprising newspapers eagerly printed the stories and enlarged them out of proportion. The news spread East, growing as it went and by the time it reached the eastern states, headlines proclaimed miners had found the “New El Dorado.” Newspaper editors in those border towns knew that a westward migration meant prosperity since eager gold seekers would have to go through their towns ...
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