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  1. The Use of Animals in Ancient and Modern Coins

    The Use of Animals in Ancient and Modern Coins
    Coins With Animals Animals, both domesticated and wild, seem to have always fascinated man. Whether in the form of Roman military standards (ensigns), coins or sacred totems that feature animals – all seem to be bearers of powerful animal symbols that played a pivotal role in awareness and self-expression. The use of animals on coins, including birds, is as old as coins itself. Different animals are featured on many coins – too many to mention here. Some coins even feature two or more animals. E.g. the rare ancient coins that were issued by Hadrian feature an eagle alongside an owl and a peacock. This makes for a fascinating variety of coins with animals to collect, both ancient and modern. Horses and eagles seem to feature most frequently on ancient coins. Rare animals such as elephants, lions and turtles are also featured. On the other hand, modern coins feature almost every animal imaginable. Let’s consider a few ancient and mod ...
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Buried Coins May Reveal a Hidden History

    Buried Coins May Reveal a Hidden History
    Buried Coins May Reveal a Hidden History As the old saying goes, dead men tell no tales. The same cannot be said of coins, especially those discovered from places and times, about which, relatively little is known. In fact, a pot of coins found recently during excavations near Vianen, Netherlands may tell researchers more about the area during the time period from which they date than is otherwise known. The Dutch city of Hagestein suffered a siege and ultimately fell in 1405. As is often the case with such circumstances, historians know relatively little about the city during the century that followed. Recently, however, waterworks employees came across a red-baked earthenware pot that was full of textiles and a hoard of approximately 500 coins, twelve of which were gold and the rest were silver. Now, researchers are pouring over the pieces in hopes of lear ...
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  5. Interest Rates and Spot Prices: How They Affect You

    Interest Rates and Spot Prices: How They Affect You
    What are interest rates? Interest rates are the benchmarks or rates at which money is either borrowed or loaned. It is normally expressed as percentages or amounts. In short: Interest rates determine the cost of money and credit. The most important interest rates Federal Discount Rate: The federal discount rate is the interest rate at which commercial and private banks borrow money from the Federal Reserve. Money loaned via this “discount window” helps banks to maintain minimum reserve levels as determined by law. Changes in the federal discount rate affect the prime rate, which in turn affects consumer spending, inflation expectations and more. These two rates normally move in the same direction. Prime Rate: The prime rate is in essence a benchmark for lending rates. This index is used to determine interest rates when it comes to personal loans ...
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  6. Platinum and Palladium Prices in 2018 So Far

    Platinum and Palladium Prices in 2018 So Far
    Platinum and Palladium Prices in 2018 So Far In the precious metals market, many of us tend to focus solely on gold and silver. While the majority of us are aware of platinum and palladium, there are far fewer products on the market made from these metals. The result of this is that we don’t pay as much attention to them. The American Platinum Eagle is an excellent example. These coins are primarily seen as something that’s of interest to collectors as opposed to something for bullion stackers. Remember that these coins were introduced as a bullion series. However, more platinum and palladium products seem to be making their way to the market. Let’s take a look at how these two precious metals have fared in 2018 so far. Platinum Prices in 2018  The spot price of platinum on January 1 ...
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  7. 2018 Shooting Thalers

    2018 Shooting Thalers
    Shooting Thalers GovMint will soon receive an exciting selection of the 2018 edition of the annual Shooting Thaler silver and gold coins issued by Switzerland, which are released to commemorate the very popular shooting tournaments held there. A thaler, or taler in German, is a silver coin issued between the 15th and 19th centuries that is considered a precursor of the dollar.  Its name comes from the German word tal, which means valley, so a thaler is a person or thing from the valley.  The name itself is an abbreviated form of “Joachimsthaler", a coin from the town of Joachimsthal, in the Kingdom of Bohemia (part of the Czech Republic today) that had silver mines.  The first thalers were struck there in the 1500s.  Swiss shooting thalers are issued to celebrate the annual shooting festivals held in Switzerland, a country where marksmanship is by far the most popular sport and whose people are fervent support ...
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  8. 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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  9. Are Coin Shows on the Decline?

    Are Coin Shows on the Decline?
    As a member of the board of governors for the American Numismatic Association, one of the prime responsibilities is to make decisions about ANA conventions. That is no small task given the size and importance of the conventions. The World’s Fair of Money held each summer by the ANA is one of the organization’s largest revenue sources. It is also the face of the organization to its many thousands of members that attend each year. Clubs from around the country hold meetings at these conventions and the educational opportunities offered to attendees are almost endless. Additionally, many millions of dollars worth of rare coins are sold in that short week. I would estimate that sales exceed $100 million dollars during ANA conventions. In short, the importance of the show cannot be overemphasized. Because of all the planning and organization, the ANA is fortunate that its summer convention is usually a roaring succ ...
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  10. Gold is Money

    Gold is Money
    In July of 2011 Congressman Ron Paul asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke a simple question: "Do you think gold is money?" His answer: "No."  For a person like me, who has spent their career studying the history of money since the beginning of civilization, his answer struck me like a brick to the head.  Yet part of me was unsurprised. His answer is part and parcel of the mythology, carefully crafted, to turn bits of official-looking paper into "money" in the minds of the public. To admit to the obvious fact that gold is money would be to admit that the emperor has no clothes. The Gold Standard for the dollar The founders of our nation would be astounded and appalled by Mr. Bernanke's declaration. When they created the dollar, they went to great lengths to define its value in silve ...
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