A Treble of Coins Commemorating Manchester United’s Greatest Accomplishment

You’d forgive Manchester United fans like yours truly for living in the past. These last six years have been painful – especially for those of us who came of age during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, when the club collected trophies the way I collect coins. From Ferguson’s appointment in 1986 to his retirement in 2013, United won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions League crowns.

His finest moment came twenty years ago, this week. United played Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final held at the Nou Camp in Barcelona. Both sides were chasing a historic treble, having won their respective leagues and primary league cups. Both sides were evenly matched and loaded with talented players, however United were slight underdogs heading into the match, owing to suspensions to team captain Roy Keane and playmaker Paul Scholes.

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Not So Brotherly Love: A French Coin Minted in Philadelphia.

No, this coin isn’t much to look at. Looking like something that could have passed for a final project in high school metal shop, this coin has less detail than a Chuck E. Cheese token. Indeed, it wasn’t very popular when it came out and it’s safe to say that it’s minimalistic design hasn’t won many fans in the years since.

Perhaps no one hated this coin more than Charles De Gaulle.

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What’s Old is New Again: The 2001 Buffalo Dollar

Another one of my favorites (image via me).

One thing I’ve learned through my years of coin collecting is that truly popular designs never really go away – politicians and Treasury officials will always figure out ways to recycle them. 

For instance, in 1986 the U.S. Mint resurrected two of the most universally beloved and acclaimed coin designs, the Walking Liberty half dollar and the Saint Gauden’s double eagle, for its silver and gold eagles, respectively. Three decades later, the Mint re-used the Mercury dime obverse for its palladium eagles. After all, why waste perfectly good (and popular) designs. Especially if they help entice investors, collectors and doomsday preppers to part with their hard-earned money. 

So, when the government was coming up with ways to fund the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in 2000, one of the things it did was authorize a special commemorative silver dollar featuring one of the most iconic designs in American coinage history.

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My First Trip to Coin-Con

This weekend is a pivotal one for nerds and geeks like me. “Avengers: Endgame” officially premiered on Friday (and became the fastest movie to reach $100 million). “Game of Thrones” airs a pivotal and highly-anticipated episode on Sunday featuring the White Walker invasion of Winterfell (my wife cleared out her calendar months ago).

As such, I figured it was only natural that I go to a convention where die-hards gather to talk about their favorites, shop for new additions to their collection, and meet important and well-known people.

That’s right. I went to the Central States Numismatic Society Annual Convention in Schaumburg, Ill. Call it Comic-Con but for coin enthusiasts – Coin-Con, if you will (Susan B. Anthony costumes optional).

This was my first such coin show, and to say it was overwhelming would be an understatement.

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A Penny By Any Other Name: The Controversial 1909 VDB Cent

Donald Trump likes to talk about how he puts his name on everything. Towers. Plazas. Defunct airlines. Mail order steaks. Made in China ties. Even the bottled water in his casinos and restaurants is branded with his name.

Trump’s branding instincts are so engrained that he even went so far as to chastise George Washington for not naming Mount Vernon, Mount Washington. 

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according to Politico. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” Apparently, Trump, who currently resides in Washington, D.C. and sleeps a stone’s throw from the Washington Monument, thinks George Washington is about to be written out of the history books because he didn’t think to start selling Washington Axes after cutting down that cherry tree.

Then again, maybe his restraint was because that kind vanity used to be frowned upon.

Take Victor David Brenner.

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World War II Puppet State Coins: Manchukuo and Vichy France (UPDATED)

Tell me something, if the world is so insane,
Is it making you sane again to,
Let another man tug at the thread,
That pulls up your nodding head?
How did they teach you to be,
Just a happy puppet dancing on a string? — “You Happy Puppet,” 10,000 Maniacs

I recently purchased some coins that had been issued by World War II-era puppet governments. I find these coins to be fascinating in a number of respects. For one thing, it’s always interesting to possess a coin that has outlived the government that issued it. Additionally, these coins illustrate many important themes, and are an indelible part of the overall history of World War II. 

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“Am I Not a Woman & a Sister”: A Hard Times Token That Foreshadowed Even Harder Times Ahead. (UPDATED)

Andrew Jackson has been in the news a lot over these last few years.

First it was the Obama Administration’s decision in 2016 to replace Old Hickory on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman.

Then came the 2016 election, when Donald Trump openly and repeatedly praised Jackson and expressed admiration for the controversial ex-President in a way that hasn’t been in vogue in decades. Trump has also gone out of his way to associate himself with Jackson, drawing parallels with his predecessor’s populism, combative nature, political inexperience and anti-establishment attitude. Trump has Jackson’s portrait in the Oval Office, has made a pilgrimage to the Hermitage and has even given Jackson credit for things that happened well after his death. Trump’s admiration for Jackson is such that his administration has refused to commit to replacing Jackson on the $20 with Tubman. 

And, like Jackson, Trump has had his problems with the country’s central bank.

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Arkansas Centennial Half Dollar (Joe Robinson Version): A Forgettable Coin for a Forgotten Senate Giant

When we think of the most powerful Senate Majority Leaders in U.S. history, we tend to think of people like Lyndon Johnson, Robert Taft, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, or even modern Senators like Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.

Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas, however, has largely been forgotten about.

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Bicentennial Coins: A Great Way to Start – or Resume – Coin Collecting

I’ve loved collecting coins ever since I started hoarding my parents’ old pocket change as a child. I think it was the intersection of law, politics, history and art that appealed to me. That, and I figured coins were a good investment (they’ll always be worth something, right?). Despite that, my interest in numismatics has waned over the last decade. The Great Recession inflated the price of silver and gold, making it difficult for me to acquire new coins to add to my already large collection. For personal reasons (as well as the fact that silver prices have gone down), I’ve been getting back into the hobby as of late. In trying to learn more about the coins I already have, as well as the ones I’ve recently acquired, I figured I might as well write about them. So here we go…

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