Browsing Tag

history

Nice Review from the Massachusetts Law Review

Got a nice review for Nixon in New York from the Massachusetts Bar Review. Thanks and glad you enjoyed it!

“Li’s unvarnished look at the man is painstakingly researched and well-crafted. It is also a balanced and sympathetic appraisal of one of the central figures of the 20th century as he worked from an ignominious defeat to the most powerful position in the world. In addition to the political perspective, the inside look at the world of the Wall Street law firm in the 1960s is particularly compelling. Today, in the age of the megafirm, while political discourse is at an all-time low, Li’s story is a solid look at an equally divisive time and an undeniably polarizing figure. There are lessons to be learned.” 

The Napoleonic Coins – Part II

Click here for Part I.

As mentioned in the previous post, Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t shy about putting his bust on coins that would circulate throughout his empire. Of course those weren’t the only coins he found himself on. Like Andrew Jackson later in the decade, Napoleon’s image was used on a variety of unofficial tokens and coins. Some were positive and served to glorify and underscore his dominance. In other cases, they were negative and even celebrated his downfall.

Here are three tokens I recently added to my collection:

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The Napoleonic Coins – Part I

Napoleon Bonaparte sure is on a lot of coins and tokens. 

That might seem like an obvious statement. After all, if you conquer or subjugate most of Europe, then it’s likely that your face will be on all sorts of things – both in favor and opposition to you. For a figure as dominating and polarizing as Napoleon, collecting coins, tokens and currency with his likeness on them can be a full-time hobby.

Recently, I acquired a few Napoleonic coins and tokens. I’ll talk about the coins in this post and then the tokens in a future post. 

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A Most Unique Commemorative Coin – The “1900” Lafayette Dollar

The things we do for a free vacation.

Some people enter random drawings. Some sit through timeshare presentations. Some even cash in their credit card points.

Robert J. Thompson got a commemorative silver dollar made honoring one of the greatest heroes of the Revolutionary War. 

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

How did they teach you to be just a happy puppet dancing on a string?

How did you learn everything that comes along with slavish funnery?

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?

“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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The Susan B. Anthony Dollar: Mistake or Misunderstood?

Rocky V.

Van Halen III.

New Coke.

Perhaps it isn’t fair to compare the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin to those less-than-successful installments of otherwise well-liked catalogues that were so bad they’re widely disregarded by both their creators and fans.

Or maybe it is.

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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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George H.W. Bush (1924-2018) (BOOK EXCERPT)

George H.W. Bush passed away on Friday at the age of 94. The former Representative, UN Ambassador, RNC Chair, China Envoy, CIA Director, Vice President and President owed a lot to President Richard Nixon. After Bush’s unsuccessful 1970 campaign for U.S. Senate, Nixon made sure Bush stayed in the political arena by appointing him UN Ambassador and then RNC Chair. Perhaps Nixon was well-disposed to the future President due to an important, but somewhat understated role that Bush played in Nixon’s 1968 comeback. 

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