Trying something different. Let’s see how it goes…
America’s semiquincentennial is coming up. Or is it a sestercentennial? Or bicentennial-and-a-quarter?
Whatever you want to call it, it’s America’s 250th birthday. Planning commissions are already meeting to figure how to properly commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. If history is any guide, commemorative coins will be part of those plans.
Will it be like 1876, when the U.S. Mint produced an official centennial medal? Or will it be like 1926, when it produced a sesquicentennial commemorative half dollar? Or 1976, when it produced new bicentennial reverse designs for circulating quarters, half-dollars and dollar coins?(more…)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has his own holiday (although some states have combined it with holidays recognizing people who were antithetical to his beliefs and teachings).
He has his own postage stamps.
He has schools, monuments, songs and in most cities, he has his own street — although those roadways don’t always have the best rep. (As Chris Rock once said: “Martin Luther King stood for non-violence. Now what’s Martin Luther King? A street. And I don’t care where you live in America. If you’re on Martin Luther King Blvd, there’s some violence going down!”)
One thing he doesn’t have is a U.S. Mint-issued coin. Why is that?(more…)
So, there’s a job that just opened up that sounds right up my alley! Notwithstanding my complete lack of qualifications, experience or pedigree, of course…(more…)
When an 1891 contest to determine new designs for the dime, quarter and half-dollar went bust, it played right into Charles Barber’s hands. The Chief Engraver for the U.S. Mint had wanted to design the coins himself, and when the contest failed to yield any worthy designs, he got his wish.
Unfortunately for Barber, his victory would prove to be Pyrrhic. Be careful what you wish for.(more…)
There are no shortage of myths when it comes to the Confederate States of America. So it should come as no surprise that it’s the same story when it comes to Confederate coinage.(more…)
… For every time I wrote about powerful individuals who played outsized roles in numismatic history, I’d have, like, a few nickels. Hey, I’ve only been doing The Coin Blog for a year or so.
We’ve seen how interest groups, U.S. Mint officials, Representatives, Senators (lots and lots and lots of Senators), and even a guy who wanted a paid vacation have willed certain coins into existence.
When it came to the creation of the nickel, we have a rich industrialist who had lots of powerful friends in Congress and wasn’t afraid to use his influence.(more…)
One theme that’s been well-covered here on the blog has been the ability of influential politicians to get bills passed authorizing various types of coins. Whether it’s for fiscal reasons, to commemorate important people in American history, or because someone really, really liked a particular design, politicians have been able to get all sorts of coins authorized, minted and circulated.
There’s also plain old self-interest.(more…)
It seems hard to believe that, in the entirety of American history, only one Supreme Court justice (who wasn’t previously President of the United States) has ever been on a government-issued coin.
Given his outsized judicial legacy, it’s only appropriate that said justice was John Marshall.(more…)
The phrase “buyer beware” may not have been invented for people shopping in China, but it might as well have been.
After all, China is infamous for its pirated products. Whether its movies, software, watches, luxury goods, or toys (and at one point, music – but that seems to be changing – although that’s only because they haven’t figured out how to pirate Pandora or Spotify yet), Chinese counterfeiters make fake versions of almost any consumer good imaginable. In fact, some enterprising Chinese pirates have moved on from the consumer goods market, setting up things like fake Ikeas and Apple stores, and even fake law firms. Thanks to lax copyright law enforcement, pretty much the only thing in China that hasn’t been illegally copied and then passed off as the real thing has been the Great Wall (and give them time – someone will probably figure out how to do it). That’s why, when a hoax story about fake pork buns with cardboard inside made the rounds on the Internet a few years ago, everyone believed it.
All of this is just a roundabout way of saying: “Don’t buy coins from China – because they’re probably fake.”(more…)
This was my gateway coin.
I was in middle school when I happened to see it in an old bowl of change in my parents’ room and was immediately intrigued. I had seen half dollars before, but only ones with John F. Kennedy on them. I had never seen one with Benjamin Franklin’s face on it. Yet, here it was, forgotten about and collecting dust in a bowl so dirty that the amount of effort it would take to make it suitable for food consumption again wouldn’t have been worth it.
Nevertheless, I was fascinated (by the coin, not the bowl) and asked my mom if I could have it. “Sure,” she said with a shrug – never imagining that it would lead to a lifetime of coin collecting on my part. Or maybe she was just happy I was interested in something besides baseball cards or Garbage Pail Kids. After all, coin collecting is the hobby of kings. Literally.(more…)
By the time 1981 rolled around, the following things were dead:
And so were commemorative coins. In fact, compared to those aforementioned deceased things, commemorative coins had been in the ground the longest, thanks to a glut of offerings with limited appeal that killed the market for much of the preceding three decades.
Everything changed when it came time to honor the 250th anniversary of the birth of the father of our country.(more…)
One thing I’ve learned since I started writing about numismatics is that federal politicians have a tremendous amount of sway and power when it comes to creating and authorizing the production of coins.
Case in point: U.S. Senator Jim McClure (R-ID).(more…)
My first trip to a coin conference did nothing to prepare me for the 2019 World’s Fair of Money. Sponsored by the American Numismatic Association, this year’s event, held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., boasted auctions, seminars, exhibits of historic rare coins and currency, and a bourse so large that it made the one from the show I went to in Schaumburg back in April look like a garage sale. Indeed, if the Schaumburg show was like Comic-Con, then this show was like being in the Battle of Wakanda scene in Avengers: Infinity War.(more…)
Got some interesting news on Friday. “Nixon in New York” will be released on paperback in the fall. Hopefully the price will be more reasonable this time around.
Anyway, to celebrate this news, I figured I’d show off my Richard Nixon coin.
- Former Lawyer.
- Current Journalist/Writer/Editor.
- Author of "Nixon in New York: How Wall Street Helped Richard Nixon Win the White House," published in 2018.
- Married to a wonderful woman, father of two sweet dogs.
- Chicago via Pittsburgh, New York City and several others.
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