Monday, May 24, 2010

The 49ers and their Legacy

In 1848, Alta California, the new territory acquired from the Mexican-American War, was very sparsely populated – only about 15,000 people lived there. After thousands of 49ers flocked west, just two years later, California became the 31st state. The huge amounts of money being found required new financial institutions, and President Fillmore signed for a new mint. The Legislature decided in April of 1852 that San Francisco would be the place for the new mint.

The government built a small, inadequate mint. When silver was struck in the mountains of Nevada, it was evident that a new mint was necessary for all coin supplies. Alfred Mullett designed numerous American governmental buildings, and planned the mint in the Greek Revival style. The basement’s outer walls were built with granite for coin storage to keep tunnel digging thieves out and to prevent against earthquakes and natural disasters. Granite was also used in the entrance stairs of the mint, and she was soon dubbed “The Granite Lady.”

In 1873, there was only one mint, in Philadelphia. The others around the country were branch mints. A new law effectively made all of the other mints, in New Orleans, Carson City, and San Francisco, their own mints, as well as abolished the silver dollar in favor of the paper dollar. Later the silver dollar retained a smaller circulation thanks to the silver output in the West and the S.F. mint as the center of silver coin supplies.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Emperor Leopold I and Holy Roman Coinage

At HR Rauch’s auction of ancient coins, a 10 Dukaten coin featuring Emperor Leopold I is expected to sell for at least €50,000 Euro. The coin, from 1675, features one of the most distinctive portraits of the king, which caricatures his Hapsburg jaw, a classic feature of the Holy Roman Emperors.

The “Hapsburg Lip” as it is sometimes called, was a deformation that was thought to have been caused by successive inbreeding. Charles II was the last Hapsburg king of Spain, and his mother was the niece of his father. Charles couldn’t chew his food, was retarded, and impotent. Consequently, the Hapsburg line ended in Spain. Leopold I, however, was more prolific, and was overshadowed in his time only by the Sun King Louis XIV of France, with whom he waged war almost until his death in 1705. When Charles II’s death led to the War of the Spanish Succession, in an attempt to keep separate Spain and France, Leopold I, along with the other European powers, fought to claim the Spanish Inheritance, due to his Hapsburg relations. The war outlasted Leopold, and eventually the Spanish empire fell.

Part of having a coin collection is learning about the empire under which the coin was produced. Coin collecting is a great way to learn about history. Needless to say, this 10 Dukaten of Leopold I would make a great addition to any coin collection.

Monday, May 10, 2010

1901-S Barber Sells Big!

The most talked about coin in 2010 is a 1901-S Barber quarter that was originally graded MS-68, and then regraded a MS-68+. Bids for it have reached and exceeded $300,000. Let’s just say that it’s not the kind of coin you keep in coin folders. This bad boy would be the centerpiece of my coin collection, and I would research specialized coin holders to showcase it for all of my friends to see.

There has been contention as to whether this coin was dipped. Dipping, or natural toning, is regarded differently according to different collectors. Some collectors value the “original skin” of a coin, but others don’t mind if it looks a little nicer. But because all older coins develop certain flaws,it is practically impossible for an antique coin to be graded a 70.

The Barber coins are named after Charles E. Barber, chief engraver of the U.S. Mint from 1880 to 1917. His Liberty Head design was very popular and appears on the nickel, dime, quarter and half. This quarter, the rarest of all Barber coins, is impressively graded, a true rarity, since all of the Barbers were in circulation for such a long time. The collector who bought it has surely made a good investment, and a great addition to his coin collection.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A New Addition to the Egyptian Coin Collection

About 75 miles from Cairo last week there were 383 coins found dating back to the third century B.C. During that time King Ptolemy III, a relative of Cleopatra, was ruling Egypt. Ptolemy I was one of Alexander the Great’s bodyguards, and was appointed king after his death. As a result, Hellenistic culture was fused with Egyptian culture for almost three centuries, until Rome’s conquest of the region in 30 A.D. Cleopatra was the last Ptolemaic ruler.

These coins have the Greek-Egyptian god Amun-Zeus on one side, and an eagle with the words Ptolemy and King on the other. They would be a pretty nice addition to any coin collection, but they probably wouldn’t fit in your penny coin folders or nickel coin holders. They have a diameter of about two centimeters, are made of bronze, and are in excellent condition.

Also found were pieces of a whale skeleton, more than 40 million years old, and necklaces made from an ostrich shell. They will likely be put on display at the new Egyptian museum near the Pyramids at Giza. I wonder how they get their coin holders. Anyway, it’s a great addition to the Egyptian coin collection!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Add the Hot Springs Quarter to Your Coin Collection

In honor of its 178th anniversary as a Federally protected national site, Hot Springs Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas is getting it’s own quarter.

U.S. Mint director Ed Moy launched the quarter-dollar coin at a ceremony featuring National Park Service Midwest Regional Director Ernie Quintana and Hot Springs National Park Superintendent Josie Fernandez. With the launch of the Hot Springs National Park Quarter, a uniquely American journey begins, a journey through coins in celebration of the beauty, history and impact of national sites in every state and territory," Director Moy said.

The Hot Springs coin is the first to be released from the America the Beautiful Campaign, so it’s time to get your coin collection going. Children who attended the ceremony were given a shiny new Hot Spring quarter for their coin collections.

The tails side of the coin depicts the fa├žade of Hot Springs National Park headquarters building with a thermal spring in the foreground. The head side features a 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flannigan.

The America the Beautiful Quarters Program is a highly-anticipated, 12-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and national sites.

If you’re in need of supplies to get your American the Beautiful coin collection underway, visit

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coin Collection Rarity: 3 Legged Buffalo Nickel

For those who are really serious about coin collecting, an authentic 3 Legged Buffalo Nickel is high up on the “must-have” list. The 1937-D “three-legger” has fascinated collectors for nearly 3 generations. The three-legged buffalo was a result of a failed attempt to repair a broken die. These “duds” escaped into circulation before the inspectors at the Denver Mint caught on to the error.

The 3 Legged Buffalo Coin is a unique addition to many coin collections because of the missing leg. The stump and hoove remain, but the right leg is entirely gone. Unlike most high-value coins, finding a 3 Legged Buffalo Nickel in new condition could prove to be difficult since they all reached circulation. 

Circulated 3 Legged Buffalo’s are worth anywhere from $400 to $1000. Perfect, uncirculated coins can be worth up to $20,000. Counterfit 3 Legged Buffalos have been seen by appraisers, so if you are thinking of adding one to your collection be sure you know what constitutes as a fake.

Here are the tell-tale signs of an altered Buffalo Nickel:
-There is less metal on the area where the leg should be.
-There are raised dots under the belly of the buffalo
-The P in Pluribus and the U in Unum will be further away from the buffalo’s back than it will be on an authentic

Monday, April 12, 2010

Interesting Coin Collecting Facts

Coin collecting, also known as Numismatics, has been practiced since the middle ages. Some of the earliest known coin collectors have been Roman Emperors including Julius and Augustus, and grew to be known as “the hobby of kings”. Pontiff Boniface VI and Italian poet Petrarch were also known to have impressive coin collections.

The American Numismatic Association was founded in 1891 and currently has 28,000 members. The group’s goal is to further the study of coins and increase the popularity of coin collections. In 1962, the first international coin collecting convention was held in Detroit and more than 40,000 people attended.

One of the most impressive Numismatics success stories is John J. Pittman’s story. This North Carolina man, despite his modest income spent what he could on rare gold and silver coins, that had a rich history. He was known to be a truly avid collector who did it not for the potential money he could make off his collection, but because he loved the lore behind the coins and truly loved the art of coin collecting. His love is evident when you look at how much he spent on coins--Pittman spent over $100,000 on his collection in his lifetime. But all that hard work, money, and dedication paid off, literally. The collection ended up selling for $30 million.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Pinnacle of Coin Collecting: The 1933 Gold Double Eagle

The most sought-after coin in coin collecting history is probably the 1933 Gold Double Eagle. Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the coin sold in 2002 for the highest price in the world ever paid for a coin. How much? It was sold for a staggering $7.5 million.

But this coin has quite the history behind its hefty price tag. In 1933, 450,000 were minted, but none were actually put into circulation because of the currency law changes made when FDR took America off the Gold Standard to stabilize the economy. Since there would be no more gold currency, the U.S. melted down the 1933 lot of the Gold Double Eagles, and in turn, converted them into gold bullion bars by 1937.

There were a few that escaped the big melt down. A Philadelphia jeweler named Israel Switt somehow came into possession of 19 Gold Double Eagle coins in his coin collection. He ended up selling 9 of the coins to private collectors, including to King Farouk of Egypt. When the secret service found out about these rogue coins, they ordered them to be confiscated, as the coins were seen as stolen property of the U.S. Mint. The king ended up exporting his coin, (legally) before the theft was discovered and the secret service was never able to recover it. After the king was deposed in 1952, his coin appeared on the market and vanished again when someone caught wind that the Secret Service wanted to confiscate it. More than 40 years later, a British coin collector showed up with it in New York and it was recovered thanks to a sting operation.

And who says coin collecting isn’t exciting?

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Lincoln Banner Cent and Its Forerunners

For coin collections dealing in pennies, it may help to know that the Lincoln penny has undergone some fundamental re-designs lately. Last year, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny and the bicentennial anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the U.S. Mint issued a series of four different Lincoln coins.

You have probably seen these four: one depicting the log cabin in Kentucky where Lincoln was born, the next features a young Lincoln at work on a log, the third has Lincoln the statesman in Illinois, and the last displays a picture of the half built Capitol. The variety of these four designs is part of what makes coin collections so interesting. If you have these already, you should also be prepared for the newly released Lincoln cent.

This design features a star and striped banner with the motto “E Pluribus Unum” to commemorate Lincoln’s preservation of the Union. This design will be used for the foreseeable future, so get your coin folders ready for the switch. While you probably have your Lincoln Wheat and Lincoln Memorial Cent coin folders, now the Lincoln Banner cent will take its place. Stay on the lookout for the issuing of these new coin folders!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Silver Eagles Are Great Additions to Any Coin Collection

The American Silver Eagle has been around since 1986. Its design is taken from Adolph A. Weinman’s “Liberty Walking” for the half dollar that circulated from 1916 to 1947. She strides towards the sunset, carrying in her arms laurel and oak, symbolic of civil and military peace. Because of the popularity of the design it was revived decades later in the form of the 1 oz. silver dollar. The obverse side of the coin has the heraldic American eagle emblem designed by John Mercanti in 1986. The eagle carries in her talons olive branches and arrows, symbolizing peace and war. The dollar is the official silver bullion coin of the United States and although its face value is $1, it is usually valued around $20. Proof versions usually sell for up to $60 and are a fine addition to any coin collection. Today the Silver Eagles are minted at Westpoint.

These silver dollars usually come in coin holders already because they are most of the time sold in proof condition, but other methods of coin storage are also popular, such as a coin album that prevents against corrosion. These coins are a beautiful addition to any coin collection and work well as gifts or collector’s items.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Presidential Coins of 2010

The new presidential coins for 2010 feature a few of the lesser known presidents as well as one of the greatest. With your coin collection it helps to have a basic idea of who is on the coins you are collecting. So before you go on out and get these beautiful gold coins to fill your coin album, let’s take a look at who these presidents were.

Millard Fillmore came into office after the short lived presidency of Zachary Taylor who fell ill and died after just 16 months as president. During his presidency, he opened relations with Japan, ending their isolationism with the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa and he also founded the San Francisco mint, to produce coins from all of the gold being found out west.

Franklin Pierce’s presidency saw the negotiation with Mexico for much of the lands in Arizona and New Mexico. Congress also passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which opened those territories to the possibility of slavery based on the decision of the territory, repealing the Missouri Compromise. After being denied re-nomination, Pierce retired from politics.

James Buchanan’s presidency had the bad fortune of being on the brink of Civil War. While he opened and secured many Western ports, the Dred Scott decision issued by the Supreme Court legalized slavery in all states, hinting towards the inevitability of war.

By Abraham Lincoln’s presidency 11 states had seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. During his two terms, Lincoln was determined to preserve the Union, and had problems not with slavery, but with the secession of the Southern States.

Now along with these coins in your coin album you will have an idea of how these men got to be on the coins in your coin collection.

Monday, March 1, 2010

“America the Beautiful” Quarters Hit The Street

If you know anything about coins, then you are probably aware of the success of the state quarter map over the past ten years. And if you’re reading this blog, you probably have all, or at least most, of your state quarter map completely filled! Well the U.S. Mint has decided to follow up the success of those quarters with a new series that will span the next ten years and commemorate the National Parks of the United States.

This exciting new series is a boon for coin collecting, and the beautiful set of 56 has already begun circulation. The first five quarters depict Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Yosemite National Park in California, the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, and Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon. They have begun to be released in the order listed.

Now all you need is a new state quarter map to hold this new coin collection. These quarters are wide ranging in scope and are a reminder of all of the national beauty that our grand country has to offer. So check out to see what form of coin storage you want for this new collection!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dansco Coin Albums: The Superior Choice of the Serious Collector

One of things I have to remember my great-grandfather by is his incredible coin collection. It’s something that has been passed on through the years in my family, and I was the lucky one to inherit it a few years ago. I was amazed at how well the album held up over years, despite its age and yellowing pages.

For today’s collector, Dansco is considered by many to be the best album on the market for preserving your coin collection for years to come. It’s considered to be the best for good reason—it’s made with the finest materials and craftsmanship.

This sturdy two-post binder is constructed from top-grade simulated leather and is beautifully gold-embossed. The loose-leaf hinged pages are plastic coated and washable, so you can be sure of your precious collections safety when being passed around. The ports are sized to hold the average coin securely and correctly and are imprinted to properly identify coins.

The coins are visible on both sides of the page and are protected with acetate slides. One other distinguishing feature of the Dansco coin album, is the pages. Not only do they have specific information and facts about the coins you are collecting, but they don’t yellow like any other coin album.

If you’re looking to start not just a collection, but an heirloom that can be passed down and carried on for generations to come, you should definitely consider starting a Dansco coin album.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What You Need For A Coin Collection

Coin collection is a lot of fun for children, teenagers, and adults alike. They are fascinating as they provide a window into the cultures of other countries or of civilizations long ago. Coin collecting is something that millions of people around the world enjoy doing and there are a few good coin supplies items that you should have in order to keep your coin collection organized and in good condition.

Coin folders, coin holders, a coin album, or some other efficient method of coin storage is always a must! You will want to keep your coins free from dirt and grime, especially if they are valuable antique coins. You may find that you need a number of coin folders if your collection is quite large, or if you want to separate different kinds of coins, either by “age”, or where they are from.

Dansco coin albums are a good option as they make quite a wide variety and at a good price as well. If you are particularly interested in American coins then getting a State Quarter Map is a good idea; you can get one either with or without the state quarters included.

If you want to get your coin collection going on the right direction, visit us at

Monday, February 8, 2010

Your Coin Collecting Starter Kit

Coin collecting has long been a popular hobby, which attracts people for a variety of reasons. Some collectors are interested in the history of the coins, for example, while others are hoping to amass a valuable collection to sell off at a later date. Still others might just enjoy spending time with their children through a shared hobby. But no matter why you start, every budding collector needs a few basic coin supplies.

First on your list should be a couple of coin holders. These items will both protect your coins and allow you to show them off — and that's the whole point, isn't it?

Next, coin folders are great for beginning collectors, as they typically involve only two to three pages, which is a lot easier to fill than a whole album. These are also often only made for one specific type of coin (i.e. quarters), which can help to narrow your search.

Of course, if you think you're ready for the real deal, you should look no further than the classic coin album, the best way to truly showcase a collection. If you don't know where to start, consider the extremely popular Dansco coin album collection.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Can I Use Coin Collecting As A Future Investment?

Over the last few years, the price of precious metals has sky rocketed and this is great news for coin collections! Firstly, if you are using a gold coin collection option as a major gold investment in your portfolio, bullion's are usually the best way to go. It's always best to keep ANY kind of gold - have it be bars or coins, in a safe deposit box. Try not to keep these at home, especially if they are worth something. Peace of mind is the important thing here. Be sure to use coin folders or coin holders for your coins. This is going to keep the authenticity and condition to the max.

The better condition they are the more they will be worth. You can also use a coin album or other kinds of coin storage for them as well. Next, you should start coin collecting with coins that are Numismatic. These are coins that are rare - and are rated rare by their date, condition, rarity, etc. You really need to learn all you can about coins. How much is each piece worth? How can you maximize the price? Does it matter if you have a whole coin collection? Also, look into a few different manufacturers that either sell coin collections or that offer coin products - one of the better manufacturers is Dansco Coin collectors.

They offer everything from US or Indian to Lincoln cents, but they also have slipcases and albums which are considered the top in the industry. Lastly, if you do plan on selling these - you need someone TO sell them to. Make sure you network and find groups that do coin collecting near you - this is also great for other things besides selling coins, but for things like tips, tricks and advice on your collection. Make sure you get all your coins and supposed from a company you can trust and one that can provide you with everything you need from beginning to end!

For all your coin collection needs visit!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Serious About Coin Collecting? You Need a Pocket Scale

Many people hate to see the number on the scale, but coin collectors know better. If you have a coin collection, you know that a coin scale is a great way to verify the authenticity of the coins you are selling and buying.

Even if you’ve had experience with coin scales in the past, you still might be impressed with some of the modern options. For example, pocket scales are called so called because they literally fit in your pocket—most are about the size of a checkbook.

Other features to look for:
  • Easy to read LCD display
  • Elegant stainless steel surface
  • Modes to measure ounces, grams, carat, grain, and taring
  • A wide scale of measurement from 0.01 of a gram to 100 grams or more
Plus, if you’re interested in splitting the expense or just sharing the love, pocket scales are great for a number of other uses, like weighing gemstones or even calculating postage price.

That being said, pocket scales are extremely affordable at coin collecting supply websites like One popular model, the 250 gram pocket scale from American Weight, is only $22.02.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How can you maintain your coin collection?

We’re sure that your coin collection has a great personal and historical value. We’re also sure that you’ll do anything possible in order to keep your precious collection in the best shape possible, right? Well, if you are starting out collecting coins, and don’t exactly know how to take care of your collection, here are a few pointers to help you out!

First and foremost – don’t clean your coins! Yup. You heard us right. Cleaning your coins is not a good idea. You actually want to avoid even getting to the point where the coins are dirty, because frankly, coins, especially copper ones, just don't like liquids.

So you need to make sure that your coins will not get dirty and you should do so by keeping them in an album! Not your local Walmart $1.99 photography album of course. You need a special coin collection album made of quality plastic that is chemical free and will not damage your coins on the long run. There are many types of albums available and one of the most popular brands are the Dansco coin albums, which been around since 1937. Now that’s a name you can trust.

Once your coin finds its place in the album, you should never touch it again. I know. Heartbreaking. But your fingers are oily and can damage the coins. If you really must clean your coin collection, consider talking to a professional.

And if you’re looking for the perfect coin albums, coin folders, coin display boxes and everything coin collection related, visit us at today!
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