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?
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