Denver Mint ceremonial first strike helped uncover information – From the Memory Bank, part 24

Early arrival at a Denver Mint ceremonial first strike helped uncover information. Unexpected initials ‘MP’ found on reverse. This article was first published in the December 22, 2014 issue of Coin World, available here.

Arriving early at the Denver Mint on July 1, 1982, for the ceremonial first strike of the Uncirculated version of the George Washington commemorative half dollar paid dividends.
Commemorative expert Anthony Swiatek and I comprised the Coin World reporting team.

Although no longer used by the U.S. Mint, galvanos were mounted in a reduction-engraving machine, which precisely traced designs, reduced the size, and cut exact replicas into the blank faces of die steel to create master hubs.

Anthony Swiatek and Donna Pope - photo courtesy of Coin World

Anthony Swiatek and Donna Pope discuss the “MP” initials on the 1982 Washington half dollar, which were those of Matthew Peloso. Looking on at left is Adna Wilde, president of the American Numismatic Association.

The galvanos of the coin, each about the size of a large dinner plate, were on display and afforded an opportunity to see minute details. Swiatek noticed that Chief Sculptor-Engraver Elizabeth Jones’ initials were on both sides, above the horse’s back and next to Washington’s right arm on the obverse; in the grass below the colonnade on the right side of the reverse. Then he spotted “MP” on the left side of the reverse in the shrubbery next to Mount Vernon. Continue reading

George Washington 250th Anniversary Silver Half Dollar

George Washington 250th Anniversary Silver Half dollar history unfolds but coordinating coverage in Coin World proved a challenge. This article was first published in the November 24, 2014 issue of Coin World, available here.
George Washington 250th Anniversary silver half dollar - image courtesy of Coin World

Coordinating coverage of production of the George Washington 250th Anniversary silver half dollars provided a challenge for Coin World in 1982.

Providing timely coverage of ceremonial first strikes of the first modern commemorative coin — the silver half dollar honoring the 250th anniversary of George Washington’s birth — presented a nightmarish challenge for a weekly publication such as Coin World in the summer of 1982.

However, Editor Margo Russell with her “can do” attitude was determined to provide eyewitness coverage (complete with photographs) despite the realities:

The ceremonial striking events were to be held on the same day (Thursday, July 1) at the Denver Mint and San Francisco Assay Office — thousands of miles away from and in different time zones than Coin World’s Sidney, Ohio, production facility.

Coin World’s weekly edition went to press (without fail) at 1 p.m. on Friday of each week.

The stories had to be written and entered into the Amos Press production system and the film had to be processed, printed, and prepared for the presses in Sidney — all within the span of less than 29 hours after the start of the first striking event in Denver.

This was before the Coin World editorial department had a FAX machine and over a decade before email or electronic transmission of images for print media. Continue reading

Proof gold Sacagawea dollar production stops…

Proof gold Sacagawea dollar production stops amid questions surrounding legal authority for striking. This article was first published in the October 27, 2014  issue of Coin World, available here.
Sacagawea Gold Dollar

The .9167 fine gold Proof 2000-W Sacagawea dollar, shown, is one of 12 examples that rode aboard the space shuttle in July 1999. The 12 are currently stored at Fort Knox.

Did the United States Mint have the legal authority to strike Proof versions of the Kennedy half dollar in .9999 fine gold earlier this year?

Some in the collector community believe the answer is “no.” U.S. Mint officials assert the answer is “yes,” citing a section of the U.S. Code, 31 U.S.C. § 5112(i)(4)(C).

The section Mint officials cite pertains to gold bullion coins. The legislative history suggests it was included to provide the Mint flexibility in producing American Eagle and other bullion coins specifically authorized in “positive” law (by specific legislation). Continue reading

Cash In Your Coins expanded in 2014

Cash In Your Coins expanded in 2014 second edition reference from Whitman. This article was first published September 16, 2014 special to Coin World, available here.
Includes a chapter dedicated to what most dread to hear – taxes

Taxes. No one wants to pay them. But the reality is they exist.

As a collector, neither you nor your heirs should pay more than is legally required. To ensure that you and your heirs don’t overpay requires action now, not later (after you depart planet Earth). Awareness and good planning are the keys to peace of mind for you and protection for your heirs.

Cash In Your Coins 2nd Edition book cover

Cash In Your Coins 2nd Edition: Selling the Rare Coins You’ve Inherited – includes a new chapter dedicated to taxes.

The second edition of Cash In Your Coins — Selling the Rare Coins You’ve Inherited just released by Whitman Publishing includes a new 16-page chapter devoted to the subject of “Taxes.”

Here we are sharing an excerpt from that chapter that provides some very basic information.

First, however, a disclaimer: The following information regarding the various types of taxes is general in nature and should not be construed to be legal advice regarding taxes. Rather, it is provided to make you more aware of possible taxes related to your estate or coins and collectibles you may inherit or sell. For specific advice regarding your circumstances, it is best to consult your accountant, an attorney specializing in taxes, or an estate-planning professional. Continue reading

Austrian Mint celebrates 25th Anniversary – From the Memory Bank, part 21

Austrian Mint celebrates 25th anniversary of its Philharmonic gold bullion coin launch. This article first appeared in the September 22, 2014 issue of Coin World, available here.
The quarter-ounce size of gold Philharmonic coin

The quarter-ounce size of gold Philharmonic coin was initially produced as an affordable size for the Austrian populace to purchase, while the 1-ounce size was intended for investors.

The Austrian Mint is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the launch its Philharmonic gold bullion coin.

What better way to celebrate than with a golden anniversary cake, complete with the Philharmonic’s iconic logo featuring musical instruments of the world famous Vienna Philharmonic, the coin’s namesake?

During the recent American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill., I was both surprised and honored when Austrian Mint CEO Gerhard Starsich asked if I would assist him in cutting the cake.

Celebrations have a way of triggering flashbacks. The Austrian Mint’s October 1989 news release announcing its entry into the gold bullion coin market raised a few eyebrows. How could a relatively small Mint from a country with no active gold mines compete with the big players in the market, namely South Africa, Canada, Australia, and the United States? Continue reading

Cash In your Coins: Selling the Rare Coins You’ve Inherited, first edition, is an award winner!

Cash In Your Coins NLG Best Investment Award

The Numismatic Literary Guild cited Cash In Your Coins as the “Best Specialized Book in Numismatic Investments” during its 2014 Writer’s Competition awards banquet Aug. 7, held in conjunction with the World’s Fair of Money in Chicago.

I am very pleased that Cash In Your Coins is receiving recognition within the numismatic community, but equally pleased with the exceptional sales in the world outside collector circles — its intended audience.

In May Cash In Your Coins won first place in the Nonfiction Books for Adult Readers category of Ohio Professional Writers 2014 Communications Contest. The judges noted: “A clear and understandable guide to selling coins for the non-collector. This book will be a useful resource for anyone who inherits coins.”  Continue reading