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Act reduced silver in minors, but not dollar

Please explain why a silver dollar contained more silver than two silver halves, four quarters or 10 dimes?

Because our coins contained more than the face value in bullion, the Coinage Act of 1853 reduced the silver content of the minor coins by 6.91 percent but did not change the dollar standard. Ever since then silver minor coins, including the 40 percent silver, have had a lower total bullion content than the amount in the silver dollars.


What does the “S.M.V.” abbreviation mean on some of the California gold pieces?

It stood for “Standard Mint Value,” an attempt to indicate that the coins were full weight. Others had “W.M.V.” for “Warranted Mint Value.” Despite the claim, most of the private issues actually contained less than the required, or stated, amount of gold.

What is a “capped” coin?

There are two definitions for a capped coin. One was a popular form of novelty coins, made by stamping a thin sheet of copper with a design and then wrapping the piece around a cent, much like a bottle cap. A number were made by L.S. Werner, who donated his dies and a collection of the capped coins to the American Numismatic Association Museum.
The second definition is a striking variety that occurs when the planchet sticks and wraps around the die like a bottle cap. It is also known as a capped die strike.


Didn’t the Federal Reserve resist the restoration of the right to private ownership of gold in 1974?

To use an old saying, Chairman Arthur Burns “fought tooth and nail” to get the ban extended for at least six months. After Congress passed the bill rescinding the ban as of Dec. 31, 1974, a bill was introduced by Sen. Adlai Stevenson, III., to repeal the new law, but despite widespread official support for the repeal attempt, it failed. The rest is history.


Are there really three kinds of Ike proofs?

No, only two. They are the clad copper-nickel and the clad 40 percent silver. The confusion may arise because there are also special uncirculated 40 percent silver Ikes. To get 40 percent, the core was .209 silver and .791 copper, with the clad layers being .800 silver and .200 copper. The only other proofs struck in two different alloys were the 1942 nickels, which were struck in copper-nickel and in the 35 percent silver alloy adopted that year.


Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 44-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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