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Coins struck over others unusual

Have U.S. coins ever been used as the host blank for a foreign coin?

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There are two Draped Bust silver dollar coins known to have been used as the planchets for the Uruguay 1844 1-peso fuerte. One is in the American Numismatic Society collection, while the other is in private hands. The one in private hands is a 1799 Normal Date dollar. The Uruguay emission was struck using virtually any coins they could get their hands on during the civil war siege of Montevideo. Due to conditions and the emergency the local mint didn’t refine the silver coins it had prior to striking them into the local currency. There are likely other examples, but this is the highest profile coin of which I am aware.

Are there other situations in which a coin has been overstruck on another coin, using the underlying coin as the blank?

There are many such situations dating from ancient through modern times. There is an 1804 silver dollar known to have been struck over an 1857 Berne shooting taler. This is proof some of the 1804 silver dollars were issued at a much later date.

How did the certification service know the coin that was encapsulated is a first strike?

These are coins that are sent to these services for encapsulation as soon as they are released from the Mint. The same service would not certify a coin sent in at a later date as being a first strike. It is too late to change terminology but it might be better to call these early strikes.

Certain Austrian coins from 1947 to 1949 were struck over Nazi reichspfennig coins.

Certain Austrian coins from 1947 to 1949 were struck over Nazi reichspfennigs.

I realize when a U.S. coin is the host for a foreign coin there are collectors interested in it. What kind of interest is there in foreign coins used to strike foreign coins of yet another country?

Coins on which the underlying host coin can be identified are of the most interest to collectors, no matter who struck the coin and what coin served as the host.

I’ve seen the terms medals and tokens used almost interchangeably. Is this correct?

No. A token at some time in its past was redeemable for something. A medal may mark an event, honor a person, or celebrate something, but it is meant to be both art and possibly a souvenir. A medal was never meant to be redeemable.

Wouldn’t this definition suggest our non-circulating legal tender commemorative coins are actually medals?

I agree an NCLT coin is unlikely to be used as money, however it could be. For that reason, as much as for practical purposes commemoratives struck for collectors rather than for circulation should still be defined as coins.

What about if my medal is composed of gold or silver? Doesn’t this make it a token since it could be redeemed for its intrinsic value?

A medal can be made of any material the artist chooses. I’ve seen medals incorporating all sorts of mixed metals, plastics, and other objects. Just because a medal is composed of a precious metal doesn’t mean it was meant to be “redeemable.” It has value but is not in any way intended to be used as a form of payment.

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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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More Collecting Resources
• Celebrating 30 years of coin excellence, Donald Scarinci’s Coin of the Year is a great reference book to some of the best coin designs ever conceived.
• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you’ll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.

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