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Iowa-only commem sale a myth

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What’s the real story on the Iowa Centennial commemorative half dollar? I know one story had it that the coins were limited to sale within the state?

That’s one we can classify as an old wive’s tale or an urban legend. In any event, it is not true. The coins were sold in Iowa and in all the rest of the country by mail.


Has platinum always been more valuable than gold?

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The price of platinum has been both up and down in relation to gold. When originally discovered it was considered a poor coin metal, although counterfeiters used it to fill hollowed-out gold coins because of the similar weights. Right after the Civil War it was worth only half the value of gold. Currently platinum is well above the price of gold.

Why is the price for a 1955-S cent so much higher than the 1949-S?

1955 was the last year of production, so more coins were saved in MS-60. The mintage of the 1949-S was 64,290,000, compared to the 1955-S with 44,610,000.


I’ve seen a listing for a Sitting Bull medal but without any information. Can you tell me anything about it?

The Sitting Bull listing I have shows that it apparently came from Mint Industries of Texas. Two-thousand of the medals were struck in silver and sold for $15 in the late 1960s.

Isn’t there a Mint medal that uses a pattern coin design on one side?

The Mint medal honoring the first steam coin press (1836) uses the obverse of an 1836 gold dollar pattern of a Liberty Cap, copied from the then-current Mexican coins. The medal is the same size as the large cent. Christian Gobrecht prepared the first set of dies sometime before 1841, but they met an unknown fate and new dies were made for the medal by Anthony C. Paquet in 1862. The original was dated February 22, 1836. The second variety is dated March 23, 1836, but this is over the February date. The strongest part of the overdate is the “3” over the “2” from 23/22. The later copies do not have this overdate.


Did Denver strike any coins other than cents in 1933?

The only other coins struck there were 5,000 of the Oregon Trail commemoratives. It was the first U.S. commemorative struck at the Denver Mint.


What’s the meaning of the cow’s head on the Old Spanish Trail commemorative?

Cabeza de Vaca was the first Spanish explorer in the area. His name means “cow’s head” in English. He explored the Gulf states and the Old Spanish Trail in 1535.

What is a favor coin?

It’s just about what it sounds like: a coin struck at some later time than the regular issue as a favor to collectors, usually a restrike.
 


What is the smallest denomination world coin?

There was a coin used on the Malay Peninsula in the early 1900s that was valued at 1/10,000 of a (English) penny. The pieces were made of resin. Other contenders include the 1-erg of the Commonwealth of Celestia, founded in 1948 by James. T. Mangan. One erg equaled 1/20,000 of a cent. This of course was a “fantasy” issue, so I’ll call on readers for listings. Mangan incidentally also issued gold celestons in 1959, 1960 and 1961.

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