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Lafayette $1 exception to denomination law


Is it a legal requirement that our dollar coins carry the denomination as “One Dollar?”

It used to be. The Lafayette commemorative was an exception, as the denomination appears as “DOLLAR.” Presidential dollars use “$1.”


I read that the first Lafayette dollar sold for $5,000, just like the first Columbian Exposition half dollar struck was sold for $10,000. Is this true?

The offer reportedly was made, but refused. The first Lafayette coin went to the President of France.

I have a dime that has been struck on a copper planchet. I’m told that it has been struck on a cent planchet. Is this true?

It is a physical impossibility for your dime to have been struck on a cent planchet, which is larger than a dime. The coin press feed mechanism is designed to accept only planchets of the proper (or smaller) diameter, never larger. The only way a cent planchet could get into the die would be if it were “helped” by hand feeding it. There are two more likely possibilities: your coin was struck on a planchet intended for a foreign coin struck at the U.S. Mint, or it was struck on the copper core of a dime planchet that had lost both clad layers.


In one reference work I checked, I noted a comment about New England being located where the state of Virginia is now. Is this true?

Our sources say that Capt. John Smith did actually rename North Virginia as New England in 1614. Virginia had been divided into North Virginia and South Virginia, but it also stretched from Florida to Newfoundland, so New England was well north of present-day Virginia.

In a dealer ad I saw, a coin was listed as “1955-P (20) 50 Cents.” The price asked was substantially above the catalog value for the coin. Does “(20)” in the listing indicate some variety?

The figure in parenthesis indicates that the price is for a roll of 20 of the coins. Another “secret language” problem.

How much gold was there in the $4,000 gold Bicentennial medals struck by the Mint and how rare are they?

Each of the large National Medals contained 13.18 troy ounces of gold. Only 423 of them were sold. At the height of the gold boom in 1980 they were worth almost $11,000 each and now are worth about $14,000.

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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