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Supplier blamed for rough copper planchets

Aren’t most U.S. copper coins of 1796 unusually poor in quality?

The Mint blamed the supplier, Governor and Company of Copper Miners, in England. Renowned researcher R.W. Julian found a letter of complaint from Director Boudinot calling them, “almost as rough as sheet iron” after being forced to clean the supplied planchets because regular supplies from Boulton were cut off.


What is a “transition” or “transition pattern” coin?

A transition pattern is a coin issued with parts of both the old and new design when changes are made in a series. The term “transition” is also applied to a coin struck in the old or new  alloy with the wrong date. Some examples of transition pattern coins are the  half dimes and dimes of 1859-1860.

I understand that there is a 1794 dollar, sold several years ago, that has been in collector hands from the time it was struck. Can you give me some background information.

The coin in question was struck Oct. 15, 1794. On May 7, 1795, it was given to Mint Director David Rittenhouse. Then in October 1795 it went to Henry W. DeSaussure, the new Mint director. In  November 1795 he presented the piece to Lord St. Oswald. It stayed in the Oswald family until 1964, when it was auctioned for $10,000. The coin passed through Alfred J. Ostheimer to Gilhousen. In the Gilhousen Auction in 1973, the coin went for $110,000, an 11-fold increase in value in nine years.


We have the two Bush Presidents numbered. Is there a precedent for this?

There was a move to number early presidents like kings. The evidence comes in the form of a 1792-dated pattern half dollar that bears the motto, “GEORGE WASHINGTON PRESIDENT I.” The proposal died after the House passed an amendment to use the head of Liberty. Washington has been widely quoted over the years as opposed to our coins depicting our Presidents.


What is meant by fiat money?

Fiat money is currency – either coins or notes – that are issued without having any gold or silver reserves to back them. They take value only by government decree, which says they are legal tender and thus money. Since the demise of the Silver Certificates and silver coins, almost all U.S. currency is classed as fiat money, especially the paper money.


Did the U.S.S. Constellation sail under another name at one time?

The U.S. Navy began a cruiser during World War I that was to be named the Constellation, so the original was renamed the Old Constellation while serving as a training ship. The cruiser never was commissioned and Connie got her name back in 1925.


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.

More Resources:

• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin BooksCoin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program

2010 U.S. Coin Digest, The Complete Guide to Current Market Values, 8th ed.

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money, 1928 to Date

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

 

 

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