I have a wooden box dated 1913 that says “Property U.S. Government Mint” and artwork of the Buffalo nickel on its side. Do you know who made it?
Readers came through on this question published in the May 7 issue. Tennessee dealer Gayle Pike writes: I used to have one. It came from a company called Service Merchandise, sort of a catalog/discount store. I got mine mid to late 1970s, maybe very early 1980s and bought it at the Service Merchandise in Memphis. Seems to me they were around $20. I remember thinking it was high for a wood box, but bought it because it had coins on it.
How many 1861-D gold dollars were known prior to 1900?
There were just two, one belonging to I.M. Bates of Detroit.
I got one of the first Olympic coins from a friend, but recently when I tried to remove the capsule with one of the coins, it seems to be jammed in the case, and I’m afraid to damage the coin by trying to pry it out. Any help?
The first shipment of some 50,000 1983 Olympic coins turned out to be in cases that had problems with dimensions. At the time, the Mint offered to replace the cases, but the offer has long since expired. Those who placed the orders were notified at the time of the offer.
Have there been any efforts to revive lacquer as a coin preservative? It might be a nice way to keep the mint red color of cents for the long-term.
Many old-time collectors preserved their coins by giving them a coating of lacquer. However, this fell out of favor after World War I. Right after World War II, one firm attempted to market a liquid plastic and the thinner necessary to use it to coat coins. Coins were also embedded in clear blocks, but neither caught on. Today’s collectors simply don’t seem to like coated coins and they are sharply discounted if they appear on the market. Some Europeans still do it, as it protects the coin almost indefinitely. Like other fads, it may well come back as collectors search for better ways to preserve and protect their coins.
Wasn’t the original authorization for the Lafayette dollar for a mintage of 50,000?
As with many of the U.S. commemoratives, the coin sold until it saturated the market and the rest were melted. The Mint lowered the official mintage to 36,026.
Anything to the claim that the eagle on the Bella Pratt gold coins was a European golden eagle rather than the American bald eagle?
The quickest way to refute that piece of nonsense is to point out that the Pratt eagle was a direct copy of the Saint-Gaudens eagle, pronounced genuine by experts.
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