Author Archives: R.W. Julian

English gold penny didn’t last long

After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the latter part of the fifth century, the use of coins in daily life underwent a dramatic transformation. The ordinary people resorted to barter and only the wealthiest had use for … Continue reading

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Simon petitions the king with crown

One of the joys of collecting is to admire the designs that are used on the coins. Mints and governments naturally choose the best that can be found as it is in their best interests to please the public and … Continue reading

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Butler’s medal honored efforts of black troops

When the Civil War began in April 1861 the aim of the Northern government was to restore the Union. Nothing was said about slavery as it was hoped that the South would rejoin the rest of the country without too … Continue reading

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Intrepid ship captain gets gold medal

In 1848 the people of Central Europe arose against the decayed monarchies ruling them. The flame of rebellion spread far and wide but nowhere was the spark of freedom brighter than in Hungary, once the shining jewel of the Austrian … Continue reading

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‘Jefferson Head’ rarity

On rare occasion one sees a 1795 “Jefferson” cent offered for sale and, in fact, the head of Liberty on the coin does look like Thomas Jefferson. It is not that president, however, and the background of this piece is … Continue reading

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Field honored for transatlantic cable

At the present time, in this age of the Internet, we think nothing of contacting a person halfway around the world or visiting a website in some remote country. Yet, it is only in the past few decades that this … Continue reading

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Ruble for the czar who wasn’t czar

The death of Russian Czar Alexander I in late 1825 set off a chain of events in which two brothers swore allegiance to the other as the new ruler of Imperial Russia. The St. Petersburg Mint quickly prepared a portrait … Continue reading

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Boy king murdered by stepmother

Tenth-century England was a land of extremes as powerful rulers alternated with the incompetent or weak ones. During that time, however, came one of those terrible crimes that horrified an entire nation: a teen-aged king was brutally murdered by order … Continue reading

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Continental dollar struck in Europe?

The annual Royal Numismatic Society publication, the Numismatic Chronicle, has an interesting article by Catherine Eagleton in its 2014 edition just published. The author discusses a 1776 Continental dollar in the holdings of the British Museum and this is sure … Continue reading

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The misunderstood dollar: Gobrecht coins cause confusion

The Gobrecht silver dollars of 1836-1839 have proven to be among the most contentious and, at the same time, the least understood coins of our numismatic history. Actually the story is rather straightforward but the clash of conflicting theories has … Continue reading

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