Author Archives: R.W. Julian

Doctor’s short life was long on accomplishments

In his day, Dr. Thomas Anthony Dooley III was one of the most admired men in America, yet at the present time he is almost forgotten. If by some miracle he was alive today, he would doubtless still be doing … Continue reading

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Franklin’s Libertas Americana medal carries depth of meaning

There is little doubt that the most admired medal in American numismatic history is the one commissioned by Benjamin Franklin in 1782. Although the Revolutionary War was not yet over, the end of this long struggle was in sight with … Continue reading

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Complex Caligula: Emperor’s scandalous reign includes scarce coins

The Roman Empire produced many bad emperors, but Gaius, nicknamed Caligula, must be ranked among the worst. He not only murdered his pregnant wife; he also heaped public honors upon his horse. He was the great-grandson of the Emperor Caesar … Continue reading

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Dahlonega mint offers storied history

If present-day collectors see a coin with the mintmark D, they automatically assume that it was struck at Denver. This was not always true, because before 1862, this mintmark meant something quite different. Dahlonega, in northern Georgia, began striking gold … Continue reading

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Hamilton thought half cent necessary

Both non-collectors and beginning collectors are surprised to learn that the United States once had a coin worth only one-half cent. Given what little value the cent has today, the natural inclination is to think that the half cent had … Continue reading

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Morgan dollar series surrounded by political intrigue

Before the 1960s, numismatists were little interested in the Morgan dollars issued from 1878 to 1921. They were readily available at banks, and most collectors were satisfied with a type coin. Beginning in the early 1970s, with specialized references such … Continue reading

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Gold news stamped on quarter eagle

During the 17th and 18th centuries in some European countries, it was the practice to occasionally honor the sources of bullion on the coinage. The metal came from various sources, sometimes even from naval battles, as for example in 1745 … Continue reading

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Ghost cents exist for year no minting took place

When quizzes about coins are given at club meetings, one of the questions occasionally asked is which year cents were not struck at a U.S. Mint. The answer is invariably 1815, as no genuine cents are known with this date. … Continue reading

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Assay Commission abolished 1977

The 180th meeting of the United States Assay Commission was held on Feb. 9, 1977. It was something of a watershed as the then president, Jimmy Carter, had refused to appoint members of the public, a tradition that had existed … Continue reading

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Boulton’s British copper from 1797-1807

Those persons interested in the early coinage of the United States frequently see the statement that the Philadelphia Mint fell short of making enough coins for the public. It was not, in fact, until the 1830s that the output of … Continue reading

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