Author Archives: R.W. Julian

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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Charles Barber’s dime design appreciated by collectors

In the later days of the 19th century, it was the practice at birthdays and Christmas to give a gift of money to a child. Today we might think of a few dollars, but in those days, a dime was … Continue reading

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Gold $3 never fit in American coinage

With an increasing supply of gold in the United States during the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson sought ways to put more gold and silver coins into the hands of the average citizen. In April 1836, as part of this agenda, … Continue reading

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Medal marks heroic arctic voyage

In the 19th century, there were great hopes that a way could be found for ships to sail north of Russia and Canada and thus forge new routes for cargo vessels between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. The idea … Continue reading

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Gold medal awarded for early U.S. naval engagement

Students of American history are well aware that France was a key ally in the Revolutionary War. Without her aid, England might well have defeated the rebellious colonists. Yet, few know that this friendship later turned to open warfare on … Continue reading

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