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Mints strike more than legal tender

Does the term “mint struck” mean the piece is a legal-tender coin? Far from it. The mint might be either a government or a private mint. The item might be a circulating coin, a non-circulating proof or commemorative, or even … Continue reading

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Stars do not signify genuineness

I’ve been told that any “coin” with 13 stars on it is a genuine Mint issue. Is this true? Definitely not. Stars are symbols. They may be used on tokens, medals or any other object, whether numismatic or not. Other … Continue reading

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Gold bars made since the Bronze Age

When and where was the first gold ingot (or bar) made? Metal ingots have been cast since the dawn of refining when the Stone Age was replaced by the Bronze Age, which in turn was replaced by the Iron Age. … Continue reading

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Milk spots on silver coins may be removable

What is a milk spot? Milk spots are unsightly milky-like discoloration appearing on silver coins, particularly well known on Morgan silver dollars, silver American Eagles, and silver-composition Kennedy half dollars. Milk spots may be caused by a problem with the … Continue reading

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Check for whizzing on silver dollar

How can I tell if a Morgan dollar has altered surfaces and is not prooflike? Examine the coin under significant magnification and good lighting. If the coin has been whizzed to improve the surface appearance, it will become obvious through … Continue reading

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Full Steps help Jeffersons stand out

How important is the appearance of Full Steps on a Jefferson/Monticello nickel to the overall grade of the coin? Full Steps is a designation treated the same as are Full Split Bands on Mercury dimes and Full Head on Standing … Continue reading

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Firm put name on its reproduction

I have a Massachusetts Pine Tree copper cent that has the word “Copely” on it. What is it? It is a copy struck in 1960 by the Copely Coin Co. of Boston.   What is a “cogwheel” shilling? The name … Continue reading

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Vapor blasting creates a matte finish

Would a “vapor blast” process make the appearance of a coin frosted? Since vapor blasting is similar to sand blasting but uses compressed wet vapor rather than dry compressed air, it leaves a matte finish. I am aware that the … Continue reading

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First commemorative debate goes on

In a letter to the editor published in the March 6 “Numismatic News,” a reader disagreed with R.W. Julian’s suggestion that the 1848 CAL $2.50 quarter eagle is our first commemorative coin. What do you say? The 1797 $5 half … Continue reading

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Overstruck quarters raise eyebrows

Who is responsible for the quarters that have been overstruck to poke fun at some political figures? No one appears ready to admit to making these, although there are a number of coin dealers willing to sell them.   I … Continue reading

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