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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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Dollar sign written before numerals

Why do some countries put the denomination symbol like the dollar sign before the amount and some after? In the U.S., we write $10 and read it as ten dollars, exactly the reverse of the way it’s written. It is … Continue reading

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Top officials on Assay Commission

Our now defunct Assay Commission included some coin collectors. I’m certain this wasn’t the original intent. Who were the commissioners initially? The first U.S. Assay Commission consisted of the Chief Justice of the United States, Comptroller of the Treasury, Secretary … Continue reading

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Tests don’t destroy

According to Judd’s reference book on U.S. pattern coins, many similar metallic compositions can only be distinguished from each other through elemental analysis, which the text describes as “a complicated procedure” (9th edition, Page 7). Is such procedure one that … Continue reading

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Mint charged face value for proofs

Early in the U.S. Mint’s history, collectors could visit to buy proof coins over the counter. What did the mint charge? Proof coins were sold directly to collectors by the Mint at face value through 1859. Coins were available individually … Continue reading

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Funny-looking coins not likely patterns

My information is that any unusual coin found in circulation is either a pattern or a trial strike. Care to comment? You would be surprised by the number of letters in my files, frequently from dealers, making that same assumption. … Continue reading

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