Why did we switch from six-pointed to five-pointed stars on some of our coins in 1892?
This is a confusing problem. The 1892 quarters and half dollars have six-point stars on one side and five-point on the other. Apparently, the change came about because the reverse with five-point stars was adapted from the Great Seal, while the earlier six-point stars date back to English and French heraldry. The Great Seal and the Presidential Seal both have five-point stars, but the House of Representatives uses six-point stars. No specific reason has surfaced in Mint records.
I saw a reference to the ?naked? bust of Washington on the quarter. What does that mean?
In artistic terms, an unclothed bust ? even if it only shows the head and neck ? is ?naked.? Not to worry, George wasn?t being immodest.
Is ?Miss? Liberty always referred to in that way in connection with U.S. coins?
She is also referred to as the ?Goddess? of Liberty. That title appears on the pattern Massachusetts half cent dated 1776 that was produced by Paul Revere. The design can be traced back at least 2,500 years to the Roman goddess, Libertas. Her temple once served as the first public library in ancient Rome. The Liberty Cap goes back further to freed slaves in Egypt who wore a distinctive cap to show their status.
In a previous question you mentioned that it wasn?t until the 18th century that the letter ?U? was separated from the ?V? that had been in use since Greek and Roman times. Do you have any specific information about who was responsible for the division?
Research, thy name is conflict. One source says the Romans added the ?U? to their modified Greek alphabet in A.D. 1,000. A second source confirms that era, noting that ?V? was used as an upper case and ?u? as an uncial letter for several centuries. However, another source says the letter ?U,? as a vowel, was separated from the consonant ?V? by ?16th century Dutch scholars.?
Regardless of the differing theories, it wasn?t until the 1800s that use of the letter became widespread and appeared in English dictionaries.
Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 41-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.