If they didn’t strike any 1975-dated halves, how come I have a 1975-dated mint bag in my collection?
The bags were apparently printed with the date while there was still some hope that there might be 1975-dated quarters, halves and dollars. Instead they wound up being used to bag the 1976-dated Bicentennial coins struck in 1975-1976.
What was the source of the first steam-powered coin press?
Franklin Peale brought back plans from Germany for the Ulhorn coin press, manufactured in Cologne. Many of its features were copied by Agney and Tyler of Philadelphia, whose machine was installed in the second Philadelphia Mint in 1836. Ulhorn is credited with the invention of his version of the coin press in 1814.
Was California gold always shipped directly to Philadelphia for coining?
Most of the gold went first to the New York Assay Office, which opened in 1854. The Assay Office also handled bullion bars for the overseas trade as well, relieving the Philadelphia smelter of a big load. Most collectors were unaware of this until the recovery of the gold aboard the S.S. Central America beginning in 1987 and the subsequent publicity about the destination of the gold.
I understand that the U.S. Treasury Department once ordered the suspension of trading in gold mine stocks. When was that, and what was the reason?
The Treasury Department never issued such an order. The story got started because of a misunderstanding of a Treasury press release. The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading on Sept. 9, 1974. Trading was resumed immediately when the mistake was discovered.
What are “planchet marks?”
They are markings, usually damage of some kind, present on the planchet before it was struck by the coin dies, as opposed to damage to the coin after being struck. Because of the nature of the minting process, it is possible to distinguish between the two. Damage to the planchet usually will show rounded edges from metal flow into the damaged area. Damaged coins usually will have sharp edges on the damaged area and often will have metal shoved up above the normal surface, something that can’t happen in a normal strike.