This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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How long has the beaver been used as a symbol for Canada?
The beaver has a long and close relationship with Canada, beginning with the Indian use of the beaver as a totem symbol long before the first Europeans arrived. The beaver was part of the arms granted by Charles I of France to Sir William Alexander in 1633. The arms of the city of Quebec included a black beaver on a gold background. The first Canadian postage stamps issued in 1851 included a beaver design and the animal was included in the arms of Montreal in 1833. The beaver, after all that, was adopted as the official Canadian symbol on March 23, 1975. It appeared on the Canadian 5-cent coin beginning with the 1937 issue.
What does the “full head” often seen in standing Liberty quarter descriptions refer to?
In the March 23 issue I said: “As with nearly every U.S. coin die pair, there are die design defects. On the Standing Liberty series, the most common design defect is the lack of enough coin metal to completely strike Liberty’s head.”
Bill Fivaz added to my answer with the all-important mandatory markers:
1. The most important by far is that there must be a full, unbroken hairline from Liberty’s brow down to the jaw.
2. The three leaves on her head must show.
3. There should be an indentation (hole) where the ear is.
I have a Blake coin that appears to be gold, pictures a coin press and has an incuse “20” on it. What is it worth?
I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you have a very common copy of an early California piece. The original was gold, and even that piece’s authenticity is challenged, but your piece is probably brass. The Chrysler Corporation had thousands of the brass copies of the $20 gold coin made in 1969 to promote the introduction of the 1970 Gold Duster Valiant. They are a perennial problem for collectors. There is one “original” in the Lilly collection in the Smithsonian. The rest are just worthless copies.
I know there are two varieties of the Bicentennial Ike dollar, but is there a way of identifying the 1975 from the 1976 strikes for the Bicentennial quarters and halves?
Outside of a few individual dies with defects, there was no discernible difference between the coins struck in the two years with the 1976 date. No quarters, halves or dollars were struck with 1975 dates.
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