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‘CAL.’ $2.50 only official coin modification

Is the “CAL.” countermark on the 1848 gold quarter eagle the earliest example of an official modification of a struck coin by the U.S. Mint?

Is the “CAL.” countermark on the 1848 gold quarter eagle the earliest example of an official modification of a struck coin by the U.S. Mint?


It’s the earliest for which there is an official record. It’s believed that cents, half dollars and some other coins were countermarked for the visit of Lafayette in 1824. Some sources claim that they were applied to the coins at the Philadelphia Mint, but so far I don’t believe there is any official confirmation of the Mint’s actually doing the stamping.

This is off-topic, but do you happen to know the number of men in a Roman legion?

Since many of the Roman coins were struck to pay the troops, it’s not too far off. One source says that in the 6th century B.C.E., a legion consisted of 300 mounted soldiers and 3,000 infantry. In the 2nd century B.C.E., it had been modified to 300 cavalry and 4,200 infantry. By 1 C.E. it had increased to 5,000-6,000 men.

What does the “full head” often seen in Standing Liberty quarter descriptions refer to?

As with nearly every U.S. coin die pair, there are die design defects. In the Standing Liberty series the most common design defect is the lack of enough coin metal to completely strike Liberty’s head, so when a coin is struck with additional pressure or with a modified reverse (in this case) die, the resulting complete head is listed as a “full head.” On most U.S. coins, the common defect lies in the usually deeper bust design on the obverse.

Isn’t there an error casino chip from Harold’s Club in Las Vegas?

Harold’s Club is in Reno, Nev., but a private supplier made the tokens showing it in Las Vegas. All but 200 of the pieces were melted. One dealer offered the remainder for a number of years.

A coin dealer told me that .999 fine silver bars are worth the same as 90 percent silver coins. How can this be true?

I suspect that there is something you missed in the conversation, as the statement is like comparing apples to oranges. For example, you will pay a substantial premium over the price of an ounce of silver for a silver dollar, but the coin contains only .77 ounce of bullion. As a rule, bars sell for the daily “spot” price of silver, plus a small percentage.

I have a belt buckle that is a piece of Lincoln memorabilia. Where can I get some information about it?

If there’s a belt buckle collecting club I’m not aware of it, but perhaps the political collectors or watch fob people might help. Any suggestions?

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