This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Does the 1793 Chain cent have a reeded edge?
Only in part. The official description of the edge is “Four equal sections, two reeded, two with vine, leaves and blossoms.” The alternate reeding and design was put on with edge dies.
What did contemporary critics have to say about the Chain cent – or was it satisfactory?
Every coin issued by the U.S. Mint from day one has had critics, and the Chain cents were certainly no exception. The complaint was made that the chain of 15 links represented bonds to England. The Liberty head was described as a “fright wig.” Liberty was said to be screaming in fear.
What is satin finish?
A satin finish involves making hundreds of tiny scratches on the coin surface to enhance the brilliance.
I have a gold coin with all the U.S. presidents on it. Do you have any idea of the value?
The piece you have is not a coin. Rather, it’s a privately issued medal struck on gold-plated bronze. The issue price was less than $7. This is a perennial problem because virtually nobody outside the field of numismatics is aware of the difference between a coin, a medal or a token. The problem is compounded by large companies that offer “coins” on TV and the Internet that are actually privately issued medals. Remember that only a government can issue a coin.
Why can’t I get Ikes or SBA dollars from my bank, as they are supposed to be circulating?
Neither ever circulated well. It’s a matter of supply and demand. Other than collectors there is little demand, so most have gone back to the Federal Reserve Bank.
How big is a grain of gold? An old ad offered a coin with “three grains of pure gold” for $20.
A grain is a unit of weight. To put it into perspective, there are 480 grains in a troy ounce. Gold would have to sell for $3,200 an ounce before you would “break even.” By the way, the piece is not a coin, it’s a token or medallion.
What is the story behind the 1834 token that shows a running pig?
The “Running Boar” is a Hard Times token. There are several varieties. The token arose from the controversy surrounding the Bank of The United States. President Jackson sought to ruin the bank by withdrawing federal deposits. The boar is an allegorical figure representing the fleeing deposits.
What was the purpose of the big Fractional Currency shields?
The shields were specially designed by the Treasury Department in 1866-1867 for display purposes. In the Summer 1964 issue of Paper Money, Theodore Kemm wrote, “I doubt very much that counterfeit detection was the specific intent of the issue,” going on to note that a glassed-over display in the bank president’s office would be of little help to the teller at the window. “I prefer to believe that the shields were available to anyone who wanted them for a fixed price and that in some cases they were presented to VIPs.”
I recently saw a description of a 1913 Buffalo nickel as having a proof-like surface, but no “F” designer’s initial. Was the information correct?
Walter Breen is quoted as saying a very small quantity of Type I 1913 nickels were struck without the “F.” Four of them – two each from two different dies are in the Smithsonian.
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