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Coins Being ���Cracked Out’ of Third Party Slabs

How long would a cancelled note (regardless of technique) remain in Treasury hands before being eventually destroyed, if that was in fact the case?

I didn’t find anything specific to cancelled US bank notes, but Howard M. Berlin’s book The Coins and Banknotes of Palestine Under the British Mandate, 1927-1947 gives some insight into the subject through Palestinian Mandate currency.

According to Berlin, “Even as late as 1974 bank notes of the Palestinian Currency Board were redeemed and the Crown Agents in London still await any bank notes that may be redeemed. When redeemed, the bank note was rubber stamped ‘CANCELLED’ by hand on both sides and then folded in half vertically whereby a series of holes were manually punched in a random pattern.

The bank note was then to be cut in half and shipped to London for destruction. The two halves of the bank note were shipped separately in order to reduce insurance costs. However, no records were kept of the serial numbers and denominations of the bank notes redeemed, cancelled and destroyed by the Redemption Board.”

I know what the coins I collect are worth today. How can I learn what these coins purchased at the time they were issued?

Contemporary records including newspaper advertising are the best source of purchasing power information. Gathering this information can be challenging since prices may vary from one geographic region to another and from one time period to another.

Is there a way I can determine salaries at the time the coins I collect were issued? This would give me a better idea of their value at that time.

The ‘help wanted’ section of contemporary newspapers is a reliable source from which to determine local salaries for specific jobs at a specific time. A more general source I like to use for US salaries is “Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970” by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.

I hear a lot of negative news about coins being cracked out of third party slabs and being re-submitted to see if the coin can be graded higher. Is there some way to know when this has happened to a coin?

Third party certification service population reports are distorted due to ‘crack-outs.’ Since the human factor can’t be ignored when grading a coin there is always the chance a coin re-submitted to a certification service will be assigned a different grade than it received in the past. Once a modern machine manufactured coin has been removed from an encapsulating holder there is no way to determine the coin has not been encapsulated in its past. Medieval and ancient coins were struck manually and for that reason may be able to be identified individually as having been cracked out and re-submitted.

Should I value a coin slabbed as a Mint State 70 First Strike higher than a coin of the same grade but lacking the First Strike designation? Dealers do.

This is a case of “buy the coin, not the encapsulation.” A first strike coin ‘might’ be superior in detail to a later die state strike due to the newness of the dies. You need to examine the coin visually before you pay a premium for a coin simply because it has been identified as a first strike.

The 1861 $50 two-year Interest-Bearing Note (Friedberg-202a, or KL-687a) shown in many US paper money reference books bears what appears to be the handwritten signature of US Treasurer F.E. Spinner, in a time when handwritten signatures were by Treasury clerks. Was Spinner’s signature actually written by Spinner himself?

The note appeared in the 2005 Heritage Auction Number 364 as lot 16753. According to the auction catalog, “Treasurer F.E. Spinner has affixed his own distinctive hand signature.”

Was this 1861 $50 two-year Interest-Bearing Note owned by Paul Kagin or did he photograph it from someone else’s collection?

The reference books do not mention the ownership of the note. Since Paul Kagin is no longer with us, he can’t be asked. The Heritage auction catalog of 2005 in which it sold comments, “We had the honor of selling this note once before in May of 2001."

Who owns this 1861 $50 two-year Interest-Bearing Note?

The note is likely in private hands, but I was unable to identify the current owner. The Heritage auction in which the note sold makes the comment, “This note represents the only instance in the field of US currency where a single example exists in collectors’ hands of an entire design type.”