Our discussion has reached the bitter argument stage. Did the Act authorizing the Stone Mountain commemorative coins actually designate them as a memorial to Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson?
On the contrary, it did not even mention them. The Act stated, “(The coin is ... to be issued) in memory of Warren G. Harding, President of the United States of America, in whose administration the work was begun.” Not well known is the fact that in the original design, President Harding’s name appeared on the reverse. However, the objections of President Calvin Coolidge were strong enough to get Harding’s name erased from the coin.
I have a quantity of recent foreign coins left over from several trips. Do they have any value, or can they be cashed in?
Any value is likely to be minor, and you may find difficulty in cashing them in as most banks will not accept coins of another country. Certain banks in some countries now will accept coins in limited quantities, but you’d usually have to be there in person to cash them in. One recurring suggestion – donate the coins to one of the charities that works overseas. They can put the coins to good use.
Was the provision in the recent law applying to gold American Eagles that required they be minted of U.S. gold the first such law?
By no means. One little known provision of the Pittman Act of 1918 was the requirement that the silver used to mint the replacements for the coins melted be mined in the United States.
How many Mint superintendents have gone on to become director of the Mint?
Frank A. Leach, who was superintendent of the San Francisco Mint from 1897 to 1907, was appointed as director of the U.S. Mint in 1907 and served until 1909. In 1923 the superintendent of the Denver Mint, Robert J. Grant, was appointed director of the Mint by President Coolidge.
When was National Coin Week first celebrated?
It took place the week of Feb. 9-16, 1924. The idea was heavily promoted by the American Numismatic Association.
Could you please explain the alloy called “spelter?”
Spelter is not an alloy as such. Instead, it is another name for the metal zinc. It has an association with the English word “pewter” and traces to middle German – speauter or spiauter.
Were the proof versions of the first 1938 Jefferson nickels struck automatically, or was there some special law requiring them?
The Mint didn’t decide to strike proofs until almost the last minute, as staff waited to see if there would be any demand for them. When collectors started clamoring for them, the Mint went ahead and struck them.