What does “shield earring” pattern refer to?
The name was applied to a group of patterns designed by George T. Morgan for the quarter, half dollar and dollar in 1882. They feature Miss Liberty wearing an earring in the shape of a miniature U.S. shield that is similar to the one appearing on the reverse of the Indian Head cent.
Can a person buy coins directly from foreign mints? I’m going on a trip and would like to get coins from the mints in several countries.
The answer depends on the country. In most cases, however, the sales of collector coins are handled by the central banks or other government authorities. Among the exceptions are the U.S., which has collector sales outlets at the mints, and Portugal, which has a coin and medal sales outlet at the mint.
What is the basis for the story that there are 1964-dated Franklin half dollars?
This is an urban legend that was pretty well discredited long ago. Because the Kennedy half was rushed to production in late 1963, there are lots of rumors but nobody has ever come up with such a coin. Although the U.S. Mint claimed that it had never made any 1964 Franklin dies, it would have had to have had them made in order to reach Denver in time for normal production. The usual practice was to begin making the next year’s dies at the beginning of October. Undoubtedly, test pieces were struck, but they would have routinely been destroyed along with the dies.
Why don’t they use designs with higher relief on the reverses of our coins?
The higher the relief, the more difficult the coin is to strike properly, and it is nearly impossible to pair two high relief designs on a struck coin. Even with the normal flat relief reverses, the mints of the world have constant problems with parts of the design that won’t strike up properly because there isn’t enough coin metal available to fill all the voids in the dies.
Were any of the American Revolution Bicentennial Association Bicentennial gold medals melted down?
It’s highly likely that some may have been sold for bullion. Only 422 of the big gold medals were sold at $4,000 each, which at the time was over twice the bullion value. Just four years later (in 1980) the medal’s bullion value jumped to over $10,000. That certainly ought to have appealed to some of the owners as it was an extremely rare situation. Most medals don’t appreciate that much in several lifetimes.
Are the 1983-D and 1985-D brass planchet cents real, or not?
If you describe them as “brass planchets,” the wording is incorrect. Any date after 1982 on a brass planchet would be extremely rare and probably worth several thousand dollars each. So far none has ever been reported. However, if you are asking about brass-plated planchets, then that is something entirely different. They do exist. A small number of the 1983-D and 1985-D cents were struck on zinc-core planchets that had been over-heated, causing the zinc to bleed into the copper plating, forming a brass plating.