By Richard Giedroyc
Worthless broken bank notes were churned out by 19th century banks. Did any of these banks issue their own coins?
The closest thing we have to what I would have called “broken bank coins” are company store tokens and the private and Territorial gold coin issues. Company store money was only honored at the company store for which it was issued. Private and Territorial gold issues couldn’t be trusted since many of them contain less in contemporary gold value than was their face value.
I have a 1795 half cent with No Pole and a Lettered Edge. I have not been able to find a reference to this variety either in the Red Book or in numerous online sources. All I see is No Pole, Plain Edge and With Pole, Lettered Edge. My coin is not the Punctuated Date variety. Is there anything you could tell me about this, or if not, could you suggest anyone I could ask?
I have not seen your coin, so it is difficult to say very much. Two things come to mind, the first being that it is a counterfeit. The other is that it is a previously unknown variety. The coin needs to be examined by someone first for authenticity. If it appears to be genuine I would then suggest submitting it to a major third party certification service including a request for its variety to be identified.
Have collectors always made arrangements in advance with dealers to sell them limited issue coins to get around order limits?
Always is a long time, but as an example in the world field, during the 1980s and early 1990s it wasn’t unusual for people to make arrangements with coin dealers to purchase People’s Republic of China Panda coins from them at a pre-arranged price as soon as these individuals purchased their personal limits from The China Mint Company. In some instances the dealers involved gave these buyers the money with which to purchase the Panda coins.
How can the owner of a coin be certain that he receives the same coin that was submitted to a grading service? Any coin in Mint State-64 or higher grade will be indistinguishable from another grade or two higher or lower unless it has distinctive toning. The “raw” coin that was sent for grading will not appear the same when reviewed through the plastic case making it difficult for the coin owner to determine whether the same coin is received in return even if foul play is not involved. I am sure mistakes happen.
All third-party certification services use extremely sophisticated methods of tracking individual submissions from the time each coin is received until that coin is returned to its owner. No one will intentionally switch coins. First, there is sufficient tracking technology to prevent such a mistake or abuse. Second, why would a multi-million dollar service company risk its reputation by allowing such a thing to happen with individual coins that can’t compare in value to the revenue the company generates? Third, how could someone stock sufficient coins of each date, mintmark and denomination for such a dishonest scenario as switching coins to become a regularly occurring reality?
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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