Was the Manila Mint a branch mint of the U.S. Mint or did it operate independently?
The Manila Mint began as the Casa de Moneda for the Philippines under Spanish domination. The facility closed in 1898 following the Spanish-American War but was re-opened as a U.S. branch mint in 1920. It operated intermittently until 1941 when the Philippines were invaded by Japan during World War Two. Japan operated the mint during the war, but the building was destroyed in 1945.
Do you know of any concerns about keeping modern coins [1950 to present] in their original U.S. Mint packaging? Specifically: American Silver Eagle proof dollars encapsulated in plastic and boxed in a velvet-lined metal/cloth jewelry type box, flat package Proof sets 1955 until the Mint began to package proof coins in lenses, andProof sets packaged by the Mint in lenses?
The individually packaged coins in the boxed proof sets of 1950 through 1955 were fastened together with a metal staple. It is common for that staple to have impacted the toning negatively on these coins. Flat pack proof sets of 1955 and beyond seldom have unsightly toning problems unless the packaging isn’t airtight. The later encapsulation methods don’t normally impact toning or preservation unless the encapsulation has been opened to view or handle the coins at some point.
Why was the silver dollar resurrected for circulation in 1840?
U.S. Mint Director Robert M. Patterson surmised, incorrectly, that if banks kept their reserves in silver dollars rather than in half dollars this would free up the 50-cent pieces for general circulation. Since press time at the mint was the same for any denomination this would also allow the mint to produce more lower denomination coins. The dollar wasn’t popular. When gold was discovered in California in 1848, this pushed the spot price of silver above the face value of the coins, creating hoarding problems as well.
A dealer recently refused to accept my credit card for a purchase of bullion-value Silver American Eagles, insisting this be a cash-only purchase. He accepts credit cards for better coins. Can you explain the logic of this?
The margin on bullion coins is marginal. If a dealer accepts a credit card, the fees can easily absorb any potential profits he would otherwise make. There can be other problems when accepting credit cards in lieu of cash, but this one is major.