Skip to main content

Several coins don

The 1883 nickel got lots of publicity. Was it the only circulating coin without a spelled-out denomination?

The 1883 nickel got lots of publicity. Was it the only circulating coin without a spelled-out denomination?

Don’t forget the three-cent silver, three-cent nickel, the half dime (1794-1805), dimes (1796-1807), the 1796 quarter, the half dollars (1794-1807) that had it on the edge. It was the same for the dollars from 1794 to 1804.

Why are the Morgan dollars called Bland dollars? Poor design?

Bland, with a capital B, was a Missouri Representative who got together with Senator Allison to pass the legislation that forced the Treasury to buy a minimum of $2 million a month of silver to coin dollars.

What is an “X Ray” note?

If you are hip to the jive, this is an old term for the rarely seen $10,000 note.

Here’s another name for a silver dollar:

A reader says, “I grew up in a rural grocery store in Princess Anne Co., Virginia. Former slaves often carried a silver dollar in their cheek and it was called their ‘birth dollar.’ My parents would often give them groceries on credit and hold their birth dollar as collateral until they got paid.”

What can you tell me about several copper pieces I have? They are the size of quarters and some have reeded edges.

From your description, if you have unstruck, reeded copper pieces the size of quarters then they are slugs, or fake coins, and not unstruck planchets. The reeding can only be applied by the striking of the coin, so it is impossible to have a reeded planchet. The unreeded pieces, if approximately 95-105 grains, are probably also slugs, made to use in slot machines and telephones. They are illegal to own, sell, trade or otherwise dispose of and should be turned over to the Secret Service. This can be done through a local bank.

What is a “collar” or “ring” counterfeit?

Back in the mid-1800s some smart counterfeiters discovered that it was possible to take the $20 gold pieces and saw them in two, scoop out the gold and replace it with a platinum disc or base metal, solder the halves together and hide the joint with a reeded ring which was placed around the coin. The scheme worked until the price of platinum rose above the price of gold. These pieces still turn up in old collections.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 41-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to