This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Why do some catalogs list the Trade dollars out of date sequence, before or after the Morgan and Peace dollars?
It’s a matter of editorial preference that traces back to the fact that the Trade dollar was essentially a special issue not related to the normal dollar series. They are positioned differently to prevent readers from confusing the issues.
I have a number of coins that I bought that have two- and three-letter combinations printed on the holders in ink, but I can’t make any sense out of them. Are they grade abbreviations, or what?
The symbols you describe are dealer price codes and have nothing to do with grading. The usual procedure is to take a 10-letter word and assign each letter to one of the 10 digits, so that the price paid for a piece can be coded. If you have enough of them from one dealer, you can undoubtedly break the code.
More on the Royal Canadian Mint:
Bill tells us: The “Corporate emblem” of the RCM is a “modified Maple Leaf” within a circle. The “P” on Canadian coins (cent through 25 cents) for circulation was to indicate the coins were plated over a steel planchet.
Do books about coins affect the market?
There is a very definite correlation between the publishing of a book on the hobby, especially one that offers prices or covers some specialized area. This is likely to be even more true if the book covers some phase that hasn’t been covered before. Many of the more popular varieties have languished until they were listed in some reference work that received wide distribution.
More on muled tokens:
Bob writes: “Regarding your Coin Clinic column for Aug.24, while the first mules of tokens in the United States occurred about 1860 (maybe late 1850s, in my opinion), this is not the first deliberate minting of mules (though they did not appear in circulation). In the 1790s, collecting “Conder” tokens was a craze in England, and many muled tokens were made to fleece collectors. There are even a few satirical pieces.”
Also, Bob says, “You have moved Pismo Beach from California to Florida! I have referred to the clamshell money of Pismo Beach and Crescent City as ‘California Clamshell Money’ to emphasize their origin.”
You’ve mentioned the Blake and Co. $20 gold pieces numerous times, but wasn’t there a matching $50 piece?
Because of the hundreds of thousands of brass copies of the $20 gold with the coin press on the obverse, the $20 is much more well-known. The coin you inquired about is from the same obverse die, but with “50” punched into the center of the reverse. Only one specimen is reported, in the John J. Ford collection. The $50 piece weighs 1284.6 grains or 83.241 grams. By contrast, the 1915-S Pan Pacific $50 gold pieces officially weighed 1,290 grains or 83.592 grams.
I bought a coin and took it out of the holder to have it authenticated. Now the dealer I bought it from says I broke an implied contract with him by doing this. Is this correct?
Most coin dealers, for their own protection, stipulate that once a coin is removed from their holder any guarantee is void. Obviously there otherwise is no way to prove that it’s the same coin the dealer sold you. The recommended way to avoid such problems is to have the dealer get the coin authenticated before you take possession of it. You may have to pay the authentication fee, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. Otherwise, work out some sort of agreement with the dealer before you open the holder.