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Two dollar designs in 1921 seem strange

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

It seems rather strange the Peace dollar was introduced very late in 1921, rather than waiting until 1922. How was this coin authorized?

The Peace dollar came in through the back door under an 1890 act of Congress. Within that act it reads: “But no change in the design or die of any coin shall be made oftener than once in twenty-five years from and including the year of the first adoption of the design, model, die, or hub for the same coin. Provided, that no change be made in the diameter of any coin: and provided further, That nothing in this section shall prevent the adoption of new designs or models for devices or emblems already authorized for the standard silver dollar and the five-cent nickel piece as soon as practicable after the passage of this act.”

Is there a good reason why there are 1878 7 Feather and 8 Feather variety silver dollars, or was it just trivialized sloppy work on the part of the Mint?

Superintendent of the U.S. Mint Henry R. Linderman determined there was what he called a “slight imperfection” in the new Morgan silver dollar dies. The relief of the coins also needed to be lowered because the high relief on the coins on which eight feathers appear was shortening the life span of the coinage dies. The seven feathers appearing on the lower relief, design modified silver dollars identified the two relief varieties. The seven feathers also reverted to the earlier U.S. coinage tradition of depicting an odd number of tail feathers on the eagle.

I recently acquired a U.S. Army World War I Victory medal with three service bars on the ribbon. Is it possible to determine to which unit or individual this medal was awarded?

These medals were mailed to recipients in April 1921. You won’t be able to identify the person to whom the medal was awarded unless the name of that individual has been engraved on the medal. You can narrow the number of units whose members were awarded the medal through the campaigns named on the three battle clasps, but you won’t get any closer than that.

Why is it that Switzerland demonetized all its circulating silver coinage, yet in the United States our silver coins are still legal tender?

The United States has never, with the short-term exception of the Trade dollar, ever demonetized any of its federal currency, be it coins or bank notes. We are an exception to the rule. Most countries demonetize their older currency sooner or later.

What if any advantage is there to a gold coin bearing a denomination to a gold “round” or ingot?

The true advantage of the coin over the bullion piece is the coin avoiding custom duties when it crosses international borders. Coins in some jurisdictions are exempt from capital gains taxes that are levied on bullion.

Do you have any information on a tiny (less than a half inch) medal/charm dated 1832 with the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia on the obverse and the Lord’s Prayer on the reverse?

This medalet is listed as PA-Ph 394 in “Standard Catalog of United States Tokens 1700-1900” by Russell Rulau. George B. Soley acquired the Mint’s first steam press as scrap in 1875, using it to strike these.

I have a Franklin Institute souvenir medal. It’s larger than the Mint/Lord’s Prayer medal. Is this a Soley issue?

Soley allegedly struck his souvenir medal series (many including the Lord’s Prayer on the reverse) through 1880. His widow donated the press to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1927.

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More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.

• With nearly 24,000 listings and over 14,000 illustrations, the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues is your go-to guide for modern bank notes.