Has the U.S. Mint issued any two- headed coins?
Other than a couple of recent dubious Mint sports, the one unusual example is the 1904 and 1905 Lewis and Clark gold commemorative dollars, which have the head of Meriwether Lewis and date on obverse and William Clark on reverse. There are a small number of 1868 Indian Head cents accidentally struck during a change in the dies that made the reverse the hammer die. The hammer die is usually the obverse.
What does it mean when a coin auction is listed as ?to the order of? some person or institution?
Under the law, the phrase ?to the order of? followed by a specific name indicates to whom the proceeds of the sale should be paid. It is the same terminology used on a check payable only to a certain person.
What?s the point for a collector to go to an auction? The dealers have control of the sale.
This is a popular fallacy. Any knowledgeable collector can outbid most dealers who have to keep their profit margin in mind. A collector who wants a specific piece for his collection usually can get it because of the leeway the dealer must have to make a profit on the deal. There are exceptions of course.
I have a silver coin that does not ?ring? when dropped on a hard surface. Does this mean it is a fake?
The coin was further described as having a crack in the edge, and being slightly underweight. An internal split or crack will destroy the ring of a silver coin. In this case there may have been a cavity in the center of the planchet, causing the low weight. This effect is the principal reason why ?ringing? a coin is at best only a negative test of quality, and cannot be considered a positive test of the genuineness of a coin, as well as a potential of damaging the coin.
What was the purpose of the marble shelf on some of the antique cash registers?
While I doubt that many people have ever stopped to consider that there might have been some specific purpose ? other than decoration ? for this particular part of the ornate brass and bronze machines, it did have a purpose. The marble was used as a test for counterfeit silver coins. Genuine pieces would ?ring? on the stone while a fake would sound differently. Join in a collective shudder as we consider how many collectible coins were permanently damaged by this destructive testing.