? I found a reference to the offer of the single specimen of the 1849 $20 gold piece for $100,000 many years ago. Can you help track it down?
The coin was a star member of the Mint Cabinet now in the Smithsonian, and it?s not for sale. The $100,000 figure you refer to probably came from a published comment from Farran Zerbe in 1899 that stated ?if? the coin were offered for sale that, ?the rivalry among the wealthy collectors of the world would make that coin worth $100,000.? It was speculation, but a remarkable figure for that era. Today, the coin could bring upwards of $10 million.
? One often sees figures for the dollar value of gold as far back as the 13th century. Since the dollar didn?t exist back then, how was the value figured?
The answer lies in another currency that existed and was relatively stable for the 500-year period. It ended when the United States came into being in 1776. The British pound varied only slightly in value between 1250 A.D. and 1776, so the value of the pound in 1776 dollars was used as the established base. The figure was approximately $21.50 an ounce.
? Was there ever a time when it was possible to convert a silver dollar into more money by turning it in to the government?
If you think the idea of something for nothing is a pipe dream, consider this: In 1863 it was possible to walk into the Mint with 100 silver dollars, and walk out the door with $104 in small change, legally. The point was that the standard silver dollar contained .7736 of an ounce of silver. Two half dollars, four quarters or 10 dimes contained .7240 of an ounce of bullion, so more were required to match the silver in a dollar. The money making method was written up in a rare numismatic publication of that era, and it referred to transactions at the San Francisco Mint.
? Was President Woodrow Wilson superstitious about the number of letters in his name?
Wilson was what you might call ?counter? superstitious about the number 13, considering it his lucky number. He delighted in inviting 13 guests to a dinner or party. Which reminds me, there are 13 letters in the motto appearing on our coins ? E Pluribus Unum.
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