Skip to main content

Who were the Chapman Brothers?

Is it true that there are more counterfeit Indian $2.50 quarter eagle coins than any other U.S. gold coin?

The most current information I could find was the April 13, 2009 statement from Professional Coin Grading Service that said the series at that time represented 40% of all counterfeit gold received by that service.

Why did it take until 1908 for the San Francisco Mint to be permitted to strike minor denomination coins?

Legislation allowing this was slow in coming, but was passed once it became obvious the demand for coins had increased sufficiently for this mint facility to help fill the growing need.

Would you explain the ring test and the reason it is used?

The ring test is conducted by balancing a coin on a finger, then gently tapping it with another metal object. Genuine coins will emit a high-pitched ringing sound. Electrotype and cast copies emit a very different and rather dull sound. Since the success of this test is based on how well your ear is trained, it may be a quick field test, but it isn’t foolproof.

What does the term “sweating” mean?

Sweating is a process involving placing coins in a bag, then shaking the bag to knock small pieces of metal from each coin. These metal scraps are recovered, while the coin remains relatively intact. This practice was commonplace with gold coins, since the gold scrap has significant value. The weight of the coin is not altered sufficiently enough to be noticed when the coin is spent.

What is a Registry set?

A registry set is an online way to image and track your coin holdings, then compete against other people with similar coins or sets to see who has the better coin or set of coins. A registry set also serves as a way to keep track of what you paid, market prices, and associated third-party certification service population reports. According to the Professional Coin Grading Service web site, “You can also build your own digital coin album which you can share with your friends.”

Who were the Chapman brothers?

Henry and Samuel Chapman worked for famed Philadelphia coin dealer Captain John W. Haseltine before opening their own coin store in 1878. The brothers were pioneers in the field and started publishing illustrated auction catalogs in 1879. Three years later, they innovated further by offering detailed descriptions of each coin when they auctioned the Charles J. Bushnell Collection. Samuel retired in 1929 and Henry continued the business until his death in 1935.

John White Haseltine was a captain during the Civil War. He later became a coin dealer, coin collector, and stock market investor. Never one to shy away from a good fight, Haseltine’s 1885 coin auction was confiscated by the U.S. Mint due to an 1804 silver dollar and several suspected counterfeits in the sale. Pattern coins sold by Haseltine were seized three years later. The dispute regarding ownership of patterns was settled through the June 23, 1910 affidavit in United States vs. John W. Haseltine. Consider him a flamboyant numismatist.