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Coin Clinic: What’s SMS half like?


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By Richard Giedroyc

I do a lot of roll searching, primarily 50-cent pieces, looking for silver and errors. I’ve been very successful over the years, but I don’t know how to differentiate between regular circulation issues and Special Mint Sets of 1965 to 1967. Can you help me?

There are no diagnostics that differentiate Special Mint Set coins of 1965 to 1967 from the business strikes of the same years, however when both are compared you can see the difference. The SMS coins are simply of a higher quality. The SMS coins were struck at the San Francisco Assay Office on higher-tonnage coin presses than are the business strikes. What makes it more challenging to identify them is that the SMS coins have no mintmark. Once these coins are out of the Mint packaging, you probably won’t be able to identify them as from SMS sets.


What exactly is a bitcoin and is there any possibility bitcoins will become collectibles?

It is difficult to explain what a bitcoin is, but it is virtual, not physical money (despite the Titan Bitcoins collectible reviewed in the Nov. 26 issue of Numismatic News). For this reason there is nothing of interest there for coin collectors. Since bitcoins are not something physical they could be considered to be the ultimate fiat money. Their value can be exchanged into any currency desired, their value being based on pure supply and demand. There are Internet exchanges at which bitcoins can be traded or converted to hard cash – in physical fiat money. Current value is $600 each.


Back in the Feb. 19, 2008, Numismatic News issue, Page 40, the Coin Clinic Column had a detailed mintage and years of the GSA CC Morgan dollars. I know there were some other non-CC Morgan dollars in the GSA hoard and I am asking if you could publish this in Coin Clinic.

I still don’t have a population report on the non-Carson City GSA dollars to give you, but I did recently encounter a listing of “non CC” GSA dollars that should at least identify which dates are known. The dates are: 1879, 1879-S, 1879-S Second Reverse, 1880-S, 1881, 1881-O, 1881-S, 1882, 1882-O, 1882-S, 1883, 1883-O, 1884, 1884-O, 1885, 1885-O, 1886, 1887, 1889, 1896, 1900-O, 1902-O, 1903-O, and 1904-O. All were valued about the same with the exception of the 1903-O GSA dollar, which was listed at more than twice the value of the others.


Is there a club for people who collect Dwight D. Eisenhower dollars?

The Ike Group is an organization that in its own words has a mission “to guide, inform, and provide expertise as the complete Eisenhower Dollar resource.” The Ike Group can be contacted at IkeGroup.info. Any other club for those collectors specializing in Eisenhower dollars is encouraged to contact this column so your existence can be publicized.


E-mail inquiries only. Do not send letters in the mail. Send to Giedroyc@Bright.net. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions.


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