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Olympic surcharge brought $73 million

How did the surcharge work on the U.S. Olympic commemorative coins sold in 1983 and 1984?

The surcharge applied to the 1983 and 1984 Olympic coins amounted to $50 on each gold coin and $10 for each silver coin, which was included in the purchase price. As orders were received, the surcharge was turned over to the United States Olympic Committee and the Los Angeles organizing committee As a result, when the program was over the committees had received a total of $73.4 million, which helped support athletes under the American banner.


Has the U.S. dollar been devalued?

Several times. In 1834 the gold value was reduced by 6.3 percent. Most recently on Oct. 18, 1973, the gold value changed from $38 an ounce to $42.22, a 10 percent devaluation. It has floated on the markets ever since that time.


Modern Commemorative Coins

do you know which modern commemoratives have the best potential for profit?

One often sees figures giving the dollar value of gold as far back as the 13th century. Since the dollar didn’t exist back then, just how did they go about figuring the dollar value?

The answer lies in another currency that existed and was relatively stable for the 500-year period ending when the United States came into being in 1776. The British pound varied only slightly in value between 1250 and 1776, so the value of the pound in 1776 dollars was used as the established base, or a figure of approximately $21.50 an ounce.


I’ve seen a number of times that California gold was worth only $16 an ounce, when gold was priced at $20.67. What was the problem?

Pure gold was worth $20.67 a troy ounce, but gold dust or nuggets from California contained silver and other metals that reduced the actual fineness of the gold. After considerable discussion, the “average” value of gold dust from California was established at $16.


Will proof coins always retain their value?

There is no guarantee that any coin will maintain its value. Many coins do become more valuable over time. An exception are recent proof sets that are selling for a fraction of their issue price. Although many collectors treat proof coins as if they were completely different from circulating coins, the fact is that their value similarly is dependent on mintages.


How high will the price of gold have to go before the face value of a gold coin will be an exact multiple of the gold value?

Let’s back up and start over. I think you are mixing some facts and some fantasy here. No U.S. gold coin contains – or ever contained – the exact value in gold to match the face value. It is always slightly less. No matter what the price of gold does, it isn’t going to change that ratio a bit. Even if gold went to a million dollars an ounce, it won’t alter the fact that a $20 gold coin contains less than an ounce of gold. To answer the question, gold would actually have to drop below $11 for the face value to be twice the gold value.


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, and 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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