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Pattern for blind ahead of its time

Please tell me what a “blind man’s nickel” is.

It’s a rarity, that’s for certain. Two 1882 pattern nickels, Judd 1683 and 1697, each had five equally spaced bars on edge. Listed by Haseltine in a March 1, 1883, sale as designed for the use of the blind. The idea was fine but posed production problems and never went beyond the pattern stage, with just five of the pieces struck.


Were the 1920, 1921, and 1922 Philippines coins without mintmarks struck at Philadelphia?

The Manila Mint began striking coins in 1920 but did not use a mintmark until 1923, so the coins all came from the Manila Mint. The Manila Mint operated as a branch of the U.S. Mint from July 16, 1920, until the Philippines were granted independence in 1946. The last U.S. coins struck with the “M” mintmark were the 1941 issues.


An 1839 daguerreotype of Central High School in Philadelphia, Pa., alleged to be the oldest photograph taken in the United States. (Image by Joseph Saxton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Wasn’t the Mint involved in one of the first efforts to use a camera to take pictures in America?

The oldest surviving photo taken in the United States was taken from the window of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in October 1839. Joseph Saxton read an article in a newspaper and constructed a camera from a cigar box and a lens from a burning glass. He was able to successfully take a photo of the school across the street. The interesting part to numismatists is that the “film” that he used was a strip of highly polished silver coin metal. The photo is in the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Wasn’t the Bicentennial quarter an afterthought?

It was. The original proposal from the Administration was for a half dollar and a dollar. The quarter was suggested by Mint Director Mary Brooks after the original proposal was sent to Congress.


The government spent a lot of time tracking down and confiscating the 1933 $20 gold pieces. Why didn’t they do the same with the 1913 Liberty nickels?

For some unknown reason, the government made no attempt to confiscate the 1913 V nickels, perhaps because they felt they could not conclusively prove that they were actually struck without permission. However, if anyone were foolish enough to send one of the coins to the Mint to be authenticated, it would undoubtedly be seized. The 1933 $20 gold was in the spotlight because of the Presidential order banning gold, so in that case the government zealously chased them down.


Can you repeat the poem about silver dollars?

I don’t know the author, but here’s one poem:

“Oh give me a big silver dollar
to throw on the bar with a bang.
A dollar all creased may do in the East,
But we like our money to clang!”


This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today


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