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Background on the Belleville Mint

What is the story behind the Belleville Mint?

John Gibbs of Belleville, N.J., billed himself as the Manufacturer of Medals and Tokens. Gibbs produced, among other things, Hard Times tokens. Gibbs shared a building with Stevens, Thomas, and Fuller, who produced dies and struck coins for merchants, Brazil, Liberia, and Santo Domingo.

I just watched the referees at a football game on television flip a coin to determine who should get the ball first. How do we know flipping a coin will give a 50-50 chance of calling heads or tails?

The asymmetric weight distribution of the coin may favor one side over the other, especially due to the design elements on each side. For that reason, not all coins will give someone a 50-50 chance when a coin is used to decide on something such as who gets the ball first at a game.

How do you determine the obverse on a coin if no person or animal is used as a design element?

In general, the obverse side of a coin is determined to be the side with the larger-scale image. Technically, the obverse should be the side of the coin struck with the hammer blow, while the reverse is the stationary die set in the anvil.

Are there any U.S. coins on which it would be difficult to determine which is the obverse and which is the reverse side?

The 1904 and 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition gold dollar coins depict an individual on both sides, making it challenging to determine which is “heads” or “tails.”

Is there a system through which the toning on a coin can be “graded?”

Eye appeal is the key to the desirability, or lack of it, for any individual coin. There is no third-party certification service that rates what they think of the quality or attractiveness of the toning on a coin, nor have I seen a scale that might prove to be useful.

Is what is designated as being a Full Head on a Liberty Standing quarter the same for all dates and mintmarks?

The Full Head is reasonably consistent on Type Two quarters of 1917 to 1930 (three clear and distinctive leaves being present as part of the standard), but not for the Type One quarters. The detail is mushy on a 1916 quarter, while the 1917 Type One coins define the hair cords reasonably well.

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