■ Is cryptocurrency a cash equivalent?
Bank notes are considered alongside coins to be money. Each is interchangeable with the other. Cryptocurrencies need to be converted to coins or bank notes at some point but cannot continue in their crypto state without being converted to one of the two forms of value we define as being currency. If at some point cryptocurrency is accepted as not needing to be converted, then it will become a third type of cash.
■ Should I get my foreign and ancient coins slabbed?
It’s a matter of preference if you have these coins certified. Authentication may in some situations be more important than a grade that may be accepted in the United States, but not accepted elsewhere. There are a significant number of collectors both domestic and foreign who do not like their foreign of ancient coins to be “entombed” in a third-party service encasement.
■ You said a grade might be accepted in the U.S. but not elsewhere. Aren’t coin grades accepted universally?
U.S. coins are graded on a 70-point system based on Dr. William H. Sheldon’s attempt at a grading scale for large cents. This system is not acknowledged universally, nor is the concept of numerical grades. This is especially true for ancient coins, where, as an example, a coin grading Extremely Fine would often be accepted as About Uncirculated by U.S. standards if the same pieces were U.S. coins.
■ What items other than coins can be slabbed?
Stamps, trading and sports cards, exonumia, diamonds, autographs, sports memorabilia and comic books are among collectibles for which authentication and grading services exist that also encapsulate the examined item. There are groups that grade toys as well; however, due to their size, only certificates could be offered. This creates the same problem coins had prior to encapsulation services when a coin needed to be matched to a photo-certificate.
■ How do I know population reports don’t include duplicate submissions?
Coin population reports tabulate the number of coins of a date, mintmark and variety submitted to a third-party certification and grading service. A coin might be removed from a service encapsulation and re-submitted, skewing the true population of coins examined. For that reason, population report statistics are informational, but should not be taken as gospel when determining the rarity of a coin in a specific grade.
■ How did the Educational bank note series come to be?
The Series 1896 Educational silver certificate $1, $2 and $5 bank notes depict neoclassical allegorical vignettes on the fronts. Designs for $10 and $50 notes were completed but never released. All were the work of Bureau of Engraving and Printing Chief Claude M. Johnson. Other proposed denominations for the series were the $20, $100, $500 and $1,000. Neoclassical art dates from the late 18th century but remained popular through the mid-20th century in the United States. Compare the art for these bank notes to coin designs of the same period.
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