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Gold bars made since the Bronze Age

When and where was the first gold ingot (or bar) made?


Metal ingots have been cast since the dawn of refining when the Stone Age was replaced by the Bronze Age, which in turn was replaced by the Iron Age. No exacting time line exists for when one of these metal ages replaced a previous “technology.” Gold has been recognized as something of value to be used as money since at least the Bronze Age, perhaps earlier.

I may have the 1964 Kennedy half dollar with the accented hair. Your thoughts on the coin are appreciated.

This is a proof rather than a business strike variety. In addition to the hair, diagnostics include a truncated rather than full serif at the lower left of the “I” in “Liberty,” breaks in a ray between the eagle and scroll on the reverse, and a lack of a horizontal serif on the “G” in the initials FG on the reverse. It is believed only between one and three percent of the issue are of this variety.

What is a Masonic funerary jewel?

I am assuming you are thinking of the handmade engraved silver medallions of the 18th and 19th centuries. Most of these are unique since they were handmade. The most valuable examples are those commemorating well-known individuals. Most of these “jewels” can be identified by Masonic symbols appearing on them.

Is there such a thing as an authentic two-headed coin?

It should be impossible for the U.S. Mint to strike a two-headed coin, since the obverse and reverse dies fit differently into the coining machine. Having said that, there is a two-tailed Washington quarter that has been authenticated both by the U.S. Secret Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation that originated from a lock box of what Heritage Auctions later described as “Unusual and provocative pieces.” The contents of the box were auctioned by the State of California. These so-called trial strikes were otherwise all dated 2000. Presumably, the two-tailed piece was made in that year.

I have a 1978 double-headed penny. I bought it with a bunch of error pennies and am wondering if there ever was any error coins in existence that are double headed or just fakes.

There is at least one genuine U.S. two-headed coin, although it was likely made after hours inside the Mint. This is the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation certified two-tailed quarter suspected of being dated 2000 with San Francisco mintmark.

I know there are several comprehensive resources regarding the commemorative coins that the U.S. Mint produces. Is there a publication or a website that lists all the various medals that have been produced?

I am unaware of a single comprehensive source. Considering the massive output the Mint has produced, this shouldn’t be too surprising.

Does the American Numismatic Association give awards for various reasons?

The organization gives many awards. There are so many, in fact, that there is an afternoon award ceremony to present all but the top awards. Service awards presented include the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service, Lifetime Achievement Award, Numismatist of the Year, Young Numismatist of the Year, and Outstanding District Representative.

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More Collecting Resources

• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you'll want to check out our Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins eBook.

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .