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Government was speedy in 1964

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

I’m told that the Kennedy half was one of the speediest pieces of government action in history. Can you review the time span?

President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. President Johnson proposed the coin to Congress Dec. 10, and on Dec. 13 the first trial strikes reached Washington. Congress authorized it on Dec. 30, and proof dies were ready Jan. 2, 1964. The first circulating coin was struck at Denver Jan. 30, and joint ceremonies were held to mark the first strikes at Denver and Philadelphia on Feb. 11. The first 26 million were shipped to the Federal Reserve on March 24, and they were released to the public in the following days.

Somewhere I read something about an 1818 quarter that had a large cent reverse. Was this a mule?

This one is a bit difficult to label. Judd lists it (J-45) as a cent mule with an 1818 quarter dollar die and a large cent reverse, and says it is “struck over a quarter dollar.” The unique coin was offered by Bowers and Ruddy in a 1976 fixed price list as a pattern cent (or quarter) with the additional information that it was struck over a Seated Liberty quarter (1838-1891) sometime in the 1858-1862 period. The obvious conclusion is that the piece is a fantasy, produced during the period when the Mint would make anything for anybody.

How long have we been looking for full-step nickels?

PAK, the full-step nickel collecting club, was formed in 1975, but I saw an ad in a 1967 coin publication offering full-step nickels. This is a term applied to a very well-struck Jefferson nickel, which will show the complete outlines of the six steps of Monticello on the reverse. Because of striking problems and worn dies, very few such coins are known for most dates. Some, like the 1954-S, apparently do not exist or are excessively rare.

How many grades does a hole drop a coin?

Despite frequent “graded” descriptions of holed coins, as a practical matter a punched hole will drop a coin into the filler or cull class. However, this doesn’t stop collectors from going after a rarity. An exception is the coin on a defective planchet, which is often worth substantially more than its numismatic grade value.

The 1876-CC 20-cent coins that have survived in uncirculated grade were souvenirs saved by the members of the 1876 Assay Commission. Is this true?

Possibly, but there is no written evidence to support the belief, which I have seen quoted. You might say, “A likely story.”

Just how extensive are the treasure coins found off the coast of Florida?

Some professional salvers have estimated the value of such treasure to be in the billions, with Florida likely containing more Colonial era sunken treasure than anywhere else in the world. Remember, when I say treasure, this is not coins exclusively.

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