How long has it been estimated germs can live on our circulating coins?
No one has a solid number, however, it is known that viruses and bacteria can survive on most surfaces for about 48 hours.
How prevalent is narcotic residue on our bank notes?
It may be surprising, but almost all of our bank notes have traces of cocaine and other illegal drugs on them. One recent study indicated that up to 90 percent of the European Union, 92 percent of the U.S., and just about all British bank notes are contaminated to some extent.
This may sound nuts, but how can I reliably count the edge reeding on a coin?
People have been known to count the reeding by hand, but in this age of better technology I would suggest taking a scan or image of the reeds, print out that image, then do your counting. You can draw on the image, making it easier to count reliably.
Is there a low-tech way to count reeding that makes sense?
Try this: roll the coin in soft clay, then count the reeding from the flat image.
Are the reeding numbers consistent on all Morgan silver dollars?
The number of reeds on Morgan dollars normally ranges between 177 and 194. Notable exceptions include the 1878 reverse of 1878 known as Van Allen-Mallis or VAM-224 with 168 reeds and eight die pairs of Wide Reeding, 1921 Morgans each with 157 reeds. The 1878 8 Tail Feathers variety known as VAM-6 is known to have at least three different numbers of reeds.
Why do our 1-cent, 5-cent and dollar coins have a smooth edge, yet the dime, quarter and half dollar have a reeded edge?
The original intent was for all gold and silver composition or specie coins to have a reeded edge, while the minor base metal composition coins would have a smooth edge. (Some early cents have a lettered edge.) This worked well at first, but with all the changes in denominations and metal compositions since that time, this theory makes about as much sense as our current nickel being larger than is the dime.
Why has the number of reeds on U.S. coins varied as much as was just discussed?
There is no law mandating how many reeds must appear on any specific U.S. coin or coin denomination. Some reeded edge collar devices have been made at the Philadelphia mint facility and then shipped to the other mints; however, some of the branch mints made their own collar devices on occasion.