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Mints strike more than legal tender

Does the term “mint struck” mean the piece is a legal-tender coin?

Far from it. The mint might be either a government or a private mint. The item might be a circulating coin, a non-circulating proof or commemorative, or even a medal, token, or just about any other object that can be placed between a pair of dies. Thus it becomes a relatively meaningless descriptive term.

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

What is the story behind the 1834 token that shows a running pig?

The “Running Boar” is a Hard Times token. There are several varieties. The token arose from the controversy surrounding the Bank of the United States. President Jackson sought to ruin the bank by withdrawing federal deposits. The boar is an allegorical figure representing the fleeing deposits. Jackson won his battle, and the bank’s charter was not renewed.

What was the purpose of the big Fractional Currency shields?

The shields were specially designed by the Treasury Department in 1866-1867 for display purposes. They were presumed to have been intended as an aid in detecting counterfeits of the fractional notes. In the Summer 1964 issue of “Paper Money,” Theodore Kemm wrote, “I doubt very much that counterfeit detection was the specific intent of the issue,” going on to note that a glassed-over display in the bank president’s office would be of little help to the teller at the window. “I prefer to believe that the shields were available to anyone who wanted them for a fixed price and that in some cases they were presented to VIPs.”

Was the $50 slug the largest planned coin in the California area?

Some reports suggest that $100 and even $1,000 coins were discussed and then abandoned. A $1,000 coin would have contained 62.5 ounces of $16 gold, or roughly five troy pounds – a bit heavy for pocket change.

What is the difference between an original set of proof coins and an assembled set?

An original set is one that includes the coins as received and packaged together in a set from the Mint. For those minted and issued since 1955, it would also mean in the original packaging. An assembled set is a date group of coins put together from more than one source, other than directly from the Mint. Krause Publications had sets privately put together and gave them as premiums with subscriptions to Coins Magazine.

What is the piece of plastic in one pocket of the Mint-packaged mint sets?

There are medals with large mintmarks on them in the packets, indicating the mint that struck the coins in them. The souvenir sets also will have a plastic token in one of the pockets indicating this.

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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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