■ I know there are Walking Liberty half dollars on which the designer initials “AW” are missing. Are there any Kennedy half dollars on which the “FG” is missing?
The “FG” initials for Frank Gasparro are missing on the reverse of some 1966 special mint sets, 1972-D and 1982-P Kennedy half dollars. It appears the initials were polished off the die from which the coins were struck. It is possible other dates exist. Do any readers have another date that has been certified to lack Gasparro’s initials?
■ Can I own a share of a rare coin, or must I buy it outright?
There is nothing that says you can’t own a piece of coin along with one or more additional owners. If you were to do this, I would suggest you have an attorney draw up an agreement regarding where the coin would be stored, how the multiple owners would determine when to resell it and how they would sell it.
■ How can I judge if a coin has non-numerical grade qualities if I am buying that coin sight-unseen?
Simply put – you can’t. You are taking a leap of faith if you can’t either see the coin in person or via some electronic image the seller has provided. There is nothing wrong with purchasing coins sight-unseen if either you are familiar with the seller or if that seller will give you an assurance in writing that the coin can be returned within a specific amount of time and packaged as you received it to receive a refund.
■ Who decided which women will be featured on the American Women Quarters Program?
According to the U.S. Mint website, “The Secretary of the Treasury selects the honorees following consultation with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. In 2021, the public was invited to submit recommendations for potential honorees through a web portal established by the National Women’s History Museum.”
■ Who selected Queen Isabella of Spain as the obverse design for the 1893 commemorative quarter?
Although it was officially the Board of Lady Managers (BLM) for the World’s Columbian Exposition that chose the subject, it was likely Bertha Palmer, the Chicago socialite who was head of the BLM who made the decision. The Board of Gentlemen Managers overruled the BLM on most exposition matters, but since there was a Columbian half dollar already authorized, the gentlemen capitulated to the ladies on this issue.
■ Prior to slabbing a coin, there were services that authenticated and graded coins, then made a photograph certificate with which the coin could be traded. Who was the first to try this pioneering idea?
In 1962, numismatist Walter H. Breen established the Institute of Numismatic Authenticators, issuing a photo certificate for each coin examined. Since coins could be switched using this system, the INA only lasted for about a year. This was followed by the American Numismatic Association Certification Service in 1972. Today, ANACS and a host of other companies encapsulate coins they have examined, but it was Accugrade in 1984 that introduced the so-called “slab.”
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