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Any originals of gold coin restrike?

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

How can there be restrikes if there weren’t any original coins?

The question referred specifically to the Austrian 1915 20 corona gold piece. Original dies were used, so there is no way to tell the originals from the restrikes. The assumption is that originals were struck.

Another term that confuses me is “die suction” or “suction marks” on a coin. Can you help?

This question comes up often enough to indicate that there are still many outmoded and obsolete reference works around. Some early “experts” worked on the theory that coins were minted on molten metal, and that the dies would stick or “suck” when pressure was released, causing the marks that today are recognized as die damage or clash marks from contact with the opposing die. “Die clash” is a British term, one of a few that has been adopted by U.S. numismatists.

Do you have a definitive definition for “hay mark?”

This question has been kicking around for several years. However, Walter Breen said that it is an obsolete term for what we now call hairlines, the tiny scratches that result from cleaning, polishing or buffing a coin. The term is still used in England to describe coins suffering this kind of damage. Hay marks in the U.S. are considered to be hairlines on a coin from polishing or rubbing. There is a second meaning, as in England it was used to describe the dark streaks on the surfaces of silver coins of the 1700s.

I notice in a previous answer that you refer to the Lincoln cent design (1909-1958) as wheat “heads.” How come, when everyone calls them wheat “ears?"

Because, “everyone” is as wrong in this case as those who call the 1970-S cent a “small” date. As Del Romines pointed out and any farmer can attest to, corn has ears, wheat has heads. Romines made the point successfully with the Red Book editor, who began using the correct term in the 1994 edition, but then it went back to ears as common usage triumphed.

Are there any U.S. coins with the same design on different denominations?

One would be the Grant gold commemorative dollar and half dollar. Also, the 20-cent piece has the same reverse as the Trade dollar. This similarity isn’t often spotted, but it’s correct. Missing from the 20-cent coin is the motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM and the statement of the silver fineness that is added to the Trade dollar, but the rest is the same.

Is the bust of Columbus on the Columbian Exposition half dollar modeled after a portrait of the explorer?

No. The intent was to use a medal struck in 1512 as a model, but it was not available in time. Charles Barber used what he could find.

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• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.