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Paper money’s start came in 1690

When was the first paper money issued in what is now the United States?

The Massachusetts General Court issued the first paper money in the colonies in 1690. The U.S. Government issued its first paper money (Treasury Notes) in 1861.

I’d like to start a collection of food stamps. Do any dealers offer them for sale?

Food stamps are totally non-collectible. Federal law makes them as illegal to possess as counterfeit currency or coins. You cannot legally hold food stamps unless you are enrolled in the program, or you are an authorized store where they can be redeemed. Perhaps this will change as since 2004 Electronic Benefit Transfer cards are used rather than paper stamps.

Why don’t the mint sets from 1975 on have “S” mint coins in them?

Because San Francisco either stopped striking circulation versions, or dropped the mintmark from those that were struck. SBA dollars are the exception. The claims were that speculators had disrupted normal circulation of the 1973-S cents. The 1974-S cents were mixed with Philadelphia and Denver issues and then the mintmark was dropped on the cent in future issues. When America the Beautiful quarters began having an “S” version in 2012, they were simply left out of annual mint sets, making them incomplete in all the years since.

In past issues of Numismatic News there have been stories or references to the “Lost Dutchman” mine. Is it still lost?

The missing mine, somewhere in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, continues to elude searchers. The Superstitions are just a few miles from the Phoenix metropolitan area. The neighboring community of Apache Junction stages an annual “Lost Dutchman Days” celebration.

Can you quote the law used as the authority for ending two-cent production?

The two-cent and silver three-cent coins died ignored. The Coinage Act of 1873 terminated the two denominations by not listing them as authorized coins.

Who is on the current half dollar?


I’ve been getting questions about Roosevelt on the dime for several years, but this is the first for the half dollar – from a school teacher. The bust is that of President John F. Kennedy.

With postage costs currently at 49 cents an ounce and going up at every opportunity, I’m curious about postage costs in the past.

First Class postage was down to three cents in the 1850s. The price was used to justify creation of the three-cent silver and $3 gold. It dropped to two cents 1919 to 1932 then back to three. In 1958 it went to four cents and in 1963 to five cents.

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

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