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What’s Nixon got to do with silver dollars?

 Richard M. Nixon

Richard M. Nixon

Can you explain the term “Nixon dollars?”

An inscription and facsimile signature of President Richard M. Nixon appears inside the lid of the black and blue cardboard boxes in which Carson City minted Morgan silver dollars were sold by the General Service Administration. Nixon dollar is a reference to a CC dollar still in its original packaging.

Is there any additional premium to my 1864 Large Motto two-cent coin with a 180 degree rotated die?

Your coin has medal rather than coin alignment. Unfortunately there is a common variety of this denomination and date that almost always has this rotated die. For that reason there is little or no premium for your coin based solely on the rotation error.

Are there any other U.S. coins on which a rotated die error is commonplace rather than being a rarity?

The 1807 Draped Bust large cent, 1861 silver three-cent and Kennedy half dollars dated 1973-S (proof), 1984-S (proof) and 1988 are among the commonly encountered coins with a 180 degree or similar degrees of die rotation. In general you are more likely to encounter a 19th century U.S. coin with die rotation than later issues. There are too many to list them all in this column.

When did wooden nickels first serve as tokens rather than as souvenirs?

Tenino and Blaine, each in the state of Washington, usually get credit for introducing the wooden nickel as a substitute for five cents value in coins. This was during the Great Depression, which started in 1929. Cincinnati claims to have used wooden nickels as money even earlier. Individuals could pay a nickel for a wooden token, which was then used on Sundays in exchange for a beer, which was illegal to sell on the Sabbath. This would suggest the wooden nickel was in use prior to the introduction of Prohibition in 1920.

How can I tell the difference between a proof and a deep-mirror prooflike Morgan silver dollar?

The mirror-like surface appears to be thicker and deeper on the proof than on the DMPL Morgan dollars. This is due to the way the proof dies were polished. Watch for any signs of circulation, scuffs, and contact marks on DMPL strikes. These marks should not appear on proofs unless the coin was later mishandled. When in doubt only purchase a coin that has been certified by a well-recognized third-party service to be a proof.

There is significant shipwreck treasure off the Florida coast. What are the laws regarding finding such coins?

The people of Florida have title to Florida shipwrecks through the Abandoned Shipwreck Act. Florida law follows but expands on federal law through the Florida Historical Resources Act. This law covers all navigable Florida waterways as well as 10 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. Permits are required in order to dive for treasure and all excavation and recovery is made under state supervision. The finder may still be awarded a portion of his find.

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More Collecting Resources

• Check out the newly-updated Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date that provides accurate identification, listing and pricing information for the latest coin releases.

• Order the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues to learn about circulating paper money from 14th century China to the mid 20th century.