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Many U.S. coins bear more than 13 stars

Are there more than 13 stars on any of our coins?

Lots of them. There are 14- and 16-star dimes, and the 1796 quarter has 15 stars. The 1794 and 1796 halves have 16 stars and the Gobrecht 1836 dollars has 26. The 1796-1807 $2.50 has 13 stars on each side, a variety of the 1804 had a 14-star reverse and the 1879 $4 stella had 13 on the obverse and one large star on the reverse. The $20 gold from 1907-1911 has 46 stars around the edge, with 48 around the edge 1912-1933, plus three stars separating ?E PLURIBIS UNUM.? The $10 gold has 46 on the edge from 1907-1911 and a 48-star edge from 1912-1933, plus 13 on the obverse. The Kennedy half dollar has them all beat with 63 stars on its reverse.

Who do I write to urge a ?P? mintmark on the cent? Who would I write with some suggestions for our coinage?

I?d suggest the following:

Director, U.S. Mint, Washington, DC 20220
Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury, 15th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20220
Chairman, House Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and Coinage, 1740 Longworth, Washington, DC 20515-0534

Send the editor a copy of your letters and he will consider them for publication as well.

Where did the suggestion come from to put Lincoln on the cent in 1909?

There is a letter preserved in the Library of Congress that answers this question. The initial proposal, or at least the first one to come to public attention, was a letter written by Jerome Sivia of Springfield, Ill., to President Theodore Roosevelt. In it he suggested that the switch would be an appropriate memorial of the 100th anniversary of Lincoln?s birth.
Special designs are being worked on for the 200th anniversary in 2009.

Why is it that published pictures of coins sometimes look like the design was incuse rather than in relief?

You have run afoul of an optical illusion. There are several ways of correcting this, but one of the simplest is to turn the picture upside down. This will usually change the perspective enough so that the design will ?snap? back into place and look as it should.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 41-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to