United States Mint Celebrates Carson City Mint Sesquicentennial

U.S. Mint Press Release February 4, 2020

CARSON CITY, NV – United States Mint Director David J. Ryder today joined officials of the state of Nevada and representatives of the Nevada State Museum to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first coin produced at the Carson City Mint.

Director Ryder reflected on the facility’s legacy: “The Carson City Mint holds a special place in the United States Mint’s history. Some of our most beautiful coins were produced here, including the iconic Morgan Silver Dollar, which is still popular with collectors today. I am proud to acknowledge the people who worked here and the important role the facility played in the community.”

An Act of Congress established the Carson City Mint in 1863 to address the coinage needs brought about by the discovery of the Comstock Lode. The facility operated from 1870 to 1899 and produced gold and silver coins, including dimes, twenty-cent pieces, quarters, half dollars, Trade dollars, Morgan dollars, five-dollar gold pieces, ten-dollar gold pieces, and twenty-dollar gold pieces. From 1899 to 1933, the building served as a United States Assay Office for gold and silver. The building was sold to the state of Nevada in 1939.

Ryder joined Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Lt. Governor Kate Marshall, Congressman Mark Amodei, State Treasurer Zach Conine, Mayor Robert Crowell, Nevada State Museum Director Myron Freedman, and History Curator Robert Nylen to celebrate this milestone.

The event kicked off with the symbolic opening of the historic front doors of the Carson City Mint and the ringing of the Mint Bell by Director Ryder. Additional highlights included the ceremonial striking of a Nevada State Museum .999 fine silver medallion on the historic Coin Press 1, which struck the first “CC” mint mark coin in 1870. A lecture program, buffet lunch reception, and cake cutting rounded out the celebration.

About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.

Over $5.6 Million in U.S. Coins Sold in Baltimore

Posted on June 6, 2019 courtesy of Numismatic News Staff

Santa Ana, CA –  Collectors from across the country descended on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in the days leading up to Memorial Day, where two days of exciting auction sessions in their May 2019 Official Auction of the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Summer Expo. Highlighted by the Drummer, Fairmont and Newmark Collections, over $5.6 million in United States coins and Numismatic Americana were sold, kicking off an exciting summer season of auction events for the firm. All prices include the 20% buyer’s premium.

The Baltimore Auction featured an astounding selection of Flying Eagle and Indian Head cents. Several rarities from these series were presented in Session 1, including a Proof-65 RD (PCGS) 1865 cent which brought $13,200 (lot 29) and a Gem MS-66+ RD (PCGS) 1898 cent that realized $10,800 (lot 80).

A surviving Proof 1865 Indian cent, this coin is a significant example of the rare Snow-PR1 die pairing.  Sold for $13,200. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

Small cents continued to shine in Session 2, which featured the Rarities Night portion of the sale followed the Fairmont Collection of US Gold Coinage.

A beautiful Proof-66 (PCGS) 1856 Flying Eagle cent sold for $50,400 in lot 1005, and a Proof-65 BN (PCGS) CAC 1864 Indian Head cent with L on Ribbon earned $45,600 in lot 1016. Strong demand was demonstrated for key-dates and iconic rarities throughout the session, as was demonstrated by the $99,000 price realized by the MS-66+ FH (PCGS) CAC 1916 Standing Liberty quarter in lot 1059.

The star of the evening was the incredible 1879 Flowing Hair Stella offered in lot 1089. Certified Proof-66 UCAM by NGC with only three examples finer, it brought $234,000.

Three exceptional $50 slugs from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition were offered in the session, highlighted by a MS-64 (PCGS) Octagonal example (lot 1135), that earned $90,000. Bringing the session to the close was the Fairmont Collection, featuring desirable key-date issues from the Liberty Head gold series. An AU-58 (PCGS) CAC 1854-S double eagle was the highlight of this offering, realizing $21,600 in lot 1177.

The production of small-diameter cent patterns began in 1850, and by 1856 the desire to create a new format cent for circulation was great. The Mint in Philadelphia struck close to 1,000 examples of James B. Longacre’s Flying Eagle design type for distribution to important individuals.  (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)
An eagerly sought key date issue, this 1916 Standing Liberty quarter sold for $99,000.  Just 52,000 of this year were minted. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

As a “type coin,” the 1879 Flowing Hair Stella is a significant numismatic rarity, even more so from a market availability standpoint given the strong demand among advanced collectors. Sold for $234,000. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)
The San Francisco Mint struck 1,500 examples of this 1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 for sale at the Exposition.  The original asking price was $100, but later discounted when offered within sets. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

The most highly anticipated item of the sale was offered in Session 4, where an original striking of the Washington Before Boston medal in silver was presented (lot 3031). A newly discovered piece, this example was certified Specimen-61 by PCGS and is one of just 11 examples known. After intense activity, it sold for $156,000.

Attracting similar excitement was the 1905 Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural medal in lot 3060. Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, produced by Tiffany, and struck in bronze, it realized $31,200.

As reported in last week’s Numismatic News Express, this example of the famous Washington Before Boston Medal in silver drew $156,000 in the auction. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

Selling for $31,200, an American Classic MCMV (1905) Theodore Roosevelt inaugural bronze medal is one of just 150 examples authorized to be produced by Tiffany in bronze. It was found in the consignor’s grandmother’s jewelry box after her passing. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

The session was brought to a close with an exciting offering of colonial and early American coins, including a selection of New Jersey coppers from the Collection of Larry L. Terrell. Highlights from the Terrell Collection included an EF-45 (PCGS) 1786 Maris 15-T that brought $5,280 (lot 3201) and a Condition Census EF-40 (PCGS) 1787 Maris 73-aa that realized $8,400 (lot 3241). A VF-30 (PCGS) Albany Church Penny in lot 3255 brought $21,600 and an AU-53 (PCGS) Washington Funeral Urn medal with GW on the Base earned $26,400 in lot 3268, claiming the top price among colonial issues.

The Albany Church pennies are attributed to the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, New York and were produced as a result of a resolution passed by the church elders on January 4, 1790. These pieces were intended to provide parishioners with coppers to place in the Sunday offering plates. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)
A 1787 New Jersey Copper Maris 73-aa, which was overstruck on an 1787 Connecticut Copper realized $8,400 at the Stack’s Bowers Whitman Expo on May 24. (Image courtesy of Stack’s ToppinBowers)

1851-O 3 Cent Silver NGC Specimen 65 Unique Branch Mint “Specimen” Strike The Only New Orleans Date 3 Cent Date

Branch Mint Specimen Strike and Proof coinage represents the rarest of the rare in American numismatics.

To understand just how special these coins really are, one must understand how coins were struck at Branch Mint facilities.

The Branch Mints, including New Orleans, were set up for a commercial need. Philadelphia was the hub, and the other Mints just part of a spoke. The hub (Philadelphia) made coins for commerce and to serve special collector interests, like making pattern coins and Proofs.

The Branch Mints were designed for one need only, to produce coins to demand for the regions they were in. That is why one almost never hears of the existence of a Branch Mint Proof or Specimen striking, because those Mints were neither asked to prepare such coinage and also lacked the equipment that Philadelphia had to do so.

Record keeping was not perfect in those days. There’s no reason to suggest a Branch Mint Employee was required to write down on paper that a coin was prepared in a special manner. Their existence often leaves the coin world stunned without explanation, but many very well educated theories can be devised.

The legendary late numismatist Walter Breen stated that just 4 Proofs were made of the Philadelphia Mint 1851 3 Cent Silver piece. The only notable mention of one of those coins selling was in a 2012 auction for a PCGS PR66 for $172,500. An important coin, but not nearly as important as a Branch Mint issue.

Since the 1851-O is the first and only Branch Mint 3 Cent coin ever created, it is easy to theorize that a special ceremony must have ensued the moment this coin was made. While small, it packs rarity with a big punch. Its existence isn’t even known by most experts, and it’s only because of our far reaching resources we were able to discover its location and bring it to you now.

These coins would have been lifetime achievements for many of the greatest collectors who ever lived, had they only known of them. Research has advanced this field of study significantly in recent years, and today we are better able to understand just how important these fascinating pieces of US Mint history really are.

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Gun Money: A Fools Promise

Courtesy of PCGS, by Dylan Dominguez

In the late 17th century, James II served as the Roman Catholic King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He reigned from 1685-1688. During the last year of his reign, he was overthrown by Dutch Protestant William III and his army. William III ruled from 1689-1702. Since James II was no longer in power, he began to rebuild his army to fight back against William III and take back the throne.

In 1688, James II needed his military to stay with him and fight William III. Although he needed the help of these men, he was running low on resources and even more importantly, money, to fund his military. Running low on ideas, James II thought of issuing “Gun Money”. Using this idea, he was able to convince his army to take base metal coinage for payment. This saved him a large amount of money because he was able to use metals such as Copper, Brass, and Pewter which were very easy to obtain at the time. These coins were made to guarantee that after the war was over, James II would allow everyone who was given these coins to redeem them for the weight of silver and gold once they win the war.

One of the reasons commonly believed as to why these coins are called “Gun Money” is that most of the metal that was used in the minting process for these coins came from melted down guns. However, (in actuality), church bells were mostly used in the process of creating these coins. Gun Money was produced for two years from 1689 to 1690. In the first year, most of the coins were produced containing only Shillings, Six Pence, and half-crowns. In the second year, one more denomination was added, producing: Shillings, Six Pence, half crowns, and crowns.

When the war ended in 1691, James II and his army lost, and he never fulfilled his promise to exchange the “Gun Money” for the weight in gold and silver that he owed his army. Overall, these coins have an amazing history and story behind them. Who knows where all the metal came from? I can only imagine what was melted down to produce these coins. All the coins that were produced by James II and the mint contain a bit of different history in each coin.

Coinage legislation left out the word “The”

Courtesy of Numismatic News by RICHARD GIEDROYC

Why is “The” missing from the inscription “United States of America” on our coins?

Section 10 of the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, says, “…with this inscription, ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,’…” Once this tradition was established, nobody saw any need to change it. Particularly in the early days when dies were hand-made, they economized in every possible way, so perhaps this was another reason for not adding the extra three letters.

I have a 1964-D dime that has been examined by several dealers who tell me it is a proof. Can this be true?

It is unlikely that your ’64-D dime is a proof, as the information that proof coins were struck only at Philadelphia that year is correct. What you may have is a first strike from new dies, which often will have an appearance similar to a proof. Send the coin to an authentication service if you are still in doubt.

Going through a lot of cents, I notice that a number have weak or missing letters in “STATES OF,” or the “E” and sometimes the dot in “E PLURIBUS.” What causes this?

This is a frequent question, since such defects are readily noticed. That very frequency is an indication of the value – none – because of the high mintages involved. The cause is poor die design, a perennial failing of U.S. coins, which allows too much metal to flow into the obverse design, not leaving enough to come up in the reverse design. If you check the wheat cents, you will find the same weakness on the “O” in “ONE” on a high percentage of the coins.

Weren’t there actually three different date sizes for the 1960 cents – a small, medium, and large date?

This is another situation akin to the problems with the different mintmarks on the 1979 and 1981 proof coins. Shortly after the small date 1960 and 1960-D cents were first reported, enthusiastic collectors reported that there were three sizes, and for a time the medium dates were advertised right along with the small. Later it was conclusively proved, based on Mint records, that only two different size dates were used for 1960.

I’ve heard that there is a $1,000 reward for a certain variety of the 1964 nickels. I have one, so will you get the reward for me, please?

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I know of no variety of any kind in the minting of specifically the 1964 or 1964-D nickels that is worth $1,000, or even a significant fraction of that figure. The only one I can think of off hand is the “PLURIDUS” variety, attributed by the Mint to die abrasion, which is worth upwards of $150 to $175, depending on the grade. I don’t know of any legitimate offer of a “reward” for coin varieties, either.

What are so-called dollars?

They are privately issued medals or tokens similar in size to the old silver dollars.

American Eagle Sales as of 3/28/2019

March 28, 2019

The following chart includes the year to date totals for 2019 Gold and Silver American Eagle Sales from the U.S. Mint as of 5pm on March 28th. The chart also shows the difference in sales from our last report on March 22nd.

Gold and Silver American Eagle Sales
CoinSales in oz. /#coins+ from 3/21/2019
One oz.
Half oz.
Quarter oz.
Tenth oz.
CoinSales in oz. /#coins+ from 3/21/2019
One oz.

Superb 1875-S Twenty Cent Piece NGC MS67

The twenty cent denomination is one of the great failures in American numismatics. There was never any great need for it. Its use was limited to the West, where consumers would often pay a quarter for items worth a bit (one reale, or 12.5 cents) and receive a dime back in change. Copper did not circulate in the Pacific states, so consumers were often shortchanged by two cents. The twenty cent denomination was suggested by Nevada Senator John P. Jones as a way of solving that problem. It never caught on, and the denomination was abandoned for circulation in 1876, one year after it was first introduced. The 1875-S is the most plentiful issue in the short-lived series, claiming a mintage of 1.1 million coins. The NGC census stands at just 8 with 1 higher. Listed at $24,200 in both the CDN CPG and NGC price guide.

Offered at $22,000

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Gold ingots top Heritage’s $11 million Long Beach sale

California Gold Rush-era relics from the shipwreck of the S.S. Central America were among the top sellers in Heritage’s Jan. 29-Feb. 3 Long Beach Signature Auction, held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo.

Altogether, prices topped $11 million, with after-auction sales continuing through Feb. 6. Of the six top lots, five were gold ingots found in the S.S. Central America shipwreck, highlighted by the very large size 174.04-ounce Harris, Marchand & Co. gold ingot.

This is the sole ingot from the firm’s Marysville office recovered in the shipwreck, and it is distinctive enough to warrant a significant writeup in Q. David Bowers’ A California Gold Rush History. It sold for $528,000.

Additional gold ingots in this auction included a Kellogg & Humbert 97.19- ounce, which brought $204,000; a Blake & Co. 19.30-ounce, $156,000; a Blake & Co. small-sized 14.31-ounce, $144,000; and a Justh & Hunter 50.50-ounce, $121,333.

A pair of Panama-Pacific $50 gold commemoratives, each graded MS64, further represented California highlights, having been minted in San Francisco and commemorating the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The rarer round piece brought a sale price of $114,000, while the iconic octagonal coin sold for $81,000.

Bringing the highest price for coins was the ever-popular 1879 Flowing Hair Stella, this one graded PRF64 Deep Cameo by the Professional Coin Grading Service.

Technically a pattern, this piece has been enthusiastically collected as a regular issue since its manufacture, most likely due to its odd denomination. It exchanged hands for $210,000.

Additional highlights included:

All prices realized reported here include a 20% buyer’s premium.

The Day I Lost My Home but Gained a Community

Joe Best

The jewelers safe after the “Camp Fire”, along with remains of the family’s home.

I was a young Cub Scout when I needed a hobby to earn a badge. My dad was a coin collector, and he sparked my interest in collecting United States coins. It started like the rest of my friends, filling in the old Whitman coin folders with change out of my dad’s pocket or picking through the change of just about anyone in my family. After a while, my dad started bringing me home $50.00 bags of dimes to pick through. This was back in the late 50s early 60s. Many mercury dimes were still floating around with walking Liberty’s and buffalo nickels not to mention silver dollars. Then one day I fell hard for buffalo nickels. The design is what got me, and the way it filled the whole planchet all the way up. I remember my dad telling me that the buffalo nickel design is the most American looking coin ever minted. I agree with those words to this day.

As I grew older coins were always with me, they sunk into my bone like no other hobby I’ve had in my entire life. It was part of who I was. Like most hobbies, my collecting tended to go dormant from time to time, but coins were never very far away from the top of my interests.

I married and had two kids, a boy and a girl. My life was in warp speed as my family grew up my folks grew old and finally passed away. A few years after my dad passed on, I stumbled across my very old coin collection. It was a blast from the past as I thumbed through coins that I remembered finding with my dad. That was what rekindled a huge surge in my coin collecting again. That along with the digital macro photography that I’ve taken to like a duck takes to water because I’ve been a shutterbug most of my life.

My world spinning even faster now I have not only a son I got interested in coins but my grandson too. In many ways, coins have enhanced my life with memories made with my dad and the memories already made with my loving son.

Joe Best holds a PCGS holder that had been damaged by the camp fire, at the FUN Convention in Orlando, Florida, January 2019.

This brings me around to probably the worst day of my life when on November 8th I woke up to a red glow. The red glow was a fire way off in the distance that we’ve seen so many times. Not a big red flag, yet. The next thing I knew is this fire was not like any other fire in the state of California where I have lived since I was born in 1951, it was moving extremely fast. I had very little time to grab three armloads of mostly photo albums to my Honda. The next thing I know is I could hear explosions all around me that made the ground sake. Those were propane tanks and getting closer with every boom. The wind was blowing fire from tree to tree as the sky turned black with the power out and no cell phone use to call out to my son. I had to leave the house. My daughter and my granddaughter, along with my son in law, left my house way before I did. So, I knew where they were. It was my son and grandson. I was worried sick over cause the last thing I told him was to “just get in your truck and leave!” then the cell phones went out.

A long story short we escaped with our lives along with our animals so for that right there I thank God in heaven.

Unfortunately, my beloved coin collection was left behind. I was only able to grab a few coin albums as I was forced to abandon my main collection, which was housed in a 1942 Jewelers safe in the burning house. I had no choice as I had to run for my life and get my family out of there.

Contents inside the jewelers safe appear warped but intact.

Now without a home, we were hotel hoping like never before in my life with dogs, cats, birds, lizards and my infant granddaughter. From out of nowhere angels came to my family’s rescue in the shape of my coin family, good folks! My loved PCGS coin forum and a couple of very close friends, Jim Bowling (@jesbroken) teamed up with a sweetheart @Paradisefound to start a GoFundMe to raise funds to help us over this tragedy. It was heaven sent.

Upon returning to my home to see what remained, I was in disbelief to see the Jewelers safe. The coin holder boxes and coins holders were severely warped; however, the coins had remained protected by the holders themselves. Not only that but PCGS reached out to me and offered to restore and reholder my entire lifetime collection as a gift. They even made me a custom label based on a design my family felt most represented me, and a Crazyhounddog pedigree!

We have lost pretty much everything in this world, but these acts of love have restored my faith in humanity 100%. I also need to add that my father took me to almost every coin show he attended, and boy do I remember the coins back then! But what stands out in my mind most are the good folks that surround coins. My dad spent as much time jawboning and belly laughing as he did looking at coins. That my friends hasn’t changed. You will absolutely meet the best people in those coin circles.

With much love, I thank you all, and that’s straight from the heart.

Joe Best AKA crazyhounddog

Special label and pedigree designated to Joe Best’s ’Crazyhoundog Collection’.

A PCGS box inside the safe contains warped yet intact PCGS holders.

Warped PCGS holder with intact St. Gaudens Double Eagle.

Warped PCGS holder with intact Buffalo Nickel.

Libertas Americana medal realizes $17,435 in DNW sale

Courtesy of World Coin News Staff Posted on March 20, 2019.

Top billing at DNW’s February coin and medal sale: 1781 Libertas Americana medal, designed by Benjamin Franklin and Esprit-Antoine Gibelin and engraved by Augustin Dupré, which took $17,435 in PCGS MS62 BN. (Images courtesy and © DNW, London)

The American War of Independence achieved top billing at Dix Noonan Webb’s late February coin and medal sale.

On offer was a 47 mm bronze medal engraved by Augustin Dupré celebrating the impending independence of the United States. The design is credited to Benjamin Franklin and Esprit-Antoine Gibelin.

The obverse shows a bust of Liberty complete with flowing hair, liberty cap, and staff.

The reverse has Minerva, representing France as indicated by the fleur-de-lis on her shield, fending off the attack of the British lion on the baby Hercules, who represents the newly emergent American nation. Hercules is strangling a serpent in each hand. The snakes stand for the British armies defeated at the critical Battles of Saratoga and Yorktown (Betts 615; BDM I, 647).

The motto NON SINE DIIS ANIMOSUS INFANS is from Horace’s ode “Descende coelo” and translates “Not without gods is the infant courageous.”

The two dates with a common month, 17 OCT. 1777 and 19 OCT. 1781 in exergue, signify the American victories at Saratoga and Yorktown.

The medals were minted in Paris in gold, silver, and bronze with restrikes made at a later date. Copies were given to the King and Queen of France, the Heads of State of countries friendly to the United States, and important U.S. politicians.

The medal is rare, and in PCGS MS62 BN with just a few inconsequential marks was something of a steal when it realized just $17,435 [£13,200] on a not unreasonable £15,000-£18,000 estimate.