Sunday, August 30, 2009

Edward Kennedy Quarter

Do you have a quarter and want to know its value? Leave a comment

Gothca! Sort of.

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington the composer, artist, and great musician is who I'm talking about. Finally, after its initial release on January 26, 2009, I got one of these quarters at this particular time. One thing that slowed its circulation was a famous doubled die error surrounding the ELL and the piano keys.

The one pictured below was plucked out of my change after an art store visit. It is not special or doubled in any way, it is not even shiny. Still I got it, leaving only Guam and American Samoa still not found for this year.

I've always been a fan of Duke Ellington but it seems odd to put him on a quarter. Yet this wasn't the real controversy. Once the design and figure were chosen a motto was placed on the coin saying "Taxation Without Representation" which was quickly rejected by the mint. The motto Justice For All was used instead.

The District of Columbia residents must pay federal taxes but they do not get a vote in Congress. I always thought this would be our 51st state quickly followed by Puerto Rico being our 52nd but that has yet to happen.

Here's the stats...
Type/Country: 25 Cents-Washington D.C. / United States
Year: 2009 P
Mintage: 88,800,000 (Estimated)
Metal: 91.67% Copper 8.33% Nickel
Value: $0.25 in F-12

For those wondering I still haven't found any 2009 nickels or dimes.

Do you have a state quarter and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

British Virgin Islands Proofs

Do you have a British Virgin Islands coin and want to know its value? Leave a comment

The technical history of coins can easily be traced. The design, metal, and location is something that every society kept extensive records. Even when records are lost modern science can tell what base metals or minting techniques were used. What is often forgotten is the practical use history.

Take the U.S. half dollar since 2001 none have officially been released for circulation. While seldom seen many people still find these modern halves in their change and even more get them from banks and use them in stores. Not to mention casino use.

The British Virgin Islands coins have a similar history. Their official currency is the U.S. Dollar but the Franklin Mint issues all of their "other" coins.

Here is where the history gets sketchy. In 1973 and 1974 I think they issued coins for circulation...or were they? Averaging 15,000 coins the first two years they dropped off to less than 1,000 for the years afterward. Did some people actually use them? Were they intended for locals or tourist like the Cuban two-coin system?

Well I would need several dozens first hand experience stories for a somewhat complete picture. Remembering that if you ask a dozen Americans if $2 bills are still made and used 11 out of 12 will say no and they would be wrong.

A second shot to show the mirror field and the frosty Queen given it that nice cameo effect.

Never finding any British Virgin Islands coins in my change these slightly hazy coins are from that lot I bought a long time back. I really like the pair of birds, they did this on most of these lower denomination coins. After 1985 they completely stopped making these coins and focused on high denomination issues. In 1996 and 1997 reports of $500 dollar coin and others became unclear. From 2002 to present they just pump out low mintage commemorative coins.

Here's the stats from left the top row ...
Type/Country: 25 Cents / British Virgin Islands
Year: 1973 Proof
Mintage: 181,000
Metal: Copper-Nickel
Value: $1.50 in Proof-65(the one pictured is less)
Weight: 7.75 grams(weight is not official)

Type/Country: 50 Cents / British Virgin Islands
Year: 1973 Proof
Mintage: 181,000
Metal: Copper-Nickel
Value: $2.50 in Proof-65(the one pictured is less)
Weight: 14.62 grams(weight is not official)

The coin books did not list the weight for non-silver version of these coins I used my digital scale to get the weight. The silver versions weighed more but were only made in 1977.

Do you have a British Virgin Islands coin and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stamp It, Don't Lick It

Do you have an odd note and want to know its value? Leave a comment

A recent study by the American Chemical Society concluded that up to 90% of all U.S. notes contain cocaine. The reason for the high numbers could not be verified.

The Study
Using a modified gas chromatography-mass spectrometer the bills of 30 cities in 5 countries were analyzed for illicit drugs. The easiest drug to test for is cocaine so all other chemicals were dismissed. Earlier studies were broader in chemical analysis and used techniques that lead to destruction or contamination of the bills being studied.

The Stats
234 U.S. notes
Canadian notes
?? Brazil notes
112 Chinese notes
16 Japanese notes

Highest Percentage - U.S. #1, Canada #2, Brazil #3, China #4 , Japan #5
Highest Cities - Washington D.C. at 95% followed closely by Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit
Highest levels - Canada with 2.4 micrograms to over 2,530 micrograms of coke per banknote, U.S.A. is number 2.

No affect what so ever. Most of amount were less than a grain of sand and probably from cross contamination and not direct contact.

Drug dealers and counterfeiters mostly from Mexico and South America are the likely key to the problem. International criminals love U.S. money and will sell counterfeits but only use real money when drug dealing.

The problem is so horrible that nearly every bill used outside America gets stamped.

Japanese possibly Korean stamp left, South American stamp on the right.

El Chato means The Flat? Possibly Mexican but most Latin American countries use this term.

SA possibly South Asian I've seen this among Korean stampings.

Cambio BANʞDOLLAR, L.C.G., Amery ?????, O??? Cambio.
All I know is Cambio means change.

A faint ANGEL $%&, Cambio $, ? , ? $ Money

That final bill contained 10 stamps from foreign exchange stamps. With the rampant fakes a person wanting American money must go to an exchanger who verifies the authenticity of every bill by stamping it.

Again drug dealers make there own stamps so each time the note is exchanged it gets re-stamped. By the time these bills com back to the U.S. they passed about a dozen exchangers and also several kilos of drug money.

Update: That red bird stamp L.C.G. is probably the Nazca Bird Line art from Peru.

Also these stamped notes have no extra value and may actually lose value if the ink cannot be removed.

Do you have note or currency and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Norway Ore Bust

Do you have a coin from Norway and want to know its value? Leave a comment

Norway's coinage was affected uniquely by WWI and WWII.

The top coin you see is 1 Ore from 1919. Other 1 Ore coins from the same series were made of bronze this one is iron. Although Norway remained neutral during WWI they lost most of their mining operations and cargo ships trying to navigate in the war zone.

The entire 1 Ore series from 1908 to 1952 coins are not rare. The iron years from 1918 to 1921 actually have a higher mintage than normal. They do have an increased value because iron is a horrible metal for coins. It will rust under most conditions so finding these coins in un-rusted high grades is difficult.

Looking at the bottom two coins it would surprise most people to know they were made during the same time period. 1941 and 1945 10 Ores were issued using both of the design you see. The one with hole is a regular copper-nickel issue. The other is a German occupation issue done in zinc. Again like the iron coin zinc is highly unstable and finding them in high grades becomes difficult.

If all these coins were as fine as the copper-nickel holed coin they would fetch $10 to $15 for the set. Unfortunately we have oxygen in our atmosphere so that ruins everything, numismatically speaking.

Here's the stats from left the top row ...
Type/Country: 1 ore / Norway
Year: 1919
Mintage: 12,930,000
Metal: Iron
Value: $1.50 in Fine(the one pictured is less of course)
Weight: 2.00 grams

Type/Country: 10 ore / Norway
Year: 1941
Mintage: 10.150,000
Metal: Copper-nickel
Value: $0.30 in Fine
Weight: 1.50 grams

Type/Country: 10 ore-German Occupation/ Norway
Year: 1945
Mintage: 5,645,500
Metal: Zinc
Value: $4.00 in Fine(the one pictured is less of course)
Weight: 1.25 grams

I added the weight because these are among the lightest coins I ever held. Half the weight of a modern U.S. cent the final 10 ore listed can sit in your hand and you wouldn't feel it.

Do you have a Norwegian coin and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Museum Quality: Part 2

Continuing the March Metropolitan Museum of Art trip I just have a couple of numismatic related items that came to my attention. Aside from my small examples The Met has dozens more ancient coins and coin jewelery. Plus they have some Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculptures and statues. Saint-Gaudens was a famous artist who made many coin design in the 1930s.

Gold aurei coins of the first twelve Caesars mounted in a 19th century bracelet. Inspired by the 2nd century writer Suctonius who write biographies of the first twelve Caesars some made this bracelet out of real ancient coins.

Featured are on the first bracelet are Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. While on the second bracelet are Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian.

Here are some random ancient coins.

Royal Badges - Official coins and medals of various kingdoms.

Silver tetradrachm with the head of Adriadne on one side (not pictured)
and the labyrinth in Knossos.
From Gortyn, Crete, 2nd century B.C.

Silver tetradrachm
with the head of Athena on one side
and the owl in wreath.
From Athens, 135-134 B.C.
I love the owl design because it reminds me of the movie Clash of the Titans.

Ptolemy III coins from Thebes hoard 246-222 B.C.

Most likely from the same hoard as the previous image.The Egyptian section is very dark and no flash photography or video is allowed so I could not get a good image.

One thing with Egyptian coins were there thickness. They look like chocolate candies, Peppermint Patties to be exact.

I recommend visiting The Met but give yourself time the place is large and most of the coins are in corners and dead spots.

I took hundreds of pictures from armors to paintings to statues to fully recreated rooms but this one was one of my favorites.

The stained-glass dome was part of Manhattan home circa 1904 and possibly made by Tiffany Studios. Something about it was just very appealing. Sure it has nothing to do with coins or currency but everyone can enjoy its simple beauty.

Friday, August 14, 2009

D is for Denver

Do you have a dollar coin and want to know how much it's worth? Leave a comment

I almost did not post this coin mainly because it was one I talked about before. The only difference from the previous find is that this one is from Denver which is the more difficult mint to find on the east coast.

For those not familiar with American coin distribution I will try and explain. We have two major mints, one in Philadelphia (P) and one in Denver (D). There are two other mints at San Francisco (S) and West Point (W) that have produced coins with and without the mintmarks but their main focus is on premium coins. Of course we also have Fort Knox as a non-coin production facility and 8 more that are gone.

The Cycle
  1. The U.S. Mint estimates how much coins are needed, with no guarantee of absolute accuracy.
  2. Coins are needed by the public for business, et al.
  3. Businesses request coins from the local banks.
  4. Banks request coins from the nearest of 12 Federal Reserve banks.
  5. Federal Reserve banks sends and receives coins to the local banks.
  6. When remaining coins at the Federal Reserves are low more is ordered from the Mint.
  7. Repeat step 1.
How to Get a Denver coin?
Easy live close to Denver. To be more efficient the mint sends coins to the closest Reserves and in turn the Reserves distributes the coins to the closest banks and on and on. Keeping most Denver coins on the west coast or middle states.

It takes up to five years for me to find the Denver equivalent of the Philadelphia coin.

One other reason I decided to post this coin was the pictures came out great. The coin was the smoothest and most gold colored golden dollar I've ever held.

Here's the stats...
Type/Country: 1 Dollar-John Tyler / United States
Year: 2009 D (Edge normal)
Mintage: 43,540,000
Metal: 88.5% Copper, 6% Zinc, 3.5% Manganese, and 2% Nickel
Value: $1.00 in AU-50

Do you have a dollar coin and want to know how much it's worth? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

112 Years Old

Do you have an Indian Head cent and want to know its value? Leave a comment

My new oldest find came in with my regular change at a local store. It looks like it was buried for years then someone dug it out, cleaned off the dirt, and then watched as verdigris slowly ate the back. Knowing this coin had no value they just used it as it was originally intended.

This is the third time I found a 100+ year old cent and all of them had bad verdigris damage. Understandably there is no need to keep a coin with that infectious green stuff since it has no real value and will destroy your good coins. Yet I will keep this one.

Look at the poor little cent it has been abused and neglected. Judging by the red luster and lack of traditional wear marks I'm guessing it was buried within few years after being minted but this is just a guess.

Here's the stats...
Type/Country: 1 Cent / United States
Year: 1887
Mintage: 45,223,523
Metal: 95% Copper, 5% Tin & Zinc
Value: $0.03 (Because of damage)...
(Welcome all from the Realcent Forum and let me clarify.
First this coin has obvious environmental damage: holes, spots, dented edges.
Second it has been cleaned badly leaving a haze all over the coin.
Third of course is the verdigris. )
I would have it at $0.20 if it wasn't cleaned.
Feel free to comment I'm always willing to learn and change.

That leads to the question, what is possible? Sure when roll hunting anything can pop up but from small change it is more difficult. Recently I went through a "jar" of coins and of the possible pennies commonly listed from 1959 to 2008 I found 108 out of 112.

Stretching it to 1887 it is becomes more difficult but still possible. For those who want a hobby and cannot or are not willing to spend any extra money then coin collecting is great. Again a hobby not an investment or get-rich quick plan. I recently had some harsh comments about the value of finds. This is the nature of collecting, rarity is just that rare not always valuable.

Am I upset that this 1887 cent is damaged and worth metal value? No.

It is the coolest thing to me that a 112 year old coin is floating out there and can still be legally used.

Do you have an old penny and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Do you have a Euro coin and want to know its value? Leave a comment

Only my second Luxembourg find and it has been years since the first. Most likely since this tiny country has low circulating coinage and low tourist numbers that is why it is hardly seen in the States.

A few other people, at the time of the find, I showed did not know what country it was. The reason is because the spelling is LËTZEBURG meaning Luxembourg in a dialect they call Luxembourgish which is mostly German, nice umlaut.

This one is a Euro and I suspect I won't be finding any more Francs since those also did not circulate far and were quickly recycled by the time the Euro arrived. Still I will look carefully.

Above Image: Clicking or better yet middle-clicking on the picture you'll see a tiny F in the star above the L, it means minted in France. Surrounding the date to the left is a cornucopia meaning it was made at Pessac Mint. The other symbol to the right of the date escapes me at the moment.

Below Image: Is the typical 5 Euro Cent design mandated by European law.

His Royal Highness the Grand Duke Henri ruler since 2000 is on the coin. Which is odd for Americans since living presidents are not allowed on coins over here.

Here's the stats...
Type/Country: 5 Euro Cent / Luxembourg
Year: 2008
Mintage: 9,000,000
Metal: Copper-plated Steel
Value: $0.15 in Very-Fine

Do you have a Luxembourg coin and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

1982 Canada Five Cents

Do you have a Canadian coin and want to find out its value? Leave a comment

If I dedicated one post for each unique Canadian coin I found I would easily have 365 days of uninterrupted blogging. Only recently I gave these little northern bits the full blog treatment and it has been nice.

1982 marks the change in metal content for Canadian nickels.
-From 1955 to 1981 they were 100% nickel with a weight of 4.54 grams.
-From 1982 to 1998 it becomes 75% copper and 25% nickel with a weight of 4.60 grams.
-From 1999 to now they are either cupro-nickel or plated steel.

100% nickel five cent coins have a metal value of about $0.09, as of August 5, 2009.

Weighing this one hoping for some off-metal transitional error I got disappointed when it came in at 4.61 grams meaning it is normal, the old gum on it may have added weight.

Here's the stats for the coin pictured...
Type/Country: 5 Cents / Canada
Year: 1982
Mintage: 105,539,898
Metal: 75 % Copper, 25% Nickel
Value: $0.05 in gum filled grade

Do you have a Canadian coin and want to find out its value? Leave a question/comment and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

2010 Red Book

Do you have a coin book and want to know its value? Leave a comment

A small round of applause to Amazon. I ordered the A Guide Book of United States Coins 2010: The Official Redbook on Thursday and it arrived in my mailbox this morning. No special rush delivery just standard shipping. Maybe I'm old fashioned but it amazes me to order something and get it in about 48 hours from across the country.

I got the spiral edition (Cloth Spiral is my preferences but...) because with my credit cards rewards and an old Amazon gift certificate the $15.35 final price came in at free. Trying to save money I will get most of my books this way, it will take longer but it is cheaper.

What's new?
  • 432 pages of pastel goodness each section is color coded but they changed it to a much lighter style.
  • Font change from non-serifs to serifs.
  • Story of SS New York was added.
  • 1720 20 Sols finally with pictures.
  • Some post-colonial value ranges were shrunk, while others were stretched.
  • Braided Hair has the large and small berries variety pictured.
  • Small cent pictures, 1875 dot reverse, 1886 variety 1 and 2
  • All 2009 coins added in sketch form.
  • Prices are listed in an Excel type pattern where one line is white and the other colored.
  • Ultra high relief added, but no value listed.
  • A couple of civil war tokens pictures were added.
  • 32 images of Philippine issues were reduced to 4 and a new caption of "Basic Design".
  • Error section blanks have dual values for rim or no rim.
  • American Arts Medal section was replaced with Significant U.S. Mint Errors showing the most valuable of errors.
  • Puerto Rico coinage.
  • Huge typo listing all the 2009 Presidential Dollars as 2008, page 229 for all to look and laugh.
  • Edge lettering on dollars are incorrectly said to include IN GOD WE TRUST for 2009 although that was/is not true.
  • No explanation of the edge lettering position although the pictures has them right-side up.
  • No 2009 mint or proof values.
  • Missing some 2009 gold bullion values.
  • No special offers from Whitman.
Only the rarest coins went up significantly, most modern commemoratives went down, most platinum went down.

If you have any of the Red Books from the last few years no need to upgrade.
If you do not own one buy this 63rd edition not an older version because it will last for years.

Do you have a U.S. coin and want to know its book value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.