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Heritage to appraise treasures in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

November 30, 2012 in Auctions, Coins, Collecting, Treasure, USA Coins, World Coins

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 7-9, 2012, Heritage Auctions will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, to seek out quality collectibles for upcoming auctions. Our world-renowned specialists will be offering FREE verbal appraisals, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at 4431 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410. For specific details, please call 1-866-835-3243.

The general public is invited to bring up to three items — in most cases — for verbal appraisal by our specialists in the following categories:

  • Americana – Eric Smylie
  • Arms & Armor – David Carde
  • Books – Joe Fay
  • Coins – Mark Ingold
  • Comics – Jim Steele
  • Music & Entertainment – Garry Shrum
  • Decorative Art – Kathleen Guzman and Karen Rigdon
  • Fine Art – Brian Roughton and Frank Hettig
  • Jewelry & Timepieces – Jim Wolf
  • Sports – Peter Calderon

Based in Dallas, Heritage Auctions is the World’s Largest Collectibles Auctioneer with annual sales exceeding $800 million and more than 700,000 online registered bidder-members. Specialists will be prepared to accept and fully insure consignments of qualified items on the spot. We will also be prepared to offer generous cash advances on qualified consignments or to purchase items for cash!

We offer competitive consignment terms, timely payments (no consignor has ever been paid late), record-setting prices realized, an award-winning website with complete auction archives, and well-researched/imaged catalogs of the most sought after collectibles and artwork.

For more information on this event, please contact Client Services at 1-866-835-3243 or email For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

We look forward to meeting you at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Executive Meeting Center on December 7-9!

Jennifer Goode
Special Project Coordinator
Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Ave. 17th Floor
Dallas, TX 75219-3941
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Rare Korean coin from pre-Japanese rule to be auctioned

November 30, 2012 in Auctions, Gold, Gold Coins, Korean Coins, World Coins

AFP – A rare gold coin from the dying days of Korea’s independence before the 1910 takeover by Japan will go on sale in New York in December, Bonhams auctioneers said Friday.

The 20 Won coin dated 1906 last sold just under two years ago for $155,250.

Bonhams in New York said the piece “appears to rank among the highest of all surviving examples, richly lustrous with fully struck surfaces and devices.”

A limited number of gold coins in denominations of 20, 10 and five Won were minted on the eve of Japan’s colonization of Korea.

But after the takeover, “nearly all of these reserve specimens were melted,” Bonhams said. “A very tiny number escaped, thanks to determined numismatists.”

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$500M shipwreck treasure given up by U.S. company shown for the first time

November 30, 2012 in Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, Spain Coins, Treasure


Madrid — Spanish cultural officials allowed the first peep Friday at some of the 16 tons (14.5 metric tons) of shipwreck treasure worth an estimated $500 million that a U.S. salvage company gave up this year after a five-year ownership dispute.

Only a tiny portion of the haul from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a galleon that sank off Portugal’s Atlantic coast near the straits of Gibraltar in 1804, was shown to the media: 12 individual silver coins, a block of encrusted silver coins stuck together after centuries underwater, two gold tobacco boxes and a bronze pulley.

Authorities, who have been inventorying the treasure since it was flown from Florida to Spain in February, said it will be transferred later this year from Madrid to the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology in the Mediterranean city of Cartagena. Displays are expected to start next year, with some items put on rotating temporary displays at museums across the country.

Though previous estimates have put the value of the treasure at $500 million, Spanish officials said they weren’t trying to determine an amount because the haul is part of the nation’s cultural heritage and can never be sold under Spanish law.

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For the gold bug this holiday season

November 29, 2012 in Canadian Coins, Coins, Collecting, Gold, Gold Coins, World Coins

Nov 29, 2012 4:00 PM (

OTTAWA – The Royal Canadian Mint is offering the public the unique chance to buy part of a rare collection of Canada’s first gold coins, produced by the Mint from 1912 to 1914 and not seen since the outbreak of the First World War. The coins have been stored at the Bank of Canada for over 75 years after becoming part of the government of Canada’s Exchange Fund Account.

The highest quality of these $5 and $10 gold coins are now being offered for sale to convert the proceeds into quality fixed income securities, while less visually appealing examples will be refined into 99.99% pure gold to liquidate the balance of the coin holdings.

“The 1912-14 $5 and $10 Canadian gold coins are at the source of the Royal Canadian Mint’s reputation as a world class refiner and producer of gold coins, and we are delighted that these pieces of our history are back in the spotlight after a nearly century-long absence,” said Ian E. Bennett, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.

When it opened its doors for business in January 1908 as the Canadian branch of Britain’s Royal Mint, the Mint’s Ottawa facility was mandated to produce Canada’s circulation coinage as well as convert Canada’s growing gold resources into dollar denominated gold circulation coins. From 1912 to 1914, the Mint therefore produced $5 and $10 coins of 90% pure Canadian gold and proudly displaying national symbols.

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Due to limited quantities, these products can only be ordered directly from the Mint at, or by calling at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada and 1-800-268-6468 in the US.

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Kett’s Rebellion: ‘Hidden’ coin hoard declared treasure

November 29, 2012 in British Coins, Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, Treasure, World Coins

29 November 2012 ( BBC News Norfolk

A hoard of coins minted during Henry VIII’s reign and found by a metal detector enthusiast in a Norfolk field may have been buried to keep it safe during Kett’s Rebellion in 1549.

The 14 silver groats, found in a field in Wymondham, were pronounced treasure by coroner William Armstrong in Norwich.

Kett’s Rebellion during the reign of King Edward VI started in Wymondham.

They hoard was found in April 2011 by Steven Clarkson and Mark Turner.

Peasant protest

Objects which could qualify as treasure must be reported to the coroner under the 1996 Treasure Act .

Dr Adrian Marsden, of the British Museum, said in a report to the coroner it is “quite likely they (the coins) were hidden during the Kett uprising in July and August 1549”.

He said the coins “probably represent a small proportion of the hoard originally concealed”.

A valuation committee will decide on the value and compensation to be paid to the finder and landowner.

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Archaeology: 40 silver Roman coins from 3rd century found at Odeon site in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv

November 29, 2012 in Archaeology, Coins, History, Roman Coins, Treasure, World Coins


Archaeologists working at the Odeon site in Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv have found 40 silver coins said to date from the third century CE when the city was under Roman rule.

The coins were said by archaeologists to have been minted during the Severan dynasty, while ruled from 193 to 235 CE and variously feature images of four different emperors.

The Odeon site, dating from the second to fifth centuries, is the location of a Roman-era theatre, and is smaller in scale than Plovdiv’s well-known ancient theatre in the city’s Old Town.

The coins were found near the complex of administrative buildings at the northern end of the forum complex.

This archaeological season, more than 600 coins have been excavated at Plovdiv’s Odeon site. From the Hellenic era, there have been many finds of pottery.

At the Odeon site, a marble eagle was found earlier in 2012, and is estimated to date from the second to third century. Maya Martinova, head of the dig at the site, said that the eagle was of a type from the interiors of public buildings, and along with finds of marble columns and other items, was proof of the luxurious interiors of buildings in Phillipopolis, a prosperous city at the time.

The Odeon site has also seen finds of tiles depicting theatrical masks and Roman pottery. The coins include some with the images, respectively, of the emperors Geta and Caracalla, minted in ancient Sofia and in ancient Plovdiv at the end of the second and beginning of the third centuries.

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Govt. Watchdog: Dollar Coin Makes More Cents for US

November 28, 2012 in Coins, Paper Money, USA Coins

Nov 28, 2012 By Sarah Parnass (

The U.S. could save billions of dollars by getting rid of the paper dollar, according to the Government Accountability Office.

One USA Dollar Bill ($)

One USA Dollar Bill ($)

The coins  might weigh heavier in your pocket, but using a dollar coin makes more sense – and cents – in the long run than dollar bills.

1 Dollar Coin USA ($)

1 Dollar Coin USA ($)

At a hearing before the  House Financial Services Committee Thursday, Lorelai St. James, a director at the GAO, plans to tell Congress that switching from paper currency to dollar coins would ultimately be more cost effective,  the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Last  February, the GAO reported that making such a  switch would save the country $4.4 billion over the next three decades – or about $146 million per year in savings.

Shawn Smeallie, executive director of the Dollar Coin Alliance, said the savings could be as much as $11 billion over a period of 30 years, without cutting any programs or raising taxes.

But defenders of the paper dollar have focused on another aspect of the report: In the first 10 years of the switchover, the government would lose more than $500 million, according to the GAO.

“This report is crystal clear about one thing: The unwieldy dollar coin is more expensive than the popular dollar bill, even over the long run,” outgoing Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., said in a statement last February. “The dollar bill will continue to be the more cost-effective currency to produce and use.”

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8 Things You May Not Know About Money

November 28, 2012 in Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, History, Money, Paper Money, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins, World Coins

Excellent article about money from ( By: Barbara Maranzani. November 27th, 2012.

They say “money makes the world go round,” and long before the invention of money as we know it, people were using goods such as salt, cattle and even weapons as forms of currency. From China’s “flying money” to Siberian “soft gold,” here are eight things you may not know about the history of money.

1. China created the world’s first paper money.
Nearly 700 years before Sweden issued the first European banknotes in 1661, China released the first generally circulating currency. In fact, usage of paper notes dates backs even earlier, to the 7th century Tang Dynasty. For centuries copper coins had been China’s primary currency. In order to carry large amounts of cash, people hefted around an ever-increasing number of these coins–not the easiest, or safest, thing to do over long distances. In an attempt to lighten their load, merchants began to deposit these coins with each other and were issued paper certificates for the coin’s value. The paper was certainly lighter. So light, in fact, that it is believed to have earned the nickname “flying money,” for its tendency to blow away in a stiff wind. The use of paper money remained limited for the next 200 years, until a copper shortage forced merchants and Song Dynasty government officials alike to issue and accept paper notes backed by gold reserves—the first legal tender in the world.

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The Last US 90 Percent Silver Coins

November 27, 2012 in Coins, Collecting, Commemorative, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins

November 26, 2012 (

By: John Sausiman

Before focusing on the main subject of this post, I want to mention a nice silver coin found at a garage sale. I attend a fair number of garage sales but very few that have silver coins. After seeing the ad in our local paper with a mention of silver coins, it was worth it to me to drive a little distance. Seeing that item listed in a garage sale is always taking a chance since there are a number of situations you can run into. The ideal situation is when you can find some really nice silver coins and get them at a bargain price because the sellers don’t understand what they have. There are other times you may find silver coins but they are way over priced and you may break even if (when?) silver hits $100 per ounce. The worst case is when the seller thinks they are silver and valuable but you find out they are neither silver nor valuable.

What I ran into was some nice silver coins that the seller knew the value of and had them priced a little over their true value based on the current spot silver price. There were some Roosevelt dimes and Standing Liberty quarters in fair condition but what caught my eye was the coin you see at left – the first U.S. commemorative coin. Officially called the World’s Columbian Exposition Half Dollar, this coin features the bust of Christopher Columbus on the obverse with the image of his flagship, the Santa Maria above two
hemispheres, on the reverse. A total of 950,000 were minted with a 1892 date and 1,550,405 were minted with the 1893 date so they are not especially valuable. This 90% silver coin is considered to contain .3575 troy ounces of silver if circulated and is worth approximately one and a half times it’s intrinsic (silver melt) value if the wear marks are minimal. If uncirculated, this coin contains .3617 troy ounces of silver and can be worth several hundred dollars in the higher Mint state grades of MS65 or higher. I didn’t get a deal on it but paid less than $20 and am happy to get the first commemorative coin that the U.S. issued.

Now onto the subject of The Last US 90 Percent Silver Coins…

Back when I was selling gold and silver for a large precious metals dealer in the midwest, it was not unusal to receive calls from individuals who had inherited a number of coins for which they hadn’t the slightest idea of their worth and wanted help. With the large variety of old US gold and silver coins, it is no wonder the average person is confused as to their value.

And again, I am aware of more than one situation where finders of old silver coins took them to their local bank to convert them into the only money they were familiar with – paper (fiat) money, thereby allowing the bank to cash in on the silver profits that should have rightfully been theirs. Too many people don’t understand the true value of pre-1965 US silver coins.

Finally, in my last encounter with a traveling buyer of gold and silver (who had set up shop at a local motel for 2 days), he mentioned that he was buying Morgan and Peace silver dollars for $15 apiece. The average person bringing in some silver dollars were probably thrilled with that price. The problem is who ever brought in silver dollars to this buyer should have been getting more like $21 or $22 each based on the spot silver price at the time. He was screwing them out of about $7 per coin.

So I decided to write a quick reference book to counter the lack of knowledge about pre-1965 silver coins. Titled “The Last US 90 Percent Silver Coins” it is now available on as an eBook for the various flavors of Kindle plus iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac, Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone 7 with a free Kindle Reading App.

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Two Byzantine coins found in Beheira

November 26, 2012 in Byzantine Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, Roman Coins, World Coins

Italian excavation mission discovers two well-preserved gold Byzantine coins in El-Baheira

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 26 Nov 2012 (

An Italian excavation mission headed by Dr. Loredana Sist from Milano University stumbled upon two well-preserved gold coins within the sand at the archaeological site Kom El-Ghoraf in El-Beheira governorate in Delta during routine excavations.

Byzantine Gold Coins

Byzantine Gold Coins

Each coin weighs 4,300 gr. The first coin depicts the figure of a Byzantine Emperor named Phocas (602-610 AD) holding in his right hand a cross. His name is on one side of the cross, while the other side shows the same emperor with a cane in one hand and a cross in the other.

The second coin shows the image of another Byzantine emperor named Heraclinus (610-641 AD) with his two sons, princes Konstantinos III and Heraclinus II, on one side while the other side features a large cross.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of State of Antiquities, said the very important discovery gives Egyptologists a full and complete vision of the shapes, sizes and looks of coins during such an era. It also shows the high skills of craftsmen of the Byzantine period, he added.

Mostafa Roshdi, Director of El-Beheira Antiquities, told Ahram online that the area of Kom El-Ghoraf is a very important archaeological site located between Damanhur and Rosetta. It was previously a part of the seven Nomes of Lower Egyptthe district still little explored. In the Late Period this area was dominated by the city of Metelis, not yet identified.

The vast site was destroyed intensively since the late nineteenth century, as seen from topographical maps of different periods that record the progressive dismantling.

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United States Gold Coin Dealer & Expert Douglas Winter Launches New Website Design

November 24, 2012 in Coins, Collecting, Gold, Gold Coins, Proof Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins now has a completely new design. Intuitive site design allows numismatists to glean knowledge from an expert gold coin dealer and to buy rare United States gold


Portland, OR (PRWEB) November 23, 2012

Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN), authority on rare United States gold coins with several books to his credit, has launched a fresh, new website design for

The new design features a cleaner look and feel, intuitive navigation, and easy access to inventory. One of the most important changes given the popularity of smart phones is that includes support for mobile devices. is now a true resource for both the experienced collector and novice alike. New buyers of US gold coins will enjoy the volumes of knowledge about how to start a gold coin collection that can be found in current articles and the archives. Veteran numismatists looking for world-class rarities can be sure that if a coin is not in stock, DWN will work tirelessly to find it.

Selling rare gold coins has never been easier as Douglas Winter Numismatics takes pride in offering top-dollar for single coins or entire collections. If the coins cannot be brought to DWN, Doug will travel anywhere to view a significant gold coin collection. As aggressive buyers of early gold coins, branch mint gold coins, proof gold coins, and other specialized collections, DWN will not pass on a chance to buy a rare piece of history.

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Greece: Socrates Honored on 10 Euro Silver Proof Coin

November 24, 2012 in Coins, Greek Coins, Proof Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, World Coins

November 21, 2012 By Michael Alexander (

The Bank of Greece has issued (12th November) a new collector’s coin which pays tribute to one of the world’s most noted and quoted philosophers emerging from the ancient world, Socrates – Σωκράτης (c. 469 – 399 BC).

Considered by scholars throughout recorded history as one of the premier founders of modern Western philosophy, the teachings of Socrates have left their ever-present impact and influence on debate, reason, logic, ethics and to the overall practice of the democratic principle which have been the model that has shaped modern states and civilizations. At a time of social and moral decline within Athens, Socrates openly criticized and questioned prominent Athenians and refused to sanction the existing state of affairs which was contributing to the city – state’s decline. At the same time, Socrates claimed complete loyalty to his city, his actions resulted in his arrest and prosecution in what was one of the most well-known and memorable occurrences reported and whose details survive to this day. Socrates was found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of “not believing in the gods of the state” and sentenced to death by drinking poison hemlock. The death of Socrates did not lessen his following or influence within Athenian society but rather heightened it due to the perception that his death was more to do with propaganda and politics.

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Extremely rare 1652 coin found 22-years ago in frozen potato field by woman sells for $430,000

November 23, 2012 in Auctions, Coins, New England Coins, Silver Coins, Treasure, USA Coins


PUBLISHED: 16:36 EST, 23 November 2012

An extremely rare Colonial Massachusetts coin from 1652 that was found by a woman in a potato field 22-years ago has been auctioned for more than $430,000 in Baltimore.

One of only eight New England sixpences known to exist, the 360-year-old coin was expected to sell for $100,000 but was resold for four times that price.

First auctioned for Lillian King, the woman who found it in 1992 by Sotheby’s in Manhattan for $35,200, the coin was minted only 31-years after the original Thanksgiving between pilgrims and native Americans in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621.

New England Sixpence

New England Sixpence

‘We knew it was a very rare coin and we knew it would reach six figures,’ said Lawrence R. Stack, a senior numismatic consultant for Stack’s Bowers Galleries to Newsday.

The lucrative auction took place at the Colonial Coin Collectors Club convention in Baltimore and was put in front of more than 200 bidders.

Sold by John ‘Jack’ Royse, 86, along with 102 other rare coins, the collector put them up for auction because he wanted to ‘see them in the right hands’ before he died.

The buyer has expressed a wish to remain anonymous.

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Twain Would Be Amused

November 20, 2012 in Coins, Commemorative, Gold, Gold Coins, Precious Metals, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins

From Coin Collectors Blog ( November 18th, 2012

Under suspension of the rules, the House of Representatives voted 408-4 to pass H.R. 2453, Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act. The bill has been officially enrolled and sent to the president for his

When the bill becomes law, the Twain commemorative will be in 2016 to sell 100,000 $5 gold coins and 350,000 silver dollars whose designs “shall be emblematic of the life and legacy of Mark Twain.” There will be the usual $35 surcharge for the gold coin and $10 for the silver dollar that will be distributed evenly to:

  1. Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut
  2. University of California, Berkeley for the benefit of the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library
  3. Elmira College, New York, to be used for research and education purposes
  4. Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri

After looking at the list, I could not imagine why Elmira College is on the list until I discovered the Center for Mark Twain Studies. Twain was married in February 1870 to the former Olivia Langdon in Elmira. While Twain and his family lived in Hartford, Connecticut, he summered at Quarry Farm in Elmira, the hole of Susan Crane, Olivia’s sister.

Twain would be amused by the commemorative. While he had a love for science and technology, Twain did not embrace his celebrity as much as some do today. Even after he faced financial troubles from bad investments and the depression from the death of his daughter Susy of meningitis, friends pushed Twain to the lecture circuit. His lectures were humorous bordering on an early form of stand-up comedy full of self-deprecating humor. Part of his talks marveled how people would pay to hear his speak or seek him out for advice.

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Spanish Gold and Silver Coin Series Highlights Work of Joan Miró

November 19, 2012 in Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, Spain Coins

November 19, 2012 By Michael Alexander (

The Royal Mint of Spain – Real Casa de la Moneda has issued (5th November) their latest set of coins which highlight internationally famous Spanish painters – this is the fifth such series. The first set released in 2008 was dedicated to Velázquez, the second to Salvador Dalí, the third to Goya, and the fourth jointly to Domenicos Theotocopoulos (El Greco), Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, José de Ribera (El Españoleto), and Francisco de Zurbarán.

This year’s set highlights the works of Joan Miró (1893-1983). The five coins that comprise the set, one gold and four silver, highlight some of the artist’s most striking and representative paintings. Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism and in numerous interviews dating from the 1930’s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society. He famously declared an “assassination of painting” in favor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting. In 1954 he was given the Venice Biennale print making prize and in 1958 he was presented with the Guggenheim International Award. In 1980 Miro received the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos of Spain. In 1981, the Palma City Council established theFundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, housed in the four studios that Miró had donated for the purpose. Today, Miro’s paintings sell for between $250,000 and $26 million. A price of $17 million was realized at a U.S. auction for the La Caresse des étoiles (1938) in May 2008, at the time it the highest amount paid for one of his works.

400 Euro Pintores Españoles (Joan Miro) Gold Coin Spain

400 Euro Pintores Españoles (Joan Miro) Gold Coin Spain

400 €URO:  The obverse portrays a rendering of the work entitled “Self-portrait” painted between 1937 and 1960, from the María Dolors Miró collection, on loan to the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. The reverse depicts the work entitled “Portrait of a Young Girl” painted in 1919, and held by the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. Struck to proof quality in .999 fine gold with a weight of 27 grams and a diameter of 38 mm. A mintage of 3000 pieces has been authorized for this traditional Eight Escudos coin.

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Individual 2012-W Proof Silver Eagle Sold Out

November 19, 2012 in Coins, Proof Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins

November 19, 2012 By Michael Zielinski (

On November 13, 2012, the United States Mint sold out of the individual option for the 2012-W Proof Silver Eagle. Despite the sell out, collectors still have other options available for purchasing numismatic 2012 American Silver Eagles and may even see a come back for the sold out coin within an upcoming product.

2012 Silver Eagle Proof

2012 Silver Eagle Proof

The US Mint began sales of the 2012 Proof Silver Eagle containing the “W” mint mark on April 12, 2012. On that date, the individual proof coin was available priced at $59.95 with no stated maximum mintage and no household ordering limits imposed. Opening sales figures for the product reached 299,539 units, representing somewhat of a slow down from the prior year.

Following a decline in the market price of silver, the product price was reduced to $54.95 in late July. This allowed collectors with a window of opportunity to take advantage of a lower price. After the price of silver recovered, the price of the coin was raised to the original $59.95 in October.

The last reported sales for the individual 2012-W Proof Silver Eagle are 819,217 based on last week’s report. This compares to sales of 850,000 individual coins in 2010, and 860,000 individual coins in 2011.

As one of the US Mint’s most popular numismatic products, many might have been looking forward to purchasing the 2012 Proof Silver Eagle to give as a holiday gift. In fact, the US Mint prominently featured an image of the coin on the cover of Fall Product Catalog, which was distributed to collectors last week.

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Historians hit pay dirt with Twain coin

November 18, 2012 in Coins, Collecting, Commemorative, Gold, Gold Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins

By Kevin Bogardus – 11/18/12 (

Legislation passed by Congress to honor the legendary American author Mark Twain could be a boon for historians who work to preserve the writer’s legacy.

A pot of $7 million, to be garnered from the sale of coins commemorating Twain, will be split evenly between four historical sites across the country connected to the writer.

But before curators and others can use the money to refurbish and maintain museums and libraries that house Twain’s legacy, they have to raise matching funds that equal the federal gift.

“The fact that it creates a matching scenario that doesn’t affect taxpayers, it’s something Twain himself would approve. It will excite our donors and I feel confident that we will be able to match those funds,” said Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo.

Lobbyists have been a keeping an eye on the bill. Joel Freedman, a former head of government affairs for The Hartford Financial Services Group who lobbies on insurance issues, sits on the board of trustees for the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Conn.

Greg Boyko, who is chairman of the trustees’ board, credited Freedman for helping to gain traction for the legislation after joining the board in 2010.

“Frankly, he was the spark plug to help get this done. He had a lot of skill and knowledge to bring to this,” Boyko said about Freedman. “He was the orchestra director of this whole thing. He was part of it and so were others.”

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Classic coins worth a mint

November 17, 2012 in Coins, Collecting, Gold, Gold Coins, Investing, Silver, Silver Coins

Tony Glover (

Nov 17, 2012

Investing in old coins can reap good returns, especially if you know your history. But experts say novice collectors may have difficulty recognising key elements such as quality, rarity and market demand. Tony Glover reports

Anyone boarding a plane with tens of millions of US dollars worth of rare coins in their pocket while only appearing to carry a pocket full of loose change is likely to be either a successful criminal or a keen numismatist.

Numismatics is the study or collection of currencies, and the collectors of rare coins are known as numismatists or numatists. Some are wealthy investors, while others only want to hold a piece of history in the palm of their hand.

According to Rick Pontario, the executive vice president of Stack’s Bowers and Pontario, a major global auctioneer of ancient coins, rare coins have historically been a good investment over a 10-year period.

“Quality, rarity and demand are the key factors,” says Mr Pontario.

A favoured way of establishing a coin’s value without selling it at auction is called “slabbing”.

This involves having a coin valued by a professional on the grounds of quality, rarity and demand, and placed in a sealed transparent classic case to preserve its condition.

But while this service may be reassuring for the novice collector, professionals in the business of rare coins are sceptical of the true value of slabbing.

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Montana tells lawmaker gold is for fools

November 15, 2012 in Gold, Politics, Precious Metals

By KEVIN CIRILLI. 11/15/12 (

A Montana state lawmaker’s request to be paid in gold and silver coins has been denied by the state.

Earlier this week, state Rep. Jerry O’Neil wrote the state legislature asking to be paid his annual $7,000 salary in coins because constituents in his district told him he wasn’t doing his duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which O’Neil and Gold standard supporters say requires the government only print gold-backed money.

Jaret Coles, a Montana legislative staff attorney, said that’s not going to happen.

“The United States Constitution does not require states to pay debts in gold and silver. Additionally, there is no specific authority in the Montana Code Annotated for an agency to pay debts using gold or silver for services,” Coles wrote.

What’s O’Neil think about that?

“It seems to me kind of silly that a judge can rewrite the Constitution in the court of law,” said O’Neil, a Republican who represents a district in the northern part of the state. “Maybe they have some merit but right at the moment it doesn’t seem like they do.”

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Rare gold coin unearthed near Bosworth Battlefield expected to fetch a king’s ransom

November 15, 2012 in Coins, Gold, Gold Coins

Leicester Mercury  (

By Tom Mack.  Nov 15th, 2012

A rare gold coin unearthed near Bosworth Battlefield is expected to sell for more than £12,000 at auction.

The pristine find dates from 1484 – a year before Richard III was defeated at Bosworth – and features a ship at sea on one side and St Michael spearing a dragon on the reverse.

Gold Coin

Rare Gold Coin

Importantly, the coin also bears the boar’s head symbol of Richard III, exciting experts who suspect it was lost at the time of the battle, in August 1485.

The coin – known as an angel because of its depiction of St Michael – was found in August using a metal detector.

It will go on sale at a two-day coin auction at Spink’s, in London, on December 4 and 5.

The auction house has not named the owner or given any clues as to who discovered it.

Spink’s coin specialist William MacKay said: “It is incredible that just as we are having all the publicity about the discovery of Richard III’s tomb in Leicester, this coin, which was found so close to where he met his death, should be brought in to our offices.

“It’s a remarkable find and shows little sign of wear and tear, making this very likely a coin lost at the time of the Battle of Bosworth and Richard III’s death.

“It is conceivable the owner of this coin was involved in the events of August 1485 and the Battle of Bosworth.”

While badges, sword mounts, cannonballs and other coins have been found near the Bosworth site before, the gold coin is very rare, according to experts.

The estimated value in the sale is £12,000 to £15,000.

Richard Knox, Leicestershire County Council’s heritage development manager, said: “It is a very exciting find, and particularly relevant at the moment with the interest in Bosworth as a result of the dig in Leicester.

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IRS Regulations for Gold & Silver Eagle Coins in IRA

November 14, 2012 in Coins, Gold, Gold Coins, Investing, Money, Precious Metals, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins

By Craig Woodman, Demand Media (

When stocks and bonds are shaky, gold has a tendency to hold steady and even rise in value, particularly during times of inflation. Because of this, you may wish to invest in gold in your individual retirement account. Although coins are specifically prohibited as an IRA investment, some gold coins are allowed. Investing in gold with an IRA presents some challenges when deciding who will serve as trustee of the account.


Collectible Investments

IRS Publication 590 which summarizes the regulations for IRA accounts, notes that the IRS prohibits investment in collectibles in your IRA account. Included in this ban are artwork, metals, rugs, antiques and gemstones. Also included are coins, but only collectible coins such as older or rare coins primarily of interest to coin collectors, not people interested in the precious metal content in the coin.

Allowable Gold Coins

Tax law clearly specifies certain coins that can be held in an IRA. Allowable are one, one-half, one-quarter and one-tenth-ounce U.S. gold coins and one-ounce silver coins made by the U.S. Treasury Department. These are American Eagle gold and silver coins.


Other Metal Investments

You can also invest in certain platinum coins inside your IRA, as well as platinum and palladium bullion. These metals have more industrial value for their use in manufacturing catalytic converters for automobiles, but their value does tend to follow the movement of gold. Gold and silver bullion are also allowed. Bullion is the metal cast in bar form, rather than as a coin.

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An Open Letter to Hugo Salinas Price

November 14, 2012 in Gold, Investing, Money, Precious Metals, Silver

BY KEITH WEINER, 11-14-2012 (

Dear Mr. Price:

I read your piece: “On the Use of Gold Coins as Money”. I think you ask the right question. This is the elephant in the room. Why do gold and silver not circulate?

I love your analogy of the Swiss asserting that they will “allow” gold to have a monetary role, this being like “re-hydrating water.” It is not within the power of foolish governments either to imbue water with wetness, or gold with moneyness.

Gold is already money. It is the commodity with the tightest bid-ask spread. It is the commodity with the highest ratio of inventories divided by annual mine production (stocks to flows). And it is the commodity whose marginal utility does not decline. These statements are as true for gold today as they were under the gold standard 100 years ago.

Let’s look at marginal utility. I think you hit the nail on the head: people will pay in anything but gold, if it is possible to do so. People prefer to keep gold, and this preference has nothing to do with the amount of gold they or anyone has.

What is the practical effect of this? There are two things that individuals could theoretically do with their gold. The first is that they could hoard it. It does not produce a yield, and it does not finance production. But if there is no other option available this is what people must do.

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Cargo of gold and whiskey fuels legend of the Westmoreland, famous shipwreck discovered by diver from Grand Rapids

November 14, 2012 in Gold, Gold Coins, Ship Wrecks, Treasure

By Garret Ellison ( Nov 14, 2012

MANITOU PASSAGE, MI — After 18 hours spent battling a blizzard on Lake Michigan, the fate of the Westmoreland was sealed less than three miles from safety.

At 10 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1854, rising water in the bilge finally extinguished the fire in the boiler, leaving the cargo-laden steamer powerless and thrown to the mercy of heavy, icy seas off a then-remote stretch of Lake Michigan coastline.

Half the souls on board the Westmoreland would soon perish in the deep, frigid waters of Platte Bay. The other half would spread the legend of a ship reputed to be carrying $100,000 in gold coins in her safe, and 280 barrels of whiskey in her hold, sparking more than a century of treasure hunters that would search in vain for the wreck.

Search in vain, that is, until 155 years after the sinking, when a diver and shipwreck sleuth from Grand Rapids would find what others could not; the wreck of the Westmoreland sitting upright on the lake bed, 200 feet under the surface of a bay where summer vacationers frolic in the shadow of the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore.

“It is probably one of the most well-preserved shipwrecks from the 1850s on the planet,” said Ross Richardson, who found the wreck on July 7, 2010.

“It’s in amazing condition.”

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Coin collecting still a mystical hobby for some

November 13, 2012 in Coins, Collecting, Young Collectors

By: Sarah Baraba (htpp://www.

While a penny on the street may go unnoticed by many, it probably won’t miss the eye of 9-year-old Donovan Geraghty. In fact, that’s how the Ballwin resident started his coin collection.

“I found it in my back yard; I think it’s a Canadian penny,” Donovan said as he scoured over his binder of coins, each coin tucked away neatly in individual slots sealed shut with a few inches of Scotch tape.

Donovan sent a letter to the Suburban Journals requesting we write a story about his coin collection. His pitch included a hand drawing of his coin binder and tales of his trips to Coin, Stamps, and Jewelry, a Ballwin shop owned by Mike Butland.

There was something nostalgic about Donovan’s letter. Not only was he a 9-year-old collecting coins at a time when most of his peers are glued to the TV or computer, he was also a 9-year-old sending a hand-written letter to a newspaper. Some might argue coins and newspapers are both struggling icons of history, soon to be swept away with the digital age. We had to reach out.

Butland said children like Donovan are becoming almost as rare as the coins in his shop. Coins aren’t as flashy as a smart phone.

“If you can’t text your friend on it, who wants it?” Butland said. “Kids that do collect coins are really enthusiastic about it, and it’s really nice to see.”

Donovan and his father, Ryan, spend some Saturday mornings in Butland’s shop, pouring over buckets of coins for ones that stick out. He doesn’t go coin hunting with a piece in mind. When a coin is meant for his collection, it just feels right.

“My favorite coin is from Japan; it has a hole in it,” Donovan said, pointing at a dingy copper circle in his binder. Turning the page, he spotted another favorite, a two-toned coin.

“I like the details and colors. Some have presidents. This one has an eagle with a snake in its mouth,” he said, singling out a coin from Mexico. “(Collecting) feels good because I get to know what other places used a long time ago.”

That’s why Donovan’s mother, Kim, likes his collection too.

“I think it’s an interesting way to explore and find out about other places and see their currency, past and present,” she said.

The collection has been an exercise in education. While coin collecting enthusiasts may rely on the “Guide to U.S. Coins” as a bible of sorts, Donovan looks up his coins on his family’s iPad, learning about the country, time period and even the people who may have had his change in their pocket. His binder boasts mintage from China, Germany, Indonesia, Australia and France. Though he has coins from nearly every continent, Donovan said his goal is to get his hands on a “real pirate coin.”

That’s the only way to collect, Butland said.

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Historic coins in demand

November 13, 2012 in British Coins, Coins, Gold, Gold Coins

By Moira O’Neill,  13 November 2012 (http://

The Diamond Jubilee has led to a record demand for historic gold coins

The Diamond Jubilee has led to record demand for historic gold coins, according to the Scoin Shop, the gold coin retail chain. Sales of historic coins from circa 1840-1910 from both Britain and the old South African Republic are up 50 per cent on 2011, according to Scoin shop sales figures.

Scoin Shop founder Alan Demby said: “We’ve reached a new direction of consumer interest not seen before, where it appears that sales of gold coins commemorating some of the UK’s most recent major events, such as the Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding, are turning the attention of customers to historic, rare and valuable coins. It’s almost as if these modern day events, which people can closely identify with, are creating interest in historic coins which are predominantly higher in value because of their scarcity.”

Note that Mr Demby is referring to historic gold coins as opposed to bullion coins, which go up and down with the price of gold and the exchange rate. “All bullion collectors have seen their collection price increase two-fold, from the gold price and the dollar exchange rate,” he says.

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