Michael Marotta's Blog

09 Mar 2019

First Coins of the Denver Mint

Coins-United States | Michael Marotta

The fact was revealed at a meeting of the ANA member Capital City Coin Club of Austin, Texas. Club member Kurt Baty spoke on "United States Coins and Mints." "It started with a rather simple question," Kurt Baty explained. "If I wanted to have a U.S. Mint mintmark set, what could it look like?" What would be the fewest coin types to meet the challenge? On the other hand, could you assemble eight different coins, one from each of the eight Mints? What if you wanted to show the first coin struck by each?

02 May 2018

Book Review "Confiscation: Gold as Contraband 1933-1974"

Coins | Michael Marotta

Confiscation: Gold as Contraband 1933-1974 by Kenneth R. Ferguson was a pleasure to read. Ferguson writes well. I met Ken Ferguson in person at a coin show here in Austin. He speaks as intelligently as he writes. Our time together was enlightening.

09 Apr 2018

Aaron Feldman:"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin"

Library | Michael Marotta

BUY THE BOOK BEFORE THE COIN headlined an advertisement in the March 1966 issue of The Numismatist. Aaron R. Feldman offered 25 titles, some of which were classics then as now: Sheldon, Beistle, and Bolender. Don Taxay's book on counterfeits (1964) was a new addition to our knowledge base. The Friedberg family was still in its first generation with Paper Money of the United States.

06 Feb 2018

On the Origins of Coinage

| Michael Marotta

The invention of coinage is a singular problem. It is easy to project ourselves on the past and assume that coins were initially intended to be money and were created as a medium of indirect barter to facilitate economic calculation. However, over the past 150 years, scholars have attempted half a dozen theories to explain the creation of coinage.

18 Jan 2018

Book Review: A Guide Book of the United States Mint

| Michael Marotta

A Guide Book of The United States Mint: Colonial, State, Private, Territorial, and Federal Coining Facilities by Q. David Bowers; Foreword by Ken Bressett; Whitman Publishing, 2016. 436 pages. $24.95. Reviewed by Michael E. Marotta (ANA 1162953)

15 Jan 2018

From the Mint to the Moon with John Leonard Riddell

Coins-United States | Michael Marotta

(This blog post is based on earlier works for The Numismatist ("The Riddle of John Leonard Riddell," April 2014, Vol. 127, No.4), the E-Sylum mail list (Volume 16, Number 40, September 29, 2013, Article 12; and Volume 19, Number 8, February 21, 2016, Article 22; etc.) and my blog, NecessaryFacts (Thursday, December 27, 2012).

14 Jan 2018

Hercules Coins in Burnham's Celestial Handbook

Ancient Coins | Michael Marotta

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23 Dec 2016

The Wizard of Oz: Numismatics and American Myth

Coins-United States | Michael Marotta

Numismatists Walter Breen, Mitch Sanders, and Lane Brunner joined professors of political science, history and economics who found a rich inventory of allusions in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. According to an impressive list of articles from academic journals and newspaper features, Baum wove the political debates of his time into his fable. Within the story are the Crime of '73 and the presidential campaigns of William Jennings Bryan. Easiest to identify are the characters best known from the 1939 film version. The Scarecrow represents farmers; the Tin Woodman is the industrial worker; Cowardly Lion is Bryan; the Emerald City is the White House; and the Wizard is President McKinley. All of that is merely an introduction. Over the last 45 years, each new interpreter uncovered new messages in the text.

25 Feb 2016

Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman

Library | Michael Marotta

The book is "Researched & Written by Leonard Augsburger, Roger W. Burdette & Joel Orosz" and James L. Halperin edited it. Additional editing and research are credited to Maureen and Stuart Levine. It was published by Heritage as an "Ivy Press" work.

10 Feb 2016

Book Review - Collecting Ancient Greek Coins by Paul Rynearson

Library | Michael Marotta

The newcomer to our hobby will benefit greatly from these insights, but this is not necessarily a book for beginners. While aesthetic enjoyment cannot be ignored, the purpose of the narrative is to help the buyer acquire the best values for the money. That this is a book for the mature collector is perhaps best illustrated by a reference to the 1957 movie, Boy on a Dolphin starring Sophia Loren, a film that “many readers will remember” – though perhaps many others will look it up on www.imdb.com and order it via Netflix.


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