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Well worn Copper's Blog

28 Jan 2020

Down Memory Lane from March 20, 1959

| Well worn Copper

I recently bought a pile of oldNumismatic Scrapbook issues from 1959, and my, how times have changed. Seems like the big thing back then were rolls, rolls, rolls. A lot of dealers were stocking, selling, and even buying, rolls of uncirculated coins. And by no means were these vintage rolls, but actually current coinage. Speculation was high thanks to the 1950-D nickel, and I guess everyone and their brother thought keeping a garage full of rolled coins around would be the equivalent of a 401k someday. We all know what happened to that bubble, don't we. But I was also shocked to find quite a few advertisements for coin cleaners as well. Seems everybody was okay with cleaning anything and everything in their collection. Thank goodness that trend came to an end. The good old days weren't always so good I guess. Now I know why I see so many "improperly cleaned" NGC slabs around. The dealer ads in old issues are always interesting, but I almost cried when I came across one offering a small assortment of proof U.S. patterns from 1869 starting at $17.50!To top it off, the back cover featured an ad from B. Max Mehl. I sure could use plans for a Time Machine right about now.....

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26 Jan 2020

A New Law Enforcement Commemorative; Deja Vu all Over Again

| Well worn Copper

On December 27th president Trump signed into law commemorative coinage for the National Law Enforcement Museum. A $5 gold coin, along with a silver dollar and clad half dollar will be struck in 2021 to help fund the museum. If all this sounds familiar it's probably because numismatists vaguely recall the 1997 National Law Enforcement Memorial silver dollar. Sales of the 1997 coin were moderate (28,575 uncirculated, 110,428 proof) and were never popular with collectors. With less than 25% of the 1997 issue struck, it's surprising to see a "sister" coin approved for 2021 and is now waiting in the wings. With all due respect given to law enforcement, it's interesting to see what good lobbying can do. I'm sure sales of the 2015 U.S. Marshal commemoratives were brought up (the issue was also undersold) along with the possibility that it was a bit soon to issue yet another law enforcement commemorative. This coin could have serious ramifications with numismatists, however. Since the two commemorative issues for 2021 have now been signed into law, there appears to be no possibility for the ANA-proposed 2021-dated Peace and Morgan dollars to become a reality. And let's be honest, the Peace and Morgan issue would have outsold the Law Enforcement issue hands down, at least within the numismatic community. I don't wish any ill on the 2021 Law Enforcement coins, but they will have an uphill battle compared to a new Peace dollar. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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22 Jan 2020

U.S. Mint Sales Figures for 2019- Finally.

| Well worn Copper

After waiting nearly three weeks, the U.S. Mint has finally updated their bi-weekly sales figures, which included the final mintages of everything they minted in 2019. Of interest are the commemoratives, bullion coins, and other special issues. It's no surprise that the Apollo 11 issues were big sellers. In fact, they were the mint's best selling commemoratives since the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame coins. The American Legion issue proved to be a disappointment, however. As an example, the Apollo 11 proof dollar saw a mintage of 218,9995 pieces, compared to only 18,811 for the American Legion proof dollar. The uncirculated Apollo 11 half dollar sold 41,742 coins, compared to a dismal 11,430 for the American Legion. Goes to show what a beautiful design can do for sales, especially outside of the usual collector circles (meaning us). You can view this information at www.usmint.gov under "Cumulative Sales Figures."

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18 Jan 2020

Harry & Meghan: We're Outta Here!

| Well worn Copper

Now that Prince Harry & Princess Meghan have decided to walk away from their royal duties I wonder if their commemorative coinages will end up in the melting pot or perhaps even go up in value. As the "spare to the heir" Harry (or his legal royal name, Henry) was the subject on quite a few U.K. Commonwealth coins over the years, and his 2018 marriage to Meghan spurned even more. I imagine there are British numismatists who buy anything and everything with a member of the royal family on it, whomever it may be, at whatever the price. I gotta give Harry & Meghan credit though. They are in love and want to take charge of their own lives, even if it means an uncertain future (particularly financial!). Who knows, maybe someday we will see a "Ex-Prince Harry, the famous Wal-Mart Door Greeter" five-pound sterling coin from The Pobjoy Mint.

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11 Jan 2020

Evasion Coppers of the Colonial Period

| Well worn Copper

As a sidebar to my small but growing collection of U.S. colonial copper coins, I recently purchased a few evasion coppers. Evasion coppers are counterfeit British halfpennies and pennies struck generally from 1760-1820. They were meant to deceive and circulated freely in England, Canada, and America. Evasion coppers are usually always underweight, so an inexpensive pocket scale comes in handy. Some were manufactured in England and were exported to America where there was a shortage of small change coinage. Other Evasion coppers were manufactured in Canada, and are known as Blacksmith Tokens. American pieces were struck at Machin's Mills and these appear in the Red Book. To help pass for real coinage, dies were typically left unfinished, thus giving the coins the appearance of being well circulated. (A well circulated coin did not arouse suspicion.) Other manufacturers made up their own obverse legends to technically avoid counterfeiting laws. A typical Evasion copper can be purchased for $15-20. All in all, these pieces make up an interesting part of colonial coinage. After all, it's not everyday you knowingly buy a counterfeit coin. Interestingly enough, NGC certifies Machin's Mills pieces, but apparently not other evasion coppers.

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