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Well worn Copper's Blog

18 Feb 2020

1964 Franklin Halves: Are There Any Out There?

| Well worn Copper

The past month I've gotten into an area of collecting I've ignored for quite some time now, namely Franklin half dollars. I've always felt the Walking Liberty was a hard act to follow and the modernistic and uncluttered design of the Franklin's were proof of this. However, I've gotten into Franklin cameos and NGC star (*) designations which display incredible eye appeal. Reading Rick Tomaska's Guide Book of Franklin & Kennedy Half Dollars was also enlightening. One thing has always bothered me though: There just HAS to be a few 1964 Franklin's out there somewhere, but where? The new (1964) Kennedy half was authorized so late in 1963 that the master hub and dies must have been ready for at least a few 1964 Franklin trial strikes. Tomaska does not go into the possibility of '64 Franklin's, but others have, such as Walter Breen. I have always felt the Mint could have struck both 1964-dated Franklin and Kennedy halves, instead of rushing the Kennedy issue like it did. But the '64 Franklin would have had a smaller mintage, and in the end both designs would have been hoarded. Yet, after all these years everyone knows about the 1964 Peace Dollars, but nothing about possible 1964 Franklins. By the way, the image of the 1964 Franklin half shown here is the work of Daniel Carr, who over-struck legal Franklin halves with a 1964 date. How Mr. Carr gets around this is beyond me (he must have great lawyers) but until a legit piece appears, they will have to do. Happy hunting!

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07 Feb 2020

Warren Buffett was a Child Numismatist

| Well worn Copper

I'm current reading Alice Schroeder's 2008 book, "The Snowball: Warren Buffett & the Business of Life". It's a revealing look at the life of one of the richest men in the world, as well as a respected stock market guru. Something that surprised me was discovering that Buffett collected coins as a child. While the book does not go into detail, Buffett also collected stamps, which was a natural attraction back in the 1930's. Buffet loved money so much that his favorite childhood "toy" was a nickel-plated change maker, the old fashioned kind that vendors attached to their belt (what a kid). The book also discloses that when Buffett was ten, his father took him to New York City. Warren asked to visit three specific places: the New York Stock Exchange, the Lionel train showroom, and the headquarters of the Scott Stamp and Coin Company. Nothing further is mentioned about Buffett's numismatic adventures, but it's probably safe to say he knew about the 1909-S VDB Cent, the 1913 Liberty Nickel and 1804 Silver Dollar. The only story that goes into detail about his collecting involved a stamp-buying excursion when he was a teenager. Warren and a friend went from post office to post office buying up as many 4-cent stamps they could find, which were being discontinued at the time. They accumulated a hoard which they kept in his basement but soon discovered there were only so many collectors interested in them. Warren sold his share of the stamps at cost, factoring in the waste of time and travel to buy them, and apparently learned a valuable lesson. After that, he only "collected" companies, which today make up his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. It sure would have been interesting if he stuck with coins... one can only imagine the things he could buy with all that money.

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