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Well worn Copper's Blog

28 Apr 2020

The 1878 Bland-Allison Act: Missed Opportunities for Small Change?

| Well worn Copper

The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 recently popped into my head and got me wondering about a couple things. While the act's main purpose was to resuscitated the silver dollar, I've always wondered why it didn't do more. Five years earlier the "Crime of 1873" was passed and eliminated the silver dollar. Also eliminated were the 3 cent silver coin, and the silver half dime. At the time, both of these coins were doing okay and were actually being hoarded. They were replaced by their nickel counterparts, namely the 3 cent nickel and the 5 cent nickel coin. Between 1873 and 1878, the 20 cent piece was introduced (which was a failure) as well as the trade Dollar (also a failure). 1878 would witness the demise of both coins and see the return of the silver dollar. Now here's my question: With the western silver mining states successfully lobbying for the return silver dollars, why didn't they also press for the return of the silver trime and half dime? Both of these coins could have easily made up the difference from the demise of the 20 cent piece, which was only introduced by the silver lobby to make use of more silver. I believe silver trimes and half dimes could have been struck and circulated well into the end of the 19th century if reintroduced, and could have provided better use of silver than an abundance of silver dollars sitting in bank vaults.

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23 Apr 2020

2020 Women's Suffrage Dollar and Medal Designs

| Well worn Copper

The U.S. Mint has released the final designs for the 2020 Women's Suffrage Commemorative Silver Dollar as well as the Silver medal. By the looks of the dollar this coin will be an artistic disappointment after the success of the 2019 Apollo 11 designs. There's quite a bit going on with the reverse design, too much in fact, and it reminds me of a hippie rock concert poster from the 60's. The obverse is alright, but it annoys me whenever I see $1 used on coinage instead of One Dollar...using $1 cheapens the coin's value and should be reserved for tokens. As for the silver medal, it features a strong obverse and should do well. The artistic energy that went into the medal appears to be a sign that the mint is moving towards improving it's medal series since the commemoratives have lately not had a good track record. Case in point was the beautiful 225th mint anniversary Liberty medal, compared to the 2017 Boy's Town and Loin's Club commems. Win some, lose some, I guess. Perhaps it's time to take a good look at the mint's medallic offerings, at least from an art perspective.

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13 Apr 2020

Underground Artist "Rency" and his $2 Bills

| Well worn Copper

There is apparently an "American born underground street artist" by the name of Rency who creates "pop art" on actual two dollar bills. Subjects include everyone from Martin Luther King, Elvis Presley, Donald Trump, and even Ronald McDonald. Copies of his work sell worldwide starting at $19.95 on up. As most of us are just sitting around the house, I'd figured I'd toss this out for everyone's opinion. Some collectors find anything added to a piece of U.S. currency an act of disrespect, while other's might say at least he's doing something with the $2 bill, and it beats sitting them in bank vaults. As for myself, I find it all "interesting," but there's a fine line to some of the subject matter. PMG and Legacy probably wouldn't touch them, and whether they would attract new collectors is anybody's guess. In the end I guess art is in the eye of the beholder.

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13 Apr 2020

Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson.

| Well worn Copper

Today marks the 277th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's birth. Numismatist's are quite familiar with Jefferson's likeness as it has appeared on numerous U.S. coins, medals and currency. We can also thank Jefferson for his involvement in U.S. coinage and the mint's early years. Despite Alexander Hamilton's and financier Robert Morris' expertise in monetary manners, it was Jefferson who realized the dollar unit would work best for America. Jefferson is also noteworthy for personally introducing 1,500 specimens of the 1792 half disme into circulation. Perhaps the greatest numismatic honor paid to our third president occurred during the 1976 Bicentennial, when $2 bills were hand cancelled with USPS commemorative stamps on the anniversary of his birth. This custom introduced a new trend to currency collecting, and examples can still be easily obtained. Although his beloved Monticello is closed due to the current health pandemic, and his simple grave will receive no visitors today, he is forever remembered in our hearts, our pockets, and our collections.

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