Well worn Copper's Blog

11 Apr 2021

Early Examples U.S. Coinage in Mint State: How Did They End Up Here?

| Well worn Copper

One part of American coin collecting that has always intrigued me concerns the existence of early examples of U.S. coinage which have somehow survived in mint state. By "early examples" I am talking about anything pre-1825. When you consider that coin collecting did not really get started in this country until the 1850's, with the elimination of the large cent, it amazes me that somehow certain coins were never used in commerce. "Workingman coins", such as dimes, quarters, and half dollars, were a considerable part of everyday commerce, and not sheltered or put aside like larger denominations such as silver dollars and gold coinage often were. So if collectors were few, who or how did these coins be put aside to remain in their mint state? Surely not every mint-state coin rested in the bottom of a mint sewn bag that somehow found it's way in the back of a deep bank vault, to lie undisturbed for decades (and roll collecting didn't come on the scene until the 1960's.) When you consider these examples survived the Hard Times era of the 1830's, when pocket change was scarce, it becomes even more fascinating. Although there were early collectors out there such as Joseph Mickley, they surely couldn't put everything aside. I recently purchased a 1806 Draped Bust half dollar in EF condition. The thought that it eventually found it's way into my collection simply because someone put it aside because it "looked pretty" over 200 years ago, instead of using it for the purchase of essentials in a hard scrabbled economy, always amazes me. Such things beg for answers. And I guess that's' why I'm pleasantly hooked.



Level 4

One nice looking coin. A beauty for any collection. It looks like it just came off the press.


Level 3

This is such an amazing point, I have also wondered the same thing ever since I started collecting. Whenever I see mint state examples of early 19th century coins, I'm always so intrigued by the idea of how they managed to stay in that good of shape for this many years. Super interesting thing to think about, thanks for sharing!


Level 6

Really great blog! Definitely something to think about. Beautiful coin! ; )

Yeah, how did those coins get saved in MS, even in like MS-68??? Good question.

C.D. Harrell

Level 3

Great Blog! Something that crosses my mind often is this thought : Someone places a coin in the back of a desk drawer and closes the drawer in 1830. No one minds the back of the drawer until 1930 due to it being in the corner and not essential for use. The coin is then brought out of its hibernation and placed in a collection for its next 100 years journey. Coin collecting truly is an imagination igniter.


Level 6

It surely is a mystery. Amazing that it did happen. Very good blog. Food for thought late at night when I can't sleep. Nice coin. Thanks.


Level 4

Nice blog. That is a great question never really thought about it. Also you got a nice coin.


Level 6

Nice blog. I have the same thoughts.


Level 5

Amazing that some coins have made it this far in such a good state. Most that have made it this long should last a lot longer. Those early years, I would not think many coins were saved in mint state. Love the 1812 date.


Level 6

Europeans actively collected U.S. issues, maybe they were at least partially responsible for those high grade examples surviving in high grade. Also, I think banks of that era held a lot more coinage in those early years (for their mandated reserves) and they may have survived in bank vaults until the collectors of 1850 and beyond started seeking those gems.

Yeah, good point.

Good point.

Long Beard

Level 5

How could one not love large busted women? And she's a beauty!


Level 6

Indeed! What's not to love! ; )


Level 7

Thanks for sharing your information. I do look up the post colonial coins . I'm looking to buy one now.!!


Level 5

1806 is a good year! It looks pretty on the coin ;) Thanks for the information and story!

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