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Coins January 2021

Since its inception, in 1955, Coins magazine has been a hobby leader in providing collectors with important and timely information key to making wise decisions on what to collect and how to collect. With monthly contributions from leading hobby experts, it's your one-stop hobby source. Get market trends, buying techniques, and historical perspectives on all aspects of coins (numismatics). Each issue delivers in-depth analysis, up-to-the-minute valuations, answers to all of your coin questions and more!

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United States
Active Interest Media
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min
always check your change

During a recent visit to our local grocery store, I received three quarters in change. I noticed they were shiny and new looking; I assumed they were new 2020 editions and put them in my pocket. When I got home I laid them on my desk to look at later. That evening I finally took a close look at them and was shocked to see that they were Great Smokey Mountains, Tenn., quarters from 2014. And what shocked me even more was that they had “S” mintmarks! They were not proofs, mind you, but circulated issues from the San Francisco mint. I am still kicking myself for not paying closer attention to them while I was at the checkout. The cashier probably had a partial or maybe even full roll…

5 min
a journey back in time: ‘coins’ magazine

HAVE YOU ever wished you could go back in time and snag some rare coins at yesterday’s prices? When I started collecting, in the 1970s, I remember looking back at Standing Liberty quarter values from the decades prior and being envious. Besides that quarter series, there were plenty of earlier coins I would have liked to collect, but with an extremely limited budget that accompanied poor-paying jobs, I couldn’t. I imagine this is a common malady among beginning coin and paper money collectors. Still, we can always dream, and looking back on past times remains a fun pastime. In this column, we will go back in time, at least in terms of revisiting the earlier pages of a publication dear to my heart – Coins magazine, the first coin magazine I…

5 min
cleaning coins: yes or no?

To clean or not to clean, that is the question. Ask almost anyone who has been a collector/dealer/investor in coins for a long time, and the answer will be: Don’t clean a coin. Now, ask that same person if he/she has ever cleaned a coin, and if the person is telling the truth, the answer will be yes. The correct answer is a bit more subtle than never clean a coin. It depends on such factors as the value of the coin, its current grade, its metallic composition, and what the “problem” with it is that makes you think it should be cleaned. A long time ago, I read a short tale written by a major coin dealer about a coin cleaning that netted him thousands of dollars. The man had an…

11 min
indian head cents: focusing on keys & semikeys

LOOKING BACK on my long history as a coin person, I see that my first set, actually partial set, was of Indian Head cents. My father, I’m sure, purchased this set at a hobby shop in the town where I grew up. Among many other things, the hobby shop had a few coin supplies and a partial set of Indian Head cents, which I found as one of my presents on a long ago Christmas morning. Although I no longer have the set, it was housed in the standard album at the time, a three-page, blue Whitman album. Of course, in addition to holes for Indian cents, there were also holes for Flying Eagle cents, one of which for the 1856, was filled with a round piece of blue cardboard on…

7 min
another silver eagle dollar “instant rarity?”

The U.S. Mint has issued some “Instant Rarities” over the years in the U.S. silver Eagle dollar series that began in 1986. • For the 10th Anniversary of the series, the Mint produced a 1995 West Point Mint Proof silver Eagle dollar with a mintage of just 30,125 coins, by far the scarcest of the proof issues thus far. This coin catalogs in the 2021 edition of A Guidebook Of United States Coins, commonly called the “Red Book,” at $3,500. • The regular issue Uncirculated 1996 silver Eagle dollar has the lowest mintage of the bullion issues at 3,603,386. The “Red Book” lists this issue at $65 (versus $24-40 for every other year of bullion issues). • The first two Reverse Proof silver Eagle dollars were issued in 2006 and 2011, with mintages…

11 min
barber half dollars

OLDER COLLECTORS reading this story may well remember that in the early 1950s it was still possible to find old silver half dollars, well circulated, that were called Barber coins. Because they were so worn there was little demand for such pieces and it was not until the 1970s that interest in this series became much stronger. The story of this coin goes back to well before its introduction in January 1892, however. Unlike today, when the half dollar is little used, in the 1870s it was one of our more popular coins and was struck in very heavy numbers at all three mints: Philadelphia, Carson City and San Francisco. On two occasions during that decade the yearly mintage at the parent mint itself was over 8 million pieces. Due to the…