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Coins July 2020

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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.
best ten-cent investment ever

In 1970 when I was 16, I watched an older gentleman try to put money into a vending machine. The machine wasn’t accepting his coins so I offered to help. When I removed the coins from the coin slot, they were five shining Mercury dimes. I reached into my pocket and pulled out two quarters and put them in the machine. He received his cup of soup and thanked me. I asked if he had any more dimes and he pulled more out of his pocket. I gave him two more quarters. He was concerned about me losing 10 more cents in the deal. I smiled and said it was ok. Eight years later I married his granddaughter! I still have the coins and the loving wife 50 years later. Wayne…

5 min.
the thrill of the hunt: collecting from circulation

Do you still look at your pocket change? Perhaps a better question would be: Do you still have any pocket change? I confess that I don’t, because I rarely spend cash anymore. I still carry cash but virtually all of my spending occurs with plastic money. I used to carry $2 bills to pay for my laundry each week, as the cleaner charged exactly $2 for ironing a shirt. Also, since my cleaning bills are so low, I tend to use my bank’s debit card. Our online checking account requires my wife and I to make at least 10 debit purchases each month in order to receive the maximum interest on the account (about 1 percent). Although I no longer have any change to examine from purchases, I do have a…

4 min.
a master chief engraver

ELIZABETH JONES MAY NOT be a name known in every household in the country, but her name is a very well-known and highly respected one among collectors and those who appreciate medallic art. Jones was the 11th Chief Engraver for the United States Mint, from 1981 to 1990, and in that time produced some gorgeous works that collectors still value today. She did not have the chance to produce a circulating coin for the United States, simply because Congress and the Department of the Treasury did not dictate any changes during her tenure, but her legacy of commemorative coins and medals is one that even the most accomplished artists would be proud of – and that just about any collector might like to own. Jones was a well-established artist when she…

2 min.
‘w’ quarters with privy mark announced

The period from May 8 to Sept. 2, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II. In recognition of this significant anniversary, the U.S. Mint will manufacture “W” mintmark quarters that feature a special privy mark signifying the allied victory in World War II. While circulating coins are typically made only in Philadelphia or Denver, these special circulating coins that bear the “W” mintmark are manufactured at the Mint facility at West Point. The Mint released the first two 2020 “W” America the Beautiful (ATB) quarters, honoring the National Park of American Samoa (American Samoa) and the Weir Farm National Historic Site (Connecticut), on April 6. The coins will likely begin to appear in circulation within four to six weeks after the release date, according to the Mint.…

11 min.
collecting sets within a set

WHAT’S THE MOST popularly collected U.S. coin today? I’m tempted to say the Lincoln cent, because that’s the coin I started with “back in the day.” After all, it was inexpensive to collect from circulation, challenging to find the early ones (pre-1930), and cents to look through were literally available by the ton. However, a sociology professor once told me something in class that has stuck with me to this day, more than 57 years later: “Don’t generalize from personal experience.” And so, even though I may be partial to Lincoln cents, that doesn’t mean that most other collectors are as well. In fact, the most popularly collected U.S. coin is probably the Morgan dollar. You don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s what Adam Crum, in his Foreword to…

12 min.
the half dollar

THE WORKHORSE OF THE MARKETPLACE nowadays is the quarter dollar but this was not always true. Some of our readers will remember the 1950s and early 1960s when the use of half dollars was very common and they were seen nearly as often as the quarter. The older generation at that time sometimes called them “four bits,” the quarter being “two bits” after the Spanish coins that circulated in the United States during the 19th century. The year 1964 was a watershed in the history of the half dollar. That date effectively marked the beginning of the end of the half dollar as a useful coin in our monetary system. At the same time, however, the fiasco helped create interest among non-collectors into becoming numismatists. The United States monetary system, as enshrined…