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Gold Standing Liberty Quarter

The US Mint came out with a gold version of the Mercury dime earlier this year to mark the 100 anniversary of the coin. The same will be true for both the Standing Liberty Quarter and the Walking Liberty half dollar.

There was a lot of hullabaloo about the way the mint sold the Mercury dime. It had a mintage of 125,000 pieces, but you could order up to 10. This caused a stir because it sold out in less than 45 minutes.  Many consumers were frustrated with the process.

According to the Mint Website the new Gold Quarter (set to be issued September 8, 2016) will have a mintage of 100,000 and a household limit of 1! Can you say ”knee-jerk reaction”.

I suppose the mint really wants people to have a shot at getting one…but only one! I think the mint may anger just as many people by having a limit of 1 per household. Many people I know want things in quantities of 2 or 3. Not necessarily 10, but enough to buy one for each kid, or one for them and one for their spouse. You get the idea.

With the dime many people with an entrepreneurial spirit bought 10 so they could sell some off and keep the rest. It will be interesting to see what happens with those people when it comes to the Gold Quarters. Will all those people avoid buying one – “how can I make money if I just get one?”, causing it to not sell out and causing the secondary market to be weak by having demand met at the day of issue? Or will it still sell out quickly (in a matter of hours – depending on how well the US mint website can handle the load).  In which case the dealers will quickly start issuing higher buy out prices to get  some for customers who were unable to get one?

It will be interesting to see if this 1 per household issue starts a new trend with the mint. If it causes the coin to not sell out then the mint just hurt themselves. That would be the egalitarian way, the American way…or wait…the French way of doing things!

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Arizona 1940’s Movie Script for Old Tucson Studio

arizonamovieOld Tucson Studios, located just west of the Tucson Mountain range, is known as a mecca for western movie buffs. Many famous movies and TV shows were made there. Columbia pictures actually built Old Tucson Studios. It is reported that it took 40 days to build the sets.  The studio was built in 1938 for the filming of the movie “Arizona“.  The movie has a 6.9 (out of 10) rating on imdb.com.

After filming was done the studio was open to the public in 1939. Old Tucson Script was issued for the occasion. The script came in four denominations – 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar and 5 dollars. All four had the same format. They were printed on plain white paper that measured 5-3/4″ x 2-1/2″.  The front side (the side with the serial number) says “OLD TUCSON” 1860/1940. PROMISE TO PAY BEARER (denomination inside) with a different animal in the circle to the right of the note.  They are signed by ”Mayor Nick C Hall” and “Treasurer Donna Lewis”. All the notes have a different color scheme for each denomination. The reverse side has an image from the movie/Old Tucson, the denomination, and read “THIS SCRIPT ONLY VALID AT OLD TUCSON AND IS REDEEMABLE IN UNITED STATES COIN PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 19, 1940”.

The 25 cent note is in a purple-blue color and has a calf for the animal. The scene on the back appears to be a chapel with a flag in the middle of the scene.

OTscript25r

 

OTscript25

The 50 cent note has a brown under print on it and has a rooster for the animal. The scene on the reverse is “Phoebes’ Pie Shop”.

The 1 dollar note has a red under print. It has a stallion in the circle. The reverse has the US Post Office Old Tucson on it.

OTscripttwonotes

OTscripttwoback

The 5 dollar note is printed with yellow and has a lion on the right. The reverse has a street scene. The 5 dollar note has one difference to it versus the other notes. It says “REDEEMABLE ONLY IN GAMBLING CASINO”. This would indicate that one of the attractions on site was a ”casino”. It is unknown whether this was a curiosity shop or if it had any form of gambling inside.

 

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1970 Quarter on Canadian Quarter Error

There have been many news reports about 1970 US Quarters that are worth tens of thousands of dollars. The news reports show pictures that need lines drawn on them so you can see what they are trying to show you. Truth be told they are very hard to tell from a normal quarter.

Here is one quick trick to help you know if your coin is a quarter struck on a US planchet or a Canadian Planchet. As you can see in the picture below the US and Canadian quarters are the same size and measurements. But if you look at the second picture you will find that the EDGE of the coins look very different. That is because the US coin has a ”sandwich” appearance, but the Canadian Coin has one color to it.

US quarter and Canadian Quarter.

US quarter and Canadian Quarter.

 

The bottom is the US quarter. The top the Canadian.

The bottom is the US quarter. The top the Canadian.

 

What this means for you is that if your coin has the sandwich copper look, it is NOT the error coin. If it looks like it is all one color then it possibly is on the wrong planchet.

 

 

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Feinsilber UV Protected Silver from Germany

feinsilberfeinsilberrevSome companies are getting clever with their anti-counterfieting techniques. The German Company Geiger Edelmetalle is producing bars that have many different techniques that no one else is using. First of all they are putting reeding on the bars instead of smooth edges. They also have high quality finishes to them and a security number on them. But what really stands out is that they are putting a special UV reflective stamp on the bars so under a ”blue” or ”black” UV light you can see it. Leave it to the Germans to produce silver you can enjoy at a rave!

feinsilberlev

“LEV” mark in UV light.

 

Year Stamp in UV light.

Year Stamp in UV light.

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Scrap Gold Jewelry Purity Math

Gold jewelry comes in many different purities. These are often referred to as ”karats”.

The standard in Gold is 24 karat. This is pure gold, without imperfection or alloy. Gold is measured in Troy Ounces, so there is 31.103 grams in an ounce (we’ll use 31.1).  Any time you want to figure the purity of gold you divide the karat purity by 24. For example – 18k is 75% pure (18/24=.750). The chart below gives details to the rest of the normally seen purities.

These numbers will help you know how much gold you have in your jewelry and gold items. If you have other questions on gold just give us a call. We also buy gold jewelry by the karat weight. 520-881-7200.

Karat Purity Grams : Pure Ounce   Comments
24K 100% 31.10g This is pure gold!
22K 91.7% 33.91g Most Far East countries prefer 22-24K gold for jewelry.
21.6K 90% 34.56g

90% Gold Stamp on Ring.

Many coins are 90%. This karat weight is not usually used in jewelry…unless it is made from a coin!
18K 75% 41.47g

18k Gold Stamp

Often used in high end and custom jewelry.
14K 58.5% 53.16g

14k GOLD Stamp Back of Watch.

This is the most common karat weight for jewelry.
10K 41.6% 74.75g

10K Gold Ring Stamp.

In the US 10K is becoming the most commonly used weight as many jewelry stores try to lower their costs.
9K 37.5% 82.93g Scarcely seen. Mostly in 19th century Western Europe and UK.
8k 33.3% 93.3g Sometimes used in 19th century Mexico and UK.

 

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Grading Tips – Starting Point

There are a lot of books on grading coins, and many are useful for understanding and identifying the condition of your coins. But most of these books focus on US coins. So what do you do when you have foreign coins? The first thing to know is what the coin looked like when it was first struck. You can not tell how worn a coin is if you have no idea what it looked like brand new. We see this often with people who come in the shop (non-collectors) and they have a coin in G-4 condition but they think it is ”nearly new”, or ”almost uncirculated”. Each coin starts off a bit different and it is helpful to understand the starting point for the coin so you can determine how much wear or contact is on the coin.

Some of the coin books, especially on silver dollars, go into detail on how much detail the coin had to start. Some issues have very soft strikes or had very worn down dies so that the detail was already flat when the coin was struck. All this needs to be taken into account when grading a coin. Many 17th and 18th century coins have either unusual planchets or worn dies. This means you can have a coin with very little detail and still be a very high grade.

So as you learn your coins take note of the starting points on the coins you are collecting.

 

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Albus Dumbledore Coin

When I came upon this coin I thought, “does numismatics have no boundries?”.

Albus

I have my doubts that JK Rowling had any idea that an albus was a unit of money before she came up with Albus Dumbledore. This coin is from Frankfurt, Germany (1656). The Albus was worth 2 Kruezers. They also had a 6 Albus coin which was worth 12 Kruezers.

So it turns out Albus was cash for Frankfurt before Albus was cash for Rowling.

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Sarcoxie Strawberry Tokens

One of the things I love about having collectors come in the store is that they tell stories and they relay history to me. It is a constant learning experience. One of our favorite customers, we will call him Kent, came in recently and asked me if I had ever seen a token with a strawberry on it. This fascinated me and I told him I had not. He told me his family was from Sarcoxie, MO and that he had seen them.

There was a bank in Sarcoxie, it even ended up getting chartered with the Federal Government in July of 1900 (charter number 5515). But currency was apparently not the only thing that was used.

Sarcoxie was known as the strawberry capital of the world. Apparently, if you lived there, you grew, picked, packaged, sold and shipped strawberries. Along side traditional currency the bank also printed aluminum tokens of varying sizes and varying values. These tokens had values of “ONE QUART”, “SIX QUARTS”, “ONE TRAY”, and “ONE CRATE”.  The other side of the token had images of strawberries.

SarcoxieBerriesSarcoxieReverse

I was delighted when I found a set of them for Kent. He was also delighted and brought in a picture of his family from the Sarcoxie farm (circa 1910). Sarcoxie is the oldest town in Jasper county Missouri and as of the 2010 census had just over 1200 people living there. Today it is known for fruit and flowers and is considered the Peonies capital of the world.

Many people have heard of cherry picking – but I suggest trying strawberry pickin’!

sarcoxiephoto

Sarcoxie, MO Strawberry Farm circa 1910

 

 

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2016 State Park Quarters in review

The five parks quarters for the year 2016 (or 2106 as I sometimes write) are :

  • Shawnee, Illinois
  • Cumberland Gap, Kentucky
  • Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  • Theodore Roosevelt, N. Dakota
  • Fort Moultrie, S. Carolina

shawnee

The Shawnee Forest in southern Illinois looks like a very nice place to visit. It appears to have rock formations similar to the Chiricahua mountains.  As far as the coin goes, it is mediocre. It doesn’t really grab you or make you feel like you have to go there. I give it a rating of ”meh”.

CumberlandGAP

Cumberland Gap looks like a cool place to visit based on the NPS website. But I’m not sure the coin relates to the photos of the park. That being said, this coin clearly gets a nod because it has a flintlock rifle on it. This coin has a nice look to it and makes you feel like you are going back in time.

harpersferry

The Harpers Ferry quarter is one of the nicer coins that have come from this series. The modern etching and striking process for today’s coins has made a lot of designers go overboard with trees and leave and animals and details and trying for details. The problem is that they don’t really consider how it will look when it is done. But on this one the building comes to life. I feel like I’m at John Brown’s fort in 1848. This coin has a winning look and is my favorite for the year.

theodore

Theodore Roosevelt National park….let’s just get it over with…is any president since Lincoln more popular than Teddy Roosevelt? Everyone seems to love this guy. The coin itself is okay. It looks good in proof, but I’m not sure it will look very good in the uncirculated version. Extra points for having a horse. This coin get’s a rough riding thumbs up! (BTW- Teddy also has a national park in NY named after him!)

ftMoultrie

I apologize to South Carolina in advance for the Ft Moultrie quarter. My first impression is “what is that Russian guy waiving a flag for?” Fort Moultrie has both colonial and civil war histories that are fascinating. The design for this coin, however, leaves one guessing. It almost gets some extra points for having a ship on it, but the ship is very small and hardly noticeable in the clouds/smoke. Clearly this coin loses the design contest for the year.

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Mercury Gold Coin

mercurygold

For the Mercury Dime’s 100th anniversary the US Mint produced a 1/10 gold version. It sold out in 45 minutes. We have access to a limited number of these. Please call or stop by for current pricing and availability. 520-881-7200.

 

The mint will also produce a 100th anniversary gold version of the Standing Liberty quarter and the Walking Liberty half dollar. We believe these will remain popular with collectors, as the 2001 $1 silver buffalo has stayed popular.

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