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Depression Era Scrip

Scrip or Script is a medium of exchange that is produced in place of federal currency. It can be made by a municipality, a bank, a business or individual.  In the late 1920’s and mid 1930’s the use of scrip spread to many areas of the country as cash was scarce and banks were closing down. Below are photos of some Scrip from the City of Detroit dated June 10, 1933.

The notes were printed by the Columbian Printing Company. They have the look of currency, but are printed on a plain paper, unlike the fiber paper the US uses. These notes also had water marks that run vertically near the ends of the notes. US notes of that era do not have water marks.

Detroit Depression Scrip 1933

Detroit Depression Scrip 1933

The front of the notes have a serial number and have a seal on them referring to them as “Series A”. It is roughly the same size as a current Federal Reserve Note (you know, the currency we use now).

1933 Detroit Depression Scrip

1933 Detroit Depression Scrip

The moto of Detroit is printed on the note. The latin phrases read “SPERAMUS MELIORA””RESURGET CINERIBUS”.  This translates to “We hope for better things. It will arise from the ashes”. I’ve never seen a more prophetic motto! This motto was given to Detroit in 1805 after a fire destroyed much of the city.

Posted in: Currency, Education, Uncategorized

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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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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

 

 

Posted in: Education, Uncategorized

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Happy 2016

Welcome to the New Year. Have you heard the expression “New Year, New You?”. Is that true for coin collectors as well?

For collectors of brand new mint products the New Year always brings something new to collect. New commemoratives will come out that depict events from 50, 100, 150 or more years ago.  Some examples from the US Mint for 2016 include the National Park Services commemorative and the Mark Twain Commemorative coins. There will also be gold coins commemorating the coins of 1916 – The Mercury Dime, Standing Liberty Quarter and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. These coins should be spectacular and very popular.

So we know that modern coins bring new things to the collector, but what about folks who don’t collect modern mint pieces? Do you, or I, change our collecting ways in the new year? Should we? First of all, if you’ve never made a road map or outline for your collection, then you may want to consider trying it. A quick set of goals will make collecting more enjoyable. Consider these questions:

-What series of coins will you collect?

-What grades will you accept?

-What price ranges?

-What will you NOT buy?

-Will you buy only slabbed or only raw or either?

Thinking about these things will help you find the coins you like and know when to make a purchase and when to pass on a coin. I recently had a customer make the change to only buy certified coins. And only within a certain grade set. And only within a certain time period. And only within a certain size (or denomination). Now when he is at a show or a shop and he finds something that does not meet all his criteria then he will pass on it without any regrets.  But if it meets all his criteria then he feels comfortable with his purchase.

Another customer has decided to go in an entirely new area of collecting. He previously didn’t do any foreign coins but now has fallen in love with ancients. This is his knew target. He is starting to learn and buy a little bit here and there and is enjoying the process. If you’ve been considering a different series, now may be the time to start. It can really rekindle your passion.

So what about you? New Year, new you?

Posted in: Coins, Education, Uncategorized

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Commemorative Bullion – Silver Edition

The US Mint makes commemorative coins annually. These coins are often well advertised and active collectors would recognize most of them if they saw them at a coin shop. But there are entire series of commemorative coins that most collectors will never see unless they actively seek them out.

Silver

America The Beautiful

In 2010 the US Mint started the America The Beautiful (ATB) quarter series. Each state and the territories will have a state park put on a circulating commemorative quarter. You may have seen these in your pocket change. What you are not likely to see is the 5 ounce silver version that the mint is creating concurrent with the quarters. The 5 ounce versions are still a quarter face value.

Fort McHenry Bullion version of the 5 ounce silver quarter.

Fort McHenry Bullion version of the 5 ounce silver quarter.

These large silver  coins have very low mintages and come in both a ”bullion” and ”numismatic” version. The bullion version does not have a mint mark. They come in tubes of 10 and most of them have mintages below 35,000 pieces. The bullion version has a bright satin finish to them.

The numismatic version has a mint mark, they come in a custom box, and have a ”burnished” finish to them. Most of these coins have mintages below 25,000.

The price for these coins vary greatly depending on the source. You can pick many of the bullion pieces up for a slight premium. Currently silver is around $16 ounce and you can find many issues for $20 and ounce ($100 each). On the other extreme the most popular coin is the Hawaii with mint mark. This coin trades up to $600.

Silver Eagles

Silver Eagles are the most well known and highly collected of all US Bullion issues.  So much so that some of the bullion issues are trading at double the price of silver (1986, 1996). In 2001 the mint started to produce ”Burnished” uncirculated coins. These came in special boxes and have the “W” mint mark. The burnished UNC coins mostly trade in the $40-$80.

There is one error in the Silver Eagle series. It is a 2008 dated coin with a reverse of 2007. This type of error is commonly referred to as a ”mule”. The difference is subtle. In 2008 a serif was added to the coins. The error version is san-serif. It trades for $450+.

The mint also creates the Proof version of the silver eagle. Many of these trade in the $40-$75 range. In 2006 the mint produced it’s first ever Reverse Proof coin. With a mintage below 250,000 pieces it trades in the $200 range.

In 2011 the mint produced a 25 year set with 5 different coins. It includes an “S” mint UNC and a reverse proof. These two specific coins have mintages below 100,000 and also trade in excess of $200. In 2013 the mint came out with the first ever ”enhanced proof”. These coins trade in the $75 range and are a good value relative to the 281,310 mintage.

It will be interesting to see what new twist the mint will put on the Silver Eagle series moving forward. One thing is sure, it will continue to be a popular series to collect.

 

 

Posted in: Coins, Education, Uncategorized

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Commemorative Bullion – Gold Edition

The US Mint makes commemorative coins annually. These coins are often well advertised and active collectors would recognize most of them if they saw them at a coin shop. But there are entire series of commemorative coins that most collectors will never see unless they actively seek them out.

Gold

In  2007 the mint started producing the presidential dollar series. In this series they release one coin for each president (for presidents who served non-consecutive terms the get two separate coins). The US Mint releases 4 coins per year. As a companion to that series they release the ”first spouse” series. These coins have a $10 face value and are one half ounce of .9999 fine gold.

Some of the presidents were not married at the time of their presidency. Most of these coins have a depiction of a classic US coin. There was an odd exception when in 2012 Alice Paul was placed on a coin.

The first year of the coins saw mintages averaging around 18,000 for proofs and 17,000 for BU coins. The mintage dropped significantly in year two, with proofs averaging 7,000 and BU averaging 4,000. The most recent mintages are even smaller with mintages under 2,000 for BU coins and under 3,000 for proofs.

Most every coin from this series trades at or near the gold prices, despite the low mintages.

goldladies

In 2009 the mint made a one time issue called the Ultra High Relief. It is exactly one ounce of gold. The coin is unusually small in diameter but thick. It has the design of the St. Gaudens $20 High Relief coin. The mintage exceeded 114,000 pieces. The popularity, however, has kept the coin trading well above the price of gold. Currently gold is around $1150 per ounce and these commemorative bullion coins are trading near the $2,000 range.

highrelieff

This may become a trend. In 2015 the mint produced a different high relief coin. It has a completely new design and is also one ounce of pure gold. The coin had mintage limited to 50,000 pieces. These coins were issued around $1500 and are trading around $1,800 as of this writing. This coin has a face value of $100, making it America’s first $100 gold coin.

hihhgrelieft

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Arizona State Silver Bars BEWARE

Despite the outcry from consumer advocates, deceptive ads run constantly in the papers and on the TV. The uninformed public falls all to easily for slick ads with confusing wording.  This is evident with the new ad that is running in the AZ Daily Star. The full page ad shows large bars, “silver vault bricks”, and armed guards unloading the goods. Here is the real breakdown of what they are selling:

  • 6 ounces of silver
  • Cost is $285
  • or $47.50 per ounce

You can purchase silver locally for $17.50 per ounce (at the time of writing Silver is $15.50 per ounce) . That is $30 less per ounce than the United State Commemorative Gallery is selling their silver for. Some things to keep in mind is that this company (US Commemorative Gallery) is in no way related to any government. It is a private company. But they try to make it sound like they are official, even paying for the endorsement of former US Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow.

They have created these bars of silver for the sole purpose of marketing them. It is true that you can not get the bars with the AZ stamp on them anywhere else, but be aware that if you try to sell the bars they are only worth the $15.50 spot price.

If all they did was advertise silver bars for the stated price without all the mumbo-jumbo-hokis-pokis then it would not be so offensive. But not only do they have advertising designed to deceive, they also have high pressure sales. When I called them to find out if there was shipping ($9 shipping on one individual piece, free shipping on orders of 2 or more pieces),  and told her I would get back with her about ordering, she went on the offensive:

  • “these are the only known pieces from the Lincoln Treasury” (another company made to sound governmental).
  • “my concern for you is they may be sold out by the time you call back” (isn’t that sweet!)
  • “the phones have been ringing off the hook”
  • “I don’t know how many we have left”

Remember to seek advice of local businesses whenever you see advertising for coins, paper money, gold, silver or collectibles. Usually you can buy the same or similar articles for a fraction of the price. And if you don’t understand what they are selling, then don’t buy it!

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Posted in: Consumer Awareness, Education

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The Kit Carson Cent

1826onecent

Kit Carson is known as a frontiersman of the early American era. Few people make it through the history of time to be remembered by the generations that follow, Kit Carson is one of those men. But at least one man thought Christopher “Kit” Carson would be lost to history. When Carson was a teenager his father died. He was given to be an apprentice of a saddler named David Workman. Carson would rather try his fate in the wilderness and ran away. The year was 1826. Mr. Workman responded with a public reward for his valuable hand. Apparently Mr. Workman didn’t think very highly of the young boy, but would happily offer a bounty of one cent to whomever brought him back!Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 4.16.13 PM

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The coins that aren’t


It is common for people to search for coins from the year they were born. Usually they are looking for the largest coin they can find, a dollar or half dollar at least. What people don’t know is that not all coins are made in all years. This leads to the phone conversation that goes something like this…

“Old Pueblo Coin”

“I’m looking for a silver dollar from 1975”

“You can stop looking, they didn’t make any.”

{Silence}

“Really?! Thank you for telling me. Have a good day.”

 


I wonder how many places they called or how long they looked before we gave them the correct information. Do people intentionally not give them accurate information? Do people not know? Are they looking on the internet?

images

There are many examples of coins NOT being made for a period of time. One of the more recent examples is the 1975 Ike dollar, JFK half dollar and Washington quarter. Since it is the 40th anniversary of those coins not existing, let’s look at them. It was the advent of the Bicentennial of the United States. To commemorate the bicentennial they decided to produce special designs for the quarter the half dollar and the dollar and circulate those coins for two years, 1975 and 1976. These coins carry the date 1776-1976 on them. This means that there are no quarters, halves or dollars dated 1975. They did make a proof set in 1975, but only the smaller coins (the 1c, 5c, 10c,) are dated 1975.

imagesSo if you are looking for a gift for a 40th birthday, anniversary or reunion, you can buy a proof set, but don’t expect to find a 25c, 50c or $1 with the date 1975, they don’t exist. Happy Birthday to the coins that are not.

 

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2015 State Park Quarters

We just got the proof 2015 “America the Beautiful” State Park Quarters. The Nebraska, Homestead quarter is already out. But this is our first view of the other coins. It may not be an honest way to look at the coins (that being proof versions), but we are going to handicap the field based on our first impressions.
Proof versions can be very misleading versus the uncirculated coins. You’ll see what I mean as we look at the first coin. One more note, you can click on the name of the park and it will take you to the park’s official page.

 

Homestead, Nebraska

Proof Version. Homestead, NE

Proof Version. Homestead, NE

Uncirculated Version. Put out the fire!

Uncirculated Version. Put out the fire!

This coin features a humble wood sided home, with a water pump out in front. On either side of the home there are ears of corn. The proof version of this coin looks very handsome, as buildings often do on a coin. But what will it look like uncirculated? We already know that since the coin is in circulation. It basically looks like a house that is on fire. Many of the modern coins seem to have this problem. It appears that they were made to be proof coins with disregard for what an UNC will look like.

Bombay Hook, Delaware

Bombay Hook, Delaware

Bombay Hook, Delaware

These coins are going to the birds! Two of this years designs have a bird as the main subject matter. I’m sure someone will write in and let me know what type of bird this is, but I don’t know a Crane from a Loon from a Heron. Overall this coin looks nice, but I am concerned about how it will translate to a circulating coin. The landscape in the background may interfere.

Kisatchie, Louisiana

Kisatchie Park, Louisiana

Kisatchie Park, Louisiana

These coins are going to the birds! Oh, did I already use that line. Sorry. Once again I am not sure what type of bird flies here, but I’m getting hungry for Thanksgiving! The artist for this coin was able to design it in a way that made the bird look like it is in motion. Many coins attempt this but do not succeed. This coin should show well in the circulated versions since there are not competing images in the background of said bird!

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

I will admit that a parkway was not the first thing I think of when I think of a national park. This coin looks pretty cool in proof, but I highly doubt it will look good uncirculated. I don’t know if they could actually translate the vast park down to one coin, but if you look at images of the park, you may agree with me that the coin doesn’t do the park justice.

Saratoga, New York

Saratoga, The coolest Quarter Ever!

Saratoga, The coolest Quarter Ever!

And now for the coolest quarter of all. On a scale of 1 to 5 it is Chuck Norris. The Saratoga National Park has two hands and a sword with “British Surrender 1777” on it. The first reason this coin sticks out is because it does not have an animal, building, plant or monument depicted. The second reason is because IT HAS A SWORD. That automatically makes it cool. But not only that, it actually looks really nice. I think it will look handsome in person, but perhaps not as handsome as the proof version. I am looking forward to the 5 oz silver version.

 

 

 

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