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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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Harry Truman Period

The Harry S Truman Dollar is now available and in circulation for collectors to find. The new dollar has an error…er…maybe. We will start with some trivia. What is Harry S Truman’s middle name?

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Harry “S” Truman

Some of you may know a person without a middle name. But do you know anyone whose middle name is a single letter? Harry S Truman’s middle name is “S”. His grandfather on one side was named Solomon and the last name of his other grandfather was Shipp. Hence the “S”. The question then comes  as to whether or not you actually need a period after the “S” to correctly annotate his name. On the coin there is a period after the “S”. The reason you would not have a period is because it is not abbreviated, but is his full middle name! I did find out that for the purpose of genealogy you would put quotation marks (” “) around the “S” to denote that it is a full name.  So did the mint mess up when they put a period on the coin? I don’t know, but I’d like to see quotation marks on the coin, that would be unique!

Oh, and he was the 33rd president, taking office on April 12th, 1945, after the death of President Roosevelt.  He ended the war with Japan when he decided to use the atomic bomb, and yet I focus on an “S” and a “.”!

On a side note, this is one of the first presidential dollars that actually looks like every picture I’ve ever seen of the man. You would think we’d have more images known to us of the man who ended WWII. Or perhaps this one image became so famous that it is engrained in our minds.

 

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1943 Penny -RARE?!

It seems that about once a year a local media source runs a story about the 1943 copper penny. It may be on the news or in the paper, or even in a local ethnic publication. We can always tell when this happens because we will suddenly get a large volume of calls about 1943 pennies. These media stories do not do a good job conveying the rarity (or lack of) of the 1943 penny, so let’s make this clear:

The 1943 penny is not rare

The 1943 Lincoln cents are struck on steel planchets. The US minted almost half a billion of the coins. The penny that the news stories sensationalize are a scarce variety where the coin was accidentally struck on a copper planchet instead of steel.  Yes, the copper 1943 pennies are rare and valuable, but the ones you have at home are not made of copper. Sometimes a rusted steel coin can look copper, but a simple magnet test will reveal that your coin is not rare.

steelies

1943 Steel Pennies are NOT RARE!

These coins are an interesting piece of history. The reason they were made of steel instead of copper was so the copper could be used for shell casings and other war related needs.  Necessity is the mother of invention and news articles are the mother of misinformation!

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When Stereotyping was okay-

A side effect of collecting is you can get a general feeling for cultural changes over the years. This can be seen in coins and paper money, but is even more pronounced in items with pictures and information, such as stamps and first day covers. I was reminded of this when we got a first day cover that was issued with the 18 cent “Alcoholism – You can beat it!” stamp.

Our culture has has tried to teach us not to offend others. Instead it has taught us to be offended at all costs.  Instead of taking criticism in the best possible way, we tend to twist and contort peoples words on cable TV shows until everyone is yelling at everyone else. In this climate we are all good at pointing out other’s foibles. … This comes back to the Alcoholism first day cover… the picture on it has a Scottish man in a kilt raising a glass at his local pub and simply says “ALCOHOLISM” above it. There you go folks, a stereotype. Are we allowed to laugh, or should we be offended? I can not answer that for you, but I have a feeling that if this cover came out today it would not use a bold stereotype!

alchohol

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Polymer Candian Notes

Canada10rcanada5back

hallowgraf

 

 

Vivid. Ingenious. Sharp. Cutting Edge. Intriguing.

These are words I use to describe the newest Canadian bank notes. Canada is one of many countries that is going ”polymer”. This is a fancy way of saying they are made of plastic. Polymer notes have been around for decades now with countries from Romania to Mexico using plastic. What sets apart the Canadian notes is the design and the use of ‘windows’ and that the windows are combined with holograms.

Not only is the technology interesting, the notes have great eye appeal. The design is sharp and images vivid. The back of the ten dollar note has a train going through a mountain scape overlaid on a map of Canada. And on the five, well what says Canada better than the space program! Okay, so it is not what I think of first, but it still looks nice.

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canadabig5
There is a continuity with the notes’ designs as well. Although the pictures change, the location of the leaf window and the main window are identical. The under print designs, although different colors, are also identical patterns. The ends of the notes have a dome design where they have magnetic strips for the vending machine world.

brailcanada

An added feature to Canadian notes is the use of raised dots for the visually impaired. The upper left hand corner of the note (when looking at the front) has a different number of dots for each denomination. Another feature that you may not see is the large number on the front of the note is printed with raised ink. You can feel the difference as you run your fingers over the note.
closecanada
What you can’t see, and what we’ve come to expect, is plenty of microprinting. Another thing that is hard to see is the raised words and letters in the big plastic window. All these features add up to make the Canadian Polymer notes among the most advanced and hardest to counterfeit in the world.

Security is not the only driving force behind note redesign. The polymer notes last 2 – 4 times as long as paper notes. That means they have to produce a lesser quantity of notes annually. A paper note often lasts one or two years, while the plastic notes usually last 4 to 6 years. For more information you can follow this link

http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/bank_note_fact_sheets.pdf

closeupcanada

canadaface

 

 

 

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The Euro and The Franc

Post date: January 15, 2015

Place: Switzerlandeurofranc

Information: The Swiss franc ”decouples” from the Euro.

Reaction: Franc goes up 15% versus the Euro

 

Some times interesting history is created right before your eyes and you never see it happen. January 15, 2015  is one of those days.  I do not think that the change in the Swiss franc’s relationship to the euro will register with the average American. The good news is if you are reading this you are above average! The Swiss bank’s move will have serious financial repercussions throughout the world.

Starting September of 2011 the Swiss National Bank (SNB) pegged the Swiss Franc (SF) at 1.2 Euros. As of 1/15/15 they announced that that was no longer the case. The Euro has been falling over the last 6 months and it seems the SNB had had enough of the euro dragging the franc down.

After the announcement the SF rose 30% against the Euro. It settled at +15% for the day.  The change made many Swiss companies that export their goods upset, as a strong franc makes their business less profitable. The biggest splash was made in foreign currency exchanges where people are allowed to borrow, and basically gamble, on currencies. People who physically possessed SF had an increase in value, but people who gamble by trading went the opposite way. The federal government allows foreign exchange (FX) companies to leverage at a 50 to 1 ratio. This means that a 2% change in a currency can wipe a day trader out.  Hundreds of millions of dollars were lost by traders putting some brokers out of business.

I’m not sure what lesson you want to take from this move. Perhaps Switzerland will not ”peg” it’s price to anything else. Perhaps new FX trading laws will be brought to legislation. Perhaps day traders will learn their lesson. But perhaps, just perhaps, most Americans will move along with their daily lives without thinking twice about what the euro or the franc is worth.

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Top Gifts for Christmas from OPC

Everyone loves lists. Everyone loves shopping. Let’s put them together for our top gifts for Christmas.

2014eagle

1. 2014 Silver Eagle- Uncirculated. These one ounce silver coins make great gifts for all occasions. $20-$22

2. Morgan Silver Dollars MS64. These pieces of history are always a hit and are one of the most popular us coins ever minted. Retail $70

3 2014 Silver Eagle – Proof Condition. See number 1. The proof version has mirrored fields and come in a plush velvet case. They retail at $70

 

copperrrrStocking stuffers!~ These novelties are fun for collectors.

1 Copper rounds and bars. From 1/4 ounce to 1 kilo. $2-$35

sharkteeth

Shark’s Teeth $5

2 Shark Teeth. Great for the kids only $5 each. {For the big kid in your life- Megalodon teeth $60-$600}

3 Silver Certificate $1.00 bank notes – $1.50 each.

 

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Everglades Quarter

Everglades Park Quarter

Everglades National Park Quarter

 

The 25th coin out in the America the Beautiful series is the Florida Everglades National Park. It became a park on December 6th, 1947. It covers over 1.5 million acres. Don’t mistake the big bird on the back for a Blue Heron. It is an Anhinga. Yup, I didn’t know what an Anhinga was either without looking it up!  The other bird is a Roseate Spoonbill. Overall it is a very nice looking coin. There have been some in the series that were hard to see, but this one is clear.

 

Anhinga

Anhinga

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Sand Dunes Colorado Coin

Great Sand Dunes Colorado Quarter.

Great Sand Dunes Colorado Quarter.

The mint has released the newest “America the Beautiful State Park Quarter tm”.  It is the Colorado Great Sand Dunes National Park. The coin features two figures by the river with the dunes in back and a snowcapped mountain in the background. The park was created by a law signed by Herbert Hoover in 1932. The land for the state park was expanded in the early 2000s. Around 285,000 people visit the park annually. You can visit the park’s website here.

 

 

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Lucite-Mania~!

Lucite-Mania~!

Lucite-Mania~!

Coin collectors  have the debate over whether to buy ”slabbed” or ”raw” coins. The term ”slab” comes from the coin being entombed. But those coins can be revived. Slabs can be cracked open and the coin released. There are, however, real slabs. Tombs from which it would take industrial tools to remove the coin.  I’m referring to coins put into lucite, or plastic.

They were used for many reasons, as souvenirs, for advertising, as a business incentive or give away for a bank. They also were marketed and sold in gift shops around the world. They also came in many shapes and sizes, from single coins up to dozens. You will even find paper money under plastic. What is 100 $1 bills worth under wraps?!

Some companies put them into every day items. We have a couple of interesting items with coins in them, including a ruler and a magnifying glass.

Coins in a ruler and a magnifying glass.

Coins in a ruler and a magnifying glass.

It can be hard to put a value on these items since they are not in a spendable form. Many of them have silver value but most collectors are not looking to buy silver coins in a 2 inch square slab!

Some collectors will have interest in the product that was marketed, such as Maxwell house or Lysol. Other people may enjoy finding different banks. But I think the best way to collect coins in lucite holders is to not discriminate. Buy one when you see one (as long as you don’t have that type yet) and see how many you can collect. You may find it a challenge to find them on your travels but it can be fun and rewarding.

Maxwell House gives a 2 pound promise and the Royal Mint shows off!

Maxwell House gives a 2 pound promise and the Royal Mint shows off!

Banks gave away coins with new accounts.  This is the Pima Savings and the Meadow Brook National Bank.

Banks gave away coins with new accounts. This is the Pima Savings and the Meadow Brook National Bank.

How would you spend $100 in Ones...under plastic?

How would you spend $100 in Ones…under plastic?

Not only coins, but tokens, medals and casino tokens are entombed.

Not only coins, but tokens, medals and casino tokens are entombed.

 

Arthur Anderson gave away and Olympic coin from Canada and encouraged the employees to ''Go for the Gold''. Lysol gave away Silver Eagles for their silver anniversary.

Arthur Anderson gave away an Olympic coin from Canada and encouraged the employees to ”Go for the Gold”. Lysol gave away Silver Eagles for their silver anniversary.

 

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