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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!


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Polymer Candian Notes





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.

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.


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.
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







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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.


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


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.




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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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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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Changing Good Luck


There are many types of superstitions that people follow. Sports fans will wear the same clothes on game day. There are old wives tales about stepping on cracks. Thespians say ”Break a leg” on stage. Over the years many superstitions have evolved and revolved around specific objects, such as a rabbit’s foot,  horseshoes, 4 leaf clovers etc. I’m sure there is a story behind every one of those items…which brings me to a good luck token we recently came upon.reversetoken

It is about the size of a half dollar and appears to be made of bronze. On the center of the reverse it has an all seeing eye that radiates and has good luck symbols in between the radiant lines. They have a heart and key, a four leaf clover, an elephant charm, a horseshoe, a rabbits foot and a wishbone. It reads “THE ALL SEEING EYE GUARDS YOU FROM EVIL”.

eyeThe other side has a well defined genie looking in a crystal ball and at the bottom reads, “GOOD LUCK WILL ACCOMPANY THE BEARER”.  What the modern observer would find shocking is the symbol chosen to be inside the crystal ball to represent good luck; the swastika.goodluck

The swastika is a symbol that is many millennia old. It is still used  in the far east, as a religious and good luck symbol.  It was 1920 when Hitler first adopted it as a part of the nazi parties emblem. Today most of the western world despises the symbol. Based on western history we would guess this token is from the 1920’s or earlier. It is unlikely that by the time you got into the 1930’s they would have used the swastika as the main symbol for good luck in the crystal ball.

Good luck tokens come in all sizes and designs. They are often mystic in nature with images of genies or sorcery. The message is often one of good luck or good fortune. This piece is a reminder that through all numismatic studies you can learn, or take the time to learn, about history and culture. The details can be a mystery at first but can lead to a well rounded education. GOOD LUCK!

goodlucktoken  hearttokenephelumpswastika

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Herbert Hoover Dollar

Herbert Hoover was the 31st president and served the country from March 4th, 1929 to March 4th, 1933.  He was born in West Branch, Iowa. His dad died when he was 6 and his mom when he was 9. He was raised by his Uncle John Minthorn and attended the inaugural year at Stanford in 1891.


He came to the presidency from his position of Secretary of Commerce under presidents Harding and Coolidge. This no doubt shaped his  views on having business and government “work together”. He was preceded by Calvin Coolidge and was succeeded by Franklin Roosevelt.

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Arches ATB Quarter

The newest ATB (America the Beautiful) park quarter  has officially been released. The Arches, UT park quarter has one of the more recognizable designs. It is a place that most hikers want to visit and even casual nature fans have an affinity for.arches The park was established in 1929.  It has over 2000 natural stone arches.

Many of the ATB quarters have not been up to the standard you would want for a circulating coin. They are often too busy, or the topic is not recognizable. This coin has a great look to it (especially the special Proof version) and it is easy to recognize as Arches National Park.

You can visit the Park website here.

We expect to have them in inventory in the coming weeks.


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