In order to make up for lost time, we’re going to “cheat” a little bit and showcase two(!) coins for the Coin of the Week.
Before we look at our first coin, let’s give some background information. Indian Head Cents come in 3 types:
- Type 1 (1859) was only minted in the year 1959, with the reverse featuring the words “ONE CENT” encircled by a wreath tied at the bottom by a ribbon.
- Type 2 (1860-1864) keeps the same obverse, but the reverse has some noticeable differences: the wreath and lettering are fuller, a small shield occupies the top center, and the ribbon now also holds three arrows.
- Type 3 (1864-1909) keeps the same design as Type 2, but the composition switches from Copper-Nickel to Bronze. Both the thickness and weight of the coin are reduced.
This particular Indian Head Cent is minted in the year 1863, meaning it is Type 2. It has been graded MS62 by PCGS.
Liberty Nickels have two types:
- Type 1 (no “CENTS” , 1883) Liberty Nickels had a large “V” on the reverse, but did not contain the word “CENTS” anywhere. This prompted some individuals to hand carve reeding to the edges and gold-plate the coins in an attempt to pass them off as $5 Gold Half Eagles (these nickels are known as “Racketeer” Nickels).
- Type 2 (with “CENTS”, 1883-1913) Liberty Nickels were minted with the word “CENTS” to counter such individuals. “E PLURBUS UNUM” was moved to above the “V” to make room for “CENTS”.
This particular Liberty Nickel was minted in 1907, and is clearly not a $5 Gold Half Eagle. It has been graded MS64 by PCGS.
The “World Treasures Mint” is putting out fake silver bars. These bars are marked “1 Troy Oz .999 Silver”. They come in many different designs. They also come in individual holders and some have serial numbers.
Beware of silver marked “World Treasures Mint”
These bars are made to look like real silver bars and are made to deceive. There is nothing on the bar that indicates they are not pure silver. The weight is also off. The bar we examined weighs 34.4 grams instead of the 31.1 grams a troy ounce should weigh. This particular bar has a serial number. You can see, under magnification, that the serial number is copper, as is the rest of the bar.
Note the copper showing through at the serial number
The company sells them as ”Silver Clad” on their website, but they are not marked that way. All you get is a hint that they are clad with the (hard to read) words “In Clad We Trust”. The average person looking at these bars would have no clear way to know they are not pure silver based on the markings.
“In Clad We Trust”
October 13th, 2013 was the issue date for the new $100 bill. It was 4 long years since they tried to issue the notes, but had several problems during the production process. The biggest addition is a holographic strip that runs vertically on the front of the note. The image shifts from the “Liberty Bell” to a “100”. It is a really nice purple color.
The note still has lots of micro-printing on it, as well as the watermark. The notes have a gold to copper color shift on the 100 in the bottom right corner as well as the Liberty Bell found in the ink well. A large, multi-color “100” is on the back to help the visually impaired identify the note.
The back of the note has a newly refined version of ”Independence Hall”. It looks sharp. I don’t know if there is a reason for the time on the Clock on Independence Hall, but it went from 2:22 on the old notes to 10:30 on the new note. Conspiracy theories enter here:_____________ . Maybe the artists simply took some liberties!
The new bust of Benjamin Franklin is sharp. Previously it was just his face. These notes seem to have cripser lines and design details then the last incarnation. We’ll see if that is because they wanted to put their best foot forward on the roll out of the new (2009-A Series) notes, or if the new process is that much superior to the old process. We should know in 6 months.
Overall I believe it is a big improvement in not only the technology side of things, but also aesthetics. The holographic strip jumps off the note and the note will compete with the much better designed notes of other countries (especially our mates up north, don’t-ya-know). The new $100 bill is a big step forward from the older design.
You can find more about the new $100 on the BEP’s website.
One common comment coming from consumers is “I have some old ones, they’ll have value”. This can be in reference to coins, or currency or jewelry or collectibles. It is a very common misconception that age makes things more valuable.
If you own a house you know how this is not true. Often, with age, comes problems like wear and tear. But a house in an area in demand can appreciate at any age. The same is true for collector items of all kinds. The value is based on the availability (supply) and who wants it (demand). That is why you can have coins from the time of Christ that are only $10 and yet see coins that are modern sell for thousands of dollars.
The lesson here is that age does not equal value. Some times things just get old.
Posted in: All, Education
I had a customer ask about the guys who sell coins on TV. Technically, the question was “which one do you like better”. Come on, you can’t expect a guy to pick between his kids can you? 🙂
These coin vault type shows have a couple of flaws. The first is that they charge about double what you can buy things locally for. That assumes you are buying legit items. (We’ll save the fancy boxes for another day.) I don’t know too many business where you can charge a 50% commission and have people fawning over you. I know some real estate agents who think they are worth that much. You know who you are.
The second flaw is worse, it is the dishonest way in which they represent themselves. That is the coins that they sell are not sold in an honest fashion. Let’s face it, you can go to a major coin show and pay double what a coin is worth. Although if you are an avid collector that would probably never happen. But when you show prices from eBay to justify how you are pricing things on your TV show, that is nonsense. He always seems to find people pricing things for twice what he sells them for. I guess he couldn’t find any selling for less, hmm…. what are the odds?
The quick answer, just don’t buy from the TV. Even when they sell a good coin, you are paying way more than you can buy them for locally. And if you shop locally you can usually find knowledgeable dealers who are willing to show you the items up close and answer your questions.
The Franklin Mint has produced ”collector” items for several decades. The word collector is in quotations because the items that they sell are not really collector items. Yes, people do have them, and keep them, so in the very broad term they are ”collectible”.
The problem with items that are made to be collectible tend to have a negative return on investment. Most things that you can save or collect over time that end up having value are everyday items (like toys or clothes or furniture). They were not made to be a collectible, but people save them because the items are unique or scarce or remind them of their childhood (or a certain time period in history they have interest in).
The only upside to Franklin mint items is that a lot of what they produced (especially in the 1970’s) was made out of sterling silver. Herein lies the value of any of their stuff. Unfortunately, most of the items they sold were at such high premiums that there is little to no hope of actually getting a positive return on your money.
Today, many other companies market based on the Franklin Mint model. They either use the word ”mint” or other official sounding words to make people believe they are getting something of value. Or, they promote an item as ”collectible” or as something that will appreciate in value. Unfortunately most of these companies are the only ones who are getting a good return on their investment, while the consumer is left holding a fancy box!
What are Mexican Coins worth?
We get this question a lot. It really depends on when they are from. The hard part with Mexican coins is that there is a large area of coins from the 1960s to early 1990s that have no exchange value, no silver value, and no collector value.
Part of the reason they have no exchange value is because they have been demonetized. This means the the currency has been made useless by decree of the government.
The good news is that it makes it very inexpensive to put together different types of Mexican coins. Most of the coins have the Eagle and Snake symbol on one side, the other side will often have a portrait of Morales or Hidalgo, while some have really neat images of Aztec or Palenque culture.
Fourscore and seven years….it was the best of times it was the worst of times….in the beginning….
If you are hoping for great speeches or timeless words, the Coin Geek Blog is not going to deliver. However- if you are looking for information about coins, currency, bullion and an education in collectibles, consumer awareness, and the occasional bit of fun, then you are in the right place.
You will be able to follow the blog on Facebook, so please like us there. Thanks, Ben (aka The Coin Geek).
The old adage is true. You may have seen a lot of ads on the local TV claiming you can get a ”free trip to Vegas” if you sell them your gold. I’ll point out this small company does not send you to Vegas out of the goodness of their hearts. They pay you less, and use some of the profit from the purchase to pay for your ”free” Vegas trip. Come on in to Old Pueblo Coin and you’ll have a lot more money to spend in Vegas if you buy the tickets yourself AND get a fair price for your gold and silver.