Tag Archives: State Quarters

A Night of Coins and Thoughts of Medallions

Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire tonight and one month to go before giving my presentation.

I have done a few slides for it and tried them tonight after the speakers had finished. It didn’t work. That’s the trouble with using Open Office instead of Microsoft. Fortunately we have at least one member on hand to give IT advice and he tells me I can save my slides as PowerPoint slides. I will check tomorrow, as I really need to get moving.

It was short paper night tonight. First up was a video clip of an American talking about the design process for the Californian State Quarter, which I have never felt to be particularly inspiring. The State Quarter Program (sic) is interesting from a numismatic point of view (and an economic one, too) but some of the designs could be better. The Californian one won through in a competition

Second was one of the members talking about his series of books. He has spent 40 years researching the note-issuing banks of England and is now publishing his research (in 43 volumes!). That’s one per county and he has now done six. There is still some way to go. He also showed us a cheque from his collection, written by one member of a local banking family to a prominent local banker. That was quite interesting, I like anything with a story.

Royal Visit to Cardiff (Obv)

Royal Visit to Cardiff (Rev)

Another member gave us a short talk on the future of the 1p and 2p coins. They are now made in copper-coated steel, to keep production costs down. Nobody knows for sure how much they cost to make and the Mint won’t tell us, but the old bronze ones are now worth more as scrap than they are as coins. However, it is illegal to scrap them, so don’t try it. In the USA, they  do release the cost of making coins – 2.1 cents to make a 1 cent coin last year. No wonder governments want to stop making small denomination coins.

Then we had a presentation on measuring the density of Roman coins to check their purity, and looked at the purity in relation to various historical events. It was very interesting, but by that time I had been sitting still for a long time and was beginning to feel chilly, so was glad when it ended and I could get up and walk round a bit. I’d been sitting still so long that I had trouble getting out of the chair. This won’t be a problem next month.

Liskeard 1940 – a story involving a future Prime Minister

A Few More Coins

As the header picture show, I can’t always prevent myself using unsuitable camera effects. Sometimes I get bored and that’s what happens. I also did a listing for some Elvis Presley commemorative coins a couple of days ago, and the first draft included text to the effect that the experience had left me all shook up and that even hours later I found it was always on my mind. You’d have to have a wooden heart not to feel some emotion at the sight of all those coins being disfigured by cheap stickers with pictures of Elvis on them. The trouble is that most American coins are quite distinctive, and reasonably well made, so they aren’t improved by adding pictures. Nor is Elvis improved when you see the outline of a Walking Liberty, JFK or George Washington underneath, making strange shadows. Look at them and tell me you don’t think the man behind them is the devil in disguise. They make my pink neon picture look quite artistic.

Can you see what I mean- it covers the coin design and does Elvis no favours.

I’ve decided that no depths of taste are too low for the marketing departments of he coin marketing companies, and this probably applies to executives of Elvis Presley Enterprises too.

The next two are pictures of a Tennessee State Quarter from two different angles – one showing the Elvis picture and one showing the George Washington  profile. It’s lightly

State Quarter with Elvis picture

Same coin, different angle.

The saving grace of the Tennessee State Quarter is that it does feature musical heritage on the reverse, celebrating the sate’s many links to music, which include Elvis.

Reverse of the Tennessee State Quarter

And finally, an example of what happens if you apply a grey filter to a neon pink coin. Things are not always as bad as they seem.

George II, but this time in grey.

A Look at the Coin Business

This is a £20 coin from Gibraltar. The £20 is an unusual denomination which some countries, including the UK, have started using for commemorative coins. You can’t spend it, because nobody will accept it, but they can charge quite a high price for it because of the face value. The silver is worth about £6 and the collectable value is not great in most cases.

It is, in short, a bit of a rip-off.

Don’t be fooled about the legal tender aspect, when you look into it the definition of legal tender is very tightly drawn. It appears that legal tender can be used to pay court costs and fines, but nothing else. Nobody else needs to accept it, even if it is legal tender.

This basically means that the Royal Mint can make coins which don’t have to be taken back. We encountered this problem recently when we tried to pay some £5 coins in at the bank. They informed us that they no longer take them. Normally we pay £5 for a UK coin and most of them go straight to the bank as nobody collects them. We can’t do that now, so we can’t pay £5. People, quite rightly, don’t like that. We now tell them to try their bank or post office to see if they are still taking them.

The same is true for £20 and £100 coins, though as far as we know, no bank or post office will take them. We actually sell £100 coins for less than face value at times. It’s a ridiculous side effect of the modern coin trade. Read this article for an insight into what goes on, but before you do, may I just add to the information they provide. If you sell a £100 coin on eBay for £130 as they say, you will pay eBay and PayPal approximately 15% of the cost in fees, so the £130 immediately falls to £115.

Buy coins because they are beautiful, historical, interesting or educational. Or buy them as a present for future generations. If you want an investment ask a bank manager about it, not a numismatist.

This is the reverse of the Gibraltar coin, which is a lovely design. It commemorates the efforts of the Merchant Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Gibraltar £20 Coin 2016

Gibraltar £20 Coin 2016

Here’s the best value £100 coin on eBay with a Buy it Now offer of £69.99. I just checked all the ones that sold over the last month. There were 12 sold. One made £140. The other eleven all made less than face value.

There is something called seigniorage, which I don’t understand completely. It’s a branch of Economics, which is also something I struggle to grasp. Basically, if it costs the US Mint five cents to produce a quarter they make twenty cents every time someone puts a quarter in their collection. If you produce collectable quarters, such as the State Quarters Series, this can add up. In fact, it adds up to $3 billion. The USA is the best at this, but the Royal Mint is making a big effort to get a piece of the action.

Tomorrow I am planning two more posts, one of which will be to tell you more about this Gibraltar £20 coin. It is very interesting.