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Small Change, Big Haul - What would you do with 29,000 pounds of coins?

1st American Reserve wanted to post this interesting piece that was written by the late great writer, Ed Reiter, of things to do with coins and numismatics.

Reiter had suggested that the article might be called the 21st-century version of buried treasure.

Reiter suggested that it might be called the 21st-century version of buried treasure. 
        FBI agents investigating a missing Federal Reserve coin shipment struck paydirt – literally – on Feb. 4, 2005, when they dug up 676 bags of nickels, containing more than 2.7 million coins, behind a stable on a farm outside Miami, Florida. The coins weighed more than 29,000 pounds, or nearly 15 tons.

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Major coin shortage affects the nation - some companies are trying to provide some relief by buying change from customers.

1st American Reserve has noticed the many articles about the coin shortage issues spreading across the nation. Are you aware how you can help with this problem?  Below are some excerpts from some articles discussing the issue. 

Chick-fil-A helps solve coin shortage problemFrom Fox Business:  A Chick-fil-A in Virginia is offering customers food vouchers in exchange for coins to avoid going cashless amid a nationwide coin shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For every $10 of rolled coins, customers will receive the same value in paper bills in addition to a Chick-fil-A card for a free entree during select hours on Wednesday.

In a virtual hearing last month, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the flow of coins has "kind of stopped" as a result of consumers not going to stores and businesses facing lockdowns.

 

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2020 Silver Secrets Report - The Case for $18 Silver by Year-End 2019 and $20 in 2020- 1st American Reserve 2019 prediction

In July of 2019 this was an article we ran - looks like it is coming true.

A number of mainstream investment banks and commodity market analysts see fundamental reasons why silver ought to be higher – perhaps $17 to $18 later this year – even though silver remains mired around $15 now. Three major banks have issued price projections of $18 for 2019: Bank of America Merrill LynchNatixis and ABN AMRO. In addition, the commodity market analysis group Capital Economics predicts $17.50 silver this year. Some private firms Silver will hit $20 in 2020have predicted even higher prices of $20 and more.

Their reasons are fundamentally sound: Positive investor sentiment has driven higher bullion coin sales, while industrial demand has also risen, and new supply has fallen slightly over the previous year. Rising demand and falling supply generally yield a rising price, unless massive amounts of old supplies come onto the market.  In addition, there are the financial considerations that also impact gold: falling interest rates in the U.S. and around the world, soaring debt levels in the U.S., and a weakening U.S. dollar as a result.

 

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"God"-less Buffalo nickel - a great 1st American Reserve article

Exactly half a century before the motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on circulating U.S. coinage, a close approximation of this now-famous phrase turned up in a poem that went on to attain equally iconic status when it was set to music and became “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Few Americans are aware of this precursor, for the words are embedded in the seldom read – and almost never sung – fourth stanza of the poem, but it provides a fascinating link between their country’s official national motto adopted in 1956 and official national anthem adopted in 1931.

In the poem’s penultimate sentence, those who read – or sing – the entire set of lyrics will find the following reference to the Almighty:

Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.” 

In his 1863 report to the Secretary of the Treasury, Pollock acknowledged the influence our National Hymn had on his work when he wrote:

“The motto suggested, “God our Trust, is taken from our National Hymn, the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ The sentiment is familiar to every citizen of our country; it has thrilled the hearts and fallen in song from the lips of millions of American Freemen. The time for the introduction of this or a similar motto, is propitious and appropriate. Tis an hour of National peril and danger, an hour when man’s strength is weakness, when our strength and our nation’s strength and salvation must be in the God of battles and of nations. Let us reverently acknowledge his sovereignty, and let our coinage declare our trust in God.”

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ELIZABETH JONES: UNCLE SAM’S DESIGNING WOMAN

1st American Reserve is proud to offer to our numismatic friends a great article writen by the late great Ed Reiter who is remembered George Washington 250th Anniversary half dollaras a one-man institution in coin writing for over half a century. His articles appeared in various publications including the New York Tmes.

The George Washington half dollar was a breakthrough – the first U.S. commemorative coin in nearly 30 years and the start of the “modern era” for American commemoratives. 

But the issuance of this coin in 1982 was a groundbreaking event for still another very important reason: It was the first coin designed by Elizabeth Jones after she became the first woman to serve as the U.S. Mint’s chief sculptor-engraver.   

 

 

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Reactions to the First View of the Gold on the Floor of the Ocean (from Pages 450-455 of “The Ship of Gold”)

This is an excerpt from an article posted on 1st American Reserve website:
“It was just … it was just … covered with gold! I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe it! That was the most thrilling…. We had it right on a pile, nice low pictures, nice and clear. I mean everything was perfect, man. It was incredible! But I looked at it, and I looked up, and, Naaah, this can’t be. I thought, That’s gotta be a bunch of brass laying there. So I looked again! Holy! And I just started looking at the other shots, and I … mean … it … was … PILES! I’m not kidding you, it is awesome! It is absolutely awesome! Stacks of coins and bars of gold of every size and shape are just sitting there!”
– John Doering, the first man to see the first photograph of the sunken treasure (page 450)

 

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Gold Abandoned in Haste as the SS Central America Sank, September 12, 1857 (memoirs of survivor Oliver Manlove, as summarized in pages 124-125 of “Ship of Gold”)

“In the same part of the ship with the poet Oliver Manlove were two brothers named Horn, who had gone to California in 1850. Working together and working hard they had unearthed $6,000 worth of gold, which they had kept in a large carpet sack that one or the other had guarded throughout the trip. ‘I found Anson Horn weeping,’ wrote Manlove. ‘He said that his time had come, that he should never see his home again, which he had longed to see, praying and hoping for it. I tried to encourage him, but he fully believed that his fate was sealed, that all of our fates were sealed.’”

 

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Q&A with Dr. Mike Fuljenz America’s Gold Expert® on Gold Recovered from the SS Central America

Q. - As you surveyed many of the 3,000+ gold coins and gold dust, what impressed you the most?

There were some sub-standard coins which I rejected, being a former grading service grader, but I was amazed at how many of these 160-year-old coins had such strong original luster and original mint bloom. Anybody who acquires such a coin will be immediately struck with its brilliant luster. This is also true of the gold dust, although it is, of course, much smaller. Bob Evans applied a proprietary saline solution to the gold dust to reveal the luster.

Q. - Speaking of gold dust, how was that preserved and why is it so important?

Gold dust was a major medium of exchange during the California Gold Rush. A “pinch” of gold was a unit of exchange in commerce. When properly measured, a gold pinch equaled the gold value of a privately minted 50-cent California fractional gold coin. In California in 1857, two pinches of gold could buy a bag of flour, but most miners went to a saloon before they went to the general store. In a saloon, one pinch would buy a shot of whiskey, so the saloon owners would hire bartenders with large thumbs to hold a bigger “pinch” of gold dust. That may sound like cheating, but the cheating went both ways. Some of the miners might mix a little yellow dust with their gold to make their initial drinking spree last longer!

Genuine California Gold Rush gold dust is rare, as it was typically melted into an ingot or used for coin production. Much of the gold dust on sale now was not lying free on the floor of the ocean. It was discovered in hand-sewn sacks, known as “pokes,” much of it locked away in a safe aboard the SS Central America.

 

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There is a sense of excitement whenever sunken treasure is discovered. In March 1992, Life Magazine called the SS Central America “The Greatest Treasure Ever Found.”

Back in September of 1857, major New York banks, business and individuals were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the SS Central America with a large shipment of California Gold Rush bullion, ingots, nuggets, gold dust and San Francisco Mint coins.

When news came through the telegraph wires that the ship had sunk off the coast of North Carolina, the country went into a panic. It was a time when the country relied on gold to back its banking transactions. Banks closed, businesses went bankrupt and the financial Panic of 1857 deepened – all because the much-awaited Ship of Gold had disappeared with tons of needed gold on board.

 

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Betsy Ross Flag Bar

In January 2013, during his second Inauguration, President Obama hung the Betsy Ross 13-star flag behind him, without offending anyone. In 2015, prominent Democrat and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda launched the hip-hop musical “Hamilton.” The cast sang a tune celebrating that same flag flying at Yorktown:

“How do we emerge victorious from the quagmire? Leave the battlefield, waving Betsy Ross’ flag higher?”

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Collecting Coins with the Stars

Celebrities fascinate Americans. That's why millions of ordinary people read gossip magazines week after week from cover to cover. That's why legions of loyal fans have followed every dip and turn on "Dancing With the Stars" for nearly a decade. And that's why tell-all books by - and about - celebrities shoot to the top of best-seller lists as soon as they're released.

Collectors covet personal effects and other items associated with their favorite figures from the worlds of entertainment, sports and politics. Judy Garland's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" ... Mickey Mantle's rookie baseball card ... a personal letter signed by Abraham Lincoln - these and similar artifacts bring fancy prices whenever they come up for sale.

Less publicized but no less intriguing is the fact that celebrities themselves frequently collect items that appeal to them. Sometimes these are objects related to the fields in which they're famous - props, perhaps, from movies in which they've appeared, or footballs with which they've scored game-winning touchdowns. In other cases, luminaries who have risen to prominence in one field avidly pursue collectibles in totally different areas.

Actor Nicolas Cage assembled a fantastic collection of vintage comic books. In 2011, when he sold his most prized comics at a major online auction, its star attraction - a nearly pristine copy of Action Comics No. 1, where Superman first appeared - brought a record price of more than $2.16 million. Cage had purchased the comic in 1997 for $110,000. Actress Angelina Jolie is a prominent collector of such diverse objects as rare knives and daggers and first-edition books.

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Low Population Rare Coins are Coming on the Market Now - We Have Precious Few: Grab Them While You Can

Despite the volatility in many markets, a few remarkable rare coin collections are coming on the market now, with superb selections I haven’t seen in years. Starting at the high end, this month alone a historic PCGS 1804 Dollar Proof-55 sold for $1,440,000, and a finest-known PCGS 1854-S $5 AU58+ CAC sold for $1,920,000 for a total of $3,360,000.  Experts had estimated the two coins would sell for only $2,700,000.

On the more affordable numismatic level, items like a tied-for-finest-known PCGS 1925 Norse-American Centennial thick medal MS-67 CAC sold for over five times what experts estimated to be its value at $12,600.  This piece is often collected as part of the popular classic commemorative half-dollar sets.

When coins are offered that fit all the criteria for excellence – they are historic, are finest known or tied for finest known, or only have a few better. Typically, they sell fast and for strong prices, especially if they have an extra wow factor, like original toning, cameo devices or intense luster. For instance, a rarely traded beautiful PCGS 1908-D $10 Indian Motto MS-68 CAC tied for finest-known, sold for $204,000.

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When Monitoring the News, Pay Attention to what is NOT Said…

We’ve never seen anything like this – a President threatened with impeachment and investigations from before he even took the oath of office. What is it about the mainstream press and the Washington beltway establishment that never gave this President a chance? I got the answer from a friend who looked up the county-by-county 2016 vote for Trump. He looked at the 3,000+ American counties, focusing on the blue states with high population centers, looking for the counties with ultra-low voting percentages for Trump.

There were five U.S. communities that voted under 10% for Trump in 2016. Counting down, they were:

#5: Manhattan, New York, where only 9.71% voted for Trump

#4: The Bronx, New York, where 9.46% voted for Trump

#3: San Francisco, California, where 9.29% voted for Trump

#2: Prince George’s County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC) where 8.40% voted for Trump

        And the winner (by a long shot) is:

#1: Washington, DC, where only 4.09% voted for Trump.

That means the only counties where 90% or more voted the other way were in:

  • New York City, where the bulk of the national media is centered.
  • San Francisco, which is represented by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and
  • Washington DC (and suburban Maryland), where much of “the swamp” lives.

In addition, the other major suburban counties feeding Washington, DC, which house most of our federal government workers, voted under 20% for Trump: Arlington County, Virginia voted just 16.64% for Trump, and Montgomery County, Maryland voted 19.36% for Trump. (Nearby Baltimore, Maryland voted only 10.53% for Trump). That means 80% to 95% of government workers voted for someone else, nearly all for Hillary Clinton. No wonder there are multiple “Whistleblowers” and “leakers” delivering dirt on the President and his staff, and no end of media watchdogs willing to print rumor and innuendo.

 

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Shortage of Circulating Coins Points to the Likelihood of New Coin Designs by 2022

Due to the coronavirus, there have been sporadic work stoppages at the U.S. Mint. This has caused a shortage of many fractional issues of the Gold American Eagle coins, as I have written before, but it has also caused a shortage of circulating coins as well. As a result, there is now a national project (called “The Cent Project”) to take a census of Lincoln cents – a private effort estimated to involve 44,000 volunteer coin counters throughout the nation to sort through 220 million cents between now and May 2021, sorting by mint mark and date. This would represent only about 1% of all the 22 billion Lincoln Memorial cents in circulation, but it would give the Mint a rough idea of the distribution of Lincoln pennies in circulation.

This shortage of coins in circulation could also help to spur the development of a new coin design to help celebrate the time when we emerge from the COVID shutdown. In this transitional time in our history, it would be a perfect time to place a woman or two on our major circulating coins, preferably on the obverse (front), but at least on the reverse.  Here are two ideas, tied to their upcoming Bicentennial birthdays:

  • Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was born on December 25, 1821, and
  • Harriet Tubman, a leading abolitionist and “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, was born around March 1822 (her precise birth date is uncertain).
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