Monday, August 15, 2011

1858 Flying Eagle Cent

I love history, and when I was a kid wanted to be an archeologist. That didn’t work out, but I found something I can do and it still gives me that same feeling of excitement I was looking for as a kid. Today I am a Numismatist. Now that might sound like it has something to do with magic, but it doesn’t. Numismatics is the study or collecting of coins, tokens or paper money. I find it enjoyable to research coins and paper money that come into my store. Learning about the political climate of the time and the attitudes of the people give you a window into the past. For example, this is a heavily worn 1858 Flying Eagle cent. They only made these for two years as they were experimenting with the small cent that we are so accustom to today. Before this coin the Cent was much larger. This coin would be graded “About Good” and is worth around $15.00.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

1917 $2 Note

Should currency ever need a candidate for the role of “black sheep” – unwanted, un-respected and yet always there, the $2 bill is perfect. The $2 note has been a part of paper currency system since the second issue of Legal Tender Notes (Series of 1862). In recent times the bill has been subject to hoarding despite the fact that you can walk into any bank and get new ones. When was the last time you received one in your change at the store? The note was actually the currency of choice at race-track betting windows. Anyone care to place a two dollar bet? This is a fine 1917 example signed by Elliott and White. Collectors of notes look for all possible combinations of a series of notes. There are 13 possible signature combinations for this series which ran from 1874 to 1917. This note is worth about $80 in this condition.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1863 Civil War Token

Back during the Civil War there was a real shortage of coinage. The reason was that so much of the available materials were going toward the war effort. As a result some stores and other enterprising individuals started making their own coins. These are often referred to as War or Hard Times Tokens. The idea was to get them into circulation and hopefully attract business. This 1863 token is quite unique in that it carried a political message on the reserve. “Millions for Defence Not One Cent for Tribute” It turns out that during the war a lot of US merchant ships were being hijacked by Pirates and other foreign powers. As a result the US government started paying tribute or bribery to these people to leave our ships alone. This token was advocating that the government use that tribute money to increase the size of our Navy in order to protect those ships instead of paying their tribute.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gold hits $1600.00!!

WOW!! Gold has crushed the $1,600.00 price level and is pushing even higher. Many people ask me why. The answer in a word is uncertainty. The downturn in the world economy, government unrest in the Middle East, natural disasters, runaway dept, all these factors and others make people feel uneasy. As a result, people buy gold and silver as they view these commodities/investments as the only things they can buy having real tangible value. How high will it go is often the next question? That depends. Investors don’t like instability so as long as these circumstances remain there will be upward pressure on gold prices. What we have seen lately is the price will shot up and then level off maybe even retreat only to shot up again with the next round of bad news. Should you buy gold? Yes, everyone should have some gold in their investment portfolio, but with these prices few are able to afford much. My suggestion would be to purchase small amounts i.e. 1/10th, 1/4th ounce bullion coins from the mint or your local deal (like yours truly). You can also purchase small amounts in the Mexican 2 ½ and 2 Pesos coins which contain .0602 and .0482 gold.

Monday, July 11, 2011

1899 Gold $5 Coin

It may be hard to believe, but at one time you could walk into your local grocery store, plunk down one of these and buy $5 worth of goods. Today with gold prices at $1,545.50 per troy ounce that coin is worth $373.69 just in gold. This 1899 $5 Gold coin was designed by: Christian Gobrecht and is composed of 90% gold and 10% copper. Long gone are the days when you could spend these as legal tender, but with the state of our economy and our rising national dept many people are investing in these coins again. The state of Utah just passed a law making it legal to use gold and silver as legal tender again, but put all those coins back in your pockets, you need to deposit them in a participating bank and they will issue you a debt card worth their value.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Shinplaster

Yes, you’re looking at a Ten Cent paper note, otherwise called Fractional Currency. Commonly known at the time as “shinplasters”, these early American notes came on the seen during the Civil War. Called shinplasters because no one wanted them at the time and soldiers used to stuff them into their boots to prevent blisters. During the Civil War all metals were needed to produce war implements. This caused a shortage for making coins and the government came up with this idea. You can collect these notes and expect to pay about $40 - $70 for one like this based on its condition.