Archive for July, 2011

Government Wins 1933 $20 Case

Posted on July 20, 2011 by 24 Comments

A jury found in favor of the government today in a case involving ten 1933 $20 gold pieces. The government has long contended that no 1933 $20 Saint Gaudens were officially released and that any surviving specimens were in fact stolen. The government confiscated numerous specimens in the 1940s and 1950s.

Ten years ago or so, a specimen showed up in New York and was seized by the government in a sting operation. After a few years of legal wrangling, the coin was sold by Sotheby’s and Stack for $7.5 million, the government splitting the proceeds with the owner, British dealer Stephen Fenton. The coin was supossedly the King Farouk specimen which had an official export license sometime in the 1940s when Farouk acquired the piece. At the time of the sale, it was stated that this was the only specimen that would ever officially be monetized and legal to own.

There are also two examples in the Smithsonian Institution collection. There are also 2 to 5 more existing specimens out in the shadow world…one of which I personally saw in 1980.

To complicate matters, the Philadelphia heirs of the jeweler who originally handled probably all of the existing specimens post-1933 turned in ten specimens (there existence being unknown to the numismatic community) to government after the $7.5 million sale and asked them to rule on their legal status. The governemnt decided to keep the coins. The heirs sued.

I assume the decision will be appealed. I am not a lawyer and I don’t know who’s right legally. But as a coin person I think the decision sucks. I would much prefer the coins be legal to own and sold into the marketplace so numerous people could own them. If the ten coins were legal to own they’d probably be worth $3 million each, give or take. Two intersting questions to think about. If the ten coins are made legal to own on appeal, would the shadow coins then be legal too? Second, what’s the government going to do with the coins? They have stated that they would not make any other 1933 $20 gold pieces legal. But are they going to melt $30 million worth of coins????

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Posted on July 14, 2011 by 4 Comments

Lincoln comparison

The Lincoln Cent is now over one hundred years old.  In 1909, Victor David Brenner’s immortal image of Abraham Lincoln was placed on a new one cent piece and has since been placed on billions more.  However, Brenner’s image is not so immortal after all.  Over the years, mint engravers have tweaked the image of Lincoln such that it no longer matches Brenner’s vision.  Check out the images above.  The one on the left is from a 1909 Cent and shows Brenner’s image in all its original glory.  The image on the right is from a recent Cent and shows the Mint’s modern vision of what Lincoln should look like.  Seems like a big difference.  What do you think?  Which do you prefer?

To their credit, the Mint modified Lincoln’s image in 2011 in an attempt to bring it closer to the 1909 version.  Here’s how it turned out:

2011 cent

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Where Do You Buy Your Coins?

Posted on July 5, 2011 by 7 Comments

Today you can buy coins pretty much anywhere.

You can turn on your t.v. at home and order coins from several coin selling channels. You can turn on the computer and buy coins 24 hours a day 7 days a week online on sites like EBay, where auctions are ending almost every minute.

You can buy coins from several major coin auction companies like Heritage, StacksBowers, Teletrade, Goldbergs etc.  You can buy coins directly from the U.S. Mint website. Through newspaper advertisements, telemarketers, at a coin show, from an electronic mailing list, a postal mailing list or at a coin club or even friends. You can buy coins from a coin shop, pawn shop and even some stores.

I personally buy most of my coins from most of the different sources mentioned above, but if I had to choose one major source it would be mostly from some of the major auctions.

 So, where do you buy your coins? (To answer, click on COMMENTS above this post). 

 1c tv


Filed Under: News