Archive for the ‘Collection’ Category

The American Silver Dollar

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

The real inspiration for the United States silver dollar probably came from a Spanish coin. This Spanish coin was made out of silver, a very rare commodity at that time and the coin consist nearly an ounce of it. This gave rise to the name Spanish dollar by the American colonists, which further charioted fame to the silver coin.

First minted in the year 1794, the United States silver dollar was proposed by and voted in by the United States congress to be used as the main form of United States currency. The United States silver dollar was american silver dollaralso duly used along side the Spanish dollar well after the American Revolutionary War ended. The United States Mint continued producing these silver dollars up to the year 1803, but the minting of the silver dollar was ceased for almost 30 years due to the shortage of the precious metal. Then in 1836, during the period of the Old American West, the silver dollar made its comeback into the American currency system and began gaining a reputation as one of the most preferred currency of that time .

The reason why the populace of the Old American West favored the silver dollar to paper currency bills is because they felt that due to the value of the precious metal at that time, the coins proved to be more valuable simply because it was made of silver, which was a very rare and expensive commodity. Because of this, the silver dollar remained amongst the major and most used United States currency until the late eighteen hundreds, coming only second to the United States gold coins, for obvious reasons, one being that gold has always been far more valuable than silver.

The United States silver dollar was also very important to the various communities of the American West, especially for the people who enjoyed going to the saloons or better known as bars today, as they could finally have a fair exchange for a drink instead of being shortchanged by the bartender, through the unspecified amount of gold dust they receive in return. Silver coins were also highly treasured by gamblers, river boat travelers, even traders, as well as by those purchasing goods from the local mercantile, as it more practical and it eases the exchange of goods for fixed amounts of money. It was said that many famous personas from the old west carry the silver dollar, characters including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody and Geronimo. It was also said that many rouge guns slinger of wild west would sometimes melt these silver coins and turn them into bullets!

american silver dollarIn the Old West the silver dollar was worth far more than a dollar is today. People were able to buy shoes or other clothing items for a dollar, and it was a bargain compared to what a pair of shoes or pants cost today. A silver dollar would also buy 50 pounds of flour, 60 pounds of potato, 10 quarts of milk, five pounds of butter and two pounds of sugar. If only we enjoyed the same spending power today :)

The Confederate States of America Dollar

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

confederate states of america dollarTwo months after the formation of the Confederacy, the Confederate States of America Dollar was born, adding color to the already illustrious history of the United States currency . First issued in 1861, on the eve of the Civil War, these dollar bills lasted throughout the infamous conflict and became worthless by the end of it.

The Confederate States of America Dollars came in denominations of $1/10, $½, $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000. Its type and designs came in 72 separate varieties and within almost 5 years of its lifespan, was produced in seven different phases of series, ranging from 1861 to 1865. The currency also had numerous issuers and redeemable obligations. Under the multiple acts of the Confederate Congress, it is said that the total amount of the currency produced throughout this period totaled close to $1.7 billion.

The Confederate States of America Dollars, or CSA notes, was initially well received as means of trade with great buying capabilities. This didn’t last long as the war progressed though, resulting in diminished confidence in the currency. The amount of paper currency production began to increase and its redemption dates extended, depreciating the currency even further, and ultimately increasing inflation. It was said that a bar of soap during the time cost as much as $50, while an ordinary suit would be priced at $2700! By the end of the war, and probably caused by the Confederacy failure to remain intact, the currency became obsolete and was no longer considered as fiat money.

Counterfeiting was a huge concern with the CSA notes as well, due to its immense numbers and assortments. This was also largely attributed to the fact that all of the confederate states and banks were given the liberty to print and issue their own notes as and when it pleases. Interestingly enough, many of these existing forgeries remains valuable to collectors today.

The mass counterfeit of the Confederate States of America Dollars is also said to be credited to the lack of skilled engravers and printers, as well as secure printing facilities. This resulted in a lot of extraneous designs, such as mythological gods and goddesses, with southern themes like the depictions of African-American slaves smiling or happily going about their work, naval ships, and historical figures. Later issues pictured prominent Southern politicians, military leaders, and citizens.

This lack in quality was also narrowed down to more ancient printing processes, as most modern printing equipments and skilled engravers were only found up North, forcing the Southern printers to use lithographic processed scenes and offset lifting of the printing plates, to produce these notes instead.

confederate states of americaThe signatures on this currency was also not printed-on but hand-signed by the Register and Treasurer themselves, and although this practice is considered as an anti-counterfeiting method, large numbers of clerks were hired to eventually sign on behalf of the Register and Treasurer, respectively.

Surprisingly, albeit the shortage in precious metal, the Confederate States of America did manage to mint its own coinage. In 1861, one cent coin pieces were struck using nickel, with the Liberty Head design on the obverse. The Confederacy also did strike half dollar coins at the New Orleans Mint, although this fact eluded authorities until 1879, and 504 pieces of these coins were said to be minted during this period in time.

The Gold Certificate

Friday, October 10th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

gold certificate First issued in mid-1860’s, and actively used between the years 1882 and 1933, the Gold Certificate was issued as a form of paper currency here in the United States. Generally, a gold certificate acts like a certificate of ownership that gold owners hold instead of actual gold.

Because of the fact that the Gold Certificate was a type of paper currency intended to represent actual gold coinage, the practice of its redemption for the precious metal was ceased in 1933 by the United States Government, and until 1964 it was actually deemed illegal for anyone to possess these notes. This prohibition was lifted in 1964 though, as to allow currency collectors to legally own it. This resulted in the issue being converted to the standard legal tender, without its initial correlation to gold.

The issuance of the Gold Certificate was actually officially discontinued in 1928, before the termination of the Gold Standard by the United States Government in 1933, ultimately ceasing its circulation altogether. The permanent suspension was also largely due to the public’s fear that the notes would become obsolete and invaluable over time.

The Gold Certificate was approved under the Act of March 3, 1963, which is also the same act authorizing the issuance of the United States Notes. The actual year of print is said to vary between the years 1963 and 1965. This was probably because it doesn’t carry a printed series date, as this information was hand-dated upon issue. It is also said that the first few series of the Gold Certificate had the identification of each gold depositor, in lieu of payment.

The first issues of the Gold Certificate has a vignette of an eagle, and this was evenly featured on all the denominations it comes in. Later issues, like series 1870, 1871 and 1875, had depictions of various historical figured printed on it, with abstract designs featured on its reverse.

With the exception of Series 1888, 1900, and 1934, which was only issued to specified gold depositors, Gold Certificates from Series of 1882 and onwards was made payable to the bearer, making it transferable and redeemable for its equivalent value in gold.

Just like all other United States currency, the Gold Certificate was produced in two sizes; large and small. The larger sized Gold Certificates were put into circulation between the years 1865 and 1928, and the smaller sized ones between the years 1928 and 1934. The reverse side of all these notes were printed in orange, with the exception of the 1928 series, which were in green and more similar to the Federal Reserve Notes in design.

Along with the $5000 and $10000 notes from the Series of 1888, all of the notes from Series of 1900 have been redeemed and no longer carries the legal tender status. Most of these notes have already been destroyed, and the remaining, which was at kept in a box in a post office near the United States Treasury in Washington D.C., during that time, has a tale with an interesting twist to it. It was said that during a fire in late 1935, employees of this post office threw burning boxes out into the streets, including the box containing the only remaining notes of series 1900. This box was said to have burst open and it contents snatched up by the surrounding people gathered near the building. Unfortunately though, these notes were already deemed worthless at that time. Today, this series of Gold Certificates carries only a few hundred in numismatic value amongst collectors.

National Bank Notes

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

national bank noteInitiated by the National Banking Act of 1863, and issued through banks that were bonded by the Unites States Government, National Bank Notes were one of the more controversial United States paper currencies in history. It is said that the involvement of the United States Government in securing these banknotes was due to several factors, amongst them being its self interest to help raise money for the Treasury during the Civil War, as well as a possible political debt that the Republican Party owed to its Whig and Federalist Party antecedents. This exploit, although politically impracticable during that time, was said to be made possible by the establishment of the said National Banking Act of 1863.

Before issuing these notes, the selected federal chartered banks were required to first deposit equally valued United States Bonds or Securities with the United States Treasury as a form of collateral. This was probably because before federal banknotes were more commonly used, local banks would issue their own banknotes which was secured by nothing but their own goodwill, making it somewhat unreliable. The value of National Bank Notes, however, would still remain in case the issuing banks fails or even if the banking system becomes solvent, due to the fact that its value was somewhat guaranteed by the United States Treasury.

Also known as the National Currency, National Bank Notes were also introduced in the effort to assist local banks create a much newer and profitable system of distributing banknotes. These Federal Banks, or also known as National Banks, would print up banknotes up to ninety percent of the value of the United States Bonds or Securities they have in holding with the United States Treasury. The masses trusted these federal guaranteed banknotes better because of the lower exposure towards unforeseeable liabilities it proposes. This practice also helped guard the public against fraudulent and badly managed banks, whose banknotes might become valueless.

National Bank Notes had a very identical appearance to the paper currencies which were produced between the years 1929 and 1990’s, although they carried some distinctive characteristics. One of the most obvious difference is the names, towns, and states of the federal banks that these banknotes were issued from, which were printed on the notes itself, as well as the signatures of the respective bank’s presidents and cashiers.

In view of the fact that National Bank Notes were not completely backed by gold, the contract, like that of United States Notes, declared that they were not for the payment of duties on imports or interest on the public debt.

The reign of these National Bank Notes were short-lived though, as the United States Government ceased its circulation during the great depression, in the early 1930’s. This was probably due to the panic withdrawals of deposits by a lot of people who lost confidence in the local banks at that time.

Today, National Bank Notes are religiously collected by currency hobbyist all around the world, especially those in the United States, where these notes are fastidiously studied and kept, often fetching high value amongst enthusiasts.

Coins of the US Dollar

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

dollar coinsThe United States coinage have come a long way and has earned a permanent place in the nation’s currency system. These coins have been produced every year since 1792, when it was first minted by the new republic. Today these coins are churned out by the United States Mint and distributed to the Federal Reserve Banks for regulation as required by the financial systems. Denominations of the US coinage which is still in circulation today are 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, 50 cent, and one dollar.

The four US Mints that operates today in the United States, producing billions of coins annually, are the Philadelphia Mint which produces circulating coinage, mint sets and some commemorative coins, the San Francisco Mint which produces regular and silver proof coinage, the West Point Mint which produces bullion coinage as well as proofs, and the Denver Mint which like the Philadelphia Mint also produces circulating coinage, mint sets and commemorative coins. The Philadelphia and Denver Mints produces the dies used at all of these mints respectively.

To identify the mint on a coin, all one has to do is look at the mint mark imprinted on the front side of it. This is usually in the form of a letter, for example, the P is assigned to Philadelphia coins, the letter D to Denver coins, S for San Francisco coins, and W for West Point. The Philadelphia Mint also produces unmarked coins. It is also acknowledged that coins bearing the letter S and W are ever hardly found in circulation anymore, with the exception of some S series that was minted before mid-1970’s. Coins bearing the letters CC was also produced for a period of time, although short lived. These coins were said to have originated from a temporary mint in Carson City, Nevada, but can only be found in museums and private collections these days.

The current copper plated zinc core cents of today are the result of a change in its mass and composition in 1982. In 1943, cents minted were struck on planchets punched from zinc coated steel. These steel pennies, as it was more commonly known as, would rust quite easily due to the oxidation of the steel coats, and was later discontinued and destroyed. Nickels minted from the years 1942 through 1945, during World War II, were made out of 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver, and 9 percent manganese. This new composition would mean that the metal that was once used to coat these coins can now be put to better use, like manufacturing military supplies to help aid the war.

Prior to 1965, some of the other makes of US coinage included large amount of silver and copper in its composition. These coins are no longer produced or circulated today, thanks to the Coinage Act of 1965. It is estimated that most American prefer using coins in the form of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, as opposed to dollar coins such as the Kennedy half-dollar coin, Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, and the Sacagawea dollar coin.

Bullion coins have been produced since the year 1986 and remains uncirculated to date. Since 1997, these bullion coins, such as the American Eagle and the American Buffalo, can be found in silver, gold, and platinum versions. Other types of coins that have been minted to date are the modern commemorative coins, such as the half dollar and the half eagle, which have been minted since 1982.

Not surprisingly, numerous coins that have been struck throughout history have also gone obsolete today. These are the half cent, large cent, two-cent piece, three-cent piece, half dime, twenty-cent piece, silver dollar, gold dollar, quarter-eagle, three-dollar piece, Stella, half-eagle, eagle, double eagle, and the half-union. These coins, however, remains of high face value to collectors all around the globe.

The Presidential $1 Coin Program

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

us 1 dollar coinsThe US Presidential $1 Coin Program, which began in January 2007, was initiated in tribute to the former Presidents of the United States of America. The program basically regulates the production of $1 coins with portraits of former U.S. Presidents, impressed on its obverse side, by the United States Mint.

The issuance of these coins will feature the depiction of four separate US Presidents on an annual basis, one design every quarter, until every eligible president is honored. The Act of Congress, Pub.L. 109-145, 119 Stat. 2664, enacted 2005-12-22, states that in order for a president to be honored, the former president must have been dead for at least two years before the issue, in order of eligibility. The George Washington Presidential $1 Coin was first issued on February 15, 2007, just in time for the President’s Day which is celebrated on February 19th.

Although it may seem that, given the statute, it would take approximately 11 years for the program to depict all 40 over presidents to date, if so, the program will not be able to feature all US presidents by the end of its course, because of its terms of eligibility.

As for the reverse side of these coins, the impression of the Statue of Liberty, the “$1” sign, and the words “United States of America” will be a permanent fixture. The legends E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust, along with the year of minting and the mint mark will adorn the edges of these coins.

It is said that in February 2007, at least 50,000 coins were released without these inscriptions on the reverse side of the George Washington Presidential $1 Coins. This simple yet interesting error resulted in these coins being referred to as the “Godless dollars”, because of the missing “In God we trust” inscription. These coins have been known to fetch between $40 to $600 dollars amongst coin collectors all around the world.

Although it was not specified anywhere in the act what the color of these coins should be, it was consented by the US Mint that the specification be similar of that to the existing Golden dollar.

The Presidential $1 Coin Program was predominantly introduced to replace the Sacagawea $1 coin, which failed to garner enough interest in the United States. The program also recognized the need of $1 coins in the private sector and hoped that the change in design would increase public demand for these coins, just as the recent success of the US States Quarters program did.

Apart from educating the public on the history of our presidents, US Mint was also determined that these coins would create enough interest amongst collectors, just as it did with the State Quarters which was said to have generated almost $5 billion dollars in seigniorage.

Following the Presidential $1 Coin Program, the nation is also honoring the former first ladies by issuing $10 gold coins under the First Spouses Program. These coins will feature the images of all former first spouses, by order of term served, and will be issued to coincide with their respective $1 Presidential coins. I wonder what happens when they have to produce a spouseless president’s coin ;)

Designs On US Dollar Coinage

Friday, September 26th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

coinsDollar coins have had as colorful of a history as any paper currency here in the United States. It has, throughout time and again, been minted in various metal elements, which includes gold, silver, copper-nickel, and manganese-brass.

The first dollar coin minted back in 1974 was made out of silver. The minting of this silver dollar continued steadily until 1935, although it is said that its production was temporarily ceased between 1803 and 1836. Seven different designs were listed to have graced the dollar coin throughout this period and these are the Flowing Hair from 1794 to 1795, the Draped Bust from 1795 to 1803, the Gobrecht Dollar from 1836 to 1839, the Seated Liberty from 1840 to 1873, the Trade Dollar from 1873 to 1878, the Morgan Dollar from 1878 to 1921, and the Peace Dollar from 1921 to 1935.

Gold dollar coins, that was made out of 90 percent pure gold, were produced from 1849 to 1889. The decision to mint gold dollar is said to be credited to the gold rush period of the 1840’s. Because of its worth, the gold dollar is the smallest coin ever produced in the United States to date. The gold dollar coin spanned three periods of design stages, the first being the Liberty Head from 1849 to 1854, the Small Indian Head from 1854 to 1856, and the Large Indian Head from 1856 to 1889. It is also said that although gold dollar coins were no longer minted after 1889, several issues were struck in 1915 and 1922 to commemorate the Panama Canal and U.S. Grant respectively, and continued to circulate until the abandonment of the gold standard in the 1930’s.

The next phase in the United States coinage was the copper-nickel clad dollar coins, a period which spanned from 1971 to 1999. Designs on this variety of mint includes the Eisenhower Dollar from 1971 to 1978, the Eisenhower Bicentennial from 1975 to 1976, and the Anthony Dollar from 1979 to 1999. The Anthony Dollar or also cynically known as the “Carter quarters”, due to the poor performance of the dollar during President Jimmy Carter’s term, was minted in tribute to Susan B. Anthony, an important American civil rights leader of the 19th century.

In the year 2000, the Sacagawea Dollar series took birth and it still remains one third of all coins produced to date. The only other design of coinage that is of legal tender is the Presidential Dollar Coin Program, which was introduced in 2007.

The program was initiated to commemorate the former Presidents of the United States and it was decided that four new engraved relief portraits of them be minted each year, in sequential order by term served in office. The Statue of Liberty is engraved on its reverse, along with the inscription “$1 and the words “United States of America”. Presidents that have adorned the coins so far are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren, the latter being released this coming November.

If this program should continue to depict all of our Presidents, George W. Bush would adorn the dollar coin in 2016. Cant wait!

Storing and Grading Your Dollar Bill Collection

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

dollar bill boxNow that you’ve started collecting your currency you need a good way to store and protect those one dollar bills. Most collectors use a plastic sleeve that allows you to study both the front and back of the bill. It’s important to use a plastic sleeve without PVC plastic in it.

The PVC in the plastic can deteriorate over time and that will allow gases and acids to be released from the plastic onto your currency, ruining the bill. Many coin, stamp, and hobby stores will have an appropriate system for you to safely house your dollar bill collection.

Some collectors not only put their currency collections in plastic sleeves, but then store them in boxes to protect them from the sunlight and other light that may cause fading or other deterioration problems.

You can store them according to series, serial numbers, or the Federal Reserve Banks they were printed at.

Paper money is graded according to its condition. While there is no one absolute standard for grading currency, most collectors, dealers, and price guides will adhere to a basic standard.

For example, UNC or CU would mean crisp uncirculated. This means that there is no sign of wear, previous handling, nor folds, creases, or dog-eared corners.

AU would mean almost uncirculated. There may be a slight imperfection like a fold on one corner or a bend in the center that isn’t creased.

EF or XF would mean extremely fine. There could be three light folds or one hard fold that breaks the surface of the bill, but means the bill is clean and bright. There could be a rounding at the corner or corners.

VF would be very fine. A bill rated VF could have several folds, but the bill would still be crisp and very little dirt. There would be minor tears and the corners may be worn just a tad.

F would stand for fine. This would mean that the bill may be a bit soft. This grade would be about average for a bill that has been in circulation.

VG stands for very good. This type of bill could have tears or small holes. It is no longer crisp and there may be some staining.

Good(G), fair and poor. This would be the ratings for notes that are a bit shabby. It could have missing pieces or writing. This is a bill that is pretty worn out.

What grade of dollar bills do you look for? Do you save them or spend them? Let us know.

How To Build a Dollar Bill Collection?

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 1 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

dollar bill serial numberWith 23 different series of dollar bills issued and 12 different Federal Reserve Banks, there are more than 250 different notes that you could collect. Sounds easy right? Not really.

While it’s possible to collect one of each note, it would be a daunting task, so many collectors choose different things to collect. In addition, some of the dollar bills are very old and would be hard to find. But then again, the thrill is in the hunt, isn’t it.

The best way to start your collection is to choose exactly what you want to collect, meaning what type of serial numbers appeal to you, or you could decide to collect only dollar bills printed at very specific Federal Reserve Banks.

For example many collectors collect certain serial numbers. The most popular serial numbers to collect are the very low ones, but in reality, the very high serial numbers are the most rare because not every series reaches a high number. The more rare, the more valuable.

Some collectors look for ladder serial numbers like 12345678 or descending serial numbers like 87654321, while others look for solid or near solid serial numbers such as 11111111 or 222222212. Still other collectors look for serial numbers that repeat like 123123123, binary serial numbers that have only two digits in any combination like 113311133.

You could also collect what are called birthday dollar bills, these are dollar bills whose serial number contains a date, like 1964, etc.

Star notes have an asterisk or star either before or after the serial number. This happens because of production errors. An asterisk is put in place of a number so that the correct count of the dollar bills in a particular serial number run can be produced without having to repeat the serial number.

What type of dollar bills you choose to collect is entirely up to you, but try to be selective with regards to condition and rarity. If you find a dollar bill that appeals to you and it isn’t in the greatest condition, you still may want to add it to your collection until you can find another one in much better condition. How rare a particular dollar bill is may, in some cases, outweigh the overall condition.

What do you look for in your dollar bill collection? Do you look for particular serial numbers or a particular Federal Reserve Bank? Let us know!