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    • Posted on April 8, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    The vast majority of vintage coins exist in circulated condition. Since they were typically made to be used in everyday commerce, they are usually encountered with some degree of wear. The extent of the circulation, however, is a major component of a coin’s value. Lightly worn pieces with minimal loss of detail or luster will command a far higher price than a heavily circulated specimen. To help classify the degree of wear, numismatists have established nine major categories of circulated coin grades.
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    • Posted on April 7, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    As is the case with most major historic events, the effects of World War II had an impact on American numismatics. The war generated an immense demand for copper, as it was desperately needed for ammunition. Therefore, the United States Mint was obliged to use a different alloy for the one-cent “penny.” After experimenting with numerous substitutes – including even plastic – the government finally settled on a zinc-coated steel alloy as a replacement material.
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    • Posted on April 6, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    The category “Classic Head Gold Coinage” refers to a series of Quarter Eagles and Half Eagles produced in the 1830s. The design for these coins was first introduced in the early 1800s for the Half Cent and One Cent coins, but was retrofitted for the $2.50 Quarter Eagle and $5 Half Eagle in 1834. The motifs would be discontinued shortly thereafter; the Half Eagle switched to the Coronet design in 1839 and the Quarter Eagle followed suit in 1840.
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    • Posted on April 5, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    Since the United States Mint began producing gold coins in 1795, it has always used an alloy of both gold and copper. The primary purpose, originally, was to make the coins both larger and stronger. Pure 24 karat gold is extremely soft and vulnerable to wear, damage and deterioration. Even after being mixed with copper, gold is still softer than hard metals like nickel. Another reason for the copper blend was to make the coins bigger and easier to handle.
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    • Posted on April 4, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    A popular way of collecting United States Gold coinage is to target the first year of issue for each series. Luckily, most first year issues are relatively affordable. They typically have higher mintages and, due to their first year status, were saved as souvenirs. For this reason, first year issues are often quite available and affordable. This article provides a list of interesting and reasonably priced first year of issue gold coins that can be had for $1500 or less.
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    • Posted on April 1, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    There are seemingly endless acronyms and abbreviations in the field of numismatics, but one of the most commonly used is “PQ.” What does this term mean, and why is it used so frequently? PQ stands for Premium Quality, and it generally refers to coins that are above average in terms of grade and/or appearance. It’s not an official grading term, but a quick shorthand way of recognizing coins that are superior in some way.
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    • Posted on March 4, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    For much of the 19th and early 20th century, one-dollar coins circulated freely in American commerce. Even though one-dollar paper notes have been printed since the 1860s, the one-dollar coin remained a staple of everyday commerce until the 1930s. With that in mind, why have more recent one dollar coins failed? This article will explore why modern attempts to circulate a one-dollar coin have proved difficult.
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    • Posted on March 3, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    Almost immediately after its founding, the Confederate States of America began issuing money. The first Confederate dollars, nicknamed “Greybacks,” were first released into circulation in April 1861. Initially the CSA currency had decent purchasing power and was readily accepted—but this would soon change. As confidence waned in the South’s ability to win the Civil War, the currency lost value and acceptability. Eventually the Confederacy would experience tremendous inflation as its currency became essentially worthless.
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    • Posted on March 2, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    Shipwreck coins represent a fascinating category of American numismatics. Specifically, these are vintage United States coins that were recovered from documented vessels that sank. Famous examples include the SS Central America, the SS Republic, the SS New York, the SS Brother Jonathan and the SS Yankee Blade. All of these tragically doomed boats carried significant amounts of coinage—which would be discovered and brought to market many decades later.
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    • Posted on March 1, 2016
    • By TPM
    • Library

    American coinage can be divided into two major categories: Vintage and Modern. The former term is usually applied to coins all struck prior to 1965, while the latter applies to all coins issued since. Within the realm of modern coins are three basic groups: circulating denominations, bullion coins, and commemoratives.
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