The Heraldic Eagle: The Story Behind The Bird

Old habits die hard. After renouncing almost a thousand years of kings and queens, banners and lineage, the founders of the United States of America went searching for a symbol of national heritage. Ironically, the one they adopted had its roots deep in the class structure of the Old World—a heraldic symbol, or coat of […]
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What Happened To All The Early U.S. Coins?

Most collectors of U.S. coins know that Federal gold and silver issues made prior to 1834 are much scarcer than coins minted in later years. Few, however, realize that this situation has its roots in circumstances that existed from the very beginning of the national coinage system. In the late 18th century, the Spanish milled […]
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Arrows Coinage & the Mint Act of 1853

The unprecedented amount of gold unearthed during the California Gold Rush sparked a boom in mining throughout the world. From 1850 through 1875, more gold was discovered than in the previous 350 years, upsetting monetary systems everywhere. Almost immediately, the flood of newly mined metal distorted the existing ratio between gold and silver prices. Gold […]
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Collecting Paper Money

By Tom Becker © 2001 All rights reserved  Tom Becker has been a full-time professional numismatist since 1968 beginning his career with Paramount International Coin Corporation in Ohio.  During his 30+ years he has worked for a number of rare coin firms, most notably as the Senior Numismatist for Bowers and Merena and as a consultant […]
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Morgan Dollars Revisited

Ugly Politics Morgan Silver Dollars are probably the most popular coin collected by United States collectors. But this large coin, modeled after the crown size coins of Europe, has a checkered past. The coin’s birth came not from the necessities of commerce but because of the political power of the owners of the American western […]
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Fun with Vams

Over the course of the last few years there has seen an upsurge in interest in collecting die varieties. Coins such as the 1916/1916 Doubled Die Buffalo Nickel or the 1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter have far surpassed the interest, and hence the value, of mere rare date coins in the same series. Why is there […]
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