Kevin R. writes: I have what appears to be a Bicentennial Liberty Gold coin. However the Lady Liberty is facing right with 13 stars around her head. On the reverse it says United States Of America around the top, in the center an Eagle with olive Branches in left claw and what appears to be arrows in the right. Below that it says BICENTENNIAL then on the bottom 1776-1976. I have never found any mention of it anywhere also on the coin’s rim or side it is completely smooth no ridges. It also seems to have some weight to it…Coin Doc, can you help me I’m going crazy trying to find it even mentioned anywhere.
You have one of the “orphaned” Bicentennial Mint Medals. These are hardly ever mentioned in coin publications and seemed to have been ignored by medal collectors. There are two, both in .900 fine gold, one larger than a five dollar gold coin (little over a third of a troy ounce) and one larger than a $10 gold coin (about two thirds of a troy ounce). They were issued in a blue box from the Philadelphia Mint.
I haven’t seen one of these in a while but I remember that no one wanted to pay more than gold value for them. Many were melted in the “gold rush days” of the 1980’s. Someday they will be “discovered” and the few remaining pieces will become valuable. In the meantime, see the CoinSite Precious Metals Page for current gold prices.
Pam writes: In the early 80’s I had received a 20th Anniversary Tribute Solid 14-k Gold JFK half dollar. This was a specially struck miniature of the JFK half dollar, double-dated 1964-1984 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the coin’s first issue.
The JFK Half Dollar miniature was struck on a planchet of solid 14-karat gold, measuring 9 mm in diameter, weighing 3.360 grains. It contains 1.965 grains of pure gold. It was a limited edition and the dies were destroyed and the edition permanently closed after December 31, 1984. Could you please give me any information on them and their value.
Some facts about this token:
J.N. writes: Concerning Lincoln cents – What does the term MS66RD mean? I know it means RED but what does this mean? How did it get RED? What is the signifigance? Please tell me everything that I would need to know about MS66RD. Thank you.
“Red” is the designation for the original color of a copper coin. The old copper cents had a red tinge to them possibly having to do with the small amount of tin and zinc that was part of the alloy. Current cents are made of zinc with a pure copper plating and appear very pale red-gold. “Red-brown” is the color as a copper cent begins to oxidize. “Brown” is the color of a fully oxidized cent. A copper cent can be uncirculated in any of the above states of oxidation but a full red cent is prized and priced above cents with oxidation.
MS means “Mint State” and is the designation for coins that are uncirculated, that is have the original mint luster and no trace of wear. There are 11 grades (qualities of condition ) for mint state coins, MS60-70. (See: U.S. Coin Grading). Coins graded MS65 and above can be quite scarce, especially on copper cents. Collectors who purchase third party graded coins also like to check the Population Reports issued by each grading service, to see how many coins have been graded in each denomination, date and grade.
The rarity of coins depends on other factors besides grade. For example, there might be many modern Lincoln cents that will grade MS65 (RED or otherwise) or higher because they were acquired directly from the Mint. This doesn’t indicate that they are particularly rare or expensive.
Harold M. writes: What is the worth of a 2000 $50 Gold mint error PCGS MS69 “Struck Thru”? I could send a scan if you wish.
When foreign material comes between a planchet (coin blank) and die, the resulting coin shows some alteration of the design. This kind of error is called a struck-thru error.
Common struck-thru materials are small pieces of cloth left on the die from cleaning, pieces of wire from a die cleaning brush, grease, scrap metal, string and staples. The type of material should be listed as part of the description of the coin since this information determines market value.
Traditionally, struck-thrus haven’t been sold primarily by grade as their collector value is associated with the type of struck-thru error. As far as I know, no standards have been published regarding a method of grading such errors. Since grade as not been a major consideration in the past, a new kind of market will have to develop to define and accommodate struck-thru coins by mint state grade. Currently, I have no knowledge of such a buy/sell market.
The third party opinion of grade not withstanding, premiums for struck-thrus would depend on the type of struck-thru error and how spectacular the error is. Premiums might range from $0 to multiples of the normal value for this particular coin.
Drake writes: I have a Half Dollar – Kennedy 1965-1969 (40% silver) .1479 ASW. How much money is it worth and what does .1479 ASW mean?
.1479 ASW means the Actual Silver Weight is .1479 of a troy ounce. Precious metals are measured in troy ounces. There are 12 troy ounces of 31.1033 grams/ounce in a troy pound. If you multiply the decimal .1479 by the world price of silver, you will realize the intrinsic metal value of the coin. For current silver prices in troy ounces, see the CoinSite Precious Metals page.
Nick writes: When I was a kid I found a $5 dollar bill in my dad’s room which I took without asking and used for lunch money. It turned out that it was some special bill he had been saving. He said that it was special because it didn’t say “In God We Trust” on it. I’ve felt bad ever since, and I want to get him another one if I can. What can you tell me about these bills and where can I get a $5 bill without the motto? When did “In God We Trust” first appear on U.S. paper money?
Prior to 1957, the motto “In God We Trust” did not appear on U.S. currency. It was first added in 1957 pursuant to a 1956 Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress declaring the phrase as the national motto. As the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was in the process of converting to new high-speed intaglio printing presses during that period, the appearance of the motto on different denominations took place in stages.
There are 12 Federal Reserve Banks that are represented on United States Federal Reserve Notes carrying Letter A-L (Boston-San Francisco). Unlike coins, U.S. paper money is not yearly dated but retains the same series date over time until the signatures of the Treasurer of the United States (ceremonial only) and the Secretary of the Treasury change.
The change is usually signified by the addition of a letter such as 1934A. The series date changes when there is a design change to the notes (usually but not always). For example the $20 series after 1934D is series 1950. Currently, 1934 series $20 FRN only bring a premium over its face value if the note is uncirculated.
Examples of U.S. paper money both with and without the motto “In God We Trust” are readily available from coin dealers.
David C. writes: I have a 1974D Eisenhower dollar that appears to be silver rather than the copper clad mix. Upon further research I found out that in 1974 and 1977 there were Eisenhower dollars of Denver mintage that were made in silver clad by error. I have taken this coin to numerous dealers and they all agree that it is indeed silver clad and not copper clad, but none of these dealers having ever seen one of these mistakes they can’t be certain that this is one of the error coins even though it is silver. Who or where can I find out if this paticular coin is one of the errors?
The 1974D Silver clad Eisenhower dollars were discovered by a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas. So far, only about 30 pieces are known to exist. The normal clad pieces have a red or, when oxidized, dark gray edge. Silver clad pieces have a white edge. Silver clad piece weigh 24.59 grams, copper-nickel clad examples, 22.68 grams. A ring test (see a numismatist for this) yields a different pitch for each type.
If you believe you have a silver clad 1974D dollar, you will want to have it certified or authenticated. You can contact ANA, PCGS or NGC for reliable authentication. See their links on the CoinSite Links page.
Tony K. writes: I have a ten cent fractional currency (U.S. X Cent) from 1864. The picture has the name William M. Me????. I know fractional’s were never popular. However I can’t seem to find any information on the X Cent Fractional. Thanks.
You have a 5th issue fractional currency 10 cents. This issue circulated between February 26, 1874 and February 15, 1876. The face is black and features a portrait of William Meredith, the Secretary of the Treasury 1849-1850. The back is green, cotton fibers are visible in the blank field. The obligation is printed inside of an oval design. The printer was the Columbian Bank Note Co.