Featured Overlooked, but historically important U.S. coins.

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by johnmilton, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    In the earlier years of our nation, cents and nickels were much more important than they are today. The main reason for that was that they actually had buying power, unlike today. You could buy something for a cent and the old time five and dime stores actually had goods that were priced at five and ten cents.

    This made me wonder, why didn’t the branch mints strike cents and nickels until well into the 20th century? The Readers’ Digest answer to this is that the branch mints were all set up specifically to strike gold and silver coins. There was either no legal authorization for them to strike base metal coins, or tradition forbid them to do it.

    In 1906 Congress voted to given the Director of Mint the power to authorize the coinage of cents and nickels in the branch mints. He started to exercise that power in 1908 with the 1908-S Indian Cents. 1908-S Indian Cent O.jpg 1908-S Indian Cent R.jpg

    The 1908-S Indian Cent is sort of the "little brother" to the 1909-S which scarcer, pricier and more famous than the 1909-S Indian Cents. Still it was the first cent to be struck at a branch mint, and circulated examples are within the price range of many collectors.

    In 1912 the Mint Director authorized the coinage of nickels at Denver and San Francisco.

    1912-D Nickel O.jpg 1912-D Nickel R.jpg

    The Denver Mint struck its first cents in 1911. Nickel production started the following year on February 1. With a mintage of almost 8.5 million, the 1912-D nickel is a fairly common coin. In Good condition the 1912-D nickel sells for little more than the other common date Liberty Nickels from the 1900s. Prices escalate sharply in VF-20 and higher. Mint State coins are not rare, but they are pricey with the values beginning at a few hundred dollars in MS-60 and advancing to over $1,000 in MS-65.

    1912-S Nickel me 3 O.jpg 1912-S Nickel me 3 R.jpg

    With a mintage of 238 thousand, the 1912-S Nickel is a popular and somewhat scarce coin. It is considered to be twice as rare as the 1909-S-VDB Lincoln Cent. Although this coin has lowest mintage in the Liberty Nickel series (excluding, of course the 1913 Liberty Nickel), it is not as rare as the 1885 nickel which has a mintage of a little less than 1.5 million. The reason, of course is that more of the 1912-S Nickels were saved because they were the last of their kind.

    The San Francisco Mint struck the entire mintage between Christmas and New Years Days in 1912. As such these were probably the last Liberty Nickels that were struck for general circulation.

    The coin has long been a collector favorite. According the 2019 Red Book, prices start at $145 in Good-4 and increase to $1,800 in MS-63. Those who are looking to buy Mint State examples are advised that a few Mint State rolls of this coin have come to the market over the last year. This has lowered the prices for all Mint State coins, although they still sell at auction for more than $1,500 for low Mint State examples to over $3,000 for coins in MS-66. Neither PCGS nor NGC has graded any 1912-S Nickels higher than MS-66.

    Here's a tip if you decide to buy a Mint State 1912-D or S nickel. All of the unmolested pieces are toned. The two mints washed the planchets in a water, soap and Borax solution that toned them. If you see one of these two nickels in Mint State with bright white surfaces, chances are they have been cleaned.
     
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  3. tommyc03

    tommyc03 Senior Member

    Nice write up. You should consider submitting this to Numismatic News or Coin World for an insertion in a future issue.
     
  4. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Parts of it were taken from a longer article I wrote for my local club. I don't know. I'm mostly into history, but detailed studies on die varieties and such seem to be what publications want to print these days.

    - That and "How to make money in coins" which always draws a big crowd.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  5. Petercoin

    Petercoin Member

    Perhaps that is true, but you have posted some very intrested information that I believe most people enjoy reading especially the history aspect. Sometimes although specifics are important they are somewhat boring until you intangle them with the historical aspect of the coinage.
    Many thanks for your interesting readings
     
  6. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Well-Known Member

    Excellent write up! Lots of good reasons to add a nice example to the collection!
     
  7. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Excellent indeed.

    I'm trying to imagine finding an original MS roll of any Liberty nickel date. *drool*
     
  8. Now that slabs have commoditized the US coin market, things naturally moved that way. :(

    But I have seen several articles about the history of coins. I don’t subscribe to any of the magazines, so I don’t know what they are like currently.
     
  9. thomas mozzillo

    thomas mozzillo Active Member

    I think it would be helpful to all collectors if you submitted the longer paper to both coin magazines and let them do the editing. Since both Numismatic news and Coin World seem to be lacking in excellent material I would hope they print the entire paper. I only subscribe to Coin World and occasionally read a friend's Numismatic News. IMO they could use more educational material.
     
    Dug13 likes this.
  10. frankjg

    frankjg Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a new publication is needed - Historical Numismatics Quarterly

    Focus on interesting history related topics like the one you wrote up here.

    To me, die pairings are boring. I’d much rather focus on the history.
     
  11. Maxfli

    Maxfli Well-Known Member

    Interesting and enlightening post. Thank you.
     
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  12. Santinidollar

    Santinidollar Supporter! Supporter

    Very good write up. Thanks for taking the time!
     
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  13. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I can’t add anything more to what the fellows have already said. I collect coins specifically because I want to hold history in my hands. Absolutely superb write up. Thank you.
     
  14. masterswimmer

    masterswimmer Member

    Wonderfully written article. It was a pleasure joining you down memory lane ;)
     
  15. Noah Finney

    Noah Finney Morgan / Gold Indian Member

  16. tommyc03

    tommyc03 Senior Member

    Numismatic News is sorely lacking these days. Since their move out of Iola and now that Dave Harper has retired they could use a boost in articles. At this point I prefer Coin World. NN now has too many big box ads that have nothing to do with coins and is becoming annoying. Usually only a few decent articles each week including random ones by our own @Insider which I very much enjoy. I think this papers glory days are coming to a close.
     
  17. BoonTheGoon

    BoonTheGoon Grade A mad lad

    Im going to look for one of those 1908 s coins
     
  18. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your interest. I have sent the longer article to "Coin World" for their review.
     
    tommyc03 and masterswimmer like this.
  19. JeffC

    JeffC Active Member

    I enjoyed reading this article.
     
  20. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    Thank you sir for a very interesting history, and like some others, I think you should submit the long article to publishers for them to decide on printing or editing the paper. Well done.
     
  21. kaparthy

    kaparthy Well-Known Member

    Rule Number One in Sales: Never say "No" for the customer.
    I stopped counting articles I placed at 300 over 20 years ago. I started in 1972 by taking the advice of Robert Heinlein:
    1. Once you are satisfied with a work, send it out. (Yes, an editor who wants it may ask for changes, but that means it is sold. Sale closed.)
    2. Keep sending it out until it is sold. Everything written can be placed somewhere. (Yes, some works are total garbage, but you would be surprised at the markets for garbage...)

    Numismatic News and Coin World are just two publications. CoinAge and Coins are still being published.

    You have no idea what the real markets are for numismatic writing. One reason that I maintain my MSNS membership is that The Mich-Matist pays for articles. They pay 10 cents per word up to $100. That puts a nice 1000-word limit on most articles. Having been the editor, I found that very convenient for layout. The ANA pays more, maybe 20 cents or higher. Here's the thing: that's not much compared to Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, etc., but at the Armadillo-Con science fiction conventions, the published authors there were somewhat jealous because pulp pays 5 cents a word, maybe 8 on a good day.

    Now, here's another thing: I renewed my Texas Numismatic Association membership so that I can submit a version of the Texian Navy Warrants that I wrote about here. The TNA does not pay -- which is why I had no membership... But, when they do accept the work and publish it, it goes on my CV with everything else because no one knows or needs to know how much you get paid for a professional placement. CoinWeek is one of the highly visible outlets that does not like to pay. So, I placed just one with them as a favor to another author whose book I reviewed. But it is in the bibliography of my CV.

    So, you crafted a good feature article and it deserves to be submitted for publication.
     
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