Coin Collector Blog

Mullen Coins Collection Blog provides valuable articles and content about coin collections, rare coins, currency, antiquities and interesting reviews of news and events within the numismatic community.

Coin Myth #2 - Only Rich People Collect Coins

rich-people

In our last blog we discussed a commonly held myth that people have about coin collecting: Old coins are the most valuable. In this blog we will explore another myth, that only rich people collect coins. While it is true that many rich people do collect coins and the most famous coin collections belong, obviously, to people with money, coin collecting doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s a fun hobby everyone can try with only a small investment of time and money.

Coins used to be much scarcer than they are now, especially before modern minting (and mining) techniques made it simpler to create coins. Commerce was more local and less anonymous and often involved bartering or the extension of credit. As a result the average 19th century person had few coins. Today it’s completely different. Coins are minted on a large scale, redesigned and minted again. Coins are so ubiquitous that we tell people to dig through their couch cushions to find enough money to pay for something. Most people have coins they don’t even know they have.

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Why Are Coin Hoards Often Found in Wonderful Condition?

coin-hoards

Coin hoards are discovered quite frequently. Just last month, in October of 2018, three friends with metal detectors found a hoard of 18 silver Roman coins in Yorkshire. These coins are over 2,000 years old. In September, hundreds of Roman coins were unearthed in the basement of an Italian theater. These fifth-century gold coins were in wonderful condition, stacked carefully in a soapstone jar. How that can be? How can coins that are thousands of years old still be so well preserved? To answer that, we’ll ask these questions: What? Why? Where?

 

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Extremely Rare Gold Rush Coin Discovered!

Gold-Rush

The California Gold Rush was a life and state changing event. Americans and people from all over the world crossed oceans and the Great Plains, driven by the desire to pan for gold and strike it rich. Because of the sudden arrival of all of these diverse peoples in a boomtown economy, trading was complicated. Numerous solutions filled the gap temporarily, but it wasn’t until the U.S. Mint opened a branch in San Francisco that the economy had enough currency to run smoothly. Recently a $5-dollar Half Eagle surfaced in the possession of a New England man. This coin is so rare that coin dealers dubbed it a fake, but numismatists now believe it to be the authentic output of the early San Francisco Mint.

We’ve discussed California fractional gold before. These were privately minted coins, created to address problems that a currency vacuum had created. The people who traveled to California brought their own coins, but miners and settlers found it difficult to trade with so many varieties of coins. As a result, private jewelers stepped in and minted their own coins - over 450 varieties of California fractional gold. Fractional gold minting helped to oil the economy from 1848 to 1854.

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The Changing Face of Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

Anyone familiar with American coins will be familiar with the image of Lady Liberty. When Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1792 it mandated that the new U.S. coins should have the emblem of liberty on them. Lady Liberty has been a common image on our coins every since, her image representing freedom, peace, commerce, military strength, and, of course, liberty. The way she looks has changed throughout the years, however.

The very first large cent and circulating coin that the U.S. Mint produced was the Flowing Hair Cent in 1793. On this coin, Lady Liberty’s hair flows out behind her as if it is being blown dry. Her forehead slopes down into her nose in a straight line. She is not particularly beautiful. The free flow of her hair was supposed to illustrate freedom, but many people thought it made Lady Liberty look unkempt instead.

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