Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Tale Of The Early U.S. Mint-Courtesy Of CoinWorld Magazine


Legal obstacles at Mint

Bonding delays silver coinage
By Brad Karoleff | Dec. 08, 2012 9:59 a.m.
Article first published in 2012-12-17, Expert Advice section of Coin World
In the beginning the U.S. Mint created only copper coins!
Wouldn’t you think that a fledgling country with its first foray into minting its sovereign coin would opt for gold or even silver?
Legal problems prevented this from happening. The Mint Act of April 2, 1792, required the assayer, chief coiner and treasurer all to post $10,000 bonds to guarantee their honesty.
This was a large undertaking, and none of these officers could afford the bonds to allow them to handle precious metals. So, minting began with the copper coins.
The bond requirements were soon altered to allow the officers to obtain their insurance and precious metal coinage to begin.
Even though three denominations of U.S. coins are dated 1794, only two were actually produced in that inaugural year.
Flowing Hair half dimes, half dollars and dollars are known dated 1794. Regarding the half dimes, Walter Breen, in his Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, notes on page 276 that “The four 1794-dated vars. were struck in 1795; … Mint records show no half-disme deliveries until March 30, 1795 (7,756); most of these were dated 1794 …” So that leaves the half dollar and dollar as the “original” silver issues.
The 1794 silver dollars are among the rarest of regular issue U.S. coinages. All of these dollars were minted with silver deposited by Director David Rittenhouse.
As such, the total mintage of 1794 dollars became his property. So, if you are lucky enough to own one, you can rightly say that it once belonged to Rittenhouse himself. These were delivered on Oct. 15, 1794 (1,758 pieces).
For the half dollars, a small delivery (5,300 coins) was made the same day as the dollars, with another 18,164 coins following on Feb. 4, 1795 (Breen Encyclopedia, page 374).
Therefore, silver coin deliveries in 1794 amounted to 7,058 coins with a face value of $4,408. This was a humble beginning for U.S. silver coinage, which would eventually rival any in the world.
Only one die marriage is known for the silver dollar and, as I mentioned earlier, all are very rare and extremely expensive.
That leaves only a half dollar for collectors to purchase to guarantee that they receive a coin from the inaugural year of the silver mintages.
Ten die marriages are known for the Flowing Hair half dollars with most survivors being the Overton 101a variety (Early Half Dollar Varieties: 1794-1836 by Al C. Overton and Donald Parsley).
A collector who sports even one nice 1794 Flowing Hair half dollar in his collection can be very proud of his accomplishment.
Brad Karoleff is a vice president of the John Reich Collectors Society and editor of the club’s journal. He can be reached via email at

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some Tools For The Beginner

Starting a coin collection?  Here are a few tools that you need:

1: Albums to put your coins in:  There are a lot of different brands, use which ever one you like.

2:  Catalogs to tell you how much their worth:  The Guidebook Of U.S Coins, AKA The Redbook, is a must have if you are collecting U.S. Coins.

3: If you have loose coins, I use 2X2 Flips. You just put the coin in the middle, fold the flip over, and staple.
    I put them in plastic pages with pockets and store them in a binder. Same for my Currency collection.

4:  You might want to invest in a good safe (as I have), or a safe deposit box at your local bank, for security
      security's sake.

5: And to keep track of what coins you have, there are several software programs, which I don't use, or books where you can write down what you have.

6: A subscription to a magazine such as Coins Magazine, which can give you more tips.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Getting Started


There are plenty of ways you can get started with coin collecting:

1: Pocket change: You can find older date cents, nickels, and Statehood quarters, and the

    occasional silver dime. 

2: Go to the bank: you can buy rolls of coins from the bank, and look through bills, if you want to collect paper money as well.

3: Ask friends and family to look out  in their change.

4: Go to antique stores, or coin/hobby shops.


And that should make a good start!

Friday, November 23, 2012

How I got Started


I have been collecting since 1979.  It started out when I found a coin catalog in the back of my Brother In Law’s Car.  I read it and thought “This looks kind of cool.”  My Aunt gave me my first old coin, a 1940-D Nickel, and an 1890 silver dollar.  Later, my Dad gave me a few other old coins that he had found over the years, and I havn’t  looked back since!


It is the intention of the author of this blog to share some of his experiences in Coin And Paper Money Collecting, give tips, and share his collection. Enjoy!