By Q. David Bowers By almost any evaluation the 1955 Doubled Die cent is the most famous die error in the Lincoln cent series. The date and all obverse lettering are dramatically doubled. When these were first noticed by numismatists, Numismatic News ...
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Bowers on collecting: Blame it on Hurricane Diane! and more...

Bowers on collecting: Blame it on Hurricane Diane!

By Q. David Bowers

By almost any evaluation the 1955 Doubled Die cent is the most famous die error in the Lincoln cent series. The date and all obverse lettering are dramatically doubled. When these were first noticed by numismatists, Numismatic News called them 1955 Shift cents. Later, Kenneth E. Bressett gave them the Doubled Die name, used in the Guide Book from that time to the present.

Hover to zoom.

As to how the coins were made, years later I inquired at the Philadelphia Mint and learned that on Thursday, August 18, 1955, several presses were coining cents, dumping the coins into a box where they were then collected and mixed with the cents from other coining presses. At the time Hurricane Diane was passing through the East Coast, causing extensive damage. There was confusion at the Mint and elsewhere as no one knew what the weather would bring next.

Late in the afternoon a Mint inspector noticed the bizarre doubled cents and removed the offending die. By that time...

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Award-winning Guide Book of United States Paper Money coming in an updated seventh edition

(Pelham, Alabama) — An updated and revised seventh edition of the Guide Book of United States Paper Money will be available in September 2020. The new book is a collector’s price guide and history of the paper currency of the United States dating from federal issues introduced during the Civil War to modern-day cash. Written by numismatists Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, the 416-page guide is printed in full color with hundreds of high-resolution images. It retails for $24.95 and will be available online and from booksellers and hobby retailers nationwide.

Thousands of federally issued notes are cataloged in detail in the Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Some are valuable rarities like Gold Certificates and $1,000 Federal Reserve Notes. Others are currency found in our wallets today. An introduction by David L. Ganz explores topics such as grading standards; star notes, the $2 bill, and World War II notes; American money in the Civil War; the Bureau of Engraving and...

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U.S. Mint sales report: Week ending August 2, 2020

Hover to zoom.

This U.S. Mint numismatic sales report covers the week ending August 2, 2020. The Mint’s best-selling product this week was the 2020-W one-ounce American Silver Eagle $1 Proof coin (20EA), which sold 7,969 units. In second place was the 2020-W one-ounce American Silver Eagle $1 Uncirculated coin (20EG) with 7,381 sold. The third best-selling item this week was the 2020-S U.S. Mint Proof Set (plus 2020-W Proof nickel) (20RG), with 4,495 individual units sold. It’s followed by the 2020-S U.S. Mint Silver Proof Set (plus 2020-W Reverse Proof nickel) (20RH), with 4,247 sold; and the 2020-S American Innovation Connecticut Reverse Proof coin (20GE), with 2,518 sold.

This week saw a downward adjustment of -3,495 for the 2020-S Basketball Hall of Fame Enhanced Uncirculated Clad Half Dollar Kids Set (20CH), -596 for the 2020 America the Beautiful Three-Coin Set, Weir Farm (P)(D)(S) (20AE), -37 for the 2020 America the Beautiful Quarters Uncirculated Set (P)(D) (20AA), -20...

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Bowers on collecting: Focus on a great book

Whenever anyone asks me for suggestions on several books to start a good numismatic library, I always recommend the standard work by  William H. Sheldon, Early American Cents, 1949,  mostly available in its 1958 second edition retitled Penny Whimsy. After reading the introduction, in particular, you will fall in love with early coppers! Sheldon said this:

Old copper, like beauty, appears to possess a certain intrinsic quality or charm which for many people is irresistible. An experienced dealer in American numismatic materials recently wrote as follows: “Sooner or later, if a collector stays at the business long enough, it is three to one his interest in all the other series will flag and he will focus his attention on the early cents.”

Gold, silver, and even bronze appear to be very much the same wherever you see them. Coins made of these metals become old money and interesting, like the stuff seen in museums, but copper seems to possess an almost living warmth and a...

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PCI Silver Eagles versus PCI Morgan dollars

By Michael Bugeja

I have been collecting PCGS Silver Eagles for more than six years, marveling at their toning. You can see my PCGS Showcase set by clicking here.

These are fabulous coins, often more beautiful than any other kind of toning; the numismatic term, “monster,” applies to these. They come in pastel colors as well as ribbed and radar patterns. Here is a typical pastel:

Here is an American flag specimen whose toning happened because the coin was left in a ribbed cardboard mailer:

PCI Eagles also are known to tone in radar wave colors, as was the case for this specimen:

Some PCI Eagles continue to tone in the original holders. Sometimes an unsightly charcoal ring appears at the rim along with an occasional spot, detracting from their beauty. Often, however, the later colors are richer and more vibrant over time. The unsightly toning eventually ends when the substance’s ability to continue toning does. It’s a case by case scenario.

For the record, I have never...

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