Bowers, Burdette, Books, and Beards at America’s Biggest Coin Show There’s something magical about the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. For most collectors and dealers, this is the biggest “coin show” of the year. I put ...

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The Dentuck ANA blog: Wednesday, August 15, 2018 and more...

The Dentuck ANA blog: Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Philadelphia, home of the Liberty Bell, is the host city of the 2018 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. (Photo courtesy U.S. National Park Service.) Hover to zoom.

Bowers, Burdette, Books, and Beards at America’s Biggest Coin Show

There’s something magical about the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. For most collectors and dealers, this is the biggest “coin show” of the year. I put coin show in quotes because it’s about so much more than just coins. Paper money, medals, tokens, and other numismatic treasures, educational seminars and entertaining talks, creative exhibits, and eye-dazzling displays are all front-row center and a mile deep at the ANA’s summer show.

What more could you ask for?

Let’s see. How about:

  • exciting auctions of first-class rarities;
  • a smorgasbord of world mints;
  • the chance to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with other hobbyists;
  • rare-book sellers with more stories than the Empire State Building;
  • meetings and symposia for hobby groups large and small;
  • presentations of groundbreaking new research;
  • opportunities to rub elbows with famous authors, medallic artists, and Mint and Treasury officers;
  • and, best of all, visitors can immerse themselves in a widespread bourse with row after row after tantalizing row of every imaginable numismatic wonder to add to their collections.

For icing on the cake, this year the ANA’s host city is Philadelphia, home of the first United States Mint (the wellspring of American coinage for more than 225 years), and the cradle of American liberty. Step outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center for lunch and you’re surrounded by history.

Regular readers of my show commentary know that I always pack a bag of Buffalo nickels to “send into the wild” during my travels. Can a strange and wondrous coin found in pocket change inspire a new hobbyist? Will an imagination be sparked by one of these well-worn but still majestic old nickels? Many thanks to my friends at Twery’s Rare Coins of Greenacres, Florida, for supplying a herd of buffaloes for my bison-satchel.

My trip started numismatically enough: I used a handful of Presidential and Susan B. Anthony dollar coins to buy my MARTA train ticket to Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. The trip from Atlanta to Philadelphia was pleasantly uneventful—but a flight delay threw off my afternoon’s planned activities. This was frustrating because every minute counts at the biggest show of the year!

I’d planned to attend the general meeting of the Token and Medal Society. I’ve collected “exonumia,” as tokens and medals are often called, for almost as long as I’ve collected coins. Unfortunately, my delayed flight kept me from the meeting. Next year maybe I’ll fly in on Tuesday.

At the Whitman Publishing booth, award-winning authors Q. David Bowers and Roger W. Burdette talked with collectors and signed copies of their books. Dave had spent the morning in Room 113-C at the lot viewing for the show’s auctions by Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Roger and I caught up on his latest research and talked about Treasury Department archives and records.

Whitman author Roger W. Burdette (A Guide Book of Peace Dollars) and numismatic director Q. David Bowers visited with Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) chief operating officer David Crenshaw.

The Whitman booth was a center of activity and hobby dialogue, as always. I spoke with gold specialist Ross Johnson about modern coin design; Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) member Mike Moran stopped by and joined the conversation; Red Book Editor Emeritus Ken Bressett and his son Phil mingled among collectors browsing the latest books. Numismatic researcher and curriculum developer Karl Newman chatted with some of Whitman’s authors about his University of Rare Coins program. Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez, editor of the Coin Dealer Newsletter, shared thoughts on the rare-coin market and bounced around some book ideas. Other hobbyists showed off their coins and paper currency, posed questions to Bressett, Bowers, and Burdette, and visited with other friends.

Hobby legends Dave Bowers and Ken Bressett at the Whitman Publishing booth.

Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker, author Roger W. Burdette, and numismatic director Q. David Bowers.

Later in the afternoon Coin World led an open-forum discussion on moving the hobby forward. If I could clone myself, I would have attended. If you went to this forum, tell me and our readers about it in the “Comments” section below.


I talked with Mint Director David Ryder, whose knowledge, enthusiasm, and management style bode well for the future of the bureau, and had a wide-ranging conversation with numismatist David Tripp and Mint senior legal counsel Greg Weinman about, among other things, the famous (and infamous) 1933 gold double eagles.

David Tripp and Greg Weinman at the United States Mint display.

Meetings of the Society of Bearded Numismatists always inject a note of hijinks and lighthearted camaraderie into the ANA show, mixed with some pretty serious scholarship. “Sam brings the coolest stuff to look at,” one member told me, talking about ANA Numismatic Educator Sam Gelberd. Famous bearded numismatists give brief lectures, like David Alexander’s talk on the Society of Medalists last year. Unfortunately, I had to miss this year’s meeting, so I hope others who did go can share their thoughts.

The Society of Bearded Numismatists always brings a spirit of jocularity to the World’s Fair of Money—as well as some very cool show-and-tell material. The Society is open to all, whether bearded or smooth-faced. ANA numismatic educator Sam Gelberd (right) is among the society’s well-known bearded numismatists. (Photo courtesy of Steve Roach, Coin World)

Dinner was an excellent banquet organized by the Token and Medal Society, held at Maggiano’s Little Italy on Filbert Street, right across from the Marriott Downtown. I had a great time catching up with many friends in the exonumia world. Jeff Shevlin, “The So-Called Guy,” was there with his wife Cil. Jeff is a published author and expert in the field of So-Called Dollars, which are historical commemorative medals—most of them about the size of a silver dollar—struck by the United States Mint and others. He’s a regular contributor to Whitman’s 1,504-page Mega Red (the expanded deluxe edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins). Bill Hyder, editor of the TAMS Journal, was there. It’s always good to see Kathy and Dan Freeland, Paul Cunningham, Bob Leonard, Mark Lighterman, John and Nancy Wilson, and other longtime collectors, dealers, and researchers, and to make new friends. After dinner, the Society’s officers presented the year’s literary and other awards. Then outgoing president Fred Holabird gave his final remarks before the swearing-in of the Society’s new officers and board, and remarks from incoming president Ernie Nagy. This was followed by an auction and door prizes. The highlight of the auction was a very rare final (2012) medal of the Old Time Assay Commissioners, a now-defunct group made up of members of the U.S. Assay Commission, which was decommissioned in 1980.

The curtain at the TAMS banquet rung down around 9:00 and I called it an early night, knowing another full and busy day was ahead.

To be continued. . . .

The Token and Medal Society banquet.

Whitman publisher (and former TAMS governor) Dennis Tucker with outgoing TAMS president Fred Holabird (center) and incoming president Ernie Nagy.

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Bowers on collecting: Enjoying the Guide Book

By Q. David Bowers

Ever since its launching in 1946 (with a 1947 cover date) A Guide Book of United States Coins has been the primary source of information relating to coin prices in different grade categories as well as other information such as historical notes and mintage. At the time, the Standard Catalogue of United States Coins, first published by Waite Raymond in the early 1930s, was the book to use, but distribution was erratic and editions were not published yearly. The Standard Catalogue endured until 1958 and then faded away. Historical copies are interesting to read today, especially for prices before the Guide Book was issued.

Edited by Richard S. Yeoman, the Guide Book was distributed through hobby stores nationwide, giving it a wider circulation than the Standard Catalogue. For most (not all) later years, annual editions were published with updates. Today in 2018 the Guide Book remains the basic source for information.

I believe that a careful study of the Guide Book can be very enlightening, at least equal to a seminar in coins. Years ago when I gave the “All About Coins” course at the American Numismatic Association summer seminar, the class materials were a copy of the current Guide Book and the latest Coin Dealer Newsletter. For the first couple of days, I went through the Guide Book page by page, discussing entries and answering questions. More than just a few students it really broadened their horizons, as earlier they had simply looked up prices!

Hover to zoom.

As you read these words the Guide Book has more content than ever. Beyond that, the Deluxe Edition of the Guide Book, named Mega Red, has over 1,500 pages of extremely detailed information, more history, and various essays. My recommendation is that you read from front to back a copy of the current Guide Book first, then take Mega Red and prepare to settle in for a week of evenings of interesting reading. When you’re all done you will be an expert or close to it!


Also, as you read these words I and the Whitman staff and contributors are busily at work on Mega Red 5, set to be released in early 2019. This will contain many new features. Our objective is to make it absolutely essential for anyone seriously interested in American coins.

See you next week!

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Bureau of Engraving and Printing and United States Mint to participate in the American Numismatic Association’s 2018 World’s Fair of Money

Washington, DC — The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and the United States Mint will share booth #218 at the American Numismatic Association’s (ANA) World’s Fair of Money, August 14–18, 2018, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.

BEP Director Len Olijar and Mint Director David Ryder will participate in the official ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, August 14 at 12:30 p.m. (EDT).

BEP is showcasing its Billion Dollar Exhibit featuring more than $1 billion worth of rare antique currency, including sheets of $100,000 currency notes, Treasury Bonds, and Gold and Silver Certificates. A technical expert will also demonstrate currency production on a 19th century Spider Press.

In keeping with BEP’s tradition of creating distinct currency, BEP is especially excited to offer the following new products for sale:

World War I Commemorative $2 Collection — This WWI set features Series 2013 $2 notes from the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Atlanta with matching serial numbers beginning with 2018 and a commemorative intaglio print of the back of the Series 1918 $2 Federal Reserve Bank Note which features the central vignette of the “Battleship — New York.”

$2 Lucky Panda — Symbolizing peace, harmony, and friendship, this newest addition to the Lucky Money Collection features an uncirculated $2 Federal Reserve note with a serial number beginning with “888.” It is exquisitely designed with decorative Chinese symbolism and packaged in a symbolic, red folder with embossed, gold foil.

World War I 100th Anniversary commemorative collection — “Victory” — This card is the third and final print in the 2018 Intaglio Print Subscription Program which features three cards: Entry, Homefront, and Victory. This collection highlights inspiring allegorical and historical figures featured on Liberty Loans and Victory bonds, engraved American iconography, and currency issued during the war.


BEP will also offer other unique currency-related products, including uncut currency sheets in various subject sizes and denominations. For additional information about BEP or to purchase products, please visit its website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You may also order BEP products by telephone (1-800-456-3408), fax (1-888-891-7585), or mail (Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Mail Order Sales, Room 515M, 14th and C Streets SW, Washington, DC, 20228).

The Mint has planned several outreach activities for the Fair. Director Ryder and Director Olijar will host a meet-and-greet and autograph signing at the joint Mint/BEP booth on opening day, Tuesday, August 14, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., followed by a meeting with members of the media at 3:00–4:00 p.m. Autograph signing sessions with Director Ryder and Director Olijar also will take place on Wednesday, August 15, from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. and from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Other activities include:

• Unveiling designs for the 2019 America the Beautiful Quarters Program;
• Hosting a Collector’s Forum, where the public can share their ideas about the nation’s coinage and learn about upcoming Mint initiatives;
• Providing an assortment of educational resources for educators;
• Providing children the opportunity to gather information on the Mint’s H.I.P. Pocket Change website to engage in educational activities, learn about Mint programs and operations, and gain an understanding of the link between coins and American history and culture;
• Providing attendees access to opt-in as a Mint customer to receive product updates and alerts;
• Conducting a “Treasure Trivia” game in which children visit specific locations on the bourse floor to answer trivia questions designed to instill an appreciation for numismatics;
• Participating in the World Mints Passport Program, an exciting program in which visitors collect coins from participating mints;
• Providing the most recently released America the Beautiful Quarters coin for even exchange;
• Conducting live tweets on the daily activities; and
• Assisting visitors with downloading its mobile application, MyUSMint.

Additionally, the Mint will display three of the nation’s 1933 Double Eagle gold coins. The display will feature two of the 10 pieces recovered by the government in 2004, as well as the previously undisclosed specimen that was voluntarily and unconditionally given over to the government by a private citizen who requested to remain anonymous.

An assortment of Mint products will be available for purchase over the counter, including the 2018 American Eagle silver Proof coin–S mint mark (beginning August 14 at 1:00 p.m); the new George Washington and John Adams Presidential silver medals (beginning August 16 at noon); and product options in the 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Program and the 2018 World War I Commemorative Coin Program. All products are available for purchase via the Mint’s online catalog or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order by calling 1-888-321-MINT (6468). Additional information is available at the Mint’s website.

Press release courtesy of the United States Mint.

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Mint to display three 1933 double eagles at ANA World’s Fair of Money

The Smithsonian specimen of the 1933 Saint Gaudens double eagle. Hover to zoom.

Display will include previously unknown piece

Washington — The United States Mint announced today that it will display three of the nation’s 1933 double eagle gold coins in booth 218 at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia from August 14 to August 18.

The display will feature two of the 10 pieces recovered by the government in 2004. Those coins were the subject of 11 years of litigation, which was resolved last year in favor of the government. The Mint will also display the previously undisclosed specimen that was voluntarily and unconditionally given over to the government by a private citizen who requested to remain anonymous.

In March of 1933, as one of the many measures designed to reverse the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a proclamation prohibiting payment of gold coin. This resulted in the melting of 445,500 1933-dated double eagles previously struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Mint records clearly establish that no 1933 $20 double eagles were ever issued or released to the public as legal tender. The only specimens to leave the Mint lawfully were two 1933 double eagles provided to the Smithsonian Institution for preservation in the National Numismatics collection. Subsequently, one specimen recovered in 1996 became the subject of a unique settlement. The coin was monetized, issued by the United States Mint, and sold at auction in 2002 for $7.6 million.


Unlike nine specimens that were recovered during the 1940s and 50s, none of the specimens in Mint custody will be melted. United States Mint Director David J. Ryder said, “The United States Mint recognizes all of the country’s recovered 1933 Double Eagles as national numismatic treasures.”

About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.

Press release courtesy of the United States Mint.

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United States Mint set to release presidential medals struck in silver on August 16

WASHINGTON — The United States Mint will begin accepting orders for the George Washington Presidential Silver Medal (product code S801) and the John Adams Presidential Silver Medal (product code S802) on August 16 at noon Eastern Time (ET). Both medals are priced at $39.95 each.

Hover to zoom.

The obverse (heads) of the George Washington Presidential Silver Medal features his portrait as designed by Pierre Simon Duvivier. The inscription GEORGE WASHINGTON PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and the year 1789 are centered along the border of the medal.

The obverse of the John Adams Presidential Silver Medal features his portrait as designed by Moritz Furst. The inscription JOHN ADAMS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and year A.D. 1797 are alongside the border of the medal.

The reverse (tails) design of both medals is by John Reich. The design features the inscription PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP, symbolized by two hands clasped in token of amity. On the cuff of the left wrist are three stripes with buttons, each button carrying the American eagle; the other wrist is bare. Above the hands, the pipe of peace and the tomahawk are crossed over each other.

Each encapsulated presidential silver medal arrives packaged in a clamshell case with a standardized certificate of authenticity.

The Mint is introducing the Presidential Silver Medals Program under the authority of Title 31 U.S.C. § 5111(a)(2), which allows the Secretary of the Treasury to “prepare national medal dies and strike national and other medals if it does not interfere with regular minting operations.”

The Department of the Treasury has a long-standing tradition of honoring each president of the United States with an official bronze medal struck by the Mint. The Mint is now replicating these medals in .999 percent fine silver.


After the initial release of the Washington and Adams presidential silver medals in 2018, the Mint will issue four presidential silver medals each year (one each quarter) beginning in 2019 in the order that the presidents served. The medals will have a matte finish similar to an Uncirculated coin. (Note: The term “Uncirculated” is exclusive to coins.) The medals may be produced across multiple production facilities and will not have a mint mark.

The Mint accepts orders online and by dialing 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order at 1-888-321-MINT. Information about shipping options is available at the Mint’s website.

About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, Uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.

Press release courtesy of the United States Mint.

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