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Louis Golino

Modern Numismatics

Louis Golino

Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he also has written a regular column for CoinWeek.com since 2011, writes a monthy column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2015, for his CoinWeek column “The Coin Analyst,” he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best online column. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum. 

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Archive for 'July 2016'

    Hand of Hamsa Coin Coming Soon

    July 29, 2016 4:29 PM by Louis Golino

    Powercoin (www.powercoin.it)is a major modern world coin dealer based in Rome, Italy and is owned byAntonello Galletta.  The companydistributes many of the leading series from various world mints such as theMint of Poland, Royal Canadian Mint, Perth Mint, and many others. 

    And as is the case with some other leading numismaticcompanies, it also sometimes commissions coins to be issued on its behalf.  The first of three new coins coming fromPowercoin is an intriguing piece called the Hand of Hamsa, or Hand of Fatima,that is now available for pre-order with coins expected to ship in late September.

    Designed by Coin Invest Trust in Lichtenstein and minted bythe German private mint, B.H. Mayer, both highly regarded in the numismaticworld for their quality work, the Hamsa coin depicts the very popularpalm-shaped amulet that represents the hand of God and is seen throughout theMiddle East and North Africa.

    Hamsa is spelled Khamsah in Arabic and means “five, or “thefive fingers of the hand.”  It has otherspellings in Hebrew and other languages. 

    Tracing its origins to ancient Carthage, an open right handis supposed to ward off evil.  It is asign of protection in all faiths and is supposed to bring happiness and goodfortune to its owner.  It is seen allover the world in tattoos, pendants, keychains, etc.

    Issued under the legal authority of Palau with a $10 facevalue, the coin is made of two ounces of pure silver and struck in proof.  It uses CIT’s remarkable Smartmintingtechnology that I have covered before to get the maximum effect out of itshigh-relief striking and also features a blue Swarovski crystal that isintended to represent the eye-in-hand that protects against the evil eye.  Only 999 of these intricately-designed coinsare being issued.

    Mr. Galletta told me that he has seen a sample coin that hesaid looks amazing and that the pictures do not do justice to this beautifulpiece, the first coin ever issued about this popular amulet.  The hand has countless small artisticflourishes on it, and the coin is a work of numismatic art that is not quitelike anything I have ever seen.

    In addition to being sold by Powercoin for 200 euros, thecoin is also available from First Coin Company (www.firstcoincompany.com) in theU.S. and the Coin Shoppe in Canada (www.coinshoppe.ca)for $217.90.  The owner of the CoinShoppe told me sales have been strong, especially from American buyers. 


    Be sure to click on the main image to see additional pictures of the coin.

    Change Coming for Pobjoy Mint and Isle of Man Coins

    July 22, 2016 10:26 AM by Louis Golino
    Pobjoy Mint Ltd., a private mint in the UK, issues both numerous commemorative coins and some circulating one for various countries. 

    For the past 40 years it has been the official minter for the Isle of Man, a self-governing island located in the sea between England and Ireland.  It is a British Crown dependency and is well-known in the numismatic world for the numerous collector coins it issues, such as the cat coins, which were discussed in the July cover story by Bill Gibbs.

    Taya Pobjoy, managing director of the mint, issued the following announcement this week: "Pobjoy Mint Ltd would like to announce that as from March 2017 they will no longer represent the Isle of Man as the official  minter  of Isle of Man legal tender products.
    Recently, the Isle of Man has announced a reduction in the number of themes that can be produced in any year.
    This will mean that many Isle of Man coins will no longer be made and we urge our customers to order existing Isle of Man products while stock last.
    We will continue to produce high-quality coins from our six other issuing authorities and look forward to showing our customers the new and exciting products we have for the balance of 2016 and into 2017.
    Pobjoy Mint Ltd has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Isle of Man that has lasted for over 40 years; we wish them well for the future."

    One implication of this news is that the popular Angel bullion coin, which has been issued since 1984 in silver and gold, will likely no longer be issued.  And the reverse proof Angel with a mintage of 100,000 coins that was issued this year will definitely no longer be issued.

    For 2016 a proof version of the same coin was issued in a special two-coin set with the reverse proof and a mintage of just 500 coins. The proof is only available in the set, which retails for about $150.  The single reverse proof coin can be purchased for a little under $30.

    If you collect Isle of Man coins, you may want to obtain those pieces you need in the near future.  SM Coins, an eBay coin dealer that specializes in modern world issues, has an extensive selection of these coins: http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_osacat=0&_ssn=son-montuno&_nkw=isle+man

    Update on 2016 Britannia proof coins: The 5 oz. silver coin has sold out, and the 1 oz. silver coin and 6-coin silver set are close to sold out as well.  In addition, the first-ever reverse proof version has been released by APMEX in a 2-coin set with the regular proof. Only 500 sets were issued, and the reverse proof is only available in the set.  They were announced yesterday, July 21, and are selling quickly.  

    Patience Helps in Modern Numismatics

    July 15, 2016 3:20 PM by Louis Golino
    There is a not so secret fact when it comes to modern numismatic products, especially those from the U.S. Mint, that it often pays to wait to purchase what you want rather than buy when interest in that item is peaking and dealers are promoting the new issue to retail customers.

    There are of course important exceptions to this advice, and an experienced collector can usually tell whether it is better to strike quickly, as as with last year's American Platinum Eagle proof coin that had an unusually low maximum mintage of 4,000 coins and sold out in 7 minutes.  It was challenging for sure, but most people I know who were ready to go at the time of launch were able to place an order if they were prepared and moved quickly.

    But there are many other times when those who wait do very well such as items that fall below issue price, which happens a lot in certain segments of the market such as modern commemoratives or proof and mint sets.

    Or perhaps you failed to order your 2016-W gold centennial dime before they sold out from the Mint, or you wanted to have one graded but did not get it in time from the Mint to have it graded with first strike and early release labels.  

    This is why energy expended on studying the market is better than all that kvetching about the Mint, which stresses you out anyway. Instead, astute collectors quickly saw that the gold dimes were grading at a high level with most coins getting 70's from both NGC and PCGS.  In fact, the last time I checked the rate of 70's was much lower at NGC, which has not been the trend in the past with many modern issues.

    So I decided early on that rather than submit any of my coins for grading, I would wait until the excitement abated, check around for a good deal, and buy an already graded coin.  And in fact I was able to purchase an NGC SP70 early release example for the same cost as the issue price plus the grading fee without any of the related expenses or hassles or the risk the coin would come back as a 69.

    Each case will be a little different, and that is why it pays to do your homework in modern numismatics.

    Update: Last week I discussed the new 2016 Britannia prof coins.  I ordered a set of the silver coins and have already received them. They look great in hand, and even better than the pics.  

    New Britannia Proof Coins Launched

    July 7, 2016 11:36 AM by Louis Golino
    Right around this time of the year, late June to early July, every year since 2013 when the program began, the Royal Mint (www.royalmint.com) launches its extensive range of silver and gold Britannia proof coins.  

    Unlike their popular bullion counterparts, which since 2012 have carried the same design each year, the proof coins feature a new rendition of Britannia each year.

    Britannia is the British equivalent of Lady Liberty, the female personification or allegorical representation of Great Britain and the enduring values for which she has stood for centuries.  The practice of representing nations as women dates to the Roman Empire, and over the years Britannia has emerged as a "warrior queen," wearing a helmet and carrying a shield.

    That is how she is portrayed in the new design, which appears as always on the reverse side of the coins since the obverse must feature the latest effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.  For 2016 Britannia is seen with the British lion at her feet, a pairing seen on memorial plaques issued after the First World War, a national symbol of courage and protection.
    The new coins called "Courage at her command" show Britannia holding her trident in one hand and the shield of Britain in the other with a British lion at her feet.  The addition of the lion is something that was seen on memorial plaques after World War I and is a national symbol of courage and protection.

    The 2016 design is the work of Suzie Zamit, the only woman who has designed Britannia coins, and this is her second one.

    Initial reaction to the design from collectors has been quite positive, though nothing issued to date compares with the 2014 Britannia proof design by Jody Clark that was also used in the 2015 50 pound BU coin that is still available from the Mint.  The 2016 design is perhaps the best one after the 2014.

    Those interested in acquiring the coins have many options from a single 1 oz. silver piece to a six-piece silver proof set and 5 oz. silver coin as well as various gold options from 1/40th oz. to 5 oz.  Only the 1 and 5 oz. versions in both metals are available individually. The fractional coins are only issued in sets.

    Britannia proof coins carry low mintages esp. compared to our own proof coins, and they tend to sell out and do decently on the aftermarket after that.  Those who own any of the 2014 proofs know what I mean.

    Finally, keep in mind that due to the Brexit vote, the British pound is at a 30-year low of about 1.3 to the U.S. dollar, which makes these coins more affordable than  in the past.

    FinBriIfInBritannia is the female personification of Britain, embodying the changing ideals and values of our country throughouhistory. She has often been said to reflect powerful women through the ages, and, in the case of certain British queens, the events and attitudes of their reigns.

    The practice of portraying nations as idealised women dates back to the Roman era and, over the centuries, Britannia has developed into a ‘warrior queen,’ wearing a helmet and carrying a shield

    Britannia is the female personification of Britain, embodying the changing ideals and values of our country throughout history. She has often been said to reflect powerful women through the ages, and, in the case of certain British queens, the events and attitudes of their reigns.

    The practice of portraying nations as idealised women dates back to the Roman era and, over the centuries, Britannia has developed into a ‘warrior queen,’ wearing a helmet and carrying a shield