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The Washington Monument could have looked a lot different
Funding problems, organizational issues, and the advent of the Civil
War delayed completion of the Washington Monument in the nation’s
capital for more than two decades. The delays also played a role in
keeping the monument from looking like the original design.
As Wendell Wolka writes in his column “Collecting Paper,” the
original design selected in 1845 featured “a large circular building
100 feet tall surrounding an obelisk that would extend 500 feet above
it, at a total height of 600 feet.” Had this version of the design
been implemented, the monument would have looked much different than
it does today and it would have been even taller. To learn more, read
Wendell’s column exclusive to the print and digital editions of the
June 25, 2018, issue of Coin World.
Die cracks keys to identifying Peace dollar variety
As part of his job at ANACS, John Roberts travels to coin shows
several times a year, and while at a show, he often walks the bourse
floor, talks with others, and buys coins that catch his fancy. As he
writes in his June 25 “About VAMs” column, a recent purchase was a
VAM-2O2 1922-D Peace dollar.
Inside Coin World: Note shows Washington
Monument as it should have looked: A 19th century
note shows the Washington Monument in its original though abandoned
form. Also in the June 25 Coin World, a coin scandal begins in 1935.
This die marriage is identifiable by a series of die cracks on both
the obverse and reverse. The variety, while not rare, is still
interesting, John writes. Read his column to learn how to identify the
VAM-2O2 die marriage.
Retro die placement at the Denver Mint
In the last decade of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st,
the U.S. Mint began moving away from traditional die placement, in
which the obverse die was the hammer die, to making the reverse die
the hammer die and the obverse die the anvil die. However, convention
orientation lasted a few years longer.
As Mike Diamond writes in his “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” column in
the June 25 issue, for some 2004 and 2007 coins, all struck at the
Denver Mint, the obverse die provided the force as the hammer die
during striking. He can tell this by examining certain error coins
that clearly illustrate this conventional setup. To learn more, see
his column in the print and digital editions.
Notorious scandal in the coin community
One of the most scandalous periods in American numismatics began
with “Frank Dunn of Lexington, Kentucky, [who] was in charge of
marketing the half dollars made for the Daniel Boone Bicentennial in
1934,” writes Q. David Bowers in his “The Joys of Collecting” column
in the June 25 Coin World. Dunn was not satisfied with selling
the coins in only 1934. He wanted more profits.
He got the Mint to strike the coins again in 1935, this time at all
three Mint facilities, with mintages for two of the coins extremely
low. While he offered to sell the low-mintage coins for just a few
dollars, many who ordered them at the original price were informed
that they had been sold out. In reality, Dunn had kept most to sell at
an enormous markup later.
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