US Coins

Inside Coin World: Spotlight on 1921-S Indian Head 5-cent coin

The 1921-S Indian Head 5-cent coin is one of the scarcer issues in the series. How has the market for mid-rang circulated examples changed in the last 10 years?

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Every weekly and monthly issue of Coin World has content exclusive to the print and digital editions, including columns and features that appear nowhere else.

Here is a preview of three of those exclusive articles in the Feb. 24, 2020, issue.

Coin Values Spotlight: 1921-S Indian Head 5-cent coin

In Chris Bulfinch’s “Coin Values Spotlight” column in the Feb. 24 issue of Coin World, heexamines the 1921-S Indian Head 5-cent coin, one of the scarcer pieces in the popular series. He writes that “while they are not the rarest of American coins, they command a premium, even in circulated grades. Between Fine 12 and Very Fine 20, 1921-S ‘Buffalo nickels’ more than double in value; the values increase only marginally between VF-20 and VF-25.”

He explains, “Between 1918 and 1927, mintages of Indian Head 5-cent coins at the San Francisco Mint were low relative to their Denver and Philadelphia Mint counterparts. 1921 saw the third-lowest mintage, with 1,577,000 pieces struck at the San Francisco Mint.”

Learn more by reading the column, which is exclusive to the Feb. 24, 2020, issue.

Coin Shop Lottery: Hard Times token purchase

“Coin Shop Lottery” columnist Thomas Cohn ventures beyond his local coin chop and goes to a local coin show, where he stretches his budget a bit to purchase an 1837 Hard Times token with a resemblance to that era’s large cents.

The economic crisis called the Panic of 1837 led the population to hoard most of the coinage in circulation, forcing merchants to turn to private tokens that were used as substitutes for the regular coinage. 

To learn more about the token and the circumstances under which it was issued, see Tom's column in the print and digital editions of the Feb. 24 issue

Collecting Paper: Don’t overlook merchant scrip

Wendell Wolka, in his latest “Collecting Paper” column, explores how some of the disdain collectors used to have for obsolete notes still shrouds merchant scrip — fractional paper money issued by merchants that served as money substitutes and as advertising for the issuers.

Wolka advises collectors to embrace scrip notes, writing that most are rare, maybe known by a handful to a few hundred examples at the most. Many exhibit wear as evidence of their service in circulation.

Read more about these interesting notes in Wendell’s column, exclusive to the Feb. 24, 2020, issue of Coin World.

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