Paper Money

Defining symbols and figures on paper money

In the vignette at the upper right, Agriculture or Plenty is to the left; Commerce holding a caduceus appears at the center; and Justice holds scales and a sword as the figure to the right.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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A few more allegorical figures on notes

Wendell Wolka concludes his series of columns on allegorical figures depicted on obsolete notes with a quick look at a host of figures and themes. In the “Collecting Paper” column found exclusively in the digital and print editions of the March 26 issue of Coin World, he looks at several different figures.

For example, “Justice is virtually always represented by a female figure holding the ‘scales of justice.’ Justice is often blindfolded and frequently also holds a sword,” and, “Fidelity, a very popular concept, is almost universally portrayed by a dog lying by a safe or strong box, often with its paw on the key to the padlock.” But what about Hope and Fame?

Dropped dies responsible for VAM marriage

The “VAM-45 1901-O Morgan dollar is eagerly sought by specialists who recognize it,” writes John Roberts in his “About VAMs” column in the March 26 issue. The die marriage is distinguished by “a pair of bold lumps above the eagle’s shoulder: dentil impressions from the border of the opposing die,” he writes.

Researchers believe that as the obverse die was being installed in the press, it was dropped onto the reverse die, which was already in place in the press. The obverse die left a couple of distinctive dings in the surface of the reverse die, creating the raised lumps on the coin. Learn how to identify the variety in Roberts’s column.

USS Constitution plaque related to medal

The USS Constitution, a heavy frigate launched in 1797, earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” for its resiliency — cannon balls fired by ships it fought in combat would often bounce from the vessel’s thick oak sides. The ship still exists today, and a reader found a 1920s holed plaque made of copper from the ship.

As Jeff Starck writes in “Readers Ask,” the plaque, bearing the same design as a medal and other souvenirs issued for sale about the same time, was probably issued mounted to a piece of wood recovered from the vessel during a 1927 refit. The reader’s find, however, lacks that original plank of wood from the ship.

What do all these abbreviations mean?

The Colonial coin community uses a lot of abbreviations, writes John Kraljevich Jr. in his “Colonial America” column in the March 26 issue, and that can be confusing to new collectors unfamiliar with the alphabet soup. He writes, “Enthusiasts of early American coins and currency have their own sorts of alphabet soup, of course. Most of us are members of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, abbreviated as CCCC on occasion but most often referred to as C4.”

So what clubs are represented by the abbreviations EAC and MCA, and what exactly are MBRs, DBLs, and MBLs? Read his column in Coin World to find out.

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