US Coins

Weigh the merits of a problems coin

Our Nov. 6 issue contains tips on some factors to weigh when considering a problem coin, sometimes the only example of a coin that approaches affordability.

Image courtesy of Coin World.

The latest Coin World monthly issue, dated Nov. 6, 2017, is out the door, and we present exclusive previews of a few articles, to be found also in your latest digital edition of Coin World.

Balancing Problems: Weighing the merits of a problem coin

You’ve probably heard the advice to avoid buying a “problem coin” — a coin suffering from a bad cleaning or being holed or other significant damage. However, Steve Roach writes that astute collectors can balance a coin’s problems against its rarity and other merits.

“The rule that collectors shouldn’t buy problem coins seems to be breaking down as astute collectors realize that many coins have been cleaned at some time in their history and as grading services take the guesswork out of confirming the authenticity of problem coins,” Roach writes. Should you consider buying a problem coin?

Railroad notes: Keeping your collection on track

In the 19th century, banks were not the only businesses that issued paper money. In an era when railroads were being built throughout the United States, railroad companies found that they could serve customers in another way, by issuing paper money.

This was all perfectly legal. “Prior to the opening of the Civil War, federal law did not restrict private forms of money, so private businesses of all kinds met a public need by issuing their own currencies,” according to the article, available only in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

In Canada, silver dollars survived into the 1960s

Canada began striking silver dollars for circulation about the same time that the United States stopped producing its own dollar coins for commerce, writes Mark Benvenuto. The denomination continued to be in production well into the 1960s before being abandoned in favor of dollar coins of cheaper compositions.

“The year 1935 saw the last gasp of the Peace dollar series, but also the unveiling of the first circulating Canadian silver dollars,” Benvenuto writes. Even after production ended in 1967, dollar coins of several different kinds continued to be struck for Canada.

Tips on grading Mint State Barber half dollars

Collectors pursue the Barber half dollar, struck at multiple Mint facilities from 1892 to 1915, in several different ways, including buying a single Mint State example for a type set or buying one made at each Mint. Michael Fahey writes that no matter what approach a collector takes, it is important to know how to grade the series.

“When grading a potential Mint State Barber half dollar, your first concern is to verify that the coin is truly Mint State, and not an About Uncirculated example,” he writes, adding, “Many AU Barber half dollars have been cleaned, polished, whizzed, artificially toned, or otherwise ‘doctored’ to appear fully Mint State.”

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