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Chaos and Order: World War I
In his Cover Feature, Steve Roach explores World War I as
illustrated through the numismatics of the period. Just as the various
opponents in the war produced propaganda posters glorifying one side
and vilifying the other side, they also issued medals and coins.
One nation issued a medal critical of an opponent’s decision to use
a passenger liner to transport military contraband, making it a target
for sinking by a submarine, while another nation issued its own
version of the medal to paint the sinking as a planned atrocity. In
the United States, one coin’s design was changed to illustrate the
nation as preparing to enter the battle, while after the war another
coin was issued to celebrate the peace that followed.
Read the article exclusive to the print and digital edition versions
of the May 7, 2018, issue of Coin World.
Before all of the others, came the Krugerrand
When South Africa issued the first Krugerrand gold bullion coins in
1967, it did something no other nation had done — release a bullion
coin containing a full ounce of pure gold. In his World Coins feature,
Mark Benvenuto writes, “For a younger generation of coin collectors,
what can be called the field of gold bullion coins seems to have
always been around, presenting a wide variety of examples from the
world’s major mints. …”
He adds: “Yet the time certainly was when no such array of gold
bullion coins existed. For a short span of years, the choices for a
gold bullion coin were essentially one, the South African Krugerrand.”
Read the article found exclusively in the May 7 issue.
Note designs reflect American history, good and bad
Christopher Bulfinch writes in his Paper Money feature, “Circulating
currency of any nation provides a canvas on which a government or
other institution can articulate its aspirations, its history, or its
values.” In particular, the First Charter national bank notes offered
artists a broad canvas on which to tell stories about American
history, both good and bad.
He writes: “A year before The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was
first published and two years before the Compromise of 1877 ended
Reconstruction and the Great Railroad Strike ushered in a new era of
labor relations and as the Gilded Age began in earnest, images of the
Pilgrims, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Hernando de Soto were emblazoned on
American notes.” What stories were these notes telling, and hiding?
Why do silver coins tone, and is that bad?
In his “Back to Basics” column, William T. Gibbs write, “Whether you
call it tarnish or toning, the changes in color to the surfaces of a
silver coin over time amount to the same thing — chemical reactions
between the silver and a range of sulfur compounds both solid and
gaseous. These chemical reactions happen naturally, though toning can
also be artificially generated through various means.”
But are these changes good or bad? Professional conservators take
one view, while collectors and dealers take a broader view of toning.
In the end, whether a coin’s color is good or bad is often in the eyes
of the beholder.
The column appears exclusively in the May 7 issue of Coin World.