US Coins

Not all inscription 'misspellings' are misspellings

A well-placed die chip converted the second digit of this 1997 Mexico 1-peso coin into what appears to be an 8.

Images courtesy of Mike Diamond.

Want to subscribe?

Get access to all of these articles, and a whole lot more, with a Coin World digital edition subscription!

Coin World subscribe

When is a ‘misspelling’ in a coin inscription really not?

In his latest “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” column, Mike Diamond writes, “Misspelled words, along with the occasional incorrect date, are encountered every so often among world coins,” then adds, “Some perceived misspellings and eruptions of innumeracy are nothing of the sort.”

He discusses and illustrates several coins that appear to have “misspellings” that really do not, including a 1997 coin of Mexico whose date resembles 1897, a 1912 Ecuador half-decimo coin that seems to have had the first letter of the country name replaced by the letter F, and a 2007 India 5-rupee coin on which the word “VILLAGE” is seemingly misspelled “VIIIAGE.” To learn how these coins got that way, read his column, exclusive to the print and digital editions of the May 21, 2018, issue of Coin World.

War ends, and quality of coins declines

After World War I ended, the world attempted to get back to normal. In the United States, Q. David Bowers writes in “The Joys of Collecting” column, “at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints, haste had been the rule in stamping out unprecedented quantities of bronze, copper-nickel, and silver coins. Poor strikes were the result, with the majority of coins having indistinct features in some areas.”

He describes some of the specific problems found on the various coins of the era, and how collectors treat strongly struck examples of those coins today. He calls the situation “very curious,” and notes this oddity: “Certification services and price guides pay no attention at all to weaknesses on cents, 5-cent coins, or half dollars,” but do to dimes and quarter dollars. Read more in the column appearing in the May 21 issue.

The most famous man you have never heard of

William Playfair may be, as his biographer says, “the most famous man you have never heard of,” writes Gerald Tebben in “Coin Lore.” Tebben explains, “He invented the line, pie and bar charts, three of the most common ways of graphically presenting statistical information, in the late 18th century and created counterfeit notes as an act of war of such quality that they helped push France’s teetering economy into the abyss.”

On the latter point, Playfair, who was also a British secret agent, suggested that the British government “fabricate one hundred millions of [French] assignats and spread them in France by every means in my power.” Read more about this fascinating if largely forgotten man in the May 21 issue of Coin World.

Buying Mint State Morgan dollars for $50

In his “Guest Commentary” contribution, dealer and collector Sy Harvell writes about one of the challenges of being a longtime collector. “The secret to keeping interest for me has been to challenge myself,” he says. He thus cast about for a collecting path.

“I’ve heard of short sets and mini-sets, but I reached outside the box and thought about a dollar amount set. What about a $50 per coin Morgan dollar set? Is it possible? Then the challenge took shape.” Read about his collecting goals and how his collection is progressing, exclusive to the print and digital editions of the May 21 issue of Coin World.

Community Comments