US Coins

Fun at all price levels

Our October issue highlights two things: first, the talents of our staff of writers at Coin World and second, how numismatics really offers something at all budget levels, especially for those willing to be creative.

In our cover story, William T. Gibbs discusses George Morgan’s pattern coins that preceded his famous Morgan dollar. While these patterns are generally expensive — the blue-toned 1877 half dollar used on the cover sold for more than $40,000 at a 2009 auction — other pattern coins are more reasonable, as noted in this month’s market analysis.

Paul Gilkes looks at a 19th century art form that frequently features themes and images that are familiar to coin collectors: cigar label art.

While Paul points out that twists of tobacco leaves were utilized as money in early America, cigar labels that were used to adorn cigar boxes in the 19th and 20th centuries are a popular collecting field today. The embossing techniques used to create many of these designs add an appealing three-dimensional element that is particularly impressive with the depiction of gold coins (sometimes highlighted with 24-karat gold leaf).

Paul writes, “Nineteenth century cigar labels endure, though, as an unparalleled expression of long-forgotten craftsmanship.” He adds, “The labels flaunt some of the most imaginative commercial artwork America had ever seen.”

The artistry was not lost on contemporary audiences. In 1888, the New York Sun reported that “the labels are often better than the cigars.”

Perhaps what is most exciting is the affordability of the collecting area. Some of the labels that Paul selected to illustrate his story are available for less than $5.

In our world coin section, Jeff Starck shares a strategy of collecting one coin per country, which can be as broad (or as limited) as one likes.

Finally, in our paper money section, Michele Orzano looks at the interesting world of stock certificate collecting, for those who like their collectibles large, frameable and often affordable.

As these four stories illustrate, our hobby really offers something for everyone to collect!


Steve Roach

COIN WORLD ... anywhere, anytime!

Community Comments