US Coins

Have some fun with a quiz based on the Red Book

The Joys of Collecting column from the Dec. 26, 2016, issue of Coin World:

It is this time of year when Whitman Publishing calls upon all of its contributors to A Guide Book of United States Coins, the “Red Book,” to update information, add new coins and otherwise prepare for the 2018 edition to be released in the spring.

Ever since the first edition came out in 1946 the cover has been dated a year in advance to preserve its shelf life. It may come as a surprise for you to learn that most copies are sold to the general public, not to established numismatists. 

Going on to the New Year, the Guide Book remains a treasure house of good information, particularly in the front section and in other narratives. When I was a teenager I read it carefully from cover to cover, then reread it every now and again. Jim Ruddy, who was a business partner for nearly 20 years starting in 1958, and I used to quiz each other on Guide Book trivia.

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Using the current Guide Book I have created a modern version of similar quiz. See how many you can get right:

1.?What did Glenna Goodacre do?

2.?Why is Feb. 28, 1878, numismatically important?

3.?When was a bison depicted on a Jefferson 5-cent coin?

4.?What early American coin is called the “Baby Head” variety?

5.?Why were there no Seated Liberty coins in circulation in New York City in 1851?

6.?Where did John Chalmers privately mint coins?

7.?Why is David Parsons, a Uni­versity of Wisconsin student, men­tioned in the Guide Book?

8.?What does S.M.V. on the re­verse of certain private gold coins mean?

9.?What commemorative half dollar was struck at the San Francisco Mint, but had the S Mint mark inadvertently omitted?

10.?From what date was an obverse die altered to read 1804 for a “restrike” cent?

Answers: 1. She designed the obverse of the 2000 Sacagawea dollar. 2. For the Bland-Allison Act that authorized the Morgan dollar. 3. 2005. 4. A certain 1786 Vermont copper. 5. At the time their melt-down value was more than their face value, and speculators withdrew them from commerce. 6. Annapolis, Maryland. 7. He designed the obverse of the 1936 Wisconsin half dollar. 8. Standard Mint Value. 9. 1925 Fort Vancouver. 10. 1803.


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