US Coins

Inside Coin World: 1864 Indian Head cents in the Spotlight

The Mint changed the composition of the Indian Head cent in 1864, replacing the original copper-nickel composition, left, with a bronze alloy, right.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Every weekly and monthly issue of Coin World has content exclusive to the print and digital editions, including columns and features that appear nowhere else.

Here is a preview of two of those exclusive articles in the March 23, 2020, issue.

Coin Values Spotlight: Changes in composition in 1864

In 1864 the Indian Head cent underwent a transformation, as its composition was changed from the original copper-nickel to bronze. As Chris Bulfinch writes in his “Coin Values Spotlight” column, both coins are readily available and affordable today. 

The copper-nickel version is somewhat less common than the bronze version and prices for the two coins reflect that. Still, with original mintages in the millions, neither cent is particularly scarce. Prices for both have changed during the last decade, with the copper-nickel version falling in value and the bronze version rising a little.

See Chris’ column in the digital and print editions of the March 23 issue of Coin World to learn more about both coins.

About VAMs: 1880 Morgan dollar die marriages

The VAM-57 die marriage of the 1880 Morgan dollar, not discovered until 2009, appears to be even more elusive than its relative the VAM-24A marriage. The two marriages share the same obverse but have different reverses, writes John Roberts in his “About VAMs” column in the March 23 issue. 

John describes the VAM-24A coin with its distinctive obverse, and examines the new die marriage that resulted when the obverse die was paired with a new reverse — one with a doubled die — to create the VAM-57 coins.

See Michael’s column in the digital and print editions of the March 23 issue of Coin World to learn more about both marriages and how to distinguish them.

Collecting Paper: Stuck together longer than normal

“The Marine Bank of the City of New York issued an interesting series of notes in the 1850s that featured the portraits of a number of New York’s important shipping figures.
The $50 note, for example, featured a portrait of Edward Knight Collins,” writes Wendall Wolka in his monthly column “Collecting Paper.” After working in his father’s shipping company for a while, Collins eventually formed his own shipping company. 

“After receiving a government subsidy to carry mail between New York and Liverpool in 1847, he formed the New York and Liverpool United States Mail Steamship Company (the “Collins Line”) to compete with Britain’s Cunard Line,” Wendall writes. 

When the Marine Bank issued a new series of bank notes in the mid-1800s, it placed a portrait of Collins on the $50 denomination. Read the column in the current issue of Coin World to learn more about the man, his shipping line and the note that depicts him.

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