US Coins

Inside Coin World: Junk boxes offer a lot for little

This Italian 1867 10-centesimo coin was purchased along with three other coins from a junk box for the grand sum of $1. The coin depicts Vittorio Emanuele II.

Images provided by Gerald Tebben.

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Junk boxes: Pay a little, get a lot

“You can buy a lot of history for $1. Just about every coin dealer has a junk box, a treasure trove of coins, tokens and medals that are priced low and invite browsing,” writes Gerald Tebben in his “Coin Lore” column for the Oct. 15 issue of Coin World.

What can you find in a dealer’s junk box? Gerry explains, “For the most part, junk box coins are ones the dealer doesn’t think are worth the time to look up, but they are still are brimming with history.”

At a recent coin show in Ohio, the author bought four coins for a dollar, each with a story to tell. Gerry uses his column, exclusive to the print and digital editions of the Oct. 15 Coin World, to tell four stories about the coins and the people behind them.

Full of misstatements, yet enduring

Joel Orosz in “Numismatic Bookie” writes about a pioneering numismatic reference that, despite having a lot of errors and other misleading commentary, was nonetheless influential for decades.

The 1885 book, a “hot mess,” is George G. Evans’ Illustrated History of the United States Mint, “a flawed, but ultimately enduring, volume,” Joel writes. The book was very similar to another numismatic reference also first published in 1885, a fact that may have prompted Evans to list himself as editor of his book rather than as author. 

Evans’ book appeared in 13 editions from 1885 through 1901, and despite its many flaws, was a strong seller (probably because Evans was a prominent Philadelphia bookseller who knew how to promote books). To learn more about the collectibility of The Illustrated History, see Joel’s column in the Oct. 15 Coin World.

Roman coin hoard small but important

Coin World London correspondent John Andrew contributes a look at a historic Roman site in Britain whose existence was first revealed by the discovery of a small number of Roman coins in a field near Yorkshire in England. While the coins were interesting, the site itself was an incredibly important archaeological find.

As John writes, the site proved to be the oldest Roman village yet found in the north of England.

“Roman settlements from the third and fourth centuries had been found, but only a handful of sites inhabited by the earliest Roman settlers have been discovered in Yorkshire. The excavation revealed post-holes, beautifully layered ditches, with the remnants of stone walls that once stood there. The evidence suggests there were either one or two villas on the site,” he writes.

To learn more about the site, see the article found exclusively in the print and digital editions of the Oct. 15 issue of Coin World.

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