US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for April 13, 2020: Put this on display

The Mint should place on public display such treasures from its vaults as this master obverse die (shown reversed) for the 1964 Peace dollar.

Original images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

The recent reveal of the obverse master die for the 1964 Peace dollar, secreted away in a vault of the Philadelphia Mint, is a reminder that great treasures at the Mint remain unseen.

It was not that long ago that the numismatic community discovered models and other tooling for a 1964 Morgan dollar, a coin that was considered but never struck. Now we have a master die for the 1964 Peace dollar, a coin that was struck at the Denver Mint in 1965, all examples of which were reportedly destroyed (maybe).

Collectors would love to see such items, but they are currently locked away in Mint vaults and are brought out for viewing only under special circumstances, and never to the public. That should change.

Every year, the United States Mint brings some treasures out of hiding and into public view in the exhibits areas of major coin conventions — in particular, at the annual American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. Past exhibits have featured such pieces as the 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagles, particularly examples seized/recovered from the Langbord family. Collectors welcome such exhibits as affording chances to see historic coins that they could never hope of owning.

At this year’s ANA summer convention, assuming that the pandemic has sufficiently lessened to let the show to be conducted, I would like to see some new items from the Mint’s vaults. Here are some recommendations:

All of the tooling for the 1964 Morgan and Peace dollars. This should include dies, hubs, galvanos, and models. An exhibit of this material could be bolstered by any new tooling developed for 2021 Morgan and Peace dollars, which are a possibility for next year.

One of the two 1974 Lincoln cents struck on a bronze-clad steel planchet in the Mint archives. These date to the same experiments that led to the 1974 Lincoln cents struck on aluminum planchets. If other experimental pieces exist, they should be revealed to the public as well.

The Mint holds vast treasures. Sharing these with the collecting public would be welcomed by all collectors.

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