Monday Morning Brief for July 13, 2020: Colorized U.S. coins
- Published: Jul 13, 2020, 7 AM
With the release of the United States’ first colorized coins a little more than a month from now, the nation will be joining the rest of the world.
Colorized coins were once a rarity as an official government issue, or were the result of unofficial alteration by private parties. They were derided by most “serious” collectors and considered — well, a word I cannot use here.
Today, though, dozens and even hundreds of colorized coins are officially issued every year, bought up by collectors who have nontraditional collecting goals. Colorization lends itself especially well to coins with pop culture themes like the Star Wars saga or comic book characters from the Marvel and DC universes, and to coins that explore the universe in all of its natural glories.
Traditionalist-leaning collectors will decry these first colorized U.S. issues, of course. That is to be expected, especially since the U.S. Mint is already criticized for the scope of numismatic products it already offers. But these same collectors should also acknowledge that traditions can be changed, and do.
I have been in the hobby long enough to remember when collectors decried the release of the copper-nickel clad coinage in the mid-1960s as being worthless. Today, though, these silver-less versions of the original 90 percent silver issues are very collectible, and ultra-high-grade pieces can bring thousands of dollars at auction.
Colorized coins may appeal to individuals not usually drawn to coins, such as fans of Star Wars and Spider-Man. Their collecting goals may differ from those who collect Draped Bust cent die marriages or Winged Liberty Head dimes, but that is OK. Our hobby is big enough for both camps.
The Basketball Hall of Fame coins are the first colorized U.S. coins. They probably will not be the last.
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