US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Nov. 20, 2023: Top stories; he's back; retirement

Was the Mint's announcement that the 2024 American Liberty program would feature the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar designs, and then a reversal of that decision, one of the year's top stories?

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

The theme of this issue’s Editorial is housekeeping — bringing you up to date on several subjects in this last monthly issue to be dated 2023 (though we are working on the magazine a few weeks before Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve is a month and a half distant).


2023’s top stories

It is time to think about the year’s top stories. What were the top stories of 2023 for you? From my viewpoint, the United States Mint’s announcement that it would use the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar designs for the 2024 American Liberty silver medal and gold coin, and the reversal of its decision, was one of the most interesting stories of the year. For those upset that those designs would not be used in 2024, check out our news coverage in this issue; the designs will be used in 2024, just not in the American Liberty program.

Another top article, in my view, was the opening of Certified Acceptance Corp. Grading, a new third-party grading service founded by John Albanese. Sure, there have been naysayers asking, “Do we need another grading service?” Given Albanese’s track record as a co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service and the founder of both Numismatic Guaranty Co. and Certified Acceptance Corp., the marketplace will make room for coins in the new CACG slabs. We will be monitoring auction results to see how the results for CACG-graded coins rank with those graded by other firms.

Let us know your candidates for the top numismatic stories by contributing to our “Letters to the Editor” and “Guest Commentary” columns. We would like to publish them.


A column returns

On another point, earlier this year, Amos Media, publisher of Coin World, made a financial decision to reduce the number of pages in the monthly issue, with the goal of reducing printing and mailing costs. Our first approach, which required the reduction of the U.S. Coins Values section, was met with strong opposition from subscribers. We listened and reversed that decision, restoring the full valuing section, and instead made the necessary cuts in page counts by cutting content in the World Coins and Paper Money sections. We did this by eliminating various columns and reducing the news content in both sections. For the most part, reader reaction was muted, with few major complaints — except for our decision to eliminate David Vagi’s “Ancients Today” column.

Well, we listened again. David’s column returns to the monthly line-up, starting in this issue. We are sure you enjoy reading his column. Thanks for prodding us.


A personal note

This likely will be my last Editorial in a monthly issue of Coin World. After more than 47 years’ service as a reporter, writer and editor for the publication, I am retiring as managing editor at the end of December, two weeks before my 70th birthday. Beginning with the January-dated issues, Editorial Director Larry Jewett will be taking charge of the day-to-day duties of editing and producing our monthly and weekly issues, aided by our longtime copy editor, Fern Loomis.

I will continue to manage the production process for the remainder of the 2023-dated issues. The switch will take place before the end of December, to give Larry and Fern time to settle into their groove while I watch and advise from the sidelines.

My association with Coin World actually began a bit more than a half century ago. As a teen-aged collector, I discovered the newspaper at a local coin show and quickly subscribed, probably around 1969 or 1970. About the same time, I became interested in journalism, first as a student journalist on the staff of the Polar Bear Press at Margaretta High School in Castalia, Ohio, and then at Bowling Green State University. I graduated from BGSU in June of 1976 and was hired by Coin World as an assistant editor in the “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” department in October of that year.

The hobby and the publication have changed immensely since then.

In 1976, my total order from the Bureau of the Mint (as it was legally called then) for all coin products was maybe $11 — the 1976 Proof set at $7, the Uncirculated Coin set for $5. I had already ordered and received the three-coin Proof and Uncirculated sets of Bicentennial coinage. There were no commemorative coins, no bullion coins, no gold coins of any kind (though one could order the official Bicentennial medal in gold).

Contrast that with the Mint products available today. A collector sticking with just the annual sets would have to spend hundreds of dollars. Buying one of every product the Mint has offered in 2023 would have cost you many tens of thousands of dollars.

Third-party grading arose just a few months after I joined the staff, in December 1976, when the International Numismatic Society Authentication Bureau began grading coins for a fee. The American Numismatic Association Certification Service, or ANACS, switched from simply authenticating coins (as it had since 1972) to grading them as well, starting on March 1, 1979. Commercial third-party grading followed in 1986 with the establishment of Professional Coin Grading Service in 1986 and of Numismatic Guaranty Co. in 1987. These two commercial firms began slabbing coins when they were formed. Third-party grading quickly became mainstream; one cannot imagine the hobby (the business?) without it today.

I may have more to say about my retirement and make some more observations about the hobby in my Editorials in the December weekly issues over the next few weeks.


Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on X (Twitter)
Keep in touch on MyCollect - the social media platform for collectibles 

Whether you’re a current subscriber or new, you can take advantage of the best offers on magazine subscriptions available in digital, print or both! Whether you want your issue every week or every month, there’s a subscription to meet your needs.


Community Comments