?I think it safe to say that 2016 was a life-changing year, both in the numismatic community and the nation at large. Some of our Top 10 Stories of 2016 represent those changes.
At the end of every year, Coin World’s editors propose their top stories for the year. We then vote on everyone’s recommendations, sometimes taking more than one round to determine what stories make the cut. While these stories are often among the most important that we covered during the year, with lasting impact on the hobby, sometimes a story will make the list more because it was interesting than life-changing.
The discovery of a rare Vigo Bay gold coin in a family heirloom toy box — a coin used in play as “pirate treasure” by several generations of children — falls into the former category of interesting rather than life-altering (except maybe for the family, who benefited from the £280,000 the coin brought when sold at auction).
However, some stories from 2016 fall into that life-changing category, and none more so than the article about planned changes to the $5, $10, and $20 Federal Reserve notes. When the changes start to appear (maybe in 2020), historic events in civil rights and equal rights will become prominent themes of notes used by Americans every day, and on the $20 note, the portrait of Harriet Tubman will be the first of a historic African-American woman on U.S. currency (and only the second woman to have her portrait appear on federal paper money).
Similarly, the appearance of the first African-American Liberty on a U.S. coin in 2017 will break down barriers, and like the future changes to our paper money, recognize the diversity that makes America what it is.
Of course, many of the year’s top stories are the kind that excite coin geeks but probably no one else. The story about the discovery of hubs and dies for a 1964 Morgan dollar fits squarely into that category, as does the discovery of the dies and hubs for the 1964 Peace dollar. The twin discoveries, made in 2015 but not announced until 2016, probably excited hard-core collectors more than any other event.
The story about the 1974-D Lincoln aluminum cent also falls into that latter category.
From the business side of the hobby, the growth in boutique bullion coinage and the fourth auction of coins from the Pogue Collection illustrated the continuing interest in both modern coinage and classic coins (even if the stars of the Pogue IV auction did not sell).
Not surprisingly, the 2016 Centennial gold coins and 2016 American Liberty silver medals made our list. I can say that both U.S. Mint offerings generated more phone calls and email to me than any other subjects in 2016, and not all in a “the Mint did a good job” way.
One story that made the list in 2016 is a perennial favorite — the continuing saga of 10 1933 double eagles. Will it make the cut again in 2017?