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Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.Visit one of our other blogs:
Patriotic toned American Eagles slab at PCGS
U.S. flag-inspired tone on American Eagle silver dolar captured with TrueView.
Arguably, the American Silver Eagle is our country’s most emblematic design, combining the historic obverse by Adolph A. Weinman of the 1916 to 1947 half dollar with an eagle reverse by John Mercanti.
The Weinman design features Lady Liberty, draped in the U.S. flag, striding toward the rising sun of a new day, depicting America’s emergence as a national power. Combined with the eagle and stars on the reverse, one can hardly imagine a more iconic image of our national pride.
But I can, and that is the strange rainbow toning pattern that often occurs on American eagles, reminiscent of the Stars and Stripes.
I have several such coins, all holdered by PCGS. It takes an expert eye to detect natural vs. artificial toning, but this pattern is difficult to fake. Anyone who has beheld the pattern understands the emotional impact the toning has, especially if you love liberty as so many hobbyists do.
The above coin in TrueView was one of several flag-inspired toned Eagles that I wrote about last year in Coin World. The middle coin of the triptych in the image above, illustrating my previous column, graded MS-67.
About the time that column posted, I sent a six-coin submission to PCGS, featuring five flag-like toning patterns. PCGS slabbed all of them. The certification numbers are 82974140-44. My favorite, not depicted here, is 82974142.
I have other examples in my collection. My all-time favorite is this one, with a 30365021 cert.
When submitting toned coins to PCGS, be sure to check out the excellent numismatic photography of Phil Arnold. Combined with PCGS’s digital albums, you can store your coins in a bank box and visit them online anywhere at any time, showing your treasures to friends and fellow hobbyists by way of your smartphone.
I have several toned coins that were slabbed before PCGS created those albums, and I am waiting for a TrueView discount special so I can send them in for re-slabbing and photographing.