Did you know #8

2014-kennedy-gold-50c…that the 2014 Kennedy Gold half dollar containing .750 ounces of .999 fine gold has a very unusual origin?  Where most commemorative coin programs start in the House, pass the Senate and are signed into law by the President, the 2014 Kennedy Commemorative Coin Program was created by whim of the Treasury Department and the Mint.  This has unusual consequences for the program.  Unlike most commemorative coin programs, there is no law designating how many coins are to be made, how many can be purchased, or how long the coins will be offered for sale.  The Mint has stated that 40,000 had been created by the start of the program sales window August 5, and that materials were on hand to create a total of 75,000 pieces, after which point the program would be evaluated for further parameters.  Initial sales were brisk, with 57,000 sold the first day.  The first 4 sold at the ANA show in Chicago for the opening Mint offer price of $1240.00, were immediately resold for $5,000 each (plus another later-minted gold half), and the first coin sold out of the 4 was resold the following day, third party graded by PCGS as Proof 70 Deep Cameo, for $100,000.00.  I hope the Mint doesn’t decide to produce them at multiple dates in the future, which they can do since these coins are not governed by a law.  One of 75,000 is a relatively low mintage.  One of 300,000 is not, and could severely damage after- market sales if the Mint sells out and decides to mint more in the future.  Only time will tell.


…that the 1942 Silver war nickel was the first US coin to have the “P” for Philadelphia added to the design of the coin?  The U.S. Mint at Philadelphia was our nation’s first (and only) Mint, established by Congress in 1792.  As the only Mint, there was no need for a distinguishing mark.  As the Branch Mints were added in the 1830’s at Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans, “Mint marks” were added to these coins to show their place of origin.  Later, the San Francisco, Carson City and Denver Mints were added, all with their own distinctive Mint mark (Denver came on board about 45 years after the Dahlonega Mint closed in 1861, so the “D” could be used for Denver without any conflict).  Fast forward to 1942.  It was believed that the nickel in our 5 cent coin was needed for the war effort.  So, the nickel was taken out of the coin and replaced by silver.  To mark this change, all 5 cent coins with silver content received a large Mint mark above the Monticello design on the reverse.  These coins are seen today with a large “P”, “D”, or “S” located directly above the building.  So, the first “P” mint mark was used, but to distinguish the metal content more than to honor Philadelphia as the issuing Mint.  Today the “Silver Nickels” contain about a dollar’s worth of silver!


…that hundreds of millions of Morgan Silver Dollars have been melted since 1918?  There were 270,232,722 Morgan silver dollars melted in 1918 to support the war effort.  During the Second World War, another 53,000,000 Morgan Dollars were melted.  Again during the silver run up of 1979-1980 untold millions of Morgan silver dollars were melted down by metal profiteers (actual numbers not known, but 100,000,000 is an often quoted estimate).  That’s a potential 423,232,722 Morgan dollars that were removed from circulation or storage.  At .773 ounces of silver per coin, that was more than 327,158,900 ounces of silver!  Fortunately for collectors, millions of coins were stored at the Treasury Department that surfaced in the late 1950’s, providing us with the wide variety of  dates and Mint marks, as well as differing conditions of preservation, that make the Morgan Dollar the second most collected coin in the U.S.   (Know the most collected?  The Cent).