The Winged Liberty Head Dime, more commonly known as the Mercury Dime, has many controversies around its design. For one, the obverse is meant to depict Lady Liberty, not the Roman God of Travel Mercury, despite the winged cap they have in common. The second and more mysterious controversy is whether the model for Liberty was the American Venus herself, Audrey Munson, or the wife of a Pulitzer Prize winning poet.
Few have left an impact on American coinage like that of James Barton Longacre. Best known for serving as the fourth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 until his passing in 1869, Longacre also has an impressive resume of incredible coins he gave our country, including the Liberty Head Gold Double Eagle. Longacre practically performed a complete overhaul of US coinage, and here is a chance to learn about the coins he brought to life.
When researching American coinage, the name Jean-Antoine Houdon appears several times as inspiration for the designs featured on the Jefferson Nickel, Franklin Half Dollar, and the Washington Quarter. But who was Houdon and why was he so influential among Founding Fathers?
While the term “gold rush” instantly evokes imagery of 49ers panning for gold dust in the sprawling hills of California, there have been a number of lesser-known gold discoveries to occur since America’s founding. From the Georgia Gold Rush of the southern Appalachian Mountains to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush of Colorado, America’s story is rife with the rich history of gold. Despite each gold rush telling its own unique story, there is only one that can claim the title of the first in American history: the North Carolina Gold Rush of 1799.
Nowadays, coin collectors get their start with coins like American Silver Eagles, acquired directly from the US Mint in near-perfect grades. The roots of this noble hobby started when we were kids looking through pocket change on an exhilarating treasure hunt where you didn't know what you'd find. These were coins that had been circulated and were harder to find in Mint State condition. To restore that grand tradition, we put together this list of a few of those coins that anyone can collect just by looking through their change!
Few coins have cemented themselves as true legends in the lore of American numismatics. Coins like the 1907 Ultra High Relief Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, and 1894-S Barber Dime are ubiquitous, telling intricate tales that we have listened to with stars in our eyes. After all, there are only a handful of each of these coins produced, and the reasons they exist range from inspirational to nefarious. The 1885 Trade Dollar is a coin that should be immortalized just like any of these other legends, yet we don’t often hear its mysterious story.
July 4, 1776 is the most important date in American history, as it marks when we, as a nation, adopted the Declaration of Independence. On this date, 246 years ago, we asserted to the world that we were not just a group of British colonies but instead, an independent nation. To honor the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Rare Collectibles TV would like to talk about one of the few American coins to display the year 1776.
From 2022 to 2025, the American Women Quarter series will honor 20 women who have had a massive impact on American life and culture. The five women who will grace the reverse of the quarter in 2022 have been revealed and include such luminaries as Maya Angelou, Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Adelina Otero-Warren, and Anna May Wong. Each of these women have influenced American history in different ways.
From 1965 to 1967, the US Mint struck several issues of coins known as Special Mint Sets. Meant to substitute the demand for Proof issues, these fascinating coins were struck after a combination of specific circumstances occurred.
One cannot tell the complete story of American numismatics without mentioning the legend that was Victor David Brenner. Designing the Lincoln Cent during the Renaissance of American Coinage, his design went on to be the longest-running coin series in United States history. In honor of June 12, the 151st anniversary of Brenner’s birth, here are some of the most notable issues of his beloved Lincoln Cent.
One of the most iconic pieces of film history is the movie poster. Designed to draw in audiences, these posters had to balance information with storytelling. Artists would hand-paint renditions of the actors in their iconic moments from the film, combining different elements to create something that evoked the same emotion as the film it was advertising. Collectors of vintage movie art, or movie posters, should be aware of the history of movie posters and how they came to be what they are today.
Throughout the history of the US Mint, commemorative coins have been struck that honor those who put their lives on the line to uphold American Freedom and preserve our union. On this Memorial Day, Rare Collectibles TV would like to highlight some of our favorite designs honoring American military service members.
When looking at a coin, there are two basic portions that we can refer to: the devices, also known as the raised design elements, and the fields, commonly called the flat background. Although these two portions of the coin can exhibit a uniform appearance, they can also exhibit a two-toned appearance. These two tones are known as frosted, which appears as white on the devices, and mirrored, which appears as black on the fields. When a coin exhibits frosted devices and mirrored fields, it is known as Cameo contrast. Coins that exhibit stark Cameo contrast are highly sought after and generally thought of as having the highest level of eye appeal.
Throughout the history of American coinage, there have been many stunning coins that are favored among the vast majority of numismatists. From the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle to the Kennedy Half Dollar, artists have brought their talent to the US Mint and shared it with every American citizen. But not every coin struck is beloved by the public. The following coins have all been in some way controversial when they first debuted.
The Morgan Dollar is the most popularly collected and arguably the most beloved coin series in American history. Every Morgan Dollar has a story to tell, and today we will focus on the story of those struck at the New Orleans Mint. Every year from 1879 until the series’ retirement in 1904, a Morgan Dollar issue bore the iconic New Orleans “O” mintmark. Today, those issues are some truly exciting pieces for collectors to acquire.
Rare Collectibles TV is proud to announce that RCTV founder Rick Tomaska is hand-signing labels exclusively for NGC. These new labels will highlight some of the finest coins, personally inspected by Rick Tomaska.
The most successful coin program that the US Mint has ever produced gave the American people 50 new coin designs over the course of ten years. The State Quarters breathed new life into numismatics by introducing coin collecting to a new generation in a way that was familiar to longtime collectors.
In 2014, the United States Mint commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Half Dollar’s release by releasing a limited production set of Kennedys struck in the same high relief format originally used in 1964. Prior to this set’s release, the 1964 coins were the only examples to showcase the originally intended high relief design.
The Carson City Mint only struck silver Morgan Dollars for a span of 13 years from 1878 to 1893. Due to this limited run, Morgan Dollars with the illustrious “CC” mintmark are a favorite among numismatists. Devoted Carson City collectors also seek out a rare error variety produced in 1900, sometimes referred to as "the Last Carson City Morgan Dollar."
It is generally believed that silver was removed from United States coinage following Acts of Congress in the 1960s and 1970s. While this is mostly true, many are surprised to learn that select proof Eisenhower Dollars were still struck from silver from 1971 until 1976. The Mint’s decision to continue striking proof Ike Dollars from silver is rooted in a sentimental story that involves heartfelt advocacy from the former president’s wife and colleagues in Washington, D.C.
The 1796 Draped Bust Dime is the first issue of the Dime to ever be released by the United States Mint in American history. The Draped Bust design appeared on the Dime from 1796 to 1807, with the exception of 1799 and 1806 when no dimes were minted. The Draped Bust design is the second design to appear on U.S. coinage behind the Flowing Hair design, which was generally disliked by the public. It is not only the Dime that exhibited the Draped Bust design. In fact, all standard circulating coinage showcased the design. This includes the Dollar, Half Dollar, Quarter, Half Dime, and Cent as well.
One of the most striking and unique depictions of Liberty comes from Anthony de Francisci’s Peace Dollar obverse. Between the sharp crown, the full lips, and the flowing hair, this image of Liberty is quite memorable and the inspiration for her came from someone very close to the designer, his wife Teresa de Francisci.
One of the most monumental changes to American coinage happened with the Act of February 21, 1857, which allowed the striking of Flying Eagle Cent. Back in 1793, circulating American coinage began with cents and half-cents, but it wasn’t until 1857 that the cent as we know it was created.
The Four Dollar Stella coin was produced as a pattern coin for only two years in 1879 and 1880. The coins were never released for circulation and were given only to congressman as examples. It is estimated that only about 480 Stellas were struck, nearly all of which were 1879 Flowing Hair examples.
The Morgan Silver Dollar is the most collected coin in the history of American numismatics, and those struck at the Carson City Mint have always been the most desirable issues of the series. Although the Comstock Lode, the first major silver ore discovery in the United States, occurred just a stone’s throw away from Carson City, only a small percentage of Morgan Dollars ever bore the “CC” mintmark. From their limited availability to their connection with the American Wild Western Frontier, these coins have left collectors clamoring for well over a century. This article will equip you with all you need to know about Carson City Morgan Dollars before building your very own collection.
While the Morgan Dollar was struck over a period of 40 years and became one of the most popular silver dollars struck by the U.S. Mint, it took Congress overriding a presidential veto to bring the design to life.
The Renaissance of American Coinage has long been celebrated in United States history for its innovative reimagining of our nation’s coinage. While the designers and coins of this generation are immortalized in the numismatic canon, the memories of those that inspired the coins are often swept away in time. One of the most iconic pieces of the renaissance period was Hermon MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Quarter, which showcased a militaristic rendition of Lady Liberty brandishing a shield in a defensive position. But who was this woman depicted on the Standing Liberty Quarter? This woman was none other than Doris Doscher, a woman whose aura has been described as “the highest type of American womanhood.”
February 12, 2022 marked the 213th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Lincoln was perhaps the most influential American President ever, but he also embodied America’s greatest virtues long before his time in the Oval Office.
The booming influx of gold that was brought into the economy during the California Gold Rush was unfathomable. In fact, the sheer quantity of gold coming in triggered Congress to authorize a new branch mint in San Francisco during 1852. It would not be until two years later, in 1854, that the San Francisco Mint would open for operation. During this period of time, there was a massive coin shortage occurring on the west coast. As a result, many private assaying offices and mints began sprouting around California.
The name “Augustus Saint-Gaudens” looms as large as any in the history of American numismatics. Between the Indian Head Gold Eagle and the Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle, he is remembered for designing two of the most breathtaking and iconic coins in our nation’s history. His innovative vision gave our nation coinage that resembled true pieces of art that all Americans could enjoy. Saint-Gaudens’ vision was largely influenced by the famous works of the ancient Greeks. Particularly, the artist drew inspiration from a famed Greek Statue named the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
The Brasher Doubloon is one of the most unique pieces of American numismatic history and has even been referred to as the “Holy Grail of coins.” To the surprise of many, the piece was actually the first gold coin struck in the United States.
In the history of American coinage, the list of women who have designed coins has remained few. While Emily Damstra and Jennie Norris join that list with their stunning American Silver Eagle and American Gold Eagle designs, another woman is also finally being honored by having her design on circulating coinage: Laura Gardin Fraser.
There have been numerous moments throughout United States history that have impacted the production of American coinage. One of the most prominent examples of a historic event that had a direct affect on coinage was World War II. Due to the need for strategic metals such as copper and nickel in the war effort, the composition of the Cent and Nickel had to be changed.
In the field of numismatics, gold and silver have long been the king and queen of metals used to strike coins. There isn’t a collector alive that isn’t familiar with the coins struck from these two metals, and their beloved hues have been the object of desire in almost every culture around the world. Recently however, other precious metals have become more and more popular as science continues to advance and new materials are discovered and utilized. Among them is palladium, which has seen a meteoric rise, spurring interest in the metal for use in the numismatic market as well.
While most Americans know the U.S. Mint for the circulating coinage that occupies their wallets, another important function of the Mint is striking commemorative coins. While technically legal tender, commemorative coins are produced primarily to celebrate individuals, events, places, and institutions important to the United States. In addition to their celebratory nature, commemorative coins also help raise money to support historical preservation efforts. Since the modern commemorative coin program began in 1982, over $500 million dollars have been raised to help build museums, maintain national monuments, and support various programs.
On Christmas night in 1776, General George Washington and his army executed a surprise attack on Hessian forces that was as an early turning point of the Revolutionary War. Known famously as “Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware,” this attack saw Washington lead 2,400 soldiers across the partially-frozen Delaware River into Trenton, New Jersey, where a large portion of British troops were stationed.