Entries in Coins (7)


Mover Gets One, 2,000-Year-Old Coin as a Tip

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- Getting a one coin tip after hours of backbreaking manual labor in the middle of a heatwave might be an insult, but a professional mover who got just that on Tuesday isn't complaining -- because the coin dates from 31 B.C.

The mover, who is located in Massachusetts, posted a picture to the Reddit screename BobbyFBrown, saying, "[W]e're packing archives of this former professor who was a flag expert. His son gave us these today as a way of saying thanks for being careful with his father's collection."

The coin came with a label reading: "Silver Denarius of Marc Antony -- 31 B.C. Used by Marc Antony to pay his eighth legion. Struck to pay the Legions used in the Battle of Actium."

While the mover was told the coin was worth at most $100, fellow Redditers say eBay searches prove it's worth at least three times that.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Trillion Dollar Coins: The Ultimate Debt Ceiling End-Around?

DC Productions/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With President Obama having kicked off debt ceiling negotiations by vowing not to negotiate over the debt ceiling, a new option for paying off the nation’s considerable tab is gaining some momentum.

It goes like this: Should Congress fail to extend the U.S. debt limit -- reached again on Dec. 31 -- the president could ask the Treasury to begin printing trillion dollar coins, a number of which could then be put toward fulfilling debt obligations in the event new legislation stalls in Congress.

While there are laws in place to regulate how much paper, gold, silver or copper currency can be circulated by the government, there is nothing so clearly stated when it comes to platinum.  That door open, the Treasury could have the U.S. Mint melt and mold a few trillion dollars of it, then ship it over to the Federal Reserve for safekeeping until the time comes to pay the bills.

The more difficult part comes sometime after the decision is made to coin the platinum and before the Mint gets to work in sculpting the pieces.

At that point, the American people must decide whose face will adorn the trillion dollar trinket.  The process to determine the “specs” of the coin, U.S. Mint Public Affairs Specialist Genevieve Billia warns, must be “determined by legislation,” creating the potential for another congressional impasse.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Judge Says 10 Rare Gold Coins Worth $80M Belong to Uncle Sam

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A judge ruled that 10 rare gold coins worth $80 million belonged to the U.S. government, not a family that had sued the U.S. Treasury, saying it had illegally seized them.

The 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle coin was originally valued at $20, but sold for as much as $7.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in 2002, according to Courthouse News.

After President Theodore Roosevelt had the U.S. abandon the gold standard, most of the 445,500 double eagles that the Philadelphia Mint had struck were melted into gold bars.  However, a Philadelphia Mint cashier had managed to give or sell some of them to a local coin dealer, Israel Switt.

In 2003, Switt's family, Joan Langbord and her two grandsons, drilled opened a safety deposit box that had belonged to him and found the 10 coins.

When the Langbords gave the coins to the Philadelphia Mint for authentication, the government seized them without compensating the family.  The Langbords sued, saying the coins belonged to them.

In 2011, a jury decided that the coins belonged to the government, but the family appealed.

Last week, Judge Legrome Davis of the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania, affirmed that decision, saying "the coins in question were not lawfully removed from the United States Mint."

Barry Berke, an attorney for the Langbords, told ABC News, "This is a case that raises many novel legal questions, including the limits on the government's power to confiscate property.  The Langbord family will be filing an appeal and looks forward to addressing these important issues before the 3rd Circuit."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


$1 Million for a Rare Penny?

Scott Olson/Getty Images(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) -- A 1792 Silver Center penny is being auctioned off Thursday night and online bidding is already at $1.15 million, according to Heritage Auctions.

The penny is one of the first coins struck at the U.S. Mint, according to Todd Imhof of Heritage Auctions. It is one of only 14 known surviving silver-center cent pieces. It is made of copper with a small silver plug in the center.

The Silver Center pieces were an experiment made in 1792 when the newly created U.S. Mint had specific requirements for the size and weight of pennies, Imhof said. Silver was placed in the center of the coin to reach the required weight. However, it was decided that the pennies were too large and heavy for practical use so the coins were never mass-produced.

Also what makes this coin rare is that it doesn’t have the usual “In God We Trust” that are seen on pennies today. Instead, the coin says “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”

The coin comes from a collector who wishes to remain anonymous. He has owned the coin for 10 years and paid far less than what the coin is expected to bring in at tonight’s auction, Imhof said.

A coin of the same type sold over a year ago for close to $3 million, Imhof said. Fewer than 30 coins in history have sold for more than $1 million in public auction.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Penny to Be Kept as Canada Bids Coin Farewell

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Loafer wearers, rejoice.

Even though Canada will be saying goodbye to the 1-cent coin in the fall, it seems the U.S. penny is here to stay -- for now.

In 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson suggested eliminating the coin, but the idea did not catch on. In a proposed 2013 budget for the Treasury Department,  a clause proposes legislation that would give the secretary of the Treasury “flexibility to change the composition of coins to more cost-effective materials.”

The move would save the department millions. According to the Treasury Department, the U.S. coin costs 2.4 cents to mint because of rising zinc costs. Last year, the U.S. Mint made 4.9 billion pennies, running up production costs of $118 million.

A change in law would mean a payday for so-called “penny hoarders,” people who have been accumulating the coins -- which are 95 percent copper -- in hope of being allowed to melt them down for the much-sought-after metal.

But Americans for Common Cents is a fierce defender of the U.S. penny. The group is funded by the mining company that sells zinc to the mint.

Mark Weller, the organization’s executive director, said the penny has enjoyed high public support. He also said the mint was looking at making pennies more efficiently.

On Thursday, Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty announced that Canada would stop minting pennies, since each one cost Canadian taxpayers 1.5 cents to make.

“They take up far too much time for small businesses trying to grow and create jobs,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will the Buck Stop? Coins Replacing Dollar Bills Could Save US $5.6 Billion

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The super-committee charged with cutting trillions of dollars from the U.S. debt by the end of the year may be able to find at least one relatively small-change solution in their wallets: replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin.

The controversial move would phase out paper bills and replace them with a new $1 coin, increasing production costs at first but saving billions in the long term, USA Today reports. Groups on both sides of the issue are voicing their opinions, with the Americans for George claiming they prefer the paper bill, while the Dollar Coin Alliance say saving money is preferable.

The Government Accountability Office, which issued a report on the cost-savings of a currency switch earlier this year, said that because coins outlast paper currency (which survive about 42 months), the switch would save about $5.6 billion over 30 years.

Lobbyists and industries with ties to the money-making industry are also weighing in. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry -- who sits on the super-committee --has introduced a bill to do away with dollar coins (the current Susan B. Anthony versions).  Paper for U.S. currency is made by Massachusetts-based Crane & Co.

On the flip side of the coin, mining interests and states that have heavy mining industries are pushing for the coins to become the standard.  Former Arizona representative Jim Kolbe, who started campaigning for dollar coins in 1986, is now honorary chairman of the Dollar Coin Alliance and is pushing for the country to “update” its currency system, USA Today reports.

One obstacle to the money-saving move, however, could come from Americans’ dislike of using dollar coins, at least the ones now available.  Currently, billions of dollar coins that are not used are sitting in storage facilities at the U.S. mint, according to a report by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.  By 2016, the dollar amount of coins in storage could grow to more than $2 billion.

To store all the unused coins, the Federal Reserve told Congress they will need to spend $650,000 to build a new vault in Dallas to hold them.  Shipping the coins to the new secure facility will cost an additional $3 million.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Big Crowds Expected for World's Fair of Money

John Foxx/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- This summer, Americans have heard a lot about how the nation's money is in short supply. That's one reason why some rare money on display is drawing huge crowds.

The World's Fair of Money is under way in Chicago, showing off $20 gold coins worth millions and uncut sheets of $100,000 dollar bills accompanied by armed guards. Normally, this exhibit by the American Numismatic Association, held in different cities each year, lures 10,000 to 15,000 visitors.

But according to association spokesman Donn Pearlman, this year's show is on pace to attract even more. "There's a renewed interest in gold and tangible assets. More investors are showing up with the collectors. This is the gold, silver and bullion coin trading capital of the universe this week", says Pearlman.

And this city is in a "panic atmosphere," reports Scott Travers from the floor of the show. Travers, the author of The Coin Collector's Survival Manual, tells ABC News: "I have never seen the type of feverish demand for gold coins that I am seeing at this show. People are fearful and want to protect what they have with hard money."

While the show includes rarities like a gold coin minted during the California Gold Rush and now valued at $15 million, more typical items like $20 gold coins from the 1920s are just as much the center of attention. They are seen as a smart investment, says Travers, because their value among collectors is about equal to the value of the ounce of gold that's in them, now around $1,863. "So there's very little downside to them. If gold goes down in value, collectors (who prize the coins for their beauty or historical significance) will still pay about that price. And if gold goes up in value, then the coins become worth even more." Travers says that "dealers at the show can't get enough product to keep up" with the frenzied demand.

The association's director, Larry Shepherd, also believes the record crowds are swelled by people "looking for safer places to put their money. They see that hard assets like silver and bullion and rare coins have gone the opposite way of more conventional assets" like stocks and bonds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio