Coin Collector Blog

Mullen Coins Collection Blog provides valuable articles and content about coin collections, rare coins, currency, antiquities and interesting reviews of news and events within the numismatic community.

How Much Were Judas Iscariot's 30 Pieces of Silver Worth?

judas-iscariat-30-pieces-of-silver

Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver are so well known, so infamous in history, that it’s a euphemism for betrayal in Western culture. Have you ever wondered what those 30 pieces of silver were exactly - or how much they were worth? Scholars have debated these questions for years. Let’s go through some of their ideas.

The details of this story are found in the biblical book of Matthew, chapters 26 and 27. Before the Last Supper, Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’s disciples, went to the chief priests and arranged to hand over Jesus to them, saying:

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The History and Value of the Kennedy Half Dollar

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The Kennedy half dollar is a very popular collectible coin that has both sentimental value for many Americans as well as numismatic value for coin collectors. Why is this coin worth seeking out? Which ones are the most valuable? We will answer those questions here. 

The History of the Kennedy Half Dollar

When John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States in 1960, he was the youngest man to ever hold that office, and many saw in him hope for the future of the country. The war years were over, the economy was booming, and the future seemed bright. When Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, the nation was shocked and mourned him deeply. It was a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Generations of people still can say where they were when they heard Kennedy was shot. An outpouring of grief resulted from this tragedy. One tangible symbol of that grief was the Kennedy half dollar.

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Long Live the Queen: Coin Values and Historical Significance

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Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022 after a 70-year reign, marking the end of a long era in British and world history. As the sovereign ruler of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, her likeness has been minted on coins since 1953 and bills since 1960. Currently there are approximately 27 billion coins circulating bearing her image. Because of the historical significance of this moment, interest in some of these rarer coins and bills has spiked, and their value has greatly increased

The Historical Significance of Queen Elizabeth II

We have talked before about how coins preserve human history. They document the human experience both deliberately and inadvertently. Because of this they can make especially good gifts as mementos or souvenirs of life. 

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What Is Rainbow Coin Toning?

rainbow-coin-toning

When you begin collecting coins, one of the terms you will run into over and over again when reading coin descriptions is toning. We have discussed toning and how it affects coin value previously. In this blog we will discuss a specific type of toning - rainbow coin toning - and why it makes some coins more valuable. 

What Is Toning? 

Toning is more commonly called tarnishing. It’s a chemical process that occurs naturally over time, causing metal to become discolored. Toning is primarily caused by oxygen or sulfur reacting with the metal of coins. This can be accelerated or amplified by the presence of heat, humidity, or the presence of other chemicals, such as those found in certain types of paper or in the oils of your skin. What results can make a coin more attractive or quite ugly, even corroded. 

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Tools for Coin Collecting - What Do You Need?

Tools-for-coin-collecting

In our last blog we talked about finding valuable coins by going through your spare change. This is one way coin collectors - often young ones - get hooked on the hobby. In order to grade, handle, and store your coins, you will need some supplies, though. In this blog we will talk about six tools for coin collecting you will need. 

Reference Books 

Buy the book before the coin.” – Ancient numismatic proverb

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Looking through Your Spare Change for Coin Treasure

coin-treasure

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been many shortages that consumers and businesses have experienced. One of them is a coin shortage, and it’s still continuing today. There are good reasons to turn your change in at the bank or the store, but before you do, you may want to check it for coin treasure. You’d be surprised at what might be hiding in your spare change.

The Great Coin Shortage

The reason for the coin shortage banks and businesses are experiencing now is two-fold. First, the lockdowns meant that the free circulation of cash and coins was halted. People didn’t go to the store as frequently to buy things. They ordered their groceries and other items online and paid for them with credit or debit cards. Some shunned using cash because they felt it might spread COVID-19.

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How Does Coin Grading Work?

coin-grading

Anyone new to the coin collecting hobby will wonder how coin values are determined and why a particular coin may be worth more than the same coin that is, at first glance, in similar or better condition. In this blog we will discuss coin grading, how it works, and what resources you can use to better understand coin values. 

“Buy the book before the coin.” 

While buying a book is perhaps not as interesting as buying a coin, the above is very good advice. You will need to become educated about the fundamentals of coin grading to begin to assess the value of your own coins or the coins you’d like to buy. 

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Should You Buy Palladium Coins?

palladium-coins

In our last blog we discussed whether gold is a safe haven for investors. Because inflation is increasing noticeably, many people are looking for solid investments that will keep their value over time if the dollar loses more of its value or there is more stock market volatility. One of these investments is precious metals. Gold and silver coins are traditional choices, but there are others, like platinum and palladium, that are newer and rarer. In this blog we will talk about palladium and the reasons people choose to purchase palladium coins and bullion. 

Palladium: a New Discovery

Gold has been mined and used as a precious metal for the full length of human history, and silver as well. Palladium, however, was only discovered in 1803. Over time this metal has become more valuable because of its uses in science and technology. It’s both malleable and durable. For its desirable chemical properties, it’s used to make jewelry, electronics, and dental crowns and fillings. It’s also in high demand by the automotive industry which uses it to make catalytic converters

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Is Gold a Safe Haven?

gold-a-safe-haven

In the past six months, inflation has become much more of a concern for Americans. In February, record inflation was observed with the CPI indicating a 7.9% increase year over year, a number not seen in 40 years. Obviously, inflation makes everyone nervous, but it especially makes investors nervous. We do not know if this period of inflation will be short lived or longer term, but in the meantime, the price of gold is rising. Does the relationship between inflation and gold prices tell us anything? 

Inflation and Gold Prices

In the past few months, the price of gold has increased - briefly hitting $2,070 an ounce - but it has also experienced some volatility with announcements by the Federal Reserve about interest rates and the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia both escalating. Obviously, there’s more going on than just inflation, but in insecure times people tend to look to gold as a hedge or a safe haven. 

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Grand Rapids Coins Has a New Rockford Location

New Rockford location

For coin enthusiasts and our customers on the north end of Grand Rapids, we have very good news: Grand Rapids Coins has just opened a retail coin shop in Rockford, Michigan. We’d love for you to come out and browse our inventory of coins and currency. Our new Rockford location is at 2745 10 Mile Rd., Suite J. We are open on weekdays from 10 AM to 6 PM and on Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM. 

Our Mission and Commitment to You 

Grand Rapids Coins is in business to help coin owners and collectors realize a fair value when they buy and sell coins and currency. We buy U.S. coins, world coins, U.S. currency, full collections, bullion coins, and Mint and proof sets. We also buy gold and silver jewelry, other sterling, and antique collectibles.

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The American Women Quarters Program Debuts

American-Women-Coins-Program-U.S.-Mint

For a little more than a decade, from 2010 to 2021, the U.S. Mint issued 56 different types of quarters in the America the Beautiful series. The reverse on these quarters commemorated one site of national interest from each state, the federal district, and each U.S. territory, making this an interesting set to collect for Americans and travelers especially. In 2022, the U.S. Mint is switching gears with the American Women Quarters Program, minting a series of Washington quarters that honors famous American women. 

The American Women Quarters Program

"Each time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country — what we value, and how we've progressed as a society. I'm very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America's most remarkable women.” –Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

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What Is the Difference between Proof Coins and Uncirculated Coins?

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We have discussed a number of times before which factors determine the price for rare coins, including a coin’s availability, its condition, and what the market for that coin is at present. One aspect of coin condition is if it has circulated. Coins that have circulated will be worth less than uncirculated coins because they become damaged with time and use. Proof coins do not circulate either, but there are numerous differences between proof coins and uncirculated coins. In this blog we will go through those differences and how they affect value and collectibility. 

What Are Proof Coins?

Proof coins originated as evidence that the master die the mint used to stamp the coin worked correctly. The first proof coin was a test of the die and was struck multiple times to bring out the detail in the die design. Typically, a few proof coins were stamped to make sure there would be no coin errors. If the coins looked correct, the proof was approved, and the die was then used to strike coins meant for circulation. These coins were then struck only once and released to the public. 

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The 1943 Copper Cent, an Off-metal Treasure

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In December of 1941, Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor. The United States entered World War II in both the European and Pacific arenas immediately after. This had a drastic effect on the price and availability of many common commodities, including metals. The U.S. Treasury changed the composition of coins it minted during the duration of the war years as a result, and some especially collectible coins like the 1943 Copper Cent exist because of it. 

1943 Lincoln Cents 

The bulk of Lincoln cents that were struck during 1943 were zinc-coated steel cents that over time became known as “steelies.” This is because the copper and tin the Mint had been using was needed for the war effort. To maintain the availability of cents in circulation, Congress passed a law in 1942 that allowed for this temporary change. In 1943, the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints struck over a billion steelies combined. As a unique type of cent, these coins remain a favorite with coin collectors. 

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The Sometimes Overlooked Peace Dollar

Peace-dollar

The Morgan dollar often gets the spotlight for American dollar coinage, but the Peace dollar is no ugly stepdaughter. It also has a rich history full of some controversy and is an attractive coin with interesting design elements. Due to a greater supply, the Peace dollar presents an enjoyable challenge for collectors. 

The Need for a New Dollar

The iconic Morgan dollar premiered in 1878 and was minted steadily from that year until 1904. More than 500 million Morgan dollars were in circulation by the time of the Great War. To help supply their English allies with bullion during World War I, Congress passed the Pittman Act of 1918. Short on gold, Congress decided to make use of the large number of silver dollars in circulation. This resulted in the melting down of more than 270 million silver dollars, almost half of all of the Morgan dollars in existence. 

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How Much Is Confederate Currency Worth?

confederate-currency

Coin lovers know that collecting paper currency can also be enjoyable and rewarding. Currency is more fragile than metal coins are, of course, but they also preserve history. A period of time in American history that seems never to fully fade in the American imagination is the Civil War. During these four years American money changed because of the disruptions caused by the war. Some of this money is valuable, even very valuable. How much is Confederate currency worth?

The Story of Confederate Money

In 1861, when eleven southern states seceded from the Union, the Civil War began. The Confederacy was immediately confronted with several challenges. Its people were still trading in the coin of the enemy now invading them, and wars are very expensive. The economy of the South was agrarian. It had neither the infrastructure nor the manufacturing capacity of the North, and it still had to purchase military equipment and pay its bills. The Confederacy decided to print paper money as a fundraising strategy

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Why You Should Invest in Platinum Coins and Bars

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At Grand Rapids Coins we love coins. We love helping people collect coins with numismatic value, and we also enjoy finding investment coins for our clients. In this business, much of the focus is on rare coins or gold or silver coins and bullion. However, we are also excited about platinum coins as an investment opportunity. Why platinum coins? Keep reading to learn why you may want to invest in platinum now. 

Platinum, a Rare Earth Metal 

Precious metal investors are drawn to platinum coins as well as platinum bars because platinum is a very rare substance. This silver-white metal, found deeper in the earth’s crust, is much rarer than gold or silver. It’s usually in short supply because the demand for this metal is high and only a few tons of platinum are mined every year. 

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Finding Real Life Hidden Treasure

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Who doesn’t like a good treasure hunt? Many favorite movies and books, including Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hobbit, and Romancing the Stone, are about finding lost treasure in unexpected places. Here at Grand Rapids Coins we also hear stories about hidden treasure - but these stories are real. Let’s talk about a few of our customers’ more interesting finds. 

Hidden Treasure in Expected Places

There are many news stories about coins hoards that people, often with a metal detector, find buried in an English field or in the basement of an old theater. Some coin finds help historians to date or place certain events, the details of which were previously unknown. While there have been some incredible finds of coins buried underground, nature isn’t really the best place for stashing something if you want it to remain in good condition. Water is quite corrosive to metal, especially over time. 

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The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

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In an earlier blog we talked about the history of the Kennedy half dollar and why it has both sentimental and real value for American coin collectors. In this blog we will talk about the most valuable issue of this coin: the 1964 Kennedy half dollar, including the rare Accented Hair variety. 

A Coin Memorial for President Kennedy

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in late November of 1963, the United States went into mourning. A month after his death, Congress authorized the creation of a half dollar coin to honor and memorialize him. This coin was quickly designed, based on a Presidential series medal that was already in existence, and the U.S. Mint struck it in early 1964, with the first coins released in March. The president’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy made one requested change in the design. She asked that his hair be slightly modified, and it was.

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The Widow's Mite: What Was the Coin Value of "Everything She Had"?

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Readers familiar with the gospels may know the story of the widow’s mite. This story is related in both Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4. In it Jesus praises a widow for her generosity in giving all she had even though the financial value of her contribution was not large. If you’ve ever wondered what coins the widow’s mites were and what their value was, read on. 

Luke’s Gospel Account of the Widow’s Mite

The gospel writer Luke relates the story like this (New King James Version): 

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The Eisenhower Dollar and the U.S. Space Program

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With the passing of Michael Collins, an astronaut from the famed Apollo 11 moon voyage, it might be time to discuss how the history of the U.S. space program intersects with U.S. coins. Do you know the history of the Eisenhower dollar coin? It was created to honor a successful general and past president at a very interesting time in our country’s history - when the space program was at its zenith.

The Eisenhower Dollar 

Younger Americans today may be less familiar with the name Dwight D. Eisenhower, or “Ike” as he was known, but he wasn’t just a two-term president. He was also the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II, and a five-star rank General. Eisenhower ran for president in 1952 and presided over the post-war expansion of the economy. He ended the second term of his presidency in January of 1961 and was succeeded by John F. Kennedy

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