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

hidden-treasure

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

1964-Kennedy-Half-Dollar

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"?

widows-mite

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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The Buffalo Nickel, Another Iconic American Coin

Buffalo-nickel

The Buffalo nickel is another iconic American coin that is very enjoyable to collect. Preceded by the Liberty Head nickel and succeeded by the Jefferson nickel, this coin pays homage to Native Indian history and the history of the American West. It is a piece of Americana and, in the words of Eames MacVeagh, “a permanent souvenir of a most attractive sort.”

The Earlier Version - The Liberty Head Nickel

Before the Buffalo nickel the Liberty Head nickel was in use. It featured designs by then Mint Engraver, Charles Barber. This coin was first issued in 1883, but its design created a sticky problem. The Liberty Head nickel was very similar in size to the half eagle. This meant that criminals could pass it off as a five dollar coin with a little work. Because of this, the design was modified to add the word CENTS to the reverse. With this modification, this nickel continued to be minted until 1912.

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The History of U.S. National Bank Notes

Old-National-Bank-of-Grand-Rapids

Most Americans have lived their entire lives using the standard American currency we all recognize. They might be surprised to learn that in its earlier years the American money system was the opposite of standard. The genesis of our modern currency was the National Bank Act which President Lincoln signed into law in 1863. This created the United States National Banking System, a prototype of what we use today:

“The National Banking Act (ch. 58, 12 Stat. 665; February 25, 1863), originally known as the National Currency Act, and was passed in the Senate by a narrow 23–21 vote. The main goal of this act was to create a single national currency and to eradicate the problem of notes from multiple banks circulating all at once. The Act established national banks that could issue notes which were backed by the United States Treasury and printed by the government itself. The quantity of notes that a bank was allowed to issue was proportional to the bank's level of capital deposited with the Comptroller of the Currency at the Treasury. To further control the currency, the Act taxed notes issued by state and local banks, essentially pushing non-federally issued paper out of circulation.”

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Grand Rapids Coins Charges No Sales Tax on Coins Bought In Michigan

sales-tax

If there’s anything most customers want to avoid, it’s paying sales tax. That’s why buying online had such an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores for so long. Did you know that Grand Rapids Coins charges no sales tax on purchases of coins bought in Michigan? There is no sales tax at all on coins or bullion in Michigan so all transactions that we make with our customers - either sales or purchases - are tax free as long as they’re purchased in the state. 

Michigan’s Sales Tax Law 

Prior to 1999 Michigan did charge a sales tax on transactions of coins, and it meant that there were fewer coin dealers and almost $2 million dollars fewer coin sales per year. That’s because rare coins and precious metals bullion are largely fungible products. If a buyer couldn’t find the coins he wanted in Michigan or didn’t want to pay sales tax, with the exception of very rare coins, it was possible to buy a similar coin from a buyer in a state with no sales tax. Many people who live in states with a sales tax on coins, like Ohio, will now travel to states like Michigan in order to avoid paying taxes of 6-8% of the sale price. 

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How Does Toning Affect the Value of Collectible Coins?

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Grand Rapids Coins recommends to our clients that they not clean their coins. Cleaning coins decreases their value. Generally speaking, every time a coin is improperly handled or used, its value goes down. Coin collectors prefer to have coins in as close to mint condition as possible. However, there are a few coin alterations that can positively affect a coin’s value. One of these is toning. 

What Is Toning? 

Toning is coloring that occurs on the surface of a coin as a result of it interacting chemically with its environment. We often see coin toning that is beautiful and has a spectrum of colors like a rainbow. Not all toning is pretty, however. Sometimes it can be a dark color that obscures the images on the coin and makes the coin look pitted or ugly. How a coin tones depends on the chemical composition of the coin and what it has interacted with. 

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Mint Marks: What Difference Does a Letter Make?

mint-marks

In a previous blog we talked about the great American Money Experiment. In its infancy our country broke with the British currency system. In 1792 the fledgling United States Congress passed the Coinage Act which authorized the building of the United States Mint and created a brand new currency: the U.S. dollar. The first mint was built in Philadelphia, but eventually coins were minted in eight different locations. Mint marks help coin collectors identify where their coins originated. 

What Are Mint Marks? 

Mint marks are letters located on either the reverse or obverse of a coin that identify the location where a coin was minted. They were instituted as a way of keeping the different mint branches accountable for the quality of the coins they produced. This was especially important when circulated coins had a high gold or silver content. In fact, at one time there was a commission that evaluated coins from different mint facilities to ensure that they had the correct percentage of specific metals. 

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How Does a Coin Evaluation Work?

coin evaluation

When someone requests an evaluation of his or her rare coins, it is usually for a specific reason – an insurance appraisal, a division of assets, or to learn the value for the purchase or sale of a collection. It’s important to understand the basics of how coin evaluations work to make sure you get a fair valuation and – if you’re planning to sell your coin collection – a fair price.

How do you choose a coin evaluator/appraiser?

Many people who live near a trusted and reputable coin dealer prefer to visit the dealer in person. It is best to arrange your meeting ahead of time so that neither of you is rushed. You’ll want to make sure the dealer handles the type of coins you have, and whether they may be interested in buying your coins.

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The Franklin Half Dollar, a Popular Collector Coin

Franklin-half-dollar

The Franklin half dollar is a popular series to collect. These coins were minted between 1948 and 1963 and remain in demand today for many reasons, not the least of which is their relative affordability and the ease with which they can be obtained. This is a great coin set project for beginning collectors.

Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father

Benjamin Franklin, while never an American president, was a founding father who is well remembered for his inventions and his work during the American Revolution and afterwards on behalf of the new nation. In 1947, Nellie Taylor Ross, the director of the U.S. Mint and a fan of Franklin’s, pushed for a coin that would feature his likeness. She asked the mint’s chief engraver, John Sinnock, to create a design. Sinnock had also designed the Roosevelt dime, but he died before he could complete the Franklin project. His successor, Gilroy Roberts, finished up the work on the Franklin half dollar.

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How Much Was a Biblical Talent Worth?

biblical-talent-denarii

The Bible contains many mysteries within it, but not all of these were meant to be mysteries. Some are just references to a culture that no longer exists. One of these is found in The Parable of the Ungrateful Servant in the Gospel of Matthew. In this parable a king (or “master”) forgives the debt of a man who owes him ten thousand talents. The reader is meant to understand this is a huge sum of money and the king, who represents God, is very generous. How much money was a talent worth, though? What was a biblical talent? Here we will answer those questions. 

The Parable of the Ungrateful Servant 

For those unfamiliar with this story, the details are these: a servant who owes ten thousand talents to a king is brought before him unable to pay back his debt. He and his whole family are to be sold into slavery to settle what he owes. The man throws himself at the mercy of the king and begs a little more time to pay back the money. The king, in response, shows him pity and tells him the debt is forgiven and he can go. 

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The Walking Liberty Half Dollar, a Beautiful Collectible Coin

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The Walking Liberty half dollar is one of the three most collectible U.S. half dollar coins, with the others being the Kennedy half dollar and the Franklin half. This historic coin is not only very collectible, it’s also a beautiful and beloved American coin. Let’s talk about how the Walking Liberty half dollar came to be and what it’s worth to coin collectors today.

Early 20th Century Coin Revamps

In the early years of the twentieth century, several U.S. presidential administrations were motivated to update the coinage with designs they thought were more beautiful and modern than the Barber coins in circulation. In 1890 Congress had passed legislation regulating the design and issue of new coins, putting a 25-year limit on when the treasury could replace old designs for new. The Barber half dollar and other denominations were introduced to the American public in 1892, so the U.S. Treasury instigated the design process for a new half dollar in January of 1915. 

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The History of Vatican Coins

Vatican-coins

For Americans who collect primarily American coins, it can be hard to know where to start with coins from around the world. There are so many beautiful and history rich coins that have been produced over the millennia. Collecting Vatican coins would be a rewarding place to begin. The Vatican has a long and storied history of politics and art. Its mint produces new Vatican City money every year, and those coins tend to increase in popularity and value. 

The Catholic Church dates back to the death of Jesus Christ and the evangelism of his disciples, in particular Peter. In Catholic history, St. Peter is one of the earliest martyrs and saints. Tradition has it that he was crucified upside down in Rome in Nero's amphitheater in 67 A.D. This is the site on which the Vatican stands today. 

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Grand Rapids Coins Buys Scrap Gold and Sterling Silver

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Gold is a highly coveted precious metal that has held its value over time. Grand Rapids Coins buys and sells coins and currency, but we also buy scrap gold and sterling silver. If you’ve ever wondered about the value of your gold jewelry or silver items, in this blog we will go through the differences between types of gold and silver. We will also discuss how scrap gold is processed into investment grade gold bullion.

Different Kinds of Scrap Gold

Gold is a very precious metal that has held value over time, unlike many other mediums of exchange. There is currently a great deal of interest in gold because the price of gold has been high and rising for some time. That high price is an incentive for people who may have jewelry or other gold items lying around that they do not use. Those items can be sold as scrap gold for cash. 

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Barber Coins - Affordable and Enjoyable Coin Collecting

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For people who have an interest in coin collecting but don’t know where to begin, one common recommendation everyone gives is to search out Lincoln cents. There are so many different varieties of this coin, and they are everywhere in circulation, so even young children can successfully hunt for them. Barber coins are another wonderful entry-level choice - attractive coins that can be found at mostly affordable prices. There are enough Barber coins available that a collector can build a year set without breaking the bank. Halves are readily obtainable, quarters have three challenging years, and dimes have the mammoth rarity being 1894 S. Given some very low mintages compared to Walking Liberty halves, Standing Liberty quarters, Mercury dimes, and Washington quarters there is upside potential. The Walking Liberty half dollars series has a mere 9 coins with mintages under one million compared to 20 for the barber half series. Considering the extra years in circulation, this makes higher grade circulated coins a fun challenge.

What Are Barber Coins? 

U.S. Mint engraver Charles E. Barber designed these coins, and they get their name from him. Specifically, Barber coins are dime, quarter, and half dollar denomination coins that were minted between 1892 and 1916. Barber dimes, quarters, and half dollars all have the same design on the obverse of the coin, so size is the best way to tell them apart, along with the different details on their reverse sides. 

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High Bullion Prices Bring out the Sharks

high-bullion-prices

It must have been my lucky day. I couldn't sleep the other night, and I turned on the television. The first channel I caught was running a commercial for a coin dealer offering a very limited number of rare coins for sale. The first question I asked myself was, “How can these coins be rare if there is enough supply to run the same commercial several times?” While there are certainly many rare and valuable dates on most coins series, there are infinitely more common dates in uncirculated condition. Unfortunately, high bullion prices are bringing out the sharks, so would-be coin investors better be wary of the “good deals” on coins right now.

Morgan Dollars, Gold Eagles, and Double Eagles were minted in large numbers and are readily available in mint state condition for more years than not. In the past, not unlike today, most people preferred to use paper money instead of coins for their daily transactions, with the exception of those in western states. When was the last time any of us received a Susan B. Anthony or Presidential Dollar for change? Most of these coins were used for bank-to-bank transactions thus preserving these coins in their mint state. My definition of a rare coin is a coin that is not readily available for sale with years passing before one might become available. 

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Why Do We Do Business By Appointment Only?

by-appointment

Grand Rapids Coins operates our business by appointment only. We do this to ensure the safety and security of our customers. You may wonder why we do not operate a retail showroom or have hours in which we are open to the public. Let’s talk about the advantages of meeting by private appointment only. 

Meeting By Appointment Is More Secure

Could you imagine meeting your financial advisor, accountant, or banker to obtain a home mortgage in a room full of strangers hanging around you? Most of us have an expectation of privacy when it comes to our finances. In addition to being a fun hobby, coin collecting is also an investment. When it comes time to make a purchase or dispose of a collection, the last thing anyone wants is to feel rushed or uncomfortable.

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