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Ian Fenn's Blog

15 Dec 2014

Coin with an unconfirmed story.

Coins-World | Ian Fenn

I am sharing this story in the hope someone will read it and recall something that will confirm or disprove what I am writing here. It may be that ANA members can provide the evidence to confirm this possible story.

This is a gold abschlag of a 1780 Maria Theresa Thaler. It is assumed to have been produced around 1937 for export to the USA. Certainly some of the best examples are seen for sale in the USA. There are two varieties of this particular ablschlag; an edged coin (with the standard Maria Theresa thaler edge) and a plain edged coin. Apparently early on in the production run the castalaining ( have I spelt it correctly?) machine broke down.

Now none of the above is confirmed by actual records, it's just what has been written and accepted. The next bit is my extension of the story. This extension must be regarded as purely speculative. Assuming that it is correct that the coin was produced for export to the USA there has to be an interesting story behind it. This was at the time that gold ownership was severely limited in the USA. I recall reading( and I never saved the reference) that soon after the gold ownership ban USA customs modified their policies banning the import of gold copies of earlier dated gold coins ( in other words the Austrian and Dutch Gold restrikes). Clearly someone had worked out a way round the prohibition. So perhaps this Gold Abschlag is a response to the US customs reaction. Instead of a gold copy of an earlier gold coin this is a gold copy of an earlier silver coin. It's possible but did it happen this way. If it did this Gold Abschlag is an important part of American Numismatics. The coins specifications 41mm in diameter 73.3 grams of 900/1000 standard gold.


Please if you can remember articles about the early days of the gold ban post a reply to this blog. Lets see if we can dig out the truth behind this limp of gold

About this word "Abschlag" it's the German word for "off-metal-strike". I think Abschlag is so much better than the English term!!

Comments

Mike

Level 7

What a coin and what a story. Between the two of you you fingered it out. I love reading great blogs. Thanks.

Juno Moneta

Level 4

Technically your abschlag would have had to be turned in (1933) or you have faced a $10,000.00 fine and/or 10 years in jail. This summation comes from this Internet site that provides most of the answers: http://www.usagold.com/gildedopinion/gold-confiscation-ganz.html The essential part of the answer to your question comes from the "Later Changes'" below: "Originally, the Treasury secretary had the right to issue regulations governing private gold ownership (including coins). That in substance was that "Gold coin of recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coin may be acquired and held, transported within the United States, or imported without the necessity of holding a license therefor. Such coin may be exported, however, only in accordance with the provisions of Sec. 54.25 of title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations. There were initial provisos as well (which changed over time): "(b) Gold coin made prior to April 5, 1933, is considered to be of recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coin. (c) Gold coin made subsequent to April 5, 1933, is presumed not to be of recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coin." (Editor's note: This 1954 codification broadened and clarified the definition of "recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusua coinl" to any gold coin minted before 1933.) LATER CHANGES included these: "The current licensing policy will be retained for coins minted after January 1, 1934. Gold coins may still be detained at Customs stations for examination as to their authenticity. Counterfeit coins may not be imported and are subject to seizure. Restrikes, that is modern reproductions of gold coins bearing a much earlier date, will also not qualify for importation. Therefore, travelers and coin collectors should be especially careful that the coins they purchase abroad are genuine." (Please see original Treasury Department notice.)" A new executive order would be based on the same law but could be modified to whatever was neccessary to get the intended job done. That was to retain control of the monetary economy thus precluding efforts of "gold bugs" to be one of the sole survivors or beneficiaries of an economic collapse. The remaining question would be: "What will be considered RARE & UNUSUAL" in the coming debacle? This article is sure to scare the bejeezus out of those that have hoarded goin coin, rather than bullion, thinking they will be exempt.

Ian Fenn

Level 5

Thanks. Just to make sure its clear this coin was made in switzerland in 1937, so It couldn't have been turned in in 1933. Juno you have helped with the information you posted. Namely: "The current licensing policy will be retained for coins minted after January 1, 1934. Gold coins may still be detained at Customs stations for examination as to their authenticity. Counterfeit coins may not be imported and are subject to seizure. Restrikes, that is modern reproductions of gold coins bearing a much earlier date, will also not qualify for importation." The US officials described a restrike as a modern reproduction of gold coins......the suspicion I have is this abschlag was produced to exploit the loophole created by that policy, namely this abschlag is, in official terms, a modern(gold) reproduction of a Silver coin. It is stated in at least one reference that this gold abschlag was produced for export to the USA...problem is the author do not provide references to confirm.

CMCC

Level 5

WOW! Do you really have that coin in that condition in that age and genuine?!?!?!??!?!

CMCC

Level 5

Very interesting!

Dollar Guy

Level 5

Ian, I think now that your article in the current The Numismatist a little more discussion will forth coming because as a friend once said he does not consider collecting material that was minted after he was born! These MTT's could become another coin to ponder considering its long and storied history. Your mini course at the Summer Seminar this past summer(2014) certainly spiked my interest. Kudos on your article looking forward to more discussion.

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