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user_28318's Blog

13 May 2021

My Collection of Money, Big and Bold

National Coin Week | user_28318

In this blog post, I will be showing some coins from my collection of big and bold coinage with incredible designs. I am doing this in honor of this year's National Coin Week which occurred from April 18th-24th this year. And who knows? Maybe I'll get really lucky and get chosen as one of the top two blog posts. That would be so cool. However, let's get right into it. Below I have descriptions of the coins I chose to post about as well as their designs and I will post my own coins of these types from my collection below as well. Thanks so much and enjoy!
Coin Images below from left to right: Saint Gaudens 1908 "No Motto" $20 Golden Eagle Coin (Entire Top Row); second-row: Rainbow-toned Morgan Dollar from 1884 Carson City, and United States Trade Dollar (1878); third row: Medio Balboa (1973) and Mexican Silver Peso (1925).
1. Saint Gaudens $20 Golden Eagle Coin
Perhaps one of the most, if not the most iconic form of coinage in American history, I just knew that I had to include my MS66 1908 "No Motto" $20 Saint Gaudens Golden Eagle coin in my blog post. The 1908 "No Motto" is one of the most common dates in the St. Gaudens series. In fact, there was a time in the 1980s when dealers would post sight-unseen bids for Saints they would post their bids and say "no 1908 No Mottos" or they would post a bid for all Saints except the 1908 No Motto and then post a little bit lower bit for 1908 No Mottos. I believe this was because most 1908 No Mottos look pretty ratty and the dealers' customers probably didn't like them. In contrast to the usual "ratty" look of the 1908 No Motto Saints, in the early 1990s, dealer Ron Gillio found a hoard of 9,900 absolutely incredible 1908 No Mottos. The hoard was dubbed the "Wells Fargo Discovery" because the initial transactions involving these coins took place in a Las Vegas Wells Fargo bank. The hoard contained thousands of superb Gems graded MS66 by PCGS, nearly 1,000 coins graded MS67, 101 coins graded MS68, and 10 virtually perfect gems graded MS69 with three of those ten coming extremely close to being graded MS70 by PCGS. Those 10 coins were the only Saints to ever be graded MS69 by PCGS and it was the largest hoard of ultra high quality $20 St. Gaudens ever discovered. Not only is the history of this coin incredible, but its design is extremely beautiful, making it a perfect example of big and bold American coinage! Augustus Saint Gaudens was also the first sculptor to design an American coin, before that, only the mint engravers produced the designs. Saint Gaudens based his design on the female figure known as "Victory" which he had designed in creating New York City's monument to General William Tecumseh Sherman, but the sculptor's ultimate inspiration was the Nike of Samothrace. On the coin, Liberty holds a torch in one hand, representing enlightenment; an olive branch in the other, a symbol of peace. She strides across a rocky outcrop and behind her are the United States Capitol and the rays of the Sun. The figure is surrounded by 46 stars, one for each of the states in 1907. The reverse is a side view of a flying eagle, seen slightly from below, with a rising sun and its rays behind it, complementing the obverse design. The edge bears the lettering "E Pluribus Unum" because Saint-Gaudens felt that he could not place a third line of text on the reverse without unbalancing the composition, and the obverse lacked room for the motto, so it was placed on the edge.
2. United States Trade Dollar
In China, theMexican peso(successor to theSpanish dollar) was greatly valued in commerce. However, the Chinese were sensitive to any changes in the coin's design and were reluctant to accept newer coins due to a minor design change. The American silver dollar, 7.5 grains (0.49g) lighter than its Spanish counterpart, was unpopular in East Asia due to its lightweight, forcing American merchants to purchase the Spanish or Mexican pieces to use in trade.Beginning in 1866, during the reign ofEmperor Maximilian, the design was changed to show the Emperor's portrait; this caused widespread nonacceptance of the coins in China.While conducting an investigation of theMint at San Francisco, deputy comptroller of the currencyJohn Jay Knoxbegan discussing the monetary situation with Louis A. Garnett, a man who had worked as both the treasurer and assayer of the San Francisco Mint.Garnett recommended that the United States mint a commercial dollar that would be exported to East Asia to compete with other countries' silvertrade coinsthat were already popular in that region.Garnett's rationale was that the majority of the coins would be hoarded or melted in Asia and would never be presented for redemption, allowing the government to make a profit from the seignorage. The U.S. Trade Dollar design depicts Lady Liberty resting on a cotton bale by the seashore. To her back stands a shock of grain. In her right hand, she extends an olive branch, a friendly gesture meant for those on the other side of the Pacific. The reverse shows an eagle with arrows and an olive branch in its talon. Below the eagle are the inscriptions "420 Grains .900 Fine" and "TRADE DOLLAR." This coin truly is one of my favorites and definitely represents a big, bold, beautiful design.
3. The Medio Balboa (Panamanian Coin)

While the 1/10 balboa coin I have is only from 1973, it has such a bold, captivating design that remains one of my favorites to this day.All of the coins of the same value followed the original design, showing Vasco Núñez de Balboa, aPanamanian hero, on the obverse with the value inSpanishabove ("UN DECIMO DE BALBOA";English: "one-tenth of a balboa"). Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish governor, explorer, and conquistador who is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.On thereversewas thecoat of armsof Panama with the state title, "Republica de Panama" above and the year of minting below. This design was also passed down to the following coins. During1934, the coins ceased circulation, with a total of 5,525,040 coins minted between this time and 1930. In1947, the coins were reintroduced with a mintage of 1,000,000 coins, and then production quickly halted again. Finally, in1962the coins were reintroduced again for a year with a total mintage of 5,000,025 coins. A similar coin was minted in1961, but on this coin, Balboa'smorion, or conquistador helmet,is more detailed. About 2,500,000 of these 1961 coins were produced.

4. Rainbow-Toned Morgan DollarThis historic coin is a valuable memento of an era in American history when pioneers were challenging the West. The silver in my Morgan Dollar show below was mined from the rich Comstock Lode, discovered in the mountains near Carson City, Nevada. The Carson City Mint was established there in 1870, and although it was in existence for a mere 24 years, it produced many coins which have endured as collectors' items, among them the 13 piece Morgan dollar series of 1878-1893. Their link with a historic period in our nation's history gives the Morgan dollars an added appeal. This coin from my collection that I have shown to you is an uncirculated specimen of the Morgan dollar, containing ninety percent silver, which somehow survived the massive coin melts of the early 1900s. They were discovered by a Treasury audit in 1964, after nearly a century of obscurity in the vaults. In addition, this issuance is from the last of the uncirculated Carson City Morgan dollars. What I really love about this coin is also its rainbow toning of color on the left side. The Liberty Head, better known as the Morgan dollar design, replaced the long-running Seated Liberty design. It features the head of Liberty, modeled after Anna Williams, facing left, wearing a Phrygian cap encircled with a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY. A crown of cotton and wheat, staples of the country, decorate the area above the ribbon. Above Liberty's head on the silver dollar, are the words "Epluribus Unum." There are 13 stars below Liberty's head as well-7 to the left of the date and 6 to the right. The Morgan dollar designer's initial, a single "M", is at the base of Liberty's neck. On the Morgan dollar's reverse is the eagle with its wings spread. Between the eagle's outstretched wings is "IN GOD WE TRUST." Across the top of the Morgan dollar's reverse is "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." The eagle holds in its claws both an olive branch and 3 arrows, symbolizing peace and readiness for war. Above the denomination of "ONE DOLLAR" is the mint mark and a wreath of laurel. On the ribbon, which ties the laurel wreath, is another "M" for the designer George T. Morgan. I thought that this coin in particular would be the perfect addition to this blog post because not only is it beautiful with a big and bold design that America adores, but it is also one of the main coins being featured during this year's coin week!
5. Mexican Silver Peso (1925)
Immediately, I knew that I had to include this coin from my collection in this post just for how brilliant its design is in addition to the fact that it is a big, hearty, silver coin. For decades, the Mexican Silver Peso was legal tender in the U.S.A. and continued to circulate informally - especially in the South and West - later in the 19th century. The dramatic Cap and Ray design adopted the liberty cap (symbol of hard-won freedom) used on early U.S. coins and added intense rays as a passionate expression of freedom. And on the opposite side of the coin, there is an eagle with a serpent in its mouth on a cactus (representation from the flag of Mexico). The eagle on the coin is a representation of the sun god Huitzilopochtli, who was very important, as the Mexicans referred to themselves as the "People of the Sun." Based on this, Father Diego Duran, a Dominican friar during the 1500s best known for his authorship of one of the earliest Western books on the history and culture of the Aztecs, titled The History of the Indies of New Spain, reinterpreted the legend so that the eagle represents all that is good and right, while the snake represents evil and sin. The reason why the Eagle is on a cactus on the coin goes back to an Aztec legend. In ancient times, the gods told the Aztecs that they would find the perfect place to build their city where they saw an eagle on a cactus, eating a serpent. They eventually spotted such an eagle-right in the spot that is now the main plaza in Mexico City. All in all, I thought that this coin's design was too beautiful and its history way too interesting not to share with you all as it contributes to this year's theme of money, big and bold.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this and maybe even learned something new about coinage that you hadn't previously known before. Although it has already passed, Happy belated National Coin Week everyone!

Comments

Mal_ANA_YN

Level 4

The Balboa is wonderful. Nice collection!

user_28318

Level 2

Thanks! Yeah, I love the design on that Balboa. Such a unique coin

CoinHunter

Level 5

Great blog. I love the Morgan, beautiful!

user_28318

Level 2

Thanks! Yeah I fell in love with that rainbow toning lol.

slybluenote

Level 5

Thanks for sharing this great post! Good information and great looking coins!

user_28318

Level 2

Thanks man! I really appreciate the feedback!

Longstrider

Level 6

Great blog. I like your taste in coins. Good luck.

user_28318

Level 2

Hey thanks man! Really appreciate it!

Kepi

Level 6

Beautiful collection! The Trade Dollar is my favorite. Thanks for the blog and your research! ; )

user_28318

Level 2

Yeah the trade dollar is definitely something special. It's got a little bit of toning too! Love the feedback!

Mike

Level 7

The Chinese insisted on silver. They wanted it. Sometimes they used dollars . That was the name of the business of a greeting. I like the trade dollar. Thanks for the blog.Bibliography please!!

user_28318

Level 2

Hey thanks so much for the feedback man! And yeah my bad about the bibliography. I'll be sure to include one on all of my posts from here on out!

Golfer

Level 5

Awesome blog and coins. Lots of information. Thanks

user_28318

Level 2

No problem man! I like the username

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