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 CoinPerhaps 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 DollarIn 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)

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