Long Beard's Blog

07 Jan 2023

Things Which Boggle the Mind

Coins-World | Long Beard

Something had occurred to me as I pondered on a subject for the weekly blog. The topic of rarity and famous collectors for some reason sticking on my mind, the very same things which I've written of in the past. Thinking of these, one simple yet overlooked aspect escaped me, and likely most of those who collect coinage. When we think of any on the long list of famous collectors and the coins they've had in their possession we instantly think of those such as the 1804 dollar, 1894s Barber dime, 1913 Liberty nickel or any number of rarities struck by the United States Mint. However, if we look further into these individuals it becomes no stretch of imagination that they collected coinage from various countries other than just the United States. So the subject of this weeks blog is rare world coinage. Examples which are on par with the famous U.S. issues, struck under similar circumstances and holding equal history. Enjoy!

As the research began, there are surprisingly hundreds of coins out there from every corner of the globe. For the sake of subject matter and length we'll examine two from the countries bordering the United States. Mexico to the south, Canada the north. This and the fact they are both widely collected. As to the blog subject, the rarity and resulting auction prices baffle the imagination as compared equally to the U.S counterparts.

The first being a 1914 Chihuahua Revolutionary Period Peso struck in silver. A coin which for years had been thought of as a myth. Graded NGC MS62, this very mysterious coin exceeded the pre-auction estimate of between $20-25,000, hammering for $35,650 in 2008. Other than finding plenty of history surrounding the time period, The Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 and Poncho Villa who held Chihuahua from where the coin originated, very little is known or found of the coin it's self. NGC in fact lists the coin, "1914 Chihuahua KM-PN4 Silver Peso", however no image accompanies this. From what little has been found, the obverse bears a Liberty Cap and Rays (similar to the Peso of 1914 struck at Durango?) and the reverse bearing scales and a law book (similar to an 1872 Republic Peso?). What ever the coin looks like, certainly the auction price remains baffling if we stop and think of this. A one of one coin with extremely important historical significance at a fraction of what any U.S. coin would sell for. Add to the fact that surely some other collector held this piece since 1914. Perhaps Samuel Chapman, one of the Chapman brothers who specialized in world coinage? Again, this is hard to say as the entirety of the famous collections is unknown. None the less, this example did not just appear from thin air.

The second specimen, a much more famous variety hailed as the "Holy Grail" of Canadian coins. The 1911 Canadian Silver Dollar, known as "The Emperor of Canadian Numismatics" by collectors of Canadian coinage. The Canadian Currency Act of 1910 authorized the striking of a silver dollar composed of .925 silver and weighing 360 grains. To accomplish the striking, a press was sent from England to Canada while the Royal Mint of London prepared the dies striking two silver dollars and one in lead. For unknown reasons, the Canadian authorities decided against issuing business strikes based on these specimen patterns. Aside from the mention of trial pieces being struck in London, no mention beyond that exists as to how many. In fact, no known 1911 dollars existed until the 1960 discovery by London coin dealer B.A. Seaby, who obtained the piece from an undisclosed source. That source being Sir William Grey Ellison-Macartney, the Mint Master at the time of their striking. He later discovered the other example retained by the Royal Mint. As to the lead specimen, it had not turned up until November 20, 1977 and sent to the Department of Finance in Ottawa where it remains. Certified PCGS SP65, it is the only example outside of the Canadian Currency Museum in Ottawa. In 2003, it sold for the astonishing bargain of $690,000. Once again, a far greater value than any United States coin of similar rarity.

So, as the title states, the things which boggle the mind. Why aren't the current collectors, those shelling out large sums at auction, focused on these true and equal rarities? Hopefully your's truly will hit the MegaMillions on Tuesday and buy as many as possible before someone realizes the great inequality!

The beautiful example depicted is the Canadian Currency Museum specimen. If the 1914 Peso image is located, I'll update accordingly.



Level 6

Interesting subject and ideas! Thanks for a great blog! ; )


Level 6

Nicely done. That Peso fits right in with the 1914 Caballito. Going to be tough to find a photo. All we need is money. Thanks LB.

It's Mokie

Level 6

I love this idea, identifying all those extreme rarities produced by foreign countries. Canada did produce a tribute 1911 Dollar in 2001 and 2011. Maybe the States can produce an 1804 Tribute Dollar in 2026?


Level 7

I was waiting for this. I blog you can put your teeth into. Again I get my weekly lesson. Never herd of some of those coins. Now I have. I enjoy your blogs. The knowledge you share enlightens us all


Level 5

Couple awesome coins. Thanks for a nice informative lesson. Always learning something new.


Level 6

Enjoy your weekly blogs. I am too lazy to do it weekly. I have ideas, but write about them in a timely manner.

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