Mr_Norris_LKNS's Blog

27 Jan 2020

Some YN Fun with Countermarking

Coins | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Been awhile since I've posted anything, but the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society had a pretty good meeting today and I thought I'd share.Earlier this school year, the Numismatic Knights heard from Mr. Bradley Karoleff, a regional coin dealer near us as well as a contributor to the Red Book, particularly noted for his knowledge on Spanish Colonial coinage. One aspect of Spanish Colonial coinage that has always interested me (aside from their being "pirate money") is the fact that these coins, minted in the New World, ended up being used as money to the far-flung corners of the earth. Proof of this is noted in the "chop marks" they received from being used in trade in the Far East, as well as the countermarks placed on them by other nations. I particularly like to see the 8 reales coins that have King George III of England 's portrait punched into the portrait of King Charles of Spain.UK large pennies have been out of circulation for some time. I came upon a quantity of extremely worn and/or cleaned examples that would make good media for trying our own countermarking. I contacted our medieval die maker, Mr. Carson Engle, to see if he could make us a punch with a design reminiscent of our school mascot, the Knight. He said he'd made punches before and would be glad to try. After awhile I received a punch in the mail. I must say, he did a good job for such a small area on which to work. Our mascot's helm and plume create an unusual shape if you include the space around it for a punch, so we opted not to go with a rectangular or oval shape, but more of a sideways diamond. In the photo accompanying this post, you can see the result of a decent strike. I swung the four pound hammer for the students to avoid smashed fingers on anyone's part. I'm no pro at it but I got some decent strikes. You can see the helm with its facemask and the plume flowing from the top to the rear of the helm.The kids enjoyed the activity and the counterstruck coins. While some were watching their penny get countermarked, the rest spent their time filling their Whitman Lincoln Cent No. 2 blue folders by searching donated wheat cents. They managed to search a few thousand coins in about an hour; next time they will already have them sorted by year to try filling in any remaining holes in their folders. All in all it was a very good meeting.

01 Nov 2019

New Year for the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society

Club Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Our young numismatists' club operates during the academic school year, so our club "new year" starts each September. Although we communicate a little over the summer, the active portion of our club year endswith our Awards Ceremony onthe last day of school, which is usually near the end of May. Our members earn medals during the school year for achieving certain levels of participation, and we present them before the entire elementary school. This is a great way to recognize our dedicated members, and serves as a great recruitment tool for the next school year.

10 Jul 2018

Grading Your Way To A Type Set

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Being geared towards new, young collectors, our school club tries to emphasize the basics of numismatics... things like how to handle, store, and protect your collections; how to identify what you have; and how to grade items for condition (and hence value). Accordingly, one of our activities is the Coin Grading Project.Even more essential to a basic knowledge of numismatics, however, is simple exposure to the breadth of items covered by the term "numismatics". I remember when I was a kid being fascinated by coin and banknote designs that I had never seen before. Franklin half dollars hadn't been superseded by Kennedy halves for very long when I was born, but by the time I was old enough to notice the design of coins in my change, Franklin halves were long gone from circulation. The first time I saw one, I thought it was amazing... and then I saw a Walking Liberty half. Prior to that, I thought the Bicentennial series was really interesting both for the historical topic and just for being different from the norm, from their dual-date obverse to their themed reverse. I really like both the Franklins and the Walking LIberty halves to this day, and the Bicentennials, although pretty common, always make me a little sentimental. Yet, how many more designs in various denominations would have gone unnoticed, if I hadn't been given the opportunity to sort pennies from my dad's change jar or hadn't been given some Ike dollars by by brother, gotten bitten by the collecting bug, and bought a US coin price guide. The 20th century saw some beautiful designs on US coins, and most of which are still fairly affordable to the young collector to this day.So this year, we've decided to expand our Grading Project in such a way that will give the students more exposure to more US 20th century coins. Last year, our students could earn an LKNS medal if they would grade 13 different, specified US coins and review their grade determinations with a local expert. Starting this year, if they complete the first 13, they can earn a second award if they grade another series of US coins, different from the first. They can earn a third award if they grade a third series comprised of still different coins. Among the three series, a basic 20th century US type set can then be assembled, with a few additional coins beginning the expansion into the 21st century. If they complete all three grading projects, they will earn an additional recognition for completing the type set.Because some 20th century coins are more difficult (or more expensive) to obtain by a young student, we start our first grading set with some of the more common or less expensive ones; most could be gotten from change, with only a few possibly requiring a trip to the coin shop. The second and third grading sets gradually get harder to find, or more expensive to buy, likely requiring a trip to the coin shop. This is by design, to encourage the collector through initial success.Repetition is key to gaining grading expertise, so we simultaneously reward the students for every coin they take through the grading process, including duplicate types. If a student only wanted to grade wheat cents, for example, they wouldn't complete their grading project, but they could still earn the same amount of money for the annual auction.In the end, our club's goal is to have members who not only are familiar with US coins from the 20th century, but who also have some knowledge and experience in grading them, as well as have an interesting collection to show for their efforts.

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