Category Archives: April 2012

Silver Politics

Silver Eagle DollarsIn 1890 the supply of silver authorized by the 1878 Bland-Allison Act had run out. Once again the voices of silver mining interests in the west were heard, and Congress obliged by passing the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. This new legislation brought still more bullion into government coffers, as did melted-down trade dollars which under another law were converted into silver dollars as well. The government continued to be the prime buyer for the output of Western silver mines in a political quid pro quo situation.

As might be expected, not everyone liked the idea of this largesse, and by the 1890s America was firmly split into pro-silver and anti-silver fractions. Indeed, the “silver question” formed a primary focus of the 1896 presidential campaign that pitted Democrat William Jennings Bryan against Republican William McKinley, who won the election. Silver was again in the news in the 1900 presidential election, with the same two adversaries debating the silver issue, and with the same results.

In the two campaigns, 1896 and 1900, the Republican Party, with William McKinley, of Ohio, as its candidate for President, endorsed gold as a single monetary standard, and was successful. The Democratic and several lesser parties sponsored William Jennings Bryan, of Nebraska, for their presidential candidate, and advocated the free coinage of silver to be standard money with gold at the ratio of 16 to 1. Debates over the issue were heated, and opinions were divided even among members of the same political parties.

Bryan promoted his plan for pricing silver at the ratio of16 to 1 by producing numerous medals and tokens with images and slogans advocating his ideas. The price of silver bullion in 1896 made the composition of the silver dollar worth fifty-three cents, thus inviting the criticism often seen on Bryan’s coins that stated “In God We Trust For The Other 47 Cents.” Other satirical “coins” were made of base metal and in over-size format representing the weight that would be necessary to equal the stated face value of silver coins.

The so-called Bryan Money is unique as a collectible series and contains many rarities. All examples of these historic items are of interest to numismatists and deemed valuable. The monetary-political issue, conditions and temperament of the time, and the tolerance of disregard for the letter of the law, made possible what never before or may never again occur in American numismatics.

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1986 Silver Eagle MS69 Grade

1986 Silver Eagle MS69 Grade CoinThe Silver Eagle is a genuine legal tender silver bullion coin struck by the United States Mint. It has been made each year since 1986 and is the largest, heaviest and purest silver coin in U.S. history. As the inaugural year of the series, the 1986 Silver Eagle in particular has always been extremely popular with collectors. We arranged for the best 1986 coins to be independently graded and certified as in Mint State 69 (abbreviated MS69) condition. All coins are graded on a 70-point scale, with MS-70 representing the highest, most flawless condition possible, so this coin is just one grade away from being in absolutely perfect condition and is thus still relatively affordable.

The Silver Eagle is minted from one ounce of .9993 pure silver. The obverse features Adolph A. Weinman’s famous “Walking Liberty” design that first appeared on U.S. Silver Half Dollars from 1916-1947. This is one of the most beautiful coin designs of all time and features Lady Liberty striding forward in a flowing gown and wrapped by the American flag. The reverse depicts a heraldic eagle together with the U.S. Government’s guarantee that the coin contains “1 Oz. Fine Silver” and the face value of “One Dollar.” The coin is encapsulated in a tamper-proof holder to protect its condition for the future. This guarantees the coin’s authenticity and condition as long as the case remains intact.

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Vicksburg National Military Park

2011 National Park Quarters Proof SetThis park commemorates one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. The Confederate surrender here on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, LA, gave control of the Mississippi River to the Union. A museum in the park shows the hardships that both civilians and soldiers endured during the tumultuous, more than 40 day siege of Vicksburg. The Vicksburg National Military Park was first established as a national site on February 21, 1899.

The battle at Vicksburg commenced on May 18, 1863 and ended on July 4. Union General Ulysses S. Grant crossed the Mississippi River and eventually drove the Confederate army of General John C. Pemberton outside of the city. This was the second major blow to the Confederacy in the summer of 1863. On July 3, Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North had collapsed at Gettysburg.

To the Confederates, surrendering on Independence Day at Vicksburg was a particularly bitter defeat. However, the Union troops behaved well, mixing with Confederates and giving rations to starving soldiers. In his autobiography Personal Memoirs, General Grant said, “The men of the two armies fraternized as if they had been fighting for the same cause.” But resentments lingered in Vicksburg where the city did not celebrate the Fourth of

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The Vicksburg National Military Park quarter was the fourth released by the U.S. Mint in 2011 and the ninth overall in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.

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Token Coin

Morgan and Peace Silver DollarGenuine Morgan and Peace silver dollars with the dates ground off were used in Nevada gaming casinos in the mid-1960s. The coins were mutilated by casino operators to prevent them from being taken home by collectors at a time when the value of silver was rising and the dollars were worth slightly more than their face value. The practice was stopped when gambling houses began using their own chips and tokens that they were happy to see leave the premises.

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Fascinating Coin Fact

1797 Two-PennyIn 1797 the Bank of England reputedly had one of the new two-penny copper coins hollowed out and enclosed a bank note for 10 pounds. It was

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a publicity stunt to popularize the new coins and many people believed they might get the lucky coin in change. Most of these large coppers still in collections show the marks of someone banging on the edges to see if they could open the coin. A few such pieces do exist where two coins have been hollowed out and machined to screw together, but no banknote has ever been found in any of them.

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