A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.
Last week I described the various type coins issued during the nineteenth century (1800’s) from half cents through dimes. This week I’ll describe the balance of coins up to the dollar.
Twenty Cent Piece – Yes a coin denomination of 20 cents was actually produced in 1875. This coin can probably qualify as being less popular than the Susan B. Anthony Dollar that was minted in 1979. The 20 cent piece was only produced for circulation 2 years, the second year only in a small amount. It’s problem was its size was similar to that of the current quarter (sound familiar?) as was its design. Added to the fact that it was an unnecessary denomination resulted in what is the shortest lived coin design/denomination ever. 1 design.
Quarter – 9 designs.
Half Dollars – 9 designs.
Silver Dollars – 4 designs.
Trade Dollar – This coin was produced to compete with similar sized silver coins from other countries that were used in trade in Asia. These coins actually contained more silver than the regular silver dollars. As a testimony to their use in the Orient, it is common to find them counterstamped with Oriental characters known as “chop marks”. This was done by various Oriental dealers who would check the weight of the coins and attest to their value by putting their mark on the coin. 1 design.
As you can see from the preceding, a type set of nineteenth century coins represents quite a variety of different and interesting designs and denominations. When a collector wants to assemble a collection of type coins, they typically try to purchase all the coins in the same grade. That way all the coins will exhibit a similar amount of wear and have a uniform appearance. Here is where a budget comes into play. Obviously it would be desirable to have all the coins in uncirculated condition, but because of the cost, that may not be practical. The best approach is to set a budget for the most a collector is willing to pay for a single coin. Then, looking at the prices of all of the commonest dates of all of the coins, find the most expensive single coin and the grade that will meet your budget. An example would be if a collector is willing to spend up to $2000 for a single coin and a Bust Dollar in Fine condition is selling for $2000, then all of the other coins in the set should be purchased in Fine condition. Obviously many of the remaining coins in the set could be purchased for much less, in some cases under $10, but that way the set is uniform in condition. I have put together several sets for customers in this fashion, and they have been very attractive in appearance.
Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles in the Shore Mall as well as satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business.