Archive for January 2011
The Carson City Mint happens to be my favorite of all mints. I have visited Carson City, the state’s capital, multiple times and I always leave with a great sense of what was really happening in this town in the 1850′s, 60′s, and 70′s. Northern Nevada was experiencing a full-blown gold and silver rush. Virginia City, just about 15 miles away, was the epicenter of the Comstock Load, gold and silver ore that was being mined, blasted, and physically pulled from the ground. The Carson City Mint struck coins that bear the “CC” mint mark. The building is now the home of the Nevada State Museum.
Another big show is brewing and it’s right around the corner. The Long Beach Expo is February 3 – 5. This is an international show and has been a leading tradition in the coin, stamp, and collectible industry since 1964. I am not sure if I will be attending, but I’m sure it will be an amazing weekend!
I met up with Mike Ellis at the F.U.N. show and talked with him about his grading company, SPG. Mike has started this company to be your “Second Opinion” on coins you may have that are already graded, or for a pre-screening of raw coins before you send them in to a third-party grader. Anyone who has a real interest in the numismatic world, knows that coin grading is an art and not a science, thus is has changed throughout the years. This being the case, for better or for worse, we have companies like SPG and CAC to be the consumer watchdogs.
Anyone who loves antiques and safes like I do, is sure to be a fan of the HBO series Deadwood. The City of Deadwood does exist, although the show’s time-lines might be a little skewed, many of the characters where real people of the era. Coin World just had a great article on Seth Bullock, played by Timothy Olyphant, second from the left. But let’s get back to safes here. The first photo shows Sol Star moving a Denver Safe Co. safe into the Star & Bullock Hardware Store. I did the research and cannot verify that this was an actual manufacturer of the era. Even more so from previous research I have found that most safes were manufactured in and around Cincinnati, O., and the industrious Northeast United States. This leads to the third photo where Al Swearengen is speaking to Alma Garret with a safe against the wall, in the fourth photo you see Swearengen leaning to open his safe with the name Hall’s Safe Company. This in fact was a real company. The Hall’s Safe and Lock Company was formed in 1867 in Cincinnati, O. Safes were a must have in the wild west if you where any kind of business man, they were built the American way and damn heavy. The Deadwood series, which ran for three seasons, still has a glimmer of hope, in a recent interview with the shows creator, David Milch says “it’s not dead – he swears!”
When I talk about character and safes, this is one that puts the icing on the cake. I can’t find out too much information on the Federal Lock and Safe Company, which the owner claims the brand to be. This safe has seen some serious use and it shows. The owner bought this safe in Nevada and has moved it to Atlanta. Needless to say this safe has taken a journey. Whatever and where ever it has gone, it is still an antique, thought the origins seemed to be as faded as its paint.
The folks down under at the Royal Australian Mint have minted some very nice and unique coins. Their artists and engravers really capture the country’s heritage through the native wildlife, ,buildings, and historic people. Australia is the worlds thirteenth largest economy, and since its opening, the mint has produced over eleven billion circulating coins and has the capacity to produce over two million coins per day, or over seven hundred million coins per year. Their silver proof and uncirculated series, which have included the Chinese Zodiac, have been very successful, even with U.S. coin collectors.
New Orleans, LA has been a major port for the United States since the American Revolution. It only made sense that the New Orleans Mint be open, as a branch mint of the United States Mint. It was operated from 1838 to 1861 and from 1879 to 1909. These coins were struck with an “O” mint mark. The American Civil War saw a change of hands at the mint, which made this facility the only mint to produce both U.S. and Confederate coins, which are highly collectible to this day. The Confederacy ran out of bullion in in April 1861, and the building was used for quartering soldiers. It wasn’t until after the Reconstruction Era that it reopened for business. During its years of operation, it produced over 427 million gold and silver coins of nearly every American denomination, with a total face value of over $307 million. Since 1981 it has served as a branch of the Louisiana State Museum. Damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, after over two years of closure for repair and renovation, the museum reopened in October 2007. The New Orleans Mint has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is currently the oldest surviving structure to have served as a U.S. Mint.
This is mission control for BMW. I have been a fan of German cars since my teens. I am a true American, but have always enjoyed the German influence on the automobile. I have worked for Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, and BMW. I drive a BMW X5, which was made in South Carolina. I was friends with a previous CEO of BMW North America, and the founding CEO of Porsche Cars North America,. He was a big influence on me and the decisions I have made in my life. I hope to visit this building some day, I’m sure the experience will be surreal.
I am the first to admit I am no expert on the manufacture or art of Challenge Coins. I only hope to educate coin collectors and enthusiasts that they exist. It has been brought to my attention(by the owner of) U.S. Challenge Coins that they have a superior product and lower costs on these treasures. I have never ordered and don’t know if I ever will order a challenge coin, though I do appreciate their importance. What I do like is Capitalism and the ability for the market to decide who is best. So I urge anyone who might be interested in Challenge Coins to explore the different manufactures, and find one you like and trust.