Celebrating National Coin Week with Classic American Coins

The theme for this year’s event is “Vibrant Designs, Artistic Masterpieces”.

By Jim BisognaniNGC Weekly Market Report ……

This morning, as I woke up from my slumber and headed to my workspace, I was greeted by another windy and rainy day here at New Hampshire. But at noon, Mr. Sun made his welcome appearance and, damn it, I saw green grass by my window and nearly blooming forsythias. Spring, my friends, is truly a glorious time.

Another celebration for us co-indexers to savor is also at hand, because as this episode publishes, we are in the midst of National Currency Week, April 17-23. While this is no guarantee that regulars at local banks and credit unions will make significant finds in coin rolls purchased and change received at your local merchant, you never know as some dealers are still known to “sell” special coins put back into circulation for this event. . To use the old slogan of new england prefer, Dunkin’ Donuts: “It’s worth the trip.”

This year the ANA The theme for National Coin Week is “Vibrant Designs, Artistic Masterpieces”.

For the budding numismatist, this is yet another unique approach to starting a collection, which also applies to my fellow well-established co-indexers. If you don’t know what to collect, let your eyes judge you and finalize. With that in mind, I’ve selected a trio, as well as a new coin you can collect in circulation, which should fit the budgets of the average or new collector – from $10 to $900.

When I was about 10 years old, I was tied to my red book everywhere I went. I thought at that moment, figuratively speaking, that I “owned” all the pieces!

Nothing mixed about this half eagle

Still, the first piece I was thrilled to see in hand and own was Bela Lyon Pratt’s designed by incuse Indian head $5 goldor half eagle. Just a miniature gold masterpiece in design, I noticed, even in my youth. The spirits of America are emblazoned on both sides of this gold coin. While sometimes a particular coin has a tantalizing obverse, in many cases, at least to my liking, the reverse of many coins leaves a lot to be desired.

Not so with the $5 Indian Head, which features a powerful and accurate depiction of a headdressed Indian chief on the obverse and reverse, our national bird and American symbol of freedom, the Great Bald Eagle. white head.

I confess that I am still infatuated with this piece. So whenever I have the opportunity to handle one, it’s with respect. It evokes even more than a little chill. I have a slightly distributed “cru” 1909 which rests on the top of my living room window sill. So every day when I raise the blinds in the morning, I’m greeted with this great room. Oh, how that piece of gold glistens in the sun. Currently, getting an MS 61 will cost around $900.

Of course, the little brother $2.50 (or quarter eagle) the parts bear the same design. But for me, the larger $5 coin displays the design much better in my eyes.

The Beautiful Buffalo Nickel

Another one of my favorites is the Buffaloor Indian head, Nickel. Conceived by James Earl Fraser, this coin, although in circulation for only 25 years, is an institution in numismatic (as well as non-numismatic) circles. Such is the resistance of the powerful design elements.

Minted from 1913 to 1938, this very popular coin made us discover Prohibition and the Great Depression. When you think of the song “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” those 10 cents often conjured up an image of rubbing a pair of buffaloes together.

Again, to me this is a true double deck design. A coin that can be enjoyed while peeking either side of the coin, with a realistic bold Indian acting as guardian on the obverse and a bold majestic buffalo dominating the opposite.

Surprisingly, in this market you can find a superb NGC MS 65 example from the last year of issue, the 1938-D, for about $65. If that’s too rich for the young numismatist’s wallet, you can get one lightly doled out for less than $10.

A piece of a husband and wife

Then there is this spectacular example of American coinage design, the impressive Oregon Trail Memorial.

Although perhaps overstaying its welcome (1926-1939), this long running series was created by two prolific American sculptors, the husband and wife team of James Earle Fraser and Laura GardinFraser.

Through their combined efforts, the couple produced several memorials to our country and various Congressional medallions. Mr. Fraser created perhaps the most popular and endearing circulating coin in US numismatic history – the Indian Head (or Buffalo) Nickel above.

Laura, showcasing her artistic genius, generated the designs and models for several issues, including the 1921 Alabama Centennial Half Dollar and 1922 Half Dollar Grant and gold dollarwith the 1925 Centennial of Fort Vancouver publish.

She was the first woman to have her work produced on US currency. This exciting experience laid the groundwork for the Frasers’ joint collaboration on the Oregon Trail Memorial Project.

This piece is just a wonder to behold and still very affordable to own. Emotions begin to stir as we gaze at the proudly and boldly sculpted Native American warrior amidst a sketched map of the continent. United States. Armed with a longbow, he beckons pioneers leading this train of Conestoga wagons toward the glorious sunset and the new freedom that awaits them in the West.

For me, if you want to own one classic American piece, this is it. I just spied a full Gem NGC MS 65 from the first year of inaugural issue, 1926-Sfor $255 on an auction website.

The winning quarter is finally circulating

Finally a great hooray! Due to stubbornness and politics, the original “announced” winner of the 1932 Washington Neighborhood design competition will finally be presented as it should be. Yes, my fellow co-indexers, Laura Gardin Fraser’s glorious winning design will supersede by John Flanagan familiar institution, which has donned the neighborhood’s workhorses for the past nine decades, until 2025.

Laura Gardin Fraser's Washington bust to appear on American Women Quarters2022 inaugurates the American Women’s Quarters series and it will be special. I can’t wait to finally see Ms. Fraser’s fiery and rugged design in circulation.

For the record, Ms. Fraser’s drawing had already been used once, on the 1999 Commemorative $5 Gold honoring the 200th anniversary of by George Washington the death. Yet, of course, this gold coin never circulated. That’s why it’s such a treat, until 2025.

The three classic pieces I selected and their designers shared a common bond. Pratt and James Fraser worked under the tutelage of Auguste Saint-Gaudens and Laura Fraser won an award in her name. So, of course, new collectors looking for a dynamic and inspiring design need look no further. And while each type piece is above the original budget I set earlier, they should be included here.

Why? Because $20 from St. Gaudens and $10 gold Coins are perhaps the most strikingly beautiful coins ever created for general circulation.

Both provide a wonderful visual double-deal. Each series has an abundance of genuine rarities that will set even the deepest wallets back. However, common type coins in MS 63 can still be found at relatively reasonable levels

Currently, a $10 NGC MS 63 Indian will be around $1,600 and the $20 Saints around $2,300 in the same category.

As this article publishes, you still have a few days left to take advantage of the chance to win a Saint-Gaudens $20 Mint State coin. APMEX honors ANA Week with cool coins that have completed the Dynamic Designs Challenge and also offers free entries for a chance to win a 1924 $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Coin here.

You have until April 23 to participate. Good luck!

The list, of course, is long. My fellow co-indexers, I would also be very interested to hear about your favorite American play.

Until next time, be safe and happy to collect!


Jim Bisognani is an NGC price guide analyst, having previously worked for many years as an analyst and writer for another major price guide. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.

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