Some Real Collectibles

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Atheist coin collectors, keep your eyes peeled!

The United States Mint just gave coin collectors a two-fer: They have, in one bold (if missed) stroke, created coins that not only honor our government's obligation to keep church and state separate, but which are also genuine instant collectibles -- due to the fact that they are irregular:

It looks like the U.S. Mint has struck again -- or not struck again, depending on how you look at it.

New dollar coins featuring John Adams are missing edge inscriptions including "In God We Trust," according to the Professional Coin Grading Service, a rare coin authentication company based in Newport Beach, Calif.

The company said people have found hundreds of Adams dollar coins without the edge lettering, repeating a previous mistake. In March, an unknown number of George Washington dollar coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint without "In God We Trust," "E Pluribus Unum" and the year and mint mark inscribed on the edge.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Mint said the agency is looking into the reports.

After the Washington "godless dollars" were discovered, the Mint pledged to more closely monitor the striking process.

But a Detroit collector received smooth-edged Adams dollars in sealed containers from the Philadelphia Mint. There also are reports of the opposite problem — Adams coins with edge lettering that has been double-struck, said Ron Guth, president of the Professional Coin Grading Service.

"It's too early to put a final price tag on the collector value of Adams presidential dollar errors because no one knows how many others will turn up," Guth said in a news release.

The Adams dollars, officially released into circulation May 17, are the second in a series of presidential coins slated to run until 2016. [link added]
I have found this rash of coins minted specifically to stimulate collecting over the past few years very annoying as it is, but this particular series of dollar coins takes the cake. Worthless as money to begin with, they aren't even aesthetically pleasing.

My reaction upon seeing one of these new dollars for the first time was, "I've seen subway tokens that look more like money than these!" Appropriately enough, I'd received the coin as change at a light rail platform.

-- CAV


Galileo Blogs said...

They're ugly, but I sure as hell would like to see more godless coins being minted.

Take God off our money. It's a small, but important symbolic step towards acknowledging the sanctity of the separation of church and state.

Incidentally, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury website, the phrase "In God We Trust" first appeared on the two-cent coin in 1864, and on paper currency in 1957.

Gus Van Horn said...

The image I posted here does not do the ugliness of these coins justice. Thise coins really are "breathtaking", in the Seinfeldian sense.

The Franklin Mint could have done better even during the 1970s.