By Coinweek ….
Here is a recap of some of the interesting, offbeat and other news items CoinWeek has come across this week.
1.) The Evolution of Money
Alex Hernandez, tech writer and founder of smartphone and computer technology site Techaeris.com, writes a brief introduction to the history of money and monetary payment methods. But the fascinating part is the infographic by ChoiceLoans, a UK “alternative finance” company, that illustrates a timeline of the evolution of money from the first coins to Bitcoin.
Wait… where’s Bitcoin?
2.) Make a Wish
This article from Travel+Leisure discusses what happens to coins thrown into some of the most famous fountains around the world. You might recognize the Trevi fountain in Rome; it was featured in such cinematic masterpieces as Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960); William Wyler’s Roman Holiday (1953), starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck; and Jim Fall’s Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003).
3.) 90 Years of Irish Coins
Sometimes a non-numismatic website surprises us when they talk about coins and we have to give credit where credit is due. This is one of those times.
Irish men’s website Joe.ie posted a fairly light but well-illustrated piece on all Irish coins minted since 1928. We highly recommend you take the time (it’s a quick read) and check it out.
World of the Weird
4.) I’m Not Saying It Was Aliens…
If the History Channel’s popular series Ancient Aliens has taught us anything, it’s that mankind is too stupid to have ever done anything clever or resourceful before the 20th century.
If it’s taught us anything else, it’s that the evidence for Alien babysitters is all around us.
From cave paintings to the Late Gothic and beyond, strange objects litter the background of many of the world’s cultural artifacts–and coins are no exception. A 17th-century French token (a jeton to be precise) has recently grabbed headlines again after it was featured on the blog www.ufosightingsdaily.com on March 2. The token features a wheel-like object in the sky, rendered in such a way as to leave no question that the designer was attempting to render… something… in three dimensions and as accurately as he could.
So whether you’re a nuts ‘n’ bolts true believer in EBEs or prefer your passport stamped in Magonia, be sure to check it out!
5.) March 1 Is National Pig Day
After St. Patrick’s Day, National Pig Day is the most celebrated national holiday in March.
Okay, of course it isn’t. But we all know it should be, and that’s the point. After all, pigs have been featured on coins since ancient times – and to prove it, we thought we’d shine the spotlight on Mike Markowitz’s classic CoinWeek essay on porcine numismatics, “Boars, Hogs, Sows and Piglets on Ancient Coins”
6.) U.S. Customs Destroys Ivory Antiques
What’s worse, they made the owners break the objects themselves.
The latest CoinsWeekly newsletter contained this article by Dr. Ursula Kampmann about what happened to two British antique dealers when they forgot to declare small amounts of ivory that were parts of the inventory they had brought with them to the United States. Some of the items were hundreds of years old.
Well-meaning regulations meant to curb the illicit trade in ivory apparently have unintended consequences when observed to the letter of the law. And while the broken items can be repaired with replacement parts, they’ll never be the same, and they’ll never be as valuable.
Any fan of history has to be squirming when they read something like this.
7.) France Threatens to Drive Coin Discoveries Underground
On February 29, Richard Giedroyc of Numismatic News reported on an earlier CoinsWeekly article from January 21. It discussed a new cultural protection law proposed by the French National Assembly that would give ownership of “any moveable archaeological items” found on any private property purchased after the bill became law to the government. On the face of it, Article L541-4 of the Heritage Act would have the opposite effect than what was intended. Instead of protecting and preserving France’s rich cultural heritage for generations to come, it provides the strongest possible disincentive against cooperating with authorities. Many finds, if not the vast majority, would go unreported, irreparably disrupting the archaeological record.
When will we learn? Collectors and archaeologists need to work together for the benefit of all. Sure, compromise will be required on both sides. But the urge to collect and pride of ownership isn’t going away any time soon, and everyone has a stake in a rigorous understanding of history and where we came from.
The Future Is Now
8.) License to (3D) Print Money
3D printers seem like something out of Star Trek. But while we’re not quite close to inventing the replicator, the 3D-printing of coins gets closer and closer to reality every day. In 2014, a 3D-Printed coin even flew aboard a test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.
Check out TCT Magazine’s piece on Cooksongold, a direct metal 3D-printing company that has developed a new technique to print coins out of precious metals:
Worthy Additions to Your Library
And before we wrap up this inaugural edition of the Weekly Roundup, we wanted to talk about a couple of recent numismatic books and book series that you may be interested in.
9.) Banknotes of Imperial Persia, First Edition
The American Numismatic Society (ANS) is proud to announce the publication of The Banknotes of the Imperial Bank of Persia, written by Michael E. Bonine. Bonine was a geographer who’s extensive travels enabled him to pursue his other great passion – numismatics.
This examination and analysis of the banknotes and the banking system that produced them is a true labor of love.
10.) Kolbe & Fanning’s Hardcover Auction Catalog Subscription Service
Kolbe & Fanning’s Hardcover Numbered Sales Catalog subscription service is now available. Basically, you receive one volume of a cloth-bound hardcover sales catalog at a time, as they are printed. The subscription starts with the most recent sale to have occurred at the time you sign up. Earlier hardcovers of past sales catalogues (starting at Sale 116) are also available for purchase at the subscription price while supplies last.
Be sure to visit Kolbe & Fanning online for more information.