By Coinweek ….
Howdy folks, and welcome to the weekly coin & currency news roundup! CoinWeek reads a lot of news every week, and the roundup is where we get to show you the stuff that was a little too off-center for the front page. We also take stock of some of the latest books and publications to hit the market.
This week it’s the All-Twiter, All-the-Time edition (not really).
The CoinWeek twitter feed was full of interesting tidbits last week:
1.) The Numismatic Diagnosis of Maximinus Thrax
We were intrigued by a tweet from the online Ancient Nomos Art Museum, which mentioned the possibility that Roman emperor Maximinus Thrax (Maximinus I, reigned March 20, 235 CE – May 10, 238), an intimidating giant of a man and the first of the “Barracks Emperors“, may have had acromegaly based on his coin portraits and surviving busts.
Acromegaly is a rare medical condition where the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone after the bones have stopped getting longer, essentially limiting the overactive growth to the face, head, hands and feet (though this is a greatly simplified description). Intriguingly, the condition can be reversed in some situations. Famous sufferers include the wrestler Big Show from the WWE, Ted Cassidy (the actor who played Lurch on The Addams Family) and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins.
2.) Smithsonian Women on Money Exhibit
The American Numismatic Society (ANS) twitter feed clued us in to a new exhibit showcasing women on money at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
Inspired by the recent announcement of a woman on the $10 bill from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the Smithsonian opened a new exhibit entitled “Women on Money” on March 18.
Covering everything and everyone, from the historical to the allegorical, from ancient coins to modern banknotes, the exhibit shows how women have been portrayed on money all over the world–including the United States.
And speaking of the $10 bill…
3.) Hamilton, the Musical!
Anybody here a Broadway fan? Then maybe you’ve heard of Hamilton, the 2015 musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography.
Before a visit to the White House on Wednesday, March 16, Mr. Miranda had the opportunity to meet with Secretary Lew. According to a subsequent tweet, Miranda–a big fan of Hamilton–said that Lew reassured him that he (and other Hamilton boosters) would be “very happy” about what was going to happen in regards to Hamilton’s iconic placement on the $10 federal reserve note. The tweet was in response to someone on Twitter who asked Miranda if he could use his influence to persuade Lew to keep Hamilton on the ten-spot.
If you’ve ever had one-on-one dealings with the federal government, then you won’t be surprised to hear that the Treasury Department categorized Mr. Lew’s answer to Miranda’s questions as being much more general and non-committal than as portrayed in the tweet above.
World of the Weird
4.) eBay Listing as Outsider Art
It’s possible that the CAPS LOCK is stuck on somebody’s keyboard. But if you take a minute to read it, you begin to forget that it’s a coin listing, and one is slowly reminded of the outsider art of Jesse Howard or Howard Finster (among others). The seller’s other listings are equally compelling if mildly befuddling.
Ah, but CoinWeek has a soft spot for everyone who can’t help but be themselves, and much love for the world’s mad geniuses.
5.) Yet Another Hilariously Bad YouTube Video
It’s something of a mini-series here at CoinWeek–we highly recommend you check out the previous installments here and here–and while compiling last week’s Weekly Roundup we encountered what we consider a fun and worthy addition.
One word: “Numismatism”.
Not having another four to accompany it in yet another installment, we present it to you here:
6.) Recovered How, Exactly… ?
This story comes to us from Amritsar in the state of Punjab, India. Most of it is fairly serious as these things go, involving the smuggling of gold coins. And I suppose no one should be surprised, really, as to how the items were smuggled into the country.
Still, it doesn’t make us exactly eager to handle coins raw for a while…
P.S. – Notice the list of previous occurrences, and the unfortunate choice of the word “biscuit”.
Crime & Punishment
7.) Spud Did It
This one almost belongs in our “World of the Weird” section. That or a Jay Leno Tonight Show sketch circa 1996.
In September of last year in Brigham City, Utah, a man going by the name Johnny L. Olson stole a number of silver coins that another individual had entrusted to him for storage. Brigham City Police have been working the case ever since.
Last week, they took a rather… “creative” approach to community outreach in the matter. A facebook post claimed that the suspect resembled the actor Ewen Bremner, one of the stars of Slumdog Millionaire (2008) director Danny Boyle’s breakout indie hit Trainspotting (1996).
We can only imagine the victim describing the perpetrator as looking like “that guy from that movie, you know, the one with the trains and the dead baby. No, not Obi-Wan, the other guy.”
But it’s the “NOT ACTUAL SUSPECT” printed over the actor’s headshot – among other comically desperate aspects – that makes this a must-see.
Also, help a guy get his coins back, maybe?
8.) Two on a Serious Tip
Time to get serious for a second.
- Antonio L. Ware, 33 of Indianapolis, was found guilty on Wednesday, March 2, of stealing close to $70,000 worth of gold coins from SilverTowne, for whom Mr. Ware had been employed when he committed the crime. Sentencing will be handed down on March 28. The whereabouts of the coins are as yet unknown.
- A White Lake, Michigan man’s coin collection and other valuables were stolen from his residence while he was out on a fraudulent call with his tow truck on February 20. A female suspect made the call from a cell phone she borrowed at a McDonald’s. A link to a YouTube video of the restaurant’s surveliance footage can be found below.
The latest CoinsWeekly newsletter contained the following articles by Dr. Ursula Kampmann:
9.) Roman Coin Hoard Ruins Friendship between Metal Detectorists
One friend discovered an initial 25 to 30 coins in a field, which encouraged the other to investigate the same area. The first friend’s metal detector started acting up so he left to fix it. In the meantime, the second friend had detected a pot containing over 1,600 Roman and British coins.
The British Museum is apparently interested in only one coin from the find, which means the two have to figure out how to equitably distribute the treasure between themselves.
10.) Upcoming Auctions
A brief listing of upcoming auctions is included, featuring such important events as:
- Naville Numismatics Live Auction 21: March 20
- Spink’s Auction of the Dr. Paul Broughton Collection of English Hammered Gold Coins: March 21
- Classical Numismatic Group’s Electronic Auction 371: March 23
- Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio’s Hong Kong Auction of Chinese and Asian Coins and Currency: April 5-8
11.) Bank and Mint News
Meanwhile, a lot was going on at the Central Banks and Mints of the world:
- Malta released its Numismatic Coin Program for 2016
- The Bank of Latvia asks Latvian citizens to take a survey for the 2015 Coin of the Year
- Old Swedish 20-, 50- and 1,000-krona banknotes no longer legal tender after June 30
- The Indian Overseas Bank sells first Indian Gold Coin (IGC) in domestic market
The Future Is Now
12.) Microsoft Says No to Bitcoin…
In an update to a piece Assistant Editor Hubert Walker wrote on December 12, 2014, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) of Redmond, Washington (you may have heard of them) has decided to drop support for bitcoin payments in the Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile stores.
According to Softpedia.com, existing balances can still be used to make purchases, but no refunds or exchanges will be forthcoming.
Official word from Microsoft is pending… but wait, what’s this???
13.) Microsoft Still Supporting Bitcoin Payments
But in other e-currency news, Dallas, Texas-based bullion dealer JM Bullion is also accepting bitcoin payments.
14.) 360 Terabytes on a Coin
Nothing that is as mobile as a coin is as durable. Nothing that is as durable as a coin is as mobile.
But this is just crazy.
Scientists at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom have developed a coin made of quartz that can hold up to 360 terabytes (TB) of data while preserving it for potentially billions of years. It uses a laser similar to the kind used in Lasik eye surgery to “encode information in 5 dimensions”.
Among the first volumes preserved for longer than the lifetime of the Earth are the King James Bible, the Magna Carta, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Newton’s Opticks.
15.) Epidemic of Fake $50 Notes in Australia
Over the course of the last two years, officials in Australia have pulled thousands of counterfeit $50 bills from circulation. Apparently, the notes are good enough to fool anti-counterfeiting devices at banks themselves.
And even though modern security features (such as holograms) are incorporated into the polymer bank note, investigators state that the operation or operations producing the notes manufactured them on a commercial inkjet printer.
One reason the notes have come under attack is the fact that they have not been redesigned since 1995, though a redesign and improved security features are coming in the near future.
Worthy Additions to Your (Digital) Library
And lastly, one more tweet.
16.) Colonial Newsletter on the NNP
On March 16, the ANS twitter feed hipped us on to the fact that the full run of the Colonial Newsletter (1960-2015)–all 159 issues–is now available in digital form on the Newman Numismatic Portal. Visit Pocket Change, the blog of the American Numismatic Society, for links and more information.
To read last week’s Roundup, click here.
Ancient Roman Coins Currently Available on eBay