By CoinWeek Staff Reports …..
Coinciding with National Coin Week (April 21-28), hundreds of the country’s leading coin dealers and collectors will be also celebrating the first Great American Coin Hunt by releasing a treasure trove of collectible vintage coins and paper money notes into circulation. This will mark the first time since the 1960s that it will be possible to find many of these coins in pocket change and for the astute, it will be a chance to really turn a profit!
The Evolution of Pocket Change Finds
The 1960s marked an ending of sorts for a whole generation of coin collectors.
In 1965, Congress voted to establish a new metallic standard for America’s circulating dime, quarter dollar, and half dollar coins. The dime and quarter, which had been struck in 90% silver since the earliest years of the United States Mint, were now to be struck in base metal. The half dollar would see it’s silver content reduced from 90% to 40%.
In the years immediately following this change of tenor, the Mint struck billions of dimes and quarters, and hundreds of millions of half dollars. The dime and quarter denominations saw their use in commerce explode, in large measure due to the increasing numbers of coin-operated vending machines.
The half dollar, on the other hand, quickly became obsolete. Few circulated and by the early 1980s, the half dollar saw about as much usage as the failed Susan B. Anthony dollar.
One of the most dramatic effects on the hobby to come from the Coinage Act of 1965 and the subsequent shift from silver to clad was the mass exodus of silver coins from circulation.
Bob Green from Park Avenue Numismatics talks with NBC News about the National Coin Hunt and placing rare coin and tokens into the marketplace, MusT See !
Overnight, silver coins became intrinsically more valuable that clad coins and even though, at the outset, the silver content found in each coin was worth less than face value, it was only a matter of years before the price of silver rose to the point that the basal value of silver coins exceeded face.
Speculation in the future value of these coins meant that the classic designs–which typically circulated for 30, 40, or 50 years or more–were no longer encountered in change.
This meant that a means by which generations of coin collectors first came into contact with the hobby would no longer be available as nearly all of the coins in circulation would be of recent vintage and lacking in rarity.
A Nationwide Movement of Coin Dealers and the Mint Look to Change This
Practical realities dictate that we will never again experience a period of widespread circulation of obsolete silver coins. Nevertheless, a group of coin dealers and collectors, led by Coin Dealers Helping Coin Dealers founder Rob Oberth, are looking to change the way Americans look at change.
On April 21, hundreds of dealers and collectors will be seeding America’s pocket change with millions of vintage coins from the 1800s, including Indian and Lincoln “wheat” cents from 1859-1958, Indian Head and Liberty Head nickels from 1883-1938, silver dimes from the 19th and first half of the 20th century, silver quarters, half dollars, and Ike dollars. The group will also distribute vintage one, two, five, and ten dollar notes. Rob Oberth plans to make one lucky person’s day by spending a gold coin. Other dealers throughout the country will mark the event in their own unique ways.
The United States Mint learned about Oberth’s plan to infuse collectible coins in pocket change last year and worked to create its own chase coin for circulation. As a result, on April 1, the Mint mixed into circulation two million quarter dollars bearing the W mintmark of the West Point Mint.
Typically, quarters in circulation are struck at Philadelphia or Denver and carry the P or D mintmarks. The release of W-mint quarters marks the first time the West Point mint ever struck a coin for circulation.
The first circulating coin denomination to feature the West Point mint’s W mintmark was a collector-only issue of the Roosevelt dime that was included in the 1996 mint set. The only way a 1996-W dime would enter into circulation would be if a collector cut the dime out of its cellophane wrapper and spent it purposefully.