Monthly Archives: October 2013

History of the Peace Dollar

1921_peace_dollar_satin_obvPeace dollars were minted between 1921 and 1935. They were created to celebrate America’s victory in World War I. Made of 90 percent silver, Peace dollars helped to establish the United States as a major world power.

The Peace dollar was briefly minted in 1965. However, all samples of this issue were melted down and never released to the public. The Peace dollar is the last silver dollar minted for circulation in the U.S.

The Design

The front of the coin is graced with Lady Liberty, while the reverse side depicts the image of a perched eagle. The artwork design was that of Antonio de Francisci, an Italian immigrant and sculptor. In late 1921, the Commission of Fine Arts held a competition for the design of the new silver dollar. Eight prominent sculptors were invited to participate and de Francisci won the prize. The Peace dollar includes the phrase “in god we trvst.” Many believe it to be a spelling error, but it’s actually the Latin spelling for the word trust. Therefore, it means “In God We Trust.”

Value of Peace dollar

While the Peace dollar was only minted for a short period of time, this coin is quite popular among collectors. The minimum value of a Peace dollar is $23. There are a couple rate dates, including 1921 and 1928, that are valued at $55 and $160 respectively. Most of the value of a Peace dollar is found in higher grades. This includes uncirculated or Mint State coins. The uncirculated Peace dollar is very desirable coin.

1934-S Peace dollar

The 1934-S Peace dollar is a very interesting coin. In good condition, this coin can be worth $30, in slightly better condition the coin jumps to $33. However, the uncirculated version, which is very rare, is worth more than $1,200. As you can see, subtle differences can have a large effect on the value of the coin. If you have any questions about your Peace dollar, ask a coin collector or dealer. They can help you to better understand the full value of your coin.

Unofficially Produced Coin

On August 3, 1963, Congress passed legislation to produce 45,000,000 silver dollars. The new coins were intended to be used at Nevada casinos and elsewhere in the West. However, in 1965, after much debate, congress announced that the coins were deemed trial strikes, never intended for circulation. The Mint later stated all pieces struck had been melted under heavy security.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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5 Tips to Avoid Fake Gemstones

Cardinal_gemsLike many coins, there are increasing amounts of fake gemstones flooding the market. Natural gemstones are created by nature with no human interference. Jewelers may cut or polish natural gemstones, but they are not altered other ways.

With so many synthetic or imitated gems available today, it can be very hard to distinguish a real gemstone from a fake, especially over the Internet. Therefore, we’ve provided some tips to help you avoid imitations:

Too good to be true

The first sign of fake gems is certainly a low price. That said, you should always avoid gemstone deals or sales that appear too good to be true. Instead, make gemstone purchases from reputable dealers that guarantee authentic gemstones and include cash-back returns. Plus, most jewelers will have tests and equipment that can classify authentic gemstones and reveal imitations.

Compare with real gems

When possible, compare gems with real gemstones. Taking a gem class or workshop is a great way to gain access to authentic samples. When examining real gemstones, always use a loupe. The higher the magnification the easier it will be to spot a fake. Also, real gemstones have minor imperfections and inconsistencies, whereas man-made imposters will look waxy or slick.

 Weigh the stone

Generally speaking, synthetic gemstones weigh more than real ones. Synthetic gems are denser, however, you can clearly feel the weight difference between the two types of gems. Synthetic gems often have chemicals added to make them look real, making them heavier than genuine stones.

Examine the color

Carefully examine the characteristics of the gemstone. A fake gemstone will have an uneven luster and color. Uneven color could suggest a poor dye job. Some frauds even paint the tip of a gemstone to make the color stand out better. Also, synthetic gems typically have more sparkle than real gemstones.

Talk to an expert

Before making a purchase, talk to an expert. You should also consider having the gem appraised before purchasing it. A gemologist will be able to spot a fake right away. He or she will also be able to confirm the value of the stone. There are plenty of books on gemstones available. Pick one up and study it before you make any purchase.

Synthetic gemstones have similar properties as natural gems, but they are man-made. Because fake gems are becoming more prevalent throughout the jewelry industry, it’s important to educate yourself about fake gemstones. This will help you to understand what you are buying when you purchase jewelry or loose gemstones.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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What is Coin Grading?

Loupe-triplet-30x-0aCoin grading is the process of determining a coin’s value. Grading depends on a few things. First, how well the coin was originally struck. Second, how well the metal has been preserved and last, how much wear and damage the coin has suffered since it was minted. Coin grading can be difficult for beginners. Here are the basics of coin grading:

70-Point Grading Scale

The Sheldon Coin Grading Scale is a 70-point grading scale used to determine a coin’s quality. A slightly modified form of the Sheldon Scale is used today by all the major coin companies, including the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). The 70-point grading scale ranges from a grade of Poor (P-1) to Perfect Mint State (MS-70). Over time, coins vary in degrees of “wear” from circulation. Therefore, coin grades are based primarily on eye appeal, quality of luster and/or toning.

Circulated Coins

Circulated coins are those that have been used in daily commerce and have some wear from person-to-person handling. Once a coin enters general circulation, it immediately begins to show signs of wear. Luckily, circulated coins are the easiest to find and grade. Circulated coins are graded as follows: good, very good, fine, very fine, extra fine, and about uncirculated.

Uncirculated Coins

Coins that have never been in circulation are referred to as uncirculated coins. These coins may have been stored in their original mint sealed bags or in wrapped rolls. As a result, they display no wear from general circulation. Uncirculated coins have great quality and scarcity, which means they’re high value. Most uncirculated coins range from MS-60 to MS-70. For most, it takes years of experience to become an expert at grading uncirculated coins.

Proof Coins

A proof coin is stuck using a special minting process, which removes any and all imperfections. You will never see proof coins in circulation. They have a mirror-like finish and are inspected to rigid standards. Proof coins are only handled with gloves or tongs before they are specially packed for collectors. For this reasons, proof coins are worth much more than their face value.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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Tips For Collecting Foreign Coins

PesoBag-WebWhile some collectors find joy in collecting coinage by year, others look for the value of foreign coins. Foreign coin collecting is when you collect coins from countries other than your home country, like the United States. A grand achievement for a foreign collector might be to collect a coin from every country on earth. Foreign coins can be found in pocket change or unearthed from sunken treasures. Either way, these precious beauties are steeped in rich history!

How to get started

One way to start collecting foreign coins is by attending local and domestic auctions. Coin auctions allow you to buy, sell and find values for foreign coins. Another option would be to travel to a country and exchange American currency for foreign coins directly. However, the easiest method would be to order foreign coins from a trusted coin company.

Cost of foreign coinage

Foreign coins are tied to exchange rates; prices will vary. The best time to buy foreign coins is when the dollar is strong. Dealers will often adjust their coins to compensate for fluctuations in the currency exchange rate. However, if you’re really lucky you may find an incredible bargain!

Foreign coin identification

There have been many different forms of currency throughout history. Therefore, identifying foreign coins can be somewhat challenging. The first step in identifying a foreign coin is to determine which country the coin was distributed. Some have the country displayed on the coin; others don’t have any writing at all. The next step is to determine the coin denomination. Each country has a different name for its currency and different names for fractions of that currency. The last step is to find the date the coin was minted. Most of the world uses the Western dating system, so locating the year of the coin is should be fairly simple.

Popular foreign coins

Foreign coins come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are round, square or multi-sided coins. Foreign coins also come in different colors too. For example, Canada and Mexico use the two-toned coins. The use of two colors gives higher-denomination coins a more distinctive look. Popular foreign coins include the Mexican Silver Peso, the Canadian Maple Leaf and the South African Krugerrand. However, there are many valuable foreign coins in circulation today.

With more than 190 different countries in the world today, most with their own coinage, you will never run out of coins to add to your collection. If this sounds interesting to you, think about starting your own foreign coin collection today!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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