Growing up in a Numismatic Family

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  1. JulieW

    JulieW Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    An exhaustive and fine article on some significant collections.

    https://coinweek.com/us-coins/harve...ismatic-family-the-early-days-of-stacks-1979/


    The distribution by the United States Mint of all the silver coins they may have stored (along with the change from silver to clad that started in 1964) affected the silver dollar market as late as 1979–especially the Carson City Mint silver dollar market.

    The United States, in the late 1870s, had issued a series of paper currency that was intended to replace the “heavy silver dollars” then in circulation. One would no longer need “leather lined pockets” to carry a few dollars for general purposes. And when the Mint found silver coins in its vaults, they sent them back to be remelted into silver ingots. For some reason that has never been explained, some three million dollars–primarily the Morgan dollars struck at Carson City–were not melted and were rediscovered in the early 1970s, still in the vaults.

    The Mint then engaged the General Services Administration (GSA) to have the coins inspected, sorted, and marketed. The publicity of the find, especially for numismatists, was astounding. The GSA engaged a group of professional dealers and staff members to sort the coins by branch mint and date and also put an arbitrary grade on those examined.

    Most of the coins were MINT STATE. Those that had the fewest bag marks (nicks and abrasions from contact with other coins in the same bag) got the highest category; the rest were sorted by the amount of bag wear. Dollars that were overwhelmingly scratched and nicked were melted.

    The United States Mint then, in 1972, started a publicity campaign, with each coin was encased in a blue plastic holder. The Mint thought they would sell more than one million because of the publicity, but “THE GREAT SILVER SALE”, as it was labeled, of some 1.7 Million coins was not as successful as the GSA thought it would be: only one million coins were sold.

     

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