Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rick's Pedigree Coins - Pedigreed by History

In my last Blog, I wrote about documentation (authentication) for a Pedigree and the importance of labeling on the slab. As I mentioned, it ties the coin/currency to a special heritage or history and provides authentication assurance.  However, a coin/currency can still have a Pedigree heritage without any notation on the label.  Some of my special coins/currency of heritage have no Pedigree labeling but still have undisputed ties to heritages and History with a capital “H”.  Here are a few examples:

  1. Military Payment Certificates – was a form of currency used to pay military personnel in foreign countries starting after WWII and up to 1973.  For me, the Pedigree is the Military Payment Certificate.  It is unique, has a heritage and a history.  Additional information on the MPC program can be found at:

  1. 1943 Steel Penny - U.S. pennies were/are made out of copper but in 1943 pennies were made of steel with a zinc coating because copper was badly needed to support the war effort to make shell casings. This was a one-year effort and each of the active mints at the time (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco) produced the pennies. A few copper coins did “slip” through and are extremely rare and valuable. 

  1. 1942-1945 Silver Nickel - Nickel was also in short supply and needed for armor plating to support the war effort so Congress ordered the removal of the metal from the five-cent piece and the composition was changed to copper, silver and manganese (35% silver, 56% copper, 9% manganese) which lasted through the end of 1945. These specially minted nickels contained a large mintmark on the reverse over the dome of Monticello. This was the first time the “P” mintmark appeared on coins produced at the Philadelphia Mint. All three mints (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco) participated in the special minting and placement of the mintmark.  

  1. Civil War Token – I cannot describe the Civil War token any better than Wikipedia so here are their words:

“Civil War tokens are token coins that were privately minted and distributed in the United States between 1861 and 1864. They were used mainly in the Northeast and Midwest. The widespread use of the tokens was a result of the scarcity of government-issued cents during the Civil War.

Civil War tokens became illegal after the United States Congress passed a law on April 22, 1864 prohibiting the issue of any one or two-cent coins, tokens or devices for use as currency. On June 8, 1864 an additional law was passed that forbade all private coinage.

 Civil War tokens are divided into three types—store cards, patriotic tokens, and sutler tokens. All three types were utilized as currency, and are differentiated by their designs. The collectible value of the tokens is determined chiefly by their rarity.”

These coins/currency have amazing stories and lived through some of the most trying times in our history.  If you do not have any of these coins/currency in your Pedigree collection then you are missing an important part of our heritage.  Buy it, hold it, look at it and reflect on what people were experiencing during those times.   

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