Austria, 1 schilling, 1970

September 24, 2011

Jump forward seven years.

Austria, 1 schilling, 1970 (KM #2886)


Not legal tender since 2001, in case you were wondering. Contains a few cents of brass, that’s all.

1970 brings to mind Apollo 13, Patton and the Osaka World’s Fair, in that order.

Mintage is 10,678,600
Metal Aluminum-bronze
Weight 4.2 g
Diameter 22.5 mm
Thickness 1.1 mm
Engravers Ferdinand Welz (obverse)
Edwin Grienauer (reverse)
Shape Round
Orientation Medal alignment
Demonetized 02-28-2002

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United Kingdom, half penny, 1963

September 24, 2011

We took a trip on a grand old ship….

United Kingdom, half penny, 1963 (KM #896)


Under the pre-decimal system, this coin was worth 1/2 of a penny, or 1/24th of a shilling, or 1/480th of a pound sterling. That’s almost one fifth of a decimal penny! What a low valued coin! USD $0.0032! People complain enough about one cent being useless. Think of how much grief there would be if we still used thirds of a cent.

But the matter is moot since this coin, since it lost legal tender status decades ago. But it still has 4 or 5 cents of copper in it.

1963 is, of course, the year JFK was assassinated. From Russia With Love and The Great Escape were big at the movies. Alcatraz is shuttered. The Beatles record and release Please Please Me. The USS Thresher is lost with all hands to an unknown cause. Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.

Mintage is 45,036,000
Metal Bronze
Weight 5.7 g
Diameter 25.4 mm
Thickness 1.3 mm
Engravers Mary Gillick (obverse)
Thomas Humphrey Paget (reverse)
Shape Round
Orientation Medal alignment ↑↑
Demonetized 08-01-1969

Italy, 10 lire, 1953

September 21, 2011

I’m surprised that this common Italian coin has not been featured already.

Italy, 10 lire, 1953 (KM #93)


The aluminum 10-lire coin debuted in 1951 and was minted for half a century through 2001, right until the euro advent. It features a plow and wheat, illustrating Italy’s agricultural bounty. Who can imagine Italy without pasta?

What else was going on in 1953? Dwight Eisenhower took office as President. Joseph Stalin died. An armistice brokered a truce for the Korean War (which still stands to this day). Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for treason, allegedly for selling nuclear secrets to the Soviets. The atomic submarine Nautilus was under construction. Watson and Crick discover the DNA double helix, and Jonas Salk reveals his polio vaccine. Hilary conquers Everest. Elizabeth II is crowned. My mother’s parents got married.

Mintage = 151,500,000
Metal Aluminum
Weight 1.6 g
Diameter 23.25 mm
Thickness 1.5 mm
Engraver Giuseppe Romagnoli
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment
Demonetized 02-28-2002

Canada, 1 cent, 1977

September 18, 2011

Close to home, here’s a Canadian coin for a change.

Canada, 1 cent, 1977 (KM #59.1)


Ah, 1977… back when US and Canadian cents were still bronze. 1977 will be forever remembered as the year that gave us Star Wars.

This coin is still worth one cent in Canada, and will exchange for a US cent too. I wonder how long that will last as Canada currently debates the discontinuation of the cent. it is my opinion that the fate of the one cent coin (both US and Canadian) is purely political; its economic fate has already been sealed. I think both US and Canadian cents will stop production by decade’s end, 2020.

Mintage = 453,762,670
Metal Bronze
Weight 3.24 g
Diameter 19.05 mm
Thickness 1.65 mm
Engravers Arnold Machin (obverse)
George Edward Kruger Gray (reverse)
Shape Round
Orientation Medal alignment

Italy, 50 lire, 1962

September 18, 2011

Same coin as the one from March 6th, just a different year.

Italy, 50 lire, 1962 (KM #95.1)


These 50-lire coins are very common in foreign coin bins at local coin shows. They are worth very little since they are not rare, no longer legal tender, and only made of stainless steel. Mintage is 17.7 million.

For me the defining thing about 1962 was the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Metal Stainless Steel
Weight 6.25 g
Diameter 24.8 mm
Thickness 1.95 mm
Engraver Giuseppe Romagnoli
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment
Demonetized 02-28-2002

France, 1 franc, 1960

August 26, 2011

It’s France again.

France, 1 franc, 1960 (KM #925.1)


In 1959, France revalued the franc 100 to one, with new coins released in 1960. This coin is an all-nickel version of the silver franc minted from 1898 to 1916, and this type would be struck for the remainder of the century. It’s worth quite a bit for its nickel content alone now, which makes up for its legal tender value of zero.

Mintage is a whopping 406,375,000!
Metal Nickel
Weight 6 g
Diameter 24 mm
Thickness 1.79 mm
Engraver Louis-Oscar Roty
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment
Demonetized 02-17-2002

France, 10 centimes, 1941

August 26, 2011

This one is going to get oddly specific.

France, 10 centimes, 1941 (KM #897)


The French made three different varieties of the 10 centime coin in 1941. This is the type with the underlined “MES” and with dots on both sides of the date. This is a zinc version of the copper-nickel 10 centime coin that had been in production since 1920, and the Vichy state would stamp their own national design on this coin starting in 1942.

Mintage is unreported.
Metal Zinc
Weight 2.5 g
Diameter 21 mm
Engraver Edmond-Emile Lindauer
Shape Round with a hole
Orientation Coin alignment
Demonetized 07-31-1947

Denmark, 10 ore, 1955

August 26, 2011

Another bonus coin tonight.

Denmark, 10 ore, 1955 (KM #841.1)


This type of 10 ore was minted from 1948-1960, during the reign of King Frederick IX. If it hadn’t been demonetized in 1989, this one would be worth 1.9 cents USD. Note the tiny letters underneath the word “ORE”. Those serve like privy marks, denoting the chief official for the Danish Mint at the time, or something like that. I’m not entirely sure who they represent.

Mintage is 17,623,000
Metal Copper-nickel
Weight 2.95 g
Diameter 17.91 mm
Thickness 1.55 mm
Shape Round
Orientation Medal alignment
Demonetized 03-30-1989

Spain, 25 pesetas, 1968

August 26, 2011

Finally, I coin I can ID, with the help of a magnifying lens.

Spain, 25 pesetas, 1968 (KM #787)


If you think that 1957 is the mintage year for this coin, you are WRONG! The real mintage year is a two digit year stamped inside the six-pointed star to the left of the eagle on the reverse. The date that appears under Franco is the design date, which was fixed to a certain year until the design changed. This was a very unusual and very annoying thing the Spanish Mint did from 1947 through 1982. I used to think the design date was the mintage date, but now I know better, and so do you. This coin also has the unusual trait of raised edge lettering (instead of the more common inscribed edge designs). To my knowledge, only Spanish coins of this era did that. By the way, the euro killed this coin.

Mintage is 30,000,000
Metal Copper-Nickel
Weight 8.6 g
Diameter 26.6 mm
Thickness 2.15 mm
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment
Demonetized yes

France, 10 centimes, 1850s

August 26, 2011

The first coin I pulled today is one of these:

France, 10 centimes (KM #771)


This half dollar sized copper coin was made somewhere between 1853 and 1857, and featured Louis Napoleon III as Emperor of France. Demonetized in 1935, it has been a long time since this coin was spendable anywhere, and is certainly more valuable as a disk of copper. I’ve seen several of these pass through my collection, almost always in poor condition.

Metal Bronze
Weight 10 g
Diameter 30.2 mm
Engraver Jean-Jacques Barre
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment
Demonetized 01-01-1935

My coin is nearly worn smooth. The date reads “18 something something” and I cannot make out the mintmark on the reverse. Mintage could be as much as 19 million. Since I can’t conclusively identify this coin beyond type, it is not a coin of the day, and I’ll skip to another one.