• 12
    Mar

Pre-War Ethiopian Coins: Lions, Thalers and Birrs, Oh My!

By Gerald Tebben Money in Ethiopia before the First World War was a complicated affair. But bullets, as might be expected, could always be counted upon to cut through the confusion in marketplaces from Himora, in the cotton country north of Lake T’ana, to Werden in the Ogaden Desert. Tracing its independence to biblical antiquity—when […]

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  • 6
    Mar

Mint Reports Offer Insights into More than Coinage

By Gerald Tebben The United States Mint’s production facilities are gigantic factories with metal planchets and planchet-strip materials coming in by the truckload and finished products going out by armored car. Every year the director of the Mint produces a report to the United States Congress. The report, compiled on a fiscal-year basis, can run […]

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  • 3
    Mar

Let My Denarius Go: Collector to Free Ancient Coin from Slab

By Gerald Tebben I recently bought a denarius of Vespasian celebrating Rome’s capture of Judea in 70 A.D. It’s one of those coins that spoke to the people of its time and speaks to the people of today, too. It was minted at a time when the books of the New Testament were still being […]

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  • 2
    Mar

Tavern Tokens Proliferated in Tumultuous 17th-Century London

By Gerald Tebben When I was in high school more than 40 years ago, English classes consisted of reading short stories, Shakespeare and excerpts from larger works. One of the items I most enjoyed was Samuel Pepys’ famous diary. Pepys kept the diary from 1660 to 1669, a tumultuous time when his star was rising […]

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  • 1
    Mar

Q & A with Harry Rinker: World War Two-Era USO Entertainer-Signed Dollar Bill

QUESTION: I have a bill that my father carried through his World War II service in Africa, Italy and Germany. The bill contains autographs obtained backstage from members of U.S.O. touring groups. Signatures include Louise Allbritton, June Allyson, Mary Brian, Eddie Cantor, Harry James, George Raft, Dinah Shore, and one name I cannot make out. The […]

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  • 28
    Feb

Union ‘Greenbacks’ Replace CSA Notes during the Waning Stages of the Civil War

By Gerald Tebben In the spring of 1864, Atlanta stood before Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and quaked. Conquest of the city was a Northern imperative, as Atlanta was a vital rail hub, important supply depot and the center of the South’s war industry. Sherman laid siege in May. Through July, skirmishes seesawed back and […]

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  • 21
    Feb

Hidden Surprises: Signatures on Old Checks are Part of Lithuanian History

By Gerald Tebben You never know what you’ll find when you walk by Dan Rich’s table at central Ohio coin and currency shows. In and among the coins, tokens and paper money, there’s always something different. One month, it was Chinese passports from the 1980s. Another time, it was Nazi travel documents. The stuff is […]

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  • 19
    Feb

Numismatic Mysteries: Three Issues Not Known to Exist

By Gerald Tebben Coin collecting is filled with might-have-beens and what-ifs, but for me, one of the most fascinating parts of the hobby is pieces that existed at one time but are no longer known to collectors. Here are three numismatic mysteries spanning 2,500 years. 1728 New Jersey bills On Feb. 10, 1727-1728 (the new […]

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  • 17
    Feb

What Not To Do With Coins: A Historical Perspective

By Gerald Tebben Here are some things not to do with coins: Do not put them in your mouth In the late 1990s, the University of California at San Francisco microbiology lab tested 40 coins picked up in change. Researchers placed the coins in petri dishes and incubated the resulting cultures for 48 hours. They […]

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  • 6
    Feb

Bent and Beautiful, this Half Groat is Part of Henry VIII’s Legacy

By Gerald Tebben The small silver coin was bent where a chisel had cut across the king’s image, granular from centuries buried under ground and colored a uniform dull white from a harsh cleaning. In short, it was beautiful. Priced at $15, the coin came with two histories—its personal one and a deep connection to […]

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