2013 Austria 1.5 Euro Silver Coin Philharmonic

Austria Philharmonic 2013 Silver 1.5 Euro Coin reverse

Austria Philharmonic 2013 Silver 1.5 Euro Coin reverse

This coin is an Austrian silver 1 ounce bullion piece. Austria is one of the biggest silver minters worldwide. Philharmonics are collected by stackers along with the American Silver Eagles, Chinese Pandas, Canadian Maples, Mexican Libertads, Russian St. George 3 Rubles, and Great Britain’s Brittanias. They’ve been issued annually since 2008, and have a beautiful musical themed obverse celebrating the instruments of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

On the obverse, the dominant image is the pipe organ of the Musikverein concert hall in Vienna, Austria. The legends on this side of the coin include the German words “REPUBLIK OSTERREICH” clockwise from 9:00 to 3:00 and “1 UNZE FEINSILBER” horizontally about 2/3 of the way down the coin. Below that is the date, and at the bottom from 7:00 to 5:00 is the denomination “1.50 EURO”.

Austria Philharmonic 2013 Silver 1.5 Euro Coin

Austria Philharmonic 2013 Silver 1.5 Euro Coin

The reverse shows an array of musical instruments, under the legend “Wiener Philharmoniker” from 9:00 to 3:00. The instruments include a violin, viola, cello, bassoon, flute, harp, and French horn.

Identification code: KM-3159

Date: 2013

Mint Mark: n/a

Mintage: 14,536,400

Country of origin: Austria

Composition: 99.9% Silver

Size: 37mm

Weight: 31g (1 oz)

Other details: Thomas Pesendorfer is the artist behind the reverse design. His imagery was originally designed in 1989 for use on the Gold Austrian Philharmonic Coin.

The Austrian mint was founded in 1194 by Duke Leopold VI of Austria. Leopold was paid a huge 15 ton silver ransom by England’s King Richard the Lionheart when the king traveled through the region on his return from The Crusades. Today, the Austrian Mint produces all the circulation and commemorative coins for the national government.

Estimated Value: $23 with silver at ~$18/oz

1830 Small Bust Dime United States

This coin is in rough shape. But, at nearly 200 years of age, I can only hope to look as good! I would grade this as a G4, with the reverse possibly meriting a VG8 (that could just be wishful thinking). The obverse seems to have old residue, possibly from a piece of tape.

US - Dime - 1830 Bust Disme Obverse shows a woman wearing a turban looking to the left. This coin is worn so that all the letters are only barely visible.

US – Dime – 1830 Bust Disme Obverse

The obverse shows a woman facing to the left. She wears a cap with the legend “LIBERTY” on the band, and has a rather sharp profile formed by a practically straight line down her forehead to the tip of her nose. Her hair is long, with curls that gather at her neck both towards her chin and behind her. The top of a toga is visible. Seven 6-sided stars are to her left, with six more stars to her right. The date is at 6:00.

US - Dime - 1830 Reverse

US – Dime – 1830 Reverse

On the reverse, an eagle with it’s wings spread clutches olive branches in it’s right talon (on the left side) and arrows in it’s left talon (on the right side). The eagle’s chest is covered with a heraldic shield, and scrollwork over it’s head carries the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. From 8:00 to 4:00, the legend reads “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”. The denomination “10C” is at 6:00.

Date: 1830

Mint Mark: n/a (Philadelphia)

Catalog code: US KM-48

Mintage: 510,000 (PCGS estimates the coin as having an R5 of 1,000 or less surviving in all grades)

Country of origin: United States of America

Composition: 89.20% silver

Size: 18.5mm diameter

Weight: 2.7 grams (for an ASW of 0.0774 oz)

Other details: The Redbook lists 3 major die varieties: 1830 Large C, 1830 Small C, and 1830 30 Over 29 (overdate). There are also 8 varieties identified as JR-1 through JR-8 (I’m still working on learning what sets those apart still to attribute this particular variety).

For an interesting history of the dime in US coinage, check out NGC’s post on early dimes (other proposed names included a disme, deci, or tenth).

Most interesting to me – the engraver who created the Bust pattern (John Reich) came to the US as an indentured servant and was freed when his contract was paid off by an unknown benefactor at the US mint. He later became “2nd engraver,” junior to Chief Engraver Robert Scot. It is possible that Scot (who is not remembered for being a particularly talented engraver and who was going blind in his elder years) paid off the contract in order to keep his prestigious title while letting Reich do the actual work, but Reich’s benefactor is unknown. Others have speculated that Mint Director Robert M. Patterson may have paid off his indenture.

What is known is that Reich was prolific & redesigned practically every coin in circulation at the time. From 1807 to 1817, he labored at very modest income & reworked the half cent, cent, dime, quarter, half dollar, $2.5 dollar, and $5 gold pieces. John Reich resigned from the mint in 1817 after 10 years of work without any promotion or raise in pay. His salary ($600 per year) sure puts the contemporary value of these coins in perspective!

At the start of the 19th century, the dime was still unfamiliar to most Americans. Even though a Congressional Act in 1792 had called for a decimal system based on the dollar, they were some of the last coins introduced by the mint. Dimes were also made in very low quantities because merchants who paid the mint to convert silver into coinage often preferred larger denomination coins which were easier to securely store and transport by ship or stagecoach.

Spanish silver and coins from Mexico circulated widely in the US at the time. The Spanish real (1/8 of a Spanish pillar dollar) was treated as a 12.5 cent piece, and paired well in making change for US quarters (aka “2 bits”). Another coin that circulated at the time was a Spanish coin of lower silver alloy struck in the 1700’s. Though these were called two reales, the lower inherent value meant that these “pistareen” coins were treated as having a face value of 20 cents. The dime first gained widespread use making change for pistareens.

US - Dime - 1830

US – Dime – 1830

US - Dime - 1830 04

US – Dime – 1830 04

Estimated Value: $20-25 with silver at ~$16/oz (silver price doesn’t really affect these due to their high numismatic value)

Gold 20 Peso coin from Mexico dated 1959

This coin is in excellent shape. It was graded BU by the seller, and I think it would slab out at MS-62 or MS-63. It was also quite a splurge; I grabbed it on a whim just because it was darn pretty and the seller who displayed it had no qualms about using her bare hands to handle it. Had to save this dusky little beauty from such abuse!

Coin - Mexico - 20 Peso - 1959 Obverse

Coin – Mexico – 20 Peso – 1959 Obverse

The obverse shows a famous Aztec stone – the Cuauhxicalli. This monumental piece is believed to have been carved around 1479 during the reign of the 6th Aztec ruler. The Cuauhxicalli is also known as the Sun Stone, Aztec Calendar, Stone of the Five Eras, and Eagle Bowl. It is huge – at almost a 12 foot diameter, it weighs more than 24 tons. It has a similar design and pattern to other Aztec sacrificial altar decorations & may at one time have been used for holding bodies or body parts. The piece was buried shortly after the Spanish conquest, hidden under earth in the Zócalo (main square) of Mexico City. In 1760, it was unearthed and placed as a decoration in the Western tower of the metropolitan Cathedral, where it remained for 125 years. In 1885, it was transferred to the national Museum of Archaeology and History by order of the President of the Republic, General Porfirio Diaz. The Cuauhxicali takes up most of the center to the top of the obverse. Below it is the denomination “Veinte Pesos”. Below that is the legend “*15 Gr. ORO PURO*”

Coin - Mexico - 20 Peso - 1959 Reverse

Coin – Mexico – 20 Peso – 1959 Reverse

On the reverse, the dominant image is of an eagle feasting on a snake while perched on a prickly pear cactus. The legend reads clockwise from just before 9:00 to just after 3:00 “Estados Unidos Mexicanos”. The date is placed diagonally behind/below the eagles posterior.

Identification code: Mexico KM-478

Date: 1959* (see blow, under mintage)

Mint Mark: n/a

Mintage: Approximately 13,000 were minted in 1959. But, according to NGC, there were extensive restrikes with the old date still being used. “During 1960-1971 a total of 1,158,414 pieces were restruck, most likely dated 1959. In 1996 matte restrikes were produced. An additional 78,000 pieces dated 1959 were struck in 2000-2009”. That gives a total mintage of approximately 1,249,414 to date (with more possibly on the way).

Country of origin: Mexico

Composition: 90% gold (& 10% copper?)

Size: 27.5 mm diameter, 2 mm thick

Weight: 16.6 grams (for 15g or 0.4823 troy oz of pure gold / AGW (Actual Gold Weight))

Other details: 90% gold purity has proven a difficult sell. Many collectors prefer items with 99.9, 99.99, or 99.999% gold purity due to reduced storage & security costs. After all, a 90% gold coin also has 10% of base metal, which is “wasted” space in a storage vault or safe. The US mint had a short lived American Arts medal series in 90% gold in the 80’s, but abandoned it to focus on “purer” issues with extremely low face values. (As I write this, 20 pesos are worth approximately $1.32 US, while US bullion gold coins run from $5 to $100 face values).

One theory about why the denominations are so bizarrely low is that governments could theoretically seize the assets & redeem them only at face value. Since the 1959 peso has been demonetized (and the neuvo peso that replaced it has been demonetized too) that seems a bit odd in this case. Just something to bear in mind.

90% gold content was historically how coins were minted for most of the 19th century. Purer gold content was possible, but led to rapid wear and tear in consumers pockets. As this coin was minted long after gold coinage was in regular use, it’s gold ratio may simply be a historical nod.

Estimated Value: $625 with gold just under ~$1200/oz

Canada 1943 5 Cent Coin – V for Victory

This coin is in EF45 condition, with traces of luster. It is a one year type, and not many were kept in good shape.

Coin - Canada 1943 5 Cent - V for Victory in Brass Obverse

Coin – Canada 1943 5 Cent – V for Victory in Brass Obverse

The obverse shows King George the 6th, bare headed and facing to the left. The legend reads “GEORGIVS VI D:G:REX ET IND:IMP:”

Coin - Canada 1943 5 Cent - V for Victory in Brass Reverse

Coin – Canada 1943 5 Cent – V for Victory in Brass Reverse

On the reverse, a flaming torch is placed in front of a Roman numeral 5 (V). The legend “CANADA” goes CW from 10:00 to 2:00, with the date spread on either side of the central device (“19 – 45”) and the other half of the denomination CW from 7:00 to 4:00 (“CENTS”).

Identification code: Canada KM-40 (1943 only)

Date: 1943

Mint Mark: n/a

Mintage: 24,760,256

Country of origin: Canada

Composition: Tombac (Brass: 88% copper, 12% zinc)

Size: 21.2 mm in diameter, 1.7 mm thick

Weight: 4.5g

Other details: There are a *ton* of varieties of this “nickel”. This coin is dodecagonal, which was done to make it easy to tell them apart from the other circulating brass coinage (a 1 cent piece). The nickel that was normally used in 5 cent coins was a critical war material (much like the American 5 cent pieces, where silver was substituted).

Estimated Value: $2-5 (and less in worse shape… and I got this one for 10 cents from a junk bin)

Coin - Canada 1943 5 Cent - V for Victory in Brass Obverse 2

Coin – Canada 1943 5 Cent – V for Victory in Brass Obverse 2

Coin - Canada 1943 5 Cent - V for Victory in Brass Reverse 2

Coin – Canada 1943 5 Cent – V for Victory in Brass Reverse 2

Tazewell County Illinois 1/4 Cent Tax Token

This coin is a tax token from one of the Illinois Counties. The state issues were far more common, but Illinois & Washington State had many different county issuers.

Obverse legend reads “Redeemable in Pekin, Illinois / Association Of Commerce” in 2 concentric circles clockwise from 7:00 to 5:00. The denomination of “1/4 c” is in the center. A diamond shape is at 6:00.

Token - Tax - Tazewell County Illinois Quarter Cent 01a

Token – Tax – Tazewell County Illinois Quarter Cent 01a

The reverse has the legend “Tazewell County Token” clockwise from 7:00 to 5:00 around the same denomination. A diamond shape is at 6:00.

Token - Tax - Tazewell County Illinois Quarter Cent 02

Token – Tax – Tazewell County Illinois Quarter Cent 02

Identification code: L97 (there are L97a through L97f varieties – I don’t know what differentiates them… yet!)

Date: 1936

Mint Mark: n/a

Mintage: unknown (although this is listed as a relatively common R1-R3 token)

Country of origin: United States

Composition: Copper

Size: 16.5 mm

Weight: unknown

Estimated Value: $3-15 (I found 2 that sold on eBay: an AU one that went for $8 and one in roughly the same shape as this one that sold for $16)

1891 German East African 1 Rupie Silver Coin

This coin is a neat piece of history, from the German colony of East Africa (modern day Tanzania). That short lived bit of colonialism got knocked out early on in the first world war (the last coins were minted in 1916). I’d grade this one in Fine (F12) to Very-Fine (VF20) condition.

German East Africa - 1 Rupee 1891 Obverse

German East Africa – 1 Rupee 1891 Obverse

The obverse shows the German Kaiser Willhelm the second in military garb, from the chest up, facing to the left. He has a rather odd eagle on his helmet (where a spike would normally be in Prussian uniform). The legend reads “Guilelmus II Imperator” from 8:00 to 4:00.

German East African - Eine Rupia 1891 Reverse

German East African – Eine Rupia 1891 Reverse

On the reverse, there’s an odd crest in the center, with a tropical tree supplanted by a lion striding to the left (with it’s right paw raised) all inside of a scrolling, scalloped shape that defies easy description. The date is at the bottom of the crest. There’s a ring outside the crest, with the legend written outside that. It reads “Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Gesellschaft” from 8:00 to 4:00. The denomination is written in that same area from 7:00 to 4:00 ‘ “Eine Rupie”.

Identification code: GermanEastAfrica KM-2 (1890-1902)

Date: 1891

Mint Mark: n/a (Berlin)

Mintage: 126,000

Country of origin: Germany (for use in modern day Tanzania)

Composition: 91.7% silver (8.3% copper, presumably)

Size: 30mm

Weight: 11.6 grams

Other details: After 1902, the pattern on the Rupiah’s reverse changed pretty drastically. Instead of the shield pattern, the imagery was removed and replaced with “1 Rupie” + the date within a wreath.

Estimated Value: $20-30 with silver at ~$20/oz (these have a premium above their silver content)

German East African Rupee 1891 Obverse

German East African Rupee 1891 Obverse

Coin - German East Africa - 1 Rupia 1891 02

Coin – German East Africa – 1 Rupia 1891 02