What's this antique coin?

What's this antique coin?

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Can anyone identify this coin?
I found it with other coin in a bag left by my father after he passed away.

It looks like a rather poor copy of an Athenian 'Owl' tetradrachm. The portrait on the obverse is the goddess Athena.

The original coins were struck from silver as can be seen in this example from the British Museum collection:

  • Image copyright © British Museum (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license)


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Don’t know the difference between a Peace or a Morgan silver dollar? Want to know all about Lincoln cents, Mercury dimes, U.S. paper money, silver certificates or why old coins are not necessarily valuable? Learn all this and more about coins and collecting right here. You’ll find the history, values and story behind all U.S. coin types made since the U.S. Mint first struck coins in 1793. There’s also a numismatic FAQ, a “What’s it Worth?” section for coin values and paper money values, hundreds of spectacular images of some unusually special copper, silver and gold coins, as well as a huge archive of the Coin Doc’s Answers to search or browse. It’s not only informative, it’s fun!

There are a variety of reasons one coin may have higher collector value than another. How can you determine whether the coins you have are valuable or not? Let&rsquos discuss the factors that affect value:

  • Age
  • Rarity
  • Condition
  • Supply & Demand
  • Precious Metal Content

Below we break down each of these factors to help you better understand your coin's value.

Age is never a sole determining factor of value. For example, you might think an American Silver Dollar from the 1880s, which is more than 130 years old, would always be less valuable than a Roman Silver coin, which is well over 2,000 years old. In many instances, that is not the case. A common-date Silver Dollar with lots of detail is valued at around $40. A common Silver Roman coin in decent condition is valued at $35 even though the Roman coin is more than 15 times older than the Morgan Dollar.

Rarity is another factor contributing to a coin&rsquos value. How is rarity determined? Rarity looks at the date of the coin and where it was made. Many U.S. coins have what is called a Mint mark, which is a tiny letter strategically placed on the coin to tell you at which mint the coin was made. Once you know the denomination, date and Mint mark (if any) of a U.S. coin, you can start to determine the coin&rsquos rarity. A big factor in determining rarity is to look at the number of coins that were minted for that date at that mint. The number of coins struck is called the mintage. Once all coins are struck, the supply is fixed and no more of that date and Mint mark will ever be produced. Mintages for U.S. coins can be obtained in the Guide Book of United States Coins, also called the &ldquoRed Book.&rdquo For Silver and Gold coins, the mintage numbers may no longer be accurate if the coin was in existence during 1979-1980 or 2008-2012, as those were years when Gold and Silver prices were very high and many coins were melted simply for their bullion value. The surviving mintages of those coins could be a tiny fraction of the original mintage.

Condition is another factor in determining the value of a coin. Coins are graded on a scale from 1 to 70, with 1 being Barely Identifiable and 70 being absolutely perfect. This scale is known as the Sheldon Grading Scale, named for Dr. William Sheldon who invented it in 1949 as a way to grade Large Cents. The closer a coin is to perfection, the higher it will grade on this scale. The non-sequential numbers between 1 and 58 are reserved for coins that have some actual and visible wear (a little bit to a great deal) on the details of the coin. The higher numbers, 60 through 70, are reserved for coins without wear, but these coins may have a few to many marks on them.

Supply and Demand is often more important than the actual age of a coin. If there is a greater supply than there is demand for the coin, the price will drop or stay low. If the supply is inadequate to meet the demand then prices rise until the demand slows. This is Economics 101, but it does play a significant role in the valuation of a coin. The supply can be somewhat determined by mintages and the published certified population numbers, if applicable. Demand is gauged by the number of &ldquoBuy&rdquo messages on the trading networks for these items, how quickly these coins sell out of dealers&rsquo inventories and, for more expensive coins, prices obtained at auction. Supply and demand can be a regional anomaly too. For example, U.S. Large Cent coins can be in great supply to East Coast coin dealers but in short supply in the rest of the country, so that is a variable that must also be considered.

Precious Metal Content is yet another factor in determining the value of a coin. Some coins have Precious Metals as part of their metallurgical makeup and some do not. If a coin does have some Precious Metal content, the coin is always worth the value of the metal, at a minimum. This is called the coin&rsquos intrinsic value. Numismatic coins made of Gold, Silver, Platinum or Palladium have the Precious Metal intrinsic value as well as added numismatic or collectible value.


There are several stories detailing the origins of the challenge coin. Many originate in popular culture based on current events. [5]

The Roman Empire rewarded soldiers by presenting them with coins to recognize their achievements. [6]

Prior to actual Challenge Coins being minted, soldiers who acted bravely in battle would be rewarded by comrades or superiors by buying that individual a drink. They would give that soldier a coin to buy the drink but more commonly, they would make a spectacle by slapping it down loudly on the bar or presenting them a coin in an informal group setting. Receiving a coin from an officer was generally a considerably more valuable coin and rarely presented.

Challenge coins were also known as "Portrait Medals" during the Renaissance, and were often used to commemorate specific events involving royalty, nobility, or other types of well-to-do individuals. The medals would be given as gifts or awards, and people also exchanged them with friends and associates. The most common format was for one side to depict the patron while the other showed something that represented that individual's family, house, lineage, and/or seal. [7]

The first instance of using a coin as a response to an actual challenge may come from the 17th century religious wars in France. Following King Louis XIV's 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes, French Protestants began to suffer persecution by the state for their illegal religion. Many Protestants fled France to find religious freedom elsewhere. Among those who chose to remain in France were some from a Protestant group known as Huguenots who were forced to conduct their religious services in secret. In order to avoid infiltration by state spies the Huguenots began to carry their méreau communion coin. When challenged while trying to gain entry to Protestant church services the Huguenot would produce his méreau coin as a token to show allegiance with the Protestant Church and be admitted entry. [8]

According to the most common story, challenge coins originated during World War I. [9] [10] Before the entry of the United States into the war in 1917 American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in mid-term to join the war. [11] [12] [13]

In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallion, the pilot's aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. [14] In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man's land. Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine. [6] [11] [12] [15] [13]

Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times. [6] This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner: a challenger would ask to see the medallion, if the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This tradition continued throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive. [12] [15] [13]

According to another story, challenge coins date back to World War II and were first used by Office of Strategic Service personnel who were deployed in Nazi held France. Similarly, Jim Harrington proposed a Jolly sixpence club amongst the junior officers of the 107th Infantry. [6] The coins were simply a local coin used as a "bona fides" during a personal meeting to help verify a person's identity. There would be specific aspects such as type of coin, date of the coin, etc. that were examined by each party. This helped prevent infiltration into the meeting by a spy who would have to have advance knowledge of the meeting time and place as well as what coin was to be presented, amongst other signals, as bona fides.

While a number of legends place the advent of challenge coins in the post-Korean Conflict era (some as late as the Vietnam War), or even later, Colonel William "Buffalo Bill" Quinn had coins made for those who served in his 17th Infantry Regiment during 1950 and 1951.

Colonel Verne Green, commander of the 10th Special Forces Group-A, embraced the idea. He had a special coin struck with the unit's badge and motto in 1969. Until the 1980s, his unit was the only unit with an active challenge coin tradition. [16] [17] [18]

There is another story about an American soldier scheduled to rendezvous with Philippine guerrillas during WWII. As the story goes, he carried a Philippine solid silver coin that was stamped on one side with the unit insignia. The coin was used to verify, to the guerrillas, that the soldier was their valid contact for the mission against the Japanese.

The challenge coin tradition has spread to other military units, in all branches of service, and even to non-military organizations as well as the United States Congress, which produces challenge coins for members of Congress to give to constituents. Today, challenge coins are given to members upon joining an organization, as an award to improve morale, and sold to commemorate special occasions or as fundraisers. In the Air Force, military training instructors award an airman's coin to new enlisted personnel upon completion of their United States Air Force Basic Military Training and to new officers upon completion of the Air Force Officer Training School. [15] [19]

Challenge coins issued by presidents date back to the late 1990s. Separately, the White House Communication Agency (WHCA) has issued challenge coins for foreign heads and military during Presidential visits. In May 2018, controversy arose when WHCA released a coin featuring President Donald Trump and North Korean head Kim Jong-un ahead of peace talks scheduled for June 2018 in Singapore. [20] [21]

President Bill Clinton displayed several racks of challenge coins, which had been given to him by U.S. service members, on the credenza behind his Oval Office desks. These coins are currently on display at the Clinton Library. The challenge coins appear in the background of his official portrait, now hanging in the White House.

President George W. Bush received a challenge coin from a Marine combat patrol unit during his short but unexpected visit to Al Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, 3 September 2007. [22] [ citation needed ]

President Barack Obama, in addition to handing challenge coins to U.S. service members, would leave coins on the memorial graves of dead soldiers.

President Donald Trump's coin broke with tradition, omitting the presidential seal, the motto "E pluribus unum" and the thirteen arrows representing the thirteen original states. His campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" appears on both sides. It features a banner at the bottom, which also serves as a base allowing the coin to stand upright. [23] [24]

President Joe Biden's coin depicts his home state of Delaware and "261st" for the 261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade of the Delaware Army National Guard, his late son Beau Biden's unit. [25]

The tradition of a challenge is the most common way to ensure that members are carrying their unit's coin. The rules of a challenge are not always formalized for a unit, and may vary between organizations. The challenge only applies to those members that have been given a coin formally by their unit. This may lead to some controversy when challenges are initiated between members of different organizations and is not recommended. The tradition of the coin challenge is meant to be a source of morale in a unit, and forcing the challenge can cause a reverse effect. The act of challenging is called a "coin check" and is usually loudly announced. [15] [17] [26]

The challenge, which can be made at any time, begins with the challenger drawing his/her coin, and slapping or placing the coin on the table or bar. In noisy environments, continuously rapping the challenge coin on a surface may initiate the challenge. (Accidentally dropping a challenge coin is considered to be a deliberate challenge to all present.) Everyone being challenged must immediately produce the coin for their organization and anyone failing to do so must buy a round of drinks for the challenger and everyone else who has their challenge coin. However, should everyone challenged be able to produce their coin, the challenger must buy a round of drinks for the group. [15] [16] [17]

While most holders of challenge coins usually carry them in their pockets or in some other readily accessible place on their persons, most versions of the rules permit a challenged person "a step and a reach" or if an individual has an extra coin to pass it off to the person closest to them. Coins on belt buckles or key chains are not acceptable for meeting a challenge. However, a coin worn around the neck is acceptable for meeting a coin challenge. [16] [17] [26]

Variants of the rules include, but are not limited to, the following: If someone is able to steal a challenge coin, everyone in the group must buy a drink for that person. During a challenge, everyone in the group must buy a drink for the holder of the highest-ranking coin.

A coin's rank is determined by the rank of the giver of the challenge coin. For example, a coin presented by an Admiral would outrank a coin presented by a Vice Admiral, while both would outrank a coin presented by a Captain. Traditionally, the presentation of a coin is passed during a handshake. Some units provide strict time limits to respond to a challenge. Also coins are ranked in level of difficulty in attaining them. An Infantryman coin would outrank a logistical coin. A Ranger coin would outrank an Infantryman coin.

Traditionally, rules of a challenge include a prohibition against defacing the coin, especially if it makes it easier to carry at all times. If the challenge coin is attached to a belt buckle or key ring, or has had a hole drilled in it to attach to a lanyard, it no longer qualifies as a challenge coin. [17] [27]

There are many finishes available—from a simple pewter to 24K gold. While there are only a few base metals, the patina (finish) can range from gold, silver, or nickel to brass, copper, or bronze—plus the antiqued variations. Soft or hard enamel or a printed inset with an epoxy coating may add color (the epoxies are often more resilient and scratch resistant than the metal surfaces). [28]

Challenge coins are moderately inexpensive to design and produce. There are two basic processes by which to manufacture: zinc-alloy castings or die struck bronze.

Zinc alloy castings offer the advantage of low cost. Zinc casting also allows more flexibility in design like cutouts found on spinner coins or bottle opener coins. [29] While a die struck bronze or brass coin is more expensive, the result renders a far superior product (numismatic quality).

As of 2010 [update] , coins manufactured in China and South Korea typically cost between US$2.50 to US$7.00 per coin, depending on production process and complexity of design, laser engraving, enamels, voids, etc. The dies must be sculpted by an artist and can range in cost from US$50 to US$300, depending on complexity. The cost of domestic manufacture can be many times this amount.

In order to be competitive, most North American companies offering challenge coins rely on having the product manufactured offshore. Many challenge coins are fabricated in South Korea, as the connection to the US military bases there is strong, [ citation needed ] and costs are cheaper than those made in the US. [ citation needed ]

Besides using coins for challenging, they are also used as rewards or awards for outstanding service or performance of duty. As such, they are used as a tool to build morale. [15] [26] Military officials occasionally give them to non-military personnel for outstanding service or rewards, like the case of student athletes at Northeastern University. [30]

In the context as they are used by the modern U.S. military, the tradition probably began among special forces units during the Vietnam War. [ citation needed ] The tradition spread through the Airborne community, and by the early 1980s also into the 75th Ranger Regiment. [ citation needed ] As officers were reassigned as their careers progressed, they carried with them the tradition of awarding a unit coin for acts that were worthy of recognition but yet lacked enough merit to submit the soldiers act for an official medal. [31]

One widely known challenge coin in the United States Air Force [ citation needed ] was the "Bull Dog" challenge coin that was exclusive to B-52 enlisted tail gunners. Since the B-52 gunner position was phased out in 1991, this famous challenge coin has become rarer.

This coin was presented to gunners upon graduation from their Air Force technical training and their entry into the "Gunners Association". In the earlier days of bombers, a bean or a nugget was used. The coin represents the attributes of strength and courage as reflected in the Bulldog, the gunner's official mascot. The coin was also given to certain "honorary gunners", usually commanders and leaders who portrayed the spirit of the bulldog.

Some collectors buy them for their numismatic value.

Coins given as awards for accomplishments are normally given to the recipient during a handshake, passing from the right hand of the giver to the right hand of the awardee. It is also normal for the giver to offer a brief explanation of the reason for awarding the coin.

Challenge coins are also exchanged outside the military. NASCAR, [32] the NFL, cadets of the Civil Air Patrol, [33] Eagle Scouts and World Series of Poker all have their own challenge coins. [34] They are also becoming popular with police departments, fire departments and fraternal organizations. In 2007, the Utah Symphony and Opera gave challenge coins to all of its staff and musicians, making it the first symphony organization in America to do so. [ citation needed ] Franklin Public School in Ontario has a coin that is given to graduates, featuring its mascot 'Frankie'. [35] Many non-profits, especially those with connections to the military, give challenge coins to donors to acknowledge their support of the organization. [36] [37] The FBI's Crisis Response unit was the first unit in the FBI to issue coins to unit members in late 1980s.

Officially licensed challenge coins Edit

Louis "Uncle Louie" Gregory has created coins that are officially licensed by Topps Trading Cards, Ghostbusters, and Cobra Kai. [38]

New York City Police Department Edit

Coins have been created by the Police Benevolent Association for NYPD precincts. [39] Some of these have been criticised for containing racist imagery. [39]

National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club Edit

Another organization in which challenge coins have gained popularity is the "National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club" (NABSTMC), which has over 85 chapters totaling over 2,000 members. The coin is 1.75 inches (44 mm) in diameter, minted in solid brass with an antique finish. The front of the coin bears the NABSTMC logo. Also depicted is the year the club was established, which was 1999. The back of the coin proudly displays the "cavalry charge" with the motto of the 9th and 10th cavalry buffalo soldiers: "we can, we will" and "ready forward". The coin must be earned by the members and can only be presented by a national officer or chapter president for a noteworthy accomplishment. [34]

Harley Owners Group Edit

In 2009, the Harley Owners Group (HOG) created and made available its own challenge coin to Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners through the HOG members only website, stating: "Those who ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles share a bond in much the same way as those who have served their country with pride. Carrying a H.O.G. National Challenge Coin in your pocket, on your bike or off, is a meaningful way to show your pride of Harley-Davidson ownership—while also paying tribute to those who serve." The HOG National Challenge coin, measures 1.75 inches (44 mm) in diameter and is minted in US from solid brass alloy with an antique finish. The HOG eagle logo is stamped on the coin. The Harley-Davidson bar and shield logo encircled with the words "the official riding club of Harley-Davidson" is stamped on the back. [40]

Science Edit

In the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM), participants that won the 'Grand Prize' are given a challenge coin from 2016 on.

Varian Medical Systems, a medical device manufacturer, awards challenge coins for notable accomplishments by its service personnel. A significant number of Varian's employees have military backgrounds, where many of them learn the electronics and mechanical skills needed to support Varian equipment.

Media, Business, and Education Edit

Numerous examples illustrate challenge coins handed out in the media industry:

In 2020, a challenge coin went viral when America's largest challenge coin retailer released a coin about an incident that occurred in Connecticut with Trooper Spina. [5]

In 2020, the Secretary of the State of Virginia sent a cease and desist to Louis "Uncle Louie" Gregory regarding a challenge coin he created. [41]

In his audio commentary for the DVD release of Iron Man 2, film director Jon Favreau notes that he had Iron Man 2 challenge coins made to distribute to United States Air Force personnel as a gesture of thanks for their cooperation while the production (and its predecessor, Iron Man) filmed on location at Edwards Air Force Base. [42]

Bill Prady, executive producer of The Big Bang Theory, gave the Big Bang Theory "executive producer's challenge coin" to the crew of the last space shuttle. [43]

On the "Rockets" episode of Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, R. Lee (Gunny) Ermey presents a challenge coin to Second Lieutenant Carr as a reward for being the "top gun" in his class with the Javelin Portable Rocket Launching System. [34]

Members of the American Radio Relay League who are volunteer examiners may carry the VEC (volunteer examiner coordinator) challenge coin. These members are responsible for administering Federal Communications Commission sanctioned examinations that allow successful applicants to qualify as amateur radio operators in the three different license categories of: technician, general, and amateur extra. [44]

The crew of Breaking Bad were given challenge coins designed by show creator Vince Gilligan for each new season. Another challenge coin was also included in the Blu-ray set of the entire series of the show. [45]

Video game companies like Treyarch gave these coins with certain packages for the release of Black Ops 2. [46]

The crowdfunded movie Lazer Team gave challenge coins to its backers as an optional perk of funding the movie. [47]

A challenge coin is presented in a handshake to Gerard Butler's character in the 2018 film Hunter Killer.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 had challenge coins available for purchase commemorating their 30th anniversary on their 2018 30th anniversary "Watch Out For Snakes" Live Tour.

Meanwhile, examples can also be found in the realms of business and education:

For example, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) issued a challenge coin highlighting their core values: "recruit, retain, grow."

Also, St Mary's University issued a coin honoring the Public Safety Administration.

One of the first appearance of a challenge coin within the Canadian Forces (CF) was that of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. Although conceptualized in the early 1970s, it was not officially adopted until the regiment returned from Cyprus in 1974. [48]

Recognized as an "Americanism", the widespread use of challenge coins is new to the Canadian Forces and was introduced by General Rick Hillier as the Canadian Army began to work more closely with the US military. While many regiments and military establishments purchase them as 'challenge coins', most branches and schools within the CF use them for presentation purposes.

The first RCAF coin belonged to 427 Squadron. Back in the Second World War, 427 and the film studios Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) shared the lion as their respective symbol. During a ceremony held on 27 May 1943, a bronze statuette of a lion was presented to the squadron as were MGM's coins for the squadron members. [49] These coins granted free access to the MGM's theaters in Britain and were popular with aircrew and ground crew alike. In 1982, the custom was reintroduced by Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Cunnigham, then the squadron commanding officer it has since expanded widely within the RCAF tactical aviation community. [ citation needed ]

Every new officer cadet at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, is issued a challenge coin upon completion of First-Year Orientation Period. The coin is engraved with the name of the college in French and English surrounding the college's coat of arms on the obverse. The cadet's college number and the Memorial Arch is on the reverse surrounded by the motto in both languages.

Members of the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) Fund are issued challenge coins with the current RCEME badge and the member's branch fund membership number on the obverse side, and the original pre-unification RCEME badge and branch motto on the reverse side. Usually, these are issued to craftsmen at the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, in Borden, Ontario, where branch fund membership is first offered.

The coin from Commander Canadian Special Operations Forces Command is a dull colour, but distinct by its pierced sections.

Many of the CF training centres and staff colleges have a distinct coin—some available for the students to purchase, others available only by presentation by the establishment or the commandant for exemplary achievement while attending the facility. General (retired) Walter Natynczyk, when he was Chief of the Defence Staff, and the Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer often presented their personalized coins to deserving soldiers.

Police, corrections, security and fire departments have embraced the concept, and have found coins to be an excellent means of team building and creating a sense of brotherhood or belonging. Many feature a patron saint, badge or representative equipment.

The challenge coin tradition was introduced into the Swiss Armed Forces by American officers on training missions and other assignments for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, of which Switzerland is a member. Coins are not issued, but rather ordered and paid for by Swiss officers of various branches within the Army.

Coins have come into use by various Australian and New Zealand political leaders, senior officers and NCOs, under the influence of presentations from American personnel. [18] Several hundred types of New Zealand challenge coins have been produced in recent decades. [50]

Exchange officers and British military visitors to US units and formations in recent decades have often been presented with challenge coins. The British Army has had challenge coins for recruiting purposes since the mid-2000s - for example the Special Air Service and Royal Engineer units have such challenge coins. British military medical units also discovered the tradition while working with American units in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Military Anesthesia and Critical Care has been issuing a coin since 2006. [10]

Tradition dictates that challenge coins are shown within social environments (see above) with the loser of the “coin check” purchasing drinks for those others involved. Following a turbulent period of change within the British Military, commanders have tightened restrictions on the consumption of alcohol and any activity that encourages drinking, leaving the traditional challenge coin as a collection item, like the mid-1990s POG.

Fostoria Coin Glass

Fostoria Glass Company of Moundsville, West Virginia also made a line of glass decorated with coins. It was called simply "Coin Pattern" and was #1372 in Fostoria's catalog.

Unlike the 19th century U.S. Coin pattern, the coins on the Fostoria pattern were not copied from actual coins. They were more like medallions and featured a variety of subjects.

Original Fostoria coin pattern was made from 1958 to 1982. However, the pattern was reproduced by Lancaster Colony which purchased Fostoria and its molds in 1983.

Pieces known to have been reproduced include:

This list is probably incomplete more pieces may have been made.

Original Fostoria Coin was made in amber, blue, crystal, green, olive green and red. Reproduction colors include crystal, green, blue and red. The new green is a darker forest green the new blue is a pale blue like Cambridge Caprice old blue is a deep sky blue.

All the coins on all original Fostoria are frosted (except for some originals which have gold decorated coins). The coins on new pieces made by Lancaster Colony are not frosted. However, many of these unfrosted coins are being frosted--with either acid or sandblasting--after they are purchased from factory outlets and retail shops.

Sandblasting is the most common and easiest way to frost the glass. Sandblasted coins generally have very poor detail and look blurred (Fig. 3). Original frosted coins maintain sharp mold details and a precise clear image (Fig.1).

Figs. 1-3 These three close-ups show the differences between Fostoria Coin originals, reissues and forged pieces. Fig. 1 is an original with smooth even frosting and good detail note the beaded border. Fig. 2 is a new unfrosted coin made and sold by Lancaster Colony. Fig. 3 a new coin after sandblasting the date is barely legible, the beaded border is almost completely removed.

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Antique Silver: Coin Silver vs. Sterling

If you’re like most people, you have more important things to worry about than the difference between coin silver and sterling silver. Unfortunately, your wallet might not think that this distinction is insignificant. Before you sell or give away your antique silver, you’ll want to learn more about how to tell the difference between these two types of material. Some definitions and valuation tips are in order.

What Is Coin Silver?

As its name suggests, coin silver is the type of material that makes up silver dollars and other pieces of silver currency. It’s a standardized alloy that’s comprised of a very limited number of non-silver metals like copper and nickel. In the United States, coin silver must be at least .900 fine. This means that it can contain no less than 90% pure silver. It’s quite a bit more valuable than other alloys that may contain other metals in higher quantities.

Factors That Affect Its Value

Despite its standardized nature, coin silver hasn’t always been so readily recognizable. Before 1906, this material wasn’t standardized in the same manner as it is today, and it was possible to find so-called coin silver alloys with as little as 75% silver. If you have a coin from this period, get it appraised by an expert. For post-1906 material, look for stamps that say “coin,” “dollar,” “standard” or “premium.”

What Is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is also heavily controlled. With a required purity of at least 92.5%, it’s a bit more valuable than coin silver. Confusingly, sterling silver can be found in some coins, the most famous example of which is the old British pound sterling. Of course, modern British pound coins aren’t made from sterling silver. However, this material can be found in a wide range of antique household items, including cutlery, serving platters and vessels.

Factors That Affect Its Value

Since sterling silver always contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% non-precious metals, its value is mainly determined by the worth of the items in which it’s contained. For instance, a rare type of serving set or cutlery could fetch far more than the intrinsic value of its silver. Potential imperfections in such items’ manufacture may increase the value of sterling silver even more.

Get the Best Price on Silver in the Buffalo, NY, Area

Whether you’re an avid collector of antique silver or have a handful of family heirlooms that you’re looking to value, it’s critical to know the difference between sterling silver and coin silver. If you’re looking for more guidance on this distinction or any other aspect of the silver valuation process, Premier Gold Silver & Coins is happy to help. Simply stop by our convenient Cheektowaga location or call us at (716) 204-8800 to discuss your needs.

Second French Republic (1848-1852)

French franc=100 centimes

5 francs 1849 (1848-1849)
LIBERTE EGALITE FRATERNITE / Hercules with the personification of Liberty and Equality
Coin value - $25-30

5 francs 1850 (1849-1851)
REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE / Liberty head with grain wreath left
Coin value - $30-40

5 francs 1852
Coin value - $30-40

2 francs 1851 (1849-1851)
REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE / Liberty head with grain wreath left
Coin value - $100-120

1 franc 1849 (1849-1851)
REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE / Liberty head with grain wreath left
Coin value - $40-60

1 franc 1852
Coin value - $50-80

50 centimes 1851 (1849-1851)
REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE / Liberty head with grain wreath left
Coin value - $40-60

50 centimes 1852
Coin value - $40-60

20 centimes 1850 (1849-1851)
REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE / Liberty head with grain wreath left
Coin value - $12-15

1 centime 1848 (1848-1851)
REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE / Liberty head left
Coin value - $3-5


They say that a travel machine is a fictional concept. It is only in movies or some captivating novels where you will be able to imagine and experience the thrill of teleporting back in time. But if you really want to, you can also do it by losing yourself into the world of historical coins of India.

The study of ancient Indian coins will tell you stories about our rich and fascinating traditions. Dated as long as a whopping 6th Century BC to 550 AD, Old Indian coins reflect the rise and fall of some magnificent dynasties that history lovers from all over the world like to explore.

Magadha Janapada, an area which belongs to the modern day Bihar, constituted India’s first empire- The Mauryan Empire. The earliest Magadha Janapada coins featured a trademark "6-arm symbol" punch. Punch marked coins were used even in prehistoric times with simple representation of maybe a cow or any other commodity on a metal. To transform into a newer unit of wealth royal authorities from different time periods inscribed or punched pictures of sun, six armed wheel etc. Over the years, under various dynasties these coins evolved in terms of design, make and size, to serve various purposes and denote different values. After which, Mauryans took over under eminent emperors like Chandragupta and Ashoka who flexed their power to expand their empires. The Mauryan coinage continued the Magadha karshapana series which were known for its exclusive silver coins.

Mentioned as one of the sixteen mahajanapadas in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, governance at Gandhara Janapada also contributed to a blossoming time-period inscribed the pages of Indian History. Old coin of India from this era was notably different from Greek-inspired designs and shapes which prove the fact that they were in commercial use much before Alexander’s regime. Contrary to punch marked coins from other time periods, Gandhara produced a striking new design comprising of a bent silver bar with heptha radiated symbols on both its ends.

The most recent of ancient Indian history or the "Golden Age" of classical India, the Gupta period flourished under the leadership of Chandragupta I and his son Samudragupta. It was when a lot of universities were constituted prominent writers like Kalidasa and world-renowned scientists such Aryabhatta were born in this era which saw an upsurge in creative and radical thinking. The beautiful ancient Indian coins this time period definitely ushers the fact that Gupta art is regarded as the high point of classical Indian art.

This was just a tiny glimpse of what you can expect study of Indian old coins will make you wonder in amusement and explore the depths of Indian history even more!

What's this antique coin? - History

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One of the more well-known ‘rare’ coins out there, this 2p might not look or sound all that exciting to non-collectors, but when you consider that they’ve been valued between £1,000 and £1,350 in the past, you might get a little more enthusiastic.

2p coins minted between February 1971 and 1982 should say ‘New Pence’ on the front, with those minted post-1982 should say ‘Two Pence’.

A mistake in 1983 meant a batch were printed with the old wording, making them valuable to collectors.


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