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Of Pirates’ Treasures and California Gold Charms

Of Pirates’ Treasures and California Gold Charms

By Frank VanValen, Numismatist and Cataloger

We all, or at least many of us, wanted to be pirates when we were kids. Swashbucklers all, we watched the antics of Errol Flynn on Saturday morning black and white television and thrilled to the adventures of such denizens of the “bounding main” as Flynn’s portrayal of Captain Blood. We knew all about pirate captains such as Blackbeard, Bluebeard, and even Redbeard, and we learned about the exciting life of a pirate through such clever tales as Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. 
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Our Little Monitor Civil War Tokens

Our Little Monitor Civil War Tokens

By Q. David Bowers, Founder

The following article was taken from Q. David Bowers’ More Adventures with Rare Coins, where it was featured as Adventure No. 43.

The U.S.S. Monitor

The U.S.S. Monitor, a low-profile ironclad ship with a rotating gun turret, was launched at Greenpoint, New York, on January 30, 1862. Humorously referred to as a “cheesebox on a raft” by some observers, the vessel was 178 feet long and had a beam of 411/2 feet. On the deck was mounted a cylindrical turret of eight-inch armor plate. 
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Milton Bradley’s Educational Toy Money – Part One

Milton Bradley’s Educational Toy Money – Part One

By Ben Orooji, Numismatist

A fascinating and under-studied group of exonumia is that of play money, coins and currency made to be used by children in play or in an educational setting. These items are distinct from game money used in the context of a board game, or gaming counters used by adults in card games or gambling, but are often grouped in incorrectly with this group. 
Author: Ben Orooji
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My Neatest Liberty Seated Dime

My Neatest Liberty Seated Dime

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist & Cataloger, U.S. Coins

Okay, so it’s not a Liberty Seated dime as we know them, but it’s still among the neatest and definitely one of my favorite items among all my exonumia pieces. This jeton is struck in white metal, and the steel gray devices and crinkly reflective fields form a pleasing cameo contrast. If I had to apply a grade it would be AU. A faithful reproduction of Gobrecht’s Liberty Seated motif makes up the obverse of this undated piece, with COMPOSITIONS – SPIEL – MARKE appearing around Liberty’s figure. 
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A Tale of Three (Four) Token

A Tale of Three (Four) Token

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist & Cataloger

A recent visit to my favorite internet bidding site revealed a group of three tokens, two of which I was very familiar with, and one I’d never seen before in my 50+ years of collecting. I immediately took advantage of the “Buy It Now” feature at the website and plunked down my $9.95, postage included, for the lot. 
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A Depression-Era Merry Christmas from the Walsh Family!

A Depression-Era Merry Christmas from the Walsh Family!

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist & Cataloger, U.S. Coins

I meant to bring this token to work this morning, but I forgot to tuck it in my pocket on the way out the door. But, it’s Christmas time, so home I went to get it on my lunch hour! This brass holiday token measures 29 mm. It reads THE / WALSH / DOLLAR on three lines with 1933-1934 curving below, all within a beaded border. 
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Monroe Doctrine Centennial Half Dollar Design? I Thought It Was the 1901 Pan-American Exposition Design!

Monroe Doctrine Centennial Half Dollar Design? I Thought It Was the 1901 Pan-American Exposition Design!

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist & Cataloger, U.S. Coins

This time around, I thought I’d mix in a bit of scandal for the readers. I was always a great fan of the 1923-S Monroe commemorative half dollar design with its two diaphanously shrouded females cleverly mimicking North and South America with their somewhat contorted figures. The coin’s design was by Chester Beach, and for years I had no idea there had been an amazingly similar design back in 1901. 
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Take Care of My Civil Rights Bill

Take Care of My Civil Rights Bill

By Frank Van Valen, Numismatist & Cataloger, U.S. Coins

Charles Sumner (January 6, 1811-March 11, 1874) was born in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College in 1830, then from Harvard Law School in 1834. By 1845, after travels throughout Europe and France in particular, Sumner found himself drawn to the Abolitionist cause back home in America. Known far and wide as a great orator, his attacks on slavery were well known and gained him numerous enemies. 
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