Ancient Coins: Taking an Archaeological Approach With Kenneth Bressett

Kenneth Bressett will autograph his new book Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame at the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show in Colorado Springs, March 10, 2022. After that debut the 224-page hardcover volume will be available from bookstores and hobby shops and online (including at Here, Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker discusses how the book came to be, its context among other numismatic publications, and how it was developed.

Whitman Publishing announces the March 2022 release of Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame.

In February 2021, Kenneth Bressett’s latest manuscript, A Penny Saved: R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book, was well into production. (The book would debut that August at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.) In the midst of that ongoing work, I mailed Ken an article that had caught my eye in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. It was about specific uses of ancient pottery in the Holy Land. Years earlier Ken had shown me some Greek and Roman amphorae and coins from his personal collection, and I knew he’d find the article interesting.

A few days later he replied. “This subject is especially timely because lately I’ve been thinking about writing a sequel to my book Money of the Bible, and have been doing some research on related topics. I would appreciate your thoughts on this, and if you think it is worth pursuing….”

As any publisher would be, I was delighted by this proposal. And having been Ken’s publisher for more than fifteen years, I wasn’t at all surprised that he was thinking ahead to his next project—even before the ink was dry on his latest book!

The resulting work, Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame, is not Whitman Publishing’s first in the field of ancient coins. Recent publications include Coins of the Bible (Friedberg, 2004), a popular exploration of the subject. Money of the World: Coins That Made History (Goldberg and Goldberg, editors, 2007) included two chapters on ancient Greece and Rome by David L. Vagi. Harlan J. Berk’s 100 Greatest Ancient Coins (2008, with an expanded second edition in 2019) has introduced many collectors to the wonders of ancient numismatics. Paul D. Rynearson’s Collecting Ancient Greek Coins: A Guided Tour Featuring 25 Significant Types (2008) was at once an introduction to the subject and an action guide for assembling a personal collection of coins. David MacDonald’s scholarly but accessible Overstruck Greek Coins: Studies in Greek Chronology and Monetary Theory (2009) was the first book-length exploration of that subject.

Continuing Bressett’s Long Interest in the Ancients

Like Whitman, Ken Bressett is not a newcomer to the ancient world. Although he’s popularly known as the editor (and, now, editor emeritus) of the Guide Book of United States Coins and has been involved in many aspects of modern American coinage, Ken has a long-held passion for ancient coins. In addition to pursuing his own research, starting in the 1960s Ken encouraged Zander H. Klawans to contribute articles on ancient coins to the Whitman Numismatic Journal. In 1994 he crafted a new work from two of Klawans’s well-established books (Reading and Dating Roman Imperial Coins and An Outline of Ancient Greek Coins). He skillfully edited them into a single volume to aid both beginning and advanced students. The resulting Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins has since been a constant reference for collectors, with tens of thousands of copies in print.

More recently, Ken’s Money of the Bible, first published in 2005, has similarly proven to have evergreen appeal. It was updated in new editions in 2007 and 2013.

Another Bressett opus, Milestone Coins: A Pageant of the World’s Most Significant and Popular Money (2007), featured chapters on the ancient world and Biblical money.

“The association of coins with past events is widely known and appreciated by archeologists and historians, but it is often overlooked by Bible students,” Ken wrote in the introduction to Money of the Bible. As did that book, Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame seeks to investigate the money of the ancient world as a means of exploring the Old and New Testaments, and to bring students closer to understanding, and appreciating, the historical context of biblical stories.

What the Book is Not

Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame is not a price guide, a market study, or a how-to handbook for collectors. What it offers students is that special magic of new light shone on enduring subjects; the clarity of obscure connections brought into sharp focus; and the pleasure of tales well told. These all are sparks that can lead to collecting. Or they may additionally inform and enrich the understanding of the historian, archaeologist, and student of theology or the ancient world.

Multifaceted Approach

Bressett was careful to research Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame from many disciplines and perspectives. He even sought the review of skeptics and non-believers, whose perceptions were given special consideration in parts of the manuscript. “I want to present a picture of how numismatics and archeology help in establishing a clearer image of ancient times,” he told me in one conversation about the book.

On the other side of the coin, it was important for Ken to seek the imprimatur of the Roman Catholic Church. After a careful review of the manuscript in accord with canon 827 of the Code of Canon Law, Nihil Obstat was issued and the Bishop of Colorado Springs granted the Church’s imprimatur.

Like a Personal Visit With Ken Bressett Himself

Many of the coins pictured in Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame are from Ken Bressett’s personal collection. Reading his new book is nearly the equivalent of sitting down with one of the world’s best numismatic storytellers and doing something Ken himself is always up to: learning, learning, learning, and enjoying every minute of it.

Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame
By Kenneth Bressett; foreword by David Hendin.
ISBN 0794849768. Hardcover, 6 x 9 inches, 224 pages, full color.
Retail $24.95 U.S.

A Complete History and Price Guide: Gold Quarter Eagles Get the Full Dave Bowers Treatment

Q. David Bowers’s Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins will debut in March 2022. The 448-page volume will be available from bookstores and hobby shops and online (including at, and in the meantime is available for preorder. Here, professional numismatist Mike Fuljenz discusses the book, its subject matter, and its famous author.

Whenever Q. David Bowers releases a new book, numismatists everywhere smile. His literary contributions are legendary. More than 30 years ago Bowers’s importance was recognized by the Numismatic Literary Guild when he was awarded the Clemy, the group’s top award for long-term literary excellence.

What is less known, perhaps, is David’s wonderful leadership qualities, which were on display when he served as president of the American Numismatic Association in the early 1980s.

When I first met Dave, I was a young (27) grader/authenticator for the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS), joining a ANA board meeting in Colorado Springs. At the time, the board of ANA luminaries was debating whether to change the way our grading service described coins, from numbers to adjectival grading. We graders pointed out that the hobby and our customers preferred numerical grading. Many of the board’s elder statesmen (and stateswomen) preferred adjectives like “Choice Uncirculated” to a numerical grade like “MS-63.” With 20/20 hindsight, I think we graders not only had a better crystal ball for the future, but we also understood what the majority of our members wanted.

President Bowers agreed with us younger graders and adroitly led the board to a decision to forego changing our grading methodology to an adjectival system. I will never forget his respectful command and leadership in that important board meeting. As the newest grader—just six weeks on the job—he may have saved my job (as last-in, first-out). Thanks, Dave!

ANACS was founded in part by Virgil Hancock, also a past president of the ANA. Counterfeits and altered coins were becoming a growing problem in the 1970s, so the ANA formed ANACS to assist collectors wanting to know if their coins were genuine. In 1979 Virgil Hancock and Larry Spanbauer wrote Standard Catalog of United States Altered and Counterfeit Coins to help collectors and dealers identify the most prevalent counterfeits in the market. This became our favorite authentication guide at ANACS when I worked there in 1982 and 1983. When you turn to the book’s acknowledgement page, only a few industry leaders were recognized for their help and advice, and the first person acknowledged is, of course, Q. David Bowers.

Forty years later, Dave continues to provide valuable insights throughout his new book on quarter eagles, including warnings about counterfeit and altered coin dangers. For example, he wisely notes that the 1911-D quarter eagle is often produced by adding a “D” to a 1911 Philadelphia Mint coin. Dave also reminds us that while the lettering and motifs on the Indian Head quarter eagle are recessed, a departure from the normal relief style, curiously the mintmark is raised above the field on the branch-mint coins struck in Denver in 1911, 1914, and 1925. Dave also points out that collectors should look for strong D mintmarks on the rare 1911-D coins. That tip alone to the beginner is worth the price of admission to the Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins.

Like Dave, I had to work odd jobs to buy coins in my teen years. Neither of us could afford the rarities we dreamed about owning. Many yards were mowed to be able to buy silver coins, but my first gold coins were the incused quarter and half eagle I bought after winning $50 playing bingo with my grandmother. Thus, I truly appreciate Dave writing a book about one of the first gold coins I was so proud to call my own.

Like many collectors back in the day, I had to get a special plastic holder to display and protect my first precious rarity, and I had to carefully put all the plastic screws in place with my favorite small screwdriver. I am sure Dave had similar holder experiences. Dealers back then sometimes provided a four- or eight-piece type-set plastic holder with the purchase of one coin, in order to encourage set building. This was an old-time form of a “continuity marketing” program.

The Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins is described on the title page as a “Complete History and Price Guide,” and it lives up to that description. Every design and coin in the denomination is covered in depth, from 1796 to 1929, including circulation strikes, Proofs, patterns, and all varieties.

America’s quarter eagles were minted in years when the country’s “hard dollar” was backed by the gold standard. Dave Bowers not only addresses the beginning of this denomination but also includes information about what brought an end to this popular collector coin. He includes excerpts from the March 1930 Numismatist that speculates about a strain on our gold reserves caused by European withdrawals or, more likely, the Treasury trying to maintain its gold supply at preferred levels.

Dave includes many interesting tidbits throughout the book. For example, he points out that quarter eagles were popular with the more affluent for gift giving, so banks carried extra of those coins at Christmas. Similarly, today banks often order extra $2 bills at Christmastime. These $2 Thomas Jefferson bills are their most requested note for holiday gift giving. The director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing told me the bills are also the most popular seller on their website.

While the Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins is enjoyable to read as history, it also serves as a useful collector reference. If you want to review selected auction results, they are right at your fingertips. If you are a student of die varieties, this book is for you, too. If you like date-by-date analyses, welcome to them! If you like Proof coins, you need this book. If you are interested in the opinion of our country’s foremost numismatist on how many quarter eagles were melted, you need this book. If you want to know what Bowers thinks about grading and survival rates in various coin grades, you need this book. If you find striking characteristics interesting, here’s your source. If patterns are your cup of tea, this book is a must. If you like the latest information on die and planchet preparation by mint, this book is for you. If you want information on important quarter eagle collections, hoards, and treasure finds, you need this book. If you want helpful distribution information by mint, get this book. If you want helpful numismatic morsels—like Proof mintages from the 1840s to the 1870s being frequently overstated or just speculations, as those coins would be struck and sold, but if buyers failed to materialize, the leftovers were melted—this book is for you. If you want to know more about why there were quarter eagle shortages over the years, you need this book.

For these reasons and more, every gold coin enthusiast needs the Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins. This book truly lives up to its description as “A Complete History and Price Guide.”

Q. David Bowers takes you on a fascinating journey through history using the quarter eagle as his “time machine.” His life experiences, knowledge, and immeasurable skills provides money-saving and money-making insights into this denomination. There’s no other book like it on quarter eagles. Most importantly, Dave’s contribution will be the foundation for many new enthusiasts to begin their lifelong journey enjoying and collecting this important denomination. Having the Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins on your shelf is a must. and I will be referring to it periodically forever—and always with a smile.

Mike Fuljenz is a nationally renowned expert in precious metals and coins, and the author of several books on gold coins. His books, commentary, and media appearances have earned a number of awards, including the Numismatic Literary Guild’s “Book of the Year” award. Mike is the president of Universal Coin & Bullion, based in Beaumont, Texas.
A Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins, first edition.
By Q. David Bowers; foreword by Mike Fuljenz.
ISBN 0794847331. Softcover, 6 x 9 inches, 448 pages, full color.
Retail $29.95 U.S.

United States Mint Opened Sales for the 2022 Native American $1 Coin on February 9

WASHINGTON –The United States Mint (Mint) began accepting orders for products containing the 2022 Native American $1 Coin on February 9 at noon EST. The 2022 coin honors Ely S. Parker of the Tonawanda Seneca.

Born Ha-sa-no-an-da into a prominent Tonawanda Seneca lineage on Iroquois land in upstate New York, Parker mastered English as a youth, and served as a translator and scribe for tribal chiefs in their struggle to maintain their reservation. In appreciation, the Iroquois bestowed upon Parker their greatest honor, naming him Grand Sachem of the Six Nations and according him the sacred name of Donehogawa (Keeper of the Western Door of the Iroquois Longhouse). Commissioned into the Army in 1863, Parker attained the rank of brevet Brigadier General as General Ulysses S. Grant’s military secretary during the Civil War, helping to draft the formal surrender documents during the surrender at Appomattox. After Grant was elected president of the United States, he appointed Parker to serve as commissioner of Indian affairs, the first Native American to hold that post. He held the position from 1869 to 1871.

Available options and their prices are below.

22NA 25-Coin Roll – “P” $34.50
22NB 25-Coin Roll – “D” $34.50
22NC 250-Coin Box – “P” $289.75
22ND 250-Coin Box – “D” $289.75
22NE 100-Coin Bag – “P” $117.50
22NF 100-Coin Bag – “D” $117.50

The coin’s obverse (heads) continues to feature Sacagawea carrying her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, by sculptor Glenna Goodacre. Inscriptions are “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The year, mint mark, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” are incused on the edge of the coin. The 2022 Native American $1 Coin reverse (tails) design depicts Ely S. Parker in an Army uniform. Parker is shown with a quill pen and book, and a likeness of his signature, as symbols of his experience as an expert communicator, and his graceful penmanship. The inscriptions “TONAWANDA SENECA” and “HA-SA-NO-AN-DA” recognize his tribe and the name given to him at birth. Additional inscriptions include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “$1.”

Purchase the rolls and bags of the 2022 Native American $1 Coin by visiting the product detail page. To view additional products containing the Native American $1 Coin, visit

Native American $1 Coin products are also available for purchase through the Mint’s Product Enrollment Program. Enrollments work like a magazine subscription. After you sign up, you will receive the next product released in the series and continue to receive products until you end your enrollment. Visit Native American $1 Enrollments | US Mint Catalog Online to learn more.

Note: To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, the United States Mint will not accept and will not honor orders placed prior to the official on-sale date of February 7, 2022, at noon EST.

To reduce the risk of employee exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, the Mint’s sales centers are closed until further notice. Additionally, due to operational adjustments in response to COVID-19, our customer service representatives are available to assist with any questions you may have, but are unable to accept credit card information or place your order over the phone. Please use our website for all order placements at this time.

Rare Coin Market Soaring But Use Caution, Advises Professional Numismatists Guild Experts

If you don’t know coins or precious metals, you’d better know your dealer

(Temecula, California) February 8, 2022 — The rare coin market in early 2022 continues to soar following a record-breaking marketplace in 2021. However, veteran dealers in the Professional Numismatists Guild ( urge collectors and investors to be cautious about the continuing proliferation of fraudulent, online advertisements selling counterfeit coins and fake gold, silver, and platinum bullion items or grossly overpriced genuine gold and silver coins.

“Last year, a record 22 U.S. coins sold at auction for $1 million or more and hundreds of other historic coins and banknotes priced from $1,000 and up set new records when more than $551 million of U.S. rare coins were sold at major public auctions,” said PNG President Richard Weaver. “The market boom continues as during the first month of 2022, there were reports of nearly $70 million of U.S. coins already sold at major auctions in January.”

Weaver cautions consumers and investors that social media platforms have become the predominant choice of counterfeit coins and bullion market fraudsters.

“In addition to outright fakes, some unscrupulous sellers offer illegal ‘replicas’ of historic coins that are not marked ‘COPY’ as required by federal law. The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation ( estimates the cost to unsuspecting victims is in the millions of dollars in lost investments,” he stated.

According to the Foundation’s Director of Anti-Counterfeiting, former Texas Police Chief Doug Davis, in one recent case, an unwary buyer unsuspectingly purchased $27,000 of counterfeit one-ounce “silver” coins from a pop-up ad that appeared on Facebook.

There are red flags to help identify suspected bad actors (

First, beware of offers too good to be true, such as prices well under the actual market value for genuine items. For example, one advertiser offered Morgan silver dollars (struck between 1878 and 1921) for only $8 per “coin,” but genuine examples of these types of popular U.S. silver dollars each contain about $17 worth of silver, and most have a higher numismatic/collector value.

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission and more than two dozen individual states recently filed a lawsuit against a California company alleging the firm “fraudulently solicited approximately $68 million from more than 450 members of the public to purchase precious metals” and that “customers significantly overpaid for silver coins,” according to the complaint filed in federal court. The defendants named in the lawsuit are not members of the Professional Numismatists Guild.

“Remember, if you don’t know rare coins or precious metals, you’d better know your dealer,” Weaver emphasized.

Members of the Professional Numismatists Guild and their Accredited Precious Metals Dealers program ( must adhere to a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic and bullion merchandise. For a list of member-dealers, visit or call PNG headquarters in Temecula, California at (951) 587-8300.

“The Closest Thing to Time Travel”—A Review of Kenneth Bressett’s New Study of Ancient Coins

Whitman Publishing’s new book by Kenneth Bressett, Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame, will debut in March 2022. The 224-page hardcover volume will be available from bookstores and hobby shops and online (including at, and in the meantime is available for preorder. Here, David Hendin, first vice president of the American Numismatic Society and a noted author in the field of ancient coinage, gives his impression of the book.

Whitman Publishing announces the March 2022 release of Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame.

Ken Bressett is one of the grandmasters of numismatics. He has thrilled oh-so-many people with his passion for telling stories that help us understand our own histories through the study of coins. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ken for around 40 years, and his fascination with coins and their stories is clearly infectious to all of his many readers and friends.

In Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame, Ken narrates the Greatest Story Ever Told by taking readers on a journey of facts and artifacts going back several millennia, to trace the origins of our Judeo-Christian traditions.

As usual, he fills a gaping need by presenting a narrative for beginners in the study of coins or other small remnants from ancient civilizations. At the same time, if the reader is more experienced, Ken provides plenty of rewards. He is a teacher, a motivator, and a preacher of the numerous positive aspects of the study of coins and other artifacts that link the modern reader to history.

One need not be religious or even agree that the Bible is a divine text to fully appreciate the thrill of reading Ken’s narratives and seeing the excellent photographs of the objects being discussed. Ken reminds me very much of my late dad, also a numismatist, when he writes, “Knowing that genuine artifacts still exist provides a gateway to strengthening one’s faith and provides a tangible connection to the past that can only be experienced through studying or actually seeing some of these interesting items. They are the closest thing to ‘time travel’ that one can ever experience.”

Ken talks about the invention of writing and shows us examples of the earliest clay tablets with cuneiform letters. In his specialty of numismatics, he discusses trade and commerce from the earliest forms of barter through the precious-metal economy, and into the age of coins in which we still live. Many readers will realize the actual connection between money and writing—the earliest writing was used to keep accurate records of financial transactions and accounts! Coins emerged more than a millennium later than the invention of writing.

Was Jesus a pioneer scholar of numismatics? Perhaps, since he shows us his own interest in money—16 of the 40 parables refer to coins or money, and “the topic is mentioned throughout the scriptures more than almost any other subject,” Ken explains.

Ken uses examples of coins of the ancient world, and the stories related to them, to narrate the Judeo-Christian tradition from the invention of coinage right up to the Byzantine period. He begins his story in the days of the Old Testament, a time before coins existed, when “shekel” referred to a weight of metal, mainly silver. But, as the story reaches the “30 pieces of silver,” Ken explains that now they are talking about coins—and he identifies them as silver shekels of Tyre. They portrayed a heathen god but were the purest of silver and truest of weight of their time, and they were the only coin accepted by the Temple. Because Jews made pilgrimages to Jerusalem from around the ancient world, they arrived carrying only their local coins. These were converted into Tyre shekels or half-shekels by moneychangers near the Jerusalem Temple and, indeed, it was the behavior of these money changers that caused Jesus to disrupt their business by upturning their trading tables.

Through coins, readers reach the landmark when Rome accepted Christianity at the time of Constantine the Great (A.D. 307–337). Constantine had a dream before the battle of the Milvian Bridge in A.D. 312. In his dream, a flaming cross with the Latin words In hoc signo vinces (“By this sign you will conquer”) appeared. “From that time forward, the Roman sun god was removed from Constantine’s coins and replaced with non-religious depictions,” Ken writes. Fascinating. I am betting that many professors of ancient history do not know this, because many historic details that are reflected in contemporary coins of the realm are often ignored except by specialists.

Ken also tells us that the face of Jesus does not appear on coins until the seventh-century reign of Justinian II. As for the origins of that image—well, Ken will tell the story better than I can here, so read his book!

Many readers of Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame will be surprised to learn that so many objects used around the time of Jesus still exist and can be seen in museums and private collections throughout the United States and the world. Ken not only tells us about these objects—from coins to oil lamps and ancient glass—but shows us photos of fascinating examples.

Indeed, each of these ancient objects is a portal to a continuum of human life across 4,000 years, an authentic key to the mind. Is every story true? We can never know. But Ken weaves tales that have been reconstructed by scholars since the Renaissance.

I found Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame to be a fun and fascinating book, and I’m happy to encourage you to read it, too.

Numismatic historians Kenneth Bressett (left), Robert Hoge (center), and David Hendin (right).

David Hendin is a specialist in weights and currency of the ancient Levant, especially Judaean and biblical, local provincial, and Nabataean numismatics. He is author of the Guide to Biblical Coins (sixth edition, 2022) and ten other books, as well as articles in scholarly journals and his monthly column for The Celator. He joined the American Numismatic Society in 1976 and is now a Life Fellow and member of the Augustus B. Sage Society.
Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame, first edition.
By Kenneth Bressett; foreword by David Hendin.
ISBN 0794849768. Hardcover, 6 x 9 inches, 224 pages, full color.
Retail $24.95 U.S.

The Royal Mint sends largest coins in its history to 700-year-old Trial of the Pyx

Trial of the Pyx 2022 – 10 Kilo Queens Beasts Completer coin

The largest coin ever created by The Royal Mint, the 10-kilo Queen’s Beasts gold proof, is one of the coins sent to the Trial of the Pyx this year. The Royal Mint’s coins were submitted for testing on 1st of February at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London in the annual centuries-old ceremony.

The 10-kilo coin is part of the ‘Masterworks’ collection from The Royal Mint – a new series of larger, one-of-a-kind pieces for collectors. The coin was made using a combination of traditional skills and innovative technology, creating a unique and beautiful work of art.

Other special coins being tested this year include a 9.5kg ‘Masterwork’ celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s 95th birthday. The coin bears the inscription ‘my heart and my devotion’ taken from the Queen’s speech first televised on the Christmas broadcast of 1957.

Also attending the Trial of the Pyx this year is the world’s most visually secure bullion coin, the Britannia which contains four innovative security features. These include a latent image, surface animation, micro-text and tincture lines – all of which provide security and peace of mind for consumers.

As The Royal Mint continues to diversify as a business, precious metals pieces are becoming more popular with investors as a store of wealth. All coins made by The Royal Mint are subject to the testing process at Trial of the Pyx – the responsibility of the Goldsmiths’ Company – which ensures coins produced are of the highest standard.

Queens Beasts Completer being examined at Trial of the Pyx 2022

The Trial, the UK’s oldest judicial ceremony, aims to protects consumers and upholds the quality of the nation’s coinage – as important today as it has been since the first public Trial in 1248. This includes ensuring the coins maintain the precision and accuracy that The Royal Mint is known for. The trial brings together The Goldsmiths’ Company, The Goldsmiths Company Assay Office and The Royal Mint to ensure the integrity of the coins it creates.

A sample of new coins struck by The Royal Mint is rigorously and independently checked for fineness and quality by an independent jury of Goldsmiths’ Company members, before further analysis by the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office – which will test the purity of precious metal by taking samples from the coins.

Anne Jessopp, CEO, The Royal Mint commented: “As Britain’s oldest company, we have an incredible 1,100-year heritage which includes the ancient Trial of the Pyx ceremony. We are the only Mint in the world to be subject to such rigorous independent testing, and it upholds the trust and quality that The Royal Mint is famous for.

“Our business is evolving, and the coins we submit to the Trial of the Pyx today look very different to those submitted in the twelfth century. This year two of the largest coins ever made by The Royal Mint will appear before the trial – including a 10kg gold Masterwork which took 400 hours to make. The Trial will authenticate the quality and metal content of the coin reinforcing its value as a piece of art.”

Dame Lynne Brindley, Prime Warden (Chairs the Board) of the Goldsmiths’ Company commented: “There are two sides to every coin. There are two sides to the future of coins: less daily use but renewed popularity of their commemorative and investment possibilities. Coins are items of beauty, fine craftsmanship and design excellence. The Trial of the Pyx retains its relevance to consumers, collectors and the digital economy, and the Goldsmiths’ Company is very proud to be involved today, as we have been for seven hundred years”.

More information on the Trial can be found here.

In Appreciation of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins

The latest Whitman Publishing book by Q. David Bowers will debut in March 2022. The 448-page Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins will be available from bookstores and hobby shops and online (including at`), and in the meantime is available for preorder. Here, Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker describes how the book came to be, and why it was undertaken in the first place.

The Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins is volume 26 in Whitman Publishing’s “Bowers Series,” and the 20th volume in the series written by Q. David Bowers himself.

In the sixty-plus years Q. David Bowers has been studying the gold coins of the United States, he has examined countless related periodicals, read more than 5,000 numismatic catalogs, and consumed every available reference on the subject. Beyond this “book learning” he has personally studied hundreds of thousands of gold coins, and has cataloged many of the most famous coin collections ever sold.

Dave became a professional numismatist and coin dealer in the 1950s, when he was a young teenager. Back then gold coins weren’t often seen in the hobby community. In his local coin club, even the older members rarely brought them in for show-and-tell, or to sell. Since the 1930s, Great Depression–era orders had legally restricted “hoarding” of such precious-metal coins (although collectors could keep gold pieces of numismatic significance, and personal exemptions allowed any American to own a reasonable face-value amount). Those federal restrictions would abide until the early 1970s.

Starting with the Bicentennial gold-medal program, Congress and the Treasury Department would tinker with mass-market distribution of federal gold products, including the trial-and-error exploration embodied by the American Arts Gold Medallions and, finally, the debut of the nation’s first widely successful gold-bullion program, the American Eagle coinage of 1986 to date. Today, Americans find it easier than ever to buy, sell, and trade gold coins. This includes numismatic offerings such as commemoratives, Proofs and Reverse Proofs, high-relief gold medals, and other collectibles.

Classic pre-1934 U.S. gold coins, too, are now easy to study and collect. Many factors contribute to this.

  • Since the late 1940s, the Guide Book of United States Coins (the popular “Red Book”) has given numismatics a strong boost, making the hobby accessible to more than just wealthy and leisured intellectuals;
  • starting in the 1950s, global economic conditions repatriated a flood of old U.S. gold coins, mainly from European bank holdings;
  • in the 1980s, the development of modern professional third-party coin certification brought seemingly scientific stability to the art of grading, and gave birth to a robust sight-unseen market;
  • since the 1990s, the communications boom and modern technology have made U.S. gold coins widely accessible for any collector with an Internet connection; and
  • since the early 2000s, the modern renaissance of American numismatic book publishing has brought dozens of new books featuring U.S. gold coins into the hands of collectors and researchers.

A couple years ago I made an informal poll of 100 hobbyists. I found that roughly 10 percent identify themselves as “very active” collectors of gold quarter eagles—e.g., constantly upgrading their sets, competing in registries, cherrypicking or collecting by die variety or die state, and/or holding membership in a dedicated group such as the Southern Gold Society. 20 percent were more casual, collecting quarter eagles (including in type sets) but not as their primary hobby niche. The remaining 70 percent were split evenly between those who own some of the coins but don’t consider them a carefully assembled collection; and those who neither collect them nor own any.

I found it interesting that two-thirds of these collectors owned quarter eagles and/or collected them either actively or casually. Comments included: “I have about a dozen examples of genuine and counterfeits. Now I only collect the fake ones.” “My main area of collecting; love them!” “Yes, with a focus on Dahlonega issues. I am always on the hunt for the die and mintmark varieties of the 1839-D, 1841-D, 1843-D, and 1846-D/D.” “No dirty old gold here! I collect the 1900–1907 Liberty Head quarter eagle short set in CAC-approved high grades (66/67). Love those little glowing gems!” “I collect Indian Head quarter eagles—just a date set, though. The ’11-D is out of my league.” “I pretty much exclusively collect gold quarter eagles. My primary focus is a date run from 1796 to 1834, including Red Book varieties. Only 6 coins to go of the 24 needed. I’ve been at it for 10 years. I also collect ‘cool’ Classic and Liberty Head quarter eagles.” “I’m plugging away at a set, albeit very, very slowly. All are PCGS VG-8 or lower. Something special about gold lowballs.” “Love them: By decade, by type, by mint.” “Have a complete set of Indian quarter eagles—minus, surprise, surprise, the 1911-D.”

In the 1950s this level of interest and excitement over gold quarter eagles was nowhere to be seen. It was decades in the future.

When Dave Bowers started in the hobby in the 1950s, books about gold coins were even rarer than the coins themselves. Researcher Walter Breen wrote a 24-page monograph on gold dollars in 1964. In 1975 numismatist David W. Akers, after spending more than 20 years researching gold coins (dollars in particular), published United States Gold Coins: An Analysis of Auction Records, Gold Dollars. Over the next seven years Akers compiled volumes covering every U.S. gold coin series. In the meantime Breen, too, continued to write monographs on other gold coins (up to the $10 denomination, published in 1967), and included gold coins in his two encyclopedias published in 1977 and 1988.

Other writers over time added to the hobby community’s knowledge of U.S. gold coins. Researchers published their work in Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, Numismatic News, Coin World, The Numismatist, Coins Magazine, and other periodicals. Historian Cornelius Vermeule explored the aesthetics of U.S. coinage, including gold, in Numismatic Art in America (1971). Coin World published its Almanac in several editions starting in 1975, providing much technical information and data. Kenneth Bressett and others codified the grading of U.S. coins, including gold, in the Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins (first edition, 1978). Later, Richard Doty, curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection, wrote his broad-ranging America’s Money, America’s Story, and Roger W. Burdette crafted his award-winning Renaissance of American Coinage books from deep study of the National Archives, Treasury records, and other primary sources. The gold coins of individual mints were covered by specialists including Rusty Goe (Carson City) and Douglas Winter (Carson City, Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans). Mike Fuljenz helped popularize U.S. gold coins with his award-winning books on various series.

In the midst of this activity, Q. David Bowers emerged as the preeminent author on U.S. gold coinage—a position he holds to this day.

Bowers’s History of United States Coinage, As Illustrated by the Garrett Collection, published in 1979, included his analysis of the nation’s gold coins. In 1982 he published United States Gold Coins: An Illustrated History. His numismatic history of collecting U.S. gold coins was released as part of the proceedings of the 1989 Coinage of the Americas Conference. In various other books of the 1990s and early 2000s, plus hundreds of articles and columns before and since, he’s shared stories and insight on U.S. gold coins.

In 2003 Bowers joined forces with Whitman Publishing, longtime publisher of the Red Book and other hobby books, signing on as the company’s numismatic director. This collaboration has led to a boom in American book-publishing in the field of numismatics. Whitman publishes an average of one new book either entirely or substantially about gold coins every year, ranging from popular single-denomination guidebooks to (also popular) 650-page encyclopedias. The first came out in 2004: Bowers’s Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins was the first book to cover the entire spectrum of the $20 denomination since David Akers’s 1982 volume on the subject. Among the more recent are Gold: Everything You Need to Know to Buy and Sell Today (by Bowers and Jeff Garrett, first published in 2010); Lost and Found Coin Hoards and Treasures: Illustrated Stories of the Greatest American Troves and Their Discoveries (Bowers, first edition 2015); and my own American Gold and Silver: U.S. Mint Collector and Investor Coins and Medals, Bicentennial to Date, published in 2016.

As Whitman’s numismatic director, Dave Bowers has advised on all of these books, while keeping up his own prodigious and constant research and writing.

David W. Akers, who in the 1970s and 1980s broke new ground publishing his numismatic research, has said, “If one had a library consisting only of books and auction catalogs that Dave Bowers has written, the field of U.S. numismatics would be quite thoroughly and satisfactorily covered. Such a claim could not be made about any other person, past or present.”

The Guide Book of Gold Quarter Eagle Coins—the 26th volume in the Bowers Series, and the 20th of those volumes written by Bowers himself—expands and confirms that distinction.

A Guide Book of Quarter Eagle Gold Coins, first edition.
By Q. David Bowers; foreword by Mike Fuljenz.
ISBN 0794847331. Softcover, 6 x 9 inches, 448 pages, full color.
Retail $29.95 U.S.

Gold Gleams Boldly and Brilliantly in Legend’s 50th Regency Auction

Naples Collection, Part II and Half Dome Collection lead the way in record breaking event

(Red Bank, NJ—January 31, 2022). Legend Rare Coin Auctions (LRCA) started 2022 with a real bang with Regency Auction 50 shattering auction records on a number of numismatic rarities, including the all time highest price paid in auction for a 1907 Rolled Edge Eagle, realizing $587,500! (This and all subsequent prices noted include the firm’s 17.5% buyers premium).

The first lot of the sale really set the tone for the rest of the evening when a near-Gem 1776 Continental dollar, the E.G. FECIT type, in PCGS MS64 CAC and pedigreed to the Dr. Jerry Buss and Larry Miller Collections, sold for $146,875. Strong prices continued even in series long-neglected like three-cent nickels, like lot 31, an 1870 PCGS PR66+ DCAM CAC, that brought $12,337.50.

As expected pre-sale, the attention was highly focused on the two anchor consignments of gold: Part II of the Naples Collection of Early Gold and selections of duplicates from the Half Dome Collection. These two consignments realized not just strong prices, but in some cases prices that were, as founder, Laura Sperber put it “beyond moon money.” Demand for exceptional quality rare date gold coins in all series is stronger now than ever before, with new, well-healed and educated collectors entering into the market, seeing how much value there is in numismatics. The explosion in demand over the last few years has driven prices up dramatically. Looking at one example is the Rolled Edge eagle from the Half Dome Collection. One of only 42 struck, this extremely rare and popular type is always in demand. The previous auction record was for the PCGS MS67 CAC example owned by the late D. Brent Pogue, realizing $576,000; the Half Dome coin, graded MS65+ realized $587,500!

Other areas also saw strong bidding, including high-end commemorative half dollars, and a sensational AU58+ Clark Gruber $5 which realized the second-highest price ever recorded for an example of this popular territorial issue, hitting nearly $53,000 is extremely strong bidding.

Highlight lots:

  • 1  $1 1776 Continental, E.G. Fecit. PCGS MS64 CAC    $146,875.00
  • 7 1C 1882 PCGS MS66+ CAC  $14,100.00
  • 31  3CN 1870 PCGS PR66+ DCAM CAC $12,337.50
  • 65 5C 1892 PCGS PR67+ CAM CAC  $17,625.00
  • 90  5C 1913 Type I. PCGS PR66+ CAC $8,517.50
  • 103 25C 1870 PCGS PR66+ CAM CAC  $8,518.00
  • 140  50C 1897 PCGS PR68 CAM CAC $29,375.00
  • 143  50C 1935-S PCGS MS66+ CAC  $10,575.00
  • 145  50C 1942-D PCGS MS68  $34,075.00
  • 163  $1 1893 PCGS PR66+ DCAM  CAC $29,375.00
  • 172  $1 1875-S PCGS MS65+ CAC  $14,687.50
  • 198 $1 1902 PCGS PR66 CAM CAC  $34,075.00
  • 207 $5 1795 Small Eagle PCGS MS61 CAC $141,000.00
  • 210 $5 1799 Small Stars Reverse. PCGS MS62+ CAC $73,437.50
  • 214 $5 1804 Small. 8 PCGS MS63+ CAC $64,625.00
  • 217  $5 1806 Round 6 7X6 Stars. PCGS MS64 CAC $94,000.00
  • 220  $2.50 1912 PCGS MS65+ CAC $34,075.00
  • 223  $10 1907 Wire Rim. PCGS MS66 CAC $199,750.00
  • 224 $10 1907 Rolled Edge. PCGS MS65+ CAC  $587,500.00
  • 228  $20 1907 No Motto. PCGS MS66+ CAC  $$43,475.00
  • 229  $20 1908 Motto. PCGS MS65+CAC $42,300.00
  • 236 $20 1927-S  PCGS MS65+ CAC $246,750.00
  • 241  $4 1879 Stella, Flowing Hair. PCGS PR64 CAMEO CAC $217,375.00
  • 242  $5  1820 Square Base 2. PCGS MS63+ CAC $73,437.50
  • 270 50C 1918 LINCOLN PCGS MS67+ CAC  $9,987.50
  • 274 50C 1936-D Rhode Island. PCGS MS67+ CAC  $8,518.00
  • 276 $5 CLARK GRUBER PCGS AU58+ $52,875.00

“From the moment the auction began previews on our website, the highlight coins brought a record number of page views, and as soon as the auction opened for pre-bidding, we could tell the action would be intense,” explained Julie Abrams, president of Legend Auctions. “The attendance in person at the sale showed that collectors are back to attending shows and auctions again, and the in person bidding was as strong as any Regency Auction prior to the pandemic.”

“From the market perspective,” added Laura Sperber, “there are so few great coins to be found out there, that when they appear at auction, the action is very fierce, and when your auction sales are curated to only include high quality, important rare coins, like our Regency Auctions, the results are event stronger.”

LRCA is always looking to extend its streak of record-breaking Regency Auctions, with its 51st that will take place as an official auction of the Central States Numismatic Convention in Schaumberg, IL on April 21. Consignments are being accepted until mid-March. For more information, or to consign, call 732-935-1168 or email

Arkansas and Ohio Coin Dealers Receives Service Awards

The National Coin & Bullion Association dealer-members Dan Hedges (Auro Industries, Little Rock, Arkansas) and David Miholer (The Executive Coin Company, Stow, Ohio) have received the association’s 2021 Diane Piret Memorial Outstanding Service Award for their continuous dedication and financial contributions to obtaining a sales-tax exemption on sales of collector coins, bullion coins, bullion, and currency in the state of Arkansas and reinstating Ohio’s exemption for precious-metal and investment coins and bullion, respectively.

In the spring of 2018, Paul Mason (Mason’s Coin and Pawn, Hot Springs, Arkansas) contacted NCBA for assistance with an initiative to establish a sales-tax exemption for coins, currency, and precious-metals bullion. A coalition of Arkansas dealers was formed, headed by Mason and Tom Poole (Northeast Arkansas Coin Company, Jonesboro, Arkansas) with the help of Hedges. They hired a lobbyist and oversaw the creation of a bill, which was sponsored by Senator Mark Johnson in 2019. The bill did not get enough favorable votes to pass out of the committee before the general assembly’s sine die adjournment that April.

Despite the setback, Hedges persisted, picking up the gauntlet to lead the effort without a lobbyist when the legislature reconvened in 2021. Senator Johnson introduced SB 336 to create an exemption from the sales and use tax for coins, currency, and bullion. This time the bill successfully moved from the Senate Revenue & Tax Committee through the legislative process in both chambers and was delivered to Governor Hutchinson on April 27, 2021.

“We thank Dan Hedges for his perseverance, and the tremendous support of everyone who helped him in this campaign,” said NCBA executive director, David Crenshaw.

“The NCBA partnership, our team, and many others were invaluable to the success of our efforts,” said Hedges.

In July of 2019, the Ohio Legislature eliminated the sales-tax exemption on the purchases of investment metal bullion and coins from their budget. Though the Ohio dealer community rallied, urging Governor DeWine to line-item veto this language and protect the exemption, no action was taken before he signed the bill into law.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down many opportunities to change the law during 2020, but Miholer put together a coalition of Ohio coin-business owners to restore the lost exemption. He found sponsors in the legislature and helped push through amendments to include a sales-tax exemption for precious-metals coins and bullion in the state budget for FY 2022–2023. Collectible coins made of copper and nickel and paper currency are not exempt, though collectible coins made primarily of gold and silver (such as dimes, quarters, and dollars minted before 1965 and any higher-value gold coins) and any bullion coins made of platinum or palladium qualify.

The Ohio Senate and House passed HB 110 on June 28, 2021, and shortly after midnight July 1, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill into law.
“This exemption is vital to the growth of our businesses in the state of Ohio. Thank you to everyone who made our work these past two years a success, especially Rachel Tilves, Brad Karoleff, Andrew Reames, and Pat Heller,” said Miholer.

“Dave Miholer never let up in the push to regain his state’s sales tax exemption. He understood how important the exemption was to his business and every other Ohio dealer, to Ohio residents, and even to the state government,” said Pat Heller, NCBA board member and sales tax exemption expert.

The Diane Piret Memorial Outstanding Service Award is normally presented at the NCBA membership dinner and update during the Florida United Numismatist Convention. However, the NCBA event was cancelled due to issues with the current COVID-19 omicron variant surge. The award commemorates the 25-year career of NCBA’s former industry affairs director, who died in 2015.

PCGS Graded Top 8 of 10 Most-Valuable U.S. Coins Sold in 2021

Overall, Professional Coin Grading Service claims 17 of the top 25 U.S. coins crossing the auction block last year, including the most-valuable coin ever sold

1933 Double Eagle PCGS MS65 (Image courtesy of PCGS)

(Santa Ana, California, January 12, 2022) – An incredible 8 of the top 10 most-valuable United States coins that crossed the auction block last year were graded by Professional Coin Grading Service ( Among these was the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, a classic United States gold coin with only one specimen available for private ownership and that broke all barriers as the most-expensive coin to ever trade hands when it hammered for $18,872,250. In all, 17 of the top 25 most-valuable coins to sell in 2021 were graded by PCGS.

“It just goes to show that the best coins always end up in PCGS holders,” asserts PCGS President Stephanie Sabin. “Year over year, the vast majority of the most valuable coins to hit the hammer at auction are in PCGS holders. This speaks to the trust and confidence collectors place in our consistent grading and ability to provide the maximum value, security, and liquidity for collectible coins.”

Here’s a rundown on the top 25 U.S. coins sold in 2021 and prices realized (including buyer’s fees):

  1. 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, PCGS MS65 – Sotheby’s, $18,872,250
  2. 1787 $15 Wing Punch Brasher Doubloon, MS65 – Heritage Auctions, $9,360,000
  3. 1822 Capped Bust Half Eagle, PCGS AU50 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $8,400,000
  4. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar, PCGS PR68 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $7,680,000
  5. 1861 Paquet Reverse Double Eagle, PCGS MS67 – Heritage Auctions, $7,200,000
  6. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, PCGS MS66+ – Heritage Auctions, $6,600,000
  7. 1804 Draped Bust Eagle, PCGS PR65+DCAM – Heritage Auctions, $5,280,000
  8. 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, PR68 – Heritage Auctions, $3,600,000
  9. 1792 J-1 Silver Center Cent, PCGS SP67BN – Heritage Auctions, $2,520,000
  10. 1854-S Liberty Half Eagle, PCGS XF45 – Heritage Auctions, $2,400,000
  11. (TIED) 1885 Trade Dollar, PCGS PR63+CAM – Heritage Auctions, $2,100,000
  12. (TIED) Brasher 1786 Lima-Style Brasher Doubloon, MS61 – Heritage Auctions, $2,100,000
  13. 1893-S Morgan Dollar, PCGS MS67 – GreatCollections, $2,086,875
  14. 1921 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Satin Special Strike, PR64+ – Heritage Auctions, $2,010,000
  15. 1880 Coiled Hair Stella, PR67CAM – Heritage Auctions, $1,860,000
  16. 1797 Draped Bust Overton-101A Half Dollar, PCGS MS66 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $1,680,000
  17. 1870-CC Liberty Head Double Eagle, PCGS AU53 – Heritage Auctions, $1,620,000
  18. 1796 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle Stars, PCGS MS65 – Heritage Auctions, $1,380,000
  19. 1792 25 Cents J-13, AU58 – Heritage Auctions, $1,260,000
  20. 1776 Continental Dollar “CURRENCY” Silver, VF35 – Heritage Auctions, $1,140,000
  21. 1866 Liberty Seated Dollar No Motto, PCGS PR63+ – Heritage Auctions, $1,050,000
  22. 1794 Flowing Hair Overton 101A Half Dollar, PCGS MS64+ – Heritage Auctions, $870,000
  23. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, AU58 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $840,000
  24. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar J-18, VF25 – Heritage Auctions, $840,000
  25. 1943-D Bronze Lincoln Cent, PCGS MS64BN – Heritage Auctions, $840,000

1822 Capped Bust Half Eagle, PCGS AU50 (Image courtesy of PCGS)

PCGS also makes an honorable mention to an unusual piece the company graded and that sold at auction for a staggering sum, the 2011 25BTC Casascius Bitcoin. This novel piece of exonumia serves as the physical representation of 25 Bitcoins and was graded PCGS MS67. It sold for $1,698,750 in a GreatCollections sale. It should be noted that an astounding 22 U.S. coins surpassed the $1 million threshold in 2021 among the auction houses consulted for this year-end roundup of prices realized, and this confirms the robust strength of the coin market in 2021 despite a gyrating economy and persistent pandemic conditions.

For more information and images covering all of the top-selling coins of 2021, visit You can also view the top-selling PCGS coins of all time at

About Professional Coin Grading Service

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is a third-party coin and banknote grading company that was launched in 1986. Over 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified more than 48 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of over $47 billion. For more information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, please visit or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.

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