Anthony Issues Good as Keepsakes

Question: Littleton Coin Co. is offering a first-year, all-mint set of Susan B. Anthony dollars (three coins) for $5. I was thinking of purchasing a few sets as keepsake gifts for my children (and possible appreciation over the years). Does this sound like a good plan, or could you suggest something else to serve this purpose (in a similar price range)?--S.J.

Answer: You can hardly go wrong spending $5 for coins that have a face value of $3. This is undoubtedly an introductory offer, hoping to entice you and others into the world of numismatics. Anthony dollars were produced by the U.S. Mint from 1979 to 1981 only. They were unsuccessful as circulating pieces because of their size (similar to a quarter) and design (many people were critical of the Anthony likeness during the height of the feminist movement).

Millions of these dollars were minted, but they were so unpopular that most are languishing in Treasury vaults. Only proof versions appear to have gone up in value, with the 1979 clear S the most valuable of the series. It catalogues at about $85 but is realistically worth about half of that.

Buying these three-piece sets (P, D and S mint marks) as keepsakes makes sense, but the chances of these coins appreciating in value is unpredictable. You might do just as well or better with U.S. proof and uncirculated sets. The 1988 proof set is $11 from the Mint.

True investment coins are usually a bit pricey. It's a good idea to start modestly with something like the Anthony dollars or proof sets, and learn as much about them and coin grading as you can before taking the big plunge.

Q: I have half dollars (Kennedy) dated 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1969; silver dollars dated 1880, 1921 and 1922. Please tell me what they are worth.--S.J.

A: The 1964 Kennedy half dollar is worth $2; the '65, '68 and '69 are 75 cents each. The silver dollars are $8 to $10 each.

Coin News

The recently concluded American Numismatic Assn. convention in Cincinnati featured a souvenir card by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing reproducing a $2 1918 Federal Reserve Note (pictured) showing the battleship New York. Copies of the card (ANA No. 958) are available by mail for $5.50. An intaglio print (No. 426) is $22.50 by mail. Order from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Mail Order Sales, Room 602-11A, 14th and C streets S.W., Washington, D.C. 20228.

More than $16 million was raised for the United States Olympic Committee through the sales of 1988 U.S. Olympic commemorative sets during the pre-issue period of Feb. 15 through May 15. The funds were generated by a surcharge mandated by Congress. Additional coins will be available in early August, with the goal of raising more than $40 million for Olympic training. To purchase $5 gold and/or $1 silver Olympic commemoratives, call (800) 922-4400.

California fractional gold will be featured in a Superior Galleries auction Sept. 25, 26, and 27. The Lee Collection of California Gold will be featured, along with another major pioneer fractional gold collection. The Lee Collection was started in 1910 and is considered the finest of its kind ever assembled. California fractional gold is collected by design, date, denomination and type. A reference work, "California Pioneer Fractional Gold" by Walter Breen with Ronald J. Gillio, is available for $29.95 from Superior, 9478 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif. 90212-4299; telephone (213) 203-9855 or (800) 874-3230.

Coin Calendar

Saturday and Sunday--The 30th Annual Coin and Collectibles Show sponsored by the Santa Barbara Coin Club will be at the Miramar Hotel Convention Center, U.S. 101 at San Ysidro Road. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

Coin Follow-Up

The recent column discussing grading services drew this response: "The article . . . was an excellent overview of the why, how and where of grading services. However, I noted with dismay that Accugrade was not mentioned . . . Accugrade Inc. (ACG) is currently the third largest independent grading service in the United States, with offices in Connecticut, Iowa, California and a new office soon to open in the Southeastern U.S. ACG is the second oldest grading service, having initiated operations in 1983 . . . We are currently in the process of becoming the 'Federal Express' of the coin-grading services. We can be found at every major show from coast to coast where we will grade, authenticate and slab a coin for the public at a cost of $25--with a three-hour turnaround."


vice president, West Coast operations

Accugrade's local office is at 2005 Palo Verde Ave., No. 333, Long Beach, Calif. 90815; telephone (213) 430-3366.

Coin Books

More than 1,000 price changes are included in the 1988 edition of the "Standard Guide to the Lincoln Cent" by Sol Taylor. This second edition also has a new chapter on grading and recent auction results. Copies are available for $14.95 plus 97 cents sales tax from the author at P.O. Box 5465, North Hollywood, Calif. 91616.

"Fractional Money" by Neil Carothers, published originally in 1930, has been reprinted by Bowers & Merena. The book goes beyond the paper notes issued during and just after the Civil War to include denominations from the cent through the half dollar. "Fractional Money" is $19.95 plus $2 for handling from Bowers & Merena Publications, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.

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