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Rare Money Blog

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​The crowning of any monarch is always a momentous celebration, highly anticipated and carefully planned. In the United Kingdom,  such an occasion warranted the striking of medals commemorating the regal festivities so that the collecting community might honor the new sovereign. This practice began during Stuart rule, and grew in refinement and artistry as the years and centuries progressed. Examples of these issues in multiple metals would be offered, allowing those of greater means to acquire medals is gold, while others could purchase specimens in silver or even bronze.

By Kyle Ponterio and Matthew Orsini

​An enigma to this day, the exceedingly rare "Royal" presentation issues struck at mints in Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico were a distinct departure from the normal "cob" coinage that was standard during the first few centuries of Spanish Colonial rule in the New World. Owing to their utilitarian nature, the normal cobs were made by pouring a silver strap and cutting off pieces of a consistent weight. As a result, their appearance was often crude, with strikes that were usually unevenly applied or doubled, atop flans that were misshapen and out-of-round. Despite this lack of quality control, they did serve their purpose, allowing for mined gold and silver to quickly enter commerce in an easily quantifiable form.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Having a lengthy history of public service in the late stages of the Qīng dynasty and the beginning of the Republic, Hsu Shih-chang (Xú Shìchāng) was an important figure during the first quarter of the 20th century. From 1907-1909, he served as Viceroy of the Three Northeast Provinces, and later acted as a tutor to the very young "Puyi," the Xuāntǒng Emperor.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​In a previous blog, we discussed a numismatic connection to the Bible regarding the "thirty pieces of silver" referenced in Matthew 26:15. These silver coins—likely shekels of Tyre—are not the only numismatic reference, however, as coinage appears in Matthew 22:19-21, Mark 12:15-17, and Luke 20:24-25 as well. In these passages, Jesus was asked about the morality of taxes paid by Jews to the Roman emperor who, at that time, would have been Tiberius. Jesus asks for a coin to be produced, whereupon he was alleged to have been given a denarius, and then asks whose image is represented upon it.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​In the world of medallic art, France may come to mind for its association with some of the most skilled and elegant craftsmen and their work, especially during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Any survey of medals and coins from this period will show the beauty that the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements provided to the numismatic scene. However, production of artistic medals was not limited to France. Although Sweden is not as often represented in collections and literature devoted to numismatic art, it is not due to a lack of exceptional material produced by incredible sculptor/engravers.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Outside of an Athenian “owl,” there may be no more desired—and iconic—coinage from antiquity than that featuring one of the most successful military commanders in history, Alexander III of Macedon—often known simply as Alexander the Great. Born in 356 B.C. to Philip II, king of Macedon, at age 20 Alexander would inherit his father’s realm and stature within the Hellenic world following the assassination of Philip by his personal bodyguard in 336 B.C. Despite his relative youth, he was ready to take the reigns of power, having been well trained and tutored as a boy by the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Philip’s well-trained army was a vital component to Alexander’s grand plans, as the new king sought to achieve what his father had sought—a Greek conquest of Persia. Just five years later, the mighty Darios III and his Achaemenid Empire—stretching from North Africa to what is the modern-day western border of India—was defeated.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​While the American colonies were in the midst of a revolution that would see them gain independence from Great Britain, Persia on the other side of the world was mostly experiencing a period of peace and relative stability following decades of infighting. The Zands were a royal house in the lands of Persia, an area roughly corresponding to the modern country of Iran and historically ruled over by such powers as the Achaemenids, Parthians, Sasanians, and Seljuks.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Though legal slavery would continue through the Civil War, the number of manumitted slaves, as well as their descendents, had become sizable enough by the early 19th century that those both for and against America's peculiar institution found merit in the establishment of a free state in Africa as a home to these freedmen. For those against slavery, it was understood that racism, even in free states, would likely hamper liberated African Americans' pursuit of their inalienable rights. For those in favor of slavery, the idea of freedmen assisting their enslaved brethren—be it by escape or revolt—was at the forefront of concern.

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