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Rare Money Blog

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Award medals often combine the elegant and artistic elements of numismatics with interesting aspects of material culture, often relating the individual to whom they were awarded to a particular event in time. A prime example of this phenomenon is a silver medal featured in our January 2021 sale—an officially sanctioned auction of the 2021 NYINC. It was issued for the 1900 International Exposition held in Paris, France, a beautifully rendered medal by the hand Jules-Clément Chaplain, a key figure in the founding of the Art Nouveau movement. His obverse design is the head of Marianne (an allegory for France herself) facing right, wearing a Phrygian cap (emblematic of liberty) and an oak wreath, while an oak tree is in the background to the right, and a partial veduta of Paris is at a distance to the right.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Having a native population going back some 60,000 years, Australia was first discovered by Europeans when the Dutch arrived in the early 17th century. A century later, the British arrived and in turn claimed half of the continent for themselves. The initial colony established there was New South Wales, and the British utilized this outpost as a penal colony to which the dominion's convicts could be sent. Not just prisoners would populate this southern realm, however, as the number of inhabitants in general grew rapidly in the late 17th- and early 18th centuries.

By Stack's Bowers Galleries

​Stack's Bowers Galleries is excited to announce the sale of the Oro del Nuevo Mundo Collection in our January 2021 auction, to be held January 15-16 as an officially sanctioned auction of the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC).  The collection represents one of the most significant offerings of Latin American coinage within recent memory, consisting of "Onza"-sized gold coins that span Latin America's colonial period through many Republics.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Countermarks have long served in the role of "repurposed numismatics," with a host coin issued under the auspices of one authority being appropriated by another sometime down the road. The concept of repurposing coins is not new, and often involves the melting down of a coinage seized, for example, during a war and then giving it new life when re-coined. Such production need not be so ambitious, however, as the original coin can, rather more conveniently, be altered simply with a stamp that conveys the new authority or usage while not attempting to hide the coin's original issuer or purpose.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Much like another female ruler some two centuries prior (Elizabeth I in England), an empress in Russia would oversee great national growth in both land and power, and have a "golden age" associated with her reign. What is different, however, is that this ruler wasn't native to the land in which she would eventually rule. Born in what is now Germany to the Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst in 1729, Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste was ennobled, though of modest means overall.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Few English monarchs have had such a storied and pivotal reign as Elizabeth I, ruling for nearly 45 years until her death in 1603. The daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, she ascended to the throne in 1558 following the death of her sister, “Bloody” Mary I. During her reign, Elizabeth oversaw the growth of English preeminence in the seas and a burgeoning colonial empire abroad, while she similarly presided over a generally tranquil era at home. As she never married or produced an heir, she was succeeded by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland.

By Kyle Ponterio, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​The countermark series of the Philippines is quite vast with a whole array of coins serving as hosts. Utilizing coins ranging from the Spanish colonial period to the early republics of the Americas, and even some from Europe, these countermarks are usually applied to the obverse of the host as stipulated by the decree of 2 October 1832. These markings in their abbreviated form "F.7.o" (for Ferdinand VII) and, similarly later on, "Y.II." (for Isabella II) were applied with a hand-held punch. Prior to the punch change from the earlier "F.7.o" to the more numerous "Y.II.," a decree was issued on 27 August 1834 stating that all pierced coins were no longer legal tender.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Much like the American pastime poker often involving some friendly monetary wagering, so too it is for Mahjong in a large portion of the Far East. Though playing cards have been around for over a millennium, likely being introduced in the 9th century A.D. (coincidentally enough, during China's Tang dynasty), the game of Mahjong likely had its debut during China's final imperial family, the Qing dynasty in the mid-18th century. Involving 144 tiles with various symbols and Chinese characters, it is generally played with four players employing a turn-based strategy and may have derived from an earlier game known as Mah-tiae ("hanging horse").

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