The British Museum has published on its frequently informative blog a call for citizen archaeologists to help digitize its Bronze Age Index via a crowd-sourcing site called MicroPasts, which uses the open source PyBossa crowd-sourcing framework that also powers Crowdcrafting. The results will eventually be integrated with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (previously), which features a gigantic image database of finds categorized by period (e.g. Bronze Age or Medieval) and object type (e.g. coins or brooches).
For the past three months, the Art Institute of Chicago has been putting their Launchpad videos, designed to provide more context of museum-goers at the Institutes, on YouTube. The short videos include modern artists recreating art using ancient, medieval, and newer techniques in mosaics, glassblowing, pottery, painting, silversmithing, marquetry, and coin production plus conservation of art. There are also a few videos focusing on individual pieces in the collection.
"Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. Defacement of currency in such a way that it is made unfit for circulation comes under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service." - source"Defaced Money" tagged Tumblr posts, 11 more impressive examples of creatively defaced currency, 101 Unusual, Impressive And Illegal Pieces Of Defaced Currency, and some cool guitar picks.
In anticipation of "The Hobbit" movie, New Zealand has issued "Lord of the Rings" themed coins that are legal tender.
5 years after a think tank study (PDF) recommended its retirement, Canada says goodbye to the penny. Previous penny pinching 1 2
During the US Civil War, metal monies were hoarded for their value, resulting in a shortage of available coins. The Union government issued official "paper coins" that weren't backed by by gold or silver. This "faith paper" lost value quickly, and for a short while, stamps were official currency. That didn't take, either, so enterprising individuals took it upon themselves to mint their own coinage. These are now known as Civil War Tokens (CTWs), and were made and used between late 1862 and mid 1864. On April 22, 1864, Congress set the weight of coins and set punishment for counterfeiting coins of up to one thousand dollars and imprisonment up to five years. Yet there are over ten thousand varieties of tokens, representing 22 states, 400 towns and about 1500 individual merchants. Melvin and his son Dr. George Fuld wrote key books in the CWT field, creating the rarity scale and composition key used by most numismatists. Given sheer number of CWTs, starting a collection might be daunting. Enter collector Ken Bauer, whose method breaks down the vast world into smaller collections, from anvils to watches and so much more.
Tai Star spent seven hours balancing 600 quarters, 501 dimes, 313 nickels, 1699 pennies and five foreign coins (3,118 coins in total) on a single dime. It's not his first attempt to break a record.
Star explained: 'It is on the very corner for a few reasons: to make it easy to see that it is on one dime and I think the structure of the table is most sturdy there - plus I just like precarious balance.'
The United States mint is asking for public feedback regarding what kind of metals to put in the next batch of coins. Here is a bit of history of the metal composition of US coins
Max Keiser (previously) writes in the Guardian about a strategy to try and cause JP Morgan to crash; a strategy which he encourages. [more inside]
The Quarter Shrinker as constructed by Rob Flickenger at Hackerbot Labs in conjunction with Intellectual Ventures Lab. flickr photo set of shrunken coins. The physics behind coin shrinking. Coin World May 2009 article (PDF). Another Shrunken Head Guy.
To encourage circulation of $1 coins, the U.S. Mint offers $250 boxes of dollar coins at face value with free U.S. shipping (and credit card cashback). [via]
The Wriston Art Center Galleries Digital Collection at Lawrence University has over 1500 images of various artworks, focusing especially on prints & printmaking and ancient coins. All can be viewed in extremely high resolution (click "export image" above the artwork). Here are a few I particularly like: Beginning of Winter (Japanese woodcut), Rising Sun (Paul Klee painting), From Distant Lands (watercolor), Three Kings (Jacques Villon engraving), Untitled I (netting) and Noble Lady and Prince (Japanese woodcut).
The historic inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama is two weeks away, and vendors are making a mint selling memorabilia. But be warned: the commemorative coins you see being advertised are not official. A relatively new $1 coin series does feature US presidents in chronological order (previously), but getting Americans to use $1 coins hasn't been easy. Remember Susan B. Anthony, Columbus and Sacagawea? Native American $1 coins will be offered in tandem with the presidential series; if they continue to be issued, Obama's official $1 coin should be available in 2017.
What happens if you post a letter using coins instead of stamps?
The Maria Theresa Thaler (or MTT), a coin first minted in 1741 and continuously to this day, remained legal tender in parts of the Arabian peninsula as late as 1970, where it was much prized both as a coin and for jewelry [magazine article] Incredibly important for trade between Europe and the Middle East, the MTT had a great impact on history. For more information turn to Maria Theresa's Thaler: A case of international money an indepth article about the MTT by Adrian Tschoegl.
Banknote art by Justine Smith. Alternating currency: by Marshall Weber, portraits in money by Mark Wagner, a Ganesh out of Rupee notes by CK Wilde (a spectacular previously). Beautiful banknotes at the World Paper Money Image Gallery. Unusual coins. Unique banknotes, like the 100 Million Dinara note from Croatia. U.S. currency and the pictures behind the portraits. Mildenberg's Dream Collection of Greek Coins at the Money Museum.
The Coins and History of Asia contains information and scans of over 2500 coins from 600 BC to 1600 AD. Also on the same site, an article about Hephthalites, the so-called White Huns of Iran who had an empire in Central Asia before disappearing from historical record after a little bit more than a century.
The first coin? The Lydian Lion, the Athenian Owl, and other intriguing numismatic articles with a particular eye toward the ancient.
According to CNN, the US Mint is coming out with a new dollar. Apparently collectors just hung onto the Sacagawea dollar coin. Let's also not forget what happened to the Susan B. Anthony (Wikipedia) which many thought was a quarter. Speaking of, not only is the Mint making the dollar over again, they're taking the idea that worked with the Quarter. They're going to put different presidents on the new dollar. More coins, if you thought I didn't say "dollar" enough.
Bush approves new "dead presidents." In addition to the new new silver dollars celebrating the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth, the US Mint will be making new dollar coins featuring all 37 dead presidents starting in 2007.
The Brasher Doubloon has been called "the single most important coin in American numismatics." Struck in 1787 by George Washington's neighbor Ephraim Brasher, it's believed to be the first gold coin made in the United States. Seven of Brasher's 1787 doubloons are in existence, each with the initials EB stamped on an eagle; the one that gets title-case capitalization is the only one where the intitials are stamped on the eagle's breast instead of its wing [hi-res pics: front, back]. In January 2005, it was sold at auction for $2.9 million. It's now on a tour of the United States (and insured for $6 million). In Raymond Chandler's 1942 novel The High Window and the 1947 film adaptation The Brasher Doubloon, Philip Marlowe investigates the theft of the doubloon.
For 36 years, Harold Gray has been on an extraordinary mission -- to recover what may be the most famous stolen coin collection in the United States. Since October 1967, when five hooded gunmen invaded the Coconut Grove estate of chemical empire heir Willis Harrington duPont, binding the family with silk neckties and stealing the valuable coin collection from duPont's safe, Gray has been on the case. ''We remain,'' he says today, ``in hot pursuit.''
New Nickels On The Way! My metafilter loving friend Jeff says, "Why bother." I'm excited about it though. I've got lots of change from everywhere. Am I barely qualified to do laundry around the world, or is it pretty neat that foreign money looks fake? Is Jeff right? Is small change a waste of time? Can you judge a state by its quarter?
Put MLK on the $20 Bill. Conservatives have clamored to put Ronald Reagan on the dime or the $10 bill. One outfit wants to name something after Reagan in each of the US's counties. Why not put one of "the greatest moral leaders of the 20th century" on one of our most commonly used pieces of currency instead? (Better to have King on the $20 than Andrew Jackson, whose unconstitutional Indian Removal policy created the "Trail of Tears.")
Behold the answer to the Canadian Change conspiracy.
Euro diffusion: "On January 2002 twelve European countries [plus San Marino, the Vatican and Monaco] have welcomed the euro as their new coin. The euro coins have a national side, which is different for every country... So there are fifteen different euro coins that can be used in every one of those 15 countries. Therefore, unlike in the past, the coins will not be collected and brought back to their home country. The coins will slowly but surely be spreaded over the 15 countries. This is the diffusion of the euro, the euro diffusion[.pdf file]." A statistician's playground, this unique historical opportunity, is leading to interesting collaborative internet projects
The Humble Penny? A site to help visualize large numbers with the common US coin. And to think I've been cursing them for so long. If I'd saved 10 million of the little buggars I'd have $100k.
God, politics and America's most notorious coin Teddy Roosevelt described the appearance of "In God We Trust" on U.S. money as "dangerously close to sacrilege." He ordered the motto kept off new $20 gold coins designed by famous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Congress demanded the motto restored, making the earlier coins into collector's items. The motto didn't appear on paper money until 1957, just after "In God We Trust" replaced the secular "E Pluribus Unum" as the national motto and the words "So help me God" were added to the oaths of office for federal judges. Meanwhile, religious conservatives are using the motto to put "In God We Trust" posters in every classroom in America.
Bert Hickman has a ten inch diameter Tesla coil powered from two neon sign transformers in his screened-in (but unheated) porch, along with a device that produces magnetic fields strong enough to shrink coins. One of the byproducts of the coin-shrinking: an eight inch ball of plasma.
"Euro Coins Could Cause Skin Disease" Obviously Lex Luthor is behind this and wants Europeans to throw away their change so he can gather it up and be rich, Rich, RICH! (maniacal laugh).
Flip a coin! Sometimes two heads are NOT better than one...