An American Eagle Is Up For Coin Honors

Posted: December 25, 1998

The American $100 platinum eagle is in the running for Coin of the Year in the international competition sponsored annually by World Coin News. The event judges coins struck in 1997 and offers awards in several categories. U.S. coinage has not challenged designs or innovation in Europe and Canada in recent years.

The winners will be named in January. Among nominees are a 10-leones piece from Sierra Leone that shows Mother Teresa and Princess Diana - ``most inspirational''; Canada's $100 gold Alexander Graham Bell commemorative - ``most historically significant''; Austria's 100 schilling commemorative of the Emperor Maximilian - ``best silver coin''; and South Africa's one-rand Women of South Africa coin - ``most artistic.''

Under consideration as ``most innovative'' are two separate pieces, each valued at $5, which fit together to create a single circular coin.

Called ``War and Peace,'' the coin was struck by Kiribati and Western Samoa.

The U.S. platinum coin tops the ``most popular'' category.

Cache of coins. Even Santa's sleigh couldn't carry the cache of coins that a Midwest hoarder sold this month. Littleton Coin Co.'s president David M. Sundman said his firm bought 15,290 pounds of coins that were stashed in 55-gallon drums and canvas bags at the so-far-unidentified collector's house in Illinois.

Sundman said the hoard of 1,746 million items included 950,000 Indian head cents, nearly half a million buffalo nickels, and 308,000 Liberty nickels. His company will require a year to sort and grade the coins. Samples will be shown, however, at the Florida United Numismatists convention Jan. 7-10 in Orlando.

Sundman's firm bought 300,000 buffalo nickels earlier in 1998, a purchase, he said, that he had thought would be the all-time record.

Commemorative quarters. With the Philadelphia Mint in full steam, the first of the commemorative quarters will be in consumers' hands next month. Coins bearing designs chosen by Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut will appear during 1999. Five coins a year will be struck, the order based on when the states ratified the Constitution.

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