Fact Check: ‘Secret to All Coins’

Companion post to TipSheet: Old Money

The ‘slave token’, an English copper coin dating from 1793, was struck to resemble the British penny and circulated as money by abolitionists in England as a call to end slavery.  Today they are valued at $300 each.  “There are only a handful of us collecting them,” notes Neita, “the last one was cited in London.”

“The only Black folk pictured on currency—[usually] Southern obsolete and

Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks (Photo: Wikipedia)

Confederate money—are pictured working in fields,” says coin dealer and enthusiast David Neita of American Heritage Minting.  Then there is Black America today: Jackie Robinson is on a 24K gold $5 dollar coin issued in 1997 for $300 and can now fetch $4,400—$8,500.

Crispus Attucks, a revolutionary hero and first of five people killed in the Boston Massacre of 1770, is pictured on the Black Revolutionary Patriots Silver Dollar issued in 1998 at $15 each it’s now valued at $160—$1,750 depending on coin grade.

Millions of the Booker T. Washington commemorative half-dollar, designed by African American sculptor Isaac Scott Hathaway and inscribed with

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver (Photo: Wikipedia)

“From slave cabin to hall of fame,” were issued from 1946 to 1954.  Individually they cost $40—$12,500.  Hathaway also designed the Carver-Washington Commemorative half-dollar that pictures conjoined busts of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver and was minted between 1951-1954.

By PCGS’s 1—70 grading scale, a 62-grade Carver-Washington costs $20, while a 67-grade can command $15,000.  Neita’s forecast is the secret to all coins:  “They’re not making any more of them, [as] more people collect them they will go up in value.”

California-based coin dealer David Neita worked for CBS Morning News (1968-1973) and majored in journalism at Columbia University School of Journalism.  There are US mints in Denver and Philadelphia, last one to close was in San Francisco.


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