Thursday, March 29, 2012

Standing Liberty Quarters (1916 - 1930)

The Standing Liberty Quarter was designed by Hermon A. MacNeil in 1916 and his initial M appears to the right of the date. The first design portrayed Liberty with an exposed breast, which was redesigned in 1917. Instead of covering Liberty's breast with the same flowing material of the rest of her dress, the designer clothed her in a coat of chain mail. The left arm of Liberty uncovers a shield as symbol of protection. Her right hand bears an olive branch as symbol of peace. The reverse design was changed in 1917 also: the eagle was moved more to the center of the coin and three of the thirteen stars were placed beneath the eagle. Beginning in 1925, the dates on the coins were recessed, giving them more protection from wear. No Proof coins of this type were officially issued, but well-struck examples exist and they are the most sought out among collectors. Much attention is focused on Liberty's head for the so-called "Full Head" examples with complete details of hair and leaves above ear and full facial features. These quarters bring considerable premiums over poorly struck examples. Collectors also focus their attention on the rivets on the shield. Any coin with a Full Head and full rivets is a true prize. Mintmarks of this type ("D" for Denver or "S" for San Francisco) appear on the obverse just to the left of and above the date.

The 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter had a lot of success among the public, but it also raised many arguments on the grounds of alleged obscenity portraying Liberty. That's why MacNeil asked the Treasury to let him modify the design. The Treasury agreed and assigned Charles E. Barber to chance the coin. Thus, with this opportunity, Barber increased the concavity of the fields, covered Liberty's breast and repositioned the eagle higher in the reverse field. He also re-spaced the inscriptions and placed three of the 13 stars below the eagle, even though MacNeil clearly stated that the dies were untrue to his original conception.

Another change to the Standing Liberty Quarter design came in 1924. After years of noticing that the date would wear too fast on the coins due to Barber's changes, the Mint finally decided to do something about the wear problem. Therefore, from January 1925 until the end of the series, dates are in recess, protected from wear.

The Executive Coin Company is one of the top coin dealers in the United States who offers a variety of Standing Liberty Quarters in different grades: circulated, uncirculated, certified and graded by PCGS, NGC and ANACS. Our wide selection includes the 1916 key date Standing Liberty Quarter, the 1917-D and 1917-S Type 1 Standing Liberty Quarter, the 1917-P and 1917-S Type 2 Standing Liberty Quarter, and other rare examples. Check out our inventory below.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lincoln Cents (1909 - present)

The Lincoln Cent was designed by Victor D. Brenner in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The designer’s initials (V.D.B.) appeared near the bottom of the coin on the reverse of a limited number of coins from 1909. That’s why 1909 is considered a key date. In 1918, the initials were restored to the obverse side. The Lincoln type was the first cent to have the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” Also, no other American coin design comes close to the 100-year life span of the Lincoln Cent. For its reverse, two simple wheat heads in memorial style were approved. Between the two wheat heads, the national motto “E Pluribus Unum” (One out of Many) stands bold along with the denomination. On the obverse, curving around the upper rim is the motto  “In God We Trust” placed above Abraham Lincoln's portrait. Lincoln Cents were issued with a Wheat Ear reverse from 1909 to 1958. From 1959 till present, we have the Lincoln Memorial Cent. As 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the Mint released the new Lincoln Cent. Composition: .950 copper and .050 tin and zinc.

The history of the Lincoln Cent is much more complex than the result of the creativity of designer Victor D. Brenner. Under President Theodore Roosevelt’s command, the great artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens prepared designs for the new small cent featuring a flying eagle motif on obverse. Instead of the eagle though, Saint-Gaudens and Roosevelt favored a design with a head of Victory in profile wearing an Indian headdress. They liked this design so much that they decided to place it on the 1907 $10 instead. After Saint-Gaudens’ death, Brenner became in charge of the design of the rare cent and Lincoln was chosen as the perfect authentic subject for the wheat cent.

The Executive Coin Company is one of the top coin dealers in United States who offers a wide variety of Lincoln Cents for sale, expertly photographed and pictured for your view! Our Lincoln cents selection includes: the ever popular keydate 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent, the 1914-D Lincoln Cent key date, as well as Lincoln wheat pennies for sale from the 1910’s, 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s in different grades including PCGS and NGC certified and graded. Be sure to check out our Lincoln cents for sale and the Lincoln cents Proof Rolls available on our official website!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shield Nickels (1866 - 1883)

The Shield Nickel was made possible by the Act of May 16, 1866 and replaces the 5-cent notes. The new five cent coin was designed by Longacre. It is made of 25% nickel and 75% copper. This created the unusual situation where two coins of the same value circulated simultaneously - the Shield nickel and Half dime.  In order to promote the new coin, and also because of the availability of nickel and copper compared to the higher cost of silver for Half Dimes, a huge quantity of nearly 15 million new nickels was produced in the 1st year.

The design of the Shield nickel was similar to that of the Two-cent coin. On the obverse, Longacre placed a shield, with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST above. The date was below. On the reverse, the number "5" for denomination was surrounded by 13 stars and 13 rays. Around the rim, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and CENTS were inscripted. Since the rays between the stars impaired the coins' striking quality, the rays were eliminated later in 1867 creating two varieties: With Rays and No Rays. Striking problems persisted, resulting in a series of coins noted for inconsistent strikes and lots of die cracks.

Besides being interested in the two varieties of 1866 and 1867, the Shield Nickel collector will definitely look for the 1867 Proof nickel With Rays which is excessively rare. Also, other sought out and expensive examples are the Proof-only 1877 and 1878 shield nickels. Another favorite with collectors is the 1880 nickel for its low mintage. Interesting varieties include a widely repunched date in 1866, the Open and Close 3's of 1873, 1879/8, and 1883/2.

Even though the Shield Nickel is popular among coin collectors being the first 5-cent coin approved for circulation, according to Breen's "Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins," the nickel was welcomed with a lot of criticism in 1866. The shield design was actually the choice of Mint Director James Pollock. This design was ridiculed as "the ugliest of all known coins" and the coin's obverse was called "a tombstone surmounted by a cross overhung by weeping willows." Furthermore, bigots criticized the rays between stars, often referring them as "stars and bars" placed there by treasonous people in the Mint who had chosen to honor the Southern rebels.

Buy Shield Nickels from The Executive Coin Company, one of the top coin dealers in United States who offers a variety of Shield nickels in different grades and condition. Our selection includes the 1867 With Rays and the 1867 No rays, the 1881 key date, and other high grade shield nickels. All nickels we offer are expertly photographed with great care and accuracy to help you make the best choice for your collection! Check out our online selection below.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Morgan Dollars (1878 - 1921)

The Morgan Silver Dollar is one of the most widely collected and popular American silver coins ever produced. Designed by George T. Morgan in 1878, the Morgan dollar featured a left-facing portrait of Liberty on the obverse and an eagle above a wreath, on the reverse. Designer's initial M is found on both sides of the coin – at the truncation of Liberty’s neck and on the ribbon’s left loop. The last year of production for the Morgan silver dollar was 1904, when over 350 million were melted under the Pittman Act of 1918 since their demand was low and bullion supply was exhausted. However, in 1921, the Morgan dollar was reintroduced for 1 year. This last time, its design had a flat-breasted eagle. Over a 28 year period, over 600 million silver Morgan dollars were produced in 96 different date and mint combinations. Even though 1921 was the end of an era for the silver Morgan Dollar, it was just the beginning of the road for coin collectors. Besides value and availability, the Morgan dollars have been popular for their attractive luster, their frosted surfaces and their deep mirror proof-like reflective surfaces. The deep mirror of cameo Morgan Dollar is the most prized and sought after silver dollar.

In 1878, the Bland-Allison Act authorized the production of the Morgan dollar as a way to reduce the oversupply of silver existent in America. Since then, Morgan dollars were minted in five different locations: Philadelphia (no mint mark), New Orleans (O), San Francisco (S), Denver (D) and Carson City (CC). Mintmarks can be found below the wreath, on the reverse.

When talking about Morgan dollars, we need to mention their specific niches known all over the world among coin collectors. The first struck Morgan exhibited eight tail feathers (8TF) on the reverse, and the eagle had a concave or “flat” breast. Still in 1878, at the order of Mint Director Henry Linderman, the Morgan dollars were struck with 7 tail feathers over the 8 tail feathers, creating the popular and scarce 7 over 8 tail feathers (7/8TF). In June of 1878, the convex or round breast on the reverse was introduced, and it remained the specific design for Morgan silver dollars until 1904. However, the 1921 Morgan dollar had a flat-breasted eagle.

Buy Morgan Dollars online from The Executive Coin Company, one of the top coin dealers in United States. We offer a wide variety of Morgan Silver Dollars for sale in different grades: circulated, uncirculated, certified and graded by PCGS, NGC, and ANACS! Our expertly photographed silver dollar selection includes the ever popular Carson City dollars, 1878 through 1885, 1891, 1892, 1893, and the sought out key dates: 1889-CC Morgan Dollar, 1893-CC, 1894, 1895-S, and 1895-O. Our inventory includes Morgan Dollars for sale in all popular dates. We also feature TOP 100 VAM varieties such as: the 1880-P VAM 1a Knobbed 8, the 1888-O VAM 4 Hotlips, the 1882-O/S VAM Over-Mintmark, the 1900-O VAM 29a Die Break through Date, and the 1900-O/CC VAM. We strive to provide competitive prices and excellent value on every Morgan Dollar you purchase.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Large Cents: They Just Don't Make Copper As Big As They Used To

Cents and half cents were the first coins struck for circulation under the United States government. Coinage of Large Cents began in 1793 and its laws stated that all cents had to weigh exactly twice as much as the Half Cent. All Large cents were minted only at the Philadelphia Mint. Proofs of Large Cents were made only in 1817 and all Proofs are extremely rare cents. The first Large cent and one of the first American coins struck at the U.S. mint was the Flowing Hair cent (1793). Then the Liberty Cap large cent design followed (1793-1796) to please the people who had objections that the earlier design was not a fair representation of Liberty. The first cents of this type had beaded borders (like the Flowing Hair Large cents), while following Liberty Cap cents had denticled border. The 1794 Starred Reverse is a unique variety that has 94 tiny stars placed among the denticles on the reverse. In 1796, the Liberty Cap design was replaced with the Draped Bust Large cent (1796-1807) designed by Robert Scot, featuring a better-looking Miss Liberty wearing a ribbon in her hair. This type underwent numerous changes and errors in its design including small dates, large dates, small fraction, large fraction, broken dies, restrikes, overdates and other errors. 1799 is the rarest date of this series and 1807/6 Large cent is another rare variety. The Classic Head cent (1808-1814) followed with cents that wore not struck as well as before. That's why coin collectors find it hard to get dates in choice condition. Due to a fire at the Mint, no cent was struck in 1815. In 1816, the Classic Head design was replaced with a new Liberty head design - the Coronet or Matron head and later the Braided Hair (1816-1857). 1816 is the year when the date was placed in the middle at the bottom of the obverse for the first time on a Large cent. 1816 is also a popular 1st year of issue for this type.

The first Large cent - "Flowing Hair" cent - had Liberty facing right on the obverse, surrounded by the word LIBERTY at the top and the date at the bottom. Also, a three-leaf sprig appears above the date, later changed to a strawberry leaf. There were two types of reverse - the Chain reverse and the Wreath reverse. This wreath had only one bow at the bottom. Regarding "Liberty Cap" cents, besides the 1794 Starred Reverse variety, there's the popular so-called Jefferson Head variety (1795) thought to have been made as a sample for a proposed contract with a private contractor. Later in 1795, the Mint reduced the weight of the Large cent, a change that lead to another modification - the replacement of the reeded edge with a plain one.

For the next cent design, the "Draped Bust", the most significant feature is its reverse which displayed three different designs: 1st reverse - double leaf at the top right, the 2nd reverse - single leaf on the olive branch, and the 3rd - double leaf. Also, in 1796 there was an error with LIHERTY on the obverse instead of LIBERTY. There's also the first overdate dating 1798 with 1798 over 7. In 1801, there were 3 errors on the reverse with the fraction displaying 1/000 instead of 1/100, a wreath with only one stem, and the U in United minted as II.

The "Classic Head" design portrayed Miss Liberty on the obverse, wearing a headband with the word LIBERTY on it. This is the first coin that displayed the 13 stars surrounding Liberty, symbolizing the 13 U.S. colonies. The "Liberty Head" has two main type: the Matron or Coronet Head (1816-1836) and the Braided Hair (1836-1857). The name of the first type comes from the headband on Liberty's head that looks like a crown. This type comes with an interesting variety of 1817 with 15 stars on the obverse instead of the usual 13. There are other varieties with small date or large date and overdates. There's another variety dating 1828 with Block 8 or Script 8. The 1821 Large cent is the rarest of this series. As the name suggests, the Braided Hair cents had Liberty wearing her hair braided. the most desired Braided Hair large cents are the ones with full red surfaces. No large cents were minted after 1857 because there were too expensive to make. The half cent was abandoned and the Small Cent was introduced.

View our Large Cent inventory at

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mercury Dime (1916 - 1945)

1919 Mercury Dime
Although this type of dime is commonly called Mercury Dime, it is also known as the Winged Liberty Head dime because of its obverse depicting a representation of Liberty with wings crowing her cap. The wings symbolize liberty of thought. However, the Mercury Head dime resembles a lot the Roman god Mercury and this is where its name comes from. Issued around the time of USA's impending entry into WWI, the Mercury dime carries a lot of symbols in its design. Still influenced by the Roman culture, the designer A.A. Weinman placed an ax covered by sticks tied together with rods, on the reverse. According to the "Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins," the ax or "fasces" represented the expression "the power of life and death." In ancient Roman law this expression meant having the power to kill mercifully by the blade or mercilessly by the rods. Weinman's symbolic message was aimed towards the enemies of liberty and was also describing the country's military preparedness. An olive branch was placed around the ax symbolizing the country's willingness of peace. The designer's initials AW are placed to the right of Liberty's neck.

The Mercury Head Dime variety is one of the most popular among coin collectors. Besides the key dates and overdates, most dates can be obtained without much difficulty. However, the most popular dimes are those with Full Split Bands on the reverse, which means all of the bands that hold together the sticks on the ax must be visible and completely separated. Also, many dates are very rare in Gem condition with Full Split Bands. 

The Executive Coin Company is one of the top coin dealers in United States who offers a variety of Mercury Head Dimes in different grades and condition. Our selection includes high grade and certified Mercury dimes as well as key dates such as the 1916-D dime and the 1921-P dime. We also offer Mercury dimes with Full Split Bands and also the popular 1942/1 and 1942/1 D overdates. All dimes we offer are expertly photographed with great care and accuracy to help you make the best choice for your collection!