New Quarter Honors Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

On June 6, 2016, the U.S. Mint released the latest coin in the series of Quarters honoring National Parks and other national sites. The 33rd coin in the series that will eventually include a site in each state and overseas territory, it features Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia.

 Harpers Ferry holds a special place in American history, most notably for abolitionist John Brown’s 1859 uprising of slaves. Brown took possession of the federal armory before being captured and hanged, but he became a folk hero through the song “John Brown’s Body” that was popular with Union troops in the Civil War. The song starts:

“John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,

John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,

But his soul goes marching on.”

The armory in Harpers Ferry is now known as John Brown’s Fort; the fort is shown on the coin just released by the U.S. Mint. 

However, the town of Harpers Ferry is known for more than just John Brown. The armory was the site of one of the first successful mass-production factories in the United States; it produced hundreds of thousands of muskets and rifles for the U.S. Army each year using interchangeable parts. What’s more, it saw the arrival of the first successful U.S. railroad – the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad – in 1834, and after the Civil War it was the home to Storer College, a pioneering center of education for former slaves. 

Is This the Last Chance to Collect the National Parks Quarters? 

The program of commemorative Quarters began with the original State Quarters series from 1999 to 2009. In that series, each coin represented the history and culture of a different state or overseas territory. 

The new series began in 2010, and coins are issued at the rate of five per year. This means that each coin is made for only about 10 weeks, which is an exceptionally short minting period for any coin – let alone one that is made primarily for circulation. 

We are already more than half-way through the series, and few people have had luck finding all the coins in pocket change. It’s sometimes possible to find nice examples of the newest coins, since these are the ones most recently sent out by the U.S. Mint – but once the initial release period is over, millions of coins immediately get pulled out of circulation by collectors … while most of the rest become damaged and worn out before being pulled out of circulation and destroyed by the Treasury. 

Just try finding a nice example of the first-year 2010 coins issued for Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, or Grand Canyon National Park! And it’ll only get worse in the years ahead as we move towards the end of the series in 2021. 

Completeness is the key to any collection, but it’s likely that complete collections of National Parks Quarters will be the exception rather than the rule. For anyone wishing to put together a complete collection, this may be the last chance to get on board.


To Boldly Go …

Star Trek 50th Anniversary

On September 8, 1966, the very first episode of Gene Roddenberrry’s Star Trek – “The Man Trap” – appeared on NBC. Starring William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelley as McCoy, and George Takei as Sulu, the series followed the adventures of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise and its five-year mission “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Star Trek became one of the most popular and influential series in television history … and today, 50 years later, it’s more popular than ever before.

Official Star Trek 50th Anniversary Collectibles

Over the next few months, you’ll see more and more about Star Trek and its historic 50th anniversary, including the new Star Trek Beyond movie in the summer.

But when you want to own genuine Star Trek collectibles – or buy them as gifts for the Star Trek fans in your life – your options will be limited. Fortunately, Franklin Mint Coins can now bring you exclusive and official Star Trek 50th anniversary collectibles featuring Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Every item is officially authorized and comes with exclusive 50th anniversary packaging with the 50th anniversary logo based on the Starfleet emblem.

These items are available exclusively from Franklin Mint Coins in the 50th anniversary year. You would be wise to stock up now – for yourself, and for all the Star Trek fans on your gift list.


100 Years of Mercury Dimes

100 years ago in 1916, the United States Mint introduced a coin that would soon take on mythical status … both for its stunning design and its name. 

On October 28, 1916, sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s Winged Liberty Head Dime made its first appearance. Today, it’s one of America’s favorite classic coins – but if you ask the average collector about the “Winged Liberty Head Dime,” you’ll be met with puzzled looks and blank stares! 

That’s because nobody knows it by its real name. 

Before this coin – and the accompanying Walking Liberty Half Dollar and Standing Liberty Quarter issued at about the same time – the Liberty design on coins was almost always conservative. Weinman’s new dime design was different. It was bold … striking … beautiful. 

And confusing! Liberty is wearing a winged cap to symbolize freedom of thought – but to many people, the image reminded them of Mercury, the ancient Roman god of commerce and poetry. In addition, Mercury guided souls to the underworld and was the messenger of the gods. He was usually portrayed with winged shoes and a winged cap to suggest the speed with which he delivered messages. 

As a result of Liberty’s winged cap, the Winged Liberty Head Dime has always been known by its nickname, the Mercury Dime – despite the fact that doesn’t actually show Mercury! 

New in 2016 … the 100th Anniversary GOLD Mercury Dime!

 To mark the 100th anniversary of the Mercury Dime, the U.S. Mint produced a 99.99% gold (24-karat gold) edition in 2016. Using the exact same design as the 1916 coin, it was the first gold dime in U.S. history. The original Mercury Dime was struck in 90% silver.

 In keeping with the coin’s history and design, the 2016 gold edition is about the same size as an original Mercury Dime. It was struck with 1/10 ounce of pure gold – symbolic of the dime being 1/10 of a dollar. It is therefore slightly heavier than a silver dime but is about the same diameter.

 The reverse is virtually identical to the 1916 silver coin: a Roman fasces and olive branch, indicating both military readiness and peace. This design was especially notable, since it first appeared as the U.S. was preparing to enter World War I when it was first used on the 1916 coin.

 Demand for the 2016 gold coin is expected to be overwhelming, both as a unique collector’s item and as the perfect centerpiece to any Mercury Dime collection. However, it was made in a shockingly small edition of only 125,000 … so it’s over twice as rare as even the rarest silver Mercury Dime, which can sell for $20,000 or more in nice uncirculated condition.

 With so few 100th anniversary gold coins available, collectors are warned that these coins are expected to sell out quickly. May the speed of Mercury be with you on your quest for this special gold coin!