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  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    A coin is historic, priceless, and no longer in a vault

    For 10 months, the world’s most valuable coin sat wrapped in plastic on a folding chair in a little cagelike compartment behind a bright blue door at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It was only a step or two away from billions of dollars’ worth of neatly stacked bars of gold bullion.On Monday, a man in a dark suit stashed the coin in his briefcase and coolly walked out of the Fed’s heavily guarded limestone-and-sandstone building, a couple of blocks from the New York Stock Exchange in Lower Manhattan. He nodded politely to the guards on the front steps of the Fed. They did not stop him.The man with the briefcase, David N. Redden, an auction-house executive, was not pulling off a heist. He was taking the coin on a 6.7-mile ride to the New-York Historical Society on Central Park West....

  • Originally published 07/21/2013

    Scotland coining in it out on the treasure trail

    A MEDIEVAL heraldic badge worn by a diplomat negotiating between Scottish and English forces during the reign of King Edward I was among the treasure trove artefacts unearthed in Scotland in the past year.A hoard of coins used to bribe hostile clans after the Romans retreated from Scotland were also handed to the Crown.There were 316 cases of historical items being handed over to the Treasure Trove Unit in 2012-13, up from 152 the previous year. The unit aims to ensure significant or important finds are kept for the nation and go on show in museums....

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Did medieval sailors reach Australia?

    Archaeologists hope to unravel the mystery of how coins dating back to the 10th century were found off the shores of Australia.Ian McIntosh, professor of anthropology at Indiana University, will be leading an archaeological search on an island in northern Australia in order to see if evidence of a medieval settlement can be found. This was the same place that nearly seventy years ago several coins were discovered that date back as far as the year 900 AD.The coins raise the possibility of shipwrecks that may have occurred along an early maritime trading route and bring to mind the ancient trading network that linked East Africa, Arabia, India and the Spice Islands over 1,000 years ago. Aboriginal folklore also speaks of a hidden cave near where the coins were found that is filled with doubloons and weaponry of an ancient era....

  • Originally published 05/20/2013

    Ancient discovery set to rewrite Australian history

    Five copper coins and a nearly 70-year-old map with an ‘‘X’’ might lead to a discovery that could rewrite Australia’s history.Australian scientist Ian McIntosh, currently Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University in the US, plans an expedition in July that has stirred up the archaeological community.The scientist wants to revisit the location where five coins were found in the Northern Territory in 1944 that have proven to be 1000 years old, opening up the possibility that seafarers from distant countries might have landed in Australia much earlier than what is currently believed.Back in 1944 during World War II, after Japanese bombers had attacked Darwin two years earlier, the Wessel Islands - an uninhabited group of islands off Australia’s north coast - had become a strategic position to help protect the mainland....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Daniel Altman: The Wealthy Elizabethan Merchant Who Explains CNN’s Bad Boston Coverage

    Daniel Altman teaches economics at New York University's Stern School of Business and is chief economist of Big Think.Last week, during the frantic hunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, CNN wrongly reported that a man had been arrested. The news network soon corrected its error, but not in time to avoid a chorus of "how could this happen?" from, mostly, other media. Their explanations centered mainly on the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle. But for the real reason, you'd have to ask Sir Thomas Gresham.Gresham was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and an exceptionally wealthy London merchant. Having realized that British money was losing its value because of the shoddy coinage standards of the queen's predecessors, Gresham suggested she create a new, more trustworthy money that could not be confused with the old specie. This act -- though not the first of its kind in recorded history -- gave rise to what is now known as Gresham's Law: "Bad money drives out good."

  • Originally published 03/04/2013

    Archaeologist: Bodies may be earliest remains found in Charleston

    Friday proved to be another fascinating day of discovery at the Gaillard Auditorium construction site. Archaeologists found coins they believe date back to the late 1600s or early 1700s. So far, archaeologists have unearthed 37 graves that may date back to the colonial days of the city. Eric Poplin, the lead archaeologist, said Friday the coins were found near the remains of an adult and a child....

  • Originally published 02/25/2013

    Rotterdam archaeologists find old shoe stuffed with medieval money

    Archeologists in Rotterdam have found an old shoe stuffed with 477 silver coins during excavations behind the town hall. Archaeologists say they have never before found a shoe filled with money, which ranges in dates from 1472 to 1592. On theory is that the owner of the shoe hid it under floorboards to protect it during the 80 Years War (1568-1648)....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel to fetch millions at auction

    RICHMOND, Va. — A humble 5-cent coin with a storied past is headed to auction and bidding expected to top $2 million a century after it was mysteriously minted.The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist, but it’s the coin’s back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then found to be the real deal.It all adds up to an expected sale of $2.5 million or more when it goes on the auction block April 25 in suburban Chicago....

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