Question: A few years before his death, my father gave me what he firmly believed to be a 1936 Canadian "dot" penny. If it is indeed authentic, what is its current value, and how do I go about having it authenticated?--R.C.
Answer: It's amazing how many true rarities seem to surface. That is not to say that occasionally someone won't strike it rich. But I suspect that your chances of having that happen are worse than they are of winning the California Lottery. Still, there are winners now and then, so perhaps you are one of the lucky ones.
According to "Coins of Canada" by Haxby and Willey, there are only five known 1936 Canadian dot cents. If the coin you have is genuine, that'll make six. It's an interesting coin, actually minted in London.
The problem developed with the death of King George V in 1936 and the succession of Edward VIII, whose portrait was to be on 1937 coinage. However, Edward abdicated in late 1936, and his younger brother was crowned as George VI. Because there was a time factor, coins were struck using George V dies dated 1936.
Since these coins were actually struck in 1937, a small round depression was punched into each die. This is what caused the raised dot that appears below the date in the 1936 cent. Ten-cent and 25-cent coins also have these dots, but they are only readily available in the 25-cent piece. It is believed that the 1-cent and 10-cent dot pieces were struck but never issued: thus the rarity.
Obviously, you would have to have your coin authenticated as genuine. You might want to contact Richard J. Trowbridge, executive director of the American British Numismatic Society, P.O. Box 652, Saugus, Calif. 91350; or the American Numismatic Assn. Certification Service, 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903. Telephone (303) 632-2646. If genuine, your coin would be in the $500-to-$3,500 range.
Q: Is there any value to Confederate paper money? I have a $1,000 bill dated 1811, $5 bills of 1861 and 1864, two $50 bills dated 1864 and two $100 bills dated 1862.--R.M.R.
A: The $1,000 bill, of course, is not of the Civil War Era. Check the date again. It could be quite valuable. The Civil War pieces usually retail for about $4 or $5 each.
Q: I have a 1903 peso coin minted by the U.S. government for the Republic of the Philippines. It is a bit tainted, but otherwise details are sharp. Can you tell me the value?--A.V.
A: Your coin is probably tarnished. This is a natural aging process for silver and does not detract from the value unless other factors are involved. Naturally-toned coins appeal to many collectors, especially when the toning enhances the appearance. Your coin is in the $10-to-$20 range.
Q: I have collected the following coins during my trips abroad. They are not gold or silver but the current money used daily. From Italy, there's the Cita del Vaticano, 1959; from England, a heavy coin with the likeness of Winston Churchill and the year 1965. I also have a medal from Monaco with profiles of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco. And enclosed is a copy of a bill from Venezuela.--R.J.M.
A: They say travel is broadening. You seem to have been to some interesting places. Unfortunately, foreign coins in circulation are not likely to be any more valuable comparatively than U.S. coins that circulate. At one time it was possible to find coins in circulation that also had collector value. No more. Your coins might be worth something at a foreign-money exchange, but the collector value is nil.
Q: Several years ago I purchased through my Gulf credit card a framed collection of U.S. coins of the 20th Century. The collection has 25 coins, starting with an Indian-head penny, 1903, to three silver dollars on the bottom row, including a 1921 Morgan dollar. What is the value of this collection now?--W.C.B.
A: I don't know. The only way to find out is to have a professional numismatist evaluate it for you. Coins have to be seen to be priced accurately. Often in collections, such as you described, the coins have been either cleaned or polished or both. In any event, show it to someone to satisfy your curiosity. Who knows, it might be worth more than you paid for it.
Q: Please tell me the value of the following: a 1912 quarter; 1800 large cent (print partly missing); 1828 and 1833 cents; 1941 cent; 1854 half dime; 1865 3-cent nickel; 1907 and 1908 half dollars; a 2-cent piece; 1905 and 1907 nickels.--A.H.
A: Your quarter is worth $1 and up; the large cent $2 and up; the 1828 and 1833 cents $2 each and up; the 1941 Lincoln cent, little or no collector value; the half dime $2 and up; the 3-cent nickel $5 and up; the half dollars are $2 and up; the 2-cent piece perhaps $1, and the Liberty-head nickels 10 cents each and up.