Question: While going through some old luggage of my father's, I found three small dimes with a sitting lady on one side and a wreath on the other. The dates are 1843, 1854 and 1890-0. Can you tell me if they are of any value?
Answer: Your dimes are known as the Liberty seated type. They were minted from 1837 to 1891. All three of your dates have relatively high mintages of 1 million or more. The O in the 1890-O stands for the New Orleans mint. If your coins are circulated, they're in the $3-to-$15 range. Uncirculated seated dimes are worth considerably more, depending on state of preservation.
Coincidental with your letter was the arrival of a new book by Q. David Bowers, "United States Dimes, Quarters and Half Dollars." This is another in a series by Bowers, who has been detailing the entire spectrum of United States coinage. Bowers is generous in recommending other books on the subject. However, he supplies enough information to satisfy even advanced collectors.
Bowers calls these seated dimes, designed by Christian Gobrecht, "one of the most beautiful in the dime series and . . . it is a shame it was not continued for a longer period." To learn more about U.S. dimes, quarters and half dollars plus the 20-cent piece (not listed in the title but included in the book) send $11.95 ($9.95 for the book, $2 for handling) for Stock No. BBM-304 to Bowers and Merena Galleries, Box 1224-NR, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.
Q: Please inform me as to the value of solid gold coins: Napoleon I, 20 francs, 1807; 40 francs, 1811; and 40 (lira) 1812--Italy under Napoleon. Also Napoleon III, 20 francs, 1857; and 50 francs 1859.--L.T.
A: Your Napoleon I coins are in the $225-to-$275 range. The 20 francs Napoleon III is $75. I'm not sure about the 1859. Are you certain it's 50 francs? Check it out with a local dealer.
Q: I have a 1963 series Federal Reserve note $1 bill on which part of the bill did not get printed. It has a quarter-inch white line across the back of the bill. Is there any value in saving this? Also, a silver certificate $1 bill upon which part of the gray imprint of the (1) and the margin is printed on the green side of the bill. Another bill has green ink spilled all over the eagle and the 1 on the back side of the bill, Series 1935 E. Last, a well-worn 1935-E series dollar bill (silver certificate in which the back side is gold. I have checked these bills carefully; they are not counterfeit. How much are they worth?--T.M.F.
A: I have dealt with error bills in the past. The market on such bills is such that transactions usually are strictly between buyer and seller. Your bills might have a slight premium--if you can find an interested party. From your descriptions, I'd say the bill described as a $1 silver certificate has the best chance of having some collector value. But all this depends on the condition of the bills. They must be crisp and uncirculated to have much of a premium. I'd suggest you take your bills to a major coin show where can get various opinions and offers.
Q: Please give the values of the following coins: 1889 Morgan dollar; 1922 Peace dollar; 1900 Barber half dollar; 1906 Barber quarter; 1914 Liberty dime; 1899, 1904, 1905 and 1910 Liberty nickels; 1937-1947 standing Liberty half dollars.--J.E.
A: Your Morgan dollar is worth $9; the Peace dollar is $8; the Barber half is $3; the Barber quarter is $1.50; the Liberty dime is $1; the Liberty nickels are 25 cents each, and the walking (not standing) Liberty half dollars are $1.50 each. Any or all of these coins can be worth considerably more than the minimum price I listed if they are in uncirculated condition.
The 1986 Hanukkah coin issued by Israel (pictured) commemorates the historic Jewish presence in Algeria with the portrayal of a 19th-Century brass lamp designed as an ornate Oriental building. The new Hanukkah coin continues a series that has run from 1958 to 1963 and from 1972 to the present. The just-concluded Jewish holiday celebrates the cleansing and rededication of a temple in 165 BC by Judah Maccabaeus, who led a revolt against the Syrian Greeks. There are two versions of the 1986 Hanukkah coin with a maximum of 11,000 each. The silver proof 2 new sheqalim is $28; the uncirculated silver 1 new sheqel is $17. Order from the Israel Government Coins and Medals Corp., 350 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10118.
Your article of Oct. 30 gave a good answer to a person wishing to donate coins for youth programs. Your readers should also know that two numismatic organizations are properly accredited to accept tax-exempt gifts and, therefore, donations or $25 or more are tax-deductible. The two are: The Society for International Numismatics, P.O. Box 943, Santa Monica, Calif. 90406-0943; and California State Numismatic Assn., 611 N. Banna Ave., Covina, Calif. 91724.
Don Alpert cannot answer mail personally but will respond to numismatic questions of general interest in this column. Do not telephone. Write to Your Coins, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.