Question: Recently I've been introduced to the joy of coin collecting--both domestic and international coins. But I am not pleased with having to deal with local dealers. I would much prefer to write directly to the mint or to an institution designated by that country as the official distributor of its new currency. Where do I find whom to write to? I was told to find a "World Coin Almanac." I've tried and asked to no avail.--P.S.
Answer: Coin collecting is indeed a joy, and you are not alone in concentrating on foreign coins. Many collectors of U.S. coins complain about the lack of major design changes. However, that has been somewhat alleviated recently with the release of various commemoratives. Also, Congress is seriously considering a vast overhaul of current coinage, which would make today's coins that much more collectible.
Also, as you indicate, it's important to be comfortable with a dealer. Perhaps you have not found the right one yet. Still, there is nothing wrong with getting coins directly from foreign mints, although older coins can offer more of a challenge. In any event, what you are probably seeking is "Coin World Almanac." It's published by the editors of Coin World, a weekly publication available at most dealerships. The almanac is $14.95 from Coin World, P.O. Box 150, Sidney, Ohio 45365; telephone (800) 253-4555.
Another source for foreign mint contacts is the Numismatist, a monthly publication of the American Numismatic Assn. For information, contact the ANA at 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903-3278. You might also be interested in joining the Society for International Numismatists, which meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. at Mercury Savings & Loan, 2920 Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles. The mailing address is P.O. Box 943, Santa Monica, Calif. 90406.
Q: Enclosed is a rubbing of a coin I received from my father, who got it from his father. My grandfather owned a general store for many years and took this coin in trade once as a curiosity. The front says Georgius III and the back, Britannia 1797. I'm sure this coin has quite a story to tell.--D.D.
A: One of the pleasures of collecting is imagining who may have handled a particular coin. Your large British copper penny probably had quite a few adventures before coming to the New World. It's in the $5-to-$25 price range, depending upon condition.
Q: I am enclosing pictures of a copper coin, actual size one inch in diameter, with the following inscriptions: 1776 on obverse side, American Liberty WM in center on reverse side. No value of the coin is shown. What is it and is it worth anything?--A.E.P.
A: I have been unable to pinpoint your coin, although it seems related to a 1776 New Hampshire piece listed in Yeoman's "Guide Book of United States Coins." It could possibly have considerable value. Your coin should be seen by a Colonial or early-copper specialist--identified, authenticated and evaluated.
Saturday--The California Assn. of Token Collectors will meet from 1 to 5 p.m. at Mercury Savings & Loan, 22939 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance. John Barnes will speak on California merchant trade tokens. Free identification and evaluation is available. Admission is free. For information: (213) 478-7405.
Competition in the bullion coin market continues strong with the U.S. gold Eagles being attacked by the Canadian Maple Leaf and the Australian Nugget. Canada claims to be the leader with 45% of the worldwide gold bullion market for 1987. Australia hopes to boost its sales with the introduction of 1988 Nuggets (pictured) with heavier frosting and the inclusion of the words, 9999 gold. The 1988 coins will be issued as stocks of the 1987 coins are depleted. One-ounce coins are due this month; the half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce coins are expected later.
History and numismatics go hand in hand. So collectors should welcome the reprint of "An Historical Account of American Coinage" by John H. Hickcox. Just 205 copies were originally printed in 1858. Information is given about Colonial and state coins. The early Philadelphia Mint is discussed, and there is even a brief price guide. Copies are $9.95 plus $2 for handling from Bowers & Merena, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.
More than 2,100 coins are being offered in the three-session Moreira Collection Sale on May 31 and June 1. Greek, Roman, Byzantine and other foreign coins will be featured. The auction begins May 31 at 6:30 p.m. and continues June 1 at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Superior Galleries, 9478 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif. 90212-4246. Call (800) 874-3230 or write for catalogue and other information.
A five-session auction featuring the H. W. Blevins Estate and the George Bodway Collections will be conducted June 5, 6 and 7 by Superior Galleries at its headquarters, 9478 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif. 90212-4246. Highlights include rare 1796 and 1797 half dollars; a proof 1848 half cent; proof 1864-L Indian cent; 1894-S dime (one of 12 known); 1895 proof $1; and an 1879 proof $4 Stella. For a catalogue ($15) and viewing information, contact Superior at (213) 203-9855 or (800) 421-0754.
A mail bid auction of more than 900 numismatic items is being conducted by the Money Company. Highlights of the 20th anniversary sale will be available for viewing at the Convention of International Numismatics on May 27-29 at the Airport Hilton Hotel and June 3-6 at the Long Beach Numismatic and Philatelic Exposition. For catalogue information, contact the Money Company, 5959 Tampa Ave., Tarzana, Calif. 91356; telephone (818) 609-7666.