Unique Areas of Interest
A Link to Our Past
Whether ensconced in protective casing or held in the palm of your hand, who
can not imagine the adventures surrounding a prized piece of coinage. Those who
love coin collecting cherish more than mere gold and silver, they value the
rich history, the symbolism, the artistry and all that adds value and
meaning. Coins are a link to our past, with each representing a distinct
period of time. As one of the leading U.S. coin dealers in the Nation, First
Fidelity Reserve has a number of programs and special offers available to
our Insider’s Advantage Clients, programs that provide added information,
early viewings, reduced pricing and collections not available to the general
U.S. Morgan Silver Dollars
The Morgan Silver Dollar was named for its designer George T. Morgan, who
emblazoned an "M" on both sides of the coin to lay his claim. If you are
making a purchase this month or this year, consider the Key-date Morgan
Silver Dollar, one of the rarest and most coveted US coins ever made. Minted
from 1878 to 1921, they have become enormously popular, admired for their
beauty and pristine condition.
These historically significant 19th century American coins are often found
in mint condition because they were struck not for the purpose of general
circulation but to guarantee a market for the silver mine owners. Throughout
the century, silver mining companies held enormous power and influence, and
were able to gain government support to protect there interests. The
Bland-Allison Act was one such example, which required the Treasury
Department to purchase $2 to $4 million worth of silver every month and mint
it into dollar coins.
Over the years, silver became scarce. Melt downs of the silver dollar
followed the Silver Act of 1942. Further meltdowns of Morgan dollars
occurred in the 1960’s and ‘70’s as a result of rapidly rising silver
prices. These meltdowns explain why some Morgan dollars with large
million-piece mintages are so scarce. Some authorities estimate that only
17% of the Morgan Silver Dollars produced are in existence today.
If you are a First Fidelity Reserve Insider’s Advantage member, you can
purchase certified, uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars at our low member’s
pricing. Plus, we always put aside hard-to-find, high-grade specimens
expressly for our “Advantage” customers.
If you are interested in adding U.S. Morgan’s to your collection, call First
Fidelity Reserve at 1-800-336-1630 and speak with one of our Account
Not ready to buy? No problem! Call us and we'll send you a free copy of our
Insider’s Advantage Program, which gives you the inside track on U.S. rare
coin collecting and explains how you can enjoy special member pricing.
This is a tale involving fortunes lost to sea, heroic efforts and the
unfortunate loss of lives. It began in 1857 when the elegant 280 foot
side-wheel steamer S.S. Central America, sometimes called the
Ship of Gold,
traveled from Central America to the eastern coast of the United States. The
ship was bound for New York carrying 476 passengers, 102 crew members and
over three tons of gold dust, nuggets, coins and ingots from the California
Gold Rush. However, the ship encountered a massive hurricane off the coast
of the Carolinas and never made port.
Despite a heroic effort by passengers and crew, the ship went down and the
treasure it carried remained lost for 131 years. The gold was valued at
approximately $2 million, enough to shake public confidence and trigger one
of the greatest economic catastrophes in U.S. maritime history—“The Panic of
Several years later, in 1865, at the end of the U.S. Civil War, two
additional ships containing significant cargoes of gold and silver coins
were lost to storms: the S.S. Brother Jonathan off the coast of Northern
California and the S.S. Republic on its way to New Orleans to aid in the
Reconstruction of the South. These treasures were thought lost forever,
along with the people onboard.
The story continues as we skip ahead 100 years to 1987, when new techniques
and technologies took major roles in uncovering these lost treasures. Of
course, it wasn’t that simple. Insurance companies everywhere filed suit,
claiming that because they paid damages for the lost gold, they had the
right to it. The battle over the gold lasted nearly a decade, but most, 92
percent, was awarded to the Columbus-America Discovery Group who recovered
the treasure. The value was estimated at $100-150 million. Part of the
treasures included a single gold ingot weighing 80 pounds, which sold for a
record $8 million and is likely one of the most valuable piece of currency
in the world.
First Fidelity Reserve has been an industry leader in acquiring and offering
these historically significant recovered treasures. Prices range from less
than $200 to several million dollars. Should you be looking to sell one of
these unique treasures, we will always make an offer to buy. Call a First
Fidelity Reserve Account Representative today to check on details and
availability -- and ask for a free copy of our Shipwreck Treasure catalogue.
Note: To learn more about these treasures of gold, look for a book entitled
America's Lost Treasure by Tommy Thompson.
Gold Rush Rarities
In a message to Congress in 1848, President James Polk stated that large
quantities of gold had been found in California. It wasn’t long before
Immigrants flocked to California bringing pans, shovels, and containers for
gathering and processing gold. It was a long a strenuous journey, and many
arrived without money, so they used gold dust, such as a "pinch" of dust as
payment for a saloon libation or lodging.
This was a "gold dust" economy, but gold dust was not an ideal form of
money. It was difficult to count and challenging to measure because of the
varying purity of raw gold. Thus, enterprising individuals and companies
began producing their own tender. Men who had backgrounds as jewelers and
bankers set up shop in San Francisco and Sacramento assaying and coining
gold for a fee. Private minters such as Kellogg & Co., Moffat & Co and F.D.
Kohler, transformed raw gold ore, dust and nuggets into rectangular gold
ingots or coins. To be successful, an assayer had to have a reputable and
trustworthy reputation – thus begot the saying…"as good as gold."
As gold proliferated throughout the region, it quickly expanded to other
economic centers of the nation. Small and large monetary ingots were stamped
with the assayer's name and the weight, fineness and U.S. dollar value.
Unfortunately, not all coins contained the stated fineness and weight as
promised, and when word got out, the coins traded at a lesser value. People
soon lost trust, not just in these firms but all firms, even honest ones.
In 1854 the United States government established the San Francisco branch
mint to provide quality standards and instill trust in the production of
legal tender coins. Many people brought in their privately minted gold coins
so that they could be assayed and recoined into federal coinage. This
massive melting of the earlier gold rush coins is a large part of why these
privately minted gold pieces are so rare today.
First Fidelity is please to offer a variety of California Gold Rush
numismatic coins. We also offer our latest Gold Rush Treasures catalogue.
Simply give us a call and we'll send you’re a free catalogue -- no
Money of The Bible
Due to primitive minting procedures, no two coins are exactly alike. Each
coin was individually hand stamped by the coiner who took the coin’s
production through all stages.
After heating and melting the silver, the coiner hammered it into a flat
planchet, which was then heated to almost red hot temperature. Using bronze
dies, the coiner then struck the top punch with a mallet to imprint the
Individual coins contain about 14 to 14.5 grams of mostly 95% pure silver.
Because each coin was hand stamped, coin sizes and weights vary, but in
general they usually measure from 20 to 28 mm in diameter.
The coin’s obverse features a laureate head of a beardless Melqarth facing
right with a lion’s skin knotted around his neck. Melqarth was an iconic
figure personifying Tyre’s prevailing local religion.
The coin’s reverse features an eagle standing on the beak of a ship carrying
a single palm frond under wing. A club, which is the Tyre mint mark, fills
the left field along with the date. The Greek legend adorning the coin
translates as “Of Tyre, the holy and inviolable.”
For more information please visit
Fidelity Reserve's Money of The Bible