• U.S. Gold Coins: Holding the California Gold Rush in the Palm of Your Hand The double eagle is really a result of the California Gold Rush. Prior to the California Gold Rush, the biggest gold discoveries were relatively small strikes in Georgia and North Carolina. That led to new U.S. Mints in Dahlonega and Charlotte, and they struck smaller denomination gold. But in California, the amount of gold being found was so spectacular that in the beginning, people didn’t even b…
  • An Interview with Smithsonian Coin and Currency Curator Richard Doty When I was 8 years old I had a friend named Jimmy Hood. His father was in the army, and he had been on the staff with General MacArthur when MacArthur was effectively the boss of Japan right after World War II. Jimmy had some Japanese and Chinese coins, so we swapped a few things, as kids will do. And at that point, in 1950, I just got hooked on coins. I also had some paper currency when I was …
  • U.S. Pattern Coins Tell the Stories Behind Our Currency I started collecting coins when I was five years old, and I started dealing when I was 13 or 14. Most kids start with coins of circulation—I had albums for Jefferson nickels, Lincoln pennies and Roosevelt dimes. I started with Morgan and Peace dollars pretty early. I came close to finishing a set of Peace dollars, I was one coin away. That’s the closest I ever got to completing a collection of any…
  • A Lucky Locket Call it beginner's luck, but a four-year-old kid found a 16th-century gold pendant the other day. It was his first time using a metal detector. The religious locket is decorated with images of the Virgin Mary and the five wounds of Christ. If it is sold, the boy will split the proceeds (its value is estimated at 2.5-million pounds) with the landowner. Not bad for a day's work!