By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek....
YouTube, that veritable cornucopia of pirated television shows, videos for every album track ever, and annoying oranges, continues to surprise us with the sheer depth of topics with which someone with a few too many free moments on his or her hands can indulge the rest of us. From coin reviews by guys who don’t know the slightest thing about the coins they’re reviewing, to a little tongue-in-cheek dealer inside baseball, to an epic fail bullion experiment at a McDonald’s drive-thru, and even the most awesome coin roll hunt of all time, the following five must-see clips will change the way you look at coins… forever!
1971 Eisenhower Dollar Coin Review – IrixGuy
IrixGuy likes to look at his coins in his bathroom.
YouTube poster IrixGuy likes to post YouTube videos. With over 600 to his credit, he’s a one man wrecking crew on subjects as diverse as firearms, automobile maintenance, water sports, and precious metals investing. Whatever his expertise in any of the other topics he covers, one thing’s for sure: IrixGuy doesn’t know squat about numismatic coins. But the great thing about IrixGuy is that he doesn’t let this lack of insight or expertise get in the way of his earnestness, which is why we love watching his coin review videos. What is a coin review, you ask? We suppose it could be a critical evaluation of a coin’s characteristics or quality. It could even be a market analysis or run of the mill sales pitch! Who’s to say, and we are no means purporting to be the Cahiers du Coins. A “Coin Review” in the hands of IrixGuy, is simply taking the opportunity to record himself holding coins in a bathroom while pulling coin “facts” out of his… uh, hat.
The clip begins with IrixGuy, shot in black and white, superimposed against a color background shot from the aft of a cruise ship. In terms of composition, this is as good as things are going to get. It’s at this point that IrixGuy pulls out a white cotton glove to make sure everything’s “hunky dory” for his coin review. So far, so good. The remainder of the video has the white-gloved IrixGuy pawing a 1971-D Eisenhower dollar. “These,” he explains, “unlike the Peace dollars and Morgan dollars, they contain a lot less silver, I think these are 40% silver and 60% copper.” “The government is startin’ to realize that,” he chuckles, “silver is more valuable than they thought.”
While yes, it’s true that the federal government changed the composition of half dollars to a reduced silver content silver-clad sandwich metal in 1965 (lasting through 1970), they didn’t drop silver because they realized anything other than the fact that they couldn’t mine enough of it to continue national coin production, supply bullion to industry, and have enough left over to meet global demand. Yes, the “value” of silver was on the rise, but the government’s role in managing the nation’s monetary policy in regards to the metallic content of coins was decided with great vigor and research long before the Denver mint turned out IrixGuy’s non-silver Cu-Ni clad dollar coin. IrixGuy, if you read this, the “Nice copper on the edge” that you see is the telltale sign that your Ike dollar is not silver.
The remainder of the clip is just as factually challenged. In fact, one would say IrixGuy’s coin review devolves into the realm of conspiritainment when he blithely mentions Moon landing conspiracy theories as he describes Frank Gasparro’s engraved interpretation (read: knock-off) of Michael Collins’ Apollo 11 mission patch design. It’s as much of an incontrovertible fact that the United States landed astronauts on the moon as it is that this particular coin is absolutely not made of silver. But the imitable IrixGuy is not sure, “I don’t know,” he says, “but it’s still a cool coin.” Yes, it is, IrixGuy, and your factually-challenged and bizarre coin video is hilariously bad!
Opening 50 year old coin rolls LIVE! Part 2 – MYGOLDCOIN101
I has all teh old coins
An offshoot from his hilariously dorky (and long) Coin Finds from Wendy’s, a YouTube user who in real-life is named “Kyle” films a three part “LIVE” video of him driving home with two boxes of fifty-year-old cent and nickel rolls he picked up from the bank. We like Kyle. Kyle is an irrepressible coin roll hunter that seems to have a great time pulling old well-worn coins from circulation and sharing it on YouTube. We think videos like this are great because they contain everything fun about searching for old coins in circulation: the thrill of the hunt, the sense of treasure hiding in plain view, and the unbridled joy of finding something cool.
In this three part video, Kyle rolls up on his local bank to discover a gentleman returning rolls and rolls of old wheat cents and nickels. It’s clear that the tellers at the bank know Kyle pretty well, because they immediately offer them to him as he enters the bank. Kyle, not believing what he’s seeing, rushes out to his car to grab his box of half dollars that he’s picked up from another bank in order to “search for silver and such”. Quicker than you can say the term “dump bank”, Kyle loses the halves and picks up two boxes of roll hunter treasure! The key that makes this video work is that you find out what’s going on with these rolls as Kyle does. These are the types of “unsearched” rolls that hucksters on eBay only pretend they have (you know, the ones with a VDB showing on one side and an Indian Head cent on the other).
We call this a “hilariously bad” coin video (and to be fair, after a few minutes you may share our sentiment), but those who can get past Kyle’s nasal vocalizations will be rewarded with a drool-worthy 30 minutes of old, unsearched roll opening and discovery. Our favorite part is the second installment as it transitions from cents to nickels. Think of it as the Back to the Future 2 of coin videos (when you get to the end, you’ll see why).
McDonald’s Silver Dollar Experiment – clubinvestment
“It’s a hidden tax... due to President Obama”
We can go round and round knocking down the reimplementation of a gold standard as the panacea that repositions the dollar and protects us from hyperinflation and the dollar turning into Monopoly money or shin plaster. After a while, we get tired of hearing ourselves argue.
The "McDonald's Silver Dollar Experiment" is a poor attempt to redo conspiracy media author Mark Dice's Gold Eagle Experiment where he took a $50 American Gold Eagle to a Taco Bell to see if they'd take the intrinsically more valuable ($1400 at the time) gold coin over two Federal Reserve Notes. In that video, the cashier at the window was reluctant to accept the $50 legal tender bullion coin. No doubt, a cashier earning minimum wage has little need for $1000+ investment instruments and shouldn’t be expected to know how to authenticate such a coin. Having worked in the food and beverage industry as teenagers, we can assure you that corporations do not provide training on how to accept unorthodox means of payment, be it barter or bullion.
Besides, would someone REALLY offer to accept $48 in change and a taco for a real gold coin? Maybe a more appropriate demonstration of the public’s ability to recognize the value of gold (aren’t there a gazillion gold ads on radio and TV? Isn’t gold still coveted in jewelry?) is to set up a table at the mall with a stack of gold coins and a sign that reads: “$50 Gold Coins – Today only $75”. But doing that would immediately prove Gresham’s Law and prove disastrous to the conductor of the experiment.
Getting back to the McDonald’s silver dollar experiment guy, he rides up to the drive-thru window having ordered a $3.09 fish sandwich and hands the cashier an American Silver Eagle coin. A one-ounce fine silver coin with a face value of one dollar. The guy states for the record that the coin has a face value of about $33. The “experiment”, as we understand it, is that he wants to see if the cashier will take it in lieu of payment in Federal Reserve Notes. When he gets to the window, he awkwardly hands the cashier the coin, asks if she accepts “these”, and then stumbles through an explanation about how silver coins are more valuable than paper currency. Of course, the girl at the register is caught off-guard, nervous, and probably more than a little weirded out by the whole situation.
Again, we wonder, what does this experiment prove, really? That the cashier doesn’t know the spot price of silver? Our guess is that she would have taken those coins as payment if he had handed her enough of them at face value to cover his order.
The kicker: Our guy gives his pitch for Texas Libertarian Ron Paul. "Get back to the gold and silver standard and put an end to inflation and the hidden tax due to...........printing money." Returning to the Gold Standard is untenable for the United States - or any modern nation. Relying on hard money bankrupts countries in times of war. The sinking of El Cazador caused the Spanish to cede land to France - which the United States acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Would these land deals have been made in a modern currency system?
But in the end, none of that even matters. Businesses have the right to refuse coinage (or paper currency) in any form inconvenient to them, regardless of whether its legal tender or not. While the Coinage Act of 1965 makes all United States coins and currency legal tender “for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues” nowhere does this law stand in the way of business or even state government determining what will or will not be accepted as payment under a specific circumstance. You would think a Libertarian would appreciate this point.
At best, clubinvestment is ignorant of how money is actually used. At worst, he’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes for the sake of ideology. Emphasis on the word trying.
Update: clubinvestment was last seen taking The Experiment to its logical conclusion when he tried to pass $2.50 in pre-1982 copper cents to buy a $5.00 hamburger.
Revolutionary Rare Coin Crackout Technique – juneglass0
Sal Germano, Jr., Vice President of SG Rare Coins in Hawthorne, New Jersey made this short video with his assistant Frank. Making light of the crack out game, Frank stands behind a desk and explains while putting slabbed coins into a cloth sack that, “here at SGRCI we’re very innovative and we’ve developed a new way to crack out coins.” He then picks up an 1889-CC Morgan that he says is a PCGS-53 that he thought should have made 55 and puts that into the sack. The difference between the two grades is $1,700, significant enough to consider a re-grade, we think.
What happens next will leave you speechless.
Sal insists that no actual rare coins were harmed in the video, recalling that they “had some Canadian bullion silver scrap coins that were being shipped off to be melted and we had to break them out of these ridiculous plastic holders.” The coin-smashing mayhem was an inside joke at the office that made its way around the bourse floor.
Of the clip, Sal says, “we showed other dealers and they got such a laugh out of it that we decided to post it to YouTube.” We’re glad they did. It’s biting in its satire, hilarious in its execution, and ends with the fantastic line: “PCGS and NGC… the future.”
No doubt, they are anxiously waiting.
Silver Dollar Coin (Money Talks): Eisenhower, Sacagawea & Susan B. – NorCalCorsello
Chris Corsello posts videos on YouTube about a number of topics. He comes off as a nice enough guy who contributes his take on a range of issues. One video might have him talking about the people of Northern California, while another has him commenting on the release of Windows 7. Chris also has a range of videos discussing politics.
It’s when he starts to talk about coins that things go terribly wrong- and hilariously so!
Silver Dollar Coin (Money Talks): Eisenhower, Sacagawea & Susan B. is the third video in the “Money Talks” trilogy. In the span of six minutes, Corsello proposes a number of ridiculous theories, among them that the Eisenhower "silver dollar" program was discontinued in favor of the Susan B. Anthony dollar because the government didn't want their coins used in casinos (in reality, the Eisenhower dollar probably wouldn't have been made were it not for the need for new clad dollar coins to replace the rapidly disappearing silver ones that seemed to circulate only in casinos). He also claims that misogyny is the reason the Susan B. Anthony dollar is so much smaller in size. We're not sure how that works out, but basically, we think he believes that Congress compelled the mint to produce coins bearing the suffragette and the mint director or sculptors hated women so much that they shrank the size of the dollar to ensure its failure (is this also why they shrank the cent in 1857? We wonder…).
He then goes on to describe the Sacagawea dollar, explaining that “this time they made the silver dollar a gold color, so maybe they should have called it a gold dollar”. They actually called it a golden dollar so that the American people wouldn’t think the new coin was made of actual gold, which would have led to hoarding and confusion. Amazingly, the golden color was a recommendation made and ignored in the 1970s.
We hope you enjoyed this cavalcade of the lighter side of coin collecting videos. But if the premise rubbed you the wrong way, or if you watched a video and didn’t understand why we singled it out, don‘t worry. We don’t hate anybody, even if we branded their video “hilariously bad”® We were all ignorant of this or that at some point in our lives, but I bet that never stopped a single one of us from talking about it. Some of us even write for a living…
We’re sure that wiser, more patient souls have been far more tolerant of our foibles than maybe we have of others’. Still, c’mon - It’s only YouTube. Even though the Internet is “serious business”, at the end of the day, we’d probably share a beer or two with these guys as and talk about coins, politics, and… conspiracy theories.
We’d even split some drive-thru, clubinvestment, but the bagglers are ours.
FLIP OF A COIN:
Captured forever in Edwin Lamasure’s painting “Ye Olde Mint”, is Nero, the guard dog of the first Philadelphia Mint. Nero was purchased for the price of $3.38, a tidy sum at the time. Nero patrolled the grounds alongside the night watchman, and some believe that his likeness was used for the 1800 Seal of the United States Treasury, which featured an engraving of a dog holding a key to a Mint strongbox.
The Cents That Beat Hitler: After the debacle that was the 1943 zinc-coated steel alloy cent, the Mint turned to leftover brass alloy naval shell casings, which it had shipped back (literally) from the front lines of the African, European, and Pacific Theaters to make cents in 1944 and 1945.
From the Mercanti Files: We recently spoke with 12th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, John M. Mercanti, and he relayed a humorous anecdote about the design and roll out of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Turns out, Ms. Anthony’s niece visited the mint and told Frank Gasparro that he made her aunt too attractive! Sometimes, you just can’t win.