What a busy bourse at the May 2015 Greater Atlanta Coin Show.

Welcome and thank-you-for-coming to the new dealers on the bourse this month. Some of our regular dealers had conflicting schedules that allowed a few new dealers to join the show. We hope they enjoyed their interactions with the visitors and the other coin dealers.

Thank you and welcome to the many people that visited this month's coin show. We saw a good mix of frequent, infrequent and new visitors to the bourse. We hope they found some interesting collectibles in the dealers' showcases or obtained a good appraisal for their items.

The weather for the day was fickle with a mix of rain and sunshine on and off throughout the day. It was a typical springtime day in metro Atlanta with temperatures in the mid 70s to the low 80s.

Whether rain or sunshine outside, the coin show inside had much to offer. Let's take a virtual look at a few examples.

Early in the morning, one dealer showed off a complete Indian Head Cents collection with most of the coins in uncirculated condition though just a few in the set showed minor circulation wear.
This set, however, was not just an Indian Head Cents collection. It also included three Flying Eagle cents-one from 1857 and two from 1858. The 1858 coins included one with large letters (LL) and one with small letters (SL).

This beautiful collection included all the small cents from the Flying Eagle cents of 1857 and 1858 through the end of the Indian Head cents in 1909.

Though the US Mint did produce a few (2000) of the Flying Eagle cents in 1856, the smaller size was not officially approved until 1857. The Mint struck the 1856 coins as pattern pieces.

One collectible book describes the Flying Eagle cents as:
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The coin found on the bourse had yet to be certified by one of the grading services. It would be interesting to find out the coin's "official" grade.

Not a coin but a collectible, the next interesting item was a papal medal personally presented by Pope Pius IX to an individual.

Pope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, reigned from June 1846 to his death in February 1878.

A beautifully engraved in high-relief presentation piece, the papal medal included the recipient's name inscribed around the edge of the medal.

Dated 1876, Pope Pius IX was in his early 80s when he presented the medal to the honoree.
Designed by James B. Longacre, the Flying Eagle was the first small U.S. cent, and replaced the cumbersome large copper cents of 1793-1857. Flying Eagle cents were struck in 88% copper and 12% nickel, and at the Philadelphia Mint only. An eagle in flight is featured on the obverse, while the reverse has a wreath of corn, wheat, cotton and tobacco.

The design proved difficult to strike, so a slight die change was made in 1858. This reduced the size of the obverse lettering and created the Large Letter ("A" and "M" in AMERICA joined) and Small Letter (separate "A" and "M") varieties for 1858. However, striking problems persisted, so the series was replaced by the Indian Head design in 1859.
To some people's disappointment, the dealer sold the Small Cents collection before they had a chance to take a look and make an offer.

Another design by James B. Longacre was on a $3 gold coin from 1854.

From the Official Red Book:

The three-dollar gold piece was authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853. First struck in 1854, the coin was never popular with the general public and saw very little circulation. Today, some numismatists theorize that the $3 denomination would have been useful for purchasing postage stamps of the day (with their face value of three cents) or for acquiring 100 silver three-cent pieces ("trimes"), which were also in circulation at the time.

The head on the obverse represents an Indian princess with hair tightly curling over the neck, her head crowned with a circle of feathers (the band of which is inscribed LIBERTY). A wreath of tobacco, wheat, corn and cotton occupies the field of the reverse, with the denomination and date within it.

For the initial year-1854, the Philadelphia, New Orleans and Dahlonega mints produced a total of 163,738 coins. The Philadelphia Mint provided the largest production of three-dollar pieces the denomination would ever see, 138,618.

At the branch mints, New Orleans struck 24,000 pieces (1854-O) and Dahlonega produced 1,120 (1854-D).
A pair of dies was sent from Philadelphia to the Charlotte Mint on June 1, but they were not used. A pair was sent to Dahlonega the same day, arriving on June 10, with gauges and other necessary equipment following on July 15. The coinage of the 1854-D took place in August.

The $3 gold coin found on the May bourse was produced in August in the small town less than 100 miles north of Atlanta. Due to its rarity, the $3 gold 1854 Dahlonega coin's value ranges from the low $10,000s to the $70,000s depending on its grade.
Though not as widely collected as coins, a group of dedicated individuals search for and value the wide variety of papal medals for their beauty and their religious symbolism.

The Small Cents collection, the $3 Dahlonega gold coin and the papal medal were just a small sample of the wide variety of collectibles found on the May bourse.

Next month, dealers will once again pack the bourse of the Greater Atlanta Coin Show with their displays of numismatics and interesting items.

Mark your calendars for the next Greater Atlanta Coin Show on Sunday, June 14, 2015 in the Joe Mack Wilson ballroom
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