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    The history of the buffalo nickel part i

     

    The buffalo nickel (also known as the Indian head nickel) was produced from 1913 through 1938 and was designed by James Earle Fraser. It is actually a bison, not a buffalo, on the reverse but more on that later. Early in 1911, Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeagh's son wrote to him suggesting that there be a new design on the five-cent piece. The son had read the law which stipulated a coin design could not be changed more often than every 25 years. The 25 year “waiting” period for the Liberty nickel has passed back in February of 1908. MacVeagh had assumed office under President William Howard Taft in March 1909, and missed all the excitement when President Theodore Roosevelt managed to get several top artists to redesign the cent and gold coins. Fraser's artistic ability earned the undying respect of a dying Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who recommended Fraser to President Theodore Roosevelt to sculpture the official presidential bust. Roosevelt and Fraser quickly became friends. Despite the fact that William Howard Taft was president in 1912, Roosevelt recommended that Fraser be chosen to design the copper-nickel 5-cent coin. It is interesting to note that the Philadelphia mint was kept in the dark for quite some time during the initial design change discussions. Though not proven, it is widely speculated that this was done because of previous issues with Charles E. Barber over the double eagle design by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1908. Barber was still the chief engraver and believed that he should have all authority of engraving and coin design and since he designed the nickel that was still in production, he was probably not in any big hurry to change it. The obverse design for the Indian Head 5-cent coin, commonly called a "Buffalo nickel," depicts a large, powerful portrait of an Indian, facing right. The appearance is rough looking, unlike the smooth cheeks and other facial features that typify the many versions of Lady Liberty that have been on U. S Coins. The portrait is believed to be a composite of three Indian chiefs, although the identities of the models have been disputed. A few Native Americans laid claim to be the model for the coin. The artist himself identified two of the models as Chief Iron Tail, a Sioux and Chief Two Moons, a Cheyenne. Unfortunately, Fraser had trouble remembering the names of his models. He had been asked the question so many times, that it was evident he was growing tired of the whole issue rather than set the record straight. In an undated letter to Mint Director George E. Roberts believed to be from 1913, suggests that Fraser considered the Indian design represented a type, rather than a direct portrait. He said he could recall Two Moons and Iron Tail as having served as his inspiration and possibly “one or two others”. In alter years he dropped the number of possible “other” models to one. The one Indian originally believed to be the third model was Chief Two Guns White Calf, a Blackfoot. His claim lost a great deal of validity when in 1931, Fraser denied having used him as a model. In a letter dated June 10, 1931, from Fraser to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs of the U. S. Department of Interior, and later released to the press on July 12, 1931, Fraser is quoted as saying: “The Indian head on the Buffalo nickel is not a direct portrait of any particular Indian, but was made from several portrait busts which I did not Indians. As a matter of fact, I used three different Indian heads; I remember two of the men. One was Irontail, the best Indian head I can remember; the other one was Two Moons, and the third I cannot recall. I have never seen Two Guns Whitecalf nor used him in any way, although he has a magnificent head. I can easily understand how he was mistaken in thinking that he posed for me. A great many artists have modeled and drawn him, and it was only natural for him to believe that one of them was the designer of the nickel. I am particularly interested in Indian affairs, having as a boy lived in South Dakota before the Indians were so carefully guarded in their agencies. Later, the Crow Creek agency was formed at Chamberlain, but I always feel that I have seen the Indian in this natural habitat, with the finest costumes being worn. I hope their affairs are progressing favorably.” Through the years the search for the third model continued although many still believe it was Two Guns. Another Indian, Chief John Big Tree claimed he was the third model. There are many inconsistencies in his story/claim as well. Chief John Big Tree was also an actor. While we may never know for sure the identity of the third person, we do know a little about the model on the reverse The American bison serves as the reverse of the coin. Yes, it is a bison on the nickel, not a buffalo. Technically, buffaloes are found mostly in India and Africa, not in the United States. When the first settlers came to America and happened upon the Bison - they did not know what they were. The only animals they could relate them to were the Asian Water Buffalo. They started calling them buffalo for lack of a correct name, and the name stuck for many, many years. So, the American Buffalo is not a true buffalo. Its closest relative is the European Bison or Wisent and the Canadian Woods Bison, not the buffalo of Asia or Africa, such as the Cape Buffalo or Water Buffalo. Scientifically, the American Buffalo is named Bison and belongs to Bovidae family of mammals, as do domestic cattle. Because our history has so ingrained in us the name "Buffalo", we still use it, although "Bison" and "Buffalo" are used interchangeably. As just stated, our American Bison and the Water Buffalos are not even related. (There are actually two types of Bison as well. The Plains Bison and the Woods Bison - one being smaller and darker than the other and having populated different regions of the US in the early years) However, since so many people are familiar with their own learned definition of a "buffalo" you'll find we still sometimes use that term when referring to a bison. As such, the term buffalo will be used when referring to the reverse of the coin. Anyway…. To Be Continued!!!

         
    The history of the buffalo nickel part ii

     

    Continued from Part I A buffalo (bison) named Black Diamond, who was a resident of the New York Zoological Park served as the model. Fraser utilized a little artistic freedom to depict the bison as though he was on the Great Plains. A few years after the release of the nickel, Black Diamond was sold to a meat packing plant who then sold him as Black Diamond steaks despite numerous attempts to save him. The stuffed head of Black Diamond was displayed at a major coin convention during the 1980's. The American Indian fascinated Fraser, so much so that it was no surprise he chose an Indian design for the 5-cent coin design. Fraser, who grew up in the Dakota Territory in the 1880's was a witness to the slaughter of the American buffalo and the destruction of the way of life of Native Americans of the Great Plains. By creating the Buffalo Nickel, Fraser was able to honor and preserve an important part of American history. The preliminary sketches were very impressive and Mint Director George E. Roberts, who also had held that post when President Roosevelt revamped the coinage, was highly enthusiastic. Although the designs were, on general principle, quickly approved by Secretary MacVeagh, quite some time passed while various officials argued among themselves how the details should appear on the coin. By June 26, 1912, Roberts had tentatively approved plaster models of the new five-cent coin-although he did request that Fraser lower the relief somewhat. During the summer of 1912, all was going well and a finished product was close at hand, or so it seemed. The Hobbs Company of New York, a manufacturer of coin-operated vending machines, got wind of the planned design change on the five-cent piece and wanted to review the designs for they feared the new design would not work in their vending machines. Several months of bickering, changes, etc would ensue between Hobbs, Fraser, MacVeagh, etc. In December of 1912, MacVeagh grew tired of the mess and ordered that Fraser be allowed to complete his work. In late 1912/early 1913, models went to Chief Engraver Charles Barber, who oversaw the preparation of dies and the striking of pattern coins early in January 1913. It is known that Barber was cooperative in the effort, which was uncharacteristic of him considering that the coin being replaced was one he designed and he had no or little input into the new design. All seemed well until, somehow, a pattern coin fell into the hands of one of the Hobbs folks and the design war began once again. Changes were asked and the Mint Bureau agreed. The changes were accommodated without sacrificing artistic creativity and once again all seemed well as it seemed the Hobbs folks were content. Again, so it seemed. Although the on-site engineer indicated that all seemed fine, once the engineer returned to company headquarters in New York, Hobbs' officials did an abrupt about-face. The company now wrote the Mint that the latest pattern was totally unacceptable-and produced a long list of additional changes that also would have to be made. Fraser complained to MacVeagh about the circus-like atmosphere. MacVeagh tended to agree, and asked Mint Director Roberts to settle the matter quietly by not asking the artist to do anything more. Roberts saw the matter differently and ordered Fraser to work on the latest list of Hobbs' demands. It was now nearly the middle of February 1913, and there was no end in sight. The artist complained once again to the Treasury. Finally, on February 15th, MacVeagh set up a final conference that was held with all interested parties with the end result being MacVeagh ordering an end to the matter and that the most recent designs be used. Production began on February 21, 1913 with a single coining press at the Philadelphia Mint started turning out the nickels at the rate of 120 a minute. When the coins reached circulation, public reaction was mixed. Although MacVeagh promised the nickel would be "immensely interesting and beautiful." the New York Times condemned them as a "travesty on artistic effect." Other critics said that the coin's "rough" surfaces would encourage counterfeiters (I guess a nickel went a long way back then). Unfortunately, the biggest complaint, and one that would plague the nickel forever was the complaint about the nickels inability to withstand heavy use. One coin collectors' magazine predicted that the slightest wear would obliterate the date and the inscription Five Cents "beyond understanding." Sure enough, although now in circulation for only a month it was noticed that the lettering for the words 'FIVE CENTS' on the Buffalo Nickels was wearing away. The words were positioned within the outline of the raised mound on which the buffalo was standing. The early coins showed the bison standing on a grassy mound. For the new version, engraver Charles Barber cut away the base of the mound to make a straight line. He also lowered the words Five Cents so the rim would protect them from wear. Collectors noticed right away that the inscription was clearer. But the changes did not help the date on the other side of the coin. Excessive wear of the numerals continued to plague Buffalo nickels. Barber again made minor modifications in 1916 by lowering the relief of the head and strengthening several details, including the nose. In addition, the lettering of the word LIBERTY was made heavier. Although the date problem was now well known, with all the modifications Barber made, he never addressed the problem of the date wearing down too rapidly. That was unfortunate as now we see all the games being played with acid, etc., in order to restore dates. More on acid date recovery later. By the end of 1937 planning for the Buffalo nickel's successor was well under way, as the design's required 25 years would end the following year. It was to be replaced by the third coin to bear a likeness of one of our presidents, Thomas Jefferson. The Jefferson nickel continues in production to this day

         
    The hobby of saltwater aquarium fishkeeping

     

    Quite simply, a saltwater aquarium is designed to offer saltwater marine life with a familiar and contained environment. As a hobby, saltwater aquariums allow individuals to purchase fish as pets and keep them inside their home. The first saltwater fishkeeping, for personal use, became increasingly popular in the 1950's and was widely enjoyed through the use of glass aquariums that are still famous today. A saltwater aquarium typically features the tank itself, along with a filter, lighting and an aquarium heater. A saltwater aquarium can be purchased in a variety of different sizes, including small to the very large models. For this reason, prices vary greatly depending on the size and features of the saltwater aquarium. The features of a saltwater aquarium are very important to the survival of the marine life. As they are used to moving water, filtration is a must. Otherwise, the water would become cloudy and the fish would deteriorate quickly. While lighting is perhaps not as important as a quality filtration unit, it does provide a sense of a routine in a distinction between light and dark. While in the wild, marine life experiences the difference between day and night and will find a similar lighting routine to be similar to their natural habitat. It is very important that the water in a saltwater aquarium be tested regularly with the use of a test kit. In addition, regular water changes are required of every saltwater aquarium in order to keep the fish’s life clean and safe. Regular tap water, however, will likely feature contamination that may prove harmful to the fish. Chemicals and purifiers used to treat the water is found in most tap waters so, instead, a saltwater aquarium should be filled with distilled water. When changing the water in a saltwater aquarium, the owner must remove up to 20% of the current water and replace it with new saltwater, which is achieved through the use of a saltwater mix. There are a number of ways to find the perfect fish and a saltwater aquarium to keep it safe. A pet shop is the most likely place to find rare saltwater marine life and provides the biggest selection, while many retail stores offer a freshwater fish selection. When purchasing, it is a good idea to ask if the fish comes with any type of guarantee and/or special car instructions. Saltwater fish are fragile and must be treated according to specific guidelines, which any pet shop owner will detail depending on the fish that you select.

         
    The hobby of stamp collecting

     

    Stamp collecting is a popular and rewarding hobby. If you are just starting out and would like to know where to start, here are some helpful tips. It is said that the first rule of stamp collecting is to find a particular type of stamp you think you would like to collect and to take care of your collection. Some suggestions for types of stamps to collect are location of the stamp (i. e. country, state, etc.), stamp design, or a stamp for a particular season/holiday. Some people collect one issue of a stamp in volume, one type of stamp only (sometimes referred to as a specialist), and some people collect all the stamps that are able to. Once you have decided what type of stamp collector you want to be and what sort of stamps you want to collect, you need to learn how to properly care for your stamps. The first piece of advice is to always use stamp tongs when handling your stamps. While stamp tongs bear a resemblance to tweezers, they are different from tweezers in that they do not have pointy ends. Tweezers should not be used in place of actual stamp tongs as they may damage stamps. Stamps should not be handled with fingers or laid out on bare table surfaces as the natural oil in human skin and any particulates that may be on the table will cause damage to the stamp over time. When viewing stamps, they should be laid out on a clean piece of paper to avoid as much contamination as possible. The basic necessary supplies for stamp collecting are the stamp tongs, an envelope to store your stamps in and a storage box to store the envelopes in. It is important to note that the stamp tongs will need to be purchased from a stamp store or can be found at a stamp show. Once your collection grows, it is suggested that you invest in glassine envelopes for your stamps. These envelopes are made for stamp collecting and are semi-transparent. The glassine material is found to have no harmful effects on the stamps it stores. It is suggested that once your stamp collection has grown and you have isolated what particular types of stamps you like to collect, you may wish to invest in a album for stamp storage.

         
    The lincoln cent part 2 controversy

     

    On August 2nd, 1909 the new cent was released to the public. This was the first ever U. S. coin that would be released that would contain a real person on the picture. As such, there was much controversy as some people felt that putting a real person on a coin was too similar to the European monarchies. Others felt that a man of Lincoln's importance belonged on a hire denomination coin than a penny. Mint employees were upset that a coin was designed by a mint outsider. With all the controversy, the demand for the new penny only grew. On official release day, people stood in lines to get their first new penny and in many places the coins had to be rationed. The entire supply of cents was gone in 7 days. This initial release contained 27,996,194 1909 VDB and the now scare and key date Lincoln, the 1909 S VDB, that had a mintage of only 404,000. The supply ran dry because only after two days after the official release, on August 4, 1909, production was stopped by order of the Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeigh. Although MacVeigh had earlier approved the design, he told reporters that he did not know that Brenner's initials were to appear on the coin and that he was only reacting to widespread public criticism. Many people objected to the size of the letters that Brenner had placed just above the rim on the reverse of the coin. Brenner was angry and threatened to sue as the initials and even full names of other designers had appeared on many previous coins, but there is no indication that he ever followed through on this threat. A suggestion was made to put just the initial “B” on the coin but this was met with fierce resistance by Charles Barber who did not want Brenner's work confused with his own. MacVeigh also claimed that it was cheaper and faster to remove the initials from the hub and leave the die alone. Thus, Brenner's initials were taken off the coin. They did not reappear on the penny until 1918 after the death of Charles Barber. However, the initials were put on Lincoln's shoulder in letters so small that it can barely be seen without magnification. Although there is no hard proof, many believe that anti-Semitism played a large role in the outcry over Brenner's initials on the Lincoln cent. The coming years saw many more changes and Part III will cover those changes More Fun Penny Facts The U. S. one-cent coin is 19 millimeters in diameter and weighs 2.5 grams. The composition of the penny is 97.5% zinc and 2.5 % copper. There have been 11 different designs featured on the penny. The U. S. Mint produced over 6.8 billion pennies in 2004. The most pennies produced annually was in 1982 when over 16 billion pennies were produced Since its beginning, the U. S. Mint has produced over 400 billion pennies. The average penny lasts 25 years. The Lincoln penny was the first U. S. coin to feature a historic figure. President Abraham Lincoln has been on the penny since 1909, the 100th anniversary of his birth. The Lincoln penny was the first cent on which appeared the words "In God We Trust." Over two-thirds of all coins produced by the U. S. Mint are pennies. Currently, the penny is the only coin where the portrait of the person on the coin is looking to the right. The nickel, dime quarter and half dollar, the individuals are looking left. (This changed with the 2005 nickel and now the nickel as the first ever forward facing design)

         
    The lincoln cent part 3 the many changes

     

    No real changes occurred in the cent from 1918 through 1942. In 1943, the cent would again see a dramatic change although not to its design, but rather due to shortages of copper caused by the war. At the time of World War II, the one-cent coin was composed of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. These metals were denied to the Mint for the duration of the war, making it necessary for the Mint to seek a substitute material. After much deliberation, even including consideration of plastics, zinc-coated steel was chosen as the best in a limited range of suitable materials. Production of the war-time cent was provided for in an Act of Congress approved on December 18, 1942, which also set as the expiration date of the authority December 31, 1946. Low-grade carbon steel formed the base of these coins, to which a zinc coating .005 inch thick was deposited on each side electrolytically as a rust preventative. The same size was maintained, but the weight was reduced from the standard 48 grains to 42 grains, due to the use of a lighter alloy. Production commenced on February 27, 1943, and by December 31, 1943, the three Mint facilities had produced 1,093,838,670 of the one-cent coins. The copper released for the war effort was enough to meet the combined needs of 2 cruisers, 2 destroyers, 1,243 flying fortresses, 120 field guns and 120 howitzers, or enough for 1.25 million shells four our big field guns. These pennies are sometimes referred to as silver pennies due to their color when in new/AU/BU condition. On January 1, 1944, the Mint was able to adopt a modified alloy, the supply being derived from expended shell casing which when melted furnished a composition similar to the original, but with a faint trace of tin. The original weight of 48 grains was also restored. You may see many ads for these cents called war pennies. In 1955, we saw the last of the “S” mint marked wheat pennies. The San Francisco mint ceased minting “S” minted coins of cents and dimes for general circulation at the end of that year. The nickel, quarter and half dollar ceased the year before. It would not be for another 13 years (1968) before “S” mint coins were produced for general circulation. 1959 marked the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln cent and the reverse was changed to what is now the current design, the Lincoln Memorial. On February 12, 1959, the new design was introduced as a part of the 150th anniversary celebration of Lincoln's birth. Frank Gasparro, the Assistant Engraver at the Mint in Philadelphia, prepared the winning entry, selected from a group of 23 models the engraving staff at the Mint had been asked to present for consideration. Since the cent had been in circulation for over 25 years, only the Treasury Secretary's approval was necessary. The imposing marble Lincoln Memorial in the Nation's Capital provides the central motif; the legends E PLURIBUS UNUM and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA form the rest of the design, together with the denomination. Mr. Gasparro's initials, FG, appear on the right, near the shrubbery. In 1962, the penny underwent another change, although small. Mint officials decided to drop tin from the content of the Lincoln cent, because there were manufacturing cost advantages to a stable alloy of 95 percent copper and five percent zinc. This time, however, there was no particular interest because the change was not readily notice even though technically the Lincoln cent became brass, not bronze. In 1964, due to the announcement that silver would not longer be the major component of dimes, quarters and half dollars, there was a severe coin shortage for circulation. Although Lincoln cents were not the problem, government officials decided to not place mint marks on all coins in 1965. This continued for 2 more years (1966 and 1967), with the idea that this would keep collectors from hoarding all the coins needed for circulation. Some coins dated 1964 were actually produced 1965. Finally in 1968, mint marks were returned and the beloved “S” mint returned to circulation. The return of the “S” would be short-lived however. Unlike cents of earlier years with “S” mint marks, the cents of 1968-1974 would be produced in the multi-millions with a total number of “S” minted coins from this period totaling over three billion. Yes, that is billion. Still, it was a welcome change. The price of precious metals in the 1980's was out of control and copper was no exception which took its toll on the Lincoln cent in 1982. The composition was changed to an alloy of 99.2 percent zinc and 0.8 percent copper, plated by pure copper resulting in a total composition of 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper. In my next part, I will discuss the changed that will be happening in the next few years to our beloved Lincoln Cent

         
    The lincoln cent part i the beginning

     

    Incredibly, from 1909 through 2004, over 400 billion pennies have been minted. Yes, that is over four hundred billion, as in billion with a "B". That is roughly 1400 pennies per each US Citizen. If you have a jar, can, piggy bank, no doubt you have your share. More cents are produced than any other denomination. The lifespan of the Lincoln cent has spanned two world wars, several other wars, the first commercial jet flight, trips to the moon, Y2K and the invention of nearly everything we use today and take for granted. Yes, that little penny has been around for nearly 100 years and has seen a few changes such as changes in its design and changes in the metal content. How did this design, the staple of our pocket change come about? Way back in 1908, Victor D Brenner began designing a medal of Theodore Roosevelt marking the construction of the Panama Canal. Brenner had earlier created a plaque of Lincoln using a February 9th, 1864 photograph as the model. When Roosevelt saw the plaque of Lincoln, he was impressed. Brenner confided to the president that he was a great admirer of Lincoln and suggested that a portrait of Lincoln should be put on a U. S. coin. Although George Washington and Lincoln had appeared on pattern issues of the 1860s, as of 1908 no American president, or real person, had ever appeared on a coin made for regular circulation. The timing was right as Roosevelt had previously commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907 to redesign all American coinage including the Indian Head penny which had been around for nearly 50 years. Unfortunately Saint-Gaudens died that summer. Thus Roosevelt was open to ideas from other artists and was intrigued by the idea of using Lincoln on the cent and also coincided with his desire to honor his fellow Republican (it was all politics back then also) and the 100 year anniversary of his birth and consequently asked Brenner to submit a design. Brenner choose the penny as the coin to honor Lincoln as he felt it was appropriate to honor the “people’s” president on the most common coin. Originally, the design for the reverse was the same pattern as a French two-franc coin and had “United States of America” across the top of the reverse with his name “BRENNER” in small letters across the bottom. The design was immediately rejected by Mint officials as they did not like the use of a design identical to a French coin. They also did not like Brenner’s name being prominently displayed on the coin. They advised him to use only his initials as was common on other coins. Brenner redesigned the reverse with two stalks of wheat, the words ONE CENT over United States of America and his initials “VDB” on the bottom and the national motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, which means "One out of Many" circling the top. Brenner’s design did not originally include the phrase “In God We Trust” despite the fact that the Congress passed the Act on March 3, 1865, authorizing the use of this expression on our coins during Lincoln's tenure of office. William Taft succeeded Roosevelt as president before the penny went into production and refused to approve the design without it. Even though no legislation was required for a new design, approval of the Treasury Secretary was necessary to make the change. Franklin MacVeagh gave his approval July 14, 1909 and it was announced to the public that a new one-cent coin would be available in the middle of the year to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. About three weeks later, on August 2nd, 1909, the new cent was released to the public with much controversy which will be covered in Part II

         
    The lincoln cent part iv upcoming changes

     

    To review our last segment, the Lincoln Cent has undergone many changes. From the VDB initials controversy, composition changes and reverse changes nearly 50 years ago (from Wheat to Memorial). The versatile cent has seen its share of changes. So what does the future hold for the Lincoln cent? Legislation was recently passed authorized a plethora of coin changes. One of those changes included the cent. The Lincoln cent Title III to the Presidential Dollar Coin Act calls for the elimination of the Lincoln Memorial reverse to be replaced with four different designs depicting the life of Lincoln. In the text of the law the new reverses are referred to as “(A) his birth and early childhood in Kentucky; (B) his formative years in Indiana; (C) his professional life in Illinois; and (D) is presidency, in Washington D. C.” These changes would appear in 2009. In addition to these circulating designs, the legislation also says, “The Secretary of the Treasury shall issue 1-cent coins in 2009 with the exact metallic content as the 1-cent coin contained in 1909 in such number as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for numismatic purposes.” Will this be a fifth design or a wheat cent? Who knows? It will be a coin struck as proof or uncirculated as non-circulating legal tender. For 2010 and beyond, the legislation states, “The design on the reverse of the 1-cent coins issued after December 31st, 2009 shall bear an image emblematic of President Lincoln's preservation of the Untied States of America as a single and united country.” This could be an unspecified design or could revert back to the Lincoln Memorial. Since this is several years away, no decision on this appears to be immanent. One question that does appear to be answered is that the cent will continue to be produced despite some calls for its discontinuance. Many believe the penny is no longer useful and should fade away much like the Ѕ cent. We shall see.

         
    The magical world of collectible figurines

     

    Millions of people throughout the world take great joy in the hobby of collecting figurines. If you are thinking of starting your own collectible figurine collection, you can purchase your first figurine through various channels, such as buying it online or going to a wholesale figurine market. Nowadays, figurine collection has become an interesting and fascinating hobby. In fact, with the use of the internet, starting your own figurine collection has become even easier. No matter what type of figurine you are looking for, you will find a wide range of collectible figurines available on the internet, which you can buy from the comfort of your own home and at a reasonable price too. You can also purchase figurines by bidding on online auctions. However, take care not to bid too much on figurines as you would not want your figurine collection to become a financial burden on you. If you want to order a special type of figurine such as an angel figurine or a fairy figurine, be sure to ask the supplier to display the models and list of your choice. It is also important to specify the size of your figurine before placing the purchase order. Images and pictures of figurines online are often not truly representative of the actual size of the figurines and may often appear larger than the actual dimensions. Furthermore, some special figurines such as angel figurine may cost you more, as they can be custom made according to your desire. The modern porcelain angel figurine comes in various materials and shapes, so be sure to specify the material and other features that you wish your angel figurine or fairy figurine to have. Fairy figurines are also available in many models and dimensions. Another type of collectible figurine that many people love to collect is the pewter figurine of mythical creatures. If you consider your figurine collection to be of great value, you should consider passing it on to your future generation as collectible figurines increase in values over time. You will be surprised to know that there is a science to collecting figurines and the more you become involved in the hobby of collecting figurines, the more you will want to learn about it. Before starting your collection, visit specialty shops like wholesale figurine shops or ask a few friends or relatives who are experienced in collecting figurines for suggestions on how to get started and also on how to negotiate successfully with sellers of figurines

         
    The many uses of rubber stamping

     

    Rubber stamping is a convenient way for individuals to mark letters, packages, account invoices and even bank deposits. While some are commercially made, other rubber stamping units can be customized specifically for the owner. An example would be an address stamper, which features a name and mailing address and is used on mailing envelopes. There are many uses for rubber stamping and below are just a few of the examples that these handy products are designed for: Mailing. Rubber stamping is commonly used by business owners and individuals who wish to stamp a package as fragile. If insurance is purchased on a package, the postmaster will usually stamp the package as ‘insured’ Bank Deposits. Individuals or businesses who wish to stamp the signature line of their check often use rubber stamping. Many businesses stamp ‘For Deposit Only’ and follow it with the account number. Return Address. Many individuals and/or businesses enjoy the convenience of rubber stamping on the outside of a mailing envelope. When most people have to write their name and address in the top left hand corner, others use the rubber stamping technique to save time when mailing one or 1,000 letters. Billingpanies who are in the business of billing and/or collections often use rubber stamping to indicate when a bill has been paid by stamping ‘Paid’ on the account. Organization. Some companies and entrepreneurs find that the use of rubber stamping helps them to better organize their files Scrapbooking. One of the world’s most popular hobbies, scrapbooking often involves rubber stamping for fun and added color to each page. Rubber stamping products are commonly found at office supply stores, but are also readily available online. There are a growing number of companies who provide customized rubber stamping products, including everything from the basic models to the self-inking stamper. With so many choices ranging from sizes, customization and ink color, rubber stamping products are available to fit almost any budget. With personalized products, most companies ask that individuals and/or businesses allow additional time for their stamps to be created and shipped.

         
    The passion of baseball card collecting

     

    Baseball card collecting has been around since the 1800's, and millions of young and old enthusiasts collect baseball cards. Serious involvement shown by some enthusiasts who invest a lot of money and some even pursue a career in baseball cards. Baseball cards are sold for as little as 10 cents while a few cards are traded for as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars. Baseball became an increasingly popular sport in the USA after the Civil War. In those days when there were no modern printing techniques, a type of baseball card was made out of photos of baseball players or teams pasted on a small piece of square cardboard. Peck & Snyder, a sporting good company, first printed baseball cards in the late 1860's. These baseball cards carried advertisements of their products and were given away like flyers for free. The popular hobby of the 1870’s and 1880’s was to collect trade cards that had various themes including baseball and pasting those into a scrapbook. The mass production of baseball cards started in the 1880's. Goodwin & Co. a tobacco company in New York produced these cards as cigarette pack stiffeners and to boost sales, as this became popular, others joined the competition. Allen & Ginter, Buchner & Co., Mayo and Co. and Kimball produced quality baseball cards and inserted them into the cigarette packs. After a brief lull, baseball cards again became a rage from the early 1900's. In fact, the period from 1909-1915 is regarded as the golden period in baseball card collecting. T206 Honus Wagner is one of the most famous cards that belonged to this era. The T206 Honus Wagner card is currently valued at around $500,000 and there are only 50 of them available in good condition. Some of the popular players who adorn the earlier cards include Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Napolean Lajoie. Slowly tobacco slipped away from the baseball card scenario, and candy and gum companies filled the void. The cards produced by Goudey Gum Company of Boston are among the most popular baseball cards ever produced. The cards included pictures of famous baseball stars like: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx. Gum Inc produced cards that include the photo and stats of such greats as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. Bowman Gum Co. started the baseball card industry as it currently is. Bowman sold baseball cards with a stick of bubble gum. Topps Chewing Gum company joined the process in the 1950's, and the 1952 Topps # 311 Mickey Mantle is one of their most expensive cards. At present, other than Topps companies like Fleer, Donruss/Playoff, and Upper Deck are producing baseball cards. Every year baseball cards hit the market featuring the top performers. A ‘rookie card’ is a first card of a player and generally costs more than other cards of the same player. However, the tobacco baseball cards are still considered the best of all baseball cards. In addition, the Honus Wagner card is considered the ‘Mona Lisa’ of baseball cards. A Honus Wagner card that was previously owned by Wayne Gretzky was auctioned off on eBay for $1.27 million. When the number of cards collected really grows big, it will not be easy to manage them. Retrieving cards at will and replacing them would require the proficiency of a library science degree holder. To solve this problem there is software available that will manage baseball card collections efficiently. There is a variety of software to choose from depending on the complexity of the collection details that needs to be stored. One program that stand's out is ' Baseball Card Collector Professional ', it is made for any baseball card collector, from novices to professionals, and it cost under $15. ' Baseball Card Collector Professional ' may be downloaded for free at this website address: Robert W. Benjamin Copyright © 2006 You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter or on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.

         
    The tattoo that pays you goldenpalace. com

     

    : It all started with Forehead Goldie, a Utah woman named Karolyne Smith who agreed to have GoldenPalace permanently tattooed on her forehead for $10,000 in order to pay for her child to go to school. Since then, GoldenPalace, the online casino and poker room more famous for its publicity stunts than its games, has capitalized on what may possibly be the final frontier in display advertising -- the human body. In their years-long and still ongoing “Human Billboard” campaign, they have purchased literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of ad space on various peoples’ body parts, most typically through an eBay auction posted by the tattooee. Here are some recent highlights from this new and questionably sane breed of entrepreneur: A 20-year old from Evansville, IN had the online casino’s logo tattooed on his ankle, the first “below the belt” credit to GoldenPalace’s name. He said he came up with the idea in order to pay off some hefty Bureau of Motor Vehicles fines. A grandmother and her daughter agreed to have GoldenPalace temporarily tattooed on their chests for 3 months. A second daughter has agreed to have the logo tattooed on her pregnant belly, also for 3 months. Their total earnings: $1,000.00. Speaking of pregnant -- 3 actual sisters from St. Petersburg, FL, all pregnant at the same time, got $5,000.00 for donning the same temporary GoldenPalace tattoo for 3 months. They even said, if they had to go out in cold weather, they’d wear a GoldenPalace sweatshirt. GoldenPalace sponsored Professional Arm Wrester Brent Norris with $1,150.00 in exchange for, among other concessions, a temporary tattoo of the GoldenPalace logo on his wrestling arm. This occasion has precedent: the GoldenPalace logo also took up temporary residence on female World Arm Wrestling champion Dawn Higgin’s arm and forehead during a subsequent years’ championship match in Tokyo. But enough of this temporary nonsense (the ankle is permanent, at least). GoldenPalace paid a woman from Fountain, FL $15,000 for a promised media blitz that included a permanent tattoo of the online casino’s logo on her chest, 3 hours a day for 3 days in a swimsuit in 3 different heavily-trafficked spots, and an aerial advertising banner flown over Florida’s beaches. Reno resident Molly Demers traded the back of her head for $18,000, consenting to have her head shaved, and the GoldenPalace logo permanently tattooed on the bald spot.

    As a side note, Ms. Demers says she donated the hair she shed to Locks of Love, a charity that gives hairpieces to low-income kids with long-term, medical hair loss. An Anchorage, Alaska boxer took $4,450 for the right to tattoo GoldenPalace permanently wherever on his body they’d like. That includes multiple tattoos, as many as GoldenPalace decides, located, in the seller’s words, “on most of my body”. And on his truck - for life (his or the truck’s?) Professional stunt men LeatherFace and The Executioner, made famous on MTV’s Viva La Bam are being paid a total of $13,000 to have GoldenPalace permanently inked on their arms. Both men are donating 20% of their earnings to The Children’s Miracle Network. And speaking of children, in a related stunt, GoldenPalace paid $222.50 to 4 year-old David (last name purposely excluded) from Charlotte, NC for the right to select his wardrobe for a full month. Fortunately, GoldenPalace has only one thing in mind, and David’s outfits will probably consists of modest shirts, shorts, and caps with the GoldenPalace logo emblazoned on them. Odd, though -- don’t you think? -- to have a minor advertising a gambling site. Aw, what the heck! It’s cute. ******

         
    The top five morgan silver dollars

     

    Why waste everyone’s time? Let’s skip the appetizers and get to the meaty stuff right now: The Morgan silver dollars poised to increase the most in value in the years ahead are the 1895, 1892-CC, 1894, 1878-CC, and the 1883-CC. Pretty bold prediction, eh? At this point, the reader now has three options: (1) Stop reading and act upon this information, (2) Stop reading and get on with life, or (3) Continue on, evaluate the analytical approach to identify the “Top Five” Morgan dollars, and then implement a variation of (1) or (2) above. If you’ve gotten this far, we encourage you to continue on with option (3). First, a little background info on the Morgan silver dollar… The Morgan silver dollar is today one of the most popular of all collector coins. First minted in 1878 following the passage of the Bland-Alison Act, the new dollar was named after its designer, George T. Morgan. Political pressure by powerful silver mining companies, in a gambit to stabilize the price of their commodity at artificially high levels, created the impetus driving the legislative action. Bland-Alison led to the overproduction of silver dollars, resulting in millions of these unused “cartwheels” languishing in bank and Treasury vaults. Indeed, few coins have ever been released under more dubious circumstances than Morgan silver dollars. Minting continued until 1904, and then again for one more year in 1921, when the series finally came to a close. For decades thereafter, Morgan dollars were largely snubbed by hobbyists. Many dates, including those in mint state condition, could be obtained for as little as $1.00. This situation shifted dramatically in 1962, when the US government began selling original 1000-piece silver dollar Treasury bags to the public at face value. Stories of rare dollar finds circulated widely, touching off a veritable Morgan mania. Within a matter of months, all but a small fraction of the federally owned coins were transferred from government vaults to private hands, consequently expanding the Morgan dollar collector base far beyond anything seen previously. Since then, Morgan silver dollars have proudly perched themselves atop the catbird seat of the numismatic world. Their physical size, availability, beauty, and historical significance have consistently attracted herds of new buyers. Numerous boom-turned-bust cycles have come and gone, sometimes driven by pure speculative motives, but from a long-term perspective, most Morgan dollar prices have trended somewhat positive. Unlike some controversial promoters in the past, I do not propose purchasing Morgan silver dollars simply as investment vehicles. However, for collectors hoping to satisfy their numismatic yearnings AND acquire coins destined to be worth substantially more in the future, Morgan dollars do present a few opportunities. As noted above, as a whole, Morgans have gained moderately in value over the years. The crucial challenge, then, is to identify which members of this series have enjoyed the best growth patterns in the past. The underlying logic is clear: coins that have demonstrated the strongest gains over a long period of time are the coins best positioned to show similar price advancements with the continued passage of time. In order to measure past performance and thus visualize Morgans most likely headed toward a bullish future, I developed a systematic approach. First, I researched individual Morgan dollar retail prices as they existed in 1950, for a broad range of conditions, and entered this data on a computer spreadsheet. Moving forward in time, values from the years 1980, 1995, and 2000 were likewise recorded. Finally, estimated selling prices in 2005 were juxtaposed with counterpart data from those earlier years. Because grading terminology has evolved over the 55 year period, certain assumptions were made to progressively track price movements throughout the time spectrum (e. g. an “Uncirculated” value in 1950 is equivalent to the “MS-60” of today). For each date and condition, compounded annual return rates were computed from 1950 to 2005. [Editorial note: compounded annual return rate is the accepted yardstick for comparing investment performance. Of course, coins do not grow at a guaranteed uniform rate, such as bonds do, but if a coin is purchased at a certain price, and that price is compared with the value of the coin at some later date, the compounded annual return rate can be calculated for the time period in between]. Return rate computations were made from 1980 to 2005, 1995 to 2005, and 2000 to 2005. For each Morgan dollar, the data was placed in tabular format. Next, I calculated a “composite” score for each date by averaging all the compounded return rates computed for that date. I then ranked all the “composite” scores. The Morgan silver dollars with the highest scores are as follows: Date: Score: 1895 11.37 1892-CC 10.54 1894 10.43 1878-CC 10.28 1883-CC 10.25 So, it would appear, based on past performance over a period of 55 years, the 1895 is the Morgan silver dollar with the best hope of appreciating significantly in the years ahead, followed by the 1892-CC, 1894, 1878-CC, and 1883-CC. Not surprisingly, dollars of the Carson City Mint occupy 13 of the top 16 positions, thanks to persistent collectors scrambling for bona fide artifacts of the romantic American West. On the opposite end of the rankings, Morgan silver dollars having the bleakest long term prospects include the 1898, 1899-O, 1884, and the 1888-O, followed by the 1897 coming in dead last with a score of 2.66. Anyone whose dual objective is to acquire Morgan silver dollars with a bullish future ought to begin looking at the “Top Five” above. Purchase coins in the best condition you can afford, but be sure the coins are clean, problem-free, and CERTIFIED by a reputable grading service. Be prepared to hold for at least five years. Morgan dollars have skyrocketed in value in the last three years, so some cooling off may be in order before the next upward cycle. If a polling firm were to survey the population of US coin collectors, it is very possible that Morgan silver dollars would win the vote as the most appealing coin in American coinage history. These beautiful coins have been the heartbeat of the hobby for many years, with no retreat in sight. Ironically, these same coins spent the better part of a century hidden away in government vaults, unseen, unwanted, and unloved. My, how times have changed!

         
    The universe of sun signs and their corresponding fresh flowers

     

    If you are anticipating giving the gift of fresh flowers to your lover on her birthday or to your employer on his anniversary then the following list will come in rather handy: Aries: March 21 - April 20 Flower: You can match the enthusiasm and zeal of Aries with fresh flowers that have the color of passion and symbolize romance like the anything-but-demure red tulip flower. You can make a beautiful bouquet of red tulips and it will dazzle with unbound energy. The red tulip will appeal to your love with bold gestures and display an appreciation of the slightly unexpected. Taurus: April 21 - may 21 Flower: The Taurus is a strong sun sign and the only flower that will fit the mantle of a Taurean and his/her love for nature’s exotic beauty is the lily. The richness of lily will symbolize the Taurus’s respect for beautiful forms, history, and fragrance that will initiate an indulgence that is romantic and sensual. Gemini: may 22 - June 21 Flower: Gemini is a sun sign that is full of surprises and hence the best way to greet this sun sign is by giving him a nice surprise like an intricately designed bouquet of roses. Yes! Rose is the flower for Gemini and it symbolizes the true essence of their sun sign. Rose for a Gemini stands for love and companionship. Apart from that, it will be able to convey different types of sentiments depending on the flower’s color. The roses are considered as the perfect match for Gemini’s multi-dimensional or twin sides that can from vary from friendship to passion and from quiet sophistication to a burst of energy and fun. Cancer: June 22 - July 22 Flower: Cancer the water sign is one of the most generous sun signs among all and the best way to appreciate them is by gifting a bouquet of delphinium. Delphinium, named such because they are dolphin-shaped, symbolizes ardent attachment, an open heart, and a comfortable feeling of levity. Leo: July 23 - august 22 Flower: One of the strongest sun signs, Leo’s are proud people and the only flower that will complement their desire and personality is the fiery sunflowers. The sunflower captures the confidence as well as the strength of a Leo who is basically a loving spirit. Virgo: August 23 - September 23 Flower: A practical and intellectual earth sign, the flower that provokes their lighthearted side is the Daisy-like asters. Libra: September 24 - October 23 Flower: The only flower that complements the true nature of a Libra is the star-shaped hydrangeas. Symbolically, hydrangeas personify a complete balance of the opposites and hence is perfect for the Libra, which is symbolized with balancing scale. Scorpio: October 24 - November 22 Flower: One of the strongest sun signs and ruled by Pluto, this is a overtly passionate sign and the only flower that can capture the Scorpio’s sensuous side is the lush red peonies. The Peonies have a bold and passionate red color that embodies a deep sense of romance often complementing Scorpio’s sensitivity as well as power. Sagittarius: November 23 - December 21 Flower: You can capture the Sagittarian’s multiple personalities with an equally complimenting flower which is the carnations. Carnation is associated with many hues of the same personality and symbolizes love, intellect, fascination, and luck. Capricorn: December 22 - January 20 Flower: The flower the complements the dependable and responsible nature of a Capricorn is the African violets. Aquarius: January 21 - February 19 Flower: Aquarian’s are known for their intuitive and spiritual characteristics and hence the flower that complements their personality the most is orchids. Pisces: February 20 - March 20 Flower: The Piscean flower is the Alstroemeria that captures the right mix of generosity, beauty and splendor.

         
    The various types of bead craft hobbies

     

    Many hobbyists turn toward bead craft activities, which can result in some of the most beautiful and artistic creations available. Intricate bead craft work takes both time and patience, but is widely recognized as some of the most valuable handmade creations in the crafting industry. There are many different bead craft possibilities, some of which are featured in this article. Jewelry. The most popular bead craft hobby is that of jewelry. Everything from beaded earrings to necklaces and bracelets are widely available and are handmade by artisans around the world. Found at craft shows, in specialty stores and online, bead craft jewelry designers are responsible for hand threading each bead until the desired look is completed. Jewelry beads are available in a variety of metals, including goldtone, silvertone, genuine gold and genuine silver. Products used to create bead craft jewelry are typically found at most wholesalers that deal in jewelry findings. Pocketbooks. If you have ever seen a bead craft pocketbook, then you have already seen the workmanship that goes into this type of product. However, many do not realize this, but some pocketbooks are made completely of beading. Understandably so, these are very expensive due to the amount of time and work involved, not to mention the cost of the beads themselves, but they are quite possibly one of the most elegant purses that a woman can own. Napkin rings. A popular bead craft hobby is that of creating handmade napkin rings. These rings are designed to hold a rolled napkin into place before dinner. With bead craft napkin rings, many people choose to use them as decor, but they are actually quite functional and are more than capable of serving the purpose as they are intended. Hair accessories. It’s all about the added touches, right? When it comes to hair accessories, bead craft work is everywhere. It is commonly found in barretts and other hair embellishments that complete the perfect look. After creating their latest designs, most bead craft artists make their work available at craft shows (either local or national), at online auction or through specialty craft stores. In some cases, their work is even sold nationally in retail stores. Bead craft artists are skilled professionals that opt to display their artwork in the form of beadwork rather than on canvas. But, make no mistake - a bead craft artist is no less of an artist than anyone who uses a pencil or paintbrush.

         
     
         
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