The World's First Coin!

Before this first coin there were the pre-coins!

The Karpeles Manuscript Library

Coin Archives

The Karpeles Manuscript Library coin archives contain several areas not normally seen by the average collector.


The first area is Coin Errors.

 These include

Coins that did not fall directly under the stamping 'dies' and so were stamped "off-center".

Coins that were stamped twice, once properly and once "off center". These are called "double struck".

Coins where the coin blank (planchet) fell into the wrong bin and was stamped with a wrong denomination.

Coins whose planchets that fell on top of a larger coin while being stamped!
An example of such an error is shown below, the 1943 Steel Half Dollar.

Would you believe that a planchet can enter between the dies but be balanced on it's edge? And when the dies compress the planchet is "Folded" in half?

One of the most unexpected errors occurs when a small planchet falls between two very large dies, for example a penny planchet into a silver dollar size dies. The penny, being copper, is a different color than the dollar. Here are several "Eisenhower Pennies".

THe ultimate in error coins is the "double denomination".

One of the most famous errors is the
The 1943 Copper Cent
This one shown is the most fabulous one you will ever see. A 1942 copper penny was struck over by a 1943 nickel.
(All others are a 1942 blank planchet struck over by a 1943 die intended for a steel cent)
The 1943 Steel Half Dollar

The second most fabulous 1943 coin you will ever see. A1943 steel planchet fell into the half dollar stamping area. The strike is amazingly also off center.
The 1943 Steel Cent Pattern

Not an error coin but a trial pattern made in 1942 at the U.S. Mint in the proposed metal (steel coated by zink) for the 1943 cents. It is shown here to go along with the 1943 cent errors listed above.


The second area is Kushan Coins.

Kushan was a country part way between Rome and China. It served as a rest stop for traders traveling between the two countries. The Romans spent many gold coins in Kushan - and when it's ruler, Vima Kadphises, saw these gold coins he was amazed at the quality of the engravings. The portraits of the Roman Emperors on the coins were astoundingly photographic - equal to the 21st century United States Mint coins. Vima decided to make his own coins by melting down the Roman coins and creating stamping dies with Kushan portraits and designs. In particular, Vima's successors, Kanishka and Huvishka,  started a series where world gods would adorn the verso of many of the coins:

   Kanishka Heaven

   Huvishka's Heaven, The Earlier years

Huvishka Heaven


The third area is dark age and early medieval English silver pennies.

   The portraits of these coins are very crude and amateurish compared to the Roman coins of 1000 years earlier, due to the dark age religious restrictions on art, science, literature, education, etc.

The ruler's names are not modern such as Edward, Charles, or George, but instead weird names such as Cnut, Aethelred, Eadmund, Aethelberht, Eadred, Coelwulf, Beornwulf, Aethelwulf. Etc.


The fourth area is Coins of Cleopatra

The composition of the coins used which have portraits of Cleopatra were not as good as the normal Roman coins. Thus, coins with distinct portraits of Cleopatra very hard to find. Here are the best available:

The Beautiful (?) Cleopatra!

The fifth area is coins of Denmark during the period when the Kings of Denmark were also Kings of England.

The Viking Age (800 AD-1100 AD) was a period of attempted conquests of England by Viking Denmark. King Aethelred of England was forced to pay 'tribute' to Danish leaders in order to avoid conquest.
This was the time of Leif Erickson discovery of America.
Aethelred massacred Danish settlers in 1002, setting the stage for the Danish conquest of England. King Sweyn, conquered England in 1013 and became King of England and Denmark (and Norway).
Sweyn's son, Canute the Great, who reigned from 1014 to 1035, united Denmark and England stressing cultural bonds. His son, Harthacnut was not so kind. He ruled until 1042 AD but under a policy of harsh taxation.
Lady Godiva, an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, in England, in order to gain a remission of Harthacnut's oppressive taxation policy imposed by her husband on his tenants.
Danish Coins when the Kings of Denmark were also Kings of England

The sixth area is coins of the Vikings who migrated to Ireland.
Hiberno-Norse coins in the Medieval Ages: 995 AD - 1060 AD.

The seventh area is coins of the Visigoths; Spain and Southern France.
Visigothic coins in the Dark Ages: 466 AD - 687 AD.

And finally, the world's most historical coin

The Brutus Eid Mar