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the Dollar ReDe$sign Project is advocating a redesign of U.S. paper currency to make it more, um, current.

The design firm Dowling Duncan created a whole set of bills, coded by color and size (click for a larger view):

The folks at Dowling Duncan write:

We wanted a concept behind the imagery so that the image directly relates to the value of each note. We also wanted the notes to be educational, not only for those living in America but visitors as well. Each note uses a black and white image depicting a particular aspect of American history and culture. They are then overprinted with informational graphics or a pattern relating to that particular image.

[ read more ]

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change.

This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it. The tax code tweak is expected to raise $17 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Taking an early and vociferous role in opposing the measure is the precious metal and coin industry, according to Diane Piret, industry affairs director for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. The ICTA, based in Severna Park, Md., is a trade association representing an estimated 5,000 coin and bullion dealers in the United States.

“Coin dealers not only buy for their inventory from other dealers, but also with great frequency from the public,” Piret said. “Most other types of businesses will have a limited number of suppliers from which they buy their goods and products for resale.”

[ more ]

Read more about sales and use tax on coins.

The Rupee (abbreviated as ₨, Re.(Singular), Rs. (Plural) or रू.) was originally an Indian silver coin. Today, it is the name for the monetary unit of account in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Mauritius, Seychelles, Indonesia, Maldives, formerly Burma and Hyrule (a fictional land from the video game “The Legend of Zelda”) – gotta’ love wikipedia.

Now there’s an interesting quibble over deciding what icon should be used to symbolize national currency…

It comes down to a choice from these five:

I’m favoring 2. Bold lines, integrated symbol. Broken aspect of the icon alludes to bridges crossing rivers which is a nice metaphor for trade across nation states… eh, I digress.  BTW, current trade value for $100 U$ is equal to about 4629.2R$.

The new Rupee symbols that were rejected


Harry Eccleston worked for more than 25 years as a banknote designer at the Bank of England and was best known for the series D notes, issued in 1978 and the first fully pictorial series. Eccleston’s portrait of the Queen was on the front of the notes and his drawings of Isaac Newton (£1), the Duke of Wellington (£5), Florence Nightingale (£10), Shakespeare (£20) and Christopher Wren (£50) were on the reverse.

He also designed a 50-pence note bearing the figure of Sir Walter Raleigh but it was judged that, in a time of galloping inflation, the life of such a low-denomination note would be short and so a coin was minted instead. His original drawings of the Queen and of Wren were presented to her and in the same year he was appointed OBE.

Harry Norman Eccleston was born in Coseley, Staffordshire, and brought up in the Black Country. His home was on a council estate opposite derelict blast furnaces and surrounded by steelworks, a canal and a railway embankment. His father was a partner in a family furniture business, Eccleston Bros, but worked as a fitter in the motor industry. His mother was a dressmaker, and Eccleston regarded the example set by his parents’ craftsmanship and long hours as a pattern for his own future career.

His headmaster at Broad Lanes School recognised his early talent and encouraged him to take classes at the School of Art at Bilston. At 14 he became a full-time student, also attending Birmingham School of Art. At Bilston he had two exceptional teachers, Raymond Cowern and Andrew Freeth. Both were former Prix de Rome etching scholars who became Royal Academicians. They encouraged Eccleston to use his Black Country environment in his work, and industrial landscape was an inspiration for his printmaking throughout his career.

In 1942 he was called up for the Royal Navy. Commissioned as a sub-lieutenant the following year, he served in HMS Avon as an antisubmarine officer in the Middle East and the Indian and Pacific oceans.

After receiving his Art Teachers Diploma from Birmingham College of Art, he entered the Royal College of Art to study in the school of engraving under Robert Austin, one of the finest British printmakers of his day. On graduating in 1951, he began work as a part-time lecturer at Harrow, Twickenham and Richmond Schools of Art, and the following year took up a post as a lecturer in illustrating and printmaking at the South East Essex Technical College. He also moved to Harold Hill in Romford, Essex,where he lived in the same house for the rest of his life. His lifestyle was modest but a printing press occupied a downstairs room.

Subsequently, in 1958, Austin recruited Eccleston as the first artist designer to the Bank of England Printing Works, a position he held until 1983. He stayed on for three more years as a consultant until his retirement in 1986. The greater part of his time at the Bank was spent on two projects: the development of a computer engraving system to assemble notes more quickly than had been possible with previous, rather primitive, printing techniques; and, second, with Dr Ivor Stilitz, “perception research”, which was aimed at making it easier for the public to detect forgeries. “It was interesting to learn from the work how instinctively wrong one could be,” he said. “No one in the world had ever carried out such work which, of course, we gave to everyone.”

Returning to his command of design detail, the back of the 1978 £1 merits close inspection. Featuring Isaac Newton, apple blossom, the reflecting telescope, the copy of ‘Principia’ (open at the correct page), and machine-engraved patterns suggesting the solar system, the design also includes a triangular cross-section prism of the same proportions and size as a well-known chocolate bar. Certainly the prism was included for reasons of historical accuracy and rightly so, but there remains the sneaking suspicion that it could also have been a mischievous inclusion. We will never know for certain but it did prompt an executive of Toblerone to write to the then Chief Cashier thanking the Bank for the free advertising. [ via BOE ]

In contrast to the highly decorative work necessary for banknotes, Eccleston’s output as an original artist was much more simplified. (“The nuts and bolts of seeing” was what really interested him, he said). Figures, as they appeared in his earlier pictures, are invariably still — as if standing in a frieze. The big black-and-white prints, his main works, are more minimalist and almost abstract in their austerity.

In the late 1960s he began a series of ten aquatints inspired by the steelworks at Caponfield in his native Black Country, which he had known and drawn since childhood. When the Caponfield gantry was pulled down he said that, for him, its loss as a source of stimulation was equivalent to “Renoir losing all his women”.

They were succeeded by Stratford Variations, based on structures at Stratford station, and the Country Power Suite, a beautiful but stark and ascetic arrangement of power lines. Similarly, the parallel lines of sea and sky of the horizon at Worthing and Southend moved him to create a series of aquatints and watercolours. Their serenity seemed to reflect Eccleston’s deep religious faith.

In 1948 Eccleston was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers (now known as the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers). From 1975 to 1989 he served as the society’s president. Patient in committees and a deeply sensitive, considerate man, he was a father figure to the society. He was also a member of the Royal Watercolour Society, the Royal West of England Academy, the Royal Society of Arts, the Art Workers Guild, the Wynkyn de Worde Society (a society dedicated to excellence in printing) and an honorary member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the New English Art Club. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery received a donation of watercolour drawings, etchings, sketches and archive material from the artist in 2004 and 2005 and held a large exhibition of some of these works in his honour, Harry Eccleston —the Black Country and Beyond. Eccleston’s work is also held by the Bank of England Museum, the British Museum, the Ashmolean, Oxford, the Royal Collection, Windsor, and the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge.

He married Betty Gripton in 1948, and she predeceased him. He is survived by their two daughters.

Harry Eccleston, OBE, artist and banknote designer, was born on January 21, 1923. He died on April 30, 2010, aged 87

[via TimesOnline ]

It’s the best of all worlds, part Illustrated Classics part comic book collecting and part stamp collecting all wrapped in up nicely drawn comics and stories… If you’re lucky you can find a few online through Golden Age Comics (UK).

1952 Thrilling Adventures in Stamps Comics depicting the Hindenburg story; these comics looked to a them from a particular stamp and based the sotryline for that issue around the stamp – several among which also included  Golden and Silver Age War themed comics, check out the Iwo Jima edition.

Westerns were also extremely popular in the Golden and Silver ages, that not even Thrilling Adventures in Stamps could overlook their appeal. So, taking a cue from the USPS’ stamp commemorating the Pony Express, they cooked up the following four-page yarn drawn by Ed Goldfarb and inked by Bob Baer… Check out The Thrilling Adventures In Stamps presents, The Pony Express!

Piles and piles…

Piles of paper money… papercraft money for printing.

Canadian banknotes are the banknotes of Canada, denominated in Canadian dollars (CAD). In common everyday usage, they are called bills. Currently, they are issued in five, ten, twenty, fifty, and hundred dollar denominations. All current notes are issued by the Bank of Canada, which released its first series of notes in 1935.

Other packs also include: North Korea, United States ($100), South Korean Won, Thailand 1000 Baht, Japanese Yen, Pound Sterling and many more…

Besides ETF,  index funds and gold/silver… check out the new collection investment outside of traditional fine art

Just wonder what happens to stamp prices after the post office issues the forever stamp for good and abandons all other stamp endeavors as it shutters its doors over the next few years.  Not to mention the slow death of ‘real’ stamp collecting with the due to increased releases of popular mass-media type of stamps that are labeled as collectible (i.e. The Simpsons) LOL.

A great + green reason to bring back stamp collecting as a national hobby –

The Fish and Wildlife Service uses revenue from Duck Stamps to purchase or lease waterfowl habitat. During it’s nearly 80 year history, the Duck Stamp Program has generated over $750 million, which has been used to protect over 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat. Thanks to the Duck Stamp program, generations of hunters and outdoorsmen have pristine locales all over the U.S. to hunt, fish, hike, and camp.

Even if you don’t hunt, you can still benefit from purchasing Duck Stamps. Stamp holders get free access to National Wildlife Refuges the entire year. America’s refuges provide excellent hunting, fishing, and hiking opportunities year round.That’s a pretty good deal for $15.

You can purchase Duck Stamps at most places that sell hunting and fishing licenses and at select Post Offices. The Duck Stamp program started back in 1934, and the stamps still serve as the license to hunt migratory waterfowl. Working with the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commissions an artist to create a pictorial scene featuring one of North America’s many migratory waterfowls.The first Duck Stamp cost $1. Today, they’re priced at $15.

Debating whether or not stamp collecting is a man’s hobby is a whole other issue… maybe more of a lost gentleman’s hobby…

[ via Art of Manliness ]

The Spy Coin

MicroNickel will completely encapsulate the Micro SD memory card, having capacities of up to 16 gigs. This device is precision manufactured from actual coins, and is indistinguishable from a solid coin to the naked eye!

Starting with authentic US and foreign coinage, these items can encapsulate and store the Micro SD memory card. When snapped together, they are absolutely indistinguishable from a solid coin to the naked eye, and can be safely handled without danger of separation.

Made by Dereu & Sons Mfg. Co. team out of Eldridge, MO.  They started off marketing these as Cold War reproductions, but soon found that they are just as useful today for a secure method of hiding data. Even if, however, you do not need to smuggle corporate data out of Lockheed-Martin, they are still just fun to play with!


The Spy Coin FBI Background

During the Cold War, Spies from both the East and West used Hollow Coins to ferry secret messages, suicide poisons, and microfilms undetected.

On May 1st, 1960 U2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union and taken captive.  In his possession was a hollow silver dollar containing a poisoned needle that was to be used to take his own life in such a circumstance.  For one reason or another, he did not use it and was held for 21 months by the Soviets.  He was then exchanged for Soviet spy KGB Colonel Vilyam Fisher (aka Rudolf Abel) at the Glienicke Bridge, in Berlin, Germany.

Colonel Fisher was also no stranger to hollow coins…his original capture by the United States FBI was directly related to a hollow nickel that was used to transport microfilm.  Read about the Hollow Nickel Case on the USA FBI Website.

BTW, Is it legal to cut up coins?

In the United States, it is legal as long as the coins are taken out of circulation.

Are these hollow coins as good as you say they are?

As stated, they are indistinguishable from a solid coin to the naked eye. The seam where the two pieces are joined follows the rim of the coin, effectively camouflaging it. If you are not pleased with your spy coin, Your purchase price will be refunded.

How do you open up the coins?

With each coin purchased, two special separation rings will be included. Keep one ring, and give the other to your “associate”. These rings allow the coins to be opened with ease.

Shamrock Coin

Print your own ABS 3D Coin.
It’s a coin with a shamrock on it.
Happy St.Patty’s Day.


Perfect for printing in green ABS!

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