Did you know that the United States Mint has raised more than half a billion dollars through the Commemorative Coin Program since its genesis in 1982. This money, raised through Congressional enacted surcharges (a set amount per coin that is designated to a recipient organization for a particular use that benefits the community), has been used to help construct and preserve museums, historical sites like George Washington’s home and monuments like the Vietnam War Memorial. Commemorative coins typically honor a notable American person, place, institution or event and are produced in limited amounts and availability. It is true that commemorative type coins have been around since the days of the Greeks and Romans, but no nation has yet to outperform the US in the production of commemorative coins. Although commemorative coins certainly are legal tender, they are not intended for general circulation. Commemorative coins are, in addition to being highly collectible, exquisite works of art and shining examples of enduring Americana!
Did you know that typewriter is the longest word (10 letters) that can be made using only the top row of a standard typewriter’s QWERTY keyboard layout? It’s no secret that there is a renewed interest in collectible ‘old fashioned’ typewriters in the United States as well as worldwide. That interest has led to a sharp increase in market prices. Most attribute the invention of the typewriter (1829) to an American, William Austin Burt. The vast majority of typewriters, by the 1980’s, had been replaced by computers and word processors although there are many who righteously hung on to and still use their manual and/or electric typewriters. So before you include that pristine vintage Smith Corona or Royal in your upcoming garage sale with a colorful $5 sticker, do a little research. Depending on the age, model and condition of your typewriter, you could be looking at a substantial payout for your piece! Be sure and see Doug Nichol’s recent full-length documentary California Typewriter starring Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard, and others. The film exemplifies the love and loyalty that so many still feel for their typing machines! News flash: A flower called a rupturewort just beat the word typewriter as the longest word (11 letters) that can be typed on the top row of the QWERTY keyboard!
This outstanding first baseman was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 along with Yogi Berra and Sandy Koufax while never having played Major League Baseball. Walter “Buck” Leonard spent his entire 17-year career with the nine straight pennant winning (1937-1945) Negro League team, the Homestead Grays. His time with the team was the longest span of service with a single team in the history of the Negro League. Walter Leonard was described as one of the “best pure hitters to ever play in the Negro Leagues.” At 45 years of age he was finally offered a major league contract but declined it, considering himself too old for the opportunity. “In 1952, I knew I was over the hill,” Leonard said. “I didn't try to fool myself.” Sporting News ranked him No. 47 on its list of the Hundred Greatest Baseball Players. FYI: ‘Buck’ was 52 years old when he earned his high school diploma. There was no high school in his hometown of Rocky Mount, N.C. that offered an education for African Americans.
Did you ever notice someone using one of those classy looking pens topped with what appeared to be a snowcap? First time I spotted one I instinctively knew that it was something special. With Google’s help, I discovered that it was a Montblanc, arguably the most finely engineered, handcrafted writing instrument in the world. In the early 1900’s, the German based company first introduced the Meisterstuck fountain pen with its iconic white, six-pointed, rounded edge snowcap symbolizing Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Swiss Alps at a staggering 15,771 feet. Montblanc International along with Cartier. Chloe, Baume et Mercier and Van Cleef and Arpels is now owned by the Richemont group. They produce a variety of luxury goods including pens, bags, watches, fragrances, watches and jewelry.
So what is scrimshaw, exactly? Well, you’ve heard of carving and whittling? Scrimshaw is a close relative of both art forms except that it was done mainly by sailors, whale men and other nautical crew members while at sea primarily during the early and mid-19th century. Scrimshaw is actually seen as an American art form due to the overwhelming number of American whaling ships at sea during the 1800s. Scrimshaw carving, typically depicting various nautical scenes and motifs, was traditionally done using materials taken from a variety of common sea animals including whales, walruses, porpoises and mollusks. Edward Burdett, Frederick Myrick and Nathaniel Sylvester Finney are at the “head of their class” as far as renowned scrimshaw craftsmen are concerned. Finney managed to develop his talent into a lucrative business after opening a gallery in San Francisco following his time at sea. Genuine scrimshaw (unfortunately there are a lot of fakes on the market posing as genuine) is highly collectible. FYI: President John F. Kennedy was an avid collector of scrimshaw!
Originally the first publication (February, 1958) of "Famous Monsters of Filmland", by publisher James Warren and editor Forrest Ackerman (inventor of the term “Sci-Fi”) was intended to be a one-shot event. But alas, this was not to be. The first issue attracted so much ghoulish interest that it immediately went into a second printing. The high level of demand was a clear sign to the duo that they were definitely on to something big! The magazine provided high-interest articles, complete with graphic artwork, on horror movies both current and past. "Famous Monsters of Filmland’s" best years were from 1958 through the late 1960’s. During the 1970’s, "Famous Monsters of Filmland" began to depend heavily on reprints of articles from earlier issues. In 1983, the original magazine by creators Warren and Ackerman, after a successful run of 191 issues, ceased publication. Back issues of the magazine continue to be highly collectible.
Hall of Fame recipient and baseball legend Lou Gehrig made his debut in major league baseball (1923) when he was only 19 years old. In 1927, he was selected as the league’s MVP during the 1927 World Series. Even though Lou was one of the highest producers of runs in baseball history, his accomplishments were often overshadowed by superstar Babe Ruth. Gehrig, in 1932, became the first 20th century player to hit an astounding four homers in a single game! By 1938, Lou was beginning to experience unexplained health issues that were dramatically affecting his overall performance. Symptoms gradually worsened until on May 2, 1939, Lou benched himself. He never played again. After an extensive examination and a battery of tests at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Gehrig, on the day he turned 36 years old, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and given no more than three years to live. On July 4, 1939, Lou gave a retirement speech at Yankee stadium, which was described as “the most touching moment in the history of baseball”. On that day of tribute, Lou’s uniform number 4 was retired from baseball making him the first player in history to receive that honor. On December 7, 1939, he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Lou Gehrig died on June 2, 1941.
DJR Authentication is one of the nation's premier appraisers, authenticators, and consultants of jewelry, coins, collectibles, art, sports memorabilia, and other fine goods, located in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina. Schedule your appointment or learn more today at djrpro.com.