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Oldest Coin In The World

The Ionia Mint Electrum Stater is considered to be the first actual coin with a picture ever struck in human history.  Capstone Acquisitions had the extraordinary privilege of acquiring this coin in Fall of 2016.  Referred to as the “Striated” Stater because it represented “ripples” of water from a nearby river where the electrum was harvested. It is estimated that only twelve exist in the world today. We were able to help place it into a collection to complete a set of Ionian Striated Staters,  a feat that is estimated to have been done only three times.


Minted nearly three thousand years ago in modern-day Turkey,  the coin is made from electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver that was found in streams and riverbeds.  The striated lines on the front of the coin are believed to represent flowing water which is where electrum was found.

The coin was assigned the grade of About Uncirculated condition with a star for outstanding eye appeal.

 

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Welcome to China in 2016- the shadow banking system black hole

February 11, 2016
Austin, Texas

Being a Texas based rare coin and precious metals company, we support any information genuine to Texans, and their friends. As a devout follower of precious metals hawk and fellow Texan, Kyle Bass, we felt the strong need to pimp the Hayman Capital Management 2-10-16 letter to investors. Capstone is merely a sheepdog, we don’t support any doom and gloom scenario’s to date, but research like this needs to be read and out there. You can’t hide from global ramifications…..
 
Article From ZeroHedge.com –
Texas hedge fund manager J. Kyle Bass, the founder of Hayman Capital, has sent his first letter to investors on a global scale in two years.

The letter, posted on the internet, warns that China has a problem- much bigger than the subprime crisis in 2008.

Kyle Bass was one of the hedge fund managers who correctly predicted and profited from the mortgage crisis in 2008.

The problem in China, according to Bass, is the banking system and its coming losses.

“We have been vigorously studying China over the last year, with the view that the rapid credit expansion in the Chinese banking system will result in significant credit losses that will require the recapitalization of Chinese banks and materially pressure the Chinese currency,” Bass wrote in a letter to investors dated February 10.

“This outcome will have many near-term and long-term effects on countries and markets around the world. In other words, what happens in China will not stay in China.”

In the investor letter, titled “The $34 Trillion Experiment: China’s Banking System and the World’s Largest Macro Imbalance,” Bass says China’s banking system has similarities to the US banking system before the most recent financial crisis — excessive leverage, regulatory arbitrage, and irresponsible risk-taking.

Bass said he had met with Wall Street firms, consultants, and China experts and they all had the view that China would get through the recent turbulence without an economic reset.

That’s not how Bass sees it. He wrote:

What we have come to realize through these discussions is that many have come to their conclusion without fully appreciating the size of the Chinese banking system and the composition of assets at individual banks. More importantly, banking system losses — which could exceed 400% of the US banking losses incurred during the subprime crisis — are starting to accelerate. 

Put simply: China has an enormous debt problem and the rapidly decelerating economy means that the country’s banks will only be able to paper over the soaring NPLs for so long. If Beijing wants to eliminate the acute overcapacity problem that’s contributed mightily to the global deflationary supply glut, it will mean allowing the market to purge misallocated capital. And that means bankruptcies and a wave of defaults. “The unwavering faith that the Chinese will somehow be able to successfully avoid anything more severe than a moderate economic slowdown by continuing to rely on the perpetual expansion of credit reminds us of the belief in 2006 that US home prices would never decline,” Bass begins.

Bass is among a handful of hedge fund managers betting against China’s currency, the yuan. Much of Hayman Capital’s fund right now is devoted to the yuan short.

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The Spanish Milled Dollar – America’s money

America’s first silver dollar was actually Spanish…….

In early colonial times and even before the American Revolution, there was a chronic shortage of circulating coinage in the colonies. England forbade the early colonists to mint their own coins, forcing the settlers to barter or use foreign money to conduct business. It was commonplace during this time to use French, Dutch, German, English and Spanish currencies to conduct business.

1754MO MF MEXICO 8R KM-104.1 MS61

From 1600 to 1792, the Spanish Milled Dollar or Pillar Dollar, became the most utilized money of the era and set the standard for future US coins.  It is dubbed “America’s First Silver Dollar.” Minted in the silver-rich Spanish colonies of Mexico and Peru, these large, one ounce silver coins had a patterned edge to prevent dishonest merchants from “shaving” the edges. “Milled” refers to the fact that the coin blanks, or planchets, were made on a milling machine and were of consistent weight and size, perfect for the new economy. Merchants would either take the whole coin as tender or cut the coin into halves, quarters or eighths to “make change.”

It is believed the origins of the “$” symbol came from the column and stripes on the obverse of the coins.  The obverse portrays the Pillars of Hercules surrounding crowned, conjoined globes and ocean waves below, hence the name “Pillar Dollar” and was valued at 8 reales or “Piece of eight.”  1753MO MF MEXICO 8R MS 61 006

Thomas Jefferson even recommended to the Continental Congress on September 2, 1776 that the new country adopt the Spanish Pillar as a monetary unit of value. Years later in 1792, the coinage act created the

United States Mint. Ironically, our first U.S. dollars were not as popular as the Spanish dollars, which were heavier and made of finer silver. The Spanish Dollar was THE standard coinage in America and it remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857.

1754MO MM Mexico 8R MS 62   1754MO MM Mexico 8R MS62 REV

Capstone Acquisitions

 

 

 

Information gathered in part by:
The Official Red Book. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2015.

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Happy Halloween!

Halloween History & Origin – from Wikipedia

Halloween is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It’s one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. While millions of people celebrate Halloween without knowing its origins and myths, the history and facts of Halloween make the holiday more fascinating.

Some people view Halloween as a time for fun, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. Others view it as a time of superstitions, ghosts, goblins and evil spirits that should be avoided at all costs.

As the Christian debate goes on, celebrating Halloween is a preference that is not always viewed as participating in an evil holiday. Halloween is often celebrated with no reference to pagan rituals or the occult.

Halloween History

Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as

All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.

All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day, which was created by Christians to convert pagans, and is celebrated on November 1st. The Catholic church honored saints on this designated day.

pumpkins

Origin of Halloween

While there are many versions of the origins and old customs of Halloween, some remain consistent by all accounts. Different cultures view Halloween somewhat differently but traditional Halloween practices remain the same.

Halloween culture can be tr aced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was annually on October 31st to honor the dead.

Samhain signifies “summers end” or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed on superstition.

The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.

Austin, TX- 6th Street on Halloween – from Capstone Acquisitions

6th Street, Austin’s most famous entertainment district, is busy on regular evenings, particularly on the weekend. Halloween, as you can imagine, is usually off the charts and barely containable.

It’s hard to believe that after all the hassle it takes to get down there, so many people still go – including myself or used to in my younger days. Depending on where you live in Austin, it usually takes 20-30 minutes to get to 6th, followed by several minutes of bobbing and weaving through one-way streets, pedicabs and jaywalkers. The amount of time it takes to find a cheap parking spot or valet, close to the club you want, is just ridiculous if you don’t know your way around.

Austin Halloween

To be completely honest, it’s not for everyone. I would compare it to the insanity and pure ridiculousness of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, just on a smaller scale. 6th street is blocked off for blocks in each direction, and there are people absolutely everywhere.

There are costumes of all shapes and sizes. The thought and creativity that is put into some of the costumes you will see down there is unmatched. From what I remember, these are not kid friendly costumes. So prepare yourself for lots of cleavage, ass cracks, exposed boobs, fake penises, 6 packs, party balls, and 300 lb people in thongs. You will laugh so hard you might cry. People watching from a vantage point with a cold beverage does not get much better than on Halloween night. Come early and stay late is the mantra.

Here is a great documentary that a fellow Austinite made on the madness and craziness of Halloween on 6th Street: http://www.hulu.com/watch/177438/halloween-on-6th-street.

At the end of every night on 6th Street, the street itself is cram-packed with people heading to their cars, stragglers trying to find their friends, people sitting on the curb eating pizza, drunk kids stumbling, and cops lined up and down the streets to scout for future jailbirds. (Word to the wise: Make sure you have a designated driver or be a hipster and use Uber.)

Have a safe and fun Halloween evening where ever you are. I’ll be relaxing in North Austin Suburbia. On my driveway handing out candy with my brothers, drinking a cold one as our kids run around with their friends. Let the holiday season begin.

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The Making of Ancient Coins

Until the Renaissance, the process of making coins involved striking a die with hammer to stamp the images onto the faces of the coin. Each coin had to be hand-struck, which led to differences even in coins struck by the same hand and the same die. This has created an abundance of coins to interest collectors, who find that no two coins from the ancient world are ever alike. To understand why that is, it helps to understand exactly how those coins were made.

MAKING THE FLANS
All ancient coins started with blank discs of metal, called flans. The metal varied with the type and denomination of coin that was being created. The highest values of coins were often minted of gold, usually approaching 95% purity. Those coins had what is called ‘intrinsic’ value, meaning that the value of the metal used in the coin was approximately equivalent to the value of the coin. Other metals that were often used for higher denominations of coins were electrum—an alloy of gold and silver.

Once the metal had been acquired, it had to be shaped into flans of the correct weight and size. One of three methods was used to do this. In the first, molten metal was poured into two-sided clay moulds and then cooled, resulting in blank discs of the right weight. Skilled craftsmen may have been able to skip the moulds and pour out uniform dollops of molten metal onto a flat surface. The third method, which offers the finest control, would have involved pouring a specified weight of granulated metal into a mould, heating it to the melting point, and then cooling it in the mould.

With copper and bronze coins, other methods may have been employed. While gold and silver blanks would have been poured into individual molds, the baser metals were often molded in trays with channels or grooves between the coin shapes to allow the metal to fill the entire mold. Some were cast in long rods of a specific diameter, then sawed or cut apart into a certain number of flat discs the way that a modern baker cuts cookie dough into cookies. The end result was a flat, round piece of metal, ready to be placed in a die.

PREPARING THE DIE
The die used to strike ancient coins was most often made of metal—most commonly bronze hardened with tin, though iron was used sometimes. The image that was to appear on the coin face was engraved into the die, in reverse—both negative and mirror image. There were two dies used: the first, for the obverse (front) of the coin, was inset into an anvil. The flan was placed on top of this die. The second die, bearing the image for the rear of the coin, was typically engraved into the bottom of a chisel or pyramid-shaped rod. This was centered on the flan, already in place on the obverse die, and then struck with a hammer. The force of the hammer blow would impress the designs from the two dies on the front and back of the flan, creating a coin.

STRIKING THE COIN
While it’s possible for one person to manage the entire process for striking coins alone, most coins were created by teams of three or more people working together. In engravings and listings of workers for the time, it seems that the process in a mint might go like this: One person would bring the flan from the furnace, where it was heating in preparation for being struck, and position it on the die. A second person would hold the upper die in place, while a third wielded the hammer and struck the coin. The final person would remove the struck coin from the mould just in time for person number one to drop another flan into place. Working in this way, they may have made as many as one coin every three seconds. On a busy day in one of the Imperial Roman mints, there would have been several anvils active at once, churning out thousands of coins a day.

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Our New Look

Welcome to the new Capstone Acquisitions!  Our new e-commerce website will allow you to find the highest quality museum pieces to add to your collection.  Whether you are an avid collector or a first time buyer, we know you will be pleased with the quality of our inventory. We work everyday to find specimens of the highest quality within the numismatic world.  We look forward to constantly giving you new and enticing pieces that have deep historical meaning and value.  As always, we are here to grow your collection and answer any questions you may have. Happy Historical Hunting!