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Coin Stories

Hard Times Tokens:
Millions for Defense, Not Once Cent for Tribute

No, no, not a sixpence, sir!” replied American Charles Pinckney to France’s demand for a bribe. President Adams sent Pinckney to try to negotiate an end to French attacks on American ships. As news of the French demand spread, “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute” became the American rallying cry. But who first spoke the phrase? It wasn't Pinckney as many historians have said.


Shipwreck and Treasure of the S.S. Central America

This is by far the grand-daddy of all shipwrecks. Over 7,000 coins and hundreds of gold ingots recovered, not to mention the only authenticated California Gold Rush placer gold nuggets known to exist. The recovered treasure had a numismatic value estimated at over $100 million before the dramatic run-up in prices after 2003!


Tennessee Hoard of 19th Century U.S. Gold Coins

Everyone likes a good mystery and the Tennessee Hoard certainly fits the bill. Uncovered by city workmen working on a parking lot in 1985, the discovery of millions of dollars worth of 19th century gold set off a mad scramble by all those nearby to grab what they could and run. So whose gold was it? Why was it buried there? And where's the gold now?


Shipwreck and Treasure of the S.S. New York

Unlike other shipwrecks with their hoards of $20 gold double eagles, this ship sank in 1846 when $10 gold eagles were the largest U.S. gold coin. What makes this shipwreck so significant was the discovery of some of the finest early gold from the southern mints of Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans.