Blind Coin Collector

It's another kind of fun to collect coins if you can't see them.

Let the blind see: What’s on a coin, anyway?

| Filed under Blindness

Post update: I will keep this post for archival purposes, but for the most updated information about this project, please read this newer post.

Though there is some information out there about what’s on a coin, it is rarely enough for me to really understand what a coin really looks like, I can only get a sense of what’s on it in some detail. But that’s changing today. I started a new project to have my coins described.

I guess nobody dared asking me why I really need to have all those coins if I don’t even have a clue about what’s on them. Go ahead, ask me, no hard feelings, I just don’t have a good answer. Being a blind coin collector is fun on its own, but I have to admit, I miss much of the fun that others can have who can see the coin. There are two kinds of things I’m not getting: a detailed description of what you can see on the coin, and also a subjective opinion of what the coin looks like, beautiful, nice looking, worn, etc.

Let’s get the second out of the way first: it is very subjective, you may like a coin and somebody else would think that it is not very appealing. When it comes to quality, it can be more objective, especially use a grading system. For now, I won’t worry about it.

But here is something more important, I always wanted to know what are the small details on the coins that I won’t be able to touch, and to know what’s written on a coin. Some catalogs will have the coin legend, at least some of it attached to the more collected coins, but my experience is that this is information that’s hard to find. Until now I just accepted that it will be so, and I’ll never know about what other’s see. Here and there I asked people to describe a coin to me, but I never thought it would be possible to go through all my coins and have a good understanding of each of them. I just enjoyed them as they are.

But the other day I thought otherwise, and started a project in which I am experimenting with having my coins described.

I have started with some of the US coins. Probably I need the least description on these ones, because information is relatively available, but this way I can find out what kind of description I like or don’t like, learn from the first ones, and apply this experience when describing the less known coins.

And how are the coins getting described?? I asked somebody to do it for me. As she is describing them, I’m providing some direction on what works, what doesn’t, and most importantly, what I would like to know. So, over time, if this method works out, the descriptions will be relatively subjective, partly based on what the describer finds relevant, and also based on what type of information I find interesting.

Today I just got the first batch of descriptions, and it was fascinating. Just the thought that I can have this information available, I can understand something that I never knew much about.

In a way, it is a little bit like being able to see. I always tell people that my problem is not that I can’t see, I can certainly live with it. The real issue is that sometimes I cannot access information, or cannot do things that others can who are able to see. This is changing each day, and it is becoming less of an issue. Some decades ago, if you couldn’t see, you couldn’t read a book. Today, I can just hold the book to my phone, take a picture of it, and have the text recognized immediately. Companies are developing driverless cars, there is legislation to make information equally accessible to all people, just to name a few things.

There are of course, things which will never be available unless you can see, for example, I will never see my kids face. Does it matter? Stone me, but not much. It appears to me that it is more important to people who are able to see their loved one’s face. If I could choose to see them, I sure would. But there are things more important. I can still talk with them, I can have experiences with them, and for that matter, I can even touch their faces. Really, just like a kid face, because what distinguishes a face from one another for the most part cannot really be felt by hand. I have to admit, I may not even be able to tell my two kids apart just by touching their faces, I would at least have to touch their hair.

But here is something else to think about: being blind, I really on touch much more than others, and hands are just as distinct for me as faces are for you. At any time I would be able to recognize hundreds of people by a handshake. I’m not kidding. It actually happened several times that somebody came up to me to say hi, and I had no idea who the person was. After we shook hands, I knew exactly. Somehow, I remember hands better than voices.

So, what happened with the coins? A little sidetrack info, but I thought it maybe interesting, just in connection what I think about being able to see. So, back to the original topic, I now do have access to information that I never thought I would have before.

Below this post I will share the few descriptions I got today, and later I will create a separate area for them on this blog and will upload all of them. Now, you may ask me why. Because, why not. If you can see your coins, probably this database will not be very useful to you. But who knows if it will be useful to somebody else. After all, I never intended to write this blog for blind people, yet it is through this blog that I met two visually impaired coin collectors from Australia. So, I will just share the info, and hope somebody will find it useful. If nothing else, it will be available for me from all my devices.

Country Denomination Unit dates KM# Notes Obverse Reverse
United States 1 Cent 1839-1857 67 Braided-Hair Cent A profile of Liberty, with hair braided, facing to the left in the middle of the obverse side. She is surrounded by a ring of thirteen stars and has the date printed underneath her. Her crown has the word “LIBERTY” printed on it. The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” written in a ring inside the edge. Inside this ring is a laurel wreath, and inside the wreath is written the words “ONE CENT”, each word to its own line.
United States 1 dollar 1888 110 Morgan Dollar In the center is a profile of Liberty, facing left. Her hair is pinned up but also tumbling down her neck. She has a band on her head inscribed with the word “LIBERTY” and there is a wreath of foliage protruded upwards from beneath the band. Above her head, in a half-circle starting level with her eye, are inscribed the words “E – PLURIBUS – UNUM”. Below her bust is printed the date. The ring is completed by thirteen stars, seven on the left and six on the right. There is an eagle, clutching an olive branch in its claws, with wings aloft and reaching to the edge of the coin, as though flying. Between its wings is written the words “In God we trust” and it is circled below by a laurel wreath. In a ring around this scene is printed “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” at the top and “ONE DOLLAR” at the bottom, with a star on either side separating these two phrases.
United States 1 Cent 1909 132 Lincoln Wheat Penny Cent A profile of Abraham Lincoln facing to the right, wearing a collared shirt, jacket and bow tie. Above his head is written in small letters “IN GOD WE TRUST”, to his left at neck level is printed the word “LIBERTY” and in front of him below the level of the bow tie is written the year. Flanked on either side by two large ears of wheat. Between the two ears at the top of the coin is written “E – PLURIBUS – UNUM”. In the center of the top half of the coin is written in big letters “ONE CENT”, and in the center of the bottom half of the coin is written in smaller letters “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”, two words to each line.
United States 5 Cents 1926 134 Buffalo Nickel Right-facing profile of a male Native American, with hair braided to the side and tied with string, and two feathers entwined in the back of his hair. Around the edge of the coin to the right of his forehead is written “LIBERTY”, and to the right of his braid, at the base of his neck, is written the year. Profile of a bison, facing to the left, which includes the patch of ground on which it is standing. Above it and around the edge of the coin is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”. Below AMERICA in tiny lettering is written the words “E – PLURIBUS – UNUM”. Below the bison the phrase “FIVE CENTS” is written on one line.
United States 10 Cents 1944 140 Mercury Dime Liberty, facing to the left and wearing a winged cap, from which a few curls are protruding. The word “LIBERTY” is written in large letters around the top half of the coin, starting at Liberty’s chin and ending at the nape of her neck. The letters E and R in the word are partially obscured by Liberty’s winged cap. To the left of Liberty’s neck is written in small lettering, “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Below the neckline on the right-hand side is written the year. To the right of the bust is printed in tinylettering “AAW”, the initials of the designer. A fasces, a bundle of sticks bound together, stretches from the top to the bottom of the coin. Wound around the fasces is a large olive branch. To the bottom left of the fasces is printed in small lettering “E – PLURIBUS – UNUM”. Around the edge of the coin is written “UNITED – STATES – OF – AMERICA” and “ONE DIME”, the two phrases separated by one star on each side.
United States 0.5 Dollars 1942 142 Walking Liberty Half Dollar A design of Liberty walking towards the left. Her head is facing left and her right arm is outstretched with palm facing upwards. She is wearing a long flowing dress and in her left arm she carries a laurel and an oak branch. She is also clutching an American flag, which is blowing behind her to the left. In the lower right of the coin is a sun, with rays extending outward. In a ring along the upper edge of the coin is written in big lettering “LIBERTY”, with the B, E, and R being partially obscured by the flag and branches. To the right of Liberty’s right calf is written “IN GOD WE TRUST”, two words to each line. At the bottom of the coin is written the year. An eagle with wings partially raised, walking towards the left and with an olive branch clutched in his right talons. Above the eagle is written “UNITED – STATES – OF – AMERICA” and beneath the eagle is written “HALF – DOLLAR”. On the left of the coin just below UNITED and above the olive branch is written “E – PLURIBUS – UNUM” in small lettering.
United States 1 Dollar 1922 150 Peace Dollar Liberty in profile facing left with mouth slightly open, hair pinned up with some loose strands blowing to the right, and wearing a crown with rays fanned out towards the edge of the coin. Written around the top edge of the coin in big lettering is “LIBERTY”, with a larger than average space between the I and the B due to the rays of the crown. About two-thirds down the coin is written in a straight line, in small lettering, “IN – GOD – WE TRVST” with the neck of Liberty separating WE and TRVST. Underneath Liberty is written the year. An eagle standing on a rock clutching an olive branch, facing away but with head turned to the right. In the background the rays of the sun can be seen. At the top of the coin is written “UNITED – STATES – OF – AMERICA”. Inside this half-circle is written “E – PLURIBUS – UNUM”, with the eagle’s head separating PLURIBUS and UNUM. At the level of the eagle’s tail is written “ONE DOLLAR”, with ONE falling to the left of the eagle and DOLLAR falling to the right of it. At the bottom of the rock is written in small letters “PEACE”.
United States 0.25 Cents 1937 164 Washington Silver Quarter George Washington in profile, facing left. He is wearing a parliamentary wig which is tied at the back. Above him along the edge of the coin is written “LIBERTY”. Below his neck around the bottom edge of the coin is written the year, and below his chin on the left is written in small lettering “IN – GOD – WE TRUST”, with TRUST on its own separate line. In the center there is an eagle facing forwards with wings aloft, clutching a bundle of arrows in its talons and flanked at the bottom by two olive branches which cross at the center. Above the eagle and around the edge of the coin is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and in small lettering above the eagle’s head is written “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, with UNUM on its own separate line. Beneath the olive branches is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. The mint mark is visible just below where the two olive branches cross.
United States 0.5 Dollar 1961 199 Franklin Half Dollar A profile of Benjamin Franklin facing to the right, hair flowing down to his shoulders. Above him is printed the word “LIBERTY” and below him is printed the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”. To the right of his lapel is printed the date. The Liberty Bell, complete with mount, and with both the crack in the bell and the clapper visible. Above the Liberty Bell is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”, and below it in larger lettering is printed “HALF DOLLAR”. To the left of the Liberty Bell is printed in small lettering “-E- PLURIBUS ANUM”, each word to its own line. To the right of the Liberty Bell is a small eagle with wings aloft.
United States half Dollar 1971 202 Kennedy Half Dollar John F. Kennedy in profile, facing to the left, with hair parted on the left-hand side. In large lettering around the top half of the coin is written “LIBERTY”. In a straight line across the bottom quarter of the coin is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with Kennedy’s neck separating IN GOD and WE TRUST. Along the bottom edge of the coin is written the year. In the center is the presidential seal, i.e., and eagle with wings aloft and outspread legs, one set of talons holding an olive branch and one set holding a bundle of thirteen arrows. In front of his torso is a shield. Behind the eagle is a background of sun rays, with thirteen clouds across the top and thirteen stars below them. In its mouth, the eagle is clutching a banner that floats over its head and which reads “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. This entire insignia is surrounded by a ring of stars. Outside this ring of stars is written at the top of the coin “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and at the bottom of the coin “HALF DOLLAR”.
United States 1 Dollar 1972 203 Eisenhower Dollar A profile of Eisenhower facing to the left. Above him is written in big letters “LIBERTY” and below him is written, in the same size lettering, the year.Below Eisenhower’s chin on the left is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with TRUST written on its own separate line. An eagle in three-quarter profile swooping down in flight from right to left over the surface of the moon, an olive branch clutched in its talons. Behind the eagle to the top left can be seen the Earth as viewed from the moon. Above the eagle in small lettering is written “E-PLURIBUS-UNUM-“, with UNUM on its own line.Around this insignia is a circle of thirteen stars which start and end at the moon’s surface. Above the circle of stars is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and at the bottom of the coin is written, in slightly larger lettering, “ONE DOLLAR”.
United States 25 Cents 1976 204 Washington Quarter (Bicentennial) In the center is a profile of George Washington facing left. He is wear a parliamentary wig tied with a bow at the back. Above him is written “LIBERTY” and below him is written “1776-1976”. Below his chin to the left is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with TRUST on a separate line. A patriot drummer boy wearing a tricorn hat and button-up collared shirt, with hair tied back into a ponytail and a snare drum held at waist height by over-the-shoulder straps, holding a drum stick in each hand, each drum stick about 45 degrees above horizontal.To the left of his shoulder is a burning liberty torch surrounded by a tight circle of thirteen stars.Above this is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and at bottom is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. Just below and slightly to the left of the torch is written “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, with UNUM on a separate line.
United States 50 Cents 1976 205 Kennedy Half Dollar (Bicentennial) John F. Kennedy in profile, facing to the left, with hair parted on the left-hand side. In large lettering around the top half of the coin is written “LIBERTY”, with the B, E, and R slightly obscured by Kennedy’s hair. In a straight line across the bottom quarter of the coin is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with Kennedy’s neck separating IN GOD and WE TRUST. Along the bottom edge of the coin is written “1776-1976”. A detailed picture of the Independence Hall, complete with windows, doors and a clock in the bell tower. Beneath it is written in small lettering “INDEPENDENCE HALL”, to the left of it “200 YEARS OF FREEDOM” over three lines, and to the right of it “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, each word to its own line. In a ring around the top half of the coin is written in bigger lettering “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and at the bottom is written “HALF DOLLAR”.In a small downward arc above HALF DOLLAR and below INDEPENDENCE HALL are thirteen stars.
United States 1 Dollar 1976 206 Eisenhower Dollar (Bicentennial) A profile of Eisenhower facing to the left. Above him is written in big letters “LIBERTY” and below him is written, in the same size lettering, “1776 – 1976”.Below Eisenhower’s chin on the left is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with TRUST written on its own separate line. Slightly left of center is the Liberty Bell, complete with mount, clapper and the crack on the right hand side of the bell. Behind and above to the right is the moon, with a number of craters visible on its surface. To the right of the bell in small lettering is written “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, each word to its own line. Around the top half of the coin is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and at the bottom is written “ONE DOLLAR”. The two phrases are separated by a star on each side.
United States 1 Dollar 1979 207 Susan B. Anthony Dollar Women’s suffrage campaigner Susan B. Anthony in right-facing profile with hair tied up tightly in a large bun, and wearing a shirt with a scalloped collar, fastened in the front with a large, smooth, round brooch. Above her is written “LIBERTY” and below her is written the year. Between these two words are thirtenn stars, seven on the left and six on the right. The six stars on the right are dissected by the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” written in small lettering, two words to each line.The entire design is surrounded by a hendecagon (11-sided equilateral shape) at the edge. An eagle in three-quarter profile swooping down in flight from right to left over the surface of the moon, an olive branch clutched in its talons. Behind the eagle to the top left can be seen the Earth as viewed from the moon. Above the eagle in small lettering is written “E-PLURIBUS-UNUM-“, with UNUM on its own line.Around this insignia is a circle of thirteen stars which start and end at the moon’s surface. Above the circle of stars is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and at the bottom of the coin is written, in slightly larger lettering, “ONE DOLLAR”.The entire design is surrounded by a hendecagon-shaped edge.
United States 25 Cents 1999 293 50 State Quarter (Delaware) In the center is a profile of George Washington facing left. He is wear a parliamentary wig tied with a bow at the back. Above him is written “LIBERTY” and below him is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. Below his chin to the left is written “LIBERTY”, and to the right of him, starting level with his earlobe, is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with IN and TRUST on their own separate lines. Below this, level with Washington’s bow, is the mint mark, either a P or an S. In the center is a design of Caesar Rodney, President of Delaware during the War of Independence, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-tailed coat, riding astride and horse with front legs aloft, the left leg bent back and the right leg outstretched, and tail flying out horizontally to the back, galloping from right to left. Above Rodney’s head is written “1787” and above that, along the edge of the coin, is written “DELAWARE”. Behind Rodney’s back is written “THE FIRST STATE”. Below the horse’s back hooves is written “1999” and below that in smaller lettering is written “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, all on one line.
United States 25 Cents 1999 294 50 State Quarter (Pennsylvania) In the center is a profile of George Washington facing left. He is wear a parliamentary wig tied with a bow at the back. Above him is written “LIBERTY” and below him is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. Below his chin to the left is written “LIBERTY”, and to the right of him, starting level with his earlobe, is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with IN and TRUST on their own separate lines. Below this, level with Washington’s bow, is the mint mark, either a D or an S. The coin features a woman draped in a toga with her right arm reaching down to the left and her left arm holding up a Roman standard (staff with an eagle on top) with a garland tied to it. Behind her is the outline of Pennsylvania state. In the top left of this outline is the silhouette of a keystone, in reference to Pennsylvania’s nickname as the “Keystone State”.On the right of the outline of the state, and overlapping it slightly are the three words “VIRTUE”,”LIBERTY” and “INDEPENDENCE”, one underneath the other. At the top of the coin is written “PENNSYLVANIA” and just below it, “1787”. Below the woman’s feet is written “1999” and below that is written in small lettering “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, all on one line.
United States 25 Cents 1999 295 50 State Quarter (New Jersey) In the center is a profile of George Washington facing left. He is wear a parliamentary wig tied with a bow at the back. Above him is written “LIBERTY” and below him is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. Below his chin to the left is written “LIBERTY”, and to the right of him, starting level with his earlobe, is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with IN and TRUST on their own separate lines. Below this, level with Washington’s bow, is the mint mark, either a P or an S. A depiction of “Washington Crossing the Delaware”, a painting by Emmanuel Gottlieb Leutze, showing Washington standing at the bow of a boat being rowed from right to left by soldiers from numerous different backgrounds, with James Munroe holding the flag, being blown vigorously to the right, behind Washington.Chunks of ice floating in the river are also depicted in the engraving. Below this design in small lettering is written, in a straight line, “CROSSROADS OF THE REVOLUTION”, with REVOLUTION on its own line. Above the design is written “1787” and above that, “NEW JERSEY”.At the bottom of the coin is written in small lettering “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, all on one line, and above it is written “1999”.
United States 25 Cents 1999 296 50 State Quarter (Georgia) In the center is a profile of George Washington facing left. He is wear a parliamentary wig tied with a bow at the back. Above him is written “LIBERTY” and below him is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. Below his chin to the left is written “LIBERTY”, and to the right of him, starting level with his earlobe, is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with IN and TRUST on their own separate lines. Below this, level with Washington’s bow, is the mint mark, either a D or an S. This design features a peach with a small leaf coming off the stem to the left, surrounded by the state outline of Georgia. On either side of this outline is a live oak sprig, representing the state tree of Georgia. Over this whole design is pinned a banner, reading, “WISDOM”, “JUSTICE” and “MODERATION” on each of its three sections, reading from left to right. There are two pins holding the banner up, each about a quarter of the way down the coin and equidistant from the vertical center of the coin. At the top of the coin is written “GEORGIA”, and just below it, “1788”. Between the bottoms of the two oak sprigs is written “1999” and below it in small lettering is written “E PLURIBUS UNUM”.
United States 25 Cents 1999 297 50 State Quarter (Connecticut) In the center is a profile of George Washington facing left. He is wear a parliamentary wig tied with a bow at the back. Above him is written “LIBERTY” and below him is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. Below his chin to the left is written “LIBERTY”, and to the right of him, starting level with his earlobe, is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with IN and TRUST on their own separate lines. Below this, level with Washington’s bow, is the mint mark, either a P or an S. The Charter Oak, a symbol of American independence, with leafless branches outstretched and intertwined on a wide canopy, and the ground beneath it visible. Above it is written “1788” and above that is written “CONNECTICUT”. Below the tree to the left is written in small lettering “THE CHARTER OAK”, with THE on its own line. Below the ground level is written 1999 and below this is written in small lettering “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, all on one line.
United States 25 Cents 2000 305 50 State Quarter (Massachusetts) In the center is a profile of George Washington facing left. He is wear a parliamentary wig tied with a bow at the back. Above him is written “LIBERTY” and below him is written “QUARTER DOLLAR”. Below his chin to the left is written “LIBERTY”, and to the right of him, starting level with his earlobe, is written in small lettering “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with IN and TRUST on their own separate lines. Below this, level with Washington’s bow, is the mint mark, either a P or an S. A Massachusetts military minute man in three-quarter profile facing right, wearing a cloth cap and buttoned-down shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows,rifle in hand, and a sack tied closed with string behind him.Behind him is a silhouette of Massachusetts (unlike the other states the outline is filled in), and next to this in the left is written “THE BAY STATE”.Around the top of the coin is written “MASSACHUSETTS” and below it is written “1788”. At the bottom of the coin is written in small lettering “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, all on one line, and above it is written “2000).

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