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Washington Dollar Update

By April 3, 2007

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I get a lot of email from site visitors, asking questions about all kinds of coins. Predictably, most of that email recently has related to the Washington Presidential Dollar errors, which are still being found around the country. Here is a rundown of some of the more frequently asked questions in recent days:

  • Are Washington "Godless" (plain edge) dollars still being found? Yes, they are. I have had several reports of new finds from bank bought wrapped rolls from Florida and California in the past few days. Reports from Florida have been of Philadelphia mint coins found in rural areas of Northern Florida, and California reports are of Denver mint dollars being found around the northern Los Angeles metropolitan area up to about 75 to 100 miles north of L.A.

  • Do the boxes of 40 rolls, ($1,000), from which plain edge dollars are being found, have any specific dates on them? Yes, the Florida boxes are mostly dated Feb. 12th, and the California boxes are mostly dated Dec. 4th and 5th. There has been some variance in the dates, with Feb. 22 being reported recently for Philly, and other early Dec. dates for Denver.

  • Are you sure about what the CWI#'s on the boxes of rolls mean? (Note: this refers to a question answered in a previous Presidential Dollars FAQs post.) The CWI# on the boxes of Washington Dollars have, without exception, been CWI#103 for Philadelphia mint coins, and CWI#102 for Denver mint coins. CWI stands for Coin Wrap, Inc., which is a contractor for the government. Three different Coin Wrap employees have told me that the CWI number is a facility, or location number. However, Coin Wrap itself won't confirm or deny anything about these numbers, saying only that they are for internal use only, and are meaningless to the public. There has been some speculation that the CWI# might be a customer number, and that the coins are being wrapped at multiple locations for the two main customers (the Denver and Philly mints,) but I stand by my information for now. If someone who works for Coin Wrap wants to correct my information in a verifiable manner, I'm all ears.

  • Updated CWI# information (5-Apr-07): I asked for reports about this, and got one from collector Bruce C., of Florida, who has sent very clear photos of 2 boxes he purchased this week with CWI#08 on them. The boxes have Washington Dollars wrapped in F.S. String wrappers. I am investigating further, and I would greatly appreciate hearing from anybody else who has gotten a 40-roll box of Washington Dollars with any CWI# other than 102 or 103. Please be sure to tell me when you bought the boxes, as I believe this change is a recent development.

  • Is it true that more "Faceless Dollars" have been found? (Note: "Faceless Dollars" are blank Presidential Dollars that have edge lettering only.) No other genuine Faceless Dollars have been found, that I know of, since the first Faceless Dollar was reported by PCGS on March 13. However, dozens of fakes have emerged, so if somebody tries to sell you one, insist that they get it authenticated by a top tier grading service first! If you think you've found one yourself, please email me. :)

  • How many plain edge Washington Dollars have been found? Based on reports that have continued to come in, plus conversations I've had with several major buyers of these dollars, I am raising my estimate of Philadelphia mint specimens to about 65,000. More are still being found. My estimate of the Denver mint plain edge specimens is about 12,000 to 15,000. The Denver numbers are likely to go much higher, as these coins were dispersed more widely than the Philly ones, plus I believe many of them haven't been found yet.

  • How much are plain edge dollars worth now? As of this evening, April 3, 2007, plain edge dollars are closing on eBay for prices ranging from $60 each to $280 each for "raw" (uncertified) coins. It is impossible to say what this means, though, as many of the eBay specimens might be fake. Most authenticated plain edge dollars, in PCGS and NGC slabs have been selling for $300 to $1,200 depending on grade and other factors.

  • Why do you call them "plain edge" dollars rather than "smooth edge" or "Godless" dollars? I don't like the term "smooth edge dollar" because when you look at the edge of a genuine Washington Dollar with missing edge lettering, it is anything but "smooth." Under magnification, the edge looks like it has been filed, scraped, dinged, and beat up. However, under magnification, the edge of a fake "missing edge lettering" specimen looks smooth by comparison. Also, based on reports from site visitors who have purchased fakes on eBay, the term "smooth edge" (along with "Godless dollar") has almost always been used by the seller. Perhaps it is because he sees "smooth edges" on his fakes, although I am sure many honest folks are using the term, too. As for not liking the term "Godless Dollars," I guess I'd rather just call something what it is, a "plain edge dollar." If you think you might have a fake, check out my article about how to detect fake plain edge dollars.

If you have questions you would like to see answered in future articles, send them to me at coins.guide@about.com.


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