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Colorized Coins - Hand Painted Coins - Colored Coins

July 27th, 2012 Coins


Add Color to the States

One of the most popular types of colorized coins available today are the Statehood Quarters. Each of the 40 coins issued thus far (there will be 50 by 2008) by the U.S. Mint are available as colorized quarters, guaranteed to brighten up your collection.

Each state’s quarter is livened up with bright, permanent colors by companies like Merrick Mint. Artists use special colorization techniques to enhance each coin. Make sure to examine the colorization job as best you can (most coins are sold online and have pictures available of the coins). If the job looks sloppy, look elsewhere for your coin collection.

You can purchase individual colored coins for around $6 a piece, or sets of each year’s quarters (five per year from 1999 to present) for under $30. Individual quarters come in an airtight acrylic capsule that will preserve your special coins, and sets are displayed in plastic matting for showcasing your collection.

The Statehood Quarters will all be issued in 2008, so start collecting colorized versions of these unique quarters now! The quarters are issued by the U.S. Mint for just 10 weeks, and the number of coins available with colorization are limited, which guarantees your collection will be valuable down the road!

An Artist’s Hand in Your Collection

If machine-painted colorized coins seem a little too impersonal to you, consider hand painted coins. An artist painstakingly accents the details of a coin, resulting in a beautiful, tiny round portrait.

The process is interesting. The artist uses tiny paintbrushes to first outline the image on a coin. Then the coin is fired at high temperatures (and subsequently after every coat of paint is applied). Each paint color is mixed by hand as the artist paints, so no two coins are ever alike. After the image is completely and carefully painted, the artist applies a coat of protective plastic and bakes the coin to ensure the painting lasts for years. The entire painting process can take up to two days to complete! Imagine painting a coin for two days!

While most hand painted coins are displayed in a case, many people find unique uses for their little works of art:

  • Pendants
  • Key chains
  • Money clips
  • Tie tacks
  • Cufflinks
  • belt buckles
  • earrings
A hand painted coin definitely makes a unique fashion accessory! Hand painting coins is not exclusive to U.S. currency. Many coin artists work with every nation’s currency, so your options are limitless should you choose to collect these tiny masterpieces!

Brighten Up Your Eagle

If you’re a fan of the American Silver Eagle dollar, you must have the 20th anniversary commemorative colorized coin for your collection! This coin brightens up the one of the most popular coin designs with vivid colors that are guaranteed not to fade.

The American Silver Eagle dollar coin is attractive on its own. First issued in 1986, the Silver Eagle has been produced at three different U.S. mints. Today, companies are seeing the beauty in the design based on Adolph A. Weinman’s “Walking Liberty,” and have designed special colorized Silver Eagle coins for collectors.

In 2006, a special 20th anniversary colorized version of the coin was released by Morgan Mint, one of the leaders in coin colorization. The celebration coin adds fireworks behind the famous Silver Eagle, as well as sunset pink clouds in the background of Walking Liberty. The detail of this commemorative coin is amazing!

The coin is an official 2006 silver dollar, struck in one ounce .999 silver by the U.S. Mint. Each coin comes in a deluxe presentation case, and includes a Certificate of Authenticity vouching for the coin’s authentic colorizing by Morgan Mint. The display coin was colorized in limited quantities, and if you can find it, sells for approximately $33.

Certificates of Authenticity: What They Really Mean

If you are looking to add colorized coins or painted coins to your growing collection, it's important to know exactly what you're getting. While most companies are up front about the fact that the coins they paint aren’t endorsed by the U.S. Mint, others may lead you to believe that the coins you’re buying are genuine U.S. coin when they are not.

Most colored coins come with a Certificate of Authenticity that may lead you to believe the coin is “real.” The companies create their own Certificates, which just means the coin is really a coin put out by that company. To ensure the coin you’re looking to buy is official U.S. currency, look for the following:

  • Signature of the U.S. Mint Director (current or the one who was director when the coin came out)
  • U.S. Government seal and/or U.S. Mint seal image
If you’re still not sure if it’s a real coin that has been colorized, talk to a dealer or coin grading service before you buy. Be aware that replica coins don’t hold the value that authentic U.S. currency coins do.

Colorized Coins 101

Looking to brighten up your coin collection? Try colored coins! Today, colorized coins are growing in popularity among collectors and dealers. It’s no wonder, as they are unique and rare for any collector. A colorized coin is one that is struck by the United States Mint and colorized by a private company to enhance the coin’s design. To colorize the coin, enamel finish is applied to the coin or a holograph is put on to create a multi-layered appearance.

The U.S. Mint does not colorize coins. That doesn’t mean they are not valuable and worth collecting, but you should beware of the quality. Some of the coins you can purchase colorized include:

  • The Presidential dollar coins
  • Westward Journey nickels
  • Walking Liberty and Eagle silver dollar
  • Pearl Harbor 60th Anniversary Eagle silver dollar
The colored portion of the coin may be a detailed job with many colors of paint. The background may or may not be painted. One technique puts a brush of several colors across the image in the center of the coin. Whatever your tastes, there is a colorized coin for your collection!

Colorized Coins: Know What You’re Getting

While colorized coins may be attractive, it's important to know that they are not endorsed by the U.S. Mint. If a dealer or website claims that a colorized coin is produced by the Mint, you can immediately assume that the colorized coin is false. The U.S. Mint has never colored currency.

However, it's not illegal to colorize coins. Businesses don’t have to get the permission from the U.S. Mint to colorize coins, except in the event that the U.S. Government owns the copyright to the coin design.

In addition to coloring the images imprinted on coins, some companies superimpose the images of athletes and other famous figures on the face of coins, usually the American Eagle silver coins. The Mint does not endorse this practice because it alters the coin's original and organic design. According to the US Mint, "Altering United States Mint coins this way may heighten the concerns of people who regard the images and designs on our Nation's coinage as sacrosanct."

Colored coins will likely not hold the investment value that unpainted coins would, so consider this if you are looking to buy colorized coins. These coins serve more as an attractive addition to your collection, and are great for display.

Enameled Coins 101

The predecessor to hologram and colorized coins were enameled coins. Starting way back in the Victorian era (the 1880s), enameled coins filled the need for unusual accessories and jewelry.

The artist used enamel paint to enhance a coin’s image. First, the artist would paint the background a solid color, sometimes painting over words and numbers, other times leaving them to be accented with a different color. The artist applied enamel in layers, firing the coin after each layer was applied to make the coin durable. Next the enamel was ground out to make the colors shine through in different shades.

Most coins were enameled just on a single side, but if you find one enameled on both sides, it’s a rare gem. Since coin enamellers are long gone, no one can answer the question of how the second side was enameled without the first side being ruined!

Images commonly applied to these coins included those popular for the Victorian age: flowers, leaves, coats of arms, and naturally Queen Victoria.

Some of the best enamellers of this era include:

  • William Henry Probert
  • The Steel family (Edward, his son Edwin, and Edwin’s son Henry)
These coins are both valuable and attractive. Do your research before buying to make sure you get an authentic coin, without paying too much.

Mr. Washington, Are You Blushing?

American colorized coins come in a variety of styles and coins for the diversifying collector. One of the most recent additions is the Presidential Gold dollar colorized coin. These golden dollar coins are released by the U.S. Mint four per year, each with its own feature U.S. President on the front. The coins are released in the order the Presidents served in office.

Colorizing companies are enhancing these gold coins with color processes that are long lasting and brilliant. You can add a single colorized uncirculated President coin to your collection, or you can collect all that have been issued and colorized since the program’s inception in early 2007.

Four coins are issued each year. To date, the following President dollars have been released:

  • Washington
  • Adams
  • Jefferson
  • Madison
Companies like the Merrick Mint obtain these coins in their uncirculated versions and enhance them with color, which they offer collectors in attractive display cases. There is even an Auto Ship program that allows you to receive each coin as it is released!

A two-sided colorized coin, with airtight coin capsule, display case and Certificate of Authenticity, will run you between $6 and $15. Look around for promotions, as many online dealers offer sales and discounts.

Replacing Lady Liberty With Elvis: Custom Colorized Coins

A hot new trend in colorized coins is superimposing pop culture images on a colorized Silver Eagle half dollar or other coin. Companies like the Morgan Mint are painting images on the surface of these coins and presenting them in attractive display cases for your collection.

Is your collection ready to bump Lady Liberty over in favor of Elvis? Here are some of the most popular colorized coin portraits:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci (a 5-piece set featuring some of his most famous portraits)
  • Elvis Presley 50th Anniversary Quarters (colorized on the Tennessee Statehood Quarters, naturally)
  • Baseball, Football and Hockey Superstars
  • Popes (past and present)
  • World Trade Center scenes
  • 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle tribute
While these coins aren’t worth significantly more than their face value, they make great gifts for Elvis or sports fans! A single coin, depending on the intricacy and company that did the colorizing, can cost between $20 and $30. Sets with multiple coins usually run around $40. Sets that come in a coin card are obviously cheaper than those that are set in display cases.

With most colorized coins, you will receive a Certificate of Authenticity. Please note that this does not indicate that the coins are approved from the U.S. Mint, but rather that they are “genuine” colorized coins.

When Colorized Coins Go Too Far

Although coin coloring is not endorsed by the U.S. Mint, businesses have the right to colorize the coin, as long as they adhere to certain guidelines. One is that the coin design must not be copyrighted by the U.S. Mint. Another is that the colorized coins must not be turned into advertising vehicles.

In the summer of 2007, 20th Century Fox and the Franklin Mint colorized 40,000 quarters with the image of the Marvel Comic hero, the Silver Surfer, on the flip side to Mr. Washington. The coins were designed to promote the summer blockbuster, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."

As soon as the U.S. Mint got wind of this promotion, it issued a news release stating that it neither approved or endorsed the use of the 2005 California Statehood quarter as a marketing device, and that the two companies had broken the law. 20th Century Fox had planned to release 800 of the Silver Surfer coins in each state over Memorial Day weekend. Fans who received the coins could enter special contests online and attend special viewings of the film.

This just goes to show the importance of ensuring that a colorized coin meets the standards and guidelines issued by the U.S. Mint. However, as a collector, you can be sure that if you’re lucky enough to get a colorized coin that is banned or pulled out of circulation, you have a gem!