A list of important or defining moments in American numismatics would be a long one, starting with the first coinage in our country in 1652. As to the aspects of collecting, watershed events, and related publicity, the list certainly includes these dates and happenings:
1858: Formation of the American Numismatic Society by teenaged Augustus B. Sage on March 15.
1859: Publication of the American Numismatical Manual, the first widely-circulated book on American numismatics. (If you don’t own one, check the Internet; copies are not expensive). In the same year, the Mint began the large-scale secret restriking of rarities.
1888: The Numismatist was published by Dr. George F. Heath, leading to the establishment of the American Numismatic Association in 1891.
1893: The World’s Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago. Commemorative coins dated 1892 and 1893 were sold.
1900: Teenaged B. Max Mehl began business in Texas, set to become the most famous dealer of the early 20th century. Lafayette commemorative half dollars went on sale but were met with an indifferent reception in the marketplace. Large quantities remained unsold and were stored in a basement vault in the Treasury Building and were melted in 1945 (while numismatists were not noticing).
1933: The last legal tender circulating gold coins were made — $10 and $20 pieces.
1946: The first edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins was published with a cover date of 1947 (to prolong shelf life).
1949: Early American Cents, by Dr. William H. Sheldon, was published, inaugurating a grading and rarity system still in use today.
1952: In Iola, Wisconsin, Chester L. Krause, a carpenter by trade, launched Numismatic News. In the early years, the publication rate was monthly.
1954: The series of early silver commemorative half dollars ended with the Carver-Washington pieces of this year.
1955: The Doubled Die cent was produced and became a numismatic sensation. Coins were released into circulation in Massachusetts and in and around Binghamton, New York.
1960: In April the first issue of Coin World was published. The Sidney Publishing Company had also considered the subjects of antiques and bowling. At the time bowling was a nationwide sensation with alleys opening all across America. Small Date cents from the Philadelphia Mint caused excitement in the marketplace.
1964: Colorado Springs was selected as the site for the home of the American Numismatic Association. The runner-up was Omaha, Nebraska. This was also the last year for widely-circulating silver coins and the first year for modern commemorative coins (the last had been issued in 1954).
1996: A 1913 Liberty Head nickel from the Eliasberg Collection crossed the block for over $1 million, setting a record. Only five such coins are known to exist.
2000: Treasure coins recovered from the Ship of Gold, the wreck of the S.S. Central America lost at sea on September 12, 1857, were a sensation in the marketplace.
What would you add to this list?