A Quiz From Long Ago

In August 1955, The Numismatist included many features, including coin exhibit categories, strange money of the world, the approval of the motto In God We Trust on United States paper money, aluminum used for coins and other numismatic items, a plea for returning to the gold standard, money of the Chinese communists, and the spelling of royal names on Sasanian coins.

Stuart Mosher contributed the Silver Coin Quiz, which we give here. Mosher was one of the best known numismatists of his era, but he is little remembered today. In 1945 and 1946 Richard Yeoman of Whitman Publishing Company hired him to create what became A Guide Book of United States Coins. When the book became a reality in 1946, with a cover date of 1947, Mosher was given the first copy. He was also the numismatic curator for the Mint Collection in the Smithsonian Institution.

Give Stuart Mosher’s quiz a try! (Remember, answer the question as if it were 1955!)

Silver Coin Quiz

Count 5 for each correct answer. If you score 50 you have a slightly better than average passing score. If your score is 75 or more you are indeed talented and by all rights should be quite wealthy. Some of the questions are tricky and those playing this game are warned not to jump at their first conclusions.

1. In what year were U.S. silver dollars first issued?

2. Does German silver actually contain silver?

3. Is pure silver as hard as pure gold?

4. Before we went off the gold standard in 1933, what was the ratio of value between gold and silver?

5. What is the chemical symbol for silver?

6. Name one Roman or Greek coin denomination struck in silver.

7. Did the U.S. strike any silver dollars between 1872 and 1879?

8. Was silver ever used as an alloy in U.S. gold coins?

9. How many “pieces of silver” did Judas receive for betraying Jesus Christ?

10. Is there any difference in weight of a U.S. standard silver dollar and 10 U.S. silver dimes?

11. Give the name of the designer of any type of a U.S. dime.

12. Is there any difference in weight of a U.S. half dollar of 1855 and a U.S. half dollar of 1955?

13. What country produces the most silver?

14. What is the fineness of modern U.S. silver coins?

15. Is silver rated high as a conductor of electricity?

16. What is the most valuable U.S. silver dollar?

17. Can you name a U.S. coin containing only 35% silver?

18. In what year was the famous silver Pine Tree shilling first struck?

19. Can you name one South American coin struck in silver?

20. How many ways can you change a U.S. silver 25-cent piece? (Using dimes, nickels and cents.)


1. 1794. Philadelphia Mint. 1,758 were coined.

2. No.

3. Yes. It is harder.

4. 16 of silver to one of gold.

5. Ag. From the Latin argentum.

6. Denarius, quinarius, obol, drachm, stater and multiples, sestertius, antoninianus, argenteus, siliqua, shekel, siglos.

7. Yes, in 1873 and 1878.

8. No.

9. 30.

10. Yes. Dollar weighs 412-1/2 grains, 10 dimes weigh 385.8 grains.

11. Barber, Weinman or Sinnock.

12. Yes. The 1955 half dollar weighs 192.9 grains and the half dollar of 1855 only 192 grains.

13. Mexico.

14. .900th fine, the alloy being one-tenth copper.

15. Yes. It is the best conductor of all metals.

16. The 1804 issue.

17. The wartime five-cent pieces from 1942 to 1945 contained 35% silver, 56% copper and 9% manganese.

18. 1652.

19. Real, sol, peso, centesimo, balboa, boliviano, colon, dinero, lempira, quetzal, milreis, multiples of the centavo and centimo.

20. 12: 2 dimes and 5 cents, 2 dimes and 1 nickel, 1 dime and 15 cents, 1 dime and 3 nickels, 1 dime, 2 nickels and 5 cents, 1 dime, 1 nickel and 10 cents, 5 nickels, 4 nickels and 5 cents, 3 nickels and 10 cents, 2 nickels and 15 cents, 1 nickel and 20 cents, 25 cents.”


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