1. Hot water will turn into ice faster than cold water.
2. The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows.
3. The sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the English language.
4. The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
5. Ant’s take rest for around 8 Minutes in 12 hour period.
6. “I Am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
7. Coca-Cola was originally green.
8. The most common name in the world is Mohammed.
9. When the moon is directly overhead, you will weigh slightly less.
10. Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from the blowing desert sand.
11. There are only two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”
12. The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.
13. There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.
14. TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
15. Minus 40 degrees Celsius is exactly the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
16. Chocolate can kill dogs, as it contains theobromine, which affects their heart and nervous system.
17. Women blink nearly twice as much as men!
18. You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.
19. It is impossible to lick your elbow.
20. The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries.
21. People say “Bless you” when you sneeze because when you sneeze, your heart stops for a millisecond.
22. It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky
23. The “sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
24. “Rhythm” is the longest English word without a vowel.
25. If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or neck and die.
26. Each king in a deck of playing cards represents great king from history.
Spades – King David
Clubs – Alexander the Great,
Hearts – Charlemagne
Diamonds – Julius Caesar.
27. It is impossible to lick your elbow.
28. 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
29. If a statue of a person in the park on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.
If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle.
If the horse has a all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
30. What do bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers all have in common?
Ans. – All invented by women.
31. Question – This is the only food that doesn’t spoil. What is this?
Ans. – Honey
32. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
33. A snail can sleep for three years.
34. All polar bears are left handed.
35. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.
36. Butterflies taste with their feet.
37. Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.
38. In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
39. On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.
40. Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.
41. The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
42. The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
43. The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
44. Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over million descendants.
45. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times
46. The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
47. Most lipstick contains fish scales.
48. Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different
49. 99% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow
50. 98% of people who read this, don’t know What is SEO?



A Brief History of the U.S. Cent

A Brief History of the U.S. Cent

The one-cent coin, commonly known as the penny, was the first currency of any type authorized by the United States, and for over two centuries, the penny’s design has symbolized the spirit of the nation, from Liberty to Lincoln. The design for the first one-cent coin was suggested by Benjamin Franklin.

The original one-cent coin was over five times heavier and almost 50% lager than its contemporary counterpart. The word “penny” is derived from the original British coin of the same name. Over 300 billion one-cent coins, with 11 different designs, have been minted since 1787.

The first one-cent coin was struck in 1787 by a private mint. This coin, known as the Fugio cent, was 100% copper and this composition would continue until the mid-1800’s. Paul Revere, a noted blacksmith, supplied some of the copper for one-cent coins minted during the early 1790’s.

No one-cent coins were minted in 1815 due to a copper shortage caused by the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

The Flying Eagle cent was first produced in 1856. This coin was notable for its change in composition – – 88% copper and 12% nickel.

The Indian cent was first introduced in 1859 and depicted an Indian princess on the obverse. A popular story about its design claims a visiting Indian chief lent the designer’s daughter his headdress so she could pose as the Indian princess. Most Indian cents minted during the Civil War went primarily to pay Union soldiers. After the Civil War, in 1864, the composition of the one-cent coin was changed to 95% copper and 5% zinc.

The one-cent coin was made legal tender by the Coinage Act of 1864.

In 1909, Abraham Lincoln was the first historical figure to grace a U.S. coin when he was portrayed on the one-cent coin to commemorate his 100th birthday. The Lincoln penny was also the first U.S. cent to include the words “In God We Trust.”

During part of World War II, zinc-coated steel cents were struck due to a copper shortage.

In 2009, to honor the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, four penny designs depicting different aspects of the 16th President’s life were circulated.

In the current 2010 design, “Preservation of the Union”, the reverse design is emblematic of President Abraham Lincoln’s preservation of the United States as a single and united country, with a union shield with a scroll draped across and the inscription ONE CENT. The obverse (heads) continues to bear the familiar Victor David Brenner likeness of President Lincoln that has appeared on the coin since 1909.


National Vietnam War Veterans Day

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is a commemorative holiday in the United States which recognizes the sacrifices that veterans and their families made during the Vietnam War. It is also a day to give proper recognition to the men and women who returned home from that war and didn’t receive a proper welcome home. It’s a holiday that’s been celebrated since 1973 on either March 29th or March 30th of each year through a patchwork of state resolutions. However, in 2017, the date of the holiday was set as March 29th by U.S President Donald Trump. This day is now officially known as National National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

History of the Vietnam War

Towards the end of the 19th century, the country of Vietnam became more gradually controlled by the French. They originally controlled it as a protectorate from 1883 through 1939, then they controlled it as a possession from 1939 through 1945. This changed on September 2, 1945, when the Nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam proclaimed the country’s independence. On December 1946, the First Indochina War began in French Indochina. A conflict between French forces and their opponents, the Viet Minh who were asserting their independence. Most of the combat during this war would take place in South Vietnam but the conflict managed to engulf the entire country, as well as the surrounding countries of Laos and Cambodia. The conflict ended on May 7, 1954, when guerrilla fighters led by Ho Chi Minh successfully defeated French forces at Dien Bien Phu.

Also known as the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam War was a conflict where the U.S – as well as other members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)–joined with the South Vietnamese forces to contest communist forces in North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The war featured U.S and South Vietnamese regular and guerrilla forces pitted against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and North Vietnamese guerrillas known as Viet Cong (VC). The United States had the largest foreign military presence and directed the war from 1965 to 1973, which is why this war is widely considered to be an American War, although other parties were involved.  In 1975, South Vietnam collapsed and was replaced with a communist regime. On July 2, 1976, the entire country would become the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

According to the U.S Department of Defense, over 8 million U.S troops served all over the world during Vietnam. Of these 8 million soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, over 58,000 of them died in-theater.

The Vietnam War was the longest war in United States history. The war was also a very divisive time in the United States, as well as through much of Europe and Australia. Many veterans who returned home either didn’t receive any recognition for their service, didn’t receive the proper amount of recognition for their service or were outright protested against. These veterans would come home to a country divided over the debate about the war and many veterans had trouble readjusting to civilian life in the U.S.

As time passed, however, public sentiment about Vietnam veterans began to soften. While many people still viewed the war as wrong, they now felt that veterans of that war were only doing their duty to their county. Nowadays, many Vietnam veterans are finally receiving recognition for their service.

History of National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Over the last few years, 45 states had celebrated National Vietnam War Veterans Day, either on an annual basis or for the year it was enacted. However, not all of them celebrated it on the same day. Some states celebrated it on March 29th and some celebrated it on March 30th. Many people have felt that March 29th was the more appropriate date for it to fall on. After all, that is when the last prisoners of war (P.O.Ws) were returned to the U.S and when all combat troops were withdrawn from the war.

On February 26, 1974, issued a declaration urging the people of the United States to commemorate March 29, 1974, as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Under this declaration, he urged all the government officials to fly the U.S flag on all public buildings and requested civic and patriotic organizations to give their support to any ceremonies or observances observed on that day.

On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the “Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017.” This bill amended title 4 of United States Code to encourage the flying of the American flag on National Vietnam War Veterans Day every year on March 29.

Commemorating National Vietnam War Veterans Day

On National Vietnam War Veterans Day, there are events to commemorate the service of Vietnam veterans. Many public buildings will fly the American flag on this day and many private citizens will as well. It’s a good day to thank a Vietnam Veteran for their service or buy them a meal. All around the United States, there are usually commemorative events, speeches, honorary ceremonies and luncheons.

Another great way to celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day is by visiting the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington, D.C.


The Vietnam War was a divisive and difficult time for the United States and many veterans didn’t get the recognition for their service they needed to receive, which is why commemorating this holiday is so important.


Fake Silver Coins: 14 Ways to Spot Counterfeits

Fake Silver Coins: 14 Ways to Spot Counterfeits

It is unfortunate that articles like this have to be written, Spot Fake Silver
but where there is money trading hands, there will always be fakes, frauds, and counterfeits.

If you have purchased some silver and can’t get rid of that little voice in your head that keeps saying what if they are fake silver coins …

Below are 14 ways on how to spot fake silver eagles, bars, and bullion. We’ve ranked them from the least to the most effective methods in detecting counterfeits. (Most of these tests can also be applied to gold as well).

1. Magnetic Test

While many fakes can easily pass this test, silver as well as gold bullion for that matter are both non-magnetic. If a bullion coin or bar sticks to a magnet you can easily throw this one out. Fakes that are produced with any iron or steel content in them will give off some magnetic attraction and identify itself as a fake. Metals that have a core of zinc, copper, lead or other non-magnetic metal will not be detected by this test.

The stronger the magnet the better, a neodymium magnet (grade N52) should be able to detect any iron or steel based metal. Be careful these magnets are extremely strong, fun to play with too! If it sticks it tricks. You can pick them up on amazon.

Neodymium Silver Test

2. Magnetic Slide Test

Continuing on with magnets, another test you can to spot counterfeit silver is using a magnetic slide. Simple and easy to build, this is a fun way to instantly spot fakes without any complicated testing.

How it works: even though silver is non-magnetic it has a property known as diamagnetism. This causes silver to repel when in contact with a magnetic field. So real silver moving down a magnetic slide will move slower than fake silver. A fake will move down the slide with no resistance. Check out the video below, it’s actually pretty cool:

3. The Ice Test

Cheap and easy to do, getting some ice from the freezer is a simple way to test both silver coins and bars for authenticity. All you need to do is place the ice on the silver and watch.

The ice should begin to melt immediately, this is because silver is the best conductor of heat for all the metals. Below is a chart on thermal conductivity amongst popular metals. You will see that silver tops them all even including copper which is the most popular metal to use. This makes it extremely useful in electronics and as an industrial metal, check out 101 uses of silver, and you will see how useful this metal really is!
Metal Conductivity Chart

4. Dimensions Test

This type of test only applies to bullion coins from government mints. Since the most popular is the American Silver Eagle, we will take a look at that particular coin. You can view the specs of the Silver Eagle below:
American Silver Eagle Specs

The best way to take advantage of this is by using a good digital electronic scale. You will want to get a scale that measures at least to 2 decimal points in grams. Here is the one that I use, you can buy it on Amazon for about $11.American Weigh Scale
Silver Eagles have a minted weight of 1 Troy oz. ~ 31.103 grams. Another easy give away is the diameter of the coin, this should be pretty exact at ~40.6mm. To check this you will want a good set of calipers. A nice digital entry-level set is this one. If you want to get the top of the line calipers go with the brand Mitutoyo.

When weighing your coins, be sure to account for a certain tolerance or variance in the weight. There is no official guideline given, but anything from 31.1g – 31.8g should be OK. If you are getting readings of 30g or 32g+ that is reason for concern.

Another tool to test for the dimensions of the American Silver Eagle is The Fisch. It can correctly verify the weight, thickness, diameter, and shape of 4 different coins. It also can check for the Canadian Maple Leaf, the Austrian Vienna Philharmonic, and the US Silver Dollar (1840-1935). At $169 though, overpriced in my opinion, as a basic digital scale and good set of calipers will do the same. My magnetic slide at $49 is a much better deal 🙂
Silver Fisch Test

5. Visual Test

Silver has a distinctive look and feel to the coin not too shiny and not too cloudy. Grab an old magnifier, the one’s that jeweler’s use, and take a good look at the coin. It’s always best to have an authentic coin or bar next to the one you are examining.Mismatched surfaces, text spacing, crevices, or edges will stand out if it is a fake.

Your tool of choice for this test is a handy magnifying glass or a jeweler’s loupe. A loupe if a special magnifying glass without the handle with higher magnification due to its special lens. These are essential to the world of coin collecting & numismatics, making it easier to grade the quality as well as identify counterfeit coins such as fake silver dollars.

You can pick one up pretty cheap on Amazon for about $5. Just be sure to get one at least 10x the magnification. Looking at enough real silver eagles, will give you a trained eye to easily spot the fakes.
LoupeA dead giveaway is the edges of the coin or reeding. If there are no grooves or reeds, there is a 99.9% chance it is a fake since minted coins non-reeded (errors) are extremely rare. Examine where the coin meets the rim and between the reeds, sometimes silver-plated coins will not fill these in and with a proper magnifying glass they will be detected.

Below we have a real vs. fake American silver eagle. By using the visual test, you can identify several red flags to weed out the counterfeit eagles. Having the same minted year will help with minor differences that may occur between each strike. You can see font differences alone on both the obverse and reverse should be enough to spot the fake. (Ignore the glossy and mirror finishes).
Real vs. Fake Silver Eagle
Here we have the reverse, again font differences stand out especially the tail on the “U”. The missing ‘veins’ on the feathers and leaves are another big giveaway on this fake.

For silver eagles, pay special attention to the fonts: letters, numbers, upper/lowercase. Note: the US mint changed the font in 2008 so 1987-2007 coins and 2008 – present have a different font. Also the ‘veins’ on the feathers and leaves on the back side.

This is by no means exhaustive and depending on the producer, different fakes will leave different red flags. You can only assume as time goes by, these counterfeit rings will get better and better, so be diligent.

Real vs. Fake SIlver Eagle

6. Bleach Test

Another cheap and simple way to test for real silver vs. fake is to use some household bleach. Silver will tarnish very fast when exposed to any sort of oxidizing chemical like bleach. All you will need is just 1 drop, place it on the silver and if it begins to turn black then you can check it is silver. If your coin has numismatic value of any sort, this test may reduce its premium and you may want to perform another test. (Silver-plated items will also pass this test)

7. Ping Test

The great thing about silver is that it has a certain high-pitched ring to it when struck with another metal, many people refer to this as the ping test and it works fairly well. To do this, simply place one silver coin on your fingertip and take another between your thumb and forefinger and gently tap your coin. It should produce a nice high-pitched bell ring.

The neat thing about this test is that silver rings at a certain frequency of about 6145 Hz. Watch the video below to hear the difference between a real vs. fake American silver eagle.

Caveat: While the ping test is a great method to check for fake silver bars or coins, it is not foolproof. You will always want to combine this with the magnetic slide and dimensions test.

8. Buy From Reputable Dealers

If you are buying silver coins or bars on ebay or craigslist, there is a higher probability that you will encounter a fake. A little common sense will go a long ways! While there may be deals to snatch up there, it may be best to go with a licensed & reputable dealer even if the premium is slightly higher. If you are looking to buy junk silver from ebay, you can get their melt values using our US Coin Value Calculator.

Here are some silver scam identifiers on ebay, watch out for these fraud keywords:

Silver-Plated – Like it says, this is any base-metal with a silver plating on the outside to fool the naked eye.

100 mills – This word is deceptive, it is stating the measurement of the thickness of the silver plate. They can even state 99.9% silver since the plate is pure silver. Just another fancy word for silver or gold-plated.

Silver Clad – Just read the definition of clad: to bond a metal to (another metal), especially to provide with a protective coat. Yes, again silver-plated.

Replica or Copy – If this word is in the title or description you can be sure that it is not pure silver.

Nickel Silver – While this has a silver appearance, it has a composition of 60% copper, 20% nickel, and 20% zinc. You can read more about it here.

German Silver – Another term for nickel silver, see above.

Ebay Fake Silver

We recommend the following 3 online bullion dealers, just remember to do your own due diligence:

BGASC LogoSilverTowneApmex

Be sure to read our gold and silver dealer user reviews, and please leave feedback if you have bought from any of these dealers!

9. The Specific Gravity Test

These next 4 tests are highly accurate in determining real vs. fake. The specific gravity test of silver is basically a ratio of densities and due to its chemical & composition makeup should equal ~ 10.49, given by the formula below:
Specific Gravity of Silver
This test will weed out those silver-plated or clad coins if they have a composition of some other base metal. You cannot change the density of metal and pure silver will always give a reading close to 10.49. To calculate this perform the steps below:

  1. Obtain dry weight of the silver coin or bar with an accurate scale to .01g
  2. Use a cup of water enough to fully submerge the silver into and measure its weight or reset the scale with it on.
  3. Tie some string around the coin and setup an apparatus to hold the coin
  4. Submerge the silver into the water and record the submerged weight minus the weight of the water & cup.
  5. Divide the dry weight by the submerged weight to obtain the specific gravity of silver

Be warned: Sophisticated counterfeiters also have ways of combining certain metals together to get a similar specific gravity readout. Using this test together with the ring test & visual test should be able to detect these types of fakes.

Homemade specific gravity testing of silver below:

Specific Gravity of Silver

10. The Acid Test

Another test with high accuracy, this test uses acid solution usually of nitric acid and muriatic acid. You will have to purchase this from a dealer or on amazon. Just search for silver acid testing kit or puritest. You will also want to get a testing stone to use with the solution.Silver Acid Test
While this test can immediately verify pure silver, it will damage the coin. So it is best to use this is you bought a lot of coins or bars and want to test 1-2 for purity.

These are dangerous chemicals and should not be done by children. Always wear goggles and gloves when performing the test. Do not use on numismatics, this will lower the value of the coin.

If you suspect the outside is silver-plated, you may need to file through an edge to get to the center metal in order to test. Once the acid is placed, pure silver will stay a certain color, while fake silver will turn a different color depending on the metal used to counterfeit. This test is also really useful for testing sterling silver if you’re not sure that platter you bought at the goodwill is 925 🙂

Acid Test for Silver

11. XRF Analyzers

If you’re serious about silver or maybe ultra paranoid, you may consider investing in a portable or handheld XRF Analyzer. XRF is short for X-ray fluorescence, and is used not only in detecting precious metals but all sorts of metal alloys, mining samples, environmental assessments etc …

Niton XL@ - XRF Analyzer
These handheld device are just like scanners, point and shoot, and the device will give an accurate readout of the metal composition. If you’re interested in getting one of these cool little toys, 2 companies that make them are Niton and Bruker. Be warned these are extremely pricey can run over $10,000 and are usually carried only by gold/silver bullion or jeweler shops.

12. Ultrasonic Thickness Test

If XRF analyzers are out of your price range, but you still want a scientific tool to determine real vs. counterfeit silver, an ultrasonic thickness gauge may be for you.

What this test does is measure how long it takes for sound to travel through a metal object, in our case silver. If your bar is pure silver, it will give an accurate reading, if it is a mix of metals, the reading will be off. For different metals, you will get different readouts of thickness. This is also a great way to test for fake gold coins and bars.

The speed of sound for silver is 3650 meters/second at room temperature.
You can check the speed of sound of other metals here. Gold is 3240 m/s.

Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge
Here’s how this works:

  1. Set the device to a velocity of 3,650
  2. Measure the silver bar with a proper caliper
  3. Place a dab of glycerin on the bar where you will measure the thickness
  4. Measure the thickness with the sensor
  5. Readout thickness should match the actual thickness of the bar (in mm)

This works really well for large silver bars or ingots. If the bar is plated in silver/gold it will give an inaccurate thickness tipping you off that the silver is counterfeited with some other metal. From here you could perform a few other tests to confirm your suspicion.

If you are a regular buyer of silver bars this maybe the tester for you as you can buy an entry-level gauge for several hundred dollars unlike the expensive XRF analyzers. Here is one for less than $200 on Amazon. Perhaps a wise investment.

The video below shows a demonstration of how to properly perform this test:

13. Sigma Metalytics Precious Metals Verifier

A step up from an ultrasonic gauge but still less expensive than an XRF analyzer is the Sigma Metalytics Precious Metals Verifier. This ingenious product sends electromagnetic waves though the metal & confirms it with stored patterns.

This is ideal for any coin shop, bullion dealer, or avid coin collector. Besides silver, also a fullproof way to spot fake gold coins & bars. Check out what it can do in the video below, really is a piece of work!

  • Can verify any metal including gold & silver
  • Determines metal from bulk not the coating or plating
  • Very fast reading times, only seconds
  • No dangerous or wet chemicals
  • Can read through packaging, good especially for numismatic coins
  • Comes with 3 wands to read 1/10 oz. up to 100 oz. bars


14. Fire Assay

If you are still testing for purity here, you probably shouldn’t be in the industry buying silver 🙂 With that said, probably the most sure-fire way on how to test for silver purity and avoid fake silver bullion is through fire assay. With one caveat, this is also the most destructive test as well.

Unfortunately for this test you will need a melting furnace, special cupels, pinchers, etc … The degree of accuracy is uncanny, as when testing bullion products you can have accurate parts of 1 in 10,000! If you fancy to learn more about this procedure you can read about it here.

Fire Assay Silver

If you have other ways to test for silver, please let us know or leave us a comment and we will be sure to include them!

Fun facts about Canadian currency

Fun facts about Canadian currency

Circulation coins

Over 1 billion circulation coins are minted each year at our high-tech plant in Winnipeg. The effigy of our monarch has appeared on every Canadian coin produced by the Mint since 1908. Reverse designs, however, have changed considerably over the years to reflect the changing face of our diverse culture.

Mintage refers to the quantity of coins produced in a given period and can influence the value of a coin: lower mintages tend to be more in demand because they are scarcer. The physical specifications of circulation currency are essential to an understanding of a coin’s history, composition and design. This information allows collectors to determine a variety of characteristics, particularly mintage.

Coin recycling makes cents

The Royal Canadian Mint is committed to recycling coins. Every coin put back into circulation is one less to produce, which makes recycling an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to provide change to the marketplace.

Turn small change into found money and help the environment!

Pennies, nickels, dimes. quarters, loonies, toonies. Coins add up fast, yet often lie around in jars and drawers. Instead of leaving your hidden treasure to collect dust, why not recycle your spare change? Every coin recycled is one that doesn’t have to be produced – which helps to preserve the environment and reduces emissions caused by smelting and mining.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your spare change adds up to something big!

Fun facts

A 4-litre pickle jar can contain:

4,992 pennies = $49.92

8,400 dimes = $840.00

3,411 quarters = $852.75

A Mint employee brought in a 4-litre pickle jar of small change that had been accumulating over the years. It contained over $1,000!

More than 67% of recycled coins are pennies

Coin counting machines turn your coins into cash, faster!

Take a look in your pockets, your piggy bank and your purse – and Coin recycling makes cents


Why Do We Call the Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter?

Why Do We Call the Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter?



September 22 marked the autumnal equinox and the first day of fall, which got us wondering: Why do we call the seasons Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter?

Before Spring was called Spring, it was called Lent in Old English. Starting in the 14th century, that time of year was called “springing time”—a reference to plants “springing” from the ground. In the 15th century this got shortened to “spring-time,” and then further shortened in the 16th century to just “spring.”

“Summer” came from the Old English name for that time of year, sumor. This, in turn, came from the Proto-Germanic sumur-, which itself came from the Proto-Indo-European root sam- (sam- seems to be a variant of the Proto-Indo-European sem-, meaning “together / one”).

The origin of “fall” as a name for a season isn’t perfectly clear, though it’s thought that it probably came from the idea of leaves falling from trees (particularly the contraction of the English saying “fall of the leaf“). It first popped up as a name for a season in late-16th century England and became particularly popular during the 17th century, at which point it made its way over to North America. “Autumn,” meanwhile, came to English via the Old French autompne, from the Latin autumnus. From here, things get murky, but it’s thought autumnus probably came from an Etruscan word and is possibly related to the Latin augere,meaning “to increase.”

Calling the season autumn first occurred in English in the 12th century, though was a rarity until around the 14th century. It then began to pick up steam and became common in the 16th century—about the same time “fall” popped up as the name for the season. Before the season was autumn or fall in English, though, it was called “harvest.”

“Winter,” meanwhile, derives from the Proto-Germanic wentruz. This, in turn, probably comes from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) wed, meaning “wet,” or it may come from the PIE wind-, meaning “white.”  Either way, the Proto-Germanic wentruz gave rise to the Old English “winter” as the fourth season of the year, and the name for the season has stuck around ever since.

Incidentally, you may also wonder why the seasons are called seasons. The word “season” in this context comes from the Old French seison, meaning “sowing / planting.”  This in turn came from the Latin sationem, meaning “sowing.” Initially, this referred to actually sowing seeds, but later, as with the Old French seison, it shifted definition to refer to the time period when you sow seeds, so literally “seed-time.”  Season in this sense in English popped up around the 13th century. It was also around this time that season was first used to refer to seasoning food—in this case from the Old French assaisoner, meaning “to ripen.”


Texas Towns With Strange Names

From Ding Dong To Loco, Take A Tour Of Texas Towns With Strange Names

Hitting the road anytime soon?

Across Texas, you’ll pass through scores of towns. Some are poetic – Glen Rose, Pecan Plantation, Enchanted Oaks.

Maybe you’ll drive through the trio of sisters in Collin County – Melissa, Anna and Josephine.

There’s Sunrise and Sunset. A place called Paradise. There’s even Elmo and Kermit!

But you’ll also pass through Texas towns with some strange names.

Hit the road, Jack (or Jacksboro in Jack County), and take a tour of these Texas towns with distinctive names.

Drum roll, please …


Kermit is a small town in Winkler County in West Texas – about an hour west of Odessa. “The town was named for Kermit Roosevelt, son of President Theodore Roosevelt,” the Texas State Historical Association says. “The younger Roosevelt visited the T Bar Ranch in northern Winkler County to hunt antelope a few months before the town was named.”

But another Kermit has influenced the town — the Muppet named Kermit the Frog. There’s a street in town named Kermit The Frog Boulevard.

Kermit, Texas, is home to a water tower covered with a green frog. Also, there’s Kermit the Frog Boulevard.

Gun Barrel City

Vanilla Ice shows his love for Gun Barrel City.

Gun Barrel City is about 50 miles southeast of Dallas in Henderson County. The town’s motto is “We shoot straight with you.” Its symbol? A rifle. The name originated from Gun Barrel Lane, a straight road that connected nearby Mabank and Payne Springs, according to the city’s website. Gun Barrel Lane eventually became State Highway 198. Gun Barrel City explains on its website: “With a name like Gun Barrel City, you might think that the community has been around since the early days of Texas independence. Not true! Forty plus years ago, a close-knit group of friends (affectionately known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’) began the process of making their unincorporated community a ‘real’ town.  Soon after their vision, and 200 signatures later, an election was held to decide the fate of the group’s dream.” Vanilla Ice is a fan of the town, wearing a Gun Barrel City shirt on his cable TV show. He’s headlining the Gun Barrel City July Fest.

Cut and Shoot

The Montgomery County town was named after a fight in 1912. A preacher was invited to hold a meeting at the town’s Community House, according to the city’s website. But some said he visited saloons and went dancing. Folks were enraged, splitting the town into two sides – those who supported the preacher and those who didn’t. On the day of the meeting, opponents, armed with guns, locked the doors. The commotion scared a kid. “I’m scared! I’m going to cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes in a minute!” No one was hurt that day, tensions calmed, the preacher spoke outside the Community House — and the ‘Cut and Shoot’ name stuck.

A nasty fight inspired the unusual name of Cut and Shoot, Texas.


It’s DISH, not Dish, and the town is formerly known as Clark. In 2005, the Denton County town renamed itself after the DISH Network. In exchange, the city’s residents got a decade of free satellite television from – you guessed it – the DISH Network. Last year, The New York Times explored the town’s feelings about its name.


Telephone, a small town in northeastern Fannin County, got its name after playing a little name game. In the 1880s, postal officials had repeatedly refused the town’s applications for a post office because the names submitted were already being used by other Texas post offices, according to the Texas State Historical Association. The man who submitted the names, local general store owner Pete Hindman, submitted “Telephone.” That worked — the name was accepted, and Texas added Telephone to the map.

White Settlement

White Settlement, a Fort Worth suburb, dates back to the 1840s when white men arrived, selling goods to Native Americans. The area began to be known as the “white settlement.” In 2005, city leaders tried to encourage residents to change the name, saying a new moniker could boost the city’s image and attract new businesses. But residents weren’t interested, defeating the measure by a 9-to-1 margin. “It’s all a bunch of poppycock,” one man told The New York Times.

White Settlement’s name dates back to the 1840s.

Jot ‘Em Down

Jot ‘Em Down, a small town in Delta County, has been called Mohegan, Muddig Prairie and Bagley. In the 1930s, a store was built and the Jot ‘Em Down Gin Corp. was formed, named after a store featured in Lum and Abner’s radio comedy program, the Texas State Historical Association says.

Ben Wheeler

Ben Wheeler is in Van Zandt County, 12 miles east of Canton. The town is named after its first mailman from the 1870s. Benjamin Wheeler delivered the mail on muleback, carrying mail from Tyler to Buffalo. KERA explored the town in this story.  The Texas State Historical Association says the community was called Clough, for prominent settler George Washington Clough. In 1876, a post office was established at his home, and Clough was the first postmaster. The community was named for Ben Wheeler in 1878. Today, Ben Wheeler is an arts mecca that embraces hogs: The town has been designated the Feral Hog Capital of Texas. It throws the annual Fall Feral Hog Festival.

Ben Wheeler in East Texas is an arts mecca and hosts an annual festival that celebrates hogs.

Ding Dong

Ding Dong is in Bell County in Central Texas. In the early 1930s, Zulis Bell and Bert Bell bought and ran a country store starting in the 1930s. A creative painter made a sign featuring two bells – with “Ding Dong” in the middle, according to the Southwest Bell County Volunteer Fire Department. The name stuck.


Loco in Childress County didn’t get its name because it thought it was crazy. And it wasn’t named to honor the locomotive. Instead, it got its name because of the locoweed that grew in the town, according to Texas Escapes.

Woman Hollering Creek

Woman Hollering Creek isn’t a town, but the creek between San Antonio and Seguin has a distinctive name.

The origins of this creek’s name remain a mystery.

The San Antonio Express-News reports:

As the title of a 1991 collection by Sandra Cisneros, the name has aroused worldwide curiosity, but no definitive origin tale. … There are several versions of this story, but most involve a ghostly woman heard weeping at night for her lost children, drowned or otherwise killed and thrown into a river. … The creek’s name is still an open question, says David P. Green, M.D., author of Place Names of San Antonio: Plus Bexar and Surrounding Counties. Green, who monitors a Web site based on the book, says he is often asked about Woman Hollering. Unfortunately, he says, “I have never run across anything at all that (definitively) explains its origins.”

More strange names

When NPR visited Texas in April, “All Things Considered” explored the stories behind other Texas towns with strange names:

Weeping Mary

Weeping Mary is an unincorporated town in rural east Texas. It was established as a “freedom colony” with land given to former slaves after the Civil War.

NPR reports:

Photographer O. Rufus Lovett started photographing Weeping Mary residents in 1994. There are a few stories as to how the town got its name, but one tends to stick.

“There was a lady named Mary who lived there and folklore has it, anyway, that a white man wanted to purchase her land. And she did not want to sell it to a white man,” Lovett says.

The man in question persuaded a black man to purchase the land for him instead. “So Mary was tricked out of selling her land to another African-American,” Lovett told NPR. “She became very distraught over this and wept and wept.”

She became known as “Weeping Mary.”

Dime Box

Dime Box is in Lee County in central Texas.

“The settlers, if they had wanted to send a letter to somebody, they would leave their letter and a dime in the box,” resident Bonnie Langham told NPR. “And then say I was going to the nearest town to get supplies or whatever, I would just take everybody’s letters and the dime, mail it wherever the nearest town was, which was Caldwell, Texas. And then if anybody had letters coming back, I would bring the letters back to the box. Just like a honor system more or less.”


Turkey is in Hall County in the Texas panhandle. It’s the boyhood home of fiddler Bob Wills. NPR’s Melissa Block talked with Don Turner, a volunteer at the Bob Wills Museum: “There’s a creek close by. When Turkey was founded, it was a — the post office was a dugout and the dugout was on a creek that where all the wild turkey roosted. And then that’s how Turkey originally got its name.”

Take this quiz: The Strange Town Names Of Texas

Other strange Texas towns

The list goes on … and on …





North Zulch




Oldest Coin in the World Acquired by Texas Collector

Oldest Coin in the World Acquired by Texas Collector



The oldest coin in the world was just sold by a rare coin company in Austin to a private collector. Estimated to be one of only 12 known in the world today, the coin was struck 2,650 years ago in Ionia, or modern-day Turkey


Austin Rare Coins and Bullion announced today that they have just completed the sale of the first coin ever struck in human history. Referred to as an Ionian “Striated” Stater, it is estimated that only 12 exist in the world today.

An Ionian Striated Stater, one of the first coins ever made. Image courtesy Austin Rare CoinsMinted nearly three thousand years ago in modern-day Turkey, the coin is made from electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver that was found in streams and riverbeds. The striated lines on the front of the coin are believed to represent flowing water, which is where electrum was found.

“This remarkable coin represents the beginning of money and commerce as we know it today,”said Ryan Denby, President of Austin Rare Coins. “After nearly four years of patiently waiting, we were finally able to acquire this coin on behalf of our clients and they couldn’t be more excited with the outcome.”

The coin was assigned the grade of About Uncirculated condition with a star for outstanding eye appeal. “Our clients were thrilled with the exceptional look of the coin and the remarkably high grade,” said Denby.

Ionian Staters were struck in different sizes, each representing different values of money. There are six primary sizes, ranging from a Full Stater down to a tiny 1/24th stater. All are extremely rare, though the larger sizes are the most infrequently encountered.

In the case of the Full Stater, only 12 are estimated to exist, making complete sets almost impossible to assemble.

“With the help of Capstone Acquisitions we were able to help our clients complete the entire set of Ionian Striated Staters, and we believe them to be only one of three collectors in the world to accomplish this awesome feat,” Denby stated.


Top 10 Most Valuable U.S. Coins Found in Pocket Change

Top 10 Most Valuable U.S. Coins Found in Pocket Change

Coins Worth Money in Your Pocket

You may have some coins worth money sitting in your pocket right now. There are a number of fairly valuable U.S. error coins and die varieties in circulation today. These coins are overlooked by people because they have small distinguishing characteristics, such as a modest doubling of the coin image, or minute differences in the size or spacing of the letters in the legends. Learn which of your pocket change coins is worth a large premium over face value, and why.


  • 01of 10

    1969-S Lincoln Cent With a Doubled Die Obverse

    Valuable Coin 1 - 1969-S Doubled Die Cent
     This 1969-S doubled die obverse penny was found in a roll of uncirculated 1969-S cents. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

    This coin is exceedingly rare. The early specimens were confiscated by the Secret Service until the U.S. Mint admitted they were genuine. Counterfeits abound but usually have the wrong mint mark.

    How to Detect: Look for clear doubling of the entire obverse (“heads” side) except for the mint mark. If the mint mark is doubled, it is probably a case of strike doubling, rather than a doubled die, which isn’t worth much. (Mint marks were punched in the dies separately in 1969, after theMORE

  • 02of 10

    1970-S Small Date Lincoln Cent With a Doubled Die Obverse

    1970-S Lincoln Cent Doubled Die
     1970-S Lincoln Cent Doubled Die. Image Copyright: © 2015 James Bucki; All rights reserved.

    As with virtually all true doubled die varieties, only one side of the coin shows doubling. If both sides exhibit doubling, the coin probably exhibits strike doubling instead, and is worth little.

    How to Detect: The rarer Small Date variety is most easily distinguished from the common type by the weakness of LIBERTY. The Doubled Die Obverse is best demonstrated by doubling in LIB and IN GOD WE TRUST.

    Approximate Value: Around $3,000 in EF-40 or so.

  • 03of 10

    1972 Lincoln Cent With a Doubled Die Obverse

    1972 Lincoln Memorial Penny Doubled Die Obverse Variety
    Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

    The 1972 (no mint mark) Lincoln Cent doubled die variety shows strong doubling on all elements. The “Cherrypicker’s Guide to Rare Die Varieties”, which was an important source for this article, suggests using a “die marker” to help verify your finds. A die marker is a gouge or crack that identifies a particular die.

    How to Detect: Clear doubling of all obverse elements; look for a tiny gouge near the edge above the D in UNITED as a die marker.

    Approximate Value: About $500 in EF-40 or so.

  • 04of 10

    2004-D Wisconsin State Quarter With an Extra Leaf

    2004-D Wisconsin Fifty State Quarter Extra Leaf
     2004-D Wisconsin Fifty State Quarter Extra Leaf. Image Copyright: © 2015 James Bucki; All rights reserved.

    Variety experts disagree about the cause and long-term value of this type, but I’ve included in the list because it is very findable in pocket change and worth hundreds of dollars right now.

    How to Detect: There is some defect on the die that makes it appear as if there’s an extra leaf on the lower left-hand side of the ear of corn on the reverse. The leaf is very clear. Known in two varieties, the High Leaf and the Low Leaf type.

    Approximate Value: $200-$300 in MS-60 or so.

  • 05of 10

    1999 Wide “AM” Reverse Lincoln Cent

    1999 Lincoln Cent Wide AM Reverse
     1999 Lincoln Cent Wide AM Reverse. Image Copyright: © 2015 James Bucki; All rights reserved.

    This variety is known for 3 dates, 1998, 1999, and 2000, with 1999 being by far the rarest. The mint erroneously used a proof die to strike normal circulation coins.

    How to Detect: The AM in AMERICA on the reverse is clearly separated in the Wide variety. In the normal variety for these dates, the letters AM are very close or touching.

    Approximate Value: $5 to $25 in circulated condition, $75 to $600 in MS-63 or better depending on color. 1999 brings the highest prices, with 2000 being second.

  • 06of 10

    1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime

    1982 Roosevelt Dime Missing Mintmark (No "P")
     1982 Roosevelt Dime Missing Mintmark (No “P”). Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, www.ha.com

    At the point in time that these coins were made, the dies sent to the individual branch mints would be punched with the proper mint mark letter for that branch. This variety is believed to be caused because one or more non-punched dies were used to make coins. (The letter P was being used for Philadelphia on dimes at this time.)

    How to Detect: The 1982 dime is missing a mint mark.

    Approximate Value: About $30 to $50 in AU-50, more for higher grades.

  • 07of 10

    Presidential Dollar Edge Lettering Errors

    Missing Edge Lettering
     This George Washington Presidential Dollar is missing the edge lettering. The Presidential Dollar coin edge lettering error is a major coin error. Photo of the missing edge lettering dollar by Athel Patterson

    Ever since the first Presidential Dollar (the Washington Dollar issued in 2007), there have been errors associated with the lettering on the edge of these coins. In some cases, it is missing entirely. In others, the edge lettering has been placed there multiple times.

    How to Detect: Look at the edge. The inscription should appear fully encased all around the circumference of the coin. Missing or doubled inscriptions are rare and valuable.

    Approximate Value: $50 to $3,000, depending on the President.

  • 08of 10

    1995 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent

    1995 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die Obverse
     1995 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die Obverse. Image Copyright: © 2015 James Bucki; All rights reserved.

    This doubled die variety generated a lot of mainstream interest when it was featured as a cover story in USA Today. Specimens are still being found in circulation all the time!

    How to Detect: Clear doubling in LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST.

    Approximate Value: About $20 to $50 in uncirculated condition.

  • 09of 10

    Certain Uncirculated State Quarters

    50 State Quarter Program
     50 State Quarter Program. Image Courtesy of: The United States Mint, www.usmint.gov

    As the economy has worsened, people who have been hoarding rolls of State Quarters have been spending them into circulation. If you can put together whole rolls uncirculated quarters of certain in-demand states, you can get as much as $50 per roll for them.

    How to Detect: Demand changes from time-to-time based on major coin dealer promotions. Currently, look for Georgia, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Illinois. Quarters must be uncirculated!

    Approximate Value: $20 to $52 per roll for strictly uncirculated rolls of certain states. 

  • 10of 10

    Silver Half Dollars

    Examples of Kennedy and Franklin half dollars.
     Examples of Kennedy and Franklin half dollars. (c) James Bucki

    Most people think that the silver in U.S. coins ended in 1964, but this isn’t true. The Half Dollar coin had silver in it until 1970. Many people spend the Half Dollars from 1965 to 1970, or sells them in rolls of halves they take to the bank, not realizing they are 40% silver.

    How to Detect: If the Half Dollar is dated 1964 or earlier, it is 90% silver. Halves dated from 1965 to 1970 are 40% silver. You might also find silver Proof Half Dollars, which are 90% silver and dated to current. Silver Proof Halves have very shiny, mirror-like surfaces and there is no copper color when you view the edge.

    Approximate Value: Value is based on silver spot price.

Early American Coins

Early American Coins

Early substitutes for money

Because coinage was very scarce in early New World settlements, European colonists used a variety of substitutes for money. Musket balls were assigned specific monetary value, and the colonists also adopted “wampum” used in trade by many Native American tribes. Wampum were beads made from clam, conch or similar light-colored shells. The beads were drilled so they could be strung on a leather thong for easy handling.

[illustration: Commodity money consisted of products valued at specific rates for transactions.]Commodity money consisted of products valued at specific rates for transactions.

“Commodity money” consisted of hunting, construction or farm products – and were known as “country pay.” A bushel of wheat might be valued at 4 farthings, a bushel of Indian corn at 3 shillings, and a barrel of pork at 3 pounds. The most important commodity money in the South was tobacco – designated as official currency in the Virginia colony as early as 1619.

Hunting products used in commerce included beaver pelts, deer skins and moose hides – while construction products included iron nails and lumber, or a day’s labor. Coinage remained so scarce during the Revolutionary War that commodity money was still widely used during the late 1770s and early 1780s.

Colonial coinage

[photo: New England Shilling and 
Willow Tree Threepence coins]New England Shilling and
Willow Tree Threepence coins

The first old coins struck in the English-American colonies were the “NE” or “New England” coins authorized in 1652 by the Massachusetts General Court. These simple silver coins were punch-stamped with the letters “NE” on the obverse and the denomination in pence on the reverse (“III” or “VI” or “XII”). The simplicity invited clipping (cutting off pieces of the coins for the silver), and after a few months, these coins were replaced with more elaborate designs.

The Willow Tree Threepence displayed a tree in the center of the obverse, with rings of beads containing the inscription MASATHVSETS IN. Though struck until about 1660, all the coins bear the date 1652. After the Massachusetts mint switched from hammer striking to the rocker press, new Oak Tree coinage was produced from 1660-1667 and Pine Tree coinage from 1667-1682. But like the Willow Tree coinage, all Oak Tree and Pine Tree issues are dated 1652 (except for Oak Tree 2 pence coins, which bear 1662 dates).

(Please see America’s First Coinage to learn more about Massachusetts Bay Colony coins.)

Other early American coins included Higley Coppers, struck in 1737 and 1739, and named for Samuel Higley, who mined copper on his Connecticut land and had the metallurgical skills to create steel dies for coinage. These coppers featured various inscriptions including VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE and I AM GOOD COPPER.

Plans to replace depressed colonial paper currency with coins were proposed for Massachusetts in 1715, for Connecticut in 1739, and for all the English colonies in 1748. However, these proposals were not well conceived and none were implemented.

Foreign coins used in the colonies

[photo: Spanish 8 reales, also known as "Pieces of Eight"]Spanish 8 reales, also known as “Pieces of Eight”

While the American colonies accepted old coins from various countries when available, most British and European pieces went back to their issuing countries as payment for goods and services.

Spanish-American coinage became widely used in the English colonies. More than two dozen Spanish colonial mints in Mexico and South America struck large quantities of “Spanish milled dollars” – valued at 8 reales and often called “Pieces of Eight.” Struck from silver unearthed or stolen in Spanish America, these 8 reales coins along with fractional ½, 1, 2 and 4 reales counterparts became the principal coins of the American colonists, and were the forerunners of the U.S. dollar and its fractional divisions.

In 1793, Congress demonetized all foreign coinage except gold coins of Great Britain, Portugal, France and Spain – and silver coins of France and Spain. This foreign gold and silver coinage remained legal tender in the United States until 1857.

Confederation-era coinage of 1783-1792

From the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, until the establishment of the U.S. Mint in 1792, a variety of early American coins were issued by private minters and individual states. These old coins included a series of “tokens” (privately issued coins that circulated in public commerce) struck by silversmith John Chalmers of Maryland in 1783. Chalmers minted threepence, sixpence and shilling tokens all in silver. Several private issues of copper tokens as well as experimental coins for the Confederation were also minted from 1785-1787.

Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance for the Confederation, submitted a plan to Congress in 1782 proposing a decimal-based coinage system based on a unit called a mill. The Morris plan could be used to convert foreign coins including Spanish milled dollars that held different value in the different states.

Thomas Jefferson of the Confederation’s monetary committee believed the mill was too small in value. Jefferson proposed the dollar as the monetary unit – considering the widespread acceptance of the Spanish milled dollar – to be divided into tenths (dimes) and hundredths (cents). He also recommended coin denominations of ½, 5, 20, 25 and 50 cents. On July 6, 1785, Congress adopted Jefferson’s decimal system with the dollar as the standard unit.

Coinage issued by individual states

[photo: New Jersey state copper from 1787]New Jersey state copper from 1787

Vermont was the first local American government to authorize a private mint to produce coins. The first design issued during 1785-1786 featured the sun rising over the Green Mountains with a plow in the foreground. The basic design of 1785-1788 Connecticut Coppers imitated the British halfpenny with the bust of a man wearing a laurel wreath. The reverse depiction of a seated Liberty resembled the British Britannia seen on halfpennies.

New Jersey Coppers featured a plow beneath a horse’s head, and Massachusetts Coppers introduced in 1787 were well received and stayed in circulation for several decades. While the Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey mints were private operations, the Massachusetts mint was a state-run facility and the only local mint to adopt the 1785 federal resolution establishing a ratio of 100 cents to the Spanish milled dollar.

U.S. Mint pattern coins of 1792

When the U.S. Mint was authorized by Congress on April 2, 1792, many members of the House wanted to depict George Washington on the first U.S. coins. But the president rejected the idea as too monarchical, hence an image of the goddess Liberty was chosen instead. During 1792, several denominations of U.S. coins were struck in limited quantities and proposed to Congress and other governmental officials for consideration and approval.

These provisional or pattern coins included silver half dismes (half dimes) and silver dismes (dimes), “silver center cents” struck in copper with a small center plug of silver, and copper cents of the same size and design without the silver center. Much larger copper 1¢ coins, known as “Birch Cents,” were struck from dies cut by engraver Robert Birch. A small quantity of quarter dollars, now extremely rare, were also struck in 1792.

Official U.S. coins debut in 1793

After more than 175 years of money substitutes like musket balls and beaver pelts…crude early coinage by the individual colonies and states…and broad usage of Spanish silver coins…the fledgling United States of America issued its first official coins for circulation in 1793. These half cents and large cents struck in pure copper would soon be followed by silver coins including half dimes, dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars.