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How I Numismatically Honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


As long as I’ve had a significant say in my wardrobe, I’ve sought out things that are unique, or at least a little bit different than what everyone else has. Perhaps that has something to do with attending a school that required uniforms from kindergarten through eighth grade. Fashion aside, I’ve seen a similar mentality when it comes to collectibles.

Finding something I’ve never seen before, or an angle to collect it with a little twist, is what gets my attention and ignites a passion more than anything else. One of those interesting subjects that I’ve come to be intrigued by during my time at PCGS is United States figures on numismatic items from, or as we’ll see here, bearing the name of, other countries. I’ve written previously about my heritage and therefore affinity (though they also look cool) for U.S. Philippines pieces.

This 1936 Philippines Peso depicts not one but two presidents, with Philippines President Manuel Quezon in the front and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the back. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

This first piece features likely the most prominent political figures of the time for both the United States and Philippines in the form of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Manuel Quezon. There is a similar peso that features Quezon alongside William Francis “Frank” Murphy, who served as governor general of the Philippine Islands two years before taking office as the 35th governor of Michigan. For both, collectors will note an M mintmark in the lower left of the reverse denoting these U.S. Philippines pieces were struck in Manila.

This 1947 Philippines Peso features both an American military icon in General Douglas MacArthur and a U.S. mintmark. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Considering General Douglas MacArthur’s prominent roles in both World War I and World War II, including his time as military advisor to the Commonwealth government of the Philippines, it makes perfect sense that he would be depicted on a coin. As a fun and interesting contrast to the previous coin, this piece bears only the name Philippines on the reverse but has an S mintmark, meaning these pesos were struck at the San Francisco Mint.

Founding Father George Washington appears on this Philippines note. Courtesy of PCGS. Click image to enlarge.

The coins we’ve highlighted so far have hundreds of examples that have been graded in Mint State grades by PCGS. The Treasury Certificate seen here is much harder to come by, and in fact, out of the current population of 33 graded by PCGS Banknote, the Choice AU58 piece seen above is currently the finest known. The next-closest examples come in at a grade of About UNC 53. These notes were produced at the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing and feature a very familiar figure seen on many United States banknotes: George Washington.

Everyone has their reasons for collecting coins and / or banknotes, but when you can combine design, history, and a personal connection all at the same time, that’s a sure win!

History Miscellaneous Asian

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