The Secret Alchemist Society Coin

I found one!  One of those coins that is weird, different, and very unusual.  While some coins are worth thousands, there are those that are rare and lower in value because they are indecipherable!  The mystery of such a coin puzzled me and with help from a coin club member, I learned about my unusual find!

1964 P Accented Hair Reverse AKA  RDV-001
1964 D Accented Hair Reverse AKA  RDV-001
1964 Proof with the Accented Hair Reverse AKA  RDV-001

​The year 1404 is quite significant for one reason.  It was the year that the act of Multipliers was passed by the British parliament forbidding alchemy or in other words, Alchemy was banned.  On January 13, 1404, King Henry IV outlawed alchemy by law of multipliers.  The alchemists were on quest for the Philosopher’s Stone that could lead to transmutation of metals and was the elixir of life.  King Henry IV feared that "multiplication" could lead to multiplying of precious metals and this could pose a threat to the kingdom.   This could lead to sudden enrichment of sinister forces.

Alchemists are people, a closed society, bit like Shamans that find ways to make gold and precious metals from base metals. Many countries have had a tradition of alchemists and talks are rife about Paras Patthar, or alchemist stone, in India that could turn base metals into gold.  The year 1404 is important for the alchemists as they went into hiding or stopped revealing their profession, they wound up their establishments or laboratories and went into hibernation, but the secret societies did not end.

The Secret Alchemy Coin

Compiled by:   Mark Trout,

Web master  and President of the 

Ocala Coin Club

And a collector of type coins, Jefferson nickels, small dollars, Souvenir cards, interesting currencies, F.U.N. tokens and  Wooden nickels, and a hodgepodge of most other numismatic collectibles!

I want to thank John Miller, Secretary of the Ocala Coin Club, for this article.  John is an error and variety collector, a contributor to CONECA and a carefully studied numismatist. - Webmaster Mark

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Ruben Coronel, 1970

​The 1964 accented hair proofs had a reverse most people call RDV-001 This reverse has the rays near the stars on the reverse broken and going around the stars. The rays do not touch the stars.  RDV-002 which was used after the start of production shows the rays behind the  stars, not broken. The Rays do touch the stars.  Both RDV-001 and RDV-002 can be found on 1964 Philadelphia and Denver circulation halves. The RDV-001 are slightly scarcer but how much more, we do not know yet. There has been no studies of these coins published yet.  At the same time the RDV-001 and RDV-002 reverses can be found on proofs that are not accented hair. These proof coins are again scarcer but we do not know how much as no studies on these have been done either.  Right now these different coins do not bring much extra value between the two styles. If it were to catch on, who knows what the premium for these coins could be.

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The medal illustrated above is published in TAMS Journal, Vol. 12, No. 6 Part II. This is a special edition comprising  a catalog by Russell Rulau and George J. Fuld of American Game Counters. This medal is listed as No. Ind-2.  The description is as follows:
Obverse: Liberty head left surrounded by 13 stars and date “1404” below. “LIANT” on headband
Reverse: Eagle type of $5 gold piece. Legend reads: “TPNID AHDTAO ANOTH NOT”. Inscription on scroll ”IOA ON AOT”. Brass. Reeded edge. 22 mm. issued with loop.  A similar one, No. Ind-3 has 11 stars on the Obverse and slightly different inscriptions on the Reverse.

The legends or dates which make no sense.  More information may be found on:
This type of eagle coin was issued in the years 1838 – 1908. The medal clearly was derived from this type of coin so it must have been issued after 1838. As already mentioned it is machine struck thus dating it some centuries after 1404 and also the type of lettering used certainly is not medieval.

​The TPNID coin depicts the same year, the date which has become a buzzword in the alchemist circles. Their societies have never ended, their work is on. They made  these coins as part of the society.  The legend probably depicts the names of elements, metals or compounds used in alchemy.

The Rosicrucian order was founded in 1607.  Their documents narrate the mysterious life of an alchemist who travelled to various parts of the world to gather secrete knowledge.  Their second document tells about the secret society of alchemists who wanted to change the political and social face of Europe.  It is said that Rosicrucianism led to the emergency of Freemasonry later on.

This coin has had a past though shrouded in mystery of a secret society. It is not known how many were minted but they are very few in present age, probably less than 10 or close to 5.  It is important that the story of this coin be established so that the world can know more about it as it is a vignette from our past and presents a big chapter of an unknown mystic science called alchemy,

​I didn't dig a well, but I did dig in a junk box and discovered a coin/token with a history worth researching.  What have you found recently?  It might make a good article, a coin club presentation, or just some shared information a club meeting.  It's up to you, but our hobby thrives on participation!  Thank you for reading.

With the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963 America   was in morning.  Congress and the U.S. Mint wanted a coin in remembrance of President Kennedy. They started working on this right away by modifying the dies that were used for President Kennedy's inaugural medal.  By December 13th the mint had the first dies ready and produced a few trial strike specimens. On December 27th Mrs. Kennedy was shown the first and original designed coins. She commented that the Presidents hair at the part line was not quite right. This led the Mint to make a change in the dies. The new dies had the hair modified slightly by removing some of the heavy cut lines in the hair.  However on January 2, 1964 the first die design, the Accented Hair Die was already striking some Proof 1964 halves.  The new dies had not been produced yet, and Proof production was already  underway. Production of regular coins began January 30th at the Denver Mint, then at the Philadelphia Mint. The day of March 5th the new halves were being released to the general public. Within 4 months a bill had been introduced, Congress voted yes on that bill, dies were produced, and the coins were made and started to be distributed.  But what about those first Proof dies and coins that were made with them before the new modified dies were produced?

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​The coins that were created by the first proof dies have extra lines in the hair below the part line in the shape of an upside down wishbone. They also have a broken bottom left serif on the letter "I" in LIBERTY. The standard coins do not have this broken serif or the extra hair lines.  A majority of the Accented Hair Proof Coins tend to have a milky haze for some reason. Finding unblemished high grade examples can be a challenge. It has been estimated that the mintage of the  Accented Hair coins are somewhere between  100,000 and 120,000. 



Finding a coin dated 1404 was the first indication that something unusual was in my hands!  Ancient coins are rustic, some-times misshapen, hunks, slabs of metal, and detail missing.  But this one was nothing like that!  So I thought I would read the legend:  TPNID AHDTAO, ANOTH, NOT, words which have baffled some keen followers for 5 decades.

Learning that I was not the first one to find such a coin helped - just a little.  It seems that a 10 year old boy, Ruben Coronel, found such a coin in 1970 in La Pampa, Argentina.  He had been digging six meters deep into the ground during the excavation of a well with the help of a relative and the discovery of the brass coin startled him.  This discovery was well documented in the Primera Hora newspaper and the young boy became a sensation with people bidding him big sums of money for parting with the coin, but he did not.

Argentine lawyer and filmmaker Demtrios Charalambous who has been studying ancient totems was baffled with the coin and he tried to trace the owner for a long time without success, meeting different people with the same name as the boy. He was later able to meet the same boy who had become a man, but he said that he had lost the coin during the shifting of his home. Demetrios estimates that this coin was minted or made between 1850-1870 in North America.

But this coin surfaced in other parts of the world, but it is less than 5 known.  An American dug it in his yard, and said that the property also revealed some old Argentinian coins. He thought that the previous owners had come link with South America and brought some coins from there while in military services.  The coin was similar to the liberty head coin of America.