The primary goal of any silver round series is to draw a variety of collectors to a product with unique design in low-mintage offerings. The American Western Skulls Collection from Osborne Mint, fans of the Wild West era of American history will find designs that capture the imagination. The series of rounds includes six designs in total and offers three different versions of each design released in the series.
In this new collection of silver for sale, there are common design elements used in each and unique aspects. The reverse side of all rounds in the series share the same design, while the obverse sides feature common elements with changes to the visual appearance of the primary design element. Take yourself back in time to an era of lawlessness and immerse yourself in the Wild West by adding the silver rounds of the American Western Skulls Collection to your own personal portfolio of silver.
The theme of the American Western Skulls Collection focuses on the popular characters chronicled in the history of the Wild West. However, the series doesn’t romanticize the various criminals, lawmen, and inhabitants of the Old West like popular culture and feature films have done for more than a century. Instead, the collection focuses on the macabre side of the Old West. If one theme was common as Americans pushed westward, it was death. Each one of the characters captured in the designs of this series is found in skeletal form with their skull bearing the design elements of cowboys, sheriffs, Native Americans, and US infantry.
In this collection, there are a total of six designs to be released. These images include the following figures:
The designer of the American Western Skulls Collection is long-time coin collector and designer Doug Stang, who has created various other silver coin and round collections. For example, his designs in the Gargoyles & Grotesques series are backed by the government of Chad. He developed the reverse design used on all rounds in the American Western Skulls Collection, as well as each of the six obverse designs.
For each release in the American Western Skulls Collection, collectors will find five different options when buying silver. Osborne Mint offers the designs of these silver rounds in two different weights: 1 oz and 5 oz. Additionally, there are three available finishes that include proof, antique, and colorized proof. The 1 oz silver round in each design features all three versions, while the 5 oz rounds are only available in proof and antique versions. The following list outlines the mintage limits for each of the design versions:
The proof rounds in the collection have a finish that many collectors will find familiar from other proof silver coins for sale today. The design elements, such as the Indian Chief or Gunslinger, have a frosted aspect to the finish which is offset beautifully by the deeply-mirrored, clear background field.
When it comes to the antique finish, Osborne Mint uses its own proprietary approach to giving the rounds an old-world charm. Most mints have their own approach to antiquing, but the general benefits are twofold. First and foremost, the finished product has an heirloom quality with the appearance of ancient coinage. Additionally, antiquing helps to highlight the intricate elements and the design which occasionally do not pop out to the eye with other finishes.
Finally, there is the colorized proof. Colorization is typically completed with the application of a color lacquer to certain surface areas of the round. In the case of the American Western Skulls Collection, colorization is added only on the obverse character design. For example, the Indian Chief round brings red, white, and blue colors to the feathers of the chief’s headdress. His skull has a typical yellow hue for skeletal depictions, and there is visible war paint on his face.
Each of silver rounds in the American Western Skulls Collection ships inside of a protective plastic capsule. The rounds all have edge lettering that marks the individual serial number assigned to each piece. This number is reflected on the included Certificate of Authenticity that comes with the purchase of the silver rounds in this issue.
First up in the collection was the American Western Skulls Indian Chief Round. On the obverse of each of the rounds in the Indian Chief collection is the image of a skeletal figure wearing a full headdress typical of Native American chieftains. The common design elements you’ll find in the obverse of the rounds in this series include the word “Liberty” stretched across the entire upper half of the round’s rocker. Below the design is a year of issue for the round, with the Indian Chief’s bearing “2017.”
The Indian Chief’s skull, like all others will be, is captured facing forward at you as you view the round. Directly below his figure are a pair of crossed weapons. This particular design element is common to each round as well, but also unique to each of the characters. For the Indian Chief round, the crossed weapons are two tomahawks.
As the second release in the collection, the series focuses on the men who stood on the line defending good people against the evils of outlaws and other marauders. The American Western Skulls Old Sheriff Round features the skeletal figure of a sheriff with a large cowboy hat and guns. The Old Sheriff has its own unique design elements, from different weapons below to a distinctive badge on his hat. Second in the collection, the Old Sheriff was the first 2018 issue as noted by the “2018” engraved below his figure.
While the Indian Chief had a grin with teeth closed on the skull, the Sheriff’s mouth is open wide almost as if he’s yelling instructions to an outlaw to “give up or die.” You can even see his tongue! What’s most unique though is the badge on the sheriff’s hat. The badge has a five-pointed star with a wagon-wheel shape around it. The badge reads “Sheriff,” on the star with “Tombstone, Arizona Territory” on the wagon wheel. Additionally, the Sheriff’s crossed weapons at the bottom are a pair of repeating rifles.
For the third release, the series goes from the good side of the law to those who often broke the law. The American Western Skulls Gunslinger Rounds bear the appearance of a grizzled gunslinger on the obverse side. No character in the Wild West was more misunderstood than the gunslinger. Many of these individuals were found on the side of lawlessness, doing whatever they needed to do to survive. However, these expert marksmen were also known to commit good deeds and would sometimes deputize as members of a sheriff’s posse to hunt down the bad guys.
On the obverse of the American Western Skulls Gunslinger Rounds is the image of a sharpshooter that might remind you of a certain Hollywood star who featured prominently in Western movies during the 1960s. With a cigar butt in his mouth and a wry smile on his face, this gunslinger is sizing you up and just waiting for you to make the first move toward your holster. The question is, who will win? You might want to decide how “lucky” you feel when drawing with this gunslinger. Below the figure of the gunslinger is a pair of six-shooters crossed as the unique weapon design element.
The heyday of the United States Cavalry occurred between the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846 and the end of the Indian Wars. As it pertains to the period of the Wild West, the US Cavalry was incredibly active between the end of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War in 1898. As Americans began moving further and further west of the Mississippi River between the Mexican-American War and the Spanish-American War in the latter half of the 19th century, the United States Army found itself in conflict with countless Native American tribes, Mexican banditos, and even lawless US citizens.
With the need to cover vast ranges of territory between the scattered, isolated Army outposts, the US Cavalry was the best line of defense the growing nation and its waves of settler had against lawlessness in the vast lands of the Western United States. In the continuation of the series, the American Western Skulls US Cavalry Round appears fourth in the collection.
As American settlers and the US Army pushed westward to claim more lands, they were put in direct conflict in many cases with Native American tribes. The term “Indians” was commonly used in American and British lexicon of the era courtesy of Christopher Columbus. When Columbus landed in the Caribbean in 1492, he believed he had reached the Far East (India), and so-named the inhabitants he came across as “Indians.”
Many Native American warriors encountered by settlers and the US Army alike were referred to as “Indian Braves” or simply “braves.” While some associate the term with Native American warriors in general, it is said that there was actually a distinction between a brave and a warrior. While warriors had already met the enemy in battle, braves were warriors ready to fight for their tribe’s survival, but had not yet met the enemy on the field of battle. For the fifth release of the series, the American Western Skulls Indian Brave Round design is offered by Osborne Mint.
Of course, America’s westward expansion didn’t just put it at odds with Native American tribes, but also Mexican citizens and outlaws alike who had previously called vast stretches of the American southwest home prior to the Texas Revolution and US victory in the Mexican-American War. The term Mexican “bandito” comes from the Spanish language and referred simply to men who lived a life outside of the law, just like American outlaws. These bandits were known as “banditos.”
Both the US Cavalry during the Mexican-American War and Texas Rangers of the Republic of Texas prior to that engaged with Mexican Banditos across the southwest in an attempt to protect the area’s new settlers from the opportunistic outlaws among the existing citizens of the area. The final design in the series features the American Western Skulls Mexican Bandito round imagery.
One of the fixtures of small towns, mining towns, and boomtowns across the American West as the nation expanded across the continent to the Pacific Coast were gamblers in saloons, bars, and pubs. Gamblers loved finding an escape from the trials and tribulations of life in the American West by making a quick buck playing poker and blackjack in saloons.
The design of the American Western Skulls Gambler Round features the skeletal figure wearing a tall, black tophat. The most significant piece of this design is the inclusion of cards reflective of the so-called “dead man’s hand.” In American folklore, this is the hand that was reportedly in Wild Bill Hickok’s hand when Jack McCall walked into a saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota where Hickok was playing a game of five-card draw. Hickok was holding aces and eights from both black suits when McCall shot him dead.
The most recent addition to the American Western Skulls Collection is the Indian Warrior. Similar to the Indian Brave, this design element captures a skeletal figure with indigenous elements. The figure has the face paint of a tribal warrior across the forehead and eyes, with braided hair on the sides of his head and feathers woven into the top of the hair. One of the chosen weapons of indigenous warriors was the spear, a feature that is found in a crossed design behind the skull of the figure. The important distinction between a warrior and a brave comes down to expertise and skill in battle. Indigenous braves were those with the greatest skill and the most accomplishment on the field of battle. All members of the tribe needed to be warriors to help tribes fend off incursions from other tribes and the expanding reach of the United States Army.
The oldest operating private mint in the United States is Osborne Mint. The modern mint traces its roots to 1835. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the original Osborne Mint of the day filled the gap in critical coinage in the United States. This period of American history lacked government-backed paper money, and privately issued paper banknotes suffered from a lack of faith among the American public. Early on, the company struck gold and brass coins.
Today, Osborne Mint is a popular coining operation that produces some 20 million coin blanks annually, and strikes as many as 600 million tokens each year using its three different blanking lines that offer pressure ranging from 100 to 1,200 tons.
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