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Letters to the Editor (09/02/14)

Kiick, Brueggeman did great job with ANA show

The numismatic event of the year, the ANA World’s Fair of Money, has just concluded and this will certainly be a show not soon forgotten. I have attended the ANA World’s Fair of Money for more than 30 years, but this year’s event was unlike any I have ever experienced.

I would like to congratulate Kim Kiick, executive director of the American Numismatic Association, and Bob Brueggeman, president of the Professional Numismatists Guild, for their exceptional work with this year’s ANA World’s Fair of Money. They were faced with overnight lines for the 1964-2014-W gold Kennedy half dollar, crowds that were at times raucous, and an unprecedented attendance from collectors and dealers around the world.

In spite of this, Kim and Bob maintained order throughout the show and made the ANA World’s Fair of Money a smash success. I was truly impressed by their dedication and hard work during this exhausting, week-long show.

My hat’s off to both of you; I cannot wait until next year’s ANA World’s Fair of Money!

Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman
Sarasota, Fla.

Essay on first U.S. Mint showed politics involved

I want to thank NN for the six-part Julian essay on the establishment of the first U.S. Mint exposing the politics that ensued.

I only wish our elected officials would read that history lesson and be encouraged to proceed for the good of this nation and not their own personal agendas.

Ron Kycek
Deerfield, Wis.

Reissue Pan-Pacific $50 commem in 2015

I just read your article with interest.  I’m guessing this isn’t the first email you’ve received about this, but I think a great choice would be to reissue the Pan-Pacific $50 commemoratives.  2015 is their 100th anniversary and I’ll bet they’d be a very popular choice.  It would probably be a bit pricey for most, but I’d buy a pair and it sure would be a lot cheaper than buying the originals.

Bob Finkle
Phillips Ranch, Calif.

1914 Buffalo nickel shows up in change

I received a 1914 Buffalo nickel in change at a deli in Herndon, Va., the other day.  The coin would grade Good.

I originally thought it was dateless, but a look with a magnifying glass clearly showed the tops of the 1914; no doubt about the date.  I was even more surprised when my 2013 U.S. Coin Digest showed the value as $20 retail! Not a bad find!

Richard Hall
Reston, Va.

TSA balks at Chinese knife money

Before my flight to the ANA show, I was busted by TSA for carrying knives. Lest you think I’m a moron, of course they were Chinese knife money! (Over 2,000 years old, somewhat knife-shaped but made for currency, not cutting, hence without sharp edges, normally encrusted with corrosion products, and quite fragile.)

It never occurred to me that they might be problematical; the idea of using these as weapons to hijack a plane is beyond laughable. But, in TSA’s bureaucratized mentality, a knife is a knife, and there was no arguing.

Fortunately I was permitted to spend $5.60 to mail them home.

So I’m writing to alert readers: don’t try to bring Chinese knife coins through airport “Security.”

I haven’t tried Yap stone money.

Frank S. Robinson
Albany, N.Y.

Quality lacking in clad Kennedy sets

I bought my five sets of Kennedy clad halves at 11:16 a.m. July 24 and received them on July 31 and shipped them to NGC the same day. They received them Aug. 4 and they are awaiting grading. They are eligible for early release pedigree.

I bought three gold Kennedy’s today and will send them off to be graded as well. Hopefully they will arrive in time for me to get the “Early Release” pedigree, It took an hour to get through and buy them so we’ll see. I will let you know when I get my golds and how I make out with the grading.

I have to add that on tonight’s edition of “The Coin Vault,” they are offering the “P” and “D” set at $999.99 for SP-68, $499.99 for SP-67 and $399.99 for SP-66, all First Day of Issue. Not a bad return for a set that cost $9.95. …and so it goes!

Second email with results follows:

I got my results from NGC for my “P” and “D” Kennedy sets. They were disappointing to say the least. Out of five sets, my five Phillys graded three in SP-67 and two in SP-66.  My five Denvers graded four in SP-67 and one SP-66. Made with the higher relief, they are beautiful coins.

I am usually a Mint defender when it comes to quality, but this time, they really dropped the ball. I have found coins in better condition in pocket change. What should have been the first two jewels in the seven-coin anniversary set, look more like two lumps of coal.

Bill Rodgers
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Minn. law goes beyond consumer protection

It is unfortunate that a dealer who has joined the success club will advocate rules and regulations that will prevent others from joining as well.

In the article “Confusion follows Minnesota coin law,” Scott Hage, president of Midwest Bullion Exchange (MBE) in Minnetonka, Minn., was quoted as saying, “A dealer who can’t afford to be bonded probably shouldn’t be in the business anyway.” Hage is a supporter of the Minnesota dealer registration law that many others see as overregulation.

If I had interviewed Hage, I would have asked him how he started his company. Did Hage have full funding to be able to afford to do business the way he is doing so now? Was his funding sufficient to afford to be bonded as well as all of the other regulations a business is required? Or did he start his company like the rest of us, by the seats of our pants, scratching and saving in order to grow a business.

Another problem with Hage’s statement is that he thinks it is a “black and white” issue saying that it is easy to hide premiums. What is the difference between the premium of selling coins or selling automobiles? What is a coin worth or what is really a car worth? Who protects the buyer in either case?

For automobiles, people can point to the traditional guides and online resources to educate the consumer. If the consumer does not take advantage of those resources it has been said that the consumers can blame themselves for not learning more about the purchase. “Caveat emptor,” buyer beware. Unfortunately, when the sale is about a coin or bullion there is an overreaction and draconian laws are created by well-meaning politicians who will not do the same in other markets.

The problem with the law is the definition of a collector coin versus a bullion coin. One of the best examples is the business strike American Silver Eagle that are bought and sold for their bullion value but also as collectibles. When writing a law, how does one differentiate the sale of an American Silver Eagle for bullion or as a collectible coin? This question is not limited to the current year. How is this differentiated for Eagles struck in 1986 that were intended as bullion strikes but are being traded at a numismatic premium?

There are better ways of creating consumer protection laws that do not involve government oversight or draconian registration requirements.

I am happy that Hage was able to build MBE into a great business, but with all due respect, it is almost like he is spinning the situation in an effort to reduce MBE’s potential competition in Minnesota. Since legitimate competition is one of the best way to ensure a healthy market, I hope the other dealers in Minnesota are successful in either getting the law repealed or, at a minimum, muted.

Scott Barman
Rockville, Md.

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