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This week’s letters

 

Legacy Set by denomination would be a hit
David Harper’s comments about the proliferation of “Mint products” in a recent issue of Numismatic News is right on target.
If the Mint would like to get my business I would suggest that they do a once a year “Legacy Set” by denomination (excluding gold issues) with a target release date of say every June so we can do Christmas and holiday shopping.
The sets would be authentic in terms of design and follow the exact technical specifications of the original. The designs would have an “identification marker” of sorts to prevent someone from passing the coin off as an original. I would suggest that the date on the legacy coin be the current year of issue.
Logically we would start with the half cent and cent denominations. The following year would be the “odd denominations” such as the 2- and 3-cent pieces. This would also include the 20-cent piece. The third year would cover the 5-cent denominations and so on.
It would be up to the Mint to print out a schedule or plan. In doing this they should consult with the hobby. Consultation is imperative. As a customer I want to make sure that the Mint is taking care of my concerns and wants. It’s really time for us the “customers” to speak up.
My reason for suggesting “Legacy Sets” is that collectors will for the most part never have an opportunity or resources to put together a true Legacy Set. Conversely, a modern “Legacy” issue by the Mint would be a pleasing part of my collection and something that I would want to prominently display.
So let’s give the Modern Commemorative Program and any other special issues a “time out” and roll back the clock with “Legacy Sets.” As I said, the Mint will get my business.
Robert S. “Bart” Bartanowicz
Venice, Fla.

Will collecting interest be passed down?
I read your latest article before we ate for the evening, and I pondered your comments about the future of numismatics.
Participation in all kinds of endeavors and interests is declining. That doesn’t mean they will vanish altogether. Every fraternal organization, every local service club organization, even churches, are experiencing loss of membership. That isn’t the end of the world, nor is it time to begin writing the obits.
What might happen is that coin collecting may continue through the age old event that occurs when grandpa reaches in his pocket and takes out a shiny penny or dime and gives it to his grandson or granddaughter. With a little encouragement from time to time with yet another coin or two, the youngster might just get interested enough to begin collecting. Since being a paper boy or girl is a thing of the past, that avenue for being exposed to quantities of coins is defunct.
What needs to change (of course from my point of view) are the coin “shows” that are nothing more than a gab session for the members while ignoring the general public who stop at their booth and are admiring a coin they might purchase. Since I’ve had the experience of being ignored by vendors, even when I’ve asked for information on a coin, then those deserve to go out of business at the first or earliest opportunity they encounter.
Unless the Mint goes to paper currency only, coins will be around far into the future just like those recently unearthed at a dig somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula. The question remains, will enough interest be passed down from the oldest to youngest generation?
Bob Brommer
Address withheld

Follow euro coin sizes and half dollar will circulate
A thought came to my mind the other day. (It was an unique experience, so I decided to write it down.)
Why doesn’t the half dollar circulate in Canada and the U.S. like it did 50 years ago? Could it be because one of the better U.S. presidents is on the face of the coin and is being hoarded because of it?
Wait! Canada’s regularly circulating 50-cent pieces there don’t have JFK on the obverse nor the reverse. They have HRH Elizabeth II and the Canadian arms on their coins. Could it be because of the silver in the circulating coin? No, the silver ran out in the 1960s for both Canada and the U.S.
The large “cartwheel” or “crown” size dollar coin is most likely the culprit. When the dollars in both the U.S. and Canada shrank to their current size and weight of about 8 grams, the half dollars stayed about the same size. Canadian “half dollars” didn’t appear until the mid-1800s, but they still reflect the U.S. half dollars in both size and approximate weight. Therefore, it creates confusion as to which coin is a dollar, because the 50 cents is larger than the small dollar and Canada’s Loonie. A recent firsthand experience proved that.
I bought a 50-cent item at my local grocery store and used a copper-nickel JFK half dollar for the purchase. The young clerk quickly glanced at the coin and gave me two quarters for change. When I told the clerk I had given exact change, she replied, “No, you gave me a big dollar with Kennedy on it.” I gave her back the quarters she had given me and told her to check the coin I had given her again. So, confusion as to whether it’s a half dollar or dollar might be one reason why the half dollar doesn’t circulate among the younger generation.
Since the advent of the vending machine requesting 50 cents or more for some of its contents, manufacturers somehow decided not to make a slot big enough to accept the half dollar for some reason. Since the creation of the “small” dollar, modern vending machines and transportation kiosks are made to accept coins from 5 cents to one dollar, except the half dollar. For an item or fare costing $2, wouldn’t it be easier to count four half dollars than eight quarters?
When the euro came out, the European countries developed the euro coins in a somewhat ascending order of denomination depending on the coin’s value. The lower values are minted in copper-plated steel. At 10 cents euro, the composition changes to a different alloy and the values increase in diameter up to 24.25 mm.
The 50 cents euro coin is the largest at that diameter, smaller than a U.S. or Canadian half dollar at 30.6 mm. True, the 50 cents euro is larger than the 1 euro coin, but the 1 euro coin is bimetalic and distinguishable from the “half euro.” Currently, all euro denominations circulate and are accepted in commerce freely in Europe.
Perhaps if we (Canada and the U.S.) revised our coins like that of the euro, the half dollar (50 cents piece) may just circulate in commerce once again, as it did 50 or so years ago.
William B. Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Original packaging helps when ready to sell coin
David A. Martens and Earl Scharf (letters posted online Sept. 18) raise some interesting points about the value of the packaging for U.S. Mint products.
Based on my experience, the original packaging for all modern U.S. Mint coins should be retained, even if you have the coin graded, and especially if not.
Proof or mint sets that do not have the certificate of authenticity and original box, or as Mr. Martens notes modern commemorative coins, are all worth less on the wholesale and retail market, so they all really do have commercial value.
Not long ago I showed a graded gold coin to a dealer and he said he would give me an additional $25 if I brought in the original box and papers.
The market clearly does place a value on original Mint packaging, whether or not that seems justified to some individual collectors.
For storage purposes many people take their coins out of the boxes to make it easier to store the coin in a safe or safety deposit box, but I would suggest holding on to the packaging in case you decided to sell the item.
Louis Golino
Address withheld

Buff, replace scratched coin holders
Awhile back someone wrote a letter asking what to do about scratches on coin holders. If the holders are solid plastic ones, such as the ones that grading services use, then there are at least two options.
If the scratches are small then they can sometimes be polished off using a jeweler’s rouge or polishing cloth. I’ve been successful using that method. This may require some strenuous buffing by hand. If the scratches still remain then another choice is to get a new holder.
For one example, the PCGS grading service will re-holder a coin from an old PCGS holder for $12 to $20. Dealers usually can help with coin submissions. A regular new grading typically costs from $20 to $45 depending on the type and estimated value of the coin.
If your coin is not certified and not in a sonic-sealed holder then most coin dealers can locate and sell you a non-scratched replacement holder. It is up to each collector to decide if replacing a holder is worth the cost.
G. Perman
California

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