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This week’s letters (01/29/13)

 

Keep an eye out for Maple Leaf cents in U.S. coin rolls
The Canadian cent has now passed into history. The Royal Canadian Mints have quit making cents for circulation. The government bank is culling them in as the coins are being sent back to the banks as parts of business deposits. Slowly, the Canadian cent will disappear from circulation, perhaps showing up again as old collectors die off and their heirs unknowingly push them out into circulation.
Both the United States and Canada have discretely exchanged cents since the size of the Canadian cent was reduced in 1920. Therefore, many Canadian cents have found their way into rolls of U.S. cents, as I’m sure U.S. cents have been mixed in Canadian rolls. Therefore, since the Canadian Maple Leaf cents are deemed obsolete like the U.S. Wheat Back is, it may behoove the cent-roll searcher to look for Maple Leaf cents as well as Wheat Backs and whatever. Perhaps not now, but later on Canadian cents may become worth something, numismatically speaking.
Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

Reader resolves to give up cents, nickels in new year
Regarding this nonsense about pennies and nickels, I have made a new year’s resolution to simply not accept either coin in change. That is, if my groceries cost $65.51, then I will pay $65.60, or a candy bar costing 86 cents will now cost me 90 cents. But what a relief; no more cents or nickels anymore.
Let’s see, that amounts to a loss of 40 cents per week or $20 per year. Hooray, it’s well worth the meager loss in that, as a taxpayer, it’s costing me – the government – 2 cents to make a 1-cent coin and 10 cents to make a nickel. Do you get my drift?
Don Yeier
Candor, N.Y.

Finds stress importance of informing family members
Coin collecting is a hobby to me, something that gets my mind off the stressful events of the world. I usually enjoy reading the “Letters” in Numismatic News, but the Jan. 8, 2013, edition gave me pause. I sometimes look through pocket change to see what I might find, but finding proof half dollars in a roll or 3,000 wheat pennies in several rolls from the bank as two readers reported, well to me that just means some poor collector died and his kids or significant others did not know the value of what he had and just cashed it in at the bank for face value.
It is a reminder to us all that while we may enjoy certain items, we need to make sure our loved ones know the value of what we have. If you don’t trust family/friends with that knowledge while you are alive, you should take steps so that they will quickly become aware upon your passing or at least impress upon them to check the value before just taking them to the bank. Of course, if you don’t care, others will enjoy finding your former collection in rolls at the bank or in pocket change.
Tom Ray
Woodbridge, Va.

Mint product offerings seem to be motivated by greed
I went along with the “S” mint circulated quarters last year and purchased a roll of each even if it made little financial sense. I figured they introduced the “S” mint circulated cents too late for inclusion in the three-coin quarter set that includes an “S” mint proof with the Denver and Philadelphia mint circulated quarters. I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
I just checked the product schedule for 2013 on the U.S. Mint’s website, and they have chosen to exclude the “S” mint circulated quarter in the three-coin quarter sets for 2013!
What genius decided to continue this assault on a coin collector’s purchasing power? Please explain to me why a proof “S” mint coin is in a circulating quarters set instead of the “S” mint quarter that has to be purchased by the roll for $18.95 at the very minimum. The only answer I can come up with is greed.
If you think back to the end of last year, they offered a special silver mint set that could be bought for $20 more than the coins would cost individually. Nothing new, just the packaging. Again, the only rational explanation for this product I can come up with is greed. If the correct answer is not greed, than it must be stupidity.
The U.S. Mint needs to look at what happened to baseball cards in the 1990s. People stopped collecting sets as more and more expensive products flooded the market. They then started collecting players. Finally, they stopped collecting altogether, and trading card companies with the exception of a very few went out of business due to a lack of buyers.
If the U.S. Mint values the income it derives from collectors, it should seriously learn from the trading card experience; more of the same packaged differently is not necessarily better.
Tim Breslin
Address withheld

Eliminate cent, but use its composition for 5-cent coin
I just received the Jan. 8, 2013, issue of Numismatic News and I am writing about the article on Page 43, “Mint profits from coins dropping,” by Debbie Bradley. Listed in the article is the 2012 cost of minting cents through the dollar coins.
Since the Mint is losing money on the cent, which costs 2 cents to make, and the nickel, which costs 10 cents to make, I believe that it would be feasible to eliminate the current nickel composition completely and do away with the penny altogether, and have the current composition for the cent, copper-coated zinc, remade into a 5-cent coin being the same size it currently is at a cost of 2 cents and save the cost of the nickel, which is 10 cents.
This would mean that all coins made at the Mint would be profitable for the Mint. There has been much talk in the past of eliminating the cent altogether, and I see my solution as a viable way to conserve metal and reduce the cost of minting coins for circulation. The 1-cent being eliminated will work with few problems in the marketplace. As is always the case, the cost of minting is always on the rise, so why not take a stand now to eliminate two losses.
New cost of the nickel would be 2 cents, the dime would be 5 cents, the quarter would be 11.3 cents and the dollar coin would be 22 cents. So $1.40 in coinage (nickel, dime, quarter and dollar coin) would cost the Mint a total of 40.3 cents.
Joseph deRochemont
Concord, Calif.

Alter cent design, and inflate its value to 3 cents
During this last year I read a Viewpoint in Numismatic News on the “logic” of bringing a 3-cent coin into the fold for our American coinage. I loved the idea but, alas, it would have come at the expense of the beloved Lincoln cent and Jefferson nickel. Not to mention the lower cent values that could not be attained by the 3-cent, 10-cent combinations. I believe there are nine of these values between 1 cent and 17 cents.
I have an improvement on the 3-cent idea. In the Jan. 8, 2013, Numismatic News, you state in the “Class of ’63” article that the current cent costs 2 cents to make as recently reported to Congress. Why not have lawmakers legislate that our current Lincoln cent be “inflated” to a valuation of 3 cents as compared to current cent metal composition value of 2 cents? Accompanied by a change in the Lincoln cent’s obverse and reverse designs to a distinctive “feel” for our blind citizens.
Also, I would thin out the Jefferson nickel thickness to 1.35 mm, the same thickness as the Roosevelt dime. This way the Jefferson nickel would be intrinsically valued at about 3.5 cent. In addition the Mint would save money by purchasing more of the same sheet thickness they are currently using.
Therefore, we could save the Lincoln and Jefferson coins and their designs. Their metal values would be favorable to produce. Now to mention the nine lower cent values that could not be made is reduced to only four. These four values are 1, 2, 4 and 7 cents.
I believe the vending machine interests would see just minor changes to the proposed 5-cent coin thickness reduction and programming changes needed due to the value of the proposed Lincoln 3-cent piece.
Vince Amarosa
Address withheld

Listings in Coin Market, Red Book not consistent
A few days ago I went on my usual bank trips searching for rolls of the new Denali quarters. None found yet even though they were released early November. I thought I’d ask the tellers for some JFK halves so it wouldn’t be a totally wasted trip. Most of them were pretty beat up. No silver.
When I roll search or look through pocket change, I usually reach for the bible, the Red Book. I happened to open the Coin Market pages of Numismatic News instead as it was handy. Comparing the two listings, between Numismatic News and the Red Book under Kennedy halves, I noticed 1982-P “no initials FG” in NN but not in the Red Book. So how come that isn’t listed in the Red Book? If you’re looking for a good JFK half, that’s the one to find!
I was looking at another category of coins last night and noticed some entries in the Red Book which were not in the Numismatic News. I guess there is variability between the two resources. Looks as if now I’m going to have to look at both references when I search through pocket change. It would be nice if one were more authoritative.
Anne Burke
Boston, Mass.

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