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Letters to the Editor (April 4, 2017)

Letters0404Drug store ad features 2017 cent without mintmark

A few weeks ago Numismatic News asked its readers if they would be looking out for the new 2017-P cents, the first Philadelphia cent to have the “P” mintmark. I was thinking, yes, I would be looking out for them, but more so I’d be looking out for a 2017 Philadelphia cent with the missing mintmark.

Lo and behold, I’ve found it, at least a picture of it. As you can see by the attached advertisement from Rite Aid drug store, the elusive no-“P” 2017 cent is making its circulation debut. Now all I have to do is keep a sharp eye open so that I can find mine and retire.

Gerald d’Aquin
Harvey, La.

Editor’s Note: Clearly they hadn’t gotten the memo about “P” mintmarks this year on Philadelphia coins when the ad was created.

 

ANA volunteers call Ocala Coin Club show a success

The Ocala Coin Club (www.ocalacoinclub.com) held its 34th annual coin show Feb. 2-4 at the Motel 6 Conference Center in Ocala, Fla. We want to thank the show chairman Rich Selvar, club president Lawrence McManus and the officers and members for providing a table for the American Numismatic Association. Our location at the front entrance was super, and we were able to sign up 20 new or renewing members, plus convert one to Life Membership. A special thanks to Professor Paul Chun from Gainesville, Fla., for donating $25 for the shipment of the coin show kit.

The Motel 6 Conference Center, located right off I-75, is a great location for the annual coin show. The convention center is well-lit and has free parking. The 53 dealers occupying 70 tables were kept busy by the 924 who registered for the event. Security was outstanding.

Much of the success is due to the 500 post cards sent out, local paid and free newspaper advertising and the numismatic press, including the free “local coin shows” ad in The Numismatist. The show is already sold out for next year’s event. The club is a 50-plus year member of the ANA.

The show featured free admission, wooden nickels, hourly silver coin prizes, an all-gold raffle and free coins for kids. The food vendor had outstanding selections and reasonable prices. The club had over 30 members assisting at registration, raffle sales, with many of them helping with setup and breakdown.

We look forward to next year’s Ocala Coin Club show, which is set for this same location on Feb. 1-3, 2018.

John and Nancy Wilson
ANA National Volunteers
Ocala, Fla.

 

Do albums exist for inaugural medals?

I was wondering if you could help me in locating albums to fill the presidential inaugural medals size 1-5/16. I have tried the U.S. Mint, to no avail. I am not sure who makes these albums. I purchased a set when I was in D.C. a while back with the album that contained presidents through Jimmy Carter, but now I have no filler sheets for the remaining presidents. Could you please inform me if these albums are available somewhere (blank albums or filler sheets)? Thank you.

Joe Aguiar
Address withheld

Editor’s Note: Any reader with a suggestion may email david.harper@fwmedia.com.

 

Use metal detector to determine cent composition

Regarding the story entitled “Search Goes on for Errors in Copper,” anyone who owns a metal detector could verify if a penny is copper or copper-plated zinc without relying on the coin’s weight.

The two types of cents have completely different electromagnetic signatures when scanned by a metal detector.

I hope that this information is useful.

Thank you for your time and understanding.

John C. Kozimbo
Westfield, N.J.

 

Comments on dime, Boys Town commem insightful

Your comments regarding the 1916-D Mercury dime in the March 7 NN were the most pragmatic and insightful observations I have seen in many years. Having collected at a relatively modest level since 1953, I never gave it much thought about who would find my mostly complete albums of 20th century circulated dimes, quarters and halves attractive when my heirs decide to sell. Like you pointed out, how many collectors are putting together sets of “modern” circulated dimes anymore? Not likely young collectors, and not likely advanced older collectors. So who are the collectors who would be most likely buyers of that F-VF 1916-D? I couldn’t begin to guess. My circulated Mercury set is still missing the 1916-D, but I’m satisfied with how far I got. As you also pointed out, I would be more apt to invest in a stand-alone slabbed AU or BU 1916-D dime than worry about that hole in my circulated album. Great observations, David!

Your comments about the Boys Town commemorative also hit home. In my case, I am confused as to why the mint so seldom advertises its commemorative issues to the public, apparently expecting collectors to be the ones to spread the word. As a veteran, none of my buddies ever knew of the U.S. Marine Corps commemorative when it was being sold. Other than collectors, how is the public supposed to know about the new U.S. Mint Boys Town or Lions silver commem? Does the Mint simply assume that collectors and dealers will always buy enough for it to make a profit, and any other buyers will be gravy?

Thanks for the good writing. I look forward to your comments in each issue. Makes me think.

Bruce Remick
Address withheld

 

There is collector market for acid-treated overdates

I must say that I am going to be jumping in on the fun with uncovering dates from dateless Buffalo nickels. I was recently at a coin show and one of my dealer friends had piles of bags of 100 dateless nickels ready to be hunted. In fact, he relayed to me that he had buckets of them at home and basically when his stock ran low, he would just count out 100 into a bag and sell them like that. Further, he told me that he loves the hunt as well. In fact, he had a 1918/7-D overdate that was acid-treated (muric acid poured into an old Frisbee, he told me was his method). He had this acid treasure encapsulated and certified as an overdate/acid-treated. I believe that he was selling it for about $200.

I recently searched eBay and indeed found many acid-treated overdates of this rarity for sale, and many of those were encapsulated and certified acid-treated/genuine overdates. So there is definitely a “collector” market out there for these coins.

So, enough of the harrumphs that acid-treating dateless Buffalo nickels is not coin collecting. It sure is! And there is a market for it. So get out there, and buy a bag of dateless nickels and happy hunting. It’s going be a grand ole time hunting!

On a more serious topic, you might ask your readers a poll question, “Do counterfeit coins kill the market demand for those same authentic coins because of buyer fear?”

Robert Matitia
Address Withheld

 

First attempt at acid treating yields surprise

I’ve been collecting since 1950 , but on a whim I bought some Nic-A-Date to try on five dateless nickels I had. The first one was a 1916, but the second one was a 1913, and turning it over I found an “S,” Type II. Talk about beginners’ luck! The third one was 1914, and the others were too far gone. Now to find some more anonymous nickels.

Bill Hainsworth
Seatac, Wash.

 

Blurring of lines between ANA, PNG raises concerns

It seems that the American Numismatic Association is near its next election of officers. All coin enthusiasts need to be informed about goals and objectives of the ANA and are they being met.

Recently, I have read input and feedback from collectors who have concerns that the ANA is falling short of representing its core members and even possibly deterring new – especially the youth. I must say that I too have seen things that might suggest that, and it is always good to look at a bit of history to get an enriched view of ongoing matters. A very brief look at numismatic history might give some insight.

Noticed over time the ANA leadership seems to have been penetrated and some say even dominated by PNG leadership. It is noted as well that the relationship of the ANA with the auction houses that ran the auctions for the ANA coin shows have also over the years increasingly benefitted the auction houses and not the ANA. Why is this and what is going on?

In the past, the ANA sought bids from different enterprises to run their auctions, taking in a modest percentage from the proceeds. This is a minor cost recovery today when you see that some auction houses charge 15 percent and even 20 percent* buyer premiums in addition to seller premiums of 5 percent for the coins they sold.

At some past time, the auction houses banded together so that there was no longer any bidding or competition to run the auctions and leveraged the ANA to only pay them a flat fee – a flat fee that is substantially less than the previously mentioned percentage and likely does not cover the full cost ANA incurs for having the auction in the first place.

Clearly the ANA board voted in favor of this and other changes, but what motivated them to take this loss? Was this a decision pushed by PNG/ANA board members? And, as far as I know, not one of the auction houses that bid for the ANA auctions in the past were other than PNG member. Shouldn’t this be a question on all ANA members’ minds and the appearance of a possible conflict of interest cause reservations?

In the March 7 edition of Numismatic News, I note a Viewpoint article by Mr. Matitia wherein he would ask certain questions of those running for ANA president. The question that caught my eye was where he wanted to know why “Mr. Ellis seems to have a beef with the PNG”.¹ He poses the question that perfectly illustrates the primary issue at hand, I think, that is the hobby ignorance of the history and possible conflict issues between ANA/PNG, which likely most ANA members are not even aware of or considered.

I will no doubt in the eyes of a few, inelegantly illustrate the issues, but attempt only some of them. There are likely more.

ANA regular membership can be had for as little as $14 to $28 per year.

PNG regular membership is $1,000 per year.

Elitism represented by the membership fees and requirements of PNG? It could be said that they want the coin collectors’ business but not their membership, as their regular membership also requires a certification that you have at a minimum a quarter of a million dollars in assets to join and it cannot at any time fall below this amount. “Provide a notarized statement from a certified public accountant that you meet or exceed the financial requirements of the PNG. Have a net worth at all times of at least $250,000”² By the way, this represents a decrease in their fees and requirements, as it was higher in the past.

I see no problem with PNG’s terms as they represent individuals who own businesses, and ANA is representing the hobbyist. It is the merging and blurring of the two that raises alarms.

It is clear that if you can afford and pass the PNG membership requirement, you might have greater assets than the average ANA member/hobbyist. It is also obvious that wealth can make for an uneven playing field when it comes to elections. Who do you think can spend more to campaign? Might this explain the many full-page candidate ads? Are these issues apparent to the average coin collector? My belief is there are a lot of ANA members who do not understand these and other issues and the uninformed nature of which likely influences their votes in a direction not serving to them.

Issue: ANA serves the coin collector hobby. PNG seems to serve big-dollar business. It is foolish to assume the goals and objectives of each are the same.

ANA elected officials who are not PNG members do not have the many possible conflict issues. ANA promotes the hobby.

PNG members elected to ANA posts might have conflict issues. PNG promotes their businesses.

A primary concern is the ANA Congressional charter and the blurring of the line with PNG that puts at risk this charter – if not outright, possible from actions of PNG members who also serve in elected positions with the ANA. You will have to look long and hard to find another hobby organization that has a Congressional charter.

Could PNG/ANA board members use their posts to better their personal business? I do not know, but again what is the appearance? Remember the ANA is non-profit 501(c)(3) and PNG is for business. (See ANA Charter, section 3, last line.³)

Illustrated potential conflict: PNG states, “PNG Advertises extensively to help create business for PNG members.”4 Remember the ANA auction question above? So, if you’re a past officer/member of the PNG now elected to the ANA and still a member of the PNG – where does your allegiance reside? Could this PNG cause endure among those in office, estranging ANA businesses that are not PNG members?

It is said that over time the ANA publication has moved away from the collector. Rarely are there articles on common collector coins, noting letters to the editor in both Numismatic News and The Numismatist declaring such. Numismatic News would be an exception, I think, as their pages are full of coins accessible to all. An examination of the ANA publication, you’ll see its pages flooded with the high roller to million dollar coins that are out of reach of average collectors, and many articles focus on foreign or ancient archaic coins. Is this because of the influence of the PNG members, over time, who were elected to the ANA? Does this high roller stuff dissuade new members? To me, I think there is a real possibility that this is true.

A recent new Young Numismatist ANA member told me that the hobby was too expensive for him to continue. When I asked why, he described all the expensive coins, way out of his reach, that were emphasized in the magazine. I gave him some insight on other options and a few Wheaties to send him on his way. But the point was made, only reinforcing the published concerns of others.

Going back to Mr. Matitia, he goes on to say, “Do you not think that the numismatic community needs to partner more and build bridges – in order to grow.”5 In asking such, he seems to suggest that PNG concerns are mutually exclusive conditions to each other. There is certainly a place for the ANA and PNG to work together to better the hobby – but not necessarily in a blurred amalgamation of activity where the appearance of conflict exists.

In my opinion, any person running for office in the ANA must pledge their allegiance to the ANA and void any other membership activity that has the appearance of conflict of interest. Additionally, stakeholders of coin businesses should put their business holdings into blind trusts for the duration that they hold office in the ANA, to again avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Clear and separate delineation of duties and responsibilities must be maintained, and when it comes to elected positions the ANA needs to enact oaths of allegiance wherein their goals and objectives come first when holding office – and violation results in disqualification from the position. I would bet that many of these PNG members would shy away from such if this were the requirements, but some would not – having no problem with such clear and unambiguous relationship. But is this likely to happen with PNG members on the ANA board?

So back to the beginning: elections for ANA positions are nearing. I would encourage ANA voting members to consider the few points I have tried to outline herein.

For me, my vote will always side where there is no hint of a conflict of interest.

Ronald Brown
Address withheld

Footnotes:
* Stacks Bowers: Collection & Accumulations Auction, Fed 21-22, 2017
1 Numismatic News: March 7, 2017 Viewpoint, pg.7
2 PNG web page: http://pngdealers.org/join-2/
3 ANA web page: https://www.money.org/about-ana/bylaws-code-of-ethics-charter
4 PNG web page: http://pngdealers.org/join-2/
5 Numismatic News: March 7, 2017 Viewpoint, pg.7

 

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