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Letters to the Editor (Aug. 29, 2017)

Kimberly S. Kiick, ANA Executive Director (photo courtesy www.money.org)

Kiick receives warm welcome in Quebec

This past July had Kimberly S. Kiick, the energized American Numismatic Association executive director, attending and sharing our world of money hobby with our northern neighbors at the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association Convention, outside of Montreal, Quebec, at Boucherville, in the heart of French-speaking Canada.

This was Kim’s first venture north, and she quickly joined into the fellowship and fun that characterize Royal Canadian Numismatic Association annual gatherings. She attended events, meetings and shared meals with others.

Kim was always upbeat, with a smile, and ready to answer questions. She joined Paul R. Johnson, current Royal Canadian Numismatic Association executive secretary, “Doctor” Lloyd G. Chan and myself for a nice Sunday, July 24, dinner at an upscale nearby bistro, hosted by renowned error coin scholar, Alexander B. “Xan” Chamberlain. Over good food and nice libations, all non-alcoholic (LOL), we talked away about our hobby, the future and the issues confronting both the RCNA and ANA. Kim listened, exchanged, and readily replied.

Kim learned that the RCNA’s advantage is its smaller size, creating time and opportunities to meet and to mingle.

Paul noted that she wrote copious notes during working sessions and official exchanges, and her public remarks promoted our world of money hobby across borders.

The RCNA and convention attendees readily welcomed her, beginning with the opening Thursday, July 20, Canadian Association For Numismatic Education Reception (CAFNE), attended by nearly 100 and raising within two hours, $9,000-plus, tabulated in both Canadian and United States dollars.

For reference, it should be reported that one of the major influences in CAFNE’s financial success was the generous inducement by Chamberlain.

For myself, it was a pleasure and joy to have some opportunities to enhance and to enthrall our hobby with Kim across the northern border. Thanks, Kim. Best wishes always.

Michael S. Turrini
Vallejo, Calif.

 

Rise in postal rates evident with or without cent

I had to chuckle a little when I read one writer’s letter to the editor in the June 27 issue. The commentator was worried that postal rates will go up to 60 cents after the demise of the cent.

As a philatelist (stamp collector) as well as a numismatist, I can assure that reader that the postal rates will go up regardless of whether there is a cent or not. And, yes, it will eventually rise to 60 cents, but not right away.

From 1847, when the first U.S. stamp was printed, until around 1958, postal rates for “first class” (regular domestic) mail, were fairly stable. Since the 1960s, the postal rate began climbing very slowly, starting from 3 cents to 4 cents. Today, it costs 49 cents to mail a letter within the U.S. and its territories. Yes, there will be another rate hike within a few years, but – if the cent is gone by then – it won’t jump up 11 cents to 60 cents.

If you want a hedge against that big “jump,” buy all the Forever stamps you can afford now. Ten years ago, I bought a whole bunch of Forever Liberty Bell stamps for 41 cents a stamp. The Forever stamp is good for first class mailings, whatever the postage rate is, forever. (That 41 cent Liberty Bell Forever stamp will pay for the 49-cent postage rate today.)

In the past, the rate has gone up steadily, only by a few cents every time. Should the cent be discontinued, the worst case scenario is that the rates would climb in 5-cent increments.

Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio


Mint missed opportunity by making anniversary set clad

Well, the U.S. Mint has done it again. It has blundered terribly with the issuance of a clad – not silver, ouch! – 225th Anniversary Special Finish “Enhanced Uncirculated” Coin Set issued by the San Francisco Mint. This year’s 225th anniversary could have been a real opportunity and sales and marketing success by issuing this set (half, quarter, dime) in silver. Further, the West Point Mint should have issued these in silver with a “W” mintmark.

That would give this set special collector value for thrice reasons: (1) circulating type issued coinage from the West Point Mint with a “W” mintmark, (2) in silver and (3) “limited” mintage of 225,000, household limit of one (at the beginning) would probably have been the sweet spot to ensure that everyone could get a set from the Mint and then could be opened up, say, after three weeks to orders of, say, five per household, etc.

Further, the Mint does a very, very poor job of communicating releases and new products to the public with sufficient details. I am on their email and mail distributions and, although I do read everything that they send to me, it seems it is sparse in details. In comparison with the multitude of ecommerce emails that I receive from private mints and other dealers, their efforts sadly fall very short. The U.S. Mint is obviously the largest and most powerful mint in the world … but they sure act like that they are below private and literally third-world mints in product development and marketing. I wonder all the time (not just sometimes) if the U.S. Mint officials and staff are actually in the numismatics business or the buggy whip business, as they might as well be.

As for me, since this set is a clad set, I have zero desire to purchase this from the Mint. Maybe the Mint should hire me to consult with them on their products and marketing plans to help vet ideas and satisfy what the market really wants. I would be happy to do so as a supplement to my hobby.

If you have ever been to a coin show or your local coin shop, you will see stockpiles of clad proof and mint sets from 1971 to current that nobody wants for pennies on the dollar of original issue price. Maybe they are OK for stocking stuffers or children’s educational gifts to get kids involved in numismatics. Otherwise, they are just plain junk.

Robert Matitia
Address Withheld

 

Hard to collect Presidential dollars with no end in sight

When the 50 state quarters began, the majority of those who chose to collect them had the reasonable expectation that they would be around to collect the last versions produced to complete the set.

The same could be said about the National Park quarter series.

However, that cannot be said of the Presidential dollar series.

Why did we start the program? (Legislation that probably wasn’t even read comes to mind.) Regardless, the program was doomed from the start. There are only select presidents that are even liked. Most already enjoy a home on coins and paper money. Second, there were too many of the coins produced. How many vending machines accept dollar coins? Operators of these machines that want the consumers’ money need to make their machines accept whatever the consumer has in their pocket (aside from lint and 1-cent coins, of course). If your machine accepts both paper dollars and coin dollars, yet your competitor only takes paper, which machine will you buy from if you are really thirsty or in need of a candy bar?

The Treasury knows that consumers prefer the paper dollar and should only issue as many dollar coins as are needed. There were enough Susan B. Anthony dollars issued in 1979-1980 to last until 1999 before more needed to be produced. The government didn’t learn their lesson by producing so many Presidential dollars. Especially, when many of the presidents on these coins were and are not even liked.

And lastly, the big question is this: Will anyone, ever, be able to complete the Presidential dollar coin series?

Effectively, as of 2016, the program is over. That is, until one of the living presidents passes on. How many coin collectors has Carter outlived? If no one can assemble the entire set, I have to ask why even start?

For the few (44 in total, thus far) that have held the office, why not issued dollars coins in a set (since they currently don’t even circulate) for Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, Obama and Trump?

To distinguish that they were issued while the president (or former president) was still living, they could easily have a different reverse design of the White House or the Presidential Seal.

If the sets are broken open, these coins would still be considered legal tender. We don’t need any fights. Since these coins would not be regular issue, rather circulating commemoratives, they would be acceptable to spend. People might know the difference but a vending machine wouldn’t spit the coin out because of a political party.

Collectors would then be able to have a full set. And every time there is a presidential election, where a new president is elected, a new coin would be issued and added to our coin sets.

Imagine the intrigue of seeing the possible dollar coins for those in the race.

If this idea was in place in 2016, coin publications like NN would have been showing what the Trump, Clinton, Johnson and Stein dollar coins would have looked like.

Note: Liking one design over another is not a good reason to pick a candidate.

One last note: Re-election may get you a second inaugural medal, but not a second dollar coin. Outside of Grover Cleveland, no one else gets but one.

Wayne Pearson
Union City, Ind.

 

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

 

More Collecting Resources

• More than 600 issuing locations are represented in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800 .

• When it comes to specialized world paper money issues, nothing can top the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Specialized Issues .

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