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Letters to the Editor (10/14/14)

Thoughts on repros and coins on television

I read in the comics of the Cleveland Plain Dealer about computers that are programmed to make copies of various objects such as organs for transplanting.

The thought occurred to me that one might do as much with coins. Perhaps the 1913 (Liberty) nickel could be duplicated.

If the 1933 Saint-Gaudens could be duplicated then they would not be considered stolen and therefore would be legal to own.

How about the 1822 $5 gold piece and the Eliasberg Collection perhaps in plastic? It is something to think about.

Buy the U.S. Paper Money Collector Value Pack and save money to buy paper money for your collection!

Buy the U.S. Paper Money Collector Value Pack and save money to buy paper money for your collection!

I particularly am enarmored with early Bust dollars and pattern coins and would enjoy well made replicas.

I remember the “Hawaii 5-0” program on the 1913 Liberty nickel. A writer mentioned a “Dennis the Menace” program involving a 1916-D dime. What was not mentioned was a “My Three Sons” episode involving a 1914-D cent that one of the kids lost and accused someone of taking, but relocated it.

Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio

Central States board now represents whole country

I am enclosing a letter that I recently sent to Bruce Perdue, president of the Central States Numismatic Society raising a concern I have relative to the governance of that organization.

I recently renewed my membership in the Central States Numismatic Society and wanted to take a few minutes to share with you something about your organiazation that I have long found to be a troubling anomaly. Your governing documents restrict service on your board to individuals who reside within the so-called central states region. While this might have made some sense many years ago when the Central States Numismatic Society really was nothing more than a regional organization, over the past decade or more, especially as your convention has become a far more important part of the numismatic scene than it once was, I simply fail to understand how this arbitrary restriction any longer makes sense.

The Central States Numismatic Society has grown to become an organization of national importance. A majority of your convention booths are purchased by dealers from outside the region that bears your name. Your official auction company is from outside the region. While I can’t be certain, I would hazard an educated guess that more than half of your income and financial support comes from outsidethe CSNS region. In fact, I understand that upwards of 40 percent of your members reside outside your 13 states.

Can you explain to me how it improves our organization by excluding so many of your members from an opportunity to participate in our governance? Probably a good portion of the outside members are professional numismatists who would be especially well qualified to serve on your board, yet your archaic eligibility rules exclude this considerable talent pool. While this may enhance the election prospects of the remaining group your rules arbitrarily favor, I would be interested in hearing from you or other members of your board as to just how this serves the overall interests of your membership.

Lucien Birkler
West Haven, Conn.

Roosevelt dollar portrait looks more like actor

I agree with Dave Harper that the likeness of President Franklin Roosevelt that appears on the new dollar coin doesn’t look much like him. To me it looks like actor Edward Herrmann who played him in two outstanding mini-series of the 1970s, “Eleanor and Franklin” and “Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.”

Walter Scheid
Hermitage, Pa.

How about a gold Morgan silver dollar in 2015?

In the Aug. 12 issue you ask “What should be struck in gold next?”

A gold Morgan dollar.

Let’s call it a missed opportunity. 2015 would a great time to represent a gold Morgan dollar by designer George T. Morgan.

I look forward to reading about its progress in the numismatic press.

J.G. Young
Moreno Valley, Calif.

Coin collecting follows path of baseball card hobby

I see the coin collecting hobby going down the same path as the baseball card hobby. I have been a collector since the 1960s.

What a low blow to the average collector the U.S. Mint has done with preferential coin sales at these coin shows. This will cause some people to stop collecting period.

You can’t blame them. This definitely will have an effect on the hobby. I for one will not buy anymore of their junk products.

Tom Kinzer
Chitina, Alaska

Political message stamped on $1 Federal Reserve Note

I have been watching my pocket change and paper money for the last 15 or so years. I’ve gotten a lot of coins in BU to fill holes and 30 or 35 star notes, $1-$20.

But I got my first political stamp note. It is a $1 stamped “Cuomo Must Go! Your Vote Counts.” Date was 2009.

Ray Hunsinger
Owego, N.Y.

Where are the humans when you need help?

I felt it necessary to thank Anne Burke for her thougtful letter in the Aug. 5 issue.

Advice to take care of her banking problem: join a credit union where you can still talk to human tellers and others who helpfully take care of your business needs.

Regarding some 800 number calls to corporations or government: They think if you listen to recordings that solves all. In fact, many times those recordings do not cover the reason you are calling and it’s almost impossible to talk to a human.

Why isn’t one recording option press whatever so one can talk to a human to start solving a request or problem?

Leo G. Schmidt
Glidden, Wis.

Rural New York a good place to look at change

In the Aug. 26 issue in “Coin Clinic” a reader asked about collector coins in circulation. I would like to let you and others know what I have received out of circulation in the last three years.

I live in a very rural area of New York, 25 miles north or south of the nearest city.
I have received the following from banks, shopping, etc.:

First and foremost was an 1857 Flying Eagle in VF, two Walking Liberty 50 cents, four Ben Franklin 50 cents, four Washington 25 cents, two Mercs, three Roosevelts, a 1938 Jeff, seven wartime silver Jeffs, eight 1964 Kennedys, no less than 10 Kennedy 40-percent 50 cents, 12 Ikes, an Indian Head cent, Indian Head nickel, also five $1 star notes, two $20 star notes, two $50 star notes, one 1963 Barr $1 along with most issue dates of modern $1 and $2 notes, lacking only the “J” in the $2 series.

Thanks for letting me share. I’ve been at it for 66 years. I started in 1947 at age 5. Happy collecting.

William B. Kelly
Address withheld

Auctioning off duplicates supplements coin finds

I agree totally with R. Gossard in his Aug. 26 “Viewpoint.” Collecting lower grade coins is very worthwhile. Just to assemble a complete set of any coin group you choose is rewarding and a challenge and can be profitable as well.

Over the years of collecting, I  have upgraded many of my coins with better coins found at a show or auction when I could afford them.

I’m not wealthy, but I have done quite well selling the extras at auction, thus allowing me a bigger budget to buy more coins.

For those of us who cannot afford only Mint State coins and would rather spend the enjoyable time searching as good activity, to me this is collecting.

Don Vanderheiden
Address withheld

Circulation finds opened doors to wide collecting

In the Aug. 26 “Viewpoint” written by R. Gossard I was pleased to read that someone else shared my views. To elaborate on this, I belive that numismatics and history are closely related.

I started collecting as a child by trying to fill a Lincoln cent book from pocket change and after serving in the military during the Viet Nam war and getting married to a great lady and raising three wonderful childrwen continued trying to fill nickel, dime and quarter books with pocket change, never thinking I would ever purchase a coin for more than face value due to limited funds.

Then in the late 1980s I started to seriously collect coins that eventually led to paper money, foreign coins and currency, tokens, wooden nickels, sales tax tokens OPA tokens, MPCs, notgeld, encased coins, transportation tokens and even play money.

I am retired now and can afford to purchase more expensive coins if I so choose.

During the past 25 to 30 years I would spend one to two hours in coin shops and three to four hours at coin shows searching for those elusive coins I did not have and listening and talking to the dealers, all the while getting knowledge about coins and other numismatic items.

I also subscribed to numerous numismatic publications and purchased a considerable amount of books.

I have never purchased a numismatic item expecting to make a lot of money on it, but did so because I liked it and never paid more for an item that I thought either myself or children would be able to sell it for someday.

As a child I remember the excitement of opening a pack of baseball cards and finding a Hank Aaron or Mickey Mantle. This is the same excitement that I get when I find a numismatic item I have been searching for or a new item like a sales tax token and then researching them to see what they are and why they were used and who issued them.

Also finding MPC in a dealer’s shop and not knowing what it was (as we never used them when I was stationed in Germany) and then doing research on them, which led to learning about notgeld and conentration camp money and then the excitement of finding a German 5- mark prisoner of war note issued in 1917.

I do not profess to be an expert on anything but the information and knowledge I have received by listening to dealers and other collectors and by reading as many books and magazines as I could are invaluable to me. All of this was made possible because of the time I spent searching low grade to fine coins.

If I had been only interested in collecting slabbed coins, would I have learned anything about grading? Probably not, as it is already done for you. Would I have gained all of the knowledge I have about the history of numismatics or our country? Probably not.

Would I have enjoyed many times over the excitement that I had as a child collecting baseball cards? Probably not.

I tend to view the purchasing of slabbed coins as being done by investors rather than by collectors, although some would disagree with me. If I had only been interested in slabbed coins I would not have been able to purchase very many. If no one was interested in lower grade coins, then numismatics would still be called the hobby of kings.

This is why I believe that you should collect what you like and can afford and by doing so anyone can become a numismatist and be able to have a real passion for this great hobby of ours.

P. Quist
Waterloo, Iowa

Sacagawea dollar changes color as it circulates

I have a 2000-P Sacagawea dollar (first year of mintage) that I got from my bank. When I compared it to the Mint State version that I have in my collection I noticed a marked difference.

While the 2000 Mint State dollar still has a gold hue, the circulated dollar was reduced to a yellowish-gray.

I understand that, sadly, these coins are not generally being circulated in regular change, which in itself is another topic.

But are the ones that are circulating fated to become the gray dollar? And why is the golden hue vanishing?

Dean Treadway
Knoxville, Tenn.

Editor’s note: The Sacagawea dollar is fated to go brown as Lincoln cents go brown from exposure to the air and to wear. The coin is 88.5 percent copper, not much less than the old 95 percent copper cent.

Celebrate Kennedy’s birth centennial in 2017

I just came across your March 18 edition. I was a union printer for 50 years and got scooped by Mr. Remick of Springfield, Va.

He stated, “Celebrate Kennedy’s birth, not death.” That was and is a mouthful.

We campaigned extensively for JFK. The United States and Russia stood toe to toe. Thank God he was President at that time. Khruschev blinked.

If anyone else was President we would all be crispy critters I’m sure. The entire world held its breath.

In anticipation of a super-duper 50- cent piece for 2014 I really overbought from the U.S. Mint.

To make matters worse, for four and a half days I tried to contact the U.S. Mint for Hall of Fame baseball coins. No luck.

The U.S. Mint has a chance to vindicate itself. Let the year Kennedy was assassinated be overshadowed by the year of his birth. If it wasn’t for JFK, we would not be here. 100 years after his birth is three years away, 2017.

I tip my hat to the U.S. Greatest Generation.

Clifford Kos
Dudley, Mass.

Why not expand collector offerings in 2016?

Kennedy set good idea. 2016 100th anniversary Walking Liberty better idea. And why not Standing Liberty quarter and Mercury dime?

Steve Fowler
Chapmanville, W.Va.

Uneven page alignment accounts for different price

I recently have gotten back into collecting again, concentrating on key dates, but even Numismatic News is confusing.

In the Aug. 5 issue while trying to gauge a price on a 1932-D Washington quarter, which I grade AU-50, on Page 35 under “Coin Market at a Glance” it lists a price of $720 while on Page 54 under “Coin Market,” the same coin, same condition the price is $440.

How can I gauge what to pay?

Steven Pierce
Bronx, N.Y.

Editor’s note: It looks like a binding issue  disrupted the line of prices across the two pages. The $720 price is for an 1892-O Barber half dollar. Sorry for confusing you.

Celebrate Kennedy’s birth centennial in 2017

I was looking forward to purchasing the 50th anniversary four-coin Kennedy half dollar set until I saw the price. The set is not worth $100.

If this was a limted mintage set I might consider it, but unfortunately, I’m sure the mintage will be quite high, which will hurt the secondary market value.

The U.S. Mint has become very greedy, so they overprice everything they sell.

Unfortunately, as long as collectors continue to pay the high prices, the Mint will continue to overprice everything.

It was not that long ago when you could buy a proof set for $12.95 or a proof silver Eagle for $23 postpaid.

In 2013 I purchased the West Point two-coin silver Eagle set for $140. I now regret buying it since the mintage was so high and the set is now worth less than I paid for it.

I am 70 years old and have been a collector for over 50 years, but the U.S. Mint’s products have become too expensive.

Donald Hansen
Ashville, N.C.

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