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Letters to the Editor (12/23/14)

Time for Miss Liberty to put on some modern duds

In reference to Viewpoint by Aron Lawrence in the Nov. 18 issue, I would heartily agree with the idea he proposed of new designs for our coinage.

Everyone loves the Standing Liberty quarter, the Morgan dollar, the Peace dollar and the Walking Liberty half, so why not marry Miss Liberty to a new design to reflect the true values of the United States: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; a design to reflect current styles and tastes?

The five volumes listing the latest foreign coin values - the pinnacle of every coin reference library - are now offered as a special package.

The five volumes listing the latest foreign coin values – the pinnacle of every coin reference library – are now offered as a special package.

As for the nickel, I would suggest the American Mustang horse. At the rate the Bureau of Land Management is rounding them up, they will be extinct before the next decade arrives. As the American buffalo goes, so go the Mustangs.

Our dead Presidents have served our coinage well. It is time to retire their images to the documentaries we see on TV and the history books.

We have in this great country talented artists who could come up with beautiful designs that would not only be practical to mint, enjoyable to circulate, but inspire new and old coin collectors.

Let’s put Miss Liberty back on our coin in new, modern, elegant design.

Evelyn Cunningham
Placerville, Calif.

Mint got it right with silver four-coin Kennedy set

The Mint scored A+++ with the lovely Kennedy four-coin silver set. It was the lovliest thing I ever received from the Mint and I received it in record time in only a matter of less than a week since I called it in.

It is far nicer than the five-coin 2011 silver Eagle anniversary set since it is more affordable and they do not have a limited mintage that sells out in one day and the greedy coin dealers could sell for exhorbitant prices.

This set is one for the people to have and to enjoy. It is so educational. It tells everything about the history of how the Kennedy half came into being as well as the different finishes a coin can have. It is a real gem for beginning collectors and I hope a lot are sold for presents to young people for Christmas. It’s the best item the Mint came up with in many years if ever.

I am eagerly anticipating a similar 2015 Barber half coin set to commemoratie the 100th year of the final year of the Barber half dollar. Like the Kennedy half, it is a beautiful coin design and the reverse eagles are similar to each other. The Barber historical set should really give our hobby a shot in the arm.

In 2016 we could have a 100th anniversary Walking Liberty half dollar set, too, so then we would have three lovely half dollar sets, a Kennedy, Barber and Walking Liberty. Maybe someday there could be a Franklin, too.

The gold Kennedy does not excite me. It is a contrived gimmick for wealthy collectors and I believe its popularity and novelty will fade. What might be made in gold would be the Native American Sacagawea dollar series. The designs are so lovely that these should be popular either in gold or silver.

Perhaps a yearly silver Sacagawea set can be issued just like the Kennedy set.

I don’t understand the problem with Kennedy’s hair in 1964. The coin was natural. Over the years, the hair became artificial looking. I am glad they returned it to the original style. The same thing happened to Gobrecht’s 1836 Seated Liberty design. Mutilated versions appeared on future Seated Liberty issues that were nothing like the original.

I feel now the Mint has finally done something in the right direction. Perhaps coin sets could be sold in all denominations featuring the different strikes, for example, a four-coin Lincoln set, a Jefferson set and so forth.

I also ordered a Teddy Roosevelt educational coin packet from the Mint with the history of Roosevelt. This is another plus. The Mint should do more of these with other Presidents, such as Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy.

Now it seems the Mint is finally doing things right, but they still have a long way to go. One example is selling trial strikes like Canada does so on can learn how a coin comes into being by observing its prototypes.

Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio

Let’s keep enjoying Cliff Mishler’s columns

I sent you a letter a while back when Roy Herbst was crying about what Cliff Mishler was always eating. You put it in Letters.

In the Nov. 11 issue, Bob Atwater is now doing the same.

A letter written to me by Mr. Mishler states, “I truly enjoy the individuals I’ve interacted with and the experiences shared, be they conventions,/shows, travel or dining. My philosophy in framing the contents of the commentaries as published has from the beginning been to inform, educate and entertain.”

I hope Mr. Atwater gets it.

To everyone who enjoys Cliff’s reasoning, keep enjoying it. To the ones who don’t, get over it.

If you don’t get it, read it again. Then if you don’t get it, read it again.

To Mr. Mishler: Keep doing what you’re doing. I might go to some of the shows you attend and I’ll know where to go to get a good meal.

That’s what you call informing people.

Mike Heller Sr.
Mount Morris, Ill.

Best luck with Mint since  1964 proof set purchase

The Kennedy silver set went on sale at noon Oct. 28. I got through at 12:30 p.m. I was prepared for an hour of redialing.

That was lucky stroke number one. On Oct. 30 the mail carrier left what appeared to be a book in my mailbox. Upon second looked, I realize it was not a book but the half dollar set I had just ordered only 48 hours earlier.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the coins. The only word that comes to mind was “wow.”

I have a set of coins that is truly first day of issue. In my 55 years of collecting, this is the first time I have been this lucky except maybe the 1964 proof sets I spent my paper route mony on and received about three weeks later.

With this kind of luck, maybe I should consider boing to Biloxi and hitting the casinos.

Nah, no need to push it.

Richard Holton
Petal, Miss.

Uncirculated term confuses Mint State definition

In the Nov. 11 issue of Numismatic News, Mr. Fazzari poses the question, “How do you account for non-wear?”

Permit me to pose this question: “How do you account for a coin that has wear on its design that has been graded as uncirculated or Mint State?”

I found Mr. Fazzari’s article extremely interesting and thought-provoking. I agree with him 100 percent that “an uncirculated coin was one with no trace of wear.”

Last year I responded to a letter written by a collector who claimed to have found a coin in circulation and stated that he thought it was at least an MS-62 or MS-63. My response to his letter was if you found it in circulation, how can you give it an MS grade?

Mr. Fazzari’s criterion and ANA’s standard equates “uncirculated” or “Mint” with no wear in evidence.

Now I am aware that rolls of coins sent by one of the Federal Reserve banks to one of its branch banks untouched yet by human hands can be considered to have been in circulation en route to the branch banks. These coins would be deemed to be Mint State since they would show no signs of wear despite their being in circulation. Confusing?

This is an example of coins being in circulation but showing no signs of wear. Yet ANA standards define uncirculated or Mint State as showing no signs of wear.

Can we consider coins transferred from the Federal Reserve bank to branch banks as being circulated? I think the term circulated needs clarification. Can one come across a coin that’s been in circulation, but shows absolutely no wear? (Hard to imagine, but possible, I guess.)

But how can we call the coin uncirculated since it’s been in circulation yet displays no wear? Again, we need a clearer concept of the term circulated if we are going to equate absence of wear with uncirculated.

Mr. Fazzari states in his article “coins with a slight amount of friction wear (from whatever the cause) are now traded in the commercial marketplace as uncirculated.”

This ambiguity only leads to confusion to collectors and does not benefit the hobby.

If a coin is found in circulation and displays no wear, then it seems to me that the coin should be described as a circulated Mint State coin.

Finally, I would like to know Mr. Fazzari’s thoughts on my letter and would consider it an honor to me if he would respond.

Joseph Reakes
Scranton, Pa.

Why not put PT109 on reverse of Kennedy half?

In addition to web and shipping improvements, my five Kennedy sets arrived in a box the exact size of the five sets.

I thought this was a one-time convenience for their part.

Yesterday, I received my Everglades quarters. They arrived in an exact sized box instead of a much bigger box stuffed with heavy brown paper.

The Mint is using their head and making money-saving changes to bring down costs that is ultimately good for all of us.

Bill Rodgers
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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