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This week’s letters (09/20/11)

Reader encounters NN editor during visit to Iola
I really enjoy Numismatic News. I was particularly taken by the May 31, 2011 issue, where the return of a 1918 cent to general circulation was highlighted on the cover. After reading that article, I became determined to visit Iola, Wis., on my pending visit to the upper Midwest.
I arrived about noon on June 28, and went to the Crystal Cafe for lunch. The food was good, and I noticed a somewhat familiar face about six tables away. Was it the famous David Harper? The waitress confirmed that it was, so I came down to say hello and shake your hand. This almost constituted a coin collectors pilgrimage for me. Keep the Numismatic News coming.
James K. Crossfield
California
Friend taken by Chinese counterfeit coins
I have enjoyed Numismatic News for so many years, I can’t say when I started.
The letter from Robert McLean of Quincy, Mass., has prompted me to reply about what is happening about those counterfeit coins from China. Recently, a friend went on the Internet and got hooked on a good deal. What a buy, both the 1932-D and 1932-S quarters, a 1916-D Mercury dime, a 1909-S Indian cent and the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent he needed. The price was a little high, but he could still afford it, and it seemed like a bargain. The plan was simple, meet the seller at an open, safe, well-lit area, but pay cash.
He showed me the coins, and I didn’t like them. We checked with a local coin dealer, and my friend now had ownership of five counterfeit American coins from China. I had to tell my friend to turn these coins over to a friend at the police station, who will next turn them over to the Secret Service.
My friend failed to get a receipt, and was unable to give a description and registration of the vehicle. But in a few months, the Secret Service wrote to my friend to say they got their man, and ask if he wanted to file a claim. He should have gotten that receipt!
John Ahern
Sharon, Mass.
Destroying confiscated 1933 coins a mistake
I highly disagree with Stan Kijek’s Viewpoint! I sincerely believe that the Langbord family should be able to auction all 10 of the 1933 double eagles, in accordance with the precedent the U.S. government set with the Farouk specimen. These coins are part of our history, and should not be destroyed. If three coins were allowed to exist, the two at the Smithsonian and the one in Washington, then the coins minted in 1933 are all legal tender by default! No gold was ever stolen from the U.S. Mint, just exchanged for newer gold.
Mr. Kijek’s statement: “If I can’t have it, no one can,” is just absurd! What are we, children?
If the U.S. government still insists that the coins should be confiscated and melted, why stop there? According to executive order 6102, signed on April 15, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hoarding of gold coins, gold bullion and gold certificates within the United States of America was illegal, but if that is so, why are thousands of those gold certificates and gold coins still around today?
Shouldn’t the government go after those gold coins and certificates as well? The argument can be made that those gold coins and gold certificates were legally issued, and therefore are exempt, but if that is the case, then so are the ones at the Smithsonian and the one in Washington. The U.S. government can’t have it both ways. They cannot allow two entities to keep three coins, while prohibiting others from having them. Doing so is childish, arrogant and illegal.
If we are going to start destroying historical items because at one time or another someone supposedly stole them, where does it end? Why do heirs have to pay for the mistakes of their ancestors? We are supposed to be civilized society that learns from our mistakes, but have we?
Miguel Trujillo
California
Are new ATB quarters circulating or not?
I’m wondering what is going on with America The Beautiful series. My wife and I have found only two coins of the series in regular change. We still find lots of state quarters. Is the distribution locally restricted?
We live just outside Memphis,  but when we traveled to Seattle, Wash., last May, we didn’t see any ATB quarters there either.
David J. McNally
Memphis, Tenn.
Some notes from the Chicago ANA convention
What I did find interesting during the ANA opening ceremony was the Treasurer of the U.S., Rosie Rios, stating that as a youth she collected pennies. She did not specify what country minted these pennies, but I assume it was probably the United Kingdom, since the United States has never minted pennies, just cents.
It was great to have the Treasurer of the U.S. back at an ANA convention. In addition, both the U.S. Mint, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing had nice exhibits at opposite ends of the convention hall. The U.S. Mint’s booth was somewhat bare of mint products, but the BEP did its usual outstanding job. Treasurer Rios was also generous in hand-signing notes for many people attending the convention.
Gary Lewis
Cape Coral, Fla.

U.S. dollar value today, in comparison to 1933 value
Is it too late for U.S. money?
The denominations of U.S. money in circulation range from the cent coin to the $100 note, and suffer from what I call the Inflationary Claustrophobia of Usefulness.
In 1933, the U.S. still had the $1,000 note which, for a short time, had close to 50 ounces of gold in purchasing power. Now, at $1,780 an ounce, our highest denomination, $100, can buy about .056 ounces of gold. That is about one-ninetieth of what $100 in gold-backed dollars could get in gold in 1933, prior to the first major U.S. gold default. Thus in terms of gold, the current $1 note is a cent, and the $100 note is only about a dollar. What value compression!
Even if we ignore gold prices, and use the U.S. government’s suspicious, official Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation numbers, the current dollar is worth about 5.8 cents in 1933 money. Thus, the quarter is worth 1.4 cents, and a $100 note is worth about $5.76 in Depression-era money. No wonder people feel poor.
You would need a stack of almost 174 $100 notes to have the buying power that the $1000 note had in 1933. The stack would be nearly an inch thick. Due to inflation, and the elimination of the $1000 note, the downward compression in official buying power, in the highest available denomination, has been 99.42 percent.
Our money has become third world money, and the U.S. is in a state of denial. Backing with gold won’t remedy the situation. A major coinage and note redesign is long overdue, but will it happen in the next 10 years? I wouldn’t count on it.
Gerald Perman
California

Heft of $1 coins reason why they won’t catch on
People question why the public won’t accept dollar coins. The answer is very simple: Who wants to carry all that change around? It’s bad enough with cents in your pocket. I am surprised that people can’t seem figure that out. The hassle of carrying and using the coins should be obvious to everyone.
In fact, they should make more $2 bills, even a $3 bill. Don’t get me wrong, I like the design of the coins, but in my opinion, they will never be accepted by the public for circulation.
Jamie Barwacz
Stanwood, Mich.

Multi-national topic makes for collectible commem
The Big Three: Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, would be a great subject for a $1 commemorative. On the reverse, they could put the Berlin Wall. It would be collectible in at least three countries.
If foreigners are not allowed on U.S. coins, change the policy for once to indicate U.N. approval.
James W. Faucette
Hillsborough, N.C.
Banks don’t make it easy for public to use $1 coins
Presidential dollars are a sore subject with me.
The general public wants us to use them instead of paper. I like to use them for tips. Here is the catch though: I live in a city with several banks, but my bank won’t order them, and the banks that do have them won’t let you have them unless you have an account with them. I want to use them, but I can’t have an account at every bank in town.
K.L.H.
Owasso, Okla.

TV providers using $100 notes as sales gimmick
Was reading an article in your paper about $100 bill production being higher than $1 bill production. Question is, why so many $100 bills?
Well I got my mail a couple days ago, the usual combination of bills and junk mail, and then the answer hit me right then and there. Seems like they got some kind of a promotion going on, and it gets you $100 in credit towards your TV bill if you get friends, relatives, neighbors, your boss, Farmer John and everyone else you know to sign up and give them your account number.
So in answer to your question about people getting $100 bills, sure I do every month with my TV bill. Now all of a sudden I find myself in a tax bracket, and I have to file income tax returns.
Floyd Aunspach
Honey Grove, Pa.
Too many strikes against modern dime to resurrect it
What’s that saying of old? “Say, brother, can you spare a dime?” Funny but nobody today asks that question of anyone anymore. I guess that’s because there doesn’t seem to be any use left for the poor old dime. You can’t even make a phone call with it anymore. That’s the last major purpose for it that I can remember. Heck, even a gum ball costs 25 cents in the machine these days.
Moreover, just drop a dime. No, I don’t mean to inform on anyone, I mean just drop one on the ground. Facts show that the smaller the size of the coin, the less likely you are to bend down and pick it up. The poor old dime loses there, too.
Even the collectors don’t want them. Unless they have silver in them, nobody really gives them a second look. The classified ads in the back of this news print can attest to that. Cents, nickels and quarters get a fair amount of business, yet modern dimes sometimes don’t even make a showing.
What’s a poor dime to do? For one thing, maybe a design change. The cent, nickel and quarter all have had some kind of design change done to them, but not the dime. I wonder if Franklin Roosevelt would agree to this policy? He’d probably say, “We have nothing to fear except lack of change.” He’d be right, too. Without it, not even collectors would show interest in the poor old dime.
Another thing that might help the forgotten dime is to mint less of them. That’s right, less. If we did, the lowly dime would be worth more. It’s all about supply and demand here. The more dimes you have, the less each one of them is worth. The less dimes you have, the more each one is treasured. I have to admit, though, we really would have to mint way less of them in order to draw any attention to them at all. Maybe drop a couple of zeroes off of the end of each production line or something. That could do it. What’s that, three zeroes? You’re probably right.
As you can see, it would take something of a miracle to resurrect interest in the modern dime. Maybe a design change would be the answer. One problem, though. The Mint is slow on design changes. I mean, hasn’t Lincoln been on the cent for more than 100 years so far? Sure, he’s a nice guy, but haven’t we seen his face enough on our cent already? If so, then how are we ever going to get our government to change good old Franklin on our dime? With a crowbar and sledge hammer, perhaps. Face it. We’re struck with our neglected 10-cent piece. Too worthless to spend, too small to pick up and too boring to collect. I guess the new saying is, “Say, brother, can you spare a quarter? I would love a gum ball.”
David Newcomb
Braintree, Mass.
Halt dollar coin production for now, resume later
I’d like to propose a compromise on the presidential dollar coin issue. Neither extreme, cancellation or continuing apace, seems wise. I’d suggest a suspension of the series at the conclusion of 2011, and a continued, modest production of Native American dollars. Then, when the oversupply of dollar coins is used up, we can pick up the presidential dollar series at number 21 when needed. After all, we did eventually work through the 1979 and 2000 dollar coin glut situations this way, so there is no reason that a similar strategy could not work here.
V. Kurt Bellman
Harrisburg, Pa.

 
All collectors should help to encourage YNs to grow
Have you ever planted seeds for tomatoes? There is also a seed for youngsters to grow into numismatists, but they need your help. This will also help the hobby in many ways, as they may become avid coin, paper money, medal or token collectors and dealers. Youngsters are essential to the longevity of the hobby, they replace “us” as we grow older, and leave the hobby in one way or another.
This is where you come in. We should not shy away from coin club programs that work with the younger members; we should pitch in, and offer our services by sharing some of our experiences in the field, with a presentation or two. We can also donate some of those foreign currencies we’ve held on to for years, a few worn Indian cents or Buffalo nickels. Providing some time at a Young Numismatist table at a local show is another way to help out.
I read recently an article by Steve Lehr from Texas about his club, and they have a group of members that mirror many of the activities in our club. I sincerely applaud their efforts. It does take a lot of time and effort on the part of many members of the Northeast Tarrant Coin Club to do all the things his club has ventured into; nice going, Steve.
I received a letter from a parent of one of my club YNs, who sincerely appreciated what our club has given her two boys. She wrote the following list: Social skills are benefited. This is more important than ever, especially at a time when our youth are busy text messaging, and no longer interacting with humans, the YN program provides an opportunity to interact with not only other children, but adults.
Show and tell gives them an opportunity to practice public speaking.
Collecting and organizing helps decision making skills, since kids ask themselves: what should I collect and how do organize it? This develops critical thinking skills.
Managing money responsibly, and asking questions, like: how much does that cost at the auction, and do I have enough? This teaches the use of money and budgets. Also the club uses club money as rewards for show and tell, homework completion and for the free coin auctions at the twice monthly meetings.
Knowledge is benefitted by the twice monthly homework assignments that increase education. Exhibit opportunities let kids practice research and planning skills for setting up displays and exhibits at club shows.
Growth and maturity are aided, as kids develop an attention span and eye for detail. This is especially helpful for youngsters with a learning disability, and provide them with the chance to interact with youngsters of his or her own age.
Thanks to the ANA and their YN scholarship program, kids have the opportunity to attend the one week seminar at the ANA Headquarters. This gives them the chance to travel on their own, meet and live with other YNs and learn so much more about the hobby.
It would be great if all club officers would work in a YN program, if they don’t already have one. Believe me when I say that you’ll be rewarded just by witnessing their growth in numismatics. If meetings are conducted at restaurants where there is no convenient way of having a YN program, then suggest a Saturday at a local library room for an hour, and build from there.
Jim Majoros
Address withheld

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