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This week’s letters (11/08/11)

 

No luck with 2009 nickels
I can tell you one thing I am not finding in circulation: 2009 nickels from either Mint. This includes every day change, as well as a trip to the bank for 10 rolls to see what my son and I could find (found one silver war nickel!). Do you know anything about the mintages of the 2009 nickels? I figured I would have seen at least one after two years.
Mark Speltz
Monticello, Iowa

Editor’s note: The 2009 nickel mintages were very low because of the severe recession. Philadelphia was 39,840,000 and Denver was 46,800,000.

 

Include content aimed at new collectors in NN
I often give away my issues of Numismatic News after reading it to young people who I hope will get involved in coin collecting. The responses I get are usually negative. Too much about gold and bullion, most stories geared towards older, more advanced members, etc.
How about a regular (but not necessarily weekly) feature for novices and beginners? Add something that will draw in as well as encourage newbies (how to get started, the best coins to begin with etc.). Just a thought before we all get too old and no one is left to carry on this great hobby.
John Murphy
Lindenhurst, N.Y.

 

Found coins marked start of state quarter collection
It’s great to find a good coin for face value, and I’ve made a few decent circulation finds over the years (mainly back in the day), but how about just plain finds? That is, finding money lying around.
When the state quarter program started, I bought a nice album from the Mint and decided to collect them all from circulation. Soon after the Delaware quarter came out, I was changing in the gym locker room when I saw something shiny on the floor. Sure enough, it was a Delaware quarter. A lucky start to my collection, I thought.
A couple of months later, almost unbelievably, I found the next quarter in the same locker room. Again, it was the first one I had ever seen.
Amazingly, I found the first six quarters in this way, at various locations. All were in apparently uncirculated condition (with minor contact marks). I began to think my whole collection would be free.
However, and almost as unlikely, I never found another of the quarters after those first six. What are the odds?
James Sparks
San Francisco, Calif.

 

ATBs found in Shawnee, Kan.
I have obtained most of the America The Beautiful coins from, of all places, our Wonder Bakery outlet here in my city. The lady says they get their coins from the bank just a block from their location. My regular bank brings in the Presidential dollar coins, but they do not get the ATB quarters. The ladies at the store do try to save the ATB quarters for me and a couple of times, I’ve given them an Ike dollar as a token of my appreciation.
At my regular bank, the tellers are good about keeping rolls of the newly released dollar coins available for me. I asked the branch manager to accept a couple of boxes of chocolates for my appreciation. A gesture, regardless how small will be remembered along with those “Thank You’s.”
Of course, the only other place to get the ATB coins is at the local pawn/coin shops, but expect to pay a premium.
Ken Kassen
Shawnee, Kan.

 

ATBS seen in Minneapolis
Here in Minneapolis, Minn., I have actually received several America The Beautiful Quarters, but I don’t need them since I have a subscription with the U.S. Mint for proof and BU sets, several actually. So, I’m all set with those.
Strangely, I have received in change several silver quarters and a few wheat cents lately and also what appear to be uncirculated older Lincoln Memorial cents too. I have a theory that nobody ever spends their pennies. They put them in a jar, drawer, wherever, and they just keep accumulating. Then for some reason, they take them to the bank and cash them in all at once. The bank deals them out to whoever and they begin to circulate, so I could be getting some of that change at the local convenience store.
Just today, I got a 1960-D Lincoln Memorial cent in brand new uncirculated (well, it was) condition, so I looked through all of my albums and folders hoping I’d need one or could upgrade one, but none were less than Mint State, so I just put it into a 2×2 and stored it away.
Two days ago, I got a 1946 quarter and two common wheat cents at the same time. Too bad I didn’t notice that until I got home hours later. I would have bugged the cashier to check all her change for me.
In these economic times, people are spending their change from their change buckets, jars, drawers, etc., and we the collectors have a new opportunity to snag a few of them.
Dennis Post
Minneapolis, Minn.

 

ANA’s silence worsens issue and hurts itself most
I don’t know anything about the Larry Shepherd story except what’s been said in the mainstream numismatic press, which isn’t much. I’ve never met him, but I do know that when hired by the American Numismatic Association, he had a reputation as a real professional and stand-up guy, which was why they hired him.
They haven’t said why he was fired. But it didn’t keep a leading numismatic firm from immediately hiring Shepherd. One doubts this would have happened had Shepherd been tarnished by some grave offense.
You might think that with all the disastrous messes the ANA has been through in recent memory, they would do everything possible to avoid repeating that sorry pattern; and, whatever may have been the concerns regarding Shepherd, the ANA would have striven mightily to work them out in a low-key manner without creating another ugly public blow-up. But no, they just fired him, without explaining why. As if trying to keep a lid on it might just work.
Now, yet again, the ANA is back to conducting a search for a new executive director. Good luck. I don’t know why anyone with sufficient qualifications, in his or her right mind, would want to accept this poisoned chalice.
Frank S. Robinson
Albany, N.Y.

 

Issuing a $200 bill ignores inflation pattern
The year 1964 was the last hurrah for circulating 90 percent silver coin issues. The 1950s and early 1960s were great days for collectors. Uncirculated hundred year old silver dollars could be bought for $2 or less. Even the banks were friendly and helpful to collectors. Back then, $100 had the buying power that now requires $730.79 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Just for fun, or perhaps horror of it, go to: www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm and try any year of your choice going back to 1913 and the start of the Federal Reserve’s watch over the incredible shrinking dollar. Their numbers are not quite science fiction but they perhaps understate the true effect on consumer prices. Without the compensation of advances in technology, labor-saving devices and a few cost of living raises along the way, most people might conclude that the U.S. had been in a 98-year economic death spiral to the dark ages.
Going back to 1913, we see $100 was equivalent to $2,288.33 in 2011. So should they issue a $700 or a $2,200 note? Issuing a $200 bill is just another joke that ignores reality. Practically speaking, the government should eliminate the 1, 5- and 10-cent pieces and issue $500 and $1,000 bills. But don’t expect anyone to wake them from their imaginary dream world of denial. Many persons in government may look forward to the day of a totally cashless society and 100 percent Uncle Sam Electronic (USE) money, so that they could mandate the next step in social engineering and control of people: making all transactions reportable to the Big Uncle. Oh well, a $200 bill, what’s the USE?
Gerald Perman
California

 

ANA decision toughens job for local club reps too
Dear ANA Club & District Representatives,
Attached you will find the first “What’s going on at the ANA” newsletter. I hope you will find this monthly letter beneficial.
Oded Paz
National Coordinator
ANA District Representatives Program

Mr. Paz:
Unfortunately, many American Numismatic Association members really do want to know “what’s going on at the ANA,” as you put it.
In other words, they want to know the real reasons for the termination of Larry Shepherd’s contract. They want to know if Mr. Shepherd was given due process and allowed to give his side of the matter. They want to know why ANA has a very poor track record when it comes to hiring and keeping CEOs.
As an ANA member, I believe that I am entitled to these answers. As a club rep, I believe that I need these answers to give intelligent reponses to club members’ questions. Any suggestions? Thanks.
Ray Lockwood
Education Director
Central States Numismatic Society
Marion, Ind.

 

Hollis book makes for good, informative read
If you ever attended college, you are aware of what is considered required reading. Well, if you are going to collect coins or currency, it should be required to read American Numismatist by Paul Hollis. I started reading the Foreword by John Albanese and got so excited, I could not stop reading. I read the first seven chapters, before I looked at the clock and it was 2 a.m.
If you like coinage or history, then get yourself a copy of American Numismatist. It will be the best thing you’ve read in some time, except perhaps Numismatic News. Albanese graded the book a Mint State 70.
Michael P. Schmeyer
Spencer, N.Y.

 

Oct. 4 NN article correction
We have just one minor correction regarding the story we did on the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection Part V by Stack’s Bowers at the 2011 World’s Fair of Money in Chicago (Oct. 4, “Bass sheets at $1.3 million”).
Our story mentioned that only one of the 55 lots didn’t sell in this magnificent sale. After viewing the press release for the sale, we found that all 55 lots did sell, which is unusual for any sale.
John and Nancy Wilson
Ocala, Fla.

 

Coupon inquiry for readers
Several years ago, I acquired a small hoard of Raleigh/B&W coupons from both Bellaire and Raleigh brand cigarettes. I attempted to write the B&W Corporation, getting the address from the coupons, but my letter was returned labeled, “RETURN TO SENDER – ATTEMPTED – NOT KNOWN/ UNABLE TO FORWARD.”
I would like to know if there are any readers out there who might have information about the coupons’ system for the various series (for “dating” and organizing my coupons in order in my collection). I have some extra coupons which I can trade, if any respondant is interested. Send your reply to this inquiry to:
William B. Tuttle
600 Quilliams Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44121-1932
Thanks to all in advance for your help.
Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

Editor’s note: Brown and Williamson merged with R.J. Reynolds in 2004 and the combined firm is Reynolds American Inc. Address is P.O. Box 2990, Winston-Salem, NC 27102-2990.

 

ATBs in Shawnee, Kan.
I have obtained most of the America The Beautiful coins from, of all places, our Wonder Bakery outlet here in my city. The lady says they get their coins from the bank just a block from their location. My regular bank brings in the Presidential dollar coins, but they do not get the ATB quarters. The ladies at the store do try to save the ATB quarters for me and a couple of times, I’ve given them an Ike dollar as a token of my appreciation.
At my regular bank, the tellers are good about keeping rolls of the newly released dollar coins available for me. I asked the branch manager to accept a couple of boxes of chocolates for my appreciation. A gesture, regardless how small will be remembered along with those “Thank You’s.”
Of course, the only other place to get the ATB coins is at the local pawn/coin shops, but expect to pay a premium.
Ken Kassen
Shawnee, Kan.

 

Grading both sides of a coin not a new practice
In an Oct. 4 Letter to the Editor, a reader made the logical suggestion that each side of a coin be graded separately. I agree. The system he suggested was in use about forty years ago as two-sided grading was incorporated into the grading system Charles Hoskins and I formulated to identify coins sent to the American Numismatic Association’s Authentication Service in Washington, D.C.
That system was developed further to become the Technical Grading System we used at the first third-party grading service at the International Numismatic Society’s Authentication Bureau (INSAB). Initially, our grading was offered at no additional charge and predated the ANA’s grading service by almost two years.
Technical grading sought to identify a coin’s state of preservation and the best way to do that was to describe both sides. Let me offer an extreme example to make my point.
Which coin can you visualize best in this example: An 1881-S Morgan Dollar graded MS-64; or one graded MS-64, weak strike (obverse) / MS-65 prooflike (reverse)?
According to the ANA Grading Guide, a typical MS-64 coin has some light marks (none very detracting), no wear, and pleasing luster. A prooflike surface on the reverse has no bearing on the commercial MS-64 grade and its “gem” reverse would not either. An MS-64 coin may also be a coin with great luster, no wear, virtually no contact marks – a real gem; yet have a weak strike. Finally, there are many cases where an MS-65/MS-63 coin is given a grade of MS-64. With so many variables, what does a sight-unseen MS-64 coin look like?
In the future, as the value of our coins goes up or with a new 0-100 grading system, we may be destined to repeat the past and grade both sides of a coin again.
F. Michael Fazzari
Tampa, FL

 

Collector had best year in 60 years of searching
I am one of those old persons – late 70s – with a small pension, so I scrap out metal and old PCs. It helps pay for my hobby of coins and this year has been a good one for me. I am still finding some wheat pennies and many different errors in Lincolns.
Jefferson has been very good to me. How about from 1939 and up? My best friends that Mr. Jefferson has given are 12 2009-Ds plus 10 rolls of 2010-D. Now the 2010-Ds gave me some nice errors, die break on dome (20 of them) plus die break on dome and die chip on the “F” in “FIVE” – 41 of them.
There is more. First window at 3 o’clock. Inside the window there are two spikes, one upper and one lower. Could be doubled die. I have 96 of them. But this is not the end; there is more. Obverse doubling – LIBERTY – 76 of them. Reverse doubling – Monticello (LLO) and CENTS (TS). Probably ejection double. But so many alike.
Dimes – one blank and one flip.
Kennedys – I found on reverse no Fs to NO F.G. A weak strike 197? Just like the one in Strike it Rich, Page 242.
Ike dollars – different dates, peg legs.
Now for proofs. RPMS, wire marks, incuses, no FG but E.C., broad strike, die cracks – Jefferson obverse three-point stars, die breaks, double rims.
I will say this is my best ever of finds in more than 60 years. There is a lot more that I did not write about. It is time for my nap, so keep looking out there.
Frank Hennings
Cascade, Idaho

 

Vicksburg nice addition to parks quarter program
Just a couple lines to let you hear from me again. I want to report that I have found more of the new Vicksburg, Miss., quarters. I think they are pretty neat. Most of the national park quarters are nice.
Virgil Griffith Jr.
Camden, N.C.

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