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This week’s letters (09/11/12)

 

Coin in two-piece San Francisco set flawed
I would like to share a few comments on my recent experience with the new two-coin silver San Francisco proof set.
I have been a customer of the Mint for probably the last 30 years. In that time, I have always gotten quality products at a fair price. This time was different. After plunking down my $149 plus tax and shipping, I was very disappointed. I waited almost a month for delivery and was looking forward to delivery day. After opening the package, my son, who has better eyesight, saw a glaring flaw. A nice sized indentation was present on the reverse side, under the “R” in “SILVER.” I would have called it a bag mark in the past, but these are supposed to be Prf-70 pieces.
Where are the inspectors to pass a piece like this? I know not to keep such items, so off it went back. After another close to $10 for shipping and handling and insurance, I received an email from them. First they were going to back-order it, which meant another four weeks delay, then the next day I got another saying they were going to credit my card account. Now which is it?
I would like to have it to pass it along to my son, but why should the customer have to pay for their mistake? I guess I better call the Mint and find out what the story is, but now it is “caveat emptor.” I won’t buy any more overpriced proof sets. They are taking silver to a new level.
By the way, I have enjoyed your paper for many years and like that you are keeping the price down.
Joe Taylor
Philadelphia, Pa.

‘Frisco’ inappropriate abbreviation for the city
Are you out of your mind? “Frisco” is loathed by San Franciscans for very good historical reasons because of various associations. Very insensitive.
William J. Fulco
Los Angeles, Calif.

Compiling complete list of CML privy marks difficult
This is for the Maple Leaf collector who has questions about $5 Canadian Maple Leaf (CML) privy marks. First, when I started my CML collection, it was extremely hard to find an accurate or complete source of privy marks. Second, I found that very few are issued directly from the Royal Canadian Mint. Everything in print at that time was several years behind, if they had any information on privies at all.
The most current, and near complete, is A Charlton Standard Catalogue: Canadian Coins, Vol 2: Collector Issues, Third Edition 2012, which came out in June. Even in previous editions of this reference, you have to read the entire section on CMLs and compile your own list. Example here is in previous editions: the 1999-2000 “Fireworks” and the 2000 “Fireworks” privies are identified as privy marks but only listed with the Bullion Issues and not with the Silver Maple Leafs with Privy Marks.
It also lists the 2004 Western Zodiac Privy Mark Set separate under the Special Privy Sets (it’s the only set listed in this section). Since the 2009 Brandenburg Gate, in 2009 are the Tower Bridge, Ox and “Fab 12” privies. In 2010 and 2011, the “Fab 15” privy was the only one produced. There are four produced so far in 2012: Tower Pisa, Titanic, Dragon and “Fab 15.”
Considering the Charlton publication as the only current published information on CMLs, it’s hard to establish a “complete” list of just privy marks.
Name withheld

Proposed Mint budget has impact on collectors
Not sure if you (or any of the readers) caught this on the U.S. Mint’s order page for the Making of American History Set? Under “ Order Information,” it states that: “Initial production of the Making American History Set is 50,000 sets. The established production limit for this product is no more than 100,000 units, based on the availability of the Series 2009 $5 notes that begin serialization with the number 150.”
Thus, the 2012-S silver Eagle proof/reverse proof will be a limited edition(s), 251,302 from the first “S” set and then another run of the proof at 100,000 max due to the restriction of math on the $5 bill serial numbers. A total of 351,302 proof Ladies. Where does that put the 2012-S proof and reverse proof in the lineup for low-mintage silver Eagles?
Also has this “S” proof Eagle overshadowed the 2012-W silver Ladies? What is that Mint production count at now?
Been browsing the President’s 2013 Proposed Budget for the U.S. Mint and noted a few items you have already mentioned. Thanks for keeping us up on all the changes on the wind!
I do not remember if you caught the following recommended changes to the U.S. Mint budget for 2013 (starting October 2012). If so, forgive me for being redundant.
1) Discontinue Expedited Shipping Costs – $1,500,000
“Customers placing coin orders in excess of $300 receive a complimentary shipping upgrade from standard delivery to expedited delivery. With the implementation of its new Order Management System, the Mint will adjust its shipping methods to eliminate the upgrade, reducing shipping costs and potentially lowering product prices.”
Oh well, there goes another one of our great perks!
2) Contract Savings – $13,700,000
“Achieving contract savings is a priority for the Mint. Savings are expected to result from continued re-evaluation of purchase orders for strategic sourcing opportunities, and through continued efforts to negotiate more advantageous contract terms. This effort should also foster increased competition and help the Mint meet its procurement savings goals.”
Note: This will most likely decrease the service we now get from the contractor who packs, tracks and mails our packages.
3) Reduced Travel Costs – $650,000
“By increasing the use of videoconferencing to perform mission critical requirements, the Mint expects to considerably reduce its travel costs.”
Wow! So next year’s travel allowance is only $2.9 million (see Page 10 of Budget). I wonder what the “mission critical” trips are for at the U.S. Mint?
I suggest the readers (and you) read Section 1 – Purpose 1A – Mission Statement (on Page 3). I found some interesting figures on it showing the differences in revenue and expense for the circulating and Bullion/Numismatic coins (2011):
Actual Revenues: Circulating $776,910,000; Bullion/Numismatic $4,193,077,000;
Actual Expenses: Circulating $578,130,000; Bullion/ Numismatic $4,096,760 ,000.
2011 net profit to the Mint being $295,097,000.
It is interesting to note that the collectors/investors provide 81 percent of the revenues to the U.S. Mint. You would think that the U.S. Mint would be somewhat more concerned in providing better customer service (and the likes) as we appear to be the cash cow for the U.S. Mint!
Oh well, I am going to go gaze at my 2012-S silver Eagles I got back from the graders today and dream of Walking Libertys jumping over the San Francisco U.S. Mint building while I go to sleep. Good night.
Jay Elder
Portland, Ore

NN issue, Mint-BEP set arrive together
Made my way to the mailbox to find my latest edition of Numismatic News wrapping a box that contained my new BEP set. Kind of a bittersweet, guilt-driven order I had made even though I had ordered and already received the two-coin silver Eagle set. Just thought I’d share that the BEP sets are on the way.
Charles McKee
Raleigh, N.C.

It’s dealers’ responsibility to accommodate customers
This week I received and read the letters in NN from Aug. 14 discussing my Viewpoint published July 17. Here are my final thoughts.
First, please send a “thank you” to David Nederostek (Aug. 7) who thought my Viewpoint article was brilliant. Rarely do I receive such a comment.
After reading the Aug. 14 issue of NN, I realize that the problem is way larger than I thought. At the time I wrote the Viewpoint, I was expecting that Mr. Thurber would respond in a manner that ultimately was written by dealer Paul E. Garner. I actually have more respect for Mr. Thurber for not continuing the debate. I would like to think that Mr. Thurber changed his opinion after reading Viewpoint. What I expected Mr. Thurber to come back with was said best in NN by Mr. Garner. He says Mr. Thurber’s original side of the argument best. Even after my comments about people driving so far a distance to go to a show, Mr. Garner wants to remind us that it is his right to stay as long or as short a time as he desires. As I stated in Viewpoint, he knows his rights but not his responsibilities.
Mr. Garner reminds us that we as customers have the option of taking a vacation day off to buy what he is selling. Hey Mr. Garner, when was the last time you took a day off to by something you don’t need, only want? I am the customer and I will buy what I want when I want. That said, he misses the larger point. The show has published hours of attendance. He made the agreement to be there, not me.
Dave, I own my own business. I work 80 hours a week. In 2005, I took off six days the entire year, which included Christmas. Not every day was productive, and I didn’t always make money. What I did do was treat my customers with respect and my customers are able to get me on the phone at 10 p.m. Do I like getting calls then? No. I do satisfy my West Coast customers, though. The point is I don’t tell my West Coast customers to call me at 5 a.m. their time because it’s 8 a.m. in New York. I deal with my responsibilities.
My final, final thoughts on this subject pertain to the “Viewpoint” by Gayle Pike and the letter by Cindy Wibker. Both are obviously stand-up people that try to make a difference and probably do, more than they will ever know. Ms. Pike has tried to make a success out of the last day of a show by bribing her dealers. Best of luck with that. I do mean that sincerely. Unfortunately, what this most recent publication tells me is that the industry is chock-filled with spoiled individuals who care about themselves. I have to ask myself, why go to a show on a Sunday? I really don’t know if I ever will again. Pretty sad commentary. Well, let me take part of that back. If I ever am in Tennessee, I will go to a show if Gayle Pike is involved. If for no other reason than to shake hands. I will also consider the Florida FUN show for the simple reason that Cindy Wibker has come up with the best answer to a spoiled group of business people. She is allowing John Q. Public to be aware that the show she is requesting the public to come to will have limited attendance by dealers on the Sunday of the show. At least she cares about their time.
After writing those last two sentences, I realize I have to take part of this back. I think I will go to a show on a Sunday for the sole purpose of buying a coin or two for the simple reason that, as usual, the good guys are being spoiled by the bad guys. The guys that do stay deserve the business.
Thanks for listening.
Ken Parsons
Address withheld

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2 Responses to This week’s letters (09/11/12)

  1. sjimihdx says:

    Ordered one 2 coin set the first day the U.S. Mint made it available. Call me psychic, but I had a gut feeling they might pull some shenanigans. I waited for the final mintage to see if I should buy more, but eventually decided against it. I was one of the lucky ones to buy three of the 5 coin sets without much of a hitch. It helps to have an active account with the U.S. Mint and opt for QUICK CHECKOUT. Knock on wood, but I’ve never had a problem ordering from the Mint. Back to the 2 coin set. The reverse proof alone, if ever sold on the secondary market, will get your money back.

  2. hrlaser says:

    I got the two coin S-Mint ASE set.. for free.. ModernCoinMart had a contest on facebook.. to enter the contest, one had to review John and Eric’s new book, “The Top 50 Most Popular Modern Coins”, post the review to Amazon, and then post a link to the review to their fb page.. believe it or not, out of about five thousand fb “likers”, I was the ONLY one who entered!.. and I wrote my review of the book the day before the contest ended..

    My prize was both coins from the set, in NGC PR70DCAM and PR70, with the dealers-only “Trolley car” First Releses labels, (with sequential serial numbers).. AND they tossed in the OGP (the fancy blue box in a box in a sleeve, with the empty Mint capsules).. total cost out-of-pocket:: $0.00.. total cost in effort:: about two hours of writing, editing, proofing, writing, proofing, editing, and some more editing.. I thought dozens of people would enter.. NO ONE else entered.. I have no idea why.. Anyway, that’s how I got the set for $0.00 in perfect 70 slabs.. my review is on Amazon under the book’s title, if anyone cares to check it out..

    I’ve seen the pair of coins in Trolley car 70 slabs sell for as high as $400.00 on eBay so far.. most 70 / 70 sets are going for $325.00 – $350.00 – ish..

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