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This week’s letters (06/14/11)

 

america the beautiful bullion coinsMint didn’t lower ATB coin price as silver dropped
Wow.  What a surreal experience I had today with the Mint. I called the order desk prior to the Yellowstone America the Beautiful collector 5-ounce coin was scheduled to go on sale at noon to inquire what the issue price was. I was informed it was $279.95, again, same as the Hot Springs coin.
I complained that silver had dropped nearly $15 an ounce since the first one was issued and that the Mint should lower the price by about $75. The operator apparently thought that this would be a good time to make a joke.  She said “Well, I guess the mint didn’t get that memo” about silver dropping $15 an ounce.
I couldn’t believe my ears, that a representative from the Mint would actually say that to a customer.  I was very upset that a.) the Mint hadn’t lowered the issue price and b.) that a Mint representative would then joke that they didn’t know that the bullion value had dropped.  When I asked to speak to a supervisor I was disconnected.  I called back and got hold of a supervisor and ultimately complained for a while, and then decided to cancel all of my current subscriptions I had with the Mint.
Name withheld
Springfield, Mo.

Spend a 1918 Lincoln cent on Memorial Day
First, thank your for the article “1918 cent comes home” in the May 31 issue. Second, please take a moment and read the following, as we have posted to our website.
Nov. 11, 1918, was Armistice Day, the final day of World War I, the war to end all wars.
This story, as originally reported by Dave Harper in Numismatic News, is the story of a 1918 Lincoln cent and its travels from the U.S. to where it was found in Kuwait by Army Sgt. Jarrett Briscoe, who was stationed there.
http://numismaticnews.net/article/1918_cent_comes_home/
Sgt. Briscoe asked Dave Harper to spend the 1918 Lincoln cent in the U.S., to “return it home.” All of us at Numismatic Society [NumisSociety.com] were moved by the story and felt that it shouldn’t end there.
As a result, we at numissociety.com combined members and joined together to make this a truly memorable Memorial Day. So, in honor of Sgt. Briscoe and all members of our Armed Forces, present and past, we decided to do something different. On Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, we are combining all of our efforts to have a National Spend a 1918 Lincoln Cent Day.
Our intent is to have a member of the forum spend a 1918 Lincoln cent in each of the 50 United  States. In addition, we have added (to the 50 states) Washington, D.C, Canada, Mexico, possibly the Philippines, and Russia.
If you are interested, please join us by signing up at NumisSociety.com and let us know what state you will spend your Lincoln cent that day.  Come honor those who came before us. And help us to have one spent in every state of the Union.
We would appreciate any help that you can give us.
Frank Colletti
Address withheld

U.S. Mint does great job producing coins
I wish that the whiners and supposed coin collectors would get off their high and mighty pedestal and enjoy the most beautiful coins the U.S. Mint has to offer.
All the coins I received from the Mint have been exceptionally exquisite. The Army and Medal of Honor coins are beautiful. I have not had a complaint about any of my purchases in the years I’ve been collecting from the U.S. Mint.
If they are not satisfied with the purchases they have, then get out of collecting altogether. You’re like sports fans; when they win, you jump on the bandwagon. But as soon as they have a bad game or in this case some bad coins that you say you don’t like, you start complaining. No true fan of a team or the U.S. Mint would criticise, they would offer suggestions.
And by the way, I also purchase some foreign coins in my collection and as far as I am concerned, they don’t measure up to  U.S. coins. Keep up the good work U.S. Mint.
James Dorsey
Philadelphia, Pa.

Same order placed by mail, online handled differently
I’ve read many of reader complaints about the Mint and I’ve wondered why?   I never had any problems, until recently, which problem leads me to wonder, “Who’s running the store?”
I received a mailed catalog of offerings and I sent in an order for the current proof set, uncirculated set, silver proof set and silver quarter set.  About a week later I got my order back and a letter advising the Mint was unable to fill the order because of the unstable prices of metals – “Please call this 800 number for further information.”
Being adverse to 800 numbers, I went to the Mint store online and placed the same order. The next day I received a confirmation of receipt and two days later received a confirmation of items having been shipped. They haven’t arrived as yet, they were just shipped on May 12, but my point is that the online order prices were exactly the same as the mail order prices.
Is there a lack of communication at the Mint between the online department and mail-in department or is this evidence of some type of incompetence or are we talking about two different companies?
I’ve no complaint at the end results. I will get my coins at the advertised price, not an increased price. Those prices in themselves are a rip off when we look back at the days of a $5-10 cost for a proof set and $5-8 for a circulated set.
R.E. Mueller
Lodi, Calif.

Article great at explaining history of currency
Paul Green’s May 24 column “What is a Federal Reserve Bank Note?” is a most excellent primer.”
When asked to discuss currency and specifically Federal Reserve Bank Notes, I am usually at a loss for words, or they don’t come out the way I want.
Paul’s column is really excellent as it delivers a short and succinct history of our currency. I am going to make sure that I have a copy of the column at “the ready” whenever I speak before any group.
R. S. “Bart” Bartanowicz
Venice, Fla.
Cashier thought half dollar was dollar coin
I read your May 11 blog commentary about the half dollar and would like to pass along what happened to me when I recently tried to spend a half dollar.
I visited my favorite lunch establishment and decided it would be a good time to try spending an old half dollar to see what happened. The cashier is a university student and when I handed her the coin, I asked her if she recognized it.  She fumbled about and said “Umm, yeah, I’ve seen these before.”
She handed me my change and when I counted it, it was clear she assumed the half dollar was one of the dollar coins because she gave me 50 cents too much in change. I mentioned to her that my change was incorrect and she had given me too much back.  She seemed puzzled and was equally surprised when I told her the coin was a half dollar because she didn’t even know such a coin existed.
I think there is a small chance the half dollar coin could come back into regular use, but this scenario centers around the elimination of the penny and nickel, topics well covered by your publication.  This would free up drawer space in the cash registers for the half dollar and dollar coins. Those coins might then be considered again by the public for active usage, although I think it more likely the trend toward electronic currency will continue and eventually minimize or eliminate the need for coins altogether.
I enjoy your blog; thanks for writing it.
Eric Head
Knoxville, Tenn.

Harper’s column sparks fond memories
Where’s Wimpy?
I really enjoyed your “Class of 63” entitled, “Gladly Pay You Tuesday for … Today.” It’s been a long time since I heard that one. It put a big smile on my face.Keep up the great work.
Today, May 11, I received my ATB Hot Springs 5 ounce collector version and it literally blew my socks off. The coin, the awesome packaging, and the expedited speed of getting to my home. Congratulations to the U.S. Mint. This time, you knocked it out of the park!
Ricky L. Snyder
Hagerstown, Md.

All coins soon will be ‘odd denominations’
I don’t believe the half dollar, dollar coin or $2 bill have yet gone the way of the ½ cent, 2-cent, 3-cent or 20-cent piece. They are still being struck and printed, but are not being used in every day commerce. Instead, they are being set aside in dresser draws and change containers.
One of the underlying problems is that people just don’t think about using these “odd” pieces of money. Sometimes I use these “odd” pieces at toll booths and fast food restaurants and typically get a puzzled look from the cashier, especially the under 30 ones.
The same thing could be said of the cent. How many times have you given a cashier the exact change, including the cent, vs. the cashier giving you change back including the cent?  That is one reason that most of us probably have accumulated hundreds of cents in our piggy banks.
Is the cent going to be the next “odd” denomination? Or, for that matter, with the increasing use of debit and credit cards along with inflation going to cause all coins in the next 50 years to be “odd” denominations?
Gary E. Lewis
Address withheld

Another collector ready to give up on hobby
It has been three weeks since Mr. Patterson’s letter was published. He is walking away from the hobby. Despite two responders in  the May 24 issue (the New York one being harsh), I understand, empathize, and agree with his decision.
Those who leave collecting smiling are those who came in with money to burn and didn’t care, those who made a living fairly or not in the hobby, or those who risked little and expected little.
I am not one of those three. I started collecting  more than 50 years ago filling or mostly filling numerous folders of everything from the Indian cents to the last of the silver issues in 1964.
The genesis of my  Liberty nickel collection was two rolls of strange nickels that a deli owner on my paper route saved for me.  It was all common and low grade, but in 1958 it was huge. In 1980 I got serious and traded in all the silver except for a few coins (a 1932-D and 1932-S quarter come to mind). I also included the 20-plus BU Morgan dollars I had bought 15 years earlier for $2 each. I  made some money and decided to build an upscale type collection XF-proof.
After nearly 20 years It was time for me to sell my collection.  The local dealer who sold me the first coin in my new collection offered me thousands of dollars less than I ultimately sold it for, which was still thousands less than I conservatively felt it should bring.
The clincher was when that local dealer from whom I had purchased many of my coins returned my collection after evaluating it.  Graded  my first purchase, an AU large cent as “recently cleaned.” His invoice from 19 years earlier didn’t indicate such, and it didn’t happen on my watch.
Good luck, Mr. Patterson. I have moved on to other pursuits as you plan to do. My subscription expires shortly. I will use NN to rid myself of what is left in the classified.  I have  traded many coins here over a lot of years and had only two bad experiences which had nothing to do with NN, but I don’t leave smiling.
Jim McConville
Address withheld

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Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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