Bank Employees Searching Rolls ‘Absolutely Ethical’
I saw “Name Withheld’s” letter, and I have to answer: it is absolutely ethical for a bank employee to search rolls. You see, banks are in the business of taking and distributing cash. They’re not under any obligation to provide you (or anyone else) specific access to collectibles.
If the bank teller replaces any money taken for their collection with cash of equivalent value and abides by their employer’s other policies, then I can’t see that there is a real problem.
What’s not clear is the reasoning behind your apparent feeling of entitlement to these coins. Your local bank manager will have the final word.
Coin Collecting is Not Just a Hobby
The “Viewpoint” in the June 30 issue of Numismatic News by Larry Steinfeld needs to be commented on. What many collectors tend to forget is that coin collecting can be a hobby, a business, and an investment mechanism. For some, it is all at the same time.
With all due respect to Larry, expecting to make $200,000 to $300,000 from a coin collection would appear to be more of an investment gone bad than a collection. Investments are usually better off with the great Wall Street Casino.
God bless the large dealers who make the hobby possible for the average collector. The large dealer is investing capital as well as their time and money to earn a living to feed their family. True, many enjoy the work, which is always a big plus. Many are knowledgeable about numismatics, and of course there are those that are in it for a quick buck. Those dealers do not last. Any dealer that has been around for five to 10 years is generally reputable.
Banks really don’t want anything to do with coins. Yes, they are legal tender and banks take coins, but coins are heavy and take up space. Twenty-first century coin collecting is nothing like the collecting in the ’50s and ’60s. You will not find a 1909 VDB penny or three-legged Buffalo nickel in change anymore.
There are a few local coin shops, but the biggest coin store in the world is eBay. Of course, the U.S. Mint offers coins for collecting. Some of the commemorative issues are outstanding. The 1991 Mount Rushmore set, for example, is beautiful. It is worth its weight in bullion. Actually, some dealers will only pay short of bullion for a commemorative. It’s a beautiful coin, but a bad investment. The Mint’s main function is minting money for circulation. And the Mint makes a lot less errors due to good quality control.
Some of the bigger coin dealers like Coast Coin, Golden Eagle Coins and Modern Coin Mart have to maintain large inventory. Large dealers need to have a well-maintained website. That costs money. Since I mention them – if they don’t advertise in NN, they should. Collecting is alive and well in the 21st century. It is just done differently than in previous times.
One last thing. People write in and ask questions that NN prints. Would it be possible for NN to add a page and print the answer to the question? Or are we the reader suppose to write to NN with the answer?
Editor’s Note: The Letters section depends on readers sharing their thoughts and questions, and other readers responding. NN staff will answer questions as appropriate.
Circulation Finds Great for Budget-Minded Collectors
If you are a beginning collector with “big money and deep pockets,” then you can start out collecting the old and big coins of our young nation. However, as a “small money and shallow pocket” (limited-funds) collector, you can only start an inexpensive collection mostly consisting of later-era coins from various areas.
The least expensive area is finding modern coins in the change in your pocket and/or purse. Still circulating are Lincoln Memorial cents from 1959-2008.Though the Memorials of the ’50s-’70s may be a little harder to find, they’re still out there. The “transition cents” (Lincoln Bicentennial and Lincoln Head cent) are probably the most difficult series to find since they were issued only in 2009. But occasionally one will come out for circulation. The latest cent is the Shield Back (2010-present) and is quickly replacing the Memorials.
The Jefferson nickel has been around since about 1938. Its design has been basically unchanged since. During World War II, the composition was changed to a mixture containing 35 percent silver because nickel was needed for the war effort. They are difficult to find in circulation due to their silver content but may still be found around. Another “commemorative” nickel is the Westward Journey series of 2004 and 2005, when the “face” of Jefferson changes. In 2007, Mr. Jefferson is given a new face, but his home on the back remains the same as 1938.
Prior to 1964, all dimes, quarters and half dollars were 90 percent silver. In 1965, the government switched to a clad composition, which is currently in use. The designs on the dime have remained the same since 1946 (silver 1946-1964, “clad” from 1965). There are still some silver dimes out in circulation, but the majority are clad.
In 1999, the government began the series of State and Territories quarters (1999-2009) and, currently, America the Beautiful/National Parks quarters from 2010.
All of the above coins are in circulation and can be found in your pocket or purse. Or you can get them for face value at your local bank or credit union. If you have a little money, you can buy rolls of coins from your bank/credit union. Even less expensive is finding these coins on the ground or in the coin return chutes of vending machines.
However your collection is maintained, and whatever your collection is, enjoy!