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Letters to the Editor (February 14, 2017)

Fat wallet not required to enjoy early copper coins


I have read both letters by Blaine Buckman stating that large cent collectors and Early American Coppers club members are elitist. I have been a member of EAC for less than a year, and I can say that I have found this club to be as open and welcoming as could possibly be hoped for. The newsletter is awesome. The members are easy to approach and more than willing to sit and talk about their passion. The largest dealer in this field, Chris Victor McCawley, is really laid back and a very nice man.

Large cents and half cents are fun to collect and, for many, study. There are seemingly endless options on how to do so. A large budget and being elite is not remotely necessary to enjoy this field and this club. I sincerely doubt that the Red Book intended to imply otherwise. I hope your readers will give both large cents and EAC a try. My guess is they will love it.

Mike Gasvoda
Address withheld

Emphasis on investment boxes out average hobbyist

As we ol’ timers would say, “In the thrilling days of yesteryear when I was young,” the new coin on the block was the Lincoln Memorial cent, celebrating Abe’s 150th year of birth and the 50th year of the Lincoln (obverse) cent. The dimes, quarters and half dollars were still a nice shiny, white 90 percent silver. There were a variety of coins to collect ... from Buffalos to wheat backs to even (if you were lucky and could ask your mom – usually the best one to talk to about it – get it from the bank) an eagle perched on a rock. Indians, Barbers, Standers and Morgans were still around but getting harder to find in circulation. Coin collecting was fun and an adventure to find Miss Liberty showing the world Americans had freedom of thought by wearing her winged hat (the Mercury dime). Collecting coins was fun and exciting back then. Affordable, too. Most coins could be had for face value – right out of circulation!

I was in the Navy when clad coinage came about. A few years earlier, I had a couple government pamphlets about counterfeiting. The books said, “A bad coin looks bad and clunks. A good coin looks good and clinks.” Silver coins were disappearing faster than a straw hut in a tornado as the clad coins rushed to fill the vacuum. The new Kennedy half dollar remained silver but only at 40 percent in 1965. Even though they were “good” coins, the dimes and quarters no longer “clinked.” Collecting U.S. coins was becoming boring as the years passed.

Today, coin collecting seems to be more like “coin investing.” The cent and nickel five-cent piece are still around in the U.S. and can be readily found in circulation (if a youngster wants to start collecting), as well as dimes and quarters. But the young collector is limited to only the circulating non-silver coins out there. Not only the U.S. Mint but mints worldwide are gearing up to appease the investor by producing .99999 fine silver, gold and other precious metal non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) rounds for puffed-up prices.

No young collector can afford the rounds unless he or she is like the comic book character Richie Rich or has a kind relative with deep pockets to buy the youngster such items.

The hobby is turning from collecting to investing in coins, leaving the young or financially not-so-well-to-do numismatist to just fade away.

Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

More input needed on dime placement in Red Book

I am glad that my letter of Dec. 20 elicited a response from Mr. Bruce Frohman. Alas, the purpose of my letter was to point out the elitism of Whitman Publishing to decide (apparently on their own) where to place the gold commemorative Mercury dime in their catalogs. I don’t know if Mr. Frohman would like to have been asked his opinion of where to place it, but I know that I would have liked to be asked. Perhaps if Mr. Frohman read my letter as carefully as he read the opening section of the Mega Red, he would not have felt a need to respond to my letter at all as I did not give an opinion on the catalogs at all.

Jeff Vogel
New York, N.Y.

Historical Kennedy-related documents up for auction

Here is advance notice for collectors of numismatic, political and presidential memorabilia. Two museum-quality documents about unique historical events are to be auctioned on March 13.

In addition to other lots, Bonhams-1793 (NYC) will auction two of my rescued items previously seen on the March 2015 Maryland Public Television “Chesapeake Collectibles” show (#509):

1) A yellow Post-It note message delivered by White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger to President John F. Kennedy while speaking at the podium during the Nov. 29, 1961, network television news conference (#19) at the U.S. State Department Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
The President read it, smiled and then said to the audience of international media reporters; “This chimpanzee [Enos] who was flying in space, took off at 10:08. He reports that everything is perfect and working well.” (Much laughter.) (Note: The first U.S. astronaut in space, Marine Corps Lt. Col. John Glenn, would not make his solo orbital space flight in Freedom 7 until February 1962.)

2) A John F. Kennedy preliminary statement, heard worldwide via satellite television during his live news conference (#43) on Sept. 13, 1962.

President Kennedy critiques reporters about recent provocative events that were taking place in Cuba. As President and Commander in Chief, Kennedy also issued a powerful warning about U.S. strength and resolve to Mr. Castro and the Communists. This was just weeks prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Atlantic blockade.

Although unsigned, this original four-page typewritten (pre-electronic word processing) speech contains several text edits, corrections and handwritten JFK notations.

I had the privilege of being present at both events.

Ed Zegers

Readers should offer up stories to hobby magazines

It was interesting to read the differing views in the Numismatic News Jan. 3 Letters to the Editor and Viewpoint.

The letter by a longtime collector, counterfeit and variety/error expert, and noted author discussed the joy of coin collecting including acid-etched date Buffalo nickels. He also offered insight in collecting overdate and doubled die Buffalo nickels. His letter was positive and supportive.

The Viewpoint by a hobbyist discussed his feelings when he reads about high-value coin sale magazine articles and advertisements. He has a right to his opinion, but if he wants more articles about collectors enjoying their hobby like acid-etched nickels then he and others like him should provide articles on what they enjoy collecting. Magazines can only print the material they receive. I’m sure the magazines would be happy to provide a platform for these articles.

Sandy Pearl
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Mishler’s Silver Certificate has mismatched number

Is the Silver Certificate shown on page 35 (Clifford Mishler’s article) in the Jan. 24 issue of Numismatic News an example of a mismatched serial number?

Jim Sukup
Indianapolis, Ind.

Editor’s note: By golly, it is. Good catch.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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