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Letters to the Editor (November 15, 2016)

Couple errors appear in Draped Bust half feature

There is one very important error in Bob Julian’s otherwise nice article on Draped Bust half cents in the Oct. 18 issue of Numismatic News. He says of the 1805s, “one variety is missing the stems and specimens bring high prices, $6,000 in Very Fine being the book value.”

In fact, the stemless reverse is the most common variety of the year and carries no premium at all. What he must have meant was the “small 5 with stems.” Those are quite scarce and only a half-dozen or so are known in VF or better, accounting for the high value. Julian should correct this, as he would not want someone to overspend vastly for a common coin because of an error in a newspaper.


A second, much more minor error is that the 1802 with the reverse of 1800 was not struck first. Rather, it was struck after some of those with the reverse of 1802. This was shown almost 20 years ago by Ron Manley, whose Half Cent Die State Book 1793-1857 has replaced Cohen’s in terms of usefulness.

Bill Eckberg
President, Early American Coppers

Gold Walking Liberty will be at melt value in two years

The U.S. Mint announced today that the 2016-W gold 1/2-ounce Walking Liberty will go on sale on Nov. 17 with a mintage limit of 70,000 and a household limit of three per household. That must be the Mint’s sweet spot after the missteps of the previous two issues. Those two issues have now gone below issue price, in some cases.

With this one, here’s my prediction: It will be at melt value in two years like the Kennedy was 75,000 mintage. It’ll sell out fast, flippers will make money and in two years it will be melt, for sure below issue price. Seventy-thousand is a lot of coins and given the price point, there may not be much interest. For sure traditional collectors would rather put their money in pre-’33 proven gold coins.

Robert Matitia
Address Withheld

Numerous bridges exist between coins, stamps

After reading an article in my recent Numismatic News about how numismatics and philately are similar yet different, I thought about how sometimes the two can be a bridge between the other.

Everyone knows that coins and currency, as in paper money, have been around since the dawn of civilization. Government-issued postage stamps arrived on the scene on May 6, 1840, with the U.K.’s “Penny Black” and “Two Pence Blue.” These stamps are the very first adhesive (gummed) issued by any government in the world. Thus, philately (basically the study of postage stamps) began on a separate path from numismatics.

Some time after the issuance of the postage stamp to show that a letter had been prepaid at the post office, some unknown clerk decided that using a postage stamp to show that a bank check or other document was paid, like a prepaid letter in the post. Thus, the first bridge between numismatics and philately was built. I have several examples of this “bridge.”

The next bridges to be built are the PNC, or Philatelic Numismatic Cover, and the PMC, Philatelic Medallic Cover. As the names suggest, these items are usually a coin or medal mounted in an envelope (“cover”) with a postage stamp relative to the coin or medal. These are usually First Day of Issue Covers (FDCs). Because the acronym PNC was sometimes confused with the American Plate Number Coil (PNC), the coin and stamp cover was renamed Commemorative Coin Cover (CCC).

There are instances where certain countries have attached (tied) stamps to paper money. Perhaps the most famous examples are the “new” $2 bills of 1976 commemorating the bicentennial of the American Revolution. The notes are not rare but can be difficult to pick up in circulation. One can be challenged to find a note with a cancelled stamp from the Federal Reserve Bank’s city to which the note was sent.

Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Nothing but rote answer from Mint representative

I received my lovely Reagan Coins & Chronicles set on Oct. 18, exactly one week after ordering it. I was so pleased that I called the Mint to thank them. I had no problems at all ordering the set by phone. I asked the lady why it was so difficult to order the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson sets, and her standard answer was, “I don’t know, sir.”

I asked her why the Mint doesn’t make more of the sets for collectors who wanted them and again she gave her standard answer. I also wanted to know why there were no Nixon and Ford sets and again her standard answer. Also, she said 44,000 of the sets have already been sold. They originally had a limit of one to three; now it’s unlimited.

My question is why couldn’t the Truman and Eisenhower sets have been this easy to order? The sets are fantastic. I suggest everyone order them and purchase them for holiday gifts, too.

The set contains a proof Eagle with “30 Year Anniversary” on it. The thought occurred to me that it is also the 70th anniversary of the Roosevelt dime. Why no marking on the dime? For the 50th anniversary, they came out with a “W” mintmark commemorative.

Another question of mine is if they are making the 100th anniversary of the Standing Liberty Type I design in gold this year, then will they make the 100th anniversary of the Type II from 1917? Let’s hope this one will be silver enough for the collectors with deep pockets. What about regular people?

I am so hoping for the demise of the $1 bill so that the coin and the $2 bill could circulate. I would love to see a set of 12 Federal Reserve District $2 bills, each with a landmark picture on the reverse of the bill of the city from whence it came. This would make a colorful, interesting panorama for people to study and collect and make the hobby much more interesting. Also, place Mount Rushmore on the back of the $50. If our other currency is being redesigned, why not these, too?

Bob Olekson
Cleveland, Ohio

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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