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Letters to the Editor (November 29, 2016)

Inaccurate musket depicted on Cumberland Gap quarter


As the author of over 30 books on muzzle-loading firearms, many of which were published by academic presses, I can tell with absolute certainty: there were no muzzle-loading muskets made left-handed.

There a very few muzzle-loading Pennsylvania, Kentucky, home or civilian rifles that were left-handed. The Cumberland Gap quarter shows a firearm that never was made: a left-handed musket.

James B. Whisker
Professor Emeritus
West Virginia University

Sun shines on California educational symposium

On Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, the Sacramento Valley, Calif., Coin Club, guided by the enthused leadership of current President Glenn Stuter and coordinated by equally energized moderator John Bither, hosted the California State Numismatic Association Northern California Educational Symposium.

The current rain, much needed in drought-suffering California, broke for the day and the sun brightened upon the symposium, with its four diverse and informative presenters: Bob Travis, noted student and scholar of Indian Head cents; Cassie McFarland of the 2014 baseball commemorative fame, Steve Feltner, coin dealer and American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar instructor; and David McCarthy, nationally recognized numismatic scholar. All gave exemplary educating programs, providing much insight and offering new observations on four different subjects.

The venue and the courtesy of the host Sacramento Valley Coin Club added to a most enjoyable all-day event.

Donald L. Hill, CSNA corresponding secretary, and me, as a CSNA past president, attended and came away much more informed; yet, Don came away much more enriched, having won the top prize in the drawing! Also present was Phillip A. Iversen, CSNA educational director, who arranged the speaker’s recognitions, spoke at the opening and took photographs.

Both the SVCC and CSNA strive to enhance numismatic education and advance our “world of money” hobby, and this symposium confirmed their commitment and dedication.

Fellow coin hobbyists are most encouraged to attend and to enjoy any future symposia offered by CSNA and hosted by the SVCC. It’s worth it!

Information and contacts can be learned at and

Michael S. Turrini
Vallejo, Calif.

Writer chiding NN for errors edited by another reader

In the Numismatic News “Letters” section of the Nov. 1 issue, a correspondent from Gambrills, Md., whose name was withheld from publication, took you and Numismatic News to task for allegedly making grammatical errors in your publication, and for the correspondent receiving what the correspondent inferred was a dismissive response from you and from at least one Numismatic News reader.

Here is the published letter from “Name withheld,” with corrections made to the errors in that letter.

You may do whatever you would like with my response. You could print it; you could send it to the “Name withheld” correspondent on my behalf; or you could throw it in the wastebasket.

You make the call! :)

Bob Bair
Denver, Colo.

“I have [had] written [to you] in the past about typographical errors in your publication and although I received a kind response, I felt [feel] as if the [my ?] input was [were] unimportant [to you?].

So even though I [have] continued to see errors [in your publication?], I didn’t bother to write [to you?] because it was [would] probably [be] a waste of [my ?] time.

Then, even though I immediately noticed the publication date error [when it first appeared] [that] you wrote about a few issues ago, I was surprised to see you admonishing yourself for the [that ?] mistake.

More importantly, I was bothered by the attitude [“implied by,” with the following “of” eliminated] of one of your subscriber’s response that ‘s[S]tuff happens.’

I realize that Numismatic News is not meant to be a literary publication, but as one who not only has an interest in the hobby, but [who] also takes pride in attention to detail, I find it inexcusable, especially with the technology available today, [for you?] to make errors on a fairly consistent basis.

Case in point: In the Sept. 20 issue, on page 54, Item of the Week,[to be either italicized or placed within quotation marks] there are no less [fewer] than six mistakes in the article!

The first paragraph has two, [the] third paragraph one, [the] fourth paragraph one, [the] fifth paragraph one, and the 10th paragraph one. I’ll leave it to you or [to] your staff to find the culprits.

My point is simple;[:] w[W]e should not be so accepting of mediocrity. Many people of all ages read your publication, and it is incumbent on you to keep grammatical mistakes at [to ?] a minimum [,] if not [at ?] zero.

Thanks for your understanding.

I do enjoy your tabloid and will continue to circle the errors as I find them, if for no other reason than [for ?] my own enjoyment.”

Same coin photo represents different grades in guide

My son Robert was grading some Mercury dimes for me. 1942/1 was the important dime to pay attention to.

I handed him our grading book: The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards, 6th Edition.

A minute passes by and he asked me which picture should he use for a VG obverse?

Look at page 167 and 168 on grading Mercury dimes. The pictures for G and VG are the same. One is lighter, but they’re the same coin for two different grades.

I looked. I agreed.

On page 167 the Very Good, VG-8, at the left of Liberty’s nose and eye are two spots; diagnostic to this coin’s photograph. Compared to the obverse dime for Good, G, on page 168, it is the same coin in a little bit of a lighter contrast. The two spots are there, and further comparing the “T” and “Y” of both photos, the same diagnostic marks are in both supposedly different coins.

My son and I agreed that our 1942/1 Mercury dime is a VF. Fortunately, there seems to be no photo error for that grade.

Fred Beihl
Address withheld

Coin press story conjures memory of festival turn-style

I enjoyed the article on the history of coin presses in the Nov. 8 issue, especially when I saw the depiction of the screw press. It reminded me of a Renaissance Festival I attended in the 1980s. They had a large turn-style that they made you run around – complete with a slave driver cracking his whip and commanding you to go faster.

This turn-style raised a large wooded weight with a die embedded in it. There was another large wooden block on the ground with a second die. They would place a brass-type blank that was about the size of a silver dollar on top of the wooden block. Then after the turn-style had reached its maximum height, you would trip a lever, the weight would fall and collide with the lower block, forming a coin with the date and Renaissance logo on it. If I remember right, it cost a dollar. Great fun, and I still have the “coin.”

Daryl Conley
New Mexico

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

More Collecting Resources

• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2017 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.