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Letters to the Editor (02/04/14)

I received my latest issue (Jan. 14, 2014) today and scanned over the articles and “Letters,” as well as the e-letter answers to a previous question asked online.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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Coins, polymer bills better than current paper money

I received my latest issue (Jan. 14, 2014) today and scanned over the articles and “Letters,” as well as the e-letter answers to a previous question asked online.

The question was, “The fed says the $1 bill is cheaper than the coin. Will that end the debate over the $1 bill’s future?”

My answer is a resounding no! Even though it is cheaper to print a “paper” bill (actually 75 percent cotton and 25 percent silk) than mint a metal coin, in the long run the metal coin will be cheaper as it doesn’t have to be replaced as often as “paper.” Metal coins have been known to last through the ages. As proof look at the early Roman or Greek coins minted before our current era. Has anyone seen early Roman or Greek paper money? Exactly!

Daniel Knauth of Astoria, N.Y., compares a bag of 2,000 $1 coins weighing approximately 36 pounds with a bundle of 2,000 $1 bills (20 bundles of 100) at about 4.5 pounds along with the size differential of each “lot.” He comes to the conclusion that the shipping of the bills over the coins would be easier.

However, Mr. Knauth did not consider, although he mentioned it, the lifespan of the dollar bill and dollar coin. At the most, a dollar bill will last 48 months in circulation, where a $1 coin will last at least 10 times longer than its “paper” counterpart. I still get 1965 (F-XF) quarters in change. Therefore, shipping the coin will in the long run be better. Since the coin is more durable, there is also no need to mint so many as we do for the $1 bill.

Mike Oliver of El Dorado, Ark., hit the nail on the head. Ever since the Civil War, the Crane Paper Company (CPC) in Massachusetts has had a monopoly on the “paper” produced for our currency. The Senators and Congressmen, as well as a strong lobby for the company, are keeping this dinosaur note paper producer alive. As John Wright of Saint Joseph, Mich., points out, many of the industrial nations have eliminated their $1 bills for the coin of the same denomination. They’ve even eliminated their $2 bills. To take it one step farther, these countries/entities have even dumped the paper for polymer (plastic-like substance similar to a sheet protector).

Polymer costs a little more to print on, but it is even more durable than CPC’s “paper.” Another advantage to polymer is the notes are harder to counterfeit, as more unique security devices can be incorporated in the bill and not be photocopied. Crane Paper, your days are slowly drawing to an end as “plastic” (not as in credit or debit cards) and metal coins for the lower denominations ($1 and $2) will be the norm for all the world, including U.S.

William Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

People make numismatics a great hobby

There is only one way to describe the people of our great hobby, from the readers to the writers they are a commendable group of individuals.

They are all different yet all the same: friendly, helpful and opinionated, with a high moral value. Aside from numismatics, friends and family come first.

They are always willing and able to help a fellow numismatist and end up acting more like family than just an acquaintance. Like Dave Harper, I want to be part of that.

Over the years I’ve made so many good and lasting friendships from the many readers and writers of the many coin magazines; my kind of people.

I would like to say thank you to all of you! Through 2014 and beyond, we all have one thing in common, the love and respect for this great hobby we call numismatics. Ain’t it great!

Michael P. Schmeyer
Spencer, N.Y.

2013 Dollar Set a real bargain for collectors

I see from the Mint stats that sales of the 2013 Dollar Set jumped from 18,006 to 25,419 in a very short time.

I purchased one of these sets as a way to get the 2013-W uncirculated silver Eagle, which had sold out as an individual offering. Since the set price was only $1 more than what was asked for the single coin, I basically got five extra uncirculated dollar coins for a dollar, plus the silver Eagle I wanted. It seems like a lot of people may have had the same idea. Any comments?

Fred Goebel
Sheboygan, Wis.

Fed needs more resources against cyber theft

Was reading online about how Fortune magazine is going to visit the Philadelphia Mint in the endless debate about the composition and viability of our business strike coins.

After hearing the Target store chain had security breaches before and after Thanksgiving when most of us were shopping, myself included, I’ve nearly had it with paying with plastic.

I cancelled my debit card and requested a reissue. My grandfathered bank account gives me brownie points, so to speak, for swiping it. After I meet my minimum swipes, I’m going to use cash for minor purchases from now on. Now I have to look at my credit card charges every few days to see if any fraudulent charges. Then I have to wonder when and if a bigger shoe will drop on my credit reports. I hope cash doesn’t go out of style for a long, long time.

Rare though it may be, I was rewarded by getting a World War II nickel, albeit very effaced, in change at a fast food place while waiting two weeks for my new debit card. That was the silver lining in this debacle.

When is the government going to throw more resources toward dealing with all the cyber theft going on? It’s the wild, wild West in the online world, and it’s not getting any better.

Anne Burke
Boston, Mass.

Paper money takes too long to count by hand

One thing that was overlooked in Debbie Bradley’s informative article of Jan. 7 is the high cost of counting paper bills.

I’d like to see a report that includes the cost of counting stacks of paper dollars. It is a time consuming process The machines used to count currency are pretty good, if a business can afford them. Yet it stills needs to be checked for counterfeits, smoothed, stacked face up, right side up, put into the machine, and strapped. Hand counting needs to be done more than once. Often several times.

Once it’s lifetime is up paper has to be returned to the government to be destroyed.

Coins go into a machine, are counted, stacked, and packaged all at once, and you’re done.

Mike Peters
Rockford, Ill.

Mint is forgetting its loyal customer base

I read your blog “The Buzz” about the U.S. Mint mailers. I just received mine, too.

I don’t think their current ramp up of mailers, etc. will give a long term boost to their sales.

They have been issuing a bunch of mediocre/unimaginative designs at best for a lot of their products except where they have regurgitated the classic design like the Buffalo commemorative and the ultra high relief gold. Seeing the latest Civil Rights commemorative coin only reinforces the impression of mediocrity and uninspiring images.

Their products are also priced too high and seem designed to squeeze the most out of the regular collector.

I also feel strongly that the Mint has been gearing its sales toward those who could purchase in large quantities, at the expense of the collector with a modest budget. There are no order limits on special “collector” sets and even no mintage limits on stuff like a “special” reverse proof Buffalo.

In line with the above is the fact that the Mint took 1,000 reverse proof Buffaloes (unannounced I think) to the ANA show during the order period and sold them to attendees. When that sold out they eagerly went back and got 1,000 more! Wow, they don’t think or care about those who dutifully ordered thinking that no order would be released before it’s time. Boy, were we proved wrong.

It is a cumulation of stuff like the above that will only drive more and more collectors away. What is needed is a sea change in the attitude of the Mint toward its loyal (but probably dwindling) customer collector base. A bunch of mailed flyers won’t do the trick. At least it won’t for me.

Name withheld

List intrinsic value of U.S. gold coins

Just a thought that it may be useful to some folks to have U.S. gold coins’ intrinsic value in the subject chart. Kind of a baseline to buyers and sellers.

Second subject, digital issues. How fair is that to people without e-mail addresses or the ones that cannot set at their computer for lengthy periods? They did pay for that issue. Also class of 63,

Terry Freed
Des Moines, Iowa

Thanks for Coin Show Directory, club news

Many thanks to David Harper, Numismatic News and its parent F+W Media, Inc for their continued support of local coin clubs.

For years the paper has published a Coin Show Directory that includes a free-of-charge listing for sponsoring clubs. Additionally, there is always room for club news.

In this day of increasing costs I (and others) do appreciate this support of our hobby. Special kudos again to David Harper and, of course, Lisa Dombrowski who puts it all together.

R. S. “Bart” Bartanowicz
Venice, Fla.

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