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Letters to the Editor (02/11/14)

I have been roll searching off and on for the past 20 years and have always enjoyed finding the pristine Lincoln cents that are 40, 50 and even 60 years old that are still in circulation.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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Coin roll hunting results in pristine 1931-S cent

I have been roll searching off and on for the past 20 years and have always enjoyed finding the pristine Lincoln cents that are 40, 50 and even 60 years old that are still in circulation.

All that excitement and joy experienced in the past, paled in comparison to the thrill I experienced last night – a 1931-S cent in XF-AU condition!

I am so impressed with its condition that it makes me think that it could have been a rare coin saved by someone in their dresser drawer, then later viewed by someone else as just an old penny and placed back into circulation! How else could it have gone undetected for so long? How else could it have retained part of its original luster? It makes me wonder!

I have read some previous letters written in NN with certain skepticism in regards to the finds people have made to be too unreal. However I have now become a believer that there are treasures still out there waiting to be found.

I am planning to send it to send it off to be graded , after all, I can afford the cost of grading because the coin only cost me a penny!

Joe Gerloff
Norfolk Va.

Designate some Civil War tokens as noncollectible

As Civil War token collectors we have been frustrated by not being able to complete many series because one or more of the pieces are not available to collectors.

The large cent collectors faced this same problem and they have solved it by designating extremely rare pieces as non-collectible. Collectors can then complete the collectible pieces and call the set complete without having all the pieces. Heritage is currently selling the fabulous Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection. It is advertised as a complete collectible set plus 35 of the 53 NC (non-collectible) varieties. If this set were Civil War tokens it would be advertised as only missing 18 pieces from being complete. Why not have the glass half full instead of half empty?

The excellent Civil War Tokens book by Q. David Bowers, which was released in August 2013, is almost sold out and heading to a second printing indicating the increase in popularity of Civil War tokens.

Following the lead of the large cent collectors would make it easier for collectors to have a complete collectible set and then try to get as many NC (non-collectible) pieces as possible. We would suggest the NC pieces be designed by the experts in the field and be limited to actual designs and ignore metal varieties because most collectors do not collect by metal variety. This same system could also be applied to patriotic Civil War tokens. Since we only have a small collection of patriotic Civil War tokens, another expert can take the lead on them.

John and Nancy Wilson,
Ocala, Fla.

Another 1889-CC Morgan raises questions

I don’t remember exactly when you ran Harry Miller’s article about a “funny-looking” slabbed ‘89-CC Morgan. I had a similar experience with the same coin.

I did an appraisal for a family. Their father had “invested” in rare coins without any guidance or research into what he was buying. He had been hooked by a telemarketer and he/she knew a good fish when s/he talked to one.

The only good thing was he had bought mostly good slabbed coins, it’s just that he had paid an exorbitant amount for them. He had all of the receipts and documentation for the coins he had purchased. One of them was an 1889-CC in AU-50 condition that was slabbed by one of the big two.

As soon as you saw the coin, you knew it wasn’t “AU anything” except the slab stating it to be an AU-50. It was dull and had no luster, too much wear above the ear and on the eagle’s breast to be anything but a nice XF-45 maybe.

After the appraisal, I told the family how to sell their dad’s collection. They didn’t listen to much of what I said. One of the family members had already been to a dealer and had looked up the majority of the coins online and had a ridiculous idea of what they were worth. I should have saved my breath. My rule as an appraiser is that I will not buy the coins I appraise as I feel that would be a conflict of interest. I did offer to sell the coins at a major coin show for whatever price the family decided was fair. I tried to get them to see the CDN prices as a more realistic guide than whatever they had found on-line.

I was able to sell all of the coins except the ‘89-CC. After awhile, I took it out of my case because I didn’t want to be a part of passing the “dog” along to some other collector and ruining my reputation.

Just thought it odd that an “‘89-CC” in AU-50 was at the center of both of these incidents.

Doug Jennings
Petersburg, Mich.

Two more ‘empty chairs’ for hobby to fill

In the Jan. 14 Numismatic News Editor David C. Harper was kind enough to publish my “Viewpoint” titling it “Hobby must fill the empty chair.”

I received a few responses and remarks, all positive and sharing, and this was most kind and appreciative.

Sadly, just after writing and sending off the “Viewpoint” I learned of two other empty chairs.

Freddie Grant of southern California passed away. Freddie was once heavily involved with southern California local coin clubs, and founded, along with her late husband, Bill, the Hemet Numismatists. She rose to become California State Numismatic Association (CSNA) President. My remembrance was that she never got upset or angered, and she always sought advice and insights from others.

Bob Sturn of northern California, passed just have the Holidays. Bob was committed for many years to the Alameda (California) Coin Club, serving it in several positions, as bourse coordinator and editor of its monthly Thick and Thin Times. He was always seen at local San Francisco area East Bay coin clubs, and always willing to assist. My personal remembrance is his faithful assistance at the end of Vallejo (California) Coin Club Shows bending down and picking up the trash from the floors.

My “Viewpoint ended by saying that it is up to us now “to stand to the challenges” and “sustain and succeed” our hobby, like Freddie and Bob did and served. That would be the most fitting memorial and remembrance to them, and so many others. RIP.

Michael S. Turrini
Vallejo, Calif.

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