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Letters to the Editor (02/18/14)

Just purchased some First Spouse gold coins from a walk in client.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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First Spouse is Frances, not Francis

Just purchased some First Spouse gold coins from a walk in client. I put my son Robert to work and he asked me what President Cleveland’s name was. Grover.

Who was Francis? he asked. I said his wife. Robert agreed. Oh, so only the wives are on these coins? Then they spelled the name wrong in the Jan. 7 price guide in Numismatic News. It should be Frances.

So there it is, a learning experience for Robert on the gold First Spouse coins.

Fred Beihl
Address withheld

Editor’s note: Thank you. The spelling error has been corrected.

Morgan dollar collector even likes junk coins

I just wanted to send an email regarding last week’s article in Numismatic News about buying any Morgan dollars in the last year.

I’ve purchased around 300, most of them were uncirculated common dates, a few rarer dates here and there, and the rest where junk silver dollars that I bought. Well, they are not junk to me. I do not like seeing them melted down, so I buy them up.

Rob Fehn
Linwood, N.J.

Mishler stories like letter from old friend

A reader recently sent a letter suggesting that Cliff Mishler’s articles are a waste of time. The reader was especially annoyed with Cliff mentioning his meals when he’s on the road.

For me, Cliff’s articles are like a letter from an old friend: chatty, full of small details, and a nice change from the fact-filled articles that fill the rest of NN. For some reason, I like knowing if Cliff was able to take his daily walk, or was he thwarted by the weather in the city he was visiting?

Cliff is as reliable and fun as a long-time neighbor across the back fence.

Peter Keefe
Ashburn, Va.

Nickel melt value now at 4.3 cents

While it is good that the costs of cent and nickel production are dropping as reported in your Jan. 24, article, they are still high. This is especially true for the nickel which, according to your article on hoarding in the Dec. 24, 2013, “Class of’63” column, now has a melt value of just 43 thousandths of a cent. Could you have meant 4.3 cents?

Frank Crowe
Address withheld

Editor’s note: You are right.

Obverse, not reverse, determines grade of coin

I, too am one of those 95 percent people. I think what the instructor meant was, if you’re skillful enough to grade the obverse of a Morgan dollar correctly, that obverse grade is most likely the best that coin can ever be.

For instance, if you look at the obverse of a Morgan and carefully check the strike, luster, bag marks, etc., and you pretty much narrow it down to (let’s say) MS-63 to maybe borderline MS-64. That is the best this Morgan can be, even if the reverse is a super strike. Now, you may be swayed to an MS-64, if it is exceptional, but usually it will never raise your original obverse grade. And I mean 95 percent of the time. It just can’t.

But, of course, a so-so reverse can certainly lower it.

Craig Heibel
Dodgeville, Wis.

Too many denominations in circulation

By late December I took advantage of the last chance sales of coins on the U.S. Mint site. The 5-Star General $5 gold Proof coin was on sale for only $393.30, less than that of the uncirculated coin which had sold out! I placed the order on December 28, and received a confirmation number. It was in the bag, so I thought. A few weeks later I received an email that my order was cancelled! No reason was given.

Why does the Mint say they have a coin for sale when it does not? It has an inventory yet it still accepted my order. A similar thing happened in 2011 with the 25th anniversary American Eagle five-coin silver set. Once again I was gipped. The Mint is declining in service and integrity.

I would also like to say something about the circulated coins. There are too many coin denominations in circulation. I humbly propose that we have all new coins: half-dime; dime; quarter; dollar (perhaps 12 sided) and maybe a $2 (bi-metal).

Cents, while nostalgic, are unnecessary. And does anyone use half-dollars to buy anything? Totally useless; people hoard them as if they’re valuable. Also, the three larger denominations ought to have Liberty on the obverse and a bald eagle on the reverse. I really like the Liberty on the $1 Presidential coin; it should be on the obverse.

The smaller denominations can manage with some other symbols of American ideals like justice, peace, liberty, life, pursuit of happiness, etc. The half-dime can bear V and the dime X to denote their value. Keep it simple, keep it beautiful.

I understand honoring a president as a commemorative, but to honor all the presidents on coins is too much. Let’s face it, not all are worthy of a coin. Other than Washington and Lincoln I can think of no other president that deserves such an honor.

P.S. On a good note, the enhanced silver Eagle was superb.

Paul Prevosto
Hackensack N.J.

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