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Letters to the Editor (03/11/14)

The debate over discontinuing the Lincoln cent and the paper dollar will probably go on indefinitely. Because of their symbolic value, they should never be discontinued.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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Lincoln cent, dollar bill have symbolic value

The debate over discontinuing the Lincoln cent and the paper dollar will probably go on indefinitely. Because of their symbolic value, they should never be discontinued.

The paper dollar has long represented the might and power of the United States throughout the world, and with all respect to the men pictured on our dollar coins, I don’t see these coins in that symbolic role.

Abraham Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” He wrote the Gettysburg Address, one of the greatest documents ever penned. He preserved this union of states for us and our descendents. The Lincoln cent should always be with us, lest we forget. Happy Birthday, Abe.

H.W. Prince
New York, N.Y.

Small change helps with donations to those in need

There have been many letters written about the pros and cons of keeping the penny and nickel as part of our money.

Every time I go to Hardee’s and McDonald’s there is a box by the cash register seeking donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald’s House charities.

I thought it was quite an idea when you consider that many customers may have a few cents up to a dollar in change that they may not know what to do with.

Living in an inflationary society, it can be hard to put much of a value on pocket change. I believe there are still many uses for coins that can have a positive effect on society.

If you would ask the children spoken of in this article, I think they might vote to keep pennies and nickels in circulation.

Rick Larrabee
Belle Fourche, S.D.

Change $20 bill to $25 to save paper, labor

I agree with those who say the $20 bill should be replaced by a $25 bill. This would save paper, ink and labor. Our currency would then match our coinage.

Daniel Bubalo
Brainerd, Minn.

Canadians asked about cent, dollar coin, notes

Now we can finally end the 40-year old debate about the dollar coin and cent because, at last, the verdict is in. I visited an old college roommate of mine in Seattle and we took a ferry to Victoria British Columbia in Canada. I was very curious as to what the Canadians thought of the cent, dollar and the new plastic polymer notes so that we could have the needed evidence to end the debate fairly and finally for all, either on one side or the other.

I decided to ask as many people as I was able to about the cent, dollar and plastic polymer bills. My results were as follows. Everyone I talked to was glad to be rid of the cent. They said it was useless and bought nothing anyway. Almost everyone also loves the new dollar coin which they call a “loonie” because it features a loon on its back. Only one person told me he liked the paper dollar.

In regards to the plastic money, the reaction is not as favorable as I thought. The money has an unnatural feel to it, becomes brittle in cold weather and sticky in warm weather to the point where the bills even may stick together and a person may be given an extra bill or two in a transaction. I no longer favor plastic money from talking to the Canadians.

It is well to observe how things work by actually going to where they are implemented to see for oneself. Everyone should do this and publish the results in Numismatic News so that this long debate will finally end. To my knowledge, this has never been done. All I have ever read were armchair theories about what we should do without ever interviewing people in places where it has been done.

The recent Federal Reserve study regarding the dollar bill being cheaper is flawed because it did not take into account the $2 bill, which would cost half as much to make as the $1 bill since we would need half as many. Say there are X amount of dollar bills in use. Only one-third as many dollar coins might be needed as dollar bills and one-third as many $2 bills since they are double in value and so would be X amount of value in one-third dollar coins and one-third $2 bills equaling two-thirds of the value making two-thirds so how could this be more costly? Obviously the government report is flawed and skewed toward these who favor the paper dollar.

All my advice is to visit Canada to find out for yourself and publish the reports. My visit left me more in favor of the dollar coin and getting rid of the cent than ever before and soured me on plastic money that I formerly favored. Should more people visit Canada and find out what really is better or not better then the long debate will finally end and we will get the needed changes and all better and much happier for it.

Also, like in the United States, half dollars are no longer used and need to be done away with in both countries. Even better would be to have a situation like in Europe where both currencies can be used without foreign exchange. When I was young in Ohio, both coins circulated freely. If one wishes to have answers to perplexing questions, just go straight to the horse’s mouth, which is what I did.

I took note upon my return that on page 12 of the Jan. 28 edition, Don Yeier writes about returning the half dime years ago in the early 1960s. I read in an old coin publication that the silver 3-cent piece and the half dime were replaced by larger nickel coins as a Civil War emergency and that the people liked them so much that in 1873, the 3-cent and half dime were discontinued. The reason was the coins were too small and easily lost and hard to handle. Canada persisted with its half dime 50 years after we got rid of ours. I certainly hope it doesn’t take 50 years to get rid of our paper dollar after they did.

Bob Olekson
Cleveland, Ohio

Search yields Wheat, Indian Head cents

Regarding the letter “Won’t give up searching for circulation treasures,” over the recent years, I’ve gotten a 1999-S Delaware proof quarter, a few Buffalos and the occasional wheat.

In the last two years, I go every two weeks to the bank and get a box of pennies (50 rolls equal 2,500 coins).

Well, on Jan. 13-14 I went for my boxes. Of 5,000 cents, I found almost three rolls of wheats with dates ranging from the teens to the fifties then I thought I was seeing things was a 1906 Indian Head cent in VG-F condition plus about 14 rolls of copper cents. Now I have about 306 rolls of copper cents.

Steven Pierce
Bronx, N.Y.

Clifford Mishler’s articles a joy to read

This is the first time that I’ve written to you and Numismatic News, but it seems that now is as good a time as any.

I’ve been collecting coins since the age of 10 and I’m 65 now. I include this information only because it seems to me that almost all your letters include this important information.

You know, in that 55-year span I’ve read a lot of newspapers, but I didn’t read every article. Some I skipped because they just didn’t interest me or it was an article that just was too long to read or an article that was written to women only. My point is that I just didn’t read everything, but I didn’t ask the company to stop printing the news.

Please tell Cliff Mishler to continue his articles just as he has in the past. I happen to enjoy what he had to eat and who he talked to and what coins he picked up along the way.

Keep up the good work, Cliff, and long live it, Packers backer. I’d write more but it’s time for my morning constitutional. Hey, Roy Herbst, want to go grab a baked potato at Wendy’s with me?

Jay Martin
Elgin, Ill.

Publish articles on coins, not travelogues

After reading Roy Herbst’s letter about Cliff Mishler’s ramblings, I realized skipping those articles (like I have done for years) shouldn’t have to continue.

I am certain that for every one letter you’ll get defending his choice of eats, restaurants etc., there’ll be 100 of us scratching our heads in dismay or even worse. Get with it, this is supposed to be a coin magazine.

Theo Barwell
Address withheld

A few suggestions for new Kennedy halves

Since I’ve been a 12-year subscriber to Numismatic News (I still have over 400 copies in a storage building out back) and since I’ve read each and every article and all of the “Letters to the Editor” about the upcoming Kennedy half commemorative coins, and since I’m a Kennedy half collector (I have 12 complete BU sets of them) and a roll searcher and, also, I’m a Kennedy half hoarder (I have over 800 BU rolls stored and over 5,000 mint errors and miscues), I think I should put my 2 cents worth in on how and what the commemoratives should be.

I think the obverse should remain the same, or it could be turned a quarter turn to show more face, like they did on the nickel. The reverse should have a variety of different incidents to commemorate his presidency. Here are a few I would recommend:

1. A different eagle
2. The American flag, maybe colorized
3. His grave, “The Eternal Flame”
4. His keynote speech, “Ask Not”
5. The Liberty Bell, too many coins already use the Statue of Liberty
6. His biggest blunder, “The Bay of Pigs”
7. His best supporter, Robert Kennedy
8. One of his worst enemies, Vice President Lyndon Johnson
9. His greatest conquest, Marilyn Monroe

That should be enough to select the reverses from. Some of these may be offensive and some may be controversial, but they are his legacy.

I don’t think we should have a gold or silver dollar. I think we should keep it to half dollars. I don’t do gold but a gold half would be ok.

I think we should have a four-coin set, P, D, S and W in 90 percent silver or 99.9 percent. There should also be a 40 percent silver set P ,D, S and W and a clad proof set as well as an uncirculated set. We should have a P and D roll set available. The 90 percent silver and the 40 percent silver rolls would be expensive, but have them available. To climax the Kennedy program, mint a 5-ounce silver coin. Use the standard obverse and I recommend the “Ask Not” speech reverse listed above.

I think they should produce the 2014 Kennedys as usual, then the commemoratives and then quit. There will be no better time than now to stop the series. The Kennedy has had a good 50-year run. Since the half is not circulating and the Mint is only making them for the collector, it’s time to stop. If the collector would put a pencil to it, they would see the Kennedy is no bargain. Take the two-roll set. It’s $32.95 plus $4.95 S&H, which makes it $37.90. You get 40 Kennedys that cost almost 95 cents each. That’s only a bargain for the Mint.

That leaves us with one big problem: the millions or billions of halves left in the Federal Reserves. What do we do with those? The banks don’t order the half dollars. They will, but they have to order $1,000 dollars worth at a time for a customer. Once the customer gets what he wants out of them, the bank doesn’t want them back because they have to pay the Federal Reserve when they return them. This eliminates a large number of collectors who don’t want to search a hundred rolls at once or don’t have a $1,000 dollars to invest.

Solution: the Mint, the Federal Reserve and the banks need to work together and get all of the halves into the banks (advertise the program) and leave it to the roll searchers and the collectors, they will do the rest. After a year, the banks can send back what’s left to be melted down and used in other places.

I’ve searched thousands and thousands of rolls and, believe me, some Kennedys are so filthy they can never be cleaned. Some have been fed through slot machines so many times that you can’t recognize Kennedy on the obverse. Lots of older ones, 1971 through 1976, are worn into FR2 or AG3 condition and are not worth collecting. All of these should be melted down.

Robert Davis
Address Withheld

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