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Letters to the Editor: June 9, 2020

YN Viewpoint Offers Valuable Insight

I read Radek Molchan’s “Viewpoint” article in the May 12, 2020, issue of Numismatic News. If you are concerned about the future of numismatics you should read it, too. I am 64 years old and started collecting Lincoln cents in 1964. It was a very different time. Silver coins were still being produced and silver dollars were still available at face value. We could find coins for our collections in change, by going through bankrolls and purchasing from a coin dealer. It was a treasure hunt. Those days are gone!

Now as for the question, “Why are young people not excited about coin collecting?” I believe young Radek just answered it. We have to look at collecting through the perspective of young people today. His insight and new perspectives made me think. His article could be the catalyst that gets young people interested in our hobby again. Great job and keep up the good work!

Jeff Nevis
Address Withheld

Viewpoint Writer Owes USPS an Apology

While reading the April 14 issue of Numismatic News, I came across Ron Thompson’s “Viewpoint.” The second paragraph mentioned that “Congress (opposite of progress) doesn’t want to subsidize them like it subsidizes the Post Office.”

I would like for him to apologize to the U.S. Postal Service and all its hardworking employees risking their lives daily during the pandemic. The postal service has been financially independent (no subsidies, bailouts, etc.) since being reorganized in 1971. This is despite the ill-conceived 2006 Postal Reform Act by the George Bush administration.

I look forward to his response.

Eric Momsen
Address Withheld

Privy Mark Gold Won’t Reach Average Collector

Looking at the Mint catalog for 2020, I see that they will be making a gold $20 coin with a symbolic “V75” privy mark. Very nice, but a mintage of 1,945? Why bother to put it in the catalog? You know they will all be scooped up by the large coin dealers and will be re-sold the same day of issue for more than $7,000. They are repeating the fiasco of the silver Enhanced Reverse proof San Francisco dollar they issued last year.

How about the Mint either makes a reasonable amount of a strike or just sells small runs of special coins to the large dealers and avoid all the discontent they are causing among people that collect coins?

Edward Alba
Ridgecrest, Calif.

Expanding Upon Error Types

Ron Brown, in his good article in the May 5, 2020, issue of Numismatic News, explains the difference between a “variety” coin and an “error” coin. He states that a variety coin is created before a coin is struck, emanating from the die(s) created by the U.S. Mint. He goes on to say that an error coin is created when a coin is struck.

While the above is correct, it leaves the impression that error coins can only be created by being struck. I have seen many error coins that have not been struck, e.g. blank planchets or clipped planchets, which are correctly mentioned by Mr. Brown as errors. There are also coins that are both a variety and an error unto themselves, e.g. a variety struck on clipped planchet or struck on a clad planchet with a missing obverse or reverse layer.

This is not a criticism of Mr. Brown, but only to expand on his distinction and explain that there are dozens of error types that occur throughout the whole coin manufacturing process, both before and upon striking, i.e. planchet, die, and striking errors.

A further distinction between varieties and errors is that a variety coin is usually intentionally issued by the U.S. Mint, while error coins are not, having, for the most part, escaped undetected or with the “help” of a Mint employee.

Bob Eisemann
Glen Echo, Md.

Is Line on Kansas State Quarter a Misstrike?

I found this coin in an old pocket change bag and, as I have two of the same, I noticed the line on the bison’s back part of the neck on one of them. I believe it could be a misstruck line, but I don’t know what it really is. I got this coin in the United States in 2008. I wonder if you have any knowledge of this particular case of the coin? I’ve heard and seen videos on two errors on the coin: the hump and spitting bison ones, but have never heard of the one on the coin I have.

Francisco Pujols
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic