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Letters to the Editor: Oct. 13, 2020

Salt River Bay Quarter a Disappointment

Is it only me, or if any other collector has found any of the Salt River Bay “W” quarters, what is their condition? It took the U.S. Mint at West Point until the first or second week of August to get them out, and the condition of them is horrendous. Compared to the prior seven “W” quarters released, these are bad! They have smudges, nicks, etc. For a quarter they waited to get into circulation, I am very disappointed with these. I will write the U.S. Mint, post on Facebook to a couple of coin chat groups I am in, and ask others who found any of the current “W” quarters the condition they have. I know the U.S. Mint placed 2 million in circulation, but quality control in this quarter was missing.

Ralph A. Fuller 
Cleveland, Ohio

Story of the ‘Coin Clown Cowboy’

The following must be considered a work of fiction as the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

For our purposes, let’s call this guy “Mickey.” He’ll tell you that if you don’t want to buy from him to go ahead and take your chances and surf the “net” as a coin cowboy. He fails to mention that he has his own site as the “Coin Buster Disaster Blaster,” and he certainly wants you to land on it.

He’ll make the uneducated think that, because his graded coins have numbers like #5 of 300 on the slabs, they are somehow limited and you can’t get the coins anywhere else. He’ll tell you that the silver Eagle he’s hawking is the “rarest ever.” I’ve counted 37 instances so far of that claim. He’ll tell you that because his silver Eagle came in a cardboard sleeve saying “Congratulations” that the exact same silver Eagle not in that sleeve is worth substantially less. He’ll claim his prices are lower than anyone else’s. He won’t tell you how many times his shopping site has been sued and how much they were fined over the years. He won’t admit how many times the FTC has received complaints due to his fraudulent and outrageous claims.

I watch his show for the comedic and entertainment value that it never fails to provide. There hasn’t been a single instance when I haven’t found the same coin for less elsewhere.

I feel so sorry for those who drink the “Kool-Aid” the Coin-Clown-Cowboy serves up. He refers to himself as the penultimate numismatist when in reality, he’s simply a snake-oil salesman who I’ve properly named the “Coin Clown Cowboy.”

Steve McGowan
Algonac, Mich.

Why Does Edge Lettering Vary on Dollars?

I recently acquired an assortment of Presidential dollars and I have noticed that the edge lettering is sometimes right- side up and sometimes upside-down in relation to a “heads up” orientation of the coin. I have seen this referred to as Type A and Type B. Is there any rhyme or reason to this, and is one type rarer than the other?

Daryl Conley
Truth or Consequences, N.M.

Looking for Information on Kennedy Halves

I was wondering what the deal is with Kennedy halves? I heard they were uncirculated. Does that make them more valuable?

Ken Jackson
Madison, Wis.

Coin Grading Book Recommendations

What books do you recommend for coin grading definitions and understanding?

Larry Barton
Address Withheld

Editor’s Note: Following is a response from Tom Michael, numismatics market analyst, author and database editor.

Coin grading is a complicate endeavor. Many books have been published over the years on grading United States coinage. Very few have been written to assist with grading coins in other countries. Third party grading services have been established to assist collectors in the finer points of grading Mint State coins.

Many coin price guides include brief chapters on coin grading. Some are text explanations or definitions, while others include images. Most of these grading chapters are helpful but limited in scope.

Here are the current books you can consult to better understand U.S. coin grading:

The Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins edited by Kenneth Bressett

Photograde by James F. Ruddy

Grading Coins by Photographs by Q. David Bowers

Making the Grade by Beth Deisher

Quarter Anomalies Raise Question

I recently received this coin in change at a local store. It is the only coin I’ve ever seen with five digits in the date and the word (In) God We Trust is skewed to the left. I’m wondering why is this?

David Lockard
Cottrellville, Mich.