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Letters to the Editor: Oct. 29, 2019

Cleaning a Coin

When a grading service renders a coin improperly cleaned that implies there is a way to properly clean a coin. What are those ways? I thought any kind of cleaning was a no-no!

Rodney Pelles
Toccoa, Ga.

Innovation Coins

Thanks to my e-mail alerts from the U.S. Mint, I was able to order five of the reverse proof Innovation coins. They arrived about a week later. I was so impressed that I ordered four additional normal proof coins to go along with one I purchased earlier this year. They also arrived about a week later. I now have five of each type. If they ever increase significantly in value, I can sell some of them as sets. The price was cheap enough that it is worth taking the risk.

I also recently completed my Liberty “V” nickel collection by purchasing an 1885 on eBay, graded and slabbed by NGC. I don’t usually buy slabbed coins, but with this particular coin I wanted to make sure it was genuine. I was able to go to the NGC website and verify that the coin I was buying was the actual coin they had graded, by looking at their photo archive and matching up the certification number. What a great service and basic enrollment is free!

I am a firm believer in “buy the coin, not the slab.” I have looked at dozens of 1885s over the past several years, graded and raw. I acquired this particular coin for less than most of the others I had looked at, and it has (to me) better eye appeal than others. It was worth the wait.

Daryl Conley
Truth or Consequences, N.M.

1925 Standing Liberty Quarters

I have two 1925 Standing Liberty quarters with different obverses. One has 11 stars and the other has 13 stars. Can you tell me the difference or were there two different dies?

Michael Thompson
Sutton, Neb.

A Step Back in Time

I have a question for your historian. At present, I subscribe to Bank Note Reporter and Numismatic News. I also have Standard Paper and Coins Catalogs.

Question: Let’s transport ourselves back to the 1930s and 40s, what publications would we subscribe to? Whose catalog would we have? Would this predate Krause?

If you have any answers, I would like to know.

Bowen Carter
Address Withheld

Editor’s Note:


This is back in the B. Max Mehl and Wayte Raymond era.

B. Max Mehl produced the Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia and Premuim Catalog throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, with copies very available today if you would like to handle one and get the feel for what was being used at the time.

Wayte Raymond produced a hardcover Standard Catalog type book of world coins with Stuart Mosher in 1938. This book was widely used for the identification of world coins. Booklets for regions of the world were also produced by Raymond and these can still prove both interesting and useful today.

There are a few other catalogs that were produced shortly before the period mentioned and were used to identify and learn the history of world coins. Some of these were large catalogs and some were smaller guides designed for bankers and exchanges.

William Craig produced his world coin reference covering Coins of the World 1750-1850, first published in 1966.

Richard S. Yeoman produced his first “Redbook,” A Guide book of United States Coins in 1946 and later created his world coin catalog,A Catalog of Modern World Coins 1850-1950 (“Brown Book”) in 1957. This catalog carried on past Craig and made use of the earlier works of Wayte Raymond, which the published had purchased as a starting base. Later, in 1970, there was Current Coins of the World from Yeoman, which carried us further into the 20th century.

These were used by most everyone in world coins prior to the advent of the Standard Catalog of World Coins.

During the same time period lots of numismatic literature, including catalogs, was being published for specific countries, regions and coin types. It’s a nearly endless subject, but this gives you the basics.

Presidential Dollars

I routinely receive the Presidential gold dollars in change from the vending machines of my local commuter railroad. From 2007 through 2011, the dollars for George Washington through James Garfield typically showed up in my change within a few months after being issued.I enjoyed looking through the dollars and filling the slots in my Whitman presidential coin folder. However, when the new designs were no longer issued for circulation beginning in 2012, I figured that the remaining coin slots in my folder (Arthur through Regan) would remain unfilled.

Much to my surprise, however, every once in a while one of the later issues would appear in my change. So far I have received the Cleveland No. 1, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, Harding, Hoover, and Nixon coins.Somehow, these coins found their way into circulation from purchased collector rolls and bags. I am determined to find them all. Keep looking. They are out there.

David S.
Westbury, N.Y.