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This week’s letters (03/05/13)

For me it was a genuine sorrow to read in the Feb. 12 Numismatic News of the death of Alan Herbert. I’ve been a subscriber to Numismatic News for many, many years, and during that time I’ve asked Alan many questions, to all of which he responded promptly with useful information and guidance as well as with wit and good will.
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Herbert answered many questions over the years
For me it was a genuine sorrow to read in the Feb. 12 Numismatic News of the death of Alan Herbert. I’ve been a subscriber to Numismatic News for many, many years, and during that time I’ve asked Alan many questions, to all of which he responded promptly with useful information and guidance as well as with wit and good will.
It was most interesting to read of Alan’s many numismatic accomplishments and honors, with which I was not previously familiar. I, and probably most Numismatic News readers, consider it of great importance that you continue the “Coin Clinic” column under different authorship; not continuing the column would be a great loss to us all.
Name withheld

Condition key in setting value of war nickel
In your Feb. 12th issue of Numismatic News, you responded to Carl Coleman’s letter inquiring about the use of “Goo Gone” to clean his war nickel. You stated “value depends on silver content.”
What? What were you thinking? Don’t you realize the value of a silver war nickel is determined by condition (as always) and the amount of clear strongly imprinted steps (4, 5, maybe even 6) on the coin’s reverse. I have many 1942-P’s worth less than a dollar, and many worth $40, $50, $60, $80, who knows, maybe $100. But valuing them strictly by silver content – 35 percent – is totally inaccurate.
Also, please accept my condolences and sympathy on your loss of columnist and comrade Alan Herbert. I always looked forward to reading his weekly informational “Coin Clinic.”
Blair Diffenderfer
Englewood, Ohio

Editor’s note: In our defense, the statement was qualified with the words “unless it was in Mint State.”

Friends need info on California gold coins
A friend recently saw a small 1849 California gold coin. It had an Indian head on one side and a bear surrounded by vines on the other.
This has perked his interest in California gold coins. Any information would be great. Any books on California gold? A possible company that may have produced the coin. Thank you.
Charlie Chalberg
Address withheld

Editor’s note: Our annual “U.S. Coin Digest” contains a California gold section. You can order it at or find it at major book stores.

Government is getting coin design right, kind of
I am pleased to read that the United States is on the right track where coinage redesign is concerned. They coyote-turkey-turtle dollar coin is a knockout and could set the standard for future coinage redesign. The gear lady standing on a cliff with the wind blowing on the platinum coin makes my heart leap for joy! The CCAC wants to reintroduce Liberty coins. We know that we have creative artists in the Saint-Gaudens caliber if only they would be allowed to work.
Yet the program is sadly flawed. The gear lady is only on the platinum coins. The coyote-turkey-turtle dollar needs to be widely released in circulation so school kids enjoy them just like we did with the excitement I experienced in 1964 when the Kennedy half dollar was released.
The CCAC wants Liberty designs for the denominations but only wants them for one year and to retain the presidents forever. One year the cent, next year the nickel, so forth. The cent and half shouldn’t be around then anyway, so why even suggest such a nonsensical idea? Besides, we have all the presidents on the dollar coin anyway. We don’t need them on small change. If we want presidents, encourage the dollar coin to circulate by eliminating the paper, so we could have presidents on the dollar and Liberty on the other coins.
The government is trying to come up with good ideas but somehow botches the method they are implementing. We need to remedy the situation. Let’s get collector feedback in your paper. I heard the Mint reads all the editorials so have questions on this. It’s time we move. We had enough time sitting in the pasture.
Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio

Consider collecting coins by topics
I just received the latest issue (Feb. 5) of Numismatic News and as usual go straight to the “Letters” column.
I read R.W. Baker’s letter suggesting taking the “foreign route” for a change from U.S. collecting for those pining about U.S. coins and services from the mint. I agree with Baker, foreign coin collecting is a good change from just U.S. collecting. Like Baker, I don’t consider the silver non-circulating legal tender rounds as coins; technically, they are bullion pieces in coin form.
Another “path” one can take in coin and currency collecting is the area of topicals, as there is a great following in collecting stamps.
Not only do I collect coins/currency, but I also collect stamps. Part of my stamp collection is the topical of transportation. I call it “Planes, Trains, Automobiles, and Things with or without Wheels.” In the stamp world, this is a wide field of interest. Nearly every country in the world has issued a stamp showing some form of transportation. As my foreign coin collection grew, I realized there were also transportation subjects on the coins of the world. The U.S. has “transportation” topics on its states and territories set; Canada has a sailboat, for example.
If one wants to get into the topical of “flora and fauna,” both U.S. and worldwide coins/currency have that too.
My collection also includes some non-circulating legal tender rounds, coin club medals/rounds and tokens I acquired from various sources.
It can be a very enjoyable experience in the “hunt” for your favorite topic in numismatics and/or exonumia. Excellent findings to you all.
Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Herbert wrote great column, will be missed
I was truly sorry to hear of the passing of Alan Herbert in the Feb. 12 issue of NN. He helped me with different questions several times and he wrote a great column. He will be greatly missed. I don’t think you could find anyone to take his place, but hope you can find someone to do a similar column.
Terrill M. Williams
Paola, Kan.

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