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This week's letters (06/04/13)

When we embarked on this journey with our Uncle George Walton’s 1913 Liberty Head Nickel 10 years ago, we had no idea what we would be install for. What an experience it has been!

Walton family grateful for 1913 nickel coverage

When we embarked on this journey with our Uncle George Walton’s 1913 Liberty Head Nickel 10 years ago, we had no idea what we would be install for. What an experience it has been! Certainly one that will never be repeated for us. Selling the nickel at the Heritage Auction’s Central States Numismatic Show, April 25, was very bitter-sweet for us.

When we loaned the nickel to the ANA 10 years ago, we knew it would be well taken care of and they had the means to take the nickel and George Walton’s story around the country, and they definitely did that. We visited the nickel every chance we could. But it went beyond the ANA. We were totally embraced by the numismatic community. Some of the friendliest and most helpful people on this planet. They came to us wanting to hear our story, when we could have spent all day listening to theirs.

And Numismatic News has been with us all the way. Whether it was doing an interview with David Harper or articles about whenever the nickel would be at an ANA show or getting the story out about the 1913 nickel and George Walton. That is what we wanted before we ever thought about selling the nickel. We could not have asked for more.

So to Numismatic News and the numismatic community, we want to say a heartfelt “thank you.” We are indebted to all of you for your generosity and kindness over the past 10 years!

The Walton Family—
Ryan Givens, Richard Givens, Bette Givens and Cheryl Givens Myers

eBay policy harms collectors of Cuban coins

eBay and PayPal’s (purchase transactions) current (April 9) policy on listing of Cuban coins, currency and stamps is seriously harming Cuban numismatists and philatelists in the United States. The current policy provided to sellers of these Cuban items is:

“Attention Sellers:

“Listing for stamps, coins or paper money from Cuba are not permitted. eBay’s policy prohibits the sale of most items that originate from Cuba due to the sanctions enforced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

“Any violation of this policy, we will remove the item and may prohibit you from future use of our services.

“More information on the specific items covered by the sanctions related to Cuba can be found here: http//”

NOTE: The above website is a U.S. Department of Treasury Resource Center, which provides guidelines and policies of Cuba and many other “embargoed” countries. The specific details on Cuba are vague because they do not address the exceptions that have been published since Feb. 7, 1962. These exceptions are well documented, including eBay’s Guide to Collecting Cuban Coins ( -to-Collecting-Cuban-Coins/1223/g.html).

This website data has been removed since April 20, 2013. Before it was removed, the site contained the following information:

Legally Purchasing Cuban Coins

“Acquiring almost anything from Cuba is illegal for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

“However, there are some exceptions. Only items that are licensed, informational, or precede the embargo can be purchased from Cuba. While coins are not licensed or informational, coins minted before the embargo was in place can be legally sold and purchased in the United States. Purchasing any coins minted after 1963 can result in heavy fines.”

eBay also references another website to clarify their policy regarding embargoed goods and prohibited countries, which is This website contains the following information:

“Under U.S. law, buying and selling items made in restricted countries may not be lawful, depending on the nature of the item, when it was manufactured, and when it left that specific country.

Generally, items from restricted countries may be sold only if they’re considered to be informational, pre-embargo, or licensed.”

NOTE: Cuban collectors designate their collectibles as First Republic, representing collectibles from 1902-1962. Second Republic represents all collectibles from 1962-present. The First Republic coins, currency and stamps are identified as such in the Standard Catalogs of World Coins, Standard Catalogs of World Paper Money, and world stamps catalogs. All coins and currency were minted/printed in the United States during the First Republic. Most other coins and currency prior to 1902 were also minted/printed in the United States. The Philadelphia Mint minted the last Cuban coin in 1961 (5 centavo).

Many other references can be found using the Google search engine that support the understanding that pre-embargo Cuban coins, currency and stamps are exempt from the Embargo.

On May 3, a seller of Cuban collectibles reportedly discussed this issue with an eBay Customer Service representative, who reportedly admitted that eBay is now aware that their new policy banning all Cuban coins, currency and stamps is above and beyond the embargo law, but they will enforce it, and as a company, they have a right to do so. The representative implied eBay cannot differentiate between the embargoed items from excluded items, so the ban is applied to all Cuban items. This rationale has not been verified, since eBay executives remain silent on the new policy in spite of many attempts to contact them.

The above reference to differentiation seems to be a simple problem to solve. A skilled code writer should be able to institute complex algorithms in eBay’s listing program that allows all Cuba pre-1962 to be listed. Examples of these differentiations are evident in the many polls and questionnaires that appear on the internet.

Since eBay’s new policy is more than a month in execution, it appears that the executives are not motivated in solving this unfair policy. In the meantime, hundreds of law abiding Cuban collectible enthusiasts are refused the right to openly sell legal Cuban collectibles on eBay’s auction site.

Francis X. Putrow, President
Cuban Numismatic Association

eBay prohibits listing coins from Cuba, Iran

Pretty sure you are aware of it already, but eBay now prohibits the listing of any coins or currency from Cuba regardless of when it was struck. Everyone is getting the message when trying to submit a new listing. The new policy also applies to Iran, and several other countries.

Bruce Walker
Kansas City, Mo.

‘P’ mintmark coins hard to find in California

Yesterday, April 27, in change received from a grocery store, I found a bright, shiny, 2013-D penny, my first 2013 coin found in circulation.

Interestingly, I still haven’t come across either a 2011-P or a 2012-P coin in circulation here in southern California. I guess that coins must have trouble crossing the continental divide or something like that.

Do you find a similar lack of recent year circulation “D” coins in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S.?

Loren D. Morrison
Monterey Park, Calif.

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