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This week's letters (07/30/13)

We spent a few days in Toronto recently and I was impressed by Canadian currency and coins.
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Canada does well without cent, dollar bill
We spent a few days in Toronto recently and I was impressed by Canadian currency and coins. Paper dollars have been gone for years. Now the penny is gone.
Although items are still priced in cents, purchases are rounded to the nearest 5 cents. For example, if I makes a purchase of $2.92 and give the clerk a five, I receive two coins in change: a dime and a $2 coin.
The new plastic currency is terrific. The bills are thinner than paper and appear to be indestructible.
I wonder when we are going to end our love affair with the penny and the dollar bill and get in step with the rest of the world.
Bruce Guild
Durham, N.C.

Greed takes away from fun of collecting coins
I find that coin collecting today has lost a lot of its fun. When I was a young man back in the 1960s, my father collected coins of the U.S. in all denominations and metals – copper, silver, and gold.
He would go to coin shows in Westchester County, N.Y., and Albany, N.Y. At that time he said that one could only order five Mint sets from the Mint and a limited amount of commemoratives had been produced. There was a great deal of joy to find a Barber quarter or dime and a Buffalo nickle in your change.
Today you can still get the rare coinage but you have to go to coin dealers or dealers on eBay. There are no real bargains or great finds unless you are retired and spend all day going through coins. I spoke to a collector who had gone through 72,000 wheat cents and to that day in 2013 he still had not come across a 1909-S cent.
Today you have people buying first issues from the Mint. They are scraping up coins as if they are going out of style. They do not look at mintages for items like the West Point enhanced coin set. There is no limit on the amount of coins that you can purchase from the Mint at any one time.
To me it seems that greed is the driver ,and fun and enjoyment is gone.
John Connolly
Spring Hill, Fla.

Still a fan of raw coins over slabbed coins
I read your column in the May 14 issue. I tend to share some of the feelings your e-mail writer does.
But go it alone? Not on your life. I enjoy my coins and I tend to share that enthusiasm with non-collectors and nothing seems to turn non-collectors off more than what they consider the elitist attitude of slabbed coins. Circulation strikes they understand. That’s what I collect.
I fully agree that the slabs are everywhere. I can remember when they weren’t. I just don’t like it. Yes, raw coins do bring less when sold, but they also cost less when you buy them. On the whole, that seems pretty fair to me.
Lastly, seeking expert advice on the genuineness of a coin seems to be a very worthwhile service experts do provide.
Edward J. Kroll, Jr.
Wyandote, Mich.

1920 half dollar in collection was a clever fake
I found F. Michael Fazzari’s article on the counterfeit, well-circulated half dollar of 1921 absolutely fascinating.
I was traded a counterfeit half dollar dated 1920 in 1961 by a high school friend. The coin was in About Fine condition and had seen long circulation. The silver appeared good, the reeding unremarkable and the overall die work not worth a second glance unless you looked carefully.
Under magnification, tool marks could be seen for the lettering and small details were not quite right. The dies had apparently been hand cut. It was a masterful counterfeit.
Silver prices in the 1920-1933 period dropped as low as 25 cents an ounce. So, counterfeits could be made of good silver and still be profitable. My friend claimed that it was a product of organized crime. I expect he was right.
Sadly, while I was in the armed forces the coin was stolen from my collection. I expect many more exist but remain unrecognized because they are so well done.
Name and Address withheld

Thanks for not making fun of Lew’s signature
You were very kind in your cover article about Jacob Lew’s signature on Federal Reserve Notes. At least you didn’t refer to him as “Loopy Lew” as other publications have done.
John Karpinski
Address withheld

New ANA board will do a great job for members
Congratulations to the newly elected American Numismatic Association (ANA) Board of Governors for 2013-2015.
President-elect Walter Ostromecki, VP-elect Jeff Garrett, Governors-elect Gary Adkins, Scott T. Rottinghaus, Dr. Ralph W. Ross, Mike Ellis, Greg Lyon, Jeff Swindling, and Laura Sperber will make for a strong ANA Board of Governors.
The ANA is relevant and important to the numismatic community providing education, public service and fellowship to members and non-members alike. Through volunteering their time, talent and training, the new board will help the ANA continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of collectors, dealers, the government, and general public.
I would like to thank those people who supported and voted for me in the ANA election. Although I was unsuccessful in being elected to the Board of Governors, I remain committed to serving the ANA as the ANA District Representative for Alabama and serving on ANA committees.
Richard Jozefiak
Madison, Ala.

Facebook wants to collect personal information
Your Facebook comments were spot on. Facebook exists to collect as much private information as possible on every human being on the planet in order to sell it to advertisers. The information that you don’t give it voluntarily it will find some other way.
It also exists so that people with smart phones can stare at their phone every waking minute of every day so that, God forbid, they don’t miss the news that their friend Sally just bought a new pair of brown shoes.
Peter Glassman
Schaumburg, Ill.

Best baseball designs celebrate the game
There are many baseball coin designs that indicate right-handed players. There are only two designs that reflect the southpaw. There is one design that reflects a right- and a left-handed player. This one is my second choice.
My favorite does not reflect right- or left-handed players, but the crossed bats with a ball and the American flag in the background. America’s game played around the world.
Art Bowers
Tempe Ariz.

Price of silver doesn’t bother this collector
As a world coin collector and a collector of world tokens and medals, I for one, did not care as silver began to plummet!
I know that must sound terrible to you who collect “bullion” or who collect coins for the silver content alone, but when I decided to get back into collecting coins as I had when I was much, much younger, I promised myself two things: 1) I would live within my budget and find the fortitude to walk away from those coins, tokens and medals I could not afford, and 2) whether the price of silver was $8 an ounce, $15 an ounce, $40 an ounce or even higher, it would have no effect on what I collected. If I needed (or wanted) it for my collection, I would get it, even if, over time, I had to save up the money to do so.
So, at least for me, though I’d hate to see silver drop back down to $8 an ounce like it was when I started collecting again, I am fine with it, in either case! And, here’s to the hobby of not just kings, but paupers, too! I love it, love it, love it!
Evelyn Powers
Bloomington, Ind.

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