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This week’s letters (09/25/12)

On Aug. 7, 1972, I ventured into organized numismatics, joining the local Vallejo (California) Numismatic Society, and the world has turned many times in those forty years, taking me from a college student into my retirement, while numismatics has become an integral part of my life.
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Joining local club marked beginning of 40-year hobby
With this August 2012, I have completed now two scores – four decades or forty years – in, with, for and to organized numismatics.
On Aug. 7, 1972, I ventured into organized numismatics, joining the local Vallejo (California) Numismatic Society, and the world has turned many times in those forty years, taking me from a college student into my retirement, while numismatics has become an integral part of my life.
From joining my first coin club to rising in service at all levels, all can be traced to that fateful summer day 40 years ago. It is printed on a sign posted at the Vallejo Little League Field, near where the Vallejo Numismatic Society now meets, this “where it all begins.” The same can be applied to my youthful venture 40 years ago into, with and for organized numismatics. “It all began” then.
On Aug. 1, 2012, several of the Vallejo Numismatic Society members, on their own initiative, along with my beloved mentor Syd Kass of Stockton, Calif., and my fellow advocate for our hobby, Lee H. Gong of Santa Rosa, Calif., plus Michael M. “Steamer” Stanley of Concord, Calif., honored my 40 years. For their kindness, they have my gratitude and deepest appreciation.
The one lesson that has been learned these past four decades is that it is at the grass roots of our hobby, the local coin club, where our hobby truly begins and is nurtured.
In closing, the future is never sure; but, with the grace from the Great Mintmaster maybe there might be another 40 years for me with and to our “world of money.”
Ending, to all of those who have been so much of these past four decades, I thank you and wish you only the best today and tomorrow.
Remember: Have fun with your hobby. Always serve others. Enjoy your collecting. And, create hope and do good.
Michael S. Turrini,
Vallejo, Calif.

Most collectors don’t care about ‘S’ silver Eagles
Some late input on the Great San Francisco Proof Silver Eagle Crisis ...
I notice in your survey published in your issue of Aug. 21 that 83 percent responding said that no, the Mint should not have issued more 2012-S proof silver Eagles in the BEP set.
Keep in mind, even the response is limited to those who actually care about the subject. I suspect that if you held the average collector down and beat an answer out of him, it would be, “I don’t give a flying fig.”
Meanwhile, as we argue about this boring, overpriced trash, the lovely Star-Spangled Banner coins (especially the gold $5 and the Bicentennial set) are going begging.
To those who line up at their computers and beg the Mint to kick them in the face again, I say, “Get a life, folks.”
Stephen Kohlman
Chincoteague, Va.

Set’s arrival, presentation a welcomed surprise
After reading a letter to the editor in the July 31 Numismatic News, I didn’t think that the “S” mint two-coin proof set would get here for months. Surprise! Today, July 30, I received my set, and they are absolutely stunning and in a beautiful presentation case. As tempting as it is to have these coins graded and put into first strike holders, I’m going to keep them in their original case.
Michael D. Connell
Omak, Wash.

Buyer not impressed with San Fran’s quality control
For an entire week after my shipment date of July 27, I was anxiously awaiting delivery of my 2012-S proof set of silver Eagles for which I had already built a custom-made display case. On Aug. 4, the package finally arrived. I took it in the house and opened it with bated breath as on two previous occasions I sent proof sets back to the Mint because of inferior quality. Sure enough, on the reverse side of the proof coin there were two dark circular marks on the shield. Immediately, I called the Mint, described the problem, told them that the coin was totally unacceptable and asked about their method of quality control. All they could tell me was that they were sorry and that I should send back the set.
This is in direct contrast to the story you printed in the Aug. 21 issue about the gentleman who stated that the San Francisco mint knew “how to do it right.” The coin I received never should have left the mint. The poor quality was so visible that anyone who looked at the coin would have noticed the two marks.
Instead of having a satisfied customer, the Mint has alienated me. A replacement set will make amends as I truly appreciate the beauty of proof and reverse proof silver Eagles and display them proudly in my office.
Sheldon Levin
Lower Gwynedd, Pa.

Is 1-ounce Eagle a bullion piece or silver dollar?
I think the numismatic community has made a big mistake when it comes to the 1-ounce silver Eagle. In the 2010 official Red Book, under the heading “Silver and Related Dollars,” there is no mention of the 1-ounce silver Eagle. The 1-ounce silver Eagle is under the heading “Silver Bullion.”
Silver and gold bullion sells for spot price on the day of purchase. The 1-ounce silver Eagle sells for different prices depending on strike, grade, mintage and mintmark. The 1995 West Point silver Eagle has a mintage of 30,125 and lists for $3,000 – or approximately 108 ounces of silver at $27.72 an ounce.
What is the 1-ounce silver Eagle, a coin or a bullion piece?
Jeff Nevis
West Sacramento, Calif.

Canadian Mint gives critic less to complain about
The best part of your paper is the editorial where collectors write and exchange ideas. Through it I have met Bill Tutle, who likes to write like I do, shares the same ideas and best of all lives in the same city or one might say a different suburb in the greater Cleveland area. He told me of a coin club that we both joined and our lives have became enchanted. The club just had a pizza party.
They are assembling gold and silver coins for a Christmas raffle, and we exchange periodicals: the ones we subscribe to for ones we don’t receive. I bring in Numismatic News for people to read, they bring Coins, COINage, the Numismatist and an interesting paper just like Numismatic News called Canadian Coin News. Like Numismatic News, it has a wonderful, friendly editor named Bret Evans, and people write letters to their hearts’ content and he prints them. What a joy!
He recently had an editorial on redesigning Canada’s 75-year-old circulation coins and wanted ideas as to how to do it. For the life of me, I don’t know why Canada doesn’t redesign its circulating coins. It redesigns the paper money, redesigns the Queen��s portrait and makes beautiful designs for sale to collectors, so why the problem with circulating coins? Perhaps they should wait till 2017, just five years away, for the 150th anniversary Sesquicentennial in which all coins and paper money could be redesigned.
I remember in 1967 they redesigned all the circulating coins in the most beautiful designs I have seen anywhere but went back to the old ones in 1968. Why didn’t they keep the new designs since they were so beautiful? Now in 2017, let’s hope they will.
I don’t feel I can write as many letters to Canadian Coin News as I do Numismatic News since their coinage currency is not dysfunctional like ours. They eliminated the cent and paper dollar, make more commemoratives each year than we did in 1936 and sell patterns to the public, which we have not done since the 1880s. So what can I write about? Only thing I criticize is lack of circulation coinage redesign, somehow dislike of using mintmarks and if they make so many yearly commemorative coins that they sell at inflated prices, why then not commemorative paper money which can use a lot more color and space? Think of the beautiful vistas that can be on it.
No one in Canada appears to be lamenting the cent. In fact, I can’t imagine why anyone would wish to retain it. I believe the cent accounts for over 70 percent of U.S. coinage, and the dollar bill over 70 percent of paper currency. Would be best to eliminate the cent and dollar bill at the same time since dollar coin production can take the place of cent production. And $2 bill manufacture would fill the vacuum of dollar bill production, and the work schedule would not be disrupted. Cents still could be made for collectors.
Perhaps even to be more interesting, manufacture mills which are 1/1,000th of a dollar, 1/10th of a cent, 1/5th of a half cent. These are used for tax purposes. I believe they were part of our coinage system but never used. Believe it or not, I once had one. It was an aluminum tax token coin the size of a California gold token from New Mexico dated 1952, which I found as a child playing in the dirt in my backyard. I was fascinated with it and thought how much fun it would be for the Mint to sell these to children collectors because they would be cheap and interesting. Make them in patriotic designs like Civil War tokens, flags, Indians, Liberty Bell, etc. Should really be something different, fun and interesting no one has ever thought of before and wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg like the larger denomination issues do. All emphasis seems to be on big bucks these days.
Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio