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This week’s letters (11/06/12)

As a subscriber of the Numismatic News I would like to thank you, your staff and management for giving your readers the opportunity to both be a part of your 60th Anniversary issue and to win some great prizes.
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Thanks for including readers in anniversary issue
As a subscriber of the Numismatic News I would like to thank you, your staff and management for giving your readers the opportunity to both be a part of your 60th Anniversary issue and to win some great prizes.
In today’s corporate world the bottom line is profits. The customer’s only purpose is to provide the cash. With your contest you have shown me two things that set you apart from all the rest of American business.
First, with your prizes you are giving something back to your customers and secondly, by soliciting our stories for publication in your special issue its shows you care what we have to say. This leaves me feeling that you truly value us.
I think the difference is due to the nature of your business. The only reason General Motors or Ford exist is to sell cars for a profit. It is my belief that the Numismatic News exist for the benefit of collectors. To be sure, if you are to stay in business you must make a profit, but that is not your primary purpose. You are in business to inform, educate and entertain your readers, and to promote the hobby; this is your first priority.
Although some of the employees of General Motors and Ford no doubt are car enthusiast, I am certain the majority of them are just there for the paycheck. I would venture to guess that the majority of your employees are long-time active collectors and for them their job is a labor of love. This of course does not imply they would work for less money, as we all know you can’t live on love, but to work in a field you love is the key to being happy in your work which results in superior performance.
I regularly read several coin related publications, but the Numismatic News is without a doubt the one I enjoy the most. The articles that you publish are clear, concise and informative. Your staff does an excellent job and should be highly commended.
Again, thank you for providing this opportunity to your readers. The Numismatic News staff does a great job, know that it is noticed and appreciated.
Richard Graff
Hillsboro, Ore.

Collector made his own 5-coin anniversary set
I tried to purchase the 2011 five-coin anniversary set and was not able to get through to the US Mint.
In 2012 I made my own five-coin anniversary set. I bought the San Francisco two-coin set and bought two of the sets.
I also found a website that sells the original Government packaging and bought the original packaging for the 2011 five-coin anniversary set.
In the 2011 five coins packaging set I inserted the 2012 bullion silver Eagle, 2012-W burnish silver Eagle, 2012-W proof silver Eagle, 2012-S reverse proof silver Eagle and 2012-S proof silver Eagle.
I think my 2012 version of the 2011 set is awesome and it looks great compared to the 2011 five-coin set.
I decided to share this in case some other collectors my want to make their own set.
The website for the government packaging is You need the two coins set from 2012 San Francisco Set. All the other coin can be bought from the U.S. Mint or secondary market.
Vito Pierri
Address withheld

Lots of news at Chicago Coin Club meeting
The regular monthly meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was last night, and as a result I had three ideas for possible stories for Numismatic News.
1. Our attendance was a record-setting 34. Now I know some clubs regularly get that many people or more, but this is the highest attendance at a non-show meeting since I joined the club 30 years ago. It was augmented by: (1) an individual from South Carolina and has son were in town (2) the speaker brought his wife along, (3) another member brought a guest, and (4) two officers of ILNA were on hand to participate in awards to club members for speaking at last month’s ILNA convention (they are club members themselves, however). Even if we subtract out all of them, we still have 28 – which is a huge number for us. And one of the visitors indicated that he wants to join.
Attendance has been rising all year. I attribute this in part to the lingering effects of last year’s World’s Fair of Money here, plus preparation for next year’s ANA show. We have had to get a bigger meeting room, but except for that, we are not doing anything differently from what we have always done as far as I can see.
Our Secretary, Carl Wolf, would be delighted to be interviewed, I imagine, if you care to do a story on the Chicago Coin Club’s astonishing growth and what it might imply for the future of numismatics.
2. One individual had a story to tell over dinner before the meeting. He helps out in at coin store. He said that they are seeing better and better material being brought in, not just the usual collector duplicates or stuff that has gone up. He has concluded that people are very stressed financially and are sacrificing the core of their collections in order to get by. I assume that you would want to poll your usual retail dealer contacts to find out if this is happening anywhere else.
3. There was another report of a man who came into a local store with a slabbed 1895-S Morgan in AU-58. His exact words were, “Will you give me $1,000 for this coin?” (Shades of the “racketeer” nickel scam, as the story is usually told!) The dealer did, and sold it to our member.
On further research, our guy learned that a coin with the identical number sold in an auction a few years ago for $2,600 or so, and “reappeared” online in 2010 or thereabouts, bringing around $2,200. But guess what – there is still no Santa Claus in numismatics; the whole thing, slab and all, is a Chinese counterfeit. That is, the $1,000 coin is a counterfeit, probably copied from the image in the original auction.
I don’t collect slabbed coins or Morgans by date, so I’m no authority, but the slab looked OK to me and you had to really study the coin inside to see any problems. So much for sight-unseen trading.
Bob Leonard
Chicago, Ill.

Girl Scouts coin design makes no sense
I’m not inspired by the three-girls silver slug (Girl Scouts) coin and can’t imagine anyone else being inspired by it.
I’m a coin collector, not an investor or speculator. As a collector I like to know about all coins and what they represent even if I don’t intend to obtain one.
The head of the Girl Scouts and the secretary of the Treasury need to show a picture of this coin to people and ask if they know what it represents. The Girl Scouts head is seeing what she knows, the three words at the top of the coin, but the coin doesn’t say what it is.
The coin stated exactly what it was before too many fingers got into the mix. I’ve asked of others that have no knowledge of scouting what they think of this coin. Answers usually start, well it’s about three girls, I guess maybe some kind of sporting event. They don’t know what the three words mean other than probably something to do with good sportsmanship. The reverse of the coin is a shadow image of three girls and most say, I have 1 of those from when I was in grade school in the 1950s, does it have to do with school?
The coin should be as it was originally shown and have a certificate of authenticity telling about scouting. That would be how someone from this planet would do it.
Girl Scouts should boycott this coin and demand a change! No one should buy or give one of these slugs!
I’m surprised that other collectors don’t care enough to comment. This and other new coins in the making should be talked about.
When coins are tampered with it would be nice of Numismatic News to print e-mail and snail mail addresses for secretary of treasury and anyone else to tell of the wrongs being done to coins.
C’mon collectors get involved and forgot about that new cent you found in your change.
Robert Schnee
Chandler, Ariz.

Collector mistaken for robber in bank lobby
I wish to relate a most singular incident that recently occurred but first, let me congratulate you on a most enjoyable publication; Numismatic News is superb. As for my story, let me state that A., I am a born-again coin collector, returning to the fold after a five-decade absence; B., I am a Professor of Medicine at a major university; C., due to my heavy work schedule, it is my wife who procures rolls of coins for me to peruse from our bank, though escalating bribery is necessary to maintain her weekly schedule; and D., the aforementioned bank was robbed at gunpoint just several weeks ago, the day after one of her visits. The robber was never apprehended.
Last week I wars home from work uncharacteristically early and realized I could meet the bank teller my wife was dealing with. The bank was about to close within the hour so I rushed out with my shoulder bag containing five rolls of nickels, four rolls of quarters and two rolls of half dollars and dollars. My intent was to charm the teller into saving choice coins for me in the future.
I arrived and there was just one customer in front of me; the rest of the teller stations were closed. No one was behind me. The customer’s business dragged on and on; I tired and leaned against the wall. I glanced at the teller’s nameplate; it said Cheryl. I could not remember, was Cheryl the teller my wife dealt with? I called my wife on my cell phone, still leaning against the wall. No answer. I hung up and dialed again. No answer. A third time yielded the same. The customer in front of me was still hogging the teller, who intermittently caught my eye and gestured she would be with me in a moment.
I closed my eyes briefly; I was tired, hospital rounds started early and were difficult. I stretched a moment and then to my utter surprise I saw a “closed” sign by Cheryl’s station; she was nowhere to be seen. The bothersome customer had also disappeared.
Suddenly there was a firm tapping at my shoulder; it was security.
“Come to my desk,” the officer said, not nicely but not unfriendly either.
“Let me see the contents of your bag,” he ordered.
He opened it. Sunlight filtered through the window and gently alighted upon my rolls of coins.
As if by magic, Cheryl suddenly materialized out of thing air, smiling, as was now the security officer. Both seemed clearly relieved.
“We thought you were here to rob us,” the two of them practically said in unison. The officer explained, “Just two weeks ago we were robbed by a man leaning against the wall talking on his cell phone and we thought you were the guy here to rob us again. Cheryl alerted me, that’s why you are here.”
I shook hands with the two of them and departed after Cheryl exchanged my rolls of coins.
My point it, fellow coin collectors, please be advised, collecting coins is not as simple or as harmless as it might appear. And point two; going through rolls of coins of any denomination, except perhaps for nickels, is far less rewarding than was the case years ago.
Name withheld

Dime resale resulted in unexpected windfall
I’ve had a lot of great finds in my 40-plus years of collecting but I’d have to say the best find was back in the early 1990s when I used to buy AU/BU rolls of Mercury dimes from dealers for resale to other dealers.
At the time, you could purchase silver dimes for five times face value and I’d buy silver/BU rolls at eight times face over the CoinNet Teletype System, package them up in 2 by 2s, grade them, individually price them and ship them out to other dealers.
Most of the guys I sold to were quite picky and many times they would cherry pick the nicest ones and return the rest. I got tired of getting picked over after a while and made the next deal an “all or nothing” and the entire group got sent back to me. While I was repackaging them in new 2 by 2s, one 1942 caught my eye so I picked up a 10x loupe and lo and behold, it was a nice 42/1!
I was amazed that it wasn’t noticed by the guy I bought it from, by me the first time I packaged it or by the dealer I sent it to who passed on the deal.
I thought the coin was a nice lustrous AU-58 as I’m very conservative with my grading. I sent the coin to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and it came back graded MS-63.
I ended up showing it to another dealer friend of mine and he suggested I sent it to Professional Coin Grading Service, which I did, and it came back MS-64!
I wound up selling the coin a short time later for the sum of $2,500 (yeah, I know Grey Sheet bid is $6,000 now, don’t remind me), but for an 80-cent investment, that had to be my best coin sale ever!
Roy Maxwell
Max’s Coins
Voorhees, N.J.

Government should return $20s to rightful owners
While reading the Oct. 2 issue of your newspaper, I came across the article entitled “Should the government melt the confiscated 1933 gold $20 it has?” I read with dismay the answers given by some of your readers. Some readers suggest that the government auction off these coins and use the proceeds for some program the reader likes.
I wonder how many of these readers would feel the same if the government came in and confiscated their house or car and held an auction to get some money for government use. I believe they would feel ill used at best. There is no difference to me what the government takes; it’s all the same.
If memory serves me rightly, back in the good old days, 1933 included, anyone could walk into the Mint and exchange any coins they had in their pocket for newly minted coins of the same denomination. This would also include gold double eagles.
It is a fact that the records kept at that time were shoddy at best and could be taken to mean almost anything you wanted them to read. The dates on the coins on hand did not come into account, only the total amount of coins on hand mattered. If this is the case, any amount of 1933 double eagles could have been handed out before the stop order came out.
This is only my opinion, but to me the coins should be returned to their rightful owners.
Ray J. Widner
Harmony, N.C.

Canadian patterns reinforce need for U.S. to do same
My lovely Canadian pattern coins arrived today and I am most pleased with their quality. There is a regular issue of 2011 then the pattern version dated 2011, which was used in a modified version for the circulation coins of 2012. Six coins in all regular issue of $1 and $2 of 2011, $1 and $2 pattern coins of 2011 then $1 and $2 regular issue coins of 2012. Most fascinating and educational. Accolades to the Canadian Mint.
Looking over my pattern books, it appears from the knowledge I can gather is that probably the last time the U.S. Mint sold pattern coin sets was in the early 1880s. I read about a set being sold for $15 by the Mint that consisted of a $4 gold piece referred to as a Stella and two different kinds of goloid metric dollars in different sizes and compositions of gold, silver and copper.
With these new Canada patterns, I was trying to imagine what it would be like to have received a lovely set of patterns from the U.S. Mint. Hopefully things will change soon and we again could receive pattern coins from the Mint once again.
An unrelated but interesting topic. I took a trip to Thailand and it was explained that the Thai flag is designed such that it is the same design backwards, forwards and upside-down so there would be no confusion in hanging it the wrong way.
I work at the Board of Elections and sometimes fold flags for the polls. After my Thailand visit the thought occurred to me that we should redesign our flag like they did in Thailand so it would be the same backwards, forwards and upside-down so it could not be hung wrong. Simple solution would be to put the blue square with the 50 stars in the center of the flag rather than in the upper corner. In this way, the flag would be the same no matter how it was flown or blown.
I am surprised no one thought of this before. It took a trip to Thailand for me to think of it. This way, traveling is so educational as it gets us to think in a different perspective.
Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio