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This week’s letters (11/13/12)

I’ll be brief. When the 2010 Boy Scouts of American Centennial Coin was introduced, I was dismayed to see what appears to be a Girl Scout on the obverse side of the coin. I could not understand why that would happen. Who was the moron who made that decision?
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How come there’s no boy on Girl Scout coin?
I’ll be brief. When the 2010 Boy Scouts of American Centennial Coin was introduced, I was dismayed to see what appears to be a Girl Scout on the obverse side of the coin. I could not understand why that would happen. Who was the moron who made that decision?
Jump forward: Front page of the Numismatic News, Oct. 9, “Girl Scout Coin An Inspiration?” written by David C. Harper. What is on the obverse you say? Perhaps a Boy Scout with the Girl Scouts? Heck no! Three cute little Girl Scouts!
Am I the only one to notice this? Is this politically correct run amuck? Perhaps this is a mistake? What am I missing? You tell me!
Tom Quirk
Greensboro, Ga.

Editor’s note: The girl on the Boy Scouts coin represents a member of the Boy Scout Venturing program for boys and girls ages 14 to 21. It is similar to the old Boy Scout Explorer program.

1881 nickel comes from family collection
I’m writing to you after being inspired by the “For less headache, go with proof 1881 nickel” article that was in the recent Numismatic Update e-mail from
I own an 1881 nickel that has a nice little story that goes with it.
My maternal great-grandmother was born during 1881 in Poland and immigrated to America as a teenager. At some point she decided to try to save a U.S. coin of every denomination minted during her birth year.
Among the coins that I inherited from my grandparents a few years ago were the cent, 3-cent nickel and 5-cent nickel (all grading good) that my great-grandmother found in circulation.
These coins have been in my family for well over 50 years, and I am proud that they are now part of my coin-collection. The fact that the 1881 5-cent nickel is one of the tougher dates just makes it all a little sweeter.
John C. Kozimbo
Westfield, N.J.

Why have 70-point grading system instead of 100?
I never really understood why they chose a MS-70 point grading system, when most Americans, both young and old, are so familiar with the 100 percent decimal point system.
With first strikes, frosted cameos, and high relief coins, I believe a 100-point grading system would be easier to comprehend. I have been collecting coins since 1958 and have followed all of the grading systems of their times.
Name withheld

Editor’s note: Early large cent authority Dr. William H. Sheldon, author of Penny Whimsy, created a 70-point scale in the in the 1940s. In the 1970s it was adopted and adapted by the American Numismatic Association as a grading scale to be applied to all coins.

Grading firm too liberal with MS-69 ratings
I have been a subscriber to your wonderful and knowledgeable weekly Numismatic News for over a decade now and thought that I could vent some problems that have occurred lately with a third-party grading service.
I ordered an American silver Eagle from a reputable coin dealer (mail in order). To say I was dismayed when I received the new 2012 West Point American silver Eagle graded MS-69 is an understatement. Immediately upon receiving it I was totally appalled by the condition of the coin.
It has a gouge in the field right of Miss Liberty, apparently from the edge of another ASE about 3/16ths inch long, and on the reverse the A and the T on STATES has gouges on the lower edges of the letters. As if that wasn’t enough, there is an eye lash or eyebrow hair next to the gouge on the obverse.
How can the grading firm send out this coin with a designation MS-69? Where and what happened to quality control?
This is not the first time this has happened. I had also ordered months ago an MS-70 ASE only to send it back (as I will the MS-69) with black spots on the obverse. You do not need a magnifying glass to see these imperfections, you can see them with the naked eye.
It seems to me, as well as other coin collectors, that the firm is not living up to their grading standards and is giving any ASE a grading of MS-69 or MS-70 when these coins should be graded MS-65 at the most.
Scotty Robertson
Bothell, Wash.

Reader catches misspelled middle name for Clemens
I gist red yor artikle wear yu tel sum1 that yur a magzeen editer. Then I reed the Mark Twain artikle where Mr. Twane was not hiz reel name. He wuz frum Cannibal, TX and wuz a “Longhorn” and heer all thiz time I thot he was a “Langhorne.” Funy how that can git confuzed! Jist wut dew thay teach these kids nowadazes?!.: (or wutevur gose at that ther end, or takle, gard, fulback, bearback, humpback, or wutevur.)
Yur best bud,

Seriously, Samuel Langhorne Clemens must be rolling over with laughter at that blunder in the David Ganz article in the Oct. 23 issue.
Doug Jennings
Petersburg, Mich.

Editor’s note: Samuel Clemens’ middle name was listed incorrectly as Longhorn in the article. The correct name is Langhorne. Will you let us blame the mistake on spellcheck?

Where do grades VF-25, VF-35 and AU-53 fit in?
I’m a big fan of certified coins, and been involved with numismatics for decades, but what’s the deal with the particular grades of VF-25, VF-35, and AU-53?
I just don’t understand why there’s a VF-25 and VF-35, when you have a grade of VF-30 which is naturally a VF+, it’s not a critical grade criteria in the vast majority of coin types where you need additional in between grades,
Also why is there a 20-point spread in the VF range,when there’s only a 10-point ranges in XF, AU and MS grades,where these grades are more critical. Now what’s the story with AU-53, there’s a AU-55, which signifies AU+, and there’s an AU-58, which I can understand will indicate a slider, so where’s the AU-53 fit in? So could anyone out there figure this out or is it just me?
Joe Trezza
Bronx, N.Y.

New scanners won’t copy paper money
There is an issue brewing in the paper money world that has been a topic with many of us for quite some time. However, I have not seen any discussion of it other than one blog string on Collector’s Universe. I am curious if you have seen any formal research done on the topic.
As you know, we paper money people routinely scan notes for use on our websites, eBay, and for clients as needed. However, the new scanners are being programmed to not scan the new currency. My existing scanner just quit and I was forced to purchase a new one. I ended up getting an Epson for general use but when I called their tech support about the currency scanning issue, I was told it will likely be a problem because there is a chip installed in it to prevent scanning currency.
So, as these older generation scanners start dying, more and more paper folks are going to be looking for a way to work around the protections being placed into the new equipment.
Do you have any additional info on the subject?
Robert Vandevender II
Jupiter, Fla.

Coin dealers left early Saturday at a big show
I collect uncirculated Indian head cents, Liberty nickels, etc. My collection is to the point where the few coins left are the expensive ones. I go to local shows, but it is hard to find what I need. I look forward to the big shows, where they have 500 dealers.
Saturday, Oct. 20th., I drove down to Dallas from Oaklahoma City. It takes me several hours to drive the 200 plus miles. I get to the show around 12:30 p.m. and more than 30 percent of the tables are empty!
The show does not continue into Sunday because of all the controversy of people not showing up, dealer travel time, etc. I can understand that. But for dealers to leave early on Saturday does not do the hobby justice. I work and the only time I can go to any show is on a Saturday. For a major show like this one, I was very disappointed.
There were very few raw coins. Almost everything was slabbed and MS-63 or better. I don’t have that kind of money for Indian cents. I came home with nada. I do better than that at the shows in Enid, Okla., and Lawton. But on the positive side, my wife and I had a nice drive down and back on a picture perfect Saturday.
Thanks for letting me vent on this matter.
Gregory Kopp
Edmond, Okla.

Don’t punish dealers for leaving shows early
I am not only a numismatist but also a philatelist (stamp collector) and a member of the Garfield-Perry Stamp Club, the longest continual running stamp club in Northeast Ohio. Every year for 123 years, the club has held its annual March Party, which involves exhibits and a bourse of about 50 or so dealers.
Like coin shows and bourses, some of the stamp dealers will leave early on Sunday afternoons. The club doesn’t punish the dealers if they leave early. While the next year’s show is planned, the dealers are asked how long they plan to stay in the show’s duration (usually from set-up”on Thursday to break down on Sunday), barring any unforeseen incident, and are charged accordingly for the space they ask for or are assigned. Some dealers leave the show early because they have to travel a long distance to get back home, or have a prior commitment the next day after the show. No one is “punished” for leaving early, even if an emergency arises and the dealer has to leave the show early.
The organizers of coin shows should follow this same practice. While the show is being planned by a club, or clubs, they should create a list of dealers and how long they plan to attend and charge accordingly to the dealer’s commitment to the show. If the dealer has to, or does, leave earlier than planned, he/she will not be refunded for the “empty time” on his/her space. The key to a good show is good planning and committed dealers to “work” the entirety of the show. There might be a good reason the dealer has to leave early, don’t “throw him/her off a cliff” because he/she left the show/bourse early.
(If any reader is interested in seeing the Garfield-Perry March Party in 2013, visit the club’s website: for more information.)
Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Letter asks for Liberty Head nickel clarification
I have subscribed to the Numismatic News for many years and the first thing I do (read) is your Class of ’63. I am from the class of ’49, Aurora, Ind.
I sent the below typed letter to Numismatic News several years ago but never heard back, so I decided to try again. Enclosed please read referenced articles. Hope to hear from you.
I became a numismatic bug way back in 1956. While on a break at work, the subject of coin values came up. I pulled out my few coins from my pocket, and a co-worker selected a 1912-D 1-cent piece in my loose change. He told me that the coin was worth about 60 cents. I was amazed! How can a 1-cent coin be worth that much?
He told me about coin collecting and a bit about values and a coin evaluation book. I asked, “Where do I get such a book?”
He replied, “There are local coin shops, just go there and they’ll tell you all about it.”
I could hardly wait to get off work and go to a coin shop. There, I was told about the Yeoman “Red Book.” I bought one (9th edition) and was immediately struck by the numismatic bug. Coins have been a joy over all these years.
Over the years, there has always been a curiosity concerning the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. Through all these years, I have read to very many articles (even saw one coin at Long Beach, Calif.) about the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels. In the back of my mind, I remembered that the 9th edition of the Red Book mentioned that a Col. Green once owned all six of the 1913 Liberty Head nickels.
Is it possible to ask your historical department to research and explain this? Were there six nickels or were there five nickels originally produced? I know that most articles make reference to the five known nickels. I do hope that you will assist me with this confusion.
Ralph A. Kruse
Encinitas, Calif.

Editor’s note: There have always only been five Liberty Head nickels. Confusion arose caused by a leather case once used to house them that had six holes, with the sixth spot being held by a cast bronze 1913 Indian Head nickel.

Lunch came with 1945-P war nickel in change
Today when I bought my lunch, I got a 1945-P war nickel in change! Maybe Fine condition, scruffy-looking, but still a war nickel! The shrimp basket with a biscuit was good too.
Ginger Rapsus
Chicago, Ill.

Is it OK to use solution to determine Buffalo dates?
I would like to hear your opinion about using the Nic-A-Date solution to enhance the dates on Buffalo nickels. Especially the “6” early date 1913s – mound and line varieties.
I think this is a reasonable way to find these dates on low-grade coins.
Bob Bing
Houston, Texas

Requests info on precious metals collecting from ANA
Recently I wrote to the American Numismatic Association about coin collecting, but my letter was returned. It stated they had moved but gave no forwarding address. Do you have it?
I am interested in acquiring precious metals, gold, silver and platinum. But I know very little on the subject.
Any information you can send me would be greatly appreciated.
John Fitzpatrick
Orlando, Fla.

Editor’s note: The ANA’s address is 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

Changes needed in Presidential dollar program
In my humble opinion, the Presidential dollars concept is not a great one – especially now that they are not even being made for circulation. Pictured above is an idea that might make the 20th century Presidential coins more likeable.
Change the reverse to the North portico of the White House by Edgar Z. Steever, surrounded by a wreath of stars from the 1989 commemorative half dollar by William Woodard/Edgar Z. Steever. “E Pluribus Unum” is included. The coin is too small for edge lettering.
Make a few for circulation. Not a ton like has already been done with the Presidential dollars. It reminds me of the 1979 and ’80 Susan B. Anthony dollars that lasted until 1999.
Government vending machines should accept dollar coins. Public vending machine operators should be given tax breaks to accept the dollar coins (in addition to the paper dollar and debit cards) in their machines.
Wayne Pearson
Union City, Ind.

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