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This week's letters (11/19/13)

Do you think anyone who has used the Mint’s website is surprised there are problems with the roll out of the Obama Care website?
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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Government doesn’t know how to run websites
Do you think anyone who has used the Mint’s website is surprised there are problems with the roll out of the Obama Care website? We have problems every time a new product is rolled out. And we are only a few thousand customers.
Millions of people tried to get on the website for health care. Many media reports were quick to call the website “not ready for prime time.” PBGS is still having problems, and they have had the contract for years now. They are still not ready for prime time.
I’m glad I have health insurance. They will never be “ready for prime time” on any government website.
Donald Cantrell
Address withheld

Surprised that self-service checkout takes $2 bills
Today I visited a local store that has a self-service checkout, the kind where you scan the items’ bar codes yourself and then insert cash or a credit card into the machine as payment.
I had a $2 bill on me and inserted it into the machine as part of my payment. I fully expected that the machine would reject the $2 bill, but even if it counted it as a $1 bill, I was willing to pay the extra dollar to run the experiment. To my utter surprise, the machine accepted it and correctly counted it as a $2 payment.
I’d be interested to know if any of your other readers have tried this and if so what their experience has been. (Maybe next time I’ll try using it to buy a train ticket from one of their machines.)
Name withheld
Princeton Junction, N.J.

Reclaim hobby by showing integrity, honesty
I’ve always found Mr. Fazzari’s editorials thought provoking and straight shooting. Once again I felt Mr. Fazzari hit the nail on the head.
Being at shows around this nation, I’ve seen and heard things that made me want to walk away from this nation’s greatest hobby. Corruption, organizations not operating to their own bylaws, grading issues and standards.
Mr. Fazzari experienced being muzzled on many occasions and even ostracized. I’ve personally experienced these exact issues trying to right wrongs in the industry, standing for integrity and honesty, looking out for the customer and trying to keep hope and excitement in a hobby that’s been hijacked by big money and organizations led with self interest.
The change needs to start with the leaders in this industry, and organizations need to be accountable.
Organizations like the ANA, PNG even the grading houses, need to check their motives at the door, start living up to the standards expected from their membership.
This hobby is shooting itself in the foot. I have hope and desire to see change. I challenge coin clubs and individuals to reclaim your hobby. I ask the ones with integrity and honesty to make a stand. Together we can make a difference, and together we can reclaim the greatest hobby for future numismatist.
Robert A. Haire
Palm Harbor, Fla.

1865 token marks noted strike in history
The following is an article I submitted to the Love Token Society for their newsletter. I thought there might be some interest from your periodical also. Thanks.
A gold-plated 1865 2-cent piece love token. On the front side was written “The Strike of 1884.”
According to Howard Zinn, author of the People’s History of the United States, there were an average of 500 strikes per year between 1881 and 1885. In 1884, there were three strikes of note: the Pullman Coach Car strike, the Women’s Assemblies of Textile Workers and Hatmakers strike and the Columbus and Hocking Coal and Iron Company Miner’s strike. Could one of these have been “The Strike of 1884” that was engraved on my token?
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was the first major rail strike and the first major general strike in US history. In 1884, the Knights of Labor held and won a strike against Jay Gould and the Union Pacific Railroad. In March 1884, nearly 150 men refused to work for the Pullman Car Company because of a wage cut. They fought the battle for little gain because they were replaced by workers who were more desperate for a job. While this particular strike did not benefit the workers, it led to a larger strike in 1894 in which the federal government had to intervene.
Another important strike occurred in 1884 when members of the Women’s Assemblies of Textile Workers and Hat Makers went on strike. The following year in New York, cloak and shirt makers, men and women went on strike. The New York World called it “a revolt for bread and butter” as they won an increase in wages and shorter working hours.
A third strike in 1884 lasted for nine months and involved miners working for the Columbus and Hocking Coal and Iron Company. In the spring of 1884, the management decided to reduce worker’s wages by 20 cents per ton of coal mined. The company hired replacement workers as well as guards to protect its property resulting in an eruption of violence. Strikers set seven mines on fire and destroyed three railroad bridges. The strike ended when the workers agreed to the company’s terms.
Was my token from one of these or one of the other lesser known strikes that took place in 1884? I have not been able to figure it out. Do any other of you love token collectors have any idea?
Jeanne Roberts

Mercury dime found in crack in road
While walking along Ford Road in Westland, Mich., something caught my eye. It was a 1942 Mercury dime right there in the road. It had been run over many times and was badly scratched but had finally worked it’s way into a crack to prevent further pummeling.
Once in a while, maybe every four years or so, I’ll get a silver coin in change but this is the first one I’ve found on the ground in 30 or 40 years. A nice day brightener. I’m guessing it fell out of a rust hole of a very old car.
Bob Lessnau
Southgate Mich.

Expert needs to see coin to determine if it’s an error
I recently found in change a 1974 Jefferson nickel with the Jefferson monument stamped over Jefferson.
It is quite clear plus a large number that looks like a 10. The monument side is a maze of blur. Is this a mint error?
I enjoy reading Numismatic News, especially letters, Coin Clinic and various columns.
Peter M. Cavallo
Port Hueneme, Calif.
Editor’s note: It could be a mint error, but without seeing it, it is impossible to know for sure. The description makes us lean in the direction of somebody playing games with the coin after it entered circulation. That would not be a mint error. It would be best to seek out an error dealer at a coin show and ask his opinion.

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