Skip to main content

This week's letters (11/26/13)

I thought your readers might be interested in this piece found at a flea market by my wife, Bernie.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Insurance company promo features 1857 Flying Eagle

I thought your readers might be interested in this piece found at a flea market by my wife, Bernie. I contacted the home office of Northwestern Mutual Life (we both have this insurance). They advised in 1957 only agents of the company received these. I was happy to get a Flying Eagle 1857 penny in this piece.

Larry D. Thiem
Omaha, Neb.

Doctor, collector share hobbies with odd names

The other day I had to see a new doctor so I had to fill out pre-visit paperwork, and for occupation I wrote numismatist just to mess with them.

The doctor came into the exam room, and was chuckling. I said why are you laughing, you haven’t seen me with my clothes off yet. He said he had to explain what a numismatist is to his nurses.

Then he said, “I know your hobby now guess mine.” He said he was a philatelist and I said stamp collector, right? He said yup and asked what type of coins I collect. My wife said, “Oh boy, here we go. We’ll never get out of here.”

We talked well over a half hour. I never had that much fun at the doctor before. I can’t wait to go back.

Michael P. Schmeyer
Halsey Valley, N.Y.

Shopping trip nets pair of old Lincoln wheaties

Just few lines to let you know while I was out shopping recently I found in my change a 1917 Lincoln wheatie and a 1956 Lincoln wheatie. Both are in good condition.

Virgil Griffith Jr.
Camden, N.C.

Order blanks in magazines not used for renewals

That is an excellent point you’ve made in “Best of Buzz” in the Nov. 5 issue regarding order blanks.

I subscribe to many magazines and the first thing I do with all is remove those darned order blanks. When time comes to renew, I call and use my bank card. You’ve really got me wondering now, how long has it actually been?

Robert F. McGlynn Jr.
Address withheld

2014 U.S. Coin Digest

Learn the hobby and build an impressive collection. Check out Coin Collecting 101 today!

New, old coins of interest found in circulation

A few interesting items on the “circulation finds” front.

Several days ago my wife Holly brought over two shiny Lincoln cents to me with the statement “can you use either of these?” She knows I am an avid collector but she is not in the know about the details of what I look for. So I was very pleased she brought me an offering. I looked at what she gave me and was amazed! What I had in my hand was a Lincoln cent 2012-D and a Lincoln cent 2013-D.

What makes this amazing is that Lincoln “D”s of any current mintage, especially the last 20 years or so, are almost impossible to find from circulation here in north Worcester County, Mass. Sometimes I wait 10 years or more to find a suitable specimen to pop into my Whitman folder. So here my wife picks out two cents to hand me based only on her knowledge that they look new and both are the type of coin I often spend years searching to find in pocket change unsuccessfully. Bless her heart for thinking of me!

About a week later, Holly and I were at a local pizza shop ordering the usual fare. Upon paying I received change that included something that looked at first glance to be a bit out of the ordinary. Getting to our seats and examining the odd piece – the heck with the food getting cold, circulation finds come first! – I find I have received a 1936 Buffalo nickel in F - VF condition! Fantastic! No nicks, no scratches, nice even lettering all around the coin and nice even wear. A wonderful collectable coin. After 77 years in service to the taxpayers of the USA, this particular coin is now retired and has become a part of my collection.

I thought you and the readers would like to know that nice circulation finds are still out there. Don’t pay for everything with your ATM card folks.

James Evans
Leominster, Mass.

Numismatic News online version easy to read

I grew up in Clinton, Iowa, and remember using the old Scan-o-Matic and finding so many wheat Lincolns with errors.

I like your online version; nice and easy to read. I wish I could afford a $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin. It is a beautiful coin.

Lyle K. Johnson
Bethel, Ohio

Why isn’t U.S. producing polymer bank notes?

In review of some of my other numismatic papers and magazines, I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about polymer (“plastic”) notes being issued by several worldwide countries from A to Z. It has me wondering; why hasn’t the United States gone into polymer money?

The paper (75 percent cotton, 25 percent linen mix) we use, and possibly several other countries still “on paper,” is rapidly becoming obsolete as more countries turn to the advantages of “plastic” money.

What are the advantages of polymer over paper? There are several.

Polymer is cleaner than paper. The life of a polymer note is longer than that of its paper counterpart. It can take more repeated folding before tearing apart.

More “security devices” can be employed on a polymer note that cannot be produced on paper.

It is more environmentally friendly and does not have to be shredded and dumped in a landfill like paper.

Counterfeiting a polymer note is less likely.

I read a recent article that stated the Canadian government has reported a 92 percent drop in counterfeited notes since the switch to polymer notes.

The United States is supposed to be a world leader. Why hasn’t it led the way in new and innovative ways to produce modern money such as polymer notes?

Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Young collectors need to find friendly dealers

Declan Hurley’s “Viewpoint” in the Nov. 5 issue of Numismatic News brought back memories from my own numismatic childhood.

I recall one specific situation where, as a 13-year-old working with my dad in our numismatic business, I was looking for a 1793 Chain cent for one of our customers, and I had $400 in my pocket to buy the coin (that was 1970).

I saw the coin I was looking for but the dealer refused to show it to me because of my age. I never forgot that. Many years later, that now-deceased dealer approached me, and I refused to do business with him.

I joined the Early American Coppers club in 1973, and at the time was the youngest member they ever had. Today, I serve as the national historian for that organization. I have been blessed with a wonderful career in numismatics and have handled some of the most amazing coins in existence.

Declan, I wish you all the best in your own numismatic pursuits and applaud your interest. Don’t be concerned at all about those dealers who refuse to do business with you because of your age. It is their loss. Rather, pursue other dealers who support your numismatic endeavors. I also hope that you will take advantage of the many programs designed for young numismatists through the ANA and other organizations.

Mark Borckardt
Senior Numismatist and Cataloger
Heritage Auctions
Dallas, Texas

Hawaii numismatists put on a great show

The 50th Anniversary of the Hawaii State Numismatic Association (HSNA) Convention, hosted by the Honolulu Coin Club (HCC), was held at the Honolulu Convention Center on Oct. 25-27.

Convention Chair was Marion Kendrick and security was handled by HSNA President Greg Hunt. The Show had a sold out bourse of 90 dealers located at 65 tables. Many major dealers from the mainland attend the convention. Public registration over the three day event was 1,200. The clubs made special medal sets along with elongated cents. Admission was free and hourly door prizes were given out. Some nice exhibits were also on display. Many members of the two clubs come out and work hard at the show.

The Honolulu Police Department does an excellent job with security.

We represented the American Numismatic Association and were able to sign up 17 new members for the Association. We received a donation from H. Robert Campbell, owner of All About Coins located in Salt Lake City, Utah for the shipment of the Coin Show Kit.

We want to thank the HSNA and HCC along with Marion Kendrick and Greg Hunt for allowing the ANA to have a table at their super show. This was Marion Kendrick’s 35th and last year for chairing this show. He has done an outstanding and dedicated job over the years for the coin club shows. Joe Au-Franz will take over the duties starting with the next years HSNA convention, at this same location, on Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2014. For information on the coin clubs and or future conventions go to:

A highlight of the show was the Saturday and Sunday Boy Scout Coin Collecting Merit Badge Clinic chaired by Past ANA Vice President Patti Finner, a certified merit badge counselor. with assistance by Brenda Sponski and members of the coin clubs. Several hundred family members and scout officials attended, with 31 scouts certified on Saturday and 75 on Sunday. Finner provided each scout with five different coins (wheat, steel, cartridge cents, Peace medal nickel and Mint Set coin); tokens and medals; a type set of Lincoln cents and a special NGC slabbed 25 cents coin with a scout stamp enclosed. Mrs. Finner has been handling the Scout clinic for the HSNA conventions for 10 years. Over the years, she has certified more than 9,800 scouts at different conventions around the country. Mahalo (meaning thank you) again HSNA and the HCC for the ANA table.

John and Nancy Wilson
ANA National Volunteers
Ocala, Fla.

Who attends shows more important than how many

Quantity versus quality? That is the question. When we participate in coin shows, attendance by collectors is very important. We always enjoy interacting and the exchanging of stories between collectors and us. Many times we can learn just as much from our friends as they can learn from us. Everybody has their areas of expertise and that is how we can learn about some of the many aspects of this hobby.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Massapequa Coin Club of Long Island, N.Y., sponsored their semi-annual coin show. We had about 200 people walk through the door, which represented about half the number that we had back in March. It was something we didn’t quite realize until the end of the show. Here’s why.

Back in March when there was more attendance, our time was spread a little thin between each customer in order to accommodate each and every one who came to our table to look, ask questions and discuss coins. Some came to just browse and look. Others came to socialize. Some came to seriously buy. With numbers at a show, you find all kinds of personalities and reasons for them being there. With this quantity, time flew by and we had a very good show.

At our recent October show, the customers who attended were fewer, but they seemed to be more serious about finding and buying coins. We were able to spend a lot of quality time with each one without having to rush to go to the next person. The attendees were eager to find the coins they needed to fill their collections. They were in the buying mode. The day went fast. We had a very good show despite the fewer people there.

So, in answer to the question of which is better, quantity versus quality, that will depend on the nature of the crowd. The customer base for the MCC coin shows is always fantastic. The people are enthusiastic and sincere. We are always pleased with the shows,whether there are more or less in attendance. Quantity (attendance) is always strived for. But the quality of customers is just as important. A little bit of both goes a long way to a successful show.

We want to thank all those at the MCC for planning and pulling off another great coin show. The organization and volunteering from its members made for another successful show. Steven Kelmenson is the club team organizer, along with Tony Zito doing public relations work and our president, Amy Herman.

The Young Numismatists program at noontime drew in about 20 kids who walked away with bags of goodies generously donated by many dealers and numismatic organizations thanks to the efforts of Eileen Gargano and Sandy Sadwin.

As always, this club coin show was a huge success. It is an honor and pleasure for us to be a part of this organization.

Lorraine and Tony Langan
L&T Collectibles
Kings Park, N.Y.

Three Flying Eagle cents found in circulation

I had some terrific finds this past week and I’d like to share them with your readers.
I found as follows:

Three Flying Eagle cents, 1857, AG, VG, F+
Five Indians – two were bad but were a find, anyhow: 1891 G, two 1907, VG and VG+
1909 Lincoln cent F+
Two 1943 steel cents
1934 VF
The total of all my wheats was 50.

I have never found anything like those Flying Eagle cents and probably never will again.

Bob Atwater
Conway, S.C.

Consider $3, $10 coins with more buying power

Maybe partially why the $1 coins are not so popular for circulation is that they do not buy much.

What if we had also, or instead of, a $3 and a $10 coin?

Or do you think the $10 coin could lead to counterfeiting?

Also, what would you keep them in to carry with you? I keep my coins in an empty vitamin plastic bottle.

The $3 and $10 coins could be made square with the corners rounded.

What do you think?

Steven M. Smith
Freeport, Ill.

Address letters to Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. All letters must be signed and include a return address. Numismatic News reserves the right to edit all letters. E-mail should be sent to Include your city and state in your email.

More Coin Collecting Resources:

• Strike it rich with this U.S. coins value pack.

• Get the 2012 Coin of the Year – limited quantities remain!

• Build an impressive collection with Coin Collecting 101.

• IT’S HERE! Order the 2014 North American Coins & Prices.