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This week's letters (12/03/13)

I’m in my mid-60s and started collecting coins while running my paper route in the 1960s.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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Using $2 bills, uncommon coins in retail great fun

I so much enjoy Numismatic News as I have for many years. I’m in my mid-60s and started collecting coins while running my paper route in the 1960s. I have many experiences I could share, but I wanted to write about one recent thing I’m doing that is exciting me to no end.

I went to my bank and bought a 100 pack of $2 bills, for $200. I also bought two rolls of Kennedy half dollars. I work part-time in a retail store on Saturday mornings (keeps me out of mischief) and will run about 100 customers in a four-hour span. Some pay by cash and, after placing the $2 bills and Kennedy halves in the cash drawer, I issue them in change. Wow! The response from every customer is unreal. If I don’t have a lineup of customers, I take a moment to share my interests in coin collecting. This past Saturday I took my “fun” one step further. I have a bag of (about 380) Eisenhower clad dollars. I gave two out in change and you would not believe the response. Talk about absolute fun! I now carry $2 bills with me in my wallet and use them to pay for purchases (when I pay with cash), and every time I get the same awesome response. I use them for tips as well.
Keep your wonderful articles coming.

Bob Melius
Shoreview, Minn.

Knowing coins intimately enhances joy of collecting

Always attempting to expand my knowledge and understanding of the history of our great hobby, I read several numismatic publications per month, and I’ll have you know I rate Numismatic News one of the more informative ones we are able to read! I recently read a very interesting article on John J. Ford Jr. and the Franklin hoard bars, which led to the mention of a new book by Karl V. Moulton. If it’s anything like the article, its full of mystery, intrigue and deceit. Nothing better than a good numismatic whodunit! Sounds like a must-read to me. My motto is “Never stop learning your trade.”

Another thought: we all own a considerable number of coins, but have you ever taken the time to really look at them? And I mean study them line by line, all the nooks and crannies, just to see what their all about. You do own a loupe? And I mean study them from obverse to the reverse, including the edge. You paid good money for them, you should at least get to know them like the back of your hand. It will only take a couple hours; a very enjoyable couple of hours. Time well spent! Who knows, you might just find the next new error coin, or that the coin is just as nice as you thought it was. Best part is, it doesn’t cost a dime!

Michael P. Schmeyer
Halsey Valley, N.Y.

Viewpoint brings reader back to early days in hobby

I’m really enjoying Numismatic News and all of the articles and contributions from both yourself and the many readers. The Viewpoint article from last week reminded me of when I was young and starting my own coin collection. Your contributor had specifically mentioned the 1877 Liberty half dollar pattern as one of his favorite pieces, which so happens to be one of the Grove Minting commemorative designs.

Jared Grove
Philadelphia, Pa.

Is it worth it to pursue date on Buffalo nickel?

I have a nickel similar to the one featured in the latest issue of the Numismatic News. However, no date due to the age. Is there anything to lose by using some of the Nic-A-Date to determine the vintage? It isn’t worth anything as is so I wouldn’t be able to sell it or trade it anyway. Haven’t ever used any, so don’t know if it will restore the date.


Bob Brommer
Address withheld

Editor’s note: Sometimes it pays to give in to the impulse to have a little fun with coins. Coins with the dates restored cannot be used for jewelry, so the small value that attaches to dateless Buffalo nickels would be given up.

No Cooperstown makes coin about plain old baseball

Did I miss something? Where on the Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin is there a reference to the actual Hall of Fame at Cooperstown?

The coin just represents baseball. We all play baseball. Few make it to Cooperstown.

Comparing baseball that we all play to Cooperstown is much like comparing checkers to chess. The former is fun, but the latter requires skill, all using the same board.

To me, this coin will represent baseball, not the greats at the Hall of Fame.

Don W. Ferrell
Big Stone Gap, Va.

It’s time collectors do more than write about change

I am delighted with the letter by Steve Fawthrop in the Sept. 3 issue of Numismatic News suggesting we use commemoration of the Bill of Rights on our coins.

Is he aware that a number of years ago there was a senator from California who died of cancer name Alan Cranston who championed the idea for the reverses of all our circulating coins?

The bill passed the Senate several times but was defeated in the House because someone erroneously thought it would remove “In God We Trust” from our coins, yet the motto is on the front not the back of our coins.

I have seen the hobby change for the worse over the years. It used to be a fun and vibrant hobby where people enjoyed finding coins in circulation, especially kids. Now the emphasis is on bullion special finish strikes costing thousands of dollars.
Few coins are redesigned. Those that are are not seen in circulation like the national parks quarter or even made for circulation like the dollar coin.

There was not even a 100th anniversary Buffalo nickel, but an expensive gold coin. Something seems radically wrong. Why is this never addressed at the American Numismatic Association convention, a group whose membership has plummeted?

Mr. Fawthrop has wonderful ideas, but all we do is read about them. Then the newspapers get filed away, given away or thrown away. Better still, use his ideas for paper money. We have had those stodgy buildings on our currency forever and this would really liven up our money with room for creativity.

My letter will be published in the paper, read, discussed for a day, given away at a coin show, filed away or thrown away or used as a lining for a bird cage or cat litter box and be forgotten until someone else will write an interesting letter that will go through the same cycle.

Life will go on as usual.

Bob Olekson
Cleveland, Ohio

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