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This week's letters (12/10/13)

Recently I had occasion to take my first close look at the 1982 Washington commemorative half dollar.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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1982 Washington commem shows sloppy design

Recently I had occasion to take my first close look at the 1982 Washington commemorative half dollar. I like the design -- we’ve had some clunkers, both before and since, but this is not one of them. But I was astounded with the crudity of some elements of the design.

Take the small presidential-style eagle -- front view, wings spread, same as on the Kennedy half -- at the bottom of the reverse. The wings aren’t even the same size or pointed in the same direction, the eagle’s head looks like it was drawn by a grade-schooler, and the ribbon is awkwardly placed and inscribed.

A comparison with the Kennedy half shows the enormous contrast. The flat line which is Washington’s mouth is a lesser transgression but still pretty crude. Bad taste in overall design is regrettable; but such gross sloppiness of execution I find simply amazing.
Perhaps other of your readers will have other such choice examples to share. (Designwise among the moderns my absolute favorite is the 1994 Capitol bicentennial dollar. It’s simply gorgeous.)

Name withheld

Interesting finds in bank bag of Lincoln cents

Jason Midyette’s article in “Viewpoint” analyzing Lincoln cents circulation in your Nov. 19 issue prompted me to also try it and compare my finds. So I went to our local bank and asked if they had a bag of pennies they could sell me instead of sending it back for rolling and the teller enthusiastically responded yes!

I got the $25 bag of pennies and went home and started going through the pennies. After a couple of days of searching here is my surprising yield from this bag:

1910-1957 – 472 Wheat cents with the earliest date of 1910 and most coins in the 1950s
1 Canadian cent
1959-1969 – 211 pieces including one 1966-D doubled-die obverse and one 1959-D/D/D repunched mintmark
1970-1979 – 324
1980-1989 – 388
1990-1999 – 499
2000-2009 – 456
2010-2013 – 149

I suppose Mr. Midyette’s experience could be interpreted as somewhat similar in a couple of dates but far from others.

Mike Pegahi
Address withheld

Kennedy assassination spurred coin collection

Being only 3-years old on that fateful day, Nov. 22, 1963, I was outside doing what 3-year olds do. My father was a fireman. He came home early, and I ran over to greet him in the driveway. He had a look on his face that I knew was not good. He said the president has been shot and I think he has died, so let’s go inside and watch TV and find out what really happened.

To this day I vividly remember the images displayed on our old black and white console TV. My wife, being a few years older, was in school and was sent home early. We agree that is one day we wouldn’t want to repeat.

A few months later my grandfather, being the coin collector in the family, showed up with a pocket full of the new Kennedy halves. Yes, I still have the one he gave to me, along with many more I’ve added over the years. Besides a few assorted Lincolns, that was my first real hefty coin that I wouldn’t have owned if not for the loss of a great man.

To start others on a less tragic note, each month I subscribe to several numismatic publications, which adds up to an over abundance of magazines. Having to visit our local hospital for tests, I got in contact with the hospital’s courtesy person to see if they would guide me around the building to the various waiting rooms on the many floors.

With their permission my wife and I loaded up the magazines and went floor to floor, spreading the cheer. I only hope that they might bring some potential numismatic patients as much joy as they did for me! Who knows, it might just start a whole new group of coin collectors. One can only hope.

Michael P. Schmeyer
Spencer, N.Y.

‘Superman’ author was born in Canada

I was reviewing my older issues of Numismatic News and in the Oct. 8 “e-letters” from the question asked on Sept. 13 about whether Superman coins would sell out there were many answers of “yes.” Also some readers asked why Superman is celebrated more in Canada than the U.S.

The answer is very simple, while “Superman” was created in the U.S. (Cleveland, Ohio, I believe), the author was Canadian-born and moved to the U.S. with his parents several years earlier. Canada has in the recent past paid tribute to the Man of Steel in postage stamps as well.

As for that question of Sept. 13, I would say “yes!” Even though most of the Superman stories (movies) were, and will be, produced in the US, Canadians love Superman just as much as us Americans.

I disagree with Mr. Budzynski’s comment, “Canada has stooped to a new low ...” I say the Canadians have created “sparks” in the field of numismatics as well as the “comi-con” field. (Any “comic book collector” who has a “Super library” will want a Superman coin, or two, to add to his/her “Super” collection!) Not a “new low,” Mr. Budzynski, but “Up! Up! And away!”

Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Kennedy Half dollars sparked interest in coins

Your “Class of ’63” column in the Nov. 19 issue of Numismatic News struck a chord with me because my interest in coin collecting also coincided with President Kennedy’s assassination and the Kennedy half dollar.

On that terrible day I was coming down the escalator in Gimbels department store in New York City when I noticed that many people were crying and the store was quickly emptying. Customers were going home.

I had planned to go to Macy’s department store (both stores were featured in “Miracle on 34th Street”), but I also rushed home to spend the next several days glued to my television.

Sometime during 1964 my cousin showed me two shiny 1964 Kennedy half dollars, which caused me to wonder why I hadn’t seen the Walking Liberty half dollars in pocket change.

Soon after, I went back to Gimbels, which at the time had a large coin department on the main floor. Although I hadn’t yet heard the maxim, “Buy the book before the coin,” that’s exactly what I did. I bought the (Friedberg) Green Book.

I don’t remember my first coin purchase, but my interest in coins has never wavered, although I now do more reading about coins than buying.

H.W. Prince
New York City

Kudos to Harper for literary award, NN contributions

Congratulations Dave Harper on your recent literary award! I think it’s well deserved, and keep up the great work!

I am so excited. After collecting for just over 11 years, I may just have the chance to get to the FUN show in a few months. The biggest shows I’ve ever been to are the Moon and Northwest in Minnesota, so you can imagine my anticipation. I don’t know of the chance, but I’m sure hoping to attend the Heritage auction and perhaps see the Walton nickel, as well as the Brasher doubloon. And, of course, meet you and hopefully a few others.

Always enjoy reading NN. Thanks so much for all you do there!

Brent Zimmerman
Address withheld

Public doesn’t want to use heavy coins

If getting rid of paper money is a good idea, why stop at $1? Why not go all the way up to the $100 bill?

Because people don’t want to be weighed down with coins.

When I pay for something, I always try to use up the change I have in my pocket.

If you want to buy something for $2.48 and you gave a $1 bill, you would get back two cents and two quarters and you might get seven dollar coins or two dollars coins and a $5 bill.

The $5 bill is not going to weigh you down, but the seven dollar coins would.

People didn’t want silver dollar coins when the dollar bill was a silver certificate and they don’t want coins now.

Robert W. McLean
Quincy, Mass.

Anyone else come across 2913 Lincoln cents?

I am a longtime reader and first time writer to Numismatic News. I started collecting coins on Fathers Day 1999 when my Dad gave me a 1999 Walking Liberty silver dollar.

I always check my change. Two weeks ago I found a 2013 penny with what appears to be a die crack on the obverse side of it, and looking at it with the naked eye it looks like 2913.

I wonder if anyone has seen or heard of one of these 2913 pennies.

Raymond Mattson
Milwaukee, Wis.

Bitcoin more like Ponzi scheme than ‘new’ currency

I guess that I just don’t understand Bitcoin. They are not backed by precious metals or a government. Other than the metal they are made from, they have no value. Is it even legal to make your own currency in the U.S.? It looks like a Ponzi scheme.

I would never buy these “coins.” They are the ultimate Fiat currency. I’ll just hang on to my Zimbabwean $1,000,000 bill and cash that baby in when I retire.

Bill Rodgers
Bedford, Texas

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