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This week’s letters (12/11/12)

Having run for the board of the American Numismatic Association on three consecutive occasions, I have decided to stand down from seeking election to another board term, notwithstanding the fact that the by-laws entitle me to serve two additional terms.
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Mishler passes torch to allow for fresh perspective
Having run for the board of the American Numismatic Association on three consecutive occasions, I have decided to stand down from seeking election to another board term, notwithstanding the fact that the by-laws entitle me to serve two additional terms.
When I ran for the board in 2007, I did so for the purpose of correcting a wrong and ridding the association of an executive director who was doing the organization and the hobby community a disservice. Those objectives were quickly dispatched.
When I ran for the position of president in 2009, I did so because I was of the conviction that the other individual who had announced for the position was doing so for self-serving interests and pursuing them in a manner which would not be beneficial to the organization or the hobby community. I was pleased that my opinion was affirmed by the resulting vote.
When I ran in 2011 to serve a third term on the board, I did so because I believed the then-serving executive director had established the organization on the right path to achieve full recovery from its recent misfortunes and assure its future growth potential, and I wished to continue supporting that quest. Unfortunately, I discovered that the effort being put forth was pitifully deceptive.
As I assess the picture heading into the 2013 American Numismatic election cycle, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I am comfortable with the contribution that I have made toward the betterment of the ANA and the hobby community from the organizational involvement perspective and that it is time for me to step aside and allow others with new and perhaps different, but better, ideas to pick up the torch.
That does not mean I’ve lost interest, nor am I stepping aside from my enthusiasm for the welfare of the ANA and the hobby community. Quite to the contrary, I’ll remain a concerned observer and critic, hopefully being received as a positive one, where this field of interest that has played such an integral part in my development and success over the past 60-plus years is concerned ... 56 as an ANA member.
In closing, I’d like to note for the record that from the perspective of my observational involvement over the past six years, the core staff at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs has been a hard-working and productive staff amidst the turmoil of the times. The membership and the hobby community owe them an undying debt of gratitude and ongoing support. If you haven’t been an ANA member, become one today; I’ll be glad to provide you with a signed membership application.
My involvement over the past six years has been truly enjoyable and rewarding, notwithstanding the frustrating issues that had to be addressed and dispatched during that time.
Clifford Mishler
Iola, Wis.

Reader’s question might stem from wrong date
Just received the Nov. 27 issue and saw Alan Hepler’s question about the “1943” Washington quarter motto differences (light, medium and heavy).
I believe his confusion results from the fact that it is the 1934 date, not 1943, that has these different mottoes.
The Red Book illustrates the Light and Heavy Motto differences, so Mr. Hepler might wish to check that publication. The Medium Motto has the center stroke of the “W” in “WE” shorter than on the Heavy Motto. Same on the 1934-D.
Bill Fivaz
Dunwoody, Ga.

Grading system determined coin values, not condition
There were two letters in the Nov. 13 issue of Numismatic News questioning the current numerical grading system. You responded to the first letter that this system was developed by Dr. Sheldon and described in his book, Penny Whimsy. I would like to add to that response.
The critical point that we must recognize is that Dr. Sheldon did not intend for the numbering system to describe the condition of a coin, but rather to determine the value of a coin. He analyzed the prices paid during the first half of the 20th century for early large cents and found a somewhat consistent pattern between the grades of each date and variety. He then proposed that a coin in the lowest grade, which would be called Poor today, be called Basal State-1 and have a Basal State value. He observed that a coin in Good condition generally sold for four times the amount of a coin in Basal State, thus he assigned the number 4 to Good condition. Likewise, he found that a coin in Very Fine condition generally sold for 20 times the amount of a coin in Basal State, and so he listed it as VF-20. He then continued all the way to a perfect Mint State coin, which generally sold for 70 times the amount of a Basal State coin, thus MS-70.
As stated earlier, his goal was to create a system to easily determine the value of a coin, not to describe its condition. With this in mind, Dr. Sheldon listed the Basal State value for each early large cent variety in his book.
Now, determining a coin’s value becomes a simple matter of multiplication. For example, when considering a coin in Fine condition, one simply has to multiply the Basal State value (found in his book) by 12 (the multiplier for Fine condition) to determine the value of that coin. If the coin has a Basal State value of $5, then it is worth 12 x $5 = $60 in Fine condition. Likewise, if a coin is in About Uncirculated condition, then it is worth 50 x $5 = $250, and so forth.
He also included multipliers to increase this value when a specific coin was in the condition census (the six highest graded coins of each variety).
To address the second letter in the Nov. 13 issue, the reason for the 20-point spread between Very Fine and Extremely Fine is simply that an EF coin was worth twice as much as a VF coin; that is, EF is worth 40 times the Basal State value while VF is only worth 20 times the Basal State value.
Over the years the number became synonymous with the condition of the coin instead of its value, and thus we have the current 70 point grading scale instead of a 100- (or other number) point scale.
If possible, I suggest that the editors obtain permission to reprint the chapter “Toward A Science of Cent Values” from Penny Whimsy. I believe that your readers would find it fascinating.
Steve Jones
Pittsboro, N.C.

Many to thank for making Money Show a success
The American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Dallas, Texas, on Oct. 18-20, turned out to be a successful convention. Being involved as ANA National Volunteers, we see all the hard work that goes into the management of the shows, both at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs and with the local host coin clubs and committees.
Tony Hales was the local Host Chair and along with his committee and the host organizations, the Dallas Coin Club & Texas Numismatic Association and the six Honorary Host clubs, the Fort Worth Coin Club, Northeast Tarrant Coin Club, Collin Coin Club, Mid Cities Coin Club, Numismatic International and the Richardson Coin Club all came together and did a masterful job. You will find lots of photos of the event at
Along with the local hosts and clubs, we also want to send kudos to ANA Executive Director Jeff Shevlin and his staff along with Convention Department Manager Rhonda Scurek and her team and the National Volunteers, who all did a great job before, during and at the completion of the show.
The ANA Board of Governors under President Tom Hallenbeck had their Board meeting and continues to keep the ANA on an economic and sound path. This was one of the ANA’s most organized conventions that we have ever been involved with.
Thanks also to Heritage Auctions for having outstanding coin and currency auctions, the exhibitors, judges, speakers, sponsors, numismatic press, security personnel, museum showcase participants, coin club tables, Scout & Kids Zone activities, numismatic press and the coin dealers who participated as without them we wouldn’t have a show.
A well-deserved thanks to everyone who worked hard and contributed to the success of this convention. We look forward to the next NMS in New Orleans, La., on May 9-11, 2013.
John and Nancy Wilson
ANA National Volunteers
Ocala, Fla.

Collector asks what Type I reference in article means
I was reading an article about coins and it went on to say ... with the Type 1 reverse.... What does that mean?.
Alan McGarvey
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Editor’s note: When a design modification is made in the same series the first version is called Type 1, or Variety 1, and the second Type II, etc.

First national park quarter turns up at Disney World
I was extremely surprised on my Nov. 14 vacation to Disney World. At the end of my day, I checked my change and I could not believe my eyes. Right there in my palm was a 2012 Philadelphia Hawaii Volcanoes quarter. I do not know where it came from, but there it was. My wife could not understand why this was such a big deal to me ... she is not that interested in my hobby.
In the past I did receive two territorial quarters in change, but this Hawaii quarter was my first National Park quarter. I guess it still pays to look at your pocket change.
Leo Darmstadter
Vineland, N.J.

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