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Letters to the Editor: Nov. 12, 2019

War in the Pacific ‘W’ Mintmark

I was in the self-checkout at Walmart four weeks ago here in Mt. Vernon, Ill., and received a little bit of loose change for my purchase. I didn’t check it until I got home and was very surprised to find a War in the Pacific with a “W” mintmark.

I’m just wondering if it’s something that I should send in to one of the grading companies. In other words, would it be worth more later on by doing so?

I understand that it’ll cost at least  $30.00 to do so and also heard that “in the raw” is only worth maybe $25. I  hope to hear a reply.

Name and address withheld


In Response to Richard Giedroyc’s Commentary

I politely disagree with erudite and longtime numismatic colleague, Richard Giedroyc, whose Numismatic News story, “Get Rich” Promotion Wrong Angle for Healthy Market Growth,” was critical of a recent CNBC story entitled, “People have been making up to $100,000 off ‘coin hunting.’” He doesn’t think the hobby will benefit with an angle about “hitting the jackpot as if this is a lottery.”

My cordial disagreement is that anyone who wants to troll pocket change and roll-after-roll of coins is doing so only because they are looking for specific coins. And that means they have acquired at least some elementary numismatic knowledge, even if only about one or two types of potentially valuable coins. Numismatic knowledge is a basic first step to becoming a coin collector.

Some coin-hunters initially spurred on by the greed factor, may expand their knowledge and become longer-term collectors. But the first step is absorbing some info about coins, including perhaps what potentially valuable items you might find in pocket change.

(Disclosure: I was among those quoted in the Oct. 2, 2019, CNBC story. On behalf of the Professional Numismatists Guild, I told the reporter: “But it’s not just about the potential financial reward. It’s the thrill of the hunt and the joy of discovery.”)

Donn Pearlman
Las Vegas, Nev.


Issues Regarding Coin Show Etiquette Viewpoint

Regarding the Viewpoint article “Coin Show Etiquette” published in the Sept. 3 edition of Numismatic News, some great advice was mentioned in the article and I appreciate it.

I do, however, take issue with two points.

1. Grading

The author states that “Grading is subjective, so why argue about grading” then spent three paragraphs explaining how to ask a dealer how he arrived at a grade.

Regardless of how nicely you ask, you are insulting the dealer by doing this. It is not important to agree on grade, all you need to agree on is price.

2. Returns

It is never acceptable to buy and then return a coin at a coin show. This leaves the dealer vulnerable to fraud on the buyer’s part (i.e. switched coins and other issues.)

John Quarfoth
Blaine, Minn.

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One Response to Letters to the Editor: Nov. 12, 2019

  1. Don says:

    Here we go again. Today the stupid, or more likely crooked, bureaucrats at the US Mint provided another opportunity for their coin dealer pals to earn money at the expense and frustration of actual collectors and Mint customers, together with the loss of potential seigniorage to United States Mint. At noon today, they offered a reverse proof silver eagle with a wholly unrealistic limited mintage of 30,000. All 30,000 were apparently sold within a few minutes after the sale opened at noon today.

    I am a collector of U.S. proof Silver Eagles and, over the past 35 years, I have collected all of them, including many that were issued with unjustified and unrealistic limited mintages for the benefit of professional coin dealers.
    Unfortunately, today I had a meeting at noon and when I attempted to order the new coin at 2:00 PM it had already sold out. I am also enrolled in the Mint’s program which automatically charges my credit card for all new issues of proof silver eagles. It appears, however, that this particular reverse proof was not part of that enrollment program and I will have to purchase this new coin in the inflated aftermarket.

    Accordingly, this constitutes a new complaint to the Office of Inspector General concerning this ongoing unethical conduct by U.S. Mint bureaucrats. [I was a federal “bureaucrat” for almost 40 years.]

    Had the Mint taken orders in advance and then produced enough coins to meet the demand, the seigniorage for each coin would inure to the benefit of the Mint and the U.S. government. For example, if the seigniorage for the $65 dollar coin were $10, then the sale of 100,000 coins would be $1 million.
    In the current sale of 30,000 coins, the mint has earned $300,000, and the coin dealer resellers earn what ever profit the artificially rarified market will bear. In my opinion, that constitutes a gross breach of ethics, government trust, and the duty of the Mint to put is customers first. The Mint should be required to immediately produce enough of these 2019 reverse proof silver eagles to satisfy the demand from its own customers.

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