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This week’s letters (10/02/12)


Book reveals numismatic tidbits from World War II
Two numismatic nuggets can be found in Rick Atkinson’s book The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944.
The first concerns Operation Husky, the invasion and conquest of Sicily. An armada of ships was required to carry soldiers and materiel, including 162 tons of occupation scrip. The tonnage figure for Operation Husky alone was staggering to me. Admittedly, this is not a major discovery, but is nevertheless a startling one.
More interesting was one component of the portrait of General Eisenhower at his headquarters on Malta: “Eisenhower fingered the lucky coins – including a silver dollar, a French franc, and an English crown piece – that he always carried in a zippered purse when traveling.”
Although I have read quite a lot about WWII, this point about General Eisenhower’ lucky coins was new to me. Consequently, I did a bit of Googling to see if I could learn the dates on these coins and where they might be now.
Almost immediately the waters became muddy when I found a website that stated unambiguously that General Eisenhower carried seven lucky coins. No details were given about the coins.
Later I emailed the curator of the Eisenhower museum in Abilene, Kan., and learned: “Yes, the General carried lucky coins, but the number and identity of them varied from time to time.” The museum has a few lucky coins, but not the ones mentioned by Atkinson. Hence, the General was probably not numismatically superstitious in any strict or invariant sense; he did not have a specific pocket piece.
Rather we might guess that for many persons who came through the Great Depression and WWII the sound and feel of a few coins jingling in the pocket generated a mild feeling of security akin to luck. This was certainly true for me years ago, though less so now as coins have shrunk in purchasing power.
Neither of these small nuggets were mentioned in other references I consulted, including the magisterial work of C. F. Schwan and J. E. Boling: World War II Remembered.
Thus, in spite of the excellence of so many WWII writings, there are still discoveries to be made.
David Chiszar
Louisville, Colo.


Must regrade Roosevelt dimes for new designation
I have a collection of Roosevelt dimes (1946-1964) all grading MS-67 graded by one of the top two grading services. I noticed on eBay that many of the coins now have an MS-67-FT (Full Torch) or FB (Full Band) designation, which none of mine do because they were purchased prior to 2003 when the new designation began.
I contacted the grading service and asked how much the cost would be to check if my coins warranted an FT or FB. The customer service person told me the cost would be the same as if I were sending in a raw coin for grading.
I now need to spend almost $600 to have the coins re-graded. I then asked the customer service person if I had to send them in again in a couple years after they invent a new designation of clean shaven or scruffy or some other nonsensical designation. Customers ripped off again.
David Wisniewski
Longwood, Fla.


Penalize dealers who leave shows early
I just finished reading the letter to the editor on the issue of “close early or make dealers stay.”
I’ve set up at many shows in the past and found it disheartening to see other “professionals” in the trade leaving the show(s) early. I would watch others pack and go, before the show was over.
I had customers ask why there were empty tables. I’ve heard the excuses of not making table rent or it wasn’t worth staying at the show. I’ve set up at shows where the table rent was $45, and I sold one item for under $40. Still, I didn’t start taking down items before the show was over. I paid for the space and it was mine for the duration of the show.
I left one show early only because I wasn’t feeling good, and I started packing up one-half hour before it was over. I’ve gone to show(s) as a customer to find that some of the dealers left the show to go home one to two hours before the show was suppose to be over. Granted, I don’t go if there is an attendance fee.
There needs to be a penalty for those individuals who leave a show early. Have them placed in the back of the show for the next show that they attend. Have them placed on a list of alternates if the show is frequently sold out and others are wanting to set up. This has to be governed by the people setting the shows up.
Kenneth J. Parsons is partially right. If the show is a one-day show, make them stay. It doesn’t look good for the hobby if there is no one at the show or very few at the end. For a longer show make them stay or blackball them for the next year’s show. Again this needs to be governed by the bourse committee. If leaving early is a habit for certain people, make them pay a little more. Make them think it is not OK to leave early.
Another way is to have every one pay a little extra one year and give a price break the next year for the ones that stayed. The ones that leave early will still pay the full amount on the next year’s rent.
Randy Koppes
Address withheld

Mint makes a mess of First Spouse coin production
I just read the article about the problems the Mint has with producing the First Spouse coins. The Mint has really done it again, par for the course.
Did they have to wait this long before announcing it and the first two designs to boot? I find this puzzling to say the least. I am not familiar with the coinage work process at all, but wouldn’t they have started this trial striking process when each design was approved to see how well the design took? So when did they actually produce the trial strikes? Seems incompetence is the standard there.
Not familiar with how the mint deploys it staff, but what does the Philadelphia Mint production personnel have to do with the West Point Mint?
What a mess.
Name withheld


Dealer offers good reasons for avoiding Sunday shows
I couldn’t contain myself after reading the fine letter from Don Bonser regarding the issue of leaving shows early.
I was probably the first response you received after the initial letter a few months ago from the couple who had been disappointed upon finding most of the dealers had left before the Sunday show. The dealer who wrote back was not customer friendly in any respect and deserved all of the criticism he received from your readers … and more.
However, Mr. Bonser, as a dealer, says all that need be said on this subject. He respects the customer, doesn’t mind working with any customer, and at the same time articulates very well what no other dealer has said in the following months of NN.
He has his own reasons for not wanting to stay through Sundays, and has made up his mind, with perhaps one or two exceptions, not to attend shows that would require him to stay through Sunday. That’s a very logical decision on his part, not to disappoint those who would show up on Sunday.
It’s a shame that it has taken months for a fine dealer, whom I don’t know but certainly respect, to articulate this in such a way as to offend no one and yet provide an insight no other dealer has articulated. Many thanks to Mr. Bonser for his fine letter.
Dan Sowards
Austin, Texas

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