Skip to main content

1864 Indian Head Penny Mystery

Indian Head Composition Mystery Solved

I have an 1864 Indian Head penny, but I didn’t know if it was bronze or copper-nickel. But on page 18 of the Sept. 29, 2020, issue, I like what it said about the shield being on the copper-nickel. I knew then it was copper-nickel. Thank you.

Ken Jackson
Madison, Wis.

Not All Online Auction Experiences are Positive

This does not concern the larger, prestigious U.S. auction houses but looks at the performance of the smaller website auctions that deal in assets from seizures, defaults, bankruptcies, liquidations, overstocks, unclaimed items, etc. I participated in auctions at a couple of different sites for a few months, and while I should state that I received what I won (without hassle) most of the time, here are some lowlights from my experience:

• I won an auction of U.S. proof sets 1968-1982: I received duplicate 1968s, no 1969. I had to work with support to get the 1969. Okay, this can happen to anyone.

• I won an auction of U.S. proof sets 1957-1964. Instead of the 1957 I got a 1956, and instead of the 1964 I got a 1966 Canada proof set! Did they think I wouldn’t notice? Again, I had to work with support to get the 1957 and 1964. These are errors that slipped through quality control.

• I won an auction of U.S. mint sets 1980-1998. The 1986 set was missing the “P” and “D” Kennedy half dollars. 1988 was missing the “P” and “D” Kennedy half dollars and the “P” and “D” Washington quarters; 1992 was missing the “P” and “D” Kennedy half dollars. The coins had been brazenly cut right out of the flat packs. Again, I had to work with support to get the missing coins.

This appears to be blatant theft, combined with a total lack of quality control.

Now for the big finale! About a month after my last auction, I received an email saying, “Congratulations! You won xx item(s)! Total: $x,xxx.xx. Payment due within 2 business days!”

I was absolutely dumbfounded. I received this email not once, but three different times in one day! It was the entire list of items I had won over a several month period, re-invoiced to me. I firmly responded to them that not only had they sent me receipts of payment after each auction, but I also had all my bank records showing I had paid everything in full. I requested they respond back to me, but guess what? I never heard from them again.

These instances aren’t COVID-related, which might only result in shipping delays and the like. This performance exhibits a high degree of incompetence, lack of oversight and even thievery. Collectors had best do their due diligence in researching any website auction before they join. And carefully watch all invoices, payment receipts, shipments and emails. Although it’s fun to try different things once in a while, the best advice is still to stick with reputable dealers!

Name and address withheld

Offer of Ike Dollar for Youth Contest Prize

This letter is in response to the “Making the Hobby Accessible to Youth” article by Bob Miller. I would like to start the ball rolling by donating a 1973-S 40 percent silver Eisenhower dollar in certified MS-69 D-Cameo condition to any contest that you will sponsor for kids. I hope that you will take up Mr. Miller’s suggestion. Please let me know where to send the coin to.

Name and address withheld

Silver Coins for Ice Cream a Fond Childhood Memory

I have many wonderful memories growing up in the early 1960s. One of the memories included my dad going through his pocket change each evening pulling out silver coins, which were plentiful in those days. He would take what he found and place them in an old cookie tin on the highest shelf in our kitchen.

Another memory of that era was the ice cream truck playing its tune going through the neighborhood. I sure loved ice cream and would run into the house whenever I heard the musical truck. I would be salivating thinking about what I might buy. I did not have any money, but I would ask my mom for some coins to buy an ice cream. My dad was very thrifty and did not typically leave my mom with any spending money.

Nevertheless, she really didn’t want to disappoint her young boy, so she would often let me climb onto the kitchen counter and reach into that cookie tin on the highest shelf to get some ice cream money.

I remember my dad not being too happy when he found out but don’t remember the penalty being too severe. I do remember the ice cream man slowing down when he got to my house. I think the ice cream man knew what a deal he was getting.

Alas, my dad passed away in 1997, leaving my sister and me his old silver pocket change that we divided. I often look at those old coins and think of my dad. I also think what I might have had if I didn’t buy so much ice cream.

Mike Macias

Collector in Need of Replica Dealer Contacts

I am a serious collector of authentic and legal replica coins, mostly those of earlier American coinage periods. During the 12 years that I wore a uniform, I did not do any collecting and over time I lost contact with all my sources.

Are there still any private mints or possibly even a dealer who has replica coins available? I have not seen any advertisements, and I am anxious to again continue my collecting activities. Any assistance/information will be greatly appreciated.

Vernon J. Miller
Address withheld

Email letters to Please include first and last name, city, and state. Numisatic News reserves the right to edit all letters.