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This Week's Letters (12/16/08)

This week's letters from readers of NN to editor Dave Harper.
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Retain motto, reject King James Bible coin


I certainly enjoyed reading the various letters from both sides regarding the “In God We Trust” debate as well as the King James Bible commemorative discussion. After some careful review and thought, I find myself in favor of the first and opposed to the latter. Let me explain my reasoning.

First, I must declare that I am a doubter. Although I was raised with the best intentions in a Christian household, I have always questioned some of the more dubious and unbelievable aspects of that religion. Lacking the blind faith to bridge the obvious gaps in some of the more incredible stories, I have concluded that the Bible is a wonderful collection of legends and parables designed to provide a rational framework around which we may build good and useful lives. With regard to God, I personally suspect that man created God in his own image. I often see how God has evolved from unforgiving and malevalent (Old Testament) to kind and forgiving (New Testament). It seems that as man becomes more civilized, so does his God.

In any event, I’d like to address the issue of “In God We Trust” on coins. I love to read and study history, and I am certain, as are most of us, that God or the concept of God was at the very heart of the formation of this country. In fact, religion was so important to our founders that the Constitution guaranteed that only people, not governments, should establish religions. To do otherwise would leave open the possiblity of a government or country being run by, say...the Taliban.

When “In God We Trust” was added to our coinage in 1864, the United States was facing its darkest hour and was in the midst of being completely torn asunder. Which of us hasn’t taken a glance upward and murmured a “please God” when faced with dire circumstances. The “In God We Trust” motto is meaningful and important statement from our history. As such, it should be retained on coinage for all times, if only to remind us that this nation has persevered when it faced greater dangers than whether or not our TV sets will still work next February. Despite the fact that I am a “doubter,” I see a greater meaning from “In God We Trust” and do not feel threatened by it or think that the Mint is instructing me to find religion.

Commemorating the King James Version of the Bible on a U.S. coin is another matter altogether. There is no doubt that this book has had a great impact throughout the world. However, I don’t think that singling out any one religious writing for commemoration on a coin is appropriate. With all the political correctness of society these days, we would somehow end up a “Religious Writings Coin Program” probably featuring a reverse-proof Talmud and a burnished Koran. This would no doubt outrage the TV preachers (where on this earth do these guys find such horrible toupees?) and somehow the entire program would deteriorate into an overblown and unnecessary controversy. Leave the commemoration of specific religious writings to the churches. Furthermore, the production of coins for this purpose could be easily handled by the Franklin Mint.

In conclusion, let me state that I did not intend to offend any one religion or person with this comment (with the exception of toupee-wearing TV preachers). Although I do not share the same religious beliefs as the majority, I do respect churches and the charitable work they do in our country and throughout the world. Any organization or community based on goodness or charity should be appreciated by all, and I will not question anyone’s beliefs simply because they may differ from mine. The fact that we all co-exist under one flag shows that the ideals and dreams of the founding fathers are being fulfilled. In the United States, we can live as “one nation, under God” and still know that every citizen’s rights and beliefs are protected and preserved.

Chris Nakles
Latrobe, Pa.

Motto can go, but don’t touch date on coins

I am a Christian. I possess the ability to think rationally. I use logic before I act or speak (on a good day). I think atheists should have a national holiday ... April 1.

Anyone who has a problem with “In God We Trust” has a problem with a meaningless phrase. “God” if left undefined can be replaced with “Snorfula.” It wouldn’t offend me.

I’ll be offended when they remove the year from the coins. I know from the year on the coin that the letters “AD” are tacitly implied. “Year of OUR Lord.” So if those people who wish to be offended want something to be offended by, let them be offended by Jesus of Nazareth. He is the “OUR Lord” implied by the year. If I live to see some other calendar displayed on the money, I will not accept it. In OUR Lord we trust. Just as our founders did (the founders of Pennsylvania). The two parties of this “great” republic swear to defend/uphold the Constitution, and yet our money is worthless as a store of wealth. At least we’re fortunate enough to have it still operating as a medium of exchange. Perhaps it’s time to scrap the Republic/Federation and put our trust where it should be and look for a kingdom.

James Moyer
Akron, Pa.

Die-break errors found on Arizona P quarters

Read your article on the Arizona state quarter die-break errors. I checked my rolls and came across the following P die-breaks:

1. Reverse die-break covering the J and I initials with partial covering of the M.
2. Same type but the M is intact and the J and I are only partially covered.
3. Reverse die break in 1912 date resulting in two dots of metal on top of the leg of the 2.
4. Same type but instead of two metal dots, there is a single bar of metal on top of the bottom leg of the two.

The rolls came from a local bank in central Florida.

Thank you for the educational articles in your paper. Keep them coming.

Stephen F. Maziarz Jr.

Lake Placid, Fla.

Bullion coin prices: You win some, lose some

I have been reading the letters that are complaining about the price drop in the four-coin platinum set and all I can say is “Come on people!”

Every person who ordered this set knew that platinum is a bullion item and that as such the price goes up and believe it or not it goes down to. So they got caught in a price drop. What do they do as coin collectors? They cry, call their congressman, write to David harper and anyone else they think might give them satisfaction.

Let’s turn it around for a minute. Say that the price went up. You would not hear one complaint. Everyone would be telling their friends how smart they were. Their chest would be puffed out as they told everyone who would listen that they knew it would go up. All of a sudden the country would have a huge increase in bullion experts and everyone would be happy.

Well, it just doesn’t happen that way with bullion, coins or even life. We as coin collectors and bullion buyers have to take the bad with the good. We have to take responsibility for the things we buy and at what price we buy them. We all have to admit that prices were a little crazy and an adjustment was bound to happen. We as collectors always think we need to be the first one to get every new thing that comes out. But when you do this with bullion items you are inevitably going to get caught in a price drop sooner or later.

The problem is that no one likes to make mistakes or in this day and age take responsibility for their own actions. We don’t need a 30-day waiting period. We need to think about what we are doing and ask if this a smart thing to do. Will I lose money on this and if I do can I afford it or will I have a true reason to be upset?

This is not a Mint problem, it is a collector attitude problem. We have to realize that we cannot win every time. We are all bound to make mistakes and when we do we have to learn to live with it.

Does that mean we like it? Heck no. We hate it but that is no reason to blame the Mint. Have I had problems with the mint? Yes. Have I lost money because of price drops? You bet. But I took the chance and most of the time I win, but just like everyone else sometimes I lose. Just live with it and move on.

Marcel Lopez

Lander, Wyo.

Thank you for news on inaugural medals

It goes to prove, people who have been collecting coins and stamps for more than 25 years, like I have can still learn something. I had no idea that there was such a thing as the Presidential inaugural medals, let alone the fact they are offered in gold, silver and bronze.

Yes, I more than likely would purchase one or more of these medals. I would like to have one from some of our former Presidents. Thank you, yet again for sharing information with us that is not only useful but valuable.

R. C. Masters, Ph.D.

Address withheld

Mint makes right move to downsize offerings

I read with interest in the Nov. 25 issue of Numismatic News the U.S. Mint’s cutting of products. I believe the Mint has over-extended its offerings to solely profit from collectors. It is time to downsize and offer collectors reasonable and not redundant products. My opinions regarding the Mint’s decisions follow.

I have never purchased a platinum Eagle and have no intention to do so. They were never issued in years past for circulation. The Mint has chosen to retain the 1 ounce proof only. That’s fine for collectors who desire one. The other options are financially prohibitive for most people. The Mint made an excellent decision with the platinum Eagles.

The uncirculated gold Eagles will be gone. I believe that is a good idea as well. As a collector, I purchase a four-coin set annually but ony in proof. If only the 1 ounce proof had been retained it would not have upset me.

Now for the Buffalo gold coins. Again I concur with the Mint’s decision to eliminate the uncirculated versions. But I don’t understand why the Proof ½, ¼, and one-tenth ounce coins will be abolished. It appears to be inconsistent comparing the Mint’s gold Eagle decision. I’ll still buy the 1 ounce proof Buffalo.

Concerning the silver Eagle dollars, there was no change for the future – uncirculated and proofs both. Great! It’s a beautiful design. When I travel, usually to Italy to visit family and friends, I’ll buy a roll of 20 and give them to my friends’ children. One year there was a couple from Scotland who got married in St. Agnello. When I returned to the hotel they invited me for a drink, the men still wearing their kilts. I gave the bride and groom a silver Eagle and they were thrilled.

As for the U.S. Presidential dollar coins, good for the Mint. Buy the four-coin set each year. Everyone knows there will be four. Why separate them individually? There are obvious cost-savings by eliminating individual distributions.

Dr. John G. Hamer

Bradford, Mass.