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Letters to the Editor (December 5, 2017)

Coins’ metal reason for selective confiscation


Just to give it (maybe) some closure, I would like to (maybe) answer Bob Olekson’s question, “Why haven’t the 1913 Liberty Head nickels been confiscated (like the 1933 Double Eagles were)?” (Nov. 7). I could call him up and tell him face-to-face (sort of), but I suppose there are other readers who are wondering the same thing. (This way is more fun.)

The 1913 nickels were most likely “personal strikes” of a Mint worker and possibly “overlooked” by a Mint guard upon that employee’s leaving the Mint. The unnamed Mint employee probably had his “strikes” in with his regular pocket change. Since the new Indian Head/Buffalo nickels weren’t released, the Mint guard never stopped to check the dates of the employee’s nickels.

Gold was a precious commodity in the 1930s as it is today. In the middle of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt took us off the gold standard in an effort to preserve the gold reserves (and perhaps private hoarding by a lucky few who still had wealth in 1933). Some 1933 Double Eagle $20 pieces might have been minted prior to F.D.R.’s order to turn in all gold coins. [The Langbord family’s grandfather] most likely thought to hide his “investment” in case the recalled gold would be reinstated after the depression. But it remained out of sight (and out of mind) until recently, when [that family] discovered the small hoard.

Now here is my theory as to why the gold coins were confiscated and the “Liberty 5” were not. Gold is a precious metal worth at least $1,000/ounce, while nickel is worth about $5/ounce. (not so precious). Metal prices were “rounded” to simplify matters. Therefore, gold is the more valuable commodity. The five Liberty nickels were “melded” into circulation through selling and buying of many hands of the public. Mrs. [Family], on the other hand, took the Double Eagle Hoard directly to government officials to verify the reality of the coins.

Compare the melt cost between gold and nickel. Which would you (pretend you’re a government official) confiscate? Even though the nickels may have a “shadier” past than the gold coins (which might have been legally released), I myself would “go for the gold.”

Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

2018-S proof silver Eagle to be offered next summer

In your article called “Precious metal coins the way to go” in the last sentence in the first paragraph you refer to a 2017-S proof silver Eagle. I think you meant to say a 2018-S silver Eagle will be offered next summer.

Ralph A. Fuller
Strongsville, Ohio

Editor’s note: You are absolutely correct. 2018-S silver American Eagle will be offered next summer. Thanks for catching the typo.

Baltimore coverage, columns highlights of NN

I’m dictating this letter just before heading to the Baltimore show. It is early in the morning and I’m reading the Nov. 9 issue of Numismatic News.

Thank you so much for your nice words about the Baltimore Whitman Expo!

Also, I enjoy your very well taken editorial comments on the market and many other topics over a period of time. The columns are always carefully done and well worth considering. Here’s wishing you the best of continued success.

Dave Bowers
Wolfeboro, N.H.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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