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Letters to the Editor (July 18, 2017)

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

Cent roll search yields plenty of interesting finds

Last November my grandson and I started going through rolls of Lincoln cents obtained at our local savings and loan. We have probably looked through about 700 to 800 rolls of cents. A few interesting observations:

1. Pre-1982 copper cents average about five to six per roll, although two rolls we obtained had all 50 coins between 1959 and 1981.

2. We have found 80 wheat cents thus far, or about one for every 10 rolls we look through. Included are 1919-, 1919-S (2). 1920-D, 1929-S, and about 13 between 1935-1939. Thus, if one looks at enough cents, one can still find some interesting coins.

3. We tried nickel rolls, but we can’t seem to find any before the mid-1960s, so they are not too interesting.

Scott Prior
Address withheld

Lucky traveler finds $60 in paper money while dining

I was driving a truck between Raeford, N.C., and Fayetteville, N.C., on Highway 401 one time and stopped at a truck stop to eat. I sat at the counter on a single post stool with a step to put your feet on. Don’t remember whether it was before I ordered, while eating or after, but I looked down between my legs and saw some paper money on the step. Slide off the stool and picked up the money and slipped it into my pocket. When I got outside, I saw that it was three $20 bills.

Thanks for your Buzz.

George Furr
Archdale, N.C.

Curved 50th anniversary space coins disappointing

I have been looking forward to the 50th anniversary of the space program commemorative coins for years. Now I find out that they are going to be curved like the baseball coin. What a disappointment. It was OK for that one occasion, but enough is enough. I do not consider these to be real commemorative coins. They are more like sculptures. Sadly, I will not be purchasing any of these so-called coins.

Alan Frazier
La Vergne, Tenn.

Mintmark history sheds light on ‘No S’ Roosevelt

Since I don’t own a computer and don’t have access to the Internet, I guess you could consider me a Timex watching the digital age. In the 1970s, the electric typewriter was all the rage. Computers took up an entire room.

Anyway, I just received your June 6 issue. In it an article by David Harper discussed coins without mintmarks and how these coins are sources of confusion to modern collectors. He mentioned that a Russian gentleman had emailed him thinking he had a 1975 Roosevelt proof dime missing the “S” mintmark. Of course, you can easily see from the photo in the article that the coin is a circulated example and not a proof.

What Harper failed to mention (and what a foreign collector of U.S. coins might not know) is that if this coin were indeed a proof, it would be worth close to $350,000. There are only two known examples of this coin and Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold one of the two for almost that much at the 2011 ANA auction.

A little history: Before 1979, all circulated coins made at the Philadelphia Mint did not have mintmarks. All coins except the cent had the mintmarks added by hand beginning in 1979-1980. In 1985, the mintmark application for proof coins was changed when the letter was applied directly to the master die rather than being hand punched on each individual working die, the same for circulation-strike coins in 1990-1991.

Before the permanent die change, several desirable missing mintmark die variety error coins appeared. The most famous was the 1982 Roosevelt dime without the “P” mintmark. It is the only example of a missing mintmark on the obverse of a circulating coin. It occupies the 24th ranking in the book, The 100 Greatest Modern U.S. Coins. What’s in first place in this well-written publication? The coin that the aforementioned Russian believed he owned.

Finally, in relation to Mr. harper’s article, as a fellow old-timer like myself who has lived through all these decades of mintmark changes, he should have known better than to make the statement: “With the addition of the ‘P’ mintmark to the 2017 cent, I sure hope we do not encounter an error coin this year where the cent turns up without a mintmark ... or maybe I do.”

C’mon, David. Ain’t never gonna happen. You will never see another missing mintmark on a U.S. coin.

And I hope you’re not serious about the Mint carrying forward the “P” mintmark for future cents. This would negate the whole reason why the mintmark was added to the 2017 coin. It’s a special anniversary for the Philadelphia Mint.

Richard D. Fickau
Mesa, Ariz.

Chemist weighs in on plastic for coin storage

Regarding the question in the May 16 issue, Page 6-8, gentleman asking about plastic storage for coins. I have a Master’s in inorganic chemistry and spent many years in a hospital chemistry department and can tell you this with great certainty: Plastic is man-made molecule, not of this earth, and if you saw a molecule of plastic compared to everything else on the planet, they are huge! I mean the difference between a BB and a basketball times three! That’s why 10,000 years from now when someone digs into an old landfill, every piece of plastic will still be there, most in pristine condition.

There’s nothing in nature to break it down. Likewise, they provide an inert surface depending on the surface desired. In and of itself, plastic can provide an airtight, watertight seal and stored in a controlled environment, dry, dark, is best.

But keep in mind any silver coin can tone the pure bullion even more so, but usually it’s because the coin was contaminated on its surface prior to it going into a roll.

I personally have bought many unopened Eagle rolls and years later found several spot toning and surprisingly several rim toning. I now for the last 10 years successfully found a plastic green top for Eagles and the top inner lid allows for a silica pack to be inserted quite nicely. Since I build my rolls in chunks, keeping them in Gem Uncirculated condition is important and I have had absolutely none since adopting this holder, although in a cool dark safe in out-of-the-weather an open box of baking soda had really always controlled my toning issue and I’ve never had a real problem.

But plastic, the proper type provided for a specific function, is the best product ever created by man by virtue that it really doesn’t react (only rare exceptions) with anything else at all.

Donald Robinson
Galion, Ohio

Harper’s column reminds collector of own youth

Can’t express to you enough how much enjoyment I got out of your article in the June 13 issue of Numismatic News entitled “Cooling off with coins in the summer.” I thought I was reading a bio of my youth.

Not sure of your age, but I was born in 1950 and was a coin enthusiast since Dad got me interested when I was 6 or 7 years old. Like you, Dad and I would go through rolls in search of the “big find.”

One day in the school cafeteria, one of my collector buddies got wind of a Barber half dollar that was used to buy lunch. Several of us went back through the line to try to get the lady to give it in change for a dollar bill. Of course, once she realized all the interest in the coin, she decided to keep it for herself. This would have been around 1963-1964.

Sure do appreciate your work.

Rick Doudt
Dunlap, Tenn.

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

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