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Letters to the Editor (Sept. 5, 2017)

Indiana readers reports first 2017-P cent find


I finally found my first 2017-P penny today, Aug. 11.

Ralph Klinker
Monroeville, Ind.

‘Moisture’ in anniversary set turns out not to be

Nine of the 10 (enhanced uncirculated) sets I received have a moisture/fluid encased with the coins. If you look at the glare between the quarter and the seal you will see a “lake shape.”

When you squeeze the “lens” it moves and changes size.

Ken Felty
Yuma, Ariz.

Editor’s note: Thank you. A second email from Mr. Felty some days later said it was a false alarm. “The surface of the insert is ‘Teflon smooth’ so I think it is just the two surfaces, lenses plastic and the coin holder inserts super smooth flat side, touching together. I liken it to putting two glass slides together before putting them under a microscope,” he wrote.

Anniversary set coins show variety of finish flaws

I received my five (enhanced uncirculated) sets over the weekend and was very disappointed. Four of the five sets had a significant/noticeable flaw on its finish. The Mint will take them back, but no replacement as they are sold out. I have attached four photos, though the flaws did not photograph well. On the first penny, you can see significant abrasion on Lincoln’s shoulder and around the word “Liberty.” On the first quarter, there is a thumb-sized “tea-colored” imprint on the coin. On the second penny, you can see discoloration along the rim at the 6-9 o’clock position. On the last quarter, there is a less significant “tea stain” mark along the rim and over the word “America.” I know that it’s only a $30 set, but could they have at least pretended to have had quality control at work when they made these coins? If I was a worker at the San Francisco Mint, I would be embarrassed.

Bill Rodgers
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

‘Newbie’ hits ground running in coin hobby

Hello, my name is Dave Deaver. Since September of last year, my interest in this hobby has grown. It started with searching for information on the coins that my wife and I had accumulated over the years.

It began as a small collection of older Whitman books partially filled with anything from 1909 to the ’60s wheat and memorial pennies to Kennedy half dollars, of which there were only six coins in the whole book.

So I began watching YouTube videos created by various coin collectors and dealers who had great advice and links to many error coin sites and third-party grading services. I also began joining Facebook groups that either sell or offer to give information on posted pictures of coinage that you have and need answers to.

eBay also became a huge part of my experience, as it gave me a way to grow my collection with many error coins and more. My intent is to flip and make money on much of what I’ve collected, at least that’s the idea. Also during these past months, as I’ve nurtured my knowledge, I’ve become a member of NGC, PCGS, ANA, purchased books and, like I mentioned earlier, several Facebook groups. I’ve also watched as several of the more popular YouTube channels have grown by leaps and bounds by amassing hundreds and/or thousands of subscribers. I’ve also witnessed the growing interest in numismatics by reading so many of the posted comments and questions posed by admitted newbies to the hobby on many forums,YouTube and Facebook groups.

I’ve also seen questionable sales and auctions on eBay or Facebook auctions of supposedly rare coins or hard-to-find doubled dies that really are nothing more than common machine doubling that sell for an exorbitant amount of money, leaving me to assume that the purchases were possibly made by said newbies.

Personally and within my own circle of friends and family, my constant talking about all things coins and asking others to keep an eye out for certain years of certain denominations, I have created at least two other fascinated newbies to the hobby, and now I’ve become the educator or the go-to guy! Strange but true.

I don’t know if this rambling is of any help, and I may be a little off topic. Sorry if that’s the case.

Dave Deaver
Minoa, N.Y.

About your pawn stars cover July 18 ...

Is this the trend in numismatics – that we applaud the business that only offers 50 percent or less for the actual value of items? I note they always ask what something is worth and then never offer anything near that. Fair?

And yes, I hear already someone saying, “No one forced them to sell.” But selling is not the issue – fairness is.

Are grading services so needy for publicity that they go to bed with characters that have questionable business practices just because they have a high profile? How naïve for them to think that hobbyists want to embrace this model.

If I have learned anything in numismatics, it’s that the consumer and public at large are universally leery of being ripped off – and it is the responsibility of the coin dealers/experts to provide fair value for their coins. But now it seems to be, “Get as much as you can for as little as possible and be damned about the ethics in doing so.”

Ron Brown
Address withheld

J.F.K. doesn’t need to appear on another coin

I read in another numismatic publication that the government (House and Senate) is introducing a bill to have John F. Kennedy on a commemorative silver dollar.

Why? Mr. Kennedy is already on the half dollar (since 1964), which is not in general circulation in 2017. Again, J.F.K. appeared in the Presidential dollar series, which one can get only in the “second market,” not general circulation.

Both the half dollar and golden dollar, which the government intended to circulate, became unpopular with the American citizens. The half dollar was larger than the Susan B. Anthony dollar (which looked like a quarter when glanced over) and the golden dollar issued later. Citizens had become used to the quarter as the main coin of consumer transactions. Since the “SBA fiasco,” the small dollar was never popular, as its paper counterpart was more convenient, lighter and could fit into a wallet better.

The proposed J.F.K. silver dollar would be for collectors and investors, not for general circulation. It is proposed to be a commemoration of Mr. Kennedy’s birth.

Kennedy was born in 1917, the proposed J.F.K. commemorative silver dollar – if approved – will be issued in 2020. Can you say: Three years late and a dollar short?

Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Autographed slab labels bad practice for hobby

Anything for a buck?

The recent practice of grading services having celebrities sign their slabs degrades the hobby. Anybody who decides to collect these things will have a sad day of reckoning when they take their treasures into a dealer when the time comes to sell and they discover the autographs on the slabbed coins are worth nothing or less. Like those poor souls stocking up on pricey MS-69 and -70 bullion “coins,” they will sour on the hobby once they realize they have been “taken,” and a budding coin enthusiast is gone forever.

In my opinion, the grading services involved in such trade have lost a great deal of brand prestige and gravitas by initiating this line of snake oil salesmanship.

Tom Felhofer
Luxemburg, Wis.

Metal detector proves cent was incorrectly identified

Back in 2006 I acquired a 1982 cent on eBay. It was slabbed MS-67 Red 1982 D Small Date Bronze. I bought it for $55. I was very skeptical of this. The only way to confirm was of course to have the coin broken out of the slab and weighed. It would either be a discovery coin or a grader’s error. Being an avid metal detector at the time, one of my detectors gave a numerical reading based on the metal composition of the object found. A copper cent would read 74-77 while a zinc one would be 62-65. I placed the slab on concrete and discovered it read a 63, which is correct for zinc. My dreams were over of making a fortune on this coin. A few years later it sold for about 80 bucks on eBay. I added the comment of being a grader’s error when I listed it.

Fran Wozniak
Philadelphia, Pa.

Like Rapsus, reader on lookout for coin book deals

Just a quick nod to Ginger Rapsus and her article on coin books. I also look for the sales at book stores, garage sales, etc.

Two places where I also look is eBay and thrift stores. My father once bought a Red Book at a yard sale in Delaware,and it was Volume One. He bought for $1.

Keep searching.

Jim Johnson
Shelby, N.C.

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

More Collecting Resources

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .