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This Week's Letters (9/2/09)

A selection of letters from readers of Numismatic News to editor, Dave Harper.
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Haxby books on CD great for collectors


I wrote you sometime back inquiring as to whether your company might republish Haxby’s Standard Catalog of Obsolete Banknotes, so I was pleased to hear on Coin Chat Radio and then read in your publications that the books have been digitized and made available for sale.
I don’t know if my request made any difference in getting this process done, but I’ve purchased a copy of the digital version and am very happy that your company has made this available. Kudo’s to all involved.
I live in Knoxville, Tenn., and after checking Worldcat,, I learned that there wasn’t a single copy of the original four-volume set available in the entire state. I requested one volume via interlibrary loan, which was sent to me here from a library in Florida. Now, I can easily access any of the books on my computer.
Please thank the appropriate people involved!

Eric Head
Knoxville, Tenn.

Mint gets poor mark for bad packaging

I found what looks like a die fill damage on a Harrison Presidential dollar by the crown.
Also, sets came fast but boxing looked like crap and four of 10 sets had residue on the pennies.
Wish I could take a pic of the Harrison dollar crown.
Mint gets a D+.

J. Cole
Denton, Texas

Trip to Springfield for cent release worthwhile

I went to the release in Springfield, Ill. Thanks for putting the information in as early as you did.
With postal service the way it is, I might not have gotten the information on time. Many people were there. Limit of six rolls was crazy. Met people from a lot further away than myself, including one from Lincoln City, Ind. I know some people were going through the line more than once, but that’s OK.
After obtaining mine, I attempted to obtain other coins, such as quarters, from banks in the area. No luck. Many told they were refused to get the latest coins and had to settle for what was sent. This is what I have been told locally, and in other areas.
It’s hard to believe this country is hurting for free money (Collectors are paying cash for these coins, and just holding them.), and making it difficult on all of us.
Anyway, while checking banks, I noticed a line on the next block. I guess the term Curious George applies. I went to investigate, and the line was at a Postal Substation where people were getting commemorative stamps and getting their rolls date canceled.
I thought this may be a good idea. I went back to the car, got the rolls and went back to the line, which hadn’t hardly moved. A postal representative was there talking to others in the line, and stated the main post office would be doing this for thirty days.
Now I may have misinterpreted something there, but it was getting warm in the sun, the line was going nowhere (Postal Service just isn’t what it started out to be), and I came up with an idea that I thought wasn’t bad.
I left there, and on my way home, stopped by Lincoln, Ill. I took four of my six rolls into the Post Office and (one for the P.O.) was able to get them canceled there. I kind of think a Lincoln cent roll canceled on release date, at Lincoln, Ill., is a little more special, and no waiting in line.
As a side note, is there any way you can find out who is putting out the word, refusing to send requested new coinage to the few banks that are trying to serve their customers? It is unbelievable the amount of bank employees, customers, wasted gas, etc. this is unnecessarily causing.

George Walter
Galesburg, Ill.

Silver coin collector gets hooked on VAMs

I have been collecting coins for about five months. My reasons to get into it was to have silver and most of my purchases in the beginning were of the cheapest, worst shape coins I could find.
About four months ago I found a mark on a coin that was interesting enough for me to look on the Internet to identify what may have caused it. I ended up at I found the coin in question to be a 1935-S VAM-3 Extra Ray. I was hooked!
I have been VAMming since (with MAJOR help from the message board members). I recently discovered a new Top 50 Peace VAM, known as 1925-S VAM-3A. I was unsure if it was news-worthy for your publication or not, but I figured since I am a reader, I would send it in to see. Even people new to collecting can make amazing finds!

Mike McCrady
Address withheld

Proof silver dime looks to have die crack

I ordered my regular proof sets from the Mint and found that one of the cases was cracked, with a corner chipped completely off. The Mint was courteous and quick with a replacement.
I just received my silver proof sets and I noticed that the sets were flush with the side of the box, with the packing only on three sides. I checked each set carefully, but luckily there was no damage.
However, there is a line across the face on a dime that looks like there was a die crack that wasn’t caught by the inspectors.

Ray Klopchin
Sugar Loaf, N.Y.

Visit to museum yields interesting coin finds

This summer, my wife and I spent the day with our two young children at The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It turned out to be one of those fun, memorable summer day trips that I’ll always remember. Not only did the kids have a great time with the museum’s terrific interactive learning exhibits, but I had a few coin finds as well.
The museum’s parking garage is automated and only dispenses dollar coins as change. I received four pristine John Tyler dollars, which I was very excited about. The vending machines in the food court as well only dish out dollar coins, no paper. I put a $5 bill in a machine for a $2 bottle of water and got back a 2000-D Sacagawea, a John Adams and an Andrew Jackson.
These finds however, were not the highlight of the day. While walking by one of the fountains in the museum I happened to look inside. I instantly noticed a coin that was obviously new. It was a 2009-P Lincoln “Rail Splitter” cent. Despite my wife’s embarrassment, I stuck my hand in and grabbed it. It now resides in my collection along with a good story.

John Pauley
Bolingbrook, Ill.

Michael Jackson won’t soon be on a coin

I was going through my old issues of Numismatic News last night to put them out in the “read file.” I missed the e-question about Michael Jackson on a coin and would like to comment about that right now.
First I’d like to say that government regulations on minting coins pretty much follows the printing of stamps. Unless the person to be commemorated is a president, he or she cannot be commemorated on a coin or stamp for at least 11 years after his/her death. The reason that both FDR and JFK were commemorated on coins almost immediately after their deaths was because they were both U.S. presidents and died (FDR) or were killed (JFK) while in office. Eisenhower was also a president of the U.S., but he died after serving as president. The “Ike” dollar was first struck well after the year Eisenhower died.
Therefore, I don’t see a Michael Jackson commemorative coin from the U.S. for quite a while, if one will ever be struck at all in the U.S.

Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

Samoa quarter rolls found at local bank

Just wanted to let you know I found two rolls of American Samoa quarters at our local bank. They are neat.

Virgil Griffith Jr.
Camden, N.C.

Lincoln’s greatest achievement overlooked

I may be wrong, but I don’t think the last two Lincoln cents will be as popular as the Birthplace and Formative Years cents.
I also think it’s unfortunate that Congress and the U.S. Mint chose not to commemorate President Lincoln’s greatest achievement: the Emancipation Proclamation and the preservation of the Union.
I hope Numismatic News will print the Gettysburg Address as near to Nov. 19 as possible. It only lasted two minutes, but in my opinion it was the greatest speech ever written.

H.W. Prince
New York, N.Y.

Coin quality varies at minting facilities

Congratulations to Ronald Walling of Ottowa, Ill., for receiving “P” and “D” cents of the Formative Years in proof-like sheen and no spots, second-day delivery.
I received my two rolls in 19 days. Some had a nice sheen, but both rolls were all spotted and the surprising thing is the “D”s were worse than the “P”s. Very unusual.
I had eight-day delivery on the Puerto Rico quarters and 13-day delivery on the Guam quarters. Forty percent to 50 percent of the two were not in uncirculated condition. I received the American Samoa quarters in 12 days, which is good. Seventy-five percent of the “D”s were good and only 50 percent of the “P”s were good. Considering the money the Mint is charging us, we deserve nearly all uncirculated coins.
I was able to purchase 10 rolls of American Samoa quarters at two separate banks in Hampton, N.H. All 400 coins were spotted, which doesn’t say much for the quality control at the Philadelphia Mint.
A medal for Mr. Moy? After the quality of coins from the Mint, I think not. Maybe they will be extra careful on his medal, no spots or scratches.
The proof set was received in 12 days and as usual, the San Francisco Mint did a beautiful job.

Donat Veilleux
Hampton, N.H.

Rolls didn’t contain new cents as advertised

On May 26, I won an auction on eBay for a box of 50 rolls of Formative Years cents. My winning price was $237.05.
I received the coins on June 23 via U.S. mail parcel post. Due to a health issue, I did not inspect the coins until July 31.
I found 50 rolls with a 2009 Birthplace penny on top of 49 earlier Lincoln pennies that had been rearranged shotgun style. The rolls were sealed in a Du Quoin State Bank box from Du Quoin, Ill.
This fraud has been reported to eBay, PayPal and the Internet Crime Complaint Center. According to a representative at eBay, I will be reimbursed for my $237.05. Do elephants fly?

B.A. Koykan
Romeoville, Ill.

Good coins are in circulation if you look

I received my Aug. 11 NN and I was surprised to see one of my finds in the news. Thank you very much for letting me share my finds with your readers!
I looked through $30 worth of cents and I found 11 Birthplace cents, one of which was a “D” mintmark.
Today was a good day for me. Looking through cent rolls, I found the following:
Two 1943 steel cents, two bank rolls of 2009 cents, two bank rolls of 2009 Formative Years cents and last but not least, two 2009-P Birthplace cents.
I know that there are good coins still out there and the only thing you have to do is look for them.
I enjoy your newspaper very much and I wish that there was more room for letters about finds.

Bob Atwater
Conway, S.C.

In the Aug. 11 issue of NN, a misinterpretation was printed on the front page article, “Get new Lincolns from Old Capitol.” The article indicated that the Chase Bank was giving collectors the opportunity to purchase rolls of the third issue of the Lincolns “at face value.”
Well, I went to several branches at Chase and no one knew anything about it, not even the managers. I did wait until the ceremony with the Governer and Mr. Moy was over, about noon EST.

Bob Vinciguerra
North Bellmore, N.Y.

Editor’s note: The exchange only took place at the ceremony, as stated in the article.