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Letters to the Editor (10/28/14)

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Why don’t all Kennedy coins have dual dates?

I got my “P” and “D” Kennedy coins, three sets in all. Thinking they would have dual dates, but they are the same as the rolls I got.

I called them because I am on their mail system with Presidential dollars, Kennedy halves and Native American dollars.

I asked them about the $99.95 four-coin set and whether they would be dual dated. They didn’t know, just that they are solid silver, “P,” “D,” “S” and “W.” They said maybe just the gold coins have dual dates at around $1,200 a coin or more.

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I said, well, you would figure they would put dual dates for the little man. They did it on the Bicentennial quarter, Ike and Kennedy. Why not the Kennedy 50th silver and clad?

Marty Lane
Ardmore, Okla.

Too many coin shows held in Chicago area

There have been a lot of complaints from dealers about the poor results at this year’s ANA in Chicago. The Mint has been blamed for sucking all the air out of the show, the ANA was castigated for not doing enough for the dealers, so on and so forth.

While there may be some validity to these gripes, I have a different slant on the problem.

Could it be that the Chicago market is saturated with major coin shows, and the client base is burned out? I mean, the ANA is there four out of five years, Central States for six years running, plus the CICF and CMPX each year.

Sure, Chicago is central to the country, with easy access, but lots of collectors do not like the expense of travel, food and lodging, and other costs that reduce the numismatic budget.

I firmly believe that ANA (and Central States) would better serve their members if they move around a bit.

Bob Fritsch
New Hampshire

Recover gold in sea water and see market impact

The Pat Heller article and the following letters all seem to focus in the wrong direction of transmutation of elements.

About 2 billion years ago Earth experienced the Great Oxidation Event as cyanobacteria produced oxygen by photosynthesis. The oceans were flooded with metals. Life had to adapt or die from metal poisoning.

Several enzyme and biologic metal pump systems evolved to concentrate metals. This same evolution potential could be harnessed to develop life forms able to concentrate the 20 million tons of gold dissolved in sea water (in all of history we have maybe mined only 174,000 tonnes). Now that would put a dent in the value of gold!

Clark Garth
Katy, Texas

Buying nice coins in sets brings collector pleasure

I have to comment on the letter where the person said that you should not pay more than face value for any modern coins.

I like to make sets. The only thing I buy from the Mint are the annual mint set, proof set and silver proof set. I actually wait until they have all been released and then I order them and get all three sets shipped for $4.95.

I open the sets and put them in my Dansco albums so that I can keep my sets going.

Except for the Presidential dollars. I do not collect them and they go on eBay for sale.

My point is that I like nice coins in my sets, not stuff you pull out of your pocket. I am willing to pay for the sets just so I can have the nice coins. Yes I know that they will never be worth much in my life time, but I enjoy keeping the sets going.

Bill Okeson
Cedear City, Utah

Lincoln didn’t have a secretary named Kennedy

I enjoyed Pete Acampora’s “Viewpoint.” I wonder what folks 50 or 100 years from now will think of “first coins” graded and slabbed PF-70 versus ones just graded and slabbed PF-70 or, for that matter, PF-69 without the first coin designation?

The one issue I have with his comments is the perpetration of the myth of a Mrs. Kennedy as President Lincoln’s secretary. Sorry gals, all of President Lincoln’s secretaries were male and none were named Kennedy. Check out, buy or read the book Lincoln’s Men: The President and His Private Secretaries by Daniel Mark Epstein. Lincoln’s three personal secretaries were John Nicolay, William Stoddard and John Hay. The myth of a female secretary for Lincoln named Kennedy started right after the Kennedy assassination and before the Internet and quick and relatively easy fact checking when someone listed “fact” comparisons between the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations that seemed amazing at the time. The primary fact was that Lincoln’s vice president was a Johnson just like Kennedy’s.

Somehow because Kennedy had a female secretary named Lincoln someone thought Lincoln might/must have had a female secretary named Kennedy.

Ron Thompson
Decatur, Ga.

FDR portrait on new dollar a poor choice

Man you hit the nail right on the head, in the Sept. 16 issue of Numismatic News, when you questioned the portrait chosen to be on the obverse of the 2014 FDR Presidential dollar coin.

It sure as heck isn’t Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but it does closely resemble, if not an exact duplicate portrait of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

I didn’t grow up during the FDR time period, but I do know what he looks like, and that’s not him! It’s one of the poorest, if not the worst attempt to replicate the image of FDR in the history of modern coinage.

The majority of people purchase them, plop them in an album and never really look at them, but I do. There have been some questionable images used on other coinage in the past, but this one takes the cake. Mrs. Roosevelt would not have approved of it at all. This isn’t some old mountain or tree that you only have to come close to resembling, it’s one of our greatest presidents ever.

Next time Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee clean your glasses or better yet put them on before you chose an image to occupy the obverse of a coin, especially a Presidential dollar.

Michael P. Schmeyer
Spencer, N.Y

New collector coins seem more like fantasy tokens

If politics should be kept out of letters and articles in Numismatic News then perhaps we should start by also leaving out the names of the politicians depicted on coins and currency.

Perhaps their images should be disguised too.

Before 1909 most of our circulating coinage was politically neutral, retaining symbols of liberty rather than having the portraits of deceased presidents, and even a few living politicians (see some 1930s commemorative halves for examples).

Some of our paper money was politically neutral, but unfortunately not all of it.

The only consolation I can immediately think of is that the U.S. hasn’t descended to the level of much foreign coinage by putting ridiculous commercial images and themes on them.

Congress and the Mint continue to make dubious coinage decisions such as making a meaningless anniversary coinage issue 50 years after the first issue of the Kennedy half dollar in 1964.

The 100th birth anniversary in 2017 would be a better way to give tribute to JFK’s life.

It seems pointless to make a 50-ecnt piece out of gold, just as it made no sense to put the 25-cent denomination on huge silver coins each weighing 5 ounces.

Making these so-called coins is like gilding the lily.

Even during the depths of the U.S. Depression no one could buy silver for as low as 5 cents an ounce and other than tiny privately issued tokens after 1849 there has never been a gold half dollar made in the U.S, until now.

Once the U.S. Mint turns weird there may be no turning back.

It serves no apparent purpose to create non-circulating legal tender coins that have no equivalent circulation coin with the same size and composition.

These collector coins are more like fantasy tokens.

Producing commemorative medallions for collectors should be sufficient.

Lastly, a return to the use of the symbols of liberty and the elimination of the portraits of people on U.S. coins could return our coinage to images of beauty and integrity.

Gerald Perman
Los Angeles, Calif.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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