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Letters to the Editor (August 2, 2016)

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Marks’ statement on Liberty medal not official

The front page story, “Silver medal marks Liberty’s return” (Numismatic News, July 12) reports that I “announced details of the 2016 American Liberty silver proof medal June 15.” That statement came as quite a surprise to me. Although I had the past honor to serve as the chairman of the Citizens’ Coinage Advisory Committee, I currently hold no position relative to the United States Mint and am certainly not in any authority position to “announce” a United States Mint product.

I had previously read a news report published elsewhere that production of the 2016 American Liberty silver proof medal was under way at the San Francisco and West Point mints. I was quite pleased to learn of this development and shared it with my friends on Facebook. An NN reporter subsequently contacted me to ask if I would agree to have portions of my Facebook post quoted in an upcoming NN story. I consented. However, I did not understand that my post would be portrayed as an “announcement.”

In my view, an announcement infers the idea of an official news release which is the exclusive purview of the Mint.

Gary Marks
Lebanon, Ore.

Editor’s note: Our apologies. It was in no way our intent to portray your statements to us as an official announcement from the Mint.

Silver’s physical form helps guard against impulse buys

To some collectors, it's "in silver we trust."

To some collectors, it's "in silver we trust."

I am 59 years old, retired and disabled at the same time and have been a collector like you from a very young age, though my greatest passion is silver. I did sell off and have been selling all of my collections and single collectible coins because I’ve been converting every dime into bullion.

My disease is terminal and leaving my wife over $10,000 worth of collections to try to sell, seems more than silly, and with 30 years of selling to dealers on the secondary market would be the most idiotic financial thing I could do.

As my sales proceeds have come in I have been buying bullion silver and gold only and created contracts with only two trusted dealers that have never offered me less than full melt value for my coins and collections. (Dealers that insist on 100 percent markup either need to cut their overstaffed employees, or put more of their own time in at the shop, but that’s another issue altogether that plagues and destroys coin collecting from within.)

Every time silver jumps or bumps in an upward trend, prognosticators start the $100 per ounce spot predictions and thoughts of us that understand the metal realize this is a near impossible scenario. Silver, unlike gold, has value in manufacturing in so many things that its commodity value also precludes it from runaway pricing which will only happen if societies and economies crumble to the point that we all will be trading precious metals for toilet paper. If that happens, that MS-70 19?? Walking Liberty is going to by that one loaf of bread just the same as the 1963 Franklin half.

Silver is a long-term investment and when working and saving as much as 26 percent of my income, the hits I’ve taken in the mutual fund game and the cost to roll over to something better or safer minus commissions will never be returned or remade in my lifetime.

People will spend $2,000 to $3,000 on vacations and many pay off the credit balance the following year and not bat an eye, but buy 20 silver Eagles at $17.80 (not so long ago as I did as silver crept to the near $15-an-ounce range) and have the price go down to $15 and you think by their letters they lost a massive fortune.

The only way silver will ever command the day-to-day pricing that optimists always say are coming will be when the minimum wage hits $20 an hour when time and decades make all things higher anyway.

The only times silver has spiked is well known to investors as market manipulations and the only few that make the deal at the right time are most likely your Warren Buffets and Chases (banks) over the long term.

Two hundred dollars per ounce is unimportant. I’ve never lost one cent on bullion silver as my records are impeccable, and I purchased many ounces when silver was selling for less than $12, so even if I want some cash to purchase something else, my profit is and was exceptional compared to most anything else the average Joe can invest in.

Even if you sell at only marginal mark-up it is still far better than any passbook savings or CDs or bond that have fees and penalties for early withdrawals. I think expecting silver to spot at $200 and believe it as the new norm will only be fact to my granddaughter’s children.

Mexico alone has so much silver that if they ran it like the USSR they could flood the metals inventories to the point that it would spot at 25 cents per ounce.

Silver’s an investment and the only way to see the advantages is to let it be and watch it grow even if ever so slowly. Remember, because you can physically hold it, you are not subject to all the factors that slowly eat away at other investments and because of the hassle of turning it to instant cash, unlike most monies, you can withdraw daily or simply eat the loss with your signature.

My wife and I have built a stunning savings that at $100 to $200 an ounce doesn’t matter in the least.

Mark these words, when silver’s spot price increases 10 to 20 fold, gas will cost $25 per gallon, rent will average $3,000 a month (one bedroom 800 square feet) and the cost of real basic necessaries will make that increase irrelevant anyway.

As for my wife, we’ll keep buying $1,200 to $2,000 annually and be more ahead in the game of saving money not easily accessible to impulse buying, which in my opinion keeps people from saving for their futures and emergencies that our forbearers knew as necessary and not luxury.

Don Robinson

Whitman’s plan for listing gold Mercury is wrong

Mr. Tucker’s (and his Whitman Publishing cohorts) decision is wrong, wrong, wrong. In my opinion (and I am a numismatist with over 50 years of collecting experience), the gold Mercury coin is a commemorative. It was struck to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the issue of the Mercury dime. To place it in chronological order with Roosevelt dimes is just plain stupid!

Just as NN had a question a few weeks ago if its readers felt that the gold Mercury was part of the Mercury dime set, what collector input did Whitman attempt to get and use to base their decision where to list the coin? None, I’ll bet. This is just another of a “brain trust” that can’t be trusted and an “elite” thinking that they know more than all collectors.

While I am writing, I would like to mention that two or three years ago, Whitman advertised a couple of books on modern U.S. coin issues, “1 autographed by then Mint Director Edmund Moy and 1 by Engraver John Mercanti.” Well, the books were not autographed! A signed bookplate is not an autographed book. A publisher as established as Whitman should know the difference. This was an example of very deceptive [practice] or extreme ignorance.

Jeff Vogel
New York, N.Y.

Mr. Krause exemplified ‘can-do’ attitude of his time

Mr. Chester L. Krause was a vital factor, via Numismatic News, in keeping “popular” coin collecting going in America after it became impossible to find older U.S. coins in regular daily circulation. As has been stated elsewhere, his newspaper was (and remains) a great conduit/vehicle for those many coin collectors who lived in parts of our country where there are few or no coin clubs, coin shops or a coin community.

In the longer run, the Krause-Mishler Standard Catalogs of World Coins are now an immense positive factor in numismatic education and understanding, and these publications should endure for a very long time in the future.

People and the times are quickly evolving in the U.S., but Chester L. Krause is a foremost example of his generation and their optimism and “can do” spirit that typified America in the decades following the end of the Second World War.

Bob Olson
Springfield, Ill.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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