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Letters to the Editor: Feb. 23, 2021

When It Comes to Design, New Isn’t Necessarily Better

I guess some day we will have the perfect mouse trap. New is not always better. If our government wants to really shake up things, let’s go back to 1799 and put Liberty back on our coins, retire all the dead presidents, do what George Washington wanted, “not to put his likeness on our money like England does with their kings and queens.” I do not approve of the new design on our silver eagles. Thanks for allowing me to comment.

Dennis Clark
Alamogordo, N.M.

Indiana Coin Finds Echo Those of Mishler’s

After reading “On the Scene” by Clifford Mishler in the Jan. 19, 2021, edition of Numismatic News, I too have found two Jefferson nickels dated 1963-D and 1964-D in AU or better condition in change. One was received from a fast food restaurant in Brownsburg, Ind., and the other from a Sunoco service station in the town of Lizton, Ind., where I live, found just earlier this month. It always pays to check your change, especially if you’re a coin collector.

Steve Little
Lizton, Ind.

No Chance for Dollar Coin Unless Note Printing Stops

In 1979, legislation hoped that the minting of a small dollar would be a sufficient substitute for the paper dollars. This obviously got off to a bad start with the unpopular Anthony dollar. The Sacagawea may have eventually been a successful replacement had it been consistent. But then came the Presidential series followed closely by the annually changing Native American dollar.

People began seeing the dollar coins as collector novelty coins and could not seriously feel that these were viable currency to be used for daily spending. Then in 2011, all dollar coins were discontinued for general circulation because they have “proven unpopular in commerce.” Well, it’s no wonder.

In my opinion, two things need to happen before the American public will use dollar coins in the Way they were intended. First, the Treasury must develop a standard, dependable circulating dollar coin with a design that is going to remain unchanged and familiar for a number of years. In other words, not another collector series. Secondly, consider this illustration: You have a store that has two entrance doors side-by-side. One of the doors is closed but has a sign on it which reads “Use this door.” The other door is wide open. Which door do you think most people are going to use? So the second step that must be taken is stop printing dollar bills. In other words, close and lock the open door!

John Mccauley
St. Pauls, N.C.

Originality Most Important for Any Grade of Coin

Oops, I meant to respond sooner to Michael Fazzari’s excellent “Originality” column of Dec. 1, 2020. He asked which is the most important factor when examining Mint State coins. I agree with him that it is originality. But, I want to add that I believe originality is the most important factor for any grade of coin. I collect early halves and prefer a gray, pleasing original VF over an old-cleaning or dipped net EF or even some that are “shiny,” not lustrous, AU! I find Michael’s “Making the Grade” columns very informative. Keep up the good work.

Neil Brown
Las Vegas, Nev.

No Buyer’s Remorse with Coins of the Past

I just read about the 2021 Morgan and Peace dollars coming our way this year from the Mint. Think about the chances for not getting what you want. There will be Mint State, burnished, proof and reverse proof options. Then there will be one from each working mint (currently four). And add to that the newly beloved privy mark, that could be 64 total coins to collect to get the entire set, and that is without any gold versions. That is almost an impossible set for the average collector to afford. But to that point, the Mint has already figured it out! Since the everyday collector will be left out, they will limit the mintage to ... let’s say a magic number like 2021 of all, but the ones made in Mint State condition or those that will look the most like the silver dollars of the past. This will allow some to collect and still make their “special buyers” a chance to score big again. And just in case that does not faze you, they could make both a .9000 and a .9999 silver content silver dollar, and that makes a possible 128 different silver dollars to collect and/or punish the collector and reward their “favorite buyers” (not us). So then we will again get to read about how you all had it in the cart and had it taken away before you could pay for it, or how you are not ever going to be a patron of the Mint again (forgetting your last letter to the editor). I too, love collecting ASEs and really would like a complete set but have given up on that dream as I can but will not buy one ounce of silver for 10 times the value of the original price. They may drop in price down the road and may provide an opportunity in the future. Remember the gold Mercury dime? At first, they were up there in price, then at the Baltimore coin show about a year after production, I found a dealer with several dozen of them in original packaging, with a sign that said make an offer. So for a few dollars more than what the Mint sold them for, I got one.

Whenever I get shut out of buying a new coin from the Mint, I go to my registry sets and look for a hard-to-find Buffalo nickel or an Indian Head cent or even an ancient coin and buy it – and come away feeling very good about my choice. I got a real piece of history and enjoy that purchase more than that of a privy-marked ASE which will only drop in price down the road. Imagine holding a coin found in Great Britain of Roman origin and wonder who held it last before being buried around 1,900 years ago! I love this hobby and no, I will not own a coin worth $10,000 or more as a coin that is lower in grade will do for a fraction of the price. Just remember the monthly article in NN that compares two coins of different grades or varieties and pay attention to the graph at the (usually) bottom of the page. When it comes to value, I have rarely seen that curve increase in price as the years pass.

Alan Hepler
Laytonsville, Md.