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Letters to the Editor (February 26, 2019)

Circulation coin search yields 1881 Indian cent

Just a note to let you know that I found an 1881 Indian Head cent in about good; just wear, no scratches, just nice.

Bob Atwater
Conway, S.C.

Retiring Baby Boomers reduce club memberships


I read with interest your reflection on the future of the American Numismatic Association in “Best of Buzz.” You point out something most of us probably did not know, i.e., that board members who cannot pay their expenses to attend board meetings have left the board.

As a member, I assumed these travel expenses were paid by the ANA. Presumably the lower membership numbers drives the smaller budgets and reduction in allowable travel expenses. This is reasonable, since the ANA cannot operate at a deficit without depleting its endowment.

It is sad to realize that. We numismatists already have a national organization, the ANS, with a smaller membership base whose board functions as you envision for the ANA. Its goals and outlook are quite different from the ANA. Hopefully the ANA can maintain its identity and focus as it adjusts to the future.

A factor you did not mention that contributes to our declining membership base is the retirement of the Baby Boom generation from 1946-1964, with retirements that began about 2011 and will continue until about 2029. There doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight. With this large a group of collectors retiring, many of them will be trying to sell off their collections. Eventually their lack of participation will lower attendance at shows, auctions, clubs, and also lower market prices.

The “Viewpoint” (in the same issue)confirmed the problem of aging members and the impact on state and regional clubs and shows. Of course, lower prices are certainly good for younger collectors out there.

Market prices will also be impacted eventually by states seeking to tax internet sales. One of the letters to the editor recently mentioned the problem with Massachusetts and the Royal Canadian Mint collecting sales tax on sales up to $1,000.

Auction houses and online dealers are wrestling with the sales tax compliance issues as well. One other factor, both literally and physically, is the elephant in the room, our Pinocchio President. What is happening nationally is impacting a lot of people. It is driving their focus to more immediate problems than our hobby. It has created uncertainty about the future that isn’t good for Wall Street or our hobby. There will be a trickle-down impact, hopefully only relatively for a short term. Spring will come!

Ron Thompson
Decatur, Ga.

Spare us Mint hype, hoopla

Would Numismatic News please spare us all the hype and hoopla over the U.S. Mint offerings in every single issue. This is “medal” collecting, not coin collecting. All the garbage the Mint is spewing out is poisoning the hobby and leading the collector down a path of inconsequential collecting.

The pages upon pages upon pages that are wasted in every issue on what the Mint is doing and what they will be offering at a heavily overpriced level is not what the hobby is about. The average Joe and younger collectors are being hyped right out of the hobby by expensive garbage.

The need for collectors today to have a slabbed coin is reliance upon the grading companies to grade a coin instead of learning how to grade in your preferred field of coins. It’s called laziness.

Why should one learn to grade when you can just send it off and pay for something? Please, please, please spare us the Mint hype, the massive pages of Mint price sheets, etc. It is not what the hobby is about.

1982-Present Commemoratives take up six pages or so in the pricing and even more in content substance in the magazine proper. There is nothing worth collecting from the Mint except a couple commemoratives like the unique baseball medal that came out or the Winged Liberty dime commemorative in the last 36 years.

U.S. Mint, please go corrode some other hobby other than mine!

Dave Curry
Thomasville, Ga.

Apollo 11 commemoratives are beautiful coins

I just received my Apollo 11 proof clad half dollar, uncirculated clad half dollar, and the 50th Anniversay set with clad proof Apollo half dollar coin and clad enhanced reverse proof 2019-S Kennedy half dollar coin. I ordered them from the U.S. Mint on Jan. 24, and I received them today, Jan. 31.

They are beautiful coins. The mirror-like fields are literally just that – I can see my reflection in them!! The image on the obverse is taken from the famous “Buzz Aldrin on the moon” photo that shows Neil Armstrong, the lunar lander, and the U.S. flag, along with their shadows etched into the lunar surface. The obverse design is made to look like a reflection, as though you were looking into Buzz’s helmet visor.

Since I was born on July 20, I just had to have these. I was seven years old, and I remember watching the moon landing live on television.

Daryl Conley
Truth or Consequences, NM

Silver dollar hoard story sparks memories of ’60s

I found the article on the release of the silver dollar hoard interesting. I was in the Air Force and stationed at Fort Meyer, Va., from 1962 to January 1965. I was going to Strategic Intelligence School in old Navy building in the morning, and in the afternoon I had to go to the Pentagon until 5 p.m. to work in the office of the chief of staff for intelligence, Gen. Stratemeyer. He was a coin collector like me, so we got along well.

I was a master sergeant and listening to my portable radio when they mentioned that the government was planning to release bags of silver dollars through the Treasury in Washington, D.C. The bags had been held in the Subtreasury building in Wall Street for years and had been transferred to the Treasury in D.C.

According to the Numismatic Scrapbook and The Numismatist (the ANA’s magazine), they were going to be released to the public for sale by lottery. However, the big wheels and dealers got involved to “evaluate” the hoard and through their connections had the public sale revoked/postponed.

An interesting aspect of the story you didn’t mention, so I’ll mention it here. There were many hundreds of Seated Liberty dollars. In fact, if I remember correctly, there was one whole bag of S.L. dollars.

M.L. Sacripante
Astoria, N.Y.

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2019 U.S. Coin Digest