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Letters to the Editor (Jan. 26, 2016)

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Are new hires cause of poor quality from Philly?

Is there any correlation between the recent sloppiness of the Philly mint products and the new hires? Maybe a learning curve?

John Karpinski
Address withheld

Editor’s note: It is possible, but in recent years we have had more complaints about the quality of Philadelphia coins than Denver coins. This pattern dates back to well before the staffing issues.

Check out the Standard Catalog of World Coins 5-Book set, on sale now!

Check out the Standard Catalog of World Coins 5-Book set, on sale now!

‘Golden’ dollar composition won’t hold up long term

After reading another article about circulating the “golden” dollars, I see the argument still states that the coins would last 30 years in circulation. I believe there is a flaw in the argument now.

I wonder just how long these new dollars would last in circulation. I believe that the metal alloy, as per the 2016 North American Coins & Prices, of copper-zinc-manganese-nickel clad copper, is not as durable as prior alloys such as cupronickel clad, silver and copper (bronze and brass) and would not last long under heavy circulation.

The reason is seeing how poorly the new copper clad zinc cents hold up in circulation. They seem to corrode very fast once the zinc is exposed. I would bet almost everyone has seen corroded cents that are less than five or 10 years old. I don’t think they would last for 30 years like the argument claims.

I would like to see the savings by eliminating the dollar bill. However, I believe the coins would not hold up under heavy circulation that constant use would entail. Basically, I think the “golden” dollar alloy is not durable. Would they last 30 years or would a change in alloy be needed? Maybe plated cupronickel would be more suitable.

Donald Cantrell
Address withheld

Franklin half started love of collecting

I would like to start by saying thank you to Dave Harper for his column each week. It makes us all think a little harder about what we are collecting, I look forward to reading it each week.

I, like so many of your readers, grew up in a different time. I often think back to the 1960s when I started collecting. We did not have a lot of money. I remember getting a 1952 Franklin half dollar for my birthday and that started my itch of looking through change. By the way, I still have that Franklin half dollar. It was a long time ago!

After reading the Dec. 22 issue, it gave me some ideas to write about, I believe that the metals prices will continue to slide down until China gets there act together and then it will rise again and fluctuate on the high end of recent price ranges, this could take quite some time as there economy is a mess.

The price of metals also affects the price of what we collect. Recently I have heard all the news about the Coin and Chronicle sets that the mint has pushed out, why would you want them? There is no way of putting a complete set of all the presidents together they never made them, is this an afterthought of the Mint? I remember the Mint’s fanfare about the Legacy proof sets 2005 - 2008 and it being a new program that they were starting and the elaborate holder that it came in. I don’t remember the cost but it was expensive. They lasted four years and today they are worth a fraction of what I payed. Lesson learned.

I just want to tell one more story. Recently I was given the chance to look through a collection that was assembled from early 1960s to 2003, the collector passed away and the children wanted to find out what it might be worth, I was very happy to look at it for them, they are close friends, and I did it for them as much as for the father. He enjoyed what he collected the bulk of the collection was mint and proof sets in there original mailing boxes from the years stated five of each for each year. As everyone knows these sets have slid off the cliff in recent years. But as I was looking through these sets I was thinking he collected what he liked . He also had some nice silver sets that he got the coins out of circulation. The point is collect what you like. The average collector is not going to be a millionare from what he collects. Be wise to that fact and enjoy what you are doing.

Dave Maihle
Northeast Pennsylvania

Why reduce silver content of Kennedy halves?

I have a question I hope you can assist me with in answering.

Why did the Mint reduce and not remove the entire silver content in Kennedy halves beginning in 1965? I note that in 1965 the silver content in the dime and quarter were completely removed. I am trying to understand the reasoning behind this.

Mike Mills
Marysville, Wash.

Editor’s note: The government considered it a blow to its prestige to have to remove silver from all coinage. It only reduced the amount of silver in the half dollar as a bit of a fig leaf to hide behind when it was accused of debasing the coinage. Officially it said it wanted to continue the tradition of using silver in coinage. Some other countries of the world similarly retained or introduced what were called prestige silver coins for a few years immediately following 1965.

Denali ‘S’ quarter found in Florida

Surprise! I found a Denali “S” quarter in change. Bet it has a story.
Love the magazine. I just wish you had kept the mintages in. It’s part of the chase. Without it the hunt’s not as much fun. It’s great getting a coin with a low mintage.

P. Ritchie
Seminole, Fla.

Could numismatics go the way of stamp collecting?

Could numismatics go the way of stamp collecting?

Numismatics risks same demise as stamp collecting

I have been a coin and stamp collector for quite a while now.

Regarding the coin hobby, who is the average collector? What does that mean? Has a marketing or statistical analysis been done by the ANA or some of the coin dealers to be able to ascertain that?

If polls were taken of ANA and ANS members, do they truly represent the hobby or merely those that enjoy clubs?

Second, do we care about this “average collector”? How does the hobby target this person?

Finally, as I’m sure has been asked multiple times, what about the future of the average collector? Are we going to pass the torch between those that are over 50 to those under 30? Do we care about the state of the hobby we leave behind?

I can mention, at the risk of offending some, that the stamp collecting hobby may be in somewhat of a shambles. Perhaps you may have noticed, but philately is actually the brunt of jokes. Many people consider the hobby boring and very outdated. It appears as though philately is one generation away from extinction, and it’s almost that something has to be “wrong with you” to derive pleasure from it. I truly say this as an avid collector with a heavy heart. Will the same be true of numismatics?

Blaine Buckman
Evansville, Ind.

Will premium follow drop in silver value?

Let’s think about this. Silver may drop to $11 an ounce in 2016. So let’s see how much “premium” we can rip off the public this year!

Michael Bingham
Deer Park, Texas

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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