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This Week's Letters (6/10/09)

I would not pay $8.95  for two rolls of Lincoln coins, so my wife and I drove 680 miles round trip from Angola, Ind., to get pennies at face value. Now that’s a joke.
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Trip to get cents puts cost at $17.42 a roll

I would not pay $8.95 for two rolls of Lincoln coins, so my wife and I drove 680 miles round trip from Angola, Ind., to get pennies at face value. Now that’s a joke.
This was our first journey to get coins on first day release and will most likely be our last. I’m a small time coin collector who likes the hunt for coins. We met some delightful people from Tennessee that made the trip more enjoyable, but the way the Mint handled the actual release was a farce to say the least.
But a second nice surprise was a young woman who heard the four of us talking about not being able to find the first release Lincoln coins after searching banks, buying rolls of pennies and searching through them and still no pennies and the Mint telling us they were sold out. This young woman took our names and two days after we returned home we had two pennies. There are some really nice dealers out there.
The program was very good, but we felt the people that attended the program were penalized for their attendance, thus standing in line for 2 1/2 hours to receive our coins. It was obvious most people came not to hear of Lincolns time in Indiana but to make a profit on coins. As for the cost of our pennies, $17.42 per roll. But also two days of fun and observing mankind.

Richard Smith
Angola, Ind.

How did dealer get Lembke’s coin?

After all that was written about the “Lembke Affair” (1893-S dollar), I would refrain from comment except that, amazingly, a key point has been overlooked!
How did the dealer get the coin in the first place? He didn’t manufacture it. It didn’t fall down to him from Heaven. And he obviously didn’t buy it as a ‘93-S, because he wouldn’t have thrown it together with a bunch of common dollars.
No, he must have gotten it in such a batch, which he bought from someone, having assumed they were all common, without checking dates and mints.
It might be fair to say he failed to exercise due diligence toward the seller, who did not receive a fair price for his coins. Most charitably, the dealer was lazy and sloppy. Yet some feel that dealer should have profited, rather than Lembke. Why?

Frank S. Robinson
Albany, N.Y.

Collector scores Lincoln cent rolls at restaurant

Just thought your readers might like to know, I received four new Lincoln cents with the log cabin reverse design in change at a local pizza restaurant and asked if they had any more. Guess what? They had four original rolls and I bought them for 50 cents each! I will cherry pick through them and spend the rest.
Be patient, my fellow readers. Your time will come like mine did.

Brian Brock
Dallas, Texas

1866 dime makes appearance on ground

I had a funny situation happen to me on May 16. After church my wife and I decided to go for a sub. When I got out of the car, I looked down and saw a brown looking coin. I thought it was a penny, but when I picked it up I saw that it was a badly damaged 1866 plain Seated Liberty dime. It sure makes you curious how it got there.
P.S. I agree with collectors on the crazy prices of the Lincoln cent.

Ronald Sauther
Malone, N.Y.

Rate common coin storage materials in NN

You’ve written articles on materials used in safe storage before. It can be helpful to me and some others if you had a future article rating these materials and any other commonly used materials with coins. – paper, cardboard, vinyl, mylar, plastic, polyester, polypropylene and polyethylene.

Bill Fisk
Kingman, Ariz.

Sweeping store floor leads to log cabin find

I know that the 2009 log cabin cent is hard to find. But! I work in a food store here in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y. The other day while sweeping the floor, I found a 2009 log cabin cent on the floor. What are the odds?

Joe Martin
Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

New reader gets lucky in reject bin search

This is my first time writing to your publication. I’ve just started with my subscription and I want to share what my new find was.
I found in the reject bin of a coin counter a 1942-D Mercury dime in XF condition.

Bob Atwater
Conway, S.C.

Back-ordered Lincoln cent rolls shipped early

I ordered a one-roll set of the Lincoln Formative Years cents on May 14 and the checkout online order receipt showed availability as back ordered. The order receipt, sent to me later the same day, showed the status as back ordered - 07/13/09. Then, on May 25, I received a message from the Mint that the roll set had been shipped to me that day! WOW! It usually takes about seven to 10 days to get my orders after the “sent today” messages, so the roll set should be coming soon!

Jerry Lattanzio
Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Restaurant meal yields two rolls of new cents

I found two rolls of the Formative Years Lincoln cent design when I stopped by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in Knoxville, Tenn., to eat supper with my wife and mom.
I didn’t have any change for a tip, so I went up to the cashier and I saw some loose new pennies plus two rolls of pennies in the coin tray. I asked to see one of the new pennies and I saw it was the second design. I asked the cashier if I could have the two rolls of pennies for face value. She said yes, and sure enough, they were two uncirculated rolls of the 2009 Formative Years Lincoln cent.
Thank you for letting me share this experience with your readers.

Tom Shuman
Knoxville, Tenn.

Lembke letters more interesting than Schain’s

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading for months the praising and the bashing letters concerning the now legendary Mr. Lembke. Then I read a letter from Louis Schain going on and on for half a page how everyone needs to stop writing on the subject; enough, etc.
The previous letters that Mr. Schain pleads for us for half a page to stop writing were certainly much more interesting to read than his repetitive long-winded rant.

Frank Murphine
Bridgeton, N.J.

Is it a legal or moral obligation? Or theft?

The article from Lawyer Cabonaro was interesting and informative.
I know of a man who bought a gold coin from a dealer’s young, unknowing sales clerk for much less that its value because it wasn’t marked clearly. Was that legal?
How about if I go to a store and make a purchase of anything for cash and don’t know I received change in excess of what I paid until I get home. Am I not legally required to return it? The sales clerk doesn’t know who I am or where I live.
I’m talking legal, not moral obligation. Seems about the same as theft to me.

Robert J. Morris
Roswell, N.M.

Order for Legacy set went back and forth

How together is the U.S. Mint? In November of 2008 I placed an order for the American Legacy Collection set as part of my larger order. Two weeks later I received all of the order except the Legacy set, which was back ordered. Finally in February UPS said they tried to deliver it, but I don’t know how they expected to with only a post office box number. Needless to say, they sent it back without even trying to find me. Then finally last week (May 4) the Mint re-deposited my money to my card. Then, low and behold, yesterday what did I find in the mail? You got it – the Legacy set.

Carl Peek
Dateland, Ariz.

Bills better for displaying national parks’ beauty

After almost 10 years of state and territorial quarters, you would think one would tire of yet another long and drawn-out series for the quarter. I may be alone in this thought, but I know I am. I feel it is time to return the quarter to its simple designs.
I see that the Senate and the House missed the mark in passing the bill to mint national parks quarters. They should have promoted a bill to commemorate the national parks on paper currency ($1 and maybe the $2) rather than a coin roughly 5/8 inches in diameter. The national parks are all naturally beautiful and deserve a palate of roughly 5 by 3 inches to show that beauty in color. What kind of beauty can you see in a 5/8-inch monochrome disc? Even if the Mint colorized the new series quarters, it wouldn’t be the same as holding a more panoramic $1 or $2 bill. After the run, discontinue the lower denomination ($1 and $2) bills in this “Grand Finale.”

Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

Not impressed with Lincoln cent offer

Here comes another “cry me a river” concerning the new pennies.
I order my usual four rolls from the Mint at the first offer. To date I haven’t heard, seen or received any message regarding my order.
Yesterday my mail brought me a grand offer from the Bradford Exchange – I may have all the pennies I want all adorned in their beautiful cards with holders. Each of these single units are only $12.95 each and are ready for shipment now.
Being a very small collector with limited resources to put toward my borderline hobby, I am amazed at this offer. It is possible that I’m missing something here but my best explanation is as follows: Somewhere along the line I was made mad, passionate love to – but I don’t remember the first kiss.
$12.95 for a penny and with the verbiage – sort of stupid, isn’t it? Guess it depends. Are you selling or buying? Be assured, I’m not buying.

Gerald T. Garrison
Tucson, Ariz.

Some of best U.S. coin designs replicate others

I read that the Mint has dropped the beautiful bundle of wheat design symbolizing unity from consideration from the Lincoln cent because it too closely resembles a similar design on German coins from the 1920s.
I think this is very narrow-minded since, for example, in 1916 the half dollar and dime designs were copies of French designs and no one seemed to mint or care then. So why should they now? They were among the most beautiful of coins as was the Gobrecht dollar, which was a copy of the British Britania and the Bust dollar, which was a reworking of the Austrian Maria Theresa thaler. Also one of our loveliest coins. That the Mint would even react in such a way shows narrow-minded prejudice that goes back to World War I.
None of the other designs illustrated even came close to the wheat in beauty. Most have boring shields, overworked eagles and overused pictures of the capitol. All lack originality, so why should they complain about the wheat design?
It seems lately that many of our designs lack creativity. Most of the state quarters and territorial quarters are very creative, but the general circulating coins are not. An example is the return of the boring Monticello design on the nickel in 2006. They could not come up with a better rendition so they used the stale design from 1938. A beautiful design of Monticello was on the 1994 Jefferson dollar. Something like that could have been used, or an inside view of Jefferson’s living room by the hearth with his family.
One of the most beautiful designs that could be used for the back of the cent would be Barber’s design of Columbia that was used for a pattern half dollar of 1891 and a $20 gold piece of 1906. Although the lady has a sword in her hand, perhaps that can be a bundle of wheat. The design is a masterpiece and would win, hands down.
I feel people will find things wrong with every design suggested and will simply use the ugly Lincoln Memorial design just like they did with Monticello. Hopefully the cent and nickel won’t be too much longer anyway to see these ugly designs for the next 20 years.
I believe Theodore Roosevelt should be on the new national parks quarter. The Washington portrait has been on since 1932. Better still, if people feel bad about Washington being removed, then just use the Mount Rushmore design that has both Washington and Theodore Roosevelt on it. Since it is a national park it would fit well with the theme of the new quarters and would honor Theodore Roosevelt for the first time. A position he has long deserved.

Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio

Change from meal holds two 2009-D D.C. quarters

The wife and I had our big night out at Arby’s on Snell Avenue here in San Jose Saturday night. Imagine my surprise when I was given two gorgeous 2009-D D.C. State quarters as change for our No. 8 combo meals (only $5 each right now!). First ones I have seen out here on the Left Coast.

David Miller
San Jose, Calif.

Mint should fill order for Lincoln cent rolls

I have ordered many times from the U.S. Mint. While they have gotten slower and slower, generally my orders have been in great condition, and I had no reason to complain.
On March 24 I ordered several items, including the two-roll Lincoln cents set ( confirmation showed “back ordered”). I received all of the other items eventually, but not the Lincoln cents.
This week, I thought I’d check the status of the order, to see when I should expect the cents. The order showed something like “sold out.” I called the 800 number immediately and was told that my order was still being processed and my cents would come. Perhaps because of this phone call, the next day I received another e-mail that said I wouldn’t get the cents.
It doesn’t seem logical to me that since I ordered the coins in the correct time period, not during the later over sale time period, that I should not receive the rolls.
I thought that writing to you would help to advise others to order popular items from the Mint as soon as they come out, as, apparently, their computer doesn’t know when the item is sold out until many weeks later, and it can be a big disappointment, as it was for me.

Dennis Mallory
Chicago, Ill.

Mint gets worse at filling customer orders

For quite some time I’ve been a supporter of our Mint. Overall I felt they did a very commendable job when compared to most government agencies. However, recently I’ve changed my mind.
After the fiasco with leaving $1,200 coins on the porch then requiring signatures for a $5 booklet, I’ve now seen it all.
Earlier this year I ordered the Lincoln Proof silver dollar. A month later I received an e-mail that my order was canceled as it was sold out. Then, on April 30, the Mint restored my order and listed May 15 as the probable shipping date. Then, yesterday, May 12, I got another e-mail from the Mint once again canceling my order, again stating that it was sold out.
As others have said in NN, if the Mint were a for-profit business competing with the private sector, they would have been run out of business long ago.

Dan Sowards
Austin, Texas

Mint gives conflicting messages about order

Well, I’m mad. I ordered two rolls sets of the 2009 Lincoln cents. Just got an e-mail “sold out” on May 12. On Feb. 23 I got a notice “order received.” In March I got an e-mail to expect shipment April 18.
In the beginning of May I got notice to expect shipment May 20. I called the Mint and they said they have the right to cancel. Don’t they know what this means to all of us? They wouldn’t let me talk to a manager.
The U.S. Mint needs to get its act together. This isn’t the first time I had trouble. Is there something we can do?
I love your letters in Numismatic News.
Norm Lukanchich
Riverview, Fla.