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Letters to the Editor: March 1, 2022

Obsolete Note Expert Roger Durand Remembered

We just heard from Richard Balbaton that our good friend, Roger Durand, passed away Feb. 2. Roger was the author of Obsolete Notes and Scrip of Rhode Island and The Providence Plantations along with many limited edition books on obsolete notes including one on denominations and another on Christmas and Santa Claus notes. He was also involved with the Society of Paper Money Collectors as an officer along with other organizations. He also attended the 1990 Christie’s sale and helped us greatly with our Santa Claus bank note collection.

Roger’s great Santa Claus collection was sold by Heritage Auctions some years back, and we were able to add two important notes to our collection from that sale. If our nickname is “Mr. Mrs. Claus,” Roger’s would be “Mr. Claus Sr.” He spent a few nights at our house some years ago and came along with us to a Whitman show at the Cobb Galleria Center. The show had an auction that was held that had notes we needed.

He was as knowledgeable as anyone when it came to obsolete notes and helped us at times with our collection. We were very sad to hear of his passing ,and he will be missed greatly by not only us but the many friends he had in the numismatic hobby. Rest In Peace, Roger, and we send our prayers and thoughts to your family.

John and Nancy Wilson

Hobby Introduction Came from Memorable Source

The most rewarding connection I have made in the coin hobby was meeting Dr. Ralph Ross, who introduced me to numismatics, and now Dr. Ralph is the president of the number-one coin club, the ANA. What a thrill.

Lee Thomas
Houston, Texas

Venetian Coins a Likely Host of Secret Marks

Re: Michael Fazzari and secret marks. I personally believe that secret marks are common, but they also always seem to get out, so not hearing about them may mean that they aren’t there.

Looking on high-value, low-mintage coins would seem to a be a good idea.

Now for a big leap of faith. It is one thing to put a secret mark on a $5 U.S. gold piece, or a sovereign. In fact, the British coin guide lists secret marks on sovereigns, and marked counterfeits. But Venetian zecchinos seem made for it. They have all kinds of symbols on them. While they have a standard design, the marks aren’t all the same by a long shot.

I suspect that the Venetians did this themselves so that they could sneak in some counterfeits and expand their reserves a little. There is a good public collection in Venice (about 1,400 of them) so you have a shot at figuring this out. It doesn’t hurt that they are pretty, readily available, even if counterfeit, and very showy.

If you get interested, I would be happy to help.

Joe Hess
Address withheld

Was There a Coin Shortage at Harris Teeter Pharmacy?

I read in this month’s magazine [“2021 Lincoln Cent Errors Discovered in Virgina,” Feb. 1 issue] that a Mr. Lawson of Hampton, Va., got 18 error cents at the Harris Teeter Pharmacy. The article stated, “Because the cashier ... was not authorized to sell or exchange any rolls with him, he had to buy single packages of cheese and crackers” to get change. Is there a coin shortage at the Teeter Pharmacy, or is it just their policy? By the way, I bought four rolls of quarters at the Corner Market Grocery in Jackson, Miss., a few months back and got surprised with eight Marsh-Billings “W” privy mark quarters. Two in each roll.

Earl Bell
Jackson, Miss.

Angelou Quarter Purchase a Frustrating Experience

I have never written a letter to a publication before, but I am angry right now. The Mint has done it again, opened up sales on the 2022 Maya Angelou quarter rolls with a surprising addition of a roll of “S” mintmark quarters. Naturally I wanted to purchase this item, and it was not available at 12:02 p.m.!

Looks like a repeat of the Morgan dollar debacle. Anyway, yours was the first address at Numismatic News, and I wanted to let somebody to know about this. Thanks for your time, and I hope the Mint gets an earful from the little guy small collector!

John Drown
Address withheld

Several Purchases Lead to Three-Mint Morgan Run

Three times I attempted to purchase the 2021 Morgan silver dollars; all three times I wasn’t able to purchase any.

Later purchased a San Francisco 2021 Morgan for around $199. At least I would have one, even with the extra third-party premium cost.

Then on Dec. 14 I received a text message from the U.S. Mint on my cell phone. The item I wanted was available.

Opened my computer to the U.S. Mint site. I typed in the code number, and up popped the 2021 Morgan page. I was able to purchase two Philadelphia Morgans at $85.

Had I not been surprised about what just occurred, I might have been able to purchase other Morgan mints – but I let that opportunity slip by.

Later I purchased a Denver Mint coin from another third-party site. It, too, had a premium cost.

My Morgan silver dollar collection now includes a 2021 Morgan from three mints: “D,” “P” and “S.”

I also have a collection of U.S. type coins. I try to purchase the best example I can afford. I don’t have the first U.S. silver dollar but have the second one. I don’t have all the gold coins, but a couple, so this is on ongoing challenge.

Enjoy reading NN – thanks.

Gregg A. Moser
Holton, Kan.