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Letters to the Editor: March 30, 2021

Mercanti’s Championing Women in Numismatics Should be Echoed

The subject I’d like to comment on is Women in Numismatics.

On Page 19 of Mercanti’s book, American Silver Eagles: A Guide to the U.S. Bullion Coin Program, he writes about Elements of Good Design:

“1999 George Washington Death Bicentennial $ 5 gold commemorative, by Laura Gardin Fraser. This Design, to me, should have been the 1932 quarter dollar. It won the competition but it was deemed unworthy because it was designed by a woman. It is, in my opinion, far superior to the selected design submitted by John Flanagan. Fraser’s is a far better rendered portrait. It’s more powerful and fills the basin better. Her reverse is more heraldic and powerful. Flanagan’s eagle has no strength and resembles a pigeon. The injustice that her design was not selected irritates me to this day.”

Hooray for John Mercanti! Let us all invite more women into this male-dominated world of numismatics.

On a personal note, they should have left Mr. Mercanti’s reverse design on our silver Eagle dollar alone. Many older coin designs most certainly are deserving of a face-lift, or a “bird-lift.”

Steve McGowan
Algonac, Mich.

Reader Coin Finds Enjoyable to Read

This is my first letter to the editor, despite having read your periodical for many years. I do enjoy the Letters column, and I go to it first.

I have been collecting coins since I was 6, about 59 years ago. Except for a brief hiatus during my college and early marriage years, I have continued to enjoy going through rolls of cents and nickels from the bank. Some of the finds I have discovered in the last 10 years: 1915-S cent VF, 1972 doubled die cent XF and a 1909 VDB Full Red cent except for a small abrasion on the cheek (I’d call it AU-58). How did that get in there?

I find about eight to 12 wheat cents per $25 box of cents. Over the years I have found about a half-dozen Indian cents, a few Buffalo nickels (mostly dated, which surprised me) and about a half-roll of silver nickels.

In all these years, I have yet to find a 1960 small date cent, a 1955-S cent or a 1950-D nickel.

With recognition to Bill Tuttle of Cleveland, Ohio, I checked the Coinstar machine at a local grocery store a few weeks ago. In the feeding tray I found three 40 percent Kennedy halves, a Mercury dime, 50 wheat cents plus seven steel cents, three foreign coins and a 5-cent “good for” token from a bowling alley in Wheeling, W.Va. Keep writing Bill, I enjoy hearing about your finds.

Pat Sliva
Address withheld

Precious Metals Not the Best Investment Out There

So Patrick Heller continues to promote the idea that investing in precious metals will bring a better return than financial instruments such as stocks.

Explain this, Mr. Heller. If my grandfather had bought an ounce of gold in 1919 and given it to me at his death, it would be worth approximately $1,800. If he had bought one share of Coca-Cola in 1919 ($40), that one share would now be 9,216 shares (because of stock splits) and worth approximately $451,491. And one could find example after example of stocks like Coke. Home Depot (1981), Microsoft (1986), Johnson & Johnson (1944), Google (1998); I could fill the whole page.

All of these stocks would make your precious metal investment look like chump change. And dozens of mutual funds would provide similar stories. So if I was going to suggest to someone in their 20s where to put money that they won’t need for 40 years, it certainly would not be in precious metals.

David Dickason
Fort Collins, Colo.