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Letters to the Editor: May 11, 2022

Current Crisis is More Than Just a Coin Shortage

Just read in the April 26 edition about the continuing coin shortage and the Mint’s request to the public to get the coins moving. I am as guilty as many because I have jars of coins and rolled coins that sit in my office. I do not take them with me to make purchases nor turn them in to my local credit union, another trip when gasoline is $3.85 a gallon in Pensacola. My purchases are 98 percent electronic, and I pay my bill in full once monthly.

What is being overlooked by the Mint and others during this crisis is that inflation has eroded the value of currency. Cents, nickels and dimes are virtually worthless in this economy. I find many in the streets and parking lots where I shop. The metallic value of the nickel is worth 9.4 cents more than the spending value of the coin! Even the popular quarter, the workhouse coin, suffers from both collectors taking them out of circulation and the weight in one’s pocket. What needs to be addressed is reevaluating these coins so they approximate anything in our economy that matches what we purchase without having to pull out paper currency or credit cards.

I am old enough to remember candy bars, gum for a nickel, hamburgers for 12 cents, soda for a quarter, etc. Reevaluate the current coins in circulation so they actually [do] something other than giving one change for a dollar (more coins out of the merchants till), and people will spend them. Thank you, Numismatic News, for another great topic for letting me vent as a 50-year coin collector.

Bob Thomas
Pensacola, Fla.

Mint Needs to Come to Terms with Cashless Society

I received my April 26 issue of Numismatic News today and opened to find a condemnation from the U.S. Mint to U.S. citizens for not using coins and currency in our daily transactions. It seems coins are not circulating enough, and we are to blame. At first read, I was upset or angry that the Mint is either begging, demanding or directing how we are to pay for our transactions. Supposedly we are to forgo electronic transactions so that Mint can stay in business.

At first I was upset, then I laughed. It seems that the Mint, that bastion of supply and commerce, has finally learned that the world, with or without their consent, is going cashless. That has been very apparent since way before COVID-19, one might say in the past century. No matter how they plead, beg or demand, their historically essential business is in peril. We like cashless. It is very convenient for both buyer and seller. Truly, it is inevitable.

I am reminded of how many billions of cent coins are produced each and every year. I would guess that either there are many tons of coins in storage somewhere, the landfills are filthy rich with copper deposits or it seems they believe that all 350 million of us have very large and well-fed piggy banks. And we are asked us to sacrifice piggies and circulate, circulate, circulate,

Good luck with that. I wonder how many Susan B. Anthonys will soon be visiting the local banks. I will be very happy to comply with that.

Jim Grisenti
Jackson, Idaho

Where Have All the Kennedy Half Dollars Gone?

As to what I do with my jar of coins [in response to the April 26 issue Poll Question], I regularly take them to the bank for counting and exchange for paper money.

This begs the question: What has the U.S. Mint done with the hundreds of millions of Kennedy half dollars minted over all the years?

The 2021 Kennedy half dollar mintage figures are: Philadelphia, 5.1 million struck; Denver, 7.7 million struck. I have not seen a Kennedy half dollar in circulation for at least 20 years. Where are they, why has the Mint not released them during the coin shortage and, then, why are they still in production?

George Kissinger
Address withheld

Designs Free of Red Tape Could Spark New Era

What if we took Statehood quarters one step further? That is, have every reverse for every coin be independently and completely randomly generated from some form of 3D printing process somehow made cost effective. No ridiculous long approval process. No guidelines. No oversight. Huge design differences. Not trivial eagle replacement. Anything is possible.

If this was the new way of doing things from now on, what would that do to the hobby vs. the market? I say for the hobby, a new golden age could be in the works. For the market, not so sure. How would you place a value on the coins? What would be “rare?” Would value be based on design desirability alone? Would that broaden the hobby’s appeal?

Name and address withheld

Coin, Note Collecting is a Pursuit of the Heart

I consider myself a passionate collector. I collect everything from silver Eagles, Morgan silver dollars, Wheat leaf cents, War-Time nickels, Mercury dimes and old paper money. My favorite note is the 1899 Black Eagle FR-231. My second is the Educational note, and many denominations of star notes. My favorite silver coin is the Morgan silver dollar. I love all Carson City’s! I collect rarities, low mintage and conditional rarities. I feel that every coin and every note has its own special story behind them. The history of each year, each mint, each condition, has a story to tell.

I live in Atlanta, Ga., and have been collecting since my father gave me a small amount of coins as a kid. I now have over 500 coins, of which six are GSA Carson City, many PCGS-graded, 165 old paper money notes, all of different proportion. It’s a heart-felt passion for me!

Mr. O’Neal
Atlanta, Ga.