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Letters to the Editor (September 4, 2018)

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

Failed to mention 1973 Ikes not struck for circulation

I consider Robert W. Julian to be among the top two numismatic historians and researchers alive today, the other being Q. David Bowers. So imagine my surprise when, in his interesting article about Eisenhower dollars in your July 17 issue, he failed to mention that the clad circulation strike 1973-dated dollars from both the Philadelphia and Denver mints were not issued for circulation and were only obtainable in mint sets. Many of these sets were broken up for the Ike dollars by set collectors and dealers. I remember these selling for as much as $16 each, $320 per roll back in the mid-1970s. Some of the hyperbole was that “You’ll put your kids through college from the profits on these!”

The Ike dollar series is a great set for the beginning collector on a budget. Uncirculated and proof issues are plentiful and cheap and come in a number of varieties and metal compositions. These coins are currently underpriced and underappreciated.

Bob Klippstein
Greensboro N.C.

How about a series of new Trade dollars?

It would be interesting to have a Trade dollar. Yet I believe in sovereignty. How many countries’ coins would people in the USA want to use? No coins from Iran. But a thought came to me...since I have heard talk about another 50 state quarter idea (bad idea to say the least), it might be interesting to have a great design of Lady Liberty and have 50 state Trade dollar coins. Equal to one dollar, they would say “Trade dollar.” Maybe this time the states could employ better designs. What do you think?

Wayne Pearson
Union City, Ind.

Editor’s note: The old Trade dollar was called that because it had special legal status that was different from the regular dollar coin, and it was intended for use overseas in the China trade. Any coins struck nowadays would not have a separate legal status so would not be called that. Dollar coins for the 50 states are coming in the form of American Innovation dollars. The first issue is supposed to honor innovation generally in 2018, while in 2019 the four designs each year will begin and run to 2033, 14 years for 56 designs.

Hindsight aids construction of list of best buys

You know, hindsight seems to be idealistic and so contrary to the reality of what a numismatist collected and continues to collect.

So here’s my list of Intelligent Heirloom coin buys that I should have socked away for my heirs.

If I was into the big money, I would purchase all the Carson City Seated Liberty silver dollars, in any professionally graded Mint State condition.

Next, more within my lifetime budget, the doubled-date 1916 Buffalo nickel. I saw it recently, professionally graded, in the lower spectrum of Mint State for around $61,000. It’s insane to think my personality would buy one coin and forget numismatics. Oh the reality, anxiety-producing frustration of it all!

Lastly, this is where I residually came to rest in my normal coin purchases.

Because of the simple fact my perception of beauty was determined to the conclusion that deep basined relief, to my mind, gives me the most pleasure, my favorites are Fraser’s Buffalo nickel and De Francisci’s 1921 Peace dollar. The U.S. Mint won’t even give us this kind of deep basined relief in a premium offering with the exception of the High Relief Gold American Eagle, which, because of its small diameter, bespeaks much of striking problems.

I also love the other three so-called Renaissance U.S. Coins: Walking Liberty half dollar, Standing Liberty quarter dollar (is it true that you can purchase a full head in any grade but you can only obtain the fully struck up shield rivets/center shield coat of arms in a MS65 grade and above?), and, lastly, the Mercury dime (a little small but was my favorite, in Mint State, when first starting out).

I want you to know I was interested in U.S. coins at 6 or 7 years of age when a friend showed me his father’s circulated Flying Eagle cent. The great engraver James B. Longacre is another long story. I was able to purchase a 1960 Blue Book before entering a ten-year world of private boarding school/college education in 1960. The year 2000 marks the time when I could freely purchase professionally graded coins. I didn’t feel so free when 2018 rolled around and have determined my heirs will simply have to be – take it or leave it – happy with what I did. I love to study my collection and wish I could build two office libraries within a house to study numismatics and my acquisitions in an easy, logical way.

If I was to make one more collective coin purchase, it probably would be the Classic commemorative dollars from 1900 to 1920, professionally graded in Mint State.

The reading has supplanted the purchasing, because I only see those classic commemorative dollars as the last purchase worth completing. Nice way to round out 72 years, if I do say so myself.

Name withheld

Three-cent coin would confuse the public

I recently received the latest issue of Numismatic News and read Wayne Pearson’s “Viewpoint” on saving money in the government. (That’s sort of an oxymoron, isn’t it?)

I totally agree with the views Mr. Pearson has in redesigning our nation’s coins from “dead presidents” to other symbols of Americana. I don’t believe there has ever been a representation of the statue atop the Capitol building in D.C. There was one on a stamp a long while back, but not a coin. Or even the representation of “Justice” from the Supreme Court. Our paper money could stand a renovation as well. Perhaps reviving the “Educational Series” of notes, but do it in color on polymer notes?

The creation of a trime (3-cent piece), however, might cause confusion with the population, like when the SBA Dollar coins first showed up. A while back, I recovered an 1853 trime from a Coinstar machine. At first I thought it was an old dime, but upon closer investigation, I knew it was a silver 3-cent piece. If it was the copper-nickel 3-cent coin, I probably wouldn’t have been as confused. A reduced production of the cent, coupled with the resurrection of the 3-cent piece, does sound like a good idea for reducing the amount of change in one’s pocket or purse. But what composition would the new coin have to make it stand out from other coins and still be cost effective? Perhaps aluminum-bronze (or aluminum-copper)?

A while back, I proposed a letter to President Obama about revamping the country’s coins and currency (paper [or polymer]), but never got a reply (about the change in our change). I did get a nice form letter thanking me for my thoughts. My thoughts were basically following the European model (the euro) like we did when we started minting our own money in 1792. At the time of the letter, I eliminated the cent coin because I see it as an unwanted denomination for physical commerce (still to be used in ecommerce).

But Mr. Pearson’s idea of less cents and a trime might be possible until the public gets used to rounding to the nearest “5.”

I disagree with Mr. Pearson about having a $2 coin. Why not bring back the eagles? (A quarter eagle $2.50 – a little larger than the Canadian “Tooney” and still bimetallic – $5 half eagle and $10 eagle coin of 40 percent silver clad, like the JFK half dollar of the 1960s).

Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.

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