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This week’s letters (01/17/12)

I would like to make a comment on Michael Zielinski’s “Viewpoint” in the Dec. 20 issue of Numismatic News. I totally agree with his conclusion. What I do not understand is why the Mint was involved with trying to manage a credit card company’s problem to begin with.
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‘Viewpoint’ shows not to expect much from U.S. Mint

I would like to make a comment on Michael Zielinski’s “Viewpoint” in the Dec. 20 issue of Numismatic News. I totally agree with his conclusion. What I do not understand is why the Mint was involved with trying to manage a credit card company’s problem to begin with. A credit card company is totally capable of rejecting a sale it doesn’t like, or limiting perks (air mile incentives) without the Mint’s intervention. Credit card companies do that all the time. An example is the is the 3 percent to 5 percent surcharge during foreign travel. It really sounds like another of the Mint’s retarded marketing decisions. Any second year university marketing student would be able to show them they left millions of dollars on the table with their poor choice in the 2011 Anniversary proof sets limits, and by not producing a 2009 proof silver Eagle by themselves. There are more examples of these decisions. I have come to the point where I don’t expect much from the Mint any more so I am not disappointed when we don’t get much.

Tom Brown
Wichita, Kan.

Eagle set complainers: move on and stop whining

In regards to a letter to the editor from Name and address withheld: Life is not fair. Get over it and quit your whining. I just received the five sets that I ordered. I was online from the time they went on sale until 6:30 p.m. Every time I went to check out, the website crashed. Over and over it happened. My two sons with high speed internet failed to get through. One son who did get through ordered one for me only for the order to be canceled a week later. His order number was lower than mine. He placed his order at 1 p.m. I resigned myself to the fact that mine would be canceled as well.
On Dec. 9, I received an email that my order shipped, and UPS dropped them off on the 12th. Well now I only have to buy one more and I will. Why do I need six sets? I don’t. I give them out to my six children for Christmas, one each. I’m hoping that they become heirlooms for future grandchildren I will never get to meet. Of course just like you, and everyone else, I too will one day be pushing up grass.
My children all make more money than me. They all know I enjoy my coins. They also know that I love them more and that these are a gift of love. Merry Christmas to all and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Douglas E. Ivey
McAlester, Okla.

Numismatics loses model collector in John Eshbach

On Dec. 4, at the age of 90, the numismatic hobby lost one of the most enthusiastic, humble and dedicated numismatists, John R. Eshbach of Smoketown, Pa. We have known John for many years, crossing paths with him at major coin conventions from coast to coast.
John was one of the best exhibitors we have ever known, and was the recipient of many Best-in-Show awards. He was a certified ANA Judge and always did a masterful job. We always enjoyed our many conversations with John at the conventions we attended. John taught a course with Jerry Kochel on exhibit preparation at the ANA Summer Seminar.
John was not only a numismatist for over 50 years, but in his youth he served our country as a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the South Pacific during World War II. After the service, he went to and graduated from Hershey Industrial School. He worked for RCA as an electrical engineer and retired after 36 years.
John belonged to many coin clubs at all levels, but had a passion for the ANA, Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists and the Red Rose Coin Club. He received many awards and honors during his time in numismatics. From the ANA, he received the Outstanding Club Representative Award in 1987; the President’s Award in 1998; the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award in 2000; the Medal of Merit in 2001 and the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award in 2009. In 2007, John received the Joseph E. Boling Award for Excellence in Judging along with Jerry Kochel. At the past ANA National Money Show in Pittsburgh, Pa., PAN honored John Eshbach with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1992, John R. Eshbach received the Krause Publications Numismatic News Ambassador Award.
John’s interest in numismatics started with his daughter and her coin club at school. Thanks to his daughter, we along with his many friends were fortunate to have John R. Eshbach as a friend and fellow numismatist for many years.
John’s life can be summed up with this rhyme: For when that one great scorer comes to write against your name; he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.
John played the game of life in an honorable, loving and honest manner and will be missed by his thousands of friends around the country and his family. You will be missed John, but never forgotten. All of our prayers and thoughts are with his family.

John and Nancy Wilson
Ocala, Fla.

NN, coin clubs, facilitate networking and new ideas

My friend Bill Tuttle, whom I met through NN, told me about a coin club I wasn’t familiar with that meets close to where I live. It is an old distinguished coin club founded in 1921. They are celebrating their 90th anniversary with counterstamped silver Eagles. They counterstamped 1971 Ike dollars for their 50th anniversary and some other silver dollars for other anniversaries. I fell madly in love with the group. They want me to give talks and write articles, which I love to do.
Bill said it is a good avenue to lobby the government for change. Everyone there agreed that what the government did with the 25th anniversary silver Eagle sets was totally unconscionable. Also, why just a medal for Sept. 11, why not a coin? And if the Mint commemorates Sept. 11, why not the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor as well?
The best suggestion I have heard was Bill Tuttle’s on commemorative paper money. Redesign the $2 bill to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, and the $5 bill to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. And best of all, a $50 bill commemorating the end of the Civil War showing the famous painting of Grant, and Lee surrendering at Appomattox. The signing of the Declaration of Independence picture is gorgeous on the $2 bill, but it never circulates. Simply get rid of the $1 bill and it could circulate along with the beautiful dollar coins. Bill Tuttle also suggested that underneath the Appomattox picture it should read “One nation under God” to show we are a united country under our creator.
It serves to network with fellow coin collectors for better ideas. This is why I love your paper so much and now the newfound coin club. I only wish the government and the Mint would listen. Why does everything always have to fall on deaf ears? It is time they get a hearing aid.

Bob Olekson,
Parma, Ohio

Thank you to AHF for expressing its gratitude

I would like to thank the Army Historical Foundation for its letter to the editor in the Dec. 6 issue of NN. It is rare that a recipient of surcharges from U.S. commemorative coins has the courtesy to thank the people who bought the coins and were the source of the funds provided to the group.
I would also like comment on the letter writer, Creighton W. Abrams Jr. The general shares a name with a very highly decorated and accomplished Army officer. He was an outstanding tank commander in World War II and Army chief of staff. He was honored by having the current Army main battle tank named after him. Based on his letter to the editor, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I extend my compliments to the general.

Sanford L Pearl
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Crabby collectors should not aim their griefs at NN

As ever, I found the Dec 27 “Class of ’63” most interesting. I want to apologize on behalf of the all the crabby old collectors who seem to be infesting our hobby these days. I certainly have my grumpy moments too, but I usually vent at the TV or my congressman, not my favorite hobby magazine.
You create a fine publication about a delightful hobby. You do not promulgate binding regulations about world peace. These guys gotta get a reality check and learn to lighten up. Why do they collect coins anyway? Do they just enjoy being mad all the time? Life is too short.
I say keep up the good work and please know that the vast majority of us think your work is terrific and it really helps us enjoy our lives.

Mark Parsons
Berthoud, Colo.

Recent finds include foreign coins, Ike dollars

You never know what you might find in your change. I still have some of the foreign coins I collected as a kid even though I’m into the rare American coins. Recently, I’ve received in my change from grocery stores a 1992 10-cent coin from Canada, a 1992 10 pence with Queen Elizabeth II, which looks like a silver quarter and a 2001 “quarter looking” VN CUARTO DE BALBOA from Panama.
These are not great finds, but interesting and they make you wonder how they get into circulation. I used to see a few Canadian cents and nickels in change but wonder where the other stuff is coming from.
My daughter once worked at a local bank and one day after she emptied out the change machine, she spotted a dozen objects that looked like half dollars. She called me and said the coins had someone she didn’t recognize and were dated between 1952 to 1962. You guessed it, Franklin half dollars.
I was at my bank another time and asked for a roll of dollars. The teller was new and asked me if I wanted the big ones or the little ones. My eyes were probably as big as the Ike dollars she showed me and I got three rolls. It just proves that circulated coins are still interesting.

Rex Norris
Pine Bluff, Ark.

ANA’s search for new director will be hard to fill

Just my two cents’ worth on the ANA executive director fiasco, after reading “ANA starts search” in the Dec. 27 NN.
Let me get this straight. After firing very possibly the only truly honest (non-interim executive director (Larry Shepherd) the ANA has had in my memory, the ANA is searching for a new one. The new executive director will: 1) no longer be a true leader, but be led by the ANA board; 2) make less money than Shepherd, who also took a pay cut to accept the job, and 3) have at least five years of management experience and knowledge of and experience within a collector community of some sort.
I have some news for the ANA board: no one who has any good sense wants the job. It’s poison. The candidates you are looking for are either making more money working in a better environment elsewhere, or know what a pain in the posterior it is to work for a board as mercurial as the ANA’s.
There was such great promise when Cipoletti was finally ousted. Now it seems to be back to business as usual. Maybe the ANA member community should scrutinize who is still there in a position of power at the ANA after all the upheaval of the past four years; the problem may possibly lie there. I do not know. I only know that there is still a serious problem that needs to be addressed. I truly believe that it is likely that Larry Shepherd’s firing was the result of a deep problem that has yet to surface.
I lauded Larry at this past summer’s Summer Seminar for saving our ANA. I believe that, with the help of the board who chose him, that he did just that. So, now, why was he fired? And who would want the job after what he’s been put through?

Don Bonser, ANA Life Member

Reports of coin finds fuel other small collectors

I’ve been following the letters and articles on “finds” from the bank or over-the-counter change. This is good material to keep the flames of interest glowing for us poor folks who cannot afford to purchase the expensive slabbed coins.
I am amazed that there are so many numismatists everywhere I go. I always go into small communities and ask the banks or businesses if they can sell a few rolls of coins. Most of the time I get $20 worth of rolls in whatever they have in the till. Most banks I go into tell me they have coin collectors who know when to come in and get the good stuff. I have been in the right place at the right time and have received some nice circulated coins in the rolls purchased.
I also like to buy a paper or something in the stores to help the locals out and get change. This last week I found a 1944-D Lincoln cent in fine condition and a 1955 nickel in very good condition.
Over the years I have filled up more than 10 2x2 boxes with cents, nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars. My money is tied up in 2x2s and red boxes, not in precious metals with prices that swing way too high or slabs that we didn’t need 25 years ago. Keep it simple and have fun.

Jay Elder
Washougal, Wash.