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This week’s letters (02/07/12)

I agree with the Jan. 24 “Viewpoint” article written by Mike Davis that a once-fun hobby is now a money game. I will buy nothing from the U.S. Mint. In 2009, I purchased two clad proof sets for $32 each. Now a few years later, I can’t even sell one unless I take about $15 for it. I wished I would have spent my money on an uncirculated Morgan silver dollar. At least that would not have lost 50 percent of its value in just two years.
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Mint items reflect hobby’s decline into ‘money game’
I agree with the Jan. 24 “Viewpoint” article written by Mike Davis that a once-fun hobby is now a money game. I will buy nothing from the U.S. Mint. In 2009, I purchased two clad proof sets for $32 each.
Now a few years later, I can’t even sell one unless I take about $15 for it. I wished I would have spent my money on an uncirculated Morgan silver dollar. At least that would not have lost 50 percent of its value in just two years.
Bob Hefner
Moorefield, W.V.

Jan. 10 ‘Viewpoint’ does not define ‘critter coins’
I read the “Viewpoint” article, “Six factors may explain price jumps,” in the Jan 10 issue and the writer, David Chiszar, referred to “critter coins” several times, but never defined them... could you tell me what they are?
Rick Parfitt

Editor’s note: Critter coins are coins with animals on them.

Recent find reports spur reader on to his own finds
As someone who gets a few rolls of cents and nickels to search, the recent circulation finds inspired me to ask for a few rolls today. I got two rolls each.
The first roll of nickels had four dark coins. While three of them were from the 1990s, the other was a 1942-P. The next roll had a 1954-S, 1955-D and an almost uncirculated 1940-D. Not too bad for 80 coins. The cent rolls didn’t have a wheatie but did have 14 from the early ’60s.
I think I’ll grab a few more rolls next week.
Roger Scires
Camden, S.C.

Debate on cleaning coins is full, much-covered topic
I thought that cleaning coins went out with the ’50s and ’60s. How many of us have cleaned a coin in our youth and later realized that we most likely goofed it up to the point where it is worth much less, like common silver coins that tarnish because you’ve taken off the original layer: the dirt?
I myself have cleaned some average Franklins, Washingtons, etc., only to find them tarnished later and wondered why I did it in the first place. They looked shiny at one time and were, even in my book. But, that was then, this is now. Those have all been replaced with something that is not tarnished, but is nice and retains that original patina. Remember, this is common stuff, not the high dollar items that can afford to be conserved.
I’ve always thought that cleaning should be a dirty word, unless it’s items that you have found with your metal detector. I recently experienced a refusal by a bank to accept my “dirty” pennies.
I thought that they were supposed to accept these and then turn them in, like with worn-out paper money.
I’ve been a longtime subscriber (since 1985) and seen this topic come up periodically. Long-term collectors seem to know what the novices have yet to learn.
Keep up the great work,
Doug Zieher
Pittsville, Wis.

NN provides hours of enjoyment, anticipation
I recently renewed my subscription for three years. I look forward to every edition more than any other publication. Thank you for all the hours of enjoyment that you have provided me.
Bruce R. Frohman
Modesto, Calif.

Jan. 17 Potter article well-timed for reader
I have been an avid reader of Numismatic News for a long time and one of the first things I read are the letters from other collectors. The Jan. 17 issue with the “Striking Errors Can Be Dramatic” headline of the front page really got my attention. Potter’s article was extremely well-timed for me.
Last year at the Florida United Numismatist Show I showed B.J. Neff of CONECA a 1964-D nickel I couldn’t really classify. Neff looked at it and declared it to be a flip-over, double strike. At the show I let ICG take it and when it was returned it was authenticated and graded (slabbed) MS-63. This coin was found by me in change.
This month at the FUN show, I showed Neff a 1997-P Kennedy half dollar that I thought had a rotated reverse of 90 degrees. I thought I had a rare half. Being the professional that he is, he calmly looked at it and said for me to check the rim. He was right on. It was a magician’s coin and he took it apart to show me. The dated heads side was hollowed out and the tails side has a 1967 British penny affixed on the inside. When the coin is together it looks like a regular half. I had found it in a roll from a bank. Neff is a class act and he does know his business.
The past three years, being somewhat bored in retirement, I began searching rolls of half dollars and have found a few silvers, a couple of proofs and a few 40 percent issues, but no real rarities. Presently I just finished going through $500 of Washington quarters and found nothing worth keeping, so I am going back to halves.
So for all of you that need to jump-start your hobby: start looking harder. I have no plans or thoughts of getting rich going through rolls but it does help pass the time and keeps me out of the garage my wife wants me to clean out.
Steve Robertson
Central Florida

Bruce Perdue running for CSNS vice presidency
Members of the Central States Numismatic Society will shortly be receiving ballots for the upcoming election to determine the composition of the board that will govern CSNS for the next two years. One of the two candidates for the vice presidency is Bruce Perdue, who currently sits on your board as a governor.
I have been associated with the Central States Numismatic Society since 1980, having during that period served as editor of The Centinel for nearly a decade, as a governor, vice president and then president from 1994-1996. I currently serve as the convention general chairman. This background of half a lifetime of experience within the society brings me to endorse the candidacy of Bruce Perdue for the office of vice president and to urge all CSNS members to mark their vice presidential ballots for him.
As a member of the education committee, Perdue has contributed in material ways to the design and success of our well received CSNS seminars, through which the organization brings respected numismatic researchers to local communities at no cost to our host club for a series of educational programs and lectures. He has also been a strong supporter in the development of our 2012 Civil War educational forum that will constitute the highlight of the educational efforts at our April 18-21 73rd anniversary convention in Schaumburg, Ill. In addition, Bruce Perdue has supported and encouraged our newly launched grant program for numismatic authors and researchers, as well as contributed in material ways to our member club library grant program as well as our member club video gift program.
As a member of the convention committee he has been an engaged and constructive source of advice, counsel and guidance to our convention officials and staff, helping CSNS to improve and enhance the quality of our important anniversary conventions. At the convention itself he has ably served in the important hands on function of traffic manager, overseeing the smooth operation of our loading dock and the safe and problem free arrival and departure of booth holders.
As a member of our Technology Committee he has played the leading role in the design, implementation and maintenance of our website,, and our recently launched Facebook presence, responsibilities that involve a considerable time commitment on his part. He has fulfilled these responsibilities with dedication and distinction.
The Central States Numismatic Society has evolved over the past decade into an increasingly innovative and important resource for local clubs and the numismatic community as a whole. Bruce Perdue has been an important contributor to the success of these initiatives. I believe that Bruce Perdue has both a record of past dedication and achievement on behalf of CSNS, as well as the business management and social skills to be especially well qualified to continue to work cooperatively with your board and others to help your organization strengthen and enhance our programs that reach out to the numismatic community and our member clubs. He has been a visionary who hasn’t been afraid to roll his sleeves up and do hard work on behalf of CSNS and our members.
Bruce Perdue deserves to be promoted to be the next vice president of the Central States Numismatic Society. Even more important, you, the membership of CSNS, deserve the quality of leadership skills, dedication and vision that he will bring to this important position. I intend to cast my vote for Bruce Perdue to be the next vice president of the Central States Numismatic Society and urge other members to do so, as well.
Kevin Foley
Milwaukee, Wis.

Jan. 17 letter about Eagle order underscores issue
The letter, appearing in the Jan. 17 copy of Numismatic News, from Doug Ivey only proves that there should be an investigation into the sale of the 25th anniversary silver Eagle set. He lives in Oklahoma and completed his order for five sets at 6:30 p.m., his time, and was able to get his five sets. My order, from 40 miles from Philadelphia, for one set was accepted at 3:50 p.m. Eastern time, more than two hours before his order. I received my confirmation for one set but a week later was informed that I would not get it. I guess a five set lot calls for less work mailing than five orders for one set.
Bill Evens
Bechtelsville, Pa.

Many reasons to keep dollar coins, ditch bills
The Jan. 15 Chicago Tribune had an article in the Money and Real Estate section titled “On your dollar.” It makes a good point for switching to the dollar coins as it points out some of the disgusting things found on $1 bills. Paper money is a good conduit of germs, said Philip Tierno, the director of clinical microbiology and immunology at N.Y. University Langone Medical Center.
A 2009 University of Massachusetts study that tested 234 bank notes from 18 U.S. cities found 90 percent of the bills tested positive for cocaine. Other studies showed similar results and included several other drugs on the bills.
It seems like this is a good reason to stop making the $1 bill and switch to coins. Evidently Congress does not see it that way.
I have always been an advocate of keeping the Presidential dollar program going. I use them as much as I can and have never gotten a complaint.
I was disappointed to see the results of the survey in the Jan 10 issue of Numismatic News, favoring the suspension of minting of the dollar coins.
From a Numismatic News issue of a few years ago, it was pointed out that in the Dollar Coin Act of 1997, Congress expressly forbade the Mint from making arguments that would tend to reduce or eliminate the $1 bill, such as pointing out that the government, according to the GAO, would save $522 million per year if the golden dollar replaced the $1 note.
What do we have to do to wake Congress up and keep this program going?
Tim Coltrin
Glendale Heights, Ill.

Bellman a voice of reason against the fear mongering
I read the “Viewpoint” from Kurt Bellman in the Jan. 17 issue, and I couldn’t agree more. In the recent past, people like Glenn Beck consistently misled his audience by often advising them to purchase gold in advance of the dollar’s collapse, or some other doomsday warning of the apocalypse, without disclosing that he is a paid spokesmen for Goldline and had the CEO on his show to promote gold ownership. People like Beck use fear mongering to push an argument that only frightens the uninformed, and makes them rush out to buy precious medals despite the current prices.
Bellman gave cogent reasons why silver and gold have receded off their recent highs and why it may be some time before they reach those values again.
Roy Herbst
Ridgefield, Conn.

Davis’ Jan. 24 ‘Viewpoint’ is on target about hobby
I couldn’t agree more with Mike Davis’ Jan. 24 “Viewpoint” about fun disappearing out of coin collecting. Most of the articles in NN seem to be written by millionaires, advising you to pick a few of some Barber quarters for $3,000 apiece. I’ve collected comic books, die cast military toys and books. Coins are the collecting item that I cannot get my purchase price back if I decide to sell part or all of a collection. I have to be extremely careful as to what I buy and not waste money on something that I’m not going to be able to get my money back out of. The dealers, U.S. Mint included, dominate the market so heavily that the little collector is locked out.
The U.S. Mint seems to be continuously run by delusional people. The Presidential dollars are a neat idea but who has ever seen one in circulation?
Folks at the Mint must go out and mingle with the common people now and then and receive change from purchases, and realize what they’re saying is garbage.
I still get penny rolls from the bank to look through but that’s probably the limit for the small collector.
Bill Mendenhall
Address withheld

‘Viewpoint’ overlooks one crucial facet to collecting
I’m responding on the Jan. 24 “Viewpoint” that Mike Davis wrote. I agree with most of what he said. I have noticed that ever since 1999 and the state quarter program started many people saw easy money. Before you knew it there were thousands of coin dealers and most of them didn’t know anything about coins. They just wanted to sell you a set of quarters take your money and move on. I call these people the one and done dealers. I’ve been in this hobby for 36 years, 10 of them I collected coins then began selling coins and now have a very nice business.
I have a library that when a customer comes over I can pull four or five books out about one coin and that’s not counting the computer programs. I get a kick out of the looks on peoples’ faces when they see this.
My first set of coins was Franklin half dollars proofs graded and cameo. It took me many years to build that set and while I was doing that I was also filling in books with the best coins I could find.
My opinion is about 80 of today’s sellers don’t want to be bothered with questions. They just want to make a quick buck. That’s where I see our great hobby with a big problem. These people don’t even see or know what they’ve done but now the new buyers I meet are always on their highest guard when talking with me.
I tell people I will do many things that most dealers have stopped and if they do buy from me I let them know that they can call me with questions. I love what I’m doing and I love to learn as much as I can so by helping them I’m helping myself and I’m gaining their trust by helping them out so it’s a win-win for me.
Today I only collect one coin, Washington quarters from 1932 to 1964 PDS graded by NGC MS-66 You can’t be a collector and a dealer. It will not work.
I get all of the magazines. I see what they say a certain year is worth, but try to find one. The graded coins are always high and when a seller gets a superior coin in a MS-66, he wants double. I’d like to know where all the papers and magazines get their prices from but even more I’d like to see them buy a coin for what they print.
I have contacts all around the states from the big boys to the little guys. It just seems that the graded coins are getting out of hand plus they keep coming up with ways of taking your money. Let’s be real. You get your coin graded and its expensive.
Davis also talked about the U.S. Mint. They have gotten carried away with too many coins.
Yes our hobby has many bumps, but if you can find one dealer that will help you I’d say even if his coins cost $5 more, stay with him. If you look for one coin and the lowest price, you are only helping the people that are now hurting us. Spend the extra and in the long run these people will start to disappear and as they do your dealer will more than likely be able to work better with you because he doesn’t need to constantly fight the one and done seller. Please think about this before you buy your next coin. Ask the person you are thinking about buying from to see if they can answer three or four questions about the coin, or see if they just want another one and done deal.
Greg Mellon
Coatesville, Pa.