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This week’s letters (04/03/12)

I read with great joy (Feb. 21, Numismatic News) about Steven L. Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers, donating a coin to the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum. The coin, a 1792 half disme, valued at over $220,000, will be an awesome addition to the museum’s collection. I personally would like to thank Mr. Contursi for his huge generosity in donating this half disme.
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Thanks to Contursi for half disme donation

I read with great joy (Feb. 21, Numismatic News) about Steven L. Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers, donating a coin to the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum.
The coin, a 1792 half disme, valued at over $220,000, will be an awesome addition to the museum’s collection. I personally would like to thank Mr. Contursi for his huge generosity in donating this half disme.
Wow, what a beautiful coin; and, wow, what a guy to put the Money Museum before his own personal gain. It’s great when someone puts others before himself.
Let’s all hope this beauty doesn’t end up on the “ stolen and missing” coins list at the museum.

Ricky L. Snyder
Hagerstown, Md.

People will use dollar coins if they have no choice

Just reading the latest Numismatic News – great paper!
I came across something that made me want to rant for a moment. It had to do with a statement in the “Paper dollar gets a boost” article in the March 13 issue.
The article quotes “Complicating matters, the Fed now has $1.4 billion worth of various dollar coins in storage, and no matter what the proponents say, the voice of the people can be seen in the fact they don’t want to use them.”
Since when do they listen to the voice of the people? Certainly not when it comes to the health care plan forced on us, certainly not when it comes to prayer in school, certainly not when we want to keep “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and schools, certainly not when it comes to gas prices, and certainly not when it comes to reducing the deficit and taxation.
Do they think we are stupid? This bill was proposed and supported by two senators from Massachusetts and coincidently, the only state in the union that produces paper money. People don’t want to use the coin. Tough! Deal with it.
If the Fed discontinues the paper dollar and keeps the dollar coin, what are people going to do – throw them away or opt for a pocket full of quarters and dimes instead? Obviously they will use the dollar coins they get in change. Maybe they will moan and groan a bit, but I’m betting within a year it will be forgotten and become a routine thing just like in Canada.
While I personally disagree with the elimination of the coin and to expand use of the dollar bill, it is a mistake to say they are doing it for the people! I also do not buy the cost picture they use to prove their point. If they stopped printing dollar bills today, they would still be around for several years, in my opinion. Let the Massachusetts company pick up some slack by pushing $2 bills instead of ones. Five years later, they can eliminate them too.

Roy Marques
Hebron, Conn.

No 2012 coins showing up in Phoenix change

Just read your article about 2012 cents showing up late in circulation this year.
I live in the Phoenix, Ariz., metro area and have been wondering why I haven’t seen any 2012 minted coins. Sure isn’t the weather as it’s beautiful here.
I check my change every day as I am looking for any goodies I can find, but still haven’t seen a 2012 coin.

Scott Kane
Phoenix, Ariz.

Illinois collector isn’t finding 2012 coins

Per your March 13th “Class of ‘63” column, sorry, no 2012 dated coins spotted in Oak Lawn, Ill., as of today, March 5. If I receive one, I will notify you.

Ken Menczywor
Oak Lawn, Ill.

Using dollar coins affects machines, cash drawers

The government and Congress are always whining about something, but please give businesses a break. Did they ever compute the cost of having all vending and slot machines convert from the dollar bill back to the dollar coin?
All of the cash drawers would have to add a dollar coin tray. Why isn’t there ever a public comment period for something so important to one’s pant pockets?

Charles Scott
Perry Ada, Okla.

Be careful when mailing valuable packages

I must comment on the letter from Joel Coffidis, who says heavy rolls he ordered were lost when sent in a priority mail envelope, uninsured by the dealer. The loss was Joel’s.
The big sport of a dealer offered a 10 percent discount on a re-order. He should have borne the loss. The responsibility is on the dealer to insure delivery; if the customer doesn’t receive the goods, it’s not tough luck for the customer. I say that as a dealer myself.
While we’re on the subject of mail losses, I recently had a bad experience which others might wish to note. I sent four packages by registered mail. Three were within the U.S., sent in large priority mail boxes, which in my experience never go missing even without insurance or registry. I registered them for extra security because the amounts were substantial. Since it was my understanding that registered mail basically can’t go missing either, with tracking of every postal employee who handles it, I figured I wouldn’t waste a few bucks on fully insuring them.
All were stolen within the postal system, as they have confirmed. So I will have a big loss. The personnel I spoke with speculated that with all the cost cutting in the Postal Service, and hiring temporary workers who come and go, the security of registered mail just isn’t what it used to be.

Frank S. Robinson
Albany N.Y.

Check certificates for Star-Spangled Banner coins

Today, March 10, I received from the U.S. Mint my order for two uncirculated and one proof Star-Spangled Banner silver dollars. The coins are impressive, especially the obverse designs; the reverses could have been better designed.
The problem is that all three certificates certify them as uncirculated. Have your Numismatic News readers check their proof coins to ensure that they have received the correct Certificate of Authenticity.

Name withheld
Harvey, La.

Editor’s Note: The Mint is sending the correct certificate and it is not aware of any widespread problem.

1964-D dime keeps showing up in change

On my way to work on Monday, I bought some items at a local gas station and was very happy to find a 1964-D dime in my change. I know it’s not much, but I couldn’t remember the last time I had found a silver coin in change.
Unbelievably, after pocketing the rest of the change, I dropped the dime outside the store and was unable to find it. Boy, was I annoyed! That following Thursday I went back to the store to buy an item, and what did I get in my change, a 1964-D dime. I don’t know if it was the same one, but I figure the chances are slim of getting two silver dimes in one week. Keep up the great work.

Simon Harries
Chicago, Ill.

No new coins are showing up in Michigan

I live in Michigan and have collected coins for a lot of years, but I’m about ready to quit. No there have been no 2012 cents in circulation here, and we haven’t seen any 2009, 2010, 2011 nickels, dimes or quarters either. The banks also don’t seem to be able to get any of these and just on general principles, I refuse to pay a premium to buy them from a dealer. End of rant.

Julia Ann Hyll
Honor, Mich.

How do you set a fair selling price for coins?

I was using the added feature from the March 6 NN and I am truly in a dilemma on what to do as a new dealer that still doesn’t have the doors open.
Yes, Twin Falls, Idaho, has not had a coin or stamp dealer for several years and I saw this as an opportunity to establish a business in this city. I had been buying from auctions and private parties now for several months and have amassed a considerable amount of coins and stamps.
My problem is that as a member of the ANA and the NGC, I kind of have an honor code and the March 6 “Coin Market” section is showing prices far lower than I paid for them, even from the Mint! How then, David, can I buy a 2006 American Legacy for $130 at the Mint and find that its worth $75? How can I justify paying $15 for a 1981 mint set to find it’s $8.60?
There were several mint and proof sets that I saw when I looked at each individual piece was worth more than the set, so I just took it apart. I did this with some 15 sets because of that very reason sir. Oh, sometimes a penny or a quarter wasn’t much, but the half or dollar made up for it.
Mainly, I tend to presume you are well informed in the currency arena and this is why I write. The ANA acknowledges that I should make a reasonable profit – conundrum! If you may have some insight on how to reflect a profit on this type of industry, I wish to receive it because my goal is to have a stamp and coin shop and not a pawn shop with doing coins on the side.
Then there is another item. I have found in the Red Book and this “Coin Market” a Washington quarter, 1944-D, that as I use the ANA guide I find to be a VG-8. There is no reference as to a value in the “Coin Market” reference, so is it a practice for this piece to be the same price as the VF-20 grade?
I have been collecting since I was 8 years old and this puts me at half a century of being in a fog on so many terms and abbreviations, but I must say I have picked up a lot from reading Numismatic News.

Paul A. Fisher
Twin Falls, Idaho

Editor’s note: Good luck in your new venture. You will find prices change rapidly in numismatics and that some prices go down as well as up. You will have to key your sales prices to what you can replace your inventory for on the secondary market plus your mark-up rather than according to what you paid for something from the Mint years ago.
A low-grade silver coin that is not individually priced in a price guide is worth the current silver value.
There are three keys to being a success: Know what your clients want, know where the market is pricing your coins and turn your inventory over as rapidly as you can. You will not make a profit on all coins, but getting rid of losers will free up your cash to invest in inventory that others want.

Hoards keep new coins out of circulation

This is in response to David Harper’s “Class of ’63” column in the March 13 issue asking if anyone has seen any 2012 cents yet. I have not seen any 2012 cents, and for that matter I don’t recall seeing any 2011 or 2010 cents either.
So I was just about to ask the question, if the U.S. Mint created 468 million 2012 cents so far, where are they?
But before I could ask the question, I found the answer in the “Letters” section and the “Viewpoint” section of the very same issue. Hoarders.
Why should tax money be spent to create millions of worthless cents just so people who have nothing better to do can store tons of these cents in their house where they do not circulate? People hoard cents because they have no value. You never hear of anyone hoarding dollars. Maybe they melt cents for the copper value because each one is worth more than a cent.
And for those people who like to search rolls, I have three words for you: get a life. Do you think you are going to find an untouched roll of original 1909-S VDB’s that is going to fund your retirement? Think again.
You go to your bank on a Friday and buy 12 rolls of cents, just to bring 11 of them back on Monday. Try doing that at your local shoe store. Buy 12 pairs of shoes on Friday and bring 11 of them back on Monday for a refund. How long do you think it will take before the shoe store puts your picture on the wall with a note saying not to let this person back in anymore?
I wrote a letter to the editor a few years back about cents, and what I wrote then is just as true today. If the cents were to be eliminated, transactions would be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel. So any transaction ending in 0, 1, or 2 would be rounded down, and any transaction ending in 3, 4, or 5 would be rounded up. So over time the ups would offset the downs and no one would lose anything.
And for those who think an unscrupulous merchant can manipulate the prices so that the rounding would always be up, keep in mind that the rounding is based on the total purchase, after taxes, not the individual items, and the merchant has no way of knowing what you are going to buy, and whether you are going to buy one, seven or 50 of each item.
And if you are that poverty stricken that losing a few cents a year will cause a hardship, you have no business collecting coins or even subscribing to this magazine.
Most transactions these days use checks or credit cards anyway, so cents are even more superfluous. The only time I personally use coins for anything is when I buy something from a vending machine, and vending machines don’t take cents.
It’s time to end this nonsense right now.

Peter Glassman
Schaumburg, Ill.