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This week's letters (06/21/11)

Numismatic News is a great periodical. I am thoroughly intrigued by the “Letters” section. In “Letters” are honest opinions of our hobby, both good and bad. Although I’ve only been subscribing to NN for a few months, I read it every week cover to cover. I’ve been an avid numismatist for the most part of 50 years, and I can attest to the ups and downs of this hobby.
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NN gives me the info I need as a coin collector

numismatic news cover

Numismatic News is a great periodical. I am thoroughly intrigued by the “Letters” section.
In “Letters” are honest opinions of our hobby, both good and bad. Although I’ve only been subscribing to NN for a few months, I read it every week cover to cover. I’ve been an avid numismatist for the most part of 50 years, and I can attest to the ups and downs of this hobby.
All I can say to the gentleman who is quitting after 25 years is, your anger will pass. I experienced the same dilemma about 15 years ago. For reasons I won’t get into here, I sold off my entire collection. It was less than a year before I realized how much I loved this hobby and returned with a brand-new outlook and agenda.
For example, before my short sabbatical I would have been right there on the bandwagon boycotting the Mint, Authorized Purchasers and anybody else I thought was in cahoots to deny me easy access to the 5-ounce America the Beautiful coins I so desperately wanted. Now it is just another challenge to get something everybody else finds difficult to obtain.
Anyone who turned their noses up at the opportunity to buy the 1995 Liberty gold and silver Eagle set is kicking themselves now, or the fractional Buffalos, or – the list goes on and on.
I, for one, am glad I have the ability and the resources NN provides in order to get items many people won’t even hear about for years. I plan to get every single one of those 5-ounce ATBs in both bullion and collector versions, even if I have to borrow money to buy them on the secondary market.
Why, you ask? Because one, I am who I am – a numismatist – and two, because it IS hard. Thanks for a great publication.
James Waters
Bremerton, Wash.

Numismatics proves to be a great hobby

My life sentence in numismatics was inadvertently decided on by the good Lord. After suffering a massive stroke in 2003 I was left paralyzed and in a wheelchair with only the use of my right arm. Good thing I am right-handed!
Needing something to fill many hours, loving coins from a young age and having a good amount of coins already, I decided to read more about what I already had. Thank God I can still read and learn!
Having an empty passenger’s seat, I decided to take numismatics for a ride with me. It is a vast subject to study and participate in. There is a never-ending amount to read and study about! Lucky for me I have a wife who is willing and more than capable of doing daily chores! She is my savior and my rock, affording me the luxury to read and study about coins night and day.
I am either the luckiest person you know or the most unfortunate, depends on how you look at it. I look on the bright side. I thank God every day I am alive and retained most of my faculties, and my wife thinks so too. Then there is the possibility of making some money collecting coins. If so, great! If not, oh well, it’s been one heck of a ride. Thanks numismatics. Where are we going next?
Michael P. Schmeyer
Halsey Valley N.Y.

Great experience obtaining 2010 ATB five-coin set

I rarely write letters to editors of newspapers or magazines, but I really find that I had to send you one concerning the 2010 5-ounce America the Beautiful state park coins. First I agree with most of the readers of Numismatic News that the Mint mishandled the distribution of the bullion version of the 2010 coins. What I find disturbing is that you gave the necessary information for your readers to try and purchase the coins. You told us that the Authorized Purchasers would be handling the sale of the bullion coins, as they have been doing, since 1986, with the bullion Silver Eagles and bullion Gold Eagles and you even listed the 19 Approved Purchasers.
Well, here’s my story. I realized, in late March, that one of the APs was APMEX, a company that does deal directly with the public, and I have purchased from them in the past and they have provided good service at reasonable prices. I gave their Customer Service Department a call and told them I was a past customer of APMEX and did they have any of the 2010 ATB coins left for sale. I was informed that they had not received their allotment, but were expecting it soon. I was given a website address that had a form that would place me on the waiting list to purchase the coins. I would be kept advised of the progress of their distribution through e-mails.
On April 17, I received an e-mail from them informing me that I could purchase a five coin set for $959.95 plus $19.95 S&H. I was astounded, here was a company actually following the rules that the Mint has set up for the sale of one set per household with the price and markup specified and actually followed by APMEX. I was then further surprised by the next sentence in their e-mail; they said that if I called them with my charge account number they would ship them out the next day, but if I would be willing to wait, until the early part of May, they would send the set to PCGS for grading at no extra charge!
I confirmed that I wanted the set, mailed them a check, which they sent an e-mail three days later confirming that they received it and told me they would notify me when the set came back from PCGS. On May 1, I received an e-mail from APMEX informing me that the graded set was in, and I would be contacted by UPS as to the date and time of delivery. I was e-mailed by UPS that the package was going to arrive on May 4 between 10:30 a.m. and noon and requesting that I arrange for an adult to be at home to sign for the package.
The package arrived at 10:30 a.m. on the 4th, and I was pleasantly surprised that APMEX provided a holder for the certified coins, at no extra charge, that protected them not only in shipping, but also was great for storing the coins. Here’s how the coins graded out: all of them were labeled “First Strike,” four were graded MS-69 DMPL and the fifth graded MS-68.
I’m just a small collector who has a tight budget for coin purchases, but I guess I just got lucky, I actually was charged less than the melt value of the coins! APMEX did put a note in the box that if I decided to sell them, please give them a call and they would gladly buy them back from me at a nice profit over what I paid for them.
So there you go, the little guy can win some, and if you just follow the information given by your newspaper, other readers could have purchased the set at a reasonable price instead of the overpriced aftermarket charge that dealers were asking.
Thank you, Numismatic News and APMEX for a pleasant experience in obtaining the 2010 ATB coin set. By the way, I am not connected with either Numismatic News or APMEX, they just both did a great job in helping me obtain the coin set.
Name withheld
Sandia Park, N.M.

Nice finds in change from a day of shopping

Another day of shopping. I found a bunch of cents and nickels, about 16 cents worth. One was a 1955-D cent, very fine condition. Not that rare, but different.
Ginger Rapsus
Chicago, Ill.
Cent estimates don’t jibe with collecting experience

I’m writing in response to Nicholas Szempruch’s article about penny-picking Penelope in the Feb. 15 issue. I realize I’m not the only one who questions his accuracy, but my letter could give your readers a different slant.
I grew up in the heyday of penny candy, but never got eight of anything for a penny, unless you count a section of sugary hemispheres pasted on paper. I was born in 1945.
I have been sorting and saving pre-1982 cents for about three years now. I have about 100,000 housed in tennis ball containers. On an average, about 25 percent of what I look through is saved. I have found a couple of thousand “Wheaties.” Last week I got a 1909 VDB in Good. It’s the fourth ’09 I’ve found. My best find was a 1922 Canadian in EF.
I’ve found five Indians, three in one roll, but I never found any when I was a kid. Another roll was deceiving as it contained $1.65 in nickels that were packed on a slant. Four of the nickels were war nickels and three were buffaloes.
Now, to the article, I also question the 38,000 figure. One-hundred Kerr/Ball jars could house 100,000 cents. Between 1982 and 2000, she saved another 200,000 cents. Grand total 480,000 or 490,000, in other words about a half million cents.
Looking at my 100,000 cents, I’d say they would only partially fill one 55-gallon drum, let alone seven!
Tom Magielnicki
Helmetta, N.J.

How is Ron Paul’s currency agenda harmful?

In reference to the April 26 “Viewpoint” by Scott Barman and his attempt to belittle Rep. Ron Paul by stating, “It is unfortunate that an elected lawmaker uses the wrong lesson from history to push an agenda that will do more harm than good.”
Pray tell us, Scott, what is this “wrong lesson that will do more harm than good?” My recollection of history is that the once-great empires that debased their currencies and tried to control the world, as we have been attempting, are now themselves history.
So far as lawmakers are concerned, I’ll personally trust Rep. Paul to know more of history and fact than the entire bunch of clowns we presently have in Washington. So please explain why you have anointed yourself to find fault, degrade or embarrass the only legislation that is truly concerned for the citizens of this republic! Are you suggesting even one of the other lawmakers is as concerned and dedicated to “we the people” and the Constitution as Rep. Paul?
In complete disagreement with the writer, I believe Rep. Paul knows the right lessons to be learned from history and his agenda is to “end the private corporate reserve system” that has put “we the people,” and our grandchildren’s children, in bondage to pay an unrepayable debt to the interest charged by these banksters.
President Lincoln and JFK and Gov. H. Long of Louisiana wanted to quit paying the Feds to print our money, as does Rep. Paul, so please explain how this “could do more harm than good?” Are you suggesting the continuation of our debt economy into Third World slavery?
Tom Welser
Grayling, Mich.
Dealer put off by show attendee attitude

In recent issues of Numismatic News are numerous letters complaining of dealers at coin shows not offering enough money for coins people bring in. From what I’ve experienced and witnessed as a dealer at coin shows, my sympathies lie 110 percent on the dealers’ side of the table.
A good percentage of coin show attendees smugly waltz into the show with greed oozing from every pore, expecting to be able to buy coins at wholesale prices as well as sell their coins to dealers at retail prices. Then, when they are not given what they feel they are entitled to, they carp, grouse and bellyache to anyone who will listen to them about how crooked coin dealers are.
What these chiselers fail to take into consideration is that the dealers at a coin show have expenses, such as table fee and rising gas prices. Coin dealers are in business to make money, not to engage in charitable endeavors. If coin dealers bought at retail and sold at wholesale, they would have been out of business long ago.
Sadly, many people are out for a quick and easy buck, and think it is something they richly deserve. This “all for me, none for you” attitude makes me prefer to deal with dealers, both buying and selling.
I can’t speak for everyone when I say this, but the expectations of John Q. Public when buying coins from or selling coins to a dealer at a show have truly gotten out of hand.
William Bejda
Cicero, Ill.
Consider installment plan for subs

The price of gold and silver hasn’t just been rising, so has postage rates and consequently subscription rates. I still remember how cheap and affordable they were in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, a three-year subscription to Numismatic News in 1973 probably cost less than today’s one year rate. I used to renew my Coins magazine subscription for three years all the time.
I’d like to suggest that Numismatic News and Krause Publications in general follow the example of TV Guide in how they’ve been handling their subscriptions for years and offer a four-payment installment plan. It’s four equal payments, and you’re not incurring any interest rates like you do with a credit card. Plus it makes it very affordable.
I renewed my subscription with TV Guide that way a few years ago and then they offered me another renewal and now my subscription goes until 2013. You could then even bring back the idea of the subscription extension. I remember when the two categories on the subscription cards were New and Renewal/Extension. A four- and five-year renewal would also be great.
I could probably just put the money away for four months, but I really think that this is a great idea.
Iric B. Fox
Pasadena, Texas

John Queen needs to write more stories

I love the John S. Queen stories.
Thanks John! Keep ‘em coming!
Jeff Reichenberger
Controlling liquidity key to strengthening dollar

All markets dance to the tune of liquidity. The best way to control excess liquidity is through the stock market. When oil reaches what the monetary authorities deem unsustainable, the stock market will fall 3,000 to 6,000 points again thereby making gas more affordable.
The reason this hasn’t happened yet is because of the fragile coin economy. When you can destroy liquidity it will take less liquid to buy commodities and reinforce the value of the dollar. Place your bets.
Tom Madden
Mendocino, Calif.