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This week’s letters (07/31/12)

After going through another box of cents looking for wheats and copper cents, I have decided we should get rid of the cent. The quality of post 1982 cents, alongside copper cents, is terrible. Either the Mint should come up with something that will last, or get rid of the cent.
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Quality of current cent coins called into question
After going through another box of cents looking for wheats and copper cents, I have decided we should get rid of the cent.
The quality of post 1982 cents, alongside copper cents, is terrible. Either the Mint should come up with something that will last, or get rid of the cent.
I would not mind a steel cent if they could make a decent coin that would circulate and not look terrible after a few years.
Marc Bricken
Louisville, Ky.

Morgan dollar prices follow the patterns of inflation
Something occurred to me today that I haven’t seen noted anywhere else, and which I think your readers might find rather interesting.
The July Numismatic News “Coin Market” insert lists an 1880 Morgan dollar in VG-8, the lowest grade shown, at $29.30. The same is true for many other early Morgan dollars.
There are Internet sites on which you can enter an amount of money for one year, and find out how much that same amount would be, adjusted for inflation, in a later year.
From this I learned that $1 in 1880, adjusted for inflation, is the same as $23.50 in 2012. This means that, by this measure, we’re paying only 25 percent over face value.
Even in MS-60, which “Coin Market” lists at $50.50, it’s only 2.15 times face value. Quite a bargain. Offhand I can’t think of any other U.S. coin which, by this measure, is available at such a bargain price.
Best wishes, happy 60th anniversary, and thanks for a truly excellent publication.
David Stone
Address withheld

Low mint Eagle present in new San Francisco sets
We had a lot of complaining about the five-coin set of only 100,000.
But now, the Mint allows four weeks to order and it looks as if the collectors have another low mint Eagle, a winner for the ones that ordered.
The set total at 3:00 p.m. of the last day was 250,738. This is only 1,863 more sets than the 2006 set total of 248,874. That set had one low mint coin that sells for about $200. The “S” mint set has two low mint coins.
It seems, when people have the chance to order, they do not order. They cannot blame that on the Mint.
By the way, on the front page of the July 10 issue of NN there is a story titled “Order Pace Slows.” It is about the “S” mint set.
The article states that this is the first year that any proof Eagle has been struck at the San Francisco Mint. Where were the “S” mint Eagles struck in the first years, 1986,1987, etc.?
Larry Herrington
Address withheld
Editor’s note: You are quite right. “S” proofs were struck 1986-1992. It is the first time for an “S” reverse proof.

New book explains the legal history of money
I have just finished writing Monetary Laws, which I send out via e-mail (free) to all I know.
The premise of the book is that the U.S. government cannot deprive Americans of our most liquid form of property, our gold and silver coins, but by our ignorance.
I show how the Civil War greenbacks were made a legal tender only for the District of Columbia because that jurisdiction is not a State to which prohibitions against States are subjected.
This includes the declaration of things being a tender, besides gold and silver coins, and the prohibitions against States of emitting bills of credit do not apply.
I also show that FDR’s gold confiscation in 1933 was only really a margin call to shareholders of the Federal Reserve banks to send in gold to the treasury, which they had a contractual obligation to cover their banking liabilities (notes and deposits).
Monetary Laws is available for free at
Matt Erickson
Vancouver, Wash.

Changing shipping dates frustrates Mint customer
I drafted most of this e-mail over a week ago but did not send thinking that I might be over-reacting.
But then I checked the Mint website yesterday and got a rude surprise when I saw the shipping date for my order. I am sure I am not the only retail customer getting this surprise.
I had placed my order for the San Fran Eagle set, along with some other products, thinking that the Mint would start shipping the Eagle set some time in August.
When I was checking the website over a week ago, I saw on the order page that the Mint anticipated that the San Fran set would be available for shipping by Sept. 28.
I started to draft this e-mail but decided to check my order status, and it showed that my two sets were scheduled to ship late July, so I decided not to send my e-mail.
Then, yesterday, I was notified by the Mint that the other items on my order had shipped so I went to its website to see the shipping status for those items.
I was shocked to see that my back-ordered San Francisco sets were now scheduled to ship Oct. 31. I was even more amazed to see that on the order form, for the San Fran set, the Mint had revised the anticipated ship time back to late July.
What gives? Is this ethical? I mean, someone who ordered a few weeks ago is now given a shipment date at the end of October and yet those that have not yet ordered are presented with a much earlier date.
How can this be? There is no explanation anywhere about the changing dates. I hope your publication can get to the bottom of this, as I am quite sure there are others in my situation.
The Mint’s products are getting way overpriced. I don’t think it cares about the common collector at all.
Even the San Fran set and the “S” quarters seem to be done just to put out the furor over the Mint’s mishandling of the five-coin Eagle set and to make some more money off of the collectors.
The Mint’s real clients seem to be the big companies. It would not surprise me to see the San Fran set being hawked on a shopping channel before Oct. 31.
I guess the Mint got cocky because it was able to quell the furor by throwing a few rotted bones to the collectors like myself. This leaves a very, very bad taste in my mouth.
The U.S. Mint has not changed at all. Its entire work process and key personnel (like those in contracting, fulfillment, production, planning, finance, etc.) need to be thoroughly audited and exposed to the light of day.
Please omit my name should this e-mail be published.
Name withheld
New York, N.Y.

PayPal may aid in eliminating the cent
I read two fine publications, Numismatic News, and Technology Review, published by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
In the August issue of Technology Review, page 20, is an interview with David Marcus, the new head of PayPal. PayPal, of course, is the online payment service most closely associated with eBay.
The interview states that many big retailers now let consumers use PayPal at the register. All one needs to do is provide a cell phone number and PIN. This could ultimately make cash and credit cards obsolete.
There is even an idea of location-based payments, where the merchant knows you are in the store and the transaction happens without the consumer doing anything.
And we still debate whether or not to keep minting cents. I can’t help but think that 20 years from now, people will look back at this debate and just shake their heads over how quaint we were.
Peter Glassman
Schaumburg, Ill.

2012-P dime found in Washington
In my last box of dimes I found a good 2012-P. All we get in Washington are “D” coins. I thought this was rare.
Jay Cook
Seattle, Wash.

Reader appreciates classic News articles
I did not think it was possible, but you’ve found a way to make the No. 1 numismatic related magazine in the world (my opinion), even better.
By that, I mean digging into the archives and reprinting long ago articles because, as you know, Mishler is the man (my opinion).
Michael P. Schmeyer
Halsey Valley, N.Y.

Coin collecting needs sound money
The obvious free-market implications of your inspired statement, “Abolishing the cent would give coin collecting a big boost,” (Numismatic News, 7/10/12, Page 6) merits serious follow-up thought, particularly in coupling it with the lead item pictured on Page 1 of the same issue estimating that the fabulous Numismatic Guaranty Corporation-slabbed Brasher doubloon’s market value may be $10 million.
The enclosed 271-page informative Demonomics book convincingly outlines our pressing American need to audit and then abolish the fraudulent, criminal Federal Reserve system.
The next subsequent and logical step would be to return to constitutional currency and then repeal the monopolistic legal-tender laws and open a competitive free-enterprise money (and banking) system incorporating modern industrialists emulating in part the free-enterprise stalwart Ephraim Brasher to openly, and I believe devastatingly, compete with the U.S. Mint and government printing office.
All of these hopefully historic steps will help to restore a new, healthy, productive super-competitive American economy.
Numismatics would burgeon.
Charles W. Coe
Dallas, Texas

Resistance to $1 coin due to familiarity with paper
I went to a coin store in which the owner showed me the most beautiful coin, a 2012 Native American dollar.
It was breathtakingly beautiful. We compared it to a 1912 Indian $5 gold piece that was also in his case.
We commented how lovely both coins were and that the Mint and Federal Reserve should do its best in promoting these lovely coins so that we all could enjoy them.
The Native American dollars are so beautiful, as are the Presidential dollars, that we should have other coins commemorating other minorities. I suggest we have a black history series. Let’s use the nickel.
If people complain that it would remove Jefferson, they should have nothing to fear since he is also on the $2 bill, and the elimination of the $1 bill would encourage the use of the $2.
Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington are on both coins and paper money in duplication.
By eliminating the cent, paper dollar and making a black history nickel, there would be no more duplication of anyone on our coins or paper money.
A few months ago, you ran an editorial letter by someone from some organization called Citizens for Common Cents (Sense). I thought it was about as hilarious as a “Peanuts” recording skit in which Lucy Van Pelt uses reasoning to try to convince Charlie Brown that snow does not fall from the sky, as it appears to, but rather comes up from the ground, as do daffodils and grass.
The wind gives the illusion that it is falling by blowing the snow around so it appears that it comes down from the sky. Lucy was so convincing that she had Charlie Brown believing it.
Some people say dollar coins are not popular, and people prefer the paper. It’s only because people are used to the paper.
What if the shoe was on the other foot and people used the dollar coin and our government was trying to introduce the paper dollar?
I suspect because of familiarity they would have just as hard of a time introducing the paper dollar through force of habit of people using the coin. No one has ever mentioned this in all the writing so far. It is something to ponder.
I do believe much of this is the fault of the Federal Reserve. They were cooperating in promoting the state quarters, but the national parks quarters are a no-no. I believe I have only found two or three in change since the program began.
Really something is not right here. We had no problem with the state quarters. Why should we have a problem now?
It is obviously contrived. The kindly man at the coin shop said everybody knows the obvious answer to the cent and dollar, but many are afraid to admit it because of political reasons.
We know what other countries have done. All we need to do is look to others for example of what to do.
I hope we are not as stupid as Charlie Brown by listening to Lucy and not thinking for himself.
Don’t you think it rather funny that, although the Mint made the ordering period for the commemorative Eagle set longer, it raised the price of the individual coins? Perhaps we should have a fox commemorative set because the Mint is so foxy.
Why not a 2013 six-coin set of nickels for the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Liberty and Buffalo nickels in circulation, regular proof and reverse proof.
This should be popular among collectors if the Mint doesn’t charge an arm and a leg. Ditto for 1916-2016 with Mercury dime, Standing quarter and Walking Liberty half.
Years ago, Mel Fisher tried to get investors for his Atocha search and I, like a dummy, didn’t send anything since I thought the search was futile. I saw one of his discoveries at a talk at a coin club meeting from the treasure trove. He paid off his investors.
I do not want to make the same mistake again and am wondering about any investments for the treasure trove on Oak Island, which has even taken longer than Mel Fisher.
I saw his lovely displays in Key West, Fla., and I am wondering what we might do in regards to Oak Island. I read about Oak Island years ago and would like to read of its discovery before I pass on.
Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio

Getting fair prices for coins depends on where you look
I’ve been reading and enjoying Numismatic News since 1970, and in my view your magazine’s coverage of coin shows and auctions is tops in the business.
Experience has taught me that collecting coins from change, from shows and from family-owned stores is a rewarding and fun way to build up a great collection.
More than one-third of the coins I bought since 1991 I have been able to re-sell at coin shows for double or even triple what I originally paid for them, proving that this enjoyable hobby can also be a good investment plan.
My grandfather introduced me to numismatics at age 6, and his sage advice on selling coins has guided me for half a century: “If 30 or 40 different companies claim that they pay the highest prices for coins, fourth-grade mathematics tells us that either A) they all pay exactly the same, or B) they’re a bunch of liars.
Earl Kenton
Walnut Creek, Calif.

More to the story of searching cent boxes
Since my last letter that I wrote and told the readers about my finds, there is more to the story.
I went back and bought four more boxes and each one of them had great wheat cent finds.
I won’t list them all, but I’ll say that for the total of all six days, I found a grand total of 1,128 wheat cents.
Total = 369 pre-1939 cents, and I had a total of: 57 – “S” mintmark, 94 – “D” mintmark and 218 – plain.
I have since returned and bought three more boxes but found nothing great.
It was like the Christmas morning of 1954.
Bob Atwater
Conway, S.C.