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This week’s letters (08/28/12)

I have been finding 2012 nickels and dimes at the banks and big stores and a 1917 wheat cent XF in Rochester, N.Y.
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2012 coins, wheat cent turning up in Rochester
I have been finding 2012 nickels and dimes at the banks and big stores and a 1917 wheat cent XF in Rochester, N.Y.
Joe Scofero
Walworth, N.Y.

What is status of privy mark Maple Leaf production?
As a collector of Maple Leaves, I have a question.
My collection of Maple Leaves with privies are as follows: 1998 – 3; 1999 – 2; 2000 – 3; 2001 – 2; 2002 – 1; 2003 – 1; 2004 – 2; 2005 – 4; 2006 – 1; 2007 – 1; 2008 – 1; 2009 – 2
If my figures are correct, the last struck Maple Leaf privy “Brandenberg Gate” 2009 completed the series.
My inquiries have gone unanswered. Maybe a fellow collectors can shed light on a question: Have they stopped making the Maple Leaf privies?
Kaye Munshower
Wayne, Pa.

More legislation is needed to fight China counterfeits
The reported rise on counterfeit collectible coins from China needs a response. More reports should be included in your newspaper.
What piece of legislation in Congress will take the time to have coin collectors feel protected from it? Will Congress vote on strengthening the Hobby Act of 1973? This is a letter written to support additional coin hobby legislation.
Bruce Beiderbecke
Charlotte, N.C.

Flea market dealer called out on selling fake dollars
While walking through a flea market close to where I live, I saw a table with a sign that stated, “Dollar Coins For Sale.” Being a coin collector, I asked the man what was his selling prices. He had Seated, Peace and Morgan dollars.
He said, any dollar for $25. Knowing what the current price for those dollars was, I smelled something fishy.
Anyway, I picked an 1847 Seated dollar. My key chain has a small magnet affixed to it. I placed the magnet on the coins, and lo and behold, the coins adhered to the magnet, meaning that the coins were counterfeit.
I told the man that they were counterfeit coins, and that he would get in a lot of trouble if some authority found it out. He must have known that he was selling counterfeit coins and without much ado gave me the coins. I have them for conversational specimens, marked “counterfeit.”
Name withheld
Anaheim, Calif.

U.S. Mint should sell test tokens to collectors
I screamed with glee when I discovered that the Canadian Mint is selling test token versions of its dollar and $2 coins, Loonie and Toonies as they are called. Collecting test tokens is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby.
I have 1968 test tokens of the 10-cent and 25-cent when Canada was switching from silver to nickel in its coinage. The 25-cent even had a goose design as a prototype to the one used on the 1967 Centennial dollar.
I have a few others of the $1 and $2 denominations and two different sets of test tokens of all their circulation coins. Truly something I adore and one of the most fascinating, interesting and educational parts of our hobby.
Over a century ago, the U.S. sold and gave away many of its test tokens that illustrated and demonstrated new concepts for coinage, some that were adopted and some not. In the 1850s, we were in a similar situation we are presently involved with that the cent was too expensive to make in its current metal.
A plethora of patterns were created, demonstrating new concepts. There was a ring cent that looked like a Chinese coin in different varieties. Also, a reduced large cent of 1854 without the stars and smaller in size than a regular one and it had a lovely cameo-like appearance.
Another variety, made in 1854 and 1855, had a flying eagle design on a large cent of the same kind used on circulation cents of 1857 and 1858. Sets of varieties of 1858 cents and all kinds of designs and metals were sold to collectors up until the late 1880s when some Mint scandal caused the director of the Mint to no longer sell sets to collectors.
Very few coins were released afterwards. The Mint director in 1916 had a collection of 1916 designs that was burglarized. A few were later found in circulation with wear.
In later years, test token cents were made of plastic. In 1992 a lovely Liberty head used on Venezuelan coins. Lots of these were cracked to test the strength of the plastic, how it would hold up in circulation as a substitute for wartime copper coinage.
In recent years, lovely test tokens were made with a portrait of Martha Washington and Mount Vernon to test various replacement metals in denominations. In 2000, prototype Sacagawea dollars were placed in cereal boxes as promotion. The tail feathers were different, sort of like the varieties of tail feathers of the 1878 Morgan dollars. In 2009 there was a remake of a 1907 $20 gold pattern that was actually sold to the public.
The Canada Mint sells its test tokens reasonably. It doesn’t result in gimmicks like cereal boxes. I bought a dozen cereal boxes, and all I got were 2000 Lincoln cents, no prototype dollars. I would love it if someone would send me one.
Canada seems to be light years ahead of the U.S. They abolished the cent and paper dollar, and sell test coins to collectors. It is even coming out with plastic paper currency, which the United States would never allow since there is one company in Massachusetts that has been supplying all the paper for our currency since around the Civil War or shortly after and would scream bloody murder if such a replacement was ever conceived. So Canada progresses and we regress.
My only complaint about Canada is that they haven’t redesigned their circulation coins since 1937, which is far too long.
Test coins are a part of history and really liven up the hobby, as do other aspects such as errors, bullion coins, proof sets and other categories people like to collect. I enjoy test coins and want to buy some like people did over 100 years ago.
Whitman Publishing Company, the company of the Red Books, sells a book called U.S. Pattern Coins by Judd. Get the book, read it and learn and happy collecting.
One would be surprised to learn that the shield on the cent had a prototype in 1896. These coins are educational and can be passed down from generation to generation like my collection of test token cents from the 1850s.
Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio

2012-S American Eagle should be in BEP set
The Mint would have been wise to include a 2012-S bullion version of the American Eagle (in the BEP set) if it wanted to stimulate the collectors.
It would not have added to the “S” proof count and it would have made another collectible that everyone would have wanted.
What are they thinking, or are they?
Bobby Bange
St. Simons Island, Ga.

Great finds in local Coinstar machines
I was clearing out some old issues of Numismatic News, reviewing some to make copies of any letters and/or editorials I’ve written in the past.
I came across a letter written by Lou Rangel in the Jan. 25, 2011, issue. Lou Rangel counter-offered my earlier challenge to find the oldest coin in a Coinstar with the challenge to find the highest denominated coin.
Although I really didn’t pay attention to this challenge, as I noticed it just this year, I still pause to check all Coinstars whenever I see one (usually in supermarkets) for “treasures” abandoned as “trash” by a previous user (one man’s trash is another’s treasure). I am today, however responding to the “Rangel Challenge.”
The other day, at the supermarket where I often shop, I recovered three coins from one of its two Coinstar machines. They were a Canadian 25-cent “Winter Para-olympics/Wheelchair Curling,” a 1964 “FDR” dime, and a 1999-D “Susan B. Anthony” dollar.
O.K., Lou, I got a coin higher denomination than your ’94 “JFK” half. Now, if you include foreign coins, over the past year I’ve culled out several “Toonies” ($2 dollar coins) from Canada and a $20 Jamaican coin, from a total of $28 in coins from Jamaica (somebody was on vacation).
Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

Mint needs to cease its confusing announcements
The U.S. Mint made what can be considered by collectors as another about face today when it announced that it will issue 2012-S proof Eagles with a $5.00 Lincoln bill in a BEP special set.
With this the Mint, for the second time in so many months, has used its prerogative to use misleading announcements.
I refer to the fact that in May the Mint announced an issuance limit of 2012-S circulation quality copper nickle ATB quarters. Later, the Mint retracted its prior announcement and announced that they would issue those quarters to demand.
Most recently, with the announcement of the issuance of 2012-S proof and reverse proof silver Eagles with the mintage limited to those ordered during the limited 28 day ordering period, after the ordering period expired they came up with a surprise announcement that collaborative effort with the BEP will result in the issuance of additional 2012-S proof Silver Eagles with no limit.
Although there will only be a maximum sale of 50,000 of the BEP sets, going on sale August 8, 2012. However, as of July 28, the BEP web site makes no mention of this set.
What this means is that after all the final mintage of the 2012-S proof Eagle will be in the vicinity of 300,000 pieces and the 2012-S reverse proof Eagle at up to 50,000 less.
I believe that if a private company engaged in the same type of misleading disclosure they would be bombarded with law suits from various states’ Attorney Generals and that the Federal Trade Commission would take action.
For example, look at the record making fine just imposed against VISA and MasterCard for what was referred to as misleading trade practices. However, the Mint is exempt from such actions under the long-standing principal of sovereign immunity, or the “king can do no wrong.”
On the plus side, the BEP set gives those who missed out on the purchase of the 75th Anniversary “S” mintmarked Eagle set to have an opportunity to buy one of the up to 50,000 2012-S proof Eagles that they missed out of and get a limited issue $5.00 bill to boot.
The BEP set since it doesn’t include the reverse proof Eagle, will create a future rarity in the 2012-S reverse proof Eagle, since it will be the lowest mintage 2012 silver Eagle.
What the Mint and the BEP’s motives were in issuing this set is unknown. Perhaps just a coincidence associated with the 150th anniversary of the BEP.
However, rest assured that the consumer is not naive nor are they unable to read or understand misleading announcements. It brings to mind the recent Supreme Court ruling on health care, the administration said it wasn’t a tax and the Supreme Court saying it was a tax and therefore legal.
For those who want to stand behind their principals and send a message to the Mint, take advantage of the Mint’s cancellation policy, after all it isn’t delivering the 2012-S anniversary sets until later this year, when, however, is anyone’s guess.
William H. Brownstein
Santa Monica, Calif.

Great circulation finds at local Tennessee bank
I’m writing to report two interesting circulation finds that might interest you.
In early July, I received a 1953-A series $5 U.S. note from the local bank I frequent and just over a week later, received a 1963 series $5 U.S. note from a local merchant.
I can’t say I’ve ever received a United States note in change ever in my lifetime (I’m in my 40s) so to receive two different notes over a two week period was quite a surprise.
The red seal and numbers really stand out so I’m surprised the teller at the bank didn’t notice and pull the one I received from her from circulation. Just goes to prove you never know what you’ll find in your change unless you take the time to look at it.
Since I’m writing, I might as well report too that I rarely ever see a National Park quarter in circulation and if I do, it is almost always one of the 2010 releases.
I’ve yet to receive a 2011 or 2012 release either in my change or from the bank so they don’t seem to be circulating well here in east Tennessee.
Name withheld

Info requested on coin cleaning and conservation
The “Viewpoint” column by F. Michael Fazzari in the July 31 issue of NN was very informative.
The fine line between coin cleaning and conservation that Mr. Fazzari speaks of is something all collectors should be aware of.
It would be great if NN would publish a series of articles on this subject. A wide variety of issues could be discussed, such as when to conserve or not, acceptable conservation techniques, how to identify an improperly conserved coin, the dangers of amateur or improper cleaning methods, etc.
Gregory Kipp
Santa Rosa, Calif.

Buffalo nickel found by collector at flea market
I was recently shopping at an outdoor flea market and managed to pick up a nice 1918/7-D Buffalo nickel. It was labeled as a plain 1918-D so I thought I would check it out.
I had never seen one before and not sure what to look for. I was able to reference a 2012 Blue Book and find a nice picture to compare to. It was very dark, but had a very clear date. I sent it in for conservation and grading. It came back fine details, corrosion. It is not the nicest example, but still a nice find for $35.00 and genuine too.
Good finds are still out there, searching is still half the fun and you never know what you may find.
Bob Kelley
Worthington, Minn.

Is palladium Mercury dime on Mint’s 2012 docket?
I thought the U.S. Mint was going to make a palladium Mercury dime in 2012.
Did I read this correctly, or did I just dream it? Please advise.
I have been a loyal NN subscriber for years and would really like to know the answer to my question.
Michael Echevarria
Angleton, Texas

Circulation finds era continues to this day
I went to an Australian exhibit at the local zoo, but they had no Australian coins to show. I later on went to a local coin shop and bought some coins for the display so the children could learn about the animals on the coins.
These include the flying squirrel and honey glider possum on the 1-cent and the frilled lizard on the 2-cent, both of which are now discontinued, the spiny anteater echidna on the 5-cent, lyre bird on the 10-cent, duckbill platypus on the 20-cent, and the emu and kangaroo on the 50-cent. What a way to educate people about animals and to also turn people on to coins.
The educator at the exhibit says he, too, is a coin collectors, and I will share with him info about a local coin club of which I am a member so that he could become one, too. So remember, folks, donate animal coins for zoo exhibits. It will open lots of doors for friendship, education and coin clubs.
Many countries feature animals on their coins; like Canada, New Zealand and many countries in Africa and Latin America. It would be fun to read of the experiences in the editorials.
I read with interest how years ago people sold bags of silver dollars $1,000 face for $1,100 during the circulation finds era and how some people in New York who worked collecting money on subways collected rarities. Might we still be in the circulation finds era if it costs 3 cents to make a cent and nearly a dime to make a nickel?
I remember being 12 years old in 1962 and an old-timer told me to save these old, ugly gray war nickels and they now sell for all of 7 cents each. Sure enough, in a few years they were gone along with the silver dollars that had $1.05 worth of silver in them. So what are we waiting for? Let’s grab them before it’s too late. It’s 1964 all over again.
Bob Olekson
Parma, Ohio