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This week’s letters (08/30/11)

In your Best of Buzz column, I read that George Cuhaj paid $118 for the Centennial of the 1911-2011 Proof Dollar. You seemed to think that the price was outrageous, and you are absolutely correct! It is outrageous; the Royal Canadian Mint is selling the coin for CAN $64.95. The coin is also being sold through some local post offices at the RCM’s issue price. I bought one in Sydney, Nova Scotia, last week for CAN $64.95 plus tax.
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High secondary market prices on Canadian proofs

In your Best of Buzz column, I read that George Cuhaj paid $118 for the Centennial of the 1911-2011 Proof Dollar. You seemed to think that the price was outrageous, and you are absolutely correct! It is outrageous; the Royal Canadian Mint is selling the coin for CAN $64.95. The coin is also being sold through some local post offices at the RCM’s issue price. I bought one in Sydney, Nova Scotia, last week for CAN $64.95 plus tax. I’ve also ordered another one through mail order from Gateway West Coins in Alberta for the same price. The coin is still readily available for CAN $64.95.
There’s also a Centennial Proof Set being offered, with the dollar and proof copies of the other coins that were issued in 1911. The original list price was CAN $179. These sets are now being offered in the secondary market at prices ranging from $249.00 to $300.00 per set. The Mint sold out on this one.
Mark Eckell
Columbia, Md.

Gold standard ‘Class of ’63’ informative for readers

Thank you for setting me straight on the gold standard, and what it means in today’s paper money and coin markets. Which is to say, absolutely nothing.
I am very thankful for numismatists and educators such as yourself, who possess the knowledge to clarify the facts about these issues. Thanks again, and best regards.
David Tortorice
Buffalo, N.Y.

Suggestion is impractical, a step backward

I have read Mr. Meyer’s letter to the editor in the Aug. 9 edition of Numismatic News, labeled “Collusion between coin graders and telemarketers.”
Mr. Meyer seems to be unhappy about the customer service he received from one of the grading services. Specifically, he seems unhappy with two “MS-70” silver American Eagles graded by that service, which Mr. Meyer seems to have bought from a telemarketer, who apparently offered no return privilege to purchasers. Mr. Meyers feels that the coins, that he bought with no return privilege, did not make the MS-70 grade. He wanted the grading company to redress this perceived injustice, since the telemarketer apparently refused to do so.
It seems to me that if Mr. Meyers (a) buys coins with no return privilege offered on them; (b) from a telemarketer; (c) sight-unseen, then he bears the primary responsibility for his own unhappiness.
I am also incredulous at Mr. Meyer’s suggestion that, “collectors should refuse to send in coins for grading unless they are provided with an honest, 100 percent guarantee that if they do not agree with the coin grade, they get all of their money back, shipping, buyer’s premium, insurance and everything else, no questions asked.”
So, Mr. Meyer is suggesting that a collector who sends in a coin which the grading service calls, say, AU-50, which in the collector’s opinion is MS-70, should then get back every cent he paid for the grading service’s time and effort?
We have a third-party grading system in numismatics today which is not perfect by any means. However, I feel that Mr. Meyer’s suggestion would be unworkable, unfair and a major step backward for the numismatic hobby and industry.
Robert Bair
Denver, Colo.

Spent American Eagles a big surprise at gas station

I was talking with Dave Hunsicker of West Bend, and we arranged to go together to the Higgins Museum Seminar in Okoboji next week.
He told me that he frequents a gas station in West Bend, and recently the manager showed him three silver American Eagles that were spent over the counter for a dollar each!
Unfortunately, Dave wasn’t offered a sale. Still, it’s amazing what some people do. With all that’s going on it’s like some people live on another planet.
Tom Snyder
Waukesha, Wis.

Collecting about enjoyment, not money

The Aug. 9 Numismatic News letter from Calvin Henry is what it’s all about. He is a true collector. Collecting is entertainment, fun we are all willing to pay for. We need more people like him in our hobby.
Michael P. Schmeyer
Halsey Valley, N.Y.

Article about shop security important to all collectors

I thought the story about shop security in the Aug. 9 issue was great. I have been concerned with the security of our local show, and the dealers that come to our show, for some time. Our club has moved our show, Sept. 24 and 25, into the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The dealers can drive into the show then get right to their table to load and unload their coins, stamps and other collectibles.
Having a club show so close to a military base, Ellsworth Air Force Base, and with ex-military in the club, we have no shortage of armed guards for our shows. If the dealers don’t feel safe, they will not come to your show, and without the dealers you have no show! Keep up the good work at Numismatic News.
Jim Coulthard
Box Elder, S.D.

Midwest meeting of elongated coin collectors

Hope all is well with you, and I look forward to seeing everybody in Chicago.
The Ohio Elongated Collectors’ Occasion, OECO, was my latest coin trip. This was the fifth OECO, and the first that I have attended. Rocky decided, after attending the Hoosier Elongated Collectors’ Happening (HECH) a few times that she would like to have a meet at her place in Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. So Kay got Miss Bossy Britches, our GPS, ready. She put the address in and showed me how to work it again, so I wouldn’t get lost on the way to the meeting.
After staying up late the night before trying to get some things done, I woke up Saturday around 7 a.m. rested and ready for my four-hour drive.
Since the meeting was starting at 10 a.m., I knew I was going to be late, but it was going until 5 p.m., so I wouldn’t miss the whole thing. I must have done something annoy Miss BB, because she wasn’t talking to me, but once I hit Greencastle I turned Miss BB off, and then back on, which seemed to help; at least she started talking to me again.
Around Indy Miss BB instructed me to “keep right.” I did, and ended up taking an exit, after which she calmly directed me around in a circle and back onto the interstate. Odd, but onward I went, around Indy and toward Cincinnati, Ohio.
I got down there at last, and decided to get some food. A detour to Taco Bell worked for me, though Miss BB kept impatiently trying to get me to go back to the route she wanted me to take. Eventually I followed her directions back to the route, and drove just north of Cincinnati, getting on another road.
After a while Miss BB informed me that I should, “exit right 1 mile,” but when she finally told me to exit, I was past the exit, unless I wanted to cross rumble strips and other vehicles. Still polite, she calmly had me go four more miles before turning around to come back.
Eventually, I drove into a residential area, and Miss BB told me, “you have reached your destination.” I stopped and wondered which house it was. I did not write the address down, and I couldn’t remember Rocky’s last name. I drove around for a while, up the street and back, trying to figure out my next move, when I saw Rocky come across a yard to greet me. She said her mother told her there was a silver van driving around like it was are, and Rocky came out to fetch me, I had made it!
Inside I met with the others, and we all visited, talked about elongated coins and made trades. We also talked about politics and the upcoming elections for The Elongated Collectors. The votes will be tallied at the ANA in Chicago. Two of us at the meet are running for offices, not that we really want to run things, so much as we think it will be fun.
It has been fun running. I put out a half dozen different “Elect Brad” elongated coins. Someone asked me why I put out more than just one election coin, and I just told them, “Because I can!” All but one featured an owl, the TEC mascot.
We talked about plans for future events, and Earl said he might have another meet in Indy next year, which means there would be four elongated collector events in the Midwest in 2012.
We decided to put a race car on the OECO coin, the Mormon Wasp, the winner of the first Indy 500 back in 1911. We are rolling sets of this design, like at HECH, a cent, nickel, dime and quarter, for a total of $5 per set.
A couple of the people at the meeting left before 5 p.m. to go roll coins in the area, but I stayed, and we talked about rolling, among other things.
I roll some big orders at home. I’m rolling 50,000 coins for an order now, and to entertain myself while working I listen to books on tape. Rolling coins for an hour with a machine can get boring, even though you have to get the coins in at the right time, and inspect all the final products. It’s nice to have the books on tape to listen to.
Rocky asked me how the new cassette player that Kay had bought me during HECH was doing, and I told her I had not told Kay yet, but after a couple of cassettes it quit on me. I had been looking for a cheap one, but couldn’t find one. Rocky’s dad went to the basement, and returned with a Cabbage Patch Kids cassette player that Rocky had used 20 years ago, so now I have a Cabbage Patch Kids cassette player for my books on tape.
I stayed late, and 5 p.m. came and went while we talked and traded more, then went to Raymond’s for pizza. After returning to Rocky’s it was 9:30 p.m., but I was wide awake, so I figured I would drive home. I am usually up late anyway.
I had a waffle at a waffle house along the way. Miss BB took me home a different way, instead of through Greencastle,and by 2 a.m. was home.
I’m already excited for my next road trip, the ANA in August. I made my reservations, and can hardly wait. The ANA show will be good, because it isn’t just French coins or elongated coins, but both, plus the people who collect them, and I love to talk to collectors.
I still need to finish some things, roll things and design an elongated coin to give out in Chicago. We usually make an ANA-TEC elongated each year, whether I attend or not, and now that they are planning on having more ANA shows in the Midwest, I can probably attend more of the shows.
I was going to exhibit this year, but after repeatedly trying to get information on how to set up a display for the show, I gave up on that idea.
I have already decided that it does not matter if I win or lose the election, I am going to run again. It has been fun, and I have been spreading my ideas for things to do by way of elongated coins I’ve made.
I am going to try and have supper one night with elongated collectors, and another night with every country collectors. I used to enjoy the banquet, but I can’t afford $90 for supper. After all, I could get a nice coin for $90, or maybe a jeton or piefort. I have a few pieforts, five to be exact, dated between 1574 and 1610, but they are hard to find. I could probably also get a satirical coin of Napoleon III, a Marriane medal or older elongated. I might pick up some different examples of siege coinage at the show, that would be pretty neat.
Brad Ream
Rockville, Ind.

Are new ATB quarters circulating or not?

I’m wondering what is going on with America The Beautiful series. My wife and I have found only two coins of the series in regular change. We still find lots of state quarters. Is the distribution locally restricted?
We live just outside Memphis Tenn., but when we traveled to Seattle last May, we didn’t see any ATB quarters there either.
David J. McNally
Memphis, Tenn.

Difference in value between medals of different mints?

I am going to purchase the 2011 September 11 National Medal from the Mint. I know that this is not earth-shattering, but I would like to know if there is a difference in quality or value in purchasing a coin with either the West Point mintmark or Philadelphia mintmark? The other coins I have purchased from the Mint have always had the West Point mintmark.
Cynthia Heinze
Flushing, N.Y.

Editor’s note: Good question. It cuts to the heart of the collector state of mind. There is no difference between the two medals except the mintmark. It appears the novelty of the “W” mintmark induces collectors to buy almost twice as many as the “P” mintmark version. See the “Mint Statistics” page for the latest figures. Ultimately, the scarcer item is likely to be worth a bit more.

Old find in local Coinstar, challenge reissued

Several months ago, I challenged NN readers to find a coin, U.S. or foreign, from the reject shoot of a Coinstar counting machine that was older than the 1865 Indian Head cent I retrieved from a Coinstar machine. It seems that no one has been able to answer my challenge.
Yesterday, July 19, 2011, I visited my favorite Coinstar machine at the local grocery store, and in the reject shoot I retrieved a Canadian Beaver 5-cent piece and several very corroded Lincoln cents.
A brief dip in some copper cleaning solution revealed that one of the Lincoln cents was actually a Flying Eagle cent in extremely worn condition, G-2 perhaps. The date and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” legend are barely discernible, while the well worn reverse has no details of the wreath, but clearly states “ONE CENT” in the center. For the sake of my continuing challenge, I will “date” this cent at 1858.
It is a marvelous find, and it leaves me wondering: Where has this coin been for about 153 years and who has held it? What marvelous stories it could tell if it could talk!
Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio