Skip to main content

This Week's Letters (9/9/09)

What's on your mind this week? A selection of letters from readers of Numismatic News to editor, Dave Harper.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

No new Lincolns, but 1909 VDB circulates


I thought this was kind of strange. Everyone seems to have problems finding the new Lincoln cents. I have only seen two in change, one of each of the first two designs. On Aug. 21, I found a 1909 VDB in my change. I don’t see many wheat cents, but this one was a real bonus. It was in very good condition, a nice, even wear. Not worth much money, but a real treat to find. It was also my dad’s birth year.

Name Withheld.
Radford, Va.

Rolls didn’t contain new cents as advertised

On May 26, I won an auction on eBay for a box of 50 rolls of Formative Years cents. My winning price was $237.05.
I received the coins on June 23 via U.S. mail parcel post. Due to a health issue, I did not inspect the coins until July 31.
I found 50 rolls with a 2009 Birthplace penny on top of 49 earlier Lincoln pennies that had been rearranged shotgun style. The rolls were sealed in a Du Quoin State Bank box from Du Quoin, Ill.
This fraud has been reported to eBay, PayPal and the Internet Crime Complaint Center. According to a representative at eBay, I will be reimbursed for my $237.05. Do elephants fly?

B.A. Koykan
Romeoville, Ill.

Good coins are in circulation if you look

I received my Aug. 11 NN and I was surprised to see one of my finds in the news. Thank you very much for letting me share my finds with your readers!
I looked through $30 worth of cents and I found 11 Birthplace cents, one of which was a “D” mintmark.
Today was a good day for me. Looking through cent rolls, I found the following:
Two 1943 steel cents, two bank rolls of 2009 cents, two bank rolls of 2009 Formative Years cents and last but not least, two 2009-P Birthplace cents.
I know that there are good coins still out there and the only thing you have to do is look for them.
I enjoy your newspaper very much and I wish that there was more room for letters about finds.

Bob Atwater
Conway, S.C.

Imperfections too minor to be termed errors

Each time I read NN, there are lots of pictures and articles that have to do with current issue coins that are classified as errors.
It appears to me that the vast majority of these, so called errors, can only be distinguished with a microscope.
So what’s the point in calling them errors if no one can see them with their naked eye and they don’t really appear significant anyway?
I know there’s a lot of excitement over true errors, as there probably should be. These others are not errors.
I have been collecting, on and off, since the late 1950s. I have several nice sets, but the coolest one is the set I put together of all the 20th century coins with each coin of the first year of issue, all major variations in between and each coin of the last year of issue. As you can see, it quickly adds up.
Also, I have never gotten a 2009 Lincoln cent in circulation since they have come out or bought one. Nor will I buy one.
Anyway, I enjoy the publication, always read your column, the letters and a lot of the articles. Good job!

Joe Burnett
North Little Rock, Ark.

Three ‘rail splitters’ found in change

I got my first Lincoln “rail splitter” cents today, three of them from a Harris Teeter supermarket here in Greensboro. They are bright red uncirculated ones from a new roll. I’ll probably keep one, and try to trade two of them at a local coin show for two circulated Lincolns I need to fill my Whitman folder – 1962 and 1968-S.

 Bob Klippstein
Greensboro, N.C.

Mint holds back on JFK, $1 coins production

Being retired, with plenty of time on my hands I spend many hours sorting, grading and checking the supply and demand trends in the numismatic world. It is very much like the commodities market. You’ll never know the value of the item until after the fact.
Values are dependent on supply and demand. The United States Mint produces “X” amount of coins each year. We never know the total production until the following year. That’s the barometer of the supply side, which in turn reflects the demand factor. Because of this, the values of most coins are unpredictable, until production figures are released
Recently, while inserting last year’s JFK coins in an album, as usual I always double check the production figures from the U.S. Mint and lo and behold, last year (2008) it only produced 1.7 million each of the Denver and Philadelphia mint coins.
Bear in mind that the Mint produces hundreds of millions of coins each year and last year they only produced a handful of JFKs. What has this got to do with the market? Plenty.
First there are none in the open market – our banking system and the Mint is the only source for distribution. Only coin collectors and coin dealers had access via direct purchase from the Mint. Our banking system never received any in 2008 and if you check further there have been a number of prior years with the 2.5 million production figures.
As they say in the commodities world, a few individuals just cornered the 2008 JFK coin market. Since the 1.7 million was such a low production and local banks were never issued any for distributaries, this can affect this coin market. You can do the mathematics. We have over 300,000,000 million people living in the United States. This leaves us with about one person for every 300 people who could mathematically own such a coin.
Special collectors and dealers have the entire supply of the 2008-P and 2008-D JFK half dollars. If you wanted to fill in your slot for the 2008 coins, you have nowhere to go but pay through the nose to fill in your missing coin.
Bullion, gold and silver have something in common with the commodities exchange. The price is set by supply and demand. It now appears that the U.S. Mint is not producing 50-cent and $1 coins for massive distribution.

Michael J. Scalera II
Fredon, N.J.

Mint lacks technology for edge lettering

I just read an article about edge lettering on new coinage. It bothers me to say, but I do not think the technology is there anymore to tackle such projects without the costs of mintage going through the Mint’s roofs.
It might be nice to be able to look at a coin and see such famous quotes as “I did not get AIDS from that woman,” “I did not exhale after doing 12 lines of nose candy,” etc., but what is the big deal? Nowadays we are lucky that coins are not made of cardboard in this country, with the jacking up of prices and the downfall of services rendered all at the same time.

Ron Feuer
Carlot, N.C.

Lincoln cent coin in wrong roll wrapper

I have been a subscriber of Coin Prices and Numismatic News for years. I have never contacted you before but need your help now.
Today I received my 2009 Professional Life Lincoln cent rolls from the U.S. Mint. I opened the white box that the P and D rolls came in. I do not open the rolls, I save them as I get them. To my surprise, the P rolls had a Formative Years tail showing on one end. I thought they sent me the wrong roll of pennies. I looked at the roll again and it was labeled Professional Life. So I have a Professional Life P roll with a Formative Years coin at one end, and a head at the other end. Is this considered a U.S. Mint error? I am sending two photos showing this. Would there be any monetary value to this? I’ve never had a mistake from the Mint before.
I would appreciate any feedback.

Brenda Walton and Billy Walton
Hamburg, Ark.

Editor’s note: This kind of error is interesting, but because it is relatively easy to put old coins in new wrappers, there is little likelihood of any long-term additional value.

Bank sale of cent rolls was only at ceremony

In the Aug. 11 issue of NN, a misinterpretation was printed on the front page article, “Get new Lincolns from Old Capitol.” The article indicated that the Chase Bank was giving collectors the opportunity to purchase rolls of the third issue of the Lincolns “at face value.”
Well, I went to several branches at Chase and no one knew anything about it, not even the managers. I did wait until the ceremony with the governor and Mr. Moy was over, about noon EST.

Bob Vinciguerra
North Bellmore, N.Y

Editor’s note: The Chase exchange only took place at the ceremony.

Precious metals IRA preserves principal

Patrick Heller wrote an excellent article concerning putting gold and silver into IRAs in the September first issue of Numismatic News, which I greatly appreciate, and which I think was sorely needed.
However, I take exception with him in that he leaves out a very important reason for putting gold and silver in a precious metals IRA. We are living in a marked recession and not knowing when the market could drop even more precipitously, I believe like those economists that feel that we are in for even more recession or depression.
Also, the dollar is dropping against most of he world’s currencies, and our current administration (along with the last administration, as a matter of fact) have been running the printing presses at mach speed, which is leading us into higher inflation or super inflation. By buying gold through a precious metals IRA, my principal is being preserved.

Joseph Stokes
Orange Park, Fla.