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This week's letters (12/24/13)

I have been collecting coins for 50 years. I am a restaurant manager. I meet lots of people and I have found that word of mouth is a good way to find coins.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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Word of mouth brings coins from many people

I enjoy Numismatic News very much. I have been collecting coins for 50 years. I am a restaurant manager. I meet lots of people and I have found that word of mouth is a good way to find coins.

Lots of people have coins in drawers, jars, cigar boxes. I have people bring coins to me all the time. Whatever they bring I will buy from them, whether it is one coin or 50. There’s no limit to what’s out there and if you give a fair price you will get lots of coins.

Gary Hutchins

Some great finds at Michigan coin show

The weekend after Thanksgiving we all know what that is Michigan State Numismatic Society show time. This year was no let down from last year’s record crowds that attended the show. The aisles were packed and business seemed to be brisk. I found a nice Seated Liberty half dollar to buy and a few pieces of currency to take home.

Along with buying a few nice coins to add to my collection I took along a few coins I found while roll searching. The two coins were a 2005 Westward Journey nickel and a 1965 cent. The nickel had a weak strike and the cent appeared to be a die clip.

I had a dealer I know look at both to tell me if they were real Mint errors or some one’s garage tinkering with them. Larry checked the coins out and told me the nickel was struck through grease and the cent was an actual die clip. Needless to say I was happy to hear that news.

Attend the coin show of your choice and have fun and find nice original coins to add to your collection.

Onondaga, Mich.

Young people don’t take an interest in our hobby

Your Sept. 24 editorial really struck a note and I felt compelled to respond and send a few recent articles to substantiate the point you made about the “pending hobby apocalypse,” which seems more apparent with each show I attend as a collector or set up at. The economists use the term of “too many goods chasing too few dollars” or restated in this case as “too few collectors.”

Active recruiting by the ANA and local coin clubs may help to stem the tide, but unfortunately will not stop it. The two clubs that I am associated with, the Chicago Coin Club and Hillside Coin Club, put forth a great deal of effort to present monthly educational programs, speakers and members exhibitors. While both clubs are reasonably successful attracting new members, most come as middle-agers returning to the hobby they once enjoyed as kids. Despite our best efforts very few young people attend our monthly coin club meetings, much less make a return visit.

I was struck once again by the number of grey-haired attendees at the April Central States show in Schaumburg, Ill.; the August ANA show in Rosemont, Ill., and the September Tinley Park coin show.

Like you, I also have happy memories of searching through rolls of circulated coins from the bank and the cash register at the local drug store I worked at looking for that elusive better date and mintmark coin. I still vividly remember the feeling of exhilaration upon finding an occasional Indian Head cent, Barber dime or Standing Liberty quarter with a strong date.

The current generation of school kids are assaulted by a non-stop electronic blitz promoting consumerism, instant gratification and always being in touch. The idea of a tranquil hobby such as coins, stamps, sports cards, rocks or butterflies is as outdated to this group as two tin cans and a string used for communicating. One only has to go around public parks and playgrounds in the summertime and notice the absence of kids since most are to be found indoors playing electronic games or tapping the keys while instant messaging one another about being bored with nothing to do.

In summation, I think you may have a point about a few well-healed collectors going after great rarities while the majority of other coins are relegated to the bullion heap. Unfortunately our hobby is in transition and as you said “the villain is on our tail.” For myself, I will continue to enjoy the numismatic hobby along with the many friendships developed along the way and the opportunity to continually be exposed to and learn new things.

Wheaton, Ill.

ICTA valuable asset to numismatic hobby

I enjoyed reading your “Class of ‘63” column in the Dec. 3 issue of Numismatic News.

In my opinion, Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) provides an extremely valuable service to everyone in the hobby, and yet rarely get the appreciation and acknowledgement they deserve.

I was fortunate to meet Diane Piret within my first year as convention coordinator of FUN (1993) and she has given me excellent advice and counsel many times and on a variety of topics.

All numismatists are lucky to have the services of ICTA to help protect our hobby. Hopefully more will become acquainted with this fine organization and support them.

Cindy Wibker

Now a good time to buy gold, silver

I have spent a lot of money on getting coins graded and it includes silver and gold from the U.S. Mint. I had a few coins that I had saved because I knew they were old but that was about it. I told myself that if I get involved with a hobby, it should be coins. I went to the local coin dealer and bought all the folders to keep coins in for my new hobby.

Over the first two years, I bought a lot of coins on eBay to fill my list. Then I started getting a lot of coins, but really did not know how to tell the grade. I bought a Photograde book to use. It really helped, but I wanted to learn more about grading. I enrolled in the ANA classes and their other program to earn the title of Numismatic Scholar. Wow! I was very happy when I got that diploma in the mail.

I have gained respect by knowing how to grade coins. I have looked at a lot of my friends’ coins now. Sometimes I tell them not to be angry at me, but the coin barely has a date visible. I can see Liberty on some or at least three of the letters. I let them know what Photogrades says about its grade by matching its images up with the coin.

I would like to say that for awhile I saw silver and gold go up almost daily. Today, I see the opposite.

A lot of my friends and those who’s coins I looked at talked of silver and gold, but did not know anything about getting it and how much to pay. I informed them I buy now from the Mint for most of my coins and I’m staying with the gold and silver. I also buy when the coins have been graded and already slabbed.

Well, the market is down. Why? That is an answer I wished I knew because I get asked so many times. Should I put my money into silver or gold, my friends ask. I tell them there is no way I can see into the future. I tell that if they put the money into the gold and silver, be prepared to see a yo yo type of prices of the two metals.

I just explained to them that the silver is almost gone from the surface top of the ground. It is going to cost more to get it under ground and the same goes for gold. I explained as with any company that produces a product, it must make money for it self or it will go broke. I advised them to go ahead and buy some gold and silver.

More silver is needed to be used in the electronics plants overseas, and here at home more silver is needed for other items such as silverware, mirrors, and jewelry. That leaves what’s left of the silver for us to use for making coins and their my friend lies the answer to whether you should you buy silver.

And now for gold. TV has a lot of programs about people searching for gold to get rich quick. Some of it is taken from the top of the ground using small equipment. People may end up with a few ounces that does not even cover their expenses. South African gold mines are closing due to going as far as two or more miles into the earth. It is dangerous and the profit is not worth it.

Save your money and take the bus to work and take your lunch. The money you save over a couple of months you can use to start buying gold as little a one-tenth of an ounce. We can then only hope that with closing of mines, countries getting paid in gold and expenses going up that inflation returns and the price of an ounce of gold will rise.

David A Asbury Sr.
Omaha, Neb.

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