UHR coin left at door with no signature
On Monday, March 2, I successfully reached a Mint customer service representative via telephone, only to learn that my Ultra High Relief coin was being shipped that day. I was even provided with a tracking number.
You’d expect me to be overjoyed, if it wasn’t for the fact that my wife and I were to be on a plane early Tuesday morning and would not be home to receive it. Being gone eight days, I feared the package would end up in a black hole somewhere, leading to a protracted bureaucratic nightmare trying to locate the package and have it reshipped to me.
The rep assured me the package would require a signature, but could not confirm whether a neighbor could sign on my behalf. Anyway, I asked my neighbor to be on the alert for an attempted delivery.
Arriving at my destination Tuesday evening, March 3, I called my neighbor, and was relieved to hear that she picked up the box from my doorstep and was taking good care of it. That’s right; UPS (seems the Mint is not using FedEx anymore for overnight shipping) dropped my $1,200 coin on the doorstep and ran. No signature; nothing. FedEx never delivered a Mint product to me without a signature.
Ed Moy, I hope you’re reading this. Between my inability to get order status either online or from a live agent, and the UPS “hit and run” policy, I’d say your team could be doing better; much better.
Delivery of $1,200 coin calls for signature
I just got my UHR (March 13) that I purchased on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. The price was exactly what it was advertised to be when I placed the order.
What is beyond belief was the Mint shipping it via UPS without a signature being required for delivery. It was simply sitting by my front door.
Any time I’ve ordered gold or platinum coins – they came FedEx and had to be signed for. If someone had grabbed this box that was clearly visible from the street. I can just imagine the headache I would have had proving I never received the $1,200 coin. Unbelievable.
Won’t pay extra to get new Lincoln cents
I would love to buy a couple rolls of the new Lincoln cent, but I am not going to pay over face value to get them. I think the Mint really screwed this one up. The first thing the messed up was not having a 2009 Lincoln cent with the wheat ear reverse, now this. I see no reason they can’t send these rolls to the banks. It surely can’t be much harder to send the new rolls than to send rolls they already had laying around.
Lucky for me the designs are a little disappointing, so I’m in no great rush to get some.
Mint stood by purchase price of UHR coin
I want to add my two cents to the Mint’s new gold pricing policy. I think many readers are overreacting. I know I did. Like many others, I ordered the UHR Saint-Gaudens coin the day it went on sale. The price was $1,189 plus shipping and handling. Again like many others, I waited. And waited. As the price for the coin went up, so did my concern.
The coin arrived the first week in March and I was charged, to the penny, the price quoted on the day of purchase. The Mint stood by its price. I had worried for nothing.
The coin and its packaging are worth the price and the wait. The Mint has hit a home run on this one! My only complaint, as stated by another writer, is that UPS left this package on my doorstep as well. No one was home at delivery and the box could have easily been stolen. A signature should have been required. This was always the case when FedEx was used as the shipper. I don’t know if the Mint no longer requires signatures or if this was a UPS error. Either way, it needs to be corrected. I state this for the benefit of those who have not yet received their coin.
You may wish to be proactive and contact the mint and/or UPS and demand a receipt of delivery.
Print more articles on grading, coin hoards
I have been a subscriber to Numismatic News for about six years now, and eagerly look forward to reading about the latest auction results, informative articles and even the advertising from dealers. However, I would request to see a few other things occasionally.
I rarely see any articles related to grading, especially Mint State coins. It would be nice to see guest columns from former graders of the three main grading services talk about the finer points of grading Mint State popular series such as Walkers, Mercurys, Morgans, Buffalo nickels etc. How much do they take strike into consideration, vs. luster, vs. bag marks, vs. overall flash of the coin. I would like to see them describe the technical differences between MS-63, 64 and 65 coins with accompanying photos of each, and what criteria they use for determining the final grade before encapsulating. I would also like to see some columns from active dealers talking about certain series or particular coins they feel are under priced in the market currently, as well as overpriced. It would be nice to also see articles on famous coin hoards, ANA history, and perhaps an article from dealers on how sites like eBay have affected the marketplace. While I enjoy the consistent articles each week, I think more variety is called for.
I think most subscribers are like sponges, always looking to soak up more information from dealers and experts in the field on grading techniques, as well as information not generally available to collectors. I am always trying to add coins as well as knowledge to my collecting activities.
New Lincoln cents are worth paying $1 for
I am a full-time dealer. I am also a collector in a small way. I really like the new cents. A friend of mine had me order him a few rolls of the cents on eBay first at $26 a roll and later $10 a roll. I got some from him and was able to sell them for $1 each at local shows. This seems like a lot of money for a coin that you might be able to get in change for 1 cent soon. Then again you may not be able to! But keep in mind that in 1857 when the Flying Eagle cent came out, and in 1909 with the first Lincoln cents came out they were sold (quickly) for $1 or more each. A dollar was much more then than it is now!
I also ordered five roll sets (P and D mint) from the Mint (the limit) and had a family member order five more sets for me. For five sets, plus shipping, the total is just under $50. That works out to 10 cents each. I think this is a very reasonable price. Some people say they will be sold by dealers for just 2 cents each or so. I however disagree. To paraphrase Q. David Bowers, if a dealer has to buy the rolls, package them, add travel cost to shows, etc., the cost would be 50 cents to $1 for a new cent. And as he says, and I agree, even this would be cheap.
These coins are historic, well designed, and they are part of what I consider the most popular series of U.S. coins ever minted. Even if every bank had them they would soon be sold out and the coins would still be selling for 50 to 200 times face value. Happy collecting!
Shelby Township, Mich.
Harper’s column offers insight for purchases
I have learned to read the words from Dave Harper’s “Class of ‘63” column. I remember benefiting from the story of the JFK matte proof half dollar commemorative (buying 14). I remember not paying attention to the story of what would be the No. 2 low mintage $10 half gold/half platinum commemorative (only buying one). I neglected the impact of “type” coin collectors.
I bought the unc/proof Jefferson commemorative dollars (10 each) on the speculation of them being a “must have” for the Jefferson nickel collector. I only bought one-half stock of the Buffalo commemorative dollar (because of my poor speculation in the Jefferson commemorative dollar).
I bought two each of the Roosevelt and George Washington commemorative $5 gold because I hadn’t given up on the idea that collectors of the “series” would also want the “commemorative.”
So I paid attention to your “Mint Statistics” (only 70,000 left) and bought one proof and four uncirculated of the Lincoln commemorative dollar figuring that it might “pop” like the Buffalo commemorative dollar, but I think that $8.95 for 100 pennies (9 cents each) is a poor speculation. I was hoping that the U.S. Mint might put all eight rolls (P/D for each of four designs) into a single offering and those $4 worth of pennies might sell for $14.95 (still a hefty profit).
It will be interesting to watch “Mint Statistics” and see how many hobbyists purchase the Lincoln P/D rolls.
We might anticipate that 2009 will be a poor year for our economy and result in fewer coins being produced, however I suspect that the Lincoln cents (all four designs) will be heavily saved in greater numbers than the four designs we just had for the Jefferson nickel commemorative designs of the Lewis and Clarke celebration.
Jerome Curtis Watts
UHR coin is everything it was hyped to be
I ordered my UHR in the first hour of the first day and finally received it on March 4, but not without many false alerts, as my ship date was moved from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, Feb. 8, Feb. 12, Feb. 18 and then to “anytime within the next six to nine months.” I was particularly annoyed that the U.S. Mint disabled the “track order” feature of their Web site as it was quite nice to be able to monitor your ship date.
I found several informative and interesting articles in the Numismatic News while I was awaiting my coin’s arrival. I would like to point out that my package did arrive via UPS and it was left, rather unceremoniously, on the front porch even after the Mint said they would require a signature upon delivery.
I do believe that the Mint’s Web site did experience a breach of security as has been hinted at since I received a letter and a replacement card from my credit card company stating that a vendor had experienced “some” security issues. On the plus side is I was charged the original price stated when I ordered the UHR.
I must admit this coin is everything it was hyped to be and mine is currently on its way for slabbing as an Early Release.
Sun Prairie, Wis.
2009 Lincoln cent acquired in Bakersfield
I acquired one of the new Lincoln cents during the first week of March here in Bakersfield, Calif., however, I’m afraid I can’t say exactly where I got it. I generally toss all of my pocket change into a shallow bowl when I get home in the evening and while emptying my pockets last Friday I noticed a shiny cent on the floor in the vicinity of the bowl. When I picked it up there was one of the new log cabin reverse cents. I don’t know exactly when it fell to the floor and I haven’t seen one since then.
Mint went too far by cutting small gold coins
I have read a number of recent letters whose authors express great concern about pricing for the 2009 Ultra High Relief double eagle. I received mine today and would like to reassure readers that the price one pays is set on the order date, not at the time of shipping. The fact that the Mint charges our credit cards when they ship does not mean they determine the price then. It is locked in when you buy. I ordered on the first day of issue and paid, as expected, $1,189 plus postage.
I have not opened the package because I am going to bring it to my local coin dealer to send to Professional Coin Grading Service for grading. I will be able to receive a first strike designation because my coin was sent by March 11, which the cut-off date for PCGS. As long as the package has a postmark of no later than March 11, one can get the first strike by sending in the entire unopened package. Plus, if I am really lucky, I might get the coveted MS-70 grade. Even if I do not get a 70, I believe that for this issue first strikes will continue to command a siginifcant premium because of all the production and delivery problems.
On an unrelated point: I think the Mint was wise to reduce its product line but went too far, particularly by eliminating burnished gold and platinum eagles smaller than one ounce. At current metal prices many of us can’t afford one-ounce pieces. The market for those coins was still developing, but that is understanable for a line that only started in 2006. There is clearly more demand for those coins than there is for the First Spouse gold coin program.
Finally, my gold predictions: We will reach a high of $1,200 or more later this year and will not go below $800. As soon as we went below $800 last year, gold buyers in India and elsewhere pushed the price back up.
Farmers’ ‘Fair Day’ a good source for coins
Your story in the March 17 issue regarding “coins in my pocket” reminded me of earlier days, when in my youth I worked in a hardware store. On “Fair Day” when local farmers brought any number of items, from fresh vegetables, dressed poultry and eggs to livestock to designated locations to sell to “city folk.”
Most sales began at daylight, and by noon were over, and many farmers spent the rest of the day shopping after having lunch in a local tavern. Throughout the afternoon, many would stock up on necessary items required to “keep the old place going,” including bolts, nails and other hardware items. Many older farmers utilized a cloth “pocket book” full of coins that they used to make change and pay for purchases, and I looked eagerly to those days, since the store would receive any number of old coins, including an occasional Barber quarter or dime, Liberty head nickel and early Indian head cents.
Many local establishments also began to give away newer plastic “coin holders” carrying the name of their business during the holiday season, along with next years calendar. These coin holders were egg shaped, but flat, and when squeezed on the ends would open like a mouth, for easy removal of coins. In most cases they would only hold a dollar or two of change, but they did keep loose change from sliding out of your pocket, and minimize your “pants pocket effect.”
The leather “wallets” of the time, also had a snap coin pocket that would hold loose change, since in those days even a quarter or half dollar went a long way. I always thought the plastic coin holders were a neat advertising item, since they reminded the user of the local store each time they opened it, and probably reminded many of an individual to stop for a gallon of milk, or loaf of bread, not unlike one does today at a local “quick stop.” Another case of ingenuity based on solving a problem. Maybe that’s the answer for the dollar coin!
Display case for UHR coin way too big
I just received my Ultra High Relief $20 gold coin. It’s a beautiful coin but, could they have made the display case any bigger? That thing is huge! Why didn’t they just add four legs on the thing and call it a display table? While they’re at it, how about some casters so it’s portable? The case takes up almost four times the space as one of the First Spouse gold coin cases and I think those are too big as they take up too much room in my safe.
Doesn’t the Mint get it? We’re buying a coin. We expect protective packaging but, don’t over do it. Packaging is a funny thing, if it’s damaged or missing, you take a hit, but if everything is in place like you expect, it’s worth no additional value to the coin.
New log cabin Lincoln cents feel thinner
Today, (March 11) in downtown Denver I went to my bank during the lunch hour. While cashing a check I asked the teller if she had seen any of the new 2009 Lincoln cents yet. She said she had not seen one but that some arrived today and were in the vault. She went to the vault and brought out a $25 box of them and asked how many I wanted! I only took $1 worth and handed a number of them out to those in our office today.
All of these had the log cabin reverse. All were struck at the Denver Mint, not far from my office.
Interestingly, when I held the two rolls of new cents in my hands I thought they felt “thinner” in diameter than normal. Most everyone I handed one out to thought the same. Only about one in three people could figure out “what was different.” Most guessed that they were smaller or lighter in weight. I guess the log cabin looks somewhat similar to the Lincoln Memorial to a non-collector?
W. David Perkins
Not a fan of Mishler’s January travel report
In regard to Clifford Mishler’s March 3 report on January travels, there’s 15 minutes I can’t get back. It reminded me of my uncle’s trip to Chicago slides. His first 10 minutes was nothing but the airport terminal. Sheesh.
Fort Worth, Texas
Try a coin purse to contain loose change
In response to your Class of ‘63 column appearing in the March 17 issue of NN, I would suggest you try what I do.
Years ago, I decided having coins either slip out of my pockets or wear a hole in them was a nuisance. So, I solved that problem by carrying a coin purse for the coins. It is about 2 by 4 inches, fits nicely in the pocket, and holds everything from cents to dollars. Problem solved.
I like using coins, and I make a point of using the dollar ones too. Besides, it’s fun to empty the purse a couple of times a week to check the accumulation.
Mint makes too much profit on cent rolls
I am almost being forced to buy from the Mint. Our local coin stores are advising that the Omaha, Neb., area will not be receiving the new penny since our area is overstocked with pennies.
With the Mint selling each penny to the public at 14 cents each, I just can’t wait until the next two roll set comes out so I can be ripped-off again. It’s nice to make a profit but this is off the charts.
Thanks for a successful Portland ANA show
The ANA National Money Show recently concluded in Portland was a huge success. We grade all aspects of this convention MS-70. We want to thank and congratulate the following for a job well done: General Chairman Scott Loos, his local Committee and workers; the host coin clubs; ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd, along with Meeting Services Manager Brenda Bishop and all their staff; the ANA National Volunteers, Bowers & Merena Auctions, the exhibitors, judges and speakers; Scout Clinic coordinators; the BEP, U.S. Mint & Post Office; public relations (publicity), security, F+W Publications, the thousands of visitors who attended and the hundreds of great coin dealers who had tables at the show. Without the dealers, we wouldn’t have coin conventions. Wow, what an outstanding coin convention!
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the success of this show. We look forward to the summer ANA convention in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 5-9.
John and Nancy Wilson
Good coin care key for numismatists
I read Bill Fivaz’s letter to the editor where he states that toned coins are not graded but rather priced and he calls this “market grading.”
The Official ANA Grading Standards for U.S. Coins, 6th edition has no mention of “market grading” as the standard for grading coins. I certainly do not use “market grading” when I grade coins and neither do my numismatic friends.
Say collector A purchased a raw brilliant untoned MS-63 1878-CC Morgan dollar. Say collector B also purchased a raw untoned MS-63 1878-CC dollar with original mint luster. Collector A has been educated about how to care for his coins and he places his coin in a holder that keeps out hydrogen sulfide gas and thus protects his coin from corrosion. Collector B, by contrast, places his coin is a drawer full of diverse kinds of paper containing trace levels of sulfur and thus takes no steps to protect his coin from becoming toned or tarnished.
Say down the road both collectors decide to sell their two coins and thus send them to a the same grading service to get them slabbed. Collector A gets his untoned coin back from the grading service as an MS-63 coin. By contrast, collector B, who now has a coin that has “attractive” red, purple and blue toning gets his coin back with an MS-65 grade. Collector A sells his coin for $450 and collector B, who did not practice good coin care, sells his coin for $2,500. I ask, how can a coin improve in grade due to the formation of “attractive coloration,” in this case silver sulfide, caused by the oxidation of the surface silver resulting in chemical wear?
Oxidation, is the loss of electrons. The degree of corrosion on a silver coin can be measured and proven to have occurred. I have done this many times in the laboratory.
Wayne Miller, a Morgan dollar specialist, says this about toning. If the toning is very dark ( green, purple, blue, black), the surface of a coin when conserved will often be lacking in luster. It appears, he continues, that some of the silver compounds are etched deeply enough so as to destroy the coin’s mint luster. Wayne is telling us that toning or corrosion on a silver coin has etched the surface of a Morgan dollar. Technically this is chemical wear. Another disadvantage of a darkly toned coins is that the corrosion layers can hide physical wear i.e., very fine hairlines. Therefore, some darkly toned coins that were graded as being in Mint State when dipped (conserved) to remove the silver sulfide layers now will show the fine hairlines that were hidden from view. Thus the coin was really an AU all the while, but the physical wear was hidden by the toning. Been there done that! The bottom line is this, good coin care is so important because we are only caretakers of our numismatic properties for a short while before someone else owns them.
Willing buyer, seller reached agreeable price
I have had a high degree of interest in the letters dealing with Mr. Lembke’s windfall on the purchase of a $7 silver dollar. The basic premise of a transaction occuring is that a price is reached when a willing buyer and a willing seller agree on that price. It applies whether you are talking about cars, clothes, coins, rare stamps etc.
I think those people who criticized Mr. Lembke for not returning either a part or all of his gain should recognize this basic economic fact by apologizing for their misguided thinking.
Ludy E. Langer
I’m still waiting for my order of Abe Lincolns (uncirc and proof) plus some medals from the U.S. Mint. I wonder if the price of silver isn’t being kept artificially low, because the mint isn’t hustling to get out their orders.
I love the fact that the US Mint is fleecing the coin collector once again by offering 2 roll sets of the new Lincoln Pennies- at nearly $14.00 including shipping and handling. I beg to differ with Editor David C. Harper that paying 14 times face value for a 1 cent coin will take my mind off the recession. And I doubt, unless the coins become extremely rare, that a collector will recoup his initial investment.
I did, by the way, find one Lincoln Penny with the log cabin reverse in a purchase at a Walgreen’s in University City, Missouri on Tuesday March, 17th. So the coins are slipping into circulation in St. Louis County.
Maryland Heights, Mo.
Thank you for all of your recent comments regarding the Lincoln cents. Obviously we don’t know much more, really, than we did a couple of weeks ago in regard to how the coins will enter, or IF they will enter the circulation system; but thank you for trying.
Thought you might be interested to hear that I just received an Email showing that the actual shipment of my (5) sets of rolls that I ordered on the release for sale day, have been back-ordered again, the new suspected ship-date of April 4th - a Saturday. This is only the first extension from the first schedule ship date of March 19th. The good news is that they are in the queue (so far). I am hoping that I receive them before the second of the series becomes available.
Now, I wonder if the coins actually get into the banks and gain nationwide circulation soon, and the value actually drops to your announced expected value of 2cents each, how many of these ‘back-ordered’ roll orders will be cancelled, or returned at the $8.95 (plus $4.95 S&H). Those orders are on the books with the mint. That could be a huge loss in expected revenue for the Mint. If I were the mint, speed and timing in distribution of these orders should be a priority, a critical hedge against a mass cancellation of orders; especially now when there is that much shorter ‘return-policy’ of 7 days. No one will return their orders if these orders are filled before the pennies get nationally released.
The US Reserve is responsible for the distribution of circulationg coins. The US Mint is in control of the numismatic orders. Let us all see who wins this game. So far, the people that attended the opening day release are the big winners - $245 for a single roll with the first day of release date-stamped and sold through that famous auction house.
I am writing in defence of Mr Lembke who made a nice find in a totally honest and ethical transaction. The key thing to remember is that this was between numismatically fully experienced people. This was a junk box silver lot being sold as such. The rule about junk boxes is finders keepers and sellers weepers IF they failed to properly search the lot or just couldn’t be bothered. This was NOT a cagey dealer or collector fleecing a poor neophyte with a box of coins asking what they were worth.
I object to letter of Mr. Evens equating Lembke with a dealer who would NOT return coins a customer lost outside a shop shortly after their purchase. Lembke did nothing to deserve this smear, period. He IS an honest and morally ethical person who had a lucky junk box find.
Frederick A. Liberatore
On March 10, 2009, the numismatic world lost a true icon, Lawrence “Larry” Gentile, Sr. Gentile, known for his Young Numismatist (YN) programs, acted as a mentor for countless YN’s. Helping children grow in the hobby of numismatics, he was an extraordinary person. A true inspiration to all, he fueled young minds in the field of numismatics. He will surely be missed. His YN programs are survived by Chris Donato and Will Robins. For more information about the programs, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Men’s Health Magazine always has a poll or two open on their web site www.menshealth.com <http://www.menshealth.com/> . In their April 2009 issue (page 136) they published the results of “Your Interest in Money” and there are two results of interest to numismatists.
Percentage of men who’ve cashed out their childhood coin collection to pay the bills: 28
Percentage of men who tried to collect all the state quarters issued from 1999-2008: 26
Of course, this was not a scientific poll. It came from Men’s Health web surfers. Nevertheless, the results are still interesting and higher than I would have perdicted.
Chicago Coin Club
As a first time ANA volunteer at ANA Conventions, I must say the assistance rendered from members of the Host clubs, Williamette Coin Club, Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association and the Salem Numismatic Society was extremely cooperative. There aggressiveness, enthusiasm and professionalism were obvious throughout the convention and this reflected highly for the ANA. Scott Loos, Gene Wiley and Danny Bisgaard should be recognized along with the members of their organizations for their outstanding leadership. It was great working with all of you and hope we can do it again soon.
Toms River, N.J.
ANA District Rep - Eastern Region
Ok so let me go through the Mint’s pricing strategy again… The Mint is offering a two roll set of the new Lincoln cent for $8.95 plus $4.95 shipping. That’s a total of $13.90 for a dollar’s worth of the cent. Let’s see… that’s comes up to about a 1390% mark up. Imagine that! I can pay $1.39 for ever cent. Or I can direct purchase a new Sacagawea Dollar for… what? A dollar! Ok so I have to purchase at least 250 of those… but at least there is no mark up. They do not even charge shipping. Can someone say “R A P E D” by the government again?
And the mintages of these new cent coins will be astronomically high. Not a lot of room for future price advances. I wonder when the Mint is going to announce that a mint error was “released” in the circulation quality roll set. That will cause their phones and website to be inundated with treasure hunters…I hope true collectors will preserve their capital and focus on supporting the honest dealers who actually have something of value to sell.
The March 17th issue of Numismatic News contained a letter suggesting Dr. King replace Abraham Lincoln on the cent. Almost three years ago I wrote a blog post called Coins, Education, and Civil Rights, in which I suggested Dr. King replace Franklin Roosevelt on the dime:
“Dr. King deserves more than a one-time, one-year commemorative that only 500,000 people could own. He is great enough to be on coins in every American’s pocket, and his time has come.”
Read the entire post at http://rightontheleftcoast.blogspot.com/2006/05/coins-education-and-civil-rights.html
The doorbell rang last Wednesday and upon opening the door, the UPS guy (not in shorts yet) was handing me my long awaited box from the Mint. It was the order that I had placed on line January 22 @ 12:15 PM and it was now the 3rd of March. I opened the box with great anticipation of this highly praised UHR coin and my excitement fell in seconds.
Clearly, you could see black marks around the rim on both sides of the UHR coin. I thought where is Quality Control on this product? DId they lay off those employees, or did AIG do the checking.? How disappointed I was with the product. This is the third time that the Mint has sent us coins (the other two were two sets of Buffalo Proofs) with black marks. These coins would be a joke if I were to send them off to be graded.
For such hype created about these UHR coins, the money spent by the buyer (with extreme prices & limits), and the uniqueness of the product, there is no excuse for the inferior craftsmanship of the product produced.
I am still waiting for a new set to come and if black marks appear again, just like the Buffaloes last year, back they go untill a quality set is obtained. While my card has already been charged.
Precious Metal with Wall-Mart quality?
Melissa V Smith
Mount Sidney, Va.
Your Class of ‘63 column in the 3/10 issue of NN asks about ‘09 Lincoln cents.
On March 2nd, I received three ‘09-D Lincoln cents in my change, from a McDonald’s, in Studio City, California.
Derek J. Price
Toluca Lake, Calif.