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This week's letters (05/31/11)

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What is the correct way to store BU Lincoln cents?


I have a question concerning uncirculated rolls. I am currently reading A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents (Official Red Books) written by Q. David Bowers. He states that uncirculated or BU coins should not be stored in the paper wrappers, since the paper contains chemicals that will tone coins over time, especially along their edges.

I am assuming he is referring to the older kraft wrapping papers the banks used to use in the past. What about the white paper that the U.S. Mint currently uses to wrap uncirculated rolls, and are they safe?

The reason I am asking is I have an uncirculated Lincoln roll collection ranging in date from 1943 to 2011, including BU P, D, and S coins, no proofs. Most of them are in their original bank rolls, which means some have been wrapped in paper since the mid 1940s. I also have each BU roll stored in a KCCS square plastic coin tube and have them stored in cardboard boxes.

What about the plastic wrappers that some banks use? Are they just as bad as the paper wrappers? Most of the early 1990s rolls are in plastic wrappers. I do not see these much anymore.

Should I take all of them out of the paper wrappers and place them directly in plastic coin tubes? I have a small fortune in BU Lincoln that I have been collecting 20 plus years, and now I hear I have been storing them all wrong. HELP!

Jamie S. Meece

Address withheld

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Editor’s note: Air is the enemy when it comes to preserving uncirculated cents in their pristine state. Also, the sulfur in paper contributes to the problem. Many uncirculated older cents have black edges because of the paper rolls they were housed in. If you want to preserve the coins, they should be stored in air-tight polystyrene holders. Rigid plastic rolls are the best for mass storage. Individual holders are also made of this plastic for rarer pieces. Soft plastics have polyvinyl chloride in them, which breaks down over time and turns copper and silver green. There are other types of holders for individual coins. Mylar is another inert plastic, but it is somewhat difficult to work with and some versions of these holders break easily. The plastic used in modern bank rolls should be viewed with suspicion as well.

Keep in mind one thing. Paper got a bad rap in the 1960s and collectors put much material in the new plastic holders of the time before we knew of the dangers of PVC. That transfer from paper to bad plastic caused more harm than the paper would have.
Article on 1972 hoard triggers fond memories

I enjoyed reading the story of the 1972 hoard in the May 17 issue of NN.

This event brought back many memories for me. I am very familiar with that event as I had just been hired by Paramount International Coin Corporation in early 1973. One of the first duties in my new job was to write some of the advertising offering this massive hoard of high quality and rare gold coins to the public. If my memory is right, I believe there were approximately 800 Spanish gold doubloons (8 escudos) in this hoard, not to mention many hundreds of other gold coins.

If anyone has the very first issue of The Paramount Journal (early 1973), you will see a fairly comprehensive article about the Curacao Hoard along with many offerings of the coins to the public.

One minor correction I would like to point out in the story. Unless John has changed his name, it should be John S. Queen, not McQueen.

In all honesty, John Queen and Ron Howard truly hit the jackpot when they acquired these coins in Curacao in the early 1970s.

Tom Mulvaney

Lexington, Ky.

Editor’s note: We apologize to readers for that unfortunate mistake last week. We are glad you enjoyed the story.

Brockton, Mass., celebrates National Coin Week

The National Coin Week celebration held in Brockton, Mass., has become a bright spot in my numismatic year.

Started by Richard Hand in 2007, it has grown to an event attended by a diverse audience of around 100, featuring two speakers and a number of exhibits showing coins, currency, tokens, and medals. Two speakers talk on subjects related to the year’s theme, and gifts and free raffles enable the attendees to win a number of items related to numismatics.

This year it was held on Saturday, April 16. There was a proclamation of National Coin Week from the City of Brockton, read by City counselors at Large Jass Stewart and Tom Brophy, Dean. There was also a Resolution from the State Senate recognizing the participation of all the Boston Numismatic Society, the Collectors Club of New England, and the Currency Club of New England. State Senator Tom Kennedy attended, and the Resolution was read by State Representative Christine Canavan.

This year’s speakers were Richard Balbaton, whose illustrated talk provided an overview of Confederate currency, and Dana Zaiser, who gave a PowerPoint presentation on civil war tokens. Following the talks, Richard Hand presented bronze Coin Week participation medals from the American Numismatic Association recognizing the two speakers. He also called Bill Harkins and me up to receive the same medal for our participation in last year’s event, and also presented one to Christine Canavan, and one to the Brockton library, which has been hosting the event. On the obverse, the medal features the Lamp of Knowledge and open book, the former logo of the ANA. The reverse shows a handsome olive wreath surrounding the words: “IN APPRECIATION OF YOUR PARTICIPATION.

Afterwards, as Richard Hand called out winning raffle numbers, we all had an opportunity to look at the various exhibits, choose from among a number of free numismatic publications, and also pick up a 5-rupee note from Sarma Pydipally. Helper Diane Zuck was at the side, helping children put the cents included in the welcome package into the cardboard coin holders provided for them. I came away with a number of interesting items, and am delighted with the generosity of more than 10 dealers and other entities who contributed books, coins and other materials to this event.

FYI: Dealers and other entities contributing include, in alphabetical order: American Numismatic Assc.; Anawan Coin Co.; Jfoot13 Coins & More; Johnston’s Antiques; Littleton Coin Co.; Paul Hollis, Rare Coin & Precious Metals; Scott Travers Rare Coin Galleries, LLC; Steve’s Rare Coins & Collectibles; WestSide Stamp & Coin, and the United States Mint, Bureau of Printing and Engraving, and Numismatic News.

Sherry Briggs, President

Boston Numismatic Society

Needham, Mass.

After months of waiting, ATB order confirmed

Two days after I sent a letter to you complaining (again) about this joke that has become the America The Beautiful Program, APMEX sent me a link offering me the first five issues PCGS graded.

I paid my little over $1,000 on April 16 and gotten a confirmation for my payment we’ll see if I actually get the coins.

It was really strange to get this offer after months of trying and they, as well as every other distributor, telling me they were sold out.

Mr. Harper, I don’t know if you had anything to do with this but if you did thank you very much.

Robert Patterson

Lomita, Calif.

Editor’s Note: Congratulations. However, neither Dave Harper nor anyone on the NN staff took any action on Mr. Patterson’s behalf.

Collector seeks advice on Mint ordering

I have been seriously collecting for a few years now but April 28 will be my first attempt to grab something from the U.S. Mint on opening day.

Seeing how the mintage figures are surprisingly small, I am wondering what chance I have at picking one of these 5-ounce coin? Like others I intend to be refreshing the product page incessantly until I have the opportunity to grab one of these.

By chance would you have any recommendations to increase my chance of success? I have an account with a updated credit card on file, and I will obviously be logged in at 11:55 a.m.

Brad Milrany

Address withheld

Order accepted for collector ATB 5-ounce coin

I was logged in to the U.S. Mint website using two Firefox windows. As soon as the clock ticked over to noon ET, the Mint’s site turned to molasses.

It took half an hour, and two browser windows, but I put the Hot Springs bathtub stopper in my cart, then used the other logged-in window to do a “quick check-out.”

I got one, and got the confirming email within half an hour. It says “on hold,” but I’ve seen that before, last time with the Lincoln coin and krinkles set in 2009. It should change to “in process” and then finally to “shipped” when they start shipping these on May 12.

I did get the confirmation email with the order number about half an hour after I successfully placed the order.

Harv Laser

Address withheld

ANA takes message to recent CSNS show

We would like to thank Convention Chair Kevin Foley, Bourse Chair Jerry Lebo along with President Don Charters and the rest of the Central States Numismatic Society Board for providing a free table for the ANA at your recently completed 72nd Anniversary Convention held in Rosemont, Ill., on April 25-30, 2011.

About 20 new members were signed up for the Association, and we participated in the YN Treasure Hunt. A special thanks to John Ferm of Excelsior, Minn., for donating $25 to the ANA for the shipment of the show kit.

Once again CSNS held a spectacular show that had something for everyone: phenomenal exhibits & educational programs, outstanding bourse dealers, an excellent dinner (for the board, speakers, judges and exhibitors) along with an awards breakfast, great security, and a superb Heritage auction covering U.S. coins and paper money.

We hope to return to the next CSNS Convention which will be held in Schaumburg, Ill., on April 18-21, 2012 at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.

John and Nancy Wilson

ANA National Volunteers

Ocala, Fla.

Gold supply too scarce for solid investing

Marilyn Vos Savant mentioned in her column in Parade magazine that all the gold ever found would only make a cube 75 feet in height, width and depth.

I’m glad I don’t invest in gold. One big strike in a gold mine would make the value in gold plummet, wouldn’t it?

Name withheld

Auburn, N.Y.

YN members deserve right to ANA vote

I appreciate your coverage of the YN Voting Rights in Numismatic News. I don’t want to see a return to the days where kids were excluded from the ANA.

By age 13, the ANA’s YN members are already writing articles, giving talks, and putting together exhibits, and we should recognize their contributions by giving them the right to vote. The full bylaws will be published, along with the arguments for and against the minimum voting age will be printed in the June issue of The Numismatist (for those who were not able to attend the meeting).

I did attend the meeting and gave my input to the board, but it went unheeded in the narrow 5-4 vote. Anyone who feels strongly about this issue should send comments directly to the Board, using the email addresses posted on Thanks for your attention to this issue.

Cole Schenewerk

2009 Young Numismatist of the Year

ANA Young Numismatist and Scout Committee

2011 coins finally showing up in change

Finally! Yesterday I received my first 2011-D (uncirculated) cents and a single 2011-D uncirculated nickel in change from the local grocery store. In Houston we normally receive cents in January and nickels in March, but it seems they arrived late this year. So if no one has noticed them yet in town, they are arriving in small numbers I gather.

Haven’t seen any ... ANY ... of the National Park quarters or the Presidential or ‘golden’ Sacs yet either! Is there someone holding back bags from the local banks? I have gotten several Connecticut quarters in change; puzzling. Perhaps I should begin spending some of the state quarters I saved for the last 10 years, ya think?

As to the separate states issuing their own currency. Since we have a history of private banks for over a century issuing their own script I don’t see why we can’t accept Bank A money at Bank B since we have electronic transfers, etc. Anyway, in my opinion a few dozen rolls of “TP” and a few pounds of canned coffee would be better for barter any day after the dollar fails.

Louis Schain

Houston, Texas

Obverse strike weak on collector Hot Springs coin

I received the 5-ounce Hot Springs uncirculated collector coin today from the U.S. Mint.

Gotta say I’m really disappointed in the obverse strike. The whole lower part of ‘LLAR’ in DOLLAR is weak and the terminus of the A and R are missing. No obvious reason why as the perimeter of the rest of the obverse is perfectly fine and shows a strong strike.

Name withheld

Hayward, Wis.

AP acted responsibly in filling ATB order

I am writing this to thank Numismatic News and to publicly applaud FideliTrade. Thanks to your article about some distributors possibly still having some of the 2010 bullion ATB 5-ounce, I searched the Authorized Purchasers’ websites you published.

Fidelitrade’s website had an application/order form for the coins, so I filled one out and submitted not really expecting to get the coins. I was pleased when I got an email saying my order form had been received and sent on to the compliance processing for review. I got excited, but was still kinda assuming I wasn’t going to get the coins.

Next I received an email saying my order request had been rejected and I was feeling like, oh well, nice try, but I called and I was rejected because the application asked for either SS number or FEIN. I had given FEIN and they told me to resubmit with SS number instead.

Days later I got an email saying again that order had been sent to compliance processing. I got a little more excited this time, but weeks later I got another rejection email. So I called again and this time I was rejected because they had found two different addresses for me. I explained that they were both mine (one was my business).

I submitted a third time, got the sending on to compliance processing email again, but this time, weeks later, I got an email (heart kinda sunk till I read) that order had been accepted and shipping would take up to four weeks. I couldn’t believe I was going to actually get these coins for $929.20!

After months of emotional ups and downs my coins arrived last week, and again, I want to thank NN for the priceless info and sing the praises of FideliTrade for taking their time to distribute the coins so responsibly.

Jeff Lippitt

Charleston, W.Va.

2011-D 5-cent piece acquired, but from Canada

I finally got a 2011-D nickel in a box of nickels last month from a member in our coin club in Tacoma-Lakewood, Wash. He got me a 2011 Canadian 5 cents.

I had given up hope of finding an American coin (2011).

Jay Cook

Address withheld