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This Week's Letters (8/11/09)

A selection of letters to editor, Dave Harper, from readers of Numismatic News.
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Mint product quality is going, going, gone


I wasn’t sure just what to do, but I know that I wanted to let other collectors know about what the Mint is selling as BU grade. I feel like they sent me their castoffs.
In a roll of Sac $1 2009-P from the Mint I found five good coins that I could use in my book. All the rest have terrible nicks and chips on them. One has a missing “2” in 2009-P, another has 2009 –– P. Another has the bottom of the “2” missing. One coin has 12009-P on it and the “P” is messed up. Another has the “P” obliterated; another has “EPLURIBUS” on it. On another, the “P” is messed up and almost unreadable. All the rest have terrible nicks and chips out. Please tell me if these are important enough to report to other collectors.

Mary Sheldon
Mountain Home, Ark.

Dug-up coins can be valuable, too

I’m writing in regards to the counterfeit coins and the one subject that’s barely mentioned, metal detectorists. I’ve been a detectorist for almost 30 years and I’m sure some of your collectors are as well. Although the coins we take out of the ground may not be uncirculated or proof coins, a lot come out in a wide range of grades; some in XF and some, if you’re lucky enough to uncover a little cache, come out in MS condition, because they were usually buried in a car of some sort.
Therefore, you’re pretty much guaranteed that anything that comes out of the ground is not counterfeit. Don’t get me wrong, there was some counterfeiting going on at some periods, but for the most part I don’t think it was prominent.
As far as coin dealers themselves go, there will always be at least one that will blemish or fracture any possible relationship to the collector.
In my instance, I had taken about 40 of my best coins to be valued (to see if my grading matched those of a professional) at a coin show here in Mass. He filtered through them and set about 15 coins. To one side, a 1921 Walking Liberty half dollar graded XF, listed for over $80 at the time. A 1773 Virginia halfpenny in Fine, 1798 cent in VF, an 1809 half cent in XF, an 1858 half dollar in Fine, and yes, all came out of the ground. Well, he set all the coins down and offered me a whole $100 for the lot.
The next time we talk about dealers and how they’ve been taken, let’s instead talk about the unknowing, who have constantly been taken by a dealer. And no I did not sell my coins to him, but I did take them to someone else with a better reputation.
Back to the real reason for the letter. Even though these coins come out of the round, the detectorist makes a great contribution to possibly finalizing a certain collection one may have. And the collecting doesn’t stop at just coins; it covers a wide arena. But that’s a story for another time. Thanks again.

Wayne Tocci
Winchendon, Mass.

Eagle owes niece full amount for coins

The letter by C. David Eagle about asking his Marine Corps niece to bring him back some coins from Thailand caught my attention. First, he did not give her enough information about what he wanted and he owes her ALL of the $30 she spent to acquire coins for him, and not just half of what she spent.
He writes that Thailand might be the tip of the iceberg for Chinese counterfeits. It is not the tip, it is right below the iceberg and is about to be crushed with counterfeits coming out of China.
The biggest market in the country, the Sunday Market, has baskets full of different crown-sized coins! These baskets can also be found in several other countries, and I also found a bunch of them in Hanoi. Several Thai dealers I know are getting out of coins or even retiring rather than fighting the iceberg.
David also suggests a boycott of Chinese counterfeits, or does he suggest all Chinese numismatic pieces? What he needs to do is to teach himself and others around him on how to detect counterfeits and tell the seller to destroy them or counterstamp them with COPY to make them legal.
And he should not use any seller from China on eBay if he has not proven the seller to be an ethical numismatist.

Howard A. Daniel III
Deltaville, Va.

Credentials don’t mean a dealer is reputable

Many consumers may not be aware that a dealer’s credentials may mean squat! When perusing through my weekly coin publications and the several catalogs that I get, you could feel pretty secure by a dealer who lists his credentials.
Having been an ANA member for a couple years, when I see that listed on a dealer ad you feel that “safety net” so to speak. The ANA has a strict set of rules/code of ethics that members must abide by.
I recently made a purchase from an ANA member. I sent a bank check to finalize my purchase. After a month or so, the coin never arrived. I contacted the dealer who insisted he sent the coin. I asked for a delivery confirmation and what he sent was a blank address label. He stated that the label would show he sent my purchase.
Now, over a couple months later, I received a letter from the dealer stating that I forgot to send him $4 postage so he sent the coin at my expense. I contacted the ANA and sent all the evidence to them. Mr. Mishler was even so kind as to write me giving me the Mediation Services information. I received a call from the woman stating that I was no longer a member so I could not file their complaint.
Mr. Mishler, I would like to kindly suggest that as the newly elected president of ANA, you change the bylaws where it will help anyone with the sound evidence to get the full support from the ANA to mediate the complaint.
My advice to my fellow numismatists, make your purchases through reputable dealers and overlook their credentials. Anyone can join clubs and organizations, all you need to do is pay the fees.

Paul Solomonsen
Norfolk, Mass.

Mint has ventured into the coin business

For 60 years I was a collector/dealer of U.S. coins. When I started, the Mint sold proof sets, and about once a year, a commemorative half dollar. In those days, business strikes were just that, “business strikes.”
I could order from the Mint what I wanted, even if it was just one item. And I could go to my local bank and get any change I wanted.
Then the Mint decided we are all suckers and really went into the coin business. Now you have to be a millionaire to buy everything the Mint puts out. Even charging premium prices for rolls and bags of coins you should be able to get for face value.
I feel sorry for people who pay $8.95 for a roll of cents and brag about it. Or the person who pays $2,000 for a coin that should sell for $1,000. When will people wise up and let the Mint keep its over-priced items?
Now a word for Numismatic News. I always looked forward to my weekly free 25-word classified ad. Then came the big change. Now you need a computer and $6 a week. I don’t have a computer and some weeks I didn’t take in $6. Many of my ads were for Mercury dimes for $1.40 and I paid the postage. I always tried to be fair.

Harry Bean

Albrightsville, Pa.

Change at gas station nets first log cabin cent

Just had to write. And I still don’t believe it!
I finally just received my first 2009 Lincoln cent with the log cabin reverse in change from the Mobil gas station in Cedarville, Ill., after purchasing the July 12 edition of the Sunday paper. This after unsuccessfully checking with the local banks of Freeport, Ill., for the new Lincoln cents for months. This is the first 2009 coin I have received to date from circulation.
Maybe the new cents are finally entering circulation. That is with no thanks to Mr. Moy and associates and their policies. When is the president going to replace Mr. Edwin Moy anyway?

Anson Green
Cedarville, Ill.

Mint isn’t precluded from serving collectors

In his letter in the July 14 issue, James Holds asks to remind us that the U.S. Mint does not exist to serve collectors. However, the effort to do that is clear.
If serving collectors is the business of national organizations, local clubs and dears, very well. But that does not preclude the Mint or anyone else from doing so.
It is likely that people who purchase numismatic items from the Mint also acquire coins etc. from other sources. In any case, Mr. Holds’ opinion of who is or is not a “collector” hardly matters.

Robert McCurdy

Upper Darby, Pa.

Put presidential quotes on coin edges

I just returned from the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs. The Citizen Coinage Advisory Committee had a meeting about two different medals. It asked if anybody had any questions. A man from the Denver area got up and asked why they do not put the date and mintmark back on the front of coins so they could be seen when in books, which I think is a good idea.
It left me the question of what to do with the edge. Maybe put famous quotes that presidents said like “The buck stops here,” “The only thing to fear is fear itself,” “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” “I am not a crook,” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” “I did not inhale,” “Read my lips; no new taxes,” and so on for all mankind to ponder and remember.

John Petrow
Key Largo, Fla.

Coin holders available for territorial quarters

This is in response to the Aug. 4 issue of NN Letters by Wayne Walther on the coin holders for the territories quarters.
Littleton Coin Company has a line of holders for all the quarters. I got an update page to add to my Littleton album for the state quarters.
You have an option of just the circulation “P” and “D” quarters or an album including the proof and silver versions. They also offer a separate holder for the quarters and have updated the complete state album to include the territories quarters. Other products include an updated U.S. map holder with an insert box for the territories quarters.
I had to order through the Web site since the supplies dealer at the regional coin shows did not carry what I needed. There may be other suppliers that offer similar products.

Rich Vatovec
Birmingham, Ala.

Mint order for new quarter filled in 68 hours

I must be dreaming. I can’t believe it. I placed an order from the Mint for two silver proof sets and the American Samoa quarter two-roll set on Monday, July, 27, at 12:15 p.m. I got an e-mail saying they were shipped on Wednesday the 29th. They were delivered next day air on Thursday the 30th at 8:30 am. It took just a little over 68 hours from order to delivery. This is what I call service. Let’s hope it continues.
Way to go Mint!

Bill Fagan
Warminster, Pa.

Buying 3,500 new cents sounds like hoarding

Mr. Hubert in the Aug. 4 Numismatic News says he cannot find any new cents. He blames the hoarders for this problem. Then he says he was able to go to his bank numerous times, getting rolls of them until he had exhausted the bank’s supply and had 3,500 of the coins.
I’d like to know what he considers a hoarder. Maybe the definition is different in Kansas than it is in the northeast. I still haven’t seen either of the new Lincoln cents yet. I also think the problem is the hoarders.

Jonathan A. Brauch

Orange, Vt.

Rolls of half dollars net silver Kennedys

I recently hit the mother lode when obtaining two rolls of half dollars at my local bank. Almost every time I stop at my local bank I ask if they have any half dollars. The teller said I have two rolls and I took them thinking (as always) I will find common Kennedys from the 1970s-1990s. When I took them out of the stack I could tell from the side edges there was silver in the rolls!
Well, on July 31 I got 11 1964 silver half dollars and six 40 percent silver Kennedy half dollars from 1967-1969. There are still some finds at face value at your local banks. Keep up the great letters NN.

Jeff Cunningham

Wellsburg, W.Va.

Reader enjoys Rapsus article on Buffaloes

Ginger Rapsus’ July 21 article on Buffalo nickels truly captivated me. Although my collection is a fraction of hers, I find these nickels enjoyable to collect and study.
I’ve found that one way to carefully grade the coin is to examine the word LIBERTY and observe its crispness and spacing from the rim. All in all, the Buffalo coin is truly an American coin icon.

Lou Daunora

Denver, Colo.

Where are the Silver Eagles

See so many reports that the mint has reinstated the Silver Eagle program since the have enough Silver blanks and demand has not been as it was before. Went to Mint site to check out my Subsciptions and it states sorry,we are unable to retrieve your subscription information. Should you need assistance with your subscription, please contact Customer Service at 1-800-USA-MINT(872-6468). We apologize for the inconvenience. Well I called the mint and was told just the oposite, The mint has discontinued the American eagle program because the do not have enough supply of blanks for the demand, yet when you go to their website for the subscription program it does have a subscription for the 2009 Silver uncirculated Eagles? I give the mint credit for fullfilling orders as now you receive your order within two weeks now as before you almost had to wait a month! But now I give them a Zero for keeping their Customer Service Staff up to date on their products thy offer. As always Numismatic News is the Best as keeping people informed. Thanks,you are the Best!!!!

Daniel Kuziela

Chicago, Ill.

Numismatic fun in Chicago

This summer, my wife and I spent the day with our two young children at The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It turned out to be one of those fun, memorable summer day trips that I’ll always remember. Not only did the kids have a great time with the museum’s terrific interactive learning exhibits but I had a few coin finds as well.
The museum’s parking garage is automated and only dispenses dollar coins as change. I received 4 pristine John Tyler dollars which, I was very excited about. The vending machines in the food court as well only dish out dollar coins, no paper. I put a $5 in a machine for a $2 bottle of water and got back a 2000 D Sacagawea, a John Adams and an Andrew Jackson .
These finds however, were not the highlight of the day. While walking by one of the fountains in the museum I happened to look inside. I instantly noticed a coin that was obviously new. It was a 2009 P Lincoln “ Rail Splitter” cent. Despite my wife’s embarrassment I stuck my hand in and grabbed it. It now resides in my collection along with a good story.

John Pauley
Bolingbrook, Ill. 

Boycott China?

We need to worry about china boycotting the U.S. if you really think about it.
The counterfeiters do have “mints” set up. have seen photos of them and their products. they seem quite sophisticated indeed. They are even moving into the graded market. I am sure we would all be curios how to spot and detect these higher end “products.” But A savvy collector can get some excellent deals from reputable Chinese dealers. Right now! would be great of someone could do am in depth report on detecting and I.D. of fakes.
Why would any serious collector shop at a flea market for coins? Would you not seek out coin shows in your area or visit your local coin dealer.Do business with the reputable one talk to them. Get to know them. Have a local in my area that is always help full and will occasionally let me pick out treasures from the junk box.
Gosh, I love this collecting.

RC Snyder
Address withheld