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This Week's Letters (8/19/09)

A selection of letters to editor, Dave Harper, from readers of Numismatic News.
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New coins hard to come by in change


After reading about all the criticism of not finding coins, here comes my one cent worth.
I have only received one cent in change of the Formative Years. I still haven’t found a Birthplace variety. The first territory quarter (Washington, D.C.) I found came out of a roll of quarters from San Antonio, Texas, that my daughter sent to me.
I went to two of the local banks and asked if they had any 2009 nickels. One of the tellers asked me if they made any this year. I haven’t found a 2009 dime yet, although one of my co-workers has.
By the way, there was a real perk for my stepson who works at a gas station in Cincinnati. He found a Barber dime in a roll he opened for change, along with a few Mercurys. Double bonus!

John Jacher
Vandalia, Ohio

Be patient, new Lincoln cents will surface

I finally got two Birthplace cents (2009 plain) in change at the supermarket yesterday. That’s several bucks I didn’t have to pay on eBay.
Anybody who is still waiting for the bicentennial Lincolns, just be patient for it and it will come. I’ll wait now for the Professional Life cent due soon. I most likely won’t be the first to get one, but I will eventually get it. I’m still waiting for the “D” (Denver issues) to come around here to Cleveland, Ohio, area.

Bill Tuttle
Cleveland, Ohio

If you don’t like Mint’s service don’t order

I constantly hear complaints that the Mint is so slow, that orders are canceled or that they just have bad customer service. Well all I can say is this: if you do not like it, quit ordering from the Mint.
I mean, if you ordered from a dealer and got it cancelled or bad customer service, you would not order from them again, would you? Yet everyone seems to order from them and cannot wait to tell everyone how bad they are being misled, or paying too much on eBay when they cannot get it from the Mint.
I just wanted to tell everyone that I ordered my clad proof sets from the Mint, and received them nine days later. Then I recently ordered the silver proof sets and received them only seven days later. The only time I remember having a slow turnover time was from the 1999 proof set when they limited it to two per household. That was a mess, but since then I feel that it is getting better.
So here is a solution: either stop ordering from the Mint and use retail dealers, wait for them to finally turn up in circulation (they always do) or stop collecting. I now give Numismatic News back to the collectors. Let’s waste no more time on complaints of collecting; it is now time for the joys of collecting.

Marshall Mallory
Palm Springs, Calif.

Visit to post office lands jackpot of new cents

On Aug. 6, I went to the local UPS store to mail payment for a coin purchase. During the processing, the clerk noticed I was mailing to a coin dealer. Of course our casual conversation was about coins.
I recieved change from my postage,and there were 2009 Lincolns in my hand! I asked if she had any more, and she replied, sure, how many did I want? All you’ve got, I said! She laid five rolls of Birthplace and seven rolls of Formative Years on the counter! Of course, being unable to control myself, I whipped a 10 spot out so fast it almost caught fire! I smiled all the way home!
Some days are great!

Tom Brown
Wichita, Kan.

Time again to look over coins in collection

What a tremendously accurate article by Mr. Green, (“Collection culled during last bullion boom,” Aug. 11). His insight and observations reflect so much of what the entire hobby experienced during the time. I recall going into a coin shop in 1980 and being offered silver dollar rolls to go through because the dealer was buying silver so fast he could not even check what he was buying. Since I wasn’t an employee, he was helping me by allowing me to find dates I needed and in return, I’d pull out the lead counterfeits and hand them over to him.
Since I’d recently been discharged from the Navy, I was just starting to build on my collection I’d left behind to serve onboard ship. Now collecting was different. Gold and silver were so high many of us concentrated on minor coins and proof and uncirculated sets. I remember pricing a 1973-S silver Ike that I needed and paying $125, thus the reason for my focus on minor coins. Then the prices dropped and by the mid-1980s the market was returning to normal. Commemoratives began again and collectors were back!
Now, as another “boom” occurs, how many of us, as collectors, are reliving his experience? Which gold coins (or jewelry) to sell, what silver coins have potential and which will forever remain sleepers?
As he mulled through his collection, a lot of numismatists were building theirs. Through the 1980s and 1990s we had our opportunity to buy in a stable, if not sluggish, market and building my collection was truly fun. As he determined, what to keep or sell was agonizing and he felt he made some wise and some questionable decisions. That is why his article is so important; it reminds us all of what we do.
Whenever I had the opportunity to buy coins from dealers or the public, I did, thinking some as common and some set aside to examine over time. Buying silver and gold over the last decade gave us many opportunities. The price was reasonable, but one major point must be made: during the last 20 years, how many more coins have been discovered as varieties, errors or coins that will have great future potential? One coin reminds me of this, the 1943 “double-eye” Jefferson nickel. Mr. Green determined that 40 percent silver Kennedys and war nickels had no potential because of their low silver content.
With his experience, he made judgments based on available information at the time, some of which he admits was right, while other he questioned.
As a hobby, none of us (at least I hope so) are just into precious metals. We’re into the enjoyment of collecting and profit or loss is secondary in the scheme of it all. I believe the author’s point was that, for the coins he sold, he bought others in their place, ones more historic than the ones he thought were not!
The Red Book will continue to provide more varieties, errors and the like as long as collectors sort the grain from the chaff. Find some “ Spitting Eagle” Morgans or the “Tail Bar” or for that matter the next coin to make collectors want to keep it! Search through the coins you may think have no future value, you may be in awe of what you find!

James P. Nunan Sr.
Pleasantville, N.J.

Nine 1928 $2 bills bought at bank

What a find! I stopped at my bank the other day and asked for any $2 bills. The teller said that yes, they had $44 worth so I said I will take them all since bank tellers don’t like them too much.
To my surprise, I received nine old $2, all dated 1928. One was really nice and one was in XF condition. Is that a find or what? So keep looking – it pays.

Eagle McMahon
President, Elgin Coin Club
Elgin, Ill.

A few corrected facts about Australia

As a collector of Australian coins and currency, I enjoyed, in the 7/28/09 Numismatic News, David Ganz’s Under the Glass column “Violent seas slow cruise to the Perth Mint”.
Two corrections:
“In 1951 Canberra became the nation’s capital.” Actually, in 1908 the area that is now Canberra was selected as the site for the capital (a compromise between Melbourne and Sydney). It was given the name Canberra (Aboriginal for “meeting place”) in 1913 and the Australian government moved there on May 12, 1927.
The article also refers to South Australia as the “largest state,” when that distinction really belongs to Western Australia.
I thank Mr. Ganz for his informative article, the Numismatic News for publishing it and hope that there will be future coverage of the Perth Mint and other aspects of Australia’s interesting coinage and currency.

Dan Lipstein
Parkton, Md.

New Numismatic Ambassador says thanks

As one of the newest Numismatic Ambassadors, I want to thank Numismatic News and Krause Publications for establishing the award and my fellow Ambassadors who welcomed me to their ranks.
I have always thought that this was the best award in numismatics. It is not just an award, it also says, “Thanks for all you have done for the hobby. Now, go back out there and keep doing the stuff that made you an Ambassador!”
I shall.

Bob Fritsch
Nashua, N.H.

Collector speaks of joys of VAMming

I have been collecting coins for about five months. My reasons to get into it was to have silver and most of my purchases in the beginning were of the cheapest worst shape coins I could find. About 4 months ago I found a mark on a coin that was interesting enough for me to look on the internet to identify what may have caused it. I ended up at I found the coin in question to be a 1935-S VAM-3 Extra Ray… I was hooked! I have been VAMming since, (with MAJOR help from the message board members) that day. With help from the message board, I recently discovered a new TOP50 Peace VAM, known as 1925-S VAM-3A. I was unsure if it was news worthy for your publication or not, but I figured since I am a reader, I would send it in to see. Even people new to collecting can make amazing finds!

Mike McCrady
Address Withheld

Not so great quality from the Mint

I am a 77 year old coin collector and have been collecting much of my adult life. I recently ordered a 18 coin, Silver Proof Set. It arrived in a very timely manner. However, the quality of the set was marginal at best. One of the Pennies had a dark mark across the rim of the Obverse and the Half Dollar Obverse background surface looked like it had been blotted by Sponge Bob. At $57 and change I felt I should be better served and so I returned it for a refund, which I have yet to receive. Dothey not inspect these coins before they ship them. My eyesight is not
all that great but I could still see coin condition. The reverse of the
Half Dollar was very good and the reverse of the Penny did not show the rim defect. Perhaps other readers have had similar experience. I would enjoy hearing from them in your column.

John M. Jenkins
Daleville, AL