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U.S. Mint Basketball Coin Surprise

Wife Plays Key Role in Obtaining Basketball Coin

OK, I see people all the time that say “I got this, or I got that,” so you can say“Hey, it’s my turn.” I had read about the Basketball coins in one of your mags, and about all there would be offered. Then we got COVID-19 and things changed. So, now we had the proof, clad, or gold. So I got the proof. It was a great coin – but what about the other stuff?

Besides the magazine, I saw the coins advertised in an email, but you had to order it on Aug. 28 by noon. So I told my wife, “You have to get this coin for me!” She is really good at this stuff. And I told her “Remember, I want the clad one.” She gave me this funny look (I never go after clad stuff.). So Aug. 28 comes around and she said “nothing.”

When we got to the 30, I asked her “What’s up? Did you order the coin?” She said, “Oh. Yes, I did.” And so I waited. On Sept. 4, in my wife walks with a box from the Mint. I had a little smile but when I got to the box, I said: “It looks like the other box.” When I opened it up, there was a card inside – Certificate of Authenticity – but it had a name on it.

It said “David J. Ryder,” and he had signed it and numbered it 71. I was like, “How great is that?!” I was a happy man. And it’s all because my wife got it in there at – are you ready? – 12:01 p.m.

Told you she was good at it!

P.S. Fill me in on what they did?

Jimmi Reitzler
National Park, N.J.

‘In God We Trust’ Traces Back to Earlier Origin

In reference to Steve McGowan’s Aug. 25 Numismatic News letter, “In God We Trust First Used on Notes in 1935,” technically, one can go back even farther.

The 1886 $5 Silver Certificate currency note (Rosecrans-Jordan) exhibits images of five Morgan silver dollars portrayed on its reverse. The center silver dollar reveals the obverse of the coin dated 1886. The reverse of the four remaining silver dollars each exhibit our motto, “In God We Trust” although the words are fragmented because the portraits of the coins were overlapped, possibly for space allocation, and to balance the overall design of the note.

Sam Lukes
Visalia, Calif.

What is Staking Compression?

I have just finished reading the Aug. 25 issue of Numismatic News and in F. Michael Fazzari’s column, “Making the Grade,” (which I always enjoy) he uses the term “staking compression.” Pardon my ignorance, but what the heck is that? I would really like to know.


William Mills
Orlando, Fla.

Editor’s Note: We have passed your question along to F. Michael Fazzari for response.

Is the Rise in Silver Spot Good for Collector?

I have always had mixed feelings about whether higher silver spot prices are desirable. At a low silver price, someone on a fixed income can afford to buy more ounces than if the price were higher. The more one can buy at a low price, the more secure one may feel when inflation comes. Plus, a low spot price enables the purchase of silver Eagles and other beautiful silver coins at affordable prices.

When silver spot rises, then all current bullion holdings increase in value. If money is needed for living expenses, one may sell without taking a loss. Now that silver has jumped from an average of about $16 over the past eight years to $26 as this is written, I remain undecided about whether the increase was good for myself or for collectors in general.

The recent spot price rise reduced the silver purchasing power of a collector’s current monthly fixed income by about 40 percent. If prices of other commodities rise by a comparable amount, then our income will suffer a significant permanent reduction in purchasing power.

When the price of silver rises, does a silver owner’s real wealth increase or is he simply preserving wealth?

Although the value of silver holdings have been suppressed for years by market manipulators, the artificially low spot price has enabled collectors to acquire more silver than they otherwise could have afforded had spot been allowed to rise based on the law of supply and demand. Many lost money by investing in silver in 2012 when silver peaked near $48 an ounce.

A few years ago, I met a fellow in a coin shop selling a large amount of bullion silver. His willingness to sell at only $15 an ounce was surprising. He admitted that he had paid $27 per ounce and was taking a big loss. He said that silver is a lousy investment and that he had found a better place to put his money. 

When the spot price was low, deciding when and how much silver to buy was easy. A regular monthly purchase in a dead silver market made sense. Deciding to sell in the current market pandemonium is difficult.

So, at what price points should one sell? What percentage of the silver stash should one sell? Will the silver market crash as in the past or will the trajectory continue up? At what price will a peak be reached? If someone has purchased for the long term, should he hold and ride out the up and down or take a short term profit on some holdings and hope to buy back in later?

Including myself, most folks don’t know how to answer these questions. Any decision to sell can be genius or appear stupid in hindsight. No one wants to feel stupid, but making a lucky decision is euphoric.

What do fellow collectors have to say about the silver market and our holdings?How should one answer some of the questions posed above? 

Experts often say more than they actually know. Their opinions are easy to find but may be wrong. What are your opinions?

Bruce Frohman
Modesto, Calif.

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