Category Archives: Viewpoint

Selling Coins Trickier than Buying

By Bruce Frohman
Many coin collectors buy coins for years from dealers and fellow collectors before they sell a single coin. How many times have you met a collector who proudly proclaims, “I never sell anything”?
In the acquisition phase of collecting, many collectors give no thought to future resale by themselves or their heirs.  They whimsically accumulate an incredible array of material of various quality and value

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Stone Mountain Half a Reminder of Institutionalized Racism

By Robert Grand 
Great art is timeless, but also inevitably tied to the time in which it was produced. Many coins are miniature works of art and as such, reveal the ideals and prejudices of the time in which they were minted.
Today, as we struggle with issues of social justice, and particularly as we examine the role of civil war monuments and what they signify to Black Americans (indeed all Americans), it may be instructive to examine a coin issued in 1925 known as the Stone Mountain commemorative half dollar

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The Masterpiece Syndrome

Writer’s Name Withheld
I am a recent coin collector whose preference when it comes to coins are modern and ultra-modern coins. When I share this with most seasoned collectors and coin dealers, there is a tinge of unintentional condescension. I find this group doesn’t seem that interested in discussing the wonderful and historically informative designs of the Native American dollars produced since 2009

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Coin Lots Make Collecting Fun

By Daryl Conley 
I may be an atypical collector; I may even suffer a bit from ADD when it comes to collecting. Some collectors focus on a certain type or series of coin, or even certain metal content such as gold or silver. Some focus on completing an entire set, putting together a registry set, or completing a BU or MS type set

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Average Collector at Disadvantage

By Larry Steinfeld
I’m afraid that I am like all the rest of the people in this country who have to depend on large coin collectors to receive the coin I received today. All the big coin collectors have us small collectors at a disadvantage. We are unable to get these coins at our local banks

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Viewpoint: Nugget News Story Should Be Relevant to Coin Collectors

By Dominic Cicio
I just read your article about NGC encapsulating Gold Rush nuggets in the May 5 issue of Numismatic News. Sunken treasure generally makes a good story, and authentic Gold Rush nuggets certainly bring the Old West to mind. Now, we know the nuggets were on the way to New York City, I can only guess that because NGC encapsulated the nuggets, it makes them a collectible?
If you told us that the nuggets were going to be melted down into planchets and then off to the Philadelphia Mint to make $20 Liberty Heads, it would tie into numismatics

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Viewpoint: Hobby Loses Great ‘Unknown’ Numismatist

By Scott Mitchell
There is an old Carole King song that alludes to our lives being a “tapestry,” so to speak. I forget the lyrics of the song, and whether or not they would even apply to what I hope to convey in this piece: however, the symbolism has remained with me. Throughout our lives, there are those with which we intersect; some for a day, some for a season, and some for most of our lifetime

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Viewpoint: YN Perspective Key to Hobby Future

By Radek Molchan
I am a Young Numismatist, and I come from a family that has no knowledge or interest in numismatics. I have been a page for many coins shows and I exhibit as much as possible. I enjoy the competition of the exhibits, and I enjoy being a page for the simple fact that if you work hard, you can make a little money and get some coins to add to your collection

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Viewpoint: Reply to ANA Hindsight and Vision

By Ron Brown 
 
Mr. Ellsworth,
Your recent exposition on taking the ANA members out of the selection process for electing the President and Vice President of the ANA and abdicating it to some inside selection process is most offensive. Your rationale is insulting and injudicious

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Viewpoint: Rethinking Coin Designs

By Bill Tuttle
While on YouTube, I came across a channel whose author talked about his “Ten least favorite coin designs” and made some suggestions for better designs (in his opinion). That got me rethinking about what I’ve written in the past about changing the coin and currency of our money.
The Union Shield cent was one of the ugliest coins listed

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Congressional Medals For Organ Donors

By Kari Browers
Several years ago, a senator and congressman introduced a bill that would give organ donors a congressional bronze medal for their unselfish act. For some reason, however, it did not gain enough support. Perhaps if the need for organ donation hit closer to home, more people would be in favor of a congressional medal for organ donors

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Coin Show Etiquette Suggestion

By John Quarfoth
 
I appreciate the “Coin Show Etiquette” part one (as a buyer) and part two (as a seller) articles.
The articles included good tips for the collector both as a buyer and as a seller.
I think a third article is needed, “Coin Show Etiquette’” part three (dealer etiquette)

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Hope For the Hobby

by Roy Herbst 
One of the biggest laments you keep hearing about numismatics is who is going to be the future collectors since younger people seem to have, at best, a lackadaisical interest in the hobby.
I know my own children, despite my constant prodding, are just not interested. I have dragged them to coin shows and even an auction or two but to no avail

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Mint Shines with Native American Dollar Series

by Thomas Michael 
The United States Mint Native American $1 series, which started in 2009, has proven to be a bit of a mystery to the general population. The first reaction from many non-collectors is “What’s this?” upon encountering them in change. Of course, we have always noticed a lack of recognition in regular commerce for all of our dollar coins in modern times

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Coin Show Etiquette Part Two

by Bruce Frohman
 
Proper Coin Show Etiquette as a Seller
Most collectors have much less experience selling than buying and must adapt to a new set of unfamiliar experiences to be successful.
Dealers need coins in order to have merchandise to sell. However, they prefer coins that they know their customers want and avoid items that they know are difficult to move

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A Rigorous Analysis of Our Hobby

by Blaine Buckman
If this has not been proposed before, I would offer we all consider together to perform a rigorous analysis of our hobby.  Would we as members be able to pool information that we know or be able to obtain, analyze it using formal statistical and/or other analysis, and share that information in this publication? The goal would be to better understand how our hobby works and the relevance of it in a changing world. The possibilities are almost endless

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Coin Show Etiquette

by Bruce Frohman
The Coin Show is a major opportunity to buy and sell coins and provides a source of great enjoyment in our hobby. The astute collector can make the best of the experience by employing basic principles of show etiquette.
In past Numismatic News ‘Letters to the Editor,’ some collectors have complained about coin dealer behavior

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Ultra-Grade Common Coins

by Douglas Nyholm
Recently a 1938-S Mercury Dime was sold at auction by Legend Rare Coins for an astronomical sum of $364,000!  This is mind-boggling and I as well as many other collectors, are asking themselves ‘why’?  Yes, it is the finest known, beautifully toned, and a very attractive classic design but who would pay such a sum?  The ‘Coin Market’ in Numismatic News gives a value of $160 in MS65 FB.  Recently I have followed several relatively common coins which have sold for hundreds of times what one would expect with many making headlines equal to classic rarities.  Just to mention one other example is the 1958 MS67+ FBL Franklin Half which sold late last year for $129,000

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Is the ‘Youth Approach’ the Only Answer?

by Michael S. Turrini
Recently, I had an exchange with a distinguished and recognized national philatelist and ‘stamp booster’. We were conversing about the exemplary efforts annually committed by dedicated volunteers at the internationally known and well-attended WESTPEX, in Burlingame, California, at the end of each April

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Coinage System Needs Major Changes

by Tom Miller
Should Kennedy half dollars still be minted? Well, the whole system of coinage needs re-configuration.
Consider this; One hundred years ago one could buy a draft beer in a bar for five cents, and a penny bag of candy was enough to satisfy a child’s sugar craving. One could buy a complete steak dinner for two in New York City in 1899 for a quarter

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Why is it a Penny When it’s not a Cent?

by Bill Tuttle
Since the beginning of its creation, the US cent has been mislabeled a penny (plural = “pennies”).
Why?
This author’s theory is because our roots as a country are British, which use the “Pound Sterling” counting system (240 Pence [“proper” plural of Penny] = 1 Pound). While we, the Thirteen Colonies, were “controlled” by the British, the Pound Sterling system was in use

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Viewpoint: A letter to the Token Medal Society

by Dennis Tucker
Dear Bill,
I’ve got something to vent about.
Your article in the January/February 2019 issue of the Token and Medal Society’s TAMS Journal (“Merchant Token Ephemera From Wiley, Kansas”) makes me feel like I’ve been asleep for the past 15 years as a writer and researcher.
Thanks a lot! Just when I was starting to feel like I knew something about numismatics

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Viewpoint: Hobby offers educational experiences

A seemingly rare 1943-P “copper” Lincoln cent disappointingly turned out to be a counterfeit.
by Sam Lukes
The March 19 issue of Numismatic News featured “Another rare 1943 ‘copper’ cent slabbed,” which followed on the heels of a Feb. 5 article in reference to the legendary Don Lutes Jr

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Viewpoint: Distribution uneven in quarter series

State Quarters Deluxe Collector’s Folder
By Harvey Stack
While going some file papers of the year 2009, I found a very complimentary letter from Delaware Congressman Michael N. Castle, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in Congress during the time that the proposal for a statehood quarter program in 1995 was initiated to attract collectors and the public in collecting U.S

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Viewpoint: Grading system needs linear steps

By Paul Richards
Years ago, I was an active shirt-pocket coin dealer, and I wrote an article about the grading services and about the 70-point coin grading scale.
The original article was published by Coin World, and its subsequent criticism caused me to drop the subject completely. Now, 15 years later, it may be time to dredge it up again!
The article proposes a new “linear” 32-point grading scale in contrast to today’s “non-linear” 70-point scale

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Viewpoint: Too late for 100-point grading scale

(Image courtesy of www.apmex.com)
By Bill Fivaz
Wow! I hope my good friend Ron Guth loves to fish, because he has opened up a big can of worms! Dipping his toe into the water and proposing a dramatic change from the current 70-point grading system to that of 100 points has prompted a tremendous and very divisive discussion – which is great! It shows that people are interested in the well-being of the hobby and are taking the time to voice their opinion

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Viewpoint: Tired of Mint State? Try lowball coins

By Mike Walker
For those who believe the only way to collect coins is to always be hunting for the highest grade and quality, I would suggest that you can have the same amount of enjoyment and intrigue building your coin sets in lowball grades.
Two primary issues come into play when building a competitive high-end set: 1) the cost increases with each upgrade, sometimes very significantly, and 2) one never knows for sure if your Top Pop 1 coin might be matched or even surpassed. The beauty of collecting coins in low grade is that once you have a PO01 (also known as a “poor one”), the worst that can happen is that your coin becomes a Top Pop as opposed to a Top Pop 1 because it can only be matched but not ever exceeded

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Viewpoint: Should leaders serve multiple clubs?

By Mitch Ernst
While I was at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia, I took in their “What it takes to serve on the ANA Board” talk. I applaud the ANA for the topics discussed, the taboos touched upon, and the realities they told their audience they must face if they wanted to run for the ANA board. The booklet the ANA produced for the event is absolutely wonderful

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Viewpoint: Coins merit national tax exemption

By definition, sales and use taxes are called “consumption taxes” because they are imposed on items that are consumed or used up. Some states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon) do not assess any sales or use taxes. Most of the rest of the states have complete or partial sales tax exemptions on the in-state retail sales of rare coins and precious metals

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Viewpoint: Idea not good if it burns collectors

by Charles Salemi
Your Class of ‘63 article in the May 29th Numismatic News suggests putting mintmarks on bullion coins to help the Mint use the enhanced capacity it now finds itself having more of than needed.
At first glance, this sounds like a good idea. However, doing some research on the Mint’s site, the Mint itself differentiates between bullion coins and all other coins meant for collectors and circulation (https://catalog

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Viewpoint: CSNS to confront harassment issues

By Mitch Ernst
I think I speak for many when I say that I have been shocked to see the depth and scope of sexual harassment reports affecting many different kinds of workplace environments. Whether it is politics, the entertainment world, schools or athletic departments, the reports are stunning. Even more stunning are the reports of a culture that allows such behavior to go unreported due to fear of retaliation, disbelief of victims’ claims or simply turning a blind eye

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Viewpoint: New Mint medal program just bullion

By Donald Scarinci
Last week, after years of prodding by members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the collector community, the United States Mint finally announced a medal program. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than a bullion sales program and is likely to do more to discourage future medal collectors than to encourage them.
The current plan is to reissue the bronze presidential medal series on proof silver Eagle dollar-size planchets

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Viewpoint: Time to bring money up to speed

By Bill Tuttle
In reply to “Vachon’s” Viewpoint/commentary in the Nov. 7 issue of Numismatic News, I can answer (or make a suggestion) to his question: “… so why not $10, $5 and $2 coins?” Why not, indeed! But instead of a $2 coin, why not bring back the old quarter eagle ($2.50), half eagle ($5) and eagle ($10) coins like when we were first minting our own coins in the 1790s

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Viewpoint: Change never came to U.S. money

I would like to know why people tolerate the production of coins with no purchasing power. Talk from old-time collectors shows how coins were once useful in the economy, but (and especially) since the 1970s, their purchasing power has eroded considerably. This erosion has not led to the production of coins (and cessation of corresponding paper money) that do have purchasing power

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1873 Trade dollar is often overlooked

A mintage on the lower side, plus a small number of surviving examples graded MS-65 or higher, results in a relatively good deal on what might otherwise be considered an average date.
Trade dollars tend to be overlooked, and the 1873 tends to be more overlooked than most. It was the very first Trade dollar, a fact that should get it some attention

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Viewpoint: Leon took time for buyers big and small

Leon Hendrickson
By Bob Bair
I was saddened to learn of the recent death of Leon Hendrickson. Like so many others who came into contact with Leon through the years, warm memories of the wonderful person that Leon was remain for me.
One of those memories occurred at a Milwaukee Coin Show in the spring of 1988, shortly after the birth of my only son

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Viewpoint: Don’t forget to check the reverse

Doubling is evident in the engraver’s initials on this Shield cent reverse.
By Ken Potter
As I was writing a story about an error cent, it occurred to me that most of the stories I’ve written in recent months revolved around checking the obverse of a coin for the date to see if it was a 1982-D Small Date, a 1983 or 1983-D Lincoln cent that needed to be weighed to see if it was struck on a solid copper ally planchet in error, or the discovery of a new significant doubled die on a 1944 cent showing best on the date, or my story on the 1968-S proof half dollar with an inverted “S” mintmark; all appearing within the last few months.
Going back to last year in January of 2016, I covered the discovery of a beautiful 2015 doubled die Lincoln cent that was discovered in November of 2015 that showed its strongest doubling on the date

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Viewpoint: Internet holds troves of info for collectors

One of the author’s recent online discoveries was the Newman Numismatic Portal.
I once believed the expression “there is nothing new under the sun” as I often caught myself starting to repeat a topic in one of my columns that I had recently covered. After reading some posts on one of the Internet forums last week, I realized that is not the case with numismatics as there is plenty of new information for those who seek it

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Viewpoint: Local interest motivates coin legislation

By Mark Weller
Today, countries around the world are concerned about the cost of producing quality circulation coins, especially when the cost to produce their coins approaches or exceeds the face value of the coin. But the solution proposed by S.759, the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017, and endorsed by William Tuttle in his Viewpoint editorial (Numismatic News, June 13) misses the mark completely and would move the country in exactly the wrong direction

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Viewpoint: Collector leaving hobby shares advice

By Jim Klein
I recently liquidated my lifetime coin collection at age 77 rather than leave a complicated investment to my daughters, who are neither interested in nor knowledgeable about numismatics. It was a difficult decision for me but one that needed to be made at this time. I leave the hobby with the following suggestions that may aid others who are still collecting coins in their retirement years:
• Get a copy and read the Whitman guidebook entitled, Collecting Coins in Retirement: An Action Guide and Estate Advice for Hobbyists and Their Families, by Tom Billota
• Do not purchase anything from the United States Mint
• The U

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Viewpoint: Mishler gets it wrong in response

By Ronald Brown
I was not going to reply to Clifford Mishler’s comments about me or my letter to the editor, but misstatements/misquotes must be corrected for accuracy to be heard.
Let the record state, I have no reason to think that Mr. Mishler is anything but an honest man and one of integratory; however, that is not necessarily said of all current or past board members of the American Numismatic Association

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Viewpoint: Kid-centered Coin Week display a success

By Bernie Malis
Wow! That’s the closest word in my vocabulary that can fully describe the generosity of our Bay Cities Coin Club members in supplying coins and tokens for our National Coin Week’s display at our local library. Some were donations for the kids and some to put out on display. The target of our display was to mainly show children how interesting coin and currency collecting can be

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Viewpoint: PNG members bring expertise to ANA

By Clifford Mishler
I would like to register some constructive words, along with a few that are critical, in rebuttal of Ronald Brown’s “Blurring of lines between ANA, PNG raises concerns” assertions in his “Letters” submission published in the April 4, 2017, edition of Numismatic News.
As a former board member (2007-2013) and past president (2009-2011) of the American Numismatic Association, and having since 1950 been continuously exposed to and involved in the hobby, business and politics of our community, I roundly reject Brown’s assertion that “any person running for office in the ANA must pledge their allegiance to the ANA and void any other membership activity.” Most of us are not possessed of singular involvements

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Support organizations fighting for you

Editor’s Note: The following was taken by permission from the Spring 2017 issue of The Centinel, the quarterly publication of the Central States Numismatic Society.
By Kevin Foley
Probably everyone who has been past the fourth grade has heard of Andrew Carnegie, the one-time richest man in the world. How many of you, however, can remember the actual name of the company that was his vehicle to accumulate all this wealth, or even name the field in which he operated? I’ll wager not as many who have heard of and admire the Carnegie Foundation or the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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Questions posed to ANA candidates

By Robert Matitia
At the American Numismatic Association’s candidate forum March 10 at the National Money Show in Orlando, Fla., I would direct the following questions.
To Mike Ellis, I would ask:
What is your beef with PNG? It seems as if that is the platform that you are running on … Don’t you think that the numismatic community needs to partner more and build bridges with each other in order for it to grow? Putting up dividing walls and infighting will not do the hobby any good, and it certainly wont do the ANA any good either

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Enjoy numismatics for what it is: a hobby

By Richard Giedroyc
Former Krause Publications President and past American Numismatic Association President Clifford Mishler published an outstanding article in the Jan. 24 issue of Numismatic News addressing if collecting is an investment or speculation.
Within the article Mishler says, “The acquisition of a coin by a collector can never be an investment, in my opinion

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Is collecting an investment or speculation?

Having enjoyed the coin collecting hobby for more than 66 years, I’ve done my share of buying … and some selling. Over that time, I believe I can state with certainty, there was only one instance when I purchased something as an “investment.” In truth, that was a “speculation” acquisition; however, one that in short order provided a profitable return on the purchase that I’d made

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Hobby is thriving, if you know where to look

Millennials spend a ton of free time on their mobile devices and social media. In the digital age, this is where the youth of the hobby is, and it is thriving!
By Matthew Andrews
In the recent issues of Numismatic News, there have been many articles expressing views of the state of the coin collecting hobby. All have been depressing, to say the least

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Hold on to ‘circs’ for better return in future

Thank you for writing your recent blog of May 23 and publishing it in the June 14 Numismatic News, comparing the increases of value in $1 of circulated silver coins (you got) 51 years ago, from 1965 to 2016.Find out why Morgan dollars have a good track record in growing demand and value.Then, you compared them to a savings bond and concluded that (before taxes on the interest) both $1 of silver coins circulated and $1 of the savings bond yielded about the same, approximately 11 times their initial $1 of value

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Add another fan of keeping the cent

By Robert MatitiaIt has been interesting to read about the almost exhausting debate that has been featured in the pages of many numismatic periodicals, including Numismatic News, regarding the conundrum of whether “to abolish the cent or not to abolish the cent… that is the question!”What does the future hold for the one cent coin?Until now, I have not noticed any “official” opinions regarding this matter. Even the most recent September 2014 Biennual Report of the U.S

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Commemorate Apollo 11 moon landing

On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 lunar module touched down on the moon, putting mankind on its surface. A short time later, astronaut Neil Armstrong took those first steps onto its surface, saying, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”In 2019, the 50th anniversary of that landing will occur and such an event has to be commemorated on a coin

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Viewpoint: It’s all about the coin, not the label

By Pete AcamporaWhat if they threw a party and no one came? Or worse; what if they threw a party and everybody not invited came? Or, as we saw in Chicago, what if they threw a party and everyone was welcome but the onslaught of those wanting to attend created massive problems?Such was the JFK $5 gold release.I must admit that when the news of a JFK 50th anniversary gold coin was announced, I wanted one. However, this gold 50-cent piece confused me just a bit

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Viewpoint: Gold Kennedy half won’t be rare

By William H. BrownsteinThe 2015 North American Coins & Prices is the perfect all-in-one guide for the coin collector, dealer and enthusiast.Purchase your copy here!Reference is made to my Viewpoint article published in the July 2, 2013 edition of Numismatic News, in which I opined that off-metal strikes and piedfort issues of regular issues should be made available for the public to enjoy

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Viewpoint: 50th anniversary Kennedy bad idea

By William H. BrownsteinIn my opinion a 50th anniversary of the Kennedy half dollar commemorative issue would be meaningless.I come to that conclusion because the fact that its issuance date of 1964, which is the first year that the Kennedy half dollar was minted, means nothing and has no historic significance other than it was the year that the Franklin half dollar was eliminated and replaced with the Kennedy half dollar in commemoration of his assassination the prior year

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