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  1. I think it's mostly because FM designs weren't selected by committee (or Congress). It's also because so much verbiage is mandated on US coins.
  2. This was always my favorite among tokens and medals as well. For artistic merit some of the art bars were spectacular. My favorite FM though are the coins. Many of these were made in tiny numbers and are simply superb quality that are sure to be winners in the long run. A few are already getting pricey.
  3. I check the site twice a day but rarely need to log in. The new software is great.
  4. Do not spray acetone. It is far too dangerous and you could probably blow up your ventilation system if you tried (and maybe if you don't). In any case it is certainly highly prone to fire. It's a little hard to believe it would be any more effective for cleaning even a tiny minority of coins.
  5. The cost of making these toxic slugs is insignificant compared to the costs of using them. Every new penny might cost only 3c each after they assign most of the cost to other denominations but there's a steep cost of counting, handling, and transporting them and this cost is primarily borne by the poor and disenfranchised. Few rich people stand in line waiting for the little old lady in front of them to count out pennies. Rich people don't get involved in penny drives. Few would bother with hauling them to the bank even if they do use cash, which they generally don't. Every time a penny is used it is counted and then returned to the bank to be counted and rolled again. Thank God most pennies are just tossed in the trash or the total cost would be onerous but each year at least 50 billion pennies change hands leaving dirty hands and the country another 500 million dollars poorer. The penny is also displacing coins that might actually be useful like dollars costing untold billions in lost sales from vending machines. The penny is a fine symbol for what's wrong with our government and society. Waste is perfectly acceptable if it's in small increments and other people have to pay for it.
  6. It's probably just unusual damage. If you're thinking it's a DDO we'll need a better picture of the motto area.
  7. Fascinating stuff! I long suspected that Krause hand selected coins for their mint sets but didn't know it because my sample size on these is too small. I've seen fewer than "20" 1982 Krause sets. These are nice enough that I shouldn't have doubted it but there are some clunkers in them too. Despite having looked at huge numbers of '82 BU quarters (starting in 1982) 4 of the best 10 I've seen came from these sets. Most of the rest came from a single bag. I might mention though that the strike on the Krause '82 quarters is not extremely solid. They are early die strikes with full tonnage but the alignment isn't extremely good. These sets were distributed as subscription premiums and one has to suspect that most were just spent. Mintage was likely very high. I remember thinking of extending my subscription to get one but I was too busy looking for Gem quarters to bother. It seemed very unlikely this would be a good source anyway. It's a shame the mint didn't do a little better job with the '82 and '83 sets. I suspect that it was just that hard to find nice coins those years even at the mints. The coins are usually choice but there sure aren't many true Gems. Ironically despite the poor quality I'm told that most Gems from '82 and '83 come from souvenir sets!!! It gives you an idea of the infancy of the modern markets that these coins are being given such high grades. Then one has to wonder if all the real Gems were spent back in the early-'80's. I was told that a lot of the coins in the mid to late-'90's souvenir sets were struck on burnished planchets. I've never seen one but have only a very few of these dates. Apparently I was misinformed. If anyone wants PL coins struck on burnished planchets they are nearly "common" in the regular mint sets (especially 1985 to date). Is that company that printed the date the same one that made the '82 and '83 mint sets in the manila envelope with unstable packaging? If so I'd be very interested in their name. You're way ahead of the curve on these sets. I met a gentleman from Ohio in 1980 who had a great deal of knowledge about these. I won't mention his name for privacy reasons but he was selling these as well. Information about these sets is still sketchy at best and it's a wonder you've accumulated so much knowledge. The sets are extremely interesting simply because there are a lot of really good looking coins that don't have the "mint set look". It's almost impossible to find clad rolls at all and then when you do they tend to be awful and exhibit weak strikes from worn dies and are all banged up. Now days I kick myself for not spending the money to get more of these and not putting in the time to determine the rare dates.
  8. I believe it's much too complex for current imaging devices. Computers are still effectively "blind".
  9. I could be confused but I believe only the '79, '80, and '81 SBA three piece souvenir sets have the date on the package. The sets are often found with the date handwritten on the envelope but I doubt this was done at the mint, at least not routinely.
  10. They are 5 coin sets made at the individual mints from 1971 to 1998 inclusive. These are packaged similarly to regular mint sets except they have a more stable plastic and a flimsy envelope. They are not mint set quality coins. Where mint set coins are made under more controlled condition with higher force on numismatic presses the souvenir set coins are just "nice" coins plucked from the production lines. Most were sold for $4 at the respective mint gift shops at the end of mint tours however some were available from other sources and some gift shops were accessible at some times by street traffic. Most sets had low mintages because they were so unpopular as are modern coins in general. Attrition on these is high because they are poor sellers and dealers will spend the coins to sell the large mint medal included in them for a couple dollars. While Gems are quite unusual in these sets most Gems are obviously not mint set coins so are very very scarce as such.
  11. I'm in close agreement. No doubt techniques could be invented to fool a quick glance or the novice but I believe it would leave tool marks that show up pretty dramatically under the lens of an expert.
  12. ...Truly remarkable first post. I'm pleased to see that the '71-D set actually exists and surprised the '72-P wasn't made for the public. I don't actually have one but assumed it was available. It's also good to see confirmation on the mintages. I've always feared I'm the source for a lot of these mintage numbers and I know I had very little confidence in them because most of my sources were anecdotal or mere newspaper reports. Other than the 1987's they are obviously all low mintage. My own collection is somewhat haphazard since I've put little effort into locating these before or after the internet age. I bought most of the '82 and '83 issues unless the seller wanted some outrageous price like $4 then I just went through and bought those with nice quarters. Of course souvenir sets are a poor source of Gems for these two dates but there are a few really nice specimens in them. Do you have any idea why the '97-P had such a low mintage? These were terrible sellers for both mints and they only had them for people on the tours who asked for free samples ($4@) but they did sell. I had a long conversation with a mint employee in the Denver gift shop in 1980 as I went through hundreds of sets looking for Gems and was told very few were sold each day and they were provided only as a public service. He had never had anyone interested in looking for superior specimens before. Bank vault managers often told me I was the only one who had eve asked for bags of new quarters before. Of course I got this from more than a few coin dealers when I searched mint sets, too. The internet has been pretty good for modern collectors looking for scarcities. If you called up your contacts asking for 1971 souvenir sets back in the '90's you'd get a lot of dead air since many dealers didn't even know what a souvenir set was much less how to find a scarce date. I never met another souvenir set collector until 1989 Pittsburg. There was an Indian dealer with dozens of dozens Indian mint and proof sets and I bought nothing because he was asking double catalog!!! He wanted five or six dollars for sets with coins that now go for thousands. I used to figure I'd see about one of these sets for every 6,000 regular mint sets. Dealers couldn't sell them so like many other rare US and world moderns they get cut up and put in the junk bin. So many moderns are so scarce and then the hobby has treated them all with disdain so the attrition rates are astounding. Rare clad quarter rolls used to be routinely put in the registers at coin shops. Thanks for all the info. Maybe some day I'll put together a more complete collection of these sets.
  13. The value of the nickel is nearly irrelevant so they need to be made only to make change and not to work in vending machines. If this were back in the days that some things done by government made sense they'd simply demonetize them and switch the composition to aluminum. As production ramped up they'd withdraw the old nickels to pay for this transition. The new "nickel" would still be too expensive so they'd make a new smaller aluminum nickel in a few years and pay for it by withdrawing the large version. A penny has enough zinc to kill mammals weighing up to 18 lbs. A nickel size zinc coin could even kill 30 pounder toddlers.
  14. I grade them more harshly than you. I grade them more in the VG/ Fine range with later issues VF/ XF. The tougher dates tend to be slightly more heavily worn and a little more likely to be culls. The last you'll find will probably be the '68-D, '69-D, and '71. Finding these in nice attractive F condition is becoming a little bit of a challenge. Finding the '69-(P) in nice attractive condition is even tougher because most are very poorly made. Indeed, about 80% of them are technically only About Good because the lettering will be worn into the rim.
  15. I've always preferred collecting what others don't. As a child in the '50's all of my friends collected wheat cents and I collected buffalo nickels. When we had a fresh hoard of coins to look at they fought over the cents and I had the nickels to myself. Sometimes I'd have liked to collect what everyone else did just because the coins they liked were so neat. But the prices were always screaming higher and I usually couldn't afford them. So I usually just sold my collections if they got popular. No, I didn't sell them because I wanted the profit, I sold them because I figured it might be years before I could work on the collection again and I could buy neat coins instead of having the money tied up in a safety deposit box. When I started with clads in 1972 is was chiefly because I thought the FED rotating their coin stocks presented an opportunity, but over the years I've learned to love these "ugly ducklings" anyway.