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Gimme an 'ant-swer'
September 23, 2009



Questions from readers are an important part of the weekly Numismatic News. These are so important in fact that the Coin Clinic question and answer column is one of the most popular features in it. This has been true for many years.

Questions that make me scratch my head do come up from time to time.

When I opened my e-mail this morning, this is what I found:

"I just received my U.S. Mint order of two 2-roll sets of the Lincoln pennies 'Professional Life.' Upon opening one of the white sealed boxes, a dozen black ants came crawling out. I have never had this happen to me before and was wondering if others have had this happen. Have you ever heard of this?"

Well, I have certainly never heard of this. That doesn't necessarily mean it has never happened before.

Perhaps readers of bygone days did not think such an occurrence was worth bringing to the attention of other readers. I can't say.

Another recent letter raised an issue I have never seen brought to the attention of hobby readers before either. The writer complained about the smoking laws in Illinois that allowed people waiting in line to buy the Professional Life cents for face value in Springfield to smoke.

Neither of these issues should have any impact on the quality of the coins received or affect their current and future value.

Is there any other deeper meaning about the long-term vitality of the hobby? I imagine I will puzzle that over for awhile.



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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News, Bank Note Reporter and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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