JOHN REGITKO’S NUMISMATIC EH-BULLETIN
A free electronic publication about the weird, unusual, entertaining and funny stuff about coin collecting and money generally. Most of the articles will be funny, some might make you think…but above all, most will be a complete waste of your time.

Volume 1, Number 1 – April 11, 2008

This new Numismatic Eh-Bulletin (hey, it’s from Canada, eh!) is my personal look about those that collect money, issue money, tell jokes about money, steal money, make stupid decisions about money, try to scam you out of your money. It is about the weird, funny, unusual and entertaining things about coin collecting and irrelevant dribble about money in general.


INTRODUCTION
My most enjoyable numismatic activity ever has been my involvement with editing numismatic publications. It started with the Toronto Coin Club bulletin so many years ago (which won me 3 consecutive ANA and 3 consecutive CNA Best Local Coin Club Bulletin Editor Awards, a feat never accomplished by anyone before), followed by the Ontario Numismatic Association’s by-monthly bulletin (judged best Regional/National Bulletin by the CNA) and, finally, the C.N.A. E-Bulletin for 108 issues totaling over 750 pages, which I thoroughly enjoyed putting together.

After a sabbatical of 8 months (part of which time I spent preparing for a new column in Canadian Coin News), I have decided to publish my very own bulletin.

For those of you who don’t know who I am, let me point out that you may have seen me starring as Robber #4 in a Crime Stoppers video, although you might remember me from one of the America’s Most Wanted episodes. (Okay, I threw that in to give you an idea of what you might expect from these bulletins.)

It is, of course, entirely up to you to decide if you wish to continue to receive these bulletins or not. I have spent many hours creating this mailing list. It came from e-mail addresses in my computer; requests to coin clubs; from regional and national association bulletin heads; and e-mails passed along to me by collectors who share my idea of putting some fun into the hobby. If you wish to continue to receive these Eh-Bulletins, do nothing. To get removed at any time, e-mail me at coinman@look.ca.

One of my main objectives is to keep serious items out of this Eh-Bulletin for the most part (other than my own personal comments from time to time). Let the fun begin…


SPOTLIGHT ON LETTERS
From Nick Cowan: “Dear John: This letter is written in the interest of sustaining some humour, anecdotes and a small portion of factual information. I, as President of your local coin club, speaking on behalf of our membership, although they probably don't know and who cares anyway if they do or don't, hereby  beg, plead, beseech and probably lower ourselves to grovelling on the club floor to ask a simple question. Where the Hell is our anticipated Newsletter? Do you not realize that it has been some 7 or even more months since we had a semi-weekly offering of tidbits, useless information and the occasional touch of reality. Therefore, it is my duty as a fellow coin collector to admonish you and to ask you to resume your prior task of sending a newsletter to us poor unworthy collectors. Yes, some people actually collected your missives, why I do not know, that is a matter for later discussion (much later). To this end, I again ask you to get your butt off your chair and get in front of the computer and start producing. That is not re-producing, you can do that later if you have any energy left. We look forward to NEWS, NEWS and more NEWS!!!!!!!!” - Well, who can turn down such an eloquent (?) letter? You convinced me single-handedly. Well, actually, you and a few dozens other people who e-mailed me over the past months pestering me and wondering what I was up to.


MY OPENING SHOT
I am glad to have done my part in making the skies safer for you when you fly to attend coin shows. And it only cost me $6.00

Last June, I went to a podiatrist to check out a very black nail on my big toe that I had stubbed. He said just leave it alone, but recommended that I should use a lotion to keep my feet from drying out. I purchased the smallest jar available because it would probably last a year. When I checked through security at the airport to fly to Europe, I carried the jar in my carry-on bag. It showed up on the screen along with my digital camera, electric razor, voltage converter, ballpoint pens and a number of other items.

The small jar with foot lotion presented a security risk, I was told. I would have to package it up and check it as luggage. But I had already checked the two pieces of luggage that my wife and I were allowed. Since the jar was already half-used, I asked how much of the remainder I had to scrape out and discard to get under the radar of the dangerous goods guidelines. No, I couldn’t do that, since the size of the jar was the problem, partially empty or not. Could I have a small plastic bag so that I could transfer some of the lotion into the bag, just enough to last for my 15-day trip? No, that was not possible. Why can I carry on as many 100 ml bottles full of liquid and lotions as I can fit into a one-litre clear plastic bag but I can’t take a 150 ml-size jar that is half empty? Mine is not to question why!

What to do? Rather than asking exactly what the illegal chemical in a small amount of moisture lotion could be or removing my socks (they had already asked me to remove my shoes) and smearing a bunch of it on my feet so it won’t all go to waste, I thought I better back off before they call National Security and send me to the Canadian equivalent of Guantanamo Bay. So I dropped my $12 half-empty jar into the trash bin that was full of other bottles and jars that, according to the Toronto Star, totalled 600,000 pieces every week at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport…that’s right, 600,000 pieces every week at one airport alone…and made my way to the waiting area, knowing that I had helped our good men and women of the security services keep us safe from terrorists…and those dangerous half-empty jars of moisture lotion.


SPOTLIGHT ON 2007
My personal thanks to all those who have sent me emails this past year:

- I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the article about rat droppings in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing.

- I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

- I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

- Or from the senior bank clerk in Nigeria who wants me to split $7 million with me for pretending to be a long lost relative of a customer who died intestate.

- I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.

- I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a Canadian water buffalo on a hot day.

- Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward the e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

- Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca-Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

- I no longer can buy gas without taking a friend along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm filling up.

- I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

- I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore and Uzbekistan.

- Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider or a boa constrictor is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

- And thanks to your great advice, I can't even pick up the $5.00 I found dropped in the car park because it probably was placed there by a murderer waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

- If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 pm this afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump.

- I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbour's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician.

- By the way.... a South American scientist after a lengthy study has discovered that people with low IQ who read humourous e-mails always read their e-mails with their hand on the mouse.

Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late.

Hope your year is great in 2008!


SPOTLIGHT ON BANKING - PART ONE
I don’t know why my bank is complaining. After all, it was their mistake.

I noticed last month that they had deposited a cheque for $200 in my account by mistake. I didn’t say anything at the time.

Just recently, they withdrew $300 from my account in error. I complained.

After investigation, they uncovered their first error also and ask me why I didn’t say anything at the time.

I told the bank manager: “One mistake I can overlook, but not two!”


SPOTLIGHT ON BANKING - PART TWO
What a small world. Two days after I types up the above, I read that not only did nearly $2 million get deposited recently in wrong bank accounts in Ottawa, but that the federal government transfers money electronically into the wrong bank accounts more than 3,000 times each year, according to newly disclosed documents.

These direct deposits, which accidentally enrich the wrong people, have been worth as high as $181,000 in one transaction. All together, wrong internet transfers from the Receiver General for Canada totalled $1.9 million in the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

How come I was never lucky enough to receive some of the government’s largess?


SPOTLIGHT ON GIFT CARDS
It is estimated that about 50% of North Americans bought gift cards as Christmas presents.

The other half are women.

P.S. Are you sorry yet I started these Eh-Bulletins?


SPOTLIGHT ON QUARTERS - PART ONE
I managed to get two tickets behind the bench of the Toronto Argonauts, so I took my wife to the football game. She had never been to a football game before. After the game was over, I asked her how she liked it.

She told me that she just couldn’t understand why healthy grown men would fight over twenty-five cents. I asked here what she meant.

She told me: “Well, after they flipped a quarter, for the rest of the game, the players yelled ‘get the quarter back, get the quarter back.’”


SPOTLIGHT ON QUARTERS - PART TWO
I no sooner finished typing the above when I received the following from Michael the Stamp Collector, dated just prior to the Super Bowl. It came via Associated Press under the heading of “Melbourne Company Will Produce Super Bowl Coin.”

“A Florida mint will play a role in the Super Bowl this year. Melbourne-based Highland Mint is making the coin that will be used in the Super Bowl opening coin toss this year. The coin will later be given to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The New England Patriots and New York Giants met on February 3, 2008 in Arizona for the Super Bowl.”

No wonder the women in the above joke thought the players wanted to get the quarter back. They must have heard about the plans to display the unique quarter at the Football Museum. See, it might have been a joke one day, but fact a day later. Just like the cell phone featured at http://www.flixxy.com/sumsing-turbo-3000-cellphone.htm.


SPOTLIGHT ON NUMISMATIC GREETING CARDS
I have to stop collect numismatic greeting cards. It’s costing me a lot of money. Why, you ask?

Ryan gave me a card last Father’s Day that reads: “A Father’s Day contest for you! You may be the lucky winner! Rules: A magic word appears inside this card. If it says “Car” you win a big Cadillac. If it says “House” you win a new home. If it says “Money” you get $1,000. Thousands of smaller prizes!”

So I open the card. You know what the magic word was “Card!”

But that’s alright. I figured out a way of getting the presents I want. I gave my wife a GPS unit for Christmas that I always wanted. She says that is better than the previous year when I gave her a set of tools.


SPOTLIGHT ON BEING AMERICAN
This is another list of statistics that show how similar Canadians and Americans are. I forgot to mark down who passed it on to me.

Only in North America...
- can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.
- are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.
- do people order double cheese burgers, a large fry, and a diet coke.
- do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
- do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and leave useless things
and junk in boxes in the garage.
- do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won't
miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place.
- do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
- do we use the word "politics" to describe the process so well: "Poli" in Latin meaning
"many" and "tics" meaning "blood-sucking creatures."


SPOTLIGHT ON BEING CANADIAN
You know you are from Canada when.

- You only know three spices - salt, pepper and ketchup.
- You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
- The mosquitoes have landing lights.
- You have more miles on your snowblower than your car.
- You have 10 favourite recipes for moose meat.
- Canadian Tire on any Saturday is busier than the toy stores at Christmas.
- You live in a house that has no front step, yet the door is one meter above the ground.
- You've taken your kids trick-or-treating in a blizzard.
- Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled in with snow.
- You owe more money on your snowmobile than your car.
- The local paper covers national and international headlines on a quarter of a page, but
requires 8 pages for sports. - At least twice a year, the kitchen doubles as a meat processing plant.
- The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
- Your snowblower gets stuck on the roof.
- You think the start of moose season is a national holiday.
- You head south to go to your cottage.
- You frequently clean grease off your barbeque so the bears won't prowl on your deck.
- You know which leaves make good toilet paper.
- The major parish fund-raiser isn't bingo - it's sausage making.
- You find -40C a little chilly.
- The trunk of your car doubles as a deep freezer.
- You attend a formal event in your best clothes, your finest jewelry and your snowshoes.
- You play road hockey on skates.
- You know 4 seasons - Winter, Still Winter, almost Winter and Construction.
- The municipality buys a Zamboni before a bus.
- You actually get these jokes and forward them to all your Northern friends.


SPOTLIGHT ON NUMBERS
$$737,000 – amount that Britney Spears earns per month. That’s a measly $8.8 million per year. How can she possibly live on that?

$0 – amount Kevin Federline claims he earns per month.

$20,000 - amount per month that the courts ordered Spears to pay Federline in support. That’s in addition to the $15,000 a month he receives from her in child support for the two kids that he has custody of. I hope he learns to make do with only $420,000 per year, although I know people who raise two kids on less than a tenth of that.

$110 – amount of fine for woman who had a fake baby in the backseat so she could drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane (reserved for buses, taxis and cars with two or more occupants) on Highway 404 in Toronto to save a few minutes during her ride downtown. The baby turned out to be nothing more than a hooded jacket stuffed with clothing and strapped into an old car seat. A conviction also carried an automatic 3 demerit points which is bound to cost even more than the $110 fine when her insurance comes up for renewal.

$54 million – amount that Roy Pearson sued a dry cleaner for when they lost his pants. Even at today’s price of gold, the pants wouldn’t reach that value if they were made out of solid gold…although they would be a bit too difficult to sit down in, eh.

$54 million – amount that a judge threw out of court when Roy Pearson sued the dry cleaner. Should Pearson, who was an administrative law judge, have known better than to tie up the court system? Maybe that is why he was relieved of his duties by a judicial committee that found he did not show “appropriate judgment and judicial temperament.” Sources said he was previously criticized for his “combative” attitude with supervisors and colleagues.

$6 million - amount Ian Thow spend on a lavish lifestyle, including boats, cars and aircraft, from January 2003 to May 2005. Unfortunately, the money came from dubbed clients who were offered non-existent securities. And he didn’t even live in Nigeria.

$4.2 million – the amount a Mississauga, Ontario women claimed from Chubb Insurance Company of Canada when her house burned down. It contained all kinds of antique furniture, paintings, china and jewellery. And here I am concerned with a Royal Dalton figurine and some seashells we keep around the house.

$1.2 million – cost claimed by Sony BMG against a 30-year old mother of two who downloaded nearly 2,000 iTunes and shared them with others.

$1.2 million – cost to the above women who chose to pay the amount as a retainer to a lawyer, rather than paying the same amount requested by the record companies to settle the copyright violation lawsuit.

$2,000 - cost to legally download 2,000 songs. And there are no legal fees. Is this woman stupid or what?

$35 billion - amount of the largest cash crop in America this past year. And what could the largest cash crop be? It’s marijuana. Whoever would have guessed? Thank you for supporting the U.S. farmer! And what is second? I don’t know, the researchers are still out studying the first one.


SPOTLIGHT ON PHILATELICS
Michael the Stamp Collector told me over lunch that he was visiting New York back on April 28, 1967. For those of you that don’t remember what that day was, it was the opening of Expo 67 in Montreal. He went to United Nations Headquarters and mailed 50 envelopes with the United Nation’s Expo 67 stamp with the First Day of Issue cancellation to himself. They arrived in Toronto over the next few days.

Fast forward to November 14, 2007. He checked his mail slot and guess what? One of the envelopes that he had mailed over 40 years earlier was amongst the mail. To add insult to injury, the envelope was rubber stamped “Insufficient postage” because it contained only the 8 cent stamp. However, someone at the post office, in their wisdom, crossed it out with a black felt marker. It also contained the postal code which pinpointed to a postal sorting facility in New Jersey.

Every time the Canadian or U.S. post office raises the rate we jokingly say the increase is for storage costs. Maybe it was not that farfetched after all.


SPOTLIGHT ON OTHER COLLECTIBLES
What is the second most-important collectible in Canada, after coins?

I bet you didn’t know it is beer bottles. Actually, it might not be the bottles themselves, but the fact that to obtain them, you have to go and buy the beer in the bottles. Then you are forced to drink the beer because it won’t keep, just to obtain an empty bottle for your collection. And just like we would report any background news about numismatics, I am pleased to give you a bit of background on beer bottles. I have selected Stella Artois beer bottles, since the beer, distributed in Canada by Labatt Breweries, has been in the news lately.

Two-hundred-and-three bottles of the beer were recently filled with ethanol for use in displays at bars and restaurants across the country. Unfortunately, seven of the bottles, which looked identical to all others, wound up on tables of unsuspecting customers who promptly got sick. Labatt spokespeople said that in future, display bottles will be marked as being for display purposes only.

Because of their low numbers, that should make an interesting addition to anyone’s non-numismatic collection, as long as they don’t drink the contents.


SPOTLIGHT ON CREDIT CARDS
Here is a conversation that has come to light between Ferdinand II and Isabella I, King and Queen of Spain, just before Christopher Columbus went off to discover the new world, according to Rhymes With Orange comic strip in the Toronto Star:

Queen: “He’ll need supplies. Give him your credit card, Ferdinand.”

King: “American Express or Discover?’


SPOTLIGHT ON DISCRIMINATION
Larry Miller thinks he got a raw deal. When the wheelchair-bound man robbed a Florida bank, he got only $200 of the $1500 he demanded. Not only was he vocal about his disappointment, he also had a theory about his less-than-rewarding heist.

According to Miami Police, Miller, 42, wheeled himself into the Pan American Bank and told the bank manager he wanted to set up an account. As the manager gathered documents, Miller placed a brown paper bag on the desk. A note scrawled on the bag read, "Robbery put the money bag 1500." Miller then allegedly realized that managers don't keep money at their desks. He reportedly took the note and rolled himself towards the teller instead. "I imagine that he’s not a Rhodes scholar," the bank manager said.

The teller complied with the suspect's demand, but when Miller was about to exit the bank, he discovered that the teller had only given him two $100 bills. Miller became agitated and began cursing. He tossed his note to the ground and continued to utter expletives as he made his way towards the train station, where he was easily apprehended. He has been charged with strong armed robbery for the bank heist.

"It's just not fair," Miller reportedly complained. "On TV, the white bank robbers get $1500. It's only because I'm black that I get $200."

This was not the thwarted robber's first unlucky caper. According to Schwartz, Miller tried to rob a store with a gun in 1987, but the store owner wrestled the gun away and shot him. The injury left Miller unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair.


SPOTLIGHT ON PEOPLE
Allan Davies passed along the following:

A dog is truly a man's best friend. If you don't believe it, just try this experiment: Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour. When you open the trunk, see who is really happy to see you?


MY PARTING SHOT
I recently checked out the Library and Archives Canada website at www.collectionscanada.ca and noticed the following write-up:

Stamp Artists - “For a long time, the artists employed by stamp printers designed postage stamps in British North America and Canada. During the 1950s, the Post Office Department began to order designs directly from other artists and designers and, in 1969, with the official creation of the Design Advisory Committee (which later became the Stamp Advisory Committee), the procedure for selecting Canadian artists to design postage stamps became official. The Committee studies proposed themes and designs and submits its recommendations to the Board that manages the Canada Post Corporation's annual stamp program. The Committee's recommendations must meet a series of objectives and criteria which can be viewed at www.collectionscanada.ca/postal-archives/080602020101_e.html.

What I want to know is: where is the Coin Advisory Committee? With all the talent that we have in the hobby, I think we can be an asset to whoever is in charge of creating such a committee.


SPOTLIGHT ON A NAME
For lack of a better name, I have decided to call this first bulletin “John Regitko’s Numismatic Eh-Bulletin.” There are billions of e-mails out there, so I thought my name would tell you immediately who it is from before you press the delete button, although you might also do that immediately after you see who it is from. And to give it that Canadian perspective, I thought Eh-Bulletin is appropriate.

What I want you to do is send me your suggestion(s) for a permanent name. If I select your name for future bulletins, I will give you a six-month subscription to Canadian Coin News (new or renewal). If the name I select was sent in by more than one person, I will decide who my better friend is. Okay, I better conduct a draw. If you let me know that you agree with my name of “John Regitko’s Eh-Bulletin,” it would be unfair if we did not include you, so if I don’t get anything better, I will l put your name in a draw if you also e-mail me at coinman@look.ca. and tell me you agree with it. While you’re at it, why not send me something silly about money?


SPOTLIGHT ON NEXT ISSUE
My next issue will be a special bulletin to commemorate Canada’s foremost national holiday: April 1. A lot of numismatic announcements came out on that day that neither the numismatic press nor the regular press reported. It was left up to me to do it!

Till the next time…

John Regitko
Your Eh-Bulletin Editor

For submissions of material for publication or to be removed from this Eh-Bulletin: coinman@look.ca. These Eh-Bulletins may be copied, in whole or in part, in club bulletins, either in print or on their Internet websites, if proper credit is given, including my e-mail address.