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 5 – April 24, 2008

 

MY OPENING SHOT

For the past 50 years, at every club meeting I attended and in every hobby periodical I received, there was the same predicted: “doom and gloom for the hobby…unless we cater to juniors “who are the future of the hobby.” Looking around the room at meetings or scanning the bourse room at conventions, I had to agree that the hobby is indeed dead if the lack of juniors were any indication.

 

Well, here I am 50 years later. Looking around the same meeting rooms and conventions tells me the same doom and gloom scenario exists, since there is still a lack of junior collectors to be seen. But wait. Other than the normal cyclical ups and downs, we are still around. Maybe some coin clubs have closed, but others have sprung up in the meantime. So what went right? Is it just possible that the real future of the hobby does not rest with the number of junior collectors that are involved with the hobby?

 

When I look around club meetings that I attend, I see a lot of new faces. With one or two exceptions, they are all adults. As a matter of fact, at least half of the new faces are seniors, invited by other adults and seniors who have been attending meetings for a long time.

 

Every seven seconds in Canada, another baby boomer turns 50. In the year 2016, there will be more Canadians over 60 than under the age of 15, which has never happened before. People over 50 control about three quarters of the nation’s wealth and are responsible for more spending than any other age group. And life expectancy has gone up to 76.6 years for men, 83.5 for women. What that means is that we will have even fewer young people to entice to attend numismatic meetings, at the expense, due to our limited volunteer recruiting resources, of adults.

 

Although we must continue to encourage juniors to join the world’s greatest hobby, is it just possible that the future of the hobby rests (dare I use the word entirely?) with the people whose prime objective is no longer to play video games into the wee hours of the night, to spend hours adding to their profile on FaceBook, or wonder how many dates they can rack up this week?

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON LETTERS

From Elliot Bassin: “Just want to let you know that you have the wrong link for the color test.  It should be: www.humorsphere.com/fun/color.php.” Here's another interesting little test: http://www.oldjoeblack.0nyx.com/thinktst.swf.“ - It would appear that both your link and the one I published last Friday get you to the same game. I tried your new one and got 17 out of 25; although I have to confess that I took a guess on three of my right answers.

 

From Suzan Robins: “I did your colour test and got 100% on the first two tries. Sorry - but as Bonnie and I pointed out Saturday - the women got the brains!!!” - Careful, or it might have been the last time I invite my cousins over. Anyway, it’s not the brains - it’s how you use them.

 

From Adrian Gonzalez Salinas: “Greetings from Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. Thanks a lot for sending me your interesting Eh-Bulletins. It contains information valuable to me! Congratulations!” - Just don’t take things too seriously when reading them.

 

From (Name Withheld): “Remove my e-mail address from your the Eh-bulletin. It's a waste of my time.” - That’s exactly what I think of it also, as stated in my opening paragraph of every bulletin.

 

From Ms. Anna Maria: “YOU 'VE WON. Your email have won ($1,500,000.00) Dollars in DE CASINO ONLINE INT S.L Euro milliones.Esp.Forfurther development for Clarification and procedure please Contact the paying bank at bancolacaixacenter@yahoo.es. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender expressly, and with authority, states them to be the views of the University of Technology Sydney. Please consider the environment before printing this email.” - Golly, thank you very much. I will send you the $20,000 fee you need to “clear” the paperwork. In case you didn’t know it, but in the middle of Lake Ontario, there is an independent island known as the country of Monopoly. I will send you Monopoly Money tomorrow. Nice touch, that reference to the University in Sydney and the part about the environment.

 

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SPOTLIGHT ON THE NAME

From Dean Parr: “While I agree with you that Eh-Bull might not be the 'right' name for the bulletin, you might want to use the name for a section that is definitely along those lines.  I guess I like the name as well. Great job on the newsletter and keep them coming!” (Dean is on the executive of the Iowa Numismatic Association, secretary of the Cedar Rapids Coin Club, and more.)

 

From Jeff Starck: “Love the renewal of a weekly bulletin, though I think a blend of actual news with the humor is a better mix. Stick with the name... It works, and it reflects you, and since you do all the hard work, it works!” (Jeff, as a member of the staff at Coin World, has written numerous articles. Hey, can you get me a decent paying job at Coin World, or maybe put in a good word to Colin Bruce or David Harper at Krause Publications who also receive these bulletins?).

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON PRIVACY

Some of you might have noticed the following in last Friday’s bulletin in the Spotlight on Letters section: “From Moon Coin Club (have written him asking for his name).” Just in case you are wondering, that was intended as a note to myself, but I never got around to updating it before sending out the bulletin. What it proves is that I do not cross-reference names to e-mail addresses and your privacy is assured. The only reason I like to know who is sending me e-mails is that, as you will notice in my remarks at the end of letters, I like to include the accomplishments of the people I mention.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON GREMLINS

I know Canada is a bilingual nation, but not English and Greek. I received the following two letters this past week:

 

From Jim Jeska: “Thank you for including me on your Eh-Bulletins!  I have missed your colorful insights! But what's up with all the funky characters in the text?  Does Yahoo not like you or is there a solution?”

 

From Peter Becker: “Looks like you found some Gremlins again.  Those weird characters from your first ever mailing have crept in and invaded the Bulletin!”

 

When two people receive it, there are others no doubt, so I consulted Dan Gosling who has been very helpful to me in the past on things involving computers.

 

Dan brought a great article to my attention that explains why some of you are receiving unusual characters and not opening and closing quotation marks, since I use smart quotes when I create my drafts.

 

This bulletin, as well as Issue Number 4 on Tuesday, was prepared differently than the first two bulletins, in that I removed a lot of formatting, such as no smart quotes, fraction characters, superscript or automatic numbering and bullets. If you have had gremlins appear in your first two bulletins but not the last two, I would like to hear from you to see if I have overcome the problem. If you are still receiving Greek characters, please let me know because I might have to take Dan up on his recommendation to create my original material in Notepad.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON NUMBERS

$50,000 - amount a cafeteria waitress from Brownsville, Texas received, along with a 2000 Buick, from one of her cranky customers whom she described as “kind of mean.” She served him for nearly seven years before he passed away at age 89, always smiling to try to cheer him up and making sure his food was exactly as he wanted. See what can happen when you treat people nice?

 

$1.8 million - amount that an accountant was fined by a court in Vienna for embezzling from the Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, a crime that forced the group to seek bankruptcy. He stole the money to support his mistress. Well, at least he had a good reason. I hope it was worth it!

 

$500,000 - amount paid by a Beijing billionaire for 27 bottles of vintage wine. The most I ever paid for a bottle is $4.95 for a bottle of Jordan Valley red during my high school days.

 

$241,000 - amount of fine imposed on a Montreal man by a U.S. federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, along with a six-month jail sentence, for his part in an international telemarketing fraud scheme. He was 1 of 15 Canadians indicted in 2002. Seven others already have been sentenced. An investigation found the group defrauded about 80 elderly Americans by telling them they had won large lottery prizes but first had to prepay Canadian taxes and fees to get the cash. Read my lips: there are no Canadian taxes on lottery wins.

 

$3.5 million – the amount a Richmond Hill strip club owner cheated the taxman out of. Ricardo DiGiuseppe was charged with one count of fraud over $5,000 and found guilty of hiding $9 million in revenue over two years. Nine million over two years from a strip club? Boy,  I’m in the wrong business.

 

$1,000 - amount a privately-owned Fargo, North Dakota bank gave to each of their full-time employees on the condition they would give it to people in need. The bank asked each employee to document the good deed with a video camera. Since everything ultimately winds up on YouTube, I expect to see all 500 videos soon. Incidentally, I was not one of the people in need selected.

 

$500,000 - amount the above program is costing State Bank & Trust.

$1,000 - amount a judge ordered Israel prison authorities to pay an inmate as compensation for putting up with cockroaches and cigarette smoke. I have another way of avoiding it: don’t commit a crime!

 

$2,500 - cost of the world’s cheapest car, the 4-door sub-compact Nano, from India’s Tata Motors. That might revolutionize the nation of 1.1 billion people, where only seven of every 1,000 people own cars. Let’s see, there is no radio, no power steering and no air conditioning, which rules out most North American buyers. No passenger side mirror, no central locking and only one windshield wiper might cause the safety inspectors a bit of a headache. But at least it has wheels (not sure if it’s 3 or 4) and some sort of a motor.

 

$48,000 – amount paid in an auction of Beatles memorabilia for a lock of John Lennon’s hair. The presale estimate was $4,000-$6,000. I wonder what a lock of my hair would be worth if I had any?

 

$20,000 – Amount the Canadian government is willing to pay its Olympic athletes if they win a gold metal, in support of the years of training required while they only have part-time jobs or depend on the generosity of their friends. Amounts of $15,000 and $10,000 will be paid to those receiving silver and bronze medals, respectively. Since the rest get nothing, it sure is an incentive to try harder.

 

$6 million - amount that a 51-year-old Hamilton, Ontario woman is suing for because she was hit by a Pizza Pizza delivery man in 2001. She claimed the company was responsible because of their “30 minutes or it’s free” guarantee which the company mandated, a dangerous and careless strategy, causing the driver to try to beat the deadline. Sometime after the incident, the company changed to a “40 minutes or it’s free” guarantee…unless the weather was nasty, the restaurant is busy, the order is too large, or the delivery man can think of another excuse. In other words, very often when you called in an order, you were told the reason why they couldn’t give you a guarantee. Pizza Pizza is claiming that the driver was working as an independent contractor, not an employee, and that too much time has elapsed since the crash. However, in 1993, a St. Louis woman won a similar court battle against Domino’s Pizza for millions, causing Domino’s to eventually cancel its 30-minute promise.

 

$17,000 - amount spent by Tom Cruise and Katie just on fresh flowers to fill a rented Hollywood home (cost of rental unknown) for their daughter Suri’s second birthday bash. This is in addition to the $5,000 on personalized cakes, $230 worth of cupcakes, and a four-tiered treat to the 2-year-old birthday girl. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, who doesn’t come cheap, catered the event for the 24 guests, according to In Touch magazine. When Allan Davies sent this to me, he asked: Do you think this kid will grow up to be a spoiled brat?

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON GOLD

We all own a quantity of gold bars that we keep in the den as conversation pieces or in bank vaults. But you might want to check them based on the following report.

 

With the price of gold being what it is, even governments are calculating the value if all that bullion they stored over the years, deciding whether now is a good time to sell some of it. South Africa was no different. However, the Ethiopian central bank received a call from the South African government recently to report that the 300 kg of gold it had bought from Ethiopia was actually gold-plated steel.

 

Nineteen people were arrested in the scandal, and more counterfeit bars have turned up in the vault.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON GAMBLING

At Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on a recent Saturday, a clerk accepted a $500 bet from a man at the last second on the number 6 horse to win. The clerk accidentally punched in horse number 5. Realizing her mistake, the clerk immediately tried to cancel the ticket just as the betting machines were frozen.

 

Federal law says staff in wagering parlours can’t place bets on the job and tellers are “always responsible” for their cash. A clerk cashing in a bet would be a clear-cut violation. The person making a mistake is on the hook to cover the mistake.

 

The Canadian Auto Workers Local 2007, which acts for about 500 workers at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks as well as 26 off-track betting sites, has filed a grievance on behalf of the employee, because the regulation says a clerk is not allowed to come into possession of a ticket.

 

At stake is not the $500 that the clerk is on hook for. Number 5, a 15-to-1 long shot, came in first and paid $7,825 on the $500 wager. Relenting after the race, managers did decide to subtract $500 from the “winnings” to cover the bet, rather than insisting the clerk pay. The balance would end up in a future betting pool.

 

The union’s position is that if they have to pay for shortages, or mistakes, it’s unfair to deny them the winnings if the horse came in. However, regulations state that they cannot engage in betting, even if by accident.

 

I will conduct a draw for a six-month subscription to Canadian Coin News (new or renewal), to anyone that correctly guesses what the outcome will be. Remember, it might involve changing the rules, either federally or by agreement between the union and management, so we might have to wait a while for it to be resolved, especially if there are appeals by either side.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON THE POLICE

The following came to me from J.R. Becker and Bill Kamb. It is entitled “Don’t fool with a Newfie cop.”


A lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a Newfie cop. He thinks that he is smarter than the Newfie because he is a lawyer from Toronto and is certain that he has a better education then any cop from Newfoundland. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Newfie cop's expense.

The Newfie cop says, “License and registration, please.” “'What for?” asks the lawyer.

The Newfie cop says: “You didn't come to a complete stop at the stop sign.” Then the lawyer says, “I slowed down, and no one was coming.”

“You still didn't come to a complete stop,” says the Newfie cop. “License and registration, please.” The lawyer says, “What's the difference?”

“The difference is you have to come to complete stop, that's the law. License and registration, please!” the Newfie says. The lawyer says, “If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my license and registration; and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket.”

“Please exit your vehicle, sir,” the Newfie cop says. At this point, the Newfie takes out his nightstick and starts beating the daylight out of the lawyer and says, “Do you want me to stop, or just slow down?”

 

SPOTLIGHT ON CREDIT CARDS

A woman stole credit and debit card data last year from nearly 2,000 customers whose account data was illegally copied at a northeast Calgary gas station. I guess she must have figured the police would never be able to trace it back to this one location?

 

The suspect took the next step when she used fake ID and a phony incorporation certificate to open a business account at a local Royal Bank branch. The suspect then contacted a company that supplies point-of-sales equipment and obtained a wireless credit card terminal, saying she owned a housecleaning business that required her to enter transactions from different locations. When the equipment arrived, the woman entered phony charges on the card numbers obtained from the gasoline station. Once she obtained the wireless terminal, the 1,950 cards were transacted over 11 days, netting almost $900,000. The suspect then visited several Royal Bank branches around the city, where she siphoned money from her account to offshore banks through wire transfers. An estimated $800,000 made it overseas, and an additional $67,000 was spent locally.

 

The scam came to light when an employee of one of the credit card companies noticed a suspicious number of similar transactions. The investigation briefly stalled when police went to arrest the woman whose name was registered to the fake cleaning business and discovered she had no involvement in the crime, because identity theft was also involved in this part of the operation. Investigators were able to find a suspect by viewing surveillance footage from bank branches where the wire transfers took place. Melissa Gayline Cote, 21, has been charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, and one count each of fraud under $5,000 and impersonation.

 

The good thing is that customers won't be liable for the charges incurred on their accounts, but local financial institutions will have to negotiate with the offshore banks to retrieve their funds, according to the article published in the Calgary Herald.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON COUNTERFEITING

Sean Isaccs of Alliance Coin & Banknote of Almonte, Ontario, brought a website to my attention that shows photos of a Chinese coin counterfeiting operation. This counterfeiting ring is suspected of putting thousands of fake coins into the world and U.S. coin markets every month. These are the same coins which are being put into counterfeit coin holders, although they are most frequently sold non-slabbed. There is no law in China against making these "replicas" as long as they are sold as such.

 

The website is http://coins.about.com/od/worldcoins/ig/Chinese-Counterfeiting-Ring/.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON MONEY

Now I know I was a deprived child. A recent issue of “Money” magazine says that parents should set up a piggy bank at age 6, graduate to a savings account at age 10, set up a bank account at age 13 and get them a credit card at age 17.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON CANADIAN WEATHER

J. R. Becker sent me the following, which explains Canada’s weather as good as anything else you have ever been told:

                                                                                                                                       
On the sixth day God turned to the Archangel Gabriel and said: "Today I am going to create a land called Canada. It will be a land of outstanding natural beauty. It shall have tall majestic mountains full of mountain goats, and eagles, beautiful sparkling lakes bountiful with bass and trout, forests full of elk and moose, high cliffs over-looking sandy beaches with an abundance of sea life, and rivers stocked with salmon."

God continued, "I shall make the land rich in resources so as to make the inhabitants prosper, I shall call these inhabitants Canadians, and they shall be known as the most friendly people on the earth."

"But Lord," asked Gabriel "don't you think you are being too generous to these Canadians?"


"Not really," replied God "just wait and see the winters I am going to give them."

 

 

SPOTLIGHT ON A DILEMMA

I am facing a dilemma that I thought you might help me with:

 

Tim Hortons, known for exhorting large amounts of money from me in return for extra large hot French Vanilla cappuccinos, is currently running a “scratch and win” contest that can win you cars, recreational vehicles, millions in cash and other prizes. Every once in a while, I will take coffees from Tim Hortons to my local friendly printer who gives me excellent service at a great price.

 

What would you do if you received a call from one of the young ladies telling you that she won $50 when she turned up the rim on the cup that you brought her and she thought it only fair to split it with you.

 

What would you do? Your responses to coinman@look.ca.

 

 

MY CLOSING COMMENT

At present, back issues of these Eh-Bulletins are not available via links to a website. If you find that you are missing one (they are numbered), please drop me a line at coinman@look.ca and I will be pleased to send the missing one(s) to you.

 

I am in the process of setting up my own website, at which time, I will not only post all back issues, but also all speeches I have given and all articles I ever wrote. The website, which will be known as www.thecoinman.ca, will enable me to publish colour photographs and links just like other websites. I will let you know when it is up and running. You will then get to see the more serious side of me and realize that I am not always the weird guy that some of you think I am.

In last Friday’s bulletin, I advised you that I would give a 6-month subscription to the person whose name was drawn from correct submissions and funny submissions in a contest that asked where the $10 went (see Issue #3). Since I will be leaving for Sudbury for the annual Ontario Numismatic Association convention prior to the close of the contest, I will announce the winner this coming Friday.

 

Till the next time…

 

John Regitko

Your Eh-Mail Bulletin Editor

 

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