Question: Because of what Hitler and Mussolini were doing, I thought that some day we would have a United States of Europe. So, while in the Navy during World War II, in the European Theater, I spent all my spare time collecting coins of different countries and islands, including our own possessions. Consequently, I have several hundred coins, many of which are more than 100 years old, and several more than 200 years old. I know the intrinsic value is not great, but are there any private collectors who might be interested?--S.J.P.
Answer: There are probably many World War II vets in the same boat you're in. Coins make interesting mementos, especially commemoratives honoring persons, places or events of a historical nature. Also, because they're small, they're easily transportable, and storage is not much of a problem because they take up little space.
But before you attempt to sell your coins, you should place a value on them. To do this, get a coin catalogue; the "Standard Guide of World Coins" by Krause and Mishler would probably best serve your purpose. For pricing, figure that all of your coins are circulated, so they won't command top dollar. Also, figure that your coins are worth about half the catalogue value.
As for selling to a private party, that could pose a problem. Dealing with someone you don't know is extremely risky. That's why most collectors go through established coin dealers who will pay you right on the spot. Obviously, however, there are plenty of private parties who might be interested in your coins.
Your best way to contact them would be through a coin club. The Numismatic Assn. of Southern California lists more than 50 member clubs in its quarterly, which sells for $2.50. Contact the Numismatic Assn. of Southern California at Box 5173, Buena Park, Calif. 90622; telephone (714) 527-0962.
I bought some of the 1987 American Eagle silver dollars from a bank in early January at $7.25 per coin. Here it is four months later, and I still haven't received any of these coins. I keep pestering the sales representative who speaks to me in banal generalities, never giving me a definite or anticipated delivery date. Now that these coins are about $3 per coin and higher, do you think they will honor my order? What do you suggest I do?--H.J.
Obviously, your transaction has been mishandled. I hope you have documentation to substantiate your claim. If so, contact the bank sales representative one more time. Demand your coins or demand to speak to someone who will give you satisfaction. Go as high as necessary until your order is honored. I mentioned your dilemma to some coin dealers who said they couldn't understand why some people buy coins from banks. Those people don't do banking with coin dealers. In other words, stick to what you know best. Coin News
Ancient and modern coins of the world and the United States are being offered in a mail-bid sale closing May 20 by Coin Galleries, 123 West 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019. More than 2,400 items are in the sale with a proof 1895 $1 in fine condition highlighting the U.S. offerings. The list of prices realized is $5 from Coin Galleries.
The personal collection of veteran Omaha coin dealers Aubrey and Adeline Bebee will be auctioned in August at the American Numismatic Assn. convention in Atlanta. Highlights include a complete set of Flying Eagle and Indian cents; high-grade early Bust silver dollars; proof sets including 1875, 1909, 1910 and 1913, and a set of 1915-S Panama-Pacific pieces ($50 gold pictured). Consignments are still being received by Auctions by Bowers & Merena, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.
Superior Galleries has just released the catalogue for the Buddy Ebsen Collection, which goes on sale May 31 through June 2 in four auction sessions. There are more than 3,100 items in the impressive catalogue, which is available from Superior, 9478 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif. 90212-4236; telephone (213) 203-9855. The coins are available for viewing at Superior by appointment only through May 30. Auction hours are noon and 6 p.m. May 31 at Superior, and 6 p.m. June 1 and 2 in the Century Room of the Century Plaza Hotel.
A bid-or-buy format is being following in the latest edition of the Collectors' Journal of Ancient Art. Ancient coins are featured in this sale, but there are also interesting objects for collectors, such as scales and weights, weapons, books and other ancient memorabilia. The journal is available for $6 from Joel L. Malter, 16661 Ventura Blvd., Suite 518, Encino, Calif. 91436; telephone (818) 784-7772.
Don Alpert cannot answer mail personally but will respond to numismatic questions of general interest in this column. Do not telephone. Write to Your Coins, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.