Weekly World Numismatic News for January 17, 2021

1994-P Washington QuarterThe president has signed the last numismatic-related bill this past week. On January 13, 2021, the president signed the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law No. 116-330). It was the last possible day to sign the bill. If he did not sign it, the bill would be subjected to a pocket veto.

  • H.R. 1923: Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020
    Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
    LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-330. — Jan 13, 2021

The law will require the U.S. Mint to redesign the quarters’ reverse through 2030, starting in 2022.

Prominent American Women Quarters

For the quarters issued between 2022 and 2025, “The design on the reverse side of each quarter dollar issued under this subsection shall be emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of one prominent woman of the United States.” The U.S. Mint will issue “up to” five quarters per year and confer with several groups to determine who receives the honor.

United States Semiquincentennial Coins

The United States will celebrate its seniquincentennial (250th Anniversary) on July 4, 2026. In celebration of the event, the law states that the U.S. Mint will issue the following coins:

  • QUARTERS: 2026 quarters “with up to five different designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” One quarter must be design to be emblematic of the contribution of a woman or women.
  • DOLLARS: orders the Mint to issue “$1 dollar coins with designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” These dollar coins will be issued in addition to the Native American and Innovation dollars.

Youth Sports Program

The law requires the U.S. Mint to celebrate youth sports with changes to the quarter and half-dollars to correspond to the Summer Olympic games of 2028 and the Winter games of 2030. This program will run from 2027 through 2030.

  • QUARTERS: Up to five coins issued each year “shall be emblematic of one sport played by American youth.”
  • HALF-DOLLARS: Up to five coins issued each year “emblematic of one Paralympic sport.”
  • MEDALS: The law authorizes the U.S. Mint to create “medals with designs emblematic of the sport honored with the issuance of the coin.”

Medals for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles

The law authorizes the U.S. Mint “to design and manufacture medals for awarding at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.” The law makes it the first time in the modern Olympics history that the U.S. Mint will create the games’ medals. Previously, the Olympic committees had a private vendor create the medals. According to the International Olympic Committee website, medals for the games played in the United States were created by the following:

Year Games Location Minter of the Medals
1904 Summer St. Louis Diege & Clust
1932 Summer Los Angeles The Whitehead & Hoag Co.
1932 Winter Lake Placid Robbins Company
1960 Winter Squaw Valley Herff Jones
1980 Winter Lake Placid Medallic Art Co.
1984 Summer Los Angeles Jostens, Inc
1996 Summer Atlanta Reed and Barton
2002 Winter Salt Lake City O.C. Tanner

Silver Bullion Coins

The new law allows the U.S. Mint to continue to make the five-ounce silver bullion coins that correspond to each of the quarter and half-dollar programs. Interestingly, the silver hockey-puck-sized coins appear to be popular and will continue to be available to collectors and investors.

Also added to the law is the ability to strike factional silver bullion coins with the same designs. It is uncertain if a half-ounce or quarter-ounce silver coin will sell, but we will find out.

Obverse of the Coins

George Washington will continue to appear on the obverse but “be designed in a manner, such as with incused inscriptions, so as to distinguish it from the obverse design used during the previous quarters program.”

The bill includes similar language for the image of John F. Kennedy on the 2026 Semiquincentennial half-dollar.

And now the news…

 January 8, 2021
Coin collecting is viewed by many enthusiasts to be a form of modern day treasure hunting, as shops in South Beloit and Beloit continue to do well as collectors come seeking rare finds, or simply to make an investment in precious metals.  → Read more at beloitdailynews.com

 January 11, 2021
The world’s finest Brasher Doubloon, the most legendary U.S gold coin ever produced, is heading for auction at Heritage this month. The 18th century coin is described as “arguably the world’s most famous numismatic rarity”, and is one of only seven examples known to exist.  → Read more at news.justcollecting.com

 January 13, 2021
Ongoing excavations at a rural spot near the village of Újlengyel in central Hungary recently struck gold, both figuratively and literally. Archaeologists armed with powerful metal detectors found a buried treasure of approximately seven thousand silver and four medieval  gold coins  in Hungary, hidden centuries ago by unknown individuals.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 January 14, 2021
Egypt: Archaeologists find coins with Cleopatra’s face on Thousands of objects including ancient coins, pottery and sculpture thousands of years old have been secured, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has confirmed.  → Read more at express.co.uk
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One more bill from the 116th Congress

My parents taught me that there is a time and place for everything. Even though a discussion about the current state of politics is relevant, a blog about numismatics is not the place for that discussion. Thus, anything I write about politics and public policy will focus on how it affects numismatics. I appreciate your understanding and your readership.

1994-P Washington QuarterWith the 116th Congress gaveled to a closed, the only numismatic-related bill left to watch is H.R. 1923, Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020. The House of Representatives agreed with the Senate’s amendment on December 31, 2020, and sent it to the White House on January 1, 2021. The president has until January 13, 2021, to sign the bill into law. If he does not sign the bill, it becomes the victim of a pocket veto.

  • H.R. 1923: Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020
    Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
    Passed the House of Representatives — Sep 22, 2020
    Passed the Senate with amendments — Dec 17, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Presented to President. — Jan 1, 2021

For a description of what coinage is included in H.R. 1923, see the September 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review.

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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 10, 2021

2020 American Gold EagleThe Weekly World Numismatic News return finds that although 2020 was a stressful year and 2021 has not started with a promise for improvement, the rare coin and paper money market appears healthy.

Based on a survey of auction houses conducted by the Professional Numismatists Guild, they reported the total sales at auction to be over $419 million. With COVID-19 causing the cancellation of every major show, the auction moved online with success.

A consistent comment is that the auctions provided a means for collectors to liquidate all or parts of their collections to raise money during the pandemic. But for this type of sale to be effective, there have to be bidders to buy the coins. The buyers came.

HiBid, an online auction platform that supports many auction houses, has consistently reported weekly sales on the tens-of-millions of dollars. This year, HiBid reports that traffic to coins.hibid.com was their fastest growing platform.

Finally, with the stock markets soaring with the economic uncertainty growing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Mint saw the sale of American Eagle gold and silver coins increase dramatically. In 2020, the U.S. Mint sold 884,000 ounces of American Gold Eagle coins, increasing 455% from the 152,000 ounces sold in 2019.

The sale of American Silver Eagle coins doubled from last year by selling 30.01 million ounces of silver.

Since the U.S. Mint reports bullion coins more regularly than collector coin sales, those coins’ impact is not reflected in these numbers.

There are collectors out there. Unfortunately, they are not members of the American Numismatic Association or other numismatic organizations. Maybe the numismatic community should use this as a lesson to try to grow the hobby.

And now the news…

 December 29, 2020
One face of the coin features a typical Cyberpunk 2077 scene with towering skyscrapers and hulking mega-structures looming over a souped-up motor vehicle. The coin’s flip side depicts a bust of Queen Elizabeth II, Press materials  → Read more at thefirstnews.com

 January 4, 2021
Queen Elizabeth is just months away from a milestone birthday — and the U.K.'s Royal Mint is already celebrating. The Royal Mint unveiled five new commemorative coins for 2021, including a £5 coin to mark the monarch's 95th birthday in April.  → Read more at people.com

 January 4, 2021
Kitco News has launched its 2021 Outlook, which offers the most comprehensive coverage of precious metals markets in the new year. Trillions of dollars were pumped into financial markets in 2020 and that won't come without consequences.  → Read more at kitco.com

 January 4, 2021
A coin collection in a backroom of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum could one day reveal Outer Banks history  → Read more at pilotonline.com

 January 8, 2021
With an alarming level of uncertainties across-the-board courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a return to high market volatility and unprecedented global economic stimulus, investors are increasingly seeking alternative investment strategies.  → Read more at thearmchairtrader.com
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UPDATE: SIGNED! (No ’21 Silver Dollars, yet!)

UPDATE (Jan 5, 2021, NOON): A message was transmitted to Congress that the president signed H.R. 6192 along with several other bills on his desk that were received on December 24, 2020.

1921 Peace DollarSeveral readers asked about the timeline for the president’s signature on H.R. 6192, 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act, and whether he signed the bill.

  • H.R. 6192: 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
    Passed the House of Representatives — Sep 22, 2020
    Passed the Senate with amendments — Dec 17, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Presented to President. — Dec 24, 2020

According to the Government Printing Office, the United States government’s official publisher, H.R. 6192 was presented to the president on December 24, 2020. The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 7, Clause 2 says that the president has ten days to act. If the president does not sign the bill and Congress is in session, the bill becomes law without the president’s signature. If Congress adjourns during that ten-day period, an unsigned bill is vetoed, called a pocket veto.

Documents from the Justice Department notes that the ten-day period does not include Sunday. A follow-up call to the Justice Department noted that Christmas Day does not count as part of the ten days, but New Years Day counts. The Clerk of the House’s office confirmed this information.

The president has until Wednesday, January 6, 2021, to act on the bill. If he does not sign H.R. 6192 into law, it will be the victim of a pocket veto since the 116th Congress formally adjourned sine die (without a date) the morning of Sunday, January 3, 2021, as constitutionally required.

Since watching numismatic legislation has been a feature of the Coin Collectors Blog (since 2005), the White House Press Office would post bill signings on whitehouse.gov. Unfortunately, the current administration has provided uneven coverage of bill signings not in the news. The GPO will probably publish this news before the White House releases the information.

December 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review

The Weekly World Numismatic News will return next week.

Seal of the United States CongressThe U.S. Mint is unique because it is the only mint in the world to be controlled by a legal process that requires the government to coordinate its policy. While other mints have requirements to clear specific actions with their parliament or legislative bodies, the U.S. Mint cannot do anything without an act of congress, including changing coin designs.

Congress’s micromanagement of the U.S. Mint is their interpretation of Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution that says, “The Congress shall have Power… To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin.” It does not say that congress must micromanage the U.S. Mint, nor does it say that congress has to be involved in the design.

Although commemorative coin programs require legislation, over the last 20 years, congress considers these bills as time-fillers when other business does not require their attention. Most of the commemorative coin bills rarely receive a hearing in their committees and usually pass by unanimous consent. These bills are handled to show the general public congress is doing something while brushing it off like dandruff on their shoulders.

With congress putting off difficult negotiations until after elections, the lame-duck session becomes the dumping ground for hard negotiations, usually about spending money and fluff. While congressional leaders negotiated the hard stuff, congress meets and passes bills that have little meaning to the general public. Most numismatic bills have little meaning for the general public. However, passing these bills gives them something to talk about.

Let’s look at the five bills that congress acted on in December:

  • H.R. 1830: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Sean P. Maloney (D-NY)
    LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-247. — Dec 22, 2020

Initially introduced in the House in March 2019, the bill creates a 2022 commemorative coin program to support the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York. The bill was heard during the cleanup, and the lame-duck session finally passing on December 2. president signed the bill on December 22, 2020.

  • H.R. 1923: Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020
    Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
    Passed the House of Representatives — Sep 22, 2020
    Passed the Senate with amendments — Dec 17, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 18, 2020

Initially, this bill was called the Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act. Somewhere along the line, congress changed the title. This bill will create a new quarters series to honor women from each state involved with suffrage and the Nineteenth Amendment. The bill was passed by the lame-duck Senate and awaits the president’s signature.

Even though this bill passed the House and Senate, the Senate amended the bill. The House has to agree with the changes, or the bill must go to a Conference Committee to work out the differences. Since the House has not acted on the amendment, the bill is likely to die when congress adjourns sine die on January 3, 2021.

Adjourning sine die, or without a date, is the final adjournment of congress. It will be the formal close of the 116th congress. The 117th congress gaveled in for their first day of business today, on January 3, 2021, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

  • H.R. 4104: Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
    LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-209. — Dec 4, 2020

This law authorizes a 2022 commemorative coin program to honor the centennial establishment of the Negro Leagues. The surcharges from the coin sales will benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

  • H.R. 6192: 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
    Passed the House of Representatives — Sep 22, 2020
    Passed the Senate with amendments — Dec 17, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Presented to President. — Dec 24, 2020

The bill that has been all over the numismatic media will allow the U.S. Mint to strike 2021 Morgan and Peace dollars. Congress sent the bill to the president on December 24, 2020. It is waiting for his signature. Constitutionally, he has ten days to act on the bill. Since these are calendar days, January 2, 2021, is the tenth day.

If congress was in session on January 2, the bill becomes law without the president’s signature. If congress adjourned sine die, then the bill is the victim of a pocket veto. There is an indication that congress is still in session discussing updates to the recent COVID-19 stimulus package.

  • H.R. 7995: Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act of 2020
    Sponsor: Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R-NV)
    Passed the House of Representatives with amendments — Dec 2, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Dec 3, 2020

The House rushed to pass this bill because it allows them to look like they did something. The Senate did not consider this bill and will allow it to die when congress adjourns. It is a bad bill and should die with the end of this congress.

When the 116th Congress adjourns for the final time, any legislation not passed will be considered dead. The slate is wiped clean, and the 117th Congress starts anew. It could be something to look forward to in 2021!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021!

With 2020 now behind us, let us hope for a better year. Until the COVID-19 vaccines reach at least 70-percent of the population, please wear a mask, maintain a social 6-foot distance, wash your hands regularly, and be considerate of your neighbors and fellow citizens. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2021 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!

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