Welcome to the first legislative report for the 117th Congress.
Every two years, a new Congress opens to an alleged promise of a productive session. But like all political promises, the ideals disappear after the opening gavel.
Aside from the public business that makes the news, the House of Representatives set itself up for a lot of busywork. Through February, members of the House have submitted 1,461 bills to be considered. It is the soonest the House has reached 1,000 bills in the last ten years.
If the House is nicknamed “The Raucus Caucus,” then the Senate is the more deliberative body. That is until they appear in the well of the chamber to wax poetic about some issue only to change their minds when the cameras are on them. But the 100 members of the Senate, with two seat changes in January, proposed 479 bills through February. The pace is a little faster than in previous sessions.
Of the 1,907 bills proposed in either chamber, only three had to do with numismatics. Two of the bills are the typical commemorative proposals and the nonsense proposed by Mike Lee.
If this is representative of what we can expect from the 117th Congress, it will be a boring session for numismatics.
H.R. 1057: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, and for other purposes.
H.R. 905: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the health care professionals, first responders, scientists, researchers, all essential workers, and individuals who provided care and services during the coronavirus pandemic.
S. 185: Cancel the Coin Act
I still need more signatures to appear on the ANA Board of Governors ballot. If you are an ANA member, please download the petition, sign it with your ANA member number, take a picture with your smartphone and email it to me at email@example.com. Your help is appreciated.
Several people asked about my positions on a few issues. Here are the top three:
- I am 100% for reviving the Exhibition Committee. I favor amending the ANA By-Laws to make the Exhibition Committee a required standing committee of the association.
- I have no position on the holding of the 2021 World’s Fair of Money now. I know everyone wants a grand show, but I am concerned about general safety. The ANA should wait until May before making a decision based on the facts rather than speculation. Remember, my father died of COVID-19, making me very sensitive to the issue.
- Several people expressed concern that the ANA heavily favors the dealers. The perception comes from the number of dealers in leadership roles and making decisions for the ANA. The members in leadership roles are doing what is best for the hobby, but I understand the need for additional input from collectors. There are ways for collectors to be more involved.
I will write more about these issues at another time.
For now, I found four fascinating news stories for the week. The story that collectors should read is from the BBC, “Coins can inspire people to look into the past.” Following their story on Decimalisation in the United Kingdom, they heard from many Britons who shared their coin collecting stories. The piece offers the stories of five collectors and their collections.
Dear ANA Member:
I want to run for the ANA Board of Governors, but the pandemic and a project that took too long to complete prevented me from collecting the signatures for the petition I need to appear on the ballot.
I do not have enough signatures on the petition to appear on the ballot. If you are an ANA member, can you please sign a petition and send it back to me so that I can appear on the ballot?
If you can help:
- Download a PDF of the petition from → this link.
- Sign the petition and please include your ANA Member Number.
- Use your smartphone and take a picture of the top part with your signature and email the image me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you can scan the paper and send it as a PDF, that would also help. In either case, I need the image of your signature with your ANA member number.
Your signature is not an endorsement of my candidacy — although I would appreciate your support. This exercise will allow me to appear on the ballot.
The deadline to submit signed petitions is the close of business at the ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs on Monday, March 1, 2021. I would like to submit the signatures by noon Eastern Time (where I live) on Monday.
NOTE: Once the signatures are submitted and verified by the ANA, I am not going to keep the files.
The news about the revival of the effort to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 note with Harriet Tubman has received a lot of press. Change is always difficult, but when that change involves removing one political figure from currency and replacing it with another, the debates can be fascinating and frustrating.
Ellen Feingold, the curator of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian, wrote an article for Politico explaining the history of currency changes. As part of her discussion, Feingold suggests that the $20 bill should only be the beginning and that history is behind this type of change.
Within the numismatic media, writers are noting how collectors are weary of the changing quarter designs. If you read the online forums and blog comments, there might be a dominant view that there have been too many changing designs. More than a few posted that a commemorative coin may be a better option than the Prominent Women on Quarters program.
Taking the cues from numismatic forums and blog posts may not be the right venues to gauge public opinion. It is like asking the season ticket holder why baseball attendance was on a downward projection (pre-pandemic). In other words, you are preaching to the choir.
Why not they ask the kids, the future of the hobby? Young people grew up with constantly changing designs. Think about it, an 8-year old that started collecting state quarters in 1999 will be 30 this year. Change is all they know.
Charles Morgan might be right. It may be time to change all of our change. Maybe it is time for a modern renaissance.
And now the news…
One of the nice aspects of a new year is all of the new coins that become available. Every major mint starts the year with new bullion products, commemorative coins, and other non-circulated legal tender coinage to keep collectors interested.
For collectors, it is a lot of fun.In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bluenose schooner. The Bluenose was a fishing and racing schooner that was revolutionary in its design and became the symbol of Nova Scotia before being a symbol of Canadian heritage.
Although the Bluenose launched in 1921, it did not appear on the Canada 10-cent coin until 1937. Since then, the Bluenose appeared on every 10-cent coin except for 1967 when Canadian coins were redesigned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
The Royal Mint has started the year by issuing commemorative sovereigns, Britannia bullion coins, and the yearly Trial of the Pyx. Although modern technology makes the Trial of the Pyx unnecessary, it is an exciting part of Royal Mint history that deserves celebration.
Down under in Australia, the Royal Australian Mint has issued silver coins of the Outback Majesty series that celebrates the Australian Outback animals. Since Australia has done better than the rest of the world with keeping the pandemic under control, the Royal Australian Mint has resumed tours and has operations closer to normal.
Over in New Zealand, it looks like they are having more fun with coins. New this year are the Chibi Collection of the Lord of the Rings characters, DC Comics superheroes, and more. Although the New Zealand Mint designs and strikes these coins, they are issued under the Niue government’s authority. The New Zealand Mint also strikes coins for the Cook Islands. Both are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand.
The U.S. Mint, whose output is the most restrictive of the world mints, has issued the American Silver Eagle Proof coin and the new American Platinum Eagle Proof. The American Platinum Eagle Proof series celebrates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, starting with the Freedom of Religion. Also available is the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar. Later, the U.S. Mint will issue the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum commemorative coins.
Finally, the U.S. Mint has issued the last of the America the Beautiful Quarters honoring the Tuskegee Airman Historical Site. The U.S. Mint will produce a redesigned quarter for the balance of the year. The Prominent American Women Quarters will begin in 2022.
It is a fun time to be a coin collector!
And now the news…
The knock on the door was a few moments before noon. It was a customer with an appointment to pick up an order. The door was open, the customer picked up their item and left. Before wiping down the table, I went back to the computer.
A tap on the keyboard brought up the password prompt to end the screensaver. When the screen cleared, the clock in the upper-right read 12:04. A quick click and there was the message, “This product is currently unavailable.”
Once again, a limited edition collectible out of reach of a collector. With the popularity of the American Silver Eagle Proof coins and only 327,440 to be off ered, the U.S. Mint set a “Household Order Limit” of 99. How many dealers with dedicated staff were able to purchase their 99 coin limit?
Instead of giving the collectors a chance, the U.S. Mint set the rules to favor the dealers and those whose work requirements took them away from the computer.
With all of the past problems and the tepid response from Director David Ryder, there is little hope that the U.S. Mint will fix these problems. Ryder either does not care about the collector or does not have the competence to fix the problems. Although the website worked, the policies favored the dealers and did nothing for the collectors.
It is time for Ryder to descend from his ivory tower to understand how the collectors are treated. If he refuses to do something about it, he should hand in his resignation to allow the president to appoint someone who knows what they are doing.