I think the biggest announcement is that the US Mint and the Smithsonian Institution’ National Museum of American History jointly announced that they have partnered to create traveling exhibits from the National Numismatic Collection. The Mint and Smithsonian Institution wants to create exhibits that will highlight U.S. history through its coinage.
The National Numismatic Collection is the largest collection in the world with over 1.6 million coins, notes, tokens, and medals. The collection spans from ancient times to modern days with the bulk of the materials being donated from the Mint’s transfer of its core holdings in 1923. The display of the National Numismatic Collection closed in August 2004 in preparation for the renovation of the American History Museum building. Although selected pieces were incorporated into other exhibits, the collection remains out of public view. Bringing the collection out to the public is a wonderful idea and I look forward to seeing how the curators at the Smithsonian and US Mint display the collection.
In another interesting announcement, the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation will begin to provide detailed grading to problem coins. In the past, NGC would “body bag” coins that were scratched, cleaned, or had other problems. If you wanted these coins encapsulated, the coins would have to be sent to their sister company, the Numismatic Conservation Service. NCS would be able to either conserve the coin and cross it to NGC or would encapsulate the coin with detailed grading. With this announcement, NGC will provide the grading services while NCS will continue to perform conservation.
This new service will simplify the grading and encapsulation of problem coins. Rather than have to wait for the submission to NCS to be processed and possibly NGC, NGC will do it all in one submission. It is also a good idea to include why the coin could not be graded in plain English on a different color label. I think this is a better idea to embedding cryptic code on a label that is not as easily identifiable, especially on the bourse floor of a busy show. More information that is easily understood is always better.
Finally, I want to congratulate Julian Leidman for being awarded the inaugural Harry J. Forman Dealer of the Year Award. Julian is a wonderful person, knowledgeable dealer, and an annual speaker at my local coin club where he talks to our membership about the state of the industry. Julian is one of the few dealers who always has people around his table talking coins or just kibitzing. Congratulations Julian on a well deserved honor.