I’m bored with the America The Beautiful Quarters Program.
I’m bored with the commemorative coins that is produced by the U.S. Mint.
I’m bored with soap opera surrounding what U.S. Mint is going to do with the American Eagle coins.
I’m bored with many of the designs that the U.S. Mint has produced while ignoring the best efforts of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to tell them otherwise.
I’m bored with what is coming out of the U.S. Mint and looking at the interesting collector coins coming out of other mints who are being more innovative with their designs. Where the U.S. Mint has produced one ultra-high relief coin, the Royal Canadian Mint has three high-relief coin designs for 2011.
I’m bored with the themes of the coins coming out of the U.S. Mint. While the Medal of Honor Commemorative is a worthy coin and one of the few good designs to come out of the U.S. Mint, but I am fascinated by what some of the other mints are doing. The Mongolia 2011 500 Tugrog Endangered Wildlife silver commemorative features the Ural Owl struck in high relief with an antique finish and Swarovski Crystal Eyes. This is part of the same series that produced the 2007 Wolverine coin that was named the 2009 Coin of the Year. It also was a high relief coin with an antique finish and Swarovski Crystal eyes. We have great artists in the United States, why can’t the U.S. Mint create coins like this?
Why can’t the U.S. Mint celebrate the history of auto making in the United States the way Tuvalu celebrates Classic Sports Cars or great American motorcycles the same way Somalia did in 2007?
My late mother was a fan of impressionism. She could tell you anything about the artists and the art of that era. One day, I showed here the 2007 Niue Island Van Gogh rectangular silver dollars and thought the design was one of the neatest things she saw. Every time I see on online I am reminded of her interest in a coin when she was not a coin collector. Could we interest others artists if the U.S. Mint created coins honoring American artists? Can you imagine what could be done with Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers, Andy Warhol’s pop art, or even Louis Comfort Tiffany’s glass designs? These could become popular collectibles and generate significant seignorage for the U.S. Mint.
The reason why the U.S. Mint is behind the rest of the world is because of congress. Congress has taken its power to coin money and has clutched it in such a pedantic manner that it has turned the U.S. Mint into a tired looking organization that is falling behind the rest of the world. Although as a factory for circulating coin, the U.S. Mint produces more coins than any other world mint, they are losing the potential seignorage and artistic prestige to other mints that are producing interesting coins that people want to collect.
There is nothing in the constitution that says the U.S. Mint has to be structured the way it is. All we have is 219 years of “this is the way we wrote the law” that binds the United States to a system that is questioned every few years.
One idea is the model an independent U.S. Mint after the operating model of other world mints. One example that could be adopted is to model a new public corporation after the Royal Canadian Mint. While the RCM is required to produce circulating coinage for the Bank of Canada, they have a little more freedom to produce a portfolio of non-circulating legal tender coins that appears to have a broad appeal. Since many of these NCLT coins are made of precious metals, collectors and investors have been purchasing the RCM’s coins as investments.
As a public corporation, the U.S. Mint would continue to be required to supply circulating coins to the Federal Reserve, maintain the American Eagle Bullion program, and the current commemorative program. As a public corporation, they could add support for additional NCLT coins coins that could compete with other world mints to sell coins with great designs.
I realize that this is a very high-level idea of a new future for the U.S. Mint that requires additional details but it would be a waste of time to pursue this further. Given the personalities in congress who would have to approve such a measure, the chance of this happening is the same as the chance of ending the printing of the one-dollar note.