Trick Or Treat

In celebration of All-Hallows-Eve, the Coin Collectors Blog presents some of the 2011 numismatic trick-or-treat.

25th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set

TRICK: Anyone who tried to order the 25th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set starting at 12:00 Noon ET on Thursday, October 27 found that the U.S. Mint provided the most recent trick by not being able to keep up with the ordering demand

TREAT: If you were able to order your set, it should be a fantastic collectible.

American Numismatic Association

TRICK: There is never a good way to handle certain personnel issues. But regardless of whose feelings were hurt, the last statement issued by the ANA Board of Directors was unnecessary, uncalled for, and really lacked and an adult approach to a tough situation.

TREAT: The ANA actually using social media to reach out to members and respond.

American Numismatic Association, Part II

TRICK: The ANA Board of Directors making a myopic decision on how to handle club tables at their shows. Rather than make simple rules saying that the tables must be staffed at all times except during meetings, the Board went beyond reasonableness and added restriction as to how many clubs could share a table.

TREAT: A regional organization could have one table with the support of member clubs and tangentially fit within the rules. After all, these are “members” under one umbrella organization and only members will be staffing the table without violating the ANA’s ridiculous rules.

Over productions of Presidential Dollars

TRICK: National Public Radio did a highly inaccurate story about how the Federal Reserve is holding more than $1 billion in dollar coins in its vaults costing the taxpayers money.

TREAT: Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) introducing H.R. 2977, the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act (COINS Act) to transition the U.S. from paper dollars to coins. Add to this the unconfirmed rumor that the “Super Committee” is considering adding this to their final bill.

The United States Mint

TRICK: Since the resignation of Ed Moy as Director of the U.S. Mint, the position has gone unfilled.

TREAT: Since being hired as Deputy Director on January 25, Richard Peterson has lead the U.S. Mint in a professional manner questioning whether the U.S. Mint really needs a politician as a director. As for the problems occurred while ordering the 25th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set, it could be said that the systems not being able to keep up with the loads are a residual problem left over from the previous director not managing the technology properly.

CCAC Blueprint Report

TRICK: As a concept, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee’s report “A Blueprint for Advancing Artistic Creativity and Excellence in United States Coins and Medals” should not be controversial. However, it seems that the CCAC has found two ways of making a good idea irrelevant. First, the CCAC, whose first “C” stands for Citizens, forgot the citizens. They created the report and did not ask for comment from the citizens. Even though I provided comments, I was basically told, “Thanks, but no thanks.” It would be nice if they were inclusive. The other TRICK was that the report has appeared to have become shelfware—a document sitting on the shelf without impact.

TREAT: Even with the issues in the report, it is a step in the right direction and should be something the U.S. Mint should be working on now!

What are your numismatic trick-or-treats for 2011?

Image is of a 2007 $200 commemorative casino token from the Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV. Image is courtesy of the Silver Strikers Club. Details of this token can be found on the Silver Strikers Club website.

CCAC Looking For Two New Members

On Thursday, the U.S. Mint posted an announcement looking for applicants for two people to be appointed to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). The CCAC is one of the advisory committees that reviews designs for coins and medals produced by the U.S. Mint (the other is the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts).

One of the open positions is for someone who is qualified in numismatic curation. This person would be someone who has been trained for or is working in an environment where they select, organize, and maintain a collection or exhibit. Most curators work for a library in their special collections department or a museum. There are some curators who work with private collections and foundations.

The other open position will represent the interest of the general public. In recent history, the person filling this position has been a coin collector but the person who is appointed to this position does not have to be a collector. An interest in coin design would be a great asset.

CCAC members serve four year terms and are considered Special Government Employees. CCAC members are not paid but can have travel expenses reimbursed at standard schedule rates. As a government employee, CCAC members are subject to conflict of interest laws and ethics regulations.

Individuals wanting to be considered for appointment as the CCAC member who is specifically qualified in numismatic curation or as a member representing the interests of the general public, should submit a letter, along with a resume or curriculum vitae, detailing specific educational credentials, skills, talents and experience. Applicants must specify the position for which they would like to be considered. Applications should be submitted by fax to 202-756-6830, or by mail to the United States Mint, 801 9th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20001, Attn: Andrew Fishburn. Submissions must be postmarked no later than September 15, 2011.

Good luck to any applicant!

CCAC Looking For New Numismatic Memeber

Last week, the U.S. Mint announced that they are accepting applications for a new member to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. They are looking for someone who is specifically qualified in numismatics.

Although I have been a critic of the CCAC, it is because I see their input into the design process as essential. It is my attempt to provide another perspective to be considered when making the decisions. Each member brings their own unique experience to the process. However, sometimes when you are in the proverbial bubble of the action for multiple years, there is a tendency to adapt to the environment without considering how to adapt and change. At work, we call this “going native.”

I urge members of the numismatic community who may qualify “by virtue of education, training or experience” and would like to see the CCAC have a real positive impact on coinage design to apply for the position. I hope you can work with the committee but provide a strong perspective to promote good designs. If you are willing to find ways of opening up the CCAC to make it more accessible to the public including pushing the U.S. Mint to make materials more available to the public, then you will get my support.

Review of CCAC Blueprint Report

Before commenting on the CCAC Blueprint Report, I would like to note that the report has not been formally published by the U.S. Mint. It appears that the report was sent via email to a number of people who requested a copy. When I received a copy, I posted it here for the public to see. It appears as if the U.S. Mint takes an arms-length approach to the CCAC with regard to its support which shows in the lack of public information disseminated about the CCAC. While I appreciate the U.S. Mint Public Affairs Office sending a copy of this report, they should be more proactive in providing information about the CCAC to the public.

Also, it is not known whether the CCAC is accepting comments about the report. Page iii indicates that this is a final report and was transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. This is a shame since the document should clearly have been reviewed by others before its transmittal. While they could reject comments, accepting reviews from another perspective may have been helpful to tighten their sound recommendations.

Since they have not indicated whether they are accepting public comment, I am providing my commentary in this blog post. I will be contacting those CCAC members whose email address I know and point them to this commentary. I ask that they share this with the other CCAC members. They are invited to provide commentary to this blog post or contact me privately for further clarification. I am willing to help in anyway I can.

As with all my blog posts, comments from my readers are always appreciated!

In 2007, speaking before the delegates at the International Art Medal Federation (Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d’Art or FIDEM) in Colorado Springs, then U.S. Mint Director Edmund Moy announced his vision “to spark a neo-renaissance for coin design and achieve a new level of design excellence.” But during design reviews by the United States Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee during 2010, it was noted that the U.S. Mint was falling short of Director Moy’s goals.

In response, the CCAC formed the Subcommittee on Design Excellence to address the design quality issues. The subcommittee was chaired by CCAC Chairman and included CCAC members Roger W. Burdette, Mitch Sanders, Donald Scarinci, and Heidi Wastweet.

The subcommittee’s work is document in the report, A Blueprint for Advancing Artistic Creativity and Excellence in United States Coins and Medals that was approved by the CCAC as their official position on January 19, 2011. This 62-page report, of which the first 22-pages is the report with the balanced supporting Appendices, describes the reason the CCAC felt it needed to write this report, their findings investigating the issues, and recommendations for improvement.

While reading the documented investigation into the process’s of the U.S. Mint, it reads like the U.S. Mint is a typical federal government agency whose entrenched processes created many years ago are continued today because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” The biggest flaw is that the Sales and Marketing Department is in charge of the coin design process. While this might have made sense many years ago, as the report points out, there is a conflict between the goals of the Sales and Marketing Department and the artistic nature of the coins produced by the U.S. Mint. Further complicating the situation is that the Sales and Marketing Department does not include someone with an artistic background overseeing the decisions.

Another part of the U.S. Mint bureaucracy is the Design Working Group (DWG) whose function was to coordinate manufacturing time tables and interface with stakeholder groups. Since the creation of the Artistic Infusion Program (AIP), the DWG has managed those artists and coordinating with the U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engravers. However, the report notes that the DWG does not include anyone with an artistic background.

CCAC’s Recommendation #1
The CCAC’s first recommendation is to remove the Sales and Marketing Department from the design process and abolish the DWG. Rather than these groups controlling the artistic design process, the report recommends that the U.S. Mint forms an Coin and Medal Design Department (CMDD) whose Division Chief has an artistic and management background. The CMDD would include all artists and include the management of AIP artists, management of stakeholder relations, and management of the die creating functions (Dies, Tools and Digital Control). While some may see this as the proverbial “shuffling of deck chairs,” it makes sense for the U.S. Mint to combine these functions under one manager and eliminate potential interdepartmental issues that occur within government agencies.

Although this is a sound recommendation, it appears that the recommendation continues to promote a bureaucratic approach for this new organization by creating three Associate Division Chiefs (ADC) to manage each of the major functions. While the ADC of Designing and Engraving should be the “Chief Engraver of the United States Mint” and the ADC of Dies, Tools and Digital Control should be a technical oriented person, it is questionable that the ADC for Stakeholder Relations is necessary. All the report says about the current stakeholder relations is that it is part of the Sales and Marketing Department without describing the basic job function and the level of effort to perform that job. Unless the CCAC and U.S. Mint can justify that the level of effort would require a full-time ADC, it would seem that the external contact and the person best suited to for this function would be the CMDD Division Chief. In fact, it should be recommended that this function be taken on by the CMDD Division Chief until such time as the level of effort is too great for this person to handle.

The report recommends that the DWC be replace by an interdisciplinary group to coordinate artistic and manufacturing schedules, a group referred to as the Timetable Task Force (TTF). According to the report, the TTP would be made up of representatives of Office of Chief Counsel, Sales and Marketing Department, and the Manufacturing Department and “should perform the scheduling function and advise the Art Director on historical, legal and technical matters.” This is absolutely the wrong approach to “fixing” what is wrong with the design issues. The design process already has too many inputs into the process. In order to provide more artistic freedom for the artists to create good designs, it is highly advisable to remove as many obstacles as possible. All design decisions including consulting with outside stakeholders (including the Office of Chief Counsel) should remain within the CMDD and managed by the Division Chief and Chief Engraver. The TTF should only concern itself with the timetable necessary to that will take the law passed by congress and have it manufactured, marketed, and sold to the public. The TTF should be limited to one representative of each department with the authority to speak for that department. Having worked in a federal government environment, having a large group of stakeholders meet is unwieldily and leads to a bad decision making process.

CCAC’s Recommendation #2
The CCAC’s recommendation to provide more artistic freedom for the U.S. Mint Sculpture-Engravers and improve the requests for proposals (RFP, the “call for artists”) for the Artistic Infusion Program is a necessary change the U.S. Mint needs to implement. The report rightly calls for the end of the practice U.S. Mint artists call “trace and bake” where artists are given materials to reproduce rather than rely on the artists talents.

It was surprising to learn that the U.S. Mint artists are not offered addition professional training, the opportunity to attend seminars or workshops, and are not allowed to attend artistic exhibits of coin and medallic art. The CCAC recommends that this change to allow U.S. Mint artists to advance themselves and promote their fine work. Funding must be set aside to support continuing education and promotion of the U.S. Mint’s talented artists. However, the recommendation does not include members of the AIP. Although the AIP artists are technically contract workers to the U.S. Mint, they should be afforded some opportunities to attend seminars and workshops that would benefit their work as part of the Artistic Infusion Program. While these opportunities would be offered on a lower scale than those offered to the full-time Sculpture-Engravers, it would benefit the U.S. Mint for these artists to be able to participate.

Although left out of the Summary section (Section 5), the recommendation for changes in working conditions in Section 4.3 is a key issue for artistic creativity. While the U.S. Mint should provide better working conditions by removing the cubicle farm and creating a studio-like design, the CCAC should have recommended that artists be given the opportunity to participate in a telework program. Missing from the report’s recommendation is how the U.S. Mint would implement “Telework Enhancement Act of 2010” (Public Law 111-292; 124 STAT. 3165) the could help improve the working environment of the U.S. Mint’s artists. Signed by President Obama on December 9, 2010—prior to the publishing of this report—the law calls for agency to “establish a policy under which eligible employees of the agency may be authorized to telework” within 180 days of enactment. The CCAC’s report should recommend that the U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engravers be allowed to telework in their own studios away from their current office at the Philadelphia Mint with a requirement to work at the Philadelphia facility for a certain amount of time to ensure appropriate collaboration. Not only would this provide the artists an opportunity to work comfortably, but it would help the U.S. Mint comply with the new law and begin compliance with the Presidential Memorandum “Accountable Government Initiative” of September 14, 2010.

CCAC’s Recommendation #3
The CCAC recommends that they and the CFA be more integral in the design and review process. After commenting on reducing the bureaucracy in Recommendation #1 (above), this recommendation by the CCAC will only increase it in the name of alleged oversight. First, the CCAC does not say how it will change its process in order to work within the schedule the U.S. Mint might require. Instead, the CCAC recommends that “[production] timelines should be designed to recognize the role of these groups.” Unfortunately, the CCAC does not recognize the will of congress that could force a change in normal scheduling practices by passing a coin-related bill the same year as the coin is produced. While this situation does not effect current production, it has happened in the past and is not recognized by the CCAC.

Routinely, the CCAC decries the U.S. Mint’s scheduling and how designs are thrusted upon them for their approval in order to meet production requirements. What the CCAC has not considered is that their own schedule of monthly meetings that may not fit an active manufacturing process. While all the employees are working daily to manufacture the coins and medals, the CCAC meets once per month in a scheduled three-hour morning session to conduct its business. Waiting for the CCAC to meet in order to gain their concurrence has to wreak havoc with production scheduling. It places the CCAC on the schedule’s critical path of the U.S. Mint’s design and manufacturing process. The CCAC should not be on the critical path. If the report is to hold the U.S. Mint accountable for improving its process, the CCAC must consider their own process improvement to support the changes. As part of these reforms, the CCAC should support Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 and consider holding virtual meetings as necessary to aid the U.S. Mint in its production process. In fact, as a public committee, the CCAC should extend their use of this technology to make the meetings and discussions more accessible to the public rather than requiring interested parties to travel the the U.S. Mint’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Further, the CCAC does not include verification from the CFA that they would be willing to participate in this process or has the flexibility to work within the U.S. Mint’s schedule for manufacturing the coin or medal. It should not the CCAC’s place to volunteer the CFA’s time and effort without their concurrence.

Second, the CCAC recommendation asserts itself too far into the design process. For most of the commemorative and bullion designs, the narrative is provided in the law passed by congress. Thus, there is no reason for the CCAC or CFA to be involved in those discussion. Where a narrative is necessary, it should be held with the stakeholders are previously recommended. Inserting the CCAC and CFA will add to bureaucratic process. Once the narrative is created, having the designs reviewed by the CCAC and CFA should remain part of the process. Reviews should be in the form of recommendations and not mandates. Artists should have the ability to reject recommendations for artistic (fitting the narrative) or technical reasons (ability to strike the coin properly) remembering that the law says the final decision rests with the Secretary of the Treasury—and by extension the Director of the U.S. Mint. However, as it was stated above, the CCAC and CFA must become more flexible in their scheduling so as to support the timeline requirements of the U.S. Mint.

The goal of this recommendation is to reduce the bureaucracy giving the artists freedom to be creative and not change the bureaucratic structure.

Additional Recommendation
It is unfortunate the the CCAC report does not properly address the bureaucratic nature of the design process and seek to reduce it or its impact on coin designs. While the above commentary attempts to reduce the bureaucracy there is one aspect of the coin design process that the CCAC does not discuss: why does it require two external committees to review coin and metal designs?

The CFA was established in 1910 to give expert advice to the “Federal and District of Columbia governments on matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the Federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation’s capital.” Their work consists of monitoring architectural development to historic buildings, statues, monuments, memorials, and other artwork in the public spaces in and around Washington, D.C. They also provide “advice to the U.S. Mint on the design of coins and medals.” In fact, their review of the coin and medal design is their only review that does not include physical development in Washington, D.C.

The CCAC was established in 2003 to provide a dedicated committee review all coin and medal designs replacing the Citizens Commemorative Coinage Advisory Committee, which only reviewed commemorative coins.

It seems that if both committees are doing the same work, it makes sense to consolidate the work into one committee. Since the CCAC is dedicated to advising the Secretary of the Treasury on coin and medal design and is only a part of what the CFA does, it makes sense to eliminate the review of coin and medal design from the CFA’s jurisdiction. This consolidation would also comply with the president’s Accountable Government Initiative.

Eliminating the CFA’s role in coin and medal design should not require an act of congress. The law that governs the CFA (40 U.S.C. §§ 9101–9104) does not mention coin and medal design as part of its jurisdiction. However, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) does include coin and medal design under the section for Statutory and Executive Order Authority (45 C.F.R. § 2101.1(d)). Since coin and medal design review is not a statutory requirement for the CFA, it should be recommended that the Secretary of the Treasury request that the President issue an Executive Order to remove this requirement from the CFR as part of the Accountable Government Initiative and reduce the bureaucracy.

A Final Thought
I have never hidden the fact that my professional experiences involve working with the federal government. Although I have never worked with the U.S. Mint, I am familiar with the bureaucracy of other bureaus within the Department of the Treasury. Using my understanding of the bureaucratic nature of these agencies and my background in public policy, I hope the CCAC will consider my recommendations to help improve the subcommittee’s report so that they reach their goal of improving coin and medal design at the U.S. Mint.

Download the CCAC Blueprint Report Here

Following my post asking if the U.S. Mint was hiding the CCAC subcommittee report, I contacted their Public Affairs Office. After two days, a representative sent a copy of the report to me via email. I thank the U.S. Mint for their assistance.

The document has been uploaded on Scribd, an electronic document delivery service. Scribd allows you to read the report online, download it to your computer, allow you to directly print it to your printer (remember, it is 62 pages long), and share with others. In fact, you should share it with as many people as you think would be interested! Just click here to read the document on Scribd or use the reader, below.

I have not read the report as I write this. I will read it and report on my impressions shortly.

A Blueprint for Advancing Artistic Creativity and Excellence in United States Coins and Medals

Is the U.S. Mint Hiding the CCAC Coin Design Report?

While watching the live coverage of the situation in Cairo, Egypt, I was marveling how we can see history being made while it was happening. Earlier this year we watched a populist uprising in Tunisia that forced a change in the government broadcast around the world. A few weeks ago when a gunman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the news was so fluid that watching the news on Twitter became the best way to keep up with the developments. Technology has brought a new world of instant communication to anyone who wants the content. News junkies, like myself, are thrilled!

Unfortunately, this type of communication has been lost on the U.S. Mint. On Wednesday, February 2, it will be two weeks since the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee introduced and adopted as its recommendation the report “A Blueprint for Advancing Artistic Creativity and Excellence in United States Coins and Medals.” As of the time of this writing, the report has not been made available on either the CCAC’s website or the website for the U.S. Mint.

It must be emphasized that this is the fault of the U.S. Mint. According to CCAC member Donald Scarinci on Twitter, they were “told that it will be posted on the ccac website.” It was confirmed that after the meeting, CCAC Chairman Gary Marks urged the U.S. Mint to have the report posted online immediately.

According to Presidential memo, “Transparency and Open Government,” government should be transparent, participatory, and collaborative. Keeping it off line is not transparent, does not allow participation by the citizens, and does not allow for the collaboration between a government mandated committee (the CCAC) and the “citizens” it is to represent. In short, the U.S. Mint is not doing its job.

I know the weather around the Washington-area has not been the best, but we are not talking about snowmageddon-like conditions we had last year. But according the Office of Personnel Management the government is open. This means that the business of the government must go on including observing the President’s Memo regarding transparency and open government.

I urge the U.S. Mint to post the CCAC subcommittee report immediately!

CCAC Meets to Discuss Design Report

If you are in the Washington, DC area, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee is meeting today in the 8th Floor Board Room a at the U.S. Mint Headquarters located at 801 9th Street NW.

Today’s agenda includes the review and consideration of the draft report “A Blueprint for Advancing Artistic Creativity and Excellence in United States Coins and Medals.” Last June, the CCAC formed a subcommittee after being consistently frustrated with “overall disappointment with the poor quality of the alternatives presented for the 2011 commemoratives” and reminding the Director Edmund Moy that he wanted “and intend to spark a Neo-Renaissance of coin design and achieve a new level of design excellence that will be sustained long after my term expires.”

Although Moy resigned as director, the challenge remains.

Earlier today, CCAC Member Donald Scarinci tweeted, “CCAC will hopefully adopt the design excellence subcommittee report today. The info in it might be shocking to some, but all accurate.” While wondering what was so shocking, I asked Scarinci if the report will be release to the public today. He said yes. However, given the low information aspect of the CCAC’s website, I hope the report is given prominent place on the front page.

If you cannot attend the meeting you can follow along as Donald Scarinci tweets from the meeting. You can follow Donald at @scarinci on Twitter.

BREAKING NEWS: CCAC Forms Subcommittee On Coin Design

According to the tweets of Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee member Donald Scarinci (@Scarinci), CCAC Chair Gary Marks announced the establishment of a subcommittee to help U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy to initiate his vision for a neo-renaissance of U.S. coins. Members of the subcommittee will be made up Mitch Sanders, Donald Scarinci, Roger Burdette, Heidi Wastweet, and Gary Marks. Their report due by October 31, 2010.

During a presentation at the FIDEM conference on September 19, 2007, held in Colorado Springs, Moy said, “I want and intend to spark a Neo-Renaissance of coin design and achieve a new level of design excellence that will be sustained long after my term expires.”

Recently, Moy and the U.S. Mint came under attack from both the CCAC and the Committee of Fine Arts for the “overall disappointment with the poor quality” of the alternatives presented for the 2011 commemoratives,” as written in a letter to Moy from the CFA sent on May 28, 2010.

During the 2010 FIDEM conference, there were reports that the design of U.S. coins were not up to the standard set by Moy during his 2007 talk. None of the attendees to the conference in Finland would comment for the record, but the off the record comments were less then complementary about U.S. coin and medal designs.

Scarinci reported that “Support for the creation and mission of the historic first subcommittee of the CCAC is unanimous.” The CCAC included the May 28 letter from the CFA as part of their record.

When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, he initiated the “Golden Age of American Coin Design.” Using his bully pulpit, he held the designs of the U.S. Mint’s Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber in contempt and ordered coinage whose designs were more than 25 years old to be redesigned. Roosevelt was a fan of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and asked Saint-Gaudens to redesign the small cent. Rather than use the Liberty design in an Indian Headdress for the small cent, it was used on the 1907 $10 gold coin. Roosevelt also asked Saint-Gaudens to design the $20 gold double eagle coin to rival the beauty of all classic coins.

Roosevelt called this his “pet crime.”

With the decent of the political bureaucracy it would be impossible for a modern president to follow the example of Roosevelt. For those of us who lament the poor quality of the designs emanating from the U.S. Mint, we should support this new subcommittee and hope the figure out how to “fix” the processes and artistry of coin designs.

CCAC Meets This Week in Colorado

Members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee are in Colorado this week for their monthly meeting to be held on June 28, 2010 at Colorado College. The meeting corresponds with the first week of the American Numismatic Association’s Summer Seminar.

CCAC members met in Denver this morning for a closed-door administrative meeting at the U.S. Mint’s Denver facility. According to the tweets from CCAC member Don Scarinci (@scarinci), the meeting included U.S. Mint Chief Engraver John Mercanti, the Mint’s chief marketing director, and the chief counsel.

After the meeting, Scarinci tweeted, “Based on morning conversations, tonight’s CCAC meeting will be quite lively. It is time for CCAC to demand change.” It will be interesting to watch his tweets during the meeting.

Tweeting the May CCAC Meeting

Yesterday, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee met at the US Mint Headquarters in Washington DC. During the meeting, CCAC member Donald Scarinci set up his laptop and tweeted from the meeting.

Based on Scarinci’s tweets, it was not a comfortable meeting. While reading the tweets, it seemed that there were some contention between the U.S. Mint and the members who blindly support whatever the Mint wants. Scarinci has indicated to me and in his commentary that appeared in Coin World that he was interested in performing the job intended by the law authorizing the CCAC.

Following the meeting, comments from other members indicated that Scarinci’s statements that appeared in Coin World editorial was the catalyst for the contentious feelings experienced at the meeting. One member indicated that there were more tactful ways to make comments about other members.

It is not apparent from the Coin World editorial what was objectionable in what Scarinci did or said. However, past experiences with CCAC Chairman Gary Marks may indicate that he takes commentary personally rather use it as a constructive lesson. If Marks and the U.S. Mint can realize that those who criticize are not against them but care enough to want to make things better there would be less of a strained relationship between the CCAC members and the public.

UPDATE: I am not condemning or condoning Scarinci’s comments. I am saying that on the surface it does not appear that what he said rises to the level of scorn that is being raised. Regardless of how you feel about his situation, I encourage Scarinci to continue to work in a manner that he feels is in the best interest of the CCAC, even if it means trampling on a few egos.

If you missed the meeting, the following are the compilation of the tweets from @Scarinci:


Scarinci On my way to DC for meetings later & CCAC meeting tomarow. Big agenda tomarow. Took a long time preparing.

Monday, May 24, 2010 2:09 PM
Scarinci Marine 1 just flew over me near the Potomac River in DC. I wonder if the President was on Board. You don’t see that in NJ.:)

Monday, May 24, 2010 4:20 PM
Scarinci Just read “Coin World” article with CFA’s comments on the commem designs CCAC reviews tomorrow. I’m not alone thinking they are unworthy.

Monday, May 24, 2010 6:54 PM
Scarinci If the Mint gave us good designs with only minor variations to pretend CFA & CCAC has imput, maybe I’d be OK being their rubber stamp. 🙂

Monday, May 24, 2010 7:04 PM
Scarinci Only 3 or 4 designs of each coin today–the Mint just engaging CCAC because they have to. Designs limited & most are variations of the same.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:39 AM
Scarinci Arrived at mint. Franklin Pierce dollars for sale in lobby. Arkansas quarters too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 7:41 AM
Scarinci Administrative meeting just begun. It is of course not open to the public.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 8:08 AM
Scarinci Admin meeting adjourned–Why does the Mint like to do things in secret? Very little discussed that couldn’t have been public.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:01 AM
Scarinci Public just entered the room. Seems like a lot of people here for this meeting today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:05 AM
Scarinci Set up my laptop for twitter today. It is a lot easier on my thumbs.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:07 AM
Scarinci Michael Ross, History Prof at U.Maryland being introduced (Historian seat on CCAC). teaches U.S.History and focuses on 19th Century.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:11 AM
Scarinci Starting discussion of designs of 2011 Army Commem Coin Program. Kaarina Budow reading narratives that were given to the artists.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:15 AM
Scarinci The gold reverse designs are three variations of the same thing. Guess that’s what the Mint wants. There is no choice.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:17 AM
Scarinci Obverse 2 & 3 show central soldier figure wearing the current uniform. We are told it is not specific to any current military action.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:22 AM
Scarinci Had a motion to narrow the discussion even though only 4 obverse designs being considered. No women depicted on any of them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:26 AM
Scarinci The three reverse designs of the gold coin are all the same with only minor variations. Even more absurd to narrow the discussion on these.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:30 AM
Scarinci The gold is supposed to show revolutionary period to today. Ony 1 or 4 does that for me. But I don’t get the motto on 4.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:41 AM
Scarinci Some support for design 3 because it is focused and fits well on the small surface of the gold $5.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:47 AM
Scarinci Some members wanting to change wording on reverse & minor features of some obverses. Mint seldom listens to that. We get what we get.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:56 AM
Scarinci Device on helmut on design 3 is for night vision and becomes the focus of the image. Some want to see eyes and people facing front .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:03 AM
Scarinci Voting for the gold concluded. I made the point that we are just rubber stamping what the mint wants on the reverses–all the same.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:11 AM
Scarinci Kaarina reviewing narratives for the silver dollar size 2011 US Army Commemorative Coin Program.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:22 AM
Scarinci Some on CCAC are picking up on the fact that the faces depected on these designs look very much the same–diversity is lacking.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:31 AM
Scarinci You gotta love Roger Burdette. He just articulated my thoughts on the wording and the banality of what we are looking at today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:36 AM
Scarinci No neo-renaissance except in Ed Moy’s speeches. At peace with that, obv.1 & rev.4 is just a nice coin. Lack of diversity & woman troubling

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:58 AM
Scarinci Moved on to talking about the clad half dollar of the three piece 2011 US Army Commemorative set.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:04 AM
Scarinci I spoke in favor of obv.1 or 2 paired with rev. 2 as a nice coin & made the comparrison to the rev. on the 1976 quarter. Same artist?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:06 AM
Scarinci Good comment just made that the clad half obv. designs are very 1950’s “Atoms for Peace” remakes. There is little inspiration here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:15 AM
Scarinci Member just suggested that the good designs have been edited out of the group the Mint chose to send to CCAC. YES!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:20 AM
Scarinci I just made a motion to reject all designs for the obv. & rev. of the clad half dollar. Roger Burdette seconded it. Motion failed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:26 AM
Scarinci Rick just made a motion to reject all obverse designs of the clad half dollar. Mike Olson seconded it, withdrew his second so I seconded it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:31 AM
Scarinci Good, spirited discussion. The motion passed with a 5-4 vote to reject all designs for the obverse of the clad half dollar.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:44 AM
Scarinci Discussion about adjourning and considering the 2011 Medal of Honor coins at our meeting in Colorado Springs. Mint staff objected.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:46 AM
Scarinci The CCAC did what the Mint wanted and is continuing the meeting. Lets just rush through it since there isn’t much to choose from anyway.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:51 AM
Scarinci We are rushing through the agenda and looking at the Gold and silver commemorative designs together. Kaarina is even speaking faster.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:56 AM
Scarinci One member just said they can’t even keep up with the pace of the meeting at this point. It is going in high speed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:59 AM
Scarinci We are at it now since 8 AM with not even a bathroom break. Thank goodness they brought some food and sodas out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:04 PM
Scarinci We are talking about two coins at once, obv.& rev.–I’m having trouble following the discussion. Thank goodness I spent a weekend preparing

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:08 PM
Scarinci We haven’t even tallied the votes from the Army Commemoratives. Worrying now about my train reservation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:10 PM
Scarinci Roger and Mike have prepared very moving remarks about the medal of honor commems–truly a highlight of today’s meeting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:16 PM
Scarinci I will not be rushed on my comments and I will not lend my name on a vote on such an important coin as the medal of honor coin.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:25 PM
Scarinci We got through this in about 1/2 hour. We are now taking a break finally to count the votes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:28 PM
Scarinci The Mint staff just told us they are not rushing us. Unbelievable!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:30 PM
Scarinci I did not vote on the medal of honor coins because I refuse to be rushed. We just ran through it to comply with law requiring CCAC review.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:38 PM
Scarinci Mike making some motions asking the mint to change design aspects of what we voted for.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:39 PM
Scarinci CCAC just voted to make the woman on the Army Dollar, SO-O1, African American to make up for the lack of diversity on the designs presented.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:45 PM
Scarinci Meeting has been adjourned. I need to rush to make my train.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:47 PM
Scarinci VOTES for 2011 US Army Commems: Gold $5obv:#3=20;#2=18; rev:#3=28;#2=6; Silver $1obv #1=25;#5=10; rev:#3=19;#4=8: Clad$.50rev:#2=19;#3=14

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:21 PM
Scarinci VOTES for 2011 Medal of Honor Commems: Gold$5obv.#2=19; Rev.:#2=13; #1=11; Silver $1 Obv.:#2=24; Rev:#2=24. Two members did not vote.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:26 PM
Scarinci The private administrative meeting that followed was even worse than the public meeting if that is possible. Things are very bad (IMO).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:28 PM


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