June 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

Sometimes watching specific legislation to make its way through Congress is like watching paint dry. We know the paint will eventually dry but it takes a lot longer than we have time to wait. With the exception of bills that are proposing useful things like eliminating the paper dollar for a coin, there is no point to check daily.

But that is what I do. I wrote a program to download the bill information produced by the Government Printing Office on behalf of the Congress and store it in a database so that it can be reported here. This process does not become interesting until something happens.

The last two weeks in June looks like it was the equivalent of a wild ride. First, the American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 770) appeared on the agenda in the House of Representatives where the only “debate” was Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), the bill’s sponsor, and the day’s floor manager, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-OH) speaking in favor of passage. Then it followed the regular course of passage by the House, passage by the Senate with a change, followed by the House agreeing with the amendment. Next month it should be signed into law by the President.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, circa 1890

In the middle of this two new commemorative coin bills were introduced. First, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a bill for a commemorative coin program in recognition of Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an American poet, novelist, and playwright. Dunbar was very popular in his day whose work was known for its colorful language and conversational tone that made his work seem lyrical. Dunbar, who was born in Dayton, Ohio as a child of former slaves, was famous for writing in the “Negro dialect” that was associated with the antebellum south.

Dunbar had briefly worked at the Library of Congress before resigning to concentrate on his writing. His home in the LeDroit Park neighborhood of Washington, DC still stands today. In 1904 he returned to Dayton to be with his ailing mother but ended up contracting tuberculosis and dying in 1906.

Carson City Mint (1866)

The day after Holmes Norton introduced her bill, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced a bill for a commemorative coin program to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Carson City Mint.

The Carson City Mint opened in 1870 primarily in response to the Comstock Lode. It started as an Assay Office in 1963 but did not gain Mint status until 1870. It was in operation from 1870-1885 and 1889-1893. It is the only branch of the U.S. Mint to have used a two-letter mint mark.

Today, the building is a branch of the Nevada State Museum.

Since the text of both bills has not been published, details of the programs are unknows except it is safe to assume that the Carson City 150th Anniversary commemorative coin program will occur in 2020.

H.R. 770: American Innovation $1 Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. James A. Himes (D-CT)
Introduced: January 31, 2017
Summary: (Sec. 2) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury, over a 14-year period beginning in 2019, to mint and issue “American Innovation” $1 coins commemorating innovation and innovators from each state, each U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia. Treasury shall issue four coins per year, in alphabetical order by jurisdiction, until a coin has been issued for each jurisdiction. Treasury may mint and issue a $1 coin in 2018 to introduce the series. Neither the bust of any person nor the portrait of any living person may be included in the design of the coins.The bill instructs Interior to continue to mint and issue $1 coins honoring Native Americans and their contributions.
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Jun 27, 2018
On motion that the House agree to the Senate amendment Agreed to without objection. (text as House agreed to Senate amendment: CR H5786-5787) — Jun 27, 2018
Mr. Hensarling asked unanimous consent to take from the Speaker’s table and agree to the Senate amendment. — Jun 27, 2018
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jun 21, 2018
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote. — Jun 20, 2018
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jun 20, 2018
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 20, 2018
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 17, 2018
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Jan 16, 2018
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Jan 16, 2018
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 770. — Jan 16, 2018
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Jan 16, 2018
Mr. Duffy moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Jan 16, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jan 31, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR770.

H.R. 6214: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Sponsor: Rep. Eleanor H. Norton (D-DC)
Introduced: June 25, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jun 25, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR6214.

H.R. 6221: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the Carson City Mint 150th anniversary, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R-NV)
Introduced: June 26, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jun 26, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR6221.
All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Trumping a Challenge Coin

USA-North Korean Summit Challenge Coin created by the White House Communications Agency

Those of us committed to numismatics as a hobby has recently seen terms thrown around about a challenge coin that is more damaging to the hobby than anything that has been argued amongst ourselves.

The challenge coin in question was created by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) for the now-canceled summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jung-Un. The partisan nature of our national politics and now the status of the summit has created a false narrative about the challenge coins that do not do the hobby any favors.

To set the record straight, a challenge coin is not a coin. A coin is a disk, usually made from metal, formed into a disk of standardized weight and stamped with a standard design to enable it to circulate as money authorized by a government body. In the United States, only the U.S. Mint is authorized to manufacture coins.

Challenge coins are medals with an organization or event logo or emblem that are part of a tradition to honor service. Challenge coins are part of a military tradition that started during World War I when Ivy League students went to war and created these coins as an act of camaraderie.

According to legend, a World War I pilot was shot down behind enemy lines and captured by German soldiers. Since the pilot kept the coin in a pouch around his neck, the Germans did not confiscate his coin. That evening, the pilot was kept in a French-German town that was bombarded in the evening by allied forces. The pilot escaped during the bombing. During the next day, the pilot came upon a French military unit who was told to watch for German soldiers posing as citizens. To prevent from being arrested and executed by the French soldiers, the pilot showed them his challenge coin. One of the soldiers recognized the insignia and delayed the execution until they were able to verify the pilot’s identity. Once the story spread, a tradition was born!

As a show of camaraderie, units began to issue specially designed coins to each other. The challenge came when members drew their challenge coin and slapped it on the table, the rest of the members with them must produce their challenge coin. If someone does not have their challenge coin, that person must buy a round of drinks for the group. The challenge is used as a morale builder amongst the group.

Challenge coins regained popularity around 1991 with the veterans and descendants of the Pacific Fleet honoring the service of those who survived and did not survive on the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. They saw wider acceptance, especially outside of the military, following the attacks on September 11, 2001. As retired military members began to lead security-related civilian agencies, the use of challenge coins grew beyond the military.

The challenge coin in question is the product of a military organization.

The WHCA was founded in 1942 as the White House Signal Corps to provide communications for the White House. It is their job to make sure that whenever and wherever the presidents needs to communicate with the government or foreign leaders that he can do so and securely if needed. It is under the jurisdiction of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

This is not the same agency as the White House Communications Director. That position was vacated by Hope Hicks in March 2018. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would report directly to the Communications Director, not the WHCA.

Since 2003, WHCA has created challenge coins for nearly all overseas travel by the president. Only the secret travels to war zones when the president made surprised visits to U.S. troops were not honored with a challenge coin.

In this case, the challenge coin that made the news was made for the members of the advance team whose job it is to make all of the arrangements for a safe and successful trip.

The U.S. Mint does not produce these challenge coins. An approved manufacturer is contracted to design and strike the medals. That contractor works with the WHCA to create the design. After the design is approved, a limited number of medals are produced.

Everyone who is part of the mission receives a challenge coin. Some journalists who fly on Air Force One may receive challenge coins, most do not accept them. Former NBC News Anchor Brian Williams admitted to collecting Challenge Coins during a broadcast in 2009.

The inventory is separated to make sure that enough challenge coins are available to everyone making the trip and a few who were left behind on support duty. For example, one is probably set aside for Sarah Sanders who does not travel as much. As the first Press Secretary who is a mother with children still at home, she understandably stays nearby to care for them.

The rest are offered for sale in the White House Gift Shop.

The White House Gift Shop (WHGS) is located in the White House and open to anyone able to visit. It is a separate organization from any of the agencies mentioned. If you cannot visit, everything the gift shop offers is available on their website at whitehousegiftshop.com. This includes challenge coins.

Reporters covering the White House spotted the WHCA Challenge Coin in the WHGS, took a picture and used their social media access to report its existence.

Irrespective of the political arguments being made over the subject matter, there is nothing illegal or morally wrong with the challenge coin. Although government funds were used to create the coin, those funds are included as part of the budget passed by Congress. Yes, the WHCA has a budgetary line item for the creation of challenge coins to help with the morale of the military detachment to the White House.

One of the reasons I looked into this issue was to find out who designed the coin. The artist did such a good job that I would recommend that they apply for the Artistic Infusion Program with the U.S. Mint. It is a fantastic representation for those participating as part of the advance team. The artwork and symbolism were really nicely executed. Using the enameled flags in the background leaving the two leaders to stand out without the enameled finish has a strikingly good look.

It is one of the best design I have seen for a challenge coin representing an event.

This challenge coin is no longer for sale in the WHGS. The webpage for the medal was changed to note that a new challenge coin will be designed for the event by the same artist who designed the WHCA challenge coin. The CEO of the WHGS published a note saying that the new challenge coin will be similar to the WHCA challenge coin. If you are interested, you can order one from their website.

April 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

The first of the month is when I usually report about the introduction or progress of numismatic-related legislation in congress for the previous month. For April 2018, there is nothing to report.

Thus far, the 115th Congress passed The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Pub. L. 115-68) which allows for a gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar coins to commemorate the American Legion in 2019.

There have been no authorizing laws passed for commemoratives after 2019.

Two bills have passed the House of Representatives and are waiting in committees in the Senate for action:

  • The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1235) would allow the minting of q gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar coins in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • The American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 770) would be a 14-year $1 coin program that would issue coins commemorating innovation and innovators representing each state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

Just because these bills passed in the House does not mean the Senate will do anything about them. Both can die in committee without any consideration.

So that the record is complete, here are the numismatic-related bills introduced in the House of Representatives waiting in committee:

  • Muhammad Ali Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 579)
  • Duty First Act (H.R. 1582)
  • National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1683)
  • Cents and Sensibility Act (H.R. 2067)
  • Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 2256)
  • Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (H.R. 2299)
  • United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 2317)
  • President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 3274)
  • 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 4044)
  • Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 4539)
  • National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 4732)
  • Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act (H.R. 5308)
  • To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold. (H.R. 5404)

Not to be outdone, here is the list for the Senate:

  • Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act (S. 312)
  • Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (S. 759)
  • Duty First Act (S. 921)
  • United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (S. 1021)
  • American Innovation $1 Coin Act (S. 1326)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1503)
  • President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1568)
  • Muhammad Ali Commemorative Coin Act (S. 166)
  • 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1718)
  • Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (S. 2189)
  • American Innovation $1 Coin Act (S. 2399)

Yet another quarter series?

Nineteenth Amendment

With so little happening in Congress regarding numismatic-related legislation, it should not be a surprise that I would become excited I am alerted that there was something to see.

The excitement wore off when I saw the bill that was introduced.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 5308 with the initial title of To amend title 31, United States Code, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue quarter dollars in commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment, and for other purposes.

The text of the bill is not available, yet.

The Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote. It was the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. To amend the constitution, it passed the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, the Senate on June 4, 1919, then by 36 of the 48 states on August 18, 1920.

How do you create a design to commemorate the Nineteenth Amendment? Will there be one quarter per state? If so, what would be on Maryland’s quarter? Maryland rejected the amendment in 1920, the legislature ratified it in 1941, but the vote was not certified until 1958.

Then there is Mississippi that rejected the amendment in 1920 but passed it in 1984 becoming the 48th and last state to ratify the amendment (Alaska and Hawaii were not admitted to the union at the time and are ineligible to vote on the amendment).

While it is appropriate to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, maybe it should be a commemorative coin with the proceeds going to an organization like the League of Women Voters.

H.R. 5308: To amend title 31, United States Code, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue quarter dollars in commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Introduced: March 15, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 15, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR5308.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 11, 2018

It was announced that the Royal Canadian Mint was issuing a silver Canadian dollar commemorating the 180th Anniversary of Baseball in Canada. Being a baseball fan, I went to the Royal Canadian Mint’s website to see if the coin was worth adding to my collection. The came sticker shock!

The coin is convex, similar to the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins issued by the U.S. Mint. But that is where the similarities end. The reverse of the Canadian coin features a vintage baseball scene reminiscent of the 19th century inside a baseball-looking design. The obverse has the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It has a face value of $25 CDN.

Then there are the specifications. When I visited the Royal Canadian Mint’s website, I was floored when I noticed the issue price of 159.95 CAD or about $124.82 at the current exchange rate. Here is a comparison of the coins:

Royal Canadian Mint
180th Anniversary of Canadian Baseball
U.S. Mint
2014 Hall of Fame Commemorative Silver Dollar
Mintage 5,000 (limit) 400,000 (actual)
Proof: 268,076
Unc: 131,924
Face Value 25.00 CAD 1.00 USD
Composition 99.99% pure silver 90% silver
10% copper
Weight 30.75 g
(0.9886 troy ounce)
29.73 g
(0.9558 troy ounce)
Diameter 36.07 mm 38.1 mm
Silver Value
(16.57 USD spot)
16.38 USD 14.25 USD
Issue Price
(1 CAD = 0.78 USD)
159.95 CAD
(124.82 USD)
Proof: $56.95 (preorder: $51.95)
Unc: $52.95 (preorder: $47.95)

If you want a baseball commemorative coin and do not want to break the bank, you can still find the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Silver Dollar within 20-percent of the issue price in original government packaging (OGP). Even though the artwork is very good, the price of the Canadian coin is too high. At a premium of over 970-percent over spot, it is difficult to justify.

And now the news…

 March 5, 2018

The Central Bank of Lithuania is calling on tech companies and blockchain experts from across the globe to help in the design and production of a digital collector coin. The Central Bank is organising a hackathon in May for third parties to help in the design and development of the one-off virtual currency. → Read more at finextra.com


 March 6, 2018

A new commemorative coin was unveiled Oct. 9 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and honor those Americans who served. The silver dollar coin, authorized by Congress in 2014, features a service member holding a rifle to honor those who fought in the war from 1914 to 1918. → Read more at wadenapj.com


 March 6, 2018

Major League Baseball came to Canada in the 20th century with the debut of the Montreal Expos in 1969 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, but that was far from the beginning of the country's history with the game. → Read more at mlb.com


 March 6, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – A design is needed for the Bicentennial Coin to commemorate the Illinois Bicentennial. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced the Bicentennial Coin Contest on Tuesday. → Read more at wandtv.com


 March 7, 2018

Reverse of new penny design, showing Abraham Lincoln and the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (U.S. Mint photo) → Read more at chicagotribune.com


 March 7, 2018

The Royal Mint is encouraging coin lovers to celebrate the UK “one coin at a time”. The new series of 10p coins were released into circulation on March 1 and features an A to Z of British landmarks, icons and traditions. → Read more at dailystar.co.uk


 March 8, 2018

A museum has started a bid to buy part of a gold sovereign hoard discovered hidden inside a piano. The find was made in 2016 in Shropshire when the piano's new owners had it retuned and repaired. It has since been declared as treasure. → Read more at bbc.com

Coin Collectors News
news.coinsblog.ws

Really? A real tribute proof? Give me a break!

Image of the alleged 1964 Morgan Dollar from the cover of A Guide Book to Morgan Silver Dollars 5th Ed. by Q. David Bowers

While watching television, a new advertisement sent off the usual bells and whistles that the numismatic industry needs to watch out for.

Our “friends” at the National Collectors Mint has seized on the story of the dies and drawings of a potential 1964 Morgan Dollar that was first published in the fifth edition of A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars. They came up with a tribute proof.

As with all of their tribute proofs, it is clad in 71 milligrams of pure silver. To give you an idea of how much 71 milligrams is, it is 0.002504 ounce or just a little more than two one-thousandths of an ounce. If troy ounces are more your style, it is 0.0022827 troy ounces. This item has 4-cents worth of silver using the current silver price of $16.33 per troy ounce.

With mouth agape as I was trying not to throw something at the television, not only are they selling these at $9.95 each ($19.95 on their website) but they may have figured out a way not to have to embed the word COPY somewhere. They must have made a “deal” with someone in the Cook Islands to put their name on the coin so as to represent it as a coin issued by or for the Cook Islands.

On the back of the coin, rather than the regular legend, it says “TRIBUTE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is on the left side of the eagle and “COOK ISLANDS” is on the right. They are claiming that these are legal tender coins of the Cook Islands. The commercial does not identify these as non-circulating legal tender coins even though they do make that distinction on their website.

In all other ways, it looks like it could be a 1964 Morgan Dollar.

I was told that commercials for this coin first appeared last August, likely not on cable stations I watch. Apparently, they are stepping up their advertising because I saw it twice on Tuesday night.

Like most of their stuff, collectibility is in the eye of the beholder. However, if someone asks whether you think it is a good buy I would recommend you tell them to save their money. I have seen these “tribute coins” in the junk bins at shows for prices ranging from $1.00-$2.50. The fact that they are in dealer junk bins should be enough of a warning!

My new Rosy Medal

Obverse of the 2018 Rose Bowl Commemorative Medal from the Highland Mint

It has been a few weeks since my Georgia Bulldogs lost the national championship game in overtime. It was a devastating end to a great season, one I had not experienced since I was a junior at the University of Georgia in 1980.

In 1980, it was a big deal to pack the Redcoat Marching Band into seven busses and travel to New Orleans for the sUGAr Bowl. We thought it was great to spend New Year’s Eve on Bourbon Street and then play in the Superdome, what we called the World’s Largest Mushroom.

I can only imagine what the current Redcoats felt like when they climbed aboard a chartered 757 out of Atlanta to fly cross-country to attend the Rose Bowl. In 1980 there were 300 total members including auxiliaries and support staff. Today, there are almost 300 musicians in the band.

Reverse of the 2018 Rose Bowl Commemorative Medal from the Highland Mint

The last bowl game I went to as a member of the Redcoat Marching Band was the January 1, 1983 sUGAr Bowl where we lost to Penn State. I was not happy then but time moves on. Now that we are 35 years later, age has caught up with me and my distance from Athens means I watch the games from the comfort of my living room. The last game I attended was Homecoming in 2012. I have to try to get down there for Homecoming this year!

But that Rose Bowl game was something else. No matter who I talk with about the game, it was the most exciting game they have seen, especially for a Rose Bowl. It was the first time a Rose Bowl went to overtime. Needless to say, I was happy with the outcome!

Previously, I mentioned I was interested in obtaining a copy of the coin used in the coin toss. In the video, it appeared to be silver in a plastic capsule with the school logos on either side. When I received an answer from someone associated with the Rose Bowl committee, I was told that it was indeed a silver coin, specially struck for the game. Only a limited number are struck and given to VIPs. The game-used coin is saved as part of a Rose Bowl museum. There are no extras struck and none are for sale.

I decided to find an alternative.

The Highland Mint, in cooperation with the College Football Playoff, struck souvenir medals for each of the games. Medals were struck in brass and placed in a plastic holder with the matchup. They also offer a silver-plated brass medal in a capsule and a velvet-covered case.

A medal in a case is pedestrian. It can be mistaken for just about any collectible, even those from the U.S. Mint. I would rather have the commemorative plastic holder with the information about the game. It makes more of a statement and can be displayed on my desk.

As I work to open my new business, I am planning on having this medal in my new office. It will remind everyone that if there is an early kickoff next fall, we will close on-time at noon so that I can rush home to my television and watch the game. Hopefully next year I will buy one that says National Champions!

HOW 🌹 BOUT 🌹 THEM 🌹 DAWGS!

U.S. Mint Bombs on WWI Commem Sets

World War I Centennial 2018 Silver Dollar

The U.S. Mint just announced the availability of the World War I Centennial Silver Dollar and the World War I Centennial Silver Dollar and Medal Sets will begin on January 17, 2018. But what they announced does not make sense for collectors.

Of course, the U.S. Mint will sell an uncirculated and proof silver dollar that will come in their usual display cases with a Certificate of Authenticity. These are the coins that are required under the authorizing law (World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 113-212) that were designed by LeRoy Transfield.

The U.S. Mint will also be selling five silver medals that will be issued in conjunction with the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. Each medal, composed of 90 percent silver, pays homage to branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were active in World War I: Army, Marine Corps, Air Service, Navy, and Coast Guard. Medal designs were announced last October. However, the U.S. Mint will only be selling the medals as part of a set with the silver dollar.

World War I Centennial 2018 Silver Dollar and Army Medal Set

By not selling the silver medals individually or as a set, if a collector wants to add all five to a collection, it will cost $99.95 per set ($499.75 total) and will require the purchase of five commemorative silver dollars.

Since there are no more surviving veterans of World War I, one can only assume that the commemorative coin and medal sets are being marketed to those that want to remember the service of those veterans. Creating these sets in this context makes sense. It does not make sense for the collector or for someone whose family did not serve in World War I or wants to just collect the medals.

This short-sightedness by the U.S. Mint may hinder potential sales of the commemorative coin whose proceeds are to benefit the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars, an organization responsible for making sure we do not forget those who served.

With the decline in silver prices and the market interest in investing in silver at its lowest since before the Great Recession, a short-sighted decision like this will limit the sale of silver medals. This will lower the income and seigniorage the U.S. Mint will collect after seeing a decline in the sales of bullion-related products.

If the U.S. Mint cannot get this right, then maybe they should have a more broad community discussion so they can better understand the potential collector market because on this, they bombed!

Images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

December 2017 Numismatic Legislation Review

Each two-year term of congress is marked by sessions that begin every January 3rd at noon. When the House and Senate gavel into session on January 3, 2018, it will be the second session of the 115th Congress.

Political watchers have called the 115th congress everything from contentious to partisan to dysfunctional to names that cannot be repeated to a family audience. One thing they have not called this congress: boring.

For numismatists, Congress did pass The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law No. 115-65) making it the second commemorative coin program for 2019. The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative is the other. Also, two bills passed the House and have been sent to the Senate for their consideration:

  • Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act (H.R. 965)
    This bill redesignates the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in New Hampshire, as the “Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.”
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1235)
    This bill creates the first commemorative coin program in 2020 in recognition and celebration of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In between the partisan wrangling, there were three bills were introduced in Congress last month. They are as follows:

H.R. 4539: Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. William R. Keating (D-MA)
Introduced: December 4, 2017
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Dec 4, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR4539.

S. 2189: Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017
Sponsor: Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
Introduced: December 4, 2017
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Dec 4, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S2189.

H.R. 4732: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. David G. Reichert (R-WA)
Introduced: December 21, 2017
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Dec 21, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR4732.

In the meantime, the nomination of David Ryder to be the next Director of the U.S. Mint is now 73rd on the Senate Executive Calendar, down from 70th last month. A few nominations for key administrative positions were added to the calendar in front of Ryder. It is possible that his nomination will be confirmed within the next two months.

PN1082: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: October 5, 2017
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Oct 5, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings held. — Oct 24, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Nov 1, 2017
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Nov 1, 2017
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 458. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Nov 1, 2017
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1082.

HAPPY 2018!

Happy New Year!
As we begin a new year, we should look forward to better times for our hobby, our nation, and our world. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2018 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!
Images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

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