Over the last few weeks, I have been posting and watching the chatter on social media about the current offerings by the world’s mints. Given the opportunity, I engaged several people to conduct an informal poll. I did not define specific questions. I allowed people to discuss and argue about what they really think. Based on these conversations, here is what I learned.
Many people are interested in colored coins. More than half of the people who responded to public statements or my direct queries said they were interested in the colorized Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins. It was almost unanimous amongst this group that they favored using color as an enhancement to the design.
Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 Colorized Half Dollar (U.S. Mint Image)
Although those favored using color as an enhancement, an overwhelming majority did not like all printed coins. Many of the complaints came from the lenticular coins from Canada. And while most would not purchase many of the coins with comic book themes, the only objections were the printed designs.
Few people objected to the commercial themes used on coins. Whether the coins celebrate Star Trek or Star Wars, the only difference was if the collector wanted to be beamed up or was with the Force. Those who did not like colored coins would be interested in coins struck using these themes.
I heard from a small group of comic book fans who love the coins with their favorite characters’ themes. Many pointed to fandom websites that celebrated the coins produced by the New Zealand Mint, Royal Mint, and Royal Canadian Mint. They do not care who produces the coins. These fans see the coins as an extension of their comic book fandom.
Niue $2 THE CAPED CRUSADER™ – GOTHAM CITY™ 1oz Silver Coin (Image courtesy of the New Zealand Mint)
Last week, I talked with someone about classic rock, which was wearing a Kiss tour jacket. He expressed excitement at finding the Kiss Challenge Coins online. He also mentioned challenge coins and medals from other bands. After our conversation, I searched online for the information. I found that Kiss authorized four challenge coins with each member’s image plus one for Eric Carr, the late drummer who died in 1991. Exonumia is a part of numismatics.
Themed coin series is a trendy way of collecting outside of the United States. Several British collectors thought that the Royal Mint’s 50p coins’ themes were a lot of fun. The Royal Mint produces 50p coins that celebrate children’s book characters, famous authors, and historical figures. A mother of three youngsters was excited about the recently released Winnie the Pooh 50p coin. Aside from being a children’s favorite, Winnie’s creator, A.A. Milne, also wrote speeches for Winston Churchill.
Then there were the hard-core, anything made after 1964 and not silver contingent. These collectors were a minority but were the most vehement about the “right way” to collect coins. When I asked how they would classify my collecting habits, I was accused of collecting junk or trinkets or buying into scams. I never told them that I compiled a complete set of high grade (not in slabs) Peace Dollars. With one exception, everyone in this group was male and over 50 years old. The other was in his late-40s.
It’s not a “ classic” coin but the Drummer Boy reverse is still one of my favorite modern designs.
Numismatics is a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. You are supposed to like what you collect. If you like Kiss Challenge Coins, then go out and find them all. If using different metals to create interesting effects like the Royal Canadian and New Zealand Mints create, have fun. Even if you find enjoyment with searching pocket change for coins, you are a numismatist and are welcome to the hobby.
Everyone who collects numismatics should be welcome without being told they are collecting the wrong way. As time moves on, I will be proposing new ideas on making the hobby more inclusive. I welcome everyone’s feedback!
This past weekend, the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP) held an on-line symposium that was an extended Money Talks session via Zoom. Although using Zoom and the format took advantage of new technologies, it is something I have been trying to convince the American Numismatic Association to do for a long time.
On May 21, 2016, I wrote, “Now is the time for the ANA and any other organizations that provides educational sessions to consider adding online access to their shows.”
Since then, I have been trying to convince the Association that it could extend its reach beyond the Summer Seminar and the World’s Fair of Money by broadcasting the content on-line.
“There are technologies that can help support the bringing the lectures, courses, and other activities to an online community,” I wrote in 2016. “There are a number of web-based conferencing system that requires a minimal amount of technology to broadcast these activities to collectors everywhere.”
I wrote that before the creation of Zoom!
Unfortunately, the ANA President and Board of Governors ignored all previous work regarding online education, making the Association look like an also-ran. Although some of the Summer Seminar sessions appeared online, the NNP Symposium surpassed the reach of the Summer Seminar in both content and impact.
The NNP succeeded where the ANA has failed. The NNP took advantage of modern technology to deliver numismatic education while the ANA, whose mission is supposed to be education, has done very little.
Why has the ANA Board of Governors failed in its mission?
It is easy to lead when times are good. An extended period of good times allows organizations to sit on its laurels. They can point to incremental changes as progress.
Leadership means being able to lead during good times and know how to respond when a crisis occurs.
“What leaders have to realize is that when a crisis hits, you can’t just rest on your laurels and think that everything will move along normally,” says Ronald Riggio, Ph.D., a professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College in California. “You need to train, prepare and execute.”
The ANA did not plan. The ANA was not prepared. There was nothing for the ANA to execute. The ANA FAILED in its mission.
The Board was told that it needed to expand to online education. When I was asked, “Can’t the ANA use something like Zoom to create classes?” Not only did I say it was possible, but I also noted other services the ANA could have used.
When I learned that Robert Oberth was appointed the Chair of the Information Technology Committee, I had a conversation with him on Facebook as part of comments to a post on the ANA Facebook page. I used Facebook to keep the conversation open and allow any member interested in why the ANA has failed to meet its members’ obligations.
As part of the conversations, I provided the lines to my writing on the subject. Unfortunately, the conversation has little impact. The ANA is lagging behind everyone in providing online education.
Even though I am not on the IT Committee, it does have institutional knowledge. According to the committee membership list published on the ANA website, Governor Greg Lyon is also a committee member. In his sixth and final term as ANA Governor, Lyon has been involved with the committee since the beginning. Lyon was the original Board liaison to the committee.
Lyon has not said much about the committee and its work either to me or in public. Now, when the ANA could use guidance, where is he? There is an English proverb that says, “cometh the hour, cometh the man.” A term that is associated with Winston Churchill, who stepped up when his country needed him.
Hey Greg, the ANA needs leadership. Where are you?
It has been six months since the crisis began. Where is the Board of Governors? What are you getting accomplished in those “excruciating” Board meetings (your word, Steve)?
The ANA Board of Governors has failed the Association and its members. These are the people who need to resign TODAY and allow new leadership to be selected by ANA members:
- President Steve Ellsworth
- Vice President Ralph Ross
- Mike Ellis
- Muriel Eymery
- Mary Lynn Garrett
- Greg Lyon
- Cliff Mishler
- Rob Oberth
- Shanna Schmidt
Are there six people who will run for the Board of Governors? If there are, I will join you to make a slate of seven people whose only purpose is to lift the ANA from the morass created by the current Board.
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. After a battle in the Tennessee House, which was lead by an anti-suffragist leader, two members changed their votes at the last minute.
Although people in the United States tout the “right to vote,” suffrage has been a long and difficult fight since before the signing of the Constitution. It did not end with the 19th Amendment as its text did not eliminate the discrimination based on race.
The fight for the “right” continues today. Reduced access to polls, including the closing of precincts in minority districts and hindering the Postal Service’s ability to handle ballots, infringe on everyone’s suffrage rights.
The commemorative coin reflects the history of the movement by depicting women wearing different hat styles during the thick of the fight. The movement started to gain momentum in the 1870s when states and territories in the West allowed women to vote. The first attempt to pass an amendment for suffrage began in 1878, where the depiction of the commemorative coin begins.
On the reverse is a depiction of a ballot box. The box has an art deco design with the centennial anniversary year looming large as it is descending into the ballot box.
The coin was designed by Christina Hess, a member of the Artistic Infusion Program and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The dollar coin is .999 silver with a mintage limit of 400,000. The sale of each coin includes a $10 surcharge paid to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.
It is an excellent design to depict the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Although I am not a collector of commemorative coins, this may be one that I will add to the coins I collect because the design is worthy of collecting.
Whitman canceled the November show in Baltimore because the city continues to use the convention center as a staging area for COVID-19 emergencies. Although the number of cases in the Baltimore area has decreased, city and state health officials warn of a spike that will require the use of the convention center.
Nearly every health expert, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) located in Atlanta, has issued warnings of a second wave combined with the seasonal flu will cause a significant public health risk. Rather than cancel the show, Whitman Expo manager Lori Kraft said that they are “working on an alternate show venue.”
This past week, the Virginia Numismatic Association (VNA) canceled its annual show scheduled for September. They hold their show in Fredericksburg, Virginia, about 50 miles south of Washington, D.C.
The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) hopes that the Monroeville Convention Center (outside of Pittsburgh) will be able to hold their Fall Show at the end of October. Currently, the venue is restricting events to those with 25 attendees or fewer.
States in the northeast continue to have restrictions similar to those in Pennsylvania. Going east to Illinois has similar issues.
If Whitman keeps the show on the east coast, the only place left for them is in Georgia, where they are located. As much as it pains this University of Georgia alumnus to admit, the fellow alum that sits in the state governor’s office has made Georgians’ health and safety a source of political tension.
The year is more than half-over, and the infection is getting worse. Virus hot spots have moved out of the northeast into states where health and safety have been politicized, including Georgia. Leaders are not listening to the medical community, and people are paying with their health and lives.
It is time to admit that 2020 is a lost year. It is time for everyone to adapt to what we have today and plan for the future. It is time for Whitman to cancel the Expo for 2020.
Plan now for a better future when it is (hopefully) safer.
Everyone please stay safe and healthy!
And now the news…
August 10, 2020
Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores turned off a 30-foot waterfall and collected all the coins visitors had thrown into the water to make wishes. After cleaning the money, they'll put it toward the aquarium's expenses.
→ Read more at npr.org
August 10, 2020
Gold Last Tuesday somebody told Gold buyers that it’s normally hot in the month of August. Then the Gold price broke above the key $2,000 resistance level and it kept on going.
→ Read more at kitco.com
August 11, 2020
The Museum of West Bohemia in Plzeň has announced the discovery of hundreds of silver and gold coins from the 14th century. The treasure, unearthed in a forest near the Kladruby Monastery in the region of Tachov, is believed to be one of the biggest troves of gold coins unearthed on the territory of the Czech Republic.
→ Read more at english.radio.cz
August 12, 2020
Gold is hot. Record-breaking prices and demand for gold bullion have thrust the yellow metal back into the media spotlight.
→ Read more at energyandcapital.com
August 12, 2020
Anti-National Socialism political activist and student Sophie Scholl will be commemorated on a special coin, said the German Finance Ministry on Wednesday. The €20 ($23) sterling silver collectors coin will be issued in April 2021, timed to coincide with Scholl's birthday.
→ Read more at dw.com
August 13, 2020
I heard about the coin shortage on the news. Maybe it's from people wishing 2020 will be over. OK, all jokes aside, it turns out to be just a disruption in coin circulation.
→ Read more at marshfieldmail.com
The U.S. Mint does it again by shutting out collectors with an unannounced change in procedures.
According to reports, 95 of the 2019-S American Silver Eagle Enhanced Reverse Proof did not sell the first time because of an alleged glitch. Rather than letting the general public know that the coins were available, they snuck it onto their website and sent messages to people who signed up for reminders only.
The U.S. Mint did not send the message to everyone on their reminder list. Only to those people who signed up for when the coin would be available again.
So let me get this straight. If you’ve signed up for the U.S. Mint reminder services but not for restocking notice, you did not get notified. But if you signed up for a restocking notice after the U.S. Mint announced that all 30,000 coins sold, you were sent a notice.
From the poorly designed website with a bad ordering experience to the sneaking the surplus coins by the general public, the U.S. Mint is not endearing itself to the collecting public.
How can the hobby expect to attract more collectors if the source of coins makes it difficult to purchase their products?
And now the news…
July 29, 2020
Toilet paper, sanitizer and yeast were but a few of the top-of-mind goods hoarded by Canadians at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In more recent weeks, however, another shortage – this of $50 banknotes – has come to light.
→ Read more at canadiancoinnews.com
August 3, 2020
Minelab Metal Detectors Luke Mahoney said the "feeling of scraping the dirt away and seeing the coins is indescribable" A metal detectorist who has spent 10 years searching for hidden treasure found "the biggest hoard of his life" in a field behind his village pub.
→ Read more at bbc.com
August 4, 2020
UK considers minting coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi | Photo Credit: BCCL Mahatma is poised to become the first-ever nonwhite person to feature on the British currency.
→ Read more at timesnownews.com
August 4, 2020
On July 27, 2020, gold prices hit an all-time high. Although the earliest traces of gold as a valuable material date back to the Paleolithic era in 40,000 B.C., about two-thirds of all the gold ever mined has been wrested from the ground since 1950. Throughout human history, it’s estimated that human beings have mined 197,576 tons of gold. One reason that gold has been so attractive to people across every corner of the Earth for all of recorded history is that it’s nearly indestructible, which means virtually all of that 197,576 tons is still around in one form or another. Even so, if you combined every ounce of gold ever mined into one large cube, that cube would only measure about 70 feet on each side.
→ Read more at thestacker.com
Tradition is the transmission of customs or beliefs passed from one generation to another. Traditions are not laws or rules.
Colorized Basketball Hall of Fame Half Dollar Clad Coin (Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint)
People invested in a tradition are afraid to change. It has always been that way and was successful, then why change?
At some point, change is necessary, or the tradition will stifle growth. Two areas where tradition is holding back activities are baseball and numismatics.
Hardcore baseball fans are the most traditional fans. They are the people who can tell you who was on deck when Bobby Thompson hit “the shot heard around the world,”† the nuance of the double switch, or why on-base percentage is a better statistic than batting average.
While trying to have a season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, baseball had to look tradition in the face and calmly walk in another direction. Aside from adding the designated hitter (DH) in the National League was placing a runner on second base when the games go into extra innings. The purpose is to shorten games, especially those that go to extra innings.
We are used to the DH. When games are played in an American League Park, all teams use the DH. But putting the runner on second base who did not get a hit to be there is very different.
But the move seems to be working. In the first week of the new season, four games went to extra innings, and all of the games ended in the 10th inning. It is an unorthodox move for a sport bound in tradition.
Numismatics is the same in many respects. The U.S. Mint strikes real coins, not trinkets. To be a real collector, you have to collect all of the best stuff, including the highest grade versions of the most popular coins. Finally, coins have to be a good value.
A “real coin” is money that an issuing authority legally monetizes for a market. The market may be for collecting purposes, but the issuer has assigned a face value. Even though the U.S. Mint has issued commemorative coins that are not intended to circulate, the traditionalists have determined the new colorized coin is something less than a real coin.
Traditionalists may not want to hear that a general collector community has reacted favorably to the colorized Naismith Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins. On message boards where collectors discuss their collections, they are now beginning to realize that the U.S. Mint has issued other sports-related commemorative coins. In a recent discussion, some started to ask about the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.
These collectors are not interested in Morgan Dollars, Standing Liberty Quarters, or Buffalo Nickels. They want the coins to add to their sports collections. A fan of Dr. J, Julius Erving, said that he plans to buy the colored and non-colored coins for his collection.
When it comes to numismatics, what defines a good value? How does one tell a person who may have inherited coins why a dealer would buy a coin for $20 but sell it for $45 or $50?
This past week, Michael Taylor, a financial writer for mysanantoinio.com, wrote the article, “Coin collecting a fine hobby, but not a good investment.” His fundamental question was, why is the spread between the bid and ask prices of coins so vast.
Briefly, Taylor acquired coins from his elderly father and tried to figure out their value. His mother had taken the small hoard to a coin shop and was offered about half of their retail value. As part of Taylor’s investigation, he used the Red Book (A Guide Book of United States Coins) and the Blue Book (Handbook of United States Coins) to understand pricing.
Taylor concluded that coins were not a good investment based on his analysis of the pricing differences found in both books.
Taylor is a published financial professional with many years of understanding markets. Most markets are very understandable that professionals who predict markets can do so with reasonable certainty. They can mitigate risks for wrong predictions and still make a good living.
Based on analyzing the Red and Blue books, how does one do that in the coin market? The problem is that there is so much more to the market that these books do not cover. A lot is based on tradition, unwritten lore, and irresponsible perceptions.
The general public has a better understanding of the automobile market than they do of the numismatic markets.
If you want to fix the hobby, it is time to look at these traditions, lore, and perceptions and act responsibly. Otherwise, the collectors may only be one-time coin buyers, and the hobby will continue to stagnate.
And now the news…
July 26, 2020
CINCINNATI, Ohio — It's been more than a month since the Federal Reserve declared a coin shortage in the U.S. Businesses like banks, grocery stores and laundromats have had to change their practices to keep change on hand, but one private mint based in Cincinnati is in a unique position to cash in.
→ Read more at spectrumnews1.com
July 28, 2020
The U.S. Mint has reduced the volume of gold and silver coins it’s distributing to authorized purchasers as the coronavirus pandemic slows production, a document seen by Bloomberg shows.
→ Read more at bloomberg.com
July 29, 2020
Coins don’t work well as investments, but they are OK as collectibles, according to columnist Michael Taylor.
→ Read more at mysanantonio.com
July 30, 2020
South Carolina, introduced in 2000, was the eighth state quarter brought into circulation. Growing up in San Diego in the early 2000s, Kelsey Fehlberg proudly displayed her state quarters in a map with inserts for each coin.
→ Read more at nytimes.com
August 1, 2020
The US Mint is slowing the production of gold and silver coins and limiting supply to authorized distributors – a sign that the pandemic is hampering the supply of physical money in the US.
→ Read more at markets.businessinsider.com
August 1, 2020
The price of gold hit record highs earlier in the week, Friday morning the price was at about $1.957 per ounce. From gold rings, necklaces and bracelets, people have been bringing in their jewelry to Emerald Coast Coins in Pensacola wit hopes of getting some cash and they're walking out with a lot more than expected.
→ Read more at weartv.com
August 1, 2020
The round £1 coin was demonetised at midnight on 15 October 2017 About 122m round £1 coins have not been returned to the Royal Mint, nearly three years after they stopped being legal tender.
→ Read more at bbc.com
† For the non-baseball die-hards, the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” was a game-winning home run by New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds in New York City on October 3, 1951, to win the National League pennant. You might have heard the famous call
by Giants Broadcaster Russ Hodges. Since there was one out when Thompson was at-bat, the next batter would have been a Giants rookie named Willie Mays.
This past week, the Royal Mint announced the next coin release in their Music Legends series to honor Sir Elton John. He is an international legend coming out of the British music scene who made his mark with talent and flamboyance. His long-time partnership with Bernie Taupin has entertained us since the 1960s.
Reverse of the 2020 Elton John Uncirculated Coin (Courtesy of the Royal Mint)
Coins are available from the Royal Mint in gold, silver, and uncirculated. Uncirculated coins come in a special folder honoring Elton John.
There will be those that will complain that these coins hurt the hobby. To borrow a term from our British friends: RUBBISH! If these coins bring people into the hobby, then they are great.
What is bad for the hobby is buying surplus coins from the U.S. Mint and calling it a hoard! For years, the U.S. Mint has been selling off its excess inventory or melting precious metals. This time, someone bought them, sent them to be slabbed, and would jack up the prices under the guise of something special. When the buyer goes to sell them and finds out that they are not worth what they paid, that will have people running away from the hobby. It is similar to the overpriced crap sold on television during the 50 State Quarters program.
Even GovMint.com is getting into the junk selling hype. They have been on satellite radio hawking the emergency production bullion coins struck at Philadelphia after COVID-19 temporarily closed the West Point Mint. Their ad for “P-Mint designated” coins touts them as something special. They are not unique or rare, as the commercial insinuates. Bullion coins are struck at Philadelphia. The difference is that there was a way to determine which mint struck these coins.
What is more damaging to the hobby, selling over-priced bullion or common leftover coins or non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins with themes that some old-timers do not seem to like?
Here, let me make some of you upset. I visited the website for the Royal Mint and found something that I will add to my collection:
Queen Coin Cover is created in cooperation with the Royal Mint and Royal Mail (Image courtesy of the Royal Mint).
If that makes you upset, then you need to rethink your attitude on the hobby!
And now the news…
July 2, 2020
A flag flies in front of the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
→ Read more at deseret.com
July 6, 2020
Connor Shumate holding his metal detector and treasure. Photo: Malcolm Andrews. Rising Brownsville second grader Connor Shumate may have found pirate treasure right in his own yard!
→ Read more at crozetgazette.com
July 7, 2020
Treasure hunters hit the jackpot as they discover Roman coins at racecourse
→ Read more at gazette-news.co.uk
July 8, 2020
Royal Mint The coin depicts Sir Elton John's trademark glasses as musical notes Rock legend Elton John is to be commemorated on a £1,000 gold coin celebrating his musical legacy.
→ Read more at bbc.com
July 8, 2020
The design for the new gold $1 Elizabeth Peratrovich coin was on display during the Elizabeth Peratrovich Day celebration at the Tlingit and Haida Community Council on Feb. 16, 2020.
→ Read more at juneauempire.com
July 10, 2020
CRANSTON — Just weeks after being granted compassionate release from federal prison, the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest counterfeiter,” Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, died Monday at age 78. He was in hospice care after struggling with dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension and other ailments.
→ Read more at providencejournal.com
July 10, 2020
In the summer of 2020, we received multiple inquiries from readers about the accuracy of news reports and social media posts that referred to an ongoing shortage of coins across the United States.
→ Read more at snopes.com
Last week, the American Museum of Natural History requested that New York City remove the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt at its front door. James Earle Fraser designed the statue.
Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. (Wikipedia)
Since Roosevelt’s death, Fraser was asked to design three different statues honoring the 26th President with themes picked by the sponsors. The theme was chosen for this statue by the Roosevelt Memorial Association. The statue would honor Roosevelt and the indigenous people in the Badlands of South Dakota and the Africans he met during his post-presidency safari. They were meant to be allegorical figures, not real people.
Theodore Roosevelt was a fascinating personality. TR was fond of the Badlands area, the area of the Dakota territory around the Little Missouri River. In his autobiography, Roosevelt admitted that he used his trips to the Badlands as an escape. The trips started after the death of his first wife, Alice, who died within days of giving birth to their only child.
Roosevelt stopped talking about Alice after her death. Until he wrote his autobiography, the last statement Roosevelt made about Alice was in his diary, where he wrote, “The light has gone out of my life.” Some scholars believe that Roosevelt’s trips to the Badlands were his attempt to combat depression or post-traumatic stress following Alice’s death.
Following his presidency, Roosevelt went on a safari in Africa and a trip through Europe. In Africa, Roosevelt’s safari was a research project sponsored by Andrew Carnegie that would bring back specimens for the Smithsonian Institue and the American Museum of Natural History.
His guide through Africa was a British national RJ Cunninghame. Aside from his knowledge of the region, Cunninghame knew many natives who can lead them around the land. In each of the countries, the local guides were natives.
In his autobiography, Roosevelt would credit the native people for helping on his trips. It was clear that Theodore Roosevelt would not have been associated with these people in other areas of his life. Still, his writing demonstrated a lot of respect for their guidance.
Fraser was consulted many times by the Roosevelt Memorial Association. It was due to his being an accomplice to Roosevelt’s “pet crime,” the redesign of the nation’s coinage. Fraser, who was an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, understood the imagery the President wanted that became the inspiration for the Buffalo Nickel.
James Earle Fraser, ca. 1920 (Wikipedia)
Frasier’s style was called Beaux-Arts, which relied on neoclassical-like images. Frasier was the designer of the Buffalo Nickel and other commemorative coins. Frasier’s style was called Beaux-Arts, which relied on neoclassical-like images. Frasier took Beaux-Arts to a new level by studying his subjects’ history and incorporating them into the imagery.
All of Frasier’s work has many elements that have to be studied to be appreciated. Numismatists can see his attention to detail by studying a Type 1 Buffalo Nickel with a loupe. The detail gives the coin a lot of character that makes it an appealing collectible. When the U.S. Mint tried to recreate the design for the 2001 commemorative coin, collectors were not satisfied with the flatter image.
The 24-karat Gold Buffalo coin is a good representation of Frasier’s Type 1 Buffalo Nickel design. John Mercanti’s execution of Fraser’s design is phenomenal.
1913 Buffalo Nickel Type 1 Reverse
Reverse of the 2013-W American Buffalo gold reverse proof
Many of the statues in tribute to the 26th President show Roosevelt on a horse. Fraser was consulted about two other Roosevelt memorial statues. The statue Fraser proposed that is now on Roosevelt Island in New York’s East River was similar in design to the Equestrian Statue at the Museum of Natural History. The other was a statue to be part of the Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River near Georgetown. It depicted Roosevelt on a horse without the guides. Fraser died before funding for the statue was realized.
Fraser’s image for the statue was clear. It was the two indigenous people working to support Roosevelt’s adventures. These are not racist images, even when it has been badly misinterpreted by some media who call the person to Roosevelt’s left an African-American.
Unfortunately, the current society has lost the ability to reason beyond the surface at allegorical symbols that are supposed to honor rather than demean. It takes a higher sense of forethought to understand what is being depicted. A value that is lacking today. Understanding the history of the man and the imagery offered by Fraser something to be admired. It is a work of art that needs to be preserved and not run over by a politically correct freight train.
Five years ago, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob “Jack” Lew announced that the Treasury was redesigning the $10 Federal Reserve Note and that the portrait was to feature a woman. Treasury planned to release the new note in 2020 to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women suffrage.
Mockup of the $20 note featuring Harriet Tubman
The Treasury Department said that the $10 note was next on its schedule to update the currency to add Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD). The ACD Steering Committee, an inter-agency group that monitors several factors that go into the maintenance of U.S. currency, suggested the change. The committee also wanted to add features that will help increase accessibility for the visually impaired as part of the court-mandated Meaningful Access Program. Treasury reports that the new note “will include a tactile feature that increases accessibility for the visually impaired.”
Others had recommended replacing the portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the $20 note with a woman. Aside from 20 being a significant number in this celebration, the groups targeted Jackson because of his history of wanton disregard for life and liberty. During the War of 1812, Jackson led U.S. Army troops against native tribes working with the British against the United States to regain the lands taken following the colonies’ independence. History records that Jackson’s troops were brutal against the native tribes on his orders, killing them rather than taking prisoners.
After beating back the British in the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson declared martial law in New Orleans and used his troops to enforce martial law. Jackson ordered his troops to arrest a local magistrate because he sided with a newspaper reporter who wrote negatively about Jackson’s rule. Jackson also had members of the local militia who sided with the British executed without trial.
As president, Jackson’s lobbied Congress passed the Indian Removal Act because he wanted the Native American tribes to relocate to the western side of the Mississippi River. Jackson disregarded the letter of the law and ratified treaties to uproot tribes and march them away. It was called “Trail of Tears.” It forced the relocation of Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations from their ancestral homelands in the southeast to an area west of the Mississippi River. It is considered the most violent and brutal act against the native tribes in United States history.
To have Jackson’sJackson’s portrait on the United States currency is also a bit ironic. Jackson was against the concept of a central bank and refused to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. He vetoed the bill to continue its charter. After winning the election in 1833, Jackson withdrew all of the country’s funds from the bank, limiting its ability to conduct business. He gave power to local banks to lend money and issued the Specie Circular, an executive order requiring government transactions in gold and silver coins (specie).
Although all of the men whose portraits appear on United States currency are very flawed people, Jackson is the worst.
Eventually, Secretary Lew sided with the activists and announced that Harriett Tubman would replace Jackson on the $20 Federal Reserve Note.
Lew resigned as the 76th Secretary of the Treasury on January 20, 2017, with the inauguration of a new administration. Steven T. Mnuchin became in as the 77th Secretary of the Treasury on February 13, 2017.
Mnuchin did not immediately interfere with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s efforts to redesign the $20 FRN. As the work continued, the BEP also continued to work on additional anti-counterfeiting measures for U.S. currency. Specifically, the BEP was looking into changes that would first impact the $10 note followed by the $5 bill.
The paper $5 note was a more significant focus for the BEP. In working with the U.S. Secret Service, they were finding that many counterfeiters were using bleaching products to remove the ink from the paper to use it to print higher denominations, predominantly $20 bills. One internal report suggested that the criminal would see a net gain of $14 for each $20 note they could produce.
Although it costs more to counterfeit $20 bills this way, it is a lower risk for the criminal. Few people pay attention to the problem, and those that do find that the currency passes the iodine pen test.
Interference from Mnuchin came after his first three months in office. It started with a question from a reporter who asked the president about the change. During a subsequent cabinet meeting, the president said something to Mnuchin about the change. Mnuchin agreed to do something without raising concerns.
Rather than stopping the process, Mnuchin diverted funds from the development of the proposed change in portrait. He was able to hide the change from the public because of the nature of the Treasury’s budgetary process.
In response to news reports, BEP Director Len Olijar issued the following statement via the bureau’s website saying that “BEP was never going to unveil a note design in 2020.” That was not the policy of the Treasury Department and the BEP when Secretary Lew announced the change.
Without interference from the current administration, Andrew Jackson, whose policies and actions led to the murder of many Native Americans, would have been replaced by Harriett Tubman. An honor to someone who saved lives and a tribute to 100 years of Women’s Suffrage.
The ANA announced today that the 2020 World’s Fair of Money scheduled for August in Pittsburgh has been “Suspended.” The announcement recognized that the “Current State of Pennsylvania guidelines restrict indoor gatherings to a maximum of 250 people at any one time.”
Of course, I noted that almost three weeks ago, but who listens to me.
By suspension, this means that the ANA will scurry around and try to do something. Like the “something” that is planned for the virtual Summar Seminar, it is so much less than what it could be.
For years, I have been pushing for the broadcasting of the events from the show. I have been saying that the use of video can be a great recruiting tool. A few have even suggested doing a virtual bourse. Although I have not advocated one, I think I have an idea as to how to implement this.
All that is needed is the hardware and services to do this.
All that the ANA needed is for the current president to continue the efforts of the past. But that would require a president with an open mind who thought better of the ANA and its members.
The actions taken by the ANA president and Board of Governors show that they are not leaders. Leaders are proactive in the organization’s best interest. If you are reactive, then you are not a leader. Or as it was once said, you are leading from behind.
I wish the ANA was more proactive with the modern needs of a collecting public. As it is said, elections have their consequences. Rather than having the leadership the ANA needs (with all due respect to Joseph de Maistre), the association has the leadership it deserves.