October 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

Challenger Crew

The STS-51L crewmembers are: in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair. (Wikipedia)

The numismatic legislation news of the month is the president signing the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (Public Law No. 116-65) into law. In 2021, the U.S. Mint will issue no more than 350,000 silver dollars in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe.

For those who do not remember or were not born at the time, McAuliffe was selected as the first civilian teacher to fly into space as part of the Space Shuttle program. On January 28, 1986, she boarded the Space Shuttle Challenger along with Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Gregory Jarvis for mission STS-51-L. Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 11:39 AM.

It was an unusually cold morning, even for Florida. The cold and deterioration of the O-Rings that sealed the joints of the solid rocket boosters failed. The firey escape of fuel caused the external fuel tank to explode 73 seconds into the flight. Challenger disintegrated, taking the lives of the seven-member crew.

The surcharge of $10 per coin sold in 2021 will be paid to the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics program “for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

S. 239: Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Introduced: January 28, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue not more than 350,000 $1 silver coins in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher tragically killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.(Sec. 4) The design of the coins shall bear an image and the name of Christa McAuliffe on the obverse side and a design on the reverse side that depicts the legacy of McAuliffe as a teacher.(Sec. 5) Treasury may issue the coins from January 1-December 31, 2021.(Sec. 7) All surcharges received by Treasury from the sale of the coins shall be paid to the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 28, 2019
Passed Senate with amendments by Voice Vote. — Jul 9, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Received in the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Held at the desk. — Jul 10, 2019
Ms. Waters moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Sep 19, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 19, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on S. 239. — Sep 19, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 19, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 19, 2019
Presented to President. — Sep 27, 2019
Signed by President. — Oct 9, 2019
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/116-S239.

The House also passed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2423) for 2020 and the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865) for 2021. Both bills head to the Senate for their consideration.

H.R. 1865: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins that are emblematic of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia and the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers throughout the history of the United States.All sales of such coins shall include specified surcharges, which shall be distributed to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Inc., for educational and outreach programs and exhibits.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 25, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1865. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

H.R. 2423: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 400,000 $1 silver coins that are emblematic of the women who played a vital role in rallying support for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.Such coins may be issued during the period beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.All surcharges received from the sales of such coins shall be paid to the American Women’s History Initiative of the Smithsonian Institution.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Apr 30, 2019
Mr. Scott, David moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 28, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 28, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 2423. — Oct 28, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Oct 28, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 28, 2019
Received in the Senate. — Oct 29, 2019
Received in the Senate, read twice. — Oct 29, 2019
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Oct 31, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2423.

Two additional commemorative coin bills were introduced in the House of Representatives. One is so new that the Government Printing Office has yet to release the official text.

H.R. 4681: National World War II Memorial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Introduced: October 15, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 15, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4681.

H.R. 4940: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Nation’s first statewide investigative law enforcement agency, the Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
Introduced: October 31, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 31, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4940.

September 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressThe numismatic industry is all a buzz about a pending new commemorative coin. When signed by the president, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act (S. 239) will create the first commemorative coin for 2021.

The bill calls for a maximum of 350,000 silver dollar commemorative coins in memory of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher killed as part of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Congress sent the bill to the White House on September 27, 2019. It is waiting for a signature which should happen soon.

S. 239: Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Introduced: January 28, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue not more than 350,000 $1 silver coins in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher tragically killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.(Sec. 4) The design of the coins shall bear an image and the name of Christa McAuliffe on the obverse side and a design on the reverse side that depicts the legacy of McAuliffe as a teacher.(Sec. 5) Treasury may issue the coins from January 1-December 31, 2021.(Sec. 7) All surcharges received by Treasury from the sale of the coins shall be paid to the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 28, 2019
Passed Senate with amendments by Voice Vote. — Jul 9, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Received in the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Held at the desk. — Jul 10, 2019
Ms. Waters moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Sep 19, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 19, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on S. 239. — Sep 19, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 19, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 19, 2019
Presented to President. — Sep 27, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S239.

This bill and the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S.1235) were being held at the desk in the House because of an objection made by a freshman member. The member was convinced to let the bills pass and to use other bills to make the point.

Just a typical day on Capitol Hill.

H.R. 1830: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Sean P. Maloney (D-NY)
Introduced: March 18, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins, and half-dollar clad coins emblematic of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.The bill limits the issuance of such coins to the one-year period beginning on January 1, 2021.The bill prescribes surcharges for coin sales, which shall be paid to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., to support the mission of such organization, including capital improvements to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor facilities.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 18, 2019
Mr. San Nicolas moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Sep 19, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Sep 19, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1830. — Sep 19, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Sep 19, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 19, 2019
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Sep 23, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1830.

H.R. 4332: Paul Laurence Dunbar Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Eleanor H. Norton (D-DC)
Introduced: September 13, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Sep 13, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4332.

August 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressLike many here in Washington, Congress goes on vacation in August. They usually adjourn the last full week in July and return right after Labor Day. The August vacation has been an ongoing fact of Congress since the 1950s.

Like the rest of our lives, Congress has found ways of replacing paper-based processes with an online equivalent. One of those areas is when a member wants to submit a bill. Rather than typing it on paper and dropping it into a physical hopper, the member creates an electronic version of the bill and submits it to the clerk of their respective chambers.

In August, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) did that by submitting the Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act (S.2427). If passed, the bill will success the America the Beautiful Quarter Dollar Program to honor historical women on U.S. quarters.

S. 2427: Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act
Sponsor: Sen. Catherine Cortez masto (D-NV)
Introduced: August 1, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Aug 1, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S2427.

In July, the Senate passed the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act (S.239), and in June, they passed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S.1235). Both bills remain held at the desk in the House of Representative because of an objection.

Previously, a source said that a freshman member of the House made the objection based on constitutional grounds. Another source claims the constitutional argument is being used to mask other political reasons. The source said that if the Senate wants to block bills passed by the House, then the House was going to do the same to the Senate.

In other words, tantrums on both sides of the Capital continues to cause gridlock on the most mundane legislation. Your government at work.

Weekly World Numismatic News for August 4, 2019

Congress is nothing if not full of shallow people who would pander to their own mothers if it meant winning a vote or two. Their shallowness is on display just before they go on an extended break when members drop bills into the virtual hopper for consideration.

In the old days, members of Congress would write have the bills printed on paper and dropped into a physical hopper. The Clerk of the House would empty the hopper and enter new bills into the Congressional Record and add it to the calendar. The bills are sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) for publications. Nowadays, the hopper is virtual. The submittal process is all by the press of the button — however, the still prints the bills and the Congressional Record causing delays in reporting.

Members of Congress know this and can milk a story for days while they travel back to their districts for their summer break.

It is excellent public relations for these people whose approval rating is lower than drain cleaner. So in between the bills to rename Post Offices, federal buildings, and sections of highway are bills to create commemorative coins. Congress gets a nice writeup about these bills that they hope their constituents will remember knowing most people have short attention spans.

The numismatic media is no different than any other press sectors. Every numismatic-related bill that is introduced gets banner headline coverage even though very few will receive a hearing. The only difference in their reporting is that the numismatic media will bury the term “if it passes” somewhere in its reporting.

Then, when a bill passes one chamber and sent across to the other, someone is breaking out the champagne. Except someone forgot that we are talking about Congress where nothing is easy. Sure, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) and the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 (S. 239) passed the Senate, but the House has not accepted these bills. Members of the House will not let these bills in the front door because they are revenue-generating bills, which constitutionally must be introduced in the House.

It was particularly interesting when a Tennessee newspaper lauded Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for S. 1235 without noting that the bill introduced by this one-time member of the House is blocked for violating the constitution.

I find this stuff fascinating. Then again, I used to work for the federal government!

And now the news…

 July 28, 2019

We’ve had a whole host of new currency introduced recently, but what should you do if you still have old coins or notes knocking about? The answer depends on what kind of currency you have, and how long ago it went out of date – while you can still exchange the recently changed notes and coins, you may be out of luck if you find any half-pence or farthings.  → Read more at simplybusiness.co.uk


 July 30, 2019

A Vancouver Island man has spent the last 10 years uncovering thousands of items using his metal detector — many of which are historic and valuable, he says.  → Read more at cbc.ca


 July 30, 2019

Nearly two years after they stopped being legal tender, 145 million old-style £1 coins are still missing.  → Read more at bbc.com


 July 30, 2019

Collectors are only too happy to share the history of their collections with visitors  → Read more at gulfnews.com


 July 30, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From Satchel Paige to Jackie Robinson and Buck O’ Neil, several of baseball’s iconic players began their professional careers with the Negro Leagues in Kansas City. Now those legends, along with countless others, could be honored with a special, commemorative coin.  → Read more at fox4kc.com


 August 1, 2019

Twin Cities coin dealer Barry R. Skog has been sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright for perpetrating a counterfeit coin fraud scheme.  → Read more at startribune.com


 August 2, 2019

The PIL filed by the National Association for the Blind (NAB) sought directions to the RBI to include distinctive features in coins and in currency notes, so visually-challenged persons can easily identify the same.  → Read more at hindustantimes.com

Coin Collectors News
news.coinsblog.ws

 

July 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

1921-D Peace Dollar

Of course, the July legislative review has to discuss the introduction of the 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 3735). Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) introduced this bill with Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) as a co-sponsor. As soon as the Congressional Record published the bill’s submittal, the American Numismatic Association issued a press release asking members to ask their member of Congress to support the bill.

The bill calls for the issue of no more than 500,000 $1 silver coins commemorating the Morgan dollar and the Peace dollar in 2021. If passed, 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Morgan Dollar and the beginning of the Peace Dollar.

Aside from being excited about the issue of the coin, the one line that has caught the interest of collectors is that “it is the sense of Congress that if the Secretary determines it to be feasible and cost effective, the Secretary may mint some of the coins minted under this Act at the Nevada State Museum (formerly a United States Mint facility) located in Carson City, Nevada.”

Although it seems like a good idea, there are a lot of questions whether striking coins in Carson City would be feasible. Since the facility is an active museum, would Nevada be willing to give up a piece of their operations to the federal government? How disruptive would be to the museum’s activities before and after striking the coins?

How would the U.S. Mint strike coins at the museum? While the facility has old coining presses used for demonstrations, they may not be capable of manufacturing modern coinage. Then there is the other equipment involved including an upsetting mill to put an edge on the coin.

The Carson City Mint was built in 1863 to building codes and security standards of the mid-19th century. After the Mint stopped striking circulating coins in 1893, the building became as Assay Office. In 1933, the Great Depression ended its service as an Assay Office. The federal government sold the building to Nevada in 1939. While the Nevada State Museum has updated the building’s security, it is doubtful that it would meet modern U.S. Mint requirements.

Striking coins with the CC mintmark may have an appeal to the collecting community, it might not be feasible and cost-effective.

S. 239: Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Introduced: January 28, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue not more than 350,000 $1 silver coins in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher tragically killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.(Sec. 4) The design of the coins shall bear an image and the name of Christa McAuliffe on the obverse side and a design on the reverse side that depicts the legacy of McAuliffe as a teacher.(Sec. 5) Treasury may issue the coins from January 1-December 31, 2021.(Sec. 7) All surcharges received by Treasury from the sale of the coins shall be paid to the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Held at the desk. — Jul 10, 2019
Received in the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jul 10, 2019
Passed Senate with amendments by Voice Vote. — Jul 9, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jul 9, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 28, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S239.

The Senate passed the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 in July. Like the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) passed in June, the bill is being held at the desk in the House of Representative because of an objection by one of its members.

A source claims that a freshman member of the House has objected to these bills being first passed by the Senate. This member cites Article I Section 7 of the United States Constitution where it says that “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” A spokesperson in the House ’Clerk’s office would not confirm or deny the ’source’s claim.

H.R. 3757: 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Introduced: July 15, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jul 15, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR3757.

June 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressEven while other things were going on, Congress found time to introduce and vote on numismatic-related legislation during the mother of June. The most significant development was the passing of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235) by unanimous consent.

If passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President, the bill would create a commemorative silver dollar in 2020 with a surcharge of $10 per coin that will go to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.

When this bill was sent out of committee to the floor for a vote, the media was all in a twitter (pun intended) about the bipartisan nature of the bill’s support. The bill was introduced on April 30, 2019, by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and cosponsored by every female senator. Subsequently, male senators added their support to where the bill had 82 cosponsors. While we live in very partisan times, those of us who watch numismatic-related legislation understands that these bills are not controversial and tend to gain bipartisan support.

The bill is being held at the desk in the House of Representatives and not assigned to a committee. Although a call to the House did not provide answers, a source says that it is being held for procedural reasons.

According to the source, an objection was made by a member because the member believes that the bill violates the constitution. According to Article I Section 7 of the United States Constitution, it says that “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” Since commemorative coin bills raise revenue for private and public (seigniorage) sources, someone believes that the Senate overstepped its bounds.

There was no report as to who filed the objection.

S. 1235: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Held at the desk. — Jun 5, 2019
Received in the House. — Jun 5, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Jun 5, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Apr 30, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1235.

H.R. 3155: 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Introduced: June 6, 2019
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 50,000 $5 coins, 500,000 $1 coins, and 750,000 half-dollar coins in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.The coins shall be emblematic of the sacrifices made by millions of people of the United States 75 years ago in bringing an end to World War II. The design on each coin shall represent the World War II Victory Medal, which was awarded to all 16 million U.S. military personnel who served from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946.The bill requires all sales of such coins include specified surcharges, which shall be paid by Treasury to the congressionally designated National WWII Museum to fund its educational mission of telling the story of the U.S. experience in World War II.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jun 6, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR3155.

S. 1794: CENTS Act
Sponsor: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Introduced: June 12, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 12, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1794.

H.R. 3483: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball.
Sponsor: Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA)
Introduced: June 25, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jun 25, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR3483.

S. 1954: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball.
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Introduced: June 25, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 25, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1954.

S. 2042: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Sponsor: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
Introduced: June 27, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jun 27, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S2042.

Suffrage Centennial Commem passes the Senate

Congress may be filling out the 2020 commemorative coin calendar with the Senate passing the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1235). If passed by the House, the bill would require the U.S. Mint to issue a one dollar silver coin to commemorate women suffrage activists in 2020.

S. 1235: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Jun 4, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Apr 30, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1235.

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Since there were 48 states in the union, 36 represented the three-quarters necessary to ratify the amendment.

S. 1235 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee.

According to the bill the design of the coin is supposed to “contain motifs that honor Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Harriet Tubman, Mary Church Terrell, Alice Paul, Lide Meriwether, Ida B. Wells, and other suffrage activists of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries.” That is a lot of people to try to fit on a 1½-inch coin.

As with almost every other commemorative coin bill, the silver dollar will have a $10 surcharge. The surcharge will go to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.

This bill does not mention mintage limits. It is possible to become the most produced commemorative coin of the modern era.

Next, the bill is sent to the House of Representatives for their vote.

May 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

The legislative review is back after taking a month hiatus since there was nothing to report for April.

Legislation introduced in May is a bit different than others in that only one bill directly affects the section of the law that governs the U.S. Mint (Subchapter III of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code). Let’s look at each of legislation submitted in May.

S. 1300: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Introduced: May 2, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 2, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S1300.

The National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act is a typical three-coin commemorative coin legislation ($5 gold, $1 silver, half-dollar clad) to raise money for a cause. If passed, this law will pay the surcharges to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

H.R. 2559: Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: May 7, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2559.

The Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2019 calls for a complete assay, inventory, and audit of gold reserves held by the federal government. The proposed law requires that the location of all gold is documented “including any gold in ‘deep storage,'” the security of those places, and any transactions of that gold.

If enacted, the Comptroller General of the United States do this audit for the past 15 years and have it completed within 12 months and every five years. The law would require the complete audit to be made public with the only exception of the physical security issues.

COMMENTARY: Given the nature of the economy and a lot of other factors are the gold holds that important? The Federal Reserve reports that the M1 money supply is over $3.7 trillion and the M2 is over $14.5 trillion. Think of the M1 as cash used in commerce. The M2 represents all money, including those in savings, securities, or may have circulating restrictions. Even if the government were to account for every grain of gold as reported an in U.S. Mint’s annual reports, that would represent less than 1-percent of the M1.

Gold holdings are irrelevant to the strength of the United States economy. Maintaining the M1 supply is more critical because it is a measure of activity. Economists fear wild tariffs since it will have a direct effect on the M1 money supply. Changes to the M1 will alter the demand for the products produced by the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

H.R. 2558: To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold.
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: May 7, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2558.

H.R. 2558 would require the Secretary of the Treasury “define the dollar in terms of a fixed weight of gold, based on that day’s closing market price of gold” and allow Federal Reserve Notes to be exchangeable for gold at that statutory rate.

COMMENTARY: This is a backhanded attempt to return the United States to the gold standard without the sufficient backing of gold that will support this effort. With the money supply being over $14 trillion, trying to match the amount of gold at market value to every U.S. dollar would cause a devaluation of the currency that it would not be economically viable to do business in or with the United States.

Further, the market price of gold is set by private banks, metals dealers, mining companies, and other financial companies from all over the world through the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). Given the makeup of their membership, this bill will allow this market that includes people from Bahrain, China, Switzerland, Russia, and other countries where the United States may have disputes to have direct influence over the strength of the U.S. dollar.

The introduction of a bill like this makes for good talking points for a constituency that is ignorant of the ramifications of this law. It is not sound policy given the nature of the markets.

H.R. 2630: Cash Always Should be Honored Act
Sponsor: Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI)
Introduced: May 9, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. — May 9, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2630.

The Cash Always Should be Honored (CASH) Act states that “It shall be unlawful for any physical retail establishment to refuse to accept legal tender as payment for any products or services offered for sale by such physical retail establishment.” The bill allows exemptions for online and telephone-based transactions.

COMMENTARY: Although I believe in the power of spending the products of the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing over using electronic means, it should not be the government’s place to tell anyone how to conduct business.

Another short-sighted bill that does not consider the modern economy because it does not consider changes to the concept of a physical retail establishment. For example, what about mobile-based commerce? Would the rideshare companies be required to take cash? What about the plumber who comes to fix your sink? What about the food truck where you might buy lunch?

For the numismatists, how would this affect dealers at a coin show? Will you be required to carry around a wad of currency to buy coins? Would there be a distinction between the dealer who only sells at shows versus a dealer with a shop who travels to shows?

It is another bill that looks better as part of talking points than its effects on the real economy.

H.R. 2650: Payment Choice Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ)
Introduced: May 9, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 9, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR2650.

This Payment Choice Act of 2019 is similar to the CASH Act in that it will prohibit any business from refusing “to accept United States legal tender of cash as payment for goods or services,” post signs saying that the establishment will not accept cash, or charge a higher price for paying in cash. The bill exempts “any goods or services sold to the public by telephone, mail, or internet.”

COMMENTARY: See the commentary for the CASH Act, above.

March 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

When it comes to numismatic-related legislation, proposing commemorative coin programs can look like a pastime to the members of Congress. At the prompting of constituent groups, members will submit bills that have everyone excited but does not deliver on its promise.

For now, the only commemorative coin program that has become law is the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

In March, members of Congress have introduced bills to create five more commemorative coin programs. All have merit but the reality is that most of these bills will not pass Congress.

For the 116th Congress, there have been 16 numismatic-related bills submitted covering 13 different commemoratives (some are introduced in both the House and Senate to increase its chance of passage). One bill, Route 66 Centennial Commission Act (H.R. 66), was added to the watch list because the bill recommends a possible commemorative coin for the celebration.

Maybe there will be something more exciting to report next month.

S. 639: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Introduced: March 4, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Mar 4, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S639.

H.R. 1805: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the centennial of the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Sponsor: Rep. Brad R. Wenstrup (R-OH)
Introduced: March 14, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1805.

H.R. 1830: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Sponsor: Rep. Sean P. Maloney (D-NY)
Introduced: March 18, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 18, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1830.

H.R. 1865: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a coin in commemoration of the opening of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 25, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

H.R. 1923: 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 27, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 27, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1923.

H.R. 1982: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Sponsor: Rep. Joseph D. Morelle (D-NY)
Introduced: March 28, 2019
Referred to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committee on the Budget, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. — Mar 28, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1982.

February 2019 Numismatic Legislation Review

While the mainstream media has mostly been distracted by other activities in Congress, those of us who watch numismatic-related legislation have had our own action.

First, the House of Representatives passed Route 66 Centennial Commission Act (H.R. 66) to create a commission to celebrate the centennial of the famous Route 66 in 2026. Although this is not a numismatic-related bill per se, if passed, the bill says that the centennial commission will recommend commemorative coins for this event. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee waiting further action.

The other legislation of note is the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019 (H.R. 1089) that removes all tax considerations for the sale of “gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Secretary at any time.” It also exempts “refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.” This means that no capital gains on the sale of these items will be taxed and no losses can be written off by the taxpayer.

An interesting side effect of this bill would be that the gains realized when rare coins auctioned for millions of dollars will not be taxed. This means if an 1804 Silver Dollar sells for more than the $3.8 million it sold for in 2013, the seller will not pay capital gains tax on the sale. However, if it sells for less, the seller will not be able to write-off the loss.

For those keeping score at home, this law will not help the sale of a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel since its composition is copper and nickel.

Of course, this will only be an issue if H.R. 1089 passes and the president signs it into law.

H.R. 66: Route 66 Centennial Commission Act
Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Introduced: January 3, 2019
Summary: This bill establishes the Route 66 Centennial Commission to honor Route 66 on the occasion of its centennial anniversary.The Department of Transportation shall prepare a plan on the preservation needs of Route 66.
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. — Feb 7, 2019
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Feb 6, 2019
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 399 – 22 (Roll no. 67). — Feb 6, 2019
Considered as unfinished business. — Feb 6, 2019
At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed. — Feb 6, 2019
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 66. — Feb 6, 2019
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Feb 6, 2019
Ms. Norton moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill. — Feb 6, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. — Jan 3, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR66.

H.R. 1089: Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019
Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (R-WV)
Introduced: February 7, 2019
Summary: Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act of 2019This bill exempts gains or losses from the sale or exchange of certain coins or bullion from recognition for income tax purposes. The exemption applies to gains or losses from the sale or exchange of (1) gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Department of the Treasury; or (2) refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.
Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. — Feb 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1089.

S. 457: President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Introduced: February 12, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 12, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S457.

H.R. 1173: President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Dollar Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)
Introduced: February 13, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 13, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1173.

H.R. 1257: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Introduced: February 14, 2019
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Feb 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1257.

S. 509: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Introduced: February 14, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 14, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S509.

Pin It on Pinterest