One of the nice aspects of a new year is all of the new coins that become available. Every major mint starts the year with new bullion products, commemorative coins, and other non-circulated legal tender coinage to keep collectors interested.
For collectors, it is a lot of fun.In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bluenose schooner. The Bluenose was a fishing and racing schooner that was revolutionary in its design and became the symbol of Nova Scotia before being a symbol of Canadian heritage.
Although the Bluenose launched in 1921, it did not appear on the Canada 10-cent coin until 1937. Since then, the Bluenose appeared on every 10-cent coin except for 1967 when Canadian coins were redesigned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
The Royal Mint has started the year by issuing commemorative sovereigns, Britannia bullion coins, and the yearly Trial of the Pyx. Although modern technology makes the Trial of the Pyx unnecessary, it is an exciting part of Royal Mint history that deserves celebration.
Down under in Australia, the Royal Australian Mint has issued silver coins of the Outback Majesty series that celebrates the Australian Outback animals. Since Australia has done better than the rest of the world with keeping the pandemic under control, the Royal Australian Mint has resumed tours and has operations closer to normal.
Over in New Zealand, it looks like they are having more fun with coins. New this year are the Chibi Collection of the Lord of the Rings characters, DC Comics superheroes, and more. Although the New Zealand Mint designs and strikes these coins, they are issued under the Niue government’s authority. The New Zealand Mint also strikes coins for the Cook Islands. Both are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand.
The U.S. Mint, whose output is the most restrictive of the world mints, has issued the American Silver Eagle Proof coin and the new American Platinum Eagle Proof. The American Platinum Eagle Proof series celebrates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, starting with the Freedom of Religion. Also available is the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar. Later, the U.S. Mint will issue the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum commemorative coins.
Finally, the U.S. Mint has issued the last of the America the Beautiful Quarters honoring the Tuskegee Airman Historical Site. The U.S. Mint will produce a redesigned quarter for the balance of the year. The Prominent American Women Quarters will begin in 2022.
It is a fun time to be a coin collector!
And now the news…
First, Whitman issues a statement with a headline saying, “Baltimore Expo Prohibited Due to Mandated COVID-19 Restrictions.” Their release rightly mentions that Maryland is using the Convention Center to help fight the pandemic in Baltimore. As the largest indoor location in the city, it would be right to assume that the Baltimore Convention Center might be busy for some time.
Whitman then announces a “MEGA Bourse” for the June Expo. Unfortunately, the Atlanta-based Whitman does not consider the factual data of the progress and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also located in Atlanta, says about the pandemic’s future. The pandemic will be a significant issue in June, just as it will be in August outside of Chicago. It would have been better for Whitman to say that they will monitor the situation and make an announcement when appropriate.
Collectors who have attended several smaller shows report that the dealers or the participants are not following COVID-19 protections. One person in Texas reported that “about half” of the dealers were not wearing masks. Although the infection and death levels have plateaued, the United States reached 26 million reported cases, and U.S deaths from COVID-19 topped 441,000, including my father. The number of cases and deaths tops every other country in the world.
I understand that there is pandemic fatigue. We want to go back to some semblance of a life. We collectors want to go to shows, have club meetings, and do more collecting. I know because I want that! But the more we screw around and do not take this seriously. More people will get sick and die.
Even with considering the administration’s goal of 100 million vaccines in 100 days, it will take another 180 days to get enough people vaccinated to reach herd immunity levels. Assuming that nothing goes wrong, it is a total of NINE months.
Based on the information provided, it means we can start to return to normalcy by September or October. It also assumes everyone cooperates.
COOPERATE! Damn it! I want to go to a coin show!
And now the news…
The U.S. Mint announced the launch of a “pre-order system and begin accepting pre-orders for its 2021 commemorative coin programs.” Sales begin today. In addition to the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum Commemorative Coins, the U.S. Mint will begin selling the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar.
NASA selected Christa McAuliffe to be the first member of the Teacher in Space Program. The space agency would train teachers to travel to space and hold lessons from the space shuttle. Unfortunately, 73 seconds into the flight, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated, killing all seven members aboard.
The pre-order price of the silver dollar is $69.00. The price includes a $10 surcharge paid to the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to promote leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
During a White House press briefing, the press secretary announced the “Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes.”
Creating the new $20 Federal Reserve Notes with a portrait of the abolitionist began in 2016 to have Tubman appear on the $20 note by 2020, the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Although the Bureau of Engraving and Printing continued to work on the project, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin eventually announced that a future administration would decide if having her portrait was appropriate. Mnuchin targeted 2030 as the earliest a new $20 note would appear.
Sources report that Mnuchin delayed the stoppage of the process as long as possible. He knew that the president did not support this change. After the announcement, sources report that the work continued without permission.
Although the source did not know the engraving status, it is speculated that the intaglio printing plates for the new $20 notes may be ready before the end of the year.
When the plates are ready, they will include the signature of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The Senate approved Yellen’s appointment on an 84-15 vote. She will be the 78th Treasury Secretary and the first woman in that role in the department’s 232-year history.
Previously, Yellen was the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under Clinton, President of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, and served on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors before being appointed the Board’s chair 2014.
On Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr. became the 46th President of the United States. It was the 46th time since 1789 that a new President took the oath of office. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to the inauguration, this was the 59th ceremonial inauguration. There were eight other inaugurations following the death of presidents and Gerald Ford’s inauguration following Richard M. Nixon’s resignation.
For numismatics, the new administration means there will be leadership changes at the Department of the Treasury. The president nominated Janet Yellen as the Secretary of the Treasury. When confirmed, Yellen will become the 78th Treasury Secretary. The Series 2021 Federal Reserve Notes will feature Yellen’s signature on the right side.
The president has not nominated a Treasurer of the United States. Currently, the office has been vacant since the resignation of Jovita Carranza in January 2020. When the Senate approves a nominee, that person’s signature will appear on the Federal Reserve Notes’ left side.
Officially, the Director of the U.S. Mint is an appointment of five years. David J. Ryder, the current director, was confirmed in April 2018. Ryder can serve until 2023. Although Ryder could have resigned at the end of the previous administration, he chose not to. It is unclear if Ryder, a Republican, will continue to serve as Director. The U.S. Mint’s press office responded to a question about Ryder’s plans:
Finally, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is not an appointed position. BEP’s Directors are members of the government’s Senior Executive Service as career government employees. Len Olijar is the current and 25th Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
And now the news…
The president has signed the last numismatic-related bill this past week. On January 13, 2021, the president signed the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law No. 116-330). It was the last possible day to sign the bill. If he did not sign it, the bill would be subjected to a pocket veto.
- H.R. 1923: Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-330. — Jan 13, 2021
The law will require the U.S. Mint to redesign the quarters’ reverse through 2030, starting in 2022.
Prominent American Women Quarters
For the quarters issued between 2022 and 2025, “The design on the reverse side of each quarter dollar issued under this subsection shall be emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of one prominent woman of the United States.” The U.S. Mint will issue “up to” five quarters per year and confer with several groups to determine who receives the honor.
United States Semiquincentennial Coins
The United States will celebrate its seniquincentennial (250th Anniversary) on July 4, 2026. In celebration of the event, the law states that the U.S. Mint will issue the following coins:
- QUARTERS: 2026 quarters “with up to five different designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” One quarter must be design to be emblematic of the contribution of a woman or women.
- DOLLARS: orders the Mint to issue “$1 dollar coins with designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” These dollar coins will be issued in addition to the Native American and Innovation dollars.
Youth Sports Program
The law requires the U.S. Mint to celebrate youth sports with changes to the quarter and half-dollars to correspond to the Summer Olympic games of 2028 and the Winter games of 2030. This program will run from 2027 through 2030.
- QUARTERS: Up to five coins issued each year “shall be emblematic of one sport played by American youth.”
- HALF-DOLLARS: Up to five coins issued each year “emblematic of one Paralympic sport.”
- MEDALS: The law authorizes the U.S. Mint to create “medals with designs emblematic of the sport honored with the issuance of the coin.”
Medals for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles
The law authorizes the U.S. Mint “to design and manufacture medals for awarding at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.” The law makes it the first time in the modern Olympics history that the U.S. Mint will create the games’ medals. Previously, the Olympic committees had a private vendor create the medals. According to the International Olympic Committee website, medals for the games played in the United States were created by the following:
|Year||Games||Location||Minter of the Medals|
|1904||Summer||St. Louis||Diege & Clust|
|1932||Summer||Los Angeles||The Whitehead & Hoag Co.|
|1932||Winter||Lake Placid||Robbins Company|
|1960||Winter||Squaw Valley||Herff Jones|
|1980||Winter||Lake Placid||Medallic Art Co.|
|1984||Summer||Los Angeles||Jostens, Inc|
|1996||Summer||Atlanta||Reed and Barton|
|2002||Winter||Salt Lake City||O.C. Tanner|
Silver Bullion Coins
The new law allows the U.S. Mint to continue to make the five-ounce silver bullion coins that correspond to each of the quarter and half-dollar programs. Interestingly, the silver hockey-puck-sized coins appear to be popular and will continue to be available to collectors and investors.
Also added to the law is the ability to strike factional silver bullion coins with the same designs. It is uncertain if a half-ounce or quarter-ounce silver coin will sell, but we will find out.
Obverse of the Coins
George Washington will continue to appear on the obverse but “be designed in a manner, such as with incused inscriptions, so as to distinguish it from the obverse design used during the previous quarters program.”
The bill includes similar language for the image of John F. Kennedy on the 2026 Semiquincentennial half-dollar.
And now the news…