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Quick update

Although I have a few posts in draft form, I had to take some time out for some administrative-type work.

Since I published the Numismatic Dictionary I have received many corrections and requests for additions from readers. Thank you to everyone who send their input. The dictionary now has 678 entries that appear to have been copy edited by a few persistent readers. If anyone finds something that was missed, please feel free to contact me. I have plans that involve publishing the dictionary. Stay tuned for that announcement.

In the last month, I had the requirement to print blog entries. When I tried to print the blog entries, the output was ugly because it included a lot of the extra items on the page. Elements like the sidebar and sharing buttons are useless on a printed page. It has taken a bit of work, but now if you print the page using your browser’s print button, the article will print without the extras. You do not need any extra software or to go through an extra step to print a page. For those who are not programmers, we go through a lot to make life easy for ourselves until we find another problem and work hard to make the next one easy.

Behind the scenes I am trying to convert the blog from using HTTP, to HTTPS (secure). The reason behind this is to promote privacy, such as when you read the blog on a public Wi-Fi network nobody needs to know your interests, and because search engines are lowering the search rank of those sites that do not support HTTPS. Obviously, Google, the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the search space, is the first search engine to lower the rank of sites not supporting HTTPS.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as one would think—or at least I thought. A test I conducted this past week proved I have a bit more to do. When the site is converted, the only difference you will notice is the lock icon on your browser will appear. Until then, if you try to go to https://coinsblog.ws it will redirect you to the non-encrypted version.

After I finish converting the blog, I will then convert the news micro-site (news.coinsblog.ws).

Finally, I will be spending a few hours at the Whitman Baltimore Expo tomorrow (Sunday, June 18). I do not expect anything to happen but you may want to watch @coinsblog on Twitter for updates. I am so embarrassed… Whitman Expo is NEXT weekend!

May 2017 Numismatic Legislation Review

Just because congress is dysfunctional does not mean they cannot curry favor with various constituencies. This month we see bills introduced for a Coast Guard and American Legion 100th Anniversary commemorative coins programs. Both are worthy organizations but given the toxic nature of Congress, who knows if these commemorative programs will be passed.

To pair with the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (COINS) Act (S. 759) introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), there is now a version introduced in the house (H.R. 2299). Even though it is a good idea, it will not be supported in the current environment.

I wish some of these bills had a chance….

H.R. 2299: Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY)
• Summary: To save taxpayers money by improving the manufacturing and distribution of coins and notes.
• Introduced: May 2, 2017
• Last Action: May 2, 2017: Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services

This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-hr2299.

H.R. 2317: United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
• Introduced: May 3, 2017
• Last Action: May 3, 2017: Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services

This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR2317.

S. 1021: United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
• Introduced: May 3, 2017
• Last Action: May 3, 2017: Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S1021.

S. 1182: The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
• Introduced: May 18, 2017
• Last Action: May 18, 2017: Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S1182.

H.R. 2519: The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz (D-MN)
• Introduced: May 18, 2017
• Last Action: May 18, 2017: Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services

This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR2519.

JFK 100

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the second son of Joe and Rose Kennedy. Born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts, Jack, as he was known to family and friends, was born of privilege and lead that life being able to travel the world in his younger days. It also helped that his father was named Ambassador to the Court of St. James (London).

The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.

He used his experience to better understand the plight of people and majored in government at Harvard College. For his honors thesis, Kennedy toured the Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East to research different political philosophies. He later was in Germany when the German Army invaded Poland marking the beginning of World War II. With his father still in London, they attended the House of Commons supporting the declaration of war on Germany.

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

On his return to the United States, Kennedy tried to enter the Army’s Officer Candidate School but was medically ineligible because of chronic lower back problems. He used his family’s connections to join the U.S. Naval Reserves. During World War II, he famously commanded PT-109.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

Following the death of his elder brother in 1944, Kennedy was tapped by his father to run for office. Kennedy won his first election in 1946 to serve two terms in the House. In 1952, Kennedy ran for the Senate against three-term incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. The popularity of Dwight Eisenhower running for the president did not help Lodge as Kennedy was able to win by 70,000 votes.

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

2014-W Reverse proof in the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Silver Set

On January 2, 1960, Kennedy announced that he was seeking the Democrat’s nomination for President of the United States. Although very young by presidential standards at 43 years old, Kennedy’s greatest obstacle was his religion. This was the first time a Roman Catholic politician was running for president. He was able to win the nomination by using a well-organized campaign that also took advantage of his good looks and the popularity of his wife, Jacqueline.

I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party candidate for president who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.

While trying to overcome the “Catholic question,” Kennedy his opponent, Richard Nixon, held three debates. Although not much is said about the last two debates, the first one was historic. Kennedy used makeup and appeared cool and presidential. Nixon looked nervous, sweaty, and his five o’clock shadow did not help. When the debate was over, those watching on television thought Kennedy won while those listening on radio thought Nixon won. It was a fascinating use of new media and set the tone for presidential races to come.

If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.

Kennedy won the 1960 election by two-tenths of the popular vote and exceeded the Electoral College by a 303-219 margin even though 14 electors from Alabama and Mississippi refused to support him because of his stance on civil rights. Kennedy became the youngest person ever elected president.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

There were a lot of accomplishments and difficulties during the term of the 35th president that there are too many to highlight here. But one that is significant in the current numismatic world was the speech he made at Rice University in support of the space program. At the time Kennedy was pushing for the funding to enter the space race, Congress was skeptical over spending the money. His impassioned speech to the students at Rice as well as several others around the nation helped gain public support. Congress eventually funded the space program.

In 2019, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of making it to the moon by the end of that decade with the Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin program. Phase One of the competition ends on June 29, 2017, or until 1,000 entries are received. Visit the U.S. Mint’s competition page for more information.

Would the United States have made it to the moon by the end of the 1960s and beaten the Russians there without Kennedy? We may not be able to answer that question but we do know he set the policies that will allow for the celebration in two years.

Happy 100th Birthday to President John F. Kennedy.

Credits

  • 2017 Kennedy Half Dollar and 2015 Kennedy Dollar images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.
  • All other images are property of the author.

Memorial Day 2017


The last surviving member of Doolittle’s Raiders is Lt. Col. Richard Cole, Doolittle’s co-pilot. Cole is now 101 years old. Click here to read about Cole and Doolittle’s Raid on Japan that helped the U.S. launch the War in the Pacific.

The first recorded organized public recognition of the war dead occurred on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. On that day, Freedmen (freed southern slaves) celebrated the service of the 257 Union soldiers buried at the Washington Race Course (now Hampton Park). They labeled the gravesite “Martyrs of the Race Course.” African Americans continued that tradition and named the celebration Decoration Day.

Southern states began their own commemoration to honor their soldiers who died during the war. No specific date was used but occurred in late April through June. By 1880, there was a more organized Confederate Memorial Day. These celebrations honored specific soldiers to commemorate the Confederate “Lost Cause.” By 1913, a sense of nationalism saw a commemoration of all soldiers that have died in battle.

1995-S Civil War Battlefields Commemorative Silver Dollar

Memorial Day took on national significance following World War I when the nation began to recognize all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during all conflicts. By the end of World War II, most of the celebrations were renamed to Memorial Day. Memorial Day did not become an official holiday until 1967 with the passage of the Uniform Holidays Act in 1968. Under the law, Memorial Day was set to the last Monday in May, changing it from the traditional May 30th.

Memorial Day is the national remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Please take a moment and honor the memories of those who have died for without them who knows where we would be today.
 

Visitors are reflected in the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, May 27, 2016. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo via ABC News)

Credits

  • Medal image courtesy of the U.S. Mint.
  • Vietnam Memorial Image by Susan Walsh/AP Photo via ABC News.

U.S. Mint to stop taking mail orders

When official Washington has an announcement or news that they want to bury as much as possible, they issue press releases after 5:00 PM on Friday, especially before a holiday weekend. Although this type of announcement was coming sooner or later, the U.S. Mint announced that they will stop accepting and filling orders mailed to them after September 30, 2017, the end of the 2017 federal government fiscal year (FY2017).

Beginning on October 1, 2017, the only option to order products directly from the U.S. Mint will be through their online catalog or via telephone at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Telephone orders may be placed seven days a week from 8:00 AM to midnight Eastern Time.

The U.S. Mint tried this once before but after a lot of pushback from congress the policy was reversed and they just removed the order insert from their promotional mailings. This announcement sets the cut-off date one year later than the previous announcement.

This will probably not sit well specifically with older collectors that have not adapted to the online world. Unfortunately, these are becoming the vast minority of collectors since the U.S. Mint fills more orders from online purchases than any other option. In fact, when you call the toll-free number to order, the customer service representative (CSR) is using the same website that the rest of us are doing to enter your order. I found this out when I called to inquire about and order and questioned the CSR about what she was doing.

With the youngest of the Baby Boomer generation becoming 53 this year, the markets are geared for the GenX, Millenials (GenY), and GenZ (those born after 2000). The U.S. Mint has to keep up with the markets while being able to hold down costs. Removing the snail mail option will help keep costs down. As a member of the Baby Boomer generation, with my own AARP card, I do not remember the last time I purchased something from the U.S. Mint by mail or telephone. Almost everything I have bought has either been online or when the U.S. Mint has had a presence at coin shows.

Even my father, who was born before World War II, orders using the U.S. Mint’s website!

Do not worry if you do not want to use the website. The U.S. Mint will not be ending their telephone ordering system anytime in the near future. Telephone ordering allows the U.S. Mint to support universal access even for those whose abilities prevent the use of the website or who may not have access to the Internet, for whatever reason. It is part of the laws and mandates to keep the government accessible to all of its constituents. Until the technology is available to support universal access online, then the telephone ordering system will continue to be there as an alternative.

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