May 2021 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressCongress became quiet on the numismatic front in May. After a flurry of vanity bills introduced in March and April, the only bill to be introduced in May was to create a commemorative to raise money for the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The National World War II Memorial opened in 2004 to a lot of acclaim for its design. Surrounding a reflecting pool are 56 granite pillars arranged in a semicircle. Each pillar has the name of the 48 states and eight territories at the time of the war. Two sides represent the two theaters of the war, the Atlantic and Pacific.

One of the “Kilroy was here” engravings on the WWII Memorial. (Source: Wikipedia)

On either side of the pool are victory arches to celebrate the victories in Europe and the Pacific. Hidden within the design are two “Kilroy was here” engravings. The phrase’s origin remains a mystery, but it was prevalent where ever U.S. troops were located.

The memorial is open 24 hours a day, and the National Parks Service does not charge admission fees to enter. The only money the NPS receives to maintain the memorial is from the budget process and donations. Neither is enough to prevent the deterioration caused by Washington weather extremes and the wear of visitors. Unfortunately, there has also been vandalism.

Because of the condition problems, groups are looking for ways to raise money to refurbish and improve the memorial. Ideas included the creation of a commemorative coin to help raise money for the construction. If passed, S. 1596 will create a commemorative coin series to raise construction money for the memorial.

S. 1596: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Introduced: May 12, 2021
Introduced in Senate — May 12, 2021
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 12, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-S1596.
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First Lady Honors Christa McAuliffe

The United States Mint released the Christa McAuliffe Proof Silver Dollar in a socially distanced ceremony where they presented the first coin to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, honoring her lifelong dedication to teaching.

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.

Jill Biden began her education career as a substitute teacher in 1975. She went to school part-time to earn her Master of Education, completing her coursework while pregnant with her daughter Ashley. After a few years, Biden returned to the classroom teaching English in a public high school. In January 2007, at age 55, she earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) before hitting the campaign trail for the Obama-Biden ticket.

Dr. Biden is a champion for education and plans to teach again this fall.

During the issuing ceremony, Biden said:

There’s a saying Christa loved and it’s inscribed on the coin that we unveiled today: ‘I touch the future I teach.’ And this coin, like her life, is a tribute to all educators, as Steve [McAuliffe] said. It’s a reminder of the incredible power we hold to write our history and to shape our future. And it’s a recognition of the obligation we have to keep working toward a time when all students have all that they need to thrive. So thank you to all the educators who touch the future.

The coin’s sale 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).

Credits: All images are courtesy of the U.S. Mint via social media.

Remembering the Challenger

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
— President Ronald W. Reagan, Address to the Nation, January 28, 1986

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 crew members of the Challenger for Mission STS-51L were Commander Dick Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnik, and Ronald E. McNair, and Payload Specialists Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe.

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).

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.

December 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review

The Weekly World Numismatic News will return next week.

Seal of the United States CongressThe U.S. Mint is unique because it is the only mint in the world to be controlled by a legal process that requires the government to coordinate its policy. While other mints have requirements to clear specific actions with their parliament or legislative bodies, the U.S. Mint cannot do anything without an act of congress, including changing coin designs.

Congress’s micromanagement of the U.S. Mint is their interpretation of Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution that says, “The Congress shall have Power… To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin.” It does not say that congress must micromanage the U.S. Mint, nor does it say that congress has to be involved in the design.

Although commemorative coin programs require legislation, over the last 20 years, congress considers these bills as time-fillers when other business does not require their attention. Most of the commemorative coin bills rarely receive a hearing in their committees and usually pass by unanimous consent. These bills are handled to show the general public congress is doing something while brushing it off like dandruff on their shoulders.

With congress putting off difficult negotiations until after elections, the lame-duck session becomes the dumping ground for hard negotiations, usually about spending money and fluff. While congressional leaders negotiated the hard stuff, congress meets and passes bills that have little meaning to the general public. Most numismatic bills have little meaning for the general public. However, passing these bills gives them something to talk about.

Let’s look at the five bills that congress acted on in December:

  • H.R. 1830: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Sean P. Maloney (D-NY)
    LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-247. — Dec 22, 2020

Initially introduced in the House in March 2019, the bill creates a 2022 commemorative coin program to support the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York. The bill was heard during the cleanup, and the lame-duck session finally passing on December 2. president signed the bill on December 22, 2020.

  • H.R. 1923: Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020
    Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
    Passed the House of Representatives — Sep 22, 2020
    Passed the Senate with amendments — Dec 17, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Dec 18, 2020

Initially, this bill was called the Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act. Somewhere along the line, congress changed the title. This bill will create a new quarters series to honor women from each state involved with suffrage and the Nineteenth Amendment. The bill was passed by the lame-duck Senate and awaits the president’s signature.

Even though this bill passed the House and Senate, the Senate amended the bill. The House has to agree with the changes, or the bill must go to a Conference Committee to work out the differences. Since the House has not acted on the amendment, the bill is likely to die when congress adjourns sine die on January 3, 2021.

Adjourning sine die, or without a date, is the final adjournment of congress. It will be the formal close of the 116th congress. The 117th congress gaveled in for their first day of business today, on January 3, 2021, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

  • H.R. 4104: Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
    LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-209. — Dec 4, 2020

This law authorizes a 2022 commemorative coin program to honor the centennial establishment of the Negro Leagues. The surcharges from the coin sales will benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

  • H.R. 6192: 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
    Passed the House of Representatives — Sep 22, 2020
    Passed the Senate with amendments — Dec 17, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Presented to President. — Dec 24, 2020

The bill that has been all over the numismatic media will allow the U.S. Mint to strike 2021 Morgan and Peace dollars. Congress sent the bill to the president on December 24, 2020. It is waiting for his signature. Constitutionally, he has ten days to act on the bill. Since these are calendar days, January 2, 2021, is the tenth day.

If congress was in session on January 2, the bill becomes law without the president’s signature. If congress adjourned sine die, then the bill is the victim of a pocket veto. There is an indication that congress is still in session discussing updates to the recent COVID-19 stimulus package.

  • H.R. 7995: Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act of 2020
    Sponsor: Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R-NV)
    Passed the House of Representatives with amendments — Dec 2, 2020
    LAST ACTION: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Dec 3, 2020

The House rushed to pass this bill because it allows them to look like they did something. The Senate did not consider this bill and will allow it to die when congress adjourns. It is a bad bill and should die with the end of this congress.

When the 116th Congress adjourns for the final time, any legislation not passed will be considered dead. The slate is wiped clean, and the 117th Congress starts anew. It could be something to look forward to in 2021!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021!

With 2020 now behind us, let us hope for a better year. Until the COVID-19 vaccines reach at least 70-percent of the population, please wear a mask, maintain a social 6-foot distance, wash your hands regularly, and be considerate of your neighbors and fellow citizens. I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2021 and hope that you find the key coin of your dreams!

Countdown to the Final Sales of 2020

Colorized Basketball Hall of Fame Half Dollar Clad Coin

Colorized Basketball Hall of Fame Half Dollar Clad Coin (Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint)

Even though it has been a tough year, numismatics appears to be as strong as ever. But as the year winds down, it is the last chance to buy certain products from the U.S. Mint.

Collectors of commemorative coins have until December 31 to purchase Women’s Suffrage Centennial Silver Dollars. They are available in proof and uncirculated finishes. Similarly, the Basketball Hall of Fame coins will also end next week. This program features a curved $5 gold coin, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar. It also means that the first colorized coins will also end.

Although I am not a collector of commemorative coins, I am a sports fan and enticed by the curved basketball coins. I ordered the Silver Dollar and the colorized clad half-dollar. I think the full-color half-dollar is better looking than just the colorized rim.

Following the 2018 American Innovation $1 Coin, the U.S. Mint began producing the coins as a reverse proof. The reverse proofs are enclosed in an individual folder with information about the coins and the innovation it honors. So that I can catch-up, I ordered the entire 2019 set. They have not released the South Carolina reverse proof coin honoring Septima Clark. When they do, I will order the complete 2020 set.

If you did not get what you wanted for the holidays or received gift cards, why not add something cool to your collection before the price doubles on the secondary market.

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Weekly World Numismatic News for December 6, 2020

For this week’s update, here are some news shorts:

The White House announced that the president signed H.R. 4104, the Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin Act. The law creates a commemorative coin program in 2022 that includes a gold $5, silver dollar, and half-dollar coins in honor of the centennial of the Negro Leagues. Treasury will pay the surcharges to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

More stories keep appearing that say the current coin shortage is leading us toward a cashless society. All of the articles are the same. They claim that without circulating coins, more people “may” be relying on electronic payments. At the same time, they note that the U.S. Mint has increased production and the Federal Reserve reports that market indicators suggest that for non-online purchases, the public is spending cash at a higher rate than using credit cards.

I noticed a pattern when reviewing my notes. The latest article and many others with these conflicts were published by NPR or an NPR affiliate radio station. It seems as if NPR has an agenda.

The Royal Mint has released another 50 pence circulating commemorative coin for Christmas and is as popular as their previous issues. While U.S. collectors complain about new programs, the Brits embrace the new collectibles. The 50p coins have become so popular that it is becoming challenging to find 50p coins in circulation.

Finally, my End of World War II 75th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Proof Coin arrived this last week. Although the privy mark is not that exciting, they should have made the privy mark bigger. It’s still an American Silver Eagle. I love large silver coins!

And now the news…

 December 1, 2020
On November 14, 2015, near the village of Chrysovitsi in Arcadia, Greece, a group of German poachers discovered an ancient silver coin weighing 12 grams. They named it “Olympia”. On its front the coin depicted an eagle with open wings holding a hare with its claws, and on the back it showed the winged Goddess Niki (Victory), just like the Niki of Samothraki statue which is now located at the Louvre Museum in Paris.  → Read more at greekcitytimes.com

 December 4, 2020
The change drawer of the cash register at Symbiote Collectibles in West Reading, Pennsylvania, on July 9, 2020. (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)  → Read more at wbur.org

 December 5, 2020
UK Trending Editor Royal Mint release 50p coin selling for over £1000.  → Read more at southwalesargus.co.uk
Coin Collectors News
news.coinsblog.ws

 

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November 2020 Numismatic Legislation Review

Seal of the United States CongressAs part of the Lame Duck session, when Congress attempts to look busy while leadership negotiates or stalls negotiations of spending bills, it is time to pass commemorative coin legislation.

First up is H.R. 1830, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act. The bill will create a gold, silver, and clad half-dollar program in 2021 to honor the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York. The bill passed the Senate with an amendment allowing the U.S. Mint to strike the coin anywhere if the U.S. Mint cannot exclusively strike the coins at the West Point Mint. The House has to agree with the amendment before being sent to the president for his signature.

H.R. 1830: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Sean P. Maloney (D-NY)
Introduced: March 18, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) 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. (Sec. 5) The bill limits the issuance of such coins to the one-year period beginning on January 1, 2021. (Sec. 7) 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
Introduced in House — 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
Passed/agreed to in House: 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
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 16, 2020
Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 16, 2020
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Nov 16, 2020
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 16, 2020
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. (text of amendment in the nature of a substitute: CR S6694) — Nov 16, 2020
Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.(text of amendment in the nature of a substitute: CR S6694) — Nov 16, 2020
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Nov 17, 2020
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1830.

The Senate found fewer issues with H.R. 4104, the Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin Act. The bill will create a gold, silver, and clad half-dollar program in 2022 to honor the Centennial of the Negro Leagues (2020) and raise funds for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and has been sent to the president for his signature.

H.R. 4104: Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Introduced: July 30, 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 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Negro National League, a professional baseball league that was formed in response to African-American players being banned from baseball’s major leagues. The design of the coins shall be emblematic of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and its mission to promote tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. All surcharges from sales of these coins shall be paid to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to fund educational and outreach programs and exhibits.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jul 30, 2019
Introduced in House — Jul 30, 2019
Committee on Financial Services discharged. — Sep 22, 2020
Mr. Cleaver asked unanimous consent to discharge from committee and consider. — Sep 22, 2020
Considered by unanimous consent. — Sep 22, 2020
On passage Passed without objection. — Sep 22, 2020
Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed without objection. — Sep 22, 2020
On passage Passed without objection. (text of amendment in the nature of a substitute: CR H4710) — Sep 22, 2020
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 22, 2020
Received in the Senate. — Sep 23, 2020
Received in the Senate, read twice. — Sep 23, 2020
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 16, 2020
Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 16, 2020
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Nov 17, 2020
Presented to President. — Nov 24, 2020
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR4104.

A source reported that H.R. 7995, the Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act of 2020 has growing interest in both chambers. H.R. 7995 brings up interesting questions regarding policies and what Congress is requesting. More on this another time.

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2022 Commemorative Coin Programs Pass the Senate

Two commemorative coin bills introduced and passed in the House of Representatives were passed by the Senate this week. Both bills will create commemorative coin programs for 2022.

H.R. 1830: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act

Purple Heart

Purple Heart Medal (image courtesy of Stars and Stripes)

H.R. 1830 passed the Senate by unanimous consent. The resulting law will create gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar commemorative coins in honor of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, NY. Surcharges will be paid “to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., to support the mission of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., including capital improvements to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor facilities.”

It would have been interesting to require this coin to be in the shape of a heart. The obverse design could be similar to that of the Purple Heart medal. The reverse could be about the Hall of Honor or the sacrifice made by those awarded the Purple Heart.

I will likely purchase this commemorative coin in honor of my grandfather, a recipient of the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Europe during World War I.

H. R. 4104: Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin Act

(From Twitter)

H. R. 4104 passed the Senate by unanimous consent will create gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar commemorative coins in honor of the centennial of the Negro Leagues. Although the centennial would be in 2020, the first available commemorative slot will be in 2022. Surcharges will be paid “to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for educational and outreach programs and exhibits.” The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is located in Kansas City, MO.

Although the law will not require these coins to be curved, there is an opportunity for judicious use of color and selective highlights, such as those used for the enhanced strikes.

Both bills will become law when signed by the president.

Now that Congress has begun its Lame Duck session stay tuned for more numismatic bills to pass by unanimous consent.

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Celebrating 100 Years of Fixing a Mistake

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.

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