November 2019 Numismatic Legislation

Seal of the United States CongressRather than celebrate the centennial of Women’s Suffrage on a $20 note, congress passed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2423, Public Law No. 116-71).

In 2020, the U.S. Mint will strike no more than 400,000 silver dollars with a design that is “emblematic of the women who played a vital role in rallying support for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Each coin will include a $10 surcharge that will go to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative.

H.R. 2423: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY)
Introduced: April 30, 2019
Summary: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act(Sec. 3) 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.(Sec. 5) Such coins may be issued during the period beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.(Sec. 7) 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
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Nov 4, 2019
Pursuant to the provisions of H. Con. Res. 72, enrollment corrections on H.R. 2423 have been made. — Nov 14, 2019
Presented to President. — Nov 18, 2019
Signed by President. — Nov 25, 2019
Became Public Law No: 116-71. — Nov 25, 2019
This law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/116-HR2423.

Currently sitting in limbo is the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865). After the bill passed the House, it was sent to the Senate who made a technical change. By law, the bill is sent to a conference committee that irons out the differences. Once completed, the bill is sent back to both chambers for an up-or-down vote.

The Senate passed the bill by Unanimous Consent. In the House of Representatives, it was a different matter. The passage of this bill was bundled with other legislation that was rejected by the House, mainly on procedural grounds. Because the resolution to pass the bill failed, it was tabled to be considered again at another time. At that time, the House Rules Committee can unbundle the bills and try again.

Now you know why Otto Von Bismark compared the making of laws to that of sausages!

H.R. 1865: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Introduced: March 25, 2019
Summary: (Sec. 3) 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.(Sec. 5) Treasury may issue such coins only during a one-year period beginning on January 1, 2021.(Sec. 7) 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
Received in the Senate, read twice. — Oct 29, 2019
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. — Nov 12, 2019
Measure laid before Senate by unanimous consent. — Nov 12, 2019
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Nov 13, 2019
ORDER OF BUSINESS – Mr. McGovern asked unanimous consent that it be in order at any time to take from the Speaker’s table the bill H.R. 1865, with the Senate amendment thereto, and to consider in the House, without intervention of any point of order, a motion offered by the chair of the Committee on Appropriations or her designee that the House concur in the Senate amendment submitted for printing by Representative Lowey of New York in the portion of the Congressional Record designated for that purpose in clause 8 of rule XVIII; that the Senate amendment and the motion be considered as read; that the motion be debatable for one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Appropriations; that the previous question be considered as ordered on the motion to adoption without intervening motion or demand for division of the question; and that House Resolution 708 be laid on the table. Objection was heard. — Nov 19, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-HR1865.

Finally, there was one bill added to the virtual hopper by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

S. 2815: National Purple Heart Honor Mission Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
Introduced: November 7, 2019
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Nov 7, 2019
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/116-S2815.

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.

Weekly World Numismatic News for September 29, 2019

While reading the news from around the world, it is easy to understand why numismatics is not well received in the United States. Compared to numismatic-related articles from countries like the United Kingdom, France, and India, U.S. reporting lives down to the reputation that politicians claim.

For example, in The Trentonian, the newspaper of record for Trenton, New Jersey, columnist L.A. Parker wrote an opinion piece that calls for the elimination of the “penny.” Although the article reads like Parker was trying to add a little snarkiness, his premise lies flatter than a coin.

If Parker were a proper journalist, he would recognize that the article contains one significant mistake that ranks high on my pet peeve list. The lowest denomination coin produced by the U.S. Mint is the CENT. While it is colloquially called a “penny,” the penny as the lowest denomination of the British coin system.

The difference is clear. If one looks at the reverse of the two coins, each has their denominations spelled out.

Lately, the U.S. Mint has been adding to the confusion by using the word “penny” instead of “cent.” The significant abuser appears to be U.S. Mint Director David Ryder. While previous directors and acting directors have been careful with the name, it seems to have loosened its language since the appointment of Ryder. Ryder should know better since this is not his first appointment to the U.S. Mint.

Adding to the confusion in Parker’s article, he cites statistics in favor of the cent that was compiled by Americans for Common Cents. Americans for Common Cents is a lobbying organization dedicated to preserving the United States’ lowest denomination coin.

According to Parker, “Pennies no longer matter.” If the one-cent coin no longer matters, then why does the U.S. Mint produce over 13 billion of them each year?

The primary client of the U.S. Mint is the Federal Reserve. Every year, the Federal Reserve places an order for the U.S. Mint to produce coins for circulation. Although the order can be updated during the year, the Federal Reserve rarely requests few coins. It means that the U.S. Mint manufactures coin the Federal Reserve will buy.

The U.S. Mint does produce coins for the collector market. But in comparison to their circulating coin production, the numismatic market is tiny.

Naturally, this leads to wondering if the coins no longer matter, then why is the Federal Reserve asking the U.S. Mint to manufacture and deliver over 13 billion coins?

And now the news…

 September 22, 2019

Two women have designed a commemorative coin to recognize 100 years since the Boll Weevil monument was erected. Enterprise high school Quarterbacks club secretary Judi Stinnett got the design idea from a coin she received at the Diamond Jubilee over 60 years ago.  → Read more at wtvy.com


 September 22, 2019

The South African Mint Company are doing something a little different to celebrate 25 years of democracy in this country. So what better way to commemorate “power to the people” than by handing them control of what should appear on the new R2 coin?  → Read more at thesouthafrican.com


 September 23, 2019

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a coin dealer from Fort Salonga was arraigned for a $330,000 cross-country coin consignment and sale scheme that targeted coin dealers and private collectors from California, Michigan, Ohio and Long Island.  → Read more at longisland.com


 September 24, 2019

A builder is celebrating after finding a huge haul of 1,000-year-old silver coins worth £50,000 – including one from Lincolnshire which experts have never seen before. Don Crawley, 50, was searching for buried treasure in farmland using his metal detector when he discovered the haul.  → Read more at lincolnshirelive.co.uk


 September 24, 2019

(Image: © FIRST/Jack Kamen/NASA via collectSPACE.com) The United States Mint will memorialize the first teacher who launched toward space with a new coin that will help continue her mission of science and technology education.  → Read more at space.com


 September 25, 2019

Have only seven red cents to my name and soon a self-description will employ penniless as identification. Not ready for the poorhouse though as poor mouth expressions mean only that all pennies have been removed from jars, drawers and a car console.  → Read more at trentonian.com


 September 26, 2019

AN EXTREMELY rare copper coin marking King Edward VIII's short reign has sold for a record price of £133,000. The Edward VIII 1937 Pattern Penny was created as a trial coin by the Royal Mint ahead of his coronation in the same year.  → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 September 26, 2019

Lori Ann Lewis was doing charity work in downtown Orlando when, by chance, she ran into someone who worked in the gold business. It was in the lobby of the Seacoast Bank skyscraper in 2016, just before the presidential election, when she met Susan Kitzmiller, an employee at U.S.  → Read more at orlandosentinel.com


 September 28, 2019

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) estimates that at least J$100 million in one- 10- and 25-cent coins, the ‘red’ money, is ‘lost in circulation’ in the Jamaican economy, and has partnered with GraceKennedy (GK) Money Service in a recovery drive.  → Read more at jamaica-gleaner.com

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Basketball Hall of Fame Commem Unveiled

During a ceremony at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 6, the U.S. Mint unveiled the design for the 2020 Hall of Fame commemorative coin.

The obverse of the coin, designed by Artistic Infusion Program artist Pheobe Hemphill, has an image looking down into the net from the rim. Superimposed on above the rim are three players: a man, woman, and wheelchair player, reaching for a ball.

The design is something that represents the Basketball Hall of Fame. As opposed to Halls of Fame from other sports, the Basketball Hall of Fame honors the best basketball players from any arena, not just from the professional leagues.

The reverse of the curved coin, designed by Artistic Infusion Program artist Justin Kunz, the image of a basketball as it is about to drop into the basket. While using the image of a ball is similar to what the U.S. Mint used for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin, this one is a little different. For this commemorative coin, the ball does not take up the entire side, leaving a distinct rim around the ball. Also, the ball will be on the concave side of the coin.

Line drawings of coin designs do not provide the perspective of the final product, making it difficult to judge. The design unveiled in Springfield appears to have a lot of potentials. Let’s hope that the final product can be just as nice.

Although U.S. Mint Director David Ryder once mentioned something about selective coloring on this coin, there has been no formal announcement from the U.S. Mint.

A video of the ceremony is available on the NBA’s website.

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

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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.

Happy Anniversary to Modern Coinage

The dual-dated Bicentennial reverse designs are still very popular amontst collectors

On July 23, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Coinage Act of 1965. Congress passed the bill in response to the coin shortages caused by the rising silver prices. When it was signed, the act eliminated silver from circulating dimes, and quarters while reducing the amount of silver used to strike half-dollars from 90-percent to 40-percent for five years. After five years, the half-dollar would be struck using the same copper-nickel clad composition as the lower denominations.

The act forbade the striking of silver dollars for five years ending an experiment with the striking of Peace Dollars in 1964. There are rumors that at least one 1964-D Peace exists despite the U.S. Mint’s insistence that all of the coins were melted.

Finally, the act made all coins and currency produced in the United States and specific bank issues as legal tender, which reversed the demonetization of the Trade Dollar in 1867.

The Coinage Act of 1965 marks the dividing line between “classic” and “modern” coinage.

After fifty-four years of modern coinage, there continues to be collectors and dealers who turn up their noses at modern coins.

Although the stories behind many of the classic issues are interesting, modern coins provide a diversity that is meaningful and affordable for the average collector.

The first coin of the modern era that had a public impact was the dual-dated coins with the reverses honoring the nation’s bicentennial. The bicentennial was a two-year celebration preceded by three years of hype and prep. When the coins were released, many people searched their change, looking for the coins. It was the first time in many years that half-dollar and large dollar coins circulated in significant numbers since finding them in change was exciting.

The Susan B. Anthony dollar was less than successful because it was confused with a quarter

The modern era also saw a big flop when the Susan B. Anthony small dollar coin entered circulation. Even though the U.S. Mint tried to simulate the 12-sides on the coin’s design, the size and the reeded edge was confused with the quarter. People stopped using the Susie B. thus ending whatever momentum dollar coins had.

The most successful program of the modern era was the 50 State Quarters program. The program started strong with a lot of interest. Unfortunately, a downturn in the economy and the television hucksters overselling the potential value of the series turned away a lot of potential collectors.

As the success of the 50 State Quarters program grew, Congress passed laws to create several other circulating commemoratives. The programs include the Westward Journey Nickels, Abraham Lincon Bicentennial cents, and the Native American $1 coin program using the golden-colored planchets of the Sacagawea dollar.

The modern era saw the return of the commemorative coin programs. Some were very popular, like the 2001 American Buffalo Commemorative Coin and 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin programs. There were less popular coins, but none had flopped as bad as the 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Centennial Silver Dollar.

Unlike previous commemorative coin laws, modern laws help the U.S. Mint limit the time these coins can remain on sale. It also limits their production to one year.

Finally, the modern era has given us the bullion coin series. It started with the American Silver Eagle program that was created to provide a way for the United States government to sell off silver saved in the Defense National Stockpile. As a result, the U.S. Mint has used the program to experiment with different finishes, including burnished and reverse proof.

Congress passed the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985 a few months later after being lobbied by the gold mining interests. This law created the American Eagle Gold Bullion Program.

2013-W American Buffalo gold reverse proof obverse

Even more significant was Title II of the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. Title II established the American Buffalo 24-Karat Bullion Gold Coins program. The law required the coins struck from .9999 put gold using the design of the 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel as designed by James Earle Fraser. After the first year of issue, the U.S. Mint could change the design after vetting the design with the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. This law allowed the U.S. Mint to produce coins like the 2009 High Relief gold coin and the 100th-anniversary tributes to the Mercury dime in 2016.

After 54 years there are a lot of exciting choices for the modern collector. And this does not consider the collection of errors or varieties, like the three types of 1972 Eisenhower dollars or the wide versus narrow lettering on the reverse of the 1999 Lincoln cent.

It is past the time for the numismatic community to embrace the collection of modern coins more than it has. There may be few modern coins that are worth thousands of dollars, but they are available to capture the interest of potential collectors. After all, how many of us started collecting by searching pocket change.

Collecting Apollo 11

“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.”
— President John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University on September 12, 1962

Eisenhower Dollar Reverse featuring the Apollo 11 mission insignia

President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University was not the official policy announcement. He made that announcement on May 25, 1961. This speech was to convince the American people and Congress that it was necessary to fund this idea. Given the technology of the time, the space race was a longshot with people bound and determined to beat the Soviets to the moon.

Kennedy’s vision was accomplished by the Apollo 11 crew of Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin along with the thousands of support people on Earth. A little more than eight years after Kennedy made it the nation’s policy, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969.

From within the capsule attached to the top of the Saturn V launch vehicle, a rocket once described as a giant Roman candle, the rocket roared to life to lift the three pioneers into the final frontier. Even though the liftoff occurred at 9:32 AM in Florida, it was watched worldwide regardless of the local time.

Four days later, on Sunday, July 20, 1969, the world held its collective breath as the Lunar Module (LM), call-sign Eagle, was guided to the moon’s Sea of Tranquility and landed at 4:18 PM Central Time. Relief came when Neil Armstrong transmitted a message to Mission Control in Houston:

“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) Charles Duke’s response summed up the feel of those of us on Earth as he stumbled a bit at the beginning:

“Roger, Twan– Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

According to the official schedule, Armstrong and Aldrin were supposed to get five hours of sleep. Realizing that it was unlikely they would be able to sleep, the crew prepared for the first walk on the moon’s surface.

Six and a half hours after landing, after Walter Cronkite and the CBS News team showed models as to how Armstrong will descend from the LM, pull the D-Ring to activate the camera, Armstrong left the LM and went down the latter. He pulled the D-Ring, and the world watched his progress. Just before reaching the surface of the moon, Armstrong uncovered a plaque mounted on the LM that read:

Replica of the plaque on Eagle, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute)

Armstrong looked at the surface and described the moon’s dust as “very fine-grained” and “almost like a powder.” Then with a short jump, he left the bottom rung of the ladder and was standing on the surface of the moon.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Over the years, there has been a debate about whether Armstrong included the word“a” in the statement. That is not what was heard at the time, and modern examinations of the audio tapes neither confirm or deny the claim. Regardless of what he said, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the surface of the moon, a little more than eight years since President Kennedy said it was his goal.

Apollo 11 Flown MS66 NGC Sterling Silver Robbins Medallion, Serial Number 241, from The Armstrong Family Collection (Courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

Ironically, with the concerns about weight and preserving fuel, there appears to have been a lot of souvenirs carried to space with the crew. The most famous of these souvenirs are the Robbins Medals.

The practice of carrying Fliteline medals started in 1965 with the flight of Gemini 3, NASA’s first manned mission in the Gemini program. In 1968, the Robbins Company of Attleboro, Mass. was contracted to produce the Fliteline medals starting with Apollo 7.

It is reported that 480 of these 28mm medals were carried aboard Apollo 11.

According to Heritage Auctions, the most paid for a mission flown Robbins Medal was medal #241, a silver medal graded MS66 by NGC, that sold for $112,500 (including buyer’s premium) on November 1, 2018. It was sold with a Statement of Provenance signed by Armstrong’s sons as being once owned by Neil Armstrong. The provenance likely accounts for its high price.

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