U.S. Mint Unveils Negro League Baseball Museum Commemorative

The U.S. Mint and the Negro League Baseball Museum held an unveiling event for the 2022 NLBM Commemorative Coin Program. The ceremony was held at the museum in Kansas City, Missouri. NLBM Director Bob Kendrick hosted the event. Also attending was Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Esther George, and Kansas City Mayor Quentin Lucas (D).

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) recorded a message for the event because he was traveling overseas. Cleaver was a council member and was an early supporter of the museum. Cleaver continued to support the museum as mayor of Kansas City and was one of the Members of Congress who ushered the bill to authorize the commemorative program to passage.

As part of the ceremony, Sen. Blunt presented a copy of the signed law to the museum. Blount and Cleaver autographed the copy.

Acting Director of the U.S. Mint Ventris Gibson recorded the design unveiling ceremony they played at the museum. Before announcing the designs, Gibson revealed that her father played for a Negro League team in Virginia from 1949 through 1960.

Later in the day, the U.S. Mint published a press release with the design information.

The following are screenshots of the ceremony:

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October 2021 Numismatic Legislative Review

Seal of the United States CongressI have been following politics for many years. I trace my awakening to the news and politics to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was something in the news that we discussed in school, and I did not know or understand what my classmates were talking about. After school, I read the stories about MLK in the Daily News and Newsday that were delivered daily. When my father came home, he brought a copy of the New York Times.

I was so interested in public policy that I did a master’s in public policy late in life. Having the degree helped my career as a government contractor working with government executives and appointees. Unlike others who go into public policy, I was fascinated with policy compliance and implementation. It became helpful in trying to implement information security policies for the government.

After 40 years in computing and 25 years with the federal government, I burned out. Since then, I have followed numismatic-related policy because the U.S. Mint does not strike any legal tender coin without a law permitting them.

Since retiring in 2017, partisan politics has gone from bad to worse. Politicians and their constituents are no longer talking with each other but shouting at each other. It is no longer looking to accomplish something for the common good but who can score points.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the radical middle. Those of us in the center are willing to work together but are being shut out by the shouting coming from the extremes.

Numismatic-related bills are not immune to the policy divide. The bills get dumped into committees and are subject to the partisan scorecard review. These bills languish in committee until an end-of-session floor review.

Although following numismatic legislation is necessary to know what the U.S Mint strikes next, it is no longer fun. Therefore, this will be the last monthly report. In the future, I will post updates after the Government Printing Office reports them. The GPO is the official publisher of the U.S. government and they are responsible for publishing everything from congress.

For the last monthly report, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) introduced H.R. 5601, the Erie Canal Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act. If passed, the bill will create a commemorative program to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the building of the Erie Canal.

In 2025, the bill would require the U.S. Mint to strike clad half-dollars, silver dollars, and gold $5 coins with the dual date 2017-2025. These dates would mark the 200th anniversary of the construction of the canal (1817-1825). The funds raised from the sale of these coins would be paid to the “Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, Inc., to support the historic preservation, conservation, recreation, interpretation, tourism, and community development of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and for educational and commemorative programs of the Erie Canal’s history and impact on our Nation’s history.”

H.R. 5601: Erie Canal Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY)
Introduced: October 15, 2021
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins in recognition of the bicentennial of the Erie Canal. The designs of the coins shall be emblematic of the Erie Canal and its impact on the development of the United States and New York. Treasury may issue coins minted under this bill only during the one-year period beginning on January 1, 2025. All sales of coins issued under this bill shall include a surcharge, which shall be paid to the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, Inc., to support the historic preservation, conservation, recreation, interpretation, tourism, and community development of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in New York and for educational and commemorative programs of the Erie Canal’s history and impact on our nation’s history.
Introduced in House — Oct 15, 2021
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 15, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-HR5601.

It would not be the first time the Erie Canal appears on a coin. The Erie Canal was the innovation celebrated on the 2021 New York American Innovation $1 Coin.

Numismatic Legislation Review: Catching Up

Seal of the United States CongressIt has been a few months since I reported on the numismatic-related bills in Congress. For the last few months, there has been little to report. Members of Congress have introduced several vanity bills, but watching their actions has been frustrating.

Regardless of the side of the aisle you follow, Congress is a very frustrating body. Members live in their own world, interested in what they can do to make them look better. When a citizen is interested in something that is not prominent in the daily news cycle, the response is cold or non-existent.

In the last few months, I tried to inquire about the scheduling of hearings in the Congressional committees regarding coin legislation. There were no answers.

For the last ten years, every Congress has promised to return to regular order. It seems that what we have now is regular order, meaning that coin-related legislation will not be heard until a holiday period or during the lame-duck session in 2022.

Welcome to the new regular order.

H.R. 4429: Semiquincentennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Bonnie Watson coleman (D-NJ)
Introduced: July 13, 2021
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue $25.00 gold coins, $2.50 silver coins, 25 cent clad coins, and proof silver $2.50 coins in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the United States. The designs of the coins shall be emblematic of the semiquincentennial anniversary of the establishment of the United States of America and celebrate 250 years of our nation. On each coin there shall be

  • a designation of the value of the coin;
  • an inscription of the years 1776-2026; and
  • inscriptions of the words Liberty, In God We Trust, United States of America, and E Pluribus Unum.

Treasury may issue coins under this bill only during the period beginning on January 1, 2026, and ending on December 31, 2026. All sales of coins issued shall include a surcharge as prescribed by this bill. All surcharges received by Treasury from the sale of such coins shall be paid to the America 250 Foundation to fund the restoration, rehabilitation, and interpretation of units of the U.S. National Park System and its related areas, as a legacy of the semiquincentennial commemoration.

Introduced in House — Jul 13, 2021
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jul 13, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-HR4429.

S. 2384: Semiquincentennial Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA)
Introduced: July 20, 2021
Introduced in Senate — Jul 20, 2021
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jul 20, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-S2384.

H.R. 4703: Sultana Steamboat Disaster Commemorative Coin Act of 2021
Sponsor: Rep. Eric A. Crawford (R-AR)
Introduced: July 27, 2021
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins, and half-dollar clad coins in recognition and remembrance of the Sultana Steamboat explosion of 1865. The designs of the coins shall be emblematic of the historical significance of the Sultana disaster, with special recognition and remembrance given to the lives lost, including the recently released Union soldiers returning home after having been prisoners of war during the American Civil War at Confederate prisons located at Andersonville and Cahaba. Treasury may issue coins minted under this bill to the public only during the one-year period beginning on January 1, 2023. All sales of such coins shall include a surcharge to be paid to the Sultana Historical Preservation Society, Inc. to establish and maintain a new Sultana disaster museum.
Introduced in House — Jul 27, 2021
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jul 27, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-HR4703.

H.R. 5232: Working Dog Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Patrick Mchenry (R-NC)
Introduced: September 10, 2021
Introduced in House — Sep 10, 2021
Referred to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committee on the Budget, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. — Sep 10, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-HR5232.

H.R. 5472: To amend title 31, United States Code, to limit the face value of coins.
Sponsor: Rep. William R. Timmons (R-SC)
Introduced: September 30, 2021
Introduced in House — Sep 30, 2021
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Sep 30, 2021
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/117-HR5472.

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
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