Just like that, it was over.
The knock on the door was a few moments before noon. It was a customer with an appointment to pick up an order. The door was open, the customer picked up their item and left. Before wiping down the table, I went back to the computer.
A tap on the keyboard brought up the password prompt to end the screensaver. When the screen cleared, the clock in the upper-right read 12:04. A quick click and there was the message, “This product is currently unavailable.”
Once again, a limited edition collectible out of reach of a collector. With the popularity of the American Silver Eagle Proof coins and only 327,440 to be off ered, the U.S. Mint set a “Household Order Limit” of 99. How many dealers with dedicated staff were able to purchase their 99 coin limit?
Instead of giving the collectors a chance, the U.S. Mint set the rules to favor the dealers and those whose work requirements took them away from the computer.
With all of the past problems and the tepid response from Director David Ryder, there is little hope that the U.S. Mint will fix these problems. Ryder either does not care about the collector or does not have the competence to fix the problems. Although the website worked, the policies favored the dealers and did nothing for the collectors.
It is time for Ryder to descend from his ivory tower to understand how the collectors are treated. If he refuses to do something about it, he should hand in his resignation to allow the president to appoint someone who knows what they are doing.
The inane concept of the $1 trillion coin has reared its ugly head again by a member of congress that lost the ability to think after being elected.
The idea was first conjured up in 2013 by conservative economists and pundits with some minor vocal support from some members of congress. It was brought up again in 2020 by a liberal freshman member who missed the earlier lessons about why it is a stupid idea.
Now Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has doubled down on the moronic by introducing S. 185, Cancel the Coin Act, to “remove the Treasury Secretary’s ability to mint coins of any value.”
Mike Lee was first elected to the Senate in 2011. He was in congress when the discussion of the $1 trillion coin began. Nearly every competent member of congress on both sides of the aisle dismissed the idea. They understood that issuing a $1 trillion coin will not work.
Lee did not learn the lesson.
Lee introduced the Cancel the Coin Act as a partisan measure because he is suddenly worried about a federal deficit. Even though the deficit was projected to be $1.083 trillion before the pandemic on a budget he voted for, Lee becomes concerned because a different party is in the White House.
The last time the government tried to curb deficit spending and manipulate coinage, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon was on his way to being impeached. President Herbert Hoover appointed Mellon as Ambassador to the Court of St. James to get him out of town.
With the worldwide economy crashing, gold was becoming the primary means of international trade. Gold exports were happening faster than could be managed. To stop the hemorrhaging of money, congress passed the Emergency Banking Act on March 9, 1933, with bipartisan support. The act allowed the government to close the banks to allow the system to be recapitalized. It would be the last bank holiday of the Great Depression.
Om May 1, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102 to recall gold held by the public except for some coins and jewelry. The gold would go to replenishing the country’s gold reserves. The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 codified the Executive Order.
From this point, we can pick up the story of the 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagles.
President Gerald Ford reversed Roosevelt’s Executive Order the same day that the law that reverse the Gold Reserve Act was signed: December 31, 1974.
While the story of the 1933 Double Eagles makes for an intriguing drama, the lesson of unintended consequences should be a concern over making political statements the way Sen. Lee is doing.
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This news update is a warning that if you want coin shows and other events to continue, you better start taking COVID-19 more seriously.
I do not care about your politics, who you voted for, or where you live. If you do not take the efforts to stop the spread seriously, there will be few shows in 2021 without relief until 2022.
Sure, vaccines are around the corner, but how long do you think it will take to deliver almost 660 million doses? Think about it: the U.S. Census estimates the population at the end of 2019 at 328.2 million people. If the pharmaceutical companies are saying every vaccine requires a booster within three weeks, that will require the manufacture, delivery, and administration of nearly 660 million doses of the vaccine. You have to wait on long lines to get tested, and that has covered less than 40% of the population.
If you think this is not real because some politician or pundit has said it to you, remember that they do not care about you. They care about their power, money, and an ego trip for the ability to make you do their bidding. The more they control you to do their bidding, the more they gain. They will gain. You will suffer.
Facts are facts. As I type this, the straight facts are that the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center confirms that 58,082,876 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide. There are 12,085,386 confirmed cases in the United States. That means the U.S. has 20.8% of the world’s coronavirus cases while only having 4.25% of the world’s population. Johns Hopkins is also reporting that there have been 255,823 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., representing 18.5 percent of global deaths.
Only ONE country in the world has a faster infection rate, and only Sweden, who tried the herd immunity course of action, is having a faster death rate over the last three months than the U.S.
Why am I bringing this up in this forum? I want the shows back. I want to be able to go to Baltimore for the Whitman Show. I want to be able to go to the World’s Fair of Money. But at this rate, it is not going to happen.
The reality is that the National Money Show next March in Phoenix is likely going to be canceled. Arizona is a significant hot spot, and it will not get better before the ANA is forced to make a decision. And with the infection rate in the upper-midwest growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, I would not be surprised to see the World’s Fair of Money canceled or moved from Rosemont.
This week, I returned from the funeral of a second family member that died of COVID-19. One died early during the pandemic when our understanding of the virus was minimal. The most recent one was likely because of an infection at a place that should have known better.
The virus is real. It is not a hoax. It is not a government conspiracy. Nobody will use it against you, and it is not an infringement on any rights to require you to wear a mask for public safety. In fact, it is an infringement on my rights for putting me in danger. It is not a political statement. It’s only a mask!
Stay six feet apart.
Wash your hands, especially after exposure to the environment.
AND WEAR YOUR DAMNED MASK!
And now the news…
November 15, 2020
Gold tends to perform well in times of high inflation and financial market turmoil. I consider gold a core portfolio holding. PHYS is a closed end fund that invests all of its assets into physical gold.
→ Read more at seekingalpha.com
November 16, 2020
The biggest factor in whether your metals investment will make money will often be whether or not you purchase your metal at a fair price. It is easy to compare prices and avoid getting ripped off, but investors must take the time to do it.
→ Read more at fxstreet.com
November 17, 2020
An Indigenous organisation is questioning how the Royal Australian Mint can issue coins featuring the Aboriginal flag at the same time as the Australian Senate is investigating the flag’s copyright issues.
→ Read more at indaily.com.au
November 17, 2020
Measuring nearly 7 centimetres in diameter and weighing a hefty 174.9 grams, the 50 duct gold coin from 1621 is masterpiece of baroque engraving and a pearl of Polish coinage. DESA Unicum
→ Read more at thefirstnews.com
November 18, 2020
James and Clarrisa Munford say they never considered keeping the dozens of gold and silver coins they found in a drawer in their new house. (CNN) — A South Carolina couple found a forgotten treasure while settling into their new home — dozens of gold and silver coins worth thousands of dollars.
→ Read more at cnn.com
November 19, 2020
Bullion coins and bars are the "purest" way to invest in gold, but can be costly to own and slow to sell. lionvision/Getty Images
→ Read more at businessinsider.com
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Following the debacle that became of the online ordering process for the End of World War II 75th Anniversary American Eagle Coins, the U.S. Mint issued a statement on social media. On Twitter, the U.S. Mint posted in a series of tweets that read:
When people complained, whoever is posting on their social media platforms commented:
The problem is that there have been problems for many years. Every time the U.S. Mint offers a limited edition coin, their website has problems meeting the demand, leading to an apology and a promise that they will resolve the system issues.
Searching this blog, you can find problems with the ordering process for:
What you will not find is a story where the ordering process went smoothly. You will not find a story where the U.S. Mint claims that they have fixed their ordering problems. And you will be able to find a story where the U.S. Mint explains how they plan to fix the problems.
From 2016 through 2019, the U.S. Mint has held a collecting forum in Philadelphia. Each year, the U.S. Mint has invited people from all areas of the industry to meet with them and discuss the future of the U.S. Mint’s products. The coronavirus pandemic prevented them from holding this year’s forum. After every forum, the U.S. Mint thanks the participants and promises to do better.
Unfortunately, politics have hurt the U.S. Mint. Since the resignation of Ed Moy in December 2010, they had been without a director until the appointment of David J. Ryder in April 2018. During the time between appointments, the Senate refused to confirm three nominations made by President Barack Obama to fill the position. Instead, there was an endless line of acting directors, which the law limits the term to 210 days.
David J. Ryder at the hearing regarding his nomination to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint
Ryder is not a stranger to the U.S. Mint or the federal government. Besides working at the Commerce Department, he served in the Office of the Vice President for George H.W. Bush. Bush appointed Ryder as the 34th Mint Director during a Senate recess in 1992.
Before joining the U.S. Mint, Ryder worked for the Secure Products division of the Sarnoff Corporation. After purchased by Honeywell in 2007, he was Director of Currency for Honeywell Authentication Technologies. Ryder can lead an organization looking in the critical security of currency handling with worldwide influence, but he cannot manage the U.S. Mint out a technological paper bag.
As a former federal contractor, I understand that the contracting process is slow. The federal government acquisition process is fraught with checks, rechecks, oversight, and investigations that drive up a hammer’s price to thousands of dollars. But it is the same process to purchase a tool as it is to make a change to a fighter jet costing tens of millions of dollars.
The U.S. Mint has done some work on the website. Aside from changing the look, they replaced the content management system which manages the site. For the technologically savvy, they migrated from the original Drupal implementation to WordPress. The Coin Collectors Blog uses WordPress.
Although the transition to WordPress may provide the flexibility the U.S. Mint needs to manage the website, they have not met the critical need for customer engagement. Fixing customer engagement in a government agency requires the head of the agency to initiate that change. What has Ryder been doing?
Although the pandemic caused significant interruptions in everything, developers do not have to be on-site to develop software. A program can write programs from just about anywhere. Why were these processes not managed in the subsequent months?
I am asking Ryder to step up to his role and better manage the situation. I am not calling for the removal of Ryder. (POLITICAL ANALYSIS ALERT: Don’t read the rest of the paragraph if you do not like a frank discussion of politics as it affects the U.S. Mint). If Ryder leaves his position, President-elect Biden will likely never have an appointment voted on by the Republican-controlled Senate. We will be back to the nearly eight years of Acting Directors who do not have the authority to make necessary changes as the appointed director could.
Please, Director Ryder, fix the problem. Maybe you can listen to the collecting community. We have good ideas, and we are willing to help.
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1976 Washington Quarter with my favorite, the Drummer Boy reverse
Election Day is when We the People
tell the politicians what we think by executing our franchise and vote.
Voting is so important to how this country operates that the U.S. Constitution was amended four times to ensure every vote is represented. In addition to the Civil Rights Act, Congress passed six significant voting acts to protect everyone’s vote by making voting accessible to the handicapped and elderly to empowering military and other overseas workers.
The bottom line is that it is your right and duty to vote.
If you did not vote early or by absentee/mail-in ballot, go to your polling location and vote.
Do not let anyone stop you or intimidate you. VOTE!
Over the last few weeks, I have been posting and watching the chatter on social media about the current offerings by the world’s mints. Given the opportunity, I engaged several people to conduct an informal poll. I did not define specific questions. I allowed people to discuss and argue about what they really think. Based on these conversations, here is what I learned.
Many people are interested in colored coins. More than half of the people who responded to public statements or my direct queries said they were interested in the colorized Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins. It was almost unanimous amongst this group that they favored using color as an enhancement to the design.
Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 Colorized Half Dollar (U.S. Mint Image)
Although those favored using color as an enhancement, an overwhelming majority did not like all printed coins. Many of the complaints came from the lenticular coins from Canada. And while most would not purchase many of the coins with comic book themes, the only objections were the printed designs.
Few people objected to the commercial themes used on coins. Whether the coins celebrate Star Trek or Star Wars, the only difference was if the collector wanted to be beamed up or was with the Force. Those who did not like colored coins would be interested in coins struck using these themes.
I heard from a small group of comic book fans who love the coins with their favorite characters’ themes. Many pointed to fandom websites that celebrated the coins produced by the New Zealand Mint, Royal Mint, and Royal Canadian Mint. They do not care who produces the coins. These fans see the coins as an extension of their comic book fandom.
Niue $2 THE CAPED CRUSADER™ – GOTHAM CITY™ 1oz Silver Coin (Image courtesy of the New Zealand Mint)
Last week, I talked with someone about classic rock, which was wearing a Kiss tour jacket. He expressed excitement at finding the Kiss Challenge Coins online. He also mentioned challenge coins and medals from other bands. After our conversation, I searched online for the information. I found that Kiss authorized four challenge coins with each member’s image plus one for Eric Carr, the late drummer who died in 1991. Exonumia is a part of numismatics.
Themed coin series is a trendy way of collecting outside of the United States. Several British collectors thought that the Royal Mint’s 50p coins’ themes were a lot of fun. The Royal Mint produces 50p coins that celebrate children’s book characters, famous authors, and historical figures. A mother of three youngsters was excited about the recently released Winnie the Pooh 50p coin. Aside from being a children’s favorite, Winnie’s creator, A.A. Milne, also wrote speeches for Winston Churchill.
Then there were the hard-core, anything made after 1964 and not silver contingent. These collectors were a minority but were the most vehement about the “right way” to collect coins. When I asked how they would classify my collecting habits, I was accused of collecting junk or trinkets or buying into scams. I never told them that I compiled a complete set of high grade (not in slabs) Peace Dollars. With one exception, everyone in this group was male and over 50 years old. The other was in his late-40s.
It’s not a “ classic” coin but the Drummer Boy reverse is still one of my favorite modern designs.
Numismatics is a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. You are supposed to like what you collect. If you like Kiss Challenge Coins, then go out and find them all. If using different metals to create interesting effects like the Royal Canadian and New Zealand Mints create, have fun. Even if you find enjoyment with searching pocket change for coins, you are a numismatist and are welcome to the hobby.
Everyone who collects numismatics should be welcome without being told they are collecting the wrong way. As time moves on, I will be proposing new ideas on making the hobby more inclusive. I welcome everyone’s feedback!
This past weekend, the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP) held an on-line symposium that was an extended Money Talks session via Zoom. Although using Zoom and the format took advantage of new technologies, it is something I have been trying to convince the American Numismatic Association to do for a long time.
On May 21, 2016, I wrote, “Now is the time for the ANA and any other organizations that provides educational sessions to consider adding online access to their shows.”
Since then, I have been trying to convince the Association that it could extend its reach beyond the Summer Seminar and the World’s Fair of Money by broadcasting the content on-line.
“There are technologies that can help support the bringing the lectures, courses, and other activities to an online community,” I wrote in 2016. “There are a number of web-based conferencing system that requires a minimal amount of technology to broadcast these activities to collectors everywhere.”
I wrote that before the creation of Zoom!
Unfortunately, the ANA President and Board of Governors ignored all previous work regarding online education, making the Association look like an also-ran. Although some of the Summer Seminar sessions appeared online, the NNP Symposium surpassed the reach of the Summer Seminar in both content and impact.
The NNP succeeded where the ANA has failed. The NNP took advantage of modern technology to deliver numismatic education while the ANA, whose mission is supposed to be education, has done very little.
Why has the ANA Board of Governors failed in its mission?
It is easy to lead when times are good. An extended period of good times allows organizations to sit on its laurels. They can point to incremental changes as progress.
Leadership means being able to lead during good times and know how to respond when a crisis occurs.
“What leaders have to realize is that when a crisis hits, you can’t just rest on your laurels and think that everything will move along normally,” says Ronald Riggio, Ph.D., a professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College in California. “You need to train, prepare and execute.”
The ANA did not plan. The ANA was not prepared. There was nothing for the ANA to execute. The ANA FAILED in its mission.
The Board was told that it needed to expand to online education. When I was asked, “Can’t the ANA use something like Zoom to create classes?” Not only did I say it was possible, but I also noted other services the ANA could have used.
When I learned that Robert Oberth was appointed the Chair of the Information Technology Committee, I had a conversation with him on Facebook as part of comments to a post on the ANA Facebook page. I used Facebook to keep the conversation open and allow any member interested in why the ANA has failed to meet its members’ obligations.
As part of the conversations, I provided the lines to my writing on the subject. Unfortunately, the conversation has little impact. The ANA is lagging behind everyone in providing online education.
Even though I am not on the IT Committee, it does have institutional knowledge. According to the committee membership list published on the ANA website, Governor Greg Lyon is also a committee member. In his sixth and final term as ANA Governor, Lyon has been involved with the committee since the beginning. Lyon was the original Board liaison to the committee.
Lyon has not said much about the committee and its work either to me or in public. Now, when the ANA could use guidance, where is he? There is an English proverb that says, “cometh the hour, cometh the man.” A term that is associated with Winston Churchill, who stepped up when his country needed him.
Hey Greg, the ANA needs leadership. Where are you?
It has been six months since the crisis began. Where is the Board of Governors? What are you getting accomplished in those “excruciating” Board meetings (your word, Steve)?
The ANA Board of Governors has failed the Association and its members. These are the people who need to resign TODAY and allow new leadership to be selected by ANA members:
- President Steve Ellsworth
- Vice President Ralph Ross
- Mike Ellis
- Muriel Eymery
- Mary Lynn Garrett
- Greg Lyon
- Cliff Mishler
- Rob Oberth
- Shanna Schmidt
Are there six people who will run for the Board of Governors? If there are, I will join you to make a slate of seven people whose only purpose is to lift the ANA from the morass created by the current Board.
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.
Whitman canceled the November show in Baltimore because the city continues to use the convention center as a staging area for COVID-19 emergencies. Although the number of cases in the Baltimore area has decreased, city and state health officials warn of a spike that will require the use of the convention center.
Nearly every health expert, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) located in Atlanta, has issued warnings of a second wave combined with the seasonal flu will cause a significant public health risk. Rather than cancel the show, Whitman Expo manager Lori Kraft said that they are “working on an alternate show venue.”
This past week, the Virginia Numismatic Association (VNA) canceled its annual show scheduled for September. They hold their show in Fredericksburg, Virginia, about 50 miles south of Washington, D.C.
The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) hopes that the Monroeville Convention Center (outside of Pittsburgh) will be able to hold their Fall Show at the end of October. Currently, the venue is restricting events to those with 25 attendees or fewer.
States in the northeast continue to have restrictions similar to those in Pennsylvania. Going east to Illinois has similar issues.
If Whitman keeps the show on the east coast, the only place left for them is in Georgia, where they are located. As much as it pains this University of Georgia alumnus to admit, the fellow alum that sits in the state governor’s office has made Georgians’ health and safety a source of political tension.
The year is more than half-over, and the infection is getting worse. Virus hot spots have moved out of the northeast into states where health and safety have been politicized, including Georgia. Leaders are not listening to the medical community, and people are paying with their health and lives.
It is time to admit that 2020 is a lost year. It is time for everyone to adapt to what we have today and plan for the future. It is time for Whitman to cancel the Expo for 2020.
Plan now for a better future when it is (hopefully) safer.
Everyone please stay safe and healthy!
And now the news…
August 10, 2020
Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores turned off a 30-foot waterfall and collected all the coins visitors had thrown into the water to make wishes. After cleaning the money, they'll put it toward the aquarium's expenses.
→ Read more at npr.org
August 10, 2020
Gold Last Tuesday somebody told Gold buyers that it’s normally hot in the month of August. Then the Gold price broke above the key $2,000 resistance level and it kept on going.
→ Read more at kitco.com
August 11, 2020
The Museum of West Bohemia in Plzeň has announced the discovery of hundreds of silver and gold coins from the 14th century. The treasure, unearthed in a forest near the Kladruby Monastery in the region of Tachov, is believed to be one of the biggest troves of gold coins unearthed on the territory of the Czech Republic.
→ Read more at english.radio.cz
August 12, 2020
Gold is hot. Record-breaking prices and demand for gold bullion have thrust the yellow metal back into the media spotlight.
→ Read more at energyandcapital.com
August 12, 2020
Anti-National Socialism political activist and student Sophie Scholl will be commemorated on a special coin, said the German Finance Ministry on Wednesday. The €20 ($23) sterling silver collectors coin will be issued in April 2021, timed to coincide with Scholl's birthday.
→ Read more at dw.com
August 13, 2020
I heard about the coin shortage on the news. Maybe it's from people wishing 2020 will be over. OK, all jokes aside, it turns out to be just a disruption in coin circulation.
→ Read more at marshfieldmail.com
The U.S. Mint does it again by shutting out collectors with an unannounced change in procedures.
According to reports, 95 of the 2019-S American Silver Eagle Enhanced Reverse Proof did not sell the first time because of an alleged glitch. Rather than letting the general public know that the coins were available, they snuck it onto their website and sent messages to people who signed up for reminders only.
The U.S. Mint did not send the message to everyone on their reminder list. Only to those people who signed up for when the coin would be available again.
So let me get this straight. If you’ve signed up for the U.S. Mint reminder services but not for restocking notice, you did not get notified. But if you signed up for a restocking notice after the U.S. Mint announced that all 30,000 coins sold, you were sent a notice.
From the poorly designed website with a bad ordering experience to the sneaking the surplus coins by the general public, the U.S. Mint is not endearing itself to the collecting public.
How can the hobby expect to attract more collectors if the source of coins makes it difficult to purchase their products?
And now the news…
July 29, 2020
Toilet paper, sanitizer and yeast were but a few of the top-of-mind goods hoarded by Canadians at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In more recent weeks, however, another shortage – this of $50 banknotes – has come to light.
→ Read more at canadiancoinnews.com
August 3, 2020
Minelab Metal Detectors Luke Mahoney said the "feeling of scraping the dirt away and seeing the coins is indescribable" A metal detectorist who has spent 10 years searching for hidden treasure found "the biggest hoard of his life" in a field behind his village pub.
→ Read more at bbc.com
August 4, 2020
UK considers minting coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi | Photo Credit: BCCL Mahatma is poised to become the first-ever nonwhite person to feature on the British currency.
→ Read more at timesnownews.com
August 4, 2020
On July 27, 2020, gold prices hit an all-time high. Although the earliest traces of gold as a valuable material date back to the Paleolithic era in 40,000 B.C., about two-thirds of all the gold ever mined has been wrested from the ground since 1950. Throughout human history, it’s estimated that human beings have mined 197,576 tons of gold. One reason that gold has been so attractive to people across every corner of the Earth for all of recorded history is that it’s nearly indestructible, which means virtually all of that 197,576 tons is still around in one form or another. Even so, if you combined every ounce of gold ever mined into one large cube, that cube would only measure about 70 feet on each side.
→ Read more at thestacker.com