Happy 400th Thankgiving

Thanksgiving in the United States is traced back to the Pilgrims’ celebration of their first successful harvest in 1621. The three-day event was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans that lasted three days. The tradition of giving thanks for successes was a tradition that the Pilgrims brought with them from England. This three-day celebration in 1621 is considered the first Thanksgiving.

Although there is no record of the menu, the meal likely consisted of food from the harvest, venison, and seafood. Legend has it that the local natives killed five deer as gifts for the celebration.

On the 400th anniversary of that event, Native Americans have been working on setting the record straight. One difference from the original story is that the local natives were not invited. The story goes that the warriors showed up when they heard gunshots coming from the European camps thinking that a war was to begin. It was not a war, but the colonists were shooting muskets to celebrate.

Uncovering historical information is similar to using ancient coins to gain a better understanding of history. If we better understand our past, we can improve the future. Let’s improve the future by being thankful and welcoming to all who call this country home.

Happy Thanksgiving

POLL: What do you think about continuing the Morgan and Peace Dollar Programs

After I posted the news that the U.S. Mint will continue the Morgan and Peace dollar programs, I watched the reaction.

If I only read the reaction from social media, you would think that the U.S. Mint was proposing to devalue every collection and that they were about to do the worst thing since striking the Susan B. Anthony dollars.

According to my Inbox, 39 people were excited. Three were not in favor but less negative than those on social media. Six people said that they were indifferent to the program.

What do you think?

Should the U.S. Mint Continue to Strike Morgan and Peace Dollars

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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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BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Mint to Continue Morgan and Peace Program in 2022

The U.S. Mint is currently holding a numismatic press availability via conference call. During the call, the U.S. Mint announced that they plan to continue the Morgan and Peace dollar programs in 2022 and beyond.

Although the products have not been finalized, it is possible that there may be different finishes, such as reverse proof, and additional products options including the production of the coins at other mint facilities.

Stay tuned for more from the U.S. Mint’s press availability.

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.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for November 7, 2021

A news item popped up that announced a dealer is selling Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) for 13 rare ancient coins. Following the news, collectors ask if NFTs should be part of numismatics.

To answer the question, we must define the NFT. An NFT is a piece of data created using the complex math of cryptography to make it unique to tie it directly to the owner and the item. It is non-fungible because it represents a one-to-one relationship between the owner and the asset. An asset is fungible because it is interchangeable. A coin can be a fungible asset.

A token is an object that represents something else. In numismatics, a token represents money. The NFT is a piece of data that represents the owner and its tie to the asset.

Are you confused? So is most of the market that has run face-first into this new allegedly fantastical concept of owning a piece of something.

But is it an NFT or cryptocurrency numismatics?

According to Merriam-Webster, numismatics is “the study or collection of coins, tokens, and paper money and sometimes related objects (such as medals).”

First, NFTs are not numismatics. NFTs are a deed of ownership. Deeds are not numismatics.

Cryptocurrency may be considered a related object by definition, but does it represent money or currency in any form?

Cryptocurrency is an asset. The asset is assigned a value based on market forces. Are those assets numismatics? No! Cryptocurrency is an asset that does not represent anything. It is a set of bits and bytes created using complicated math.

The creators of cryptocurrency use names similar to physical assets to influence a market. For example, crypto-mining is a series of calculations to find large prime numbers. Searching for large prime numbers is something researchers have been calculating since the discovery of computers. In college, I worked on a project that calculated the largest prime number held at the time.

Today, someone decided to sell the idea of this complex math to calculate a series of prime numbers within constraints. Cryptocurrency is buying the number stored in something called a digital wallet. Owners of these numbers can trade them the same way you can trade stock or your car to a dealer.

Cryptocurrency is not legal tender. A governing authority does not authorize it. It is also not representative of anything except mathematics.

There is nothing in the definition of the trade of numbers to make it part of numismatics.

And now the news…

 November 4, 2021
A group of the gold coins discovered in west Norfolk. Photograph: British Museum/PA  → Read more at artnews.com

 November 5, 2021
Licinius I Aureus as NFT Art on OpenSea A Selection of 13 Rare ancient coins has been listed on OpenSea by DFGrotjohann.  → Read more at einnews.com
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