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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 17, April 23, 2006, Article 14

MINT DESTRUCTION AND RECORD-KEEPING POLICIES

Regarding Rep. Lucas' bill, Roger Burdette writes: "Had
this or similar legislation been in force in 1910 it might
have prevented the wholesale destruction of hundreds of
pattern and experimental coin hubs and dies ordered by
Mint Director A. Piatt Andrew. Thus far, the Mint, in its
various Treasury Department permutations, has proven to
be a poor custodian of national numismatic art and artifact.
There would be no $50 gold Half-Union patterns, no 1933
double eagles, no aluminum cents, etc. if not for the
Smithsonian's protection. The only established place of
"safety" seems to be the Smithsonian Institution.

Rep. Lucas' bill should be amended, however, to include
the hoard of models, galvanos, casts, hubs and other
materials now stored in a basement vault at the Philadelphia
Mint (based on the so-called Iacocca inventory ordered by
engraver Elizabeth Jones long ago.) At present, these
historic items are sequestered from academic research,
and could be destroyed on a momentary whim by some future
Mint Director.

To perpetuate the National Numismatic Collection and open
research, the Mint should be required to 1) provide at
least two examples of every experimental and pattern coin
to the NNC on a continuing basis, and 2) deliver to NARA
all documents dating before 1975 currently in the Mint's
possession."

[Illegal examples of the 1974 aluminum cents, the 1933 double
eagle (and the one recently legalized example) do exist, but
Roger's point is still quite valid - the National Numismatic
Collection is the one safe haven for most of these rare
issues.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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