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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 48, November 26, 2006, Article 14

MINT PUBLICITY MACHINE PROMOTES PRESIDENTIAL DOLLAR COINS

Gar Travis forwarded this article from the November 20th USA Today,
noting that former ANA librarian David Sklow is alive and well:

"While the presidential coins are expected to be popular with
collectors, it's doubtful they will be used by consumers and
businesses on a daily basis, some experts argue. Instead, with
dollar bills still an easy alternative, they likely are doomed
as a means of commerce, as Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea before
them, says David Sklow, a numismatic expert and former director
of the library and research center at the American Numismatic
Association."

A sidebar article quotes Coin World's Beth Deisher noting that
the continued Sacagawea dollar production (with 200 million coins
gathering dust in Treasury vaults) is "another example of a
"dysfunctional" U.S. coin system."

"But many people, including Mint Director Edmund Moy and the
lawmakers who sponsored the legislation to create the presidential
dollar coins, beg to differ. They argue that the state quarter
program has set the stage for acceptance and use of a dollar coin."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[Count me in the Sklow/Deisher camp - I think history shows that
these will be little accepted in commerce.  But stranger things
have happened.  Maybe the public will take a liking to the
Presidential series.  The design seems uncluttered, classic and
attractive.  The USA Today article illustrates the proposed design
and also highlights the lettered edge, a neat feature that could
catch the eye of numismatists and the general public alike.  Mint
Director Moy seems to think the coins' beauty will be enough to
propel them into circulation (see the other press articles below).

It would be unfortunate if the coins don't get a circulation boost
from a withdrawal of the dollar bill.   By that time we could all
be feeding vending machines and toll booths with electronic
substitutes for coins.

When the State Quarter series became such a hit, dealers and
collectors both scrambled to lay in supplies of the earlier pieces
in the series, causing big jumps later in the price of the Delaware
and Pennsylvania coins.  I wouldn't be surprised if the opposite
happens this time.  I'll bet lots of people will lay in supplies
of the initial Washington coin hoping to make a killing, but if
prices stay flat the speculators will be gone long before the
Millard Filmore coin arrives; later issues could end up being
the ones hardest to find. -Editor]

In an Associated Press article November 20th, Mint Director Edmund
C. Moy said: "These designs are beautiful and so eye-catching that
a lot of Americans are going to do a double take when they get them
in their change the first time..."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

The Washington Post covered the story on November 21:  "U.S. Mint
Director Edmund C. Moy gave runway treatment yesterday to a new series
of $1 coins bearing the faces of U.S. presidents.

"Having lettering on the edge gives each coin a very modern, kind of
hip and cool look," he said.  [As if edge lettering were something
new under the sun. -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Dick Johnson writes: "The November 25th Los Angeles Times weighs in
on the announcement of the new dollar coins with presidential
portraits featured. In an editorial titled "Change For A Dollar,"
their viewpoint is that the U.S. Mint is overtly trying to affect
the outcome of dollar coins over paper dollar bills.

Granted, the U.S. Mint is basking in the success of the statehood
quarters. Perhaps it is attempting to repeat the same success for
the dollar coin because it has struck out with the Susan B. Anthony
and the Sacagawea dollars issued over the last two decades. The Times
stated these "flopped."

The writer quoted a Mint spokeswoman for the new dollars, Becky Bailey.
"We see this as offering consumers choice," she told The Times. "In
some situations the dollar bill works better, and in some situations
coins work better. With these coins, it's just a wonderful history
lesson."

So now the dollar coins are a subliminal history lesson. I prefer
to think of them as a program to honor our presidents. My only hope
is that the portraits are artistic enough to sustain that honor.

The editorial noted that "if they catch on, it will be easier to
retire the dollar bill," and ended with the statement "inflation
long ago sealed the demise of the dollar bill. Once the new coin
replaces paper, the Mint can turn its attention to abolishing an
even more anachronistic denomination: the penny."

There is more about the vending machine and sports connection if
you wish to read the entire editorial."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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