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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 18, May 2, 2010, Article 23

NUMISMATICS MEETS TWITTER

E-Sylum reader and Citizens Coin Advisory Committee member Donald Scarinci made numismatic history of sorts by reporting live on a CCAC meeting via Twitter, the popular web service that lets anyone broadcast simple 140-character messages to the world. Dave Harper of Numismatic News reported on Don's Tweets in his Buzz with Dave Harper blog April 28th, and here I am reprinting Dave's blog in The E-Sylum. I'm getting dizzy. Anyway, congratulations to Don on his experiment with the new medium. It's a great way to get the word out on the meeting proceedings. -Editor

A new page was turned yesterday at a meeting of the Citizens Coin Advisory Committee.

Member Donald Scarinci sent out Tweets on Twitter as the meeting progressed. Since I was not in Philadelphia to attend the meeting, having on-the-spot commentary was both interesting and helpful.

I hope others feel this way and he will make Tweets a regular part of his role at CCAC.

Don told me that he started using Twitter just last week.

“This is probably numismatic history because it is the first time a CCAC meeting will be reported on Twitter,” he wrote me in an e-mail.

Naturally the primary purpose of the CCAC meeting was to choose a reverse design for the 2011 Native American dollar that it can recommend to the Treasury secretary, who makes the final decision. However, we might well remember it for the Tweets instead.

The CCAC endorsed a design that was also endorsed by the Commission of Fine Arts. It depicts a peace pipe being passed with just the pipe and the hands shown.

It marks the Wampanoag Treaty of 1621.

What I am really jealous of is not the Tweets so much as the tour of the Philadelphia Mint where the CCAC members were shown the new five-ounce silver America the Beautiful coins. These will have the same design as the program's circulating quarters.

Because they have to be three-inches in diameter, the five-ounce silver coins are very thin and have to be struck on a Graebener coining press that was specially purchased for this job.

Congratulations, Don, on taking us all another step into the 21st century.

Don Scarinci adds:

Reporting the CCAC meeting as it was happening is something I always thought should be done. I never understood and still don't understand why the Mint does not webcast the CCAC meetings.

The CCAC is very much as Congress intended it to be -- a peoples committee. Each one of us on the committee has different perspectives and different levels of knowledge about numismatics and about art. While imperfect, it is probably the only way to debate and decide coinage designs in a democracy. So why not bring people in as the discussion unfolds and involve anyone who has an interest into the very core of the process?

Twitter allows that to happen in real time without attaching people to a viewing screen for hours at a time. Instead anyone interested in the subject can get information in brief sentences. If the writing is clear and simple, the communication will work for busy people with day jobs even better than a web cam.

To read the original blog (scroll to April 28), see: CCAC makes history on Twitter (blog.numismaticnews.net/buzz/)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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