The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 30, July 25, 2004, Article 6


  A lengthy article on the changes U.S. coins and currency are
  undergoing appeared in the July 25, 2004 issue of Newsday.
  Here are a few excerpts:

  "Crooks and collectors, not sentiment, are remaking the face
  of America's money."

  "... the $716 billion in bills and coins circulating globally today
  have been dramatically overhauled to thwart counterfeiters
  and to attract a whole new generation of coin collectors. For
  the past five years, the U.S. Mint has introduced a new quarter
  every 10 weeks.

  At the same time, the $5, $10, and $20 bills have been
  revamped. The design of the nickel was changed this year for
  the first time in 66 years, with more changes due next month,
  and in September, new $50 bills will be introduced. The
  money looks different, feels different, and more changes are

  But it has not been easy."

  "It is politically charged and fraught with history," said Philip N.
  Diehl, former director of the U.S. Mint. "Inside the Washington
  beltway, a coin is a round piece of utilitarian metal. But outside
  the beltway, it's a tremendous symbol of power. They each
  have a political constituency behind them."

  "Henrietta Holsman Fore, director of the U.S. Mint, which
  produces 12 billion coins each year at facilities in Denver and
  Philadelphia, calls the makeover "the Renaissance in coin and
  medal design."

  "The decision in 1996 to honor states by redesigning the quarter
  unleashed a pent-up demand for more variety in coins. "The
  changes are long overdue," said Eileen Ribar of Merrick and
  editor of two coin collecting newsletters.

  "Coin enthusiasts saw this year's 200th anniversary of the
  expedition by Merriweather Lewis and William Clark as
  another opportunity and are introducing a new "Westward
  Journey" nickel each six months this year and next. They
  commemorate some aspect of the historic voyage -- the
  1803 Louisiana Purchase and treaty with Indians, and the
  Missouri River keelboat Clark designed, for example.

  But Virginians were miffed that one of their landmarks,
  Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, was being displaced.
  Local congressmen and then Gov. George Allen mounted a
  spirited campaign that included schoolchildren's traipsing
  through Capitol offices brandishing copies of the Bill of
  Rights to make their case. Congress and the Treasury
  Department relented and agreed that in 2006, at the end
 of the two-year Lewis-and-Clark cycle, Monticello would
  return to the back of the coin.

  Changes in coin design generate interest from localities and
  lobbyists for specialty metals, King said, especially since the
  cost of zinc, nickel and copper have risen 32 percent, 48
  percent and 74 percent, respectively, in the last year alone."

  "Ever persistent, Castle has introduced another dollar coin
  proposal that would feature the head of the presidents, starting
  with Washington and following the sequence of presidents
  each year. The bill has been passed by King's committee and
  awaits action by the full House. The Senate has yet to consider
  the idea. "These are no-win situations," said Diehl, "high risk
  with no upside, so leaders tend to avoid them like the plague."

  "The other proposal for a new coin design has been raised in
  the aftermath of Reagan's death by Grover Norquist, who has
  coordinated a decade-long effort to commemorate Reagan
  and is advocating the Reagan dime or replacing Hamilton with
  Reagan on the $10 bill. "We want something that could be
  accomplished in less than a year," he said recently. By his
  reckoning, the Treasury secretary could direct either change
  with an executive order. "A monument on the Mall would take
  25 years, and another face on Mount Rushmore. Well ... ."

  To read the full story, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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