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The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 13, March 31, 2013, Article 16

WILL BASEBALL COIN THROW MINTING TECHNOLOGY A CURVE?

A March 28, 2013 Numismatic News article by Debbie Bradley discusses the U.S. Mint's design competition for a coin commemorating the sport of baseball. -Editor

Baseball coin design So, you want to design a coin?

While U.S. Mint sculptors will design the common reverse of commemorative coins celebrating the National Baseball Hall of fame, a national competition launched April 11 will determine the common design for the obverse.

U.S. citizens ages 14 and older may submit a design for the obverse side of the $5 gold, $1 silver and half dollar clad coins to be issued under the 2014 national baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program.

The winner will receive $5,000 and have their initials placed on the coin, which will be the first curved commemorative coin.

Complete rules are available at http://www.usmint.gov/batterup/?action=rules. The competition ends May 11 or earlier if 10,000 entries are received by May 11.

Meanwhile, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts have recommended designs for the convex reverse of the coins. A common design is proposed, with changes in the denomination designation for the three coins.

The CFA recommended reverse design No. 2 that prominently displays UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM in the “sweet spot” of the ball between the laces. It just asked the Mint sculptors to be certain the lettering has the proper dimension to project the convex design of the ball, according to CFA Secretary Tom Luebke.

What's up with the curved design? Sounds interesting and fun, but also a stretch for minting technology. How will they make that work? Has this been done before at other mints? -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Public to Design Obverse of Baseball Commemorative (www.numismaster.com/ta/numis/Article.jsp?ArticleId=26733)

Coin World has an article about this by Michele Orzano in the April 8, 2013 issue. -Editor

A technical amendment to “specify the size of the precious metal blanks” to be used in production of the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative gold $5 coins and silver dollars is pending in Congress.

The United States Mint requested the amendment to enable it to meet the requirements of the authorizing legislation for the coins. The Mint is required to use a technique that would produce gold $5 coins and silver dollars with a concave obverse and a convex reverse. The reverse of each coin is to depict a baseball, with the convex effect enhancing that resemblance.

The proposed legislation would mandate the specific size of the planchets used to produce the 50,000 gold $5 coins and the 400,000 silver dollars that are authorized.

According to a spokeswoman in Hanna’s office, the U.S. Mint requested the amendment because “the doming of the coin turned out to require a smaller [coin] circumference than [mandated] in the law (due to the physics of it). Neither we nor the Mint thought of the issue. I believe this is the first time they’ve domed a coin.”

“Imagine a contact lens. When you shape it, it loses a bit of its dimension. Consequently, the same would be true with the baseball coin — or any curved coin,” Jurkowsky said. “If we were to follow the exact letter of the law, we’d have to use two planchets or a special order one — adding to the cost. Clearly, this was not the intent of Congress and the sponsors of the legislation. Accordingly, the resulting coin may be a ‘smidgen’ less than as set forth in the legislation.”

The article notes that the legislation includes an amendment calling for a "Widow's Mite" commemorative in a new denomination called the 'smidgen’. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Concave/convex Baseball coins pose challenges (www.coinworld.com/Articles/ViewArticle/concave-convex-baseball-coins-pose-challenges)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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