Lou Golino published a great article on Coin Update about reforming the U.S. commemorative coin process. Here's an excerpt - be sure to read the complete article
Many collectors of modern U.S. commemorative coins have for years lamented the quality of the designs of many recent issues and questioned the appropriateness of many of the
themes commemorated on those coins. That has resulted in a sharply downward trend in sales, with the main exceptions being the two curved coin programs — the 2014 Baseball Hall of
Fame and 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary coins, which were both strong sellers. The forthcoming third curved series — the 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame coins — will likely
also do well. The success of these programs was about more than their innovative shape and was also related to the broad appeal of the themes.
Several voices in the numismatic community, such as numismatic researcher Eric Jordan and myself, have for years suggested that if the goal is successful programs that appeal
to collectors and non-collectors, greater consideration needs to be given to the types of people, places, and events honored on coinage. Those themes should be broader ones of
national importance as opposed to the many narrower ones of recent programs such as those focused on various civic organizations.
The main obstacle to such reforms of the commemorative coin program lies within the United States Congress and, more specifically, in the practice of adding surcharges to the
sale of commemorative coins to generate funds for the recipient organizations for these programs. As Eric Jordan has noted:
"Anything you can do to get self-interest for special interest groups out of the equation, the better off we are."
He added that the quality of the designs and appeal of the themes on commemorative coins would benefit from getting rid of surcharges.
There have been growing calls to end this practice, including from some legislators who introduced legislation beginning in 2012 to prohibit the payment of surcharges from the
sale of these coins to any entity outside the federal government and redirect any funds in excess of costs to the Treasury to reduce the deficit. But those legislative efforts
have repeatedly failed to garner enough support to get very far.
To read the complete article, see:
Reforming the commemorative coin process is an uphill battle
Wayne Homren, Editor
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