Monday, September 1, 2008


Circulation strikes: 1,524,031,848
Special Mint Set: 1,863,344
Designer: John Flanagan
Diameter: ±24.3 millimeters
Metal Content:
Outer layers - 75% Copper, 25% Nickel
Center - 100% Copper
Weight: ±5.7 grams
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: None
Value: $1.00 (MS-63) up to $6.00 (MS-65

First we get HR-2040: Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Coin Act. Now we all know that I’m not a big fan of the current commemorative coin policies. I feel that they are narrowly focused, gimmicky, and prey on the numismatic community to funnel funds, but this one goes one better.
First look at items 1 – 13 of section 2 (of HR-2040).
With the exception of items 8 and 10 every single one of these isn’t “Civil Rights” it’s black rights. Civil rights would include equality for all racial groups, not to mention religious affiliations, sexual orientation...
Next consider item 14 of Section 2. It reads
(14) Congress has an obligation to lead America's continued struggle to fight discrimination and ensure equal rights for all.”
And items A and B of Section 7
(a) Surcharge Required- All sales shall include a surcharge of $10 per coin.
(b) Distribution- Subject to section 5134(f) of title 31, United States Code, all surcharges which are received by the Secretary from the sale of coins issued under this Act shall be promptly paid by the Secretary to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to carry out the purposes of the Fund, including providing scholarships and internships for minority students and operating funds and technology enhancement services for 39 member historically black colleges and universities.”

So… what part of fighting discrimination and ensuring equal rights for all is served by funding a discriminatory college fund? Let’s at least be honest with ourselves about these things. Call it what it is, black rights movement commemorative to fund a black only college fund. It’s too exclusionary to be called ‘civil’ rights.

So why now? Why bitch about it four months later? Because I recently found out about HR-6701 the Civil Rights Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 and my first thought was ‘didn’t we already pass the civil rights coin thing?’ SO I clicked over to Thomas to read them both in detail… HR-2040 bothers me for the reasons stated above, HT-6701 on the other hand. Well, at least it increases the scope to include multi-racial civil rights leaders. But more Quarters? What the hell are they thinking? Any short term gain is going to be offset by the long term damage to the numismatic community, especially to future type collectors.
The State Quarter program already dumped 50 new designs on us.
Add six more coming from the D.C. and territories program.
And 50 more quarters form the National Park Quarter series… with the possibility of being extended from 10 to 20 years and from 50 to 100 quarter designs.
How long before type collectors, especially future collectors who might find the availability and cost of high grade examples prohibitive, simply throw their hands in the air and give up? Even if these coins never command a premium the cost will go up, and the hobbyist will feel the pinch, possibly finding that a complete set in high grade is no longer feasible for most collectors.
And what about the super sized silver five ounce coins? It’s not even a damned coin at that point. If someone were collecting those oversized coins medallions that can occasionally be found at coins shows they might be excited… but numismaticly these ‘coins’ don’t mean anything, other than as an indicator of the foolishness of our time.

So today we have a real quarter dollar... nice and simple. Just the way I like it.

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