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Put unsold commems into circulation?

The Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver half dollar was the the final commemorative half among classic U.S. commems.

The silver commemorative half dollars issued through 1954 were occasionally put into circulation when the Mint couldn’t sell them. Is there a reason why the Mint doesn’t do the same thing with unsold copper-nickel commemorative coins today?

If the Mint were to release unsold non-precious metal commemoratives into circulation today, the over-the-counter sales of these coins at a premium price would likely drop in anticipation of finding them in circulation at some later date. This is my view. I don’t believe the U.S. Mint has ever considered this possibility. Another thing to remember is half dollars are not used anymore. The Kennedy is not even struck for use in circulation.


The United States continues to struggle between using a dollar bill or coin. What other major countries continue to use their equivalent of a dollar bill?

According to an Oct. 15 CNBC report on the subject, “The United States is one of only three industrialized nations, along with Argentina and Botswana, that still use low-denomination paper bills.”


How much government support is there for a major overhaul of the U.S. coin and currency system?

According to the same Oct. 15 CNBC report, “Thought leaders from business executives and former top U.S. Treasury officials to editorial boards spanning the country all have advocated for currency reform and the benefits it will bring to consumers and taxpayers. And in 10 reports issued over more than two decades, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office – Congress’ budget and financial analyst – has supported currency reform, describing in detail the billions in taxpayer savings.”


Next time a former president of the United States passes away, would the Presidential dollars program be resumed, even if only for a time period as brief as three months?

No. Legislation mandated that a former President must be deceased for at least two years before that president can be honored with a Presidential dollar coin. The program was terminated in 2016 following a coin being struck for Ronald Reagan. It will take a new act of Congress to resume the program.


Would a similar thing happen to the First Lady gold bullion program?

First Spouse $10 gold coins are to be released at the same time as is the Presidential dollar honoring the spouse of each. This means a living First Lady could have appeared on such a coin. It didn’t happen, though.


Why didn’t the United States Mint produce any clad proof Eisenhower dollars in 1971 or 1972 or include business strike versions in mint sets of the same years?

CoinAge magazine described the U.S. Mint’s 1971 and 1972 enormous Eisenhower dollar production as being “near heroic.” The Mint was so overwhelmed by demand for its numismatic Eisenhower products that shipping of 1971-dated coins continued well into 1972. In a twist from the usual congressional attitude, a committee called the Mint’s profits “unconscionable.” Demand subsided after 1972, with the dollars then being added to mint sets.


I disagree with the answer on “What’s the difference between Brilliant Uncirculated and MS-60.” By definition, brilliant would suggest no toning of any kind, MS-60 can be brilliant or toned. Do you agree?

BU and MS-60 are meant to be the same thing, one assigning a number to what is otherwise a written description. There is attractive as well as ugly toning for this grade.


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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.


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• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .

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