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Tell Congress about Mint

I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.

Business called me away from town so I was unable to partake in the second release the “Formative Years” 2009 Lincoln Cent exchange on Thursday, May 14, at Union Station, the Mint headquarters in China Town or the Capitol at the Credit Union Bank.

I went down to the U.S. Mint kiosk at Union Station Saturday, May 16, to learn that the cent exchange – minimum two rolls and maximum six rolls expected to go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – only lasted 30 minutes. Union Station went through 80 boxes of bank wrapped rolls or 800 rolls.

So that leaves us at the mercy of the Federal Reserve, which then leaves us at the mercy of the armored car companies for a shot at a few rolls – no wonder prices exceed 100 times the face value, $50 a roll on eBay. Furthermore, the first release rolls in the U.S. Mint wrappers are still fetching over $50 for the Philadelphia and Denver rolls. Hey, folks, it is mid-May and not many have yet to see a 2009 Lincoln cent!

In March my son and I did meet Abe Lincoln at the Whitman coin show in Baltimore and got a free 2009 Lincoln cent. Shake his hand 50 times and you could have done like the dealers who commanded $16 a roll at the show for the new cents.

So what does this former lobbyist turned legislative marketing strategist have to say? Well, folks, it is time to write our members of Congress in the Senate and House of Representatives to complain about the disservice of the United States Mint to one of our greatest Presidents on this the bicentennial of his birth. The failure of the United States to put enough of the special cents issued to commemorate has led to price gouging by the Mint, which can command 10 times face value for coinage, and by dealers commanding 100 times face value in the marketplace. The Mint is backlogged until July to ship Internet orders for the latest release, and there are two more scheduled for this year.

How much are we to suffer? Not everyone enjoys the special treatment Congress which gets with their special credit Union obtaining the precious coins for distribution. Are they perhaps in on the effort that has us collectors paying ridiculously high margins for circulating coins.

Let’s face it folks, the Mint is in trouble! They can’t secure the planchets to meet the demand for bullion silver and gold collector coins and now circulating coins are suffering. In the race to gain levels of seigniorage like the Post Office (people buying coins to put away and not use) they have created a monster and we collectors are paying huge gains to few connected individuals.
Time to drop a dime as they say and contact your members of 111th Congress to let them know how you feel about this! We all (save for a few folks in the U.S. territories) enjoy representation of two senators and congressman. They should hear your anger and are in position to do something about it!

One can use email to contact their member of Congress via www.thomas.gov to start then navigate the web to their offices using your zip code to identify your member – If Democratic you want to contact Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Republicans need to contact Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the highest ranking Republicans on the key committees with jurisdiction of the activities of the U.S. Mint. You may telephone your member via the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121. Writing is easy as well, but since the anthrax scare a few years back all mail is irradiated and takes three weeks to get anywhere. House members’ address is U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C. 20515; the Senate is the same but has a 20510 Zip Code. Check your local phone book or Post Office for details on local district offices where you can write, telephone or visit to tell them you are mad as hell and you don’t want to take it anymore!

We all need to step up if this going to get anyone’s attention and eventual action for the next two Lincoln cent releases. If I can help you get your message out there please let me know at napyle@yahoo.com.
Best of luck to all.


Nicholas Pyle is president of Pyle & Associates, a Washington, D.C. policy advocacy group in business over 30 years representing food industry and industrial metals clients.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News.
To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send e-mail to david.harper@fwmedia.com.

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