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Viewpoint: Here we go again with Mint

I read your ?Class of ?63? in Numismatic News of Feb. 19. (?Packaging, price impact new issues sales?)
I cannot agree with you more! The world mints, especially ones that are closest and dearest to all of us, are unquestionably profiteering on the collector and the public.

The sale of specially struck coins, presented in fancy boxes, cases or the like, reminds me how Franklin Mint made its promotions, which almost the entire series fell on its face. The only possible redemption was the fact that precious metals rose in value and the recovery of the cost, no less than profit, was fully dependent on the metal market, not the numismatic or collector market.

Yet the U.S. Mint and other mints promoted these issues as ?an investment for the future.? That statement was misleading but it was made by a government agency, and are they wrong. The fact that the Mint produces more than enough coins to satisfy the primary market, but it also makes enough to sell to a secondary market.

The new special issues are a profit center of huge proportions for the Mint, and at the expense of those who respond to the tantalizing ads, that the Mint floods the newspapers, magazines, TV spots and the like with. Years ago when I was reviewing the yearly statements from 1993 or so, at that time the Mint made, after all expenses tens of millions of dollars profit.

You surely remember the testimony I gave to the congressional committee on Banking and Financial Services in July 1995. I referred to the various commemorative series the Mint was selling from 1983 to 1993. (No appreciable precious metal price rises occurred in that period which would impact on its sets they issued.)

I explained to the congressmen that those who paid for one each of the series issued each year would have invested approximately $5,200 total, and if the same items were offered in the market in 1994, the owner would be offered less than half.

It was with these high prices and profits the Mint made that the interest by the collectors and public was diminishing yearly. We were losing interest and collectors each year rather than the market possibly growing.

It was with this collector and public loss in mind that during the July 1995 hearing I suggested the ?Statehood Quarter Program,? a program where each state would be represented over a period of years and interested people could get the quarters each year out of circulation at FACE VALUE!

The idea took hold and the results were hundreds of thousands of collectors came on the scene and the hobby grew once again.

It appears from your Berlin coin show report, profiteering by the mints, here and worldwide, is mushrooming again and the Mint is again a ?profit center.?

You comments need greater exploitation, and I welcome a chance to help you work on this problem.

Keep up the good work.

P.S. If you want to read the entire hearing, I enclose herewith the cover sheet of the Testimony Report prepared by Congress for July 12, 1995. I believe it is available.



Harvey G. Stack of the family firm Stack?s is from New York City.

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@fwpubs.com.

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