If you had to pick an ideal time for heightened coinage activity for the Congress, I don?t think anybody would pick this year.
Columnist David Ganz and I have been marveling at what has been going on in Washington, D.C.
Problems in the United States seem to be mounting at a rapid rate, from high oil prices to bank fraud and loan default.
But you know what? Now is the time Congress is choosing to act on coinage matters. If you can figure it out why now, let me know, but otherwise, let?s enjoy our moment of congressional good fortune.
Perhaps our leaders need to step back from the many crises to keep their sanity too, just as coin collectors have a wonderful avenue in their lifelong hobby for shutting out the problems of the day.
We may soon be treated to state quarters for our National Parks if a Michael Castle legislative proposal gains traction. Since he is the legislative father of the state quarter program and the one-year effort honoring the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the territories, I would expect that the park program has a better than even chance of passage.
We collectors know the many benefits the hobby has garnered from the state quarter program. We collectors were transformed from nerds and cheapskates to almost with-it, fashionable type people. We can let the stamp hobby carry the ball of nerddom without us.
A host of other bills have passed one house and been sent to the other, including one for NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. There are enough congressional gold medals authorized to keep them in the headlines and to confuse all but the most diligent reader.
We might even get a new palladium bullion coin after next year?s Ultra-High-Relief Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece is sold to collectors.
Mint Director Ed Moy is very active in promoting numismatic initiatives. He participates in quarter launch ceremonies and he listens to collectors at special public meetings the day before.
Word came as this issue was being prepared that he is off to Dallas July 2 to show off the design of the 2009 Braille silver dollar to a convention of the National Federation of the Blind. On July 30 at the American Numismatic Association World?s Fair of Money in Baltimore, attendees will get to see for the first time the gold Ultra-High-Relief $20 and it will remain on display for the duration of the convention.
How neat is this?
We already know we are living in exciting numismatic times. We have been for at least a decade and when they write our history it might even be dated back to 1982 when the first modern commemorative was struck.
However, even when measured by recent standards, the pace of numismatic activity is picking up.
Someday collectors will be saying about us what we said of our grandfathers at the turn of the 20th century. How lucky they were to be collecting then.