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Keep the coin buyers in mind

Will coin collectors buy Breast Cancer Awareness commemorative coins in 2018 if they are authorized?

I know. I am asking for trouble by posing the issue in this fashion.

But numismatics is predominantly male and purchase decisions are made along lines that reflect that part of the population.

That’s why we have baseball coin sellouts and Girl Scout sales that are so low that the organization couldn’t even receive any of the surcharge income the coins generated.

However worthy a coin theme might be, if it cannot be discussed in a bar on Friday night during the seventh inning stretch, sales aren’t likely going to do very well.

I don’t think Congress will adopt a Friday night bar test to screen its commemorative coin proposals.

The issue for Congress is to be seen to be doing good by its voting constituents.

That is why the Breast Cancer coin legislation introduced June 10 already has 306 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That number pretty well guarantees passage.

The legislation calls for 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 clad half dollars.

These numbers put the program squarely in the responsible category right along side the baseball program of 2014.

But the question will be how many of these coins will be sold?

Will the gold and silver sell out? Will the clad sales fall short but still be seen to be fairly strong?

Unless the nature of commemorative coin buyers changes, it is hard to see this happening. Surcharges are the standard amounts of $35, $10 and $5.

Collectors cannot object here.

But will the designations of half the surcharge income to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Dallas, Texas, and half to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of New York City for the purpose of research be fulfilled?

No question, the cause is worthy.

No question, intentions are pure.

But unless supporters of this legislative effort will join in actually buying these coins when the time comes, they might find that worthy goals and worthy recipients don’t add up to getting funds.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

 

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