Change is coming to Washington, D.C., and how it affects numismatics could be sweeping. Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States Nov. 4, and Joseph Biden will be headed for the vice presidency.
The Democratic Party picked up at least five seats in the U.S. Senate and may have as many as 57 or 58 seats out of 100 as this issue goes to press.
In the House of Representatives the Democrats added to their majority by 17 seats, bringing the divide to a likely 253 seats versus 172 for Republicans.
In both houses of Congress, retirements and advancements are likely to cause a wholesale shift in committee assignments and prevailing views on matters affecting coinage.
Obama will be appointing his own Treasury secretary and Treasurer of the United States, events that normally prompt new series dates on our paper money.
In addition, a new Mint director will be in the offing as the job is viewed as a political appointment that goes to loyalists of the President.
What this means for coinage legislation is perhaps too early to speculate, though I wrote earlier that neither major political candidate has a strong interest or involvement with numismatic legislation.
Sen. John McCain will remain in the Senate. He will probably continue to pick and choose various coin bills to co-sponsor.
There’s no particular pattern that can be discerned from the record of the two Presidential candidates. What is clear is that numismatic things have passed peripherally through the political lives of these men and, come Jan. 20, it is likely that one or the other will continue to have peripheral involvement – one as President, the other as a senator.