This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Even though a mintage of 33,000 is a fairly large number for an America the Beautiful coin set priced at around $975 – or $3,000 on the on Internet auction sites, why not take advantage of the popular perception that this mintage means rarity and create a whole new special series of coins to aid those who really need it, the unemployed?
Everybody knows it is still tough to find a job and unemployment is high.
Everybody knows that the Mint messed up when it decided to offer the 33,000 America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver coin sets only to its Authorized Purchasers.
A Guide Book of United States Coins: The Official Red Book
Everybody knows that the rules that the Mint imposed on the APs to make the distribution seem fair only inflamed the discontent.
So let’s restore some fairness to life and help people who are down on their luck with their own windfall profits.
The U.S. Mint should create a new 50-state unemployment coin program.
Each week for the next 50 the Mint should strike 33,000 regular America the Beautiful silver quarters (real quarters, not 5 ounces) but with an extra element put on them, either a state symbol or extra letter or letters on the die. These symbols or letters would stand for the individual states issued in alphabetical order. The new Unemployment America the Beautiful silver quarter for Alabama could have something as simple as an extra “AU” on it standing for “Alabama Unemployed.”
These 33,000 coins would be shipped to the state capital to be given out free, one to a customer, to the unemployed. If there are more unemployed than coins, the state will have to figure out the fairest way to distribute them.
Each unemployed recipient could then sell his state unemployment coin for whatever it will bring on the secondary market and any financial gain would help tide that person over until he or she gets a job.
Repeat this process each week for 50 weeks to work with each state.
Surely with 50 states putting their minds to it, at least one of them will come up with a fairer way to distribute coins when there are more people who want them than can have them.
The person who comes up with the best idea for fair coin distribution within his state gets to be the next Mint director (in the meantime an acting Mint director can keep the chair warm).
Collectors who want these rare coins with 33,000 mintages will have to buy them directly from the unemployed – not from some company that they don’t like, or from the Mint, which they don’t like a lot more. They will know that whatever they will have to pay will go to some deserving individual who just happens to be down on his luck.
By the end of the issue cycle, a complete set would feature 50 coins, which would have to be painstakingly assembled week by week – call it a new form of circulation finds. Maximum mintage is that magic 33,000.
Not a good idea? Do you think some coin collectors will join the unemployment line just to get one? Hmmm.