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Fewer than expected?

It has long been said, “Better safe than sorry.”

The Mint has practiced that axiom in spades where its National Baseball Hall of Fame coin design competition is concerned.

When the adult entry deadline passed May 11, the total number of entries was 178 designs.

The Mint had prepared a fallback position of being able to end the monthlong entry period early in case it received more than 10,000 entries.

No worries there. The Mint was being very safe and now will not be sorry.

With just 178 entries, the five retired professional baseball players who will judge them, have caught a break.

I cannot imagine having to sort through 10,000 of anything. Even to properly review 178 will take some time.

Good luck to them and I hope they make us proud, but no matter what is chosen, there will be some sort of feedback that the final decision is the wrong one.

But playing before fans for many years probably has prepared these individuals for a stray numismatic heckler or two.

Who are the judges?

According to the Mint they are Joe Morgan (second baseman, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990); Brooks Robinson (third baseman, elected 1983); Ozzie Smith (shortstop, elected 2002); Don Sutton (pitcher, elected 1998); and Dave Winfield (outfielder, elected 2001.

Good luck to them. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

In this competition individuals 14 years old and older could make a submission for what the obverse side of the 2014 commemoratives should look like.

The prize is $5,000 plus having the winning artist’s initials on it.

All three denominations will feature the winning design in the 2014 program. They are a clad half dollar, silver dollar and $5 gold piece.

The Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge continues until June 28. Judges in this portion of the competition will be the public who will vote their preferences online.

The rules are posted on the Mint’s website at:

Good luck to all.

A comment on yesterday's blog was sent to me by former American Numismatic Association President Gary Lewis. I will post it below:

"You stated 'The caller wanted to know what he died of, because it was a documented fact that everybody who has ever handled a 1974 aluminum cent has died of cancer.' There are several members of the 1974 Assay Commission that handled the 1974 aluminum cents that are still alive including myself.

"I also knew Alan Herbert for over 30 years, first as an expert in error coins and later on the ANA Board of Governors. He was a great gentlemen."

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."