I have an end-of-the-year suggestion for the U.S. Mint. Perhaps staff there is already working along these lines.
We all know now that the Mint will be issuing a cent in 2010 with a new Shield reverse design. It is likely that there will be some collectors out there who would like to be able to obtain some for face value.
Though the Mint is not obligated to go to extraordinary lengths to get these new coins into circulation rapidly, it would be a fine idea for someone in the Mint director’s office to be on the telephone right now trying to line up a few major banks to make the new cents available to the public come January.
I am thinking about some sort of pre-placement of the Shield cents at handy or strategic locations around the country.
The purpose of these supplies is to be available for release early in the new year and thereby avoid all of the problems and embarrassment that occurred with the agonizingly slow release of the special 2009 commemorative cents.
Sure, I know that banks are not obligated to carry freshly minted coins. I know it is not an obligation of the armored car companies to ship freshly minted coins to its banking clients.
After all, banks have to pay for the service and they don’t want to incur extra costs.
All well and good.
But surely there must be a dozen or so banks out there in our vast nation that could be persuaded that it would be good public relations for them to be distribution points for the new coins.
Whatever banks are selected would need to be located in a variety of locations so that any truly anxious collector could drive to one to buy some of the new coins at face value if desired.
Can such a distribution effort be done? Is it practical? I suppose all of the country’s banks could claim favoritism if they weren’t individually telephoned, so put a message on the Web site offering the new cents to all banks that sign up to receive them.
I expect the nation’s banks wouldn’t exactly be overwhelming the Mint’s computer system to put their names on a volunteer distribution list. But they should be given the chance.
And I know there are some banks out there who just might turn this to an advantage, perhaps even using the Shield as a symbol of the security and safety of insured deposits.
After the experience of 2009, an effort such as this would be a nice gesture by the Mint. I say a nice gesture because there is no legal obligation to do it, but I think a gesture of this kind would be appropriate.
Nobody can be faulted for not anticipating the virtual collapse in 2009 of coin demand and the consequent inability to get the four new cent designs into public hands without lengthy delays. It was the unfortunate consequence of the financial crisis.
But the financial crisis is over. Collectors are still feeling a little bit stung. Why not start the new year right with a clean slate and good intentions? The positive PR that would be generated should be an antidote to any lingering collector sourness. Start the New Year right.