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Not who but how

Election Day has arrived. It has been a long time coming.

While the outcome is unknown at this point in the day, the two likely possible outcomes make me think about the Inaugural medals that will be issued by the winner for his Jan. 20, 2013, swearing in.

They will be different and it isn’t simply a question of a change in portrait depicting Barack Obama if he wins a new term as President, or whether Mitt Romney gains the prize. It is how the winner will be shown.

By tradition, when the election winner is being sworn in to a second term, not only is the President portrayed on the medal but also the vice president. Should Obama prevail today, Joe Biden would join him on the Inaugural medal in 2013.

If Mitt Romney is the winner, by tradition the portrait is of the President alone.

It would be a strange voter who would be influenced by aesthetic taste in Inaugural medals in making a decision. I point this out simply to illustrate that there are consequences to any electoral choice, even if in this case, it is a small numismatic one.

My one hope for Inaugural medals in 2013 is that they are restored to the prominence they deserve this time.

The 2009 medal was downplayed to the point of being almost invisible.

Perhaps this medal custom is outmoded. Perhaps last time was just a slip that will not happen again.

Come January I hope to be able to give the next Inaugural medal the attention it has traditionally garnered.

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