This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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The Old Timer Assay Commissioner Society, comprised of those who received U.S. presidential appointments to the Assay Commission, held its annual meeting Aug. 11 in Boston at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Less than 50 people, including guests, attended the OTACS meeting. Society membership is limited to those who served on the Assay Commission, one of the oldest groups in government, authorized by the Mint Act of April 2, 1792.
President Jimmy Carter abolished the commission in 1980 in the name of economy and efficiency in government. Therefore, OTACS has had no new members in more than 30 years. Among the youngest members is Paul Whitnah, official greeter of OTACS, who announced his retirement as an American Numismatic Association national volunteer this year after 40 years of service.
Convention Chair Prue Fitts and her husband Arthur M. Fitts III, former ANA governor, acted as hosts at the gathering.
Ken Hallenbeck, former ANA president and OTACS member, presented a Certificate of Commendation and the ANA Presidential Award to the society in the name of ANA President Clifford Mishler, also an OTACS member, who was otherwise engaged.
The historical society put on a display of its numismatic property. While many of the numismatic rarities in the MHS Collection were sold off a generation ago, colonial medals as well as colonial and state coinage were on display in a setting that was evocative of a private British club. The wall decor included a rare photograph of Edward Everett, the featured speaker at the dedication of Gettysburg cemetery in 1863. The MHS was bequeathed all of his papers.
OTACS was founded in 1964 and regularly meets in conjunction with each ANA convention.