Skip to main content

What's this country made of?

Relief for the residents of the Northeast who suffered in Hurricane Sandy earlier this week is job one for America.

Too bad there is no senator’s girlfriend who is working for a lobbying firm that wants a coin to help fund the relief effort. Then we might get one.

Helping disaster victims with a coin issue simply because they need it? That won’t happen.

It is amazing to live in the Internet Age when everything is supposed to happen so much more quickly.

Yet, when it comes to the issuance of commemorative coins, or any new coin design for that matter, the speed that ancient Rome could proclaim its triumphs with its coins puts the poor United States in the shade.

Imagine, we still tell coin collectors that news was proclaimed on ancient coins to spread the word of Caesar’s triumphs, or his assassination, or even the beginning of peace.

Wouldn’t it be nice to think that the United States could rush legislation through Congress and authorize a commemorative coin program to proclaim the goal of rebuilding all that was lost?

It would be nice, but that won’t make it so.

There are too many practical impediments.

The greatest impediment is that it requires the same amount of congressional time to push a coin bill through both houses as it does to appropriate a few billion dollars.

Even the most successful coin program would raise just a few million dollars.

That is a rather small sum in the great scheme of things.

But as a collector, I think a little differently.

Wouldn’t it be nice to proclaim for the ages as coins do, that there once was a country called the United States that suffered a tremendous natural disaster, but then its people rallied to overcome it and struck a coin to commemorate that fact?

I think so.

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