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Your papers, please

The Old Timer Assay Commissioner Society will hold its last meeting at 4 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Philadelphia Mint during the American Numismatic Association convention.

OTACS wants to end on a high note. Meeting at the Mint will certainly help in achieving that end. It is where the annual Assay Commission meetings used to be held until they were abolished during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.

The numismatic press has been invited to share and record the event for posterity, so colleague Debbie Bradley and I plan on going.

However, to get into the U.S. Mint building for the event, a background clearance form was sent to me late Friday to be filled out.

They want my name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, place of birth, height, sex and statement of citizenship. They wonder if I have ever been arrested.

It would be easier, I think, if they just asked for my passport.

You would think I was applying for a job and not simply going to cover a social event, but then I see the form is used for contractors also. Glad to see the government is simplifying its paperwork.

I know the Philadelphia Mint is a federal installation. I know security is important in our post 9/11 country.

But it made me think how fortunate the people are who will take the newly renovated public tour of the facility.

All that is required of adults who show up at the Philadelphia Mint’s door is to show a photo I.D.

How’d they get off so lightly?

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