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Being talked about is great

It is good that my blog is being read by some people who are prominent in numismatics. I appreciate it.

I had an e-mail waiting for me this morning from Donald Scarinci of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and he sent a tweet last night during the meeting of this body that was being held in Colorado Springs, Colo., during the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar.

His tweet: I just corrected Dave Harper’s blog comment that suggests that the CFA and the CCAC blame Congress for proliferation causing quality issues.”

I thank him for thinking that my blog comments of last Friday need correcting.
I don’t think they do. I stand by them.

At root is the basic question: what is the difference between a blog and a news story?

There is a big difference.

My blog is my blog. I do not claim that what I post here is a news story, though certainly having news in the blog is a good thing.

A blog is my opinion about news.

His e-mail asked this:

“Wherever did you get this from:

“‘They would rather point the finger at Congress, current legal statutes and Mint processes.’”

He then continued:

“Both the CFA and the CCAC are blaming the Mint processes for the lack of excellence in coin design.  We are not blaming Congress or any statutes. The fault is with the Mint and if we, the CFA, are unable to do anything to help solve the problem, then we too are part of the problem. Gary Marks said that in his remarks tonight.

“We had a productive meeting tonight.  For the first time since it was created by Congress, the CCAC formed a subcommittee to propose a process to create excellence in coin design.  It was a historic meeting.  Take a look at my tweets when you get a chance.

“I mentioned your blog at the meeting, tweeted my comment, and made it very clear that the CCAC is not blaming Congress.

“It’s good to have this dialog and it certainly helps generate interest and attention to coin designs.  🙂  It’s a good thing.”

He signed it, “Donald.”

It wasn’t a particularly long e-mail, but it seems longer here.

I support Donald’s goal of improving the artistic quality of American coins. I think most collectors do.

The only way he can do so is to attack the Mint processes, because as I wrote, Congress cannot be challenged and the statutes will not change.

It is absolutely necessary to understand that background. If you don’t, the current CCAC effort makes no sense.

If dissatisfaction with coin designs had not been chronic in those bodies for many years, prompting many a cry of frustration of having to do what Congress wants and working with all of the legally mandated inscriptions by members, you would then think the sole motivation for the effort last night simply was a bad batch of designs shown at the May meetings.

That certainly isn’t the case.

How do you communicate all of this in a blog sentence or two?

I think I did that last Friday with what I wrote.

The fact that this blog post is already very long is a perfect demonstration of the necessity of distilling issues to their barest essence in an ordinary blog post.

Tomorrow, I promise to be brief.

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3 Responses to Being talked about is great

  1. Neal says:

    Kudos to you my friend…what a great blog you have…and yes i agree, your blog is your opinion…keep up the great work (blogs)…


  2. Dave… while I appreciate your writing and opinions, I agree with Donald Scarinci that it is the Mint’s fault. In real life, I work for a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), a not-for-profit company that provides specialized services to the federal government and are similar to government employees (without the government salary!). We provide critical help to government agencies so they can meet their regulatory obligations.

    Regulatory obligations are those passed into law by congress and signed by the president. They are also presidential directives and mandates outline by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to make the government work for the people. Our job is to comply with all of those regulatory obligations regardless of the source.

    Each agency has a complex regulatory structure, one more stringent than that governing the design of U.S. coinage. In fact, the "guidance" provided by congress for U.S. coinage can be consider vague in comparison with some of the environment I have worked. They leave the designers and engravers of the U.S. Mint a tremendous amount of latitude not seen anywhere else in the government.

    It is because of that latitude and the limited number of designs they have to produce yearly is why it is difficult to understand how a staff of eight full-time sculptor/engravers and six part-time designers in the Artistic Infusion Program cannot come up with better designs.

    However, if the U.S. Mint feels it is understaffed and that the workload mandated by congress is too much to handle, then why hasn’t U.S. Mint Director Edmund Moy communicated this with the Secretary of the Treasury, OMB, and members of congress?

    In either case, it appears to be a problem with leadership. With the U.S. Mint, the leadership issues begin and end with Director Moy. Remember, before Ed Moy became director of the U.S. Mint, he was a political partisan who had no experience running a government agency–or a business for that matter. He was a patronage appointment by President Bush to thank a party hack for his loyalty. Thus, with all of the problems he has generated since his arrival, maybe it is time the president fores him or Moy tendered his resignation. In either case, this and other issues demonstrates that it is time for a new leader at the U.S. Mint.

  3. Joe Denney says:

    I, too agree that it’s the Mint’s fault. Case in point, they have two tried and true product lines: the proof AGE and ASE coins that have historically performed very well. There is demand for these products and they will sell. Furthermore, the Mint could legally sell these coins; however, they don’t. Why not? Their excuse is demand for the other eagle bullion products, but I’m not biting. If they are able to reduce the number of gold spouse coins at their convenience, then why can’t they also produce a limited number of the proof ASEs and AGEs at their convenience? Would they be subject to an investigation by congress or lawsuits by collectors if they produced them? Nope.

    The fact is the quality of Mint products are going down and their credibility is as transparent as their excuses.

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