Have you ever wondered how you would perform as a member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee selecting designs for use on American coinage? Would your opinions match those of other experts? Would you find yourself alone in your opinions?
I think every collector has asked those questions of himself. I know I do every time we get another batch of designs from the CCAC or the Commission of Fine Arts with their official opinions expressed.
Since I do not expect ever to serve on either government body, the next best thing for me is the annual process of nominating coins for consideration in the annual World Coin News Coin of the Year competition.
For Coin of the Year, an international group of judges makes selections in 10 nominating categories. This year they had to vote their preferences from among 94 nominations in those 10 categories.
We posted a live link to a public version of the ballot on the Krause Publications Numismatics Facebook page to see how the public would vote given the chance.
They were given roughly two weeks to cast their votes, the same amount of time that the judging panel had.
When the choices were counted following the Nov. 9 close of voting, the results proved very interesting, so interesting in fact that there are two stories on Page 1 to report the results.
The choices made by the public matched the choices made by the judges 60 percent of the time. That’s not bad.
Judges on the panel are professional numismatists, mintmasters, scholars and journalists. Their views, of course, are reinforced by their professional credentials. They all have a trained eye.
I consider the similar outcomes between the public vote and the judge’s vote a tribute to the level of interest that average collectors take in this field. They may not have a degree proclaiming themselves to be numismatists, or a job in this field, but their long experience have trained their eyes in a manner similar to what is achieved by professionals.
Even professionals cannot agree among themselves 100 percent of the time. If we divided the judges group in half at random, the results tally of each half-group vote would vary from the other. Would the divergence be as wide as the 60 percent public match? I don’t know, but I expect it would be similar. Aside from professional credentials, judges are also influenced by their own backgrounds and geographical locations just as are members of the public.
If there is one fly in the ointment it is that the professionals put a U.S. coin in the winner’s circle in the Best Circulating Coin category. The public did not. Is this a true reflection of public judgment of the merits of the Mount Rushmore quarter, or a chance to snub an institution by individuals who were riled by the operation of a number of U.S. Mint programs this year?
If you did not vote in the first round, do so in the second to choose the Coin of the Year at: http://svy.mk/1ECfYnd. Voting ends Dec. 6. Then we’ll see how you do.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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