The Girl Scouts of the USA commemorative silver dollar program should have been a win for both the U.S. Mint and the Girl Scouts, as both organizations would have benefited by big coin sales.
Instead, it was a dud by at least one standard: it failed to raise any funds for the Girl Scouts. Public Law 104-208 mandates that all costs be recovered prior to distributing surcharges.
Congress authorized 350,000 Girl Scouts dollars, of which just 123,817 were sold as of Dec. 31, the final day of sales.
In contrast, the 2010 Boy Scouts of America commemorative silver dollar raised around $3.5 million in surcharges, at $10 per coin, delivered to the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation. The 350,000 authorized 2010 Boy Scouts dollars sold out in about four months.
Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez joined Treasurer of the United States Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28 to launch the dollar, but the Girl Scouts did not seem to actively promote it beyond providing notice of its availability on its website.
Numerous factors are at play here. Yes, boys tend to collect coins more than girls, just as more men than women are in numismatics. Yes, the Boy Scouts dollars were less expensive initially because silver was cheaper in 2010 versus 2013. But the Boy Scouts also took a more active role in promoting these coins to its constituency.
One lesson here it is that surcharge beneficiary organizations have to be diligent to make sure that a target audience both is aware of a commemorative coin and actually buys it!
The burden cannot rest solely on the U.S. Mint to promote commemorative coin programs. ■