BEP products going to the Smithsonian for display
- Published: Dec 7, 2020, 8 AM
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is in the process of making its annual “contribution” to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection.
The donation is not optional but required by law under two sections of the United States Code as well as a Treasury Department Order, and is officially called a “transfer.” The requirements are in a BEP Circular originally dated Dec. 21, 2016, that is updated annually.
The code requirements concern “Reception and Arrangement of Specimens and Objects of Art,” and “Providing Impressions of Portraits and Vignettes.” The order from Treasury is titled “Delegation of Authority to the Director, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, to Transfer Dies, Rolls, Plates, and Seals.”
Responsibility for deciding on the items to be given to the Smithsonian falls to the Chief of the Office of External Relations. The BEP’s Marketing Division and Historical Resource Center then collect not only the items to be transferred, but also any brochures and other related materials.
Items offered to collectors through the BEP’s Public Sales Program are included: a set of the annual Intaglio Print Collection; a sample of each portrait and vignette offered for sale to the public; an uncut currency sheet of each series and denomination (the smallest sheet size offered, usually a sheet of four notes); a set of each commemorative numismatic product manufactured by the BEP; and a sample of any new series currency note. The BEP also may transfer to the Smithsonian any other items authorized and approved by the BEP’s director, such as currency readers, or other collectibles.
Among the premium products offered in the last year were issues of “Lucky Money” for the Lunar New Year, and America’s Founding Fathers 2020 Currency Set containing $1 and $2 notes with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the first and third presidents. Each note has serial numbers beginning with “2020.”
The National Numismatic Collection contains more than 1.6 million objects and is one of the largest numismatic collections in the world and the largest in North America. It is part of the National Museum of American History on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
The BEP has transferred items to the Smithsonian’s collection since the 1920s.
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