Paper Money

Monday Morning Brief for Sept. 11, 2023: Awaiting a response, repeatedly

The BEP has made changes to how it prints some $1 notes that could result in an end to the production of star notes. BEP officials, however, were not immediately forthcoming to our questions on the agency's plans.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Our lead article this week, about changes to how Federal Reserve notes are produced that might result in an end to the production of star notes, includes no commentary from the press office of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing — not because freelance writer Arthur L. Friedberg did not ask the BEP questions (he did), but because we received no response by the time we closed the print/digital versions of the Sept. 25 issue of Coin World.

On a related point, the same issue features no news from the United States Mint — again, not from a lack of questions to the Mint’s press officers. Senior editor Paul Gilkes asks the Mint for updates almost on a daily basis; responses from Mint officials are rarely made in a timely manner. For example, the July 10 issue features a lead news article speculating that the Mint had fulfilled a Federal Reserve  order for 2023 Kennedy half dollars for circulation. Paul asked the Mint for comment and confirmation while working on that article; now, in the last issue with a September issue date, we still await a response from the Mint that goes beyond, “We’re working on it.”

I want to stress that we are not blaming BEP and Mint employees in their respective press offices. They are professionals at their job, some with years of experience in working with media.

Blame falls on the individuals in both money-making agencies who have the answers to our many questions but who choose, for whatever reason, to not provide the information to the press officers. The media specialists cannot answer questions from Coin World staff and contributors when their fellow employees do not provide the needed information.

In addition to our questions about 2023 Kennedy half dollars and Federal Reserve notes, we want know, for example, when the BEP might resume offering collector products such as uncut sheets of notes and when the 2023 Uncirculated Coin set goes on sale.

We understand that response may not be immediate; there are legitimate reasons that it might take a week or two for BEP and Mint officials to complete their research and provide a response. Routine questions, however, should not take months to answer. There is no good reason for the lack of answers to our question about 2023 half dollars for circulation.

The public has a right to know, in a timely manner.


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