US Coins

Baseball coin unveiling shut out by shutdown

Coinage and paper money production has been unaffected by the federal government shutdown, though various coin-related activities are either postponed or threatened with postponement.

Coin image from files; note image courtesy of BEP.

The unveiling of the finalized designs for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins is postponed because of the budget crisis in Washington.

The partial shutdown of the federal government starting Oct. 1 will not stop the nation’s money factories from striking coins and printing paper money, although government coin-related events and sites are being affected.

The Oct. 8 Baseball coin design unveiling is postponed; the National Numismatic Collection is closed for the duration; and the next coin launch and review of future coin designs could be affected if the shutdown lasts more than a few weeks.

The shutdown results from the failure of Congress to pass a spending bill for the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

What follows is the status (as of Oct. 4) of various government agencies, programs and events related to coinage and paper money.

U.S. Mint production: Production of coinage is unaffected at the Mint’s four production facilities, as are sales to the Mint’s customers (the Federal Reserve, authorized purchasers of bullion coins, collectors). U.S. Mint spokesperson Heather Sabharwal said Sept. 30 “that since the U.S. Mint is funded from sources other than congressional appropriations[,] all Mint production facilities will remain open and in operation. Mint operations are financially supported through two separate revolving funds established under Mint reform legislation in 1996.”

According to the Mint, the public tours and sales areas at the Philadelphia Mint and Denver Mint remain open.

BEP production: Production of Federal Reserve notes is unaffected at the bureau’s two production facilities. The BEP does not rely on budget appropriations for its operating funding. The BEP sells Federal Reserve notes to the Federal Reserve at face value, which is well above each note’s production costs.

Smithsonian Institution, Nat­ional Numismatic Collection exhibit: All national museums are closed, including all Smithsonian facilities, among them Museum of American History, where the National Numismatic Collection is stored and displayed. Valeska M. Hilbig, Deputy Director, Office of Public Affairs, for the Museum of American History, said on Sept. 30, “we will be out of the office and unable to respond to emails or phone calls until further notice.”

While the Museum of American History is temporarily shuttered to the public, the closure will not affect ongoing renovations for an expanded numismatic exhibit gallery.

“The renovation construction will continue and we will be able to make up any lost days this fall and spring. The opening isn’t until May 2015, thankfully,” Hilbig said.

Some Republicans in Congress were advocating legislation that would fund some government agencies, including the Smithsonian, during the shutdown, but the White House indicated it would veto such legislation.

Baseball Hall of Fame unveiling: The public unveiling of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin designs, originally scheduled for Oct. 8, has been postponed indefinitely because of the shutdown, according to Michael White of the Mint’s Office of Public Affairs.

Also delayed is announcement of the winners of the kids design challenge, with five winners in each of the three age groups.

Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee: As of Oct. 4, the Oct. 18 meeting of the CCAC was still on the schedule, according to the Mint. Details about what coin designs the CCAC might review are unavailable.

Commission of Fine Arts: According to the CFA website, “In the event that the shutdown lasts for an extended period, the Commission of Fine Arts staff will notify the public on this website about the status of the next meeting of the Commission of Fine Arts, currently scheduled for Thursday, October 17. We will be unable to resume operations, including notification about the schedule of meetings, until funding is appropriated by Congress for the new fiscal year.”

Series 2009 $100 note unveiling: The unveiling of the new $100 Federal Reserve note was scheduled for Oct. 8 in Washington, D.C. As of Oct. 4, Coin World had not received details about the ceremony’s status.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial quarter dollar launch ceremony: The Mint’s Sabharwal said, “Things are changing moment by moment regarding the budget funding bill, but the Mount Rushmore event is scheduled for Nov. 6, 2013. We will have a contingency plan in the event that it is needed.” The launch is set to be held in Custer, S.D., and not at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, which, as part of the National Park Service, is shut down. ¦

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