Monday Morning Brief for Jan. 16, 2023: Good news for 2023
- Published: Jan 16, 2023, 7 AM
Customers of the United States Mint will get to save some money in 2023, thanks to the lack of congressional approval for any commemorative coins this year. I think that is great news.
As 2022 ticked closer and closer to ending, I expected a flurry of last-minute legislative actions. We witnessed some of that, but it was for congressional gold medal legislation, not for commemorative coins.
Paul Gilkes reports on the commemorative coin legislation introduced during the last Congress, none of which was reported out of committee.
Themes were mixed and in my opinion, many of them were good examples of all that is wrong in commemorative coin programs. Take, as example, H.R. 6681, the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial Commemorative Coin Act. Had it been enacted, it would have authorized 2023-dated coins to celebrate an anniversary that occurred in 2022. The only reason a 2022 program was not sought was the presence of two other commemorative coin programs in 2022, the maximum permitted per year under congressional rules.
Another example of wrong-headed themes was H.R. 4703, the Sultana Steamboat Disaster Commemorative Coin Act of 2021. The great tragedy is barely remembered today and the sinking of the boat occurred in 1865, so there is no anniversary connection to 2023. The proposal was nothing more than an attempted cash grab from collectors for a local entity focused on an event that 99% of Americans never heard of.
The worst legislation seeking 2023 coinage was H.R. 8244, the Granite Mountain Hotshots Commemorative Coin Act, The legislation sought three denominations in Proof and Uncirculated versions, 20 different designs for each, which would have resulted in 120 different coins! Collectors would never have embraced this program, which would have been the largest commemorative coin program in U.S. history.
Technically, the new Congress could still authorize 2023 commemorative coinage. Doing so would impose a huge burden on the Mint, which needs time to prepare designs and tooling and acquire planchets. Let us hope that we will continue to get a gap year in 2023.
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