US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Oct. 5, 2020: Too ambitious?

The United States Mint issued three coins to celebrate the Bicentennial of the nation in 1976. New legislation passed in the House would authorize similar coins for the 250th anniversary in 2026.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The legislation I reported on in the Oct. 12 issue, H.R. 1923, approved in the House of Representatives on Sept. 22, is breathtaking in its scope. Early comments from collectors suggest many want nothing to do with the programs sought by the legislation.

Here is what is the bill seeks:

Circulating quarter dollars honoring women to be issued from 2022 through 2025.

Circulating coins in multiple denominations in 2026 celebrating the U.S. semiquincentennial.

Circulating quarter dollars from 2027 through 2030 celebrating youth sports.

Redesigned half dollars from 2027 through 2030 with reverses celebrating sports performed by individuals with disabilities.

Medals with the same designs as the coins celebrating youth sports and sports for the disabled.

Award medals for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Silver bullion coins with the same designs as all of the quarter dollars and half dollars sought from 2022 through 2030, in the now standard 5-ounce size and in “fractional sizes.”

Readers at our Facebook page and website have criticized the legislation as seeking too much. Some collectors, maybe a vocal majority, express weariness with a seemingly unending series of circulating commemorative quarter dollar programs. A few are critical of themes like celebrating the accomplishments of women and youth/disabled sports. I have written about this pushback in the past, and while Coin World has always advocated for new designs for circulating U.S. coins, we also caution the Mint against alienating collectors.

There is more support for the U.S. semiquincentennial coins for 2026. Coin World strongly supports recognizing this historic milestone with circulating coins, especially if all denominations are redesigned on both the obverse and reverse.

The Mint’s core customer base is aging, and while the hobby needs new generations of collectors, little evidence exists that circulating coins with new designs bring in large numbers of replacement collectors. Mint officials need to be careful about pursuing these programs. Don’t break the hobby when trying to boost collecting.

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