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    Modern Numismatics

    Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. He writes about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.

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  • Streamline the Coin Design Review Process

    My Coin World colleague, Paul Gilkes, recently wrote a provocative post that asked if we need two different coin design advisory panels, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission on Fine Arts.

    My response is that we only need one, the CCAC, which is better suited to the task because its members include people who have expertise in numismatics, medallic art, and other areas that are highly relevant to the coin design review process. 

    Moreover, most members of the current CCAC are coin collectors or used to be collectors, and that is likely true of most former members as well.  This makes them more in tune with what collectors want, even if collectors are not always happy with their recommendations.

    While I respect the Commission on Fine Arts, the fact that all but one of its members, as Paul explained, have expertise in architectural matters and landscape design, is one of several reasons why they are not as well suited for this process as the CCAC.

    In addition, in the past there have been frequent instances in which the two bodies recommended different coin designs, and the Secretary of the Treasury has tended to go with the CCAC’s choices.

    Then there is the fact that the CCAC works very closely with the U.S. Mint, and of course meets at the Mint’s headquarters in Washington, DC, or one of the branch mints.

    And current and former CCAC members are prominent and passionate members of the numismatic community, as seen, for example, in the recent efforts of former member Michael Olson, who has been instrumental in the push for a set of commemorative coins marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

    Perhaps the most important reason for having only the CCAC reviews coin and medal designs and themes is that there is a pressing need to streamline the review process.

    A good example of why this is needed is the 2015 American Platinum Eagle design, which was only announced a couple weeks ago.

    The CCAC and CFA had recommended different designs for this coin last year, but if only the CCAC designs had been considered by the Secretary, the design selection would have been announced much sooner, which might have speed up the process.

    The shortage of platinum planchets is delaying the release of the 2015 coin, but if the design had been selected earlier, it is possible that the planchets would have already been obtained.

    A final consideration is that it is critical that the views of a wide range of coin collectors be considered when making coin design recommendations, and the CCAC is clearly better suited to reaching out to collectors because of the background and interests of its members.