To Members of Congress:
On behalf of all the members of the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, I am pleased to submit our Annual Report for your review. I sincerely hope you find this report useful and gain a better understanding of the work we do. The report identifies the critical issues that affect the commemorative coin program and will influence its future.
We are encouraged by the progress we have seen since our committee was established seven years ago, and, especially, since the passage of the Commemorative Coin Reform Act of 1996. Together we must remain vigilant to ensure continued progress.
Each member of this committee is proud of the CCCAC’s record of public service. We are honored by this responsibility and enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with each of you to create a brighter future for the commemorative coin program.
Thank you for reviewing this, our 7th Annual Report to Congress. We appreciate the time and effort you devote to these important issues.
Elsie Sterling Howard
Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee
In the best of all possible worlds, the demand would be high for every commemorative
coin minted. But history and experience have demonstrated that hasn’t always been the case. The Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee’s job is to offer guidance and advice about the marketability of a new commemorative coin before the process begins, so that neither the coin’s sponsor, nor the Member who backs authorizing legislation, nor the nation’s coin collectors are disappointed by a coin program that doesn’t appeal to the public. For the commemorative coin program to prosper, both the number of programs authorized and the number of coins minted for each issue must reflect realistic market demand.
The CCCAC’s original report (1994) recommended standards of design and production that were incorporated into the Commemorative Coin Reform Act (CCRA). This act limits the manufacture of coin issues to two programs per year, and encourages program sponsors to keep mintages low. When too many commemorative coins flood the marketplace, their value
quickly diminishes and sales falter. So far, Congressional leadership has strengthened our collaboration with Congress; the process whereby commemorative coins are authorized and issued is on-track, and the CCCAC is confident that our working relationship with the 107th Congress will continue to guarantee that coin collectors get the products they want.
Today, the partnership among the Citizen’s Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, Congress and the sponsoring organizations who back new coins has stabilized the market for commemorative coins. The 50 State Quarters Program – the longest running and most successful program of its kind – has reignited interest in coin collecting. One hundred and fourteen million Americans are now collecting state quarters, and most are new to the hobby. Now that we’ve captured their interest, the challenge is figuring out how to keep it – how to turn millions of new collectors into customers for commemorative coins.
We believe the best way to do this is to work together with our partners so that we can maintain a disciplined and responsible approach to the authorization of commemorative coins. Although the number of collectors has increased over the past few years, due in no small part to the CCRA and to the introduction of the new state quarters, the market is still fragile. In addition, coin sales are still strongly affected by the choice of themes and designs. For example, the 1994 Thomas Jefferson Silver Dollar was a best seller – all 600,000 coins sold out in six weeks. On the other hand, the multiple coin sets for the 1995-96 Atlanta Olympic Coins did poorly.
We also believe regular, open communication among the CCCAC, Congress and sponsoring organizations is critical to our success. One of the ways the committee is encouraging dialogue is through our new Web site at ccac.gov. We need to know what coin collectors are thinking and what customers believe make a commemorative coin worth their time and money. We’re also reaching out to Americans at coin shows, through the numismatic press, and at American Numismatic Association conventions.
As promising as our future seems to be, at the CCCAC, we’re also concerned about our past – America’s great history and the part that the nation’s coinage plays in making it come alive. Our coins carry out legends, preserve our heritage and proclaim our pride. We believe every American wants to hold on to pieces of the past and to celebrate our accomplishments. Our coins are time and travel machines – taking us to places we may never see, touching moments we will never live. We’re looking forward to the day – perhaps in the near future – when the American people will be able to view the National Numismatic Collection at a new museum slated to open at U.S. Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C.
In closing, the CCCAC is committed to sustaining what has been an effective dialogue with Congress as well as with those organizations considering sponsorship of commemorative coin legislation. Our aim is to enhance the commemorative coin program, which so clearly benefits our nation, its treasury, its history and its citizens. The Commemorative Coin Program needs and deserves your protection and strategic oversight in order to endure and flourish.
Elsie Sterling Howard, Chairman
Thomas V. Shockley, III
Impact of the Commemorative Coin Program
America’s Commemorative Coin Program offers Congress and the nation an opportunity to showcase the people, places and events that distinguish our history. Every year, American coin collectors purchase millions of commemorative coins, drawn to certain selections whose designs and themes strike a familiar or favorite chord. When this happens, everyone involved in bringing a commemorative coin to market has a reason to celebrate. Healthy sales figures are great and an important part of the program’s success story – but what many people don’t know or appreciate is “the rest of the story” — how far the profits from commemorative coins go to support worthy and charitable causes.
The 1986 Statue of Liberty Coin is a perfect example. The coin was a huge success with collectors – a record 15.4 million coins were sold. All the profits from the sale of these coins – more than $83.2 million – went toward refurbishing and restoring the actual statue in New York harbor. These precious dollars translated into another century of health for one of America’s most precious landmarks. America’s coin collectors have supported four different Olympic commemorative coin programs since 1984, channeling more than $130 million into supporting funds for our Olympic athletes. The 1992 White House 200th Anniversary Coin was a sell-out, and the $5 million in surcharges it generated went toward restoring what the present Administration has so appropriately called “America’s House.” Mt. Rushmore, Monticello and Montpelier – each is an American icon and among the 36 historic places and monuments that have benefited from the more than $409 million raised through the sale of commemorative coins over the past 18 years.
Clearly, the Commemorative Coin Program works best when it benefits collectors and sponsoring organizations alike. Since our first report to Congress in 1994, the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee has urged Congress to limit commemorative coin programs and the number of coins minted. Our collaboration with Congress, sponsoring organizations and the numismatic community has benefited everyone involved. Congress has authorized more reasonable mintages, sales have recovered, and the market is significantly more stable. The CCCAC and the 107th Congress now have an opportunity to build an even closer partnership between the people who conceive and design our nation’s commemorative coins and the millions of American coin collectors who treasure them.
Commemorative Coin Program Designs and Timeline
The CCCAC is working hard to improve its communications with sponsoring organizations. In many cases, sponsoring organizations have unrealistic expectations about the way commemorative coins are created and marketed. We begin by encouraging sponsoring organizations to meet with us as early as possible, to work with us when legislation is first proposed, as it is being developed, after the legislation is passed and when coin designs are being developed.
The committee is launching a new Web site ccac.gov – that will let citizens and coin collectors register their views on design and comment on other production issues. We need to know what coin collectors are thinking and what customers believe make a commemorative coin worth their time and money. Our experience with the very successful 50 State Quarters Program proved how important early consultation and cooperation can be. We’re also reaching out to the public at coin shows, through the numismatic press, and at American Numismatic Association conventions. The better we understand one another before the process begins, the better product we can expect at the end.
It’s very important that sponsoring organizations understand how much time must be given to the design process. While the sponsors generally have a design concept they would like to see translated into a coin, there are other considerations that must be made.
Research tells us that coin collectors have very clear preferences about the designs and themes they prefer. Generally, collectors favor traditional or classical designs – the Walking Liberty by Augustus St. Gaudens and the Pratt gold coins are considered the finest examples of coin design ever produced. We need to repeat these successes, and we can, if we focus on design excellence and begin to look at a wider variety of themes for use on commemorative coins. For example, Congress might consider coins commemorating the Arts, music, entertainment, science, industrial achievements and architecture.
The CCCAC also is interested in bringing the talents of contemporary artists and sculptors into the design process. There are a number of ways to do this: Web sites that invite submissions and comments, design contests, and outreach efforts like the ones state governors used in search of designs for the 50 State Quarters Program. It’s important, of course, that the Mint acquires quality designs at a reasonable cost, and that the designs the Mint does decide to purchase represent the best work of America’s most talented artists.
Design details also must facilitate production. A design has to be aesthetically pleasing; it should clearly illustrate the event, person or place being commemorated; and it also must meet the manufacturing standard known as “coinability.” A coin that doesn’t meet these criteria – one that’s been poorly designed, for example — adds significant time and cost to the program. Features like edge lettering and incused engraving are attractive concepts, but these techniques slow down the production process and have not increased marketability. At the CCCAC, we believe that the Mint should meet with sponsoring organizations at the beginning of the design process to talk about the technical aspects of coin design.
Authorizing legislation for commemorative coins mandates comment by the CCCAC and the Commission of Fine Arts for each commemorative coin design. This guarantees that the two committees that best understand the interests of the numismatic community and the art of coin design have an opportunity to critique the designs before they are sent to the Secretary of Treasury.
Bringing a commemorative coin to market is a labor- and time-intensive process. A typical timeframe for the process is about 36 weeks. The CCCAC suggests that the Mint and sponsoring organizations agree on a timeline for design, production and launch. Clearly, things can run much smoother when everyone involved understands how the design and manufacturing issues can slow or speed the process. In response to public requests, we’ve included a typical timeline for design and production in the appendix of this report.
- Importance of Congress adhering to the Commemorative Coin Reform Act. In its first report to Congress, the CCCAC indicated a drop in commemorative coin sales by 80% from 1986 to 1994. Inflated mintage limits depressed value in the secondary markets and undermined collector confidence. Sponsoring organizations collected two-thirds less total surcharges from the sale of coins than in previous years. In recent years, we have seen a gradual recovery in the numbers; however, we believe it is still vitally important for Congress to add here to the guidelines established in the Commemorative Coin Reform Act.
- Need for legislation to remain unchanged after passage. The Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee asks Congress to stand by the legislation it passes and to ensure that programs are implemented in the same manner that they were signed into law. Recent attempts to change mintage limits and surcharges after bills become law undermine the numismatic community’s trust in the program. The CCCAC voiced similar concerns in 1997 when Jackie Robinson commemorative coin sponsors attempted to change the legislation after the bill had been signed into law.
- Recommend continuity in CCCAC membership. Since the CCCAC was established in 1993, a total of eleven representatives have served on the committee in voting and non-voting capacity. Authorizing law mandates a five-year term for members. The U.S. Mint is currently drafting its recommendation for the next term of appointments. We recommend that, even though all current members have served their five-year term, it would not be prudent to appoint all new members in 2001. We recommend, instead, holding over a certain number of the current committee for a period of time to provide continuity as new members are appointed.
- Suggest a stronger role for the CCCAC. Current law mandates that the design process for commemorative coins include comment and review by the CCCAC and the Commission of Fine Arts before the design is submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. While this guarantees that final designs enjoy the imprimatur of the organizations best qualified to judge their value, the CCCAC believes that Congress should consider endowing it with the same authority vested in the Postal Advisory Board and allow the CCCAC to make the final design selection for commemorative coins.
- Need for Copyright Protection. In previous annual reports, the CCCAC has identified problems the U.S. Mint encounters when private mints use designs similar to those created by the U.S. Mint. In these cases, the public often believes that the coins issued by private mints are affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Mint. On September 19, 2000, the Mint received encouraging news regarding its litigation against the Washington Mint for its marketing of a Golden Dollar replica. The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota granted the United States a Partial Motion for Preliminary Injunction. In response to the United States government’s claims of copyright infringement, the court enjoined the Washington Mint, Novus Marketing, and various individuals from producing, advertising, marketing and selling replicas of the new dollar coin. In response to the claims of the United States government regarding trademark infringement, trademark dilution and false and deceptive advertising claims, the court ordered the parties to file model disclaimer language. Based on these submissions, the Court will issue a Final Order for Preliminary Injunction. The anticipated order will preclude the defendants from using their trademark unless each page of their advertisements, Web pages, order forms and other marketing tools also contains a noticeable, clear and boldly written disclaimer of any association with the United States government.
- Support of the hobby through a Mint museum. The CCCAC endorses the creation of a museum to display the National Numismatic Collection at the U.S. Mint headquarters building in Washington, DC. The museum would be located on the ground floor of the new Mint building and would provide an excellent opportunity for visitors to see the history behind U.S. coinage. The public tours of the Denver and Philadelphia Mints are major tourist attractions in those cities, drawing more than 300,000 visitors a year. A numismatic museum in Washington, D.C. promises to be just as strong a draw. It also would offer the collectors who have contributed so much to the nation through the commemorative coin program a permanent exhibition of the coins they treasure.
Five Year Recommendations for Commemorative Programs
Since the inception of the CCCAC, the committee has met and worked closely with individual sponsoring organizations to ensure that the commemorative coin program meets the criteria for the development of a commemorative issue. The CCCAC supports the commemorative coin programs described below. Each has been identified as either a recommended program or a program supported by Public Law.
|2001||Capitol Visitor’s Center (Public Law 106-126)
Buffalo Coin (Public Law 106-375)
|2002||United States Military Academy (Public Law 103-328)
Salt Lake City Olympics (Pending legislation)
|2003||First Flight (Public Law 105-124)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Pending legislation)
|2004||Thomas Alva Edison (Public Law 105-331)
|2004||Lewis and Clark (Public Law 106-126)
|2005||50thAnniversary of the Polio Vaccine (Proposed theme)
175thAnniversary of the first American-built train (Proposed theme)
The Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee (CCCAC) was established in 1993 under Public Law 102-390. According to Public Law 102-390, the CCCAC shall:
“(A) designate annually the events, persons, or places that the Advisory Committee recommends be commemorated by the issuance of commemorative coins in each of the 5 calendar years succeeding the year in which such designation is made;
(B) make recommendation with respect to the mintage level for any commemorative coin recommended under subparagraph (A); and
(C) submit a report to the Congress containing a description of the events, persons, or places which the Committee recommends be commemorated by a coin, the mintage level recommended for any such commemorative coin, and the Committee’s reasons for such recommendation.”
Activities in 2000
During 2000, the CCCAC met several times, twice as a group. The first meeting was held on Friday, August 11 during the American Numismatic Association Conference in Philadelphia, PA. At this meeting the committee met with new Mint Director Jay W. Johnson. A second meeting was held in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, November 14. The committee also met several times during the year via conference call. At these times, members focused on coinage issues and reviewed coin designs. Members also discussed sales of current coin programs; secondary market performance; current legislation; press concerns; and future strategies for the commemorative coin program calendar and communications schedules.
The following criteria were developed by the CCCAC and reported to Congress in the committee’s 1994 Annual Report. It continues to provide parameters and guidelines for recommendations relating to commemorative coin issues. The criteria were developed in conjunction with public review and comment; comments from the public were actively solicited through the general and numismatic press; through a public forum on July 30, 1994; at the annual convention of the American Numismatic Association in Detroit, Michigan; and through direct contact with CCCAC members, who made themselves available to the public by telephone, fax and mail. Over the past seven years, the CCCAC has continued to solicit comment from the public, numismatic community and from Congress. Adherence to these criteria remains a priority and a necessity for a strong commemorative coin program.
CRITERIA FOR COMMEMORATIVE COIN SUBJECT SELECTION
Our nation’s coinage should be a permanent reflection of its values and culture. The Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee is committed to the selection of themes and designs for commemorative coins that represent the noblest values and achievements of the nation, recognizing the widest variety of contributions to our history and culture. A primary goal of the committee is to ensure that all commemorative themes and designs meet the highest standards for artistic excellence.
In furtherance of these goals, the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee has established the following criteria for the selection of commemorative themes for coins of the United States:
- Historical persons, places, events and themes to be commemorated should have an
enduring effect on the nation’s history or culture. Their significance should be
national or international in scope.
- Events to be commemorated should have national or international significance
and draw participation from across America or around the world.
- No living person should be honored by commemoration on U.S. coins.
- United States commemorative coins should be issued in the appropriate year of commemoration.
- Historical events should generally be considered for commemoration on important
or significant anniversaries.
- Commemorative themes and designs should not be considered if one treating the
same subject has been issued in the past 10 years.
- Commemorative coinage designs should reflect traditional American coin iconography
as well as contemporary developments in the arts.
- Designs should be determined in consultation with sponsoring organizations but
should not be determined by legislation.
- Commemorative coinage should not be required to contain logos and emblems
of non-governmental organizations as part of the design.
- Coins should be dated in the year of their issuance.
- Legislation authorizing the production of coins should be enacted no less
than nine months prior to the date on which the coins may first be available to the public.
Modernera Commemorative Coin Programs
|Year||Commemorative||Purpose of Surcharges||Surcharges|
|1984||1984 Olympics||Training of athletes and staging of 84 Olympics in Los Angeles||$73,400,000|
|1986||Statue of Liberty — Ellis Island||To restore, renovate and maintain the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island facilities.||$83,100,000|
|1987||Bicentennial of the United States Constitution||Deposited in the Treasury general fund||$52,700,000|
|1988||1988 Olympics||Training of U.S. Olympic athletes||$22,900,000|
|1989||Bicentennial of the United States Congress||Half to the Capitol Preservation Fund, balance turned over to Treasury general fund||$14,600,000|
|1990||Dwight David Eisenhower||Deposited in the Treasury general fund||$9,700,000|
|1991||Mount Rushmore||Half to maintain the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, half turned over to Treasury general fund||$12,000,000|
|Korean War Veterans Memorial Thirty-English Anniversary||Construction and maintenance of Korean War Veterans memorial||$5,800,000|
|United Services Organization’s 50th Anniversary||Half to provide funding in support of USO programs, half turned over to Treasury general fund||$3,100,000|
|1992||1992 Olympics||To U.S Olympic Committee, for purposes as appropriate||$9,200,000|
|White House||To maintain the White House Collectioin of fine art and historic rooms and furnishings||$5,000,000|
|Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Coins||To be available to the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation||$7,600,000|
|1993||James Madison — Bill of Rights||To encourage teaching and graduate study of the Constitution of the United States||$9,200,000|
|World War II 50th Anniversary||To build and maintain a D-Day and Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum in France, to encourage visits to that museum, and to fund a World War II memorial in D.C||$7,800,000|
|1994||World Cup USA||To organize and stage the 1994 World Cup and to provide scholarships||$9,300,000|
|Thomas Jefferson||To maintain Monticello, for educational programs and for restoration and maintenance of Jefferson’s Poplar Forest||$6,000,000|
|U.S. Veterans||For the construction and maintenance of the Andersonville Prisoner of War Museum and other national cemeteries, maintenance of the Vietnam Veterans memorial and for the creation, dedication and maintenance of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial||$8,400,000|
|U.S. Capitol||To be available to the United States Capitol Preservation Commission||$5,200,000|
|1995||1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympics Games||To stage and promote the Atlanta Olympic Games and to support amateur athletes||$26,200,000|
|Civil War Battlefield||To preserve historically significant Civil War battlefields||$5,900,000|
|1995 Special Olympics World Games||To demonstrate the talents of Special Olympics athletes and to underwrite cost of staging and promoting the 1995 Special Olympics World Games||$4,400,000|
|1996||Smithsonian Institution Sesquincentennial||15 percent to support the operation and activities of the National Numismatic Collection and balance to be available as detemined appropriate by Smithsonian Board of Regents||$2,700,000|
|National Community Service||To fund innovaticommunity service programs at American universities||$1,200,000|
|1997||United States Botanic Garden||Paid to the National Fund for the U.S. Botannic Garden||$3,500,000|
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt||Paid to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission||$1,400,000|
|Jackie Robinson||From the first 100,000 coins sold, surcharges paid to the U.S. Botanic Garden, from all other coins, surcharges paid to enhance programs of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and increase availability of scholarchips for economically disadvantaged youths||$1,400,000|
|National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial||To support the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Maintenance Fund||$1,400,000|
|1998||Robert F. Kennedy Memorial||To improve the endowment of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial||$2,000,000|
|Black Revolutionary War Patriots||To establish an endowment to support the construction of a Black Revolutionary War Patriots Memorial||$1,000,000|
|1999||Dolley Madison||For restoration and maintenance of Montpelier||$3,100,000|
|George Washington||To preserve and maintain Mount Vernon and to education Americans about the life of George Washington||$2,200,000|
|Yellowstone National Park||Half to be paid to Yellowstone National Park, half to National Park Foundation to be used for the suport of national parks||$2,700,000|
|2000||Library of Congress Bicentennial||In support of bicentennial programs, educational outreach and other activities of the Library of Congress||$2,800,000*|
|Lief Ericson Millenium||To fund student exchanges between students of the United States and students of Iceland||$2,500,000*|
Commemorative Coin Timeline
What follows is a reasonable timeframe for the development of a commemorative coin from design through launch of sales.
|Coin Design Process
|Engraving/Coin Process||12 – 14 weeks|
|Pre-Issue Marketing||14 – 16 weeks|
|Print Materials||4 weeks|