Summary of Coin Related Bills from the 112th Congress

dollarsWith no new United States Mint numismatic product releases until next week, I wanted to devote a few posts to coin legislation.

Within Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, “The Congress shall have the Power… To coin Money.” Accordingly, many aspects of what the US Mint does are dictated by specific laws passed by Congress. This includes the denominations authorized for production, the composition & specifications for most coins, the basic coin designs in some instances, and commemorative coin programs. (Incidentally, here are some instances where the US Mint or Treasury Department does have some independent authority related to coinage.)

The 112th United States Congress convened on January 3, 2011 and ended on January 3, 2013. By my count, during this time, there were 30 coin related bills introduced (not counting duplicate bills introduced in both the House and Senate). Ultimately, five of the bills were passed and signed into law.

Commemorative Coin Bills Passed by the 112th Congress and Signed into Law

  • 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame ($5 gold coins, silver dollars, clad half dollars)
  • 2015 March of Dimes (silver dollars)
  • 2015 225th Anniversary of the United States Marshals Service ($5 gold coins, silver dollars, half dollars)
  • 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative ($5 gold coins, silver dollars)
  • 2017 Lions Clubs International Centennial (silver dollars)

Commemorative Coin Bills Not Passed by the 112th Congress

  • 2013 Battlefields of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812
  • 2014 Mother’s Day Centennial
  • 2014 National Future Farmers Commemorative
  • 2015 Marine Corps Aviation Centennial
  • 2015 Panama-Pacific Exposition International Exposition and Panama Canal
  • 2016 James Monroe Commemorative
  • 2016 U.S.S. Cruiser Olympia
  • 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • 2016 National Park Service 100th Anniversary
  • 2017 Ronald Reagan Commemorative
  • 2017 World War I American Veterans Centennial
  • 2017 Boys Town Centennial
  • 2018 100th Anniversary of Korean Immigration

In the 113th Congress, it is likely that some of the above bills will be reintroduced. Already, the bill seeking to authorize a program for the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been reintroduced.

Other Coin Related Not Passed

  • Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011 (to repeal legal tender laws and eliminate tax on precious metals)
  • Wasteful Presidential Coin Act of 2011 (to remove authorization for Presidential Dollars and limit $1 coin production)
  • A bill to terminate the $1 presidential coin program (to remove authorization for Presidential Dollars)
  • Prevention of Wasteful and Unneeded Coins Act of 2011 (to suspend issuance of $1 coins for 15 years)
  • Dollars and Sense Act of 2011 (to issue only two Presidential Dollar designs per year and limit production)
  • Presidential Dollar Coin Efficiency Act of 2011 (to improve the minting and issuance of $1 coins and eliminate stockpile)
  • The Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings Act (to transition from $1 bills to $1 coins)
  • The Currency Efficiency Act of 2011 (to restrict production of Presidential Dollars)
  • Cents and Sensibility Act (to change the composition of cent to copper coated steel)
  • Saving Taxpayer Expenditures by Employing Less Imported Nickel Act (to change the composition of 5-cent coin to steel)
  • Collectible Coin Protection Act (to modify the Hobby Protection Act)
  • Commemorative Coins Reform Act of 2012 (to prohibit the payment of surcharges to private organizations)

Many of the above bills dealt with the issue of the growing hoard of $1 coins held in storage at Federal Reserve Banks, which came in the spotlight in 2011. The issue was ultimately resolved when the Treasury Department using existing authority to suspend production for circulation. Nonetheless, in the 113th Congress, there is already a bill once again seeking to terminate the Presidential Dollar program.

The issue of the composition of the lowest denominations may also see renewed action. In November 2012, the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology held a hearing dealing with circulating coin production and alternative coinage materials. Some members of the hearing wanted to wait for the US Mint’s first required biennial report under the Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010 before coming to any conclusions. In the report the US Mint made no specific recommendations and simply asked for more time for research. Congress may not be willing to wait another two years for recommendations to come from the Mint.

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  1. DCDave says

    They should have made the $1 coin out of copper. It could have been the new “large cent”.

  2. Rod says

    So baseball is in, but football is out (at least so far). How do people feel about that? What is the logic behind what Congress passes and doesn’t given that only two Commemorative programs can be approved each year?

  3. Art says

    Get rid of the paper $1 bill!!. Add a $2 coin. And this will save a bundle. People won’t complain about too much change because of a $2 coin. This is all a no-brainer! C’mon America!

  4. DCDave says

    I want 95% copper like the pennies were, they would tone like old pennies not like these ugly dollars.

  5. Smiledon says

    I for one am glad that the NFL will not get taxpayer money.
    I am sorry that the Reagon coin failed, along with the WWI coin.
    Goes to show you what people today look up to.
    I agree that the paper dollar should go away.
    The metal $1.00 coin is so much better in that respect.
    I also wish that that the Boys Town coin would have passed.
    Steel will rust, and how long will a steel penny last?

  6. says

    re: sales report.

    I’m surprised that the White Mountain Quarter P/D rolls sold 7.5 times as many units as the P/D/S rolls (24,429 P/D units vs 3,385 P/D/S units)

    I would of thought the P/D/S would outsale the P/D’s

  7. VA Bob says

    Off Topic. Just got my 5oz. Denali and two proof ASE’s in today. I’m extremely pleased with the quality. Looks like the Mint has worked out many of the 5oz bugs. Last few have been nice in my experience.

  8. Jerry says

    I have not ever commented before, but by looking at the commemorative coin programs over the past 30+ years, you would think the USA was the reincarnation of ancient Sparta – nearly every coin is devoted to sports or the military. Our country is so much more. And why was there no 250th anniversary coin for Alexander Hamilton, first U.S. Treasurer, in 2007 or 150th anniversary coin for Teddy Roosevelt in 2008? The presidential dollars are terrible – who would want a coin remembering such losers and failures as John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, or James Buchanan, with a few more losers on the way?

  9. steve says

    baseball hall of fame coin is worthless without pete rose. wish they would have picked a more appropriate institution to honor.

  10. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Pay back China and Japan our war debt with all those XS $1 Presedential coins. Let them enjoy our presidents, and make necklaces, rings, keychains and other trinkets with them. They’d be happy to use them in their casinos.

    Over here continue making the coins only 4 collectors up to Reagan. include Carter. On what premise is the provision that you must be a corpse to have your likeness graced on a coin?

  11. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    And on what premise is the provision that Abe Lincoln, God rest his soul, must be on a copper-faced coin? Let him shine in aluminum while we, the tax payers can save money. Let the nickel have Jefferson, although not a military man, shine in Brass. And furthermore let FDR shine in copper, yes, a larger copper dime whose face value would be Greater than the copper value. Ditch the quarter and have Theo. Roosevelt be on a smaller half dollar about the size of a nickel.
    Then have Washington himself be on a $1 coin similar in size to the quarter containing 60% silver. Last but not least, exhibit a portrait of JFK, our inspiration to evolve into space faring species on a new $5 coin about the same size as the present half dollar.

    Eliminate $1, $5 bills. new $10 Washington, new $25 Lincoln, new $50 Hamilton, new $100 Jackson, new $200 Steve Jobs

    The advantages are readily apparent. Washington is still on the dollar, we save money by aluminum and brass 1c and 5c. We get to keep our president’s portraits on our bills. Checkmate. All is won.

  12. Smiledon says

    I am not one for honoring any sport with the tax payer’s money. With that said, honoring some individual from a sport is another thing. I wish that we honor the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon. By then, how many of those alive now will still be here in 6 years? I wish that the FBI, SS, and the Coast Guard be honored. We the people are what make this nation great. Our nation’s armed forces have done so much for us over the years, and continue to do that today. I say honor what that have done, are doing, and will continue to do. We honor our leaders (good, or bad.), people have since the dawn of time, and we always will.

  13. saucexx says

    VA Bob,

    I just sent back a 5 oz Denali, Acadia and Chaco for spots and smearing. Some of the worst I’ve seen. Now the replacement Acadia has a slice in the reverse. All of it easily apparent to the naked eye and worse under a lens.

    I don’t know what it is with these 5 ozers but IMHO they still have issues to work out. I’ve also noticed when you open the box you can usually tell if it’s a returned coin. If the capsule isn’t lined up with the finger hole at aprox 5:00 or the reverse is staring at you, someone has prolly returned the coin before. The coins I’ve had with the biggest problems exhibited this behavior.

  14. Rod says

    @Mint News Blog

    I know that the legal limit is 2 commemorative coin programs per year but it seems one program each year will have just a silver dollar and the other will contain a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar and maybe a half; is that a legal restriction as well?


  15. Mint News Blog says

    The current law states that there should be not more than 2 programs per year, and for each program there shall be not more than 750,000 clad half dollars, not more than 500,000 silver dollars, and not more than 100,000 $5 gold coins.

    Therefore, both programs authorized for a single year could have multiple coins.

  16. jason says

    earlier topic. just got an update from apmex. 2012-P 5 oz Silver ATB Hawaii Volcanoes (w/ box & CoA) available at apmex for $549. wow. i bought mine on ebay after the sell out for $275. i guess i got lucky. last year i was one of those collectors who got caught off guard.
    mine was graded in an ngc slab. where can i buy just the coin holder like the original ones from the mint? noticed today the ungraded coins are going for more than the graded ones on ebay.

  17. Dan in Fla says

    That is a good sign for some of us collectors. I still do not believe in paying someone else for their opinion on my coins. OGP rules.

  18. Wylson says

    “2012-P 5 oz Silver ATB Hawaii Volcanoes (w/ box & CoA) available at apmex for $549.”

    Good way to lose money. It will depreciate at that price or lose it’s premium to spot if silver goes gangbusters. 🙂

  19. Saucexx says

    “2012-P 5 oz Silver ATB Hawaii Volcanoes (w/ box & CoA) available at apmex for $549.”

    Pass. What’s with Apmex and their crazy pricing these days?

  20. Mark in Florida says

    This is OT but today the lady at the bank showed me a silver eagle and said a customer came in and wanted a dollar for it, since it says “one dollar.” What is the point of meaningless denominations on the gold, silver and platinum coins?

  21. VA Bob says

    Saucexx – Maybe I was just lucky, but I was really surprised with the condition of my Denali (and the 2 ASE’s). I’ve seen the rim wrinkles (over pressure?) and I did have to return the Mt. Hood which had a big gouge under GW’s nose. The spots can sometimes materialize over time, even if it’s not evident when one first receives them. All one can do is return if they show up that way.

    I agree. I believe the Mint sends coins back out to customers with hopes of them sticking. Perhaps they take the more noticeable defective ones out (we hope), but it seems they would alleviate problems if they QA’d these better from the get go. After all we are paying a hefty premium for quality.

  22. Craig Thomas says

    I am scared to buy the FS Frances Cleveland 2nd term becuse I saw a number of returns 2 weeks ago. I am hopeing I get a good coin to continue my collection, but am trying to time the ordering. It’s a shame that when one spend 1k on a coin, that they need to worry about being sent a reject!

  23. Buzz Killington says

    Why are our institutions in this country so afraid of change? $5 should be the smallest paper note, and we should have coins from 25 cents to $2. And stopping the mail on Saturday is about 15 years overdue.

    Honestly, the only reason to make so many President dollars is so that when they suddenly stopped making paper notes, there would be a ready substitute.

    But it wouldn’t break my heart if they suspended the Presidential dollar series after 2013 for another 10 years (since there is probably at least ten year supply of coins already minted.)

    As the world becomes more cashless, it doesn’t make any sense to keep the same denominations that we had 100 years ago, when the buying power of those denominations has decreased dramatically.

    A side effect to implementing this would be, like back in the state quarter days, you might interest some new collectors. Without them, our collections are terrible investments.

  24. old folkie says

    Buzz, you’re making way too much sense. we don’t use change/coins because it’s buying power is next to nothing.I don’t think I’d get rid of the dime just yet (wait 10 or 20 years) but the penny and nickel are worthless relics of a time gone by, wasteful examples of how incapable we are of doing something that makes sense, would save us money, and show we’re not stuck in the past.

  25. VA Bob says

    I like the fact that the US has never demonitized any of it’s coins or currency. That said, they (the Mint) can continue to mint cents and nickels for the proof and mint sets for the collector and discontinue them for general circulation. That way we can celebrate our past yet still move forward with the reality of todays economy. Just make those cents in 95% copper and nickels with Ni, since we would be paying a premium anyway.

  26. Buzz Killington says

    They wouldn’t have to demonetize pennies, et al., in order to just stop making them. I don’t think half cents or 3 cents were demonetized — they just stopped making them.

  27. Daniel says

    I believe we should stop the penny altogether
    and have stores round off there price tag. Everyone
    saying it would cost us,who cares its not like were not
    experiencing inflation (LOL).
    Has anyone looked at the new quarters,
    why is it that George Washingtons portrait
    is not detailed,why such the smooth surface??
    And yes a copper colored $1 coin with some awesome
    patriotic designs would do just Great.
    I’m sorry I’m 26 and a coin collector and what
    they mint today is nonsense compared to the
    vintage coins that are more harder to find today
    also more costly. Our government should just make up
    there mind and stop changing coin designs every day.

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