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What's Ron Paul Up to?
April 06, 2011

Is Ron Paul ready for his close-up like the character Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, or will he prove to be a canny overseer of the U.S. Mint?

Tomorrow might just tell the tale.

At 10 a.m. Eastern Time Paul’s Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology will hold a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to look into the question, “Bullion Coin Programs of the United States Mint: Can They Be Improved?”

Anybody who follows the bullion coin programs would answer yes to that question, and in fact one of the four witnesses starts his testimony by giving that answer.

But Raymond Nessim of Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc., of New York City continues in the advance copy of his testimony posted on the subcommittee’s web page to raise an interesting question of his own.

“We are assuming that problems that may have promoted this hearing may be

"a) Current silver Eagle coin supply shortage in relation to unusual current high demand

"b) Circumstances surrounding distribution of the 2010 America the Beautiful ('ATB') five ounce silver bullion coin program

The fact that a witness at a congressional hearing doesn’t quite know the nature of the inquiry is curious.

It is made all the more so because of the four witnesses called to testify, absent will be the U.S. Mint.

You would think with such a topic, the U.S. Mint would be front and center, but it is not.

Even if the hearing goes sharply against the Mint, Paul seems to be violating the credo of the hanging judges of the Old West who at least kept up appearances when they said: “first we’ll give them a fair trial, then we’ll hang ‘em.”

So what is Chairman Paul up to?

We’ll see tomorrow.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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