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Better Designs, Better Not Carp
November 29, 2011

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee meets today in Washington, D.C. As usual, I will be curious to see what designs for the 2013 America the Beautiful quarters they recommend as well as their recommendations for the 2012 First Spouse and platinum Eagle programs.

My fascinating with coin designs matches just about every other hobbyist. Basically, we all know what we like and over the years we haven’t been bashful in telling the world what we don’t like.

We have allies in that task on the CCAC, which declared in 2010 that it was going to help the Mint upgrade its processes to assure the adoption of good art for our nation’s coins and medals.

Who could object to that?

No one that I have encountered.

But oddly, the very act of trying to improve numismatic art in the United States has seemed to subdue collectors in their expression of opinions about current designs.

Is it because they think these designs in recent months are so much better that they are beyond criticism, or is it because they feel it would not be supportive of the CCAC’s worthy ambitions to blast current design proposals?

This is not to say that there hasn’t been an occasional comment from collectors, but in absolute numbers, the response level has declined.

Are we on the right path with coin designs? Are they indeed getting better?

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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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