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Collector Gets a Dream Assignment
November 05, 2009

How would you feel if you suddenly found yourself appointed to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and had to advise the secretary of the Treasury about new coin designs?

Every collector’s dream, right?

The newest member to the CCAC, Michael A. Olson, a Pella, Iowa, banker certainly embodies that theory.

The lifelong collector was appointed to the 11-member CCAC Oct. 23 by the Treasury secretary to a four-year term.

He was nominated by the minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Olson talked to Coin Chat Radio for its Nov. 5 program.

Though he doesn’t remember what exactly sparked his interest, he began collecting coins as a kid in the 1970s. He built a collection of Franklin half dollars and perhaps unusually, managed to keep it through the high expense years of college and early family life.

Now age 46, he continues to be an active collector who visits Iowa area coin shows and club meetings on an occasional basis.

He likes the Presidential dollar series and points out that any purchase he makes that costs less than $10 is likely to be paid for with the coins.

Perhaps that is why the American Bankers Association made him a member and acting chairman of the Presidential Dollar Coin Working Group. As a collector and a banker, he clearly believes in his mission.

Olson also doesn’t want to put a foot wrong. He knows he will be working with 10 other people who have distinguished backgrounds and expertise, but he does admit, “It would be nice to have input while I’m on the committee.”

He is a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard and as such he hopes that there will be more military themed commemorative coins in the future, but is very low key about his personal design and theme enthusiasms. He doesn’t want to do anything to mark him out as not a team player.

Many collectors might not be so restrained, but that is probably why Olson has made it to the CCAC and been given the chance to help shape coin designs for the next four years.

I am envious. Aren't you?

Visit for the full program.

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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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