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Thanks for the Barbecue
March 26, 2010

With all the waiting this week for big announcements, it wasn’t until today that I could take a breath and comment on a special event. It wasn’t a big event. It was a nice event. It was an event that makes me think I am glad I am a collector.

The American Numismatic Association arranged a Texas-Sized BBQ at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western Currency Facility on Wednesday night. The one thing they couldn’t control was the weather. We all got a little wet in a downpour.

Nevertheless, it was a great time, because it was a very relaxed and social occasion for convention attendees who ordered tickets. It was a perfect opportunity to look the place over.

Despite all the attention we gave this BEP facility when it was built (starting in 1987), there are probably many noncollectors who don’t even know it exists.

That’s not surprising since many of them still think the Mint prints paper money.

But operations began in Fort Worth in 1990. It was built to diversify the production of paper money away from the single site in Washington, D.C., that was nearly hit by an airplane (by accident) before it crashed into the Potomac River.

I remember the accident that occurred as we were gathering at that year’s Florida United Numismatists convention and it was the talk of the day. I had to look up the date, though. It was Jan. 13, 1982.

It is nice to trump a memory of a tragedy with something pleasant and that’s what makes it worth commenting on.

Thanks, ANA, for making it possible.

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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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