ANA calls for redesign of coinage at U.S. Senate Symposium

September 13, 2000 By ekr

ANA calls for redesign of coinage at U.S. Senate Symposium

Claiming that “coins are the calling cards of a nation,” American Numismatic Association (ANA) President H. Robert Campbell said that America’s coins today are “not worthy of this great nation.”

Speaking at a symposium today in Washington, D.C., organized by Senate Banking Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas), Campbell proposed redesigning the nation’s coins without discarding the subjects on them.

“Americans are too conservative to accept such a drastic change,” Campbell told Gramm and representatives of the United States Mint, Smithsonian Institution and American Numismatic Society. 

“We are here today to discuss America’s coinage and the possibility of new designs,” he said, adding that discussions likely would stall if the panelists advocated replacing one or two of the 
Presidents who now appear on the nation’s coins.

“Before suggesting such a change, we must consider the political ramifications of that action,” Campbell added. “Perhaps we should simply take a lesson from our friends at the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing, who redesigned our nation’s paper money without casting aside the familiar subjects.”

Campbell talked about the Walking Liberty half dollar, issued from 1916 to 1947, and the impact it had on his mother, who was a young woman in Finland during World War II. Holding the coin in her hand, Campbell’s mother saw “Miss Liberty draped in the American flag,” he said. “In her left hand, Liberty is clutching an olive branch close to her heart, demonstrating the importance of peace to the human soul. Her right hand reaches out to a brilliant, new horizon, welcoming all who want to share the dream of this nation.

“Do our circulating coins today embody our heritage and provide the same hope they did 80 or 90 years ago?” Campbell asked. “I think not! Can we do better? We not only can . . . we must!”

In representing the 30,000-member ANA, Campbell noted that the 50 State Quarters Program, launched by the U.S. Mint in 1999, demonstrates that Americans “not only can accept new designs for their coins, but also can embrace them.”

“But, do the simple bust portraits of Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Washington and Kennedy symbolize the trials and tribulations of America? Again, I do not believe so. Should they? Again, they must!”

As an example, Campbell suggested examining the New Jersey quarter issued last year. He said the scene on the coin’s reverse_General Washington and his army crossing the Delaware River to turn the tide of the American Revolution_is an example of the “energy, motion and vitality that can and should be infused into our nation’s coinage.”Campbell concluded that medallic sculptors inside and outside the Mint should be allowed to match their talents with those of sculptors and engravers from the early part of the last century “to create coins worthy of being the coins of this great nation.” 

Originally Release Date: September 13, 2000
ANA Contacts: Phone: 719-482-9872
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