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Commems Collection Modern: 1993 James Madison / Bill Of Rights Coins

 
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 Posted 06/13/2013  9:05 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Without a doubt, James Madison - the "Father of the US Constitution" - and the Bill of Rights are each certainly worthy of being remembered via a US commemorative coin. My previous "dark side" comment http://goccf.com/t/151444) refers to two elements of the back story of the JM/BoR coin program: 1) The date of issue for the coins, and 2) The view of coin collectors held by the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Trust Fund (the recipient of the surcharges collected).

First up, the 1993 issue date for the coins: 1993 is not a major anniversary for either James Madison or the Bill of Rights. The original amendments that form the Bill of Rights were proposed by Congress in 1789 and were ratified by enough states in 1791 to become a permanent part of the US Constitution. Such events would make either 1989 or 1991 reasonable bicentennial commemorative dates. Madison was born in 1751 and died in 1836; marking the 250th anniversary of Madison's birth in 2001 would also have been reasonable.

The somewhat awkward "1993" date came about because the original proposals for a commemorative coin did not gain enough support in the 101st Congress (1990) to be passed. (Side Note: Competing bills were introduced in the 101st - one for a single silver dollar and another for a three-coin gold and silver program.) The bill that ultimately lead to an approved coinage program was introduced into the 102nd Congress in September of 1991 and finally passed (after revisions) in May of 1992.

It seems that with earlier planning and better decision making regarding what type of program to pursue, the Fellowship Trust could have achieved a commemorative coin that marked an actual, important milestone anniversary (as stated in some of the proposed bills) vs. a coin with an issue date "in the neighborhood" of a true milestone date. Unfortunately, commemorative coin sponsors aren't always concerned with actual commemoration dates as long as they can get their coin approved. For example, consider the 1921 Alabama Statehood Centennial half-dollar. The coin was authorized in 1920 and issued in 1921. Problem was, Alabama marked the 100th anniversary of its statehood in 1919. Oh well!

The other "dark side" aspect of this particular issue involves the view held by the Fellowship Trust regarding its coin program and coin collectors. Q. David Bowers has written about a call he received from a representative of the Madison organization during which the representative stated that they were looking for ways to raise funds and wanted to "get in on the commemorative bonanza" and realized that coin collectors "represented buying power and ready cash" for which they could create some type of commemorative. While the statements are essentially true (and echo the thoughts of other coin sponsors), they're not the most flattering or complimentary view of the coin collecting community in my opinion. Basically, to the Madison organization "Coin Collector = $$$." The representative's statement leaves me with the impression that the quality of a potential coin was not of much concern and that if commemorative plate collectors represented a potentially more lucrative market, they would not have pursued coins and would have instead worked to release a series of plates.

All that said, I hold no animosity against the James Madison Fellowship Trust Fund and fully support the work it does to promote understanding of the US Constitution. And yes, I own nice uncirculated versions of each of the gold and silver commemorative issues.

Here are images of the silver half-dollar (in proof) within the limited edition Coin and Stamp Set.

Enjoy!


1993 JM / BoR Coin and Stamp Set - Front Cover




1993 JM / BoR Coin and Stamp Set - Interior Panel / Top




1993 JM / BoR Coin and Stamp Set - Interior Panel / Bottom




1993 JM / BoR Coin and Stamp Set - Back Cover





Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
06/14/2013 12:03 am
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 Posted 06/13/2013  9:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I always wonder why 1993 for that one. Reading those comments and considering the delay I would have to agree it does give the impression that they were more concerned about the money that anything else. If theyd been concerned about the actual coin youd think they would have gotten it done in time to mark an important date.

That said if them wanting money gets me coins that I enjoy I am okay with how ever they want to view us as long as the coin looks nice.

Thanks commems
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 Posted 06/13/2013  9:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BadToTheBone to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@commems..Very interesting point you have made there. Thank you for the it will be put with my information I have on my James Madison commemoratives.
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 Posted 06/14/2013  01:00 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add HaroldS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks so much for this interesting information. I really enjoy reading all your posts.

I still wonder why this particular half dollar was chosen to be made in silver. Perhaps the Fellowship Trust decided that silver would "milk" a few more dollars from us collectors?

Since I began watching this silver half dollar, I've noticed it still fetches a nice seconday market premium beyond the silver content, so obviously still attractive to many collectors. Even tho the half dollar uncirculated mintage was about double that of the dollar coin.
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 Posted 06/14/2013  07:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Doug58s to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Harold - in hind sight - I would guess the bills sponsors pushed for silver to try and make the coin even more popular to collectors. Keep in mind this push would have had little affect on them, and if it succeeded in making a popular coin they would get even more money from the bonanza...

It does seem strange that with no real major anniversary to mark the event - they actually managed to get this coin passed - and not have any reference to the actual date of the signing of the bill of rights into law.
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 Posted 06/14/2013  11:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I still wonder why this particular half dollar was chosen to be made in silver.

I've never seen an "official" explanation as to why the James Madison Memorial Fellowshiop Trust Fund decided to pursue a silver half-dollar vs. a copper-nickel coin as part of its commemorative coin program.

I've wondered, however, if it wasn't at least partially due to the ANA's involvement with the coin. The ANA would certainly have had a full appreciation of the silver coins from the classic era of US commemoratives and might have pushed for a silver coin to recall tradition and create a coin that would stand-out from recent base metal half-dollars.

"Different" sells and the ANA knew that most coin collectors prefer silver coins over base metal versions. As the ANA stood to directly profit from the sales of a portion of the JM / BoR half-dollar coins via its co-promoted "Freedom Pack," (more info here: https://www.coincommunity.com/forum...IC_ID=111322) it may have lobbied for a silver coin to maximize its sales potential.

Just speculation on my part, but not an outlandish scenario...


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 06/14/2013  1:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Your posts never disappoint me. Thank you for sharing this history and the images of your coins.
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 Posted 06/14/2013  8:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Agreed ... another informative and thought inspiring post from commems.

Many Thanks for sharing.

David
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Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 06/15/2013  10:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thank you for the kind words and positive feedback.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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