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New quarter conveys inspiring message

Dave Motl speaks at the ceremony. (U.S. Mint photo by Sharon McPike)

If a quarter can be considered to have an action-packed design, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park coin is it.

I can feel the energy. Can you?

Guns at the ready, Clark leads his men to victory in 1779 through flooded plains approaching Fort Sackville during the Revolutionary War in what is now Indiana.

A ceremony was held Nov. 14 near the Wabash River in Vincennes, Ind., to mark the official launch of this America the Beautiful quarter.

It was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Frank Morris.

I’ll bet a few more designs like this might convince skeptical collectors that American quarter designs are improving.

Leading the dignitaries at the event was Acting Deputy Director David Motl.

“This new coin is a reminder of the unity of effort and spirit that our predecessors embodied and demonstrated,” he said.

“The foresight, camaraderie and determination of George Rogers Clark and his men are important examples to all of us as to how individuals from different backgrounds are able to come together, work toward achieving the same objective, and create a lasting impression.”

Motl’s words have deep meaning.

We wouldn’t be a free and independent people without Clark and his men.

Also, there is nothing like period costumes and music to get into the proper mood of respect and celebration.

The George Rogers Clark Fife and Drum Corps provided both.

Members of the Vogel Elementary School Choir added their voices.

There were other dignitaries present.

The U.S. Mint reports that Park Superintendent Frank Doughman and City Council Member Dan Ravellette, Regional Director Tony Goben, District Director Brenda Goff and District Director Carol Jones spoke on behalf of U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, and U.S. Representative Larry Bucshon, respectively.

For coin collectors, uncirculated rolls of the new quarters were sold at face value after the ceremony finished.

In all, 168,000 coins (4,200 rolls) were taken, or $ 42,000 face value.

The coins available were from Philadelphia.

Overall attendance at the event was 1,800, including 1,100 schoolchildren.

The Mint said 125 individuals had attended its forum the night before.

That is very strong attendance.

Sharon McPike took fantastic photos. Thank you for their use.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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Bold new coin collecting age in China

I am just back from China.

I was in the country for five days to attend the Beijing International Coin Exposition.

It was my first visit.

I learned much.

The differences between American coin conventions and the one in China are stark.

Imagine how it would be if the United States Mint owned and organized the national coin show, had its own grading service, its own magazine, its own national organization and officially franchised all the dealers who are present on the floor (including a statement of that fact in their signs).

Coin dealers are all merely sales agents for the new issues of the Mint.

Historically valuable coins of the past were nowhere to be seen.

That in a nutshell is how numismatics operates at the show.

There are exceptions.

Some world mints were present.

But it is difficult for them to actually bring in their new coins to sell at the show.

Gold especially is heavily regulated.

There are private dealers present as we know them, but they are there to promote auctions in Macau and Hong Kong, not to sell historically valuable coins on site.

There are even American grading services present.

Paper money is more loosely regulated, so dealer tables actually looked more like their American counterparts. Collectible notes were on display for sale. Many were in slabs.

There were also crowds at these tables to do business.

Banks that act as sellers of new coin issues, I was told, are required to attend the show, so they had booths.

Packaging companies and other kinds of product firms had booths.

In that regard, the show was primarily a trade show.

Now as with all generalizations, there are good reasons and exceptions that need explaining.

China did not have the luxury of having a developed coin collecting community for many years.

Collecting and the services for collectors are being developed, and government-owned institutions jumped in to make it happen.

I was present as the guest of China Gold Coin Incorporation, which mints and markets new gold and silver coins.

It celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.

It is wholly owned by the central bank and in turn owns and organizes other things.

CGCI was a perfect host. I do not remember ever being so well treated (and I am certainly treated well in other places). I owe CGCI huge thanks.

I gave a speech Nov. 11 at the Congress of the Coin & Medal Art Committee of the China Numismatic Society (CMAC).

I signed a memorandum of cooperation with CMAC Nov. 9 to facilitate China’s participation in the Coin of the Year Awards Program, which was created by World Coin News and the Standard Catalog of World Coins.

These awards have been given annually since 1984.

In recent years, I have been the event host and public face of the COTY awards. The founder of the COTY Awards, Clifford Mishler, was also visiting China with me.

Going to China is an education. It is an experience well worth having

My visit has also made me more aware of the fact that China is going to have a prominent and influential role in the development of numismatics.

In that regard, it is a good thing, because Chinese collectors are just as enthusiastic, friendly, curious and knowledgeable as collectors anywhere else in the world.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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