COURT RULES U.S. CURRENCY DISCRIMINATES
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a ruling
on May 20 upholding a lower court's 2006 decision that United States
paper money discriminates against blind and visually impaired persons,
in violation of the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act. During 2002,
a lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Treasury Department by The
American Council of the Blind and two individuals.
The Appeals Court ruling states that "of the 171 authorities issuing
currency ... only the United States prints bills that are identical in
size and color in all denominations." Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote that
the Treasury Department's
failure to produce currency that can be independently identified
by the blind and visually impaired was an example of the
"thoughtlessness and indifference" that Congress sought to
prevent when it subjected the federal government to Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act.
The Treasury Department has argued that changing currency to make it
more readily identifiable to the blind and visually impaired - by using
different sizes and/or tactile features for the various denominations -
would be too costly. Judge Rogers disagreed, stating that such changes
would be of "a similar magnitude to the costs of recent paper currency
redesigns." The plaintiffs and other advocacy groups argue that
the costs can be reduced further by integrating the changes with
ongoing currency redesigns that focus on detering counterfeiting and
that different sizes and tactile features for the various denominations
would contribute to that effort.
The Appeals Court has sent the suit back to District Court Judge James
Robertson, who issued the original ruling, to address the plaintiffs'
request for relief.
SILVER EAGLE CRUNCH LINGERS
An article in our May newsletter
discussed suspension of sales and subsequent "rationing" of 2008 silver
American Eagles by the U.S. Mint. The Mint has not been able to strike
sufficient quantities to meet demand, which has about doubled from year
earlier levels, and continues to limit purchases by authorized "primary
distributors." Some firms which rely on newly minted bullion
coins for a large portion of their business continue to report huge
losses of potential sales.
At least one source has been quoting cases of 2008 silver eagles at
$4.00 per coin above spot silver (each silver eagle contains one troy
ounce of fine silver, and each case contains 500 coins). The Mint
sells the bullion version of the silver eagle to authorized purchasers
at spot plus $1.25 per coin. When supplies were plentiful, some
distributors were re-selling cases to dealers at 15-20 cents per coin
more. As of early June, we have an adequate supply of
uncirculated 2008 silver eagles in stock and are quoting individual coins and rolls at a smaller
premium than the wholesale source mentioned above.
Through June 16, we're adding one each 2008-P and
2008-D New Mexico quarters
in uncirculated condition free to orders of $45 or more placed with our
secure online shopping cart. More info about this offer is
available on our Current
VAM BOOK BACK IN STOCK
We recently acquired a half dozen copies in new condition of the
out-of-print 4th edition of Comprehensive
and Encyclopedia of Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars by
Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis. This popular reference
covers known die varieties in the two series. Silver dollar variety
collecting has gained more attention since publication of The Top 100
Dollar Varieties: The VAM Keys by Michael S. Fey and Jeff
Oxman. This work and other silver dollar variety publications
focus on selected varieties in the Van Allen and Mallis book ("VAM" is
derived from the authors' names). While these copies last, we're
offering this valuable resource at
10% off the regular retail price.
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