1923 American collectors are, I think, fast awakening to the fact that souvenir gold dollars and half dollars which have been offered to them during the last few years by the hundreds of thousands, at from 100 to 200 per cent, premium, are a modernized and systematized sort of numismatic swindle. The writer for one is going to keep on emphasizing this point until the practice of overcharging is stopped. I do not mean that the practice of issuing souvenir coins should be stopped. Far from it. The output, while a good deal of it is of indifferent value from an art standpoint, is valuable for historical purposes, and for adding character to our national coinage. I have always advocated the issuance of such coins. But the manifest unfairness of these expositions and centennial committees in expecting the collectors and the public to pay such enormous advances over the face value of the pieces while issuing them by the hundreds of thousands is an imposition pure and simple. It is my intention to keep hammering against this injustice until these committees get some common-sense into their heads. The souvenir coins which have had the greatest demand and which at the present time command the very best premiums are those gold dollars which we issued at from $1.65 to $2 apiece, namely, those of the Portland Centennial and the Pan-Pacific Exposition. This proves my argument. The McKinley Memorial dollars of 1916 and 1917 and the Grant issues seem to have gone dead recently; at any rate, the writer has found this to be true. In the case of the half dollars, there does not seem to be any disposition on the part of collectors to pay nearly the issuing price of one dollar. The Pilgrim half dollars and those of the Maine Centennial have also gone to seed, and there is little demand for either of them. Unless it is stopped, this tagging on of exorbitant prices over the face value of coins, the collectors have an infallible way of stopping it themselves. The writer, serving on a Committee on United States Coins, has often advocated that numismatic societies lend their voices to the appeal for the issuance of these souvenir coins, commemorating important events or national characters, but the societies have not always lent their aid to such suggestions. This indifference on their part will not prevent his doing things and saying things which he believes to be of real help and benefit to numismatic progress in the United States. Inasmuch as these recommendations have not been adopted, I am very glad to submit them to the great body of collectors throughout the country for their information and possible help. Let the centennial and exposition committees issue half dollars for not over 75 cents, and not over 25,000 of an issue; and gold dollars at not over $1.50 apiece, and not over 15,000 of an issue. Let these issues be made frequently and have them well advertised, and I predict the result will be Very gratifying to both the committees, the public and to collectors. Possibly someone would raise the point that such a quantity of issue, and an offering at such retail prices, would not pay the centennial or exposition committees. There may be some truth to this supposition, and if my suggestions as to issue and prices were unacceptable, I would then suggest that the Government take over the issue and pass out the coins freely to the public at, say, $1.25 each for the gold dollars and 60 cents each for the half dollars, paying the centennial committee a fair percentage of the profits. If this were done, naturally the issue could be greatly increased without much danger of either a slump in the prices or a decrease in the demand for the coins. Surely the exposition committees do very little in the way of consulting collectors as to the number of coins to be issued or as to the retail prices of them. All the evidence proves it, in regard to the manner of the recent selling of commemorative gold dollars and half dollars. The collectors have to take their stand in this matter. A reform such as has been outlined will eventually benefit the centennial committees, naturally, and prevent the eventuality of their having to resell thousands of these coins for far less than the advertised prices, or else to melt the gold dollars up for bullion, as has in more than one instance been done. Our cry, then, should be: ‘More Souvenir Coins at Moderate Prices.’ Just in this connection we would like to see a good Roosevelt half dollar and a gold dollar bearing the head of Abraham Lincoln. The writer has advocated a Roosevelt coin time and again, but so far none has appeared.”1 1 The Numismatist, United States Souvenir Coins and Their Prices, by Thomas L. Elder. March, 1923, pg. 107-108.