Numismatic Quick Hits: The PCGS Doily Returns + Comments on the Girl Scout Commem
by Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek …..
The PCGS Doily Returns: A Retro-Remake of a Coveted Classic
What’s old is new again.
For a limited time only, Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is reintroducing its coveted “doily holder” for a range of modern numismatic coins. The Doily, so-called because of its intricate, “doily-like” anti-counterfeiting background, was produced for a short time between August 1989 and January 1990 before the design was discontinued due to problems with the label’s bar code (the labels were printed in the Dot Matrix era). Thanks to their short production run, these holders are highly sought after by fans in the encapsulated coin market.
Editors Note: This older Doily Saint is available for sale at Great Collections
PCGS Senior Grader and Vice President of Business Development, Michael “Miles” Standish, reintroduced the Doily, which debuted in January of this year. Of the new limited-run program, Standish told us: “After nearly 27 years at PCGS, having come on board as the first full time grader at PCGS, I went retro and decided to offer the fan-favorite PCGS Doily one more time.”
The new Doily is distinguishable from the original in a number of ways. The holograph on the reverse is of contemporary design, as is the gasket used to mount the coin inside the holder. Other differences include the use of a laser printer, clearer artwork, and clean label edges.
Unlike the original doily holders, which housed any coin submitted to PCGS, the new holders (so far) have been used only with American Silver Eagle Proofs (1986-Present), 2014 American Silver Eagle Uncirculated specimens, and Ultra High Relief Gold.
Girl Scout Commemorative a Failure? Plenty of Blame to Go Around
CoinWeek’s Louis Golino reported recently that the 2013 Girl Scouts Commemorative Dollar Program failed to recover its costs, which means that the Girl Scouts (the intended beneficiary of the program) won’t receive one red cent of the hefty surcharge collectors had to pay over the not-intended-for-circulation silver dollar’s bullion value.
Some contend that the problem with the coin was its design. While there’s plenty of blame to go around with the milquetoast artwork that the Mint churns out these days, no amount of Saint-Gaudens or Laura Gardin Fraser medallic art perfection would have ensured a sell out.
The problem, to us, is readily apparent. Commemorative coins should always have as the focus of their sales strategy a certain interested constituency. It’s not enough to expect coin collectors, dealers, and speculators to carry the program.
The Girl Scout commemorative coin, if it were to be successful at all, needed to be priced in such a way that the subject of the coin (girls, girl scouts) could afford them. A silver dollar at $40-$50 a piece was much too expensive.
Better suited for the program, and by no means a guaranty of success, would have been a silver or clad half dollar. At $15 to $20 apiece, the program would have been within the means of most girl scouts, which would have made it an easier sell. For numismatists, who in our opinion should play a secondary role in developing the market of a coin geared towards the celebration of a childhood activity, the lesser denomination would have had a minimal effect on demand.
I recall my own experience as a Boy Scout. My first mail order purchase of coins came through Boy’s Life magazine. It was a small order, a few dollars for a bag of wheat cents. Had the Boy Scouts had a half dollar coin the cost of the 1986 Statue of Liberty commemorative half dollar, I might’ve been able to sway my parents into buying me one. Had I asked for a silver dollar, I’d have gotten The Look and a firm “no”.
Those who dream up these programs, and their Congressional patrons, should keep this in mind the next time they dream up a youth-themed coin.
© 2014 Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker
About the Authors: Charles Morgan is a member of the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, the Numismatic Literary Guild, and the Richmond Coin Club. Together with his co-author Hubert Walker (ANA, NLG), he has written numerous articles for publication online and in print, including two 2013 NLG award-winning articles for CoinWeek.com.