davidprovostBy David Provost for CoinWeek….

Previous installments of this article can be found here: Part I, Part II, Part III.

The third session of the House hearings on the proposed commemorative coins for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games featured US Treasurer Angela Buchanan as the primary witness. She dealt a blow to Frank Annunzio’s (D-IL) efforts to create a small program managed by the US Mint by testifying that the Treasury Department supported Representative Fernand St. Germain’s (D-RI) HR6058 rather than Annunzio’s bill (HR6158). St. Germain’s bill outlined a program featuring 17 coin designs spread across a single copper-nickel dollar, 12 silver $10 coins and two $50 and two $100 gold coins. It also called for the coins to be marketed by a private group rather than the Mint. For months, Annunzio had campaigned against such a large coinage program and against the turning over of US legal tender to private companies for their profit.

Treasury Secretary Angela “Bay” Buchanan

Though it called for a larger commemorative program than the Mint had ever produced, Buchanan believed the Mint was capable of successfully producing the coins and that HR6058’s provision for the program to be managed and promoted by a private marketing group would generate the greatest sales and produce the largest revenue stream for its beneficiaries – the Los Angeles Olympics Organizing Committee (LAOOC) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Between the close of third session on April 29, 1982 and start of the fourth on May 11th, Annunzio worked to blunt the impact of the Treasury’s position by taking to the floor of the House to continue lobbying his colleagues for support of his legislation. On May 3rd, he called attention to letters he had received from the public voicing support for his bill and disdain for the private marketers. The letters he presented encouraged him to continue his fight and expressed hope that he could stop the “give-away schemes” designed to benefit the private marketers. The author of one letter wrote, “How can the US Mint even consider such nonsense?”

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