Mary Lannin was sworn in as the newest member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) during their meeting on May 19th, 2014 in Washington, D.C. She is a Life Member of both the American Numismatic Society and American Numismatic Association, and is currently a member of the Royal Numismatic Society, the Swiss Numismatic Society, the San Francisco Ancient Numismatic Society, the Pacific Coast Numismatic Society, and the New York Numismatic Club.
Ms. Lannin was happy to answer a few questions on her coin collecting experiences.
What is your earliest coin collecting memory?
Using my allowance to buy Whitman albums for Lincoln cents, and being determined to “fill in” every year. Although I wasn’t successful at completing the collection, I still have the albums.
How did you start collecting coins?
I liked the idea that I could hold something in my hand that was hundreds or even thousands of years old. I wondered what it had been used for and by whom. It gave me the sense that art on the coins was just as powerful as the monetary value. What message are you sending about who you are?
What coins do you collect?
I research and study Hellenistic coins from the death of Alexander the Great through the Roman occupation of the eastern Mediterranean. I am also studying the use of classical art in U.S. coins.
What is the most prized specimen in your collection?
A Roman denarius, once owned by our 6th President, John Quincy Adams: a perfect marriage of ancient and U.S. history!
What is the U.S. Mint doing, in your opinion, to support and encourage coin collecting, and what could be improved upon and how?
The America the Beautiful series is just that, and reminds us all of how intriguing our country is and that each state has something new and wonderful to offer.
How did you come to be a candidate for the CCAC?
I knew of the committee and I was encouraged to apply by fellow numismatists.
Why did you want to join the CCAC?
I have a great interest in in the intersection of coin and art. Coins are small pieces of art that each of us can own for a minute or a lifetime. We can use it in change, or hold on to an example for many years that touches something special in us. I wanted to be part of the great designs for the future.
What is your initial impression with the position the CCAC has in the coin design process?
I think the committee is working very hard with the engravers and the Artistic Infusion Program artists to distill ideas and use the coins as “canvas” to express that.
Anything further you would like the readers to know about you?
That I love to cook, talk about food…and did I mention eating?