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GregAlex

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The Bureau of Engraving & Printing makes some odd decisions sometimes. And in typical government fashion, they almost never explain what led to these choices.

In 2000, someone at the BEP decided they would shake up the annual souvenir card program. Instead of the predictable five or six cards released at shows and events, they reduced the card size and issued a series of 12 vignette cards, one each month, with no titles or connections to any event. Since these were no longer "souvenirs" the program was rebranded as the "Intaglio Print Program." As you might expect, there was a good deal of pushback from the collector community, though some of the cards were popular. (The Martin Luther King portrait is still on sale through the BEP store.)

B-245.jpg 
The following year, the BEP returned to their senses -- sort of -- and went back to issuing cards at events, although they stuck with the "Intaglio Print Program" and abandoned the term "souvenir card." But they also tried another marketing scheme that seems just as strange. In addition to four standard cards featuring currency (B-251, 252, 254, and 257) which were released at various shows, the Bureau also issued the same cards, minus the show titles (these are cataloged B-251A, etc.). each untitled card came with the same info sheet, which did have the show name on it. Perhaps they wanted to test the market to see whether the generic cards would sell as well. They didn't. Collectors this time complained that they had to buy four additional cards if they wanted a complete year set.

The BEP finally got the message and returned to their former ways. But you have to wonder what was going on in the marketing department at the time.

B-251.jpg  B-251A.jpg  B-251 info card.jpg 

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Steve in Tampa

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Recently, the BEP has started printing the word COPY on intaglio images of past currency designs. While I somewhat understand why they’ve gone this direction, I find it very distracting. Although I’ve been a loyal subscriber of virtually every intaglio print souvenir card the BEP offers every year for some time now, this is where I draw the line.
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GregAlex

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I think that was the compromise they made with the lawyers in order to return to currency images. I don't like it either and I said as much in August when the SCCS met with BEP reps at the show in Philly. It's not going to be an issue next year since their designs are all related to the moon landing anniversary. But if they hear complaints from enough collectors they tend to respond. If they could make the word less prominent or put something on the back instead I think it would be more acceptable.
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