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Historians hit pay dirt with Twain coin

November 18, 2012 in Coins, Collecting, Commemorative, Gold, Gold Coins, Silver, Silver Coins, USA Coins

By Kevin Bogardus – 11/18/12 (http://www.thehill.com)

Legislation passed by Congress to honor the legendary American author Mark Twain could be a boon for historians who work to preserve the writer’s legacy.

A pot of $7 million, to be garnered from the sale of coins commemorating Twain, will be split evenly between four historical sites across the country connected to the writer.

But before curators and others can use the money to refurbish and maintain museums and libraries that house Twain’s legacy, they have to raise matching funds that equal the federal gift.

“The fact that it creates a matching scenario that doesn’t affect taxpayers, it’s something Twain himself would approve. It will excite our donors and I feel confident that we will be able to match those funds,” said Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo.

Lobbyists have been a keeping an eye on the bill. Joel Freedman, a former head of government affairs for The Hartford Financial Services Group who lobbies on insurance issues, sits on the board of trustees for the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Conn.

Greg Boyko, who is chairman of the trustees’ board, credited Freedman for helping to gain traction for the legislation after joining the board in 2010.

“Frankly, he was the spark plug to help get this done. He had a lot of skill and knowledge to bring to this,” Boyko said about Freedman. “He was the orchestra director of this whole thing. He was part of it and so were others.”

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