To strike or not to strike more silver bullion buffaloes, a contentious issue in late summer, turned to dust last month when Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill brushed it off.
No more Buffaloes, O'Neill decided. Too much else going on in the world.
Investors stood to gain by his decision, but collectors stood to lose by not having more of the popular reproductions of the old Buffalo nickels available. Once the half-million coins were distributed, both sides had gone to Treasury to fight hard for their opposing cases.
Outside the hobby and the coin business, the whole dispute must have seemed like a joke, given the weight of events since Sept. 11.
Now, collectors can speculate on whether the Mint will be authorized to strike a coin marking Sept. 11's events and implications.