Ryder nomination on hold

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

On Friday, January 19, 2018, rather than working to prevent the shutdown of the government, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the floor of the Senate and delivered a message that he intends to object to the proceeding to the nomination of David Ryder to be the next Director of the U.S. Mint.

According to the notice filed in the Congressional Record:

Mr. President, I intend to object to any unanimous
consent request at the present time relating to the nomination of David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint, PN1355 .

I will object because the Department of the Treasury has failed to respond to a letter I sent on September 29, 2017, to a bureau within the Department seeking documents relevant to an ongoing investigation by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Despite several phone calls between committee staff and Treasury personnel to prioritize particular requests within that letter, the Treasury Department has to date failed to provide any documents.

My objection is not intended to question the credentials of Mr. Ryder in any way. However, the Department must recognize that it has an ongoing obligation to respond to congressional inquiries in a timely and reasonable manner.

Charles E. Grassley is a seven-term Republican Senator from Iowa. Grassley has a history of abusing the Department of the Treasury to make it look like he’s doing something to keep his seat in the Senate. It is common for Grassley to have something to complain about without substance regardless of the ramifications of his actions.

In the meantime, the U.S. Mint remains without a permanent director while Grassley has his hissy fit.

PN1355: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 8, 2018
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Jan 17, 2018
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Jan 17, 2018
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 596. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Jan 17, 2018
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1355.
† If you look at Grassley’s record, he has a record of making outlandish claims and using his office against Treasury bureaus regardless of the party in the White House. In 2005, I was involved with a Treasury bureau forced to a hearing in the Senate. Even though the evidence showed the contractor was clearly derelict in the performance of their contract, Grassley did everything except put on knee pads in deference to the contractor. Outside of the hearing room, I had a confrontation with one of his staffers and offered to supply the knee pads so that Grassley could complete the job. Since that hearing, I have held Grassley in contempt for being a bully and not a representative of the interests of his constituents in Iowa.

Weekly World Numismatic News for January 21, 2018

One of the more interesting news items is that the Royal Canadian Mint is suing the Royal Australian Mint.

The Royal Canadian Mint alleges the Royal Australian Mint infringed on its patents when creating the 2012 Remembrance Day $2 coin.

Apparently, the Royal Canadian Mint alleges that the process used by the Royal Australian Mint to produce the 2012 $2 Remembrance Day Poppy coin used a process that was patented by the Royal Canadian Mint. The Royal Australian Mint says the process is substantially different that it does not infringe on the Royal Canadian Mint’s intellectual property.

Reports state that the two sides have tried to discuss the matter over the last two years. When no agreement had been reached, the Royal Canadian Mint decided to sue for relief. The Royal Canadian Mint is demanding that Australia hand over all 500,000 of the Remembrance Day coins struck or “destroyed under supervision.”

Since the Royal Canadian Mint is a crown corporation, it is an independent entity of the Canadian government. It has its own corporate and governance structure mandated by law. For those in the United States, it is similar to the relationship that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac have with the United States government. On the other hand, the Royal Australian Mint is an agency in the Australian government in the same manner that the U.S. Mint is an agency in the United States government. Therefore, the Royal Canadian Mint is suing the Commonwealth of Australia.

“The applicant has suffered, and will continue to suffer, loss and damage by reason of the acts of the respondent pleaded above,” the statement of claim filed by the Royal Canadian Mint reads. Really? The Royal Canadian Mint has suffered because the Royal Australian Mint created a coin with a colored poppy for sale and distribution in Australia?

If the Royal Australian Mint infringed on the Royal Canadian Mint patent then there may be a case for relief owed for using the technology. But if the Royal Canadian Mint is trying to make a case based on the suffering of damages from sales of circulating versus commemorative coins, I think that the Royal Canadian Mint may be royally going in the wrong direction.

And now the news…

 January 15, 2018

“At a time when our national debt is over $20 trillion, it is more and more difficult to find money for important things like cancer research,” – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. → Read more at womensenews.org


 January 17, 2018

Online dealer sold 30kg of gold Tuesday, worth more than $1m Bitcoin tumbles below $10,000 for first time since December Amid the wild Bitcoin ride that’s wiped more than 40 percent off the cryptocurrency’s price in a month, a pattern may be emerging: sellers are switching out of digital gold and into the real thing. → Read more at bloomberg.com


 January 17, 2018

Gold’s liquidity and stability have made it an attractive option for investors in recent years. There are many ways to invest in gold. Investopedia lists gold futures, investing in old companies, gold EFTs, gold mutual funds, gold bullion, gold jewelry, and, of course, gold coins. → Read more at newsmax.com


 January 17, 2018

After more than a year, visitors to the Nevada State Museum can watch the museum's historic Coin Press No. 1 carry on a mission it started nearly 150 year ago in the same building. The venerable press — which churned out millions of dollars in silver and gold coins during stints at U.S. → Read more at nevadaappeal.com


 January 18, 2018

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Mint is suing its Australian counterpart over the way it prints red poppies on its commemorative Remembrance Day coins. Documents filed in Australia’s Federal Court in December allege The Royal Australian Mint used without permission a printing method patented by the Canadian mint — which is now demanding that Australia’s 500,000 commemorative $2 coins, in circulation since 2012, either be turned over to them or “destroy(ed) under supervision.” → Read more at nationalpost.com

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Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint and had to be downloaded from Internet archives since it was deleted from their website.

Money manufacturing continues during a shutdown

The last time the government shutdown, because Congress did not do their job, was on September 30, 2013. Over the weekend, the major impact will be the recreational-based activities including the National Parks and the Smithsonian Museums—although many of these agencies will remain mostly open using what is called “carry-over funding” which are services whose bills are paid but the agencies are owed the services. It is an accounting trick that can help some agencies up to 72-hours during a shutdown depending on the amount of money and to whom it is paid.

Thankfully, the Washington, D.C. government will pick up the trash and provide basic cleanup services on the National Mall and other areas that would normally be taken care of by the National Parks Service.

Should the shutdown last through Monday, both the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing will be operational. Both organizations are funded from their profits (seigniorage) which is held in their respective Public Enterprise Funds. The only responsibility that Congress has in their funding is to authorize the spending of the money. That authorization is not impacted by the shutdown because these are not (technically) taxpayer funds.

Since the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing are self-funded, they are also not subject to the debt ceiling issues.

Although the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing has not made a formal announcement, it is likely that facility tours will be suspended during the shutdown. This is because the security personnel are Treasury employees and not direct employees of the bureaus. Some will be designated as “essential personnel” and continue to work to help maintain security at all U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing facilities.

Security for the Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky will not be impacted by the shutdown.

Since the Federal Reserve is an independent organization and not subject to congressional appropriations, they will remain open during a shutdown. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will probably also remain open. OCC is funded by the Federal Reserve to help regulate banks.

All independent government organizations not subject to congressional appropriations will continue to operate including the United States Postal Service.

Representatives of these agencies may contact me to provide additional information. Government employees who work for these agencies that want to provide additional information may also contact me. Please note that I do respect the confidentiality of all sources!

NOTE: Although I no longer work as a contractor to the federal government, my views on the government have changed only in my level of disgust with their practices. I am not a member of any political party. I am a supporter of government employees who makes up a very dedicated workforce and do not deserve the way they are treated by elected and appointed officials.

Image courtesy of Adam Bitely at NetRightDaily.

U.S. Mint to resume Mutilated Coin Redemption Program

Coins found in the recycling stream.

Starting on January 19, 2018, the U.S. Mint will be resuming the Mutilated Coin Redemption program. The program was suspended in December 2015 when the government alleged that a company in New Jersey was importing counterfeit coins from China to redeem as mutilated coins. Formal charges were brought against the persons involved in March 2016 and the U.S. Mint extended the suspension indefinitely in May 2016.

The recycling industry has complained to the Department of the Treasury and their members of Congress over the U.S. Mint’s inaction with providing new rules to restart the program. After publishing two draft rules and making adjustments based on the comments, the Final Rule was published in the Federal Register (82 FR 60309) on December 11, 2017.

The Final Rule that makes adjustments to the regulations for “Exchange of Paper Currency and Coin” (31 CFR Part 100 Subpart C) in order to add additional clarity and oversight to the process. This includes depositing worn or heavily scratch coins in a bank or other authorized depository. Bulk submission over one pound must be separated by denomination and must be identifiable. Each denomination is considered one submission and must be over one pound (e.g., one pound of nickels and one pound of dimes and one pound of quarters, etc.). Dollar coins also have to be separated by type (e.g., Eisenhower, Sacagawea, Presidential, etc.). The updated program restricts the redemption of fused, unsorted, and unidentifiable coins. Coins made of gold and silver are not accepted as part of this program.

Those needing more detailed information should consult the “Mutilated Coin Redemption Program” webpage on the U.S. Mint website (see http://bit.ly/Mutilated-Coin).

Image courtesy of Recycling International.

Weekly World Numismatic News for January 14, 2018

One of my favorite quotes is from philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist George Santayana who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I was reminded about this quote while reading the news and stumbling over a story “Stamp Out the Sexist Legacy of the Dollar Coin” by Addison Nugent.

The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin was introduced in 1979 with much fanfare for being the first coin to honor a woman. The coin was a failure because it was confused with a quarter

Ms. Nugent, who revealed that she is distantly related to suffragette Susan B. Anthony, laments the lack of women on United States coins and currency. She rightly points out that Susan B. Anthony was “the first nonfictional woman to grace the face of the dollar coin” only to complain later that the coin was removed later.

Nugent complains that the design of the coins and the fact that they use the visage of a female as the reason these dollar coins have not been successful. What Nugent failed to do is learn from history and the facts.

The failure of the Susan B. Anthony dollar was not because the coin depicted a woman or was called the “Agony Dollars” (I had never heard this term before reading the article). The coin failed because of the decision to make it too close to the size to the Washington quarter, had reeded edges like the Washington quarter, and on a simple glance was consistently confused with the Washington quarter. The confusion made the coin very unpopular in the United States but continues to find usage in other countries whose currency is based on the U.S. dollar.

The unveiling of the Sacagawea Dollar design at the White House with (L-R) First Lady Hillary Clinton, Sacagawea Model Randy’L He-dow Teton, and Designer Glenna Goodacre.

When it came time for Congress to recognize the failure of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, Congress approved a new design and went out of their way to select another historic woman to feature on the coin. After several suggestions, Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark expedition, was eventually chosen to appear on a coin that was to be golden in color and a smooth edge. When the designs were reviewed, Treasury picked Glenna Goodacre’s design with the profile of Sacagawea in three-quarter view and her infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, carried on her back. It is considered one of the best circulating coin designs of the modern era.

Nugent then wrongly notes that “Sacagawea coins were pulled from circulation from 2002-2008 and from 2012 onward.” I do not know where she gets her facts from, but the reality is that the U.S. Mint, Department of the Treasury, and Federal Reserve does not recall paper currency or coins from circulation. What happens is that when there is no demand for a coin the Federal Reserve stops ordering them from the U.S. Mint.

The reason that the dollar coin does not circulate is not that it depicts a woman. The dollar coin does not circulate because the public has chosen paper over a coin. Even though studies have shown that the public can adopt and that there would be a savings to the government if the paper dollar was no longer printed (see the Government Accountability report GAO-13-164T), Congress does not have the intestinal fortitude to eliminate the paper dollar.

To add insult to the facts, Nugent does not take into consideration that the Sacagawea dollar was changed starting in 2009 to the Native American $1 Coin Program. While Sacagawea continues to appear on the obverse, the reverse honors Native American history. The last I looked the Native American population has undergone a significant negative history in the United States.

Another fact that Nugent does not acknowledge is that even though the U.S. Mint does not produce these coins for circulation they are produced for the collector market. In addition to being included in mint and proof sets, there have been special sets created with Native American coin honoring their accomplishments. Aside from being able to purchase these coins at face value in any U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility open to the public, you can also go to any bank and request they obtain a roll for you from the Federal Reserve.

Series 1886 $1 Silver Certificate featuring Martha Washington (Fr #217)

Nugent’s complaints also do not consider the appearance of women and minorities on commemorative coins or that the first woman to appear on circulating currency was Martha Washington. Our first First Lady’s portrait appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate between 1891 and 1896.

Although I agree with Nugent that United States coins and currency should be more diverse and I am in favor of removing Andrew Jackson, who was responsible for the Trail of Tears, from the $20 note, it is difficult to side with any argument whose purpose is based on factual errors.

And now the news…

 January 7, 2018

Popular online magazine Atlas Obscura recently became the latest to probe the question of how an 11th century Viking penny came to rest on the coast of Maine. In the decades since the 1957 discovery by amateur archaeologists, it’s been denounced as a hoax, validated by scholars, denounced as a hoax again and — as recently as this past November — validated by scholars again. → Read more at thinkmaine.bangordailynews.com


 January 8, 2018

A similar coin sold for more than £4,000 in a 2011 auction, but Jason has gone down the correct route of declaring it as treasure → Read more at plymouthherald.co.uk


 January 8, 2018

The U.S. dollar coin has been the only American currency to regularly feature women. With these leading ladies now ousted, it's time to toss the coin. → Read more at ozy.com


 January 8, 2018

The United Kingdom’s round pound coin will no longer be accepted as a form of payment for services and retail purchases in shops after February 28. → Read more at iomtoday.co.im


 January 8, 2018

When Eric Lawes set off for a field in Hoxne village, Suffolk on November 16, 1992, it wasn’t on a treasure hunt. The metal detector he’d received as a retirement gift was meant to find a hammer lost on the farmland. → Read more at smithsonianmag.com


 January 9, 2018

JAMES Grear started selling coins with his best mate Henry when they were just 18. The pair were fed up with working as labourers on a building site in Bristol earning up to £9 per hour and decided… → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 January 10, 2018

State Police are working to find the owners of a large bicentennial medallion coin. It was recovered months ago, but no one has stepped up to claim it. → Read more at mpnnow.com


 January 10, 2018

Colonial Williamsburg has acquired a rare and iconic Danish abolitionist medal that commemorates a royal edict to end the slave trade. The bronze medal was struck in 1792 and is one of only a handful known to exist, according to a Colonial Williamsburg Foundation press release. → Read more at wydaily.com


 January 10, 2018

By Baek Byung-yeul Organizers for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics unveiled a new limited coin set for the Winter Games, Wednesday. At the building of Poongsan Corporation in Seoul, the maker of the PyeongChang Olympics commemorative bill, the organizing committee made public the new package. → Read more at m.koreatimes.co.kr


 January 12, 2018

Grip the handle and turn the crank. Watch the roller turn. Wait for that clink, reach into the little door. → Read more at stltoday.com

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Ryder nomination on hold

On Friday, January 19, 2018, rather than working to prevent the shutdown of the government, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the floor of the Senate and delivered a message that he intends to object to the proceeding to the nomination of David Ryder to be the next...

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