Johnson, a Wisconsin native, was a television commentator turned politician. He was elected to one term congressman from Wisconsin’s 8th District in 1996. In 1999, Johnson was nominated as Director of the US Mint by President Bill Clinton. He served a Mint Director from May 2000 to August 2001. Succeeding Philip Diehl as Mint Director, Johnson managed the bureau during the height of production. Diehl and Johnson were able to maintain high production levels of American Eagle coins while starting the 50 State Quarters program. Coin production in 2001 continues to hold the record for most coins struck by the Mint.
After serving as Mint Director, Johnson remained in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and continued to work in numismatics. He formed Jay Johnson Coins and Consulting to work with investment banks and brokerages on investing in coins. Recently, Johnson worked for Goldline International and appeared on television as a spokesman.
Johnson is survived by his wife, JoLee, and two stepchildren.