United States MintWhen the calendar flips to August, my wife begins to complain about the humidity and wanting to go “home” to Maine where she grew up. For me, the kid from south Brooklyn, August begins the last push to the end of the federal government’s fiscal year. With congress out of town, many agencies stop worrying about policy shifts and prepare for the new fiscal year. August is the calm before the policy storms.

This year has been unusual in that the weather has been more moderate than usual and world events have changed the tenor for those of us who work for the federal government. These events are not limited to areas of conflict. Those of us working in computer security have noticed an uptick in online criminal activity beyond what you read in the headlines.

With nothing happening on Capitol Hill, let’s look at the news generated by the U.S. Mint.

Following the issues during the sales at all locations for the Kennedy Half-Dollar gold tribute coin, the U.S. Mint suspended sales early and will re-evaluate their process for over-the-counter sales of coins. Sources at the U.S. Mint were surprised with the reaction since there are no mintage limits on the coin.

Subsequently, American Numismatic Association Executive Director Kim Kiick announced that sales of newly released coins by the U.S. Mint would be suspended indefinitely because of security concerns.

As an interesting side note, the price of gold has dropped and is close to the price that would lower the purchase price if ordered from the U.S. Mint.

Later in the month, the U.S. Mint announced that the Philadelphia facility broke a single day production record by producing 42.44 million coins for circulation. They beat their previous record of 32.28 million coins set in October 2013. The U.S. Mint produced a total of 1.33 billion coins for circulation in July with more than half of those being produced in Philadelphia.

The branch mint in Philadelphia is the world’s largest coin factory. No other mint in the world can produce the number of coins that can be struck at Philadelphia. The second largest coin factory is the branch mint in Denver.

Record production is more than an accomplishment for the U.S. Mint. They are being struck to fulfill orders for circulating coins from the Federal Reserve. This means that the Fed needs the coins to place into circulation which is a good sign for the economy. If the economy was slower, as it was a few years ago, the demand for coins would have slowed to where the U.S. Mint would have to reduce production.

The U.S. Mint has hired Naxion Research of Philadelphia to poll customers “to share [their] insights on new U.S. Mint products for 2015.” Customers were chosen at random to participate. Those who ordered products from the U.S. Mint via their website were sent an email invitation to take the survey. A separate group who ordered products by the telephone or by mail order was sent a paper survey form.

Survey results are due by September 15, 2014 regardless of the format used.

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