Gibson, a Navy veteran, previously served as the Director of Human Resources for Washington, DC’s Department of Human Resources. Previously, Gibson was Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and held similar positions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Gibson is a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service (SES). She is a federal employee, and the Acting Director does not require congressional approval. The law allows a person in an acting role to serve for a maximum of 180 days.
Treasury was quick to note that Gibson is the first African American person to lead the bureau. Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said, “Her historic appointment reflects our ongoing commitment to building a qualified, diverse workforce at Treasury and its bureaus that will serve the American people well.”
Is Gibson really qualified for this position? The U.S. Mint is the world’s largest manufacturer of coins. The U.S. Mint reports that they have manufactured over 11.2 BILLION coins in 2021. Although Gibson has extensive government experience, she does not have any experience manufacturing or producing a product.
Gibson has extensive experience with human resources, but the U.S. Mint not only has a diverse workforce but a constituency that watches everything the bureau does. HHS and NLRB do not have a constituency like the U.S. Mint. The collecting community is very critical as to how this bureau does its job. While the law governs what the U.S. Mint can do, the areas where they have latitude, the decisions are more diverse than human resources.
Does having a human resources background make Gibson qualified in collector relations? An HR professional may be able to talk with collectors, but does she understand the market? The last two directors had numismatic experience before their appointments.
Does having a human resources background make Gibson qualified to manage an e-commerce service? The numismatic media has documented the failures of the U.S. Mint’s e-commerce system. Fixing the system requires leadership and the ability to understand what the technical people are saying. As a former government contractor, I watched as SES and appointees did not properly question rosy contractor reports only to watch as the contractors could not deliver results. The U.S. Mint’s contractor has not delivered. What assurances do we have that Gibson can understand when the contractor is lying?
There is nothing wrong with human resource professionals but are they qualified to run a government manufacturer with an opinionated customer base? I guess we shall see.
This week, the Royal Canadian Mint announced that they would issue a colored 10 cent coin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bluenose. The Bluenose was a famous fishing schooner launched from Nova Scotia in 1921. Canadians nicknamed the vessel The Queen of the North Atlantic. An image of the Bluenose began its depiction on the Canadian 10-cent coin in 1937.
The dual-dated coin will include a splash of blue on the design that represents the water. The Royal Mint and Bank of Canada have begun circulating the coin this week.
The new 10-cent coin is not the first circulating colorized coin. In 2004, the Royal Canadian Mint produced a 25-cent coin with a red poppy to honor Canadian veterans. In 2006, they produced a 25-cent coin with a pink ribbon in support of Breast Cancer research.
Canadians do not have the same hangups about what constitutes a coin as their U.S. neighbors. Regular contacts report that Canadians welcome the new coins excitement. Many suspect people will pick the coins out of circulation as soon as they enter, similar to the red poppy and breast cancer awareness 25-cent coins.
Imagine the reaction if the U.S. Mint produced a colorized circulating coin?
And now the news…
With everything that is going on, coin collecting is still a fun hobby, and there are a lot of coins to collect. I am proudest of my almost complete collection of proof American Silver Eagle coins.
From 1986 to 2019, my father bought two proof American Silver Eagle coins. One was for his collection, and the other was mine. When the U.S. Mint issued special sets, I would purchase one for myself and attempt to purchase one for my father. I was able to purchase the 25th Anniversary Set for myself but could never buy one for my father. On the secondary market, too many sets were broken up and graded, ruining the grandeur of the five-coin set.
I am missing the 1995-W American Silver Eagle.
Although there have been problems with the U.S. Mint’s e-commerce site, I have been able to keep up with my American Silver Eagle collection. Recently, the U.S. Mint shipped the American Silver Eagle Reverse Proof Two-Coin Set. My set arrived before I left town for the weekend.
Like many collectors, I love the look of reverse-proof coins. The shiny devices make the design stand out. When I show the coins to non-collectors, the coins make an impression.
What does not make an impression is the package.
For a set that costs $175, the package feels cheap. The insert is cheap plastic that holds onto the coin so tight that the coin is difficult to remove. The box is thinner cardboard, and it is not in a clamshell box, like other sets. The package appears as if the U.S. Mint modified it from a copper-nickel clad proof coin.
The U.S. Mint might think that the package does not matter. There will be collectors that will take the coins out of the package and send them to a third-party grading service. This attitude does not consider those who prefer to keep the coins in the original government package (OGP).
My entire collection of American Silver Eagle proof coins is in its OGP. The 2021 set looks like an afterthought next to the 2013 West Point and 2012 San Francisco two-coin sets.
At least the coins are gorgeous!
One of the reasons for the delay with the Weekly World Numismatic News is that I have been looking into a report of worldwide e-commerce issues under the radar.
After ordering a box of flips and other storage products from a small company, a representative called to say that the transaction did not go through. According to the representative, overseas attackers are trying to hack shopping cart sites to steal merchandise and credit card information. Rather than attacking the entire site, the hackers are targeting individual shops. They are looking for sites that are not configured correctly.
During the telephone call, the representative said they turned off credit card verification and the system “throws the credit card away.” I know this vendor, but I am still not comfortable.
E-commerce is supposed to make purchasing goods and services more accessible. But when hackers are driving vendors to verify credit cards by telephone, it is not making e-commerce easy. Thankfully, I received an announcement for local shows. Maybe it’s time to spend money there.
By the way, a source told me that the Baltimore Convention Centre would be open when the Whitman Expo is scheduled in November.
And now the news…
The weekly numismatic news report is late for the same reason the U.S. Mint cannot run an ordering system. It seems that the dangers to online systems are growing.
Every week, I am receiving reports from collectors being scammed by Chinese counterfeiters. People are providing pointers to websites and other sellers that are pushing counterfeit coins. The most common coin is the American Silver Eagle.
Last week, the parent company of HiBid, one of the largest online auction platform after eBay, was struck with a ransomeware attack. HiBid was taken down Thursday, September 30 through Monday, October 4. To add insult to injury, HiBid crashed again on Sunday, October 10 because bidders overloaded their systems.
As I am looking for new business opportunities, several eBay sellers are also looking for alternate selling venues. They are complaining about how eBay has handled the conversion to charging sales tax collection. New programs do not include the small sellers. Although eBay has always preferred high-volume sellers, now they are adding programs to benefit those that sell high-value items. And some sellers are reporting driven crazy by eBay’s new payment system.
With all this happening, then how does one buy online? I have been buying from eBay. It has been a convenient way to find interesting out-of-print numismatic books and tokens from New York. My other buying venues have been the U.S. Mint, the Royal Mint, and Apmex.
Maybe it’s time to look for other purchase venues.
Also turning up are all pundits, politicos, reporters, and sycophants explaining why the U.S. Mint should or should not strike the coin. The problem is that EVERYONE IS WRONG!
Let’s look at the FACTS.
FACT: Before a coin leaves the U.S. Mint, the purchaser must pay for the coin.
The Federal Reserve purchases business strike coins at face value. The money is deposited in the U.S. Mint’s Public Enterprise Fund.
Collectors pay for collector coins through the U.S. Mint’s retail and e-commerce operations. When the money is collected, they deposit the funds in the U.S. Mint’s Public Enterprise Fund.
FACT: The United States Mint has successfully argued in court that a coin is not legal tender until it is paid for.
After the U.S. Mint discovered the existence of several 1933 Double Eagle coins that were supposedly melted, the Secret Service investigated and seized several coins. Through the 1950s, government lawyers argued that the coins were government property since the coin was never monetized.
During the case of the Farouk-Fenton double eagle coin, the government used the same argument. Even though there was an export license for the coin issued to King Farouk of Egypt, the government maintained that the lack of monetization made the coin illegal.
As part of the $7,590,020 paid for the 1933 Double Eagle in 2002, $20 of the purchase price was paid to the U.S. Government to monetize the coin. When Sotheby’s sold the coin in June for $18,872,250, the coin came with a certificate from the U.S. Mint declaring its Legal Tender status.
If the U.S. Mint does not monetize a coin until someone or entity buys it, then how will striking a $1 trillion coin help anything?
Even as crazy as government generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) may appear to the commercial market, Government GAAP still requires double-entry bookkeeping. In double-entry bookkeeping, if an asset is added to one part of the ledger, there must be a debit on another.
Forget the political arguments about the debt. When the government needs money, it sells bonds to finance its obligation. The bond is the created asset, as the coin. The asset is purchased, adding cash to the general treasury. In bookkeeping terms, an asset entry and an associated debit entry.
Who is going to buy the coin?
The Federal Reserve is not going to buy the coin. Bonds, warrants, and other investments have tangible returns. The investments have value and can be traded on the equity markets keeping the books balanced. What happens if $1 trillion is tied up in a non-investing asset?
If the Federal Reserve buys the coin, the general treasury may see a $1 trillion windfall, but the Federal Reserve will have $1 trillion less economic power. It is $1 trillion less in short-term loans to large financial institutions and quantitative easing that is keeping the economy in control.
If the Federal Reserve buys the $1 trillion coin, it will create a $1 trillion hole in the economy.
The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the monetary value of all goods and services, is estimated at $22.675 trillion. Taking $1 trillion out of the economy will reduce the economy by 4.4-percent.
As the Great Recession of 2008 raged, the GDP lost 1-percent of its value by 2009. If a one percent drop caused the most significant economic calamity since the Great Depression, what will happen if the GDP contracts by more than 4-percent?
Of course, Congress can pass a law that changes how the U.S. Mint determines the legal tender status of coinage they manufacture. But the likelihood of that happening is about the same as the U.S. Mint striking a $1 trillion coin.