November 2017 Numismatic Legislation Review

Most of the work in Congress has been on the tax bill (H.R. 1) and non-controversial legislation. The Senate has worked on reducing the number of presidential nominees on the Executive Calendar. Currently, there are 100 nominations waiting to be acted on and David J. Ryder, nominated to be the Director of the U.S. Mint, is 70th on the calendar, up from 126th last month.
 

PN1082: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: October 5, 2017
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. — Oct 5, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings held. — Oct 24, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Nov 1, 2017
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Nov 1, 2017
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 458. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Nov 1, 2017
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1082.

Weekly World Numismatic News for November 26, 2017

The reason why I search for news about topics related to numismatics from outside the industry allows me to get an understanding of how others see numismatics. I find even the most innocuous story about a country considering redesigning their currency, a find of a coin thousands of years old, and how pocket change finds can lead to high bids on online auctions to be interesting.

I share these with you to inspire your collection and help promote the hobby.

But as I shared a few weeks ago, searching the news also comes with its distractions. The latest happens this time every year when the stories about a gold coin being dropped in those ubiquitous red kettles become prominent.

I am not against giving to charity. On the contrary, I think more people should be charitable with whatever they could give. If time is money then give your time. In fact, I am one of those people who believe that when someone reaches 18 years old they should be required to do two-years of public service. It does not have to be in the military but something to serve the public good.

However, dropping a gold coin into a red kettle may look good as news headlines but can really be more problems than they are worth.

As we know, selling a coin is not the easiest thing to do and when you do, you do not receive its full value. A dealer may raise the bid price of a coin from a charity to provide some charitable assistance, but most dealers are not going to buy the coin at full value—unless they are charitable. And this does not take into consideration the fluctuating price of the metals. Maybe, by the time the charity sells the coin, the market price drops and the coin is not worth as much as the day it was dropped into the kettle.

Rare coins may be more problematic. For the best value, those have to go to auction and as anyone who has sold merchandise in an auction, you never know what the hammer price will be. Selling anything at an auction is risky. While a quality rare coin may bring in more than the coin is worth, it can also do far worse.

Since gold is currently $1288 per ounce and considering that modern bullion coins have about a 15-percent numismatic premium, rather than buy a bullion coin and drop it into a kettle, take the $1481 in cash and drop that instead. You can do what an acquaintance does and wrap a few $100 notes around a $1 note so it looks like you are giving a few dollars. When they open the kettle and see hundreds of dollars in cash, they will be happy and will be able to use it for their work immediately without having to worry about selling the coin.

If you want to donate the proceeds from the sale of a coin to charity, that is wonderful. But sell the coin yourself. You are more qualified than these charities in obtaining value from the sale. Then donate the cash. It should not be about the ego boost from being written about in the newspapers. It should be about helping the charity. Which is more important?

And now the news…

 November 19, 2017

JAKARTA – Coin rubbing is a form of folk medication practised in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian and East Asian countries, such as Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and southern China. → Read more at enca.com


 November 19, 2017

Russian artist Roman Booteen is a modern master in the art of the hobo nickel—a term used to describe the 18th century sculptural art form of hand-engraving coins. His latest extraordinary piece—titled Gold Bug—was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Gold Bug. → Read more at mymodernmet.com


 November 20, 2017

(1) View gallery The Queen and Prince Phillip’s platinum wedding anniversary is being commemorated with a new coin, minted in Banstead. The coin is 130mm in diameter, weighs nearly 2kg and is encrusted with 70 diamonds, and the limited run of 70 coins will be hand-finished by the master craftsman at Pobjoy Mint. → Read more at epsomguardian.co.uk


 November 22, 2017

New coin to be put in circulation from Wednesday November 22 → Read more at gulfnews.com


 November 23, 2017

One of my favourite things is my Dad’s old horseshoe wallet where he kept his spare change and a rolled pipe cleaner or two. I used it for years after he died, packing it with British bronze 12-sided threepenny bits and shillings until I arrived in Australia and stuffed it with dollar coins and 50¢ dustbin lids. → Read more at sheppnews.com.au


 November 23, 2017

A treasure hunter has unearthed a haul of ancient gold coins, thought to have been buried with an Anglo-Saxon King nearly 1,500 years ago. Chris Kutler, 54, stumbled upon the coins after spending four days searching a 1,600 sq metre field in Chelmsford, Essex. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 November 24, 2017

After gold coin’s continued rally in the past month, which pushed…. → Read more at financialtribune.com


 November 24, 2017

The Apiary Fund Commemorative coin is a tribute to the traders who put in time, energy, and faith in their efforts to become funded traders. OREM, Utah November 24, 2017 In the spirit of those Amer… → Read more at nbherard.com


 November 25, 2017

One hundred years ago there was a shortage of pennies during WWI. → Read more at qconline.com

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Image courtesy of iSpot.tv, a still frame from a Salvation Army video ad.

Weekly Numismatic World News for November 19, 2017

Sometimes, I find it difficult to keep an open mind with some of the non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins that are on the market.

Some of the themes have started as interesting ideas have turned into blatant commercialism that I am not sure how to interpret its benefits to the hobby.

From superheroes to movie tie-ins to the cartoons, the themes are as varied as the grocery store shelves.

The latest NCLT that has me wondering about the future of the hobby is the 2018 Fiji Coca-Cola Bottle Cap-Shaped Dollar.

Yes, a Coca-Cola bottle cap-shaped coin with a face value of one Fijian dollar. The reverse of the coin is colored the famous Coca-Cola red with the script logo that is familiar to anyone who has passed by a Coca-Cola product. The obverse has the Fijian coat of arms, the date, and the specifications of the coin: 6 grams of .999 fine silver.

After looking at the specifications, the coin is 32.6 mm (1.283 inches) in diameter and I thought that the coins were going to be very thin.

Comparing the specification of this coin to pre-1965 United States coins that were made of .900 silver, the Washington quarter was made of 6.25 grams of silver and copper but was 24.3 mm (.957 inches) in diameter. The quarter is .25 grams heavier but 8.3 mm smaller. My caliper measured a 1960 uncirculated Washington quarter with a thickness of 1.75 mm.

Something closer is the size of the Kennedy half-dollar with a diameter of 30.6 mm (1.204) or 2 mm smaller than the Coco-Cola bottle cap coin. But the Kennedy half-dollar weighs 12.5 grams, more than double the Fijian coin.

To satisfy my curiosity, the caliper said that the uncirculated 1964 Kennedy half-dollar in my collection was 2.15 mm thick.

Not counting for the flare of the edges to resemble a bottle cap, the coin is probably 1 mm thick, less than the 1.35 mm of a 1955 Roosevelt dime I measured.

The coin is available for pre-order only from one company on eBay for $29.95 with free shipping. Expected shipping is on December 8, 2017.

The last time I checked, the listing reported that 1,481 of these coins were sold.

For the record, 6 grams of silver weighs .1929 troy ounces. With the price of silver currently at $17.31 per troy ounce, the coin contains $3.34 worth of silver.

If someone buys one of these coins, feel free to write a review. I will publish it here on the blog!

And now the news…

 November 13, 2017

BRENTWOOD — When milestones are reached in the armed forces, servicemen and women often receive a challenge coin, creating solidarity with others who share the same accomplishment. → Read more at fosters.com


 November 14, 2017

A hoard of 21 Islamic gold dinars, 2,200 silver coins, and gold artifacts dating to the 12th century CE has been unearthed by archaeologists digging at the Abbey of Cluny, a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. → Read more at sci-news.com


 November 14, 2017

IF you've got one of these most sought-after 50p coins then you could be sitting on a tidy profit. The Sir Isaac Newton 50p coin was introduced into circulation in September and Brits are slowly starting to find it in their spare change. → Read more at thesun.co.uk


 November 15, 2017

An "exceptional and rare" medieval treasure trove including more than 2,200 gold and silver coins has been found in France in what has been called a "remarkable" discovery by archaeologists. It's the kind of discovery archaeologists dream of. → Read more at thelocal.fr


 November 15, 2017

It was just a strange old penny, a copper-nickel Indian Head minted in 1859, when the government was trying out different metals for one-cent pieces. A grandfather gave it to Eric Pfeiffer Newman in 1918, when he was 7, a little bonus for his nickel-a-week allowance. → Read more at nytimes.com


 November 16, 2017

A metal detectorist has tracked down a rare gold coin from Richard III's reign near to the site of the Battle of Bosworth. The Half Angel is one of just a handful of such coins that have survived from the king's two-year reign. → Read more at leicestermercury.co.uk


 November 17, 2017

Archaeologists with the National Center for Scientific Research and other institutions in France revealed today that they have unearthed 2,200 silver deniers and oboles, 21 Islamic gold dinars, a very expensive gold signet ring and other objects made of gold from the Abbey of Cluny, located in the department of Saône-et-Loire. → Read more at mining.com

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Images courtesy of Modern Coin Mart on eBay.

Weekly Numismatic World News for November 12, 2017

As I peruse the Interwebs for numismatic-related stories from non-numismatic sources, my searches are inundated with stories about Bitcoin, crypto-currencies, and blockchains. Most of the time, the stories are just noise given my objective to find information relevant to collectors including the issuance of circulating currencies and the impact of precious metals on the market.

While there is some use of the technologies as an indicator of a store of something resembling wealth or as a new method of providing electronic transactions, the concept of inventing a currency out of thin air—or electronic bits—is something that may be more dangerous than the stock market.

Bitcoin, which is a type of crypto-currency, is traded using a blockchain, a technology that provides a mechanism for secured transactions between parties. Like the Federal Reserve Note, it is an invented currency whose value is in the eye of the beholder. The only difference between the Federal Reserve Note and crypto-currency is that the worth of the paper currency is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Bitcoin has no backing, very little regulation, and could become as worthless as Enron stock as fast as it became worthless.

Although you may have issues with the way the federal government and the politicians have been conducting themselves, the government provides the backing to make sure that the currency you use has some representative value by law. It is called fiat money.

Crypto-currency not only has no intrinsic value, but it is not backed or supported by the government. It has no regulation and is worth what someone will provide in trade. The assignment of value to crypto-currency may be market driven but those who have seen the silver market of 1980, unregulated markets can cause significant problems.

The blockchains that protect the transactions are software creations. Software is what is used to provide the logic to the computer to do its job—or not do its job in the cases of Equifax, Target, Home Depot, the Office of Personnel Management, and any of the other servers you have heard attacked in the last few years.

Of course the most important thing to numismatists, crypto-currency has no presence in the physical world. You cannot create a collection of bitcoin since it really does not exist. And maybe that should be the question: if it does not have a physical form or a physical representation, is it really money?

And now the news…

 November 6, 2017

The Stellarton Legion is now the proud recipient of a Nova Scotia Highlanders ceremonial unit coin. And Stellarton Legion president Jack Chaisson was on hand to take personal delivery of the coin from Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Todd at Pictou Legion, after attending the county Remembrance Day ceremony in town Sunday. → Read more at ngnews.ca


 November 6, 2017

The Royal Mint has released its official Remembrance Day coin ahead of commemorations on Saturday. Stephen Taylor, a graphic designer at the Royal Mint, said his artwork was inspired by the world-famous war poem 'In Flanders Fields' by John McCrae. → Read more at standard.co.uk


 November 6, 2017

The Perth Mint has released a world-first silver coin in the shape of a figure eight. Likely to be a hit with Chinese coin collectors and buyers, only 8888 of the 2oz, 99.99 per cent silver coins will be released at a recommended retail price of $218. → Read more at thewest.com.au


 November 7, 2017

Bruderer UK, which has nearly 50 years’ experience creating world renown precision high speed presses, has installed a state-of-the-art machine into the Royal Mint’s Llantrisant facility, giving the world famous institution additional speed, capacity and flexibility. → Read more at expressandstar.com


 November 8, 2017

Gold isn’t so shiny anymore. Globally, demand for the precious metal has fallen to its lowest level since late 2009, according to the World Gold Council. In the third quarter of 2017, demand for the haven asset was 915 metric tons, 9% lower than a year earlier. → Read more at qz.com


 November 9, 2017

In January, 1999 Cassinelli Construction Co. was employed by Nevada State Public Works Department to remove a portion of Carolyn Street at the Nevada State Museum to construct a parking lot and build a small park facing Carson Street. → Read more at elkodaily.com


 November 9, 2017

Gold was once a common form of payment around the developed world, but after World War II the precious metal's influence began to wane. In 1971, when the United States finally put an end to the gold standard, the role of the yellow metal changed for good. → Read more at fool.com


 November 10, 2017

The Thank-A-Vet cenotaph memorial coin set, created for local veterans and their families as a keepsake, has been completed with the minting of the final two coins and creation of a pine display box. – Sean Allen/Metroland → Read more at brantnews.com


 November 11, 2017

The thing about money — we all need it. “Money bewitches people. They fret for it, and they sweat for it. → Read more at royalgazette.com

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Weekly Numismatic World News for Noveber 5, 2017 (one day late)

What are the future of large coin shows like Whitman Expo?

I missed posting the Weekly Numismatic World News on Sunday because I was working. As part of my collectibles business, I work a show at least once per month. These shows allow me to interact with people and find out what interests them. Even if they do not buy from my inventory, I am able to learn about the market and try to predict trends.

Sometimes, I wonder if the numismatic industry does the same thing.

Next weekend will be the Whitman Baltimore Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. I am curious as to what I will find.

Since Whitman took over the show, they have improved the experience and what I have been told, they improved the experience for the dealers. They have made it a destination for many east coast dealers and collectors.

But it looks like the show has plateaued.

This is not Whitman’s fault. Whitman provides the venue. What are the dealers doing to meet the new demands of the market? What are the new trends? Based on my last few visits to Baltimore, you would never know that the hobby is changing. New collectors are not collecting the same coins as their parents and grandparents. New collectors are not buying in the same way as their parents and grandparents. Yet, when I go to Baltimore I will find an environment that may have been more comfortable 10 years ago than it is today.

I am not sure what needs to be changed. I will think about it when I am walking the bourse floor next weekend. But for now, the industry needs think about how to evolve. Otherwise, we could be looking for the downfall of these shows and that would be a shame.

And now the news…

 November 2, 2017

Australia’s new Remembrance Day $2 coin is racist and a national disgrace, Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell says. The coin, featuring rosemary leaves and purple flowers, is to honour Australians killed and wounded in military conflicts. → Read more at theadvocate.com.au


 November 2, 2017

Rare coins, mostly Roman, are believed to have been collected by the Kent castle’s owner, Edward Hussey, and his son → Read more at theguardian.com


 November 3, 2017

“There’s just a wide variety of things,” Rust said. “Money was issued by Mormons before they made it to Salt Lake, and then things that were issued once they were in Salt Lake.” → Read more at sltrib.com


 November 3, 2017

Founding father saved first issue $5 with untold historical value → Read more at tetonvalleynews.net

Coin Collectors News
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Weekly Numismatic World News for October 29, 2017

Twelve years ago, when I went looking for numismatic information online, there were a few resources. The major numismatic publications had not fully embraced the online world and writing about numismatics strictly from the collector’s point of view was non-existent. I took a chance and started writing my own blog.

On October 29, 2005, I posted my first article on the Coin Collectors Blog. Back then it was hosted on Google’s Blogger service. While that was a good start, I found Blogger a bit limiting and moved to have it hosted by another company and changed the look-and-feel.

During that time I have also updated my collecting habits. In addition to the coins of the 20th century, I added Maryland colonial currency, the currency of the State of Israel, Canadian coins, and numismatic items associated with my hometown of New York City and specifically, Brooklyn.

I have also picked up some other items that I just think are neat.

And I have written a lot.

Over 1,540 articles later, I have written on everything from the one-cent coin to the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles. I have written about the making of coins and currency to the government’s legal and policy roles in the process. I have called out the American Numismatic Association for its failures but have complimented them when deserved.

What I have found really special is you, my readers.

When I started I did not know how many people would be interested in reading the blog. Today, I can report that my logs show that there an average of 1,100 unique visitors to this blog every time something is posted—which does not include the number of times people or bots try to hack the blog!

Not every reader is from the United States. After the United States, the top five countries the logs show (in order) are Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, India, and Spain.

After the home page, the top read post is “How easy is it to pass counterfeit currency.” This seems to be a search engine favorite when people are looking to do nefarious deeds. But after that post, my information pages U.S. Coins by Type and Numismatic Dictionary (respectively) are the second and third most read pages. GREAT! I am glad it is a used resource!

I am humbled and honored that you take time out of your day to read what I write. I hope you enjoy reading the Coin Collectors Blog as much as I enjoy writing.

Thank you for being part of my 12-year journey. Now onto my next 12 years!

And now the news….

 October 21, 2017

Sunlight barely reaches the depths of the cavernous, 5,000 sq ft warehouse space in Chai Wan where Dr Werner Burger and his Taiwanese-born wife, Tsai Yui-mei, who goes by the name Lucy, house seven tons of coins. → Read more at scmp.com


 October 22, 2017

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in our country who hasn’t been affected by breast cancer—more than 100 women die from this disease every single day. The unbearable toll is too much; it’s time to end breast cancer once and for all. → Read more at marieclaire.com


 October 23, 2017

MOORESTOWN — Ted Brigante’s interest in coins began early. An owner of E&B Co. on West Main Street, Brigante grew up listening to his father weave tales of his own fascination with the pennies, dimes and dollars that might one day be worth more than their face value. → Read more at burlingtoncountytimes.com


 October 23, 2017

Metal detectorists Reg Mead and Richard Miles unearthed the ancient trove, which contained around 74,000 coins, as well as gold and silver jewellery, in June 2012 in a field in Grouville, ending a 30-year search for the treasure. → Read more at jerseyeveningpost.com


 October 24, 2017

A coin dating back to the construction of a historic North-east castle has been discovered. The 16th-century find was unearthed at Castle Fraser, near Inverurie, by a nine-year-old taking part in an archaeological dig, run by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). → Read more at eveningexpress.co.uk


 October 24, 2017

On October 23, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) President and CEO Myra Biblowit, BCRF Chief Mission Officer Dr. → Read more at qgazette.com


 October 25, 2017

An American “doughboy” with a distinctive crooked nose will adorn a World War I Centennial Silver Dollar being released by the U.S. Mint to mark the hundredth anniversary of the war’s end. The design on the heads side of the coin, which goes on sale next year, is titled “Soldier’s Charge,” and depicts a stone-faced soldier gripping a rifle. → Read more at stripes.com


 October 25, 2017

PHOTOS BY ADRIENNE SARVIS / THE SUMTER ITEM A large coil of copper, called a mondua, and a u-shaped piece of copper, called a manilla, were on display during the annual Sumter Coin Show on Saturday. The pieces were used as currency by Africans and Europeans during the time of the Atlantic slave trade. → Read more at theitem.com


 October 25, 2017

In a rather remarkable discovery, Chinese archaeologists excavated nearly 300,000 pieces of ancient coins that weighed 5.6 tons. The ancient currency was found under a common residential home in Fuliang County located in the province of Jiangxi, China. → Read more at nextshark.com


 October 26, 2017

British coin expert Roger F. Bland—stopping through the United States to accept a prestigious award for his study of coins—visited campus Thursday evening to detail the history of ancient coin-finding to a group of roughly 40 University affiliates at the Harvard Art Museums. → Read more at thecrimson.com

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All coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

David J. Ryder nomination hearing held on October 24

David J. Ryder at the hearing regarding his nomination to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a nomination hearing on October 24 and heard from David J. Ryder, nominated to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint.

As part of his opening statement, Ryder had noted that he worked for Secure Products, a company focused on developing anti-counterfeiting solutions for currency and branded products. When the company was bought out by the Honeywell Corporation in 2007, he continued to work in that division with Honeywell. What was interesting was that Ryder testified that he was involved in the development of the Royal Mint’s new 12-sided one-pound coin. He said:

Interestingly, one of my last duties while at Honeywell was a joint project with The Royal Mint of the United Kingdom where we assisted them in the development of the new UK One Pound Coin, which was introduced earlier this year. This new circulating coin is considered to be the most advanced and secure coins in circulation today.

Two takeaways from the hearing:

  1. It appears that Ryder should be confirmed by the Senate when the nomination is sent to the floor for a vote.
  2. When questioned by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ryder addresses coinage security issues specifically with bullion coins and Chinese counterfeits. Addressing his awareness of these issues is good for both the U.S. Mint and the entire numismatic industry.

Video of the nomination hearing and the opening statements can be found on the committee website.

Hearing Video Notes

  • The video opens with a silent billboard. The hearing starts at 16:44 of the video.
  • Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) gives his opening statement
  • Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) gives his opening statement
  • Opening statements by the nominees are offered, starting with David J. Ryder at 23:40 on the video
  • 48:45-51:22 Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) asks about an Inspector General report expanding technology at the U.S. Mint.
  • 1:39:40-1:40:30 Sen Tom Cotton (R-AR) “What are the biggest changes have you seen at the Mint from when you were the director 25 years ago”
  • 1:47:05-1:49:22 Sen Thom Tillis (R-NC) Question on the future of the Mint and security.
PN1082: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: October 5, 2017
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. — Oct 5, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings held. — Oct 24, 2017
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1082.

Weekly Numismatic World News for October 22, 2017

The Coin Collectors Blog has been and always been about collecting numismatics in all forms from a collector’s point of view. As I am coming up on my 12th anniversary of writing this blog, I would like to address a few comments I have received via email.

As a reminder, a blog is short for “weblog” which, according to Wikipedia, “is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”).” It is not a news site or a site that adheres to certain editorial form. Although news organizations now use blogs and blogging platforms, the Coin Collectors Blog is not pretending to be a news outlet.

When I started writing the Coin Collectors Blog in 2005, not only were there few coin collecting resources on the web, but there were no blogs. I wanted to provide some information, discussions, and (yes) opinions on every topic in the world of numismatics that I thought a collector would be interested in hearing about.

I also have made my interests clear. I will discuss everything that affects numismatics including the monetary policy that concerns the circulation of coins and currency and the people involved. This includes the politicians, both elected and appointed, that have direct involvement in any area that affects numismatics.

One of those politicians is Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. As Secretary of the Treasury, he is in charge of every bureau in the Treasury Department including the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Thus, what happens to Mnuchin can affect those bureaus. As far as I am concerned, that makes Mnuchin fair game for coverage on the Coin Collectors Blog.

After I reported about Mnuchin’s visit to Fort Knox, a U.S. Mint-managed facility, that both the Office of the Inspector General and a public interest group were looking into the travel and its costs. Since the story concerns the Secretary of the Treasury visiting a U.S. Mint facility, I felt it was my right and responsibility to report on.

Although there have been other issues with Mnuchin reported, they did not involve his department leadership as it pertained to the U.S. Mint or Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I did not feel it was appropriate to write about it on the Coin Collectors Blog.

More recently, I wrote about Secretary of the Interior Ryan K. Zinke having his own challenge coin. Although Zinke is not in charge of anything regarding the U.S. Mint or Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the fact that he has a challenge coin is significant. Collecting challenge coins is part of numismatics and any government agency official that decides to have his own challenge coin should be fair game.

In both cases, I was accused of stepping into politics in a bad way.

I know political discourse has changed, but I am still the same blogger who has covered numismatic bills in Congress, which there is a monthly status posting; nominations of Directors and Treasurers; defended the ancient coin collectors from the State Department; and posted a tribute to Mike Castle, the former Republican Congressman from Delaware who introduced many numismatic-related bills including that law that became the 50 State Quarters Coin Program.

It has and always will be my policy to keep the content of the Coin Collectors Blog on topics related to numismatics, numismatic production, collecting, and the conditions that affect this world, including the action of the government officials with oversight of the related organizations, especially if there is a direct effect on the industry.

Comments are welcome and encouraged, but I wish some of you would comment on the posts—and remember, comments are moderated to prevent spam only. Sometimes the email I receive is very creative but have been asked not to share. I hope that you reconsider next time.

Now for the news…

 October 15, 2017

Currency modernization will help secure our financial futures and save billions of dollars for taxpayers. → Read more at cnbc.com


 October 15, 2017

(ArtfixDaily.com) Richmond Hill, ON – Thursday, October 26 marks 888 Auctions’ inaugural auction dedicated to numismatic items with a special focus on Chinese gold and silver panda coins. The 426-lot auction will also be featuring rare coins from all over the world and will also be accompanied by 888 Auctions’ usual complement of Asian fine and decorative arts, including finely carved jadeite objects, porcelain ceramics, furniture and jewelry. → Read more at artfixdaily.com


 October 17, 2017

Share During the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 9), the question of monetary freedom was vigorously debated. There were as yet no banks or paper money in China — money consisted solely of coin. → Read more at cato.org


 October 18, 2017

Summary Harry Dent used to say gold will fall to $250, then $400, now he says $700. What are we to believe? → Read more at seekingalpha.com


 October 18, 2017

Archeologists regularly stumble over troves of gold coins dating back centuries, proving that money is as old as civilisation itself. Cash, however, brings practical limitations when it comes to how much we can physically move about, which is why currencies also depend on a system of trust to allow easier representations of physical coins, gold etc. → Read more at thenational.ae


 October 20, 2017

BENGHAZI, Libya, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Authorities in eastern Libya will circulate their own coins for the first time to ease shortages of money, a central bank official said on Friday, in another sign of disunity in the country that has two rival governments in east and west. → Read more at af.reuters.com


 October 20, 2017

Noma Bar for Reader's DigestWhen Joan Langbord found ten gold coins in a family safe-deposit box in 2003, she knew she’d unburied a treasure. Langbord, then 75, had worked in her late father’s Philadelphia jewelry store her entire life, and she was fairly sure that the coins were 1933 double eagles. → Read more at rd.com


 October 20, 2017

The coins went out of circulation on October 15 but can still be deposited at banks, building societies and post offices → Read more at burtonmail.co.uk


 October 21, 2017

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley stands beside the design for the back of the World War I commemorative coin, dubbed “poppies in the wire,” after he unveiled it Oct. 9, 2017 at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition. → Read more at aerotechnews.com

Coin Collectors News
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Interior Secretary Zinke has his own Challenge Coin

Secretary of the Interior Ryan K. Zinke

Stories abound regarding the quirks and foibles of some of the appointed members of the Executive Branch. Some are troublesome while others seem to be personality-based that seems different from what some consider the norm.

In an article that appeared in The Washington Post, it was reported that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has the department fly a special flag on top of the agency’s building in Washington, D.C. when he is in the office. On days Zinke is not in the office, a flag is raised for Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt.

Zinke, the former Montana congressman, is a former Navy SEAL commander and may have adopted this tradition from his time in the service.

Zinke also commissioned personalized challenge coins to give to staff and visitors.

Challenge Coin commissioned by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

Challenge coins began as a military tradition during World War I when Ivy League students went to war and created these coins as an act of camaraderie. The challenge is that when a member draws his or her challenge coin and slaps it on the table, others must produce their challenge coin. If someone does not have their challenge coin, that person must buy a round of drinks for the group.

Typically, a challenge coin is a small medal, usually no larger than 2-inches in diameter, with the insignia or emblem of the organization. Two-sided challenge coins may have the emblem of the service on the front and the back has the emblem of the division or other representative services. Challenge coins are traditionally given by a commander in recognition of special achievement or can be exchanged as recognition for visiting an organization.

Receiving a challenge coin, especially from a high ranking official is supposed to be considered an honor.

Over the last 15 years, challenge coins became popular outside of the military as retired service members began to work in other areas of the government. The tradition has even been adopted by state and local governments and sometimes used to help raise money for municipal projects.

While most agencies have challenge coins, Zinke may be the only secretary to have one personalized. There was no report on the cost of the coins to taxpayers.

Although having a personalized challenge coin along with his flag ritual is unusual for a Cabinet-level official, there appears nothing wrong with him doing this. Zinke appears to have enthusiastically embraced his job at the Department of the Interior and if he uses the challenge coin to help reward department employees, then this is a good move on his part.

Credits

  • Official portrait of Secretary Zinke courtesy of the Department of the Interior.
  • Zinke Challenge Coin image courtesy of The Washington Post.

Weekly Numismatic World News for October 8, 2017

David J. Ryder

Earlier this week, the White House announced the nomination of David J. Ryder to be next Director of the U.S. Mint. If the name sounds familiar it is because Ryder served as the 34th Mint Director from September 1992 through November 1993 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

Ryder’s biography in the President’s announcement was as follows:

David J. Ryder of New Jersey to be Director of the United States Mint. Mr. Ryder served as manager and managing director of currency for Honeywell Authentication Technologies. Previously, Mr. Ryder served as CEO of Secure Products Corporation, which was acquired by Honeywell in 2007. In 1991, Mr. Ryder was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Director of the U.S. Mint. His prior government service also included Deputy Treasurer of the United States, Assistant to the Vice President and Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice President Daniel Quayle. Mr. Ryder was born in Billings, Montana and raised in Boise, Idaho. A graduate of Boise State University, Mr. Ryder is married with two children.

The U.S. Mint has not had a permanent director since Edmund Moy resigned in January 2011. Since Moy’s departure there have been a series of Deputy Directors fulfilling the Director’s role including Rhett Jeppson, who was the last nomination not to be considered by the U.S. Senate. Although the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs did held a hearing on Jeppson’s nomination, they failed to bring the nomination to the floor for a vote.

If Ryder’s nomination is confirmed, he will be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint and the only person to hold the job for two non-consecutive terms.

PN1082: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: October 5, 2017
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. — Oct 5, 2017
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1082.

Now for the news…

 October 2, 2017

An amateur historian from Devon digging in a farmer's field has told how he found a once-in-a-lifetime hoard of 2000-year-old Roman silver coins – worth up to £200,000. Mike Smale, 35, found the hoard of 600 rare denarii in a farmer's field in Bridport while hunting with his pals from the Southern Detectorists club. → Read more at devonlive.com


 October 2, 2017

The U.S. Mint is on track for the lowest sales of American Eagle coins in almost a decade. The 2008 financial crisis began a historic ramp up in sales that lasted for years. 20,583,000 silver American Eagles sold that year, more than double the 2007 total of 9,028,036 coins. → Read more at silverseek.com


 October 5, 2017

The negative sentiment toward gold prevailed on Friday, September 29, the last trading day of the month. Gold futures for November expiration fell 0.3% and closed at $1,282.7 per ounce. The call implied volatility in gold was at 9.7%—the lowest level in September. (Call implied volatility is a measurement of the fluctuations in the price of an asset with respect to the changes in the price of its call option.) → Read more at marketrealist.com


 October 6, 2017

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law in May to exempt the sale of U.S. gold coins in the state from capital gains taxes.The measure said taxing a gold coin investment was unfair because the transaction was an exchange of one currency for another. Tax free status would arguably spur investment, but that does not seem to be happening on the large scale.Sales of gold coins in the first nine months of the year shrank to the lowest in a decade, according to new data from the U.S. Mint. Despite preferential tax status in Arizona, investors are choosing the stock market. → Read more at kjzz.org


 October 7, 2017

The Sussex ambulance driver will face no further action after saying his children found the coins. → Read more at bbc.com


 October 7, 2017

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas yesterday said it would penalize people found willfully defacing, mutilating, tearing, burning or destroying currency notes and coins. → Read more at philstar.com


 October 8, 2017

Penny-wise and coin foolish: Don’t eliminate 1 cent → Read more at orlandosentinel.com

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Image from David J. Ryder’s LinkedIn page.

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