Ryder Nomination Moves Forward

David J. Ryder

The Nomination of David J. Ryder to become the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint moves forward as the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs ordered that his appointment to be reported favorably.

Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) reported the committee’s recommendation without a printed report. His nomination was added to the Senate Executive Calendar for a vote by the full Senate.

With Ryder’s addition, there are 126 nominations pending for a vote in the Senate. The Senate has not approved a presidential nomination since June 8, 2017.

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.

October 2017 Numismatic Legislation Review

It seems that when I write these posts about the monthly numismatic-related legislation reviews, I note how frustrating it is to follow the workings of Congress. Even though I work as a part-time political analyst and have some contacts I can leverage, even the insiders cannot explain why things happen.

Let’s look at recent legislation. Even though the House passed both the The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2519) and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1235) on the same day and sent both the Senate at the same time, the Senate only passed one of the bills while the other is languishing in committee.

Commemorative coin bills are not a big priority for Congress. Most of the time, they are treated as favors for one member or another, along the lines of “you help me with mine and I will help you with yours.” These are not big issues but are used to win points with constituents back home.

Although nobody is sure of the reasons why the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act is being stalled in committee, it may be because of politics and personality conflicts. Usually, when one of these bills are introduced, a version will be submitted to the House and Senate hoping one will pass. The Senate version, S. 1503 was introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Sen. Warren is not a favorite amongst her colleagues on the other side of the aisle. My sources speculate that the Senate’s leadership could be using this as a future bargaining chip against some of her principled stances.

It does not matter what you think about Sen. Warren or her politics. This is the way Congress works. If you think that the Basketball Hall of Fame should have a commemorative coin to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2020, then let your senators know that you support H.R. 1235 that has already passed the House.

H.R. 965: Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH)
Introduced: February 7, 2017
Summary: This bill redesignates the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in New Hampshire, as the “Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.”
Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands. — Feb 23, 2017
Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Unanimous Consent. — Jul 26, 2017
Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 197. — Aug 25, 2017
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 2, 2017
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. — Oct 3, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR956.

H.R. 2519: The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy J. Walz (D-MN)
Introduced: May 18, 2017
Summary: This bill requires the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue commemorative coins in recognition and celebration of the 100th anniversary of the American Legion.Surcharges received from the sale of these coins shall be paid to the American Legion for costs related to promoting the importance of: (1) caring for those who have served, and those who are still serving, in the Armed Forces; and (2) maintaining patriotic values, strong families, and assistance for at-risk children.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — May 18, 2017
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Sep 25, 2017
Received in the Senate. — Sep 26, 2017
Message on Senate action sent to the House. — Sep 29, 2017
Presented to President. — Sep 29, 2017
Became Public Law No: 115-65. — Oct 6, 2017
This new law can be viewed at http://bit.ly/115-HR2519.

H.R. 4044: 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Introduced: October 12, 2017
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Oct 12, 2017
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR4044.
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.

The Under-Appreciated Platinum Eagle Proofs

Over a week ago, the U.S. Mint announced that they will begin a three-year series of the American Platinum Eagles proof coins featuring designs inspired by the Declaration of Independence. After looking at the designs and the designs of past platinum proof coins, they may be one of the most under-appreciated series of coins produced by the U.S. Mint.

Since its introduction in 1997, the U.S. Mint has produced four series of proof coins with the reverse honoring different aspects of the nation. To see the list, see the “U.S. Coins by Type” page.

What distinguishes these coins are the well-executed reverse designs that few get to see or pay attention. It may be difficult for the average collector to consider collecting these coins because of the price of platinum has been either on par or higher than the price of gold. Also, platinum is not as well regarded as gold or silver as a precious metal causing it to be overlooked.

Since many of these coins did not sell in large quantities, many could be classified as modern rarities. But do not let the lack of supply dissuade you. Prices could be in the range of their bullion value plus a modest numismatic premium because the demand is also lower.

It is too bad these designs are confined to platinum coins. Unfortunately, the authorizing laws allow the U.S. Mint to do this with the platinum coins but not with silver. Since silver is more affordable for the average collector, maybe it is worth trying to ask Congress to change the law to allow these types of series for the American Silver Eagle proof coins.

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.

Diehl & Moy endorse change

Could the recent cyber attacks and growing severity of cybersecurity issues become the motivation for Congress to vote to reform United States currency?

According to Philip Diehl and Edmund Moy, former Directors of the U.S. Mint, the discussion as to remove the cent and paper dollar from circulation should be part of the current budget and tax overhaul debates.

The discussion is the same as it has been. The cost of zinc has risen causing the manufacturing costs of the Lincoln cent to climb above its face value. Even with operating efficiencies that have brought down the cost of manufacturing to its lowest levels in many years, the price of zinc keeps makes the materials cost more than the coin is worth.

As for the paper dollar, the Government Accountability Office has published several reports over the years that demonstrate the cost savings between using the paper dollar versus a coin dollar. The last GAO report (GAO-13-164T) concluded that using a dollar coin instead of the paper note “could potentially provide $4.4 billion in net benefits to the federal government over 30 years.”

This is not a new discussion. The only change is that this is being suggested by former Directors of the U.S. Mint from both sides of the aisle. Diehl was appointed by Bill Clinton and served from June 1994 through March 2000. Moy was appointed by George W. Bush and served from September 2006 through January 2011.

Earlier this year, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (COINS Act) (S. 759). McCain’s bill would require:

  • Suspending the production of the one-cent coin for 10 years except for collectibles. After three years, the GAO would doe a study to determine whether production should remain suspended or should be reinstated. This would not demonetize the cent.
  • Change the composition of the nickel to 80-percent copper and 20-percent nickel. This should bring down the cost of materials used in striking the five-cent coin to be on par with its value. Efficiencies in manufacturing could lower costs further.
  • If the bill becomes law, two years after it is enacted, the Federal Reserve will begin removing $1 Federal Reserve Notes from circulation. This will probably be done by the banks who will take the notes on deposit and send them back to the Federal Reserve where they will be destroyed. Coins would take their place. The $1 FRN could still be produced for the collector market.

Sources report that the chances of McCain’s bill getting a hearing are minuscule. While having lunch with on congressional staffer, I was given three reasons why Congress will not address this issue:

  1. States with a large rural population primarily west of the Mississippi River represented by Republicans are unlikely to support the removal of the one-cent coin. Removal of the coin is viewed as a hidden tax against the people with fear mongering that suggest the government is keeping the extra money that would become on the rounding of prices.
  2. States with large poor populations, primarily in the south, and their advocates who believe that taking away the pennies are a way to separate more money from poor people who can least afford to lose the ability to pay in cents.
  3. Surveys show that most of the people older than Millenials are against removing the paper dollar. Since this population constitutes the majority of the voters and donors, the politicians are not about to make those people upset.

Another issue is that McCain is not popular amongst his fellow Republicans. If the issue is addressed, it is likely to be discussed as part of a bill that does not bear McCain’s sponsorship.

Given the partisan nature of politics and the perceptions of the members of Congress, there is a very little chance of the Coins Act or any similar legislation being enacted during this session of Congress.

U.S. Mint announces WWI Centennial Commemorative Design winner

Utah sculptor LeRoy Transfield, right, poses in his sculpting studio in Orem.

In a rare Monday holiday appearance by government workers, the U.S. Mint announced that they selected a design for the World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin.

The winning design was submitted by LeRoy Transfield, a sculptor from Orem, Utah.

In an interview that appeared in the Desert News, Transfield said that he had two uncles that served as members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Native Contingent during World War I. This lead to his interest in learning about the history of the war.

For the obverse, Transfield titled it “Soldier’s Charge.” In the interview, Transfield said that he “didn’t want him to look like some model in an artist’s studio. I made his nose like it might’ve been broken. I wanted to give him a rugged looking face. … I wanted that feeling of combat”

Transfield said that the reverse was more difficult to for him to design. After several tried he came up with the “Poppies in the Wire”

Poppies are a fitting tribute since their use was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, a Canadian physician following the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier who died in battle. It was published in 1915 and first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate the American Soldiers killed in the war. It was later adopted by veterans groups within the British Empire including Canada.

Transfield is originally from New Zealand but moved to the United States to attend BYU-Hawaii. After graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, he moved with his wife to Orem where he operates a sculpting studio in his garage.

Based on the line drawing, it appears that this is going to be an excellent design when struck on a 40mm silver planchet. This is one time where it appears that the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts got it right in picking the design.

The World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin will be issued in 2018. According to the law (Public Law 113-212) , the U.S. Mint is limited to selling no more than 350,000 silver dollars. Each coin will have a $10 surcharge (a maximum of $3.5 million) will be paid to the U.S. Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I.

Given the texture in the both the soldier on the front and the poppies on the reverse, it will be interesting to see if the U.S. Mint comes up with an enhanced uncirculated version. It could be extraordinary!

Credits

  • Image of LeRoy Transfield in his studio courtesy of the Desert News.
  • Coin line art images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

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

Coin Collectors News
news.coinsblog.ws
Image from David J. Ryder’s LinkedIn page.

Have you bought your Palladium Eagle?

Quick update for those interested in the new Palladium Bullion Coin that was sold to authorized purchasers on Monday.

The U.S. Mint added a link for the Palladium Bullion Coin to the American Eagle Coin Program web page. The web page provides scaled image of the coin and the design information.

If you want to find an authorized seller, the U.S. Mint has a web page to let you find one based on your location.

Rather than using the images that were reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, the U.S. Mint also posted full-sized color pictures of the coins.

A quick check of online auctions shows that the American Palladium Eagle coin is averaging $1,100 per coin when buying one graded and encapsulated coin or $1,080 when buying an ungraded coin. Multiple coin lots are averaging between $1,070 and $1,080 each.

As I type this, the current price of palladium is $928.73. Dealers are paying 6.25 percent over the spot price (approximately $986.79) plus shipping costs. Graded coins also incur fees paid to the third-party grading service.

Images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

POLL: Looking for Palladium Eagles after September 29

American Palladium Eagle mockup as presented to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee

The U.S. Mint announced today that sales of the American Palladium Eagles will begin on September 29. As bullion issues, they are being sold through with authorized channels and not directly to the public.

After seven years since the law was passed (American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-303), these coins Will begin their sale. There is no indication whether the U.S. Mint will offer collectable versions or just release the bullion coins.

The coin will have a $25 face value and require that “the obverse shall bear a high-relief likeness of the ‘Winged Liberty’ design used on the obverse of the so-called ‘Mercury dime’” making it yet another bullion coin that will feature a design from the early 20th century. For the reverse, the law says that the coin “shall bear a high-relief version of the reverse design of the 1907 American Institute of Architects medal.” Both the Mercury Dime and 1907 AIA medal designed by Adolph A. Weinman, whose Walking Liberty design is used on the American Silver Eagle coins.

No price has been announced but the current Price of Palladium is $911.63. As a reference the current spot price of metals are as follows:

Precious Metals Price Snapshot as of September 19, 2017
(This is a static chart—it does not update)

The U.S. Mint does not publish the bullion and bulk sale prices the way it does for collector coins but it is likely that these coins are sold to distributors at a premium over their spot price. I guess we will find out how much these coins will cost for investors and collectors purchase when they hit the market.

For today’s poll, are you going to buy one?
 

Are you going to purchase the new Palladium Eagle?






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American Liberty Four Silver Medal Set Price Announced

American Liberty Four Silver Medal Set will be on sale on October 19, 2017 at Noon ET for $199.95

The U.S. Mint did you publish in the Federal Register last week that the American Liberty 225th Anniversary Silver Four-Medal set will be priced at $199.95.

The American Liberty Four Silver Medal Set are four silver medals featuring the gold 225th Anniversary American Liberty Gold design struck in silver and without a denomination. Each medal will contain one troy ounce of silver and consist of one medal from each of the active mints with different finishes:

  • Philadelphia Reverse Proof
  • San Francisco Proof
  • West Point Enhanced Uncirculated
  • Denver Uncirculated

It was previously announced that the set will go on sale at noon on October 19, 2017.

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