A look back interview with Randy’L Teton

Randy’l Teton interview on East Idaho Newsmakers (screen grab)

Following the failure of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, there was an effort to revive the dollar with a new design. When the debate settled, Congress produced legislation to change the coin to have a golden color and a smooth edge to make sure it can be distinguishable from the quarter. After another debate, Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark expedition, was eventually chosen for the coin’s design. When the designs were reviewed and following a vote by the public, Treasury picked Glenna Goodacre’s design with the profile of Sacagawea in three-quarter view and her infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, carried on her back.

Since there are no known images of Sacagawea, Goodacre searched for someone she could model her design on. Goodacre found Randy’L He-Dow Teton is a member of the Shoshone-Cree tribe to be the model. Teton was a student at the University of New Mexico majoring in art history and was working for the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe when Goodacre visited looking for information about the Shoshone tribe. While talking with the museum’s curator, Goodacre was shown a picture of the curator’s daughter, Randy’L, and decided to work with her to create the Sacagawea design.

Recently, Teton sat with Nate Eaton of EastIdahoNews.com for his series East Idaho Newsmakers. Although they cover other topics, most of the video is about Teton’s experience as being the model for Sacagawea.

EastIdahoNews.com does not provide the ability to embed the video elsewhere on the web. To watch the video and hear the story from Teton’s point of view you can visit the site: Newsmakers: The fascinating story of how this local woman ended up on the dollar gold coin.

The U.S. Mint is not doing its job going after more 1933 Double Eagles

The ten 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles confiscated by the government from Joan Lanbord, daughter of Israel Switt.

Coin World reported that the U.S. Mint knows about more 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle gold coins in private hands.

For those who have not read Illegal Tender by David Tripp or Double Eagle by Allison Frankel, aside from both being worth reading, they claim that 25 of these coins were illegally removed from the Philadelphia Mint. Of those 25 coins, nine were confiscated during the 1940s and 1950s by the Secret Service, ten are from the Langbord Hoard stored at the Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, and one is the Farouk-Fenton example which is the subject of the books.

That leaves five left.

During the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatics (PAN) spring show, U.S. Mint Senior Legal Counsel Greg Weinman said that he knows where one is located in the United States, one is in Europe, and a third is somewhere else. The location of the last two is not known.

It can be speculated that the “somewhere else” may be in Egypt. On February 8, 2008, the Moscow News Weekly reported that a version of the coin was found in Egypt in an old box that was owned by the discoverer’s father (web archive link). Although there had been a lot of speculation that coin might not be genuine, there has been no further reports as to the disposition of this coin.

Weinman said that there are no plans to go after the three coins where the U.S. Mint knows their location.

Why?

Following the trial in 2011 with a jury verdict against the Langbords. After the ruling, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero, the government’s lead attorney in the case, came out with a courthouse statement, “People of the United States of America have been vindicated.”

If the country is to be vindicated and the government has consistency in its argument that the coins are “chattel,” according to Weinman, then it is their legal obligation to have the U.S. Secret Service pursue the three known examples.

Otherwise, it could be said that the government has undergone selective prosecution and has given up its right to the ten in its possession or the five that are still in public hands.

It is these inconsistencies of policies with regard to these coins that could drive collectors away. While most people may never find or own one of these rare coins, what happens to those who might get lucky.

While the 1913 Liberty Head Nickels were not considered chattel because they were never struck for circulation, the government fought the finding of the 1974-D Aluminum cent forcing its return. The circumstances for the striking of both coins are similar but the government has treated each issue differently.

This is not a matter of integrity of the hobby. It is the integrity of the U.S. Mint and their bogus argument of what is or is not something they produced for whatever the reason. The integrity of the U.S. Mint can be questioned when they applied 21st century operating standards to the U.S. Mint of the 1930s in order to convince a “jury of peers,” none of which probably had a numismatic background questioning their ability to be peers, that these coins belonged to the government for it to hold like some almighty savior of us from the depths of fraudulence.

Do you still feel vindicated?

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 6, 2018

As taxpayers, we like to see some efficiency in our government even though the government is not designed for efficiency. We expect government organizations that have an income to maximize their profits when they can. This is one of the reasons why people have complained to near apoplectic proportions about how the U.S. Mint loses money on every one-cent coin it produces.

Last week, the Royal Canadian Mint issued its financial reports for 2017. The headline of the report said that the Royal Canadian Mint paid $93.2 million ($72.553 million USD) in dividends to the government of Canada in 2017. To compare this with the U.S. Mint, whose fiscal years end on September 30th, paid a total of $265 million back to the government.

Numismatic sales are an important part of the Royal Canadian Mint’s sales. This is evident by visiting their website to see the number of programs they have for sale. With all of the options, the Royal Canadian Mint revenue for those numismatic items was $25.7 million ($20 million USD). Even with the complaints about how horrible the U.S. Mint is and its programs are not priced according to someone’s perception of the market, they sold $1.755 billion in numismatics. This number includes about $2.4 million in numismatic sales of circulating coins, such as bags and rolls.

Finally, even though bullion sales have decreased as the economy strengthened and both mints saw a reduction in sales. The Royal Canadian Mint had a net revenue of $1.35 billion ($1.05 billion USD), representing a 40.7-percent decrease in sales from 2016. The U.S. Mint had revenues of $1.378 million representing a decrease of 33.8-percent from 2016.

There may be some who like to complain about the U.S. Mint, this government bureau continues to be the world’s largest manufacturer of circulating and collectible coinage. Although bullion sales have decreased and the Royal Canadian Mint has performed well in the bullion markets in recent years, when it comes to whom the market turns to, the U.S. Mint continues to outperform other world mints.

And now the news…

 April 29, 2018

A new 50 cent coin featuring a red poppy will be issued by the Reserve Bank in October to commemorate Armistice Day. Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr said the coin would have significance for those whose relatives served in the First World War. → Read more at stuff.co.nz


 April 29, 2018

The CBM has been selling gold coins in weights of one tical, half-tical and quarter-tical since 1991. One tical is equivalent to around 16 grams. Currently, one-tical coins bear a single star, while the half and quarter-tical coins have a ploughing farmer and logging elephant engraved, respectively. → Read more at mmtimes.com


 April 30, 2018

Cebu City — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will launch the New Generation Currency (NGC) series during its anniversary in July. Leonides Sumbi, regional director of BSP in Central Visayas, said the release of the new coins is not meant to create confusion as BSP will soon demonetize the old coins. → Read more at news.mb.com.ph


 May 1, 2018

Ian Vogler/Mirrorpix/Newscom With less than three weeks before the royal wedding, Britain’s Royal Mint today released a special commemorative coin to mark the occasion. A new British five-pound coin (about $6.88) celebrates Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s upcoming wedding May 19. → Read more at abcnews.go.com


 May 2, 2018

LISBON, May 2 (Xinhua) — The Bank of Portugal bought 272 million 1 and 2 cent coins from the Bank of Ireland in 2017, the Publico newspaper reported on Wednesday. Specifically, the Bank of Portugal purchased 148.8 million 2 cent coins and 123.2 million 1 cent coins. → Read more at xinhuanet.com


 May 3, 2018

Getty Images Overall global gold demand fell to its lowest first-quarter level since 2008, driven by a slump in demand for gold bars and exchange-traded funds backed by the precious metal, according to a report from the World Gold Council released Thursday. → Read more at marketwatch.com


 May 3, 2018

OTTAWA, May 3, 2018 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mint (the "Mint" or the "Company") is pleased to release its 2017 financial results, which provide insight into our activities, the markets influencing our businesses and our expectations for the year ahead. → Read more at markets.businessinsider.com


 May 3, 2018

While credit cards were once reserved for large purchases across Australia, more people than ever are using plastic for items as cheap as a morning coffee. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 May 5, 2018

A late revolt bronze coin discovered where rebels sought refuge in a cave near Modiin indicates geographically widespread Jewish backing of the ultimately bloody Jerusalem uprising → Read more at timesofisrael.com

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Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for April 15, 2018

David J. Ryder, 39th Director of the U.S. Mint

Finally, after 2,649 days (or 7 years, 3 months, 2 days), the U.S. Mint now has a permanent appointed Director when Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin swore in David J. Ryder as the bureau’s 39th Director on April 12, 2018.

The U.S. Mint has been without an appointed director since Edmund C. Moy resigned as the director effective on January 9, 2011, although he had vacated his office earlier. Moy’s term was to expire on September 5, 2011. He was one of the few officials from the George W. Bush administration to work under Barack Obama.

Moy will be remembered for the problems with the U.S. Mint’s website ablity to meet collector demand and the debacle over not having enough bullion planchets to meet demands of investors and collectors.

Ryder comes to the U.S. Mint after holding the position of Global Business Development Manager and Managing Director of Currency for Honeywell Authentication Technologies. As part of his work, Ryder worked with the Royal Mint during their development of the security technology that they are currently being used for the new one-pound coin.

During his confirmation, Ryder was asked about counterfeit technologies and how it could help in the United States. Although counterfeiting is a concern, current circulating coins are not the counterfeiter’s targets. For coins, the targets are the older collectible coins with an overwhelming target being Morgan and Trade dollars.

This is a return for Ryder who served as the 34th Director from September 1992 to November 1993 during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. His experience with running the U.S. Mint in the past and his work with Honeywell should help him be successful.

Welcome, Mr. Ryder and good luck!

And now the news…

 April 11, 2018

Football fans were shocked to learn that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a coin collector. On Wednesday night ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell tweeted a new detail about Gronkowski's $1million home being burglarized on February 5, the night the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk


 April 11, 2018

To mark the 20th anniversary of Astana and the 25th anniversary of the national currency, the National Bank of Kazakhstan will issue a new series of commemorative coins. This is great news for numismatists of many countries. → Read more at kazakh-tv.kz


 April 12, 2018

Bank tellers beware! A coin con man may be on a roll, warn North Vancouver RCMP – literally. The inventive fraudster recently bilked a bank in North Vancouver by cashing in what the teller believed were more than 45 toonies and leaving significantly lighter, pocketing $2,600 in bills. → Read more at nsnews.com


 April 13, 2018

A junk dealer in Turkey returned 100 gold coins he found hidden away in an old stove, state run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday. Asir Ozturk, 36, has been making a living by collecting and selling junk materials in Burdur for the last 20 years, according to the report. → Read more at thenews.com.pk


 April 14, 2018

In 1974, Reno stock investor and real estate man, Lavere Redfield, passed away at the age of 77 years. Lavere was born in Utah and his father died when Lavere → Read more at elkodaily.com

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Who is hurting the hobby?

I write this blog from the perspective of a collector. I champion the collector. I think that collectors are the most qualified to determine the direction of the hobby. The collector is the consumer and the consumer is almost always right.

When it comes to helping with the direction of the hobby dealers should also have a say. Their input is important. But they should be there to support the collector because without collectors the dealers have no business. Dealers should not be dictating the direction of the hobby.

Are these sets hurting the hobby? Should the U.S. Mint stop producing them? (U.S. Mint image)

Recently, I was listening to The Coin Show podcast hosted by Matt Dinger, a dealer in Indianapolis, and Mike Noodle, a collector that says he works in a coin shop (I think he said it was a part-time gig), and became very concerned when Matt said that the U.S. Mint was hurting the hobby.

Regular listeners to The Coin Show knows that Matt is not a fan of modern coins and the products of the U.S. Mint. In fact, during the last show, he admitted to not carrying American Eagle coins because he does not want to support the U.S. Mint in damaging the hobby.

During the podcast, Mike came to the defense of U.S. Mint collectors but that defense was tempered when he said that collecting U.S. Mint products was for beginner collectors and that it was a way to start before the collector “graduate” to other collectibles.

I have questioned Matt and Mike in the past on Facebook but this time I felt their statements crossed a line. My regular readers know I can get hyperbolic but I try to remain respectful. As it happens on Facebook and anywhere else on the Internet, people cannot take the words at face value and have to read something into them.

This time I emphasized that not only do I collect U.S. Mint items but have not “graduated” to the type of collectibles Mike and Matt proclaim to be real collectibles. New readers can go through this blog and see how my collection can be classified as normal to eclectic.

After a lot of angry discussions (you will see a sample below) and some churlish responses from others (not Matt or Mike), I finally coaxed out the reasons for Matt’s hatred of modern U.S. Mint products. Unfortunately, it seems his reasons have more to do with the industry than the U.S. Mint.

According to Matt, the U.S. Mint is harming numismatics by selling annual sets like proof and mint sets at the prices they set. During the Facebook discussion, Matt and Sam Shafer, another Indianapolis-area dealer, said that they believe the U.S. Mint’s prices are too high.

From their perspective as dealers, they claim it is the U.S. Mint’s fault for the differences between the manufacturer’s suggested retail price the secondary market.

Using that logic, can I blame Chevrolet for the secondary market price of the 2014 Silverado I just purchased? If I tried, General Motors would laugh me under the tonneau cover of the truck! Yet, coin dealers are applauded for applying the same logic. This does not make sense.

How can you blame the manufacturer for the secondary market’s reaction?

Matt wrote, “I feel like the depreciation seen in modern sets is much more harmful to potential collectors or beginning collectors.”

I guess if General Motors followed that logic, they would stop making trucks!

But we are talking about collectibles. In that case, Topps, Fleer, and Upper Deck should stop producing baseball cards.

This is only an argument by dealers who would rather sell what they like and not take a broader view of the collecting market. In my new life, I am a collectibles and antiques dealer. The items I buy are either from the secondary market or I buy new items from manufacturers such as comic book and baseball card publishers.

This 1901 $10 Dollar Lewis and Clark Bison note (Fr# 122) was sold by a dealer at an antiques show by a dealer not complaining about the collecting market.

I have been in antiques and collectibles market as a part-time dealer for 10 years. During that time I have been selling at antique shows, flea markets, and online. I have met and spoken with dealers about the market and its volatility. Everyone I speak with survived the Great Recession of 2008. What I learned in these discussions is that ONLY the numismatic industry demands that its collectibles rise in value. If the coin does not increase in value it is not because the market has spoken. It has to be someone else’s fault. After all, these dealers have to be right so it must be the U.S. Mint’s fault.

The vast majority of dealers are very good and very reasonable. Many do understand the view of the collector and work with them. However, there is a subset of dealers that can be some of the most stubborn business people I know. They refuse to change with the market. Even if the market is not looking for their niche, they will not adapt to the market. Their mind is made up do not confuse them with facts.

They are also the most vocal in their opposition to market forces. Their usual retort is “you don’t understand, you’re not a dealer!”

With all due respect, I do not need to be a dealer to know that not changing with the times is doing more to hurt the hobby than the U.S. Mint is by doing its job.

Did you know that the Pobjoy Mint struck this coin under the authority of the British Virgin Islands. Is this good for the hobby? (Pobjoy Mint image)

Another argument is that the U.S. Mint has too many programs. Are they kidding me? Have they looked at the offering by the Royal Canadian, New Zealand, and Royal Mints? When was the last time they looked at the websites of the Perth Mint or the Pobjoy Mint? Comparatively, the U.S. Mint’s catalog looks bare!

The U.S. Mint does not offer dozens of non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins. U.S. Mint coins are struck and not painted. The U.S. Mint does not offer piedfort version of circulating coins or even coins guilt in gold or palladium. The U.S. Mint does not make deals with movie production companies, comic book publishers, or soft drink manufacturers to issue branded coins.

Every coin that the U.S. Mint offers for sale has an authorizing law limiting what they could produce. According to those laws, the U.S. Mint has to recover costs and is allowed to make a “reasonable” profit.

But what is reasonable? This is a question that has a lot of valid arguments on both sides. However, the U.S. Mint is subject to oversight by the Treasury Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and, occasionally, review by Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO). Neither oversight agency has produced a report saying that the U.S. Mint’s prices are unreasonable.

The U.S. Mint is selling what they manufacture at a price that the competent oversight agencies have not complained about. The only one complaining is by the dealers in the secondary market.

Why are these dealers complaining?

We get to the crux of the problem when Sam Shafer responds, “I would rather sell a customer a Morgan dollar than a set of glorified shiny pocket change.”

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand why a dealer would write that. A dealer makes more money selling Morgan dollars than modern coins. It is about business, not about what the U.S. Mint is doing. It is also a very reasonable response if the dealer would own up to the fact that it is about the impact to their business. Blaming the U.S. Mint is like crashing into a wall and blaming the wall for being there!

But Sam must have had some bad experiences: “How about you come down from your pedestal, put your loudspeaker up your rectum and work in a shop for a few years where you can witness the devastation of families first hand for a few years.”

This is a strong statement, even if you discount the placement of inanimate objects into bodily orifices they do not belong. What has the U.S. Mint done to cause “devastation?” The U.S. Mint sells products to those who want to buy them. You are not forced to buy from the U.S. Mint.

Sam continues, “While your [sic] at it maybe you can take up your glorious cause of finding homes for the 50 billon [sic] sets the government produced and bulk sold over the years to the collectors who assumed that 5 sets would better than 1.”

By Sam’s logic, it is the U.S. Mint’s fault that someone speculated and the investment did not pan out? Whose fault is that? Who told someone that buying these sets would be a good investment? Not the U.S. Mint! Where does the U.S. Mint say in any of its publications or website that coins make a solid investment? How could these speculators have come to this conclusion?

2018 Fiji Coca-Cola Bottle Cap-shaped coin is not a U.S. Mint product. It contains 6 grams of silver (about $3.20) and costs $29.95. Is this good for the hobby? (Modern Coin Mart image)

The U.S. Mint goes out of its way to avoid participating in the investment market. They do not represent any of their products as investment grade instruments. This is why the U.S. Mint does not sell investment bullion directly to the public. The government sells these products to distributors who will then sell to the dealers that will sell them to the public. The government is not involved in the price speculation of numismatic items.

The U.S. Mint does not even acknowledge historical and aftermarket pricing for the items they manufacture.

The U.S. Mint sells collectible coins. They do not sell investments.

Over the years, I have received more complaints about dealers than allegedly worthless State Quarters or the U.S. Mint’s annual sets. But why are coins allegedly worthless?

Did the U.S Mint make claims that these one-time-only coins are really special and that they would be the greatest thing since sliced bread?

This is not a U.S. Mint Product! (Danbury Mint image)

Did the U.S. Mint create rolls in sonically sealed plastic holders and tout them as the next great collectible?

Did the U.S Mint create books, boards, folders, albums, maps, touting this as a once-in-a-lifetime way to collect?

All this came from the secondary market. Who runs the secondary market? DEALERS!

DEALERS set the values for the coins based on what they sell them for.

DEALERS take coins and entomb them in sonically sealed plastic holders saying that this is how you should be collecting. They tell you one encapsulating service is better than another and then make you pay different prices if you use a service they do not like even if the number assigned as a grade is the same on both pieces of plastic.

DEALERS have convinced an entire class of collectors that if they do not have a plastic holder with this new, whiz-bang label that their collection is not complete.

Tragedy grips the industry when a Pawn Star is featured on a plastic holder’s label! (NGC image)

DEALERS have also complained about whose name and image have appeared on some of those labels.

DEALERS genuflect when someone puts a shiny green sticker on a plastic holder as if it was blessed by some deity. They prostrate themselves if the plastic holder is granted that divine gold sticker! After preaching this gospel to their flock, you are considered a heretic if you question the validity of the sticker and the motives of the sticker maker.

While the U.S. Mint is not perfect, the problems with the numismatic market have not been created by a tightly regulated government bureau. The problems come from the secondary market whether they are overstating the values of these items or demeaning collectibles that they cannot make a hefty profit on.

Maybe it is time for dealers to look in the mirror and ask whether the U.S. Mint is hurting the hobby or maybe they are refusing to recognize the problem is right in front of them.

David J. Ryder Confirmed!

David J. Ryder, 39th Director of the U.S. Mint

During the latter portion of the Wednesday, March 22, 2018 session in the United States Senate, the nomination of David J. Ryder to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint was confirmed by a voice vote.

As the Senate was processing the nominations on the Senate Executive Calendar, Ryder’s name rose to the top of the list. When the clerk read the nomination and asked for commentary from the floor, the only statement was from Cory Booker (D-NJ). It is customary that a senator from the nominee’s home state to say something in support the nominee. Since there was no objection from the floor, the Senate moved to suspend the rules and pass the nomination by voice vote.

Previously, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) threatened to block the nomination because he felt that the Department of the Treasury did not respond to inquiries to his satisfaction. When it came time to follow through with the threat, Grassley was not even in the Senate chamber during the vote.

There was no comment offered by Grassley’s office.

After 2,629 days or 7 years, 2 months, and 13 days, our long nightmare is over. The U.S. Mint now has a permanent director!

Good luck Director Ryder.

PN1355: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
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. — Jan 8, 2018
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Jan 17, 2018
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Jan 17, 2018
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 596. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Jan 17, 2018
Considered by Senate. — Mar 21, 2018
Confirmed by the Senate by Voice Vote. — Mar 21, 2018
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1355.

The U.S. Mint Disappoints Congress

NOTE: This was written and queued for posting prior to the confirmation of David Ryder to become the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint.

Today’s “Dummy of the Day Award” goes to Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) (Official House of Representatives Photo)

Earlier this month, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) complained to the U.S. Mint that they did not answer an inquiry to his satisfaction. Mooney, like the rest of congress who does more for show than being constructive, went to the press in order to show his dissatisfaction.

In October, Mooney and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a letter to the U.S. Mint asking about what is being done to protect the integrity of U.S. coinage from counterfeiting. The letter contained a gold-plated tungsten American Gold Eagle coin. It was sent after the testimony of David Ryder during his confirmation hearing.

The letter was addressed to Acting Deputy Director David Moti (sic) and Randolph D. Alles, Director of the U.S. Secret Service.

The letter sent by Mooney and Lucas was sent to the U.S. Mint that was run by its fourth non-appointed, interim director since the resignation of Edmund Moy in January 2011. While the interim directors have the same power as political appointees, it is customary that the interim directors maintain the status quo until the Senate approves the president’s nomination.

The U.S. Mint’s response was written under the signatory of Acting Deputy Director David Motl. Motl, Motl’s response to the representative’s inquiry read exactly what can be expected from an interim appointee warming the seat. Basically, the letter said that the U.S. Mint is doing its job as defined by the law and the Acting Deputy Director is working to keep the agency going until a regular director can be approved.

Of course, these representatives did not like this response. They want the U.S. Mint to do something and even gave suggestions. There are two problems with the response that reads like an advertisement for a commercial service. First, if these representatives understood the division of responsibilities, the agency responsible for protecting the integrity of the money supply is the United State Secret Service. The U.S. Mint is the manufacturer of the money, the U.S. Secret Service is the police force that is responsible for protecting the money. One would think that members of Congress who have access to staff and a full-time research department would understand the roles of the various agencies.

Secondly, what would they want an acting director to do? If the acting director is there to make sure the bureau functions until a new director is appointed, then figure out why the U.S. Mint does not have a permanent director? If Mooney does not like the answer then why not take a walk to the other side of the capital and ask Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) why he is throwing a hissy fit and holding up the nomination of a qualified candidate that could legally answer the questions.

David Croft, Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint since 1-Feb-18 (U.S. Mint Photo)

Instead, Mooney would rather complain and pound his proverbial chest to make it look like he is doing something whereas to anyone who really looks at the situation sees him as foolish.

To add to the fun, the U.S. Mint has a new Acting Deputy Director. Because there is a limited amount of time that a government employee can serve in an “acting” role for an appointed position, David M. Croft has been appointed to the posting as of February 1, 2018. Prior to his appointment as Acting Deputy Director, Croft was the Mint’s Associate Director of Manufacturing. Croft becomes the fifth non-appointed “acting” director since Moy’s resignation.

If there are members of Congress that are not happy with the way the U.S. Mint is being run, they need to work out the problems which they are responsible. Mooney and Lucas should take the U.S. Mint leadership issue up with Grassley. Otherwise, they are doing nothing more than spitting into the wind.

Weekly World Numismatic Newsletter for March 11, 2018

It was announced that the Royal Canadian Mint was issuing a silver Canadian dollar commemorating the 180th Anniversary of Baseball in Canada. Being a baseball fan, I went to the Royal Canadian Mint’s website to see if the coin was worth adding to my collection. The came sticker shock!

The coin is convex, similar to the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins issued by the U.S. Mint. But that is where the similarities end. The reverse of the Canadian coin features a vintage baseball scene reminiscent of the 19th century inside a baseball-looking design. The obverse has the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It has a face value of $25 CDN.

Then there are the specifications. When I visited the Royal Canadian Mint’s website, I was floored when I noticed the issue price of 159.95 CAD or about $124.82 at the current exchange rate. Here is a comparison of the coins:

Royal Canadian Mint
180th Anniversary of Canadian Baseball
U.S. Mint
2014 Hall of Fame Commemorative Silver Dollar
Mintage 5,000 (limit) 400,000 (actual)
Proof: 268,076
Unc: 131,924
Face Value 25.00 CAD 1.00 USD
Composition 99.99% pure silver 90% silver
10% copper
Weight 30.75 g
(0.9886 troy ounce)
29.73 g
(0.9558 troy ounce)
Diameter 36.07 mm 38.1 mm
Silver Value
(16.57 USD spot)
16.38 USD 14.25 USD
Issue Price
(1 CAD = 0.78 USD)
159.95 CAD
(124.82 USD)
Proof: $56.95 (preorder: $51.95)
Unc: $52.95 (preorder: $47.95)

If you want a baseball commemorative coin and do not want to break the bank, you can still find the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Silver Dollar within 20-percent of the issue price in original government packaging (OGP). Even though the artwork is very good, the price of the Canadian coin is too high. At a premium of over 970-percent over spot, it is difficult to justify.

And now the news…

 March 5, 2018

The Central Bank of Lithuania is calling on tech companies and blockchain experts from across the globe to help in the design and production of a digital collector coin. The Central Bank is organising a hackathon in May for third parties to help in the design and development of the one-off virtual currency. → Read more at finextra.com


 March 6, 2018

A new commemorative coin was unveiled Oct. 9 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and honor those Americans who served. The silver dollar coin, authorized by Congress in 2014, features a service member holding a rifle to honor those who fought in the war from 1914 to 1918. → Read more at wadenapj.com


 March 6, 2018

Major League Baseball came to Canada in the 20th century with the debut of the Montreal Expos in 1969 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, but that was far from the beginning of the country's history with the game. → Read more at mlb.com


 March 6, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – A design is needed for the Bicentennial Coin to commemorate the Illinois Bicentennial. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced the Bicentennial Coin Contest on Tuesday. → Read more at wandtv.com


 March 7, 2018

Reverse of new penny design, showing Abraham Lincoln and the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (U.S. Mint photo) → Read more at chicagotribune.com


 March 7, 2018

The Royal Mint is encouraging coin lovers to celebrate the UK “one coin at a time”. The new series of 10p coins were released into circulation on March 1 and features an A to Z of British landmarks, icons and traditions. → Read more at dailystar.co.uk


 March 8, 2018

A museum has started a bid to buy part of a gold sovereign hoard discovered hidden inside a piano. The find was made in 2016 in Shropshire when the piano's new owners had it retuned and repaired. It has since been declared as treasure. → Read more at bbc.com

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POLL: What do you think about Presidential Silver Medals

Silver Medal from the 2013 Theodore Roosevelt Coins and Chronicles Set

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Mint announced to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee that they would be producing silver medals based on the design of previous presidential medals. These medals would be struck using the same .999 silver planchets that are used for the American Silver Eagle coins.

The U.S. Mint thinks that the silver medals would be a popular seller since silver coinage sells well. Using existing designs, the U.S. Mint hopes to be able to save time and money by removing the process of creating new images and not having to undergo the onerous review process of the CCAC and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

I think the U.S. Mint is missing a point. Collecting commemorative silver and American Silver Eagle coins have the cache of being legal tender coins.

Although there are some very dedicated collectors of medals and other exonumia, the vast majority numismatics collectors are collecting legal tender coins.

If you look at the offering of some of the most prolific world mints like the Royal Canadian Mint, New Zealand Mint, and the Perth Mint, they offer a wide variety of offerings as legal tender coins. Countries like Niue and Somalia contract with other world mints to produce non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins to sell to the public.

Many of these programs are a success because they are legal tender coins. It is a mindset that the coins are worth more because they are legal tender. Even coins advertised as being legal tender from Native American Nations (tribes) gain attention.

People are drawn to the concept of collecting and/or investing in real money.

Medals are not money.

Although it sounds like a harsh assessment of the concept, the only downside that can be foreseen is if the U.S. Mint faces a planchet shortage like it did in 2009. Otherwise, I am not sure it will sell like I think the U.S. Mint is portraying.

For the first poll of 2018:
 

Are you interested in a Presidential Silver Medal Program






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U.S. Mint revises precious metals pricing

2018 American Eagle Platinum Proof obverse, Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Series — Life (U.S. Mint image)

The U.S. Mint published its 2018 Pricing of Numismatic Gold, Commemorative Gold, and Platinum Products table with a range of updated prices for the year. The new table removes the First Spouse gold coins and the Centennial Gold coins that were produced in 2017.

Price for the American Gold Eagle proof coin was raised by $17.50 while the one-tenth ounce coin was raised by $2.50 across all price points (averages per troy ounce). The price for the 4-coin proof set was raised by $37.50.

The one-ounce American Gold Eagle uncirculated, American Gold Buffalo 24-karat Proof, and American Eagle Platinum proof coins were raised by $20.00 also across all price points.

The price will not change for the American Liberty Gold Proof, which will use the same design as the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Proof. There will be a one-tenth ounce option that will go on sale February 8 now included in the table. If the price of gold remains steady, the opening price is expected to be $215.00.

The price for the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative “Pink” Gold $5 proof coin will be $6.35 more than the 2017 commemorative gold coin while the uncirculated version will be 25-cents less expensive.

You can find the U.S. Mint pricing table here (PDF).

Remember, precious metals pricing is not a matter of a table lookup. They use average prices based on the prices set by the London Bullion Market Association (also known as the London Fix Price). You can find the Pricing Criteria here (PDF).

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