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New Mint director after six years?


United States Mint principal deputy director Rhett Jeppson

There might be a new Mint director in office in 2017. Technically it has been vacant since Edmund C. Moy left office in 2011.

The Mint director’s position is one of roughly 4,000 in the executive branch to be appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Since Moy left office, two names have been sent to the Senate to succeed Moy, but neither one was confirmed.

The most recent name sent up Capitol Hill is that of Rhett Jeppson, who is principal deputy director of the United States Mint. The Senate got it last year.

Jeppson is performing the duties of the director without actually having the title.

Perhaps in the lame duck session of Congress held before 2016 ends, he will get the title as well as the responsibility.

Perhaps not.

The reason I mention the possibility is rooted in history.

When Lyndon Baines Johnson was on his way to retirement as 1968 ended, the Congress confirmed Joseph W. Barr as his Treasury secretary.

Barr served for about a month, taking office Dec. 21, 1968, and leaving it when the administration of Richard M. Nixon began Jan. 20, 1969.

Clearly it can be argued that the nation would have gotten along just fine without a Treasury secretary for that brief period.

The same argument can be made about the Mint directorship.

However, Barr made numismatic history when his name appeared on the very brief Series 1963B $1 Federal Reserve Note.

These notes did not even go into production before Barr left office, but they were printed and circulated.

Collectors hoarded the notes, which were only issued by five of the 12 Federal Reserve districts. These hoards have assured a more than adequate supply for today’s collectors.

Even now large quantities of these notes turn up in family hoards that pass from one generation to the next.

For Jeppson, there is no possibility of a bank note. However, he will leave his mark on the Mint in another way.

His Oct. 13 meeting in Philadelphia, where the best and brightest in the numismatic and related fields gathered, is a serious beginning for mapping our collective future.

What is to be done to an institution whose collector base has fallen in half? What is to be done to bring in new blood?

The answer to these questions when they come will likely be traced back to the Oct. 13 initiative.

For that, Jeppson should be well pleased.

Many changes are coming at us in 2017 and in future years. This will happen no matter who is chosen to lead the United States Mint.

The ultimate question is whether these changes will be forced on us by events, or whether there will be some thoughtful input from the nation’s coin collectors.

For giving us a voice in the process, let’s say thank you to Jeppson.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2016 North American Coins & Prices guide.

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.