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Quick visit for Mint chief

It was a quick in and out visit by the head of the U.S. Mint to the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money Aug. 11.

Rhett Jeppson, pictured here signing autographs at the Chicago ANA show, is the Principal Deputy Director of the United States Mint

Rhett Jeppson, pictured here signing autographs at the Chicago ANA show, is the Principal Deputy Director of the United States Mint

Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson helped to cut the ribbon to open the convention and autographed Mint products at the Mint booth.

His purpose was to see collectors in their natural habitat and to get acquainted with us.

On the job for about half a year now with his nomination to become the Mint director in the Senate, Jeppson said what he found when he arrived at the Mint was a "well-run organization with a lot of professionals."

He said what makes it great are the people. They have a wide variety of skill sets. He aims to take advantage of that.

Operations are being reviewed from top to bottom. Collectors may be viewing the sellout of the Eisenhower Coin and Chronicles set, but his eye already is on next year as a whole and making plans for it.

Technology is a large part of that. He was pleased with the soft launch of the Mint's new app. It has been downloaded over 10,000 times and over $600,000 in sales have already been notched.

He reminds collectors that the Mint is "still a federal organization, so it takes a little more time" to get things done.

Jeppson said the Mint's client base is shrinking and he hopes to get a handle on that.

He said he already has received a lot of suggestions from the numismatic community.

"The community is not shy," he said.

But in this process he said, "We don't want to lose the historical tradition that we have."

That tradition will be on full display next year when the gold 2016 Mercury dime, Standing Liberty quarter and Walking Liberty half dollar designs will be issued to celebrate their 100th anniversary.

Unfortunately, planning was not at a place where details could be revealed.

Even with this year's issues, as part of the review process, final plans for release of one-ounce platinum bullion coins were not available. Last year the coins were released in March and 16,900 pieces were sold.

Jeppson expected circulating coin output next year would be in the same 15 billion to 16 billion range.

The Mint's research and testing of possible alternative coin compositions continues. An interim report will be compiled later this year as an extra. The Mint is required by Congress to file a report every two years. On that schedule, this would be an off year.

More important for the new guy in town was not so much what he could tell us as collectors and dealers, but what we could tell him.

Let's hope at the end of the day he had gotten what he came to the ANA convention for.

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