Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made an under-the-numismatic-radar trip to the Philadelphia Mint on Feb. 22.
Though Treasury secretaries are in overall charge of the U.S. Mint, they seldom are seen by collectors touring the production sites.
Last year, Mnuchin made a trip to Fort Knox in Kentucky to visit the gold storage facility there.
The general news media accused him then of timing the trip as a junket to see the solar eclipse.
However, since there was no solar eclipse or other natural phenomenon at the Philadelphia Mint, we can conclude that he has a genuine interest in fully grasping the workings of the department that he heads.
In reading the Mint's account of the visit, coin collectors will be envious of the fact that Mnuchin struck a World War I centennial silver dollar. He had been given a quick lesson by Ken Holland, a coin press operator. Mnuchin then struck a second example.
Not finished, Mnuchin toured the production area where circulating coins are made. There he witnessed the striking of cents and quarters.
Mnuchin struck a coin there, too, which he was given, though the Mint was not clear as to whether it was a Pictured Rock quarter.
He also met Don Everhart, the retired Mint sculptor-engraver who was given the Coin of the Year program’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Coin Design by World Coin News just three weeks before at the World Money Fair in Berlin.
Greeting Mnuchin for his time at the mint were U.S. Mint Acting Deputy Director David Croft, Acting Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Laurie Johnson and Philadelphia Mint Deputy Superintendent Jim Nicolo.
Also visiting along with Mnuchin were Treasurer Jovita Carranza and Treasury Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Tony Sayegh.
There was and is a deep talent pool at the U.S. Mint and a rich history.
If Mnuchin came away with an appreciation of this, it will have been time well spent.
The numismatic hobby will find that a Treasury secretary who takes an interest in the Mint will be beneficial in the long run.
How do we put the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money Aug. 14-18 in Philadelphia on Mnuchin's itinerary?
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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