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What would you tell the Mint?

On Oct. 17, the U.S. Mint will host its third annual Numismatic Forum. This year’s program will be held at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C.


As conceived in 2016, the U.S. Mint invites approximately 80 guests, most of whom represent major dealers or larger collector organizations, with the expectation that somewhere from 50 to 65 will actually attend.

I have accepted an invitation to participate in the forum, as I did the two previous events. Following the previous two Numismatic Forums, I wrote a column in 2016 and two columns in 2017 for to share with readers the details about the event and my own observations and recommendations submitted to the U.S. Mint. You can read those columns at, at, and at

Two years ago, in discussing opportunities for the Mint, my first recommendation was to issue a series of coins honoring American inventions by state. Although I don’t claim a causal relationship, two months later a bill was introduced in Congress to issue a series of one-dollar coins for each state and territory to honor American Innovations. The bill passed Congress and was signed into law this summer. The first coin will be issued soon, with my home state of Michigan’s dollar scheduled for release in 2025.

In my two columns after last year’s Numismatic Forum, I complained that the Mint’s presentation was too much on what they were doing and not enough of seeking input from the invited attendees on issues and problems in Mint products and operations.

I don’t know if this point in my article had any impact, but this year’s Numismatic Forum is structured to get significant attendee feedback.

Also, in last year’s second article I noted that the Dutch government had privatized its mint and the Belgian government was closing its mint. So, I asked if privatizing the U.S. Mint should also be considered. I later received indirect feedback that top U.S. Mint officials were not pleased with that suggestion.

This year’s Numismatic Forum may represent a great opportunity to provide feedback to Mint officials. For instance, David Ryder, the 39th director of the U.S. Mint appointed six months ago (who was also the 34th director of the U.S. Mint from 1992 to 1993), has substantial private sector experience in anti-counterfeiting technology, a growing problem where the U.S. Mint has lagged other major world mints. I am hopeful that his experience in the private sector and in anti-counterfeiting technology gives him a wider and hopefully more receptive perspective to hearing ideas and constructive criticism from people outside of the U.S. Mint.

In advance of last year’s Numismatic Forum, I asked readers of this column to send to me any questions or comments they would bring up to U.S. Mint officials if they had the opportunity. In response, I received several. I eventually had the opportunity to bring up all of these points in front of the entire room or in one-to-one discussions with Mint staff. So, I ask for your help again with questions and comments. Please send them to me by Oct. 15 at Thank you.

Patrick A. Heller is winner of the American Numismatic Association 2018 Glenn Smedley Memorial Service Award, 2017 Exemplary Service Award, 2012 Harry Forman Dealer of the Year Award and 2008 Presidential Award. He was also honored by the Numismatic Literary Guild in 2017 and 2016 for the Best Dealer-Published Magazine/Newspaper and for Best Radio Report. He is the communications officer of Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., and writes “Liberty’s Outlook,” a monthly newsletter on rare coins and precious metals subjects. Past newsletter issues can be viewed at Some of his radio commentaries titled “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing (which streams live and becomes part of the audio and text archives posted at

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

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