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This Week's Letters (1/21/09)

Should whoever is chosen to be director have collecting experience?  Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.
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From the Jan. 9 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:


Q. Collector Reed Hawn would like to be Mint director. Should whoever is chosen to be director have collecting experience?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

I think it is time to have a Mint director with hobby interests and experience.
Much of what the Mint provides is based on what the bureaucrats feel the collecting public desires, not what we really would like to see.
Much of the offerings are more costly than necessary due to packaging and marketing, rather than content. This inhibits resale value and later collector value.
I would like to see Reed Hawn become Mint director and see what an experienced hobbyist may be able to do with Mint offerings.

James J. O’Connell III
Westminster, Calif.

I don’t think its mandatory to have been a collector to become director of the mint. However it would be refreshing to have someone who partially represents their interests. The Mint currently takes advantage of the collecting community by putting out way too many designs of average quality for most collectors to absorb. Quality is always better then quantity. I think a good example of what the mint can do is the upcoming high relief gold coin of the Saint-Gaudens design. Concentrate on beautiful coins like that.

Roy Herbst
Ridgefield, Conn.

I do not think being a collector has much to do with the requirements to serve as director of the U.S. Mint. While it may serve him well in coin and currency design selection, the minting and machining processes, purchase of precious metals, security, marketing and other considerations are more important and should outweigh experience as a collector. He also will be constrained by the wishes of the political machine in Washington and that is formidable.
The primary consideration of the Mint director is to ensure an adequate supply of coinage for the U.S. to conduct commerce. If he cannot do that first then the artistic value of coins and currency doesn’t mean much. Having said that however, he would bring to the table a large segment of the public that is new to collecting through creative designs.
But that too is not an infinite number of collectors. In my case, and many others I know, at some point my income dictates how far I can go with collecting. So even with the advent of new and exciting designs, I simply cannot afford to continue collecting all of the beautiful coins I want. Plastic is also replacing cash and online purchasing and e-trade are on the rise among the younger people.
I think a qualified business man/politician would have a better chance of survival ... but it would be nice to see someone who also happens to be a collector. Just one man’s opinion.

Mike Erickson
Cleveland, Ill.

Will this new Mint director show some common “cents” and see that dollar coins, commemorative quarters and cents no longer be made? I have over $600 in state quarters that are going to the bank for circulation. And now the government wants to make more?! Pure lunacy.
The dollar coins weigh too much and are a nuisance.

Nick Schrier
Sacramento Calif.

A Mint director needs to be knowledgeable in business, marketing and public relations. He should be acquainted with the process of minting coins. A collector as Mint director would be like having icing on a cake. He could knowledgeably work with the Mint in developing coins that attract the collector and serve the nation’s commerce well. Perhaps he could lobby Congress for a newly designed dime and have them reconsider the plan for at least 56 new reverse designs for the quarter. Do we really need to have our money serve as minted commercials for national parks?

Timothy Scharr
Nashville, Ill.

I do not believe that collector experience is need for the Director of the Mint. He/she needs good management and listening skills. The director should also understand that the primary role of the mint is to provide coins for circulation and bullion purchases first and collectors second.

Dennis Colby
Villa Park, Ill.

Although it’s not a requirement or anything like that but I would think a Mint Director who knows a little something about the hobby and possess some collectors wisdom, I think it would be a great idea for the new director to be one of our own. Probably never happen but it would be a plus on our side.

Jim Glick
Olympia, Wash.

Absolutely... THAT is such a large part of the mint operation that I think it should be madetory to have experience in collecting or dealing in Numismatic items. PS: I’m available :)

Bob Beni
Phoenix, AZ

Yes, I believe any Mint Director should be knowledgeable of numismatics. He or she does not need to be collector. But the new Director should be sensitive to collectors’ wants and needs. The Mint makes a good profit on collector purchases so a Director without perceptions of collectors’ desires would be an effort in futility for the success of the Mint on President-elect Obama’s judgment. \

John Hamer
Bradford, Mass.

For some silly reason I don’t really think thats such a good idea. A collector in charge of the Mint could lead to some real problems. Mainly because, as a collector he would be able to support (direct) more collectables.
For me, the joy in collecting is the “hunt”. A non-collector would just be interested in doing the job that the Mint is supposed to do.
We have enough “Trojan Horses” flying around, let’s not add another.

Chris Bellew
Summerville, S.C.