The US election and the US Mint have a closer relationship than some might assume. Because it is a government agency, the US Mint director remains a position that the current president can hire/fire. David J Ryder is the current US Mint director. He faces some backlash at this time after the release of the WWII silver and gold medals. With the election moving forward on Biden’s declared win, the US Mint’s director’s days may be numbered. Ryder has not released any official statement about resigning yet, but as the inauguration grows nearer, that may change.
Ryder previously served as the mint director in 1993-94 as the 34th director. Although Trump initially nominated him in October 2017, there was a minor setback in the Senate before he could be approved. So, Trump renominated him in January 2018 then eventually received the approval of the Senate unanimously on March 21, 2018.
The Election and the US Mint – What is the Tradition With a New President?
First of all, CoinWorld noted:
“Customary protocol when presidential administrations change is for nominees from the outgoing president to tender their resignations to the incoming chief executive. It’s then up to the incoming president to decide whether to accept those resignations or allow a nominee from the predecessor to remain in office. U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder, who was approved for a five-year term April 12, 2018, under nomination from Republican President Donald J. Trump, will face that decision.”
This quote helps to show the relationship between the election and the US Mint. However, Ryder is yet to confirm whether or not he will go through this traditional process. Edmund C. Roy served before Ryder, and he was also a Republican. Actually, Roy kept his seat in the mint under former President Obama. He remained in this role for two years until he moved into the private sector in 2011.
It is worth noting that the US Senate did not approve of either of Obama’s nominees. Bibiana Boerio and Matthew Rhett Jeppson were the nominated replacements for Roy. Specifically, Boerio is formerly the Ford Motor Co. executive, chief of staff to U.S. Representative Joe Sestak, and interim president of Seton Hill University. Jeppson served as a principal deputy Mint director since 2015. Therefore, the position remained open until Trump moved in and nominated Ryder.
Ryder’s Official Statement
So far, Ryder’s only official statement is about the Mint itself rather than the anticipated impact of the election and the US Mint. The official statement addresses the US Mint WWII medals and V-75 Eagle coins.
Ryder indicated the US Mint’s goal is to serve the American people. In order to do this, they strike coins and medals that tell American history, are attractive to customers, and “generate net earnings.” He also noted that they often look to the numismatic community for feedback when determining current interests and new products’ potential for success. This is in addition to his discussion of mintage limits on numismatic products.
Ryder basically noted that set mintages match their anticipated level of demand. Therefore, they try to align the supply to the anticipated demand. However, like with predicting the strain of the flu virus for the year, they are only able to guess.
“Contrary to the belief of some, we’re not happy when a product sells out immediately—that means that we underestimated demand and disappointed many customers. On the other hand, we don’t want to set mintages so high that we’re left with unsold inventory, which results in additional expense when we recycle the coins and medals and dispose of the packaging.”
Ryder released this statement in order to address criticism against how the mint could not meet the demand for the US Mint WWII medals. On the day of release, the website saw extreme slowdown and crashed for many. Reports show that about 390,000 people tried to access the US Mint site that day. This is over three times the capacity they predicted.
On top of this high traffic, the US Mint incorporates technology to fight against bots trying to purchase a large number of coins in a short period of time. This further slows down the website.
So, the Director said that he and his team are reassessing how the Mint does business in order to bring a more user-friendly experience when buying direct.
Criticism of the US Mint
CoinWeek took a hard stance and wrote an open letter to the US Mint recently, which is unusual for them. In response to angry emails from both collectors and established dealers, they decided to voice their opinion. Most notably, the massive sale of the new WWII Medals and Mayflower joint Royal Mint/US Mint release prompted this outrage. On top of the election and the US Mint, this open letter might be another factor that weighs on Ryder’s job.
CoinWeek’s Official Statement
In short, CoinWeek basically noted that the US Mint talks out of both sides of its mouth in order to “escape accountability to their customers.” They accuse the US Mint of playing dumb with mintage limits, taking advantage of loyal customers, and not cracking down on scalpers. To support this claim, CoinWeek stated that the US Mint often says its hands are tied when it comes to third parties and what price they set for coins and medals.
So, the US Mint often identifies as a government agency that does not have the authority to punish third parties. However, CoinWeek noted that the US Mint also announced they “produced over 24 million ounces of bullion and nearly 4 million units of numismatic products. By accomplishing this, the US Mint claims to have ‘achieved the status of being a top 100 e-commerce retailer.’ ”
Although this is a great accomplishment, CoinWeeks says they are not taking responsibility or caring for their loyal customers. On the one hand, the US Mint is a government agency. But when it suits them, they claim to be the biggest retailer in the industry.
CoinWeek further substantiates this argument by the fact that Ryder asserted they take mintage limits into consideration when anticipating demand. However, the V-75 Gold Eagle coin has a mintage limit of only 1,945. So, CoinWeek does not see this as a reflection of Ryder’s statement about taking demand into consideration. In their closing statement, CoinWeek suggested new ways the mint can move forward with supporting loyal customers.
The US Mint is the largest coin dealer in the world. Is it possible this public criticism might weigh in on Ryder’s job security in addition to the election and the US Mint? Only time will tell.
Bullion Exchanges is a trusted precious metals retailer located in the heart of New York City’s Diamond District. We carry a wide variety of bullion and numismatic products, from the popular gold and silver to the newly emerging platinum and palladium. We also have a trained numismatist on-site and are ready to offer you our expertise. For more US Mint products, take a look at our inventory of gold and silver American Eagles, Gold American Buffalos, and America the Beautiful silver coinage.