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Those Were the Days – or Were They?
January 13, 2011

There are empty chairs at the top of the Mint hierarchy. Director Ed Moy’s resignation took effect Jan. 9. Deputy Director Andy Brunhart’s last day was yesterday and he now moves over to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

For the present, Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios is overseeing the operation.

How long it will take for new leadership to be appointed to the Mint by President Obama remains to be seen.

But with any leadership change, major policy changes could follow.

This generation of collectors has seen the Mint operate like a business. The purpose of a business is to make profit. Businesses consider growing profits a good thing, but judging from recent complaints from collectors, any time the Mint is seen to make much of a profit, that is something to object to and even allege something nefarious is occurring.

Oftentimes collectors complain to their elected representatives in Congress.

What if the new Mint leadership decides that the effort to run the Mint like a business is not justifiable because all it seems to do is generate large numbers of complaints?

What would happen if the Mint began behaving like a government agency again?

Collectors didn’t like it when it did before. In days gone by it could take up to a year to get delivery on proof and mint sets. And as far as a variety of collector products was concerned, forget it. Proof sets, mint sets and a few medals were it.

Could a time like that come again?

I don’t think that is an entirely crazy question to ask.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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