Here are some excerpts from Part Two of Michael Alexander's Coin Update News interview with U.S. Mint Director Edmund Moy.
When bullion demand went sky-high, we reached out to our suppliers, the Perth Mint for example, for more planchets (blanks) and many of them almost tripled their production for us. Yet, we still could not keep up with demand, and last year alone, and we sold almost 28 million ounces of silver and gold coins of which about 22 million of which was silver.
This was a record amount for us, which made the U.S. Mint the largest producer of bullion coins in the world, and we still could not keep up with the worldwide demand! Legislation requires us to satisfy the demand for bullion related coinage before the collector’s version, but it was a tough mandate to have to follow.
MA: Would it have been possible to have this coin minted by the Royal Canadian Mint with a mintmark denoting this? Wouldn’t that have been a better alternative to not minting the coin at all?
EM: No, the law stipulates if it is a U.S. coin, it has to be produced in the United States, and only the U.S. Mint can produce legal tender coins. Producing the planchets is not legislated but “stamping” it into a coin is.
MA: With all of the present and potential changes in U.S. coinage, there’s a fine line to the right amount of issues for the collector market. Do you think the criticism that the US Mint just issues too many variations of the same coin or too many coins to keep up with is valid?
EM: I am a collector myself, and when I arrived at the Mint, we did have many products I didn’t even know about. One of the things I wanted to do, which is an evolving process, is to “whittle down” our portfolio of products. We’re producing none of the items we didn’t sell and a lot less of those items we sold small amounts of.
We are now saving that production capacity to do two things: One is to make more of those items our collectors want and to make them earlier in the year. The second is to make room for new products. We’ve found that proof sets, for instance, were being produced in the third quarter of the year and since they are often given as gifts for birthdays and anniversaries, what I want to do is produce those items earlier in the year or even the previous year.
MA: As we conclude, I always ask the question “do you collect coins yourself?” But you’ve already mentioned that you do. So, I’ll ask if you think that makes a difference to the position and products offered when a Mint Director is an active collector.
EM: First, let me tell you how I started. My parents are Chinese immigrants who own Chinese restaurants. One way Chinese culture affects families is they view the family as an economic unit. As soon as I could add, subtract, multiply and divide, my parents put me at the cash register because you trust one of your kids more than an employee.
I remember one customer tried to pay us with an Indian head cent, and I said, “You can’t pay us with that!” but looking at it closer, it did say “ONE CENT” on the reverse! This coin made me interested in art and finding out more about Native Americans, and from there I started collecting Indian head cents. That led to collecting Lincoln cents which I found in the restaurant’s change and, it just blossomed! I remember when I became Mint Director, my parents asked me when I was going to remove the nine boxes of coins and albums from their home! (Laughs.)
My collection includes Walking Liberty half dollars, Mercury dimes, nice buffalo nickels, and the somewhat controversial Standing Liberty quarters. I’m not too interested in rarities, but really love beautiful designs.
To read the complete article, see:
Edmund Moy Interview Part Two: Proof Silver Eagles, U.S. Coin Design
Wayne Homren, Editor
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