On October 3 President Donald Trump nominated David J. Ryder of New Jersey to become the 39th director of the United States Mint.
The position of director of the Mint was established by the Coinage Act of 1792 that created the Mint, while the Coinage Act of 1873 specified a five-year term for the job.
That position has been vacant since the departure in 2011 of Edmund Moy, the Mint’s 38th director and has been filled by a series of officials serving in various acting capacities since then, including David Motl, who currently serves as Acting Principal Deputy Director.
In 2012 President Obama nominated Bibiana Boerio, a former automobile company executive, as director, but her nomination never received a confirmation vote from the U.S. Senate.
Rhett Jeppson, a former military and government official, ran the Mint for most of the Obama presidency and was nominated in 2015 to become the director, but he only received a vote in the Senate Banking Committee, and not the full Senate, as required. He left the Mint as President Trump was being sworn in on January 20 of this year.
During his tenure, according to Michael Miles Standish of NGC, Jeppson worked to revitalize the Mint by resuming production of platinum Eagles; issuing 30th anniversary Silver Eagles with edge inscriptions marking the event; launched the American Liberty gold coin and silver medal program and issued gold coins marking the centennial of three classic coins; and met record demand for Silver Eagles.
Two decades ago, during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, Ryder served for one year (September 1992 to November 1993) in the same position at the Mint. He had been nominated by President Bush to succeed Donna Pope as Mint director on July 25, 1991, but a year later the Senate had still not acted on his nomination.
Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady named Ryder acting Mint director on July 9, 1992, and then on September 3, when the Congress was in recess, the president named Ryder Mint director using a recess appointment. That term ended on November 24, 1993, when the Senate concluded the first session of the 103rd Congress and did not act on the nomination.
Ryder, who was born in Montana and raised in Idaho has a background that includes a mixture of federal government appointments and private sector business experience.
In the 1980’s he worked for the Department of Commerce and the Office of the Vice President and later for TCOM systems. Then in 1988, he served as director of operations for the Republication National Committee and on the transition team of President George H.W. Bush. From 1989 to 1990 he was deputy chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and from 1990 to 1991 as Deputy Treasurer.
Ryder then returned to the private sector, serving as president of Secure Products Corp. from 1994 until 2007. That company produces machines used to authenticate currency and documents. Since 2007 he has been the manager for global business development at Honeywell Authentication Technologies, a company that produces security features for currency, documents, and products.
If he eventually receives Senate confirmation to become the 39th Mint director, Ryder will join the Mint at a time when many coin collectors and observers of the numismatic scene believe the Mint would benefit from having a full-fledged director.
While the various officials who have served at the top of the Mint’s management team since 2011 have made important contributions, many collectors miss Edmund Moy (who was director from 2006 to 2011) in large part because he is a collector and someone who has continued to work in the precious metal field since leaving the Mint.
Apart from Moy’s numismatic background, many numismatists feel the Mint is long overdue for a new director to run the Mint’s triple mission of producing circulation, bullion and collector coins.
In the past year, sales of bullion and numismatic products have been lower than in previous years.
Ryder served as Mint director for a short period that was mainly marked by the issuance of commemorative coins such as those for the Bill of Rights and 1992 Olympics.
It is difficult to say based on that, how he might approach the job other than as someone with extensive experience in product and program management and business development.
Contacted for this article about whether he was a collector of coins, he said: “I cannot say that I'm an avid coin collector, but having traveled all over the world for the better part of 40 years, I've been able to amass a rather large collection of coins, banknotes, medals and other numismatic collectable products. During a visit to the Leningrad Mint years ago, I was given a few mis-struck coins which are pretty cool.”
On October 16th, the Mint held its second annual meeting with stakeholders in the numismatic world to discuss how they can improve their programs and benefit from increased input from collectors, dealers and other people with a keen interest in coins.
That meeting hopefully provided plenty of ideas that the new director, if confirmed, can use.
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|