US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for March 4, 2019

Eva Adams, shown on a 1967 Assay Commission medal, expected to continue serving in office in 1969 in the Nixon administration despite being an appointee from the Johnson administration. Then she got a surprise visit.

Original images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries

Fifty years ago, Eva Adams, director of the Bureau of the Mint, received an unpleasant visit, as reported in the March 12, 1969, issue of Coin World.

In January, Richard Nixon had been sworn into office as president, replacing the unpopular Lyndon Johnson, who had declined to seek re-election during a period of massive protests against the Vietnam War.

Traditionally, political appointees like Adams submit their resignation to a new president so he can appoint his own people. 

According to the article, Adams, halfway through a second five-year term, having first been appointed to the office by John F. Kennedy in September 1961, had been assured that she did not need to do that. 

Despite the assurances, it appears that a Nixon administration official asked her to resign from the position, though she would not confirm that to Coin World.

At the time, Adams was overseeing the final touches to the new Philadelphia Mint facility, a badly needed replacement for the outdated third facility. Opening of the new facility was set for that summer.

A week before the March 12 issue was produced, Adams told a numismatic audience in Philadelphia in early 1969 that she “might not” be Mint director when the facility was opened. That was apparently the first public inkling that her days as director were numbered. 

As history unfolded, Adams would be replaced in March 1969 by the Nixon appointee, Mary Brooks

Brooks would oversee the grand ceremony opening of the new Philadelphia Mint, whose construction Adams had shepherded for many years. 

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