US Coins

What Donald Trump's election means for collectors

President-elect Donald J. Trump will have his likeness appear on an official presidential inaugural medal, designs for which have yet to be chosen by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

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Donald Trump’s election Nov. 8 as the 45th president of the United States opens the door to a number of numismatic collectibles for hobbyists to pursue and will result in changes at the Treasury Department and possibly the U.S. Mint.

Prime among the new collectible items are the official presidential inaugural medal to be issued through President-elect Trump’s inaugural committee, as well as U.S. paper money, which will eventually bear the signatures of a new Treasury secretary and U.S. treasurer.

Inaugural medal

The official inaugural medal is issued by the winner’s inaugural committee and should not be confused with the traditional Presidential medal struck and issued by the U.S. Mint using designs from one of the members of the Mint’s engraving staff.

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Private mints compete for the contract to produce the official inaugural medal by submitting proposed design sketches or prototype metals struck in one or more metallic versions.

The winner of the contract may issue die-struck medals in different sizes, metallic compositions and set combinations as approved by the inaugural committee or subcommittee.

Issuance of an official inaugural medal for each presidential inauguration has been a tradition since the first one was issued in 1901 for the inauguration of President William McKinley.

First term medals feature a portrait of the president on the obverse; second term medals traditionally show the vice president’s portrait alongside the president’s. The last presidential inaugural medal, issued in 2013 for President Obama’s second inauguration, was produced under contract by Medalcraft Mint in Green Bay, Wis., and includes Vice President Joe Biden’s likeness in the design along with that of President Obama.

Medalcraft Mint also produced the inaugural medals for President Obama’s first term.

While it is considered an honor to secure the medal contract, the number of mints vying for that honor can usually be counted on one hand.

Medalcraft Mint plans to submit a proposal to execute the official Trump presidential inaugural medal, Tony Moran, manager of government sales for Medalcraft Mint, told Coin World Nov. 9. The private mint had also prepared design sketches and models featuring Hillary Clinton in case the election took a different turn.

Moran said the Medalcraft Mint’s engraving staff is working on refinements to models for three different obverse portraits and three different reverses. 

Once the refinements are made, dies and other tooling will be prepared to strike 3-inch bronze prototype medals for consideration by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Moran said if Medalcraft Mint is awarded the official inaugural medal contract, likely 2.75-inch or 3-inch silver medals will also struck, along with a 1.5-inch gold medal, to be offered in sets with the bronze version.

Collectors can expect medals to be available for purchase before President-elect Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

Change in signatures

With Trump’s election as president, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will be out of the cabinet. And his signature will be eventually replaced on U.S. paper money with that of his successor.

President-elect Trump has previously indicated that he wants to give the Treasury secretary job to his finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, a 17-year-veteran of Goldman Sachs.

Mnuchin is the chairman and chief executive of the private investment firm Dune Capital Management. Mnuchin was also co-founder, chairman and CEO of OneWest Bank, which was sold to CIT Group in 2015.

Another office awaiting a Trump appointment is that of United States treasurer. The treasurer’s facsimile signature appears on Federal Reserve notes with that of the Treasury secretary.

Current series notes include the signature of Rosa Gumataotao Rios as U.S. treasurer. Rios resigned the position in July. No names have been widely circulated as a replacement and it seems unlikely that an appointment will now be made by President Obama.

The position of U.S. Mint director could also be affected by the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.

The Mint director’s post has been vacant since January 2011 when Republican Edmund C. Moy left for the private sector.

President Obama’s nomination of Bibiana Boerio never made it out of the Senate committee. And the nomination of Rhett Jeppson, the Mint’s principal deputy director, as President Obama’s second choice for Mint director made it out of committee earlier this year, but was never brought before the full Senate for a vote. 

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