US Coins

Senator puts hold on Mint director nomination

U.S. Mint Director nominee David J. Ryder fielded few questions during his Oct. 24 confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Color image screen capture from confirmation hearing; background image of Philadelphia Mint courtesy of U.S. Mint.

David J. Ryder’s nomination to become the 39th director of the United States Mint remains on the Senate’s Executive Calendar where it has waited for a vote by the full Senate since Nov. 1, after being voted unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs that day.

A temporary hold was placed on the nomination Dec. 20 by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. That hold was eventually lifted. However, a notice of intent to object was entered on the executive calendar Dec. 20 from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

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Grassley’s nomination objection published in the Congressional Record, reads: “I intend to object to any unanimous consent requests at the present time relating to the nominations of David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint, and of Isabel Marie Keenan Patelunas, of Pennsylvania, to be Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Department of the Treasury. I will object because the Department of the Treasury has failed to respond to a letter I sent on September 29, 2017, to a bureau within the Department seeking documents relevant to an ongoing investigation by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Despite several phone calls between committee staff and Treasury personnel to prioritize particular requests within that letter, the Treasury Department has to date failed to provide any documents. My objection is not intended to question the credentials of Mr. Ryder or Ms. Patelunas in any way. However, the Department must recognize that it has an ongoing obligation to respond to congressional inquiries in a timely and reasonable manner.”

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Ryder’s nomination, and those of 100 other presidential nominees identified on the executive Calendar, must still go before the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

If approved by the full Senate, Ryder’s service would be for a full five-year term. Ryder would be serving his second stint as the chief executive of the U.S. Mint. Ryder served a 14-month period between 1993 and 1994 as the 34th Mint director, filling the position through a recess appointment by President George H.W. Bush.

Last director in 2011

The Mint has been without a director since Edmund C. Moy resigned in January 2011 to re-enter the private sector with almost eight months remaining on his presidentially appointed five year term.

Neither of the two nominations for Mint director made by former President Obama — first of Bibiana Boerio and second of Matthew Rhett Jeppson — ever progressed to receive Senate approval.

Since 2007, Ryder has been global business development manager for Honeywell Authentication Technologies as a manufacturer and supplier of covert and forensic security features for the authentication of currency, value documents and products.

From January 1994 through 2007, Ryder served as president of Secure Products Corp., a producer of special machine readable materials that provided positive identification of currency, branded products, and other high value documents as genuine.

Ryder, who served as deputy chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle before becoming deputy treasurer of the United States, was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on July 25, 1991, to succeed Donna Pope as Mint director.

Just under a year later, July 9, 1992, when the Senate had not acted upon Ryder’s nomination, Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady named him acting Mint director. 

Fifty-six days later, on Sept. 3, when the Congress was in recess, President Bush named Ryder Mint director under the seldom-used recess appointment provision. Under the recess appointment, without Senate confirmation, the term of office became fixed at the conclusion of the next session of Congress, which was interpreted to be the end of the first session of the 103rd Congress. 

Ryder’s term as Mint director ended at 3:07 p.m. Nov. 24, 1993, when the Senate adjourned its first session of the 103rd Congress without confirming his nomination.

Smithsonian transfers 

While in office, Ryder began a policy of transferring coins and medals produced by the U.S. Mint to the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. The goal was to ensure that the collection was kept up to date with all of the Mint’s new issues of coins and medals. 

Ryder said, “The National Numismatic Collection is one of the great repositories of our coin and medal history, reflecting the intricate ties between our economic, social, political and cultural heritage on a national and international level,” writing in an April 29, 1993, letter to Robert C. McAdams, secretary of the Smithsonian.

Ryder added, “It is our hope to continue the preservation, documentation, research and exhibition of this rich legacy for scholars and the general public alike.”

Prior to Ryder’s initiative, transfers of coins and medals to the Smithsonian were sporadic. As Coin World reported in 1993, several hundred Olympic coins, American Arts Gold Medallions, and bronze and pewter national medals were transferred to the Smithsonian by the Mint in 1984. Periodic transfers were also made as permanent additions to the collection between 1984 and 1993, but not regularly.

The Mint’s transfer to the Smithsonian in May 1993 consisted of Proof and Uncirculated Mint sets from 1985 through 1992; the 1992-S Silver Proof set; Proof gold and silver commemorative coins, from the 1988 Olympic coins to the 1993 James Madison/Bill of Rights coins; Proof gold and silver American Eagle coins, from 1987 through 1992; and more than 30 medals. 

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