If you’re a client of the United States Gold Bureau, a regular reader of our blog, or simply a precious metals enthusiast, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the name Edmund C. Moy a time or two.
Our team at the U.S. Gold Bureau has gotten to know Ed Moy over the years thanks to our close working relationship on our Proof-70 hand-signed certification label program and Moy’s undeniable reputation in the field of numismatics and coin investing.
We recently caught up with the former U.S. Mint Director to chat about all things coins. Below, we detail Moy’s professional journey leading up to, during, and following his tenure as the 38th Director of the United States Mint, in addition to exploring three of his all-time favorite U.S. Mint coins.
Edmund C. Moy – Public Servant, Business Executive, Author, and Enduring Public Figure
Outside of serving as the 38th Director of the U.S. Mint, Ed Moy has developed a notable reputation as a dedicated public servant, shrewd business executive, private equity consultant, television commentator, public speaker, author, corporate director, pastor, and lifelong coin enthusiast.
As his bio notes, Moy “came from humble beginnings,” growing up with Chinese and Hong Kong immigrant parents in suburban Wisconsin. Through early-age work at his parents' Chinese-American restaurant in Waukesha, Wisconsin, he learned critical business lessons and developed what would grow into an unwavering affinity for coin collecting.
Moy attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison – the proverbial “Berkeley of the Midwest” – where he graduated as a triple major in economics, international relations, and political science after dropping out of the university's pre-med program – much to the dismay of his parents.
In the early years of his career, Moy was a sales executive with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, where he and his team sold managed care products to major Wisconsin companies. It was during this time that Moy would meet the love of his life, Karen Johnson. The two married in 1982 and became involved with ministry for students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Following this foray into faith-based work, Moy became an ordained pastor, focusing on ministry work for college and international students while simultaneously maintaining his role at Blue Cross Blue Shield.
After working as a volunteer on a presidential campaign in 1988, Moy was appointed to serve at the federal agency overseeing Medicare and Medicaid, where he was responsible for managed care policy, integrated managed care options for seniors on Medicare, and regulating the HMO industry – a position that meshed nicely with his background selling health and dental managed care products at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Wisconsin.
Moy returned to the private sector following the 1992 campaign, this time as a consultant for private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. Later, Moy held executive positions at various healthcare companies, served on the board of directors of several privately held corporations, and consulted for other companies in the private sector.
In the early 2000s, Moy moved back into the public sector, this time serving as Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel under George W. Bush for nearly six years. In this role, he oversaw presidential appointment candidate selections in human, natural, and cultural resources. Additionally, Moy’s tenure straddled the devastating September 11th attacks in New York City and subsequent set-up of the new Department of Homeland Security, with which he assisted in getting off the ground.
In June of 2006, President Bush nominated Moy to serve as the United States' Mint's 38th Director. Later that year, he was approved for and sworn into this prestigious position, making him the first Asian-American person to serve in the role.
Moy’s tenure as 38th Director of the U.S. Mint encompassed an impressive slate of coin releases, program launches, and market-defining events. Such tenure-defining benchmarks included the end of the 50 State Quarter program, the beginning of the Presidential $1 Coin Program, the National Parks Quarter program, the mintage of the modern Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, the mid-2000s financial crisis and ensuing recession, in addition to managing supply for the unprecedented levels of demand of gold and silver bullion ushered in by the 2008-2009 market collapses.
In 2011, after serving the standard Mint Director five-year term, Moy resigned his post and moved back into the private sector, where he continues to operate in various roles to this day.
“As the Director of the United States Mint, I was proud to preside over the American Eagle silver proof coins becoming one the world’s most popular silver coins. The obverse [that] features the iconic image of Liberty walking toward a sun rise embodies the beginning of an era of freedom and democracy. And for the first time since the coin’s creation in 1986, the heraldic eagle featured on the reverse will change in 2021, making the final year of the old design very special to me and other collectors and investors.”
While this late-2019 Silver Eagle Proof is the same in many regards as other releases in the Silver American Eagle program, many features make this Proof coin stand out from the crowd. Perhaps the most defining feature of the piece is its beautiful Enhanced Reverse Proof finish.
An "Enhanced Reverse Proof" coin finish is a unique take on both the standard "Proof" and less common “Reverse Proof” concepts. While a “Proof” coin features high-sheen, mirror-like “fields,” which are the background areas of a coin’s design, and frosted “devices,” which are the design elements themselves, a “Reverse Proof” coin, while maintaining the brilliance of a Proof, is struck in the reverse fashion, with frosted fields and mirror-like devices.
In an exciting mash-up of the two, the “Enhanced Reverse” finish features frosted fields and high-sheen devices – like the “Reverse Proof” – but with polishing and frosting applied to multiple isolated areas of the coin’s design. As the Mint points out, this selective finishing “dramatically enhances the visual impact” of the Silver Eagle’s classic design.
Regardless of iteration, all Proof coins are born out of a rigorous and meticulous production method, undergoing several rounds of polishing, striking, and finishing that results in the exceptional beauties that have come to be revered so highly in today's investments world.
Read more about the 2019 Silver American Eagle Enhanced Reverse Proof 70 Coin here.
“The America[n] Eagle platinum proof coins are some of my favorite coins. Because the authorizing legislation gave the United States Mint flexibility in some of the designs, when I was the Director, I chose to explore designs that illustrated the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and encouraged Mint artists and engravers to be creative. The result was unique designs, relatively low mintages, and one of the most popular platinum coins in the world.”
In 2018, the U.S. Mint kicked off a three-year run of special-edition Platinum American Eagle Proofs to celebrate the dawn of the coin’s third decade in production. More than 20 years prior, in 1997, “[t]he United States Mint made numismatic history” with the launch of its first-ever legal tender platinum coin – the Platinum American Eagle Proof. Each of the three Platinum Eagles in the series features a unique obverse image representing one of the "unalienable Rights" guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and Happiness. The series started with “Life” in 2018, followed up with “Liberty” in 2019, and now draws to a close with “Happiness” in 2020.
The 2018 “Life” Platinum Eagle Proof depicts a young Lady Liberty teaching a child to sow seeds in a sprawling American field. The 2019 “Liberty” Platinum Eagle Proof is a brilliant display of American bravery and idealism, boasting an image of Lady Liberty proudly raising a torch into the air with her right hand – “an emblem of the guiding light that liberty provides,” as the U.S. Mint puts it – and cradling an open book, representing the rule of law in America, in her left arm. The third and final “Happiness” Platinum Eagle Proof, released in January 2020, again shows a young Lady Liberty, this time standing in a tilled field cradling an overflowing cornucopia in her right arm, which is packed with fruits presumably harvested from the land on which she stands. According to the U.S. Mint, the bounty of the cornucopia represents the nurturing only Liberty can provide to "nourish the body, enliven the mind, and satisfy the soul." She tenderly watches a girl playing in the field who grasps an olive branch in her right hand and beckons a butterfly with her left. One could image the two side-by-side characters epitomizing the vitality that flourishes under Liberty's caring watch.
Learn more about the three “Preamble to the Declaration of Independence” Platinum Eagle Proof 70 coins here, here, and here.
“For me, the American Eagle gold proof coin sets the high bar for a great coin: a beautiful and patriotic design, exquisitely made, and popular with investors and collectors alike. I love the uniquely American design and that it was made with pride by the men and women of the United States Mint.
The American Eagle gold proof coins have one of the most iconic designs ever made: Liberty being led by enlightenment and bringing peace, bringing democracy into the world after being established in America, symbolized by the U.S. Capitol. Every time I see this coin, I’m reminded of the ideals our country [was] founded on.”
Authorized by Congress via the Bullion Coin Act of 1985 and launched for the first time the following year, the Gold American Eagle Proof coin is a testament to our nation's enduring greatness and unwavering commitment to excellence. Struck in a stunning high-sheen finish, the Gold American Eagle Proof coin is made entirely out of gold mined on U.S. soil, as required by law, making it a genuinely American precious metals investment piece. Since its launch in the late-1980s, the Gold American Eagle Proof has soared to the top of global investment markets, making it one of the most sought-after precious metals pieces on the world stage today.
The obverse motif of the Gold American Eagle harkens to the “golden age” – pun intended – of American coin design by replicating one of the most renowned and beloved images in U.S. coin history – the Saint-Gaudens pre-1933 Double Eagle Liberty design. Saint-Gaudens' work, initially struck on the U.S. $20 Double Eagle gold coin from 1907 until 1933 and now reproduced on the late-20th-century Gold American Eagle bullion and proof coins, depicts a dynamic image of Lady Liberty gloriously striding forward holding a torch in one hand and an olive branch in the other. Liberty's hair and dress flow elegantly around her as beaming rays of sun peek over the horizon in the background. The entire image is encircled by shining stars while the word "Liberty" and year-of-issue line the top edge and right side of Liberty, respectively.
Gold American Eagles bear Miley Busiek’s “Family of Eagles” motif on its reverse. As we wrote about here, the reverse sides for the Gold (and Silver) American Eagles will feature new designs beginning in 2021 for at least the bullion issues. The same designs are expected to be used on the Proof issues of the coins eventually.
The Gold American Eagle is the United States' official gold coin and is produced in both bullion and proof finishes each year. For its inaugural run in 1986, the U.S. Mint only produced a one-ounce version of the Gold American Eagle. In 1987, both one-ounce and half-ounce versions were made, followed by two additional sizes in subsequent years – quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce. The coins carry legal tender, albeit nominal, face values of $50 for the one-ounce coin, $25 for the half-ounce, $10 for the quarter-ounce, and $5 for the tenth-ounce.
Read more about this fascinating investment-grade coin here. Thank you to our friend, Ed Moy, for sharing his favorite coins from the U.S. Mint!
If you would like to learn more about any of the coins featured here or are ready to start investing, please visit our website or give our team of Precious Metals Experts a call today (800-775-3504).