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Viewpoint: Sellout indicative of Mint attitude

By: Arnold Rothenbuescher

The U.S. Mint has short-changed the “little guy” collector again. It opens ordering for the Eagle Annivesary set, but virtually shuts down all means for doing so.

I tried from noon until 4 p.m. to get into its website and/or through on the telephone.

No luck.

What I suspect is that big volume buyers had the website and phone lines tied up because they know with such a limited offering of 100,000 sets, they become rarities from the onset. I’m guessing double, triple or more value increase even before delivery.

Dealers smelled that after-market green and a feeding frenzy developed.And we small time collectors won’t even get a morsel.

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The Mint should have expected high volume ordering due to the popularity of the American Eagle coin, particularly because of the limited minting. It begs the question: why would it offer only 100,000 sets of such a coin?

Even so, how could the Mint not be able or prepared to handle the high volume of orders? Haven’t they had enough experience in selling coins not to have been geared up for the onslaught?

Obviously not. Learning from experience is not one of the Mint’s strong points.

Well, now I have a choice: I either pay a highly inflated, after-market price for the set or simply have a gap in my formerly complete American Eagle collection.

At this point, I am thinking gap.

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I’ve ordered coins from the Mint for over 35 years. I’ve ordered, and still do, many Mint items that weren’t popular or sell-outs but did so to keep my collection complete.

I’ve done that as well with my American Eagle set, and I have all issues, including past anniversary sets. But all good things come to an end.

I conclude that the U.S. Mint feels that its customers are a captive audience.

You can’t get the coins the Mint offers anywhere else – except for the after-market – so it can do what it likes, when it likes and how often it likes, old time, loyal small customers be damned. After all, most of them don’t order in the hundreds or more.

This Viewpoint was written by Arnold Rothenbeuscher, a hobbyist who is from Venice, Fla. Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to david.harper@fwmedia.com.

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